I Hope You People Are Proud of Yourselves

Thanks a lot guys:

Solid of you all to have my back like that.

The NEW New Colossus

According to NBC News, human whitening strip Stephen Miller will shortly roll out phase two of the plan to extend white hegemony in America in perpetuity:

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is expected to issue a proposal in coming weeks that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare, four sources with knowledge of the plan told NBC News.

The move, which would not need Congressional approval, is part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s plan to limit the number of migrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year.

Details of the rulemaking proposal are still being finalized, but based on a recent draft seen last week and described to NBC News, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children’s health insurance, food stamps and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining legal status in the U.S.

There’s no financial crisis linked to legal (or undocumented) immigrants overrunning the paltry public assistance available in this country. The opposite, in fact, is true; the looming financial crisis was caused by shoveling a trillion borrowed dollars to people like Betsy DeVos, the Mercers, the Kochs, the Walton family, etc., in the form of an unneeded massive tax cut.

Sponsors for legal immigrants who want to obtain a green card and move toward citizenship have to commit to being on the hook for any public benefits for which their legal immigrant might qualify for a decade. The Miller plan is transparently about blocking legal immigrants from gaining voting rights.

“Keep, ancient lands, your poor huddled masses!” cries he
With sneering lips. “Give me your whites, your revanchist boor,
Your B-list underwear models yearning to go clothing-free,
The oligarchs and bigots of your scheming shore.
Send these, the fascists, the Nazi-curious to me,
I lift my lamp beside the gold-veneer Trump Tower door!”

Fighting Fascists Open Thread: The Weekend Portland Protest

I couldn’t figure out why the “Proud Flesh Bois” and their “Patriot Prey-er” buddies picked last weekend for their cosplay riot, until I found this Daily Beast article by Corey Pein:

Hundreds of armed supporters of President Donald Trump, led by a fringe Republican congressional candidate, marched on Saturday, leaving blood from scattered street fights in their wake.

Ostensibly a campaign event for long-shot U.S. Senate hopeful Joey Gibson, members of his group Patriot Prayer urged the president to lock up his political opponents, including Hillary Clinton, and promised violent retribution for anyone who threatened their right to “free speech” or armed self-defense. Groups of Trump supporters swarmed through the streets, singling out people of color to fight, some of whom appeared to belong to small vigilante squads of local anti-fascists, as well as others who appeared to be mere passersby. Police announced four arrests, but gave no estimate of injuries.

Extremist group watchdogs such as the Southern Poverty Law Center warned ahead of the event that it could turn into “another Charlottesville.” It did not, but only in the sense that no one was killed. Such warnings, prompted by Gibson’s provocations, put all eyes on the rally…

His supporters flocked from around the West Coast and the country, a contingent of Proud Boys, “Three Percenter” militia members, Trump-supporting bikers, fundamentalist Christians, and college Republicans. Gibson had insinuated that his supporters would bring guns into the city and many apparently did, although to comply with local ordinances, the weapons stayed stowed in backpacks…

Per the local Oregonian, today:

A traumatic brain injury. Third-degree chemical burns. Open wounds.

At least three people who gathered to protest a rally by right-wing group Patriot Prayer were hospitalized Saturday because of injuries sustained from crowd-control munitions fired by Portland police, according to activists, counter-protest organizers and a media report.

The city’s police chief, Danielle Outlaw, on Monday offered her most passionate defense yet of officer tactics used to keep the rival poetical factions apart.

Police succeeded in preventing violent clashes between armed demonstrators that many had feared, she said…

“It was going to be a very rowdy, physically violent ruckus and it was not that because of the actions that the officers took,” Outlaw said…

Read more

Class VI Rapids Ahead in Bullshit River

Ezra Klein published an interesting piece in Vox today arguing, among other things, that Aldous Huxley’s dystopia resembles our current state more than Orwell’s did. Klein cites Neil Postman, whose “Amusing Ourselves to Death” came out in 1985:

In his classic 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman wrote of the difference between George Orwell’s and Aldous Huxley’s visions of fascism.

“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information,” wrote Postman. “Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”

Postman’s warning rang out in a different era. He worried over the rise of television, not Twitter; he was reacting to Ronald Reagan, not Donald Trump. And yet the facts of our age are more absurd and insulting than anything Postman prophesied.

The truth IS out there — it’s just a small, shiny pebble that is obscured by a river of bullshit. Klein says what many of us have argued for a couple of years now: the mainstream media’s approach to covering Trump is a failure, and unless they consciously make better choices not only about how they cover things but what to cover, democracy is in serious peril.

Klein acknowledges the complexity of the problem, including the click-driven media of which Klein himself is a part:

That’s particularly true in the hypercompetitive enclaves of cable news and social media, where only the most attention-grabbing, conflict-rich content thrives. The media has no problem ignoring the president when what he says is boring or predictable. It’s when he’s outrageous or absurd that the “breaking” banners light up. That’s an awful incentive structure, as Trump’s gleeful manipulation of our attention has shown.

And yet, it’s damn hard to resist. It’s damn hard to resist because Trump’s behavior really is so outlandish, and because if everyone else is covering Trump’s latest comments you feel like you’re missing the story if you focus elsewhere, and because there really is audience demand, and because Trump rallies make for damn good TV segments and Facebook posts. And I say this as someone whose coverage is just as driven by these incentives as anyone else’s.

Trump knows all this, he is a genius at understanding the dynamics of press coverage, and it’s allowed him to hack the media brilliantly, to even make critical coverage part of his strategy and storyline. He controls our attention more effectively than any president in memory, perhaps than any president in history. But at what cost?

At the cost of our democracy, perhaps. The sensational content Trump produces via Twitter and his big fat mouth daily obscure more important stories, such as the fact that hundreds of immigrant children have been effectively orphaned by government agencies enacting a pointless and evil policy, the exponentially worse-than-Watergate Russia scandal, the administration’s historic levels of corruption and Trump’s manifest incompetence. I’m not 100% in agreement with Klein that Trump is a media genius whose actions, like saying outrageous shit at rallies, are deliberate tactics to hijack the narrative away from events like the Scott Pruitt public corruption flame-out.

IMO, it’s just as possible that events like the Pruitt flame-out, the Manafort trial, etc., trigger insecurity and a hunger for adulation in the brittle narcissist Trump, and his rallies are a way to feed that fragile ego. But in the end, I’m not sure the motivation really matters. The bottom line is, the fire-hose volume of outrages from Trump DOES obscure stories that would have buried a normal administration. Klein cites Postman again to identify the source of the problem:

“To be unaware that a technology comes equipped with a program for social change, to maintain that technology is neutral, to make the assumption that technology is always a friend to culture is, at this late hour, stupidity plain and simple,” Postman warned.

So, what to do? If we have to count on a click-driven media to reform itself by refraining from covering politics as entertainment, we’re obviously doomed. But we can work the refs, and working the refs sometimes works. For example, Alex Jones and InfoWars were kicked off YouTube, Facebook and Apple today. That’s a victory.

The very absurdities of the present age may serve as levers to effect change on the margins, or at least inspire more people to fire up their woefully disused bullshit detectors. For example, Buzzfeed is reporting that there’s a lot of evidence to suggest this QAnonsense that made headlines last week originated as a prank to make Trump supporters look stupid. Mission accomplished!

Now, no amount of debunking will unstupid people who think Alex Jones is credible source. No amount of coverage will knock sense into the empty heads people who believe Trump is on a secret mission to bust a global pedophile ring and reclaim U.S. democracy from a degenerate Democratic cabal. Those folks took the bus to crazy town on a one-way ticket long ago.

But there’s a chance that exposing the subterranean madness that is bubbling below the surface of what passes for mainstream conservative politics will be clarifying for people who don’t normally pay attention. And exposing how trolls manipulated Democrats and left-leaning unaffiliateds in 2016 can help us prevent a repeat in upcoming elections. Robby Mook has a piece in USA Today that speaks to that:

The Russians know there’s no better way to help Trump win re-election than divide Democrats and disrupt our primary. They will choose sides. They will seek to inflate divisions on race, gender and geography. They will trump up “scandals” and suspicions of “rigging.” They will infiltrate conversations in our Facebook groups and Twitter threads, and pollute our feeds with manufactured content. There’s no question it will happen. The question is: What will we do about it?

To be clear, I look forward to a sprawling, highly competitive presidential primary next year. A wide variety of choices and a spirited debate about the direction of our country is healthy and will produce the best candidate possible. We should welcome the differences in opinion and passions it will evoke. We just don’t want the Russians manufacturing ways to make it unnecessarily nasty or divisive.

Every Democrat considering a run for president needs to carefully consider where she or he will stand when Russian rumor mongering seeks to divide Democrats. If Russia attacks your opponent or promotes you, will you let it slide? Or will you speak out? Will you commit to ignoring stolen and leaked material? Will you be willing to call on supporters to shut down Facebook groups infected with agents posing as supporters?

Maybe Democratic candidates and leaders need to get together and come up with a pledge to that effect. What do you think?

Low IQ Anonsense (Open Thread)

The first time I ever heard about his QAnon bullshit was in connection to Roseanne Barr, before she got herself fired for tweeting racist garbage. She made a vague reference to Trump saving thousands of children from sex slavery. In response to a collective WTF, folks did some digging, and it was revealed Barr buys into this wackadoodle conspiracy theory.

QAnon got more attention after people holding Q signs and wearing Q t-shirts showed up at Trump’s hate rally in Tampa. Here’s an excerpt of a piece on the conspiracy theory published in The Post yesterday:

QAnon adherents encourage those seeking the truth to “follow the White Rabbit,” but it’s hard to hop down this hole without getting totally lost in their horrorland. The simplest description of the plot line goes something like this: President Trump isn’t under investigation; he is only pretending to be, as part of a countercoup to restore power to the people after more than a century of governmental control by a globalist cabal. Also, there are pedophiles.

A figure named “Q,” who supposedly possesses Q-level security clearance, disperses “crumbs” that “bakers” bring together to create a “dough” of synthesized information. (This is not how baking works, but that seems the least of our worries.) Because Q is the 17th letter in the alphabet and 17 is also a number Trump has said a few times, among other clearly-not-coincidences, he is the real deal, not an Internet troll engaged in an elaborate example of live-action role-play…

Now that it’s clear that what starts on the fringe doesn’t stay there, it is a real concern. QAnon’s lurch from online to off hasn’t manifested only in T-shirted ralliers wielding weird signs. Last week, a “baker” appeared outside Michael Avenatti’s office because Q sent him there. Others have started searching for child sex camps in the desert outside Tucson. A man in an armored truck blocked a bridge near the Hoover Dam demanding the release of a report that Q claimed the government was withholding. He had two guns.

In the U.S., it has become normal for stupid, unbalanced people to be found wandering around with weapons, so it’s tempting to write these unhinged believers off as insignificant. I have no idea how many of them there are — QAnon could be just a handful of idiots who are being manipulated by a teenager in Boise or a professional troll in Moscow.

But because the man in the Oval Office (or at his self-branded golf course in New Jersey since it’s Friday) is a raving nutjob who is a sucker for any story that glorifies himself and denigrates his enemies, maybe this lunatic movement does bear watching. Every cult needs a mythology, after all. What do y’all think?

Press Sec Confirms: The Press Is the Enemy of the American People

Remember the awful video from the Trump hate rally in Tampa earlier this week, with the feral meemaws making obscene gestures at the inhabitants of the press pen, their faces twisted with hate, as if a rival shopper had nabbed the last two jars of Dukes at Piggly Wiggly’s annual BOGO MAYO sale?

Well, Jim Acosta of CNN, who always comes in for special abuse from TrumpCo, confronted Sarah Huckabee Sanders about Trump’s fondness for ginning up hatred toward the press at today’s briefing and asked her — twice — to say that the press isn’t the enemy of the American people. She declined:

Instead, Huckabee Sanders commenced with the Airing of the Grievances ritual, touching upon the comped cheese plate incident, etc. I think Trump has another hate rally this evening, this time in Pennsylvania. Seriously, I hope there’s extra security for the press pen. One of these days, the goobers are going to stage a lynching on live TV.

Princess Complicity Privately Opposed…

It’s the Damage Control Show with Princess Complicity again, this time with Axios, which comprises the dregs of the old Politico group (dregs of the dregs!) serving as the media vehicle of choice:

Ivanka Trump shares that it was “a low point” for her personally when her loathsome father ordered migrant children to be snatched away from their parents at the border. She also astutely observes that immigration is “complex,” praises her own immigrant mother’s choice to migrate legally since “we’re a country of laws” and warns against “incentivizing” undocumented immigrants to come to America.

How…feckless. The truth is, desperate families arrive at our border because they’re fleeing unimaginable horrors at home — conditions that the U.S. very often had a hand in creating. There are serious conversations we should have about what can and should be done about that. But a brainless dilettante suggesting that people from impoverished and violence-plagued Central American countries follow in her mother’s footsteps? By what, finding a rich Austrian to fake-marry to get to the continent of North America, then coming to New York on a model visa to bag a rich American? That’s not particularly helpful.

As much as I hate Donald J. Trump — and the depths of my loathing for that contemptible wretch make the Marianas Trench look like a shallow ditch — it’s quite possible Ivanka is an even worse human being. Trump père is a loud-mouthed asshole who doesn’t give a shit about anyone on earth other than himself, but at least he doesn’t pretend otherwise.

PS: In that same interview, Ivanka also shared that she doesn’t believe the press is “the enemy of the people.” Well, that’s a relief. Not. Her vile toad of a father will repeat the same Stalinist mantra before the next crowd of gibbering loons he addresses in the next redneck shithole he visits. Ivanka might as well be a potted cactus.