Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie — each rumored to be eyeing a presidential run — were quicker to criticize Trump.
Finally Friday Reads: Tweet Musk, Ye, Trump then DeletePosted: December 2, 2022 Filed under: just because | Tags: 11th Circuit appeals court, degenerate art, hate speech, Musk, Trump, Ye 14 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
The votes may have shown the country is trying to be normal again, but the headlines also show how deep the crazy runs in today’s Republican Party. One of the House committee takeovers that I’m most anxiety-ridden about is the House Judiciary Committee. Some of the deepest crazy reside there, and it will be a spectacle once their sham hearings start. This is from NBC’s Amanda Terkel and Garrett Haake. “House Judiciary Republicans delete ‘Kanye. Elon. Trump.’ tweet as rapper praises Hitler. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee had tweeted in apparent support of Ye on Oct. 6. The tweet was removed Thursday.” It seems Godwin’s Law and Reductio ad Hitlerum may need a revisit. You don’t have to infer it’s NAZIish anymore when the policy and speech include casual praise of Hitler.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee deleted their Oct. 6 tweet that appeared to support Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, after months of controversy over his antisemitic remarks.
“Kanye. Elon. Trump,” read the tweet, which held up Ye alongside Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, who has been bringing back right-wing figures who were once banned, and former President Donald Trump.
The tweet was deleted Thursday as Ye was launching a lengthy antisemitic tirade on the show hosted on Infowars by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who is known for promoting falsehoods around events like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.
“I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis,” Ye said on the show Thursday. He also repeatedly expressed his admiration for Adolf Hitler.
House Judiciary Committee Republicans did not immediately reply to a request for comment about the deleted tweet. The GOP, currently in the minority, won control of the House in November’s midterm elections.
Even Alex Jones denounced Hitler on the InforWars broadcast as he filed for bankruptcy for his Sandy Hook fines. Musk’s Twitter responded to as reported by NPR. Every time I hear this shit, all I can think is my Dad bombed NAZIs to get them out of France and Belgium and to ensure the Allies could defeat the regime and ensure the allied armies on the ground could safely set free those held in concentration camps.
In an appearance on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show, Ye – the rapper formerly known as Kanye West – doubled down on a series of antisemitic comments he’s made in recent months. Ye appeared on the show alongside Nick Fuentes, the white-nationalist internet personality. The pair had dinner with former President Donald Trump last week.
Hours later, Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced that Ye’s Twitter account was suspended. The move came after the rapper reportedly posted on Twitter an image of a swastika depicted inside a Star of David.
On Jones’ show Thursday, Ye’s statements were among his most brazen. “I see good things about Hitler,” Ye said during the nearly 3-hour interview. Later, he veered into Holocaust denialism.
“This was a mask-off moment, to hear Ye just outright say that he admires Hitler,” said Megan Squire, deputy director of data analytics at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Often extremists talk around the subject of Nazism, she said, couching true beliefs in cloaked language in order to avoid being banned from mainstream platforms. Pushing the boundaries, said Squire, provides a permission structure to other far right voices.
The recent string of antisemitic comments began in October, when Ye posted “I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” The tweet has since been deleted. Ye then spoke out on a number of podcasts and interview shows, repeating his talking points and promoting his run for president in 2024.
Before decamping to fringe channels that specialize in extremist rhetoric, Ye made an appearance in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. He used the occasion to air his anti-abortion stance and grievances with the fashion industry. But soon after, Vice News revealed that show producers cut Ye’s references to his beliefs that align with the Black Hebrew Israelites.
Sorry, Republicans, you own this Troika of hate. Musk. Ye. Trump.
Trump’s legal problems worsened as the 11th circuit shut down Judge Loose Cannon and her Special Master concession to Trump. This is from the New York Times. “Appeals Court Scraps Special Master Review in Trump Documents Case. The panel’s decision removed a major obstacle to the Justice Department’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of sensitive government documents.”
A federal appeals court on Thursday removed a major obstacle to the criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s hoarding of government documents, ending an outside review of thousands of records the F.B.I. seized from his home and freeing the Justice Department to use them in its inquiry.
In a unanimous but unsigned 21-page ruling, a three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta shut down a lawsuit brought by Mr. Trump that has, for nearly three months, slowed the inquiry into whether he illegally kept national security records at his Mar-a-Lago residence and obstructed the government’s efforts to retrieve them.
The appeals court was sharply critical of the decision in September by Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee who sits in the Southern District of Florida, to intervene in the case. The court said Judge Cannon never had legitimate jurisdiction to order the review or bar investigators from using the files, and that there was no justification for treating Mr. Trump differently from any other target of a search warrant.
“It is indeed extraordinary for a warrant to be executed at the home of a former president — but not in a way that affects our legal analysis or otherwise gives the judiciary license to interfere in an ongoing investigation,” the court wrote.
The judges’ findings are consistent with what legal experts have been saying since the Trump lawyers went Judge-shopping and came up with an eager interloper. Here’s the kicker.
Limits on when courts can interfere with a criminal investigation “apply no matter who the government is investigating,” it added. “To create a special exception here would defy our nation’s foundational principle that our law applies ‘to all, without regard to numbers, wealth or rank.’”
The panel included two judges appointed by Trump.
Well, there’s Ye. There’s Trump. And now, let’s do Musk. “Hate Speech’s Rise on Twitter Is Unprecedented, Researchers Find. Problematic content and formerly barred accounts have increased sharply in the short time since Elon Musk took over, researchers said.” This is also from The New York Times.
Before Elon Musk bought Twitter, slurs against Black Americans showed up on the social media service an average of 1,282 times a day. After the billionaire became Twitter’s owner, they jumped to 3,876 times a day.
Slurs against gay men appeared on Twitter 2,506 times a day on average before Mr. Musk took over. Afterward, their use rose to 3,964 times a day.
And antisemitic posts referring to Jews or Judaism soared more than 61 percent in the two weeks after Mr. Musk acquired the site.
These findings — from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups that study online platforms — provide the most comprehensive picture to date of how conversations on Twitter have changed since Mr. Musk completed his $44 billion deal for the company in late October. While the numbers are relatively small, researchers said the increases were atypically high.
The shift in speech is just the tip of a set of changes on the service under Mr. Musk. Accounts that Twitter used to regularly remove — such as those that identify as part of the Islamic State, which were banned after the U.S. government classified ISIS as a terror group — have come roaring back. Accounts associated with QAnon, a vast far-right conspiracy theory, have paid for and received verified status on Twitter, giving them a sheen of legitimacy.
These changes are alarming, researchers said, adding that they had never seen such a sharp increase in hate speech, problematic content and formerly banned accounts in such a short period on a mainstream social media platform.
“Elon Musk sent up the Bat Signal to every kind of racist, misogynist and homophobe that Twitter was open for business,” said Imran Ahmed, the chief executive of the Center for Countering Digital Hate. “They have reacted accordingly.”
CNN Prognosticators are getting some encouraging Poll results in the Warnock/Walker race. “CNN Poll: Warnock holds a narrow edge over Walker in final undecided Senate contest.” Walker is not fit for the Senate, but his treatment of women makes him an unacceptable choice. Our Georgia Sky Dancers are voting in even the most desperate situations, like long lines and illness.
In the final undecided Senate contest of 2022, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia holds a narrow lead over Republican challenger Herschel Walker among those likely to vote in a runoff election Tuesday, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.
The survey shows that Walker faces widespread questions about his honesty and suffers from a negative favorability rating, while nearly half of those who back him say their vote is more about opposition to Warnock than support for Walker. Voters’ modestly more positive views of Warnock and a firmly committed base of supporters appear to boost the incumbent in the new poll.
Overall, 52% of likely voters say they plan to support Warnock in Tuesday’s runoff and 48% pick Walker. Partisans on both sides are deeply entrenched, with nearly all Democrats (99%) behind Warnock and 95% of Republicans backing Walker. Independents break in Warnock’s favor, 61% to 36%, but make up a relatively small slice of likely voters, 17%, compared with 24% in a CNN exit poll of voters in the first round of this contest last month. (Warnock finished narrowly ahead of Walker in November but without the majority of the vote needed to avoid a runoff.)
This is also from CNN. “Woman alleges to Daily Beast that Herschel Walker was violent with her in 2005.”
An ex-girlfriend of Herschel Walker, the Republican Senate nominee in Georgia, has come forward in The Daily Beast to allege that the former football star was violent and threatening toward her during an incident that took place in 2005.
Cheryl Parsa, a Dallas resident, told the news outlet she had a five-year relationship with Walker from 2004 to 2009. She alleges that in 2005, after she found Walker with another woman, he got angry, and, according to her account, placed his hands on her chest and neck and also swung his fist at her. She told The Daily Beast that she thought he was “going to beat me” and that she fled.
This endless Republican parade of wife-beaters, child sex traffickers, racists, mass shooters, anti-semites, and just crazy people is emotional torture. They light their torches, set fires, then ignore the resulting damage. I have decreased my daily exposure to the news, which isn’t good in a democracy.
I have one last read to share from the Washington Post. “THE ABORTION DIARIES: Pregnant and desperate in post-Roe America. Three women face unexpected pregnancies in states with abortion bans.” It’s written and compiled by Caroline Kitchener.
It’s a moment of panic that has played out again and again for people in more than a dozen states since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
Once they find out they’re pregnant, there isn’t much time to act. The closest open abortion clinics that once offered next-day appointments are now often fully booked three, four, even five weeks in advance. Pills purchased online can take up to a month to arrive.
Every day, the fetus gets a little bigger — and the anxiety builds.
Inpolarized, post-Roe America, the experiences that draw widespread attention are often the most harrowing: a 10-year-old rape victim forced to leave her state to end her pregnancy, or a woman denied an abortion for a fetus without a skull.
Often lost in the discussion are the more routine stories. The mother of two who can’t afford a third child. The teenager who can’t tell her parents she’s pregnant. The 25-year-old who isn’t ready to be a mom.
Over the next decade, if recent trends hold, more than a million people with unwanted pregnancies are likely to run up against an abortion ban. Some will find a way, traveling hundreds of miles or securing illegal pills through the mail. Others will resign themselves to parenthood.
The Washington Post made contact with three pregnant women who were seeking abortions while living in states with strict abortion bans. These women, reached early in their pregnancies, communicated regularly with The Post, sharing their experiences through calls, text messages and other documentation that supported their accounts. They participated on the condition that only their first names be used to protect their privacy.
Here are their stories, from the minute the two pink lines appeared.
The stories are compelling. It’s not hard to think about how voting and women’s rights were the first to fall in the Republican-packed Supreme Court. I feel so exhausted. Being under attack by a radical minority, White Christian Nationalism bloc eats everything out of one’s psyche and soul. It’s all just out there, isn’t it? At least we can’t be accused of playing race cards, jumping to Reductio ad Hitlerum, or being hysterical anymore. All you have to do is point to what they are saying out loud and doing daily. The Republican-run committees are just going to be amplifying it all. We’ll still be here even if making sense of it isn’t possible anymore. The key is still to follow truth with action.
And, yes, what would a conversation about NAZIs be without ‘degenerate’ art from the period by German painters.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Tuesday Reads: Antisemitism and Extremism in the U.S.Posted: November 29, 2022 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, children, Donald Trump, just because, Twitter | Tags: anti-semitism, child abuse, child safety, Elon Musk, Holocaust denial, Kanye West, Neo-Nazis, Nicoholas Fuentes, Republicans, Ye 15 Comments
Last Tuesday, Trump hosted a dinner at Mar-a-Lago with Kanye West and and Nicholas Fuentes. West has been spouting virulent antisemitism recently, and Fuentes is a white supremacist, holocaust denier, and Hitler admirer. Trump was reportedly quite taken with Fuentes, and during the dinner said, “I like this guy. He gets me.” Public outrage built over the holiday weekend. At first Republicans were hesitant to criticize Trump for this, but yesterday some of them actually spoke out against his behavior.
The Washington Post: Pence, other Republicans issue rare rebuke of Trump over dinner with Fuentes and Ye.
Former vice president Mike Pence and numerous Republican lawmakers on Monday criticized Donald Trump for dining with the white nationalist Nick Fuentes and the rapper Ye, both of whom have a history of antisemitic remarks, marking a rare break with Trump in the upper echelons of the GOP.
Pence was most clear in his condemnation, saying in an interview with NewsNation, “President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table. I think he should apologize for it, and he should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric without qualification.”
He joined several Republican senators who also directly criticized the former president in statements disavowing the dinner with Fuentes and Ye. Pence’s comments were also one of the clearest instances of the former vice president trying to set himself apart from Trump, whom he served for four years, amid the expectation that Pence will challenge Trump for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.
Christie tweeted on Saturday: “This is just awful, unacceptable conduct from anyone, but most particularly from a former President and current candidate.”
“Well, I hope, someday, we won’t have to be responding to what former President Trump has said or done,” Hutchinson said in an interview Sunday on CNN. “In this instance, it’s important to respond. … I don’t think it’s a good idea for a leader that is setting an example for the country or the party to meet with an avowed racist or antisemite.” [….]
“President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) tweeted. “These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party.”
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said Trump should have “certainly” known who he is dining with, telling reporters Monday, “I totally think it’s ridiculous to be sitting down with somebody who espouses such views.” [….]
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement that she condemns “antisemitism and white supremacy” and that “the president should never have had a meal or even a meeting with Nick Fuentes.”
The public critiques of Trump were notable after years in which many Republicans remained silent as he courted extremists. Still, many stopped short of a full denouncement.
Mitt Romney delivered the harshest rebuke. From Charlie Sykes’ Morning Shots at The Bulwark:
“There is no bottom to the degree to which he’s willing to degrade himself, and the country for that matter. Having dinner with those people was disgusting,” Romney said.
“I voted to remove him from office twice… I don’t think he should be president of the United states. I don’t think he should be the nominee of our party in 2024. And I certainly don’t want him hanging over our party like a gargoyle.”
More Republican condemnations from Semafor:
“It was ridiculous,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa said.
“I just think that was a really bad idea,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D, the second-ranking Republican leader, said. “He shouldn’t have done it.”
While some lawmakers were reluctant to single out Trump by name, and many paired their statements with attacks on Democrats and reassurances they didn’t consider Trump racist, they almost all made clear he’d crossed a line. Importantly, they did what Trump would not — condemn and disavow the hate his dinner guests preached.
“There’s no room in the Republican Party for white supremacy and antisemitism,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., a close Trump ally, said. “It’s wrong. I think Republicans should all condemn white supremacy and antisemitism.” [….]
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. called Fuentes an “ass clown” and told CNN he hoped Trump would condemn the “evil” and “disgusting” figure. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas told NBC News he was a “racist clown.”
And even some top supporters were, at minimum, willing to concede it wasn’t the best look. “There’s a lot of other people, I would think that he could have met with to help the country be stronger and go more in the right direction,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala. said.
And what about Jewish Trump supporters? Jonathan Weisman at The New York Times: Jewish Allies Call Trump’s Dinner With Antisemites a Breaking Point.
For much of Donald J. Trump’s presidency, Jewish Republicans rationalized away the bigoted fringe of Mr. Trump’s coalition, arguing that the unsavory supporters in his midst and the antisemitic tropes he deployed paled in comparison with the staunchly pro-Israel policies of his administration.
But last week, Mr. Trump dined at his Palm Beach palace, Mar-a-Lago, with the performer Kanye West, who had already been denounced for making antisemitic statements, and with Nick Fuentes, an outspoken antisemite and Holocaust denier, granting the antisemitic fringe a place of honor at his table. Now, even some of Mr. Trump’s staunchest supporters say they can no longer ignore the abetting of bigotry by the nominal leader of the Republican Party.
“I am a child of survivors. I have become very frightened for my people,” Morton Klein, head of the right-wing Zionist Organization of America, said on Monday, referring to his parents’ survival of the Holocaust. “Donald Trump is not an antisemite. He loves Israel. He loves Jews. But he mainstreams, he legitimizes Jew hatred and Jew haters. And this scares me.”
Not all Republican leaders have spoken out, but Jewish Republicans are slowly peeling away from a former president who, for years, insisted he had no ties to the bigoted far right, but refused to repudiate it. Jewish figures and organizations that have stood by Mr. Trump, from Mr. Klein’s group to the pro-Trump commentator Ben Shapiro to Mr. Trump’s own former ambassador to Israel and onetime bankruptcy lawyer, David M. Friedman, have all spoken out since the dinner.
For Jews, the concern extends far beyond a single meal at Mar-a-Lago, though that dinner has become a touchstone, especially for Jewish Republicans.
“We have a long history in this country of separating the moral character of the man in the White House from his conduct in office, but with Trump, it’s gone beyond any of the reasonably acceptable and justifiable norms,” Jay Lefkowitz, a former adviser to President George W. Bush and a supporter of many of Mr. Trump’s policies, said on Monday.
For American Jewry, the debate since the dinner has brought into focus what may be the most discomfiting moment in U.S. history in a half-century or more.
“The normalization of antisemitism is here,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League.
From New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg: Antisemitism’s March Into the Mainstream.
Jews are thriving in America, and even with the violent resurgence of antisemitism in the Trump era, I’ve rarely felt personally threatened, perhaps a function of my privilege. Over the last week, though, I’m reminded that well-off Jews in other times and places have also imagined that they’d moved beyond existential danger, and been wrong.
At this point, there is no excuse for being shocked by anything that Donald Trump does, yet I confess to being astonished that the former president dined last week with one of the country’s most influential white supremacists, a smirking little fascist named Nick Fuentes. There’s nothing new about antisemites in Trump’s circle, but they usually try to maintain some plausible deniability, ranting about globalists and George Soros rather than the Jews. Fuentes, by contrast, is overt. “Jews have too much power in our society,” he recently wrote on his Telegram channel. “Christians should have all the power, everyone else very little.”
Fuentes was brought to Trump’s lair by Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, who was evidently serious when he threatened to go “death con 3” on the Jews last month. (The relationship with West is a bit of a coup for Fuentes, who, openly wishing for conflict between Jews and Black people, has been willing to sublimate his anti-Black racism in the service of his antisemitism.) According to Axios, at one point during the dinner Trump turned to Ye and said of Fuentes: “I really like this guy. He gets me.”
Since then, Trump has claimed he didn’t know who Fuentes was. I find this unlikely. In September, I wrote a piece about a Trump-endorsed congressional candidate named Joe Kent that mentions Fuentes in the first paragraph. Trump scrawled a note of congratulations on the print version and mailed it to Kent, who sent the image out on his email list. But even if Trump’s ignorance was sincere, he still didn’t denounce Fuentes after learning his identity.
Most Republicans, in turn, spent days declining to criticize Trump, though former Vice President Mike Pence and several senators finally spoke out on Monday. There is a good argument that politicians and journalists should avoid responding to every one of the ex-president’s provocations. In this case, however, the reluctance to rebuke Trump erodes the already-shaky taboo against antisemitism in Republican politics.
Goldberg goes on to note that “other narcissistic celebrities are now joining him in reveling in reactionary transgression.”
Ye is launching a vanity presidential campaign run by the far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who recently wrote on Telegram, “We’re done putting Jewish interests first.” After buying Twitter, Elon Musk enthusiastically welcomed both Trump and Ye back to the platform, and has been tiptoing up to the edge of antisemitism himself. On Sunday, he tweeted that Alexander Vindman, the Jewish retired Army officer who testified about Trump’s attempt to extort Ukraine’s president, is both “puppet & puppeteer,” echoing an old antisemitic trope about Jews pulling the strings behind world events. On Monday, Musk tweeted an image of the alt-right symbol Pepe the Frog.
And now Musk owns Twitter, which has become a kind of public square that is important to people, causes, and even government agencies around the world. I knew nothing about Musk until recently, when he began making noises about buying Twitter. Now it’s clear to me that he is a full-blown malignant narcissist, very similar to Trump. He appears to be on a path to turning Twitter into an unmoderated hell scape like 4chan and 8chan, where Qanon and other crazy conspiracy theories festered. Recently Musk announced that he will reinstate all of the account that were previously banned by Twitter moderators. According to NPR,
In the days after the Capitol insurrection, Twitter banned 70,000 QAnon-linked accounts for spreading the conspiracy theory. Some belonged to influencers with large followings, including high-profile Trump supporters Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn, who had also spread false claims of election fraud and had tried to get the election results overturned.
Many more accounts have been banned since then. Even more concerning, despite his claims that protecting children is important to him, Musk’s layoffs and firings have made Twitter more dangerous for children.
Wired: Layoffs Have Gutted Twitter’s Child Safety Team.
REMOVING CHILD EXPLOITATION is “priority #1”, Twitter’s new owner and CEO Elon Musk declared last week. But, at the same time, following widespread layoffs and resignations, just one staff member remains on a key team dedicated to removing child sexual abuse content from the site, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, who both requested to remain anonymous.
It’s unclear how many people were on the team before Musk’s takeover. On LinkedIn, WIRED identified four Singapore-based employees who specialize in child safety who said publicly they left Twitter in November.
The importance of in-house child safety experts cannot be understated, researchers say. Based in Twitter’s Asian headquarters in Singapore, the team enforces the company’s ban on child sex abuse material (CSAM) in the Asia Pacific region. Right now, that team has just one full-time employee. The Asia Pacific region is home to around 4.3 billion people, about 60 percent of the world’s population.
The team in Singapore is responsible for some of the platform’s busiest markets, including Japan. Twitter has 59 million users in Japan, second only to the number of users in the United States, according to data aggregator Statista. Yet the Singapore office has also been impacted by widespread layoffs and resignations following Musk’s takeover of the business. In the past month, Twitter laid off half its workforce and then emailed remaining staff asking them to choose between committing to work “long hours at high intensity” or accepting a severance package of three months’ pay.
The impact of layoffs and resignations on Twitter’s ability to tackle CSAM is “very worrying,” says Carolina Christofoletti, a CSAM researcher at the University of São Paulo in Brazil. “It’s delusional to think that there will be no impact on the platform if people who were working on child safety inside of Twitter can be laid off or allowed to resign,” she says. Twitter did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The Twitter in-house child safety team is vitally important to outside organizations who work to protect vulnerable children, because the metadata and analysis are only available inside Twitter.
Whether you love or hate Twitter, that is frightening. We’ve spent the past 7 years dealing with one narcissistic psychopath who could still run for president again. Now there’s another one in charge of the most important platform for communication with journalists, government leaders, historians, researchers, and more. Why do we do this to ourselves? That’s a topic for another day.
What do you think? What stories are you following today?