GOP Clown Car Open Thread: Steve King’s Demand & Sulk ‘Diamond & Silk’ Act

Rep. Steve ‘Pigmuck’ King’s saying-the-quiet-parts-out-loud antics have grown sufficiently egregious that even the Racist-in-Chief’s staff decided he couldn’t mooch a ride home on Air Force One (not even in the back, as some twitter wag noted). So King felt called on to break out the big guns…

Per NYMag, “Steve King, Diamond, and Silk Deflect Racism Charges by Unveiling Racist Legislation”:

Iowa Republican and white supremacist U.S. representative Steve King unveiled the “Diamond and Silk Act” on Wednesday. Officially dubbed the End Sanctuaries and Help Our American Homeless and Veterans Act, the legislation seeks to redirect federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities — jurisdictions that decline to help federal authorities arrest and deport undocumented immigrants — to programs that aid homeless people and veterans.

The act’s unofficial title is inspired by its unofficial co-sponsors: Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, better known by their stage names, Diamond and Silk. Together, the pair hosts a conservative video series on YouTube aimed at ridiculing Democrats and boosting Republicans, especially President Donald Trump, for whom they left the Democratic Party to support in 2015.

Diamond and Silk’s appeal to Republicans — the vast majority of whom are white — is that they are black women willing to exonerate the GOP of its racism. They conducted themselves accordingly on Wednesday when they joined King on Capitol Hill to announce their partnership. Reporters asked what they thought of the congressman’s retweeting white supremacists. “I’m tired of you all playing the race card,” Hardaway retorted. “It’s time to start working for Americans. And stop calling everybody a racist.”…

It remains unclear how much longer Republicans will persist in the charade that allegations of racism can be waved away by the contrarianism of any random black person. But King seems willing to see how far it will carry him. The dishonesty underlying this approach is something of a turnaround from the openness with which he broadcast his white supremacism in the Times profile earlier this year. But if nothing else, it suggests that he learned his lesson from the Republican fallout: You can be a white supremacist as long as you lie and claim you are not one.








Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: The Unearned Confidence of A Mediocre White Man

If Harris hasn’t already asked for a Secret Service detail, looks like it’s time for her to do so. His 15 seconds of fame are gonna inspire all the other self-obsessed John Hinckleys, and the next one might be flapping something more dangerous than his big mouth.

And we can be sure if Harris had coldcocked him — which is what he deserved — every talking-head Sunday morning “news” show would’ve been gumming over the same topic: “Kamala Harris: Does This Hair-Trigger African-American Woman Have the TEMPERAMENT To Be President?”








Proud to Be A Democrat Open Thread: Good News Out of Georgia

Full props to Stacey Abrams!

Which reminded me, I hadn’t yet found a chance to post this great Washington Post profile, “Stacey Abrams: Being a black woman in politics isn’t ‘some fatal diagnosis’”:

In your book you describe just showing up to a [Spelman College] board of trustees meeting [while a student there]. Why did you crash it, and what did they make of you?

I did not understand why my tuition had to go up every year. I did not understand why financial aid did not keep pace with tuition. So I showed up to the meeting. When [Spelman president Johnnetta Cole] allowed me in, the person I sat beside was a partner at an investment firm. I didn’t know what an investment firm was. But he was very kind. Everyone was. He let me sit beside him and shifted his notebook over to me. And I’m looking at all of these numbers; I had no idea what I was looking at. And he leaned over and started explaining financial statements to me.

Then there was the highest-ranking woman at Coca-Cola. She started telling me things. And the president of Ben & Jerry’s. They saw it as an opportunity to educate me, and I was just so hungry for information. I was listening and learning so much so that over time, they forgot that I sort of barged in. They started telling me when the meetings were. And I eventually got my own notebook.

Sitting in those board meetings was incredibly eye-opening. It showed me that these things weren’t impossible to know. And you didn’t have to be “to the manner born” to learn. You just had to work harder…

To quote the great Shirley Chisholm: If there’s not a seat for you at the table, bring a folding chair!








Glass-Half-Full Open Thread: Fewer, If Fiercer, Racists?

Like me, the Washington Post always looks for a little optimism to start its readers’ day. From this morning:

Racial prejudice has not increased among white Americans since the explosive 2016 election, argues political scientist Daniel J. Hopkins. It has actually decreased by some measures, he found, possibly as a reaction to Trump’s unexpected ascension to the White House.

Hopkins told The Washington Post that the results initially surprised him. Upon reflection, however, “it’s quite conceivable that Trump has simultaneously galvanized a small number of highly prejudiced white Americans while also pushing millions more to affirm that they are not as prejudiced,” he argued.

In other words, Hopkins believes the study provides evidence that the racially incendiary rhetoric and policies issuing from Trump’s White House have pushed the majority of Americans in the opposite direction.

The specialist in race and political behavior acknowledged that his findings speak only to professed bias and not to concrete behavior, such as whether Americans are moving into heterogeneous neighborhoods.

The study, currently under review but posted on the Social Science Research Network on Thursday, starts from an unambiguous premise: “As a political leader, Donald Trump has used racist rhetoric to build political support.”

Hopkins and an undergraduate student, Samantha Washington, set out to determine what effect that rhetoric was having on white Americans, 57 percent of whom voted for Trump in 2016, according to exit polling. Among white men, that figure was 62 percent.

Most think the president is motivating his racist supporters to declare their bigoted views. A Quinnipiac University poll last summer found that 55 percent of voters believed that Trump was emboldening people who hold racist beliefs to state them outright.

There are two ways that effect might play out, the study observes. One is normalization, whereby members of the public would feel more comfortable expressing racist beliefs that they always harbored but once felt were outside the mainstream. The other is so-called opinion leadership, whereby the public would be moved to adopt racist positions advanced by political elites.

Instead, the authors found evidence of an altogether different effect — people actually moving away from the positions embraced by those in power…

Across the roughly 12-year period covered by the data, anti-black prejudice declined based on these metrics, with an especially marked drop between November 2016 and November 2018. The effect was only slightly more pronounced among Democrats than among Republicans. Education was not a decisive factor.

“The decline was apparently not driven by Trump’s candidacy — or by white Americans’ reactions to his campaign rhetoric in 2015 and 2016 — but instead by their reactions to his presidency itself,” the paper claims…

Whether the shift discovered by researchers has actually “shaped social behaviors” — rather than being empty value statements or even cover for discriminatory conduct — “is another critical question for future work,” the study suggests. But it casts into doubt whether hate crimes that rose 17 percent in 2017 reflect deepening hatred across the board.

Instead, the political scientist points to the increasing isolation of an extremist minority whose prejudices have intensified in the face of a broader shift away from the sort of opinions aired in Trump’s White House and on his Twitter feed…

More detail at the link. I’m not completely convinced, either — it’s a lot easier to lie to a pollster about the purity of one’s beliefs than to change hundreds of years of prejudice. But, on the other hand, there’s also the fact that acting out good values, however spurious one’s motives, does tend to gradually shift one’s core values towards those actions.

It also makes sense that the committed racists, seeing or sensing a shift among their neighbors, would respond with an extinction burst of exaggeratedly horrible, explicitly racist behavior. Donald Trump, rancid old sack of pasty overprivileged man-meat, is pretty much a bigot extinction burst made flesh.








Floriduh! Man & Woman: Easily Triggered and Not Very Bright Edition

Oy vey…

From NBC News:

A Florida man called police to report a comedian of Middle Eastern descent who he believed had told a joke that showed support for terrorism.

Standup comic Ahmed Ahmed, who is of Egyptian descent, poked fun at negative stereotypes of Muslims during a set at Off The Hook Comedy Club in Naples, Florida, on Saturday night.

“Clap if you’re from the Middle East,” Ahmed said, according to a clip posted on the club’s Facebook page.

After a smattering of cheers, Ahmed slyly responded: “All right. We got a handful of us in in here, nice. But, hey, it only takes one of us … to tell a joke.”

At least one member of the audience didn’t get the punchline.

The man called the Collier County Sheriff’s Department and told a deputy that Ahmed was organizing people of Middle Eastern descent to possibly commit terrorism.

“He said, `That’s great.’ He said, `We can organize our own little terrorist organization,’ and I don’t think that was right. I mean it really bothered me,” the caller said, according to audio of the call released by the sheriff’s department. “And I yelled out, `And the paddy wagon is going to be outside to get all of you.’ “

The man added: “My wife and I looked at each other and we felt very uncomfortable.”

The caller told authorities he was only at the club because he was given free tickets.

Ahmed told NBC News on Wednesday that the “it only takes one of us” line is in his regular act and it’s never sparked any blowback.

“I’ve told that joke about 1,000 times around the world,” Ahmed said. “Whatever he heard and what I said are two different things.”

The comic said he stuck around after Saturday’s show to meet with any fans who wanted to speak with him or snap pictures.

“Terrorists don’t do meet-and-greets,” the comic said. “We don’t say, `Death to America!’ and then, `But wait, let’s do selfies first.’ “

Deputies showed up to the club Sunday before Ahmed’s set that night, briefly interviewed him and left without incident.

“They couldn’t have been nicer,” Ahmed said of the responding deputies. “One of them said, `Don’t change anything, keep doing what you’re doing.’ That was refreshing to hear.”

Club owner Brien Spina said he’s been booking Ahmed to his club for more than a decade, and won’t stop now.

“For me it was a great joke. I stand behind him,” said Spina, who booked Ahmed for another gig, on Wednesday of next week. “His show is great.”

The comic said he has no ill will toward the caller. If anything, he wants to shake his hand.

“I want to say, `Thank you,’ to him,” Ahmed said. “He got more publicity for me in that one phone call than ever. You want to talk about a blessing in disguise.”

Given that this took place in one of the more reactionary portions of the Gunshine State, Ahmed is lucky that this guy just called the cops.

You just gotta laugh. At the morons.

Open thread!