America’s Rage Puppet


I remember clearly when Donald Trump’s birther crusade stopped being funny. There was never anything truly comical about it, of course; it was always an outrageous racist lie concocted to delegitimize the first black president. But living in a nation of 320M people, a not-negligible percentage of whom are raving idiots, we learn to laugh. Baratunde Thurston taught me to stop laughing and see the tragedy of it.

When President Obama produced his “long-form” birth certificate in 2011, I perceived it as a president hilariously smacking down an absurd, malignant, preening blowhard. Thurston saw it as an affirmation that the president — and by extension Thurston himself, and all other black people — were still less than full citizens. Even with a black man in the Oval Office.

Five years later, we’ve come full circle. That very same absurd, malignant, preening blowhard — whose birther antics should have banished him from the company of serious people forever — has instead been elevated to head one of our two major political parties. And this time, he’s telling Hillary Clinton, and by extension all women, that their aspirations are illegitimate and that they are less than full citizens.

Trump’s vile misogyny and painfully obvious lack of basic human decency — and more importantly, its echoes from tens of millions of our fellow Americans — have tarnished what should have been a joyous celebration of a historical milestone. We see them. We understand the implications.


Trump had help from nearly the entire GOP establishment, the Beltway media, his abhorrent family, his pack of ghastly political operatives, the Putin-reanimated remnants of the KGB and a self-important wanker with a grudge residing in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London as a fugitive from justice.

But that’s only the latest cast of characters. The hit has been out for Hillary Clinton ever since she emerged from Arkansas as a woman with a national profile and an agenda of her own.

During the recent debate, Clinton called Trump Putin’s puppet, and good for her. It’s about goddamned time someone said as much while the country was listening.

But Trump is not just Putin’s puppet. He’s America’s rage puppet, dancing in a fury because change is coming — no, it is here. And there are so many hands on the strings. That’s the tragedy of it.

It is Important to Bear Witness: This Shall Not Go Unremarked

I’ve done a couple of these  so far. One dealing with that whacked out sentence in the rape case in California. One in regard to anti-Semites threatening a reporter on twitter.

Earlier today, during her interview with Anderson Cooper, Melania Trump indicated that if she becomes First Lady she intends to focus on combating the negativity on social media.

Perhaps she should ask her step son in law why this is unacceptable and then speak with her husband and ask him to publicly tell his supporters that this is unacceptable. And it cannot go unremarked.

I do not know Ms. Gold, but she needs to know that others will stand up with and for her if necessary. And the same to anyone else who is being threatened like this on twitter and other social media platforms regardless of their ethnicity or religion or gender or sexuality.

Stuff like this is also why the owners of Twitter can’t get anyone to actually buy it.

Evil Minions Open Thread: Rude-y Ghouliani

GOP Strong Angry Daddy Figure will defend his beau ideal to the last. Per the Washington Post:

Giuliani, who has regularly appeared on the Sunday political-show circuit as one of Trump’s top surrogates, insisted Sunday on CNN that it is the Democrats who overwhelmingly engage in voter fraud because they “control the inner cities.”

“We do cheat,” Giuliani told “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper. “We have people who cheat in elections!”

“I’ve found very few situations where Republicans cheat,” Giuliani said, shrugging. “They don’t control the inner cities the way Democrats do. Maybe if Republicans controlled the inner cities, they’d do as much cheating as Democrats.”

“I think there are a lot of elections experts that would have very, very strong disagreements with you,” Tapper responded, shaking his head…

He won two elections, running in a high-crime era as the Tough Sheriff who would put those people in their place (the inner city). But New Yorkers got Rudy’s number, just as they got Deadbeat ‘Developer’ Donnie Trump’s. If it hadn’t been for 9/11 — which Giuliani tried to use as an excuse for extending his last term — he’d be eking out a modest living on the rubber-chicken circuit. The Media Village Idiots’ romanticization of “America’s Mayor” greatly increased his marketability… just not always among those who knew first hand how badly he’d botched both the security preparations and the response.

As with everyone whose reputation ends up Trump-crumpled, Rudy was never a good person.

Eight years after his own presidential bid failed, Giuliani has emerged as Donald Trump’s unflinching chief apologist, cheerleader and rhetorical Rottweiler, even as GOP leaders far and wide abandon their party’s candidate.
Read more

Excellent Read: “The white flight of Derek Black”

People change, sometimes even for the better. Eli Saslow, in the Washington Post:

Their public conference had been interrupted by a demonstration march and a bomb threat, so the white nationalists decided to meet secretly instead. They slipped past police officers and protesters into a hotel in downtown Memphis. The country had elected its first black president just a few days earlier, and now in November 2008, dozens of the world’s most prominent racists wanted to strategize for the years ahead.

The room was filled in part by former heads of the Ku Klux Klan and prominent neo-Nazis, but one of the keynote speeches had been reserved for a Florida community college student who had just turned 19. Derek Black was already hosting his own radio show. He had launched a white nationalist website for children and won a local political election in Florida. “The leading light of our movement,” was how the conference organizer introduced him, and then Derek stepped to the lectern.

“The way ahead is through politics,” he said. “We can infiltrate. We can take the country back.”

Years before Donald Trump launched a presidential campaign based in part on the politics of race and division, a group of avowed white nationalists was working to make his rise possible by pushing its ideology from the radical fringes ever closer to the far conservative right. Many attendees in Memphis had transformed over their careers from Klansmen to white supremacists to self-described “racial realists,” and Derek Black represented another step in that evolution.

He never used racial slurs. He didn’t advocate violence or lawbreaking. He had won a Republican committee seat in Palm Beach County, Fla., where Trump also had a home, without ever mentioning white nationalism, talking instead about the ravages of political correctness, affirmative action and unchecked Hispanic immigration.

He was not only a leader of racial politics but also a product of them. His father, Don Black, had created Stormfront, the Internet’s first and largest white nationalist site, with 300,000 users and counting. His mother, Chloe, had once been married to David Duke, one of the country’s most infamous racial zealots, and Duke had become Derek’s godfather. They had raised Derek at the forefront of the movement, and some white nationalists had begun calling him “the heir.”…

Eight years later, that future they envisioned in Memphis was finally being realized in the presidential election of 2016. Donald Trump was retweeting white supremacists. Hillary Clinton was making speeches about the rise of white hate and quoting David Duke, who had launched his own campaign for the U.S. Senate.

White nationalism had bullied its way toward the very center of American politics, and yet, one of the people who knew the ideology best was no longer anywhere near that center. Derek had just turned 27, and instead of leading the movement, he was trying to untangle himself not only from the national moment but also from a life he no longer understood…
Read more

Saturday Night Open Thread: “What It Means”


What’s on the agenda?

Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: “This was not a bad performance”

Adam Gopnik, in the New Yorker, “The Problem with Trump Isn’t His Debating Skills“:

… Talking, again, about President Obama’s birth certificate, he displayed not only the usual pathological inability to admit to an error—any error, ever—but an underlying racism so pervasive that it can’t help express itself even when trying to pass as something else. There was, after all, never any doubt or controversy about Obama’s being born an American—never any actual “controversy” about his place of birth, any more than there is about Trump’s or Clinton’s. (And Clinton never said there was.) It was a settled matter from the time Obama began running for office. What there was was a racist conspiracy theory, invented by various people on the fringe right, that Trump brought into the center of attention. By 2011, Trump had simply succeeded in making this racist conspiracy theory so prevalent that Obama, who had released his birth certificate three years earlier, concluded that it was more efficient to end it for all time by asking Hawaiian officials for special permission to let him give out the “long form,” archival version than to let it go on. What Obama may not have realized was that in Trump’s world, since he is never wrong, it couldn’t end.

Yet Trump continued last night his self-congratulations for compelling the President to do this, along with the grotesquely racist notion that it was “good for him” (i.e., for the President). It slowly dawned on the listener that this was all of a piece with the rest of Trump’s racial attitudes: he believes that, as a rich white man, he had a right to stop and frisk the President of the United States and demand that the uppity black man show him his papers. Stop-and-frisk isn’t just a form of policing for Trump; it’s a whole way of life. The idea that he had a right to force a black man to go through what Obama rightly saw as the demeaning business of producing his birth certificate showed his fundamental contempt for any normal idea of racial equality. It was of a line with his equally bizarre notion that owning a country club that doesn’t actively discriminate against black people is not a minimal requirement of law but a positive achievement of the owner. This isn’t the case of someone misarticulating an otherwise plausible position; it was just a case of someone repeating, once again, not only a specific racist lie but also the toxic underlying set of assumptions that produced it…

… His cruelty to Alicia Machado was unleavened by any apparent respect for her as a human being in any role other than as an envelope of flesh—an attitude he only doubled down on the following morning by complaining that she presented what he saw as an obvious problem as a reigning Miss Universe: she had gained “a massive amount of weight” (by Trump standards, that is). Again, this wasn’t a problem of how he chose to present his beliefs; the problem is with the beliefs. This wasn’t a question of preparation. It was that the things he actually believes are themselves repellent even when coherently presented. This was not a bad performance. This is a bad man.

Breaking News: Police in Charlotte are Moving Protestors Ahead of the 12:00 AM EDT Curfew

Tremaine Lee of MSNBC is reporting live that police in Charlotte have just fired rubber bullets and what he’s describing as pepper spray (most likely pepper ball less than lethal rounds) into fleeing protestors that were marching peacefully towards I277 over an hour before the midnight curfew. Lee is reporting that the police are moving into the area, they then set up a phalanx, move towards the protestors, and as the protestors begin to move out, the police then fire the rubber bullets and pepper rounds towards them.

Here’s the link to WBTV 3 Charlotte’s live feed.

The next major conflict point will be at 12:00 AM EDT when the Mayor of Charlotte has called a curfew to clear the streets from midnight to 6:00 AM EDT. It is unclear how law enforcement in Charlotte plan to enforce that curfew given the several hundred peaceful protestors and demonstrators in the streets of Charlotte. Earlier this evening Reverend Barber in an interview on MSNBC indicated that the Mayor of Charlotte had agreed during a meeting with faith leaders earlier today not to impose and enforce a curfew.

For everyone in the Charlotte area please stay safe.

I’ll update as new information becomes available.

Update at 11:15 PM EDT

Mayor Jennifer Roberts just told Brian Williams on MSNBC that:

We are 45 minutes away from finding out what this means in practice.

Update at 12:00 AM EDT

The Charlotte municipal curfew is now in effect. Significant number of demonstrators/protestors are still out on the street. Hopefully things stay peaceful.

Update 12:07 PM EDT

Update at 12:12 PM EDT

Update at 12:35 AM EDT

Update at 12:52 AM EDT: