Fresh Hell Friday Reads

Susan Comforting the Baby, 1881, Mary Cassatt

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I really have given up on having any expectations that the occupant of the White House is capable of normal human emotional reactions or empathy but his time and actions in El Paso were really something inconceivable for most of us.  And yes, I know what that word means!

Politicians frequently use people as props and Trump has been no exception over his time in the public eye.  The people he dehumanizes the most frequently and the most noticeably are people of color and women. His visit to El Paso was a massive show of peak narcissism. He is self serving.  He is clueless on simple human kindness.  He is a monster and a racist.

Here’s a bit from Tweetie:”WaPo: During Hospital Visit, Trump Compared His And Beto O’Rourke’s Crowd Sizes | Hardball | MSNBC” on You tube.

The worst was this disturbing photo op with the orphaned baby whose parents died shielding him from the hail of bullets that killed so many in El Paso.  He is a victim of Trumpism. His parents are martyrs for Trump’s political ambitions and his love of white supremacist ideology.

Artwork by Clovis François-Auguste Didier, A Consoling Mother, Made of Oil on canvas

A Consoling Mother, Clovis François-Auguste Didier

I was horrified when this first crept into my twitter feed! Reed Richardson–for Mediaite--responded with this headline:  “Trump and First Lady Smiling With Baby Orphaned in El Paso Massacre Draws Criticism: ‘Act Like a Human Being’”.  The Addams family has more normal behavior and values than those two grifters.  Gee, FLOTUS, is holding a wounded orphaned baby like a sack of potatoes part of the ‘be best’ pogrom?

The only thing missing was the “I don’t really care, do u” jacket.

One day after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited with victims of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Twitter erupted in disgust at an image Tweeted out by the @FLOTUS account that showed the pair broadly grinning — and with Trump inexplicably flashing a thumbs-up — while holding a two-month-old baby who lost both parents in the massacre.

Trump has already endured an onslaught of criticism for making political attacks amidst his consolation visitsbragging about his past rally sizes in El Paso to hospital staff, as well as creating a glowing, campaign-style video from footage taken during his visit.

But the image of both Trumps flashing big smiles while holding an orphan of mass gun violence at the hospital where his parents had only recently just died — and where he was returned to just for the photo op — struck a huge nerve with folks online, and their visceral responses showed it.

Rejection, Tom Roberts

“Lack of Empathy” is putting it mildly.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro–writing for The Atlantic–argues that Latinos are being erased by the Media in the El Paso Shooting story.

On Tuesday morning, I happened to walk by the Newseum, the news museum in Washington, D.C., that displays front pages from across the country in its windows. They almost all looked the same—from the Portland Press Herald in Maine to The Arizona Republic to The Washington Post. The word the headlines shared in common was Trump, as they offered a variety of takes on his speech. Much of the broadcast coverage offered a similar emphasis on the president, with a few notable exceptions.

The attack in El Paso left 22 dead. Most were Latinos, some of whom were Mexican citizens. It followed a sustained and deliberate campaign by the Trump administration to demonize immigrants. Journalists should report on that. We should contextualize it. But that is only the beginning of our work.

There have been hundreds of articles and broadcast stories since the attack in El Paso, reporting with depth and compassion about this moment. But the banner headlines and the segments at the top of newscasts reflect the value editors assign to aspects of a story. The front page still speaks volumes. The top story in a broadcast signals to the audience which topics matter most. And despite the fact that the attacker purposefully targeted Latinos, that is not what most outlets chose to emphasize.

This erasure of Latinos by the national media is nothing new. For years, the marquee Sunday political talk shows have rarely featured Latinos. There is only one Latino on The New York Times’ editorial board, and there is none on The Washington Post’s(although at least one Latino editor regularly takes part in its editorial-board discussions). NPR, where I work, recently had a period of time with no Latino reporters on its politics team, before it made two hires.

Meanwhile, verticals and publications courting Latino readers, such as The New York Times’ Spanish-language site, have proliferated. That might seem like progress, but in practice, it often means that outreach to Latino audiences is walled off. The pinnacles of elite journalism remain mostly white.

Why does that matter? Latin American children are being separated from their parents at the border, and hate crimes against Latinos are on the rise. The media have an important role in framing these conversations, and the lack of diversity in newsrooms hobbles their ability to do so.

Consolation, Edvard Munch

The Trump visit to the grieving El Paso community was accompanied by vast ICE Raids in Mississippi that left many children without parents on their first day of school.  We continue to see the complicity but not the criminality of employers in these actions.

Federal agents fanned out across the state on Wednesday and detained about 680 workers at poultry and other food-processing plants. A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said on Thursday that 300 people had been released, as they had no criminal record, or any other reason to remain detained.

If fear and foreboding had taken hold in the Hispanic community here, a sense of uncertainty had settled more broadly over Canton, a city of about 12,000 people a half-hour north of Jackson, the state capital.

A number of residents said that Hispanics, who account for about 5 percent of the city’s population, had arrived in noticeable numbers about 13 years ago. They have tended to cluster and stay to themselves, and their children often translate at parent-teacher conferences, residents said.

And now the questions on many minds: What would happen to the workers? And what would happen to their children? What, too, would happen to the chicken plant? Representatives for Peco Foods declined to say on Thursday how the plant was operating in the wake of the raid, but its parking lot was full, and big trucks were moving in and out. A few workers, black and Hispanic, could be seen walking into the building wearing plastic hair coverings.

Image result for consolation paintings

Harry Beckhoff Consolation (Mid 1940s)

NPR has reported today that 300 of the arrested workers have been released.

The procedures ICE followed in this week’s raids stood in contrast to President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S. border. That policy came under widespread and harsh criticism.

Included among those released in the Mississippi raids were 18 juveniles, with the youngest being 14 years old, the news agency said, quoting Jere Miles, a special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans.

The statement explained that detainees were “asked when they arrived at the processing center whether they had any children who were at school or childcare and needed to be picked up.” It said cellphones were made available for them “to make arrangements for the care of their children or other dependents.”

“[I]f HSI encountered two alien parents with minor children at home, HSI released one of the parents on humanitarian grounds and returned that individual to the place from which they were arrested,” the statement said. “HSI similarly released any single alien parent with minor children at home on humanitarian grounds and physically returned that person to the place where he or she was originally detained.”

“Based on these procedures, it is believed that all children were with at least one of their parents as of last night,” it added.

A plant owned by Illinois-based poultry producer Koch Foods in Morton, Miss., was among five plants targeted in Wednesday’s raids, which involved a total of about 600 ICE officers.

Giorgio de Chirico,
The One Consolation ,1958

BB and I were talking the other day about the Ten Stages of Genocide as defined by Genocide Watch.  Where are we on that list with what we are doing to our Hispanic communities and neighbors?

Nicholas Kamm writes this for TruthOut: ” When Trump Calls People “Filth,” He’s Laying Groundwork for Genocide”

President Trump’s rhetoric of national ethnic cleansing has ushered white supremacy into the mainstream. The Republican Party and right-wing media have consistently tried to launder his racism into excusable bawdy humor or political bloviating. Peel back their lies, and a nightmare becomes visible. Our president has led the nation closer to genocide.

Mass killing does not happen instantly. The ideological groundwork has to be laid. Therefore, we must look at Trump’s rhetoric of “filth,” painting immigrants as both unclean and “criminal.” We must look at his dehumanization of immigrants. If seen through Gregory Stanton’s Stages of Genocide, it is clear that Trump has legitimized the Neo-Nazi ideology that dreams of a Final Solution. It has been obscured because too many think of Europe when they think of genocide. We cannot forget that the United States was founded on genocide. It could end in one.

Trump has been issuing blatantly racist comments, using the language of criminality and refuse, since the beginning of his campaign. “When Mexico sends its people,” Donald Trump said at his 2015 campaign launch, “they’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Three years later in 2018, he said Democrats “want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our country, like MS-13.” In July 2019, he tweeted about four Democratic congresswomen of color, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came?” Later that same month, he tweeted that Baltimore was a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” that “no human would want to live there.”

Trump’s rhetoric of filth, criminality and dehumanization fits into a long white supremacist tradition that imagines non-whites as dirty foreign elements that must be expelled. Or killed. Comedian Joy Behar on The View quickly connected his imagery to history, “‘Infest,’ I think, is a buzzword. The Nazis used it against the Jews, they said vermin … once you start calling people names about that they’re insects, vermin, that they’re lower than humans — then the murders can begin.” She’s right. The 1940 Nazi film, The Eternal Jewportrayed Jews as parasites, criminals and rats. Oppressive speech helped make the Holocaust possible.

This is a long read but well worth it as the author explores each of the stages and estimates that we are moving quickly up to the higher levels under the Trumpist Occupation of the White House.

Johanne Benoit Ritual, Consolation, oil painting, USA/HAITI

Trump’s pogrom is being enabled by his disabling of the Justice Department and of US Intelligence Agencies.  His agenda is to replace professional with ignorant cronies loyal to only him and greed.  Meanwhile, the data on the current rise of White Supremacy and its mainstreaming into the Republican Party is appalling.  No wonder Trump wishes to bury the data.

 Alleged white supremacists were responsible for all race-based domestic terrorism incidents in 2018, according to a government document distributed earlier this year to state, local and federal law enforcement.

The document, which has not been previously reported on, becomes public as the Trump administration’s Justice Department has been unable or unwilling to provide data to Congress on white supremacist domestic terrorism.

The data in this document, titled “Domestic Terrorism in 2018,” appears to be what Congress has been asking for — and didn’t get.

The document, dated April 15, 2019, shows 25 of the 46 individuals allegedly involved in 32 different domestic terrorism incidents were identified as white supremacists. It was prepared by New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security Preparedness, one of the main arteries of information sharing, and sent throughout the DHS fusion center network as well as federal agencies, including the FBI.

“This map reflects 32 domestic terrorist attacks, disrupted plots, threats of violence, and weapons stockpiling by individuals with a radical political or social agenda who lack direction or influence from foreign terrorist organizations in 2018,” the document says.

The map and data was circulated throughout the Department of Justice and around the country in April just as members of the Senate pushed the DOJ to provide them with precise information about the number of white supremacists involved in domestic terrorism. While the document shows this information clearly had been compiled, some of the senators say the Justice Department would not give them the figures.

 

You can see the map at the link above to Yahoo News.  You can also read about White Supremacist Journalist Tucker and enabler Kelly Ann Conway at this NewsWeek link:  “KELLYANNE CONWAY DEFENDS TUCKER CARLSON, SAYS WHITE SUPREMACY GETS ‘OUTSIZED COVERAGE’ COMPARED TO ANTIFA”. Carslon has gone fishing–literally–for a few weeks to let his complicit work towards normalizing White Nationalism and Replacement theory. cool down.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday, arguing that his assertion that white supremacy is a “hoax” was getting “outsized coverage” compared to other threats.

Conway made the comments during an interview with pundit Eric Bolling on his show America This Week. Bolling asked the Trump aide whether or not white supremacy was a “quote unquote hoax” as Carlson had asserted on his show this week. Although Conway said that white supremacy is not a hoax, she deflected to other perceived threats.

“I think perhaps what Tucker is saying, but you’d have to ask him, is that the outsized coverage it gets versus all forms of hate,” the Trump administration official said, pointing specifically to the left-wing ideology of Antifa and calling out anti-semitism. Notably, many white supremacists often spout anti-semitic rhetoric. As for Antifa, the far-left group has been known to damage property and occasionally fight with police, but no killings have ever been linked to them.

“All forms of hate have to really – they have to be reigned in,” Conway continued. “We have to look at the motivations. We have to try to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are capable of doing such evil,” she added.

On Tuesday evening, Carlson claimed on his Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight that white supremacy was a “hoax” and a “conspiracy theory used to divide the country.”

“It’s actually not a real problem in America. The combined membership of every white supremacist organization in this country would be able to fit inside a college football stadium,” the Fox News host argued. Continuing, he said, “it’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”

Despite Carlson’s assertions, FBI director Christopher Wray, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month saying that “the majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.” Government and watchdog stats have also pointed to a rise in white supremacist violence in recent years, with many Trump critics arguing that the president has emboldened such attackers and hate groups.

This both siderism is the most insidious form of duplicity in covering up evil that I’ve ever encountered in my adult life.  At least own up to what you’re about like Bannon, Miller and Gorka.

WarMart is the new battlefield but they’ve not removed the guns; only violent video games.

They’re setting our neighborhoods on fire. And, he’s egging them on.

If you want to follow an intelligent Discourse on Racism and White Supremacy on Twitter, here is you man.

I keep hoping we can find a way out of this situation.  I’m glad to see that mass publication of Trump donors that include many businesses allows us to at least boycott his enablers.  But, this runs so deep in our history and country and in many communities, it’s easy for me to despair daily.

I think it’s important we truly console each other but also that we stand up by simply being good neighbors and Americans.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 


23 Comments on “Fresh Hell Friday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    We lost his voice here in New Orleans but Ohio gave him a new platform … He’s worth reading always.

    Take some time to be kind to yourself today!!!

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    I also question the “wisdom” of the grandfather allowing that poor baby to return to the hospital as a prop for the man whose words instigated this assault.

    What was he thinking? The baby is real, not a prop for some photo op with President Stupid with his “thumbs up”pose that accompanies every picture at every event.

    People are so ignorant and those willing to cluster around Trump, smiling and giggling, are ridiculous.

    You can’t fix stupid.

    • bostonboomer says:

      The man in the photo with the Trumps and the baby is the baby’s uncle. I read an interview with him. He is a Trump supporter and he says his brother also supported Trump. Hard to believe, I know. That poor child. He is 2 months old and Melania is not even supporting his neck.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    The Manson Family murders took place 50 years ago yesterday and today.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      Charlie tried to ignite a race war with a handful of deluded miscreants and oddballs.

      The Circus Peanut in Chief is proving that Charlie’s problem was scale.

      • quixote says:

        “The Circus Peanut in Chief is proving that Charlie’s problem was scale.”

        Bullseye.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The race war thing was just a story Vincent Bugliosi created to use in court, I agree that Trump’s crimes are beyond anything Manson dreamed of. He is certainly responsible for more deaths.

        • RonStill4Hills says:

          Agreed. I always felt that the Helter Skelter narrative was more Bugliosi’s imagination than reality.

  5. RonStill4Hills says:

    Nobody does mothers and children like Mary Cassatt. All of the images of comfort are beautiful and timely. Bravo.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. jackyt says:

    I think Charles Blow’s column from yesterday is a ‘must-read’:

    What every pale USian needs to internalize:

    “When you are not the target of this man’s hate, you can object on moral grounds, as an exercise of principle. But you have chosen the fight.

    For the targets, the fight chose us. It dragged us in. We have two choices: be pummeled or fight back.

    And the even more stinging part is that fighting and discrimination and oppression are not new to us. We know this struggle. We end our lives with a spirit covered in scar tissue. We endeavor every day to not let our weariness drift into despair.

    Each morning, we rise, adjust our armor and set our minds, so that we can continue the battle, but also celebrate our victories and not forget to wring bits of joy out of life.”

  8. dakinikat says:

  9. Minkoff Minx says:

    At the Walmart here in Dahlonega…on Monday, a white male was arrested, walking around in bullet proof outfit…taking note of security cameras.

    • bostonboomer says:

      OMG, the crazies are coming out of the woodwork. I wouldn’t go near a Walmart now, even if there were any of them near me.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    This essay by Dahlia Lithwick is right on target.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Trump cannot function in reality. He lives in a hall of mirrors with his made-for-TV family, as the national security apparatus, the national intelligence apparatus, the foreign service, and foreign policy detonate all around him. And on the rare occasion on which he is called to step out from behind the glass panopticon that he has built, he fails, spectacularly, because that which really matters can’t be tweeted or reduced to a campaign video.

    Americans will soon have to choose whether or not they want to live forever in Donald Trump’s reality—the one in which words don’t matter, and everything is a ratings game, and proximity to the famous and the beautiful is the epitome of a life well lived. If that is the only value left, Donald Trump’s is indeed the presidency perfected. For those of us who still live in reality, the photo-op with the orphaned baby is proof positive that Trump’s is not a big life, or a real life. It’s just smallness, refracted a million times over, which is nevertheless impossibly small.

  12. bostonboomer says:

  13. dakinikat says:

    This is the most spot on piece I have ever read on that photo op …