Puerto Rico: So Close to the Mainland, So Far From the GOP

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Tuesday Evening Election Results

There were a few state and local elections today. The results are in for some, while the Wisconsin Supreme Court race still hasn’t finished. So I thought I’d put a thread up for some of the results.

First up, Chicago’s next mayor is Lori Lightfoot. Mayor-elect Lightfoot is the first African-American woman to serve as mayor and the second woman to serve in that position. She is also an out lesbian. So a lot of glass ceiling shards are currently littering Chicago. Congratulations Mayor-elect Lightfoot. Right now Rahm Emanuel is likely cursing up a storm. Bless his incompetent little heart!

In Pennsylvania the Democrats have flipped another state senate seat, that means they need to only flip three more next year to retake the chamber ahead of the next round of redistricting. Congratulations to state Senator-elect Iovino.

In Madison, Wisconsin Satya Rhodes-Conway defeated longtime incumbent Paul Songlin for mayor. And congratulations to Mayor-elect Rhodes-Conway.

We’re still waiting for the results in the Wisconsin State Supreme Court race. Turnout is way up.

There is, of course, at least one hiccup in the counting:

Speculation seems somewhat muted:

Right now, according to Ballotpedia, Lisa Neubauer has a slight lead.

Hopefully our Wisconsin legal correspondent Omnes Omnibus will be checking in to keep us all informed and up to date in the comments…

Finally, the entire Madison, WI school board will now be all women!

Can’t imagine what might be causing these types of elections results…

Update at 10:55 PM EDT

Updated at 11:05 PM EDT

Updated at 11:12 PM EDT

Update at 11:25 PM EDT

Update at 11:37 PM EDT

Updated at 12:00 AM EDT

Open thread!


The Similarities Are Not Unlikely, the Connections Have Existed for Years, the Idea Held In Common Is Anti-Semitism, and the Facilitating Link is the Internet

On Saturday The BBC published an article entitled The Unlikely Similarities Between the Far Right and IS. The article begins with:

Far-right extremists in Britain have been accessing terrorism material published online by the Islamic State group, counter-terrorism experts have told the BBC.

They say neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists have been studying methods of attack shared by jihadists with their followers on the internet.

But we should not be surprised that they do share some similarities.

The author then seeks to provide the answers:

Counter-terrorism officers have been using a range of methods, including phone taps, to gather intelligence on what the most violent individuals have been planning or aspiring to do.

In some cases, arrests have been made after suspects have been caught downloading child pornography. But officials say that neo-Nazis and other extremists have also been accessing material to plan attacks published by their ideological enemies, Islamic State.

This may seem strange, but it should not come as a surprise.

Their ideologies may be diametrically opposed to each other but there are some disturbing similarities between them, some of which are obvious, others less so.

He goes on to tick off a list of similarities from intolerance of anyone else’s views first among them. Nado Bakos, more popularly known by the title to her forthcoming book as The Targeter, tweeted out the article without comment:

Marcy Wheeler, more popularly known by the name of her blog EmptyWheel made an interesting reply:

What Wheeler has zeroed in on, and correctly so, is what is missing from the article: historical context about connections between these groups and what facilitated and enabled that connection. Specifically the historical context that can be provided by someone who has been doing comparative research into violent extremists and terrorists since the early 1990s. And that’s where I come in. One of the oldest, and now apparently no longer available, white supremacist websites was named Be Wise as Serpents. You can see a reference to it with a link that does nothing at this page cataloguing these sites at GWU. Be Wise as Serpents was one of the primary websites for the Aryan Nations, which was, at one time, the most active of the Christian Identity groups. It spun off two active terrorist groups: the original The Order and a subsequent group of the same name.  The sites name is derived from Matthew 10:16 and, in addition to having the standard Aryan Nations and Christian Identity information,  conspiracy theories, etc, it also linked to the website of an expatriate Algerian army officer who had fled to Sweden seeking asylum to avoid prosecution for his adherence to an extremist version of Islam. This individual’s website hosted The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, as well as just about every other anti-Semitic conspiracy theory known in the early to mid 90s. He also linked back to the Aryan Nations’ site.

Both of these sites are now defunct, but back when I was still an academic and teaching courses on terrorism and extremism, I would use them as examples in my classroom – first at UF, then at Temple, and then at UCA. The commonality that led these two disparate groups of extremists – white supremacists adhering to a racialized version of Pentacostalism in the US and an Islamic extremist asylee in Sweden – was anti-Semitism, specifically the conspiracy theory that Jews have always and were continuing to manipulate politics, economics, global events, and even non-Jewish religions to their own benefit. What allowed them to link up into a loose and informal network was the Internet.

As Wheeler’s commentary by tweet so accurately points out, this is not unlikely at all and the reporter downplays the likelihood/possibility of coordination even though that is not an accurate assessment. That’s because the coordination, even as innocuous as being able to easily and quickly access information to both confirm and further one’s own extremist views, has been going on for a very, very long time.  The coordination is really all about the sharing of ideas. The Be Wise as Serpents site eventually went defunct as the Aryan Nations came apart from both the lawsuits filed against it by The Southern Poverty Law Center, the death of its longtime leader Richard Gurnt Butler after a period of scandal*, and the fighting by those claiming to be his successors. I have no idea what happened to the guy in Sweden. But these connections, and the directions of influence, go back to the earliest days of the Internet, which facilitated linkages between individuals and groups that would otherwise be considered strange bedfellows. Because as different as white supremacy and racialized Christianity may be from the various extremist versions of Islam, they do have one commonality in their extremism and conspiracism: the anti-Semitic belief that the Jews are manipulating politics, the economy, global events, even other religions for the sinister benefits of the Jews. And, perhaps more importantly, these connections and the influence they facilitate among extremists of different backgrounds, are going strong in 2019.

Open thread!

* Butler, in his final years of life, got involved with and, according to some reports had married, Wendy Iwanow, who was describing herself at the time as an Aryan Princess and tattoo artist. Iwanow was better known by her professional name Bianca Trump, The Latin Princess of Porn, who had starred in such classics as Brassiere to Eternity.

“One does want a HINT of color…”

My new drawer pulls for the kitchen. They’ll be installed on white cabinets and drawers.

What’s up this evening?

Beware the Dishwasher Industrial Complex (Open Thread)

We’ve got a dishwasher again, hallelujah Jeebus. It’s not installed yet. It isn’t even upstairs where it will eventually live. But it’s here, and after washing dishes by hand for five months — including after holiday dinners for 18 people — I’m thrilled that it will be installed this weekend, even if installation will be a knuckle-scraping bitch.

It’s not that I mind washing dishes by hand all that much. Over the holidays, I cut down on the volume by serving meals on extra-fancy disposable plates and had plenty of help with washing up. But what I love most about dishwashers is that they give you a place to stash dirty plates, cups, utensils, etc., out of sight until you’re ready to run the appliance instead of either constantly washing dishes or enduring the nagging guilt of dirty dishes in the sink. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyhoo, when we moved here last fall and discovered that the dishwasher that came with the place was a piece of junk, I thought it would be a simple thing to have it replaced. The mister and I have installed a dishwasher or two in our day, cursing and nicking up countertops and mashing fingers along the way. But when we had to replace a dishwasher at our old house a few years ago, I called Home Depot, and they brought a new one, installed it and hauled the old one away. I enjoyed that experience more than the DIY approach, so I had hoped to replicate that here.

But I soon discovered that there’s a hidden dishwasher industrial complex that is intent on funneling customers to expensive machines if they want the full service treatment. Basically, you have to buy a top-of-the-line machine to have it delivered and installed, but the home improvement people won’t just tell you that. They employ devious cons to steer you toward the high-dollar merchandise, and they flat-out lie and make you question your own sanity.

Our local Lowe’s, the closest big-box, had a unique strategy; the woman I spoke to there simply pretended that there is no such thing as a dishwasher in the size I require (a weird size, to be fair) under $700. I knew this to be untrue since I’d Googled machines earlier and seen them listed for less than $400, but she brazenly told me to my face that the products I’d seen online did not exist. While the conversation quickly established that Lowe’s doesn’t carry them, I knew I’d seen them somewhere. I tried to use my phone, which was connected to the Lowe’s courtesy WiFi, to search Home Depot’s product line. But the fuckers block competitor websites, and cell service is non-existent inside the store. So, I left.

Once back home, I found the under-$400 dishwashers listed at Home Depot. Okay, I thought. It’s a little further, but they have the dishwasher I want. I tried to order it online and use the Home Services thingy to order installation and removal as well, but the page kept crashing. So I called Home Depot, and the person I spoke to there said it was because I was trying to order a dishwasher that didn’t exist. I got a glimpse of the Matrix in that moment, and it shook me to my core.

Wait, I said, to the Home Depot dude — here’s the SKU — I’m looking right at it on your website! I swear I am not crazy — it’s real! What’s the brand, he asked. I told him. Never heard of it, he replied. But-but-but the SKU, I remonstrated. I’ll look into it and call you back, he said. He did call back, and while he claimed he believed me when I told him this dishwasher existed on the customer-facing Home Depot site, he told me it did not exist on the internal Home Depot site.

I was given to understand that the product I was trying to acquire is an un-dishwasher that cannot be ordered by store personnel and paired with a delivery and installation package. I asked if I could order it to be delivered to my house and have someone from Home Depot meet the appliance here, install it and haul the old one away. Nope, he said. You’ll have to arrange your own handyman. Or order a $700 dishwasher, which we’ll be glad to deliver and install.

Well, fuck that noise. I ordered the damned dishwasher, which arrived yesterday via UPS. The UPS dude was kind enough to cart it to the downstairs storage room. This weekend, my husband and I will schlep the damned thing up the stairs even though we’re too goddamned old for that sort of thing, and then we will install it, cursing and nicking countertops and mashing fingers and hopefully not electrocuting ourselves or flooding the house. Then we’ll haul the old one off ourselves. Because that’s how the dishwasher industrial complex works.

Open thread!