Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The (White) Nationalist President.

TWEET MEIn a desperate attempt to rally his white nationalist base, the president of the United States has declared that he will do away with Birthright Citizenship here in the United States by way of an Executive Order. Think about that for a minute. What this man is saying is that he will do away with a very important part of the 14th Amendment of our Constitution because he fears those brown people marching through Central America are coming to get "us".

Mr. trump, in order to do that, would have to amend the Constitution. Make no mistake, he does not have the authority to do that. Yes, his racist base would love nothing more than to chip away at that pesky 14th Amendment which gave citizenship to slaves, but they can't. Not yet. It doesn't mean that he and his pals won't try. In a pathetic attempt to suck up to his golf buddy, Lindsey Graham is already talking about introducing legislation  to amend the Constitution to do away with Birthright Citizenship. That too will not happen, because he needs three thirds of the House and the Senate to do that. Only your typical Cult 45 member would believe such crap. 

But I suppose that desperate times calls for desperate measures. The white nationalist who support trump couldn't be happier with their friend in the White House. He has done all that he can ---short of actually coming out and saying that he is a white nationalist--- to show them that he supports them. His whistling has gotten louder and louder. Recently he called the African American mayor of Tallahassee,  Andrew Gillum, a "thief", and he continues to question the intelligence of Maxine Waters. He did so again recently to his crowd of supporters. Throw in the fact that he is actually sending troops to the US border to stop the "invasion" of the brown women and children coming here to change the makeup of America, and  there is no escaping that we have a White Nationalist in Chief running things..

Today Mr. trump was in Pittsburgh. He was supposed to be comforting the families and congregation of those 11 people who lost their lives on behalf of the rest of us. But he clearly was not wanted. There were so many passionate protesters against his visit, that his handlers had to change his route when he left the Synagogue.

I can't say that I blame the citizens of Pittsburgh, though. He should not have gone. Local officials begged him to postpone the trip, but he refused to do that, because....well, it's all about him. His presence created a logistical nightmare for local authorities, and his visit took away from the families of those people who were mourning the loss of their loved ones.

But this is where we are in America. A white nationalist president creates a climate of hatred that contributes to the slaughter of 11 Jews worshiping in their house of worship, and the same white nationalist president sees it fit to visit their funeral. 

"You know, they have a word. It sort of became old-fashioned. It's called a 'nationalist.' And I say, really, we're not supposed to use that word." But then he did: "You know what I am? I'm a nationalist, OK? I'm a nationalist."

Mr. trump, you left out the word white.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

A climate of hate.

    Image result for robert bowers
Yesterday, another angry bigoted white male, spurred on by a climate of hatred and intolerance---- a climate created in part by his president--- decided that it was alright to take an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and slaughter eleven innocent people while they took time to worship.  And while he carried out his cowardly act of terror, he could be heard yelling that "all Jews must die"

This murderer, Robert Bowers, believed that Jews were funding the migrant caravan heading to America (Gee, I wonder where he got that from?),and his social media posts were full of bigotry, racism, and xenophobia. (Sound familiar?) 

What's frustrating is to hear pundits and folks in the main stream media highlight the fact that he was at times critical of Mr. trump. So what? Hey, no one is more critical of the Eagles than I am, but they are still my team. Some of Obama's biggest supporters were also his biggest critics, because he didn't go far enough with some of his policies. The fact that this guy criticized Mr. trump doesn't mean that trump didn't create the climate that he could thrive in. His only issue with trump is that he didn't go far enough with his bigotry and intolerance. 

Mr. trump, just days ago, declared that Nationalism is a good thing, and it is in this climate that we got another bigoted murderer in Kentucky attempt to go into an African American church and do what the shooter in Pittsburgh did yesterday (he settled for killing two elderly African Americans in a supermarket), and like the Pittsburgh shooter, he was full of hatred.

Now all the usual suspects on the right will play the false equivalency game. "Hey, they heckled  republican leaders while they are in public spaces. The rhetoric on both sides needs to be tones down."  Not so fast. The last time I checked, no one died from being heckled. It's just not the same. And whether they like it or not, the leader of this country belongs to their party and the tone that he is setting is what is contributing to this climate of violence and hatred.

There is no denying that incidents of hate have gone way up since Mr. trump's election. It's as if he has given a green light to racists to act on their anger and hatred for others. 

Some writers have been more nuanced than I have when blaming the president for this environment, but the conclusion is the same.

"Most likely, we’ll never know whether one fewer inflammatory tweet or one more conciliatory speech from the president might have averted the massacre in Pittsburgh. And yet, Trump’s reckless determination to crank the temperature of American politics up to the highest possible setting was likely a contributing factor. And that’s why the best analogy for understanding Trump’s responsibility for the rising tides of civic violence in our country may hail from the world of science. 

Scientists cannot definitively determine whether any one particular storm is caused by climate change. But they know that the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events have increased due to global warming. In the same way, it is impossible to definitively ascribe any one particular hate crime or terrorist attack to extreme political rhetoric. But it is clear that the kind of violent and dehumanizing language that is the hallmark of Trump’s political style is likely to increase the number of such crimes. That is enough to make the president morally culpable for an overall increase in civic strife, even if we cannot know whether he is causally responsible for this or that specific act of violence."  [Source]

Oh, we know, and so does he.

*Pic from cnn.com

Friday, October 26, 2018

There goes the "false flag" theory.

Judging from the looks of the MAGAbomber's  van, I guess these bombs sent to various high profile democrats who spoke out against Mr. trump wasn't a false flag operation after all. (I see you Candace.)

This guy was the poster boy for trump supporters. Consider the following: He lived at home with his mother. He was angry. He had trouble keeping a job. And he was an older white male. Oh, and can we stop calling him crazy? He is not crazy. He is just your typical rabid right-wing fanatic. The kind of poor schmuck that Mr. trump preys on.

Image result for cesar sayoc images van
If you are a regular reader of this blog you might notice folks just like him posting in the comments section. We call them trolls. But sometimes they grow up to be a lot worse than that. This guy made threats to people who spoke out against trump on social media, and he was a regular at those MAGA cult meetings, also known as political rallies.

Incredibly, after all this, there are still members of Cult 45 claiming that this guy was a plant by the democrats, because it was all too obvious and easy to catch him.

Mr. trump has been in his typical demented form throughout this entire episode. He has refused to even name the intended victims, or to attempt to unify the country, or even acknowledge the seriousness of his rhetoric that drives members of his cult to commit acts such as this. This quote, though, took the cake:

“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on,” 

"Bomb stuff?! The man terrorizes the country for damn near a week, and this president calls it just "bomb stuff."

Honestly, they deserve each other.

Pic from heavy.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

You've got mail. Just don't open it.

That old Gap Band song, You Dropped A Bomb On Me",  has been playing in my head  all day. Sadly, someone decided to get all literal with the song, and tried to drop some bombs on some prominent members of the democratic party. Or, as trump and his minions call them: The enemy. 

I don't mean to make light of what happened today. There was an assassination attempt on two former American presidents, a first lady, a former attorney general, and two congresswomen. That is some serious ass domestic terrorism right there. Throw in George Soros, and CNN and you pretty much have trump's enemies list covered.

I won't dwell too much on the obvious. Everyone with half of a brain knows that trump and his reckless rhetoric is responsible for this act of terror. We all saw it coming, and we all knew that it was just a matter of time. Frankly, I am sure that there will be more to come.

trump read from a script today about unity and coming together, but you just knew that he didn't mean it. He was reading that teleprompter like John Kelly was holding a gun to his head. It pained him to do it, because deep in his heart.....scratch that, he doesn't have one. He had to have known that his rhetoric and hate speech against his political opponents created whatever monster it takes to build homemade pipe bombs and try to kill people you disagree with politically. You could almost see him making the political calculation in his head.  How do I get this off the front page so that we can start talking about the terrorists coming with that migrant caravan again?

Over at FOX VIEWS and other right wing outlets, they are calling this a false flag operation. They are claiming that the dems did this to themselves to make it look like one of trump's white nationalist buddies did it. The scary thing is that there are millions of trump supporters right now in this country who actually believe that theory I just told you about. Let that sink in for a minute. 

"The full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation and bring those responsible for these despicable acts to justice. We will spare no resources or expense in this effort.”

Mr. President, they won't have to look far.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

If his lips are moving......

As a normal human being with a brain of my own, I am trying to get a grip on the mind of the typical trump supporter.

For instance, if I were to tell you that there were zero murders in the city of Chicago last year you would know that I am lying, right? I mean the facts say otherwise. If I told you that Ronald Reagan was married to Lena Horne and swore that it was true, you would say that I am lying, no matter how loudly I proclaimed it to be true. Why? Because there are these little things called "facts" which say otherwise. 

Which brings me back to Mr. trump and his supporters. When he tells his supporters that there are Middle Eastern terrorists traveling with the migrants from Central America, or that the republicans are going to give the middle class a 10% tax cut next week (Congress isn't even in session), we know that he is lying because the facts just don't bear out what he is saying. The thing is, he says it to thousands of people, and they all believe it. It's as if he is creating his own reality and sucking the rest of his minions in with him.

Today, thanks to hard questions from one of the few real journalists left in America, trump was forced to say that he had no proof of Middle Easterners in the Central American caravan. Most people would be embarrassed to be called out on such a blatant lie; but not Mr. trump, he actually doubled down on the lie. He is a man that is used to lying to the American people and getting away with it, because his base just doesn't care.  They are like minded spirits, bound together by hatred and fear of others who are different.

What's also so sad about all of this is watching the people around trump buy in to his constant lying and manipulating of the facts. Mike Pence and the other sycophants in the administration just sat there and nodded their heads while he told lie after lie, as if they were afraid to piss off the Emperor. 
The one thing Mr. trump has never lied about is who he is. He has told us time and time again who he is, and still some of us refuse to see or believe it.

Yesterday he (trump) declared that he was a Nationalist, and those of use who knew all along that was a racist were not surprised. But the folks who still spend  a lot of time in polite company were shocked to hear that the man elected to lead this great country considers himself a white nationalist. Even they know what that represents, and it has to scare even them.

Still, they better get used to it, because this is where we are as a country these days, and it's only going to get worse.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

A shocking interview from an elected American official.

TWEET MEWith a caravan of migrants (mostly women and children) heading towards the Southern border of the United States, the members of one of the political parties in America are starting to show their true colors.  They fear the browning of America now more than ever, and they are no longer shy about letting their true feelings known.

"Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) visited Austria in August and gave an extensive interview to a far-right publication there in which he spelled out, in clearer and more shocking terms than he ever has before, his white nationalist worldview.

The eight-term congressman, up for re-election next month, talked to Caroline Sommerfeld of the Austrian far-right propaganda site Unzensuriert (which means “uncensored” in English). Sommerfeld is a prominent intellectual in Europe’s neo-fascist identitarian movement, which has deep connections to America’s so-called alt-right.

The interview, published in September, came to HuffPost’s attention this week. In his conversation with Sommerfeld, King discussed his belief in the superiority of European culture over others. He talked fearfully of falling fertility rates in the West and spoke at length about his belief that Europe and America are threatened by Muslim and Latino immigration.

“If we don’t defend Western civilization, then we will become subjugated by the people who are the enemies of faith, the enemies of justice,” King said.

The interview is remarkable, capturing a sitting U.S. congressman completely fluent in modern white nationalist talking points just weeks before an election he is favored to win.
“This interview reveals a whole new level of reality underneath this guy’s politics,” said Roger Griffin, an expert on fascism and modern history at Oxford Brookes University.

King never would have opened up that way with mainstream reporters, since they wouldn’t understand what he was talking about, Griffin said. He added, “But with her, who is obviously steeped in this stuff, he just opens up because he knows he’s going to be understood.”
The congressman’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Unzensuriert also did not respond to questions about details of the interview.

King’s conversation with Sommerfeld largely revolves around the paranoid idea of the Great Replacement — the belief that mass migration, particularly from Muslim-majority countries, is an extinction-level event for white European culture and identity. Or as he put it in the interview, a “slow-motion cultural suicide.”

“The U.S. subtracts from its population a million of our babies in the form of abortion,” King said. “We add to our population approximately 1.8 million of ‘somebody else’s babies’ who are raised in another culture before they get to us.”

Sommerfeld responded, “That’s what we call the Great Replacement.”
Nick Ryan, the director of communications at the British-based anti-racism advocacy group Hope Not Hate, told HuffPost that “terms such as ‘Great Replacement’ are the preserve of conspiracy theorists and extremists.”

It’s a phrase, he said, widely used by anti-Muslim European networks to refer to the supposed Islamification of Europe by migrants and refugees.

The idea of the Great Replacement is imagined most vividly in The Camp of the Saints, a stunningly racist 1973 novel by Jean Raspail that “reframes everything as the fight to death between races,” said Cécile Alduy, a professor of French at Stanford University and an expert on France’s far right. It describes the takeover of Europe by waves of immigrants that “wash ashore like the plague.”
In the interview, King said that he read the book and that it was “completely logical to me that this could come to pass.” He went on to describe how he believes George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and bogeyman of the far right, might be footing the bill for the Great Replacement.
Unzensuriert is known in Austria for routinely publishing Islamophobic, anti-refugee articles and attacking the country’s traditional media outlets. In recent months, it has translated more of its articles into English in an attempt to reach a larger audience.  

“Unzensuriert is very much like a German-language version of Breitbart,” said Ingrid Brodnig, the author of a book about online misinformation and an expert on the Austrian far right. She said many of Unzensuriert’s stories are not factual. “They are opinion pieces which offer a far-right view on the world.”

Last year Austria’s intelligence services, in an internal report that was leaked to Austrian media, found that the site promoted anti-Semitism and extreme xenophobia. The site also spreads misinformation and conspiracies: Of the 10 best-performing Unzensuriert articles on Facebook, five contained false information or were wholly debunked, according to BuzzFeed Germany.

The site has close ties with the far-right Freedom Party, or FPO, and its former editor-in-chief is now the head of communications for the FPO-controlled Interior Ministry.

King celebrated President Donald Trump’s inauguration with FPO leaders in Washington.
King has long-standing connections to the far right in Europe and was the first elected U.S. official to meet with France’s National Front leader, Marine Le Pen. In the interview with Unzensuriert, he mentioned that he phoned Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders to offer support after Wilders was convicted of hate speech. King’s affinity for the global far right extends to outright extremists — including retweeting British neo-Nazi Mark Collett and this week endorsing Canadian white nationalist Faith Goldy.

J.D. Scholten, King’s Democratic opponent, told HuffPost that while King had time to talk to Unzensuriert during his visit to Austria, he skipped an editorial board interview with The Des Moines Register, Iowa’s largest newspaper, before the election.

“It’s disrespectful to this district that he’s spent more time (5 times in the last 6 years) in Austria on TAXPAYER DIME than he does in most counties in our district,” Scholten wrote in an email. 
King, who represents one of the reddest districts in America, has beaten his Democratic opponents by more than 20 points in the past five elections. An Emerson College poll last month showed him leading Scholten by 10 percentage points." [Source]

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Caption Saturday.

Image result for trump melnia hirrcane mmichael visit

I need a caption for this pic.

Example: Even presidents can wear a Depend every now and then.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Open thread.

MORE DISCLAIMERSIt's open thread night, ya'll, and I need your thoughts on a few  things.

First, was it right for T.I. to depict  the First Lady as a stripper in his latest video? I hear she is very upset about it. Still, she does have nude pics floating around on the Internet.

Second, do you believe that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered because he was working on a story about the trump Saudi financial ties? 

Third, (I got this one from Peter Daou on twitter) "If he tried to cancel elections and declare himself POTUS for life, how many of his supporters would complain?" Tonight he actually joked about it. Just floating a trial balloon to the base. 

And finally, what do you think of Heidi Cruz complaining about Ted's $174,000.00 per year senate salary? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"911, there is a Negro in my space."

White woman dubbed 'Golfcart Gail' calls police on black father at soccer game
I swear there must be some kind of secret game going around among white folks that they are not telling us Negroes about.

How else do you explain all the calls to 911 to report black folks for being...well, just black folks minding their own business and going about their day doing ordinary stuff.  At some point this isn't even funny anymore. I mean do some of you white folks even watch the news? We can't study, walk, drink coffee, go to the bathroom, take our kids for a stroll in a stroller, work, sleep....I mean come on now. Hell we can't even barbecue in peace these days. When a Negro can't even barbecue in peace in America things have gotten serious.  (Thank you Barbecue Becky.)

The latest culpret, as you all might have heard, is called Golfcart Gail (I love all the names). And she felt the need to call the law on a black man who was yelling encouragement to his son on the soccer field. His own son. The poor guy had to probably go home and explain to his son what it means to be black in America all over again. The poor kid had to be traumatized.

Of course he probably wasn't as traumatized as the nine year old boy in New York who was accused of sexual harassment by Cornerstone Caroline.  The poor kid's backpack brushed against the woman's derriere and she claims that he sexually harassed her. Can you say Emmett Till, people? She later apologized, but too late, the damage was already done. Her implicit bias ( that's a fancy way of saying racism) already got the better of her.

Seriously, if this is some kind of  sick cry for attention from some  of you 911 callers, you need to stop, because you are going to get someone hurt. Some of you have already lost your jobs because of  this nonsense. How are you going to block someone from trying to enter their own apartment?

Anyway, hopefully this is just phase you all are going through. I know that you all have been emboldened by the MAGA movement. But hopefully one day you all will learn that the police are not your personal bodyguards to serve and  protect you from the "scary" black people, and assuage your fears of them. 

*Pic from nbc.com

Monday, October 15, 2018

Proud thugs.

TWEET MEWe have heard a lot about Antifa movement from the right wing media machine and screaming heads over the past couple of years. They have, for the most part, become the right wing's bogeyman of choice. FOX VIEWS has created a world for their mostly older, and mostly white viewers, where Antifa hooligans could come storming  into their homes at any moment. (Hide the women and little blond babies.)

This is all, of course, false. The truth is that there is a group on the right that does everything ----and more--- than what the Antifa crowd is being accused of, and we are just starting to take notice. 

If you haven't heard of the Proud Boys before, you should get acquainted with them. They are a right wing group of thugs who are doing their best impression of the Sturmabteilung, Hitler's paramilitary force that helped him with his rise to power in pre- nazi Germany.

This past weekend, with the help of some friendly NYPD officers, the  Proud Boys were doing their thing on the streets of Manhattan.

"NEW YORK — Minutes after an event at a Manhattan Republican club meant to celebrate violence against leftists, attendees belonging to a proto-fascist, pro-Trump street gang reportedly pummeled three people on the sidewalk in Manhattan’s Upper East Side while shouting homophobic slurs.
Footage posted online by video journalist Sandi Bachom shows a group of men who appear to be Proud Boys — a misogynistic and anti-Muslim fraternity known for committing acts of political violence across the country — kicking and punching three apparent anti-fascist protesters as they lay prone on the sidewalk.

“Do you feel brave now, faggot?” one of the attackers yelled, according to Bachom and another journalist, photographer Shay Horse. Another video shows multiple attackers yelling “faggot.”'. [Source]

But their brutality wasn't limited to the East Coast.

"The Proud Boys made national news this weekend as members of the far-right nationalist group were caught on video engaging in street violence in both New York and Portland, Oregon. Both fights looked brutal and similar, with young men running at each other, fighting, punching, and occasionally circling and kicking people already on the ground.

The brawls eventually ended when police swarmed in, but leaders in both cities are asking if cops could have done more to stop the violence and arrest the fighters. While officials call for investigations into the fights, the organizer of Portland’s rally is already using the violence to promote himself. Joey Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer, released a video on his Facebook page showing him encouraging his followers to engage in violence if they felt attacked, telling the crowd that sometimes citizens need to “clean up the streets…”[Source]

Mr. trump loves dictators, and he longs to become one himself. Every dictator, I suppose, needs a group like the Proud Boys to put fear in the hearts of those who dare to question the supreme leader.

Of course you won't hear about these thugs on FOX VIEWS, they are too busy focusing their attention on the non-existent Antifa threat and evil Eric Holder. 

Holder wanted to "kick em" when they go low. He was speaking metaphorically. The Proud Boys showed this past weekend that they will literally do the kicking.

And somewhere on a golf course in New Jersey, the supreme leader is smiling.   

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The death of democracy?

The following essay is important, because no one in America (including the cowardly press) seems to understand what is happening at this point in our history.

"Usually, comparisons between Donald Trump’s America and Nazi Germany come from cranks and internet trolls. But a new essay in the New York Review of Books pointing out “troubling similarities” between the 1930s and today is different: It’s written by Christopher Browning, one of America’s most eminent and well-respected historians of the Holocaust. In it, he warns that democracy here is under serious threat, in the way that German democracy was prior to Hitler’s rise — and really could topple altogether.

Browning, a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina, specializes in the origins and operation of Nazi genocide. His 1992 book Ordinary Men, a close examination of how an otherwise unremarkable German police battalion evolved into an instrument of mass slaughter, is widely seen as one of the defining works on how typical Germans became complicit in Nazi atrocities.

So when Browning makes comparisons between the rise of Hitler and our current historical period, this isn’t some keyboard warrior spouting off. It is one of the most knowledgeable people on Nazism alive using his expertise to sound the alarm as to what he sees as an existential threat to American democracy.

Browning’s essay covers many topics, ranging from Trump’s “America First” foreign policy — a phrase most closely associated with a group of prewar American Nazi sympathizers — to the role of Fox News as a kind of privatized state propaganda office. But the most interesting part of his argument is the comparison between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Paul von Hindenburg, the German leader who ultimately handed power over to Hitler. Here’s how Browning summarizes the history:
Paul von Hindenburg, elected president of Germany in 1925, was endowed by the Weimar Constitution with various emergency powers to defend German democracy should it be in dire peril. Instead of defending it, Hindenburg became its gravedigger, using these powers first to destroy democratic norms and then to ally with the Nazis to replace parliamentary government with authoritarian rule. Hindenburg began using his emergency powers in 1930, appointing a sequence of chancellors who ruled by decree rather than through parliamentary majorities, which had become increasingly impossible to obtain as a result of the Great Depression and the hyperpolarization of German politics.
Because an ever-shrinking base of support for traditional conservatism made it impossible to carry out their authoritarian revision of the constitution, Hindenburg and the old right ultimately made their deal with Hitler and installed him as chancellor. Thinking that they could ultimately control Hitler while enjoying the benefits of his popular support, the conservatives were initially gratified by the fulfillment of their agenda: intensified rearmament, the outlawing of the Communist Party, the suspension first of freedom of speech, the press, and assembly and then of parliamentary government itself, a purge of the civil service, and the abolition of independent labor unions. Needless to say, the Nazis then proceeded far beyond the goals they shared with their conservative allies, who were powerless to hinder them in any significant way.
McConnell, in Browning’s eyes, is doing something similar — taking whatever actions he can to attain power, including breaking the system for judicial nominations (cough cough, Merrick Garland) and empowering a dangerous demagogue under the delusion that he can be fully controlled:
If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could. As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more. Nowhere is this vicious circle clearer than in the obliteration of traditional precedents concerning judicial appointments. Systematic obstruction of nominations in Obama’s first term provoked Democrats to scrap the filibuster for all but Supreme Court nominations. Then McConnell’s unprecedented blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination required him in turn to scrap the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in order to complete the “steal” of Antonin Scalia’s seat and confirm Neil Gorsuch. The extreme politicization of the judicial nomination process is once again on display in the current Kavanaugh hearings. ...
Whatever secret reservations McConnell and other traditional Republican leaders have about Trump’s character, governing style, and possible criminality, they openly rejoice in the payoff they have received from their alliance with him and his base: huge tax cuts for the wealthy, financial and environmental deregulation, the nominations of two conservative Supreme Court justices (so far) and a host of other conservative judicial appointments, and a significant reduction in government-sponsored health care (though not yet the total abolition of Obamacare they hope for). Like Hitler’s conservative allies, McConnell and the Republicans have prided themselves on the early returns on their investment in Trump.
This is the key point that people often miss when talking about Hitler’s rise. The breakdown of German democracy started well before Hitler: Hyperpolarization led Hindenburg to strip away constraints on executive power as well as conclude that his left-wing opponents were a greater threat than fascism. The result, then, was a degradation of the everyday practice of democracy, to the point where the system was vulnerable to a Hitler-style figure.

Now, as Browning points out, “Trump is not Hitler and Trumpism is not Nazism.” The biggest and most important difference is that Hitler was an open and ideological opponent of the idea of democracy, whereas neither Trump nor the GOP wants to abolish elections.

What Browning worries about, instead, is a slow and quiet breakdown of American democracy — something more much like what you see in modern failed democracies like Turkey. Browning worries that Republicans have grown comfortable enough manipulating the rules of the democratic game to their advantage, with things like voter ID laws and gerrymandering, that they might go even further even after Trump is gone:
No matter how and when the Trump presidency ends, the specter of illiberalism will continue to haunt American politics. A highly politicized judiciary will remain, in which close Supreme Court decisions will be viewed by many as of dubious legitimacy, and future judicial appointments will be fiercely contested. The racial division, cultural conflict, and political polarization Trump has encouraged and intensified will be difficult to heal. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, and uncontrolled campaign spending will continue to result in elections skewed in an unrepresentative and undemocratic direction. Growing income disparity will be extremely difficult to halt, much less reverse.
I’ve observed this kind of modern authoritarianism firsthand in Hungary. In my dispatch after visiting there, I warned of the same thing as Browning does here: The threat to the United States isn’t so much Trump alone as it is the breakdown in the practice of American democracy, and the Republican Party’s commitment to extreme tactics in pursuit of its policy goals in particular.

We are living through a period of serious threat to American democracy. And Browning’s essay, a serious piece by a serious scholar, shows that it’s not at all alarmist to say so."  [Source]

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Caption Saturday.

  • Kanye West Lunches With Donald Trump at the White House
I need a caption for this pic.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Night off.

I'm off tonight field hands, but think about this for a minute: An almost cat 5 storm just destroyed portions of the Southwest United States, there is an international crises brewing with the Saudis, the Dow dropped over 1,000 points, and trump decides to meet with...wait for it....Kanye West.😊

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

America's new victims: White males.

TWEET MERemember when black folks were accused of being in a constant state of being aggrieved? I do. Whenever I wrote or spoke about a case of injustice being done to poor and minority people I would be accused of being a professional complainer, one who drank at the trough of the woe is me industry. "There goes field Negro again playing the victim card." 

Now, amazingly, it is the white male in America who has taken up the mantle of the aggrieved. It is the white male who is crying woe is me from the rooftops and complaining to the world that the world is just "not fair". Imagine that.

Of course nothing could be further from the truth. We all know where real power in this country lies, and who controls it. But thanks to Mr. trump and the new trump party (formerly the republican party) it's all about playing the victim-card to fire up an already insecure and nervous base. Why are they nervous? Well, as fate would have it, they are about to lose the country that they love and grew up in, and they do not recognize America as it stands today. It is too brown; too secular; too open; and too global. And, as a result, they feel like they are being left behind. These are the people who make up trump's base. These are the angry fired up people you see at his rallies who cheer after every racist and xenophobic word. They feed off his bitterness and anger, and they hate together like the Klan of old.

It's a strategy that worked in the case of Brett Kavanaugh. Just listen when trump declares that Kavanaugh was the victim, and that he and is family has been put through hell. Forgetting, of course, that the real victim is Dr. Ford. A woman who was assaulted and who has to live with the trauma of that incident every day for the rest of her life. But in the world of white male victimhood it's Brett Kavanaugh  we should feel sorry for. You know, because life has not been good enough to him already. *sarcasm off* 

Anyway, I can see how this strategy works for some poor white guy in Kentucky, because in his mind it cannot be his fault that he is uneducated and broke. It must be the world and the new America coming down on the white man and making his life miserable. Honestly, I am still a little surprised why this all works with white women. Many of them have totally bought into the  white male grievance industry.  Chauncey Devega nailed the phenomenon in an article I posted yesterday:

"White male rage is also a powerful cultural force in America because, while it may be sourced and rooted in entitled white masculinity, many white women are partners in it as well. They reproduce, legitimate, nurture and literally benefit from it. "

It will be interesting to see how white women vote in these upcoming mid-terms and what type of turn out we will see from them. Some of them are angry, because the Brett Kavanugh fiasco was personal. But sadly, many of them fall right into the category that Chauncey described above. They too feel aggrieved, because their partners have convinced them that that the reason they are not living the American dream is because of those other people.

I will give trump credit for one thing, he knew that these types of individuals made up a large chunk of America all along. And, like a true con man, he played his aggrieved card just right.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Privilege on display.

TWEET METoday's oped is from Chauncey Devega, and Chauncey is writing about what most people of color are thinking after the Brett Kavanaugh fiasco.   

"In a sociology textbook yet to be written there will be a chapter on white male privilege. The spectacle of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination will be one of that textbook's primary case studies.

There are numerous credible allegations against Kavanaugh, and multiple witnesses who confirm that Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee and his friends participated in a culture of sexual violence, debauchery, drunkenness and violence while they were students at Georgetown Preparatory School and then at Yale University.

During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh repeatedly lied about a range of topics including his drinking, personal relationships and other behavior. It has also been reported by NBC that Kavanaugh also lied about his knowledge of the sexual assault allegations made against him by Deborah Ramirez.

Kavanaugh also claimed that he was admitted into Yale University by "busting his tail" and that he had no "special connections." This is nowhere near true. Kavanaugh was a legacy admission; his grandfather attended Yale.

Moreover, during his Senate testimony Kavanaugh displayed moments of fitful rage and anger. Under the influence of alcohol and fueled by male bravado, confidence, entitlement and peer pressure a younger Brett Kavanaugh was quite likely a terror.

By comparison, Christine Blasey Ford was remarkably credible. She was calm and poised, even while being, quite literally, publicly interrogated by a sex crimes prosecutor hired by Republicans.

As Dr. Stacey Patton summarized on Twitter:

White male privilege is being able to cry during a job interview, interrupt the folks asking questions, yell at them, ask snarky questions, refuse to give straight answers, talk about how much you like to drink beer, and have other white men on the committee empathize with you.
Even Paul Krugman, more a mainstream liberal than a radical "social justice warrior," can see the levers of white male privilege coupled with money and power at work in the Kavanaugh debacle. On Monday, he wrote in the New York Times:

When Matt Damon did his Brett Kavanaugh imitation on “Saturday Night Live,” you could tell that he nailed it before he said a word. It was all about the face — that sneering, rage-filled scowl. Kavanaugh didn’t sound like a judge at his Senate hearing last week, let alone a potential Supreme Court justice; he didn’t even manage to look like one.
But then again, Lindsey Graham, who went through the hearing with pretty much the same expression on his face, didn’t look much like a senator, either.

There have been many studies of the forces driving Trump support, and in particular the rage that is so pervasive a feature of the MAGA movement. What Thursday’s hearing drove home, however, was that white male rage isn’t restricted to blue-collar guys in diners. It’s also present among people who’ve done very well in life’s lottery, whom you would normally consider very much part of the elite.
In all, Kavanaugh's nomination to the United States Supreme Court -- whatever may happen with his confirmation -- is one more reminder of how social capital, gender, race and class create a system of entitlement and privilege for rich white men like Kavanaugh (and Donald Trump) where they are never to be held accountable, either as adults or children, for their behavior. As sociologist Shamus Khan explains in the Washington Post, this is elite privilege filtered through America's rape culture.
How could a man who appears to value honor and the integrity of the legal system explain this apparent mendacity? How could a man brought up in some of our nation’s most storied institutions — Georgetown Prep, Yale College, Yale Law School — dissemble with such ease? The answer lies in the privilege such institutions instill in their members, a privilege that suggests the rules that govern American society are for the common man, not the exceptional one.

The classical root of “privilege,” privus lex, means “private law.” The French aristocracy, for instance, was endowed with privileges, primarily exemption from taxation. Today’s equivalents are not aristocrats, yet they have both the sense and the experience that the rules don’t really apply to them and that they can act without much concern for the consequences. Elite schools like Georgetown Prep and Yale have long cultivated this sensibility in conscious and unconscious ways.

Of course Kavanaugh's defenders and enablers are personally invested in denying such contradictions and hypocrisy. David French's defense of Kavanaugh last week in the National Review is a near-perfect example:
Let’s first begin with obvious points, points I’ve made time and time again. Emotion isn’t evidence. But emotion has power. When you combine emotion with evidence, there is greater power still. And, make no mistake, when Brett Kavanaugh spoke with great emotion not just about the sexual-assault allegations against him but also the broader character attacks made against him by Democrats, he voiced the emotion of honorable conservatives across the nation. ...

This was the moment when a member of the “establishment,” the person who is supposed to sit quietly, respond mildly, and understand the pain of their opponents without voicing their own anguish, to absorb anger without showing anger, finally said “enough.” And he did so with great passion in his own defense, and no rancor against Christine Blasey Ford.

It was all the more powerful because it came from a person of known restraint. And his passion was magnified by another person known for his desire to reach across the aisle — the “RINO” most loathed by the populist Right — Lindsey Graham. This, incidentally, is why you default to restraint. This is why you don’t live a life of rage but instead strive for proportionality — because when you do express your anger, people listen.
French concluded:
Today, there were conservatives across the nation who choked up — some openly wept — during his testimony. Not because they disrespect women. Not because they excuse sexual assault. But because they also love their sons. Because they are tired of being painted as evil when they are seeking to do what’s right. Because they want to see a man fight with honor.

That’s what Brett Kavanaugh did today. He fought with passion, evidence, and compassion. And absent any new, substantiated revelations, he united the conservative movement. Any Republican who abandons him now will abandon the electorate that put them in power.
What French sees as a noble and valorous display of emotion by elite white male conservatives such as Brett Kavanaugh are behaviors not publicly tolerated or encouraged for black Americans or women.

In American's (white) popular imagination, black men and black women who act in such a way are deemed to be "angry." Women who act in such a way are "hysterical" or "bitches." These dehumanizing labels are used to legitimate violence against black people and women. Black women bear a double burden because historically and through to the present they have been stigmatized both because of their skin color and gender.

The freedom of Whiteness and white masculinity as spaces where emotions like rage and anger are both allowed and encouraged is exclusive. Like black people, Asians, Arabs, Muslims, Latinos, Native Americans and other nonwhites are not allowed such liberty. In that and other ways nonwhites are most certainly less free as citizens and human beings than are white men in America and other parts of the West.

French's argument is part of a broader strategy by Republicans, conservatives and other Kavanaugh defenders. It has two dimensions.

Superficially, the goal is to present Kavanaugh as a man and a human being who just happens to be white, male and angry and has suffered a great disservice. If viewed through such a lens and framework, what reasonable and rational person would not be angry?

This is French's main ploy and distraction. What he and other right-wing defenders of Kavanaugh want to avoid is a discussion about angry white men as a group, one with a distinct and clear set of political priorities and goals.

What do these angry white men want? It's an easy question to answer. They want to rule over and control all areas of American life, both private and public.

But here Kavanaugh's defenders fail in their insincere efforts to present him as the universal subject and a stand-in for all men (or women) unjustly accused of a crime. From Donald Trump to Fox News and the direct statements of white men such as Sen. Lindsey Graham and many others, Kavanaugh is the standard bearer for an obvious and clumsy type of white identity politics in which rich white conservative Christians are the "real victims" in America.

It is all delusional. Rich white men control every social, economic and political institution in the United States; the lies of white male victimhood remain compelling and intoxicating, as they have since before the founding.

This cult of white male victimhood would not be such a powerful cultural and social force if it was only rich white men and other elites who were invested in reproducing this fantasy. Angry white men are a fraternity that cuts across lines of class and income. They collectively imagine themselves to be under siege.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump told reporters: "It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of. ... This is a very, very -- this is a very difficult time. What's happening here has much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice."

When Trump says "young men," no adjective or modifier is needed. It is clear to everyone, given his inclinations, history, words and deeds, that "young men" of course means "white men".
This reflects a larger sentiment in America at present. For too many white men -- poor, working-class and middle-class -- there is widespread anger at somehow being displaced by nonwhites and women who are "cutting ahead in line" because of "affirmative action" and other nonexistent "entitlements."
These angry white men feel obsolete and marginalized in a changing America, frustrated by globalization and excluded by a more cosmopolitan country. But their anger is misdirected toward the groups they perceive to be receiving "special treatment." Their collective anger would be better directed at men who look like them but who have created social inequality, injustice and immiseration in America and around the world.

These angry white men are apparently incapable of personal self-reflection and accountability, and also loath to acknowledge how for centuries in America they benefited from unearned advantages that insulated them from having to compete fairly with people below them in the social order. Privilege can often make such critical thinking impossible.

White male rage is also a powerful cultural force in America because, while it may be sourced and rooted in entitled white masculinity, many white women are partners in it as well. They reproduce, legitimate, nurture and literally benefit from it. To cite an obvious example, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is Donald Trump's mouthpiece and apologist.

A recent CBS News public opinion poll shows that 70 percent of Republican women support Kavanaugh, while a Morning Consult poll indicates that only 15 percent of Republican women oppose his confirmation.

History is a shadow over the present.

In America, for at least 100 years white women instigated racial terrorism against black men and boys with false cries of rape. From the end of slavery through to the late 20th century thousands of black people died because of the way white women incited white male rage and violence. Ultimately, women's investment and participation in white male violence against nonwhites is not a form of false consciousness: It is a choice.

This imagined fraternity of angry white men fills the hearts of its members with rage and resentment. But only the bellies of the very rich, the Brett Kavanaughs and other men of his class, which are truly full. The other white men in this fraternity of white male rage live on the scraps and hand-me-downs.
It is important to acknowledge and highlight the power and cultural force of angry white men in America. But we also cannot overlook the kinds of laws that their leaders want to enact and the kind of nation they hope will result.

Hiding behind the rhetorical camouflage of "originalism" and "textualism" in their understanding of the U.S. Constitution and its role in American life, these elite white men present the law and their interpretation of it as somehow pure and apolitical. In reality, it is anything but.
Writing at Current Affairs, Nathan Robinson explores how Brett Kavanaugh's record as a judge reveals his deficit of human empathy:
So the courts are “political,” have always been political, will always be political. But political is not a dirty word. Politics is the expression of our deepest values, that which we find important. What does Brett Kavanaugh find important? Mark Stern of Slate says Kavanaugh has spent “his career protecting polluters, scammers, corporations, and gun sellers” and his idea of liberty is perverse: “Liberty for undocumented minors and Guantanamo detainees? No. Liberty for predatory lendersindustrial polluterstelecom monopoliesreligious employersAbu Ghraib abusers, and assault-weapon enthusiasts? Absolutely.” I am not quite this cynical, and would not put “religious employers” alongside  “Abu Ghraib abusers,” though the telecom companies certainly belong there.
 But I do believe Kavanaugh would be a horrific Supreme Court justice, and I believe that because I think that judges should make sure claims by torture victims get litigated, should make sure workers get to unionize, and should make sure detainees aren’t imprisoned on an island without trial until eternity. These are the responsibilities not just of a judge, but of any moral human being who has the power to affect the situation. And so Kavanaugh’s parenting skills and stimulating repartee are irrelevant. It is important to use your job to do good, and to make sure the justice system is functional and fair, and Kavanaugh has not done that. Instead, he has made biased, illogical, morally repugnant, non-textualist (gasp!) decisions that make the world worse. This should cause everyone to oppose his confirmation.

Angry white men like Brett Kavanaugh want to further expand an American dystopia where women, nonwhites, Muslims, immigrants, gays and lesbians, the disabled, the poor and other people and groups deemed to be "less than" are treated as second-class citizens. This American dystopia sounds terrifying for many people, but it represents a paradise greatly to be desired for men like them." [Source]