Tuesday Morning Open Thread: No Sooner Than Time

I first saw the story in the Washington Post, but here’s how one of the local papers covered it. From the New Orleans Advocate:

The removal of New Orleans’ monument to the Battle of Liberty Place under the cover of darkness early Monday morning marks a turning point in the nearly two-year-old debate over the fate of four Jim Crow-era statues.

Three other monuments targeted by Mayor Mitch Landrieu — memorializing Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate President Jefferson Davis — also are scheduled to come down, though the timing and other details of the removal are closely guarded secrets.

The dismantling of the Liberty Place obelisk came hours before a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by groups seeking to keep the four monuments in place. The case had held up the removal for more than a year before judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled recently that the city could proceed with its plans.

Of the four, the Liberty Place monument was widely seen as the most objectionable, and Landrieu explicitly described it that way. The 1891 monument commemorated a violent 1874 uprising by a local militia known as the White League, which fought with members of New Orleans’ biracial police force as it ousted the state’s “carpetbagger” Reconstruction-era government for several days before President Ulysses S. Grant sent in federal troops…

City officials said they were keeping details about the removals under wraps in light of threats and harassment reported by contractors who had previously been hired or expressed interest in the job. The Police Department’s SWAT team watched over the removal, with sharpshooters posted in a nearby parking garage and K-9 units checking the scene…

At one point, Joey Cargol, an opponent of taking down the statues who had been loudly criticizing the police and demanding to see a permit for the work, walked up to Suber. Acknowledging that they were on opposing sides, Cargol said he hoped they could agree the removal itself should have been handled more transparently.

“I know we’ve disagreed on a lot of things, but this is not the ways things should be handled,” Cargol said.

“They could have done this, announced it and let people show their opinion,” Suber said. “This is the coward’s way.”

“It’s hard to handle a defeat like this and hard to celebrate a victory like this,” Cargol replied.

With all due respect for those more immediately impacted, given the temper of the times, I can see why the Mayor chose this path. We’ve got quite enough would-be “heroes” wandering around armed and dangerously stupid, and too many martyrs already.

Apart from ongoing civic improvements, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Late Night Creepshow Open Thread: Whither Bannon?

(Matt Davies via GoComics.com)

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Now that Steve Bannon is (theoretically) in eclipse — Vanity Fair even found a handful of former loyalists willing to be quoted denying their dark lord before cockcrow — his true disciples are debating what he might’ve done differently in the civil war against the Kushner/Cohn/Mnuchin globalist oligarchs. Olivia Nuzzi, professional sharpshooter, reports for NYMag: “The Alt-Right Is Debating Whether Bannon Needs a Better Press Strategy“:

Now that Steve Bannon has been temporarily or permanently sidelined by President Donald Trump, his nationalist allies — people who formerly identified as “alt-right,” but now reject that label as it has become synonymous with white supremacy — are debating what their man in the White House did wrong and what he might do to salvage the situation. One of the key questions up for debate is whether Bannon should have made better use of ideologically sympathetic media outlets — when he ran Breitbart News, he described it as “the platform” for the alt-right — to get out his side of the story.

The chief strategist to the president might have done better job of holding onto power, the thinking goes, if he were talking to those who want what he wants and have the benefit of seeing things the way they appear outside of the bubble of his “war room,” the name Bannon’s given his West Wing office…

In some ways, the question of whether Bannon should be cultivating more allies in the press is part of a larger debate over his operating style in the White House — which is to operate in isolation. “I’m not doing this to have friends,” he told me. “I don’t socialize a lot, I don’t bring people into my life. This is like being in the Navy, this is like a duty. I don’t enjoy this every day. This is not living; this is a kind of existence.”

Though he brought into the White House some of his own staff — Julia Hahn from Breitbart; Andrew Surabian from the Tea Party Express and Alexandra Preate, his personal flack — he has spent little political capital fighting for high-level strategists with whom he could align in ideological disputes…

Perhaps coincidentally, questions are being raised about the oft-told tale that Bannon made $32 million on a canny Seinfeld deal. It wouldn’t really matter, at this point, whether he made his grubstake off the Hollywood version of a scratch ticket… except that the alternative would cast his political success as entirely the product of semi-legitimate Robert & Rebekah Mercer money. Not a good look for a self-styled swashbuckling free spirit, at the very least.

But then, Bannon’s expulsion from Mar-a-Lago Eden would be a loss to Media Village Idiots far more “respectable” than the Pepe kkkrew… even those at the Grey Lady…



Today’s Berkeley Beat Down: Planned Action by the Alt-Right

Earlier today in Berkeley things got violent. A dedicated group of folks on social media, with a significant amount being done by Caroline O.,  have been doing yeoman’s and yeowoman’s work to pull all the social media evidence together indicating who was really responsible: the alt-right. The violence was planned, orchestrated, and telegraphed on social media by a dedicated group of alt-righters. And it was done in such as way as to make it look like black bloc or antifa demonstrators, who are often associated with the extreme left even if they have nothing to really do with left of center politics in reality, were responsible. This allows the alt-right to have its cake (beat the daylights out of people it disagrees with) and eat it too (have it blamed on these same people).

Here’s some video of what went down:

Here’s just a smattering of the evidence that has been accumulated to demonstrate that the folks dressed all in black were alt-righters and were looking to instigate violence:

Based Stickman, real name Kyle Chapman, is this lovely fellow:

Historian Rick Perlstein wrote a bit about Chapman yesterday:

Behold Stick Man

I’ve seen the Berkeley footage Morgoth is referring to. That’s how I made the acquaintance of Stick Man.

Berkeley’s March 4 Trump was organized by a man named Richard Black, who announced that members of the alt-right, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists were banned. Among those who did not get the memo were Moshe Daniel, who goes by the nickname “Kilt Man.” Daniel depicts himself on Facebook with a giant serrated knife and a T-shirt featuring the face of the late Chilean fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet, the legend “PHYSICAL REMOVAL,” and another of those silhouettes of people being dropped from helicopters—a Pinochet-favored method for dealing with dissenters.

The march turned into a “small riot,” as gun-rights blogger Bob Owens, one of the most widely read on the web, and a cool and clear-thinking moderate, described it after reviewing the available documentation. “Both sides came to this incident prepared for a fight,” he wrote, concluding it was impossible to see “who threw the first punch.” In my mind, however, there were at least two moments where the person who threw the first punch was starkly evident. In both cases it was an individual who wore all black, from boots to baseball cap, and carried a distinctive black shield emblazoned with a “V” for victory, and an American flag. The man in black also wore a gas mask, surely in response to a widely disseminated urban legend that antifas are routinely attacking protesters with pepper spray. In one video he whacks a downed anti-Trump protester with the long wooden stick he carries (with two tiny American flags attached, thus he can call it a flagpole). In another, he can be seen smashing his stick down so hard on an unarmed protester’s head that the stick breaks in half.

He’s since become a right-wing folk hero, and, after Berkeley police arrested him on several felony charges, naturally, a right-wing martyr.

(much more at the link)

This is a serious problem. Dedicated, hard core alt-righters who push both Russian derived propaganda and are organizing themselves to conduct violence in a way as to lay the blame on left of center Americans who look to peacefully protest.

 



For We Were Strangers in a Strange Land…

In the wake of today’s unfortunate remarks by the White House Press Secretary, let alone the sad pictures of this year’s White House Passover seder (and I’ll leave the Easter Egg thing to the non-Jewish front pagers as a professional courtesy) I thought it would be appropriate to post the Keane College of New Jersey Holocaust Resource Center video testimony of Mrs. Rae Kushner. Mrs Kushner is, of course, Jared Kushner’s late grandmother whose family survived the Holocaust by fleeing into the forest and connecting with the Bielski Partisans. Given the day’s events and the ongoing debate in the US about what to do in regard to refugees from Syria and elsewhere, it no longer makes sense to save this for a better time.

The full two hours of video can be found here at the US Holocaust Museum’s website. And the transcript found here. But here’s a taste:



4 April 1967: Dr. King’s Speech on Vietnam

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on 4 April 1968 in Memphis Tennessee. He gave his final speech that day in support of striking sanitation workers. It was also one year to the day from his speech about the Vietnam War. MLK’s Beyond Vietnam speech was delivered 50 years ago today. Given all the tumult going on in general, and the events of the day in specific, it is important to stop, step back, and reflect on Dr. King’s life’s work and the words he spoke on two different April 4ths a year apart.



Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, Working As Intended

Via commentor LAMH. Malevolent racist leprechaun, Attorney-General by the grace of the President-Asterisk, does what he was hired to do:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered Justice Department officials to review reform agreements with troubled police forces nationwide, saying it was necessary to ensure these pacts do not work against the Trump administration’s goals of promoting officer safety and morale while fighting violent crime.

In a two-page memo released Monday, Sessions said agreements reached previously between the department’s civil rights division and local police departments — a key legacy of the Obama administration — will be subject to review by his two top deputies, throwing into question whether all of the agreements will stay in place.

The memo was released not long before the department’s civil rights lawyers asked a federal judge to postpone until at least the end of June a hearing on a sweeping police reform agreement, known as a consent decree, with the Baltimore police department that was announced just days before President Trump took office…

If “we” were truly interested in the preventive removal of criminal recidivists, somebody would already have had his ability to impede the wheels of justice removed…

(Nick Anderson via GoComics.com)*
*Timeline of Jeff Sessions’ connections with the Russian ambassador


Open Thread: His Constituents Are Moving Faster Than Steve ‘Pigmuck’ King

Hey, (Media Villagers) progress — the NYTimes found some Trump voters who *aren’t* defensively racist morons:

ORANGE CITY, Iowa — A year ago, Evan Wielenga, 40, believed — as does his congressman, Steve King — that undocumented immigrants should all be deported. They broke the law to enter the country. They spoke little English. They strained schools and public services.

But as talk of a border wall and a Muslim ban overtook the presidential campaign, Mr. Wielenga, the agronomy manager of a farmers’ co-op here in northwestern Iowa, had a change of heart.

He heard dairy farmers say they couldn’t get their cows milked without immigrants. “You can put an ad in the paper and you won’t get two white guys to apply,” said Mr. Wielenga, who grew up on a dairy farm himself.

He heard of the ruinous damage an immigration raid had done to families. “Some of these kids were born in the U.S.,” he said. “These families had lived here 10 years, and all of a sudden, Dad’s gone, Mom’s gone. When you think of it from that perspective, what’s the lesser of two evils?”…

Sioux County, Mr. Wielenga’s home, provided the largest margin in the 39-county district, Iowa’s most conservative. And there is no shortage of voters who echo Mr. King’s contention that “culture and demographics are our destiny,” as he said earlier this month to cheers from white supremacists.

But in conversations over four days with residents who voted for Mr. King, a new chorus of earnest naysayers could also be heard in many corners of the district. Some said the congressman’s latest provocation — uttered in support of a far-right Dutch politician — was finally more than they could brook. Several said they were rethinking their support.

“I’ve always voted for him, but I think this was way out of line,” said Bill Kooi, a retired farmer, sipping coffee at a Hardees in Orange City, as the friends who shared his table — to a man, older white conservatives — all nodded.
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