Monday Reads: Take me to the River

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

I’ve been watching the Mississippi River rise the last month knowing that some where upstream that water must be a problem.  The Corps opened the  Bonnet Carré Spillway  but has started to close it up. My guess is they’ll open it wide shortly. The spillway lets the fresh water of the Mississippi River into the salty Lake Pontchartrain. It always wrecks havoc with the local critters, plants, and trees so they try to be judicious about it.

I can always tell the height of the river by looking down the street to see if any oil tankers look like they’re on the river road.  By this, I mean that I see the entire ship and not just the top of it.  It’s odd when you’re driving and look over to see a huge cruise ship looking as though it’s just  driving a few blocks over.  Whatever goes on up there eventually comes out down here. The Mississippi has been at flood stage for months. It’s about to get worse because what’s upstream is horrible.

More is coming my way as the folks in Nebraska and Iowa–where I grew up–are dealing with flooding they haven’t seen for at least 50 years and probably then some.  I’m thanking my lucky stars that my youngest is now in Denver since her last home is some where in the lake that’s formed in Western Douglas County.  The most jaw dropping news is that Offutt Air Force Base is under water and has extensive damage.

Small towns in Iowa are completely underwater where many of the families of farmers who bought cars and trucks from my dad still live. A dam on the Niobrara–west of Omaha and Lincoln–collapsed earlier.  That devastation is surreal too.

So, people have died, crops will be lost, towns are totally under water and where are the tweets from the White House?   Wouldn’t you think a “bomb” cyclone would get some attention?

The unprecedented flooding has affected up to 74 million Americans from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast.

  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers deployed the state National Guard after declaring an emergency as flooding was magnified by “rapid snowmelt.” Columbus, Wisconsin, opened shelters for people who had been evacuated.
  • In Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly issued a state of emergency for Doniphan County as flash floods wreaked havoc on the community.
  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds also issued a disaster proclamation on Friday.

So far, the only Federal Disaster declared and discussed by Trump is–you guessed it–the Trumped up Border Wall lunacy. Check out his TIme line on Twitter.  It’s the usual manic meltdown of nonsense and lies plus, you know, WITCHHUNT!!  SNL sucks!  John McCain is a secret Democrat!

So, are we blaming him for all fueling all this crappy White supremacist terrorism and hate?  Yes. we are!  It’s not the news media. It’s what spews out of Trump’s nasty smoochy mouth and it’s all about his priorities and paranoia.

So, people in the heartland will just have to drown while Trump continues to hate on people of color and minority religions.

But, his base …. let’s visit a bit about what these morons actually think.  First. they think white people face discrimination. This is from Rolling Stone on a poll done earlier this month.

The victimization of white America put forth by conservatives and right-wing media has taken hold, according to the results in a new poll from Hill-HarrisX. A whopping 75 percent of registered Republican voters said that white Americans face discrimination.

A majority of Independents, 55 percent, sided with Republicans and said white Americans are discriminated against. Meanwhile, only 38 percent Democrats agreed, and sixty-two percent of Democrats said that white Americans face little or no discrimination at all.

However, the poll did find some agreement among the different political spectrums. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans, 82 percent of Independents and 95 percent of Democrats said that African-Americans are discriminated against. And, in total, 81 percent of the registered voters polled said Hispanics also face discrimination.

Interestingly, only 19 percent of white respondents said they personally faced racial discrimination, proving the point that the fear tactics of Fox News and other conservative media who sell the myth of “reverse racism” are working.

Second, Republicans in office continually deny Trump’s bigotry. Jonathan Chait–writing for the New Yorker–had this to say today about Trump’s open hostility to people of Muslim faith.

The man who murdered 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, has hailed President Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity.” But Trump’s supporters piously deny he is any such thing. “If you find yourself using the tragedy in New Zealand to take backhanded swipes at conservatives in America — many of my colleagues already have — then you really have no shame and you are part of the problem,” complains Texas representative Dan Crenshaw. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney appeared on Face the Nation to insist, “I don’t think anybody can say that the president is anti-Muslim.”

Anybody? Really? If bald-faced lying were not already a mundane practice for this administration, it would be astonishing to watch its defenders deny such a plainly obvious truth.

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration made a concerted effort to distinguish between the radical sectarians who carried out the attacks and the broader Muslim population. By the end of the Bush era, though, a nativist hysteria was bubbling up from the grassroots, as evidenced by vivid scenes from McCain–Palin campaign stops in which delirious Republican voters voiced paranoid theories that Barack Obama was a secret Arab or Muslim.

During Obama’s presidency, control of the Republican line on Muslims unmistakably passed into the hands of the bigots. Trump, who led the birther crusade, played a key role in this change. While Trump usually confined his racist sentiments about the African-American community to private conversations, he regularly articulated slanders against the Muslim community in public. He spread the lie that thousands of American Muslims cheered the 9/11 attacks. He insinuated that Ghazala Khan, a Muslim-American Gold Star mother whose husband spoke at the Democratic National Convention, “wasn’t allowed” to speak publicly. He claimed “Islam hates us,” and has deliberately refused to recognize a distinction between radical Islamists and the broader population: “It’s very hard to separate, because you don’t know who is who.”

Trump naturally attracted and promoted the most viciously anti-Islamic figures within his party. His first strategist, Steve Bannon, calls Islam “a religion of submission” and has tried to build a global religious conflict between Christians and Muslims. His first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, made wild public claims like, “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” They attempted to enact a Muslim travel ban, later couched in euphemism, as an effort to prevent a “multidimensional and multigenerational” threat from Muslim-American communities — enshrining into official policy the notion that Muslim-Americans posed an inherent security threat and could not assimilate.

Trump’s fans deliberately adopt racist words and symbols including co-opting the okay hand signal.  Then, they tell us we’re just imagining things.  (Via SPLC)

From its adoption first by white nationalists, and then by 4chan trolls intent on ‘triggering the libs,’ the well-known hand signal’s use points to deeper concerns.

The smirk that almost inevitably accompanies the “OK” sign, that simplest of hand signals, is the dead giveaway in the shroud of internet-age befuddlement: Does the sign, the thumb and forefinger joined together in a circle, the remaining three fingers splayed out behind, mean “all’s good?” Or does it mean “white power” instead?

The smirk gives away the proper answer: You’re being trolled.

The social-media-driven controversy over the meaning of the well-known hand sign has arisen in part as the result of a deliberate hoax concocted on the internet message board 4chan, which in addition to its well-earned reputation as a gateway to the racist “alt-right” is perhaps more broadly known as the home of trolling culture.

So when it gets flashed during a national broadcast, or during a video being shot to promote the Coast Guard, or by a cluster of Proud Boys and “Patriots,” what it’s about most of the time is a deliberate attempt to “trigger liberals” into overreacting to a gesture so widely used that virtually anyone has plausible deniability built into their use of it in the first place.

The problem, of course, is that there are white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Klansmen who have increasingly begun using the use of the symbol both to signal their presence to the like-minded, as well as to identify potentially sympathetic recruits among young trolling artists flashing it. To them, the configuration means WP, for “white power.”

This use of the signal preceded the 4chan hoax that made it go viral. A number of alt-right figures, notably white-nationalist guru Richard Spencer, published photographs of themselves using the symbol as early as 2016. Milo Yiannopoulos adopted the symbol on social media as early as 2015.

But by then, the alt-right had already long weaponized the trolling culture and its use of irony to create a hall of mirrors surrounding such “memes.” These can easily be found in other alt-right “ironic” constructs, such as the hoax religion of “Kek” (and its home country, Kekistan), or its adoption of Pepe the Frog as a mascot.

So, are we surprised when “New Zealand Mosque Shooting Suspect Brenton Tarrant Flashes White Power Sign in Court”?  Uh, nope….

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand—The self-described racist who allegedly carried out massacres in two mosques flashed a white power sign during his first court appearance.

Photos from the brief proceeding showed Brenton Harrison Tarrant, flanked by police, using his shackled hand to make an “OK” symbol that has been appropriated by white supremacists and is also used by right-wing internet trolls.

The 28-year-old Australian personal trainer is charged with one count of murder in connection with the back-to-back mass shootings that left 50 people dead and dozens more wounded—but authorities said more charges will be coming. His court-appointed attorney did not apply for bail, and he will be jailed until his next appearance on April 5.

The public was not allowed into the courtroom, which was packed with media. Tarrant wordlessly swayed in the dock, looking back and forth from the gallery to the bench.

Tarrant did not seek a suppression order that would have prevented media from using his name in New Zealand—perhaps not a surprise given his apparent lust for notoriety as evidenced by an online manifesto and a sickening live-stream of the attack.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the symbol Tarrant used was adopted by white nationalists and neo-Nazis “to signal their presence to the like-minded, as well as to identify potentially sympathetic recruits among young trolling artists flashing it.”

The Washington Post reports that new video, now taken offline, shows him in his Subaru Outback moments before he started the deadly rampage. “All right,” he said after starting the car. “Let’s get this party started.”

And hell yeah, to this NYT opinion piece today by David Leonhardt. It Isn’t Complicated: Trump Encourages Violence. He doesn’t deserve blame for any specific attack. He does deserve blame for the increase in white-nationalist violence.”

The president of the United States suggested last week that his political supporters might resort to violence if they didn’t get their way.

The statement didn’t even get that much attention. I’m guessing you heard a lot more about the college-admissions scandal than about the president’s threat of extralegal violence. So let me tell you a little more about the threat.

In an Oval Office interview with writers from the right-wing news site Breitbart, President Trump began complaining about Paul Ryan. As speaker of the House, Ryan blocked efforts by other House Republicans to subpoena and investigate people on the political left. Trump’s loyal allies in the House “wanted to go tougher,” Trump said, “but they weren’t allowed to by leadership.”

To Trump, the incident was part of a larger problem: “You know, the left plays a tougher game. It’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. O.K.? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

The president of the United States suggested last week that his political supporters might resort to violence if they didn’t get their way.

The statement didn’t even get that much attention. I’m guessing you heard a lot more about the college-admissions scandal than about the president’s threat of extralegal violence. So let me tell you a little more about the threat.

In an Oval Office interview with writers from the right-wing news site Breitbart, President Trump began complaining about Paul Ryan. As speaker of the House, Ryan blocked efforts by other House Republicans to subpoena and investigate people on the political left. Trump’s loyal allies in the House “wanted to go tougher,” Trump said, “but they weren’t allowed to by leadership.”

To Trump, the incident was part of a larger problem: “You know, the left plays a tougher game. It’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. O.K.? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

So, for all you nice wipipo in Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri, right on down the Missouri River to the mouth of the Mississippi, I hope you get your Federal Emergency pretty soon and that FEMA does better by you under your Trump than it did by New Orleans under your Dubya Bush.   He’s your fault.  He’s not nor will he ever be my president.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today? 

And, I hope you enjoy the Super Sunday 2019 pictures from Mid City yesterday in New Orleans.  The craftsmanship that goes into the costumes of the Mardi Gras Indians is super amazing.

 


45 Comments on “Monday Reads: Take me to the River”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. dakinikat says:

    Okay, I’m going to dwell on the weather channel and grade for awhile. Sorry this is so depressing but I think we have to discuss it.

    Love you all!!!

    Have a good day and keep JJ in your hearts!!!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks for a great post, Dak. I’m still in escapist mode, but will try to follow your links.

    • Enheduanna says:

      We have a POTUS who is a stochastic terrorist. Of course it must be discussed. I’m actually glad to see news outlets tackling the subject and even defining what it is. Not sure anyone has actually called him a terrorist though.

      Best wishes to JJ and everyone!

  6. RonStill4Hills says:

    That first picture is too cute for words.😊

  7. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      There speaks a real President. We know she would have directed immediate action. Hell she would have already have emergency plans laid out in her policies for such circumstances, and only need to adjust them to fit the exact situation. She’s also have been there in person to talk with people.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hillary always notices when people are in need of comfort, unlike Trump.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    This is a must-read. I’m sure there are many more of these guys in the military or former military.

  9. NW Luna says:

  10. NW Luna says:

    Delores Hureta is an icon and inspiration.

    • NW Luna says:

      Sigh. Just realized “icon” probably means something different now to younger people now than it used to.

  11. Pat Johnson says:

    Trump secretly delights in thinking the White National idiots are taking directions from him.

    It shows him as a “powerful” leader with “followers” who do his bidding.

    The man is nuts. Certifiably crazy. Fifty Tweets over the weekend? Astonishing.

    • Enheduanna says:

      He did 50 tweets? And none of them were about the flood victims…SMH

      • bostonboomer says:

        Nothing about the victims in NZ being Muslims either.

        • NW Luna says:

          Of course not. Only that it’s too bad that the “fake news” associates him with the murderer.

          Wonder if something’s coming … he’s been more unhinged than every the last couple of days.

  12. bostonboomer says:

  13. bostonboomer says:

    George Conway tweeted the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    • NW Luna says:

      Grrrr. All the pundits who are only just now speaking out on what’s been obvious for years.

  14. bostonboomer says:

  15. bostonboomer says:

  16. dakinikat says:

  17. bostonboomer says:

  18. dakinikat says:

    A Mar-a-Lago Weekend and an Act of God: Trump’s History With Deutsche Bank

    By David Enrich
    March 18, 2019

    • NW Luna says:

      Glad to see NYT looking into the Deutsche Bank connections, a few years too late. Yes, I am bitter.

  19. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      This is bold. I don’t mean the idea of reparations, but to bring it up front and center in early campaign season. (Goddesses it’s going to be a loooong campaign season.)

      • quixote says:

        I don’t understand politics, so I’m no doubt wrong, but it seems like a dumb move to me. Nobody currently living was emancipated by Lincoln. Who are you going to pay reparations to? That’s the first thing that will get people all hot and bothered.

        The next is that as soon as you designate some recipients, everybody who feels left out will get bothered.

        To me, it just looks like a recipe for everybody to get mad and resentful. (I’m not even talking about the perpetually angry whites, they’ll be angry no matter what so that doesn’t count.)

        I’m sure her intent is to facilitate more reckoning with racism and the crime against humanity that it’s based on. But throwing in talk about reparations doesn’t seem likely to do that. It’ll just make too many people lose their minds chasing money, and they’ll blame Warren for being mad.

        How is this going to work? What am I missing?

        • NW Luna says:

          I don’t know exactly what Warren’s proposing nor how it would work. With all that’s going on I haven’t been following this issue. I’ve seen one tweet from a black activist saying their idea of reparation would not include monetary reparations. But most people will think “money” when they hear the word “reparations.” It needs very careful, thoughtful discussion — don’t know if that is at all possible in politics now.

          The fairness issue is hugely problematic. For many of us, our ancestors came to this country well after slavery was ended.

          What would help would be to get rid of any laws which favored slave states and the slavery system. Of course, this would include the Electoral College and senatorial representation. Now that would be progress!

  20. dakinikat says: