Monday Morning Open Thread: It’s Always White Nationalism Week At the Trump White House!

(Tom Toles via GoComics.com)
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This is from the beginning of August, but I didn’t get a chance to link it earlier because there’s always so much damned news. Paul Waldman, in The Week, “It’s white nationalism week in the Trump administration”:

The power of Trump’s campaign for so many of his voters was that it wasn’t couched in euphemism and it didn’t apologize for its appeal to racial, ethnic, and religious identity. His most ardent supporters thrilled to the permission Trump gave them to cast off the chains of “political correctness” and tell people what they really thought of them — immigrants, Muslims, African-Americans, women, all of them.

What do you think “Make America Great Again” was supposed to mean? It promised a return to a time when our country was less diverse and no one questioned a hierarchy that placed white men at the top (today, of course, the hierarchy still exists, but people question it all the time). Many of those white men feel like they’ve lost something over the years, particularly if their economic prospects are limited. For them, the idea of turning back the clock so they wouldn’t have to read signs in Spanish or be polite to people they consider their lessers was nothing short of intoxicating…

While President Trump may never have had any deep thoughts about his role in a clash of civilizations, he knows what whips up his crowds. And his impulses always run toward antipathy for people not like him — even, in his more vulgar moments, toward advocacy for violence, whether it’s telling his supporters to “knock the hell” out of protesters or suggesting that what America needs is more police brutality.

“See, in the good old days this doesn’t happen,” Trump said when protesters interrupted him at a campaign rally, “because they used to treat them very, very rough. And when they protested once, you know, they would not do it again so easily.” Everyone cheered. He promised his supporters a return to those good old days, and that’s what he’s trying to give them. They can look at Washington and know that non-white people and immigrants aren’t going to be treated with kid gloves anymore. It may not put food on their tables or solve the problems in their communities, but it might be enough to convince them that America is becoming great again. And that’s all Trump needs.

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Apart from rededicating ourselves to a long battle, what’s on the agenda as we start the new week?



Friday Morning Open Thread: Because Those Sheets Would Never Be the Same

Poor little Charlottesville (so close to DC, so far from… the concrete canyon haunts of scary urban types, ifyouknowwhatimeanandithinkyoudo) is not looking forward to the weekend. Per the SPLC:

Hundreds of Alt-Right activists and white nationalist extremists are set to descend on the small community of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday in what’s shaping up to be the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.

“Unite the Right” is expected to draw a broad spectrum of far-right extremist groups – from immigration foes to anti-Semitic bigots, neo-Confederates, Proud Boys, Patriot and militia types, outlaw bikers, swastika-wearing neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members – all of whom seem emboldened by the Trump presidency…

Those Out’n’Proud racists better bring their RVs and camper tops, because I am happy to note that the local Airbnb is not sympathetic. Per the Washington Post:

As city leaders worked Monday trying to defuse an increasingly tense situation, the lodging rental company Airbnb quietly booted users who it believed were searching for lodging to attend the rally.

The company confirmed they had taken action in a statement to NBC29: “When through out background check processes or from input of our community we identify and determine that there are those who would be pursuing behavior on the platform that would be antithetical to the Airbnb Community Commitment, we seek to take appropriate action including, as in this case, removing them from the platform.”

That stance didn’t sit well with the rally’s organizer, Jason Kessler.

“This is outrageous and should be grounds for a lawsuit,” Kessler told The Washington Post on Monday night. “It’s the racial targeting of white people for their ethnic advocacy.”…

What a fragile snowflake. To quote my Orange-bred granny: Go boil yer head, it might be useful then [as cabbage soup].

Much more on the proposed rally and counter rallies here, here, and here — in the NYTimes:

[T]he rally’s leaders have complained in their social media posts of a “heckler’s veto,” saying that the counter-protests are effectively censoring their free speech rights.

“There is just an incredible amount of discrimination from the city government and other elements of the community to keep people from eating at the restaurants they want to eat at, to keep people from renting,” Mr. Kessler said. “There’s just an enormous amount of hostility.”

Asked if he was surprised by the pushback, he said, “I think that I’m surprised by the venom and rancor from some individuals. It’s a little over the top.”

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Apart from hoping the bigots are seized by a great confusion & fright causing them to turn on each other with the same rancor, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?



Late Night Spy-vs-Spy Open Thread: How Badly Did Ivanka Want A Divorce?

She had a nice lifestyle, a profitable brand, the envy of all her Park Slope peers, until somebody talked Daddy into running for President…

Yes, “Melania’s pre-nup” would be the obvious joke, but who believes Melania was paying that much attention to what the old man’s cronies were up to?

(General speculation, if you click on the tweets and read the replies, seems to be that Trump should’ve had the smarts to be nicer to Christie.)

Apparently Fox News had a really frantic evening, looking for substitute target for the evening’s Ten Minute Hate…

(You probably don’t want to read the replies to that tweet… )



Excellent (Depressing) Read: “The Seth Rich conspiracy shows how fake news still works”

Today, Dave Weigel published a story in the Washington Post on “The life and death of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory”:

When Seth Rich’s Gmail account received an alert this week from Mega.com, attempting to start a new account on a website created by the New Zealand-based Internet businessman and convicted hacker Kim Dotcom, his family knew that something was off.

Over seven frenzied days, Dotcom had become a leading purveyor of the theory that Rich, a staffer at the Democratic National Committee who was shot dead near his home in Northeast Washington last summer, had supplied DNC documents to WikiLeaks and was killed as a result. Multiple security analysts and an FBI investigation have tied the release to hackers with ties to Russia. D.C. police have said repeatedly that they think Rich was slain in a random robbery attempt…

All that began to unravel Tuesday afternoon when Fox News retracted a story that had claimed the same Rich-WikiLeaks connection, telling readers that the article was “not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting.” Fox News did not respond to a request for comment, but Dotcom wrote on his website that he would not speak further about his allegations…

Of course, this being the internet (and certain people & networks happy to be ghouls for profit) the morbid feasting on other peoples’ tragedy will never actually end.

Here’s Weigel’s original story, on May 20: Read more



Trump’s Dangerous Anti-Immigrant Hysteria

Predictable as the sunrise, Twitler reacted badly to the narcissistic injury of having a court swat down another of his attempts to give force of law to anti-immigrant bigotry. The sting was amplified by timing since Team Trump is desperately cobbling together participation trophy-fodder to counter the narrative that his presidency is in shambles at the 100-day mark.

Trump went on a fact-challenged rant on Twitter this morning, blaming the wrong court and vowing ultimate victory in the SCOTUS. But the truly deranged response was a statement issued on official White House letterhead last night:

The Twitter rant and official statement are designed to “otherize” a populated swath of the country. They baldly question the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit or a judge in San Francisco to make rulings affecting “real America.” This echoes the incredulity of the diminutive racist occupying Eric Holder’s old office over the jurisdiction of a court on “some island in the Pacific,” i.e., the State of Hawaii.

But as appalling and divisive as that notion is, more ominous, IMO, is the overheated language about undocumented immigrants in this statement — the conflation of the folks who pick America’s tomatoes, design our software, landscape our office parks, excel in our finest universities, etc., with violent criminals who shoot innocent blond women for sport.

It’s based on a lie; undocumented immigrants are generally more law abiding than the native born. But worse, it’s a particularly corrosive and dangerous lie. There are valid questions about immigration law that we can and should debate. But that’s not what Trump’s doing here.

Demonizing an entire class of people amounts to a blood libel, and the murder of legal immigrants like Srinivas Kuchibhotla show how quickly lies about undocumented immigrants can infect the minds of unhinged bigots who would target anyone they see as the “other.”

History is filled with the tragic consequences of such lies. Trump traveled to the Holocaust Museum to commemorate one such consequence yesterday…the same day his press secretary issued the above statement.



Muslim Ban 2.0 — First Time Tragedy; Second Time Tragic Farce

I’ll leave it to the more knowledgeable among us to dissect (looking at you, Adam…). But the greatest hits are about what I’d expected.  Iraq’s off the list as we owe too much to too many there.  The other six countries from the original order remain, though the specific restrictions are a little different than in Fear The Furriner version one.  Here’s The Washington Post‘s take:

President Trump signed a new travel ban Monday that administration officials said they hope will end legal challenges over the matter by imposing a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for citizens of six majority-Muslim nations, authorities said.

In addition, the nation’s refu­gee program will be suspended for 120 days, and it will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in a year, down from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration.

 

The goal is obviously to deliver some red meat to the Trump base while sliding past inconvenient judicial reality tests. Trumpistas are already suggesting that the administration should not have to justify the order in court, despite evidence that there is no net national security gain from a Muslim ban:

A Department of Homeland Security report assessing the terrorist threat posed by people from the seven countries covered by President Trump’s original travel ban had cast doubt on the necessity of the executive order, concluding that citizenship was an “unreliable” threat indicator and that people from the affected countries have rarely been implicated in U.S.-based terrorism.

The Department of Homeland Security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, criticized the report as being incomplete and not vetted with other agencies, and he also asserted the administration should not be pressed by the judiciary to unveil sensitive national security details to justify the ban.

“This is not something that the Department of Justice should have to represent to a federal-district court judge,” the official said.

We shall see.

Over to y’all.

Image: Benjamin West, The Ambassador from Tunis with His Attendants as He Appeared in England in 1781, 1781



This Is How Republicans Are Going To Get People Killed

This happened:

A hearing in El Paso County in Texas went from ordinary to “unprecedented” last week when half a dozen Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents showed up at a courthouse where an undocumented woman was seeking a protective order against the boyfriend she accused of abusing her.

The woman, a citizen of Mexico who was living in El Paso had been driven to the courthouse by a victim’s advocate from the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse where she had been living.

She left under arrest.

This is a disgrace, and an incredibly dangerous one.

Most obviously: anyone w/out documents facing a threat from their partner, former or present, has just been told that the legal system, cops, anyone, are no longer available to them. They’re on their own. They’ve got a target on them, as their abusers now know that they can act without fear of official action.

Some of them will die. One third of the murders of women in the US are committed by an intimate partner.

Increasing the pressure to stay in an abusive relationship tees up more victims.  Making it harder — or impossible — to seek official help locks people in danger.

The chilling effect extends beyond the home.  If reporting a crime puts you in contact with officialdom; if agreeing to testify does so…and so on. You get the idea. The risks of trying to engage public safety resources have just shot up for immigrant and minority communities — from an already no-fun base.

ICE, Trump, and the Republican party:  accessories before the fact to harm, murder and misery.

Every day, down every avenue, these folks have got to named, shamed, and fought.

Image: Unknown artist, A Very Bad Man — on the trial of Ephraim K. Avery for the murder of Sarah Maria Cornell. 1833.