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?

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38 Comments on “Monday Reads: The Great Unravelling”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. Fannie says:

    Jonathan Odell posted this on FB yesterday! Exactly the truth.

    “Both sides” did not come armed with long guns. “Both sides” did not come armed with sticks. “Both sides” did not come in para-military gear. “Both sides” did not come with Nazi flags. “Both sides” did not come with Confederate flags. “Both sides” did not drive a car into a crowd of people with the intent of killing and maiming. It was only one side that did that. That side was the one chanting “Make America Great Again”, “Take America Back”, “Blood and Soil”.
    That side is emboldened by those who talk about both sides being responsible.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Racism has always been at the forefront of the Southern strategy. Yet it was subtle for the most part until Obama was elected. All stops were pulled at this point with Mitch McConnell and others leading the way in obstruction. “One term” was their mantra and goal and they did their best to execute their actions. A good portion worked.

    Then along came Trump. A horrific candidate overall whose stupidity and ignorance matched their own. The “creator” of birtherism was on target in self identifying. It has all come home to roost. Ugly to be sure but here it is.

    His hateful rhetoric against minorities and women, his total ignorance of policy and issues, his lack of empathy towards others, appealed to those who despised a black man in the WH. He was exactly what they were looking for to shake off the Obama years of liberal leaning policies which disturbed their worldview.

    The only surprise is they took so long to unmask. Nazi sympathizers, KKK members, white nationalists, Jew haters and gay bashers all assembled in a southern town and brought their “freak flags” to the party. Right out in the open for all to see.

    Trump did not create these people. They have been here all along. What he gave them was a voice. A voice of hate they chose to display because he made it safe to come out of the shadows and join him.

    We are well on our way down that slippery slope we predicted and it remain as treacherous as long as this man remains in office.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I have to disagree just a tiny bit about the degree of “subtlety” being exhibited. Since Ronnie Raygun’s appearance at the Neshoba County Fair in 1980 to the election of tRump, there has been nothing subtle about Republicans courting racists, misogynists and homophobes. And now they’ve elected a white supremacist – and his history and who he is was loud and clear.

      Anyone supporting the GOP and tRump who doesn’t think they’re part of the problem of white supremacy is in complete and total denial.

      I agree Obama’s election was a catalyst for our current predicament.

  4. Hallelujah, Amen. You have called out every political demon powerfully and truthfully. However, if memory serves, the Southern Strategy goes further back than Nixon. It “rightly” belongs to the Southern Dixiecrats—the Southern Democrats of the 40s and 50s who only turned Republican in the Civil Rights era of the 50s-early 60s. [Source: Fracture: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the Racial Divide, by Joy Ann Reid. It includes an eye-opening history of the development of the two political parties in America.]

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Jackie, I just received Joy’s book on my kindle. I love her!

      She is amazing in how she conducts her interviews and I come away feeling that I learn more than I bargained for on her weekend shows.

      Just like Rachel, these ladies inform which is not always something you get with other talking
      heads.

      Can’t wait to read her book!

    • Enheduanna says:

      Jackie – thanks for the info. I will be sure to get Joy’s book.

    • dakinikat says:

      Thx. I woke up angry. The Dixiecrats were welcomed with open arms by Republicans when Republicans thought they couldn’t win elections without a few other folks. They also welcomed those crazy ass pastors that hated segregation and women and wanted federal dollars to run little white madrassas of hate. They deliberately went after all those hateful people.

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    I’m with you, Dak…….”better late than never” does not work for me in most cases, but especially in this case when the man called POTUS was too afraid to call out Nazi’s, the KKK and White Nationalists for 2 days. Even his call out today was tepid at best. He looked like the kid that was being forced to take a teaspoon full of cod liver oil.

  6. Enheduanna says:

    Dak – a great post as usual. I’m going to steal your “labels belong on cans” line!

    I, too, was a brainwashed teenager whose conservative father worshiped William F. Buckley. The house was full of National Review magazines. I had a conversion I like to imagine was very similar to Hillary’s around college age.

    My father is still Republican and he and his wife voted for tRump out of party loyalty. I guess that’s how tRump voters convince themselves they actually are people of good character (the ones who don’t already know they’re racists).

  7. palhart says:

    Also, the black candidate in 2008 won the presidency with a wide margin while GW-2000 and Trump-2016 wins are questionable at best. McConnell’s and the Republicans’ obstructionism, 2009-20016, is all about big picture racism itself and an attempt to erase the Obama 2-term presidency.

    I’m a Southerner. My only momentary relief is that NC did not place in the top ten states with the most hate groups. We have our share, 24 and the probability of sprouting more.

    Then there’s Session as the AG. What a cruel joke.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Excellent post! I like your metaphor of these groups pulling on the threads holding our institutions together.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Boston Globe on the planned Boston rally this weekend.

    Speakers at ‘free speech’ rally dropping out

    Three headliners scheduled to speak at a far-right rally in Boston on Saturday backed out Monday, casting doubt on the event amid strong opposition by city officials worried about a repeat of the bloodshed in Charlottesville.

    Augustus Invictus, an Orlando activist who took part in the Charlottesville rally, said organizers of Boston’s rally texted him on Monday and said it was necessary to cancel the event “from a PR standpoint,” after the violence in Virginia.

    Invictus, who attracted support from white supremacists when he ran for the US Senate as a Libertarian in Florida in 2016, said organizers indicated they were also worried about statements he has made espousing support for a “second American civil war.”

    “I’m upset that my appearance was canceled, and I’m upset the rally was canceled because, to me, it is pure capitulation to the mob of leftists,” Invictus told the Globe Monday.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      What a crazy bastard the Invictus fellow is! He fits right into that crowd. And this call for a “second American Civil war” is something I’ve been reading in comments around the web. I’ve warned people who think this is a good idea “don’t underestimate your opposition, you white nationalists did that once and it didn’t end well for you the first time. It will end worse this time.”

    • palhart says:

      He supports a second American civil war? God, no! For many reasons, but foremost we have no Abraham Lincoln at the helm. I’m amazed that the gun-toting haters didn’t shoot the counter-protesters, but glad. The haters are un-American, unreligious, vile people. It was an astounding statement to this Southerner. Our progress in diversity and equality leave these losers behind in the 19th century.

    • dakinikat says:

      There’s evidently some hooplah about a rally scheduled on the Texas A&M campus too. I finished working so I’m beginning to read the doxing etc that’s going on.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I hope and pray these modern-day Rebels are just the losers and weeners they appear to be. The problem is – they are heavily armed. But let’s never forget they are outnumbered by huge margins. This is NOT who we are.

      I thought it was interesting very few women showed up in Charlottesville for the alt-right – or at least the torch march part. Could it be sexual frustration plays a big part in their wackadoodle fears and resentments?

  10. dakinikat says:

    Shame Hillary Clinton Didn’t Try To Warn Us About Trump’s Basket Of Deplorable Nazi Fuck Trash
    Read more at https://wonkette.com/621659/shame-hillary-clinton-didnt-try-to-warn-us-about-trumps-basket-of-deplorable-nazi-fuck-trash#A6JUhuyOILIl0Fx6.99

    We know, we know, we know. Hillary Clinton is a terrible rage harpy who should abandon public life forever and probably stop showing her lady face anywhere outside her house, because she ran such a BAD CAMPAIGN and offered NO VISION for solving Regular (White People’s) Problems, despite how she talked about those things constantly and her website was full of solutions and plans to make all Americans’ lives better, even the lives of the literal tens of thousands of white people in the Rust Belt who, with the help of Russia, propelled Donald Trump to the most historic negative three million popular vote U.S. American presidential victory in all of world history.

    MAYBE if she had talked about those things in her 33,000 missing EMAILS, you know? Ever think about that, Hillghazi???? And MAYBE if she hadn’t run around hurting Real America’s feelings all the time by saying lots of Trump supporters belonged in something called the Basket Of Deplorables — such a divisive asshole, that Hillary! — then we wouldn’t be sitting here witnessing the aftermath of an actual act of detestable terrorism committed by economic insecurity actual Nazis.

    Oh wait, sorry, what we meant to say is that maybe if fuckers had LISTENED TO HER when she committed the crime of saying something very true about how Donald Trump was enabling, encouraging and emboldening a certain group of racist neo-Nazi white supremacist Fuckhead-Americans, and maybe if folks on MANY SIDES had pulled their thumbs out of their assholes and voted for the only fucking qualified AND VIABLE opponent to Trump and everything he represents, we wouldn’t have the actual Basket of Deplorables partying its way through the streets of Charlottesville like it’s Germany, 1936.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Fargo, North Dakota family disowns white supremacist son.

    ‘You will have to shovel our bodies into the oven, too’: Father of Charlottesville neo-Nazi disowns him

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/08/you-will-have-to-shovel-our-bodies-into-the-oven-too-father-of-charlottesville-neo-nazi-disowns-him/

    http://www.inforum.com/opinion/letters/4311880-letter-family-denounces-teffts-racist-rhetoric-and-actions

    • dakinikat says:

      I read that this morning. I feel for this family and its brave statement!

    • Enheduanna says:

      We will never know how many families are being torn apart thanks to tRumpCo. If I weren’t atheist I’d think he really is the Antichrist or something.

  12. bostonboomer says:

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  14. Fannie says:

    The republicans own stinky Trump. They have been bragging and gloating that they control the states, governors, locals, now everything else. For them to even try to say they don’t own Trump and the racial stirrings of hate, and violence coming from him and his white boys.

    Another CEO just stepped down, from UnderArmour. Was happy to make calls to Texas A.M. about them permitting White Nationalist, Richard Spencer there on 9/11. Told me that the campus had a free speech zone for him. I asked if the president had a free killing zone too. They came to their sense, and told him NO way.

  15. NW Luna says:

    This is chilling.

    • palhart says:

      What does Sessions intend to do with these “dissidents” throw them in a gulag? They are exercising their freedom of speech and assembly rights while Trump is trying to destroy these individual rights and thus this democracy.

      • palhart says:

        The AG ought to be ordering websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the top 3 worst for allowing hate group accounts for recruitment of “normalies” regardless of their statements to the contrary, to ban such groups NOW.

    • Enheduanna says:

      An effort at intimidation. This is totally illegal (I would imagine).

  16. Minkoff Minx says:

    This is such a powerful post, I could not handle any news yesterday…or late Sunday either. It has me petrified, almost to the point of debility.

  17. dakinikat says: