Lazy Saturday Reads

Good Morning!!

I’m completely exhausted–mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I’m sure I’m not alone. Trump in the White House is utterly toxic. The poison he spews every day is so draining. How will it end? Will he ever go away and leave us alone?

He’s certainly isolated now. All but one of his original top advisers in the photo at the top of this post is now gone. Only Pence remains. Domenico Montenaro at NPR: What Trump’s Increasing Isolation Could Mean For His Presidency.

There has been a pattern — that if anyone gets too much attention for being influential, they become a target. Remember when U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was getting lots of positive attention for how she spoke out on Syria?

“Does everybody like Nikki, because if you don’t—,” Trump said. “Otherwise she can easily be replaced, right?”

And there was Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who stood awkwardly behind the president when he spoke at the Boy Scouts Jamboree last month, when Trump said: “By the way, are you going to get the votes? He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better. Otherwise I’ll say, ‘Tom, you’re fired.’ I’ll get somebody.”

(Nevermind that Price had relatively little influence in getting those votes.)

Two days later, the health care bill failed. Price is still on the job, but in an effort to separate himself from Congress and hold onto his base, Trump began to lash out at congressional Republicans, especially Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell.

Translation: Trump is all about Trump.

The ousters at the White House, taken together, amount to a Trump purge. It’s the president asserting himself and saying no one is above No. 1.

A little more:

Top officials who are gone, via NYT

What’s left in the White House is Trump’s family, “globalists,” like former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, and the generals, including Chief of Staff John Kelly, who has orchestrated much of the shakeup. The latter two are arguably part of “the swamp” his base so detests.

But that’s not to say any of them become ascendant for an extended period. Kelly has already been on the cover of Time, hailed as “Trump’s Last Best Hope.” What happens if the magazine credits him for righting the ship, or the narrative becomes that the Pentagon is dictating policy?

The narrative that really seems to irk President Trump is one of the “adults” leading him around like he’s a “child.” ….

Anything’s possible. Nothing is normal. So don’t be surprised if in another seven months, the country is looking at a completely new White House again — though Trump is running out of people who will take jobs in his administration.

Trump is runs the White House like an alcoholic father terrorizes his family. I can’t even begin to imagine what having him as a parent must have been like. No wonder his children are so soulless.

Two points of view on Bannon’s banishment:

The New York Times: Steve Bannon, Back on the Outside, Prepares His Enemies List.

Stephen K. Bannon has always been more comfortable when he was trying to tear down institutions — not work inside them.

With his return to Breitbart News, Mr. Bannon will be free to lead the kind of ferocious assault on the political establishment that he relishes, even if sometimes that means turning his wrath on the White House itself.

Hours after his ouster from the West Wing, he was named to his former position of executive chairman at the hard-charging right-wing website and led its evening editorial meeting. And Mr. Bannon appeared eager to move onto his next fight.

“In many ways, I think I can be more effective fighting from the outside for the agenda President Trump ran on,” he said Friday. “And anyone who stands in our way, we will go to war with.”

Among those already in Mr. Bannon’s sights: Speaker Paul D. Ryan; Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader; the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and Gary D. Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs who now directs the White House’s National Economic Council.

“The president was buoyed to election by capturing the hearts and minds of a populist, nationalist movement,” Alex Marlow, Breitbart’s editor in chief, said Friday evening. “A lot of it was anti-Wall Street, anti-corporatist, anti-establishment. And now we’re seeing that a lot of these guys remaining inside the White House are exactly the opposite of what we told you you were going to get.”

Sarah Kendzior at Fast Company: Steve Bannon May Be A Bigger Asset to Trump Outside The White House Than In It.

In 2016, Bannon described himself as a Leninist. When a Daily Beastreporter asked what that meant, Bannon replied: “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

That was Bannon’s goal before he became a federal employee, funded by U.S. tax dollars. But Bannon’s views did not change when he became Trump’s chief strategist. In his February speech to CPAC, Bannon said his objective was to “deconstruct the administrative state” and that many of the injurious incompetents who fill Trump’s cabinet–the EPA head who opposes environmental protections, the HUD secretary who opposes public housing–”were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction.”

Bannon sought to destroy the United States as we know it from both from within the White House as Trump’s advisor, and from outside it, back when he was the editor of white supremacist outlet Breitbart. Bannon sought to build a movement, not serve our government. In many ways, he succeeded: his white nationalist views became sanctioned at the executive level, and the US government is chaoticunderstaffed, and weaker on the global stagethan at any point this century.

What is essential to realize is that, despite reports of a feud, Trump shares much of Bannon’s dark outlook. Trump spent his business career eagerly anticipating both social and economic disasters. “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy,” Trump said of the housing crash in 2006. Before that, Trump spent decades exploiting the damaged economies of towns like Gary, Indiana and Atlantic City, leaving them as bad or worse off than when he arrived. In 2014, Trump openly longed for the U.S. to “go to total hell” and cited riots as necessary for true American greatness–words that should worry all of us as we head into this tense weekend. Over the past two years, Trump has rarely condemned his white supremacist supporters who attack ethnic and religious minorities; at one point, he offered to pay legal fees for violent fans.

Click on the link to read the rest.

There is a so-called “free speech” rally in Boston today. I hope it won’t be too ugly.

Wesley Lowery at the Washington Post: Thousands expected at Boston ‘free speech’ rally and counter-protest.

BOSTON – City officials expect a gathering of thousands of participants and counter-protesters on Boston Common on Saturday afternoon for a “free speech” rally set to include speeches from several far-right political figures – prompting fears that the event could turn violent.

More than 500 police officers will be on hand for the rally, slated from noon until 2 p.m., according to a permit granted earlier this week. The gathering comes just one week after a chaotic rally of far-right political groups including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and Klan members in Charlottesville, Va. left dozens injured and one woman dead after a neo-Nazi plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

Organizers in Boston said today’s gathering is not in solidarity with white nationalists, but police have installed new surveillance cameras around Boston Common and have put restrictions on the rally – such as a ban on backpacks, sticks and other potential weapons – in hopes of preventing violence. Local activist groups have planned a massive counter-protest and march.

“We don’t want a repeat of what happened in Charlottesville,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said at a news conference on Friday. “Boston is too united. We have a city that doesn’t tolerate hatred and bigotry.”

Boston Herald: Ku Klux Klan to attend Boston rally.

Massachusetts members of the Ku Klux Klan reportedly are headed to Boston Common for the so-called Boston Free Speech Rally this Saturday, but a rally organizer said he doesn’t want the event “hijacked” by white supremacists.

“I know some of our members from the Springfield area are going,” said Thomas Robb, national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “I’m assuming members in the Boston area are going.”

Robb did not provide details on who or how many members would attend the rally, but said they would be inconspicuous while supporting the rally.

“I don’t think they’re going to cause a disturbance,” Robb said, adding that Knights from different areas went to the Charlottesville rally. “Our members don’t stand out, they don’t walk around giving Nazi salutes, they might be your next door neighbor or Cub Scout leader.”

Now there’s a scary thought.

I saved tons of links for today, so I’ll give you the rest as headlines only.

The New Yorker: Carl Icahn’s Failed Raid on Washington.

Foreign Policy: Inside Trump’s Tortured Search for a Winning Strategy in Afghanistan.

Vanity Fair: Please God, Save Gary Cohn from Himself.

The Washington Post: Trump, first lady to skip Kennedy Center Honors over concerns of ‘political distraction.’

CNN: Sebastian Gorka’s PhD adviser: “I would not call him an expert in terrorism.”

The Washington Post: Here is the official résumé of the person Trump put in charge of federal housing in New York.

Palm Beach Post: Five more charities pull out of Mar-a-Lago events.

Buzzfeed: How Women In The KKK Were Instrumental To Its Rise.

CNN: The striking similarities between the KKK and Islamist jihadis.

Julia Ioffe at The Atlantic: The Road to Radicalism in Charlottesville.

This guy is speaking in Boston today. Berkeleyside: Kyle ‘Based Stickman’ Chapman charged with felony in connection to Berkeley rally.

Time: Student Who Attended Charlottesville White Supremacist Rally Leaves Boston University After Backlash.

Raw Story: ‘My life is over’: 21-year-old Charlottesville marcher whines over ‘outing’ by anti-fascist group.

Axios: When Confederate statues were erected throughout history.

What stories are you following today?

 

 


Friday Reads: Redecorating the Oval Office and America with that Bordello Mentality


Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I have one of those summer colds now. I can barely talk since my Thursday night lecture and my entire head feels like something is using ice picks to get out of it. The other headache I now have is what to do with the roof over the newer edition to the house. It has to be replaced and there is structural damage to some of the beams that support the roof. I have an old school style roof which means no plywood. It means sold pine beams. Needless to say, little old semi-retired lady is not in the position to deal with all of this.

But, I still feel like I’m in better shape than our country right now. I really can’t imagine what the Oval Office is going to look like when Kremlin Caligula returns to it. I’m thinking he’ll bring that Persian Whore House motif with him and that all the soldiers that enter the door will think they’ve entered one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. Same ethos.  I’ve found what other people think the redecoration job will look like.

Let’s face it. Trump has no idea what it means to be President or American. He only knows what it means to be Donald Trump and that is a very dark, shallow, and insane person. It’s time for him to go.

The Economist has an op ed up to that end.  They explain that  “U-turns, self-regard and equivocation are not what it takes.”  I think that’s way too kind but then, they’re British aren’t they?

Start with the ineptness. In last year’s presidential election Mr Trump campaigned against the political class to devastating effect. Yet this week he has bungled the simplest of political tests: finding a way to condemn Nazis. Having equivocated at his first press conference on Saturday, Mr Trump said what was needed on Monday and then undid all his good work on Tuesday—briefly uniting Fox News and Mother Jones in their criticism, surely a first. As business leaders started to resign en masse from his advisory panels (see article), the White House disbanded them. Mr Trump did, however, earn the endorsement of David Duke, a former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

The extreme right will stage more protests across America. Mr Trump has complicated the task of containing their marches and keeping the peace. The harm will spill over into the rest of his agenda, too. His latest press conference was supposed to be about his plans to improve America’s infrastructure, which will require the support of Democrats. He needlessly set back those efforts, as he has so often in the past. “Infrastructure week” in June was drowned out by an investigation into Russian meddling in the election—an investigation Mr Trump helped bring about by firing the director of the FBI in a fit of pique. Likewise, repealing Obamacare collapsed partly because he lacked the knowledge and charisma to win over rebel Republicans. He reacted to that setback by belittling the leader of the Senate Republicans, whose help he needs to pass legislation. So much for getting things done.

Mr Trump’s inept politics stem from a moral failure. Some counter-demonstrators were indeed violent, and Mr Trump could have included harsh words against them somewhere in his remarks. But to equate the protest and the counter-protest reveals his shallowness. Video footage shows marchers carrying fascist banners, waving torches, brandishing sticks and shields, chanting “Jews will not replace us”. Footage of the counter-demonstration mostly shows average citizens shouting down their opponents. And they were right to do so: white supremacists and neo-Nazis yearn for a society based on race, which America fought a world war to prevent. Mr Trump’s seemingly heartfelt defence of those marching to defend Confederate statues spoke to the degree to which white grievance and angry, sour nostalgia is part of his world view.

Trump’s infrastructure council has melted into nothing.  His Arts Commission resigned en masse.  After all, who wants to be associated with a NAZI apologist?

The remaining members of a presidential arts and humanities panel resigned on Friday in yet another sign of growing national protest of President Trump’s recent comments on the violence in Charlottesville.

Members of the President’s Committee are drawn from Broadway, Hollywood, and the broader arts and entertainment community and said in a letter to Trump that “Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed.”

“Reproach and censure in the strongest possible terms are necessary following your support of the hate groups and terrorists who killed and injured fellow Americans in Charlottesville,” the commissioners wrote in a letter sent to the White House on Friday morning. “The false equivalencies you push cannot stand. The Administration’s refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill. We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions.”

“Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values,” they added. “Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too.”

Republicans are beginning to get verbal about Trump’s lack of veracity and morality. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker’s response was muted but unusual in that he has been a Trump ally.

Sen. Bob Corker slammed President Donald Trump’s handling of the racially motivated protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, charging that the President “has not demonstrated he understands the character of this nation.”

The Tennessee Republican told reporters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Thursday that he thinks there must be “radical changes” within the White House.

“The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,” Corker said, according to a video posted by local news website Nooga.com.

“He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today, and he’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that,” Corker added.

Corker is the latest Republican senator to criticize Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville protests. Trump attacked two other Republican senators — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona — on Twitter on Thursday morning over their criticisms of him

South Carolina Senator Scott–a Republican African American—gave an interview and spoke strongly against Trump’s words and actions.

In an interview with VICE News on Thursday, he condemned the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville and questioned the president’s moral authority following the tragedy. “I’m not going to defend the indefensible…[Trump’s] comments on Monday were strong. His comments on Tuesday started erasing the comments that were strong. What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happened. There’s no question about that.” Scott added that  the president hasn’t reached out to him to discuss Charlottesville.

Mitt Romney’s Facebook page is catching some interest by the usual mainstream Republican suspects. Mitt still wants to believe he’s the White Horse.    (I can’t believe I’m writing about Mittens again, gawdesses help me!)

The potential consequences are severe in the extreme. Accordingly, the president must take remedial action in the extreme. He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize. State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis–who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat–and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute. And once and for all, he must definitively repudiate the support of David Duke and his ilk and call for every American to banish racists and haters from any and every association.

Trump’s white supremacist supporters are likely to start acts of desperation as city as states rush to remove Confederate Monuments and public buildings and roads named after Confederate traitors.  Calls are being made in Arlington, VA to rename Washington-Lee High School. Native-American lawmakers in Montana have asked for removal a a fountain in Helena memorializing the Lost Cause.  WTF is Montana doing with a Confederate memorial?  I can understand the the role the lost cause has in the south as it led to Jim Crow and forced segregation but MONTANA?   There’s very little historical or educational use of a fountain in Helena. Pull the damn thing down!

A Confederate fountain in Helena, Mont., is set for removal from a city park after Native American lawmakers petitioned the city council, according to a report on Thursday.

The Helena City Commission directed City Manager Ron Alles to remove the granite fountain from a downtown park on Tuesday, although no official vote was held on the matter, the Independence Record reported.

Helena Mayor Jim Smith was previously opposed to removing the century-old memorial, until violence during a white supremacist rally protesting the removal of a Confederate statue in Virginia on Saturday claimed the life of a 32-year-old woman.

“I believe the time has come for the removal of the fountain,” Smith said, the Record reported.

The decision follows a number of other cities choosing to remove Confederate statues following the deadly Charlottesville rally, which was organized by white nationalist and white supremacist groups.

 

The ACLU has historically defended the right of all Americans to exercise Free Speech. They have now added a caveat.  They will not defend any one that protests carrying firearms.

The American Civil Liberties Union took a new stance on firearms Thursday, announcing a change in policy that it would not represent hate groups who demonstrate with firearms.

ACLU executive director Anthony Romero told The Wall Street Journal that the group would have stricter screenings and take legal requests from white supremacist groups on a case-by-case basis.

“The events of Charlottesville require any judge, any police chief and any legal group to look at the facts of any white-supremacy protests with a much finer comb,” Romero told the Journal. “If a protest group insists, ‘No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms,’ well, we don’t have to represent them. They can find someone else.”

The ACLU has come under fire after it filed a lawsuit in defense of the organizers who planned the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., after city officials denied them a permit to hold the rally around a statue of Robert E. Lee, which is set to be removed.

Everybody is still watching Bannon and his position in the White House.  The news yesterday was about Bannon basically drunk dialing the press.  He was probably among the many surprised to read himself in print.  We’re still on Bannon Death Watch.

A decision is imminent from White House chief of staff John Kelly on whether Steve Bannon will keep his job, according to administration officials with knowledge of the situation:

  • Bannon, who has run afoul of Trump in the past, is now suspected by the president of leaking about his West Wing colleagues. And Trump resents the publicity Bannon has been getting as mastermind of the campaign.
  • Many West Wing officials are now asking “when,” not “if,” Bannon goes.
  • Chief of Staff General John Kelly has been reviewing Bannon’s position.
  • A recent deluge of media coverage of Bannon — including Bannon’s explosive conversation with the American Prospect — have not escaped either the president’s or Kelly’s attention.

One White House source twists the knife: “His departure may seem turbulent in the media, but inside it will be very smooth. He has no projects or responsibilities to hand off.”

It seems Kelly isn’t plugging the leaks.  He’s not stopping the President from doing and saying vile things spontaneously in front of the press and–as always–on Twitter.  How long before we get this hot mess moved out of the White House with his little sidekick Governor Enabler?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Thursday Reads: The Dark, Depressing Place That Is Trump’s America

July 31, 2017 – A vehicle travels east on Front St. in Bells, TN on Monday afternoon. Bells is one of five small towns that comprises Crockett County, Tennessee.  (Yalonda M. James for Mother Jones)

Good Morning!!

Ever wonder what is it like to be a person of color in a Trump-supporting state? Read some personal testimony at Mother Jones: “We Just Feel Like We Don’t Belong Here Anymore,” by Becca Andrews. Andrews returned to her hometown of Bells, Tennessee to find out.

I remember high-school Madyson Turner as a vibrant young black woman with a sense of humor that could dissipate tension in any room. (Turner’s name has been changed here to protect her privacy.) But when we meet up in a Subway sandwich shop in Alamo, there’s a new weight to her shoulders, and her infectious laugh doesn’t come quite so easily.

When she first began to see reports about the violence in Charlottesville, Turner thought it was a tasteless joke. Then she saw videos of the clash on Saturday, and her phone rang—her boyfriend was calling to check on her and process what was happening. He sounded upset. What he said tore at her: “I would rather the world end instead of us having to keep dealing with this stuff.” What hurt her more was the realization that she agreed with him.

“With the way it’s going now, I’m actually scared that I won’t make it,” she said to me in a text message.

Turner tells me that over the past year, life for her family has changed. She hints that her parents have been in West Tennessee long enough to know which families fought against civil rights “back in the day.” Since Trump’s election, they’ve warned her to steer clear of a list of people that is too long for comfort.

The day after the November presidential election, Turner went with her mother to the store, and they both kept their heads down. “We just feel like we don’t belong here anymore,” she says.

Turner’s mom, who cleans houses in town for a living, went to work a couple of days after that, and her employer, an older white woman, brought up the results of the recent election. The two had talked politics before—Turner’s mom is a Democrat, and her employer is a Republican. “Well, you might as well come and live with me now,” the employer said. “You gonna be mine eventually.”

She called her daughter in tears. Turner immediately got in her car and picked her mother up to bring her home.

Last year before the election, a young woman Turner described as one of her best friends casually mentioned she hoped for a Trump victory so that he might “do away with some of these African American people.” She quickly clarified that she wasn’t referring to Turner’s “type,” but when Turner sharply asked her what she meant, she couldn’t answer. Another friend assured her that it would be okay if Trump won the election because she would convince her parents to purchase Turner’s family as their new slaves. In a place where a few large plantation-style houses remain scattered through the county, the “joke” feels a lot like a threat.

The stories are heartbreaking. Please go read the rest if you haven’t already.

The Guardian reports what happened to an African American woman in Texas: Dashcam video shows police sexually assaulted Texas woman, lawyer says.

Charnesia Corley

The attorney for a black woman subjected to an invasive and lengthy roadside strip search by Texas police has released a dashcam video of the incident that he says shows her treatment was a form of rape.

“When you stick your fingers in somebody without their effective consent, that’s rape in any state that I know of,” said Sam Cammack, an attorney for Charnesia Corley.

Cammack made the video public after two Harris County deputies, Ronaldine Pierre and William Strong, were cleared of official oppression by a grand jury earlier this month. They are still with the sheriff’s department. Cammack wants an independent prosecutor to look into the case; a federal civil rights trial is set for January.

Corley was pulled over for allegedly running a stop sign and failing to use turn signals. In the video, she is made to stand, handcuffed, outside her car while two officers look inside. She is then searched with the rear passenger-side door open, partially obscuring the camera’s view of her body.

Corley is then put on the ground, naked below the waist, and examined for about 11 minutes by a female officer using a flashlight. The incident happened in the parking lot of a Texaco garage in Houston late on a June evening in 2015, when she was a 20-year-old student.

The federal lawsuit against Harris County alleges: “When one of the Deputies tried to insert her fingers into Ms CorTheley’s vagina, Ms Corley protested. At that point, the Deputies forcibly threw Ms Corley to the ground, while she was still handcuffed, pinned her down with her legs spread apart, threatened to break her legs and without consent penetrated her vagina in a purported search for marijuana.”

The Guardian is on the ground in Pennsylvania: ‘Trump’s delivering exactly what they wanted: white male supremacy.’

Leaning over a table stacked with “Resist!” buttons and “Impeach Trump” stickers, Kathy Harrington pointed to the offending spot. “It’s probably still there somewhere,” she said. Harrington, 56, was inviting attendees of the annual Musikfest bash in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to sign up to support progressive causes – and to protest against Donald Trump. And then there was one guy who “just looked at us and spit”, said Sandra Davis, 58, a colleague of Harrington, who pointed out the evidence still evaporating from the pavement.

Kathy Harrington joins fellow political activists during Musikfest in Bethlehem. Mark Makela for the Guardian

“They feel empowered,” Davis said of Trump supporters since the election. “They’re given voice. The louder and the more vulgar, the better.”

Images from the night before of white supremacists carrying torches in Charlottesville, Virginia, were deeply disturbing but not surprising, said another activist, Ginny Atwell.

“I think his core base are the true deplorables,” Atwell, 72, said of Trump. “The white supremacists. He’s delivering exactly what they wanted. White male supremacy.”

Trump is never too busy defending white supremacists to find new ways to reverse things President Obama did. The Washingtonian: Trump Removed the White House’s Capital Bikeshare Station.

As Capital Bikeshare grew bigger and more widespread over the past seven years, there was always one station the vast majority of users could never access: a nine-slot dock inside the White House’s security perimeter. The station, located at 17th Street and State Place, was visible to the eye when it was installed in 2010, but did not appear on any system map, making Capital Bikeshare’s smallest station an unofficial “secret” location.

The spot where the WH Capital bikeshare station used to be.

But on Tuesday, Twitter user Gregory Matlesky passed by the White House and noticed the station not there.

Turns out Matlesky’s intuition was correct. The station was removed earlier this week at the Trump Administration’s request, District Department of Transportation spokesperson Terry Owens tells Washingtonian.

Owens adds that the station was installed in 2010 at the request of the Obama Administration, which had a favorable record with the cycling community. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery—or TIGER—grant program in the 2009 stimulus act funded bike-infrastructure programs throughout the United States, including the installation of several bike lanes and cycling paths around Washington. Before former President Barack Obama left office in January, his Transportation Department signed off on new regulations redefining traffic as people who move on roads, rather than strictly vehicles—a change considered a coup for cyclists and pedestrians.

Apparently WordPress no longer allows us to post tweets, but I’ve posted the photo Matlesky shared.

Why is Mike Pence ending his Latin American trip three days early? Oliver Willis at Share Blue opines: Pence cuts foreign trip short to rush home as Trump’s presidency collapses.

The latest alarm sign for Trump that his presidency is crumbling was the complete destruction of the advisory councils he had put together months ago. Multiple CEOs pulled out of the group, leading Trump to then impotently declare that he was ending them.

Pence also reiterated his support for Trump’s divisive remarks on the terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“I stand with the president,” he said, and insisted that Trump “has been clear” on standing against racism. The claim is disconnected from reality, coming less than 24 hours after Trump delivered a full-throated defense of white supremacists, arguing that they were provoked by the “alt-left,” and characterizing pro-confederacy Nazis as “fine people.”

Standing with Trump might not be so good for Pence’s 2020 prospects.

Tony Schwartz, who wrote Trump’s book The Art of the Deal, thinks Trump is going to resign. HuffPost:

Tony Schwartz

Donald Trump’s Art of the Deal co-author Tony Schwartz is predicting that the president is getting ready to call it quits ― and that the resignation will happen soon.

In followup tweets in response to questions, Schwartz predicted Trump would make a deal for immunity in the Russia investigation in exchange for his resignation.

“The Russia stuff will be huge,” he wrote. “He doesn’t want to go to jail.”

He also urged Trump’s opponents to keep up the pressure, and he slammed the president’s elder children.

Read Schwartz’s tweets at HuffPost. I agree with him. Ever since I heard that Pence was rushing back to the U.S. for a meeting at Camp David, I’ve suspected Trump will be pressured to resign. It may not happen right away, but I believe it will happen.

I’ll add more links in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?

 


Wednesday Reads: Nothing else to say. Oh, and cartoons…of course.

 

 

 

 

Image above from tweet   Aug 13

Remember…about those statues: Robert E. Lee opposed Confederate monuments | PBS NewsHour

“I think it wiser,” the retired military leader wrote about a proposed Gettysburg memorial in 1869, “…not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.”

Now, about the Orange Asshole…

There is absolutely nothing I can say that would add to the discussion over yesterday’s White Supremacist in Chief press conference…everyone of us who voted for Hillary knew exactly what that asshole stood for…and where this country was going if he was elected. Fucking hell, did she not predict word for word…this shit a year ago?

*Video from Occupied Democrats…but it is the one place to see it edited succinctly.

 

And…I am so fucking sick of the phrase Alt-Right…

Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: A Glossary of Extremist Language – The New York Times

President Trump angrily denounced the so-called alt-left at a news conference on Tuesday, claiming that the group attacked followers of the so-called alt-right at a white supremacist rally that exploded into deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.

“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” he asked. There was “blame on both sides,” he said. “I have no doubt about it.”

Both phrases are part of a broad lexicon of far-right terminology that has become important to understanding American politics during the Trump administration. Many of these terms have their roots in movements that are racist, anti-Semitic and sexist.

Here is a brief guide to the meaning of those expressions and others used by white supremacists and far-right extremists.

Look, even the creator of Godwin’s Law is calling it what it is…

 

 

Check out this Facebook post from the Alt National Park Service…and see the comment about calling the Alt-Right out for who they are:

 

So Fuck the “Alt-Right” and call them what they are…Alt-Right=White Supremacists!

 

Okay, real quick, before we get to the cartoons…Banjoville is in the news again. This time it is for a teacher and sexual assault…which happened to a student back when my daughter was in Middle school. Both she and my son know the victim and from what I understand…this arrest did not come as a surprise to them.

Ex-Ga. teacher arrested for having sex with 15-year-old student – NY Daily News

What makes me so disgusted, is how FoxNews presented the case:

“Sex Romp.” Oh give me a break…this is a predator…committing a crime against a child.

What also is disgusting is the amount of people in the community who are actually supporting the alleged criminal in this situation. The prayers being called for this teacher…how she just made a mistake. Reading them is just as gross as the comments on that FoxNews thread. Yes, you can imagine the remarks.

A couple more links for you:

Trump’s manufacturing council includes Elon Musk, Michael Dell and Mark Fields | TechCrunch

Here’s the full list of members on the new manufacturing council:

  • Andrew Liveris, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Bill Brown, Harris Corporation
  • Michael Dell, Dell Technologies
  • John Ferriola, Nucor Corporation
  • Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool Corporation
  • Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company
  • Ken Frazier, Merck & Co., Inc.
  • Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson
  • Greg Hayes, United Technologies Corp.
  • Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Jeff Immelt, General Electric
  • Jim Kamsickas, Dana Inc.
  • Klaus Kleinfleld, Arconic
  • Brian Krzanich, Intel Corporation
  • Rich Kyle, The Timken Company
  • Thea Lee, AFL-CIO
  • Mario Longhi, U.S. Steel
  • Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Company
  • Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing
  • Elon Musk, Tesla
  • Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar
  • Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing
  • Kevin Plank, Under Armour
  • Michael Polk, Newell Brands
  • Mark Sutton, International Paper
  • Inge Thulin, 3M
  • Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO
  • Wendel Weeks, Corning

 

Now for the cartoons:

 

 

 

 

 

08/16/2017 Cartoon by Kevin Siers

Cartoon by Kevin Siers -

08/16/2017 Cartoon by John Branch

Cartoon by John Branch -

08/15/2017 Cartoon by John Branch

Cartoon by John Branch -

08/12/2017 Cartoon by John Branch

Cartoon by John Branch -

Oh yeah…forgot about that?

Setting the stage for Charlottesville: 08/16/2017 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - Setting the stage for Charlottesville

08/15/2017 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson -

 

08/16/2017 Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson -

 

 

Nick Anderson cartoon: 08/16/2017 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson - Nick Anderson cartoon

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 08/16/2017 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump and whiplash: 08/16/2017 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump and whiplash

08/16/2017 Cartoon by Scott Stantis

Cartoon by Scott Stantis -

08/16/2017 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

And on that cartoon, let’s end this post…open thread of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tuesday Reads: A New Civil War?

Good Morning!!

This morning I’m feeling an overwhelming sadness at what is happening to our country. I’m not at all knowledgeable about Civil War history, and now I feel I should learn more about it. It feels to me as if that long ago conflict is still going on and may never end.

Trump is only a symptom of the festering evil of racism that has haunted the U.S. since before it existed. Our “republic” was built on a foundation of slavery and the slaughter of Native Americans. How can we ever cleanse that evil from the nbational bloodstream?

Josh Marshall has a fine piece on this tortured history and how it relates to the confederate statues that are just beginning to be taken down:  Thoughts on Public Memory. He begins be discussing the mixed history of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and at the same time owned slaves, one of whom was forced to bear his children. But what about Robert E. Lee? What public acts could mitigate his role in trying to protect slavery?

Lee is known for one thing: being the key military leader in a violent rebellion against the United States and leading that rebellion to protect slavery. That’s it. Absent his decision to participate in the rebellion he’d be all but unknown to history. He outlived the war by only five years. There’s simply no positive side of the ledger to make it a tough call. The only logic to honoring Lee is to honor treason and treason in the worst possible cause.

Lincoln and his war cabinet had little question what Lee deserved. Look at Arlington National Cemetery. That’s Lee’s plantation. The federal government confiscated it and dedicated it as a final resting place for those who died defending the United States. It is a solemn, poetically rich, final and ultimately righteous verdict on his role in our national life. The entire project was very much by design: to punish Lee and shame him in public memory for betraying the United States. (During the Civil War, a Freedman’s Village was also established on the estate for ex-slaves making their transition to freedom.) The generals, particularly Union Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs who spearheaded the effort, wanted to be certain the Lees would never be able to reclaim their estate. Making it into a hallowed national cemetery was a good way to accomplish that.

I didn’t even know that.

What is little discussed today is that the North and the South made a tacit bargain in the years after the Civil War to valorize Southern generals as a way to salve the sting of Southern defeat and provide a cultural and political basis for uniting the country with more than military force. That meant the abandonment of free blacks in the South after the mid-1870s. It is important to see this not only as the abandonment of the ex-slaves of the South. It is difficult to pull away the subsequent history to realize that it was entirely possible in the aftermath of the Civil War that the US would be condemned to perpetual warfare, insurrection and foreign intervention. But if the opposite, the United States that went on to become a global superpower, is what was gained it was gained at a terrible price and a price paid more or less solely by black citizens.

However one judges that past, knowing its full history leaves no reason or rationale for continue the valorization of Lee. He was a traitor and a traitor in a terrible cause. That is his only mark on American history. Whether he was a personal gentle man, nice to his pets or a decent field general hardly matters.

Even this though leaves the full squalidness of Lee’s legacy not quite told. There is the Lee of the Civil War and then the mythic Lee of later decades. Today the battle over Lee’s legacy is mainly played out over the various statues of Lee which still stand across the South. The notional focus on this weekend’s tragic events in Charlottesville was a protest over plans to remove a Lee statue. But those statues don’t date to the Civil War, the years just after the Civil War. In most cases they date to decades later.

I can’t do Marshall’s article justice with excerpts. Please go read the whole thing at Talking Points Memo.

At the New Yorker, Robin Write asks: Is American Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?

A day after the brawling and racist brutality and deaths in Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe asked, “How did we get to this place?” The more relevant question after Charlottesville—and other deadly episodes in Ferguson, Charleston, Dallas, Saint Paul, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria—is where the United States is headed. How fragile is the union, our republic, and a country that has long been considered the world’s most stable democracy? The dangers are now bigger than the collective episodes of violence. “The radical right was more successful in entering the political mainstream last year than in half a century,” the Southern Poverty Law Center reported in February. The organization documents more than nine hundred active (and growing) hate groups in the United States.

America’s stability is increasingly an undercurrent in political discourse. Earlier this year, I began a conversation with Keith Mines about America’s turmoil. Mines has spent his career—in the U.S. Army Special Forces, the United Nations, and now the State Department—navigating civil wars in other countries, including Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan. He returned to Washington after sixteen years to find conditions that he had seen nurture conflict abroad now visible at home. It haunts him. In March, Mines was one of several national-security experts whom Foreign Policyaskedto evaluate the risks of a second civil war—with percentages. Mines concluded that the United States faces a sixty-per-cent chance of civil war over the next ten to fifteen years. Other experts’ predictions ranged from five per cent to ninety-five per cent. The sobering consensus was thirty-five per cent. And that was five months before Charlottesville.

“We keep saying, ‘It can’t happen here,’ but then, holy smokes, it can,” Mines told me after we talked, on Sunday, about Charlottesville. The pattern of civil strife has evolved worldwide over the past sixty years. Today, few civil wars involve pitched battles from trenches along neat geographic front lines. Many are low-intensity conflicts with episodic violence in constantly moving locales. Mines’s definition of a civil war is large-scale violence that includes a rejection of traditional political authority and requires the National Guard to deal with it. On Saturday, McAuliffe put the National Guard on alert and declared a state of emergency.

Based on his experience in civil wars on three continents, Mines cited five conditions that support his prediction: entrenched national polarization, with no obvious meeting place for resolution; increasingly divisive press coverage and information flows; weakened institutions, notably Congress and the judiciary; a sellout or abandonment of responsibility by political leadership; and the legitimization of violence as the “in” way to either conduct discourse or solve disputes.

President Trump “modeled violence as a way to advance politically and validated bullying during and after the campaign,” Mines wrote in Foreign Policy. “Judging from recent events the left is now fully on board with this,” he continued, citing anarchists in anti-globalization riots as one of several flashpoints. “It is like 1859, everyone is mad about something and everyone has a gun.”

Again, I hope you’ll continue reading at the New Yorker link.

Can racism ever be defeated or can it only be suppressed?

Catherine Rampell at The Washington Post: Trump’s lasting legacy is to embolden an entirely new generation of racists.

If there was one silver lining to President Trump’s election, it was supposed to be this: Those who voted for Trump because of, rather than despite, his demonization of Muslims and Hispanics; who fear a “majority minority” America; and who wax nostalgic for the Jim Crow era were mostly old white people.

Which meant they and their abhorrent prejudices would soon pass on — and be replaced by generations of younger, more racially enlightened Americans.

The white nationalist rally this past weekend in Charlottesville clearly proves this to be a myth. Racist grandpas may be dying out, but their bigotry is regenerating in today’s youths.

Yes, there were swastika-tattooed, Ku Klux Klan-hooded 50-somethings on the streets of Charlottesville. The most chilling photos, however, show hordes of torch-bearing, fresh-faced, “fashy”-coiffed white men in their teens and 20s….

The public faces of the white supremacist “alt-right” movement are likewise skewing younger. David Duke is still around, but as a charismatic figurehead he has mostly been displaced by the likes of 39-year-old Richard Spencer, 26-year-old Matthew Heimbach and 29-year-old Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet.

These are not people whose backwardness we can write off as an unfortunate product of their time.

That is, we’re not talking about young white Americans whose happy formative years took place in a world with (de jure) school segregation, redlining, anti-miscegenation laws and phrenology.

If any had family who fought for the Confederacy, they’ve been dead for at least a century. No one is telling them about the good ol’ days on the plantation.

One more from the Washington Post before I have to rush off to a doctor’s appointment: Why are people still racist? What science says about America’s race problem.

Torch-bearing white supremacists shouting racist and anti-Semitic slogans. Protesters and counter protesters colliding with violence and chaos. A car driven by a known Nazi sympathizer mowing down a crowd of activists.

Many Americans responded to this weekend’s violence in Charlottesville with disbelieving horror. How could this happen in America, in 2017? “This is not who we are,” said Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D).

And yet, this is who we are.

Amid our modern clashes, researchers in psychology, sociology and neurology have been studying the roots of racism. We draw on that research and asked two scientists to explain why people feel and act this way toward each other.

Read what science shows at the link.

The illustrations in this post are from the rallies in Charlottesville.

What else is happening? What stories are you following today?


Monday Reads: The Great Unravelling

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

It’s another one of those Mondays where there are so many things to do and dig out of that I hardly know where to start.  This has been a year where keeping up with all the unraveling threads is a mythical task.  It requires a Greek deity to find them all and knit them back together.

Countries dependent on rule of law depend on functional institutions, intelligent and skilled participants, and commitment to the many parts and pieces that solidify social bonds.  We know that many of these social bonds and contracts are under attack and that many of the institutions designed to carry out the will of the people as stated in the Constitution are being undermined.  It feels as though we’ve entered a period where many groups have grabbed a loose thread and ran off with it so as to unravel as much as possible.

Much of this has been brought to you by fanatical Republicans and spineless Democrats who rarely take on a good fight and play go along and get along way too much. Republicans are in deep denial if they think all that’s gone on with Kremlin Caligula and Trumpism is not the fruit of their poison tree.

I’m saddened to read so many false equivalencies, whiffs, and denials by Republicans that cannot see that this is what they’ve been nuturing since the implementation of the Southern Strategy.  That link goes to Ben Shapiro who rightly calls out White Supremacists for being White Supremacists but immediately denies any connection or responsibility to feeding those beasts.

The Alt-Right Is Not Conservative. One of the hottest takes from the Left is that the alt-right represents the entire right — that what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia represented conservatives broadly. That’s factually incorrect, and intellectually dishonest. The alt-right is not just conservatives who like memes or who dislike Paul Ryan. The alt-right is a philosophy of white supremacy and white nationalism espoused by the likes of Vox Day, Richard Spencer, and Jared Taylor.

Then, we arrive at this:

6. The Left’s Malfeasance And Support For Violent Groups Like Antifa Grow The Alt-Right. Antifa was violent in Charlottesville.

And so it’s every one that’s not a conservative’s fault for not calling down and pushing out the usual group of anarchists–now designer labelled “antifa” akin to “alt-right”–and not the fault of the Republican Party that’s fed the Alt Right subgroups for decades.

I’m glad to see some one call white supremacists out for what they are.  ‘Alt-Right’ is a squishy mush of nothing. I equally wish we’d drop the new designer label of ‘antifa’  and just call the other nutters there what they are which is the usual assortment of anarchists who show up at everything to create chaos because that’s what anarchists do and want. However, as some one whose pre-defined political life was to identify with Republicans, libertarians and conservatives (forgive me I was a swimming in privilege as a white teen in a red state backwater) I have to remind you that none of this can be disowned by Republicans or movement conservatives.

I understand Ben is more “libertarian” than movement conservative but now that  I’ve decided labels are for cans let me say this.  The Republican Party owns this because they own the Southern Strategy and self-identified conservatives developed and exploited it. That’s something started in the Nixon years and played to the hilt with Ronnie Raygun and his welfare queens meme. It continues with a war against an inner city drug problem –crack–while sympathizing with what is mostly a white, rural phenomenon of meth/opiate addiction. It also includes the party’s take over by crazy religious extremists which are anything but conservative unless you consider theocracy preferable to a republic. We all need to call out the goofs on all sides. I’ve been as vocal in my criticism of kooky Jill Stein and positively worthless and whacky Bernie Sanders as I’ve been all along of Kremlin Caligula. But really, where are the adult Republicans and conservatives in the room when they allow Bannon, Gorka, and Miller into the West Wing?

You think a few folks would be uncomfortable if we’d have seen Jeremiah Wright as a strategist with an office in the West WIng next to the last president? You think Reid what let that happen? Seriously, you cannot dog whistle and appease the kooks and then expect to just brush them off when convenient. Every single Republican Strategist since the Nixon bunch has worked hard on that Damned Southern Strategy. I bailed in the early 90s because none of that damn stuff is what any of us in this country should be about. The Bernie appeasement going on with the DNC is just about as crazy but not quite as evil compared to having spent like 40 decades thinking you can convince a bunch of backwoods Hitlers and Christofascists that you’re going to do their bidding if they just vote for the guys that want to deregulate the government.  That’ a Faustian bargain and if you lay down with devils then you can’t complain when the world points out the horns you’ve sprouted.

Trump talks about his ‘good genes’ constantly. His father was arrested in a KKK rally. He supposedly had a copy of Hitler’s tome next to his bed. His first real support and new AG is the World’s Oldest Living Confederate Widow who has a history of being a walking example of what the Southern Strategy was designed to attract.

So, Trump belatedly gave a speech today on the weekend violence that killed a young woman that was supposed to quell the negative comments about the “on all sides” comments on Saturday.  I’ve never really bought in to the old saying better late than never.  I still don’t.  

President Donald Trump directly condemned white supremacists and neo-Nazis in a statement from the White House Monday afternoon.

“Racism is evil — and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said in response to the attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

“Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America,” Trump said.

“As a candidate I promised to restore law and order to our country and our federal law enforcement agencies are following through on that pledge,” Trump said. “We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear. We will defend and protect the sacred rights of all Americans and we will work together so that every citizen in this blessed land is free to follow their dreams, in their hearts, and to express the love and joy in our souls.”

Democrats and Republicans have excoriated Trump for his unwillingness to condemn the groups behind the violent protests that left one woman dead who was allegedly hit by a car driven by a man with ties to white supremacy groups.

After blaming the violence “on many sides” Saturday, Trump stayed silent for close to 48 hours, letting his trademark bluntness and campaign pledges to call terrorism what it is succumb to silence and vagueness.

Trump was asked by reporters after he spoke why he waited so long to condemn these hate groups by name and did not respond.

Feeling comforted yet?  I didn’t think so. The FBI and the DHS have repeatedly warned against the ongoing and escalating threat to our country from domestic terrorists of this ilk. Trump has ignored it and defunded the law enforcement agency studying it and charged with corralling it.

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.

So, Republicans can distance themselves from the overt racism of the Alt Right but their policies say something else.  They pass and support voter suppression laws deemed racist by Courts.  They refuse to recognize the complaints on use of force by Police against persons of color and are looking to pass laws to make police brutality less actionable.  They violate the Constitution by trying to punish so-called Sanctuary Cities who refuse to help the Federal Government enforce racist and unnecessary deportation measures.

You undoubtedly can list more.  We keep having to cover this and many other racist and fascist Republican measures that are undoubtedly supported by the Alt Right.  Lawmakers are now trying to make it legal to run over protesters in many states and municipalities.  This is from The Miami Herald.  

The shutdown of highways by protestors prompted several arrests, and lawmakers – most of them Republican – in many states introduced legislation with various levels of protection for drivers who hit protestors that were blocking streets. Some first responders have been fired for making jokes about running over Black Lives Matter protestors.

Miami has experienced roadway-blocking protests of its own: both the election of President Donald Trump and his inauguration prompted significant traffic snarls.

Florida Sen. George Gainer introduced a bill that would ensure drivers who “unintentionally” hit protestors who are obstructing traffic would not be held liable. It failed in committee.

Gainer told WUFT that he was motivated to file the bill due to protests in Miami and Tampa and anti-Trump protests across the country.

“They should have every right in the world to protest the things they disagree with,” Gainer said. “But they don’t have the right to randomly go out into the interstates and attack the cars, beat on the windshields, jump up on the hoods and act like they’ve been hit. In some cases, they set themselves up to be hit.”

In North Carolina, a similar bill passed the House on a 67-48 vote but died in the Senate. Other states that considered similar legislation include Virginia – where 32-year-old Heyer was killed – Oklahoma, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington, according to the Washington Post. Some states took the route of removing liability from drivers, while some simply increased penalties for blocking roadways.

Flowers and other mementos are left at a makeshift memorial for the victims after a car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally earlier in the day in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

These bills are in response to BLM protests so don’t tell me the Republicans don’t own a huge role in today’s institutional racism. Here’s an old piece from The Atlantic with the right headline by Jeet Heer.  “How the Southern Strategy Made Donald Trump Possible.  In states like South Carolina, the mogul reaps the benefits of the GOP’s longstanding appeal to racism.”

It’s essential to remember that the Southern Strategy did not originate with cynical GOP pols and right-wing extremists, but was—ironically enough—first hammered out in the pages of National Review, the very publication that now excoriates Trump “a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP.” National Review can disavow Trump as loudly as it wants, but it was the magazine—and the conservative establishment that drew its political ideas and strategies from it—that created the politics that have now morphed into Trumpism.

Republicans own all of this.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: A Brutal Slap Run Down

I should have started this post last night 12 hours ago, when we were eating dinner together as a family and my daughter told us the news that a white nationalist terrorist ran down some anti-protesters at the KKK/NeoNazi rally in Charlottesville…killing one. There was video of the terrorist act…obviously deliberate, my daughter said…and the tRump still had not made a statement condemning the killing.

I couldn’t start this post around midnight, when the migraine that started at dinner was in full force. I could feel the blood pumping into my brain and seemingly out each hair follicle. It was the most painful migraine I’ve had in a long time…

I started to write this post at 6:30 on Sunday morning, I still have not been able to view any news, tweets, Facebook post or videos of the vehicle being driven into a group of anti-hate protesters. Fear, disgust and something I cannot even describe in words is keeping me from reading about what happened in Charlottesville. I’m sure there is a # hashtag now trending. I don’t want to know what it is…

The display on Friday night with Nazis sans hoods carrying tiki torches was enough to make me realize that the white nationalist rally on Saturday would be dangerous. I think when my daughter told us that one of those hateful bastards…actually just one of tRump’s base, killed and injured people so violently…it only validated my feelings that the situation is far more out of control than many claim.

I didn’t live through the war for Civil Rights and the freedoms that never came to many people of color in places of the United States. (Even though the majority of SCOTUS believes/believed that it has…) I know things will get worse. But I am concerned that this time it will become more obnoxious and over-saturated in its violence. Like filters on Instagram used to enhance pictures, only people won’t be using apps to manipulate the images of their hatred. The audacity of the violent terrorist acts will speak for themselves.

Now here we are, on the verge of a literal nuclear catastrophe on one side of the globe….as well as, government sanctioned racism/bigotry/sexism and a war of hate on nuclear proportions here on our own soil…with the most explosive and incendiary president in this country’s history.

Well…it is almost 7:30, and I should read the news and find links to share with you all. Let’s do it in a link dump, of updates and tweets. It may not be much, don’t know if my mental capacity will be able to withstand the onslaught of “ultra violence” this morning.

Here we go:

“Criminal Homicide?” Uh…terrorist act? Hate crime?

This is the letter I received from Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center last night, many of you probably got the same message, but I thought it would be a good starting point:

After the deadly clash between hundreds of white supremacists and counter-protesters today in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Trump called for Americans to “come together.”

 

He used similar words in his victory speech in the wee hours of Nov. 9, even as white supremacists began to celebrate.

 

The problem is that Trump’s words are hollow.

 

His calls for the country to unite will continue to be meaningless as long he fails to take responsibility for his role in dividing it – something he conspicuously avoided again during his press conference today.

 

“It’s been going on for a long time,” Trump said. “Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama.”

 

It’s true. America has had racial strife since its founding.

 

But from the day he came down the escalator in the tower that bears his name, Trump consciously poured fuel on the fire. He ran a racist, xenophobic campaign that energized the radical right – that “unearthed some demons,” as U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford put it.

 

The day after Trump was elected, hate incidents soared. Many of them were carried out in his name.

 

Neo-Nazi David Duke, the former Klan leader who endorsed Trump during his campaign, had this to say about the deadly violence in Charlottesville:

 

“This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”

 

Duke’s words reflect the views of a white nationalist movement that sees Trump as its champion.

 

Let there be no mistake: This is a fascist movement that threatens not only extremist violence but our democracy as well.

 

All the while, Trump continues to employ as his chief strategist the former head of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, who has proudly boasted that he provided “the platform for the alt-right” – a fancy term for white supremacy in the digital age.

 

All the while, the Trump administration continues to play down the threat of white supremacist violence.

 

Trump calls for the country to unite. But he is still ducking responsibility for his role in dividing it.

 

Until he apologizes and takes responsibility for the damage he has caused and enacts policies to mend the wounds in our country, his words will continue to ring hollow.

The article below has been updated this morning at 8:30 EDT:

Pictured: Woman killed at anti-white supremacist protest | Daily Mail Online

  • Heyer, a paralegal with the Miller Law Group PC in Virginia, was a native of Greene County and graduated from William Monroe High School.
  • Heather Heyer, 32, was protesting hate-fueled white supremacist march in Charlottesville on Saturday when James Alex Fields Jr, of Maumee, Ohio, allegedly plowed his vehicle into the crowd, killing her
  • ‘She died doing what was right. My heart is broken, but I am forever proud of her,’ Heyer’s mother said
  • Heyer, a paralegal and native of Greene County was passionate about social justice and her final public Facebook post, dated from 2016, read: ‘If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention’
  • Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said a total of 35 people had been treated for injuries after incident  
  • Police arrested Fields Jr, 20, who was charged with second-degree murder Saturday night 
  • The Dodge Challenger was filmed ramming into a line of people, then reversing quickly away from the scene 
  • FBI and federal prosecutors announced that they have opened up a civil rights investigation into incident 
  • The Unite the Right rally was held at Emancipation Park and hundreds were seen stomping through the city
  • A local state of emergency was declared around 11am and the rally was determined an unlawful assembly 
  • State police helicopter covering the rally crashed near a golf course within city limits, killing two officers  

The woman who was mowed down and killed at an anti-fascist rally in Virginia has been identified as Heather Heyer.

Heyer, 32, was protesting hate-fueled white supremacist march in Charlottesville on Saturday when James Alex Fields Jr, of Maumee, Ohio, allegedly plowed his vehicle into the crowd, killing her and injuring 19 others.

Fields Jr, who is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, has since been charged with second-degree murder.

[…]

Video of the Dodge Challenger, which is registered to Fields, showed the driver accelerating into the crowd throwing bodies into the air as people scream before reversing at high speed.

According to the jail’s superintendent, Martin Kumer, Fields was also booked on suspicion of malicious wounding, failure to stop for an accident involving a death, and hit and run. Kumer said Fields is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Three additional arrests have also been made related to the rally; Troy Dunigan, 21, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, arrested and charged with disorderly conduct; Jacob L. Smith, 21, of Louisa, Virginia, arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery, and James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, arrested and charged with carrying a concealed handgun.

The deadly crash came after violent clashes erupted as hundreds of white supremacists including armed militias marched into Charlottesville sparking violent confrontations with counter-protesters.

Police cleared the scene with tear gas but the violence continued. Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said a total of 35 people had been treated for injuries, 14 of those were from individual engagements on the streets.

Horrifying video from the scene of the attack showed the silver muscle car speeding towards a group of fleeing anti-fascist protesters.

Another clip showed the vehicle ramming into the crowd at high speed and victims crying out in pain as they desperately sought medical help.

Witnesses said the car was traveling up to 40mph when it hit and reversed before ramming into the crowd again and speeding off with someone’s shoe attached to its bumper.

[…]

In addition to the dozens of people hurt in the accident, at least 15 people were already being treated for their injures during other destructive clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters at Emancipation Park before the controversial Unite the Right rally.

The day was met with more tragedy, when a Virginia State Police helicopter, carrying two officers, crashed inside city limits and thick black smoke was seen rising from behind the trees.

Lieutenant H Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, was piloting the aircraft. The other occupant was Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Virginia. Police confirmed that they both died at the scene.

There were no other injuries and the cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time by state police, the FFA and NTSB.

 

I urge you to go to the link and look at the pictures and read the rest of the article, especially the disgusting quotes by Richard Spencer.

 

Some Twitter Reactions:

 

 

 

I am just seeing these responses…and I feel like I want to throw up.

This is the tweet that @bluegal is referring to:

That link above goes to this: run over car protesters meme – Google Search

 

 

The AP is finally using the term “White Supremacist” :

Disturbing stuff there….and here:

Check out that thread of tweets…supposedly from the murderers Facebook page.

 

And I will end with this little nugget of shit:

No word yet as to just which turd fuck senior White House Official said that…stay tuned.

This is an open thread…