racism

The Detail (Devil Not Included)

A coffee cup at Terra Vista. Detail of photo by B. D. Hilling, 2013.

Be careful with this one. Via Science of Us:

This might seem like too thin a point to harp on, but it’s actually important given people’s tendencies to over-extrapolate from limited study findings: “People who are more racist are more likely to make unprincipled arguments about free speech” is a very different claim than “People who make principled arguments about free speech are more likely to be racist.” This study supports the former but doesn’t say a word about the latter, and there really are some people who are committed to certain free-speech principles regardless of the content of the speech involved. All the more reason to have these conversations in as nuanced and principled a manner as possible.

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Singal, Jesse. “Are People Who Defend Free Speech More Racist Than Those Who Do Not?” Science of Us. 8 May 2017.

The Donald Trump Show (Troll Dumb)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally in Fredricksburg, Virginia, 20 August 2016. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/WireImage)

Sometimes we think we notice something. Sometimes we know we see something. But even that setup is a bit overdone, because the truth is that proving the point often requires a lot of effort, and many of us live in a modern, twenty-first century America in which such effort is considered suspect. To the other, right now Donald Trump is making it easy.

Trump framed his campaign as a serious White House bid, one that could be his only shot at the presidency, while dismissing Clinton’s run as the most “unserious” campaign in American history.

The detail from Nolan McCaskill of Politico is just one small paragraph amid a litany of trumptastic absurdity, but it does remind that Donald Trump is the candidate of internet trolls.

Basic rubber-glue retort is a bizarre tactic in any allegedly adult conversation, but one that has been around pretty much the whole time, and the only really strange thing about the internet version is that it is so straightforward. There is a variation where one pretends to not understand the difference, for instance, and then there is straightforward rubber-glue; both require the retort to ignore the accuracy of the perceived insult such that if you catch one in a lie and call it out, whether the retort is to call you a liar or an asshole, the justification will be the same, that you insulted someone by calling them a liar, therefore they are returning the favor. That is to say, that you caught someone in a lie makes no difference; as far as this behavior is concerned, if one is offended by an accurate description of behavior―e.g., racist, sexist, bigoted, dishonest, &c.―the perception of offense is the only relevant aspect.

We’ve been seeing bits of the trolldom percolating up the discourse, and especially from the right wing.

Think of it this way, if the question was white supremacism, and the white supremacist retorted, “Yeah? Well … well, you’re just … just … just racist!” it wouldn’t be the familiar canard about how refusing racism is itself bigoted, or refusing racism is racist against the white race. This would be a racist calling you a racist because you called out racism. This isn’t calling you an asshole because you’re an asshole, per se. This is about calling you an asshole because calling white supremacism racist isn’t nice, and since you said something not nice the white supremacist gets to say something not nice in return.

Yes, it really is this … this … well, that’s the thing. We might say “infantile” but what did infants ever do to deserve the insult?

This is Donald Trump, and he expresses traditional American values. And I’m not joking about that; this is what the bullies always were, and it’s all they ever had, and now that they are losing their traditional privileges under law and custom, now that nobody else is nodding and winking along with them this is all they have left.

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Image note: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally in Fredricksburg, Virginia, 20 August 2016. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/WireImage)

Gauthier, Brendan. “Pepe’s post-debate identity crisis: Online alt-right turns on Donald Trump after his presidential debate fiasco”. Salon. 27 September 2016.

McCaskill, Nolan D. “Trump calls out Clinton’s ‘unserious’ campaign”. Politico. 29 September 2016.

An Ominous Eye on Newt

Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) addresses the Florida Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, 23 September 2011. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Oh, you know … please?

Fox News is suspending its contributor agreement with Newt Gingrich, the channel announced on Tuesday.

“Fox News Channel has mutually agreed to suspend its contributor agreement with Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich effective immediately. Due to the intense media speculation about Gingrich’s potential selection as Donald Trump’s vice presidential candidate, we felt it best to halt his contributor role on the network to avoid all conflicts of interest that may arise,” Fox News’ executive vice president of news Jay Wallace said in a statement.

Gingrich is being vetted to potentially serve as Donald Trump’s running mate, and is considered one of the top contenders.

(Gold)

I mean, come on. Really. Please?

Perhaps it’s easier to note that while the phantom candidate notion still puzzles, me, the devastation we might perceive inflicted upon the GOP by Donald Trump’s presidential debacle might well find validation in a Gingrich vice presidential nomination. That is to say, could we ask for a more obvious sign? Is there some more knowing omen in the Universe we might read explaining and affirming that for whatever reason, the purpose of this trompe guignol really is the destruction of the Republican Party?

At this point we might as well chuckle and propose racism because Mr. Trump isn’t vetting Herman Cain.

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Image note: The last time around .... ― Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) addresses the Florida Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, 23 September 2011. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Gold, Hadas. “Fox News and Newt Gingrich agree to suspend contributor agreement”. Politico. 12 July 2016.

Beyond Comprehension

Fight: Mikasa awakens ― Detail of frame from Attack on Titan episode 6, 'The World the Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost, Part 2'.

I … don’t ....

A Kansas police officer has been fired from his post after leaving a comment on a Dallas woman’s Facebook page that threatened her 5-year-old daughter.

Facebook user “Rodney Lee” published the comment at 11:50 p.m. last Thursday on LaNaydra Williams’ Facebook page. “We’ll see how much her life matters soon..” he wrote beneath a two-year-old photo of Williams’ daughter, India. “Better be careful leaving your info open where she can be found :​) hold her close tonight, it’ll be the last time.”

Overland Park Police Chief Francis Donchez Jr. confirmed in a statement that the post was written by one of his officers.

(Grenoble)

I mean, come on, really?

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Grenoble, Ryan. “Kansas Cop Fired After Threatening 5-Year-Old Girl On Facebook”. The Huffington Post. 11 July 2016.

The Donald Trump Show (American Distress)

Detail of image via Trump campaign.

“Yes, Antonin Scalia’s passing meant the Supreme Court was down one justice, but it doesn’t take a mathematician to know 3 + 1 does not equal 5.”

Steve Benen

The thing about politics right now is that everything is really, really depressing. I’m deathly sick of Donald Trump, yet the question persists: How did this happen?

Nor do I mean that in any context suggesting plaintive puzzlement. We all have a reasonable idea how the abdication of civic leadership in the context of public service struck the Republican Party so low after decades of pandering to ill-educated bigotry.

Donald Trump saying something stupid really shouldn’t be headline news. It shouldn’t be anything unusual. It shouldn’t be anything the rest of us have any reason to give a damn about. Then again, just how the hell did Republicans find themselves with Donald Trump as their presidential nominee apparent?

Oh, right.

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The Donald Trump Show (Boffo)

Donald Trump awaits his introduction at the 2005 launch of Trump University. (Detail of photo by Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press.)

Again we hear the refrain wondering whether presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has finally gone too far. The answer, of course, is invested in who marks the threshold, and in the end voters have the final word, or so to speak. GOP consultant and fierce Trump critic Rick Wilson appears quite correct when he says a leaked conference call tells us the Trump Univesity lawsuit “really bothers” his party’s apparent nominee. And while Wilson’s critique that “there is no campaign” actually sounds about right under the circumstances―hint: more than the conference call, perhaps the msnbc article with the straightforward title, “Donald Trump does not have a campaign”, explains the problem better― NYT deputy Washington editor Jon Weisman is even more blunt: “The leaks in this boffo @bpolitics piece,” he tweets, “show @RealDonaldTrump doesn’t understand he’s playing in the majors now.”

And boffo fits well enough; the Bloomberg Politics piece describes a Monday conference call between Mr. Trump and prominent supporters:

An embattled Donald Trump urgently rallied his most visible supporters to defend his attacks on a federal judge’s Mexican ancestry during a conference call on Monday in which he ordered them to question the judge’s credibility and impugn reporters as racists.

Which sounds about right, all things considered, except that’s when things start to go off the rails:

When former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer interrupted the discussion to inform Trump that his own campaign had asked surrogates to stop talking about the lawsuit in an e-mail on Sunday, Trump repeatedly demanded to know who sent the memo, and immediately overruled his staff.

“Take that order and throw it the hell out,” Trump said.

Told the memo was sent by Erica Freeman, a staffer who circulates information to surrogates, Trump said he didn’t know her. He openly questioned how the campaign could defend itself if supporters weren’t allowed to talk.

“Are there any other stupid letters that were sent to you folks?” Trump said. “That’s one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren’t so smart.”

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Your Quote of the Day (Bigot Bawling Breakdown Edition)

Detail of cartoon by Mr. Fish, 30 November 2014, via Clowncrack.

“Essentially they want to recapture an America that no longer exists, one that has white people at the center of the culture, on top of the world, secure in their place as the highest caste. That’s what they hear when he says he will ‘Make America Great Again.’ And that’s just not something that anyone deliver for them, not even Donald Trump.”

Heather Digby Parton

There is always a reason.

To wit, there is a reason why reading through Digby’s latest analysis of the Trump phenomenon should inspire recollection of Mr. Fish’s inquiry eighteen months ago.

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Image note: Detail of cartoon by Mr. Fish, via Clowncrack, 30 November 2014.

Digby Parton, Heather. “Birtherism and bigotry: These are the vile impulses driving voters to Trump — stop thinking it’s anything else”. Salon. 3 June 2016.

Suggestive of a Problem (Righteous Rebel Remix)

Glenn Beck, circa 2016, via Twitter.

Sometimes I think it really is just about action-hero fantasies imagining some good reason to kill people.

Glenn Beck’s radio program has been suspended from its SiriusXM simulcast after Beck described the election of Donald Trump as a “possible extinction-level event for capitalism” during an interview with a guest who suggested that a “patriot” will then need to “step up” and “remove him from office.”

During Wednesday’s “Glenn Beck Radio Program,” guest and conservative fiction author Brad Thor said he “guarantees” that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee would temporarily suspend the Constitution if elected president, calling the controversial candidate a “danger to America.”

“This could bring down incredible heat on me because I’m about to suggest something very bad―it is a hypothetical I’m going to ask as a thriller writer,” Thor said. “With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as President? If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that? If―if―he overstates his constitutionally-granted authority I should say as president, if he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? I don’t think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office, because you won’t be able to do it through Congress.”

Instead of following up on Thor’s remark about Trump’s “removal” from office, Beck simply said he agreed before going on to say that he believed the economy would “reset” and decline “even if Jesus were in office.”

(Tesfaye)

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The Donald Trump Show (Death Wish Double Trouble Super Fun Follow-Up Sequel Pak)

Brook, the jolly Humming Pirate who also happens to be a skeleton with an afro. (Detail of frame from 'Shonen Jump One Piece'.)

“He’s a death’s-head jester cackling on the edge of the void, the clownish host of one last celebration of America’s bombast, bigotry and spectacular ignorance.”

Andrew O’Hehir

Sometimes the setup requires a bit of seemingly otherwise useless melodrama; and sometimes that seemingly otherwise useless melodrama―your buzzword for the week is, well, okay, two words: “October surprise”―works well enough to address certain otherwise seemingly obvious questions somehow obscured by a hazy addiction to synthesized melodrama. Or, more to the point:

We can’t be sure how many people really support Trump, [Thomas B.] Edsall reports, since there’s considerable evidence that they aren’t telling pollsters the truth. Voting for Trump, it appears, is something white people do in the shadows. It’s a forbidden desire that is both liberating and self-destructive, not unlike the married heterosexual who has a same-sex lover on the down-low, or the executive who powers through the day on crystal meth and OxyContin. Donald Trump speaks during the 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)On some level you know the whole thing can’t end well, but boy does it feel good right now.

I have argued on multiple occasions that white Americans, considered in the aggregate, exhibit signs of an unconscious or semi-conscious death wish. I mean that both in the Freudian sense of a longing for release that is both erotic and self-destructive―the intermingling of Eros and Thanatos―and in a more straightforward sense. Consider the prevalence of guns in American society, the epidemic rates of suicide and obesity (which might be called slow-motion suicide) among low-income whites, the widespread willingness to ignore or deny climate science and the deeply rooted tendency of the white working class to vote against its own interests and empower those who have impoverished it. What other term can encompass all that?

Trump is the living embodiment of that contradictory desire for redemption and destruction. His incoherent speeches wander back and forth between those two poles, from infantile fantasies about forcing Mexico to build an $8 billion wall and rampant anti-Muslim paranoia to unfocused panegyrics about how “great” we will be one day and how much we will “win.” In his abundant vigor and ebullience and cloddish, mean-spirited good humor, Trump may seem like the opposite of the death wish. (He would certainly be insulted by any such suggestion. Wrong! Bad!) But everything he promises is impossible, and his supporters are not quite dumb enough not to see that. He’s a death’s-head jester cackling on the edge of the void, the clownish host of one last celebration of America’s bombast, bigotry and spectacular ignorance. No wonder his voters are reluctant to ‘fess up.

(O’Hehir)

Nor is this a matter of making the obvious point; with Americans, it’s all in how you say it.

I mean, sure, we can all see it, but explaining the mess is a whole ‘nother thing.

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Image notes: Top ― Brook, the jolly Humming Pirate. (Detail of frame from Shonen Jump One Piece.) Right ― Donald Trump speaks during the 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images).

O’Hehir, Andrew. “Appetite for destruction: White America’s death wish is the source of Trump’s hidden support”. Salon. 11 May 2016.

The Donald Trump Show (The International)

Activists of Hindu Sena or Hindu Army conduct hindu rituals to ensure a win for U.S presidential candidate Donald Trump in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, 11 May 2016. The activists said that Trump will be a better choice when it came to dealing with terrorism most of which, they alleged, was masterminded by followers of Islam. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

This is very nearly amusing:

Donald Trump may find it tough to get Republican leaders behind his campaign, but he’s got some faraway fans trying to get the gods on his side.

Around a dozen members of a right-wing Indian Hindu group lit a ritual fire and chanted mantras Wednesday asking the Hindu gods to help Trump win the U.S. presidential election.

While Trump has dominated the Republican primary race to decide the party’s candidate for the November election, his calls for temporarily banning Muslims from America and cracking down on extremist groups abroad have earned him some fans in India.

“The whole world is screaming against Islamic terrorism, and even India is not safe from it,” said Vishnu Gupta, founder of the Hindu Sena nationalist group. “Only Donald Trump can save humanity.”

(Associated Press)

Once upon a time, a Britishman explained to me, with that weary edge of patience that stands for English anger, that if I wasn’t British I had no right to opine on what went on in Northern Ireland. Then again, neither am I an Irishman, so what the hell ever. And if we need a beeblebrox it does well enough to remind that we are, in fact, the United States of America, and when we are part of the most powerful and accomplished empire in the history of the human species we don’t really have the luxury of telling other people to keep their opinions of our affairs to themselves.

Even such, you know. Whatever. Not all of us are so nationalistically sensitized as to take offense at something like this.

Nonetheless, it seems worth recalling that after the 9/11 atrocity some Americans were in a bad enough mood to beat Sikhs, Hindus, and even a Jew, as I recall, because they couldn’t tell the difference. Furthermore, we might also observe that these elements persist a decade and a half later and, moreover, are among those President Trump would bring to bear.

To that end, yes, it is very nearly amusing to see right-wing Hindus cheering on the crowd that would stomp them into the pavement for being too Muslim.

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Image note: Activists of Hindu Sena or Hindu Army conduct hindu rituals to ensure a win for U.S presidential candidate Donald Trump in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, 11 May 2016. The activists said that Trump will be a better choice when it came to dealing with terrorism most of which, they alleged, was masterminded by followers of Islam. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

Associated Press. “Divine intervention? Indian Hindus ask gods to help Trump”. 11 May 2016.