It Might Be Breaking News: Bannon On His Way Out?

The New York Times may have breaking news. Or they may not… Basically we’ve achieved Schroedinger’s Bannon.

The NY Times reporting is unclear on exactly what will happen and when.

President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion.

The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.

As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

Expect the Mandrill Mentality, the Rage Furby, Lt. JG Clearance Suspended Posobiec, the Breitbrats, and a variety of neo-NAZIs, white nationalists, white supremacists, and the Mercers to proceed directly to frothing at the mouth. It is also important to realize that Bannon wasn’t the actual driver of the problems within the administration, he was merely one of the enablers of it. It is unclear what happens to the allies he helped to install on the White House staff, so those folks may be hanging around for a little while or not.

Updated at 1:30 PM EDT

Open Thread: Elderly Austrian Immigrant Yells At Trump & Other Nazi Supporters

(h/t commentor Jim, Foolish Literalist)

The All American Division: The 82nd Airborne Jumps in to Provide Support

Several days ago these two sergeants, SGT Allen L. Stigler and SGT Roshain E. Brooks, were killed in the line of duty in northern Iraq.

On Saturday this lovely fellow showed up to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville wearing an 82nd Airborne ball cap:

The 82nd Airborne’s Public Affairs Office decided to jump in with both feet and make it very clear who are part of the All American Division, like SGTs Stigler and Brooks, and unlike the guy in the picture above giving the NAZI salute with the wrong arm.

The 82nd Airborne Division is 100 years old this week:

All the way!

And open thread.



Vice News’ Interview with the Racists

Vice News has made their interviews with some of the leaders and participants from Saturday’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville online so everyone can see it, not just HBO subscribers. They describe their reporting as:

On Saturday hundreds of white nationalists, alt-righters, and neo-Nazis traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia, to participate in the “Unite the Right” rally. By Saturday evening three people were dead – one protester and two police officers – and many more injured.

“VICE News Tonight” correspondent Elle Reeve went behind the scenes with white nationalist leaders, including Christopher Cantwell, Robert Ray, David Duke, and Matthew Heimbach — as well as counterprotesters. VICE News Tonight also spoke with residents of Charlottesville, members of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Charlottesville Police.

From the neo-Nazi protests at Emancipation Park to Cantwell’s hideaway outside Virginia, “VICE News Tonight” provides viewers with exclusive, up-close and personal access inside the unrest.

Here’s the video:

Transcript of the President’s Remarks this Afternoon

Politico has published the transcript of the President’s remarks this afternoon from his impromptu question and answer with the press. I’d like to highlight this part before we get to the whole thing (emphasis mine):

REPORTER: Senator McCain defined them as the same group.

TRUMP: Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at us – excuse me – what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?

(Update at 6:2o PM EDT):

Politico has now updated their transcript, without further comment, notation, or explanation so that the section above now reads as:

REPORTER: Senator McCain defined them as the same group.

TRUMP: Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at ’em – excuse me – what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?

If they post an explanation, and I’m around, I’ll post it.

ETA at 6:10 PM EDT

Literally the easiest thing to do for an American politician or leader is to denounce NAZIs. The whole justification for American leadership in the global system is that we finally got our butts in gear in 1941 and defeated the purest, most unadulterated evil movement, NAZIism, during World War II. This us such a gimme it isn’t even the equivalent of a 3 inch put. The President’s inability to do this simple thing, while standing next to two two Jewish Americans (Gary Cohen and Stephen Mnuchin) and an Asian American (Elaine Chao) speaks volumes about him. The fact that none of those three didn’t resign immediately, even if they waited till they were all off camera so as not to make a scene, also speaks volumes about them.

The whole transcript after the jump updated at 6:20 PM EDT to reflect the revisions that Politico made to their transcript:

Read more

The Moral Degeneracy at the Heart of the Current Administration

In March, during the string of weekly threatening phone calls to Jewish Community Centers, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, which we now know was largely conducted by a mentally ill Israeli, and several acts of desecration at Jewish cemeteries in different parts of the US, which are still unsolved, I wrote that the President’s response was:

insufficient because the only significant change over the past several months is the election and inauguration of the President. There hasn’t been a spike in unemployment. The stock market hasn’t crashed. There hasn’t been a major national disaster with effects that could possibly be correlated with these incidents. There hasn’t been a foreign inspired/orchestrated attack on Americans within the US. The US and its coalition partners are winning the fight against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Every possible indicator we would even conceivably consider as an explanatory variable to explain the increase in hate crimes, stochastic violence, and to be very precise in the terminology, domestic terrorism* is the election and the inauguration.

Now I want to be very, very, very, very clearI am not accusing the President of being an anti-Semite. Or a racist. Or anti-Muslim. Or a bigot of any kind. And that’s why the letter signed by all 100 Senators and Sean Spicer’s statements are insufficient. It is insufficient because it doesn’t matter at all whether the President or anyone who works for him and with him are any of these things. The leadership and much of the membership of the variousKlan, neo-NAZI, white supremacist, white nationalist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim (Islamophobic), anti-immigrant (legal and/or undocumented) groups and organizations have all come out in support of the President and his agenda. Many of them, both leaders and members, have stated that the President’s message speaks directly to themThat he has been the biggest boon to their recruiting and activities in decades. That what he says and what he is proposing doing/is doing is what they both think needs to be done and what they want to see done in the US.

It is this sad, unfortunate reality that makes the official Senatorial and Administration responses insufficient. A sufficient response would include the President giving a prime time address denouncing all of the increase in hate crimes, stochastic violence, and low level domestic terrorism* directed at American religious and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ Americans, immigrants, and visitors to America in no uncertain terms. Additionally he should make it clear in such an address that these types of activities are un-American and are intolerable to Americans of good conscience regardless of political party affiliation, ideology, religion, and ethnicity. Finally, he should create a Federal Law Enforcement Task Force to investigate and prosecute the sharp increase in hate crimes, stochastic violence, and low level domestic terrorism since his election and inauguration. This would be sufficient. Every other response is simply fluff.

Both the President’s response to the act of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville yesterday and its larger context, as well as those of unnamed members of his White House staff are not just insufficient. Rather they clearly demonstrate the moral degeneracy of the President and many of his administration’s senior officials.

The President’s response yesterday, as well as those from both unnamed and named officials, demonstrate that as we approach the seven month point of this administration it is clear that the President himself is not just, to paraphrase, a cancer on the presidency. Rather he is now the arch example of the moral decay into white nationalist reactionism and revanchism in America in 2017. 

Here is the President’s response yesterday:

 Above all else, we must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first. We love our country. We love our God. We love our flag. We’re proud of our country. We’re proud of who we are. So we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we’re doing wrong as a country, where things like this can happen.My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens, but our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other, and cherish our history and our future together. So important. We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.

And here’s an unnamed senior White House official’s when asked for clarification:

I think Josh Marshall’s take here is correct:

Marshall isn’t the only one making this connection. University of Minnesota law professor and former Bush (43) Administration ethics counsel Richard Painter drew a similar conclusion:

Certainly the white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-NAZIs, Klansmen, etc understood the President’s message the same way that Marshall, Painter, and I do:

Just click through to the Daily Stormer’s Unite the Right page where the excerpt above was taken from. Also, they think the accused terrorist/murderer is Jewish. And that’s going to be their story going forward: false flag, Jewish infiltration, we’re being maligned and made to look bad. Or David Duke’s remarks:

And all of this is why the President and his unnamed senior administration officials responses aren’t just insufficient, but an indication of the moral deficiency of the President and too many of his close appointees and advisors. When neo-NAZIs, Klansmen, white nationalists, white supremacists, and the militia cosplay crowd believe you are speaking directly to them, supporting what they support, believe what they believe, and are explicitly and implicitly working on their behalf then you have a real problem. And that problem is not going to be resolved by giving mealy mouthed magic balance fairy and view from nowhere and both sides do it responses to a major domestic terrorism incident in the US.

Here’s the President’s response to the attack in Nice, France that also employed a vehicle as an improvised weapon:

Here’s his response to the attack in London that also employed a vehicle as an improvised weapon:

And here are his twitter responses from yesterday:

There is a stark difference and that is before we even get to the “shared history” dogwhistle that Josh Marshall flagged. The difference is further reinforced by the responses of a number of Republican senators:

A full rundown can be found here. Now, of course, we have to wait and see what these senators will actually do about the merger of their party with the white nationalism and white supremacism that is at the heart of Trumpism and Bannon’s national populism.

Former Bush (43) Administration ethics counsel Professor Richard Painter has clearly delineated the problem and the necessary solution:

More from the Charlottesville Rally: Improvised Vehicular Weapon

Earlier today at the rally and counter-rally in Charlottesville it appears that someone deliberately drove what appears to be a grey Dodge Charger into a silver convertible, which then rear ended a burgundy minivan or crossover SUV. From the video it appears that the driver of the Charger accelerated into the convertible. A number of people were injured.

In this second video you can see the Charger reversing at high speed and fleeing the scene:

Several state legislators, all of whom, so far, happen to be Republicans, have drafted and/or submitted legislation to indemnify drivers who run over protestors.

Drivers who run into protesters would be protected from lawsuits under new proposed legislation in Tennessee.

The bill offered by a pair of Republicans would apply only to instances in which drivers are “exercising due care” when they strike someone “participating in a protest or demonstration” that is “blocking traffic in a public right-of-way.”

A second clause in the half-page bill clarifies, “A person shall not be immune from civil liability if the actions leading to the injury were willful or wanton.”

The new bill is similar to one offered in January by a North Dakota legislator who said his mother-in-law’s path was blocked by protesters opposed to an oil pipeline.

“There’s a line between protesting and terrorism, and what we’re dealing with was terrorism out there,” North Dakota state Rep. Keith Kempenich, a Republican, told The Washington Post about his bill.

Similar legislation has also been put forward in North Carolina.

Drivers who hit a protester who’s blocking the road couldn’t be sued for injuries if they “exercise due care,” under a bill that passed the N.C. House on Thursday.

House Bill 330, approved in a 67-48 vote, comes in response to protests last fall in Charlotte. Protesters upset about the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott blocked interstate highways and other roads in the city.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Justin Burr of Albemarle, said drivers wouldn’t be allowed to deliberately run over protesters.

“This bill does not allow for the driver of a vehicle to target protesters intentionally,” he said. “It does protect individuals who are rightfully trying to drive down the road.”

The other legislators who have drafted similar legislation in other places have all made or issued statements similar to NC State Representative Burr that these laws will not allow a driver to deliberately target protestors. However, that is not necessarily the thinking among everyone. For instance everyone’s favorite “conservative intellectual*” got suspended from Twitter for suggesting:

Reynolds then issued a clarification on his website.

UPDATE: Ah, it was about this tweet.

Sorry, blocking the interstate is dangerous, and trapping people in their cars and surrounding them is a threat. Driving on is self-preservation, especially when we’ve had mobs destroying property and injuring and killing people. But if Twitter doesn’t like me, I’m happy to stop providing them with free content.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Was just on Hugh Hewitt talking about this. Since Twitter won’t let me respond to — or even see — my critics, let me expand here.

I’ve always been a supporter of free speech and peaceful protest. I fully support people protesting police actions, and I’ve been writing in support of greater accountability for police for years.

But riots aren’t peaceful protest. And blocking interstates and trapping people in their cars is not peaceful protest — it’s threatening and dangerous, especially against the background of people rioting, cops being injured, civilian-on-civilian shootings, and so on. I wouldn’t actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn’t stop because I’d fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would.

“Run them down” perhaps didn’t capture this fully, but it’s Twitter, where character limits stand in the way of nuance.

The larger issue is that Reynold’s off the cuff formulation, as well as the clarification from his tweet got picked up far and wide. Here is an article on the subject be a member of the President’s 2nd Amendment advisory committee.  While the article is fairly nuanced, the comments are, of course, completely off the map.

The problem with today’s incident is whether the nuance that is the signal has gotten lost in the noise that is the anger and hatred within the alt-right and this has now been socially learned as a definition neutralizing to prohibited behavior. It is important to note the learning component here may also include borrowing this as a technique from similar incidents perpetrated in Europe by those subjectively and/or objectively affiliated with ISIL.

If we’re very, very lucky this is a one off. If we’re not we’ll see a new form of socially learned political violence emerge here in the US.

Update at 4:oo PM EDT

MSNBC has just reported that one person has died as a result of the vehicular attack and a total of 19 others have been injured of the course of today’s events in Charlottesville.