Well, this is weird…

Remember Juan Thompson, the guy who got shit-canned from The Intercept for making up stories? He was arrested today for calling in at least some of the recent threats to Jewish Community Centers and the ADL. It appears his motive was to frame his ex-girlfriend:

According to the FBI, 31-year-old Juan Thompson has been charged with cyberstalking.

Thompson was arrested in St. Louis this morning after allegedly making at least eight threats against Jewish Community Centers.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “We have charged Juan Thompson with allegedly stalking a former romantic interest by, among other things, making bomb threats in her name to Jewish Community Centers and to the Anti-Defamation League. Threats of violence targeting people and places based on religion or race – whatever the motivation – are unacceptable, un-American, and criminal. We are committed to pursuing and prosecuting those who foment fear and hate through such criminal threats.”

There have been 90 incidents this year at 73 locations in 30 states and one Canadian province, the JCC Association said.

Trumpsters will likely pounce on this story as evidence that all the anti-Semitic threats were a lefty false-flag operation designed to discredit the actual Nazis who support Trump. However, it looks like Thompson is a garden-variety misogynist and stalker who was only responsible for a fraction of the threats. Truly bizarre.

The Race Card Is the Trump Card

Earlier this week, before he bowled over shallow pundits by delivering a speech that would have been panned if delivered by literally any other president, Trump appeared on Fox & Friends to hold forth on a favorite topic:

Well, look, you know, it just seems the other side, whenever they are losing badly, they always pull out the race card. And I’ve watched it for years. I’ve watched it against Ronald Reagan. I’ve watched it against so many other people. And they always like pulling out the race card.

This was pure projection. Trump plays the race card constantly, and has all of his public life. He has fomented racial hatred and profited from racist business practices for decades. In the 1980s, Trump famously took out a full-page ad in the NYT to call for the execution of the innocent nonwhite teenagers in the “Central Park jogger” case — and doubled down on that during the campaign, even though the teenagers in question were exonerated years ago.

Trump began the current phase of his political career with the baldly racist “birther” crusade. And make no mistake about it: the race card was central to his 2016 win. I’m not saying it was the only thing going on; in many ways, the 2016 election was a black swan event, and anyone who attributes Trump’s win to a single cause is oversimplifying things, IMO.

But contra all the wanking about economic issues, the party that embraced identity politics won. Trump’s core supporters were ecstatic about the rejection of “political correctness,” the race-baiting lies about crime and the constant demonization of immigrants. And the ones who claim to have voted for Trump for other reasons saw the naked demagoguery as acceptable.

Last night’s speech was no exception, despite pundit squeeing about how “presidential” it was. Trump may have finally denounced the vandalism and threats aimed at Jewish organizations and symbols, but he didn’t say one word about the harassment and vandalism perpetrated against Muslims. Trump finally mentioned the hate-crime shootings in Olathe, KS, but he didn’t rescind his earlier order directing the DHS to focus exclusively on Islamist terrorism while right-wing terrorism is on the rise, inspired by Trump’s own rhetoric.

In fact, Trump doubled down on the bigotry that propelled his rise with the announcement about the VOICE program, which is a continuation of the immigrant scapegoating and demonization strategy he has relied on since the first day of his campaign. The fact that political commentators outside the Fox-Breitbart universe can proclaim a speech that contained that bigoted bullshit a success just shows how oblivious people are to the white nationalism at the heart of Trump’s appeal.

Anyway, I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I think we have to focus on this relentlessly. Trump’s campaign rhetoric was overtly racist, sexist and xenophobic. And the bigots, homophobes, abusers and incompetents Trump has installed in positions of great power are busily enacting a racist, sexist, xenophobic agenda.

That doesn’t go away if Trump manages to deliver a speech in modulated tones rather than braying like a tinpot authoritarian, as is his usual custom. As people who are in favor of equality, decency and baseline competence, our job remains clear: resist.

No expectations


And this.

Both sides now

This one belongs in the false equivalence hall of fame

Lemonade from the Media Squeeze

Never had much respect for Don Lemon, who often seems daft and clueless, but in this clip, he models the correct way to push back on the Trump regime’s “fake news” meme:

Lemon interrupts the GOP mouthpiece who invokes “fake news,” defines what “fake news” actually is (i.e., it is not any news the Trump people find inconvenient) and gives the GOP mouthpiece an opportunity to make his point without screeching about “fake news.” And when the flack says “fake news” again, Lemon cuts him off.

That’s what it’s going to take. The Trump people — including Trump himself — lie and dissemble without shame. Their purpose is to destroy the distinction between fact and fiction. It’s a technique common to conmen and authoritarians.

If the media want to avoid having their panels, interviews, press conferences, etc., flooded with so many lies that the whole process breaks down, as in a denial of service attack, they’ll have to be firm like Lemon was above.

It’s not personal, it’s strictly business

The right-wing talking points around the Flynn-Trump-Russia-Peepee story are coalescing around this “it’s not Flynn’s actions that are illegal, it’s the leaking about them from anti-Trump forces that’s illegal”. It won’t surprise you to learn that this is Glenn Greenwald’s take on it:

I have nothing special against Glenn Greenwald, and I read and enjoy The Intercept. A few years ago, he posted a spittle-flecked screed against me and against this blog. You can read it for yourself, if you have the time, but the TL;DR is that he’s a rageaholic. And that’s cool. Anger can be power. But it can lead you to funny places. Like hating Hillary Clinton so much that you become a stooge for Trump, and, by extension, a stooge for Vladimir Putin.

Likewise, it wasn’t so long ago that Eli Lake was leading the #NeverTrump charge. Then, after Obama let the UN Resolution criticizing West Bank settlements go through, Lake started frothing at the mouth and also became a stooge for Trump, and, by extension, a stooge for Vladimir Putin.

When Wikileaks was dumping boring minutiae from Hillary Clinton’s emails, most of which were of course secured by Russian hackers, Greenwald thought that leaks were great, sunlight was the best disinfectant, and so on. Now, any leaks against Dear Leader Trump are the work of Deep State traitors who belong in jail. Likewise, when Saint Petraeus was being prosecuted for mishandling intel, Lake thought unauthorized disclosures were nothing less than the “fabric of the national security state”. Now, they’re apparently a threat against the Republic that should be prosecuted under the full extent of the law.

The inconsistency here is so laughable that it’s not worth elaborating on, so I won’t.

I’ve seen this before with a lot of national journalists and pseudo-journalists. For all the lecturing they give people like me about being unserious partisans, you think they might, just for a minute, think about how much of their own agenda is driven by personal hatred and grievances.

Splodey Mammal Open Thread

Axios, an online media outlet founded by Politico alums Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, manages to outdo its founders’ former employer in vapidity on a regular basis, and by God, that’s saying something. But sometimes, they publish something unintentionally amusing, such as this dramatic lede:

It made me laugh not because I give a shit about whether Bannon and Priebus are really friends despite reports to the contrary but rather because it reminded me of an exploding whale incident brought to my attention many months ago by valued commenter Aimai. The explosion occurred in 1970, and there is grainy footage:

It would have reminded me of this incident even if Priebus had been described as the exploder, BTW, so I am NOT fat-shaming anyone. Anyhoo, open thread.