racism

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.

The Donald Trump Show (Tears for Fears)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks at a sheet of notes and talking points as he speaks during a rally in Eugene, Oregon, 6 May 2016. (Photo by Ted S. Warren/AP)

The Donald Trump phenomenon is admittedly a depressing spectacle to witness. Then again, not all of that sucking of souls is entirely on the candidate; a vampiric press must also answer; sometimes instead of simply toddling back and forth in search of sound bite, it seems useful to mark thresholds and declare an issue, well, if not over, then at least sufficiently defined:

Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier who recently backed Trump, told Fox News that the real estate mogul’s reluctance is due to “the complication of the return, the fact that he’s under an audit, he feels that he doesn’t want to give out that information to the general public and have a whole nightmare situation with opposition research trying to pick holes through the return.”

(Trudo)

Consider, please, that the argument put forth by a surrogate is essentially that the GOP frontrunner and presumptive nominee is afraid.

Yes, really:

“… he feels that he doesn’t want to give out that information to the general public and have a whole nightmare situation with opposition research trying to pick holes through the return.”

Such are the dangers of surrogacy: Mr. Trump apparently does not want to release his tax returns because he is afraid to answer for what is in them.

(more…)

The Donald Trump Show (Pipe Bombs and Pussies)

Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC], 6 March 2014, at National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

This is an important rule:

• It is not always fair to blame a politician for the actions of supporters.

And this is the flip side:

• Sometimes it is exactly fair to blame a politician for actions of supporters.

But there is also this:

• This is the quality of mind that supports Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.

Or, as Ryan J. Reilly explained yesterday for Huffington Post:

A fanatical Donald Trump supporter, who was arrested by the FBI in Oregon this week after repeatedly threatening to kill President Barack Obama and federal agents, had multiple pipe bombs in his home, authorities alleged in court on Friday.

In one Jan. 31 Facebook post cited by the FBI, [John Martin] Roos referred to agents as “pussies” and wrote he would “snipe them with hunting rifles everywhere.” (Despite his threats to kill members of law enforcement, he also complained on Facebook earlier this month about the “liberal media … slamming police.”) In a post in November that was also cited by the FBI, Roos spoke out against accepting refugees and threatened to kill Obama.

John Martin Roos in detail of undated photo via Facebook.“Obama you goat fffing fudgepacker, the refugees are men of fighting age. Black lives matter! Sure we need someone to pick cotton and wash cars. Paris, burn diseased muslim neighborhoods to the ground and start over with human beings. Obama you are on a hit list,” he wrote in a post that appears to have been removed.

Beyond what was mentioned in the affidavit, Roos regularly posted on both Facebook and Twitter about his support for Trump and his hatred for Obama, who he called a “muslim faggot” and other derogatory terms. He indicated he wanted to kill Obama’s family and made other racist and sexist statements about Michelle Obama. He also made negative references to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, singer Beyonce, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and reporter Michelle Fields, and said he believed that the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was killed by Obama. He praised Ann Coulter and Stacey Dash, and posted several links to posts on Breitbart.com.

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Republican Justice (Maybe Mix)

Contemplation of Justice

Steve Benen, after reviewing the appalling stupidity of the Republican pitch against confirming a Supreme Court nominee, including their reaction to the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, found himself adding a postscript:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who just last week explicitly urged Obama to nominate Garland, said in a statement this morning that Garland’s nomination “doesn’t in any way change current circumstances” – which is to say, Hatch still supports his party’s blockade.

However, Hatch also added this morning, “I’d probably be open to resolving this in the lame duck.” Keep a very close eye on this, because it may prove to be incredibly important. As things stand, Senate Republicans don’t intend to reject Garland, so much as they plan to ignore him. His nomination won’t be defeated; it’ll simply wither on the vine.

But if Republicans fare poorly in November’s elections, don’t be too surprised if GOP senators declare, “Well, now that voters have had their say, we’re prepared to confirm Garland after all.”

The msnbc producer and blogger advises readers to, “File this away for future reference”, and it behooves us to do so. One of the blessings facing pretty much any president seeking a new Supreme Court justice, and especially Democrats as such these days, is that there is a plethora of qualified candidates. In the end, given all else, one wonders if perhaps the “moderate, inoffensive, broadly respected, 63-year-old white guy” is actually the sacrificial lamb.

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A Note for Jim Webb

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), during the Democratic presidential candidates debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, 13 October 2015. (Detail of photo by Joe Raedle.)

MEMORANDUM

To: Fmr. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA)

re: About that presidential campaign

Just so we’re clear, sir, you probably shouldn’t be wondering why your Democratic presidential nomination bid drew so little support.

msnbc: “Former Dem. candidate: I won’t vote Clinton” (4 March 2016)

Politico: “Jim Webb: I won’t vote for Clinton, but I may for Trump” (4 March 2016)

".@JimWebbUSA: 'No,' I won't vote for @HillaryClinton, but I'm 'not sure yet' on Trump" (Morning Joe, via Twitter, 4 March 2016)

No, really. Don’t wonder.

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Image notes: Top ― Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), during the Democratic presidential candidates debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, 13 October 2015. (Detail of photo by Joe Raedle.) Bottom ― “.@JimWebbUSA: ‘No,’ I won’t vote for @HillaryClinton, but I’m ‘not sure yet’ on Trump”; msnbc’s Morning Joe program, via Twitter, 4 March 2016.

Collins, Ezra. “Jim Webb: I won’t vote for Clinton, but I may for Trump”. Politico. 4 March 2016.

msnbc. “Former Dem. candidate: I won’t vote Clinton”. Morning Joe. 4 March 2016.

The Conservative Conundrum, and Other Notes

Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during the 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, DC, December 3, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

Paul Krugman offers a curious observation:

As many have noted, it’s remarkable how shocked — shocked! — that establishment has been at the success of Donald Trump’s racist, xenophobic campaign. Who knew that this kind of thing would appeal to the party’s base? Isn’t the G.O.P. the party of Ronald Reagan, who sold conservatism with high-minded philosophical messages, like talking about a “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy T-bone steaks?

Seriously, Republican political strategy has been exploiting racial antagonism, getting working-class whites to despise government because it dares to help Those People, for almost half a century. So it’s amazing to see the party’s elite utterly astonished by the success of a candidate who is just saying outright what they have consistently tried to convey with dog whistles.

We might call it curious not for being obscure, but, rather, for being obvious.

That is to say, despite the blunt force with which reality asserts itself, we are somehow expected to ignore it. The Republican Party, of course, seems very good at ignoring it. Even establishment tools like RedState managing editor Leon H. Wolf are getting in on the act:

Sadly, 35% of our party has decided to abdicate their responsibility as adults to take their civic voting duty seriously, and so the poisonous threat of Trump has completely altered my own personal voting calculus.

And we, too, might try the word, sadly.

Because, sadly, we find ourselves up against a baseline standard that can only break when conservatives need it to; blaming voters, even on those occasions when circumstance otherwise describes it as wholly appropriate, is problematic in the marketplace.

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The Donald Trump Show (Denial)

Donald Trump speaks at the John Wayne Museum, in Winterset, Iowa, 19 January 2016. (Detail of undated photo by Tannen Maury/epa/Corbis.)

A note from last month:

Last week, presidential candidate Donald Trump caused a minor stir by retweeting someone with the Twitter handle @whitegenocideTM, which some saw as making explicit the connection between Trump and American white supremacists. But that’s just one data point, right? A one-off thing that could have been an intern’s mistake? Unfortunately, no: the data shows that 62 percent of the accounts Trump has retweeted recently have white-supremacist connections.

Marshall Kirkpatrick, of social-media analytics company Little Bird, took a look at the 21 people the Donald has blessed with his fantastic, luxurious retweets this week, and discovered that six of them follow major white-nationalist accounts, and 13 of them follow multiple accounts that have used the #whitegenocide hashtag.

Conclusion? “It turns out that Donald Trump mostly retweets white supremacists saying nice things about him.”

(Hathaway)

This is not surprising.

Unfortunately, that point comes with something of a sickening explanation.

(more…)

The Smarmy Face That Will From This Day Forth Haunt Your Sleep

Ted Cruz. (Detail of cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz, via Daily Kos Comics, 2 February 2016.)Two notes here:

• Most obvious punch line ever.

• Favorite Ted Cruz caricature ever.

And when you wake in cold sweat sometime between three and dawn, utter a prayer of thanks unto Lalo Alcaraz.

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Image note: Ted Cruz wins Iowa ― Detail of cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz, via Daily Kos, 2 February 2016.

The Huffington Disgrace

"Serena Williams' Sheer Dress Is A Grand Slam". Headline for Huffington Post article by Jamie Feldman, 16 December 2015.

MEMORANDUM

To: Jamie Feldman, Huffington Post

re: ¿Thank you for your contribution?

It is hard to know where to begin, so let me please start with a question: Are you joking?

No, really, are you pitching for a Christmas card from MRAs?

All hail Serena Williams, Sports Illustrated’s first female “Sportsperson of the Year” since 1983 and the sexiest woman alive―if her latest red carpet look is any indication, that is.

(Feldman)

No, really. Please tell me this is a joke.

Why are you taking part in gendertyping? Why are you reinforcing stereotypes about women’s apperances?

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