Lazy Caturday Reads: Post-Debate Speculation

Edvard Meownch

Good Afternoon!!

The mainstream (AKA white male) media has decided for us that only the oldest (white) Democratic candidates are acceptable to them. It also appears they have mostly rejected Bernie Sanders and embraced Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. I’d like to offer some rare counterarguments, even though it might be a futile exercise.

Henry Olsen at The Washington Post: The three big winners of the Houston debate.

Thursday’s Democratic debate lacked the sparks and conflicts that characterized the first two outings. It nonetheless produced three clear winners: former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

Obviously, I disagree with Olsen about Biden but, after all, he is a white man. He does note that Biden “weakened” over the course of the three hours and gave “convoluted” answers to foreign policy questions. He doesn’t mention Biden’s racist response to a question about overcoming the long-term effects of slavery. On Harris and Klobuchar:

By Tetsuo Takahara

Harris was charismatic. Alternately funny and serious, warm and strong, she came across as a real person with real experience and a passion for change. Her answers lacked some of the policy detail of her competitors, but she more than made up for that with her wit and some planned one-liners. Former Obama Cabinet secretary Julián Castro spoke about how Democratic presidential winners excited millions of voters to put together their victorious coalitions. His low-energy performance did not show he was the person to do that, but Harris’s suggested she could.

Whether she can turn a winning persona into a winning campaign remains to be seen. Democrats looking for passionate progressivism have found their champions, and Harris wisely is not trying to out-shout Sanders or Warren. Democrats looking for a steady, more centrist hand also have their person, and Biden thus far hasn’t given them reason to change. But the race is still young, and we know from experience that candidates drop rapidly in the face of attacks and under the pressure of the moment. If Harris can keep this up, she is positioned to pick up former supporters of any of the top three if they falter.

Klobuchar was the surprise of the night, finally showing some energy and life. Her opening statement carefully presented her case as the Midwestern working mom who can unite the country while advancing liberal policy goals. Cleverly blasting Sanders’s signature Medicare-for-all proposal by saying, “While Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill,” was a masterstroke. Her closing statement was superb as she argued that only someone from the middle of the country could speak to the middle of the political spectrum.

By Anatoly Merkushov

She won’t gain much in the polls from her performance, but it nonetheless demonstrates how she could break out of the pack. Her standing in Iowa polls is slightly higher than her national standing, and her debate strategy was laser-targeted on the Iowa voter who isn’t a staunch progressive.

Christopher Frizzelle at The Stranger: Kamala Harris Landed One Solid Blow After Another Against Trump.

Kamala Harris may not be my number-one choice for nominee, but hot damn she can land a punch. At a previous debate, she took her prosecutorial skills straight to Joe Biden. Last night, she changed tack and went for Trump, over and over again. In doing so, she demonstrated what kind of adversary she would be in general-election debates against Trump, and probably did herself some favors by making it easier to picture her as the nominee. (Not that “winning” debates against Trump in a general election would necessarily mean beating him: Hillary Clinton’s debate performances were flawless).

See videos of Harris’ attacks on Trump at the link. Here’s her opening statement:

 

On the Biden front, I posted this piece by Jamil Smith in a comment yesterday, but it’s so important that I’m posting again here:

As you can see from these few articles in which I found praise of Harris, she probably will never be accepted as a legitimate candidate by the media or the “Justice Democrats,” who favor Sanders and Warren. But it’s possible she could attract the black vote if Biden drops out. And we need the black vote.

Rolling Stone: Why It’s Time for Joe to Go.

Donald Trump is not merely a bully, but a racist one. Bigotry has been the marrow of his presidency, so whoever hopes to face him next year will need to at least be fluent in the language of antiracism, if not be practicing it. It is not enough, as author Ibram X. Kendi writes in his new book How to Be an Antiracist, to simply claim that you are “not a racist.” Democrats, particularly white liberals, have skated on that for generations. There is too much institutional cruelty for the next president to undo should a Democrat defeat Trump next fall….

By Robert Romanowicz

Thankfully, ABC seemed to understand this. They had excellent moderators, including Univision’s Jorge Ramos and ABC correspondent Linsey Davis, the panel’s only African American. She asked several questions of the entire field that provoked the kind of frank and open discussion of black concerns and political interests that is rare for a presidential debate. It was fitting, given the setting on the historically black campus of Texas Southern University, but also because Davis said that young black voters consider racism their chief concern….

Davis…directed a question at Biden concerning his alarming 1975 comments on school segregation. She read the full quote, “I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather, I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation, and I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago,” and Biden smirked oddly as she did so. The correspondent followed up by asking, “What responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?” Without missing a beat, the Democratic front-runner delivered a response that was considerably more disqualifying than anything Castro said all night.

Having just had something offensive that he said 44 years ago quoted back to him, Biden took the opportunity to say something that was arguably worse.

Night City by Marija Jevtic

After proposing that teacher raises are the first step to undoing the legacy of slavery, Biden said the following. It’s worth reading in full.

Number two, make sure that we bring in to help the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home, we need — we have one school psychologist for every 1,500 kids in America today. It’s crazy.

The teachers are — I’m married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. We have — make sure that every single child does, in fact, have 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds go to school. School. Not daycare. School. We bring social workers into homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children.

It’s not that they don’t want to help. They don’t — they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the — the — make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.

That’s the current front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination a) first appearing to treat the mere mention of an old segregationist quote of his as ridiculous, then b) responding to a question about repairing the legacy of slavery by saying that the government needs to have teachers go into the homes of kids in poor schools to teach the parents how to raise those children. And what color are the children, disproportionately, going to those poor schools? Nowhere in that answer is a prescription for making the poor families less so, nor for improving the schools. It’s the kind of paternalistic racism that has so long existed in both liberal and conservative circles, and was on Thursday night spilling out of the mouth of the former vice president on the campus of an HBCU. It was all quite a sight to behold.

Theophile Steinlen lithograph, 1909

Jamil Smith is right. We need an anti-racist candidate if we are going to defeat Trump. Biden can’t pass that test, and so far Warren hasn’t done it either. I guess we’ll find out if she has it in her as time goes on, but so far what we have is her claim of Native Americans blood that offended actual Native Americans and the fact that Trump will repeatedly call her “Pocahantas” in the general election campaign if she’s the nominee.

Jonathan Chait has an interesting argument about what may be happening in the Democratic primary race: What If the Only Democrat Who Isn’t Too Radical to Win Is Too Old?

Here is a science-fiction scenario: Imagine a strange new virus that incapacitates everybody below the age of 75. The virus wipes out the entire political leadership, except one old man, who has survived on account of his age, but may also be too old to handle the awesome task before him.

Now suppose — and I am not certain this is the case, but just suppose — that this is happening to the Democratic presidential campaign. The virus is Twitter, and the old man is (duh) Joe Biden.

Apparently Chait doesn’t see Sanders as a Democrat, and I agree with him. Chait argues that after 2016, liberal Democrats bought into the notion that, based on Bernie Sanders’ performance in the primaries, voters were ready to embrace the most progressive ideas and policies and that Trump’s election proved that “a nominee with extreme positions could still win.”

Dan Casado 2012

Neither of these conclusions was actually correct. The Bernie Sanders vote encompassed voters who opposed Hillary Clinton for a wide array of reasons — including that she was too liberal — and were overall slightly to the right of Clinton voters. And political-science findings that general election voters tend to punish more ideologically extreme candidates remain very much intact. (Trump benefited greatly by distancing himself rhetorically from his party’s unpopular small-government positions, and voters saw him as more moderate than previous Republican nominees, even though he predictably reverted to partisan form once in office.)

And yet, this analysis seemed to race unchallenged through the Democratic Party from about 2016 — it seemed to influence Clinton, who declined the traditional lurch toward the center after vanquishing Sanders — through this year.

Of course after Trump won, the media and many Democrats bought into the idea that they needed to work harder to win over white working class voters, but Chait doesn’t mention that.

Nowhere was the gap between perception and reality more dramatic than on health care. In the run-up to the primary, most of the field signed on to Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All plan. Sanders had not managed to work out solutions to the obstacles that have bedeviled single-payer health-care supporters for decades: How to assure Americans who currently have employer-sponsored insurance to accept higher taxes and that they’ll be happier on a public plan.

Engraving, 19th century, by George White, Vermont.

Kamala Harris has had second thoughts, and has twisted herself into a pretzel trying to wriggle away from the proposal. Cory Booker has largely avoided discussing it. Elizabeth Warren was signaling last year that she would support more moderate reforms, but has instead handcuffed herself to the Sanders plan.

The vulnerabilities of this position have been on bright display in every Democratic debate. Neither Warren nor Sanders could supply a coherent response to the question of whether middle-class voters would pay higher taxes or whether they would like being moved off their employer plan. “I’ve never met anybody who likes their health-insurance company,” Warren insisted, eliding the clear reality that most people who have employer-sponsored insurance do like it. When asked about higher taxes, they dodged by changing the question to total costs. And while it’s probably true that they could design a plan where higher wages — by taking insurance off the company books — would cancel out the high taxes, neither inspired confidence that they could persuade skeptical voters they’d come out ahead in the deal.

The odd thing about this race to the left is that there’s little evidence it appeals to the primary electorate, let alone the general election version. Democrats strongly support universal coverage, but have lukewarm feelings on the mechanism to attain this. They prefer reforms that involve a combination of public and private options over the Bernie movement’s manic obsession with crushing private health insurance.

This applies as well to the party’s general ideological orientation. More Democratic voters express concern the party will nominate a candidate who’s too liberal (49 percent) than one who’s not liberal enough (41 percent). By a similar 54–41 margin, more Democrats want their party to move toward the center than toward the left.

It’s an interesting article and there’s more at the link. I don’t agree with Chait on everything, but I do think Democrats need to think carefully about whether focusing on unrealistic policies that will never get through Congress instead of on the dangers of a Trump second term is a winning strategy.

This post is too long, but I want to call attention to one more important article by Dahlia Lithwick at Slate: What Happens if Trump Won’t Step Down? National security expert Josh Geltzer on why we should be prepared for the worst.

Min Zhen, The Black Cat, 18th century, Princeton University Art Museum

In February, Georgetown Law professor Josh Geltzer began to ponder aloud what would happen if President Donald Trump refused to leave office were he to be defeated in 2020. It sounded far-fetched, but Geltzer isn’t a conspiracy theorist. Actually, he served as senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council and, prior to that, as deputy legal adviser to the NSC and counsel to the assistant attorney general for national security. When he wrote his essay suggesting that perhaps it was time to start preparing for if Trump, who has repeatedly shown a willingness to overstep his constitutional authority, simply refused to leave the Oval Office, he was met with silence. When Michael Cohen warned in his March testimony before Congress, “given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 there will never be a peaceful transition of power,” he too was met with awkward silence. But the anxieties gradually began to grow. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fretted about this possibility in a May interview in the New York Times. When Politico probed the question this summer, it noted: “Constitutional experts and top Republican lawmakers dismiss the fears as nonsense, noting there are too many forces working against a sitting president simply clinging to power—including history, law and political pressure.” But commentators now seem less confident in those forces.

On Thursday, Edward Luce at the Financial Times noted how often Trump jokes about having a third term, observing that, because of Trump’s belief that he could face prosecution after he leaves office, “no other US president has faced the prospect of being re-elected or going to jail.” He added that for Trump, losing the 2020 election is an existential threat, and he has openly invited foreign interference, while Mitch McConnell refuses to even consider legislation to secure the vote. And even if Trump is truly joking when he tweets that he deserves to be credited two extra years in his existing term, years he believes were lost to the Mueller probe, or riffs on staying on the job long after he’d been term-limited out, the tweets send a dangerous message to his loyalists.

Please go read the whole thing.

So . . . what stories are you following? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a peaceful, relaxing weekend.


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?

 


Tuesday Reads: Toni Morrison, Trump’s Gaslighting, and Other News

Gustav Klimt, Tree of Life

Good Morning!!

The news just broke that Toni Morrison has died. I’m sorry to say that I haven’t read her work; maybe now would be a good time to start. The Washington Post: Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate who transfigured American literature, dies at 88.

Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist who conjured a black girl longing for blue eyes, a slave mother who kills her child to save her from bondage, and other indelible characters who helped transfigure a literary canon long closed to African Americans, died Aug. 5 at a hospital in the Bronx. She was 88….

Ms. Morrison spent an impoverished childhood in Ohio steel country, began writing during what she described as stolen time as a single mother, and became the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in literature. Critically acclaimed and widely loved, she received recognitions as diverse as the Pulitzer Prize and the selection of her novels — four of them — for the book club led by talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

Ms. Morrison placed African Americans, particularly women, at the heart of her writing at a time when they were largely relegated to the margins both in literature and in life. With language celebrated for its lyricism, she was credited with conveying as powerfully, or more than perhaps any novelist before her, the nature of black life in America, from slavery to the inequality that went on more than a century after it ended.

Morrison begins the essay, published in 2015 in the 150th anniversary edition of The Nation, by recalling her despairing thoughts after George W. Bush was reelected in 2004. Was she foreshadowing our future under Trump?

Dictators and tyrants routinely begin their reigns and sustain their power with the deliberate and calculated destruction of art: the censorship and book-burning of unpoliced prose, the harassment and detention of painters, journalists, poets, playwrights, novelists, essayists. This is the first step of a despot whose instinctive acts of malevolence are not simply mindless or evil; they are also perceptive. Such despots know very well that their strategy of repression will allow the real tools of oppressive power to flourish. Their plan is simple:

1. Select a useful enemy—an “Other”—to convert rage into conflict, even war.

2. Limit or erase the imagination that art provides, as well as the critical thinking of scholars and journalists.

3. Distract with toys, dreams of loot, and themes of superior religion or defiant national pride that enshrine past hurts and humiliations.

Harmonia Rosales, the Birth of Eve

The Nation could never have existed or flourished in 1940s Spain, or 2014 Syria, or apartheid South Africa, or 1930s Germany. And the reason is clear. It was born in the United States in 1865, the year of Lincoln’s assassination, when political division was stark and lethal—during, as my friend said, times of dread. But no prince or king or dictator could interfere successfully or forever in a country that seriously prized freedom of the press. This is not to say there weren’t elements that tried censure, but they could not, over the long haul, win.

In these demoralizing days and nights in Trump world, we need artists and journalists so much more than in Bush’s awful presidency.

We are still feeling the aftershocks of the latest mass shootings in California, Texas, and Ohio. Yesterday Trump was forced to read someone else’s words from a teleprompter; it didn’t take long for him to go back to tweeting his resentments. We all knew he was gaslighting us. Nothing he could ever say or do will erase the damage he has done with the ugly racism, xenophobia, and hatred he has spewed since he announced his campaign for president in 2015. He words and deeds have enabled white supremacists and encouraged them to act out violently.

Politico: Trump attacks Obama for statement on shootings.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday attacked former President Barack Obama over the latter’s statement on the weekend’s mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, tweeting edited quotes from Fox News hosts to make his point and again claiming he is “the least racist person” in the world.

“From the Dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz to the Revolution – The Revolutionaries.” 1957-65, Diego Rivera

“‘Did George Bush ever condemn President Obama after Sandy Hook. President Obama had 32 mass shootings during his reign. Not many people said Obama is out of Control,’” Trump wrote online. “’Mass shootings were happening before the President even thought about running for Pres.’ @kilmeade @foxandfriends”

Trump’s message was a distillation of a sentiment “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade expressed on air shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. The president followed up that tweet with another post paraphrasing a comment from Kilmeade’s morning show colleague, Ainsley Earhardt.

“‘It’s political season and the election is around the corner. They want to continue to push that racist narrative.’ @ainsleyearhardt @foxandfriends,” Trump continued. “And I am the least racist person. Black, Hispanic and Asian Unemployment is the lowest (BEST) in the history of the United States!”

Obama on Monday afternoon lamented the violence that transpired Saturday morning in El Paso, Texas, and early Sunday morning in Dayton, Ohio, which left at least 31 people dead and injured dozens more.

In his statement, Obama called on Americans to “soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments.” The former president did not mention Trump, or any other politician, by name.

Obama simply did what Trump could not and would not do: act like a president.

Gizmodo: Trump Boosts Fired Google Engineer Who Proposed Richard Spencer Fundraiser, Suggested Skinheads Rebrand.

On Monday morning, President Donald Trump finally took the time to issue a (hollow and thoroughly unconvincing) denunciation of white supremacy in the wake of mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas over the weekend that collectively resulted in at least 31 deaths and scores of injuries—in the latter case involving a gunman whose manifesto clearly reflected Trump’s racist immigration rhetoric and reportedly targeted Hispanics.

Tree of Hope Remain Strong, Frida Kahlo

Of course, it never takes long for him to return to his usual bullshit. So it’s the opposite of surprising that by Monday evening, Trump was posting clips from a Fox News interview with a former Google engineer who claimed the company discriminated against him for his conservative political views. In reality, said employee had reportedly urged other Googlers to contribute to a “bounty” to find an individual who punched white supremacist Richard Spencer, as well as suggested that the Golden State Skinheads (GSS) rebrand so as to provide better “branding” for the “American nationalist Right.”

In the clip from Lou Dobbs Tonight posted to the president’s feed at 9:33 p.m. ET, former Google engineer Kevin Cernekee parroted debunked claims that the company’s executives “want to use all the power and all the resources that they have to control the flow of information to the public and make sure that Trump loses in 2020.” This dovetails nicely with Trump’s grudge against Google, which along with all of the president’s other perceived political enemies, he has targeted with baseless smears and doctored videos asserting a devious conspiracy against him.

While many news outlets were reporting on the stunning hypocrisy of Trump’s speech on the mass shootings, The New York Times chose to take Trump’s words at face value with a headline that was quickly attacked on Twitter.

The Washington Post: ‘The headline was bad’: New York Times amends front page on Trump’s response to mass shootings after backlash.

The New York Times weathered intense backlash Monday night for its front-page headline about President Trump’s response to the pair of mass shootings that read: “TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM.”

A preview of Tuesday’s front page shared to social media sparked instant criticism from members of the public, journalists and politicians, including several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, many of whom took issue with how the publication framed Trump’s comments on the weekend attacks in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, that left at least 31 people dead and dozens injured. In the aftermath of the tragedies, major media outlets have faced scrutiny from all sides over how they confront Trump and his often inflammatory rhetoric.

About an hour after the headline went viral, the Times announced it had amended its wording.

“The headline was bad and has been changed for the second edition,” a spokesperson for the Times told The Washington Post in an email.

Later editions of the print paper feature the words, “ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS.” Subheads above the two stories about Trump’s speech were also changed.

It’s the new “but her emails.” It’s time for executive editor Dean Baquet to resign.

The Washington Post story was more in line with reality: Teleprompter Trump meets Twitter Trump as the president responds to mass slayings.

Teleprompter Trump repudiated Twitter Trump in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on Monday.

Speaking in the wake of two mass shootings in less than 24 hours that left at least 31 dead over the weekend, President Trump spoke of “the inherent worth and dignity of every human life” and the scourge of “destructive partisanship.”

Venceremos (We Will Win), Rina Lazo, 1954

“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” the president said, reading from a script that scrolled on a teleprompter in front of him. He added, “Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside — so destructive — and find the courage to answer hatred with unity, devotion and love.”

That unifying message stood in stark contrast tomore than 2½ years of name-calling, demonizing minorities and inflaming racial animus, much of it carried out on Twitter. Just two hours before his White House speech, Trump tweeted an attack on the “Fake News” media for contributing to a culture of “anger and rage.” And in another set of tweets, the president suggested pairing “strong background checks” with “desperately needed immigration reform” — then dropped the matter entirely during his speech.

Such is the picture of a divisive leader trying to act as a healer, particularly in the aftermath of Saturday’s anti-immigrant attack in El Paso, where officials are still investigating but believe the alleged gunman posted a manifesto that echoed Trump’s harsh rhetoric on immigrants, including describing his attack as “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Trump, in tweets and in rallies, has repeatedly decried the “invasion” of undocumented immigrants across the nation’s southern border.

More stories to check out:

Max Fisher at The New York Times: White Terrorism Shows ‘Stunning’ Parallels to Islamic State’s Rise.

Ali Soufan at The New York Times: I Spent 25 Years Fighting Jihadis. White Supremacists Aren’t So Different.

The Daily Beast: DHS Official: Trump Can’t Admit ‘This Is Terrorism.’

Los Angeles Times: Foreign countries are warning their citizens about U.S. travel after mass shootings.

Los Angeles Times: Trump officials have redirected resources from countering far-right, racism-fueled domestic terrorism.

USA Today: Hypocritical talk, worse action: Trump dismantled tools to fight white supremacist terrorism.

The Dallas News: Donald Trump, who’s going to El Paso this week, owes city more than $500K for his February rally.

The Texas Tribune: A racist manifesto and a shooter terrorize Hispanics in El Paso and beyond.

The Texas Tribune: Running while brown: How Julián Castro is navigating white presidential politics.

The Washington Post: Ex-girlfriend says Dayton shooter heard voices, talked about ‘dark, evil things.


Monday Reads: Racism defines that Basket of Deplorables

Image result for paintings black and brown children vintageGood Morning Sky Dancers!

Racism has always defined the life and times of the Slum Lord’s son occupying the White House who was undoubtedly planted there with hacking by Russians as well as baskets of deplorables.  Will racism continue to define the future of this country as well as its past? What can we do to end our national nightmare?

The much publicized Trumpkins Twitter Rampage we endured the last few weeks comes from a sick mind and heart of some one who is very insecure about his unearned success.  This same some one is very much aware he’s out of his league, probably facing jail time if he loses the election, and likely to learn more every day that he is a joke among national leaders who recognize him for the small minded bigot and thug he is.  So, rather than do a little soul searching, he blames completely innocent people whose only discernible distinction is how their skin handles melanin.

We never think these Twitter Rampages could get uglier but they always do. The uncouth, hateful bigot that occupies the Oval Office keeps finding new lows since there are no more functioning guards on the man and few guardrails to contain his sociopathic behavior.  The last one will go this week, the stoic Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates  His replacement will undoubtedly purge what ever he can of evidence showing the Russians–with the help of the Trump Family Crime syndicate–stole our elections.

But meanwhile, Esteemed Congressman Elijah Cummings and the city and people of Baltimore are under systemic racist attack. He’s angry so why not pick on good people of color and others? The rest of us must come to their defense or lose our souls.  We all must rid our country of Trump or lose our hope for democracy and a more perfect union.

Here is some commentary that might interest you on the topic.

Most of us laughed when the many in the media went out of their way to say that the Republican base just faced “economic uncertainty” and Trump was simply a result of that. These are people that have ignored the systemic race baiting of the Republican party since Nixon–the so-called Southern Strategy–and the howls of white evangelicals in the south who wanted their schools kept segregated and found no quarter in the Democratic Party under LBJ. Trump’s Racism defines that party and any one that doesn’t damn his bigoted public attacks on the many shades of brown and black Americans to whom this country owes much is complicit and racist.

<i>Echoes of Harlem</i>, 1980, By Faith Ringgold (American, b. 1930); Acrylic on canvas; 79 1/2 x 80 1/2 inches; The Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of Altria Group, Inc.; Courtesy American Federation of Arts; ©1980 Faith Ringgold

Echos of Harlem, 1980 Faith Ringgold

From Bloomberg Opinion and Timothy L O’Brien:  “Trump’s Racism Infests the Republican Party”.

Over this past weekend Trump put Cummings and his Baltimore district in his crosshairs, tweeting at him 17 times in a racially-charged salvo of alternately bigoted, hostile and inaccurate insults that commenced at 7:14 a.m. on Saturday and concluded at 6:49 a.m. on Monday. Baltimore and its neighboring areas, the president allowed, were a “very dangerous & filthy place” and a “rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.” Cummings was “incompetent” and a “brutal bully” responsible for Baltimore’s problems, a “racist” who “spends all of his time trying to hurt innocent people.” As he has done before, Trump also retweeted the musings of a far-right British pundit who is a self-described racist to make his case against Cummings.

A broad, diverse swath of Baltimore residents and supporters responded to Trump by coming to Cummings’s and their city’s defense, acknowledging that Baltimore had myriad problems, including crime and poverty, but was hardly the noxious monolith the president was slagging. #WeAreBaltimore became a ubiquitous hashtag and a rallying cry on social media. Perhaps the most poignant and powerful voice in all of that was a CNN anchor, Victor Blackwell, who was born in Baltimore and noted during a pointed, emotional broadcast on Saturday that Trump frequently uses the words “infested” and “infestation” when describing the homes or countries of people of color.

“Donald Trump has tweeted more than 43,000 times. He’s insulted thousands of people, many different types of people. But when he tweets about infestation, it’s about black and brown people,” Blackwell said. “There are challenges, no doubt. But people are proud of their community. I don’t want to sound self-righteous, but people get up and go to work there. They care for their families there. They love their children, who pledge allegiance to the flag just like people who live in districts of congressmen who support you, sir. They are Americans, too.”

One person who has yet to speak out on Cummings’s behalf is his good friend, Meadows. The congressman from North Carolina, like his entire political party, has remained silent while Trump – an inveterate racist– has spent yet another weekend targeting a high-profile Democrat of color in heinous, prejudiced ways. In that context, Meadows is a proxy for the lack of political courage and moral clarity in Trump’s Republican Party.

Mick Mulvaney, the president’s acting chief of staff, sat for an interview with Fox News on Sunday and said there was nothing racist about Trump’s comments. “If I had poverty in my district like they have in Baltimore,” Mulvaney said, “I’d get fired.” (Mulvaney’s old South Carolina district does have poverty rates like Baltimore’s – as do many of the ruralred state districts that Trump avoids criticizing).

Frida Kahlo, The Broken Column, 1944, Museo Dolores Olmedo Broken Column frida kahlo

The Broken Column, Frida Kahlo

Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post reminds Republicans that ‘32,000 JEWS LIVE IN BALTIMORE DISTRICT, TRUMP: ‘NO HUMAN’ WANTS TO” and that “Elijah Cummings, bashed by Trump, helps sponsor month-long summer program in Israel for black students”.

Elijah Cummings, the African-American Baltimore congressman who found himself on the receiving end of a Twitter thrashing from US President Donald Trump, has a LARGE number of Jewish residents in his district, is close with the local Jewish community, and for the last two decades has helped sponsor a trip to Israel for black students from his district.

In 2014, Maryland’s 7th district, where Trump said “no human would want to live,” housed some 32,000 Jews, 4.46% of the population in the district. According to data in the Jewish Federations of North America’s Berman Jewish Data Bank, this district would rank in the top 65 of America’s 435 congressional districts with the largest Jewish population.

The chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Cummings has been sharply critical of Trump’s immigration policies. Earlier this month he slammed acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan during a Congressional hearing over border conditions along the Mexican frontier, and his committee has launched a number of investigations of the Trump White House.

On Saturday, Trump hit back.

“Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous,” Trump tweeted. “His district is considered the Worst in the USA.”

Cumming’s district, Trump said, “is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.” The president said that Cummings’ district, WHICH INCLUDES western Baltimore, “is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately.”

For the last two decades, Cummings has partnered with the Baltimore Jewish Council in backing the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel (ECYP), a two-year leadership fellowship that aspires to build leadership and bridges between the African-American and Jewish communities.

Some 200 students have participated in the program, with its centerpiece being a month spent in Israel. The students live at the Yemin Orde Youth Village south of Haifa and are paired, as its promotional literature says, “with displaced teens from over 24 countries, including Ethiopia, Israel, South America, Europe and the former states of the Soviet Union.”

Jonathan Capehart of WAPO does not mince words “In Trump’s America, the ‘basket of deplorables’ is overflowing”.

When you’re a person of color — whether in politics, journalism or regular life — you’re accustomed to folks demanding that you criticize or denounce people, especially if they look like you. Some of them deserve criticism for what they’ve said. (See Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.) Some of them aren’t worth the oxygen required of denunciation because they are marginal characters who don’t have any power. (See Louis Farrakhan.) But we do it because it is the moral and right thing to do.

Yet, the president of the United States goes on a racist tear against Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the House oversight committee, and his Baltimore district, and there is virtual silence from the president’s supporters. The president of the United States goes on a racist tear against Omar and three other women of color elected to serve in the House of Representatives, and there is virtual silence. The president of the United States stands back for 13 seconds as his bread-and-circuses crowd brays “Send her back!” about Omar, and there is virtual silence. Actually, it’s worse than that. Excuses are made.

Facing a grilling from Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said of Trump’s racist tweets: “It has absolutely zero to do with race.” He told Margaret Brennan, the host of CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” about the racist tweets about Baltimore, “I understand that everything that Donald Trump says is offensive to some people.”

Image result for mexican american art paintings images

Woman with a Basket of Calla Lilies, mural details, José Clemente Orozco,

So, there’s this op ed also from WAPO and it’s not that the facts on the ground are wrong, because they aren’t.  It’s not that a lot of things under Trump are wrong, because they are.  It’s not even that the list of Trump’s evil is longer than one issue, because it’s way longer.

It’s this.  The discussion today is and should be about Racism and the evil that the Republicans and Trump are doing to people who are Americans and people that want to be Americans simply because they are some shade of brown.  Racist  screeds and actions inciting white nationalists to violence are enough to Damn The Occupant of the White House to hell and Impeachment.

Fred Hiatt warns people not to be complacent under Trump just because the Recovery is still present today.  Coming from a chocolate city with a lot of recent South Amercan and Mexican transplants, I can tell you that the only people that could possibly be complacent under Trump because of the economy are white people.  And white people of a certain DEPLORABILITY at that.  I cannot imagine a black or brown person living in this country today that is complacent about Trump.

To the world, it is not just Trump taking these positions. It is America. The damage will be long-lasting.

And his ignorance and cynicism reverberate through some of the biggest stories of our time: the confidence of authoritarian strongmen in China, Russia and beyond; their distortion of technology from a liberating force into a malevolent tool of surveillance and suppression; the destructive warming of the climate, which the United States ignores and abets. None of these is easily reversible.

The story is similar, if more familiar, at home. The constant, willful lying; the attacks on the press and on the very idea of truth — these are not harmless. They draw from but also foster a lack of trust that will persist long after his presidency.

So does the racism. So do the ugly attacks on immigrants. So do the contempt for science and the refusal to stand up to foreign attacks on our elections. So do the disparaging of public servants and the casual threats to wield the vast powers of the federal government against perceived political enemies. These things used to be not okay. Now they are okay. There will be no easy return.

Yes, we’ve avoided recession, the nation is (mostly) at peace, the government will not default. Naturally, we are thankful.

Image result for portrait barack obama

Official portrait of President Barack Obama , Kehinde Wiley Official portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama, Amy Sherald

Dear Fred (fellow white human being).  The racism is not a side show or an afterthought.  It’s not one point in a long list today.  It’s the central theme (Send them Back), the ongoing theme (Many Good People on both sides), the first spoken theme (Drug Dealing and Rapist Mexicans), and the ever present theme (shit hole countries and infested American cities). The dog whistles and race baiting Republicans have employed to wink and nod at bigots have finally come full circle.  The policies of Voter Suppression, Family Separation, and White Nationalism are a pogrom. They are a Republican Pogrom worthy of the KKK.

Jeet Heer has something to say about that in The Nation and it harkens back to something deeper and stated here for quite some time.

The contrast between Trump’s utter disdain for non-white lawmakers and his willingness to chastise an American ally on behalf of a jailed musician is partly traceable to the president’s special warmth for celebrities, especially if they praise him. It’s a bluntly personal response: if you criticize Trump, as Cummings and others have, you’re his enemy. If you are Trump’s pal, he’ll go the extra mile to help you out.

The priority Trump gives to transactional relationships gives some credence to Senator Lindsey Graham’s argument that the president is a narcissist rather than a racist.

But Graham’s formulation is too simple. It’s more accurate to say Trump’s racism and narcissism are both facets of his desire to rule like a feudal lord. If we see Trump as a would-be baron or an aspiring king, then his varied reaction to people of color makes sense: he loves those who pledge loyalty to him and hates those who defy him in any way.

Writing in the November/December issue of The New Left Review, University of California sociologist Dylan Riley challenged the popular view, found across the political spectrum, that Trump is a fascist. Using the ideas of Max Weber, Riley argued that Trump was rather a practitioner of patrimonialism, the style of governance built on personal loyalty that was found in “the later Roman Empire and medieval Europe.”

It is patrimonialism that links Trump to oddball cronies like Wilbur Ross, Jared Kushner, Thomas Barrack, Stephen Miller, and Matthew Whitaker. As Riley observes, “Bonds of purely personal loyalty bind the seedy milieu of lumpen-millionaires (Ross and Kushner inside the Administration, Thomas Barrack outside) and hangers-on of various sorts (Miller, Whitaker) to Trump.” Patrimonialism also explains Trump’s use of the presidential pardon power on behalf of his political supporters such as Dinesh D’Souza, Conrad Black and Joe Arpaio.

Structurally, the American presidency has always been an elected monarchy. But Trump has ruled more like a king than most presidents, transforming the traditional bonds of partisanship or ideology into relationships of personal fealty.

Trump’s essentially feudal conception of politics is surely traceable to his long-standing connections to the Mafia, perhaps the modern organization that most closely resembles the patrimonial governance of the pre-modern world. In the mob, the Godfather is a de facto lord, who offers protection in exchange for respect and tribute.

Still, the underlying thing of all things Trump has been racism.  This was true of his first ventures in being a slum lord right up and through the Central Park Five lynching calls.  It’s his response to Charlottesville. It’s his attack on the women of color in Congress. He enjoys going on racist screeds.  He gets some kind of sadistic thrill from it.

He has underlying motivations that can probably be carved out in the territory of a number of personality disorders and venal sins.  But, there is something pervasive and overtly deep felt about his actions and words that show a special hatred of women and an even deeper hatred of people of color.  Again, he gets off on being an outspoken race war baiting racist and he should not get a pass, a side wink, or even an excuse.

That is something we cannot ignore, trivialize, or bury in a list of all his evil deeds. And, that’s really how I feel.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Lazy Caturday Reads

By Olga Kost

Good Afternoon!!

The occupant of the people’s White House began his morning with more racist attacks on people of color. This time it was Rep. Elijah Cummings and the people of Baltimore. I won’t subject you to the tweets, but he claimed that Cummings’ district in Maryland is “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and “very dangerous & filthy place” and that “no human being would want to live there.” He also called Cummings a “brutal bully” because he criticized Trump’s concentration camps.

Apparently the occupant was watching TV this morning before he heads out to play more golf.

Cummings also announced recently that he has subpoenaed the White House for employees’ emails sent on personal accounts. That would include Ivanka and Jared.

This morning, CNN’s Victor Blackwell gave an eloquent response to the occupant’s ugly tweets.

Of course the real source of Trump’s rage is the fact that Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have opened an impeachment inquiry into his crimes.

Joshua Matz at The Washington Post: The House has already opened an impeachment investigation against Trump. (Matz is the co-author of To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment.

Has the House of Representatives opened an impeachment inquiry? That question is starkly presented by a petition that the House Judiciary Committee filed in federal court on Friday. It is also answered by that petition. No matter what certain House Democratic leaders might say about the politics of the matter, there can now be no doubt that the committee is engaged in an investigation of whether to impeach President Trump.

Flora Merleau, Dear Alexander

Through its petition, the committee seeks access to portions of the report by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III that were redacted to protect grand jury secrecy. The panel also seeks grand jury testimony bearing on Trump’s knowledge of criminal acts, Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and Russian connections to his campaign. Finally, the committee seeks grand jury testimony about actions taken by former White House counsel Donald McGahn; this last request probably anticipates the committee’s rumored plans to seek an order compelling McGahn to testify.

It is settled law that House committees can obtain grand jury materials as part of impeachment investigations. So the legal dispute will probably center on whether such an inquiry is underway.

The Constitution itself does not use phrases like “impeachment investigation” or “impeachment proceedings.” This has led some to mistakenly assume that the House is disregarding its impeachment power because it has not yet held a floor vote approving articles of impeachment (or expressly instructing the Judiciary Committee to deliberate on such articles).

But to those who specialize in these matters, that all-or-nothing vision of the impeachment power is mistaken. The Constitution’s text and structure — supported by judicial precedent and prior practice — show that impeachment is a process, not a single vote. And that process virtually always begins with an impeachment investigation in the judiciary committee, which is already occurring.

Here is the historic announcement made by Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

At The Atlantic, four members of the House of Representatives Mary Gay Scanlon, David Cicilline, Pramila Jayapal, and Veronica Escobar write: Why We’re Moving Forward With Impeachment.

Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees was a watershed moment. At this point, it is up to Congress to act on the evidence of multiple counts of obstruction of justice committed by the president, and to continue our investigation into whether he has committed other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Beryl Cook, The Great Cat

Despite assertions to the contrary by the president and his allies, the special counsel’s report and testimony are not the end of our investigations. We have now filed a petition in court to obtain the grand-jury documents referenced in the special counsel’s report. In that filing, we have made clear that we will utilize our Article I powers to obtain the additional underlying evidence, as well as enforce subpoenas for key witness testimony, and broaden our investigations to include conflicts of interest and financial misconduct.

While many people believe that beginning an impeachment investigation can begin only with a vote of the full House of Representatives, this is not true. Article I authorizes the House Judiciary Committee to begin this process.

As members of the House Judiciary Committee, we understand the gravity of this moment that we find ourselves in. We wake up every morning with the understanding of the oath that binds us as members of Congress, and the trust that our constituents placed in us to uphold that oath. We will move forward with the impeachment process. Our investigation will seriously examine all the evidence as we consider whether to bring articles of impeachment or other remedies under our Article I powers.

Our Constitution requires it. Our democracy depends on it.

An so finally, it is happening.

Yesterday, Mitch McConnell blocked two more election security bills in the Senate. Twitter responded by getting the hashtag #MoscowMitch trending. Newsweek:

The hashtag #MoscowMitch was trending on Twitter on Friday morning after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked two election bills designed to deter interference by Russia and other states, claiming it was “partisan legislation” by the Democratic Party.

It followed special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony on Wednesday that Russia is still attempting to interfere in American democracy, further to its meddling in the 2016 presidential election, with a view to disrupting the 2020 contest.

Barbara Perrine Chu, Woman with Black Cat

Then on Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee published a report detailing Russian interference dating back to at least 2014 through to 2017 that targeted U.S. election infrastructure with an “unprecedented level of activity.”

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough used the moniker “Moscow Mitch” in reference to McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, multiple times during his MSNBC show on Friday, and tore into the congressional leader for several minutes.

Scarborough made reference to an effort in 2016 ahead of the election by President Barack Obama to sound the alarm to American voters about Russian interference by urging congressional leaders to sign a bipartisan statement condemning it publicly.

At the time, according to The Washington PostMcConnell rebuffed Obama’s suggestion, and said he would view the White House talking publicly about Russian interference before polling day as an act of partisanship designed to aid the then Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

As everyone here knows, Sanctioned Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska has promised to pour millions into McConnell’s home state of Kentucky by opening a new aluminum plant there. In addition, Newsweek reports that Mitch McConnell received donations from voting maachine lobbyists before blocking election security bills.

This morning Dana Millbank went there at The Washington Post: Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset.

Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset.

This doesn’t mean he’s a spy, but neither is it a flip accusation. Russia attacked our country in 2016. It is attacking us today. Its attacks will intensify in 2020. Yet each time we try to raise our defenses to repel the attack, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, blocks us from defending ourselves.

By Mariana Kalacheva

Let’s call this what it is: unpatriotic. The Kentucky Republican is, arguably more than any other American, doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding.

Robert Mueller sat before Congress this week warning that the Russia threat “deserves the attention of every American.” He said “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in our election is among the most serious” challenges to American democracy he has ever seen. “They are doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign,” he warned, adding that “much more needs to be done in order to protect against these intrusions, not just by the Russians but others as well.”

Millbank provides specifics of McConnell’s unpatriotic behavior:

McConnell has blocked all such attempts [to protect our elections], including:

A bipartisan bill requiring Facebook, Google and other Internet companies to disclose purchasers of political ads, to identify foreign influence.

A bipartisan bill to ease cooperation between state election officials and federal intelligence agencies.

A bipartisan bill imposing sanctions on any entity that attacks a U.S. election.

A bipartisan bill with severe new sanctions on Russia for its cybercrimes.

McConnell has prevented them all from being considered — over and over again. This is the same McConnell who, in the summer of 2016, when briefed by the CIA along with other congressional leaders on Russia’s electoral attacks, questioned the validity of the intelligence and forced a watering down of a warning letter to state officials about the threat, omitting any mention of Russia.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

On Hardball yesterday, John Brennan discussed McConnell’s behavior in 2016.

This days, the GOP is filled with Russian assets like Trump’s suck-up golf buddy Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul, who tried to block funding to help 9/11 first responders but fights sanctions on a Russian pipeline. The Daily Beast:

Advocates for a massive Russian natural gas pipeline project have a powerful, quiet ally in Congress: Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and close friend of President Donald Trump. He has quietly worked against sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project, which would dramatically expand Russia’s shipments of natural gas to Germany. Critics say it would also dramatically expand Russia’s influence in Western Europe while harming Ukraine. The Trump administration has weighed sanctioning the project, but has yet to do so. And Trump himself has criticized it.

On Thursday, the senator postponed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s mark-up of legislation that would have put sanctions on the project, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the committee’s proceedings. And while Paul hasn’t publicized his opposition to the proposed sanctions, he sent Senate colleagues a letter before the mark-up explaining his stance. The letter, which The Daily Beast obtained, argues that the legislation in question—a bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. Ted Cruz and Jeanne Shaheen—doesn’t clearly state which entities would be sanctioned.

That’s it for me today. What stories have you been following?


Tuesday Reads: Angry Women Unite!

Jean Léon Gérôme, Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind, 1896

Good Morning!!

For months now, I’ve been feeling depressed and discouraged by the damage Trump is doing to our politics and our country. This morning I woke up and realized what I really am is angry, enraged, and pissed off! This has to end. Angry women must rise up and take back our country from the racist white supremacist in the White House, his GOP enablers, and his Russian troll army, and the white male-controlled media that is too fearful to call out his lies and racism.

Two angry women fighting back with intellect and direct action:

An angry woman in Montana stood up to on-line racist trolls and won. Buzzfeed News: A Judge Ruled A Neo-Nazi Blogger Should Pay $14 Million To A Woman Targeted In A Racist “Troll Storm.”

A federal judge ruled more than $14 million should be awarded to a woman who was barraged with anti-Semitic and threatening messages online after a neo-Nazi blogger instructed his followers to target her and her family with a “troll storm.”

The ruling was handed down Monday against Andrew Anglin, a white supremacist and publisher of the website The Daily Stormer.

In his decision, judge Jeremiah Lynch found that Anglin “acted with actual malice” when he told followers: “Let’s Hit Em Up. Are y’all ready for an old fashioned Troll Storm? Because AYO – it’s time, fam.”

Elisabetta Sirani, Timoclea Killing Her Rapist, 1659

What followed were a series of racist and sometimes threatening messages to Montana real estate agent Tanya Gersh, her co-workers, and her family, including her 12-year-old son.

The recommended ruling against Anglin included more than $200,000 for lost earnings and medical expenses incurred by Gersh, $821,000 for future lost earnings, and $3 million for past and future pain and suffering.

The bulk of the judgment, however, was the state maximum of $10 million in punitive damages against the white supremacist for what the judge called “particularly egregious and reprehensible” behavior and to “punish Anglin and deter him from engaging in such conduct in the future.”

I’m so angry today, because we have been battered by days of racist tweets and racist language spewed by the monster who is occupying the people’s White House. He is not my president and I will never call him that. I so agree with what Rep. Ayanna Pressley said about him:

“I never use the word you used — president — to describe him,” she said. “I refer to him as ‘the occupant.’ He simply occupies the space. He embodies zero of the qualities and the principles, the responsibility, the grace, the integrity, the compassion, of someone who would truly embody that office. It’s just another day in the world under this administration.”

At The Atlantic, Adam Serwer addresses Trump’s racism: Trump Tells America What Kind of Nationalist He Is.

On Sunday morning, the president told four members of Congress to “go back” to the countries “from which they came.” The remark, a racist taunt with a historic pedigree, inspired a flurry of fact-checking from mainstream journalists who were quick to note that Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar are American citizens, and that only Omar was born abroad, in Somalia. It was a rather remarkable exercise in missing the point.

Angry Bee Girl, Karin Bolstad

When Trump told these women to “go back,” he was not making a factual claim about where they were born. He was stating his ideological belief that American citizenship is fundamentally racial, that only white people can truly be citizens, and that people of color, immigrants in particular, are only conditionally American. This is a cornerstone of white nationalism, and one of the president’s few closely held ideological beliefs. It is a moral conviction, not a statement of fact. If these women could all trace their family line back to 1776, it would not make them more American than Trump, a descendant of German immigrants whose ancestors arrived relatively recently, because he is white and they are not.

After telling minority members of Congress to go back to where they “came from,” Trump today accused the women of “foul language & racist hatred.” White nationalists in the United States have always asserted that they are, in fact, the true victims of racial hatred, even as they’ve demanded the exclusion of nonwhites from the polity. When the Confederacy was shattered, its partisans launched a propaganda campaign rewriting the origin of their rebellion as the defense of individual freedom rather than property in man. The Redeemers who overthrew Reconstruction with terrorism and violence portrayed themselves as the victims of Negro tyranny, and as the historian Jonathan Sokol has written, when de jure segregation unraveled in the South in the 1960s, white southerners “began to picture the American government as the fascist, and the white southerner as the victim.”

Read the rest at The Atlantic.

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Beheading Holofernes (ca. 1620)

As a reminder, here is The New York Times’ recently updated compilation of Trump’s long racist history: Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List, Updated, by David Leonhardt and Ian Prasad Philbrick.

More reads on Trump’s racism:

George Conway at The Washington Post: Trump is a racist president.

David Remnick at The New Yorker: A Racist in the White House.

Michael Luo at The New Yorker: Trump’s Racist Tweets, and the Question of Who Belongs in America.

Paul Krugman at The New York Times: Racism Comes Out of the Closet. The dog whistle days are apparently over.

 

Trump’s racism enrages me, but you know what makes me just as angry? Rape culture. And Trump in the White House is a visible symbol of America’s misogynist history.

Barbara Bradley Haggerty at The Atlantic: An Epidemic of Disbelief. What new research reveals about sexual predators, and why police fail to catch them.

Robert Spada walked into the decrepit warehouse in Detroit and surveyed the chaos: Thousands of cardboard boxes and large plastic bags were piled haphazardly throughout the cavernous space. The air inside was hot and musty. Spada, an assistant prosecutor, saw that some of the windows were open, others broken, exposing the room to the summer heat. Above the boxes, birds glided in slow, swooping circles.

It was August 17, 2009, and this brick fortress of a building housed evidence that had been collected by the Detroit Police Department. Spada’s visit had been prompted by a question: Why were police sometimes unable to locate crucial evidence? The answer lay in the disarray before him.

As Spada wandered through the warehouse, he made another discovery, one that would help uncover a decades-long scandal, not just in Detroit but across the country. He noticed rows of steel shelving lined with white cardboard boxes, 10 inches tall and a foot wide, stacked six feet high. What are those? he asked a Detroit police officer who was accompanying him. Rape kits, the officer said.

Collage by Yasmin Diaz

“I’m assuming they’ve been tested?” Spada said.

“Oh, they’ve all been tested.”

Spada pulled out a box and peered inside. The containers were still sealed, indicating that the evidence had never been sent to a lab. He opened four more boxes: the same.

“I tried to do a quick calculation,” he later told me. “I came up with approximately 10,000.”

Spada’s estimate was conservative. Eventually 11,341 untested rape kits were found, some dating back more than 30 years—each one a hermetically sealed testament to the most terrifying minutes of a woman’s life, each one holding evidence that had been swabbed or plucked from the most private parts of her body. And in all likelihood, some microscopic part of her assailant—his DNA, his identity—sat in that kit as well.

Or kits.

That’s thousands of rapists whose DNA was on file, yet police never even tried to catch them. Many, went on to rape more women. Why? Because police still don’t believe women. Please go read this important article.

An angry woman academic and author speaks up at The Lily (h/t Delphyne): A female historian wrote a book. Two male historians went on NPR to talk about it. They never mentioned her name. It’s Sarah Milov.

Sarah Milov was sitting at her kitchen table, nursing her baby, when she saw the tweet.

“It took substantial government support to create Americans’ dependency on tobacco,” wroteNathan Daniel Beau Connolly, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University. “@edward_l_ayres and I talk with @jeremyhobson about the regulation of tobacco on this week’s @hereandnow.” Connolly ended the tweet with a “shout out” to Milov, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia whose forthcoming book, “The Cigarette: A Political History,” provided virtually all the material for the segment, which aired on Thursday.

Unfortunately, “Here & Now” — a radio show co-produced by NPR and WBUR in Boston, which is syndicated to approximately 5 million listeners — did not grant Milov the same courtesy. The three men on the segment, two historians and an NPR host, never mentioned Milov’s name or the name of her book.

“Every single word they said was from my book,” said Milov in an interview with The Lily. While the historians did not quote directly from “The Cigarette,” she said, every cited fact was taken from its pages. “Then I got to the end of a nearly 10-minute segment and did not hear myself credited at all.”

Read the rest at the link.

 

I’m so angry today. I know this post doesn’t make much sense, but it reflects my current state of mind. What’s going on with you today, Sky Dancers?


Mostly Monday Reads: Come Hell and High Water

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I think I might see a bit of sunlight today after days of drizzle from what’s left of Hurricane Barry which is basically a low moving through the middle of the country. Fortunately, the storm hit a big patch of dry air and didn’t fire up as much as possible.  It also was slow moving so surge and the river cresting wasn’t quite as widespread as was feared.  Climate change is a huge problem down here around the Gulf.

Fox News reported the rescue of 12 folks by the US Coast Guard on a small barrier island that is mostly underwater now days.

A dozen people stranded on a remote Louisiana island by Tropical Storm Barry are being rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The rescue was carried out on Isle de Jean Charles, a Terrebonne Parish community that was cut off by rising water from the storm. Isle de Jean Charles is about two hours south of New Orleans.

Petty Officer Lexie Preston told the Associated Press that some people were on rooftops and that four people and a cat had already been taken from the island on a helicopter. She said a boat is also heading to the area to help get the rest of the people off the island.

The Coast Guard reported that none of the rescued strandees, including four who were elderly, were injured, WWL-TV reported.

Isle de Jean Charles is a sacred indigenous place and nearly all of its residents have become part of the Climate Change Diaspora.

Isle de Jean Charles is a narrow island in the bayous of South Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. A place of immense physical beauty and great biodiversity, it is most importantly home to the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe.

For our Island people, it is more than simply a place to live. It is the epicenter of our Tribe and traditions. It is where our ancestors survived after being displaced by Indian Removal Act-era policies and where we cultivated what has become a unique part of Louisiana culture. Today, the land that has sustained us for generations is vanishing before our eyes.  Our tribal lands are plagued by a host of environmental problems — coastal erosion and salt-water intrusion, caused by canals dredged through our surrounding marshland by oil and gas companies, land sinking due to a lack of soil renewal or “crevasse,” because of the construction of levees that separated us from the river, and rising seas. These environmental changes have led to increasing flood risk and changes in our life ways. For example, our Island needed a levee, but the small levee that protects our Island during high tide has also led our bayou to become stagnant, killing the ecosystem we once had. The need for reliable access to jobs and services up the bayou have forced many of our people to nearby areas, including Pointe-aux-Chenes, Bourg, Montegut, Chauvin, along Bayou Grand Caillou, and Houma. For over fifteen years we have been planning a Tribal Resettlement in order to bring our people back together, rejuvenate our ways of life, and secure a future for our Tribe.

You can read more about their plight here: “On the Louisiana Coast, A Native Community Sinks Slowly into the Sea” from Yale Environment 360.

The Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians of southern Louisiana have been called America’s first climate refugees. But two years after receiving federal funding to move to higher ground, the tribe is stuck in limbo, waiting for new homes as the water inches closer to their doors.

Of the 35 residential structures left on the island, many stand empty, slowly rotting back into the landscape. Due to unprecedented soil subsidence, sea level rise, and the thousands of oil and gas canals that have allowed saltwater intrusion and erosion, the once-wooded landscape is slowly disappearing beneath the sea.

Since 1930, Louisiana’s coastal plain has lost more than 2,000 square miles of land – about the size of Delaware, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Isle de Jean Charles, the historical homeland of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians, is the most desperate example of the state’s vanishing coast.

Climate Change also is playing a role in the migration north from South America. Food Shortages–simultaneously due to lack of normal rain along with incredible record breaking heat and storms–will cause an environmental diaspora to grow.  We have started seen the farmers of Honduras come to our borders.

Some people here know about climate change, about the vast, complex forces of cambio climatico roiling the weather. Global warming has heated the air and driven away seasonal rains. It may have boosted the spread of bark-munching beetles, which ravaged pine forests surrounding El Rosario that had already been depleted by logging. The loss of the forests, in turn, diminished freshwater streams and sent temperatures in the village soaring still higher, residents say.

Migration to the United States from Honduras and its neighboring “northern triangle” countries — El Salvador and Guatemala — has climbed in recent years. The reasons are complex, including poverty, unemployment and violence. But the increase in migration also coincides with the drought, which began in 2014, and those living in Central America’s so-called dry corridor, which is adjacent to El Rosario, say lack of food is the primary reason people leave, according to a United Nations report.

Last summer, the Honduran government declared an emergency because of food shortages, joining governments in El Salvador and Guatemala, which issued similar alerts. Almost 100,000 families in Honduras and 2 million people across the region lacked adequate food. Making matters worse, a pathogen that scientists believe is worsened by climate change has ravaged the country’s coffee plantations, which means that migrant farm laborers who count on the coffee harvest for income can’t find work.

Researchers and international aid workers say that for Honduran family farmers, like those in El Rosario, to survive, they need support to adjust to the climate’s rapid changes, including instruction in planting drought-resistant crops and help conserving water.

What is our Racist in Chief doing to address this issue?

The U.S. sends hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Central America every year, but most of it gets directed to security, drug control or violence prevention programs, rather than agricultural or environmental support. Under the Obama administration, Congress doubled the fundingto the region from $338 million in 2014 to $754 million in 2016 and began directing more funding to climate and agriculture programs. The Trump administration has tried to cut funding dramatically  — proposals Congress has rejected. Under the current budget, almost $530 million is directed toward Central America.

In March, President Donald Trump said his administration would cut aid to Central American countries to punish them for failing to stop migration flows. The administration made the cuts official in June, saying it would withhold some of the funds allocated by Congress for 2017 and would suspend all funds Congress approved for 2018. Critics have said this will only stoke more migration.

Well, today he upped the death and destruction that finds root in his racist, white nationalist demons. This is via the A/P and is breaking news: “Trump moves to end asylum protections for Central Americans”.  This move comes after a weekend of some of the most vitriolic racist tweets this evil, evil man has ever tweeted. Yet the Republicans stand for this and with this.

The Trump administration on Monday moved to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants in a major escalation of the president’s battle to tamp down the number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to a new rule published in the Federal Register , asylum seekers who pass through another country first will be ineligible for asylum at the U.S. southern border. The rule, expected to go into effect Tuesday, also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.

The rule applies to anyone arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. Sometimes asylum seekers from Africa and other continents arrive there, but most migrants arriving there are Central Americans.

There are some exceptions: If someone has been trafficked, if the country the migrant passed through did not sign one of the major international treaties that govern how refugees are managed (though most Western countries have signed them) or if an asylum-seeker sought protection in a country but was denied, then a migrant could still apply for U.S. asylum.

But the move by President Donald Trump’s administration was meant to essentially end asylum protections as they now are on the southern border, reversing decades of U.S. policy on how refugees are treated and coming as the government continues to clamp down on migrants and as the treatment of those who made it to the country is heavily criticized as inhumane.

Attorney General William Barr said that the United States is “a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed” by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of migrants at the southern border.

“This rule will decrease forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States,” Barr said in a statement.

The policy is almost certain to face a legal challenge. U.S. law allows refugees to request asylum when they arrive at the U.S. regardless of how they did so, but there is an exception for those who have come through a country considered to be “safe.” But the Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs asylum law, is vague on how a country is determined “safe”; it says “pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement.”

Right now, the U.S. has such an agreement, known as a “safe third country,” only with Canada. Under a recent agreement with Mexico, Central American countries were considering a regional compact on the issue, but nothing has been decided. Guatemalan officials were expected in Washington on Monday, but apparently a meeting between Trump and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales was canceled amid a court challenge in Guatemala over whether the country could agree to a safe third with the U.S.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt, who has litigated some of the major challenges to the Trump administration’s immigration policies, said the rule was unlawful.

This rule basically says if any one passed through another country on the way to the US and didn’t ask for asylum there cannot ask for asylum in the US. This man has two immigrant wives. His mother was an immigrant.  All but one of his children could actually be categorized as anchor babies via his rhetoric that’s applied to brown and black people in his demented mind.  Melania Trump got documented on false pretenses.  There is no explanation for what he does other than racism.

His tweet uproar started with attack on American Women serving in Congress this weekend.  It was beyond appalling.  Republicans are off somewhere in their cones of silence.

“Republicans Silent On Trump’s Racist Remarks To Congresswomen”,  The president had urged the Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to the countries they came from

Presidents Donald Trump’s urging of Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to the countries they came from on Sunday has drawn widespread condemnation, with congressional Democrats declaring his rhetoric racist, xenophobic and bigoted.

There was just one thing immediately missing (beyond an apology): a rebuke from their Republican counterparts.

The deafening silence came after Trump went on a Twitter rant against “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” who, in his words, came from “countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.”

Though he didn’t identify his targets by name, they appeared to be Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. The four have been in the news lately amid increased tension between them and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

All four women of color have been outspoken critics of Trump’s handling of the immigration crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border. However, only Omar was born outside of the U.S., having immigrated as a child from Africa.

“When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again,” Pelosi responded to Trump on Twitter shortly after. “Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power.”

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who recently left the Republican Party to be an independent, also called Trump’s comments “racist and disgusting.”

Image result for powerful civil rights imagesHere are some other reactions:

Los Angeles Times:  Trump is truly America’s Bigot-in-Chief

Goldie Taylor / The Daily Beast:  Trump Is a Racist.  If You Still Support Him, So Are You.

Charles M. Blow / New York Times: Trump’s Tweets Prove That He Is a Raging Racist

Peter Baker / New York Times: Trump Fans the Flames of a Racial Fire

Greg Sargent / Washington Post: Trump just denied his attacks are racist. He only confirmed the worst.

Ever since President Trump launched his candidacy by declaring Mexicans to be “rapists,” Trump’s public racism has often included two additional important elements: an adamant refusal to apologize for it in the face of outrage, and an equally adamant denial that the offending language was racist in any way.

Central to Trump’s racism — and more broadly to Trumpism writ large — is not just the content of the racism itself. It’s also that he’s asserting the right to engage in public displays of racism without it being called out for what it is. A crucial ingredient here is Trump’s declaration of the ability to flaunt his racism with impunity.

Trump’s racist attack on nonwhite progressive lawmakers is following this pattern, and indeed, it’s worth looking at what has come next, which is also revealing and important.

As you’ve heard, Trump tweeted on Sunday that four outspoken Democratic congresswomen “originally came from countries” that are “corrupt” and a “catastrophe,” and that they should “go back” to them. Three of his targets (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley) were born in the United States, and the fourth (Ilhan Omar) is a Somali refugee.

The remarks drew widespread condemnation, largely with the exception of Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Trump for wanting to make “America white again,” and, while some news organizations danced around what Trump had done, others explicitly labeled the comments “racist.”

Frankly, any one who is silent or supports Trump has no excuse to claim they’re not a racist.

Image result for powerful civil rights imagesThe criticism is even coming from our allies abroad. Bloomberg reports that: U.K. Leader Says Trump’s Tweets on Democrats Are ‘Completely Unacceptable’

U.S. President Donald Trump used “completely unacceptable” language to describe four female Democratic lawmakers, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman told reporters on London in Monday, potentially exacerbating the recent tensions with Washington.

Trump posted a series of tweets on Sunday suggesting that four U.S. lawmakers, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, should return to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

May thinks “the language used to refer to these women was completely unacceptable,” her spokesman, James Slack, told reporters on Monday.

Related imageResponses are coming from other members of Congress as well as the four women.

From Adrian Walker writing for the Boston Globe :  “Ayanna Pressley brushes off Trump’s tweets — but not his treatment of refugees”.

Donald J. Trump — a man who clearly has too much time on his hands in the morning — began Sunday with a characteristically xenophobic Twitter rant against a group of progressive female members of Congress.

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly . . . and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” he wrote. “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how . . . it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough.”

Which is how I came to ask congresswoman Ayanna Pressley what she thought of being a target of the president of the United States.

“I never use the word you used — president — to describe him,” she said. “I refer to him as ‘the occupant.’ He simply occupies the space. He embodies zero of the qualities and the principles, the responsibility, the grace, the integrity, the compassion, of someone who would truly embody that office. It’s just another day in the world under this administration.”

Earlier, Pressley had tweeted a screenshot of Trump’s comments, along with her response: “THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like. And we’re not going anywhere. Except back to DC to fight for the families you marginalize and vilify everyday.”

Related imageMaybe he’s in a grumpy mood because he didn’t get a bloodbath during his ICE raids?  Who knows?  From Bobby Allyn and NPR: ” Trump’s Nationwide Immigration Raids Fail To Materialize”.

President Trump’s threatened roundup of undocumented immigrant families this weekend that set migrants in many communities on edge showed few signs of materializing on Sunday, the second time rumors of a large-scale immigration enforcement operation failed to come to fruition.

Instead, in the cities where rumors of mass raids swirled, many immigrants stayed inside their homes, as jitters turned typically vibrant migrant markets and commercial corridors eerily quiet.

Immigrant advocates across the country, meanwhile, took to the streets to protest the promised roundup.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not confirm any arrests, nor would immigrant rights activists.

“The ACLU has not heard reports of any raids today,” Ruthie Epstein, the American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy director for immigration policy, told NPR.

Before Sunday, there were weekend reports of attempted arrests by ICE in New YorkNew Jersey and Chicago, where The New York Times reportedthat a mother and her daughters were apprehended, though the family was immediately released. But those actions appeared to be part of routine enforcement, not connected to a massive raid.

Still, fears of ICE catching migrants by surprise sent many into hiding on Sunday.

It’s time for all people that come from basic goodness, compassion, and desire for justice to speak out on all of this.  It is time to deal with the pernicious institutional racism in this country and the blatant hateful racism promoted by the would be dickator of Trumpfuckistan, the elected Republicans that either fully support or enable it, and the icky deplorables that include those overly self-righteous but not righteous at all evangelicals.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?