The “Alt-Right” Is… Neither an Alternative, Nor Correct

From the Washington Post, company paper in the town whose monopoly industry is national politics:

On the eve of a planned speech here on Donald Trump’s ties to the “alt-right,” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday accused her Republican opponent of “taking a hate movement mainstream.”

Clinton is scheduled to deliver remarks Thursday about a conservative movement often associated with white nationalism and fervent anti-immigration views that has cheered Trump’s candidacy, including his campaign’s recent hiring of the chairman of a website that caters to the alt-right.

“Donald Trump has shown us who he is, and we ought to believe him,” Clinton told host Anderson Cooper Wednesday night on CNN. “He is taking a hate movement mainstream. He’s brought it into his campaign. He’s bringing it to our communities and our country.”…

The alt-right began with a speech conservative writer Paul Gottfried delivered in 2008, after the Republican Party’s electoral wipeout. Gottfried called for an “alternative right” that could defeat “the neoconservative-controlled conservative establishment.” That idea was soon adopted by the “identitarian” nationalist Richard Spencer, who founded an Alternative Right website, but it was also claimed by supporters of Ron Paul and conservatives who opposed multiculturalism…

And “misogynist neo-Nazi xenophobes” just didn’t seem mainstream-friendly.

But it was Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that brought the movement into the mainstream. From the moment he told a national audience that Mexico was sending rapists and drug-dealers across the border, Trump surged in the polls….
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Open Thread: Your 2020 Republican God-King Presidential Candidate, America!

Anybody with more than ten minutes’ exposure to Ted Cruz expected something terrible during his speech tonight, but HOLEE FARKING 1968, BATMAN!

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Open Thread: Pocket Monsters

“At least they’re outside in the fresh air, getting some exercise.” How long before Pokemon GO is proposed as an Olympic sport? From the Washington Post:

People are really getting into Pokemon Go, a new mobile take on the classic franchise. In fact, they’re maybe getting a little too into it.

The game, made by Niantic and the Pokemon Company, was released late on July 6, and allows players to capture Pokemon in real-world locations. The app makes the little monsters appear on your smartphone screen, through the camera, as you walk through your neighborhood — making it seem as if they are right in front of you. The game quickly shot to the top of the charts for Apple’s free apps and has gathered at least 100,000 downloads on Google’s Play store. It also quickly led to an unexpected side effect: a number of reported Pokemon-related injuries…

The Pokemon Go app itself includes a warning in the loading screen asking players to pay attention to their surroundings, but it’s clear that some people are getting so excited that they forget to heed it. Niantic, which partnered with the Pokemon franchise to create the game, has some rules of the road for it’s other major title, “Ingress,” that may prove useful.

“Pay attention to your surroundings; you never know what beautiful or interesting things you’ll see while playing the game,” the company cautions in its advice to players…

Buzzfeed, which aims for the kewl-kidz (as opposed to the WaPo get-off-my-lawn-you-kidz) crowd, helpfully posted “13 Pokémon Go Hacks To Help You Be The Very Best“. Some odd phrasings for those of us who didn’t grow up on the anime…

1. You can spin your Poké Ball for a nice curve…

3. To catch Pokémon properly without wasting Poké Balls, make sure you tap and hold…

6. If you have some time to play, use an incense to get a bunch of Pokémon to come to you…

7. If you’re out of incense and don’t want to spend money, try heading to a well-populated Pokéstop…

Which, I assume, is the real easter egg: The game is free, but if you choose to spend your money, they have a store where real cash can be converted into virtual “accessories”.

Not that I can be sniffish — if I had a smart phone, I could no more resist a game like this than a cat can resist a laser pointer.

Late Night Open Thread: Trump Isn’t Necessarily Anti-Semitic — He Just Wants Anti-Semites to Vote for Him

I first put this together Tuesday night. If he weren’t running as a Republican, this would be pretty damning for Trump — A Jewish employee of his Jewish son-in-law’s newspaper writes “An Open Letter to Jared Kushner“:

My name is Dana Schwartz and I’m an entertainment writer at the Observer, the paper owned by your publishing company. On July 2, as I’m sure you’re aware (and have probably been wringing your hands about for the last three days), your father-in-law Donald Trump tweeted out an image of Hillary Clinton in front of raining money with a six-sided star declaring she’s the “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!”

I responded to the meme, calling out its blatant anti-Semitic imagery because people can play ignorant, blame the corrupt liberal media for trying to “get” Trump, but it takes only a basic knowledge of world history or an understanding of how symbols work to see a wall of cash, a Star of David, and the accusation of corruption and not see the subtext.

But deny or play dumb as you might, when I tweeted out my response, my worst fears were realized: his message, whether purposeful or inadvertent, was met with cheers by those to whom that star’s message was certainly clear. Mr. Trump’s tweet was seen as a winking promise to this nation’s worst and most hateful individuals…

She’s a trained professional, with access to quality resources, so she could put together a slide show of tweets ranging from ‘You effin yids are so vile and cynical’ to ‘Everyone needs to understand, we’re not gonna allow anyone to keep a pet Jew. Camps or Israel, A or B.’

… Mr. Kushner, I invite you to look through all of those images in the slideshow above, the vast majority sent in your father-in-law’s name. Right now, this hate is directed to one of your employees, but the message applies equally to your wife and daughter.

You went to Harvard, and hold two graduate degrees. Please do not condescend to me and pretend you don’t understand the imagery of a six-sided star when juxtaposed with money and accusations of financial dishonesty. I’m asking you, not as a “gotcha” journalist or as a liberal but as a human being: how do you allow this? Because, Mr. Kushner, you are allowing this. Your father-in-law’s repeated accidental winks to the white supremacist community is perhaps a savvy political strategy if the neo-Nazis are considered a sizable voting block—I confess, I haven’t done my research on that front. But when you stand silent and smiling in the background, his Jewish son-in-law, you’re giving his most hateful supporters tacit approval. Because maybe Donald Trump isn’t anti-Semitic. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think he is. But I know many of his supporters are, and they believe for whatever reason that Trump is the candidate for them…
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Open Thread: Donald Trump, Still NeoNazi-Friendly

Short bursts, because that’s as close as a sane person wants to get. More serious arguments later in this thread…

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Weird Read: “The Mystifying Triumph of Hope Hicks”

Speaking of behavior that is not at all weird or creepy, here’s a new report from Olivia Nuzzi, in GQ, on “Donald Trump’s Right-Hand Woman“:

… Hicks is a product not of Washington but of the Trump Organization, a marble-walled universe where one’s delightful agreeability and ferocious loyalty are worth more than conventional experience. She is a hugger and a people pleaser, with long brown hair and green eyes, a young woman of distinctly all-American flavor — the sort that inspires Tom Petty songs, not riots. And yet Hicks has, almost by accident, helped architect the strangest and least polite campaign in modern American history.

I wanted Hicks to help me understand just how all this had come to pass, how a person who’d never worked in politics had nonetheless become the most improbably important operative in this election. But she declined my request to talk. Instead, she arranged something more surreal: I could talk about her with Donald Trump, in front of her.

Trump, of course, has little experience with subjects other than Trump, which he made clear when I asked him about Hicks’s quick ascent to his inner circle. “Bill O’Reilly last night said it is the greatest political event in his lifetime,” Trump said, exaggerating O’Reilly’s point. “The most incredible political event in his lifetime! That’s pretty big. You know, who knew this was going to happen? So…” He pivoted, reluctantly, to the topic at hand. “Hope’s been involved from the beginning, and she has been absolutely terrific.”

Hicks’s job—a sui generis role of outsize importance that she half invents on the fly—involves keeping the media at bay and operating as Trump’s chief gatekeeper. But she’s also summoned in critical moments of confusion to play instigator and score-settler. It was her job to facilitate Trump’s rebuke of the Pope after His Holiness questioned the Christianity of anybody who would build a border wall (kind of Trump’s thing). And it was she who helped malign a female reporter who’d been manhandled by Trump’s campaign manager, immediately claiming she was a lying attention hound. Hicks was also called on this spring to explain why Trump, over the course of three days, advocated four positions on abortion. She tried without success to quell the confusion, declaring, finally, that President Trump would end abortion, simple as that: “He will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn.”…

Hicks’s big job in politics started—not that long ago—with a comparatively tiny gig in Trump Tower. In 2012, two years after she’d graduated from Southern Methodist, Hicks was working for a New York PR shop when she was dispatched to help one of the firm’s major clients: Ivanka Trump. At the time, Trump’s daughter was expanding her fashion line, and Hicks was enlisted to pitch in—and even do a bit of modeling, appearing online in a practical mint-colored dress, black clutch, and heels, all from the Ivanka Trump collection.
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Ooooo! Oooo! I know! I know! Call on me! Call on me!

silly sully

Why? Because he’s a hysterical, pants-soiling drama bear? Let’s not forget, this is the same Sully who, after President Obama had a subpar debate performance in 2012, covered himself with beagle shit and ran through the streets of D.C. bellowing doom and woe (okay, only in my imagination, but it’s just a slight exaggeration!).

And Sully likes Obama. He hates Hillary Clinton, with such an irrational intensity that it’s as if he thinks she’s the evil harpy who personally circumcised him with a rusty teaspoon in a squalid NHS clinic. So of course he’s sure she’s going to lose to Trump, though Sully says he’ll vote for Clinton if there’s no palatable third party alternative.

[An aside: before all you puling BernieBabies show up in comments to shriek about how much Hillary sucks, we get it! You hate her! Go read the Sullivan interview — you’ll get a righteous stiffy, and maybe you’ll forget to crap all over the comments section.]

There was also something in the Slate interview that reminded me of Adam’s post last night. If you haven’t read Adam’s post yet, do. You won’t enjoy it as it is a compendium of the slime extruded on Twitter by pro-Trump, anti-Semitic creepy-crawlies who emerged when a journalist turned over a rock. Horrifying.

But anyhoo, the Slate article addressed the incident Adam talks about and also a headline at the Trump-friendly Breitbart site earlier this week that refers to Bill Kristol as a “Renegade Jew.” Now, it’s important to bear three things in mind when considering the Breitbart headline:

1) Kristol is a loathsome piece of shit
2) Breitbart is a flophouse for unemployable wingnut morons rather than a legitimate media organization
3) The person who called Kristol a “Renegade Jew,” David Horowitz, is himself Jewish (and a nasty wingnut hysteric of the WND variety)

But all that said — damn. As Michelle Goldberg notes, “the Trump campaign has been associated with white nationalism and a resurgence of raw, violently threatening anti-Semitism. Breitbart’s headline suggests that the Jew baiting popular on pro-Trump social media feeds is creeping toward the mainstream.”

That’s scary shit. Several weeks ago on a thread here, I expressed a thought I’ve heard many fellow American liberals express since Trump clinched the GOP nomination, something along the lines that the fact that Trump will top a major party ticket makes me ashamed even though I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life.

A commenter (I’ve forgotten who — sorry) replied that one advantage she enjoyed as someone who was raised by African American parents was never having to feel ashamed about something a white fool like Trump does. I don’t think I replied — didn’t know what to say.

Because honestly, it never occurred to me for a second to be ashamed because Trump is a fellow white person; rather, I felt shame as an American, that such a vile, bigoted dunce had captured the nomination of one of only two relevant political parties in my country.

That’s an aspect of white privilege, no doubt — the freedom from feeling any responsibility for what some random white shithead does, the certainty that it doesn’t reflect in any way on me. But as this white nationalist aspect of the Trump campaign asserts itself, I do feel a special responsibility to respond to it, as an American of the WASP variety.

I’m not sure how, aside from doing everything I possibly can to help elect Hillary Clinton. Maybe grab the lapels of fellow Saltine-American friends, relatives and neighbors who say they might vote for Trump and shake some sense into them? I don’t know.

But I do feel responsible. And more determined than ever.