Lazy Saturday Reads: Trump’s Amerika

neo-Nazi white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA last night

Good Afternoon!!

White “nationalists” are involved in a violent demonstration in the streets of an American city today. There has so far been no reaction from the “president,” who of course has a number of these crazies working for him in the people’s house.

According to reports on MSNBC, the rally–supposedly a protest of the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee–has now been declared an “unlawful assembly.” Interestingly,there are lots of Confederate flags on display in the crowd, but I have yet to see an American flag. Until recently, there hasn’t been much attempt by police to control the “protesters” either. It’s certainly a different scene from the police crackdowns we have seen at demonstrations organized by Black Lives Matter.

Boston.com: Hundreds face off ahead of white nationalist rally.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Hundreds of people are facing off in Charlottesville ahead of a white nationalist rally planned in the Virginia city’s downtown.

Rally supporters and counter-protesters screamed, chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday morning.

Men dressed in militia uniforms were carrying shields and openly carrying long guns.

 

From Twitter earlier today:

NBC News: Protesters Clash at White Nationalists March in Virginia, Local Emergency Declared.

Altercations erupted Saturday morning and at least two people were hurt as white nationalists and counter-protesters violently clashed in Charlottesville, Virginia, where local police and the governor declared a state of emergency.

Supporters of the “Unite the Right” rally descended again on the city’s downtown in opposition to clergy members and other groups, who stood in a line singing, “This Little Light of Mine,” to drown out the profanity and slurs.

“Love has already won. We have already won,” the counter-protesters responded.

But as the violence intensified with shoving and punching, demonstrators covered their mouths after what appeared to be tear gas was released into the crowd.

The city and Albemarle County both issued a “declaration of local emergency” for the two jurisdictions to request additional resources. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe also declared a state of emergency to allow for a response to quell the violence.

The rally hasn’t even started yet, but it has been called off. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next.

Yesterday White House employee Sebastian Gorka defended white supremacists. Think Progress: White House adviser says people should stop criticizing white supremacists so much.

On Wednesday, Gorka lashed out at “at [New York Times reporter] Maggie Haberman and her acolytes in the fake news media, who immediately have a conniption fit” and brought up McVeigh. He added that “white men” and “white supremacists” are not “the problem.”

It’s this constant, “Oh, it’s the white man. It’s the white supremacists. That’s the problem.” No, it isn’t, Maggie Haberman. Go to Sinjar. Go to the Middle East, and tell me what the real problem is today. Go to Manchester.

Gorka noted that the Oklahoma City bombing was 22 years ago, which is true. But since 9/11, right-wing extremists — almost always white men and frequently white supremacists — have been far more deadly domestically than Muslim extremists. A study found that in the first 13.5 years after 9/11, Muslim extremists were responsible for 50 deaths in the United States. Meanwhile, “right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities.”

I wonder if he went to the rally in Charlottesville?

Meanwhile, Trump has apparently been threatening a nuclear holocaust in an effort to change the subject from the Russia investigation, because there’s no sign of the U.S. military gearing up for war or of the government moving to evacuate U.S. citizens from South Korea and other areas that could be threatened by strikes on North Korea.

US Naval Base in Guam

Defense News: If the US is going to war in North Korea, nobody told the US military.

If you watch cable news or follow the president’s Twitter feed, you might be under the impression that the U.S. is heading to war with North Korea. But somebody, it seems, forgot to loop in the U.S. military.

North Korea is threatening to launch missiles toward Guam; U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning that military options were “locked and loaded;” NBC News ran a story Wednesday claiming the U.S. had ”prepared a plan” to strike North Korean missile sites with B-1 bombers.

But while the rhetoric is nearing a fever pitch in D.C., out in the Pacific you’d never know the world was on the brink of nuclear war.

In Yokosuka, Japan, the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed ready aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan sits peacefully pier-side, along with the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship Blue Ridge. On the Korean Peninsula, the State Department has not advised American citizens to leave the country and U.S. military family members are not being evacuated. No Marines are being loaded on amphibious ships; no sailors have been recalled off leave to prepare for emergency operations; and no ballistic missile defense ships have been sortied to North Korea, the waters off Japan or to Guam, three sources said.

The frenzied rhetoric being propelled by the president’s words and fed back by the news cycle is, for the second time this year, failing to match what’s actually happening, sources told Defense News.

Continue reading at the link.

Eddie Baza Calvo Govornor of Guam

I guess Trump wasn’t satisfied with the panic he has caused around the world, because yesterday he seemed to threaten military intervention in Venezuela. But more evidence that this is nothing but a “wag the dog” strategy came in a phone call Trump made to the governor of Guam late last night. The New York Times: Trump to Guam Governor: North Korea Threats Will Boost Tourism ‘Tenfold.’

If there’s one thing that Guam does not have to worry about while the tiny island is in the nuclear cross hairs of North Korea, it’s tourism, President Trump told the island’s governor in a phone call made public on Saturday.

The threat by North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, to create “an enveloping fire” around the tiny United States territory in the Western Pacific will boost Guam tourism “tenfold,” Mr. Trump is heard saying in the recorded conversation with Gov. Eddie Calvo.

The recording was put on the Republican governor’s Facebook page and other social media accounts.

Mr. Trump said: “I have to tell you, you have become extremely famous all over the world. They are talking about Guam; and they’re talking about you.” And when it comes to tourism, he added, “I can say this: You’re going to go up, like, tenfold with the expenditure of no money.”

Trump is another P.T. Barnum, and he’s turned our government into a three-ring circus. It appears he is actually enjoying his ability to strike terror into millions of people around the globe. He’s getting off on it. I’m beginning to wonder if Trump suffers from bi-polar disorder. He is acting as if he’s in a manic phase and about to spiral out of control.

Journalist Daniel Dale tweeted a comparison of the White House readout of the Guam call vs. an actual transcript.

The New York Times and The Atlantic each have lengthy articles up asking why Trump can’t ever criticize Putin. Neither author suggests what is likely the real reason–Trump is a Russian asset.

The New York Times: Combative Trump Pulls His Punches for One Man: Putin.

TheAtlantic: Why Does Trump Still Refuse to Criticize Putin?

A couple more interesting stories I came across this morning, and then I’m going to retire to my bed to nurse a throbbing headache caused by reading about all this insanity.

The Hill: Former Mueller deputy on Trump: ‘Government is going to kill this guy.’

CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd warned that President Trump is agitating the government, saying during a Thursday afternoon interview with CNN anchor Jake Tapper that the U.S. government “is going to kill this guy.”

Mudd, who served as deputy director to former FBI Director Robert Mueller, said Trump’s defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin has compelled federal employees “at Langley, Foggy Bottom, CIA and State” to try to take Trump down.

“Let me give you one bottom line as a former government official. Government is going to kill this guy,” Mudd, a staunch critic of Trump, said on “The Lead.”

“He defends Vladimir Putin. There are State Department and CIA officers coming home, and at Langley and Foggy Bottom, CIA and State, they’re saying, ‘This is how you defend us?’ ” he continued.

Read the rest of Mudd’s rant at the link.

Nina Burleigh at Newsweek: Melania, Ivanka and Ivana Trump Wear High Heels, a Symbol of Everything that is Beautiful and Horrifying about Them.

The vertiginous spike-heel shoe is not currently in fashion, but for Ivana, Ivanka, Melania and the Trump daughters-in-law, Carrie Bradshaw’s shoe of choice never went out of style. In fact, the female consorts of the Leader of the Free World do not set foot in public without first molding their arches into the supranatural curve that Mattel toy designers once devised for Barbie’s plastic feet.

Six months in, and the Trump women are well on their way to normalizing the footwear of the beauty pageant. The Cinderella shoe fitted on the feet of all the Miss Teen USA’s and Miss Universes who ever beamed under the Trumpian gaze in contests of yore also is the shoe that average women can bear for only a few hours at weddings or proms, before casting them off, moaning and rubbing their soles.Former Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley, a longtime friend of Melania Trump’s, believes that, other than the White House Easter Egg hunt on the lawn, Melania has not been photographed as first lady without her feet arched into one of two brands of towering high-heeled shoes that she favors, Manolo Blahniks or the 4.5-inch-heeled Oh So Kate by Christian Louboutin. (Talley says Melania picked up 22 pairs of Manolos in various colors before decamping to the White House last month.)

In their old age, these women will need serious health care for their feet.

The stiletto is a podiatrist’s dream, or nightmare, depending on your point of view, because devoted wearers ultimately require medical attention. “As you get older in these shoes, your feet are going to have problems,” Talley says. “I am not gonna say Melania is gonna have them soon, but sooner or later she is going have to come down off that high arch.”

The internet and YouTube are rife with tutorials on how to bear the pain (bandages, gel inserts, baby powder) and walk gracefully in them. Michelle Phan’s “How to Master the High Heel” tutorial has received millions of views. Her nuggets of advice include: “Your first assignment when walking in heels is to find a straight line and follow it,” and “For every step you take, you need to have a general awareness of where your heel is being placed.”

Stiletto pumps demand a critical level of attention to pebbles, cobbles, sidewalk cracks, mud, grass, curbs and stairs—all while keeping head erect and shoulders back—that has sometimes eluded even the greatest public females. Remember Naomi Campbell’s famous runway spill. Or Jennifer Lawrence tripping up the steps to receive her Oscar.

But not the Trump women. Read the rest at the link.

What stories are you following today?

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Monday Reads and Alternative History: President Swiss Cheese Brain can’t remember Why we had a Civil War

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

I’ve spent a few hours rereading the latest Trump interviews with his usual displays of argle bargle.  Yes. He still is obsessed with the idea Obama wiretapped him.  Yes. He is still obsessed with losing the popular vote and screaming fake news!. Then, there’s his obsession with Andrew Jackson that appears to be based on anything but history. It seems America’s genocidal maniac could’ve prevent the Civil War from the grave according to Trump’s Alternative History Facts.

How many people do you know that would ask this question other than maybe a first grader?  “Trump: ‘Why was there the Civil War?'”  Oh, and how many of you–knowing that Andrew Jackson was responsible for the big  win of the War of 1812–would live long enough to be around for say, the Civil War?  I assuming you’re reaching down there for the kids you know attending nursery school.  I would certainly expect some one who was sent to private military school which is full of old men fascinated by wars would have learned about the entire Civil War and the Battle of New Orleans.  Wouldn’t you?

President Trump during an interview that airs Monday questioned why the country had a Civil War and suggested former President Andrew Jackson could have prevented it had he served later.

“I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart,” Trump said during an interview with the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito.

“He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said, ‘There’s no reason for this.'”

Jackson, the nation’s seventh president, died in 1845. The Civil War began in 1861.

The president further questioned why the country could not have solved the Civil War.

“People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why?” Trump said during the edition of “Main Street Meets the Beltway” scheduled to air on SiriusXM.

“People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

During the interview, the president also compared his win to that of Jackson.

“My campaign and win was most like Andrew Jackson, with his campaign. And I said, when was Andrew Jackson? It was 1828. That’s a long time ago,” Trump said.

“That’s Andrew Jackson. And he had a very, very mean and nasty campaign. Because they said this was the meanest and the nastiest. And unfortunately, it continues.”

Andrew Jackson was a racist and he acted on it.   He was a slave owner.

“Stop the Runaway,” Andrew Jackson urged in an ad placed in the Tennessee Gazette in October 1804. The future president gave a detailed description: A “Mulatto Man Slave, about thirty years old, six feet and an inch high, stout made and active, talks sensible, stoops in his walk, and has a remarkable large foot, broad across the root of the toes — will pass for a free man …”

Jackson, who would become the country’s seventh commander in chief in 1829, promised anyone who captured this “Mulatto Man Slave” a reward of $50, plus “reasonable” expenses paid.
Jackson added a line that some historians find particularly cruel.
It offered “ten dollars extra, for every hundred lashes any person will give him, to the amount of three hundred.”
The ad was signed, “ANDREW JACKSON, Near Nashville, State of Tennessee.”

Jackson, whose face is on the $20 bill and who President Trump paid homage to in March, owned about 150 enslaved people at The Hermitage, his estate near Nashville, when he died in 1845, according to records. On Monday, President Trump created a furor when he suggested in an interview an interview with the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito that Jackson could have prevented the Civil War.

 

Just for good measure, let me also point you to Andrew Jackson’s message to Congress on ‘Indian Removal.’  It’s about the policy that sent two Southern Tribes on a Trail of Tears that was nothing short of mass genocide.

“It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy consummation. Two important tribes have accepted the provision made for their removal at the last session of Congress, and it is believed that their example will induce the remaining tribes also to seek the same obvious advantages.

The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the United States, to individual States, and to the Indians themselves. The pecuniary advantages which it promises to the Government are the least of its recommendations. It puts an end to all possible danger of collision between the authorities of the General and State Governments on account of the Indians. It will place a dense and civilized population in large tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters. By opening the whole territory between Tennessee on the north and Louisiana on the south to the settlement of the whites it will incalculably strengthen the southwestern frontier and render the adjacent States strong enough to repel future invasions without remote aid. It will relieve the whole State of Mississippi and the western part of Alabama of Indian occupancy, and enable those States to advance rapidly in population, wealth, and power. It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community.  

What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms embellished with all the improvements which art can devise or industry execute, occupied by more than 12,000,000 happy people, and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization and religion? The present policy of the Government is but a continuation of the same progressive change by a milder process. The tribes which occupied the countries now constituting the Eastern States were annihilated or have melted away to make room for the whites. The waves of population and civilization are rolling to the westward, and we now propose to acquire the countries occupied by the red men of the South and West by a fair exchange, and, at the expense of the United States, to send them to land where their existence may be prolonged and perhaps made perpetual.

But hey, in Trump’s swiss cheese-like brain: “Trump proposes an alternate history where Civil War was avoided.”

Trump’s Jackson obsession likely comes from Steve Bannon.

But the reason Jackson has taken on such a physical and rhetorical presence in the Trump White House is, in fact, primarily because of Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and the former head of Breitbart. According to officials in the Trump campaign, presidential transition, and administration speaking to The Daily Beast, Bannon would often discuss Jackson’s historical legacy and image with Trump on and after the campaign trail, and how the two political figures were a lot alike.

“[During the race], Trump would say he had heard this pundit or this person making the comparison, and [Steve] would encourage him and tell him how it was true,” a Trump campaign adviser who requested anonymity to speak freely told The Daily Beast. “It was a way to flatter [Trump], too. Bannon and Trump talked about a lot, but this was the president they had casual [conversations] about the most.”

Another senior Team Trump official said that “as the transition was underway, he would encourage [Trump] to play up the comparison,” and that “Trump’s campaign and message was a clear descendant of Jacksonian populism and anti-political elitism.”

“[Bannon] is why Trump keeps equating himself with Andrew Jackson. That is the reason why,” the aide added.

According to two sources with knowledge of the matter, Bannon had suggested and had given Trump a “reading list” of articles and biographies on Jackson, and reading material on Jacksonian democracy and populism. Stephen Miller, another top Trump adviser, also recommended and offered related reading material to Trump, a senior Trump administration official said.

Quick Baby and Corgi Break before we move on to more depressing stuff about Kremlin Caligula.  I’m moving towards the school of thought that we need a happy sanity break of the kind BB provides.

Okay, that’s not enough! Try this from Samatha Bee on what we coulda shoulda had instead of a mentally and emotionally deranged baby man in the nation’s seat of power.

Other news about Brutal, murdering Dictators beloved by Kremlin Caligula:

Trump Says He’d Meet With North Korea’s Kim If Situation’s Right via Bloomberg.  Maybe he needs to appoint Dennis Rodman to the State Department. Most of the jobs are open there.

President Donald Trump said he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un amid heightened tensions over his country’s nuclear weapons program if the circumstances were right.

“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump said Monday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”

The U.S. has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, and as recently as last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the United Nations that the U.S. would negotiate with Kim’s regime only if it made credible steps toward giving up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

“Most political people would never say that,” Trump said of his willingness to meet with the reclusive Kim, “but I’m telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him. We have breaking news.”

“Philippines’ Duterte on Trump’s White House invitation: ‘I’m tied up'” via The Hill.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he could not commit to visiting the White House after President Trump invited him this weekend, saying “I am tied up.”

“I cannot make any definite promise. I am supposed to go to Russia; I am supposed to go to Israel,” he said, according to Yahoo News.

Trump’s invitation to Duterte, who has been accused of backing the vigilante execution of people involved in the drug trade and threatening journalists and political opponents, drew criticism from human rights groups. He invited the controversial leader to the White House without consulting the State Department or the National Security Council.

“By essentially endorsing Duterte’s murderous war on drugs, Trump is now morally complicit in future killings,” John Sifton of Human Rights Watch told the New York Times.

“AFTER A HUNDRED DAYS, TRUMP IS TRUMP IS TRUMP”   which contains analysis by John Cassiday of The New Yorker.

If you want Trump to say something nice about you, it helps enormously if you are an authoritarian leader. Now that the continuing investigations into Russian interference in the election have forced him to be more reticent about exalting the virtues of Vladimir Putin, Trump is evidently seeking out other soul mates. On Saturday, he invited Rodrigo Duterte, the brutish President of the Philippines, who human-rights groups have accused of presiding over hundreds or thousands of extrajudicial killings in a drug war, to visit Washington.

In an interview broadcast on Sunday on “Face the Nation,” Trump even had some complimentary things to say about North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, who is widely regarded as unstable. Noting that Kim had acceded to power at a young age and asserted his control over his generals and other family members, Trump said, “So, obviously, he’s a pretty smart cookie. But we have a situation that we just cannot let—we cannot let what’s been going on for a long period of years continue.”

One situation that will continue, it seems, is Trump’s inability to take responsibility for any failures or mistakes on his part. When CBS’s John Dickerson asked him, “What do you know now on day one hundred that you wish you knew on day one of the Presidency?” Trump replied, “Well, one of the things that I’ve learned is how dishonest the media is.” Pressed by Dickerson on whether there was anything else he’d picked up, he said, “Well, I think things generally tend to go a little bit slower than you’d like them to go . . . . It’s just a very, very bureaucratic system. I think the rules in Congress and in particular the rules in the Senate are unbelievably archaic and slow moving.”

This comment jibed with something Trump said in an interview last week with Reuters, when he complained that, “This is more work than my previous life. I thought it would be easier.” Trump seems to have entered the Oval Office blissfully unaware of how the American political system works, or of the fact that the Founding Fathers purposefully placed strict limits on the power of the Presidency. Since January 20th, Congress and the judiciary have taught him some harsh lessons, and it’s clear he hasn’t enjoyed them. To Dickerson, he went so far as to claim that the system was “unfair—in many cases, you’re forced to make deals that are not the deal you’d make.”

So, I saved the most shocking for last and this is from TPM’s Josh Marshall . ” Priebus: Trump Considering Amending or Abolishing 1st Amendment.”

A number of press reports have picked up this exchange this morning between ABC’s Jonathan Karl and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. But people have missed the real significance. Priebus doesn’t discuss changing ‘press laws’ or ‘libel laws’. He specifically says that the White House has considered and continues to consider amending or even abolishing the 1st Amendment because of critical press coverage of President Trump.

Sound hyperbolic? Look at the actual exchange (emphasis added) …

KARL: I want to ask you about two things the President has said on related issues. First of all, there was what he said about opening up the libel laws. Tweeting “the failing New York Times has disgraced the media world. Gotten me wrong for two solid years. Change the libel laws?” That would require, as I understand it, a constitutional amendment. Is he really going to pursue that? Is that something he wants to pursue?

PRIEBUS: I think it’s something that we’ve looked at. How that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story. But when you have articles out there that have no basis or fact and we’re sitting here on 24/7 cable companies writing stories about constant contacts with Russia and all these other matters—

KARL: So you think the President should be able to sue the New York Times for stories he doesn’t like?

PRIEBUS: Here’s what I think. I think that newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news. I am so tired.

KARL: I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. It’s about whether or not the President should have a right to sue them.

PRIEBUS: And I already answered the question. I said this is something that is being looked at. But it’s something that as far as how it gets executed, where we go with it, that’s another issue.

It’s really difficult to know why any of this has come about in our Republic at this point in time.  A handful of angry white people in a few states targeted by Russian propaganda and enabled by voter suppression laws brought this on us.   How do we get rid of him?

Trump’s critics are actively exploring the path to impeachment or the invocation of the Twenty-fifth Amendment, which allows for the replacement of a President who is judged to be mentally unfit. During the past few months, I interviewed several dozen people about the prospects of cutting short Trump’s Presidency. I spoke to his friends and advisers; to lawmakers and attorneys who have conducted impeachments; to physicians and historians; and to current members of the Senate, the House, and the intelligence services. By any normal accounting, the chance of a Presidency ending ahead of schedule is remote. In two hundred and twenty-eight years, only one President has resigned; two have been impeached, though neither was ultimately removed from office; eight have died. But nothing about Trump is normal. Although some of my sources maintained that laws and politics protect the President to a degree that his critics underestimate, others argued that he has already set in motion a process of his undoing. All agree that Trump is unlike his predecessors in ways that intensify his political, legal, and personal risks. He is the first President with no prior experience in government or the military, the first to retain ownership of a business empire, and the oldest person ever to assume the Presidency.

For Trump’s allies, the depth of his unpopularity is an urgent cause for alarm. “You can’t govern this country with a forty-per-cent approval rate. You just can’t,” Stephen Moore, a senior economist at the Heritage Foundation, who advised Trump during the campaign, told me. “Nobody in either party is going to bend over backwards for Trump if over half the country doesn’t approve of him. That, to me, should be a big warning sign.”

Trump has embraced strategies that normally boost popularity, such as military action. In April, some pundits were quick to applaud him for launching a cruise-missile attack on a Syrian airbase, and for threatening to attack North Korea. In interviews, Trump marvelled at the forces at his disposal, like a man wandering into undiscovered rooms of his house. (“It’s so incredible. It’s brilliant.”) But the Syria attack only briefly reversed the slide in Trump’s popularity; it remained at historic lows.

It is not a good sign for a beleaguered President when his party gets dragged down, too. From January to April, the number of Americans who had a favorable view of the Republican Party dropped seven points, to forty per cent, according to the Pew Research Center. I asked Jerry Taylor, the president of the Niskanen Center, a libertarian think tank, if he had ever seen so much skepticism so early in a Presidency. “No, nobody has,” he said. “But we’ve never lived in a Third World banana republic. I don’t mean that gratuitously. I mean the reality is he is governing as if he is the President of a Third World country: power is held by family and incompetent loyalists whose main calling card is the fact that Donald Trump can trust them, not whether they have any expertise.” Very few Republicans in Congress have openly challenged Trump, but Taylor cautioned against interpreting that as committed support. “My guess is that there’s only between fifty and a hundred Republican members of the House that are truly enthusiastic about Donald Trump as President,” he said. “The balance sees him as somewhere between a deep and dangerous embarrassment and a threat to the Constitution.”

The Administration’s defiance of conventional standards of probity makes it acutely vulnerable to ethical scandal. The White House recently stopped releasing visitors’ logs, limiting the public’s ability to know who is meeting with the President and his staff. Trump has also issued secret waivers to ethics rules, so that political appointees can alter regulations that they previously lobbied to dismantle.

I’m down with whatever it takes.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: War on Everyone

Good Afternoon!

It’s difficult to keep up.  I try to set aside interesting items and with in a few minute or hours they are dated!  It’s also challenging to keep up with the number of things being passed, signed, and appointed that are hostile to modernity,women, immigrants, civil rights, and science and knowledge in general.  Today’s list includes removing Consent Degrees that reform urban police departments, taking funds from all planned parenthood activities, and letting churches become SuperPacs. Oh, and White Nationalists have the sads about Steve Bannon.

Some of the  interesting illustrations today come from a Rev. Branford Clarke’s illustration in the 1926 book Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty and another propaganda book called Heroes of the Fiery Cross.  I thought it fitting we remind people of what kind of evil can lurk behind religious extremists.  The first set of illustrations is aimed directly at Catholicism which shows that there’s an internecine battle between Christian brands .

I’ve also included a Dr. Seuss cartoon from a similar period sending up the idea of  the “America First” movement from the WW2 period.  I think you can see today’s Deplorables are definitely throwbacks from the darkest parts of our country’s history. Notice the anti-immigrant movement at that time concentrated on sorting out right and wrong type Europeans around WW2.  It was the Chinese prior to that.  Some of these illustrations are propaganda. Others are political cartoons of the period fighting the same sentiments we see today.

Betsy DeVos is a total nutter.  So, why wouldn’t she bring on people who are just like her. This is from ProPublica.  “DeVos Pick to Head Civil Rights Office Once Said She Faced Discrimination for Being White. Candice Jackson’s intellectual journey raises questions about how actively she will investigate allegations of unfair treatment of minorities and women.”   I really have a difficult time understanding how upper middle class white people think they’re oppressed by minorities.

The new acting head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights once complained that she experienced discrimination because she is white.

As an undergraduate studying calculus at Stanford University in the mid-1990s, Candice Jackson “gravitated” toward a section of the class that provided students with extra help on challenging problems, she wrote in a student publication. Then she learned that the section was reserved for minority students.

“I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,” she wrote in the Stanford Review. “We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming competence or incompetence based on race.”

Although her limited background in civil rights law makes it difficult to infer her positions on specific issues, Jackson’s writings during and after college suggest she’s likely to steer one of the Education Department’s most important — and controversial — branches in a different direction than her predecessors. A longtime anti-Clinton activistand an outspoken conservative-turned-libertarian, she has denounced feminism and race-based preferences. She’s also written favorably about, and helped edit a book by, an economist who decried both compulsory education and the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Jackson’s inexperience, along with speculation that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will roll back civil rights enforcement, lead some observers to wonder whether Jackson, like several other Trump administration appointees, lacks sympathy for the traditional mission of the office she’s been chosen to lead.

Her appointment “doesn’t leave me with a feeling of confidence with where the administration might be going,” said Theodore Shaw, director of the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law, who led Barack Obama’s transition team for civil rights at the Department of Justice.

The attack on Women and their Healthcare continues with abandon.

There was a stealth signing of an anti-Planned Parenthood law.  The Hyde Amendment has longed banned Federal Funds from supporting any abortion services but many in the religious nut crowd believe birth control is abortion and follow the lies of extremists who insist taxpayer money supports the procedure.

President Donald Trump privately signed a bill on Thursday that allows states to withhold federal money from organizations that provide abortion services, including Planned Parenthood, a group frequently targeted by Republicans.

The bill, which the usually camera-friendly President signed without any media present, reverses an Obama-era regulation that prohibited states from withholding money from facilities that perform abortions, arguing that many of these facilities also provide other family planning and medical services.

The bulk of federal money Planned Parenthood receives, though, goes toward preventive health care, birth control, pregnancy tests and other women’s health services. Federal law prohibits taxpayer dollars from funding abortions and Planned Parenthood says 3% of the services it provides are abortions

The signing comes weeks after Vice President Mike Pence, a social conservative who regularly touts his anti-abortion stances, cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate after two Republicans opposed the measure.

“(Women’s) worst fears are now coming true. We are facing the worst political attack on women’s health in a generation as lawmakers have spent the past three months trading away women’s health and rights at every turn,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement.

So far, we’ve seen no camera opportunities for  signings for the Planned Parenthood funding freeze, undermining gun background checks by allowing the mentally ill easy access, removing transgender protections and a Muslim Ban.  We’re also seeing a tax bill that includes a provision to let churches support political candidates. This is a move that most certainly runs afoul of the First Amendment but the religious nuts in this country don’t appear to care about anything but installing christofascism on us.

As Republicans struggle to craft a sweeping tax package — a process already rife with political land mines — they are preparing to add another volatile element to the mix: a provision that would end a six-decade-old ban on churches and other tax-exempt organizations supporting political candidates.

The repeal of the “Johnson amendment” is being written into tax legislation developed in the House of Representatives, according to aides. President Trump has vowed to “totally destroy” the provision at the behest of evangelical Christians who helped elect him.

The inclusion of the repeal in broader tax legislation could bolster its chances. A stand-alone bill would almost certainly face a filibuster in the Senate, where opponents fear the measure would effectively turn churches into super PACS.

There is some indication that Bannon and the out-of-the-linen-closet White Nationalists are despairing of Trump’s latest moves and forays into conventional NeoCon policies.

Politico has spoken with several nationalist Trump supporters who are already feeling disillusioned with what they’ve seen from the president, especially in the wake of former Breitbart editor Steve Bannon’s demotion from the National Security Council.

“It was like, here’s the chance to do something different — and that’s why people’s hopes are dashed,” Lee Stranahan, a former Breitbart News editor, tells Politico. “There was always the question of, ‘Did he really believe this stuff?’ Apparently the answer is, ‘Not as much as you’d like.’”

There is a lot of scuttlebutt and gossip around Bannon these days.  This is from the Politico bit on Bannon and his merry band of Bigots.  Remember, nutter Rebekah Mercer loves her some Bannon.  Will they go rogue?

Meanwhile, Bannon could launder more salacious hits through the tabloids. “You go National Enquirer on them,” said blogger Mike Cernovich, a self-described student of Bannon’s work who said he has discussed the eventuality of Bannon’s firing with people close to him.

“There’s sex scandals people are sitting on,” Cernovich said. “All the gossip and drama and stuff that might be a little more personal is going to get leaked.”

Trump mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, Bannon’s chief patron, spent much of Friday at the offices of Cambridge Analytica — a data firm in which her family is invested and on whose board Bannon sat before joining the White House — exploring potential gigs for Bannon should he be fired, according to The New York Times.

Cernovich speculated that Bannon could, with the help of Cambridge Analytica’s data, move from the personal to the political by identifying his enemies’ most vulnerable allies in Congress and encouraging challengers to run for their seats. “There will be big primary campaigns against them,” Cernovich said. “It will be Eric Cantor-style warfare.”

Several people familiar with Bannon’s modus operandi said he would be unlikely to take on Trump directly, preferring instead to shift blame toward others while leaving the door open to a rapprochement with the president — at least at first.

“In Steve’s dream scenario, he would depart, things would fall apart even more so, and Trump would beg him to come back to fix it,” Bardella said.

Otherwise, Trump could eventually find himself directly in Bannon’s cross hairs, some said.

“We would see House and Senate races in 2018 to, you know, go after Trump’s agenda,” said internet troll Charles Johnson, an ally of Bannon who worked for him at Breitbart. “Everything would slow down. His presidency would essentially be over. Bannon is more than just a man. He is honestly something of an idea because he represents something that both the establishment and the left-wing media hate.”

Some analysts believe that the departure of Bannon would create virtual war on Trump’s blue collar supporters. 

If Bannon leaves the White House, his departure might be viewed as the end of Trump as a defender of blue-collar Americans. In fact, though, we are dealing more in perceptions than in reality. Behind the mask, Trump never really showed serious interest in transforming the basic Republican agenda to help struggling Americans.

On Wednesday, Trump reversed himself on his tough rhetoric about China when he said that he no longer planned to get rid of the Export-Import Bank. The GOP plan to replace Obamacare, which has failed to gain enough votes to pass the House, would take away benefits from some of Trump’s lower income supporters. And his proposed budget also would have drawbacks for parts of Trump’s base.
In many of the rural areas that voted for Trump, residents would experience cuts to senior centers, after-school programs, farm services and infrastructure spending for towns and more.
Trump’s plans to weaken government regulation — although a boon to financial services and fossil fuel executives — also may not help his base. The benefits might “trickle down,” but right now the verdict is out.
Trump promised to break with traditional approaches to politics so that he could uplift the “forgotten” Americans suffering from the elimination of manufacturing jobs and rising inequality.
Trump promised to break with traditional approaches to politics so that he could uplift the “forgotten” Americans suffering from the elimination of manufacturing jobs and rising inequality. But, in fact, he’s behaving like a classic Republican politician.
Where would we be on this topic without a discussion of that sly old KKK coot AG Jeff Sessions who wants to improve police morale by removing consent degrees.  Set those downtrodden urban police officers free!!

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that consent decrees between the federal government and local police departments on reforming police activities can lower police morale.

Sessions’ comments come after he ordered the Justice Department earlier this month to review all existing consent decrees. The decrees are formal agreements between the federal government and local police departments overseen by a federal court.

Sessions made comments on “The Howie Carr Show,” a New England-based conservative radio program.

“I do share your concern that these investigations and consent decrees have the, can turn bad. They can reduce morale of the police officers,” Sessions said. “They can push back against being out on the street in a proactive way. You know New York has proven community-based policing, this CompStat plan, the broken windows, where you’re actually arresting even people for smaller crimes — those small crimes turn into violence and death and shootings if police aren’t out there.”

“So every place these decrees, and as you’ve mentioned some of these investigations have gone forward, we’ve seen too often big crime increases,” Sessions continued. “I mean big crime increases. Murder doubling and things of that nature. It’s just, we’ve got to be careful, protect people’s Civil Rights. We can’t have police officers abusing their power. We will not have that. But there are lawful approved, constitutional policies that places — New York is — the murder rate is well below a lot of these other cities that aren’t following these tactics.”

More than twenty cities–including my home New Oreans–are under DOJ Consent decrees.  This is one of the biggest legacies of the Obama administration.

At the time, former Attorney General Eric Holder explained his department would attempt to negotiate a “consent decree” with municipal leaders and, in absence of a settlement, sue in federal court to compel action. Seeing no immediate reform–outside of several notable resignations and firings in Ferguson–and demanding an extension that covers all 90 jurisdictions in St. Louis County, social justice advocates were ho-hum when the department released its findings in Cleveland last December and, more recently, announced a similar investigation would be conducted in Baltimore.

The truth is more than 20 U.S. cities are now under a consent decree, meaning they have agreed to work with the Justice Department’s civil rights division to—in effect—reform themselves. The legally binding actions outlined are specific and stem from rigorous fact-finding. In recent days, the city of Cleveland entered a similar agreement, and current Attorney General Loretta Lynch signaled she will lead an investigation into the Baltimore police department after Freddie Gray was killed in police custody.

Cleveland has been embroiled in controversy since the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last November and the acquittal of police office Michael Brelo in the fatal shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. Brelo was among 13 officers who unleashed a stunning 137 rounds on the unarmed suspects as they sat in their car. The city was already under a “pattern and practice” investigation at the time of both incidents.

So the question remains: how effective are such measures?

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, passed in 1994, has proven to be one of the most significant pieces of justice-related legislation enacted over the last 20 odd years. It is most widely known for its problematic measures, including the so-called “three strikes” law that mandates life imprisonment for three-time offenders. Signed into law by former President Bill Clinton, that aspect has disproportionately fueled the mass incarceration of African American men.

However, the law also handed the civil rights division the ability to pursue police agencies if they demonstrate a “pattern and practice” of violating the Constitutional rights of the people they are sworn to serve and protect—including the use of excessive force, racial profiling, and policing-for-profit schemes. The extraordinary language came just three years after Rodney King was beaten by four LAPD police officers. It was a response to a national outcry that the federal government do more to hold law enforcement agencies accountable when local authorities fail.

The prevalence of third-party videotape, which grew exponentially in the years since Rodney King with the advent of smartphone technology and the ubiquitous nature of surveillance cameras, has afforded investigating agencies with a bevy of tangible evidence. Relying on an officer’s statement, as North Charleston, South Carolina police had initially done in the case of patrolman Michael Slager, is no longer the end of the inquiry. Slager, who was unaware that a bystander recorded him, made a flurry of false statements related to the death of Walter Scott. When a tape emerged of him standing calmly in a footpath and shooting Scott five times in the back, he was arrested and charged.

This is definitely a huge concern for those of us that live in urban areas where police practices have been anything but enlightened.  It’s been a major way of putting all levels of government and the communities in a place where reform is possible.

Now it’s in jeopardy along with many other things.

So, the one bit of rumors coming from left wing media that seems terrifically exciting is that there are about to be arrests in the T-Russia Spy-O-Rama. 

The claim first came from @SheWhoVotes, a Twitter user who is also a Constitutional lawyer and has a solid track record. She tweeted today that she’s “Hearing from intelligence insiders that [New York State Attorney General Eric] Scheiderman is working closely with intel. They’re going to take out the entire three ring circus” (link). This was then quickly validated with the words “Fact check: true” by Louise Mensch, a former member of British Parliament who is now a political journalist, and whose inside sources have been consistently correct about the FISA warrants in the Trump-Russia investigation going back to last fall.

My feet are doing a jig over this one:

Anyway, I decided skip the part where we open the third war front against NK in an attempt to distract the Press from the rest of this steaming hot pile of shit. Because, these are the real revolting developments …


Monday Reads: Stranger than Fiction and all that jazz

Good Afternoon!!!

0427-OLOCH-Britain-Loch-Ness

Today is the Anniversary of the first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster back in the 1930s.  I figure that’s as good of a place as any to start our reads today because everything else is a lot less believable. This is the type of monster sighting I’d like to read about. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind of monster sighting we get today.

Newly published documents reveal that a Scottish police official in the 1930s believed ‘beyond doubt’ that the Loch Ness monster existed. Expert Loren Coleman says it reveals the government’s longstanding policy to protect the mythic beast.

I’m pretty much turning into a victim of shaken head syndrome because I find myself doing that or picking my jaw up off the floor nearly daily. Every day there’s a monster sighting on the internet.  Perhaps having a major political party elect a known-nothing reality TV star for president has something to do with it.   Donald Trump has this way of bringing out the worst in people and bringing out the worst people. He is the monster we see today on the internet and on TV and he brings a lot of them with him.

This is not a headline I expected to see over the weekend or even these days. That is until the Donald stirred the White Supremacy pot. “Armed, Confederate flag-waving White Lives Matter protesters rally outside Houston NAACP.”    Houston, you have a problem.

White Lives Matter staged a rally outside the NAACP’s Houston headquarters on Sunday, sparking controversy and counter-protests in a city where racial tensions remain high after a string of recent incidents.

Clutching Confederate flags, white supremacist signs and, in several cases, assault rifles, roughly 20 White Lives Matter members stood on the sidewalk of a historically black neighborhood to denounce the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“We came out here specifically today to protest against the NAACP and their failure in speaking out against the atrocities that organizations like Black Lives Matter and other pro-black organizations have caused the attack and killing of white police officers, the burning down of cities and things of that nature,” organizer Ken Reed told the Houston Chronicle. “If they’re going to be a civil rights organization and defend their people, they also need to hold their people accountable.”

Reed, who was wearing a “Donald Trump ’16” hat and a “White Lives Matter” shirt with white supremacist symbols, said protesters were “not out here to instigate or start any problems,” despite the weaponry and body armor on display.

Of course!  No one whose been listening to Trump spout his “second amendment solutions” advice has any malice or intent to do harm to anyone!  This guy in Tulsa, Oklahoma–as an example–was just exercising his metaphorical ness-1934constitutional rights a few weeks ago too!

For years, the Jabara family says, their Tulsa neighbor terrorized them.

He called them names — “dirty Arabs,” “filthy Lebanese,” they said.

He hurled racial epithets at those who came to work on their lawns, they alleged.

He ran Haifa Jabara over with his car and went to court for it.

And it all came to a head last week when the man, Stanley Vernon Majors, walked up to the front steps of the family home and shot and killed Khalid Jabara, police said.

“The frustration that we continue to see anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, xenophobic rhetoric and hate speech has unfortunately led up to a tragedy like this,” it said.

Or this guy that gunned down an Imam in NYC with his assistant.  Just a white guy waxing in that special first amendment way and exercising his second amendment solutions.article-2604176-06EBDC54000005DC-231_634x494

Saturday’s shooting was not the first incident of violence to hit this growing Bangladeshi community, which straddles the border between the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.

For years, attacks have happened, most frequently during Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, when activity at the five neighborhood mosques peaks. Police bolstered patrolling efforts and stationed officers outside of mosques during the month. For the most part, community members said their presence has been helpful.

But protection during Ramadan is not enough, Hoque said.

“I feel like 106 Precinct is very lazy because they don’t have enough patrolman in our area,” she said. At the rally, Hoque said she witnessed community members, usually on the side of the police, levy similar charges.

While some uneasy neighborhood residents believe the need for more robust policing is greater than ever, some younger community members feel it is time to lessen the community’s dependence on police.

On Wednesday afternoon, the men of Al-Furqan Jame Masjid were gathered in the prayer space, which amounted to little more than two adjoining rooms cooled by an array of three-armed ceiling fans. There, they discussed plans for succession and next steps.

Mohamed Amen, an Egyptian-American police officer in the community affairs bureau, was among the men seated in front of the crowd of 30 men.

During his comments, Officer Amen reiterated that morning’s news: the charges against Oscar Morel, the suspected killer, had been changed from second-degree murder to first-degree murder. If convicted, he explained, the assailant could face life in prison without parole.

“Alhamdulilah,” a few men murmured in unison. Thank God.

Then he addressed the matter of motive. “I can tell you that the hate crimes unit is conducting its own investigation,” he said.

Travel.Scotland, Oddities. pic: June 1969. American submarine expert Dan Taylor sits in the cockpit of his 20 foot submarine at Loch Ness, where he will go underwater to search for the Loch Ness Monster. PPP

Travel.Scotland, Oddities. pic: June 1969. American submarine expert Dan Taylor sits in the cockpit of his 20 foot submarine at Loch Ness, where he will go underwater to search for the Loch Ness Monster. PPP

It does seem that some Republicans and former Trump supporters are beginning to understand that Trump appears to be leading a movement of white nationalists and supremacists.  This is despite the attempt by some to dress the wolf up in sheep’s clothing.

Donald Trump is alienating his own supporters because of his sometimes “erratic” and inflammatory ad hominem attacks, according to a focus group held Saturday by pollster and Republican strategist Frank Luntz.

“He was my first choice. But just along the way, he has — I guess you can say he’s lost me,”  one participant said in the focus group, which aired Sunday as a segment on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I’m not saying there’s no chance of turning but he’s become outrageous. I mean, we all have thoughts, but I think he speaks without thinking.”

The panel, conducted in Pennsylvania, only had a handful of attendees that were still committed to supporting the GOP nominee. Several more participants once backed Trump but no longer do.

“When he initially began to run, he gave voice to a lot of the frustrations that I was feeling about how government is working or more to the point not working,” one man, Michael R., said. “But since then, he’s been running as a 12 year old and changes his positions every news cycle, so you don’t even know where he stands on the issues.”

Another, Howard E. chimed in: “Whenever somebody makes a derogatory comment to him, like in a democratic convention, Trump feels like he needs to attack that person. And he says things that are crazy. And I keep asking myself: is this the kind of person I want to handle the nuclear codes?”

Luntz followed up, asking, “what’s the answer?”

Howard responded: “No way.”

If Republicans are looking for a kinder, gentler, more presidential Donald Trump, they aren’t getting him today.  He was more preoccupied with gossiping about Morning Joke and Mika then doing outreach to African Americans with “nothing to lose”._63417388_olderpiclake_getty

On Monday morning he trained his Twitter fire at the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” formerly one of his favorite places to campaign.

 Trump criticized “Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski in highly personal terms, calling her “off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess!”

He also implied that Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough have been secretly dating. He called them “two clowns.”

The comments about Brzezinski were reminiscent of Trump’s highly personal attacks against Fox host Megyn Kelly.

The co-hosts were in the middle of a three-hour live broadcast at the time and had been highly critical of Trump earlier in the morning.

Scarborough responded during a commercial break, stating that “Clinton is targeting key swing states today while Trump starts his day obsessed with cable news hosts while channeling Gawker.”

He ended the tweet with one of Trump’s favorite put-downs: “SAD!”

More people are beginning to worry that his end game is actually to start a Alt-right/White Nationalist media empire given his thrown in with both Alec Jones and Steve Bannon.Calgary_Herald_281057

Has Donald Trump given up on winning the White House and “pivoted” (this might be his real pivot) to a full-blown effort to build a national following that will outlast the election, perhaps allowing him to establish a media empire with him at the helm — one that caters, at least to some degree, to a white nationalist or “alt-right” audience? Was that his plan all along?

The last few days have brought fresh reporting and evidence that suggest this is where Trump is really headed, a scenario that a numberof observers (your humble blogger included) have been speculating about for months. I thought it would be useful to round up this evidence:

* Vanity Fair media writer Sarah Ellison reports in a radio interviewthat Trump has had private discussions with his inner circle about “how to monetize” the new audience he’s built up. As Ellison puts it, this potential goal should no longer be seen as “speculation.”

* The New York Times reports today that in July, Trump’s campaign “spent more on renting arenas for his speeches” than he did on setting up a national field operation, leaving him with no operation to speak of. That is consistent with the idea that Trump (as I’ve speculated) is very consciously sinking most of his resources into a format (rallies) that allows him to continue staging his unique form of raucous WWE-style political entertainment, and building an audience that thrills to it, rather than winning a general election.

Sunday Express Article 230751 Zoom InMeanwhile, Campaign Mommy Kellyanne Conway insists that the Donald doesn’t hurl any personal insults. 

In February, Conway called Trump’s attacks on rivals like Cruz “vulgar.”

“Do I want somebody who hurls personal insults,” she asked on CNN, “or who goes and talks about philosophical differences?”

On Sunday, though, Conway claimed that Trump’s tone has changed and that he’s already made a pivot “on substance.”

“He doesn’t hurl personal insults,” she said. “What he’s doing is he’s challenging the Democratic Party. He’s challenging Hillary Clinton and President Obama’s legacy.”

She’s been mommysplaining her “pivots” from the Cruz campaign to the Trump nearly all weekend.  It’s really pretty disgusting and disingenuous which appear to be her trademarks.  However, there’s no way to mommysplain Steven Bannon who has been labelled “the most dangerous political operative in America” and wants to take down establishment Republicans as well as democrats.  Check this piece about him out even though it’s from last year.

While attacking the favored candidates in both parties at once may seem odd, Bannon says he’s motivated by the same populist disgust with Washington that’s animating candidates from Trump to Bernie Sanders. Like both, Bannon is having a bigger influence than anyone could have reasonably expected. But in the Year of the Outsider, it’s perhaps fitting that a figure like Bannon, whom nobody saw coming, would roil the national political debate.

 

The biggest scare now is that Trump has been priming the pump about rigged elections and evil media plots against him.  Given that his followers now regularly threaten the media and a few of them are using their second amendment solutions are immigrants, what can we expect when he loses?  Will we have the police dealing with the well-armed League of Angry White men?

“Among the values most necessary for a functioning democracy is the peaceful transition of power that’s gone on uninterrupted since 1797. What enables that is the acceptance of the election’s outcome by the losers,” said Steve Schmidt, the GOP operative who was McCain’s campaign strategist in 2008.

“Here you have a candidate after a terrible three weeks, which has all been self-inflicted, saying the only way we lose is if it’s ‘rigged’ or stolen — in a media culture where people increasingly don’t buy into generally accepted facts and turn to places to have their opinions validated where there’s no wall between extreme and mainstream positions. That’s an assault on some of the pillars that undergird our system. People need to understand just how radical a departure this is from the mean of American politics.”

Should Trump opt not to concede after a loss or deliberately roil his supporters and spark uprisings by refusing to accept the legitimacy of the election results, he would still have little recourse to alter a significant electoral victory for Clinton. Only if the election were close, hinging on one or two states where there were alleged voting irregularities, could Trump seriously contest the result in court.

But beyond who wins the White House in November, many Republicans fear that Trump’s efforts to diminish people’s confidence in mainstream media, fair elections and politics itself will have a lasting impact.

I’m expecting a good deal of these dudes will not go quietly into that great night.  Frankly, I hope the police are up to it.  There’s a reliance on conspiracy theories and monster sightings that scares the bejeebus out of me.  It’s hard to know what exactly what folks like this will do when backed into reality.  The Donald Trump monster is not fake in the traditional sense of monster sightings.  He’s more than real even though everything he promises, affirms as truth, and does is not particularly real.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Saturday Reads: Let the Record show that Donald Trump is a textbook Misogynist and Racist

31C71AEC00000578-3473482-image-a-31_1456945973359Good Afternoon!

It seems we’re finally getting a few journalists to investigate the appalling human relations history of Donald Trump and his well-documented racism and misogyny. The Republican party is lamenting this  because he’s their official standard bearer now. They would love to continue using code words instead of blatant bigotry. The rest of us better hope and pray that a few of the lemmings stop long enough to read up on  the man that is prepared to lead them over the precipice.  There is absolutely nothing redeeming about him.

I’m going to focus on some fairly long and intense investigations of Trump’s treatment of women as well as the astounding role that white identity politics is playing in this race.  None of these links are easy to read but every one should read them and share them.

Donald Trump’s campaign cannot stop attracting white supremacists.  Last week, David Duke argued that he would make a great Vice President candidate and “life insurance.” It’s very difficult to ignore that politics of “whiteness” and white resentment is an essential part of the Trump campaign.  (H/T to Jslat for this great link.)

But then, there’s the liberal commentator Jonathan Chait’s recent essay at New York Mag, “The Real Reason We All Underrated Trump,” in which he openly wonders whether Republican voters who’ve fallen for Trump are “idiots”:

“Most voters don’t follow politics and policy for a living, and it’s understandable that they would often fall for arguments based on faulty numbers or a misreading of history. … As low as my estimation of the intelligence of the Republican electorate may be, I did not think enough of them would be dumb enough to buy his act. And, yes, I do believe that to watch Donald Trump and see a qualified and plausible president, you probably have some kind of mental shortcoming. As many fellow Republicans have pointed out, Donald Trump is a con man. What I failed to realize — and, I believe, what so many others failed to realize, though they have reasons not to say so — is just how easily so many Republicans are duped.” 

It’s telling that Chait finds it easier to imagine that huge swaths of Republican primary voters are childlike and naive, rather than folks who quite rationally dig Trump’s direct appeals to their interests — their racial interests. Among Trump’s most notorious policy proposals is a moratorium on Muslims entering the country. He has called Mexican immigrants “rapists.” Maybe we should concede that these declarations are not incidental to his appeal among his supporters, but central to them. Calling them “idiots” posits that they’ve been duped, when perhaps Trump is saying precisely what they want to hear.

When Trump’s supporters aren’t being written off as intellectually incapable of knowing a huckster when they see one, their motivations are often ascribed to their being “working class.” But the working class today is nearly 40 percent people of color — and among people of color, Trump is profoundly unpopular. His coalition is nearly entirely white. Even the class part of the “working class” narrative is inaccurate; Trump’s supporters are wealthier than most Americans, and have higher incomes than supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The “working class revolt” explanation for Trump’s rise is overstated — and it can be a useful dodge to avoid talking about explanations involving racial grievance.

There have been outlets and pundits this election cycle who’ve shown they’re willing and able to dig into the role that racial grievance plays in How Trump Happened. Others haven’t, and continue not to. And that’s a problem.

The one thing that both the Sanders campaign and the Trump campaign have done for those of us that can see intersectionality of gender identity, sexual preference, religion, and race with justice, jobs, and opportunity is demonstrate that we have a serious cjones08082015problem in this country.  White, christian, male grievances are on display in each of those campaigns to the detriment of discussion of  actual issues. White straight male privilege shouts, screams, and violates everything that this county built on the idea of a melting pot based on representative democracy, and the idea of liberty and justice for all.

Trump’s treatment and characterizations of women should’ve been an automatic disqualifier for any political candidate. We’ve seen elected officials lose elections for all kinds of incredible comments about rape, women’s reproductive organs, and the role of women in society.  Donald Trump’s misogyny is part of his overwhelming appeal to white men who resent women.

Whiteness has always been a central dynamic of American cultural and political life, though we don’t tend to talk about it as such. But this election cycle is making it much harder to avoid discussions of white racial grievance and identity politics when, for instance, Donald Trump’s only viable pathway to the White House is to essentially win all of the white dudes.

cjones09122015This is piggybacking on Trump’s racist and bigoted comments on Mexicans, Muslims. and Black Americans.  Trump holds special contempt for women.  (The first two cartoons come from the mind and pen of claytoonz.com .)

Republican frontrunner and presumptive nominee for president Donald Trump once said that “smart women” act “feminine and needy” but that on the inside, they’re “real killers.” It is, he advised men, “one of the great acts of all time.”

On Friday, CNN pointed out that the description comes from Trump’s chapter on women from his 1997 book, The Art of the Comeback.

“The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers,” wrote the erstwhile reality TV star. “The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naïve or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.”

Trump has taken heat for his sexist attacks on women over the years from comedian Rosie O’Donnell — who he called “fat,” “disgusting” and “a dog” — to Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who the candidate said was unfairly “aggressive” with him in a televised debate and then accused her of being on her period.

The Boston Globe went after Trump’s behaviors in the Beauty Pageant Business and the resulting stories are horrifying.  This is a good summation of the evidence by The Daily Mail.

It begins with the recollections of a pin-up model named Rhonda Noggle. 

Noggle joined Trump in his limousine with a group of scantily-clad girls as they left the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room.

Upon hearing the ‘bimbos’ and the ‘gold diggers’ comments, Noggle decided she’d had enough.

‘I told him I would rather be with a trash man who respected me than someone who was a rich, pompous ass,’ she told the Globe.

‘And I got out. And I took a cab ride home.’

Trump, in an interview with the Globe, denied he had ever made the comments and doesn’t recall Noggle getting out of the car.

As the Globe put it, ‘Noggle’s assertion of sexist behavior by Trump foreshadowed allegations of misogyny, racial bias, and sexually aggressive behavior that would roil this brief and fractious deal – Trump’s debut in the pageant business in which he would in time become a major player.’

You can read the Globe’s April 17th expose at this link. It is amazing to me that stories of unwanted fondling and harassment actually were the basis of the only business where he’s had success. 0811wassermancolor

Trump’s involvement in the calendar model competition came at a time when his reputation as an eligible New York ladies’ man was at its peak. He was between his first and second marriages, and his personal life was regular fodder in the New York tabloid gossip pages. Two years earlier, he had been featured on the cover of Playboy magazine.

The case of American Dream Enterprise Inc. v. Donald Trump, et al. — told through hundreds of pages of court records, several sworn depositions, and in nearly two dozen interviews — shows a darker side of Trump’s playboy image.

It foreshadows a reputation for sexism and misogyny that sticks with him nearly 25 years later, in his presidential bid, in which coarse descriptions of women and perceived sexist comments have left him with extraordinarily high unfavorable ratings among women.

The foray into the Calendar Girls pageant, however, also ushered in Trump’s interest in the business of entertainment. He later bought the Miss Universe pageant and gained national renown for his reality show, “The Apprentice.”

“I don’t believe there would have been an ‘Apprentice’ if there wasn’t a pageant first,” said Jim Gibson, a consultant and longtime pageant host who guided Trump into the pageant business and eventually to the Miss Universe event. “That got him in the higher hierarchies of the television business. And it did exactly what Donald wanted to do: It built his name.”

4221396001_4801061240001_4801034125001-vsThe coverage of Trump’s records of sexual harassment is well-documented in The NYT’s feature article “Crossing the Line.”  It will bring back every horrible memory of every woman trying to earn a living and it will bring on every horrible nightmare every parent has of the kind of treatment they never want hoisted on their daughters.

Donald J. Trump had barely met Rowanne Brewer Lane when he asked her to change out of her clothes.

Donald was having a pool party at Mar-a-Lago. There were about 50 models and 30 men. There were girls in the pools, splashing around. For some reason Donald seemed a little smitten with me. He just started talking to me and nobody else.

He suddenly took me by the hand, and he started to show me around the mansion. He asked me if I had a swimsuit with me. I said no. I hadn’t intended to swim. He took me into a room and opened drawers and asked me to put on a swimsuit.

–Rowanne Brewer Lane, former companion

Ms. Brewer Lane, at the time a 26-year-old model, did as Mr. Trump asked. “I went into the bathroom and tried one on,” she recalled. It was a bikini. “I came out, and he said, ‘Wow.’ ”

Mr. Trump, then 44 and in the midst of his first divorce, decided to show her off to the crowd at Mar-a-Lago, his estate in Palm Beach, Fla. “He brought me out to the pool and said, ‘That is a stunning Trump girl, isn’t it?’ ” Ms. Brewer Lane said.

Donald Trump and women: The words evoke a familiar cascade of casual insults, hurled from the safe distance of a Twitter account, a radio show or a campaign podium. This is the public treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president: degrading, impersonal, performed. “That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees,” he told a female contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Rosie O’Donnell, he said, had a “fat, ugly face.” A lawyer who needed to pump milk for a newborn? “Disgusting,” he said.

But the 1990 episode at Mar-a-Lago that Ms. Brewer Lane described was different: a debasing face-to-face encounter between Mr. Trump and a young woman he hardly knew. This is the private treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the up-close and more intimate encounters.

Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey have documented a life long obsession with and oppression of women by Trump.  Read it and prepared to be angry.

Documenting all of the horrible things that Trump has said about women on Howard Stern led Chris Hayes to tell Michael Steele that he really would love to read each one and ask each Republican on his show if it represents his beliefs and the beliefs of the Republican Party.  The Stern comments are a case study in misogyny.

Donald Trump’s rise toward the Republican nomination has been fueled, in part, by his candid and often crude style — more Howard Stern, say, than Mitt Romney.

And the roots of Donald Trump’s rhetoric come, in fact, in part from The Howard Stern Show. Trump appeared upwards of two dozen times from the late ’90s through the 2000s with the shock jock, and BuzzFeed News has listened to hours of those conversations, which are not publically available. The most popular topic of conversation during these appearances, as is typical of Stern’s program, was sex. In particular, Trump frequently discussed women he had sex with, wanted to have sex with, or wouldn’t have sex with if given the opportunity. He also rated women on a 10-point scale.

“A person who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10,” he told Stern in one typical exchange.

Women make up a majority of the American electorate, and any of dozens of Trump’s remarks would be considered a severe blow to most candidates for public office. Trump has, in the Republican primary, proven largely immune to the backlash that the laws of gravity in politics would predict, but there are also suggestions that he has a deep problem with some women voters: 68% of women voters held an unfavorable view of Trump in a Quinnipiac poll released in December. In a Gallup poll also released in December, Trump had the lowest net favorable rating out of all the candidates among college-educated Republican women. And should he win the nomination, his comments are sure to become ammunition for Democrats against what they have long cast as a Republican “war on women.”

Trump has a history of making crude remarks toward women. He reportedly said of his ex-wife Marla Maples, “Nice tits, no brains,” and more recently, he has called Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” and a “lightweight” and said she had “blood coming out of her wherever” during the first GOP debate.

It’s really hard to believe that one of the two major political parties can elect such an Donald-Trump-tweet-Hillary-Clintonincredibly flawed, hateful, misogynistic, racists, and bigoted candidate.  It is said that parts of  the Republican Party are still trying to draft an independent candidate.  The problem is that it’s not because of Trump’s statements towards women, people of Muslim faith, or people of racial and ethnic minorities.  It’s because some of the things he says are seen as too liberal, to dove like, and not really ‘evangelical christian’ enough.  This means they’re fine with the misogyny, bigotry and racism.

Two central figures in the draft talks are Kristol, who edits the Weekly Standard, and Erickson, a talk-radio host. While Kristol acts as a lone operator and has huddled privately with Romney and other Republicans, Erickson leads an organized group with former Senate staffer Bill Wichterman and others called Conservatives Against Trump, which has been meeting regularly for months.

Coburn, known for his fiscal conservatism, and Sasse have been atop the group’s recruit list for some time. Wichterman is among those who have reached out to Coburn. Friends of the 68-year-old former senator said he is listening but is unlikely to pull the trigger, in part because of health concerns.

Earlier this spring, Kristol had his eyes on Mattis, who is revered by conservatives for his public break with the Obama administration. The general, now a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, met for several hours in mid-April with Kristol, Wilson and GOP consultant Joel Searby at the Beacon Hotel in Washington to go over how a campaign could work.

But soon after, Mattis backed away from the idea because he wasn’t ready to risk politicizing his reputation with a campaign that had little hope for success, according to two people familiar with his deliberations who requested anonymity to discuss those conversations. Mattis declined through a spokesman to be interviewed.

Kristol then reached out to Romney asking for a meeting to ask for his assistance. The two met May 5 at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Washington where they talked about possible contenders. Kristol detailed their discussion the next day to The Washington Post, which irked some Romney associates.

When asked this week to comment on further developments, Kristol declined.

“These conspiracies for the public good are time and labor intensive!” he wrote in an email. “In any case, things are at a delicate stage now, so I really should keep mum. Suffice it to say that serious discussions and real planning are ongoing.”

Potential candidates include a newbie Senator from Nebraska who is really a horrifying person all in his own right.   Sasse is an ideologue with some fairly strange ideas . c9a0fb89b7e82e00791282a6e5ae83ce

So what is a “Ben Sasse,” and how did he arrive at this wrong conclusion?

Sasse was elected to the Senate in 2014. In that cycle of Establishment vs. Tea Party Senate primaries, it was unclear in Nebraska which candidate, Sasse or former state Treasurer Shane Osborn,represented which side. It was such a muddle that FreedomWorks, one of the original national Tea Party organizations, switched its endorsement to Sasse after originally endorsing Osborn, prompting theresignation of one of its vice presidents. Since coming to the Senate, Sasse has amassed an arch-conservative’s voting record. He was recently the lone dissenting vote against a bill to combat opioid abuse, which he believes is a state- and local-government issue.

We’ve talked that the general election will get very ugly because it’s obvious that Trump is not shy about playing all the cards in his deck of hate.  I hope this kind of information continues to get out to the public.  Given Trump’s disapproval among women, women will be behind Hillary.  There is very little chance that his racist comments and ability to attract white nationalists will appeal to any racial minority.  This is the deal, however.  Whatever are we going to do with those white men and the few hangers on among them?  It’s not easy to ignore the privileged class.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

As always, this is an open thread.  Please share everything and anything!!!