Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #882 The Perfect “Sturm”: Machiavelli 3.0 and the Rise of Global Fascism

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment

Intro­duc­tion: In FTR #830, we not­ed the mir­rored ide­o­log­i­cal con­structs cen­tral to Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-based Islam­ic fas­cism and the Amer­i­can and Euro­pean fas­cists who have used anti-immi­grant/an­ti-Mus­lim fer­vor to mint valu­able polit­i­cal coinage.

Quot­ing from the intro­duc­tion to that pro­gram: “. . . . Euro­pean fas­cists of the Nation­al Front vari­ety can point to the attacks and say “See! We told you so! You can’t trust these (‘Mus­lims;’ ‘immi­grants;’ ‘Mus­lim immi­grants’ etc.)! We are your only hope! Join with us!”

By the same token, the Islam­ic fas­cists of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood can point to the xeno­pho­bic reac­tion and say “See! We told you so! You can’t trust these infi­dels! We are your only hope! Join with us!”

In that con­text, we should note that both non-Mus­lim Euro­peans and Mus­lim res­i­dents of that con­ti­nent [Europe] are being squeezed to the break­ing point by the aus­ter­i­ty man­date being imposed on the EU by Ger­many and its cor­po­rate allies–von Clause­witz­ian eco­nom­ics. . . .”

In a bell­wether of how acute the sit­u­a­tion has become, The New York Times fea­tured no few­er than four op-ed pieces on suc­ces­sive days in Decem­ber of 2015 (12/11 and 12/12) high­light­ing the march of fas­cist sen­ti­ment and polit­i­cal suc­cess around the world.

The first of the New York Times op-ed pieces from suc­ces­sive days that we exam­ine is a piece by Tim­o­thy Egan not­ing the embrace of Don­ald Trump by Nazis and white suprema­cists. Tak­ing note of the sup­port for Trump expressed by David Duke and the Dai­ly Stormer web­site, Egan bemoans the GOP turn to the right.

Otto von Bolschwing

A col­umn by Paul Krug­man the pre­vi­ous day took note of the same dynam­ic, dri­ven in part by xeno­pho­bia and fear of ter­ror­ism, the angst-dri­ven fas­cism is also fueled by eco­nom­ic oppres­sion.

The same day that Egan’s col­umn ran, the oppo­site side of the op-ed page fea­tured dis­cus­sion of Poland’s slide into blind reac­tion, dri­ven by the cit­i­zens blam­ing ” . . . the loss of con­trol over their lives, real or imag­ined, on a con­spir­a­cy between cos­mopoli­tan-mind­ed elites and trib­al-mind­ed immi­grants.”

On the pre­vi­ous day, “The Grey Lady” pub­lished an insight­ful piece by Aatish Tasheer that expand­ed the focus and the depth of analy­sis, cit­ing the desire to return to a myth­i­cal­ly ide­al­ized past as a com­mon denom­i­na­tor fuel­ing arch-reac­tion all over the world, includ­ing the devel­op­ing nations. (We high­light­ed this in our dis­cus­sions with Peter Lev­en­da.)

Much of the bale­ful media analy­sis in recent days has focused on the pro­nounce­ments of Don­ald Trump, the front-run­ner in the race for the GOP Pres­i­den­tial nod. Not the out­lier he (and oth­ers) is said to be, Trump is part and par­cel to the fas­cism man­i­fest­ed by the GOP and the polit­i­cal right in this coun­try.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: 

1a. Paul Krug­man not­ed the role of long-term eco­nom­ic malaise in gen­er­at­ing the rise of fas­cism:

“That 30s Show” by Paul Krug­man; The New York Times [Blog: “The Con­science of a Lib­er­al”]; 12/07/2015.

A few years ago de Brom­head, Eichen­green, and O’Rourke looked at the deter­mi­nants of right-wing extrem­ism in the 1930s. They found that eco­nomic fac­tors mat­tered a lot; specif­i­cal­ly, what mat­tered was not the cur­rent growth of the econ­omy but cumu­la­tive growth or, more to the point, the depth of the cumu­la­tive reces­sion. One year of con­trac­tion was not enough to sig­nif­i­cantly boost extrem­ism, in oth­er words, but a depres­sion that per­sisted for years was.

How’s Europe doing on that basis?

...

And now the Nation­al Front has scored a first-place fin­ish in region­al elec­tions, and will prob­a­bly take a cou­ple of regions in the sec­ond round. Eco­nom­ics isn’t the only fac­tor; immi­gra­tion, refugees, and ter­ror­ism play into the mix. But Europe’s under­per­for­mance is slow­ly erod­ing the legit­i­macy, not just of the Euro­pean project, but of the open soci­ety itself.

1b. The first of the New York Times op-ed pieces from suc­ces­sive days that we exam­ine is a piece by Tim­o­thy Egan not­ing the embrace of Don­ald Trump by Nazis and white suprema­cists.

“Goose-Step­pers in the GOP” by Tim­o­thy Egan; The New York Times; 12/12/2015.

Well, he’s got the Hitler vote. The neo-Nazi web­site, Dai­ly Stormer, was out and proud ear­li­er this week: “Heil Don­ald Trump — the Ulti­mate Sav­ior.” After endors­ing the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial front-run­ner ear­li­er this year for his call to deport 11 mil­lion Mex­i­can immi­grants, the fomenters of Amer­i­can fas­cism have now added an apt twist to his slo­gan, one not far from the truth of the cam­paign: “Make Amer­i­ca White Again.”

Nazis — I hate these guys. Oh, but they’re a tiny minor­i­ty of pink-faced mal­con­tents liv­ing in base­ments with the win­dows taped up. Every­body hates them. Add to that sup­port­ers of the Ku Klux Klan, who’ve thrown in with Trump as well. David Duke, a for­mer grand wiz­ard of the Klan, liked every­thing he heard from Trump this week, embrac­ing him for stand­ing up for white nation­al­ism.

And sure, all the lit­tle Hitlers prob­a­bly don’t amount to a hill of beans. But what about the 35 per­cent of Repub­li­can vot­ers, in the New York Times/CBS News poll, who say they’re all in with the man sieg heiled by aspir­ing brown­shirts and men in white sheets?

It’s a very ugly polit­i­cal moment, but there it is: The Repub­li­can Par­ty is now home to mil­lions of peo­ple who would throw out the Con­sti­tu­tion, wel­come a police state against Lati­nos and Mus­lims, and enforce a reli­gious test for entry into a coun­try built by peo­ple flee­ing reli­gious per­se­cu­tion. This stuff polls well in their par­ty, even if the Bill of Rights does not.

Trump’s pro­pos­al — “a total and com­plete shut­down of Mus­lims enter­ing the Unit­ed States” — is not just flot­sam from the lunatic fringe. Well, it is. But the fringe is huge: Ear­ly polls show a plu­ral­i­ty of Repub­li­can vot­ers agree with Trump on ban­ning all Mus­lims. And many would go even fur­ther.

“Add in every oth­er kind of immi­grant and it’s per­fect,” tweet­ed Ann Coul­ter, who sells xeno­pho­bia as a mean girl provo­ca­teur, with many friends in the far right media uni­verse.

Trump him­self doesn’t seem to care about com­par­isons to the buf­foon­ish (Mus­soli­ni), the tru­ly scary (the evil one admired by the Dai­ly Stormer) or the fic­tion­al — worse than Volde­mort, as J. K. Rowl­ing tweet­ed.

He sloughed off the fas­cism talk by asso­ci­at­ing his pro­pos­al with the intern­ment in Amer­i­ca of the Japan­ese dur­ing World War II. There’s a win­ning thought. I was won­der­ing when he was going to get around to alien­at­ing Asian-Amer­i­cans, the high­est-earn­ing, best-edu­cat­ed and fastest-grow­ing racial group in the Unit­ed States, accord­ing to Pew.

To review: He start­ed with “the blacks,” through his smear cam­paign on the cit­i­zen­ship of the nation’s first African-Amer­i­can pres­i­dent. Moved on to Mex­i­cans, war vet­er­ans, women who look less than flaw­less in mid­dle age, the dis­abled, all Mus­lims and now peo­ple whose grand­par­ents were roust­ed from their Amer­i­can homes and put in camps.

Which gets us back to his base and their awful bed­fel­lows in the neo-Nazi bunkers. Who are these peo­ple? His sup­port­ers, most of them, do not see the shad­ow of the Reich when they look in the mir­ror. They are white, low­er mid­dle class, with lit­tle edu­ca­tion beyond high school. The glob­al econ­o­my has run them over. They don’t rec­og­nize their coun­try. And they need a vil­lain.

Still, it’s hard to take seri­ous­ly House Speak­er Paul Ryan’s rare objec­tion to a lunatic sug­ges­tion from his party’s pres­i­den­tial front-run­ner when he says he would also back Trump should he be the nom­i­nee.

“It’s not our par­ty,” lament­ed Sen­a­tor Jeff Flake of Ari­zona. “It’s not our coun­try.” As a Mor­mon, the sen­a­tor has to be famil­iar with a time when there was an open war on his faith, when Mor­mons were con­sid­ered not only un-Amer­i­can but domes­tic ter­ror­ists.

That his­to­ry is instruc­tive, as we strug­gle with Trump’s hys­te­ria and the mil­lions fired up by his hate. But the only way to get rid of the goose-step­pers drawn to the G.O.P. is to vow to nev­er sup­port the man giv­ing them some­thing to march to.

2. The pre­vi­ous day, Paul Krug­man not­ed the effects of xeno­pho­bia on elec­torates in Europe and the U.S.

“Empow­er­ing the Ugli­ness” by Paul Krug­man; The New York Times; 12/11/2015.

We live in an era of polit­i­cal news that is, all too often, shock­ing but not sur­pris­ing. The rise of Don­ald Trump def­i­nite­ly falls into that cat­e­go­ry. And so does the elec­toral earth­quake that struck France in Sunday’s region­al elec­tions, with the right-wing Nation­al Front win­ning more votes than either of the major main­stream par­ties.

What do these events have in com­mon? Both involved polit­i­cal fig­ures tap­ping into the resent­ments of a bloc of xeno­pho­bic and/or racist vot­ers who have been there all along. The good news is that such vot­ers are a minor­i­ty; the bad news is that it’s a pret­ty big minor­i­ty, on both sides of the Atlantic. If you are won­der­ing where the sup­port for Mr. Trump or Marine Le Pen, the head of the Nation­al Front, is com­ing from, you just haven’t been pay­ing atten­tion.

But why are these vot­ers mak­ing them­selves heard so loud­ly now? Have they become much more numer­ous? Maybe, but it’s not clear. More impor­tant, I’d argue, is the way the strate­gies elites have tra­di­tion­al­ly used to keep a lid on those angry vot­ers have final­ly bro­ken down.

Let me start with what is hap­pen­ing in Europe, both because it’s prob­a­bly less famil­iar to Amer­i­can read­ers and because it is, in a way, a sim­pler sto­ry than what is hap­pen­ing here.

My Euro­pean friends will no doubt say that I’m over­sim­pli­fy­ing, but from an Amer­i­can per­spec­tive it looks as if Europe’s estab­lish­ment has tried to freeze the xeno­pho­bic right, not just out of polit­i­cal pow­er, but out of any role in accept­able dis­course. To be a respectable Euro­pean politi­cian, whether of the left or of the right, you have had to accept the Euro­pean project of ever-clos­er union, of free move­ment of peo­ple, open bor­ders, and har­mo­nized reg­u­la­tions. This leaves no room for right-wing nation­al­ists, even though right-wing nation­al­ism has always had sub­stan­tial pop­u­lar sup­port.

What the Euro­pean estab­lish­ment may not have real­ized, how­ev­er, is that its abil­i­ty to define the lim­its of dis­course rests on the per­cep­tion that it knows what it is doing. Even admir­ers and sup­port­ers of the Euro­pean project (like me) have to admit that it has nev­er had deep pop­u­lar sup­port or a lot of demo­c­ra­t­ic legit­i­ma­cy. It is, instead, an elite project sold large­ly on the claim that there is no alter­na­tive, that it is the path of wis­dom.

And there’s noth­ing quite like sus­tained poor eco­nom­ic per­for­mance – the kind of poor per­for­mance brought on by Europe’s aus­ter­i­ty and hard-mon­ey obses­sions — to under­mine the elite’s rep­u­ta­tion for com­pe­tence. That’s prob­a­bly why one recent study found a con­sis­tent his­tor­i­cal rela­tion­ship between finan­cial crises and the rise of right-wing extrem­ism. And his­to­ry is repeat­ing itself.

The sto­ry is quite dif­fer­ent in Amer­i­ca, because the Repub­li­can Par­ty hasn’t tried to freeze out the kind of peo­ple who vote Nation­al Front in France. Instead, it has tried to exploit them, mobi­liz­ing their resent­ment via dog whis­tles to win elec­tions. This was the essence of Richard Nixon’s “south­ern strat­e­gy,” and explains why the G.O.P. gets the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of South­ern white votes.

But there is a strong ele­ment of bait-and-switch to this strat­e­gy. What­ev­er dog whis­tles get sent dur­ing the cam­paign, once in pow­er the G.O.P. has made serv­ing the inter­ests of a small, wealthy eco­nom­ic elite, espe­cial­ly through big tax cuts, its main pri­or­i­ty — a pri­or­i­ty that remains intact, as you can see if you look at the tax plans of the estab­lish­ment pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates this cycle.

3. On the same day that Egan’s op-ed piece ran, The Times fea­tured a piece about Poland’s right­ward shift:

“Poland’s Illib­er­al Turn [Why Poland Is Turn­ing Away from the West] by Ivan Krastev;” The New York Times; 12/12/2015. 

Dur­ing the recent elec­toral cam­paign in Poland, a con­stant ques­tion raised by pun­dits and politi­cians was not whether the coun­try would go right, but whether it would go wrong.

Would the con­ser­v­a­tive Law and Jus­tice Par­ty, the expect­ed vic­tors in the poll, go the way of Vik­tor Orban’s increas­ing­ly author­i­tar­i­an Hun­gary, or would it stay clos­er to the cen­ter? Giv­en the nation­al­ist, anti-lib­er­al slant of the party’s cam­paign plat­form, could Poland’s seem­ing­ly con­sol­i­dat­ed lib­er­al insti­tu­tions reverse course? Law and Jus­tice won deci­sive­ly, and after only three weeks we have an answer: a dis­tress­ing yes. . . .

. . . . These pop­ulist and rad­i­cal par­ties aren’t just par­ties; they are con­sti­tu­tion­al move­ments. They promise vot­ers what lib­er­al democ­ra­cy can­not: a sense of vic­to­ry where majori­ties — not just polit­i­cal majori­ties, but eth­nic and reli­gious ones, too — can do what they please.

The rise of these par­ties is symp­to­matic of the explo­sion of threat­ened majori­ties as a force in Euro­pean pol­i­tics. They blame the loss of con­trol over their lives, real or imag­ined, on a con­spir­a­cy between cos­mopoli­tan-mind­ed elites and trib­al-mind­ed immi­grants. They blame lib­er­al ideas and insti­tu­tions for weak­en­ing the nation­al will and erod­ing nation­al uni­ty. . . .

4. On the same day that the Krug­man col­umn above ran, The Times fea­tured an insight­ful op-ed piece that extend­ed the analy­sis. Not­ing a fix­a­tion on a myth­i­cal, ide­al­ized past, Aatish Taseer set forth the fun­da­men­tal posi­tion of that dynam­ic in the Islam­ic fas­cism pro­pound­ed by ISIS, the Hin­du nation­al­ist fas­cism of Mod­i’s India.

Taseer notes, cor­rect­ly, that this is hap­pen­ing “all over the world.”

“The Return of His­to­ry” by Aatish Taseer; The New York Times; 12/11/2015.

An Islam­ic philoso­pher in Karachi, an ide­o­logue who pro­vides vio­lent ideas to some of Pakistan’s fiercest extrem­ist groups, once told me that there are two kinds of his­to­ry: dead and liv­ing. “Dead his­to­ry is some­thing on a shelf or in a muse­um,” he said. “Liv­ing his­to­ry is part of your con­scious­ness, some­thing in your blood that inspires you.”

I was remind­ed of this last month dur­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with a dif­fer­ent kind of schol­ar. William McCants is the author of the excel­lent new book “The ISIS Apoc­a­lypse,” and he is noth­ing if not a stu­dent of “liv­ing his­to­ry.” Mr. McCants looks at the Islam­ic State’s idea of the past and how the group’s adher­ents view their place in it. The pic­ture that emerges is one of a ter­rif­ic ten­sion between the dead past and the ways in which it is being remade to fit the needs of the liv­ing present. The Islam­ic State’s treat­ment of his­to­ry is par­tic­u­lar­ly extreme, but a sim­i­lar return of his­to­ry is occur­ring with vary­ing degrees of inten­si­ty all across the old world.

The jihadists in Syr­ia and Iraq, Mr. McCants told me, are “infat­u­at­ed” with Harun al-Rashid, the great Abbasid caliph whose court report­ed­ly inspired “One Thou­sand and One Nights.” “They see him as the pin­na­cle of suc­cess, and the caliphate that he ruled over as the gold­en age,” Mr. McCants said, “but they elide all those parts of his rule that don’t mesh with their own.” The eighth-cen­tu­ry caliph being idol­ized by the Islam­ic State prac­ticed a far more lenient rule than Abu Bakr al-Bagh­da­di does. Harun was tol­er­ant of Shi­ites and reli­gious minori­ties. His court would engage in free­wheel­ing debates over mat­ters of faith. “You could play musi­cal instru­ments,” Mr. McCants said. “He loved to drink wine, he loved men.”

That the Islam­ic State has made vio­lent use of his­to­ry shouldn’t come as a sur­prise. Per­haps more sur­pris­ing is that in all those places where a mod­ern nation has been graft­ed onto an ancient cul­ture, his­to­ry has returned with a vengeance. From Con­fu­cian Chi­na to Bud­dhist Myan­mar to Hin­du India, his­to­ry has become the source of a fierce new con­ser­vatism that is being used to curb free­doms of women and stoke hatred of minori­ties. As the ulti­mate source of legit­i­ma­cy, his­to­ry has become a way for mod­ern­iz­ing soci­eties to pro­cure the trap­pings of moder­ni­ty while guard­ing them­selves from its val­ues.

When I was in Sri Lan­ka in 2013, the Bodu Bala Sena, a rad­i­cal Bud­dhist nation­al­ist group, had con­jured up a prud­ish Bud­dha who scold­ed young girls about their clothes and told them what time they should be home at night. In real­i­ty, the Bud­dha, like many East­ern thinkers, was gen­er­al­ly ret­i­cent on the sub­ject of sex­u­al moral­i­ty. Sex con­cerned him only to the extent that it inter­fered with men real­iz­ing the full­ness of their spir­i­tu­al lives.

Sim­i­lar­ly, in India, a breach has appeared between a sen­su­ous and lib­er­al past and an ugly, puri­tan­i­cal present. In my dai­ly read­ing of San­skrit poet­ry, there are women with disheveled hair, half-open eyes and cheeks cov­ered in sweat from the exer­tion of coitus. But turn on the tele­vi­sion and the min­is­ter of cul­ture, who says that the Hin­du holy books are ide­al texts for teach­ing moral val­ues, informs mod­ern Indi­ans that “girls want­i­ng a night out” may be all right else­where, but it is “not part of Indi­an cul­ture.” (He seeks to cleanse Indi­an cul­ture of the pol­lu­tion of the West, but if it’s sex the min­is­ter wor­ries about, he’ll have to cleanse Indi­an cul­ture of itself. No one did it bet­ter than ancient India.)

The past is alive as it nev­er has been before. It seems almost to serve as a kind of armor against an alien and impure present. And moder­ni­ty, in the shal­low sense of the word — that world of high­ways and blue-glass malls and men in the uni­forms of for­eign com­pa­nies — does not sat­is­fy the demands for this “liv­ing his­to­ry.” In fact a cer­tain dispir­it­ing expe­ri­ence of moder­ni­ty, felt often as the loss of a sense of self and of old ways, exac­er­bates these demands. This is what lies behind this vio­lent need to reclaim his­to­ry. “We are called from the past and must make our home in the future,” the great South Asian philoso­pher and art his­to­ri­an Anan­da K. Coomaraswamy wrote almost a cen­tu­ry ago. “But to under­stand, to endorse with pas­sion­ate con­vic­tion, and to love what we have left behind us is the only pos­si­ble foun­da­tion for pow­er.”

But there is all the dif­fer­ence in the world between lov­ing the past and wish­ing to return to it. Love con­tains the spir­it of regen­er­a­tion; per­verse nos­tal­gia is almost always a vio­lent enter­prise. Mr. McCants point­ed out the inor­gan­ic new­ness of the Islam­ic State’s exper­i­ment. “They pur­port to be reviv­ing a medieval tra­di­tion of rule,” he said, “but, to my knowl­edge, we nev­er had in medieval Islam a state that was so eager to impose what’s in scrip­ture, and tra­di­tion.”

Islam, with its rich tex­tu­al his­to­ry and detailed record­ings of the life and times of the Prophet Muham­mad, offers the faith­ful an espe­cial­ly aggres­sive blue­print for turn­ing the past into a weapon against the present. But the return of his­to­ry is not spe­cif­ic to Islam. All over the old world, the spread of moder­ni­ty and the wear­ing down of tra­di­tion have led to a fran­tic need to repos­sess the past. But this act of recla­ma­tion, through an ever-clos­er adher­ence to text with­out con­text, does not give back what was lost. It cre­ates some­thing rad­i­cal and new — and dan­ger­ous.

5. In our dis­cus­sions with Peter Lev­en­da, we not­ed that an ele­ment com­mon to fas­cism of var­i­ous kinds is a pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with, and desire to return to, a myth­i­cal, ide­al­ized past.

The Hitler Lega­cy by Peter Lev­en­da; IBIS Press [HC]; Copy­right 2014 by Peter Lev­en­da; ISBN 978–0‑89254–210‑9; pp. 85–89.

. . . . Both the Amer­i­can Nazi and the Klan move­ments want­ed Amer­i­ca to go back to the way it was before the Great Depres­sion, before the First World War, to a time that nev­er real­ly exist­ed the way they thought it did: a time before the advent of Com­mu­nist states like the Sovi­et Union; a time before blacks and Jews could be con­sid­ered equal cit­i­zens of the nation. Like many of today’s extreme right pro­tes­tors, the Nazis and Klans­men of the 1920s and 1930s want­ed to “take their coun­try back,” in this case–and pos­si­bly in the present case also–“back” meant “back in time.” . . . .

. . . . This focus on puri­ty could be seen as a desire to return to a more prim­i­tive time–in illo tem­pore–when the world was pris­tine. That this time prob­a­bly nev­er exist­ed did not occur (or was not accept­able) to those pro­mot­ing this “return to nature” and “return to our roots”  phi­los­o­phy. Leg­ends of ancient Greece and Rome were con­flat­ed with leg­ends con­cern­ing Atlantis and Thule: the lat­ter the pre­sumed ancient home­land of the Aryans. With the com­ing of West­ern civilization–according to this theory–much of human­i­ty’s basic good­ness and inher­ent phys­i­cal and psy­chic pow­ers were lost, a kind of Sam­son and Delilah moment when the vir­ile and pure Sam­son is shorn of his hair and thus los­es his poten­cy and strength to the Lev­an­tine, Semit­ic seduc­tress. . . . It is also an implic­it acknowl­edg­ment of fail­ure. This yearn­ing for a return to some oth­er state in the dis­tant indi­cates an inca­pa­bil­i­ty of deal­ing with present-day issues in any oth­er way. It rep­re­sents a desire to wipe the slate clean and start over, which may be attrac­tive as a fan­ta­sy but not prac­ti­ca­ble in life. . . .

6a. GOP front-run­ner Don­ald Trump has gar­nered much atten­tion for his pro­nounce­ments in the racist/xenophobic vein. We note his close asso­ci­a­tion with Nor­man Vin­cent Peale and for­mer Joe McCarthy aide Roy Cohn.

“The USFL’s Trump Card” by Robert Boyle; Sports Illus­trat­ed; 2/13/2015.

. . . . As might be expect­ed, the Trumps trav­el in rar­efied cir­cles. Dr. Nor­man Vin­cent Peale is their pas­tor, Roy Cohn their attor­ney. “Don­ald Trump is an extra­or­di­nary young man,” says Peale. “He has the ele­ments of genius.” Cohn says Trump is “one of the most enter­pris­ing, inge­nious busi­ness­men on the Amer­i­can scene...a mir­a­cle man who can’t seem to make a mis­take even if he tries.” . . . .

6b. Trump is close to Helene Von Damm, the Otto von Bolschwing pro­tege who select­ed the per­son­nel for Ronald Rea­gan’s cab­i­net. Von Damm became Rea­gan’s Ambas­sador to Aus­tria. It would not be unrea­son­able to ask if Trump’s busi­ness deal­ings are involved with the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work?

“Helene Von Damm’s Vien­nese Waltz” by William Drodzi­ak; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 3/5/1985.

. . . . She would like to divide her time between Vien­na and New York, where her cam­paign days reaped sev­er­al close friend­ships in big busi­ness cir­cles, notably with con­struc­tion mag­nate Don­ald Trump. . . .

7. Among the Chris­t­ian prelates oper­at­ing on behalf of the Nazi cause was The Rev­erend Nor­man Vin­cent Peale Among the Chris­t­ian prelates oper­at­ing on behalf of the Nazi cause. Best known as the expo­nent of “the pow­er of pos­i­tive think­ing,” Peale long graced the pages of pub­li­ca­tions like Reader’s Digest and his name became syn­ony­mous with whole­some, main­stream Amer­i­cana in the post­war years. Pri­or to and dur­ing the war, how­ev­er, Peale front­ed for Edward A. Rume­ly, a spy and agi­ta­tor for Ger­many dur­ing both World Wars. Like so many oth­ers, Rume­ly, too, ben­e­fit­ed from his asso­ci­a­tion with Hitler bene­fac­tor Hen­ry Ford. Note that anoth­er of Rumely’s fel­low trav­el­ers in the Fifth Col­umn move­ment was Frank Gan­nett, founder of the news­pa­per chain that bears his name.

Under Cover–My Four Years in the Nazi Under­world in Amer­i­ca by John Roy Carl­son; E.P. Dut­ton [HC]; 1943; pp. 474–475.

. . . . Rume­ly is boss of the Com­mit­tee for Con­sti­tu­tion­al Gov­ern­ment and sec­ond in com­mand to Frank E. Gan­nett, pub­lish­er of a string of news­pa­pers and founder of the com­mit­tee in 1937. As soon as the Sen­a­to­r­i­al inves­ti­ga­tion was over, Rume­ly lit­er­al­ly went under­ground and erased his name from the Com­mit­tee sta­tionery. But he con­tin­ued to run it by appoint­ing a docile Protes­tant cler­gy­man as ‘act­ing chair­man and sec­re­tary’ who vis­it­ed the office only occa­sion­al­ly. He was the Rev­erend Nor­man Vin­cent Peale, once a joint speak­er with [Amer­i­can fas­cist] Mrs. Eliz­a­beth Dilling and the Rev­erend Edward Lodge Cur­ran [key aide to Father Cough­lin] at a ‘pro-Amer­i­can mass meet­ing spon­sored by more than 50 patri­ot­ic orga­ni­za­tions’ at the Hotel Com­modore in New York. . . . Rumely’s friend­ship with Hen­ry Ford dat­ed pri­or to the sum­mer of 1918 when Ford rushed to Wash­ing­ton in an unsuc­cess­ful attempt to save Rume­ly from being indict­ed. . . .”

8. Review­ing part of the polit­i­cal his­to­ry of McCarthy­ism, we detail “The Pond”–an intel­li­gence net­work run by John “Frenchy” Grom­bach. A por­tion of the his­tor­i­cal depth to the devel­op­ment of Amer­i­can fas­cism is con­tained in this analy­sis. The New York Times–predictably–does not dis­cuss dynam­ics like this.

SS gen­er­al Karl Wolff began feed­ing infor­ma­tion to “Frenchy” Grom­bach, a for­mer mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agent who formed a net­work of oper­a­tives who fed infor­ma­tion to the CIA, among oth­ers. As indi­cat­ed here, one of Grombach’s major sources in his efforts was Wolff.

Blow­back by Christo­pher Simp­son; Col­lier [Macmil­lan] {SC}; Copy­right 1988 by Christo­pher Simp­son; ISBN 0–02-044995‑X; p. 236.

 . . . One of Grom­bach’s most impor­tant assets, accord­ing to U.S. naval intel­li­gence records obtained under the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, was SS Gen­er­al Karl Wolff, a major war crim­i­nal who had gone into the arms trade in Europe after the war. . . . Grom­bach worked simul­ta­ne­ous­ly under con­tract to the Depart­ment of State and the CIA. The ex-mil­i­tary intel­li­gence man suc­ceed­ed in cre­at­ing ‘one of the most unusu­al orga­ni­za­tions in the his­to­ry of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment,’ accord­ing to CIA Inspec­tor Gen­er­al Lyman Kirk­patrick. ‘It was devel­oped com­plete­ly out­side of the nor­mal gov­ern­men­tal struc­ture, [but it] used all of the nor­mal cov­er and com­mu­ni­ca­tions facil­i­ties nor­mal­ly oper­at­ed by intel­li­gence orga­ni­za­tions, and yet nev­er was under any con­trol from Wash­ing­ton.’ By the ear­ly 1950s the U.S. gov­ern­ment was bankrolling Grom­bach’s under­ground activ­i­ties at more than $1 mil­lion annu­al­ly, Kirk­patrick has said. . . .

9. Among the pri­ma­ry recip­i­ents of Grombach’s and Wolff’s infor­ma­tion was Sen­a­tor Joseph McCarthy, who uti­lized dirt giv­en him by the net­work to smear his oppo­nents.

Blow­back by Christo­pher Simp­son; Col­lier [Macmil­lan] {SC}; Copy­right 1988 by Christo­pher Simp­son; ISBN 0–02-044995‑X; p. 237.

. . . Grom­bach banked on his close con­nec­tions with Sen­a­tors Joseph McCarthy, William Jen­ner, and oth­er mem­bers of the extreme Repub­li­can right to pro­pel him to nation­al pow­er. . . .Grom­bach’s out­fit effec­tive­ly became the for­eign espi­onage agency for the far right, often serv­ing as the over­seas com­ple­ment to McCarthy’s gen­er­al­ly warm rela­tions with J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI at home . . . . U.S. gov­ern­ment con­tracts bankrolling a net­work of for­mer Nazis and col­lab­o­ra­tors gave him much of the ammu­ni­tion he need­ed to do the job. Grom­bach used his net­works pri­mar­i­ly to gath­er dirt. This was the Amer­i­can agen­t’s spe­cial­ty, his true pas­sion: polit­i­cal dirt, sex­u­al dirt, any kind of com­pro­mis­ing infor­ma­tion at all. ‘He got into a lot of garbage pails,’ as Kirk­patrick puts it, ‘and issued ‘dirty linen’ ‘reports on Amer­i­cans. ‘Grom­bach col­lect­ed scan­dal, cat­a­loged it, and used it care­ful­ly, just as he had done dur­ing the ear­li­er McCor­ma­ck inves­ti­ga­tion. He leaked smears to his polit­i­cal allies in Con­gress and the press when it suit­ed his pur­pos­es to do so. Grom­bach and con­gres­sion­al ‘inter­nal secu­ri­ty’ inves­ti­ga­tors bartered these dossiers with one anoth­er almost as though they were boys trad­ing base­ball cards. . . .

Discussion

33 comments for “FTR #882 The Perfect “Sturm”: Machiavelli 3.0 and the Rise of Global Fascism”

  1. If you found Don­ald Trump’s recent com­ments on the ‘nuclear tri­ad’ more than a lit­tle dis­turb­ing, get ready to be much more dis­turbed:

    Medi­aite
    Trump Spox Asks What the Pur­pose Is of Nuclear Tri­ad ‘If You’re Afraid to Use It’
    by Josh Feld­man | 8:47 pm, Decem­ber 18th, 2015

    A Don­ald Trump spokes­woman tonight asked what the point is of hav­ing nuclear weapons if the Unit­ed States is “afraid” to use them.

    This comes on the heels of one of Trump’s big flubs from this week’s debate––not know­ing what the nuclear tri­ad (the three dif­fer­ent sys­tems the U.S. has to fire nuclear weapons) is.

    On The O’Reilly Fac­tor tonight, Trump spokes­woman Kat­ri­na Pier­son attacked Repub­li­cans for push­ing end­less war and talk­ing tough. And then she asked, “What good does it do to have a good nuclear tri­ad if you’re afraid to use it?”

    Now, it might strike you as odd when you watch the video below how cav­a­lier­ly Pier­son just says the U.S. shouldn’t be afraid to use nuclear weapons. Kind of a big issue there.

    And min­utes lat­er, as Kurt Schlichter was going off on Trump’s igno­rance on the nuclear tri­ad, he prac­ti­cal­ly cried to Pier­son, “The point of the nuclear tri­ad is to be afraid to use the damn thing! You want to scare the hell out of the oth­er side.”

    He added, “And frankly, my side’ll be more scared if Don­ald Trump gets his fin­ger on the but­ton.”

    ...

    Yes, com­pared to Trump spokes­woman kat­ri­na Pier­son, the far-right Bre­it­bart blog­ger Kurt Schlichter was a voice of rea­son. And this is the same voice that’s prone to writ­ing things like “raz­ing the town, killing the men, sell­ing the women and chil­dren into slav­ery and plow­ing the ground with salt was the kind of can-do, out­side-the-box think­ing that made the Romans peo­ple who were just plain not to be screwed with.” This is where we are.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 19, 2015, 1:18 pm
  2. Here’s a nice overview of how Don­ald Trump got his back­ground in Machi­avel­li 101 pub­lic rela­tions and was­n’t just from his long-time advis­er Roger Stone. He also got quite an edu­ca­tion from the fel­low that intro­duced Trump to Stone back in 1979, Joseph McCarthy’s chief aide Roy Cohn:

    Salon.com
    Men­tored in the art of manip­u­la­tion: Don­ald Trump learned from the mas­ter — Roy Cohn

    Cohn mod­eled a style for Trump that was one part friend­ly gos­sip and one part men­ace

    Michael D’An­to­nio
    Sat­ur­day, Sep 26, 2015 10:59 AM CDT

    When the coun­try final­ly end­ed Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s sec­u­lar inquisition—“Have you no decen­cy, sir?” asked one witness—his chief aide said that the witch-hunt­ing Demo­c­rat from Wis­con­sin had been silenced by his col­leagues because he “would not observe the social ameni­ties.” In today’s par­lance, Roy Cohn might say that McCarthy suf­fered because he refused to be polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect.

    McCarthy was such an effec­tive tor­men­tor of the inno­cent that his name became syn­ony­mous with char­ac­ter assas­si­na­tion. He was even­tu­al­ly dri­ven out of the Sen­ate. Dis­graced along­side his boss, Cohn depart­ed Wash­ing­ton for his home­town of New York City where he became the ulti­mate polit­i­cal fix­er and a ter­ror in his own right. If you need­ed a favor, or want­ed to hurt an ene­my, Cohn could do the job. He talked like a make-believe mob­ster and count­ed real ones among his clients.

    Hav­ing spent years under the shad­ow of ethics com­plaints, Cohn lost his license to prac­tice law in 1986, just before he died of HIV/AIDS, a diag­no­sis he denied. A gay Jew­ish man who spewed anti-Semit­ic, homo­pho­bic and racist remarks, he was actu­al­ly quite charm­ing in his way and left behind many friends. Among them were gos­sip colum­nists (like McCarthy, Cohn cul­ti­vat­ed them) and two men he men­tored in the art of manip­u­la­tion: Roger Stone and Don­ald Trump.

    When Trump was still in his 20s he hired Cohn and began to move in the same cir­cles. Both were mem­bers of Le Club, a pri­vate hot spot where the rich and famous and social climbers could meet with­out suf­fer­ing the pres­ence of ordi­nary peo­ple. Lat­er, when Stu­dio 54 served the glit­ter and cocaine crowd, Cohn and Trump were there too. Cohn mod­eled a style for Trump that was one part friend­ly gos­sip and one part men­ace. Cohn looked and sound­ed like some­one who could hurt you if you crossed him. Trump kept a pho­to of the glow­er­ing Cohn so he could show it to those who might be chilled by the idea that this man was his lawyer.

    It was Cohn who intro­duced Trump to a young polit­i­cal oper­a­tor named Roger Stone in 1979. Stone had cut his teeth in the Nixon cam­paign of 1972 where he posed as a stu­dent social­ist who donat­ed to an oppo­nent and then made the con­tri­bu­tion pub­lic. The fake scan­dal helped scut­tle anti­war con­gress­man Rep. Pete McCloskey’s pres­i­den­tial bid and ensured that Nixon was around to give Amer­i­ca three more years of a dis­as­trous war and Water­gate.

    Bril­liant and per­pet­u­al­ly aggressive—“attack, attack, attack” is his motto—Stone teamed up with Trump to cre­ate an ersatz pres­i­den­tial bid in 1987, and the two have been polit­i­cal part­ners ever since. Like Cohn, Stone is a risk-tak­er. He and Trump got caught break­ing cam­paign rules as they fought the devel­op­ment of Indi­an casi­nos and state offi­cials levied a hefty fine. Stone coun­sels clients to “Admit noth­ing, deny every­thing, launch coun­ter­at­tack.” He once told a reporter that it was his prac­tice to always, “Get even.” “When some­body screws you,” he added, “screw ‘em back—but a lot hard­er.”

    Trump’s ver­sion of the Stone cre­do, as he told me, is to “hit back 10 times hard­er” when­ev­er he feels attacked. Like McCarthy and Cohn and Stone, Trump loves to gos­sip and trade in infor­ma­tion. He too cul­ti­vates an air of men­ace to keep his oppo­nents off-guard and he hates to apol­o­gize, or back down. And, like Cohn, he insists that the kind of talk his crit­ics con­sid­er offen­sive is real­ly just the truth expressed with­out the social ameni­ties. This is an inge­nious tac­tic for some­one who wants to be free to say almost any­thing, even if it’s insult­ing, and get away with.

    Much of what Trump says and does comes straight out of the Cohn/Stone play­book, includ­ing his eager­ness to make peo­ple uncom­fort­able and con­fused. As a cam­paign con­sul­tant Stone advis­es can­di­dates to open mul­ti­ple bat­tle­fronts, and as a source for reporters he often mys­ti­fies any­one who seeks to under­stand what he’s up to. For his part, Trump is a man prone to out­ra­geous state­ments that defy fact-check­ing and our fas­ci­na­tion with him stems, at least in part, from the delight­ful chal­lenge of try­ing to fig­ure out when he’s seri­ous and when he’s putting us on.

    ...

    “Much of what Trump says and does comes straight out of the Cohn/Stone play­book, includ­ing his eager­ness to make peo­ple uncom­fort­able and con­fused.”
    Well, let’s hope Trump’s eager­ness to make peo­ple uncom­fort­able and con­fused remains his key focus. It’s far bet­ter to be made uncom­fort­able and con­fused by some of Trump’s polit­i­cal pedi­gree than inspired.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 21, 2015, 3:18 pm
  3. Here’s anoth­er indi­ca­tion that the GOP unof­fi­cial estab­lish­men­t’s plan for the 2016 elec­tions isn’t sim­ply to run against Hillary Clin­ton and the Democ­rats. Run­ning against the ‘offi­cial’ GOP estab­lish­ment, like the new House Speak­er Paul Ryan, is going to be a key sell­ing point for the GOP. It’s all part of the nar­ra­tive get­ting ped­dled by a grow­ing num­ber key far-right thought lead­ers that Don­ald Trump is your only hope:

    WND EXCLUSIVE
    Phyl­lis Schlafly: Trump is ‘last hope for Amer­i­ca’
    ‘I don’t see any­one else who’s eager to fight’

    Pub­lished: o12/20/2015

    Phyl­lis Schlafly, an icon of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment who has been active for half a cen­tu­ry, is warn­ing the nation: Don­ald Trump is the last hope for Amer­i­ca.

    Schlafly unloaded on Repub­li­cans in Con­gress for pass­ing the $1.1 tril­lion omnibus bill last week, a move she called a “betray­al.”

    “This is a betray­al of the grass­roots and of the Repub­li­can Par­ty,” Schlafly said in an exclu­sive inter­view with WND. “We thought we were elect­ing a dif­fer­ent crowd to stand up for Amer­i­ca, and they didn’t. We’re extreme­ly out­raged by what Con­gress has done. Nan­cy Pelosi couldn’t have engi­neered it any bet­ter. I think the peo­ple are going to react by elect­ing Don­ald Trump.”

    Trump put out a state­ment Fri­day to ABC News say­ing, “If any­one needs morde evi­dence of why the Amer­i­can peo­ple are suf­fer­ing at the hands of their own gov­ern­ment, look no fur­ther than the bud­get deal announced by Speak­er Ryan. In order to avoid a gov­ern­ment shut­down, a cow­ard­ly threat from an incom­pe­tent pres­i­dent, the elect­ed Repub­li­cans in Con­gress threw in the tow­el and showed absolute­ly no bud­get dis­ci­pline.”

    Trump con­tin­ued, “Con­gress can­not seem to help itself in bend­ing to every whim of spe­cial inter­ests. How can they face their con­stituents when they con­tin­ue to bur­den our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren with debts they will nev­er be able to repay? Our gov­ern­ment is fail­ing us, so we must do some­thing about it. Who knows how bad things will be when the next admin­is­tra­tion comes in and has to pick up the pieces?”

    Schlafly applaud­ed the GOP front-runner’s fight­ing spir­it.

    “It sounds like Don­ald Trump is the only one who has any fight in him,” she said. “He will fight for the issues that we real­ly care about and are very hot at the present time, such as the immi­gra­tion issue. I don’t see any­one else who’s eager to fight.”

    The Repub­li­can-con­trolled Con­gress just sold Amer­i­ca down in riv­er in the “worst kind of betray­al,” Schlafly told WND.

    “It’s the worst kind of a betray­al because we thought we elect­ed a bunch of good guys who would shape up the par­ty,” she said. “We had a lot of fan­cy promis­es that the Repub­li­cans were going to shape up and change course. And they dis­ap­point­ed us. Betray­al is an appro­pri­ate word to describe it.”

    WND asked Schlafly if she believes Don­ald Trump is the last hope for Amer­i­ca.

    “He does look like he’s the last hope [for Amer­i­ca],” Schlafly said. “We don’t hear any­body say­ing what he’s say­ing. In fact, most of the peo­ple who ought to be lin­ing up with him are attack­ing him. They’re prob­a­bly jeal­ous of the amount of press cov­er­age he gets. But the rea­son he gets so much press cov­er­age is the grass­roots are fed up with peo­ple who are run­ning things, and they do want a change. They do want peo­ple to stand up for Amer­i­ca. It real­ly res­onates when he says he wants to ‘Make Amer­i­ca Great Again.’”

    Schlafly said it’s not only Repub­li­cans who feel betrayed, but Democ­rats, too.

    “They are betrayed,” she said. “There’s no doubt about it. The work­ing man and woman have been betrayed by both par­ties. They’re ready for a change … any­thing they think would be bet­ter.”

    ....

    “There’s no doubt about it. The work­ing man and woman have been betrayed by both par­ties. They’re ready for a change … any­thing they think would be bet­ter.”
    Yes, fol­low­ing the 2013 GOP “autop­sy”, when the par­ty appeared to con­clude that it was dan­ger­ous­ly out of touch with a large swathe of the Amer­i­can pub­lic and need­ed to find a way to mod­er­ate itself if it was going to have any chance of not alien­at­ing Mil­len­ni­als, we got to watch the GOP go even more insane than ever over the fol­low­ing two and half years and basi­cal­ly guar­an­tee almost noth­ing that can help the aver­age vot­er is allowed to become law. And now we’re final­ly see­ing the ratio­nal for that “cra­zier than ever” strat­e­gy: If the GOP can fill a large enough chunk of the elec­torate with a sense of polit­i­cal despair, the rab­ble just might get to the point where “any­thing would be bet­ter.” And that “any­thing” is, in the hopes of the GOP, Don­ald Trump.

    So instead of mod­er­at­ing itself fol­low­ing the 2012 loss, the par­ty decid­ed to run against itself (in the form of a laugh­able “Paul Ryan is a RINO”-style cam­paign) in the hope of rid­ding itself of its own taint!

    ....

    Schlafly unloaded on Repub­li­cans in Con­gress for pass­ing the $1.1 tril­lion omnibus bill last week, a move she called a “betray­al.”

    “This is a betray­al of the grass­roots and of the Repub­li­can Par­ty,” Schlafly said in an exclu­sive inter­view with WND. “We thought we were elect­ing a dif­fer­ent crowd to stand up for Amer­i­ca, and they didn’t. We’re extreme­ly out­raged by what Con­gress has done. Nan­cy Pelosi couldn’t have engi­neered it any bet­ter. I think the peo­ple are going to react by elect­ing Don­ald Trump.”
    ...

    Giv­en the unpop­u­lar­i­ty of the GOP’s “brand” among any­one that isn’t already part of the cult and the unwa­ver­ing desire to drag the nation back to the 19th cen­tu­ry (which sort of pre­cludes any actu­al mod­er­a­tion in the par­ty), it’s a pret­ty clever strat­e­gy. Not exact­ly sur­pris­ing, but clever.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 21, 2015, 8:20 pm
  4. Fol­low­ing his defense of Vladimir Putin over the sug­ges­tion that Putin’s gov­ern­ment has had jour­nal­ists killed, Don­ald Trump just joked about killing jour­nal­ists into his cam­paign ral­lies. And because this was Trump, it was­n’t actu­al­ly clear he was jok­ing:

    Reuters
    Trump’s jour­nal­ism rhetoric is no laugh­ing mat­ter
    By Emi­ly Flit­ter
    Decem­ber 22, 2015

    Near the begin­ning of pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump’s ral­lies, he likes to call atten­tion to a small penned-off area in the mid­dle of the room to which we jour­nal­ists are rel­e­gat­ed.

    Then, with every­body look­ing at us, he com­plains about the media. It’s a part of his stump speech, and three months ago it result­ed in harm­less boos and jeers from a crowd thou­sands strong, but Mon­day night in Grand Rapids, Michi­gan the exer­cise took a sin­is­ter turn when, briefly but unmis­tak­ably, the audi­ence cheered at the idea that jour­nal­ists ought to be killed, a sug­ges­tion from with­in the crowd.

    Here’s what hap­pened: Trump brought up Putin, who said last week he wel­comed warm rela­tions with the Repub­li­can front-run­ner.

    “He said nice things,” Trump said. “All of a sud­den I’m hear­ing things like ‘Oh isn’t it ter­ri­ble that Putin’s say­ing n—’. That’s not ter­ri­ble, that’s good! That’s like a good thing not a bad thing. He can’t stand Oba­ma, Oba­ma can’t stand him, they’re always fight­ing, wouldn’t it be nice if we could get along with, like, peo­ple?”

    Cheers came from the crowd. Trump went on:

    “Then they said, you know, he’s killed reporters, and I don’t like that. I’m total­ly against that. By the way I hate some of these peo­ple” – he point­ed at the group of us jour­nal­ists – “but I’d nev­er kill them.”

    Laugh­ter ensued, and that was when some­one called out that jour­nal­ists should be killed. It wasn’t Trump, of course; it was just one per­son among 9,000. The video feed that was broad­cast didn’t pick it up. But plen­ty of us heard it, and we heard how oth­ers near­by respond­ed: They seemed to like the idea. A cheer grew, loud­er and loud­er, as we reporters con­tin­ued to scrib­ble in our note­books.

    “I would nev­er do that,” Trump said, smil­ing. (You can watch it for your­self here and hear the crowd cheer­ing but the orig­i­nal audi­ence member’s ral­ly­ing cry isn’t dis­cernible).

    He con­tin­ued, pre­tend­ing to toy for a moment with the idea of killing one or two after all:

    “Ah…let’s see…meeeeh— no, I wouldn’t. I would nev­er kill them. But I do hate them, some of them are such lying, dis­gust­ing peo­ple, it’s true. It’s true. But I would nev­er kill them and any­body that does I think would be despi­ca­ble.”

    Dur­ing this peri­od of half a minute, I became aware that I was sit­ting in a room full of peo­ple cheer­ing about the idea of my death, or the death of some­one in my pro­fes­sion. My face grew warm, my heart flut­tered with fear, but I tried to show noth­ing, to just keep watch­ing, keep lis­ten­ing, and stay alert.

    Trump, mean­while, con­tin­ued and almost in the same breath added: “But you know nobody said: ‘They say he killed reporters.’ I said ‘real­ly’? He says he didn’t, oth­er peo­ple say he didn’t, who did he kill? Well we don’t know but we hear that.”

    ...

    ‘Tis the sea­son for things that should be satire but aren’t. It’s one of sea­sons that you real­ly don’t want to become a reg­u­lar tra­di­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 24, 2015, 3:52 pm
  5. Well, the inevitable just hap­pened, although it hap­pened in a man­ner that was far, far worse than was inevitable: It was prob­a­bly inevitable that, at some point, a group of Mus­lim refugees in Europe was going to do some­thing so awful and stu­pid that a large swathe of the gen­er­al pub­lic were going to start homog­e­niz­ing all Mus­lims in their heads and adopt the atti­tude, “hey, maybe it real­ly is impos­si­ble for Mus­lims to live here, even tem­porar­i­ly, because they’re just too dan­ger­ous. Let’s deport them all and ban fur­ther entry (and gen­er­al­ly cut our soci­ety off from the Mus­lim world).” Giv­en the vol­ume of the refugees flood­ing into Europe and the real­i­ty that many of them are com­ing from soci­eties where atti­tudes that are high­ly incom­pat­i­ble with con­tem­po­rary Euro­pean val­ues (like gross misog­y­ny), it was pret­ty much an inevitabil­i­ty that, at some point, a group of refugees were going to do some­thing that basi­cal­ly sends their hosts into a reac­tionary freak out mode. With over a mil­lion refugees flow­ing into Europe in 2015 alone, some sort of hor­ri­ble inci­dent that ends up smear­ing the entire refugee com­mu­ni­ty real­ly was just a mat­ter of time.

    And on New Years Eve, that inevitable hap­pened when a wave of sex­u­al assaults com­mit­ted by high­ly-intox­i­cat­ed Mus­lim migrants and refugees shocked and appalled Europe. But it was­n’t just one group of men in one city and that did this. It hap­pened in Cologne, Frank­furt, Helsin­ki, to name a few, all on the same night. While some sort of hor­ri­ble act was inevitable, mul­ti-city simul­ta­ne­ous acts of this nature were cer­tain­ly not inevitable. That’s just awful. Even worse, there are indi­ca­tions that the worse-than-inevitable acts which are cur­rent­ly roil­ing Europe were planned in advance, which poten­tial­ly points towards either inten­tion­al sab­o­tage by some refugees who want to encour­age anti-Mus­lim atti­tudes or just a shock­ing degree of chau­vin­is­tic clue­less­ness.

    Regard­less of the pos­si­ble plan­ning, or drunk­en lack there­of, that may have been behind the New Years Eve sex­u­al assaults, a far-right back­lash and wave of anti-immi­grant attacks and fire­bomb­ings has already tak­en place too, which was also prob­a­bly inevitable giv­en the waves of far-right anti-immi­grant attacks and fire­bomb­ings that were tak­ing place against refugees even before the assaults.

    So the inevitable hap­pened, although it was far worse than was inevitable. And the inevitable back­lash, which isn’t real­ly a back­lash since it was already tak­ing place, has grown even more intense:

    Euractive.com
    Ger­man min­is­ter hints sex­u­al assaults were planned

    11 Jan 2016 — 07:45

    Attacks on women in Cologne and oth­er Ger­man cities on New Year’s Eve have prompt­ed more than 600 crim­i­nal com­plaints, and a Ger­man min­is­ter said the sex­u­al assaults may have been planned or coor­di­nat­ed.

    The attacks, most­ly tar­get­ing women and rang­ing from theft to sex­u­al molesta­tion, have prompt­ed a high­ly-charged debate in Ger­many about its wel­com­ing stance for refugees and migrants, more than one mil­lion of whom arrived last year.

    The sud­den nature of the vio­lent attacks and the fact that they stretched from Ham­burg to Frank­furt prompt­ed Ger­man Min­is­ter of Jus­tice Heiko Maas to spec­u­late in a news­pa­per that they had been planned or coor­di­nat­ed.

    The debate on migra­tion will be fur­ther fuelled by the acknowl­edge­ment by the author­i­ties in North Rhine-West­phalia that a man shot dead as he tried to enter a Paris police sta­tion last week was an asy­lum seek­er with sev­en iden­ti­ties who lived in Ger­many.

    In Cologne, police said on Sun­day (9 Jan­u­ary) that 516 crim­i­nal com­plaints had been filed by indi­vid­u­als or groups in rela­tion to assaults on New Year’s Eve, while police in Ham­burg said 133 sim­i­lar charges had been lodged with the north Ger­man city.

    Frank­furt also reg­is­tered com­plaints, although far few­er.

    The inves­ti­ga­tion in Cologne is focused large­ly on asy­lum seek­ers or ille­gal migrants from North Africa, police said. They arrest­ed one 19-year-old Moroc­can man on Sat­ur­day evening.

    In Cologne, where a 100-strong force of offi­cers con­tin­ued their inves­ti­ga­tions, around 40% of the com­plaints includ­ed sex­u­al offences, includ­ing two rapes.

    Dwin­dling trust

    The attacks, which prompt­ed vio­lent far-right protests on Sat­ur­day, threat­ens to fur­ther erode con­fi­dence in Merkel, and could stoke sup­port for the anti-immi­grant Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) par­ty ahead of three key state elec­tions in March.

    Merkel’s pop­u­lar­i­ty has declined, as she refused to place a lim­it on the influx of refugees.

    A sur­vey spon­sored by state broad­cast­er ARD showed that while 75% of those asked were very hap­py with Merkel’s work in April last year, only 58% were pleased now.

    Almost three quar­ters of those polled said migra­tion was the most impor­tant issue for the gov­ern­ment to deal with in 2016.

    The Cologne attacks also heat­ed up the debate on immi­gra­tion in neigh­bour­ing Aus­tria.

    “What hap­pened in Cologne is unbe­liev­able and unac­cept­able,” Aus­tri­an Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Johan­na Mikl-Leit­ner, a mem­ber of the con­ser­v­a­tive Peo­ple’s Par­ty that is junior coali­tion part­ner to the Social Democ­rats, told news­pa­per Oester­re­ich.

    There had been a hand­ful of sim­i­lar inci­dents in the bor­der city of Salzburg. “Such offend­ers should be deport­ed,” she said, back­ing a sim­i­lar sug­ges­tion by Merkel.

    Swiss media con­tained numer­ous sto­ries about sex­u­al assaults on women by for­eign­ers, fuelling ten­sions ahead of a ref­er­en­dum next month that would trig­ger the auto­mat­ic depor­ta­tion of for­eign­ers con­vict­ed of some crimes.

    In Ger­many, on Mon­day (11 Jan­u­ary), a region­al par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion will quiz police and oth­ers about the events on New Year’s Eve in Cologne.

    The anti-Islam­ic nation­al­ist group PEGIDA, whose sup­port­ers threw bot­tles and fire crack­ers at a march in Cologne on Sat­ur­day before being dis­persed by riot police, will lat­er hold a ral­ly in the east­ern Ger­man city of Leipzig.

    ...

    “The sud­den nature of the vio­lent attacks and the fact that they stretched from Ham­burg to Frank­furt prompt­ed Ger­man Min­is­ter of Jus­tice Heiko Maas to spec­u­late in a news­pa­per that they had been planned or coor­di­nat­ed.”
    Keep in mind that there’s no evi­dence yet that the mul­ti-city wave of assaults real­ly was planned. Except for Helsin­ki, where author­i­ties were tipped off about plans in advance:

    The Tele­graph
    Unprece­dent­ed sex harass­ment in Helsin­ki at New Year, Finnish police report
    Finnish police ‘tipped off’ about plans by groups of asy­lum seek­ers to sex­u­al­ly harass women

    By Richard Orange, Mal­mo

    3:48PM GMT 08 Jan 2016

    Asy­lum seek­ers who met in cen­tral Helsin­ki to cel­e­brate New Years’s Eve “had sim­i­lar plans” to com­mit sex­u­al assault and oth­er crimes as those who tar­get­ed women in the Ger­many city of Cologne, Finnish Police have report­ed.

    Three Iraqi asy­lum seek­ers have been arrest­ed for com­mit­ting sex­u­al assaults dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tions in the city’s Sen­ate Square, where some 20,000 had gath­ered.

    Secu­ri­ty per­son­nel report­ed “wide­s­pead sex­u­al har­rass­ment” dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tions, police added, with women com­plain­ing that asy­lum seek­ers had groped their breasts and kissed them with­out per­mis­sion.

    “This phe­nom­e­non is new in Finnish sex­u­al crime his­to­ry,” Ilk­ka Koski­ma­ki, the deputy chief of police in Helsin­ki, told the Tele­graph. ”We have nev­er before had this kind of sex­u­al har­rass­ment hap­pen­ing at New Year’s Eve.”

    He said that the police had received tip-offs from staff at the asy­lum recep­tion cen­tres.

    “Our infor­ma­tion from these recep­tion cen­tres were that dis­tur­bances or oth­er crimes would hap­pen in the city cen­tre. We were pre­pared for fights and sex­u­al har­rass­ment and thefts.”

    He said that police had estab­lished a “very mas­sive pres­ence” to con­trol the esti­mat­ed 1,000 Iraqi asy­lum seek­ers who had gath­ered in the tun­nels sur­round­ing the cen­tral rail­way sta­tion by 11pm, many of whom appeared to be under the influ­ence of alco­hol or drugs.

    Mr Koski­ma­ki said that sex­u­al assults in parks and on the streets had been unknown in Fin­land before a record 32,000 asy­lum seek­ers arrived in 2015, mak­ing the 14 cas­es last year “big news in the city”.

    “We had unfor­tu­nate­ly some very bru­tal cas­es in autumn,” he said. “I don’t know so well oth­er cul­tures, but I have recog­nised that the think­ing of some of them is very dif­fer­ent. Some of them maybe think that it is allowed to be aggres­sive and touch ladies on the street.”

    Jamel Saltne, a Finnish-speak­ing Iraqi, said that from what he had seen on Ara­bic social media, police had wrong­ly por­trayed events.

    “What hap­pened was not the result of an action planned in advance,” he told the Tele­graph. “It was total­ly expect­ed that young men would go to the cen­tre of the cap­i­tal as that is the best place to cel­e­brate New Year’s Eve.”

    “I’m not accus­ing the police of racism, but maybe they have received com­plaints intend­ed to smear peo­ple.”

    ...

    Unarmed mili­tia groups call­ing them­selves “Sol­diers of Odin”, wear­ing black jack­ets and hats marked “S.O.O”, have sprung up in sev­er­al towns in Fin­land where asy­lum seek­ers are housed, claim­ing they want to pro­tect cit­i­zens from “Islam­ic intrud­ers”.

    Pet­teri Orpo, Finnish inte­ri­or min­is­ter, con­demned the groups in an inter­view with nation­al broad­cast­er YLE on Thurs­day.

    “There are extrem­ist fea­tures to car­ry­ing out street patrols. It does not increase secu­ri­ty,” he said.

    “Our infor­ma­tion from these recep­tion cen­tres were that dis­tur­bances or oth­er crimes would hap­pen in the city cen­tre. We were pre­pared for fights and sex­u­al har­rass­ment and thefts.”
    That was the report from the Helsin­ki police. There were plans for dis­tur­bances that would hap­pen, specif­i­cal­ly in the city cen­tre, which sug­gests that plans were for high-pro­file attacks that would cap­ture a lot of atten­tion. And if that report is accu­rate and there real­ly were these plans, it sug­gests that at least some of those refugees active­ly want to dri­ve a wedge between the refugees and their host com­mu­ni­ty, which is pret­ty stun­ning, espe­cial­ly giv­en the fact that a Finnish refugee cen­ter was fire­bombed back in Sep­tem­ber. Stun­ning, but then again, giv­en the vol­ume of refugees, it was prob­a­bly inevitable that some of them would share ISIS’s declared desire to elim­i­nate “the Gray Zone of co-exis­tence” that allows Mus­lims and non-Mus­lims to live side-by-side. Com­pared to all the oth­er things that groups like ISIS do to fel­low Mus­lims who don’t tow their psy­cho-fun­da­men­tal­ist line, plan­ning acts that smear all Mus­lims as rapists is almost tame. So who knows, maybe the mul­ti-city wave of simul­ta­ne­ous assaults real­ly was planned, not just in Helsin­ki, but as Ger­many’s Min­is­ter of Jus­tice hint­ed at above, maybe it was a mul­ti-city plan.
    Of course, we have to con­sid­er anoth­er pos­si­bil­i­ty raised:

    ...
    Jamel Saltne, a Finnish-speak­ing Iraqi, said that from what he had seen on Ara­bic social media, police had wrong­ly por­trayed events.

    “What hap­pened was not the result of an action planned in advance,” he told the Tele­graph. “It was total­ly expect­ed that young men would go to the cen­tre of the cap­i­tal as that is the best place to cel­e­brate New Year’s Eve.”

    “I’m not accus­ing the police of racism, but maybe they have received com­plaints intend­ed to smear peo­ple.”
    ...

    Could it be that these report­ed assaults are either get­ting improp­er­ly attrib­uted to Mus­lim refugees or nev­er took place at all and were intend­ed to smear the refugees and Mus­lims in gen­er­al? Well, con­sid­er­ing it’s already sort of hap­pened, yeah, that seems pos­si­ble. For exam­ple, Pamela Geller post­ed videos of a blond women get­ting assault­ed by Ara­bic men that was sup­posed have tak­en place over New Years in Cologne, but lat­er retract­ed the video when it turned out to have tak­en place in Egypt. Sim­i­lar­ly, Geller has been float­ing a video of what appear to be Mus­lim men aggres­sive­ly bran­dish­ing and shoot­ing guns wild­ly on New Years Eve in Berlin. Of course, it turns out that fir­ing blanks on New Years Eve in Ger­many is not that uncom­mon. And this is exact­ly what we would expect from folks like Geller and she’s not alone. So could there be at least some unfair smear­ing tak­ing place? Well, it does seem rather inevitable. Folks like Geller aren’t near­ly as rare as they should be.

    Of course, it’s hard to ignore the real­i­ty that the atti­tudes towards women that pre­vail in many fun­da­men­tal­ist Mus­lim-dom­i­nat­ed cul­tures real­ly are incom­pat­i­ble with con­tem­po­rary West­ern val­ues, which is why it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble that some of these assaults were planned while oth­ers real­ly were the actions of gen­uine­ly clue­less misog­y­nists who real­ly do need a les­son in what is accept­able in their host soci­ety:

    The New York Times
    Nor­way Offers Migrants a Les­son in How to Treat Women

    By ANDREW HIGGINS
    DEC. 19, 2015

    SANDNES, Nor­way — When he first arrived in Europe, Abdu Osman Keli­fa, a Mus­lim asy­lum seek­er from the Horn of Africa, was shocked to see women in skimpy clothes drink­ing alco­hol and kiss­ing in pub­lic. Back home, he said, only pros­ti­tutes do that, and in local­ly made movies cou­ples “only hug but nev­er kiss.”

    Con­fused, Mr. Keli­fa vol­un­teered to take part in a pio­neer­ing and, in some quar­ters, con­tro­ver­sial pro­gram that seeks to pre­vent sex­u­al and oth­er vio­lence by help­ing male immi­grants from soci­eties that are large­ly seg­re­gat­ed or in which women show nei­ther flesh nor pub­lic affec­tion to adapt to more open Euro­pean soci­eties.

    Fear­ful of stig­ma­tiz­ing migrants as poten­tial rapists and play­ing into the hands of anti-immi­grant politi­cians, most Euro­pean coun­tries have avoid­ed address­ing the ques­tion of whether men arriv­ing from more con­ser­v­a­tive soci­eties might get the wrong idea once they move to places where it can seem as if any­thing goes.

    But, with more than a mil­lion asy­lum seek­ers arriv­ing in Europe this year, an increas­ing num­ber of politi­cians and also some migrant activists now favor offer­ing coach­ing in Euro­pean sex­u­al norms and social codes.

    Mr. Keli­fa, 33, attend­ed the edu­ca­tion pro­gram at an asy­lum cen­ter in this town near the west­ern Nor­we­gian city of Sta­vanger. Like sim­i­lar cours­es now under­way in the vil­lage of Lunde and else­where in Nor­way, it was vol­un­tary and was orga­nized around week­ly group dis­cus­sions of rape and oth­er vio­lence.

    The goal is that par­tic­i­pants will “at least know the dif­fer­ence between right and wrong,” said Nina Machibya, the Sandnes center’s man­ag­er.

    A course man­u­al sets out a sim­ple rule that all asy­lum seek­ers need to learn and fol­low: “To force some­one into sex is not per­mit­ted in Nor­way, even when you are mar­ried to that per­son.”

    It skirts the issue of reli­gious dif­fer­ences, not­ing that while Nor­way has long been large­ly Chris­t­ian, it is “not reli­gion that sets the laws” and that, what­ev­er a person’s faith, “the rules and laws nev­er­the­less have to be fol­lowed.”

    In Den­mark, law­mak­ers are push­ing to have such sex edu­ca­tion includ­ed in manda­to­ry lan­guage class­es for refugees. The Ger­man region of Bavaria, the main entry point to Ger­many for asy­lum seek­ers, is already exper­i­ment­ing with such class­es at a shel­ter for teenage migrants in the town of Pas­sau.

    Nor­way, how­ev­er, has been lead­ing the way. Its immi­gra­tion depart­ment man­dat­ed that such pro­grams be offered nation­wide in 2013, and hired a non­prof­it foun­da­tion, Alter­na­tive to Vio­lence, to train refugee cen­ter work­ers in how to orga­nize and con­duct class­es on sex­u­al and oth­er forms of vio­lence. The gov­ern­ment pro­vid­ed fund­ing for two years to pay for inter­preters for the class­es and is now review­ing the results and whether to extend its sup­port.

    “The biggest dan­ger for every­one is silence,” said Per Isdal, a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist in Sta­vanger who works with the foun­da­tion, which devel­oped the pro­gram Mr. Keli­fa attend­ed in Sandes.

    Many refugees “come from cul­tures that are not gen­der equal and where women are the prop­er­ty of men,” Mr. Isdal said. “We have to help them adapt to their new cul­ture.”

    The first such pro­gram to teach immi­grants about local norms and how to avoid mis­read­ing social sig­nals was ini­ti­at­ed in Sta­vanger, the cen­ter of Norway’s oil indus­try and a mag­net for migrants, after a series of rapes from 2009 to 2011.

    Hen­ry Ove Berg, who was Stavanger’s police chief dur­ing the spike in rape cas­es, said he sup­port­ed pro­vid­ing migrants sex edu­ca­tion because “peo­ple from some parts of the world have nev­er seen a girl in a miniskirt, only in a burqa.” When they get to Nor­way, he added, “some­thing hap­pens in their heads.”

    He said, “there was a link but not a very clear link” between the rape cas­es and the city’s immi­grant com­mu­ni­ty. Accord­ing to the state broad­cast­er, NRK, which reviewed court doc­u­ments, only three of 20 men found guilty in those cas­es were native Nor­we­gians, the rest immi­grants.

    The claim that refugees and immi­grants in gen­er­al are prone to com­mit rape has become a main ral­ly­ing cry of anti-migrant activists across Europe, with each case of sex­u­al vio­lence by a new­com­er pre­sent­ed as evi­dence of an import­ed scourge.

    Hege Storhaug, a for­mer Nor­we­gian jour­nal­ist who runs Human Rights Ser­vice, an orga­ni­za­tion fierce­ly crit­i­cal of Islam, has seized on the issue to ral­ly pub­lic oppo­si­tion to refugees, assert­ing on her group’s web­site that Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel of Ger­many had opened the way to an “epi­dem­ic of rape” with her wel­com­ing approach to migrants.

    Nor­way, like most Euro­pean coun­tries, does not break down crime sta­tis­tics by eth­nic­i­ty or reli­gion. A 2011 report by Norway’s state sta­tis­ti­cal bureau not­ed that “immi­grants are over­rep­re­sent­ed in the crime sta­tis­tics” but sug­gest­ed that this was not due to cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences but because many of the immi­grants were young men.

    “It should not be sur­pris­ing if groups with large pro­por­tions of young males have high­er crime rates than groups with large pro­por­tions elder­ly women,” the report said.

    Hanne Kristin Rohde, a for­mer head of the vio­lent crime sec­tion of the Oslo Police Depart­ment, said she ran into a wall of hos­til­i­ty when, in 2011 while still in the police force, she blamed sex­u­al vio­lence by for­eign men on cul­tur­al fac­tors and went pub­lic with data sug­gest­ing that immi­grants com­mit­ted a huge­ly dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of rapes.

    “This was a big prob­lem but it was dif­fi­cult to talk about it,” Ms. Rohde said recent­ly, assert­ing that there was “a clear sta­tis­ti­cal con­nec­tion” between sex­u­al vio­lence and male migrants from coun­tries where “women have no val­ue of their own.” The taboo, she added, has since eased some­what.

    “There are lots of men who haven’t learned that women have val­ue,” said Ms. Rohde, who wants manda­to­ry sex­u­al con­duct class­es for all new male migrants. “This is the biggest prob­lem, and it is a cul­tur­al prob­lem.”

    But many ques­tion whether there is a clear link between migrants and crime. Last month, the Ger­man inte­ri­or min­is­ter, Thomas de Maiz­ière, said that asy­lum seek­ers were no more prone to crime, includ­ing sex­u­al vio­lence, than Ger­mans.

    “In gen­er­al, the avail­able recent trend find­ings show that refugees com­mit just as few or as many crimes as groups of the local pop­u­la­tion,” he said.

    Mr. Keli­fa, the African asy­lum seek­er, said he still had a hard time accept­ing that a wife could accuse her hus­band of sex­u­al assault. But he added that he had learned how to read pre­vi­ous­ly baf­fling sig­nals from women who wear short skirts, smile or sim­ply walk alone at night with­out an escort.

    “Men have weak­ness­es and when they see some­one smil­ing it is dif­fi­cult to con­trol,” Mr. Keli­fa said, explain­ing that in his own coun­try, Eritrea, “if some­one wants a lady he can just take her and he will not be pun­ished,” at least not by the police.

    Nor­way, he said, treats women dif­fer­ent­ly. “They can do any job from prime min­is­ter to truck dri­ver and have the right to relax” in bars or on the street with­out being both­ered, he added.

    Mr. Isdal, the Sta­vanger psy­chol­o­gist, said refugees, par­tic­u­lar­ly those trau­ma­tized by war, rep­re­sent a “risk group” that is not pre­des­tined to vio­lent crime but that does need help to cope with a new and alien envi­ron­ment.

    The pro­gram he helped design focus­es on get­ting new­ly arrived refugees to open up about their atti­tudes toward sex, through dis­cus­sions in small groups super­vised by a mon­i­tor, usu­al­ly a native Nor­we­gian. A man­u­al pre­pared for the course includes sec­tions on “Nor­we­gian laws and val­ues,” as well as vio­lence against chil­dren and women.

    A class held on Wednes­day in Lunde, a vil­lage south­west of Oslo, focused on dif­fer­ing per­cep­tions of “hon­or” and how vio­lence that might be seen as hon­or­able in some cul­tures is shame­ful and also ille­gal in Nor­way.

    A rival pro­gram, devel­oped by a pri­vate com­pa­ny called Hero Norge, which runs asy­lum cen­ters under a con­tract with the gov­ern­ment, also pro­motes dis­cus­sion as the best way to expose and break down views that can lead to trou­ble.

    ...

    Berit Harr, a course mon­i­tor at a refugee cen­ter in Ha, a coastal vil­lage south of Sta­vanger, said it was impor­tant to avoid mak­ing migrants feel as if they were under sus­pi­cion while get­ting them to talk about their own views on rela­tions between the sex­es.

    “It is dif­fi­cult to talk about sex,” she said. But, she added, doing so can help refugees nav­i­gate poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions in a strange land.

    “It is nor­mal here for boys and girls to be friends,” she said. “Smil­ing and flirt­ing are nor­mal. It doesn’t mean any­thing. If a girl is drunk it does not mean she is will­ing to do any­thing.”

    As the arti­cle indi­cates, for at least some refugees and immi­grants, there real­ly is a gen­uine, deep, cul­tur­al clash that they feel upon arriv­ing in a soci­ety where women can wear miniskirts and not expect­ing to be sex­u­al­ly assault­ed. On the one hand, it’s sad and depress­ing that such atti­tudes are still so preva­lent in soci­eties across the world. On the oth­er hand, it’s pret­ty sad and depress­ing that the West has sim­i­lar atti­tudes towards women, what, like two gen­er­a­tions ago? In oth­er words, it’s sad and depress­ing that misog­y­ny is still so preva­lent in human cul­tures and so many peo­ple are walk­ing around with such dehu­man­iz­ing views of women, but that sad and depress­ing real­i­ty and only one aspect of a much larg­er, and sad­der real­i­ty that the human con­di­tion has been dom­i­nat­ed by such atti­tudes across cul­tures and through­out his­to­ry. So, in some sense, the peo­ple of West can sort of think of the refugees that hold such back­wards views as basi­cal­ly being sim­i­lar to their great grand­par­ents. Or grand­par­ents. Or rad­i­cal fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­t­ian cur­rent neigh­bors.

    So yes, it’s sad and depress­ing that human­i­ty still needs to all get “on the same page” regard­ing what should be such a sim­ple and basic moral under­stand­ing about how peo­ple, men or women, treat each oth­er. But not too long ago it was sad and depress­ing and sim­i­lar ways through­out the West. Sure, there’s no short­age of incred­i­bly sick cus­toms like hon­or killings that are still the norm in some Mus­lim cul­tures, but since fears of Mus­lim male misog­y­ny are fre­quent­ly brought up as a rea­son for why the West should ban Mus­lims, it’s worth remem­ber that many of the West­’s ances­tors would prob­a­bly be banned too by the same stan­dards. It’s some­thing that’s espe­cial­ly impor­tant to keep in mind these days not only to give some his­toric per­spec­tive on long and wide­spread tra­di­tion of the dehu­man­iz­ing of women, but also because many of the groups that are lead­ing the anti-refugee charge are, them­selves, exam­ples of the kind of move­ments that would love to drag mod­ern Europe back to its big­ot­ed, chau­vin­is­tic past. For exam­ple...:

    The Dai­ly Mail
    Ter­ri­fy­ing echoes of Kristall­nacht: May­or con­demns ‘naked vio­lence’ after far-right thugs ram­page through streets of Ger­many smash­ing win­dows of kebab shops

    * Anti-refugee riot­ers went on a ram­page in the Ger­man town of Leipzig, trash­ing don­er kebab fast food restau­rants
    * 250 hooli­gans — part of the local branch of PEGIDA known as LEGIDA — set cars on fire and van­dalised shops
    * May­or Burkhard Jung con­demned the ‘naked vio­lence that took place’ and has described ‘ter­ror on the streets’
    * Scenes of smashed win­dows in the city are rem­i­nis­cent of the anti-Semit­ic Kristall­nacht attacks in 1938

    By Allan Hall In Berlin and Jen­ny Stan­ton and Tom Wyke for MailOn­line

    Pub­lished: 03:50 EST, 12 Jan­u­ary 2016 | Updat­ed: 16:41 EST, 15 Jan­u­ary 2016

    The may­or of a Ger­man city has spo­ken of ‘ter­ror on the streets’ of his city after far-right thugs ran riot in scenes rem­i­nis­cent of the anti-Semit­ic Kristall­nacht attacks in 1938.

    Burkhard Jung, may­or of Leipzig, has con­demned the ‘naked vio­lence that took place’ after don­er kebab fast food restau­rants were destroyed, cars were set ablaze and shop win­dows were smashed by around 250 hooli­gans of LEGIDA — the local branch of PEGIDA, an anti-migrant, anti-EU orga­ni­za­tion — on Mon­day night.

    The ram­page in Leipzig evoked mem­o­ries of the wave of vio­lence against Jews that erupt­ed across Nazi Ger­many and parts of Aus­tria on Novem­ber 9, 1938.

    On Mon­day, hun­dreds of anti-refugee riot­ers caused chaos in Leipzig after a demon­stra­tion where they called for asy­lum seek­ers to be deport­ed and their nation’s bor­ders closed.

    The right-wingers broke away from a large­ly peace­ful march in the east­ern city to trash the sub­urb of Con­newitz.

    At one point the demon­stra­tors, who threw fire­works at police, attempt­ed to build a bar­ri­cade in a main street with signs and torn up paving stones before they were dis­persed.

    Fire­men had to tack­le a blaze in the attic of one build­ing set alight by a way­ward rock­et fired by the riot­ers. A bus car­ry­ing left­ist pro-asy­lum demon­stra­tors was also attacked and seri­ous­ly dam­aged.

    ‘It was naked vio­lence that took place here, noth­ing more,’ Jung said. ‘That has been estab­lished and there must be con­se­quences.’

    Police said they have iden­ti­fied and arrest­ed 211 of the crowd of right-wing hooli­gans, many of them with crim­i­nal records for vio­lence.

    ‘This was a seri­ous breach of the peace,’ said a police spokesman, con­firm­ing that sev­er­al police offi­cers were injured in the clash­es trig­gered by sim­mer­ing anger over the New Year’s Eve mass sex attacks against women in Cologne and sev­er­al oth­er Ger­man cities.

    ‘Rape Refugees stay away’ was one of the ban­ners car­ried dur­ing the march, the word­ing above a sil­hou­ette of women run­ning from knife-wield­ing attack­ers, one of whom resem­bled a car­i­ca­ture from Aladdin.

    When day­light broke in Leipzig, scenes were sim­i­lar to those that fol­lowed Kristall­nacht — the name refer­ring to the shards of glass left strewn across cities in the after­math of the bloody pogroms.

    In Leipzig, hun­dreds of fam­i­lies were per­se­cut­ed and more than 500 men were tak­en to Buchen­wald con­cen­tra­tion camp.

    A Kristall­nacht memo­r­i­al in the city is now cleaned each year to ‘make the Nazi crimes vis­i­ble’ across Europe.

    The anniver­sary of the night in Novem­ber was due to coin­cide with a week­ly demon­stra­tion by LEGIDA and the right-wing move­ment had planned to walk past the site of a syn­a­gogue that was burned to the ground dur­ing Kristall­nacht.

    How­ev­er, the city ruled that until the end of the year, the LEGIDA could not march through the city, only ral­ly.

    Yes­ter­day, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel said; ‘Now all of a sud­den we are fac­ing the chal­lenge that refugees are com­ing to Europe and we are vul­ner­a­ble, as we see, because we do not yet have the order, the con­trol, that we would like to have.’

    She also said the euro was ‘direct­ly linked’ to free­dom of move­ment in Europe, adding: ‘Nobody should act as though you can have a com­mon cur­ren­cy with­out being able to cross bor­ders rea­son­ably eas­i­ly.’

    Merkel said that if coun­tries did not allow their bor­ders to be crossed with­out much dif­fi­cul­ty, the Euro­pean sin­gle mar­ket would ‘suf­fer acute­ly’ — mean­ing that Ger­many, at the cen­tre of the Euro­pean Union and its largest econ­o­my, should fight to defend free­dom of move­ment.

    And tonight, Ger­many feared a new march of the far right fol­low­ing the riots in Leipzig, which added to long-held con­cerns from Ger­man intel­li­gence ser­vices that the far right groups are organ­is­ing into ter­ror­ist cell struc­tures.

    ...

    The vio­lence in Leipzig fol­lowed on from week­end attacks in Cologne by a vig­iliante mob which used the social net­work­ing site Face­book to mar­shall young men — rock­ers, body­builders and club bounc­ers — to go on a ‘man­hunt’ for immi­grants.

    Two Pak­istani men were hos­pi­tal­ized and a third Syr­i­an man was light­ly injured before a stiff police pres­ence on the streets thwart­ed fur­ther attacks.

    It is unclear what their con­di­tion is although the police are look­ing to press charges of ‘seri­ous bod­i­ly harm’ against their attack­ers who kicked, beat and abused them ver­bal­ly.

    The Express said the Face­book vig­i­lante groups had promised an ‘order­ly clean up’ of the old town cen­tre in their ‘man­hunt.’

    Police con­firmed one Syr­i­an man was also hurt in an attack on Sun­day, which took place just 20 min­utes after the first, but is believed to have been car­ried out by a sep­a­rate group of five men.

    ...

    “When day­light broke in Leipzig, scenes were sim­i­lar to those that fol­lowed Kristall­nacht — the name refer­ring to the shards of glass left strewn across cities in the after­math of the bloody pogroms.”
    Yep, one of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the anti-immi­grant rage, the far-right neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion Pegi­da, and how do they choose to cap­i­tal­ize on the tur­moil? By going on a Kristall­nacht-esque ram­page and that’s on top of the gen­er­al spike in vio­lent attacks on immi­grants.

    It’s all pret­ty dis­turb­ing. But it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that the vio­lent back­lash from groups like Pegi­da and oth­er xeno­pho­bic orga­ni­za­tions aren’t just dis­turb­ing. They also point towards a very obvi­ous path for­ward. How so? Well, if some­one was to wave a mag­ic wand and sud­den­ly trans­formed all the misog­y­nis­tic Mus­lims of Europe into ardent fem­i­nists, Europe would still have a prob­lem with misog­y­ny and dehu­man­iz­ing atti­tudes towards women. And the source of that prob­lem would be the non-Mus­lim far-right which gen­er­al­ly view fem­i­nism as a plague on soci­ety and which hap­pens to be the same group that’s lead­ing the anti-Mus­lim charge. So why not take the New Years Eve assaults as a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to start deal with with this “clash of civ­i­liza­tions” into a con­ver­sa­tion of civ­i­liza­tion. Clash­es of civ­i­liza­tions are inevitable. Things that dif­fer tend to clash. That’s how it’s always been. But that does­n’t mean a clash of civ­i­liza­tions has to be an actu­al vio­lent con­flict. Con­ver­sa­tions can cre­ate clash­ing too and are prob­a­bly a lot more effec­tive when you’re talk­ing about encour­ag­ing changes in social atti­tudes and val­ues. And what bet­ter way to start off the “con­ver­sa­tion of civ­i­liza­tions” than for the West to both cri­tique the ram­pant misog­y­ny the dom­i­nates many Mus­lim cul­tures while also exam­in­ing its own endur­ing misog­y­ny? So instead of it being a con­ver­sa­tion that goes along the lines of “the West thinks Mus­lims don’t treat women well,” to a much more real­is­tic and per­sua­sive con­ver­sa­tions that goes along the lines “there is no soci­ety on the plan­et that has tru­ly over­come misog­y­ny, although some are cer­tain­ly far­ther along than oth­ers. In Europe we still have to deal with [insert big­ot­ed group here], and that’s a chal­lenge. Here’s why it’s an impor­tant chal­lenge to be over­come. How can we help the misog­y­nis­tic ele­ments of the Mus­lim world address its own chal­lenges in this depart­ment and what of the Mus­lim fem­i­nist groups we can help sup­port?” What’s going to be more like­ly to cat­alyze the change fun­da­men­tal­ist Mus­lim soci­eties? A con­ver­sa­tion like that, or recre­at­ing Kristall­necht and help­ing ISIS destroy “the Grey Zone”?

    Who would lead the con­ver­sa­tion of civ­i­liza­tions? Well, that’s part of the fun. Ide­al­ly you would want peo­ple from all stripes par­tic­i­pat­ing, espe­cial­ly the misog­y­nist of all stripes. Let them artic­u­late their views, but make them have this con­ver­sa­tion with the kind of peo­ple that Rush Lim­baugh calls “Fem­i­nazis”, oth­er­wise known as fem­i­nists (oth­er­wise known as peo­ple who think the gen­ders should be treat­ed equal­ly). Let’s start a con­ver­sa­tion of civ­i­liza­tions and watch the “Fem­i­nazis” ver­bal­ly dom­i­nate the oppo­si­tion. :

    The New States­man
    After Cologne, we can’t let the big­ots steal fem­i­nism

    Why can’t we always take sex­u­al assault as seri­ous­ly as we do when migrants and Mus­lims are involved as per­pe­tra­tors?

    By Lau­rie Pen­ny
    10 Jan­u­ary 2016

    In a per­verse sort of way, it’s progress. After months of dog-whis­tle xeno­pho­bia, Euro­pean author­i­ties have final­ly start­ed to treat migrants as they would treat any oth­er cit­i­zen. They have achieved this by choos­ing not to make a fuss when migrants are accused of rap­ing and assault­ing women.

    On New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Ger­many, hun­dreds of men, almost all of report­ed­ly ‘Ara­bic and North African’ appear­ance and includ­ing many asy­lum seek­ers, vicious­ly attacked women who were cel­e­brat­ing in the cen­tral plaza, rob­bing and grop­ing and tear­ing off clothes. At least one rape com­plaint has been filed. The police and the press were ini­tial­ly slow to react, and the May­or of Cologne react­ed to even­tu­al protests by sug­gest­ing that women should adopt a code of con­duct in pub­lic and keep an ‘arm’s length’ dis­tance between them­selves and strange men.

    This is not the first time a Euro­pean city admin­is­tra­tion has respond­ed to an out­break of sex­u­al vio­lence by blam­ing the women. It is the first time in recent his­to­ry that the right-wing press has not joined in the con­dem­na­tion of these wan­ton strum­pets who dare to think they might be able to have a good time with­out wor­ry­ing what ‘invi­ta­tion’ they’re send­ing to men. Instead, the right wing blames… lib­er­als. Who appar­ent­ly caused all this by dar­ing to sug­gest that refugees should be able to come to Europe in safe­ty.

    It’d be great if we could take rape, sex­u­al assault and struc­tur­al misog­y­ny as seri­ous­ly every day as we do when migrants and Mus­lims are involved as perpetrators.The attacks in Cologne were hor­rif­ic. The respons­es — both by offi­cials and by the armies of Islam­o­phobes and xeno­phobes who have jumped at the chance to con­demn Mus­lim and migrant men as sav­ages — have also been hor­rif­ic. Cologne has already seen vio­lent protests by the far-right anti-migrant organ­i­sa­tion Pegi­da, a group not pre­vi­ous­ly not­ed for its ded­i­ca­tion to pro­gres­sive fem­i­nism. Angela Merkel has respond­ed by tight­en­ing the rules for asy­lum seek­ers, but for many com­men­ta­tors, it’s not enough.

    It’s a mir­a­cle! Final­ly, the right wing cares about rape cul­ture! Final­ly, all over the world, from Fox News to 4chan, a great con­ver­sion has tak­en place and men who pre­vi­ous­ly spent their time sham­ing, stalk­ing and harass­ing women are sud­den­ly con­cerned about our rights! And all it took was a good excuse to bash migrants and Mus­lims and tell fem­i­nists they don’t know what’s good for them.

    You know what has nev­er yet pre­vent­ed sex­u­al vio­lence? Unbri­dled racism.

    This theft of fem­i­nist rhetoric in the name of impe­ri­al­ism and racism has been going on for cen­turies. It’s been an active part of the polit­i­cal con­ver­sa­tion in the West since 2001. In the week since the Cologne attacks have been report­ed in the glob­al press, a great many men have tak­en it upon them­selves to edu­cate me and oth­er fem­i­nists on the point that only Mus­lim men are sex­ist. They have cho­sen to do this by send­ing orches­trat­ed waves of abuse and sex­u­al slurs to any woman whose opin­ion they dis­like. Nobody has to pass a self-aware­ness test to go on Twit­ter.

    Per­son­al­ly, I just love it when ran­dom men on the inter­net tell me what my fem­i­nism should like, because gosh, you know, this whole resist­ing oppres­sion thing is real­ly hard some­times and it’s great to have peo­ple who know what they’re talk­ing about take over for me so I can get on with the iron­ing. These peo­ple have repeat­ed­ly demand­ed that I ‘con­demn’ the attacks in Cologne, which is a lazy way of imply­ing that some­body does­n’t real­ly care about an issue.

    So let me be clear: sex­u­al vio­lence is nev­er, ever accept­able. Not for cul­tur­al rea­sons. Not for reli­gious rea­sons. Not because the per­pe­tra­tors are real­ly angry and dis­en­fran­chised. There can be no quar­ter for sys­temic misog­y­ny. And if we’re seri­ous about that, there’s not a coun­try or cul­ture on earth that won’t have to take a long, hard look at itself. I stand with the many, many Mus­lim, Arab, Asian and immi­grant fem­i­nists organ­is­ing against sex­ism and misog­y­ny with­in and beyond their own com­mu­ni­ties. Nobody seems to have thought to ask them how best to deal with sys­temic sex­u­al vio­lence — even though attacks on Mus­lim women have increased since the ter­ror­ist attacks in Paris last year.

    The sen­si­ble thing to do in response to the Cologne attacks would be to call, as many Ger­man fem­i­nists are doing, for a far more rig­or­ous atti­tude to rape and sex­u­al assault across Europe. Instead, the solu­tion on the table seems to be to clamp down on migra­tion. That fits in with the shib­bo­leth that only sav­age, for­eign men and hard­ened crim­i­nals rape and abuse women — despite the fact that most rapes, in Ger­many and else­where, are com­mit­ted by peo­ple known to the vic­tim, and migrants have not been shown to be more or less sex­u­al­ly aggres­sive than any oth­er group. As usu­al, white suprema­cist patri­archy only con­cerns itself with women’s safe­ty and women’s dig­ni­ty when rape and sex­u­al assault can be pinned on cul­tur­al ‘out­siders’.

    Say­ing ‘sex­ism is also part of West­ern cul­ture’ does not mean that the expe­ri­ence of women in the West is exact­ly the same as the expe­ri­ence of women in Mid­dle East­ern dic­ta­tor­ships and war zones. Do you know why that is? Can you guess? It’s because the world is not divid­ed into ‘things that are exact­ly the same as each oth­er’ and ‘things that are total oppo­sites.’

    I actu­al­ly can’t believe I’m hav­ing to explain this right now. I thought we cov­ered this in kinder­garten. Those of us who have moved beyond that lev­el can, if we real­ly try hard, under­stand that it’s not either ‘sex­ism is exclu­sive­ly prac­tised by Mus­lim men’ and ‘sex­ism is exact­ly the same every­where.’ This is what we call a ‘false dichoto­my’ when we get to big-kid school.

    The oppres­sion of women is a glob­al phe­nom­e­non because patri­archy is a glob­al phe­nom­e­non. It’s embed­ded in the eco­nom­ic and social struc­tures of almost every nation and com­mu­ni­ty on earth. Sex­ism and misog­y­ny, how­ev­er, look dif­fer­ent across bound­aries of cul­ture and reli­gion, as well as across divides of race and class and between gen­er­a­tions. This is not a com­pli­cat­ed thing to under­stand. I’m real­ly try­ing not to be patro­n­is­ing. But a lot of peo­ple are behav­ing like vicious chil­dren over this issue, so if you’re not one of them, I hope you under­stand why right now I wish I could put half the Inter­net on time out in a nice safe room where they can scream and break things with­out hurt­ing them­selves or any­one else.

    ...

    I’ll be blunt. I think some peo­ple out there are very excit­ed by their con­cep­tion of ‘Islam­ic’ vio­lence against women. It allows them to enjoy the spec­ta­cle of women being bru­talised and sav­aged whilst con­vinc­ing them­selves that it’s only for­eign, sav­age men who do these things. If hear­ing that makes you angry, if it makes you want to smash my bitch face in and tell me I’m a whore who deserves to be raped to death by ISIS, then con­grat­u­la­tions, you’ve just proved my point.

    The point is that misog­y­ny knows no colour or creed, and per­haps it’s time we did some­thing about that. We’re used to a soci­ety where a basic lev­el of every­day sex­ism, sex­u­al vio­lence and assault is accept­ed. So if you’re say­ing this act of vio­lence isn’t entire­ly dif­fer­ent from all of those, and if you’re say­ing that refugees should be treat­ed the same as Euro­pean cit­i­zens, you must be say­ing that every­one should get a free pass to treat women like walk­ing meat­bags, right?

    Wrong. It’s time to take rape, sex­u­al assault and struc­tur­al misog­y­ny as seri­ous­ly every day as we do when migrants and Mus­lims are involved as per­pe­tra­tors. That means that, yes, refugees must learn to respect women as human beings. Cit­i­zens, too, must learn to respect women’s agency and auton­o­my. Men and boys of every faith and none must learn that they are nei­ther enti­tled to women’s bod­ies nor owed to our ener­gy and atten­tion, that it is not okay, ever, to rape, to assault, to abuse and attack women, not even if your ide­ol­o­gy says it’s okay. That goes for the men’s rights activists, the anti-fem­i­nists and fanat­i­cal right-wingers much as it does for reli­gious big­ots.

    If we want to hold up Europe as a bea­con of women’s rights, that’s fan­tas­tic. Let’s make it hap­pen. If we’re sud­den­ly a con­ti­nent with a zero-tol­er­ance pol­i­cy on sex­u­al vio­lence and rit­u­alised misog­y­ny, let’s seize that ener­gy. Let’s see real invest­ment by the state and indi­vid­u­als in hold­ing aggres­sors to account and sup­port­ing vic­tims. It’s eas­i­er to pin misog­y­ny on cul­tur­al out­siders than it is to accept that men every­where must do bet­ter — but any oth­er atti­tude is rank hypocrisy.

    “The sen­si­ble thing to do in response to the Cologne attacks would be to call, as many Ger­man fem­i­nists are doing, for a far more rig­or­ous atti­tude to rape and sex­u­al assault across Europe.”
    Yep, if you want to change the atti­tudes of con­ser­v­a­tive Mus­lim in Europe regard­ing vio­lence towards women, why on earth would you make this a con­ver­sa­tion tar­get­ing Mus­lims alone giv­en the preva­lence of misog­y­ny across all soci­eties unless you want­ed to pro­tect the feel­ings of the non-Mus­lim misog­y­nists? And yes, there would be charges of equiv­o­ca­tions and the sug­ges­tion that the theoc­ra­cy of Sau­di Ara­bia is just as misog­y­nis­tic as Ger­many. But as Lau­rie Pen­ny notes, those would also be child­like atti­tudes that would be laugh­able if they weren’t so preva­lent

    ...
    Say­ing ‘sex­ism is also part of West­ern cul­ture’ does not mean that the expe­ri­ence of women in the West is exact­ly the same as the expe­ri­ence of women in Mid­dle East­ern dic­ta­tor­ships and war zones. Do you know why that is? Can you guess? It’s because the world is not divid­ed into ‘things that are exact­ly the same as each oth­er’ and ‘things that are total oppo­sites.’

    I actu­al­ly can’t believe I’m hav­ing to explain this right now. I thought we cov­ered this in kinder­garten. Those of us who have moved beyond that lev­el can, if we real­ly try hard, under­stand that it’s not either ‘sex­ism is exclu­sive­ly prac­tised by Mus­lim men’ and ‘sex­ism is exact­ly the same every­where.’ This is what we call a ‘false dichoto­my’ when we get to big-kid school.

    The oppres­sion of women is a glob­al phe­nom­e­non because patri­archy is a glob­al phe­nom­e­non. It’s embed­ded in the eco­nom­ic and social struc­tures of almost every nation and com­mu­ni­ty on earth. Sex­ism and misog­y­ny, how­ev­er, look dif­fer­ent across bound­aries of cul­ture and reli­gion, as well as across divides of race and class and between gen­er­a­tions. This is not a com­pli­cat­ed thing to under­stand. I’m real­ly try­ing not to be patro­n­is­ing. But a lot of peo­ple are behav­ing like vicious chil­dren over this issue, so if you’re not one of them, I hope you under­stand why right now I wish I could put half the Inter­net on time out in a nice safe room where they can scream and break things with­out hurt­ing them­selves or any­one else.

    ...

    It’s pret­ty hard to argue with Lau­rie on these points. And that’s why a “con­ver­sa­tion of civ­i­liza­tions” about how ALL civ­i­liza­tions could real­ly improve them­selves in a vari­ety of ways real­ly should be the method of choice for the con­tem­po­rary clash of civ­i­liza­tions. If it actu­al­ly came down to the qual­i­ty of the argu­ments, the “fem­i­nazis” would make the neo-Nazis and Islam­o­fas­cists look like chil­dren.

    Con­ser­v­a­tive Mus­lim cul­tures are obvi­ous­ly on the wrong side of his­to­ry regard­ing the treat­ment of women and as such, some sort of clash of civ­i­liza­tions is inevitable giv­en the rapid glob­al­iza­tion of the 21st cen­tu­ry. It’s a small world. But every cul­ture is, in real­i­ty, a myr­i­ad of inter­wo­ven sub­cul­tures and Islam has its fem­i­nists too. So how do we weak­en the appeal of misog­y­nis­tic sub­cul­tures while encour­ag­ing the growth their more enlight­ened brethren? So with Europe start­ing off 2016 with a grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple embrac­ing the idea that the West should declare a Cold War on Mus­lims every­where, we real­ly need to ask our­selves what would be more effec­tive: allow groups like Pegi­da or the AfD (or Don­ald Trump) lead us in a new Cold War on Islam and min­i­mize the cross-cul­tur­al exchange tak­ing place today? Or invite misog­y­nists every­where, Mus­lim and non-Mus­lim, to engage fem­i­nists in an actu­al con­ver­sa­tion and allow today’s chil­dren, Mus­lim and non-Mus­lim, refugee and non-refugee, watch the misog­y­nists make them­selves look like preschool­ers?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 16, 2016, 6:40 pm
  6. Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Junck­er just raised the stakes in the nego­ti­a­tions over how to dis­trib­ute the respon­si­bil­i­ties for deal­ing with Europe’s refugee cri­sis: If more EU nations don’t take in more refugees, Ger­many is going to close its bor­ders. With­in months. And if that hap­pens, it just might start print­ing Deutschmarks too:

    Reuters
    End of Europe? Berlin, Brus­sels’ shock tac­tic on migrants

    BRUSSELS/BERLIN | By Alas­tair Mac­don­ald and Noah Barkin
    Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:07am EST

    Is this how “Europe” ends?

    The Ger­mans, founders and fun­ders of the post­war union, shut their bor­ders to refugees in a bid for polit­i­cal sur­vival by the chan­cel­lor who let in a mil­lion migrants. And then — why not? — they decide to revive the Deutschmark while they’re at it.

    That is not the fan­ta­sy of diehard Euroscep­tics but a real fear artic­u­lat­ed at the high­est lev­els in Berlin and Brus­sels.

    Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, her rat­ings hit by crimes blamed on asy­lum seek­ers at New Year par­ties in Cologne, and EU chief exec­u­tive Jean-Claude Junck­er both said as much last week.

    Junck­er echoed Merkel in warn­ing that the cen­tral eco­nom­ic achieve­ments of the com­mon mar­ket and the euro are at risk from inco­her­ent, nation­al­is­tic reac­tions to migra­tion and oth­er crises. He renewed warn­ings that Europe is on its “last chance”, even if he still hoped it was not “at the begin­ning of the end”.

    Merkel, fac­ing trou­ble among her con­ser­v­a­tive sup­port­ers as much as from oppo­nents, called Europe “vul­ner­a­ble” and the fate of the euro “direct­ly linked” to resolv­ing the migra­tion cri­sis — high­light­ing the risk of at the very least seri­ous eco­nom­ic tur­bu­lence if not a for­mal dis­man­tling of EU insti­tu­tions.

    Some see that as mere scare tac­tics aimed at fel­low Euro­peans by lead­ers with too much to lose from an EU col­lapse — Greeks and Ital­ians have been seen to be drag­ging their feet over con­trol­ling the bloc’s Mediter­ranean fron­tier and east­ern Euro­peans who ben­e­fit from Ger­man sub­si­dies and man­u­fac­tur­ing sup­ply chain jobs have led hos­til­i­ty to demands that they help take in refugees.

    Ger­mans are also get­ting lit­tle help from EU co-founder France, whose lead­ers fear a ris­ing anti-immi­grant Nation­al Front, or the bloc’s third pow­er, Britain, con­sumed with its own debate on whether to just quit the Euro­pean club alto­geth­er.

    So, emp­ty threat or no, with efforts to engage Turkey’s help show­ing lit­tle sign yet of pre­vent­ing migrants reach­ing Greek beach­es, Ger­man and EU offi­cials are warn­ing that with­out a sharp drop in arrivals or a change of heart in oth­er EU states to relieve Berlin of the lone­ly task of hous­ing refugees, Ger­many could shut its doors, spark­ing wider cri­sis this spring.

    GERMAN WARNINGS

    With Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tive allies in the south­ern fron­tier state of Bavaria demand­ing she halt the main­ly Mus­lim asy­lum seek­ers ahead of tricky region­al elec­tions in March, her vet­er­an finance min­is­ter deliv­ered one of his trade­mark veiled threats to EU coun­ter­parts of what that could mean for them.

    “Many think this is a Ger­man prob­lem,” Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble said in meet­ings with fel­low EU finance min­is­ters in Brus­sels. “But if Ger­many does what every­one expects, then we’ll see that it’s not a Ger­man prob­lem — but a Euro­pean one.”

    Senior Merkel allies are work­ing hard to sti­fle the kind of par­lia­men­tary par­ty rebel­lion that threat­ened to derail bailouts which kept Greece in the euro zone last year. But pres­sure is mount­ing for nation­al mea­sures, such as bor­der fences, which as a child of East Ger­many Merkel has said she can­not coun­te­nance.

    “If you build a fence, it’s the end of Europe as we know it,” one senior con­ser­v­a­tive said. “We need to be patient.”

    A senior Ger­man offi­cial not­ed that time is run­ning out, how­ev­er.

    “The chan­cel­lor has been ask­ing her par­ty for more time,” he said. “But ... that nar­ra­tive ... is los­ing the per­sua­sive­ness it may have had in Octo­ber or Novem­ber. If you add in the debate about Cologne, she faces an increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion.”

    ...

    SCHENGEN FEARS

    Merkel and Junck­er explic­it­ly linked new nation­al fron­tier con­trols across Europe’s pass­port-free Schen­gen zone to a col­lapse of the sin­gle mar­ket at the core of the bloc, and of the euro. Both would rav­age jobs and the econ­o­my.

    “With­out Schen­gen ... the euro has no point,” Junck­er told a New Year news con­fer­ence on Fri­day. His­toric nation­al resent­ments were re-emerg­ing, he added, accus­ing his gen­er­a­tion of EU lead­ers of squan­der­ing the lega­cy of the union’s founders, sur­vivors of World War Two.

    Merkel has not sug­gest­ed — yet — that Berlin could fol­low neigh­bors like Aus­tria and Den­mark in fur­ther tight­en­ing bor­der checks to deny entry to irreg­u­lar migrants. But she has made clear how Europe might suf­fer.

    “No one can pre­tend that you can have a com­mon cur­ren­cy with­out being able to cross bor­ders rel­a­tive­ly eas­i­ly,” she said at a busi­ness event last week.

    In pri­vate, Ger­man offi­cials are more explic­it. “We have until March, the sum­mer maybe, for a Euro­pean solu­tion,” said a sec­ond Ger­man offi­cial. “Then Schen­gen goes down the drain.”

    A senior EU offi­cial was equal­ly blunt: “There is a big risk that Ger­many clos­es. From that, no Schen­gen ... There is a risk that the Feb­ru­ary sum­mit could start a count­down to the end.”

    The next sum­mit of EU lead­ers one month from now fol­lows meet­ings last year that were marked by agree­ment on a migra­tion strat­e­gy as well as rows over fail­ures to imple­ment it.

    Of the 160,000 asy­lum seek­ers EU lead­ers agreed in Sep­tem­ber to dis­trib­ute among mem­ber states, few­er than 300 have been moved.

    Berlin and Brus­sels con­tin­ue to press for more dis­tri­b­u­tion across Europe. But few place much hope in that — one senior Ger­man offi­cial calls it “flog­ging a dead horse”.

    TURKISH KEY

    EU lead­ers’ hope is for help from Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Tayyip Erdo­gan, a man many of them see as an embry­on­ic dic­ta­tor.

    Berlin is press­ing for more EU cash for Ankara, beyond an agreed 3 bil­lion euros, which Italy is block­ing. Some Ger­mans sug­gest sim­ply using Ger­man funds to stem the flow from Turkey.

    EU offi­cials say it is too ear­ly to pan­ic. Arrivals have fall­en this month. U.N. data show them run­ning in Jan­u­ary at half the 3,500 dai­ly rate of Decem­ber. Progress includes a move to let some of the 2.1 mil­lion Syr­i­an refugees in Turkey take jobs. The EU will fund more schools for refugee chil­dren.

    Yet EU Migra­tion Com­mis­sion­er Dim­itris Avramopou­los, who trav­els to Berlin on Mon­day, told the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment last week: “The sit­u­a­tion is get­ting worse.”

    The refugee cri­sis was jeop­ar­diz­ing “the very core of the Euro­pean Union”, he said, offer­ing no grounds to be opti­mistic oth­er than that “opti­mism is our last line of our defense”.

    “No one can pre­tend that you can have a com­mon cur­ren­cy with­out being able to cross bor­ders rel­a­tive­ly eas­i­ly.”
    That was the warn­ing from Angela Merkel. And while it might be a bluff at this point, don’t for­get that Angela Merkel real­ly is fac­ing a grow­ing rebel­lion that could force her to close Ger­many’s bor­ders. And if that hap­pens for an extend­ed peri­od of time, who knows how many oth­er euro­zone mem­bers close their own board­ers but we could see a wave of bor­der clo­sures. And if that hap­pens, what hap­pens to the euro?

    While it’s hard to be super dis­traught over the prospect of the euro­zone col­laps­ing giv­en what a dis­as­ter the euro­zone has become for its weak­er mem­ber states, it’s still going to be pret­ty trau­mat­ic. That said, giv­en all the intra-Euro­pean acri­mo­ny that has been grow­ing ever since the start of the euro­zone cri­sis, with the “core” and “periph­ery” increas­ing­ly won­der­ing if a divorce isn’t the best option, it might in a per­verse way actu­al­ly be a long-term ben­e­fit for the col­lec­tive psy­chol­o­gy of the Euro­pean nations if the cat­a­lyst for the implo­sion of one of the key ele­ments of “the Euro­pean Project” isn’t a mas­sive squab­ble that results in dif­fer­ent nations say­ing, “I hate liv­ing with you and I want a divorce!” Instead, it will be a mas­sive squab­ble of dif­fer­ent nations say­ing, “I hate all these poor, des­per­ate for­eign­ers flee­ing for their lives, and I need to divorce you in order to pro­tect myself from them!”

    Sure, refugee-induced spite is a twist­ed rea­son for implod­ing the euro­zone, but at least the intra-Euro­pean acri­mo­ny isn’t going to be sole­ly inward­ly direct­ed under that sce­nario. Now that the refugee cri­sis is tak­ing the focus off of the var­i­ous economic/political dis­putes over recent years, Europe’s long-stand­ing inter­nal squab­ble over how to man­age itself now has an “oth­er” that all the mem­ber states can simul­ta­ne­ous­ly unite behind hat­ing. And yes, that unit­ed loathing of the Mus­lim refugees might still lead to euro­zone’s implo­sion, but since it seems like the euro­zone could implode for a grow­ing num­ber of rea­sons that go beyond the refugee cri­sis, at least the refugee freak out could still iron­i­cal­ly pre­vent even greater dam­age to Europe’s gen­er­al iden­ti­ty and uni­ty by fram­ing the implo­sion with­in the con­text of a refugee inva­sion as opposed to the unwork­able and increas­ing­ly unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic direc­tion of the euro­zone’s gov­ern­ment struc­ture.

    Is a frag­ment­ed Europe unit­ed in a desire to keep out the refugee hordes the Euro­pean social con­tract of the future? Well, the xeno­pho­bia prob­a­bly isn’t going any­where and all the oth­er sys­temic issues with the euro­zone show no signs of dis­si­pat­ing. And the refugee hordes are only going to get larg­er. So we can’t dis­miss Merkel’s and Junck­er’s threats as sheer blus­ter. It could hap­pen. And if it does, while Europe’s own inter­nal sol­i­dar­i­ty might avoid the dam­age it would have sus­tained if, say, an aus­ter­i­ty-revolt result­ed in a euro­zone breakup, you have to won­der what’s going to hap­pen to Europe’s ties to the Mus­lim world. Dis­solv­ing the euro­zone over anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ments is going to be kind of hard for the Mus­lim world to ignore.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 18, 2016, 10:41 am
  7. Politi­co has an piece sum­ma­riz­ing Don­ald Trump’s path to vic­to­ry as envi­sioned by GOP poll­sters and Trump staffer. While their vision unsur­pris­ing­ly relies on fac­tors like “news of small-scale ter­ror plots on Amer­i­can soil, foiled or suc­cess­ful, keep vot­ers in a state of anx­i­ety,” some of the oth­er polit­i­cal tech­niques Trump is expect­ed to deploy to put him over the edge were a lit­tle counter-intu­itive. For instance, they expect Trump to win a larg­er-than-nor­mal share of the African-Amer­i­can vote. And giv­en the GOP’s typ­i­cal sin­gle-dig­it show­ing with that vot­ing demo­graph­ic it’s pos­si­ble. And then there’s the plan for Trump appeal­ing to female vot­ers that goes beyond the expect­ed Roger Stone-style attack Bill and Hillary Clin­ton (assum­ing she’s the nom­i­nee) as a pair of wom­an­iz­ers: Trump is going to win over the ladies with his sex appeal:

    Politi­co
    How Don­ald Trump defeats Hillary Clin­ton

    Obama’s black sup­port­ers are cru­cial to a Trump win, and poll­sters say he has a chance with this bloc.

    By Ben Schreckinger

    01/19/16 05:17 AM EST

    If Don­ald Trump becomes the next pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, there will be plen­ty of sur­pris­es along the way. One of the biggest will be the help he gets from black vot­ers.

    Accord­ing to Repub­li­can poll­sters and Trump’s allies, the GOP poll-leader — who has been dogged by accu­sa­tions of racism, most recent­ly for tweet­ing out a chart that exag­ger­at­ed the share of mur­ders com­mit­ted by blacks — is poised to out-per­form with this demo­graph­ic group in a gen­er­al-elec­tion matchup with Hillary Clin­ton.

    v“If he were the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee he would get the high­est per­cent­age of black votes since Ronald Rea­gan in 1980,” said Repub­li­can mes­sag­ing guru Frank Luntz, refer­ring to the year Rea­gan won 14 per­cent of that bloc of vot­ers. “They lis­ten to him. They find him fas­ci­nat­ing, and in all the groups I have done, I have found Oba­ma vot­ers, they could’ve vot­ed for Oba­ma twice, but if they’re African-Amer­i­can they would con­sid­er Trump.”

    Anoth­er long­time Repub­li­can poll­ster and vet­er­an of mul­ti­ple pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns has test­ed Trump’s appeal to blacks and His­pan­ics and come to the same con­clu­sion. “He behaves in a way that most minori­ties would not expect a bil­lion­aire to behave,” explained the poll­ster, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to avoid dam­ag­ing rela­tion­ships with­in the par­ty. “He’s not a white-bread socialite kind of guy.”

    There’s more. The rest of Trump’s path to gen­er­al-elec­tion vic­to­ry, as laid out to POLITICO by poll­sters, his cam­paign and his for­mer advis­ers, looks like this: After win­ning the nom­i­na­tion on the first bal­lot, Trump uni­fies the par­ty he has frac­tured behind him and rein­vents him­self as a prag­mat­ic busi­ness­man and fam­i­ly man at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion. News of small-scale ter­ror plots on Amer­i­can soil, foiled or suc­cess­ful, keep vot­ers in a state of anx­i­ety. Trump min­i­mizes his loss­es with His­pan­ics by run­ning Span­ish-lan­guage ads high­light­ing his sup­port for a strong mil­i­tary and take-charge entre­pre­neur­ial atti­tude, espe­cial­ly in the Mia­mi and Orlan­do media mar­kets. He draws the stark­est pos­si­ble out­sider-insid­er con­trast with Hillary Clin­ton and suc­cess­ful­ly tars her with her husband’s sex­u­al his­to­ry.

    If he does all that, holds Mitt Romney’s states, and dri­ves extra­or­di­nary lev­els of work­ing-class white vot­er turnout in the sub­urbs and exurbs of Ohio and Vir­ginia, as well as in the Flori­da pan­han­dle and Jack­sonville, he can flip those three Oba­ma states and rack up 266 elec­toral votes. Win­ning any one of Iowa, New Hamp­shire, Penn­syl­va­nia, Michi­gan, Col­orado, Neva­da or New Mex­i­co would put him over the top and make Don­ald John Trump the 45th pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States.

    Shrink­ing Democ­rats’ edge with black vot­ers is just one of the coun­ter­in­tu­itive wrin­kles to the sce­nario in which Trump stuns the world and wins the White House. His path also includes play­ing the gen­der card against Clin­ton, a Karl Rov­ian gam­bit to turn his opponent’s strength — her fem­i­nist appeal — into a weak­ness.

    In Octo­ber, Roger Stone, Trump’s for­mer long­time polit­i­cal advis­er who left the cam­paign amid acri­mo­ny in August, pub­lished “The Clin­tons’ War on Women,” a book that por­trays Bill Clin­ton as a ser­i­al sex­u­al abuser and Hillary Clin­ton as com­plic­it in silenc­ing his vic­tims.

    Trump has seized on that line of attack this month. He greet­ed the New Year by tweet­ing, “I hope Bill Clin­ton starts talk­ing about women’s issues so that vot­ers can see what a hyp­ocrite he is and how Hillary abused those women!” on Jan. 2. Five days lat­er, his cam­paign released an Insta­gram video that fea­tures images link­ing the Clin­tons to Mon­i­ca Lewin­sky, Antho­ny Wein­er and Bill Cos­by and declares Trump “the true defend­er of women’s rights.”

    It is an espe­cial­ly auda­cious move for Trump – who left the first of his three wives for his then-mis­tress and was the sub­ject of a since-recant­ed accu­sa­tion of mar­i­tal rape – but one that has already re-inject­ed Bill Clinton’s sex­u­al his­to­ry into the polit­i­cal con­ver­sa­tion.

    ...

    While many Repub­li­cans say Trump’s nom­i­na­tion would hand the pres­i­den­cy to Clin­ton, oth­ers see the for­mer sec­re­tary of state as a deeply flawed can­di­date who could squan­der Democ­rats’ struc­tur­al advan­tages in the race, includ­ing in a matchup with Trump.

    “I’m not will­ing to say he’s the most elec­table can­di­date for pres­i­dent because of the hos­til­i­ty he has gen­er­at­ed from women and Lati­nos,” said Luntz. But he added, “I’m unwill­ing to write Trump off any more. It’s fool­ish.”

    Already, Trump has been lay­ing ground­work in the African-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty that could pay div­i­dends in a gen­er­al elec­tion. With the help of his polit­i­cal and busi­ness advis­er Michael Cohen, Trump has spent years cul­ti­vat­ing black faith lead­ers. Last year, he held meet­ings with black pas­tors in Geor­gia and at Trump Tow­er in New York. Trump’s team has also made a pair of black female video blog­gers, Lynette “Dia­mond” Hard­away and Rochelle “Silk” Richard­son, promi­nent sur­ro­gates online and on the trail.

    Still, he has alien­at­ed His­pan­ics and women and his favor­a­bil­i­ty rat­ing with all vot­ers is fur­ther under­wa­ter than Clinton’s. Indeed, a race between Clin­ton and Trump could open the win­dow for a third can­di­date to spoil Trump’s chance.

    For­mer New Mex­i­co Gov. Gary John­son, who ran for pres­i­dent as the Lib­er­tar­i­an Party’s nom­i­nee in 2012 and is again seek­ing the party’s nom­i­na­tion, told POLITICO he views a Trump nom­i­na­tion as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to poach Repub­li­can vot­ers. “It’s ripe pick­ings,” said John­son, cit­ing Trump’s posi­tions on trade, his sup­port for emi­nent domain and his plan to deport mil­lions of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants.

    For­mer New York May­or Michael Bloomberg has also report­ed­ly polled on a three-way matchup with Trump and Clin­ton, and it is unclear how the entrance of a sec­ond bil­lion­aire and third New York­er would recon­fig­ure the race.

    While few if any Repub­li­cans view Trump as the party’s most elec­table nom­i­nee, some say he would bring unique assets to a gen­er­al elec­tion.

    “You can say what­ev­er you want about Don­ald but it’s going to be real­ly tough to nail Don­ald on abor­tion,” said the vet­er­an Repub­li­can poll­ster who has stud­ied Trump’s appeal. “It’s going to be real­ly tough to nail Don­ald on gay mar­riage. It’s going to be real­ly tough to nail Don­ald on Planned Par­ent­hood. It’s just not who he is, while Cruz has fought and died on every one of those hills.”

    Though Trump has been dogged by alle­ga­tion of sex­ism, and he appar­ent­ly insin­u­at­ed that Fox News anchor Meg­yn Kel­ly was men­stru­at­ing when she asked him tough ques­tions dur­ing the first Repub­li­can debate, his for­mer polit­i­cal aide Sam Nun­berg, said the busi­ness­man can still attract many female vot­ers.

    Though Nun­berg left Trump’s cam­paign in August, in a recent poll con­duct­ed for anoth­er client, Nun­berg asked women in Con­necti­cut who opposed mar­i­jua­na legal­iza­tion who they respect­ed more: a politi­cian who is also char­i­ta­ble and a world-renowned busi­ness­man, father and grand­fa­ther or an “Elder­ly woman who not only open­ly allows her hus­band to have affairs but tries to silence the women.” The fig­ure with the favor­able abstract fram­ing of Trump beat the fig­ure with the neg­a­tive abstract fram­ing of Clin­ton by more than 20 points, accord­ing to Nun­berg.

    The lim­it­ed sam­ple, tilt­ed fram­ing and with­hold­ing of can­di­date names all qual­i­fy the find­ing, but it does sug­gest that if Trump can some­how shed his bag­gage and impose his pre­ferred nar­ra­tive on the match-up with Clin­ton, he can appeal to female vot­ers. “He’s a mas­cu­line fig­ure and that will attract women to him,” said Nun­berg. “It’s their dirty lit­tle secret. They like Don­ald Trump.”

    Cam­paign man­ag­er Corey Lewand­wos­ki said Trump’s oper­a­tion remains focused on win­ning the nom­i­na­tion, but sug­gest­ed that the busi­ness­man would out­per­form recent Repub­li­can nom­i­nees in rust belt states rav­aged by free trade, nam­ing Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia and Michi­gan.

    In a fol­low-up con­ver­sa­tion, Lewandows­ki took a more expan­sive view of Trump’s gen­er­al elec­tion prospects, sug­gest­ing the busi­ness­man could expand the elec­toral map to include Cal­i­for­nia, Illi­nois and New York. Sev­er­al Repub­li­can strate­gists and poll­sters laughed off the sug­ges­tion. But 2015’s les­son for 2016 may be this: Nev­er say nev­er.

    “Already, Trump has been lay­ing ground­work in the African-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty that could pay div­i­dends in a gen­er­al elec­tion. With the help of his polit­i­cal and busi­ness advis­er Michael Cohen, Trump has spent years cul­ti­vat­ing black faith lead­ers. Last year, he held meet­ings with black pas­tors in Geor­gia and at Trump Tow­er in New York. Trump’s team has also made a pair of black female video blog­gers, Lynette “Dia­mond” Hard­away and Rochelle “Silk” Richard­son, promi­nent sur­ro­gates online and on the trail.”
    That’s right, the meet­ing with the black pas­tors at the Trump Tow­er that result­ed in Trump can­cel­ing the press con­fer­ence after the pas­tors made it clear that it was­n’t an endorse­ment, sure was some great out­reach.

    So minor­i­ty out­reach is one of the Trump cam­paign’s per­ceived secret weapons (it’s cer­tain­ly been a secret so far). But that’s prob­a­bly noth­ing com­pared to his most potent secret weapon: Trump lust:

    ...
    The lim­it­ed sam­ple, tilt­ed fram­ing and with­hold­ing of can­di­date names all qual­i­fy the find­ing, but it does sug­gest that if Trump can some­how shed his bag­gage and impose his pre­ferred nar­ra­tive on the match-up with Clin­ton, he can appeal to female vot­ers. “He’s a mas­cu­line fig­ure and that will attract women to him,” said Nun­berg. “It’s their dirty lit­tle secret. They like Don­ald Trump.”
    ...

    Uh oh. Amer­i­ca has a dirty lit­tle Trumpian secret: He’s irre­sistible! At least accord­ing to his cam­paign staffers. And if they’re cor­rect, who knows, maybe we real­ly will see Trump take states like Cal­i­for­nia, Illi­nois and New York as his cam­paign pre­dicts.

    But don’t for­get that if ‘Trump lust/minority out­reach’ path to vic­to­ry does­n’t pan out for the Trump cam­paign, there are oth­er paths avail­able, some of which the Trump cam­paign is already walk­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 21, 2016, 12:09 pm
  8. Oh look, Don­ald Trump just retweet­ed a neo-Nazi. Once again:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Did a Don­ald Trump intern do this Retweet of ‘@WhiteGenocideTM?’

    By Philip Bump Jan­u­ary 22 at 12:16 PM

    The eye nat­u­ral­ly trav­els to the pic­ture first, an edit­ed pho­to show­ing a small-head­ed Jeb Bush stand­ing out­side Trump Tow­er hold­ing a card­board sign on which “VOTE TRUMP” is writ­ten. The gag itself does­n’t make much sense; why would Bush be telling peo­ple to vote Trump? And could­n’t his well-heeled Right to Rise super PAC put up the cash for a nicer plac­ard?

    Then, you notice whose tweet Don­ald Trump was retweet­ing: @WhiteGenocideTM. “White geno­cide.”
    [see Trump’s retweet]

    This Twit­ter user, whose pro­file page says his name is “Don­ald Trumpov­itz” and that he lives in “Jew­mer­i­ca,” has a series of tweets espous­ing racist or Nazi-sym­pa­thet­ic views and shar­ing anti-Semit­ic pho­tos and news sto­ries. He or she also reg­u­lar­ly tweets racist things in response to Trump’s tweets, with the obvi­ous hope of being seen by oth­er peo­ple who are view­ing Trump’s tweets or get­ting a retweet from Trump him­self.

    Here’s a response from @WhiteGenocideTM to a tweet a few hours ago.
    [see tweet response of @WhiteGenocideTM to Trump’s tweet about the Nation­al Review Online]
    (Notice the use of “cuck­ser­v­a­tive” in that image. We looked at that new­ly craft­ed insult last sum­mer, includ­ing its racial under­tones.)

    The expres­sion “white geno­cide” is com­mon­ly used by white suprema­cy groups as a way of sug­gest­ing that white peo­ple in the Unit­ed States are under threat by virtue of shift­ing demo­graph­ics or, more recent­ly, polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. Trump’s cam­paign has been embraced by white suprema­cists for its focus on deport­ing undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants and bar­ring Mus­lims from enter­ing the coun­try. Ear­li­er this month, a promi­nent white suprema­cist pro­duced a robo­call endors­ing Trump that was sent to vot­ers in Iowa.

    Trump’s Twit­ter account has had a few con­tro­ver­sial and racial­ly loaded moments. There was the time he tweet­ed a pic­ture that includ­ed a swasti­ka. The time he retweet­ed delib­er­ate­ly mis­lead­ing num­bers on blacks and vio­lence. The time an offi­cial cam­paign image includ­ed Ger­man sol­diers.

    And, of course, the time he insult­ed Iowans via retweet, ques­tion­ing whether GMOs had addled their brains as Ben Car­son gained in polling in the state. After that one, Trump’s Twit­ter account apol­o­gized. “The young intern who acci­den­tal­ly did a Retweet apol­o­gizes,” he wrote.

    We asked the cam­paign for com­ment on this inci­dent. We have not yet heard back.

    Update: Trump delet­ed a tweet since the WhiteGeno­cideTM one — but it was a tweet that did­n’t express enough enthu­si­asm about poll num­bers he want­ed to share. The orig­i­nal ver­sion, as cap­tured by our auto­mat­ic can­di­date tweet col­lec­tor:
    ...

    “This Twit­ter user, whose pro­file page says his name is “Don­ald Trumpov­itz” and that he lives in “Jew­mer­i­ca,” has a series of tweets espous­ing racist or Nazi-sym­pa­thet­ic views and shar­ing anti-Semit­ic pho­tos and news sto­ries. He or she also reg­u­lar­ly tweets racist things in response to Trump’s tweets, with the obvi­ous hope of being seen by oth­er peo­ple who are view­ing Trump’s tweets or get­ting a retweet from Trump him­self.
    Get­ting Trump to retweet your neo-Nazi tweets is like an inter­net sport now. Won­der­ful. Well, it looks like a cer­tain GOP can­di­date is going to have a lot more robo­calls on his behalf to “dis­avow”.

    In oth­er news, the Nation Review has an issue ded­i­cat­ed to why they don’t think Don­ald Trump should be the nom­i­nee. The thrust of their argu­ment? He’s too mod­er­ate.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 22, 2016, 1:39 pm
  9. This prob­a­bly isn’t going to help alle­vi­ate con­cerns over Don­ald Trump’s seem­ing encour­age­ment of acts of vio­lence by his sup­port­ers: Trump is so impressed with the loy­al­ty of his base that he just opined that he could shoot some­one on 5th Avenue and would lose a vote:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire
    Trump: I Could ‘Shoot Some­body And I Would­n’t Lose Any Vot­ers’ (VIDEO)

    By Caitlin Mac­Neal
    Pub­lished Jan­u­ary 23, 2016, 2:21 PM EST

    Updat­ed at 2:45 p.m.

    Dur­ing a Sat­ur­day ral­ly in Iowa, Don­ald Trump said he would­n’t lose any sup­port in the pres­i­den­tial race from vot­ers even if he shot some­one.

    “I could stand in the mid­dle of 5th Avenue and shoot some­body and I would­n’t lose any vot­ers, OK?” Trump said, accord­ing to video from NBC News. “It’s, like, incred­i­ble.”

    ...

    Trump made the com­ments while dis­cussing how sol­id sup­port for him is.

    “I have the most loy­al peo­ple,” he said after cit­ing his wide lead in the polls.

    He said that sup­port for his Repub­li­can rivals is “soft.” Trump said that when peo­ple learned that Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑TX) was born in Cana­da, he lost sup­port­ers.

    Watch the video from NBC News:
    ...

    “I could stand in the mid­dle of 5th Avenue and shoot some­body and I would­n’t lose any vot­ers, OK? ... It’s, like, incred­i­ble.”
    It is indeed pret­ty incred­i­ble, espe­cial­ly since Trump pre­sum­ably shared that insight about not los­ing votes after shoot­ing some­one as part of a cam­paign tac­tic to gain even more votes. And yes, this means the GOP’s pre­vi­ous flir­ta­tion with vio­lent rhetoric, like Sarah Pal­in’s “Don’t Retreat, Instead — RELOAD,” ‘cross-hairs’ map of 2010, are now a time rel­a­tive­ly inno­cence for the US’s polit­i­cal cul­ture. Ah the good ‘ol days, when the GOP’s thought lead­ers only spoke in code.

    So no we have the lead­ing GOP can­di­date is jok­ing about shoot­ing peo­ple. Per­haps this might be an exam­ple of why some in the GOP’s “estab­lish­ment” are in such a tizzy over the prospect of what a Trump can­di­da­cy will do to the par­ty’s long-term brand­ing issues? Per­haps, but that appre­hen­sion by some does­n’t change the fact that a grow­ing num­ber of GOP “estab­lish­ment” insid­ers are com­ing to terms with the real­i­ty that Don­ald Trump has an ever-grow­ing chance of win­ning the nom­i­na­tion and rebrand­ing the GOP as “Trump’s own Par­ty”.

    It’s all part of why it will be extra inter­est­ing to see how the “estab­lish­men­t’s” dwin­dling Trum­pho­bia evolves giv­en the sud­den news of a whole new third par­ty can­di­date. Like Trump, this new can­di­date is a bil­lion­aire. But unlike Trump, this new can­di­date is prob­a­bly just going to take votes from the Democ­rats. And he’s made stop­ping peo­ple from shoot­ing oth­er peo­ple one of his sig­na­ture issues over the years. And the entrance of this new can­di­date could make a Trumpian vic­to­ry (or any GOP­er vic­to­ry, regard­less of who gets the nom­i­na­tion), a lot more like­ly. But this can­di­date is also appar­ent­ly only like­ly to run specif­i­cal­ly if the GOP nom­i­nates either Ted Cruz or Don­ald Trump and the Democ­rats nom­i­nate Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary. Yes, Michael Bloomberg, one of the the lead­ing back­ers of stricter gun con­trol in the US, is con­sid­er­ing an inde­pen­dent run for the White House under cer­tain con­di­tions:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire
    Report: Bloomberg Con­sid­er­ing Inde­pen­dent Pres­i­den­tial Bid

    By Caitlin Mac­Neal Pub­lished Jan­u­ary 23, 2016, 10:34 AM EST

    For­mer New York City May­or Michael Bloomberg has asked his advis­ers to cre­ate a cam­paign plan for an inde­pen­dent pres­i­den­tial bid since the bil­lion­aire sees a poten­tial open­ing in the race, the New York Times report­ed on Sat­ur­day.

    Bloomberg has told friends that he is con­sid­er­ing spend­ing at least $1 bil­lion on the race and that he will decide on a run by ear­ly March, accord­ing to the New York Times.

    He has said he’s like­ly to launch a bid if Repub­li­cans nom­i­nate either Don­ald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑TX) and Democ­rats nom­i­nate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I‑VT), accord­ing to the Times.

    The Times report­ed that Bloomberg com­mis­sioned a poll in Decem­ber to test his chances in the gen­er­al elec­tion and plans on con­duct­ing anoth­er poll after the New Hamp­shire pri­ma­ry in Feb­ru­ary.

    Accord­ing to an online Morn­ing Con­sult poll con­duct­ed in Jan­u­ary, Bloomberg would receive 13 per­cent sup­port in a three-way race with Trump and Hillary Clin­ton. Trump received 37 per­cent sup­port and Clin­ton received 36 per­cent sup­port.

    Accord­ing to the poll, Bloomberg’s entrance into the race would hurt Clin­ton more than Trump. Com­pared to a two-way race between Trump and Clin­ton, Trump’s sup­port dropped by 5 points with Bloomberg in the run­ning and Clin­ton’s sup­port dropped by 8 points.

    ...

    “Accord­ing to an online Morn­ing Con­sult poll con­duct­ed in Jan­u­ary, Bloomberg would receive 13 per­cent sup­port in a three-way race with Trump and Hillary Clin­ton. Trump received 37 per­cent sup­port and Clin­ton received 36 per­cent sup­port.”
    As we can see, Michael Bloomberg is basi­cal­ly telling the world that he’ll do what he can to ensure the GOP takes the White House should the Democ­rats nom­i­nate Bernie. It’s a dec­la­ra­tion that dou­ble as both a threat to the Democ­rats that they could pay a very high price if they nom­i­nate Bernie over Hillary, but also a hint to the GOP that they could be giv­en a free pass to the White House if they nom­i­nate Trump or Cruz...but only if they can some­how get the Democ­rats to nom­i­nate Bernie. So the more it looks like Trump is going to win the nom­i­na­tion, the greater the GOP’s incen­tive to see Bernie get the nom­i­na­tion. At the same time, recent polls of head to head match ups of Bernie vs Trump or Hillary vs Trump show Bernie with a big­ger lead.

    Grant­ed, poll have lim­it­ed val­ue this far out and can change sub­stan­tial­ly as the race unfolds, but it high­lights how strange the 2016 race is shap­ing up to be: The GOP’s “estab­lish­ment” is freaked out over the stun­ning rise of Don­ald Trump, a can­di­date who jokes about how his cult per­son­al­i­ty is so great he can get away with shoot­ing peo­ple on the streets. And yet if they nom­i­nate Trump and then some­how get the Democ­rats to nom­i­nate Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clin­ton (despite Bernie polling bet­ter than Hillary vs Trump), the GOP just might get a giant gift from the one of the nation’s top gun-con­trol advo­cates, Michael Bloomberg. Strange times. Err...stranger times.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 23, 2016, 5:37 pm
  10. A tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion of Schen­gen area is look­ing more and more like­ly. Not only have EU migra­tion min­is­ters decid­ed that extend­ing the “short­er-term dis­pen­sa­tions for bor­der con­trols” for two years, but it also sounds like there’s a grow­ing con­sen­sus that Greece, yes Greece, is a major source of Europe’s refugee cri­sis due to its inabil­i­ty to deal with the flood of refugees hit­ting its shores. And that “let’s blame Greece!” meme is exact­ly the kind of thing that makes a two year clos­ing of the Schen­gen area a lot more like­ly. Greece makes a great scape­goat. It’s famil­iar. And it’s part of what the Schen­gen area may be going on a long vaca­tion. Although it may not be the entire Schen­gen area that col­laps­es over the next two years. A ‘mini-Schen­gen’ of the “core” EU nations is also look­ing like­ly:

    Reuters
    ‘Run­ning out of time’, EU puts Greece, Schen­gen on notice

    AMSTERDAM | By Gabriela Baczyn­s­ka and Alas­tair Mac­don­ald
    Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:40pm EST

    The Euro­pean Union edged clos­er on Mon­day to accept­ing that its Schen­gen open-bor­ders area may be sus­pend­ed for up to two years if it fails in the next few weeks to curb the influx of migrants from the Mid­dle East and Africa.

    Short­er-term dis­pen­sa­tions for bor­der con­trols end in May. EU migra­tion min­is­ters meet­ing in Ams­ter­dam decid­ed they may be extend­ed for two years — an unprece­dent­ed exten­sion — because the migrant cri­sis prob­a­bly will not be brought under con­trol by then, accord­ing to the Dutch migra­tion min­is­ter, who chaired the meet­ing.

    Some min­is­ters made clear such a — the­o­ret­i­cal­ly tem­po­rary — move would cut off Greece, where more than 40,000 peo­ple have arrived by sea from Turkey this year, despite a deal with Ankara two months ago to hold back an exo­dus of Syr­i­an refugees. More than 60 have drowned on the cross­ing since Jan. 1.

    Greek offi­cials not­ed that clos­ing routes north­ward, even if phys­i­cal­ly pos­si­ble, would not solve the prob­lem. But elec­toral pres­sure on gov­ern­ments, includ­ing in the EU’s lead­ing pow­er Ger­many, to stem the flow and resist efforts to spread asy­lum seek­ers across the bloc are mak­ing free-trav­el rules unten­able.

    “We are run­ning out of time,” said EU Migra­tion Com­mis­sion­er Dim­itris Avramopou­los. He urged states to imple­ment agreed mea­sures for man­ag­ing move­ments of migrants across the con­ti­nent — or else face the col­lapse of the 30-year-old Schen­gen zone.

    But the Dutch min­is­ter, Klaas Dijkhoff, said time has effec­tive­ly already run out to pre­serve the pass­port-free regime. The sys­tem has allowed hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple to make chaot­ic treks from Greece and Italy to Ger­many and Swe­den over the past year.

    “The ‘or else’ is already hap­pen­ing,” he said. “A year ago, we all warned that if we don’t come up with a solu­tion, then Schen­gen will be under pres­sure. It already is.”

    Under pres­sure from domes­tic opin­ion, sev­er­al gov­ern­ments have already rein­tro­duced con­trols at their bor­ders with fel­low EU states. Those con­trols should be bet­ter coor­di­nat­ed, said Dijkhoff, whose gov­ern­ment last year float­ed the idea of a “mini-Schen­gen”, which crit­ics saw as a way for Ger­many and its north­ern neigh­bors to bar the influx from the Mediter­ranean.

    FEAR AND LOATHING

    But the EU exec­u­tive and lead­ing pow­er Ger­many are bemoan­ing a nation­al­is­tic tide that could put at risk not just Schen­gen but the euro and even the foun­da­tions of the EU. In that light some diplo­mats saw the talks in Ams­ter­dam as anoth­er scare tac­tic from those refus­ing to close the door to migrants.

    “The dis­cus­sion is full of these apoc­a­lyp­tic pre­dic­tions,” one said. “But things won’t real­ly change in two months.”

    With many EU states, vocal­ly led by the ex-com­mu­nist East, refus­ing to take in sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of refugees, the only way to stop chaos in Europe was, he said, to stop arrivals in Greece. Giv­en legal and moral oblig­a­tions to pluck peo­ple from the sea, that leaves the EU reliant on uncer­tain ally Turkey, which is seek­ing Euro­pean cash and oth­er favors.

    ...

    Unless the num­bers drop before Merkel meets fel­low EU lead­ers at a sum­mit in mid-Feb­ru­ary, some form of bor­der clos­ing by the bloc’s lead­ing pow­er would be increas­ing­ly like­ly — not least as Ger­mans vote in key region­al elec­tions in March. That deci­sion would have a knock-on effect across Europe.

    The Com­mis­sion, the EU exec­u­tive, is already review­ing whether Greece’s dif­fi­cul­ty in pro­cess­ing con­sti­tute “per­sis­tent seri­ous defi­cien­cies” on the exter­nal EU fron­tier. Such a find­ing would jus­ti­fy a his­toric move to allow states to re-impose con­trols on those arriv­ing from Greece.

    The Com­mis­sion is due to make rec­om­men­da­tions next month. Athens would then have three months to respond. Exist­ing mea­sures tak­en by some states under a dif­fer­ent rule expire in mid-May. Min­is­ter Dijkhoff made clear that few expect the sit­u­a­tion to improve by then, so the longer-term sus­pen­sion should be ready.

    Under that rule, Arti­cle 26 of the Schen­gen code, coun­tries could re-impose con­trols on doc­u­ments for six months, renew­able three times, until May 2018. EU offi­cials acknowl­edged, how­ev­er, that no one knows what would hap­pen after that if gov­ern­ments were not pre­pared to return to the sta­tus quo before last year.

    SCHENGEN ON THE BRINK

    “Every­one under­stands that the Schen­gen zone is on the brink,” said Aus­tri­an Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Johan­na Mikl-Leit­ner, whose gov­ern­ment has warned it will lim­it entry to migrants.

    “If we can­not pro­tect the exter­nal EU bor­der, the Greek-Turk­ish bor­der, then the Schen­gen exter­nal bor­der will move toward cen­tral Europe ... Greece must ... accept help.”

    Her Swedish col­league, Anders Yge­man, whose gov­ern­ment called a halt after tak­ing pro­por­tion­ate­ly the great­est share of refugees, told Reuters that if Greece and Italy failed to set up “hot spot” cen­ters to sep­a­rate refugees from pos­si­ble ter­ror­ists and eco­nom­ic migrants, then they would face iso­la­tion from the Schen­gen area.

    Appear­ing anx­ious to calm a con­fronta­tion with Athens — which had already clashed with Berlin last year over bailout loans to keep Greece in the euro zone — the Ger­man inte­ri­or min­is­ter was more reserved: “Blam­ing peo­ple in pub­lic does­n’t help,” Thomas de Maiziere said.

    Senior EU offi­cials have warned of the costs to trade that new bor­der checks could impose, although few ana­lysts fore­see a return to lines halt­ed at fron­tiers around Ger­many, France or the Benelux coun­tries, across which mil­lions com­mute dai­ly to work.

    The EU has tak­en var­i­ous steps to give cash-strapped Athens finan­cial assis­tance to deal with the cri­sis, but many mem­ber states believe Athens is not using that enough. The EU has now pro­posed estab­lish­ing over the com­ing months a com­mon Euro­pean Bor­der and Coast Guard to tight­en con­trol of the EU fron­tiers.

    “Senior EU offi­cials have warned of the costs to trade that new bor­der checks could impose, although few ana­lysts fore­see a return to lines halt­ed at fron­tiers around Ger­many, France or the Benelux coun­tries, across which mil­lions com­mute dai­ly to work.
    That’s a reminder that, while the Schen­gen area might effec­tive­ly close down for the next two years, that does­n’t mean a “mini-Schen­gen” can’t remain open. And it sounds like that’s exact­ly what EU offi­cials are expect­ing to hap­pen.

    So it appears that a par­tial tem­po­rary col­lapse of the Schen­gen area is now under seri­ous con­sid­er­ing which means we’re going to see a new exper­i­ment unfold. There’s been high-lev­el chat­ter for a while now about whether or not the euro­zone would com­plete­ly col­lapse if the Schen­gen area col­lapsed. At the same time, there’s also been chat­ter about cre­at­ing a “mini-Schen­gen” zone that just includes the “core” mem­bers. So what hap­pens to the euro­zone as whole if the “core” nations main­tain a mini-Schen­gen and it’s just the “periph­ery” (Greece, Italy, Spain, East­ern Euro­pean mem­bers) that lose their Schen­gen rights? Would the euro­zone still keep chug­ging along at that point if the mini-Schen­gen area is the only region where bor­der con­trols don’t become the norm? We’re appar­ent­ly on track to find out because it sure sounds like a par­tial col­lapse of the Schen­gen area is increas­ing­ly seen as the only polit­i­cal­ly viable solu­tion. If it all does­n’t work out and the euro­zone implodes they can always blame Greece. And, of course, the refugees.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 26, 2016, 10:23 am
  11. Check out Den­mark’s lat­est attempt to stem the flow of refugees: Take their valu­ables:

    The Local DK
    Den­mark pass­es con­tro­ver­sial bill to take migrants’ valu­ables

    Pub­lished: 26 Jan 2016 08:15 GMT+01:00
    Updat­ed: 26 Jan 2016 19:49 GMT+01:00

    Despite wide­spread con­dem­na­tion, Den­mark’s par­lia­ment on Tues­day approved dras­tic reforms curb­ing asy­lum seek­ers’ rights, includ­ing delay­ing fam­i­ly reuni­fi­ca­tions and con­fis­cat­ing migrants’ valu­ables.

    The bill pre­sent­ed by the right-wing minor­i­ty gov­ern­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Lars Løkke Ras­mussen was approved by a huge major­i­ty of 81 of the 109 law­mak­ers present, as mem­bers of the oppo­si­tion Social Democ­rats backed the mea­sures.

    The bill was watered down sig­nif­i­cant­ly since it was orig­i­nal­ly pro­posed, with wed­ding rings and low-val­ue items explic­it­ly exclud­ed from threat of con­fis­ca­tion in the final draft.

    Approval had been wide­ly expect­ed, as the main oppo­si­tion par­ty, the Social Democ­rats, backed the mea­sures as did gov­ern­ment sup­port par­ties the Dan­ish Peo­ple’s Par­ty, the Con­ser­v­a­tives and Lib­er­al Alliance.

    “There’s no sim­ple answer for a sin­gle coun­try, but until the world comes togeth­er on a joint solu­tion (to the migrant cri­sis), Den­mark needs to act,” MP Jakob Elle­mann-Jensen of Ras­mussen’s Ven­stre par­ty said dur­ing the debate.

    The Dan­ish gov­ern­ment has insist­ed the new law is need­ed to stem the flow of refugees even though Den­mark and Swe­den recent­ly tight­ened their bor­ders, a move that prompt­ed Ger­many and Aus­tria to turn back new arrivals head­ing for Scan­di­navia.

    While inter­na­tion­al out­rage has focused on a pro­pos­al allow­ing police to seize cash and valu­ables from refugees to help pay for their stay in asy­lum cen­tres, rights activists have blast­ed a pro­posed three-year delay for fam­i­ly reuni­fi­ca­tions which they say breach­es inter­na­tion­al con­ven­tions.

    ‘What is the alter­na­tive?’
    Prime Min­is­ter Lars Løkke Ras­mussen of the right-wing Ven­stre par­ty has shrugged off crit­i­cism by call­ing it “the most mis­un­der­stood bill in Den­mark’s his­to­ry”, seem­ing­ly more con­cerned with opin­ion polls that show 70 per­cent of Danes rank immi­gra­tion as their top polit­i­cal con­cern.

    Social Demo­c­rat Dan Jør­gensen addressed oppo­nents of the bill, demand­ing: “To those say­ing what we are doing is wrong, my ques­tion is: What is your alter­na­tive?
    who
    “The alter­na­tive is that we con­tin­ue to be (one of) the most attrac­tive coun­tries in Europe to come to, and then we end up like Swe­den.”

    ...

    Asy­lum-seek­ers will now have to hand over cash exceed­ing 10,000 kro­ner (€1,340, $1,450) and any indi­vid­ual items val­ued at more than that amount, up from the ini­tial 3,000 kro­ner pro­posed.

    After thorny nego­ti­a­tions with the oth­er par­ties, Inte­gra­tion Min­is­ter Inger Støjberg agreed to exempt wed­ding rings and oth­er items of sen­ti­men­tal val­ue.

    The gov­ern­ment points out that Danes seek­ing to qual­i­fy for social ben­e­fits some­times also have to sell their valu­ables. How­ev­er, they are not sub­ject­ed to the kind of search­es pro­posed in the new asy­lum law.

    Some have likened the Dan­ish pro­pos­als to the con­fis­ca­tion of gold and oth­er valu­ables from Jews by the Nazis dur­ing the Holo­caust.

    The plan has “a par­tic­u­lar­ly bit­ter con­no­ta­tion in Europe, where the Nazis con­fis­cat­ed large amounts of gold and oth­er valu­ables from Jews and oth­ers,” The Wash­ing­ton Post wrote.

    ‘Just plain wrong’
    Once a cham­pi­on of refugee rights, the Scan­di­na­vian coun­try’s goal is now to become “sig­nif­i­cant­ly less attrac­tive for asy­lum-seek­ers”, Støjberg said.

    “The tone in the pub­lic debate about refugees and immi­grants has undoubt­ed­ly become tougher,” Kashif Ahmad, the leader of the Nation­al Par­ty (Nation­al­par­ti­et), which hopes to enter par­lia­ment by tar­get­ing the immi­grant vote, told AFP.

    John Dal­huisen, Europe and Cen­tral Asia direc­tor at Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al, said the law was “plain wrong” and “a sad reflec­tion of how far Den­mark has strayed” from its his­toric sup­port of inter­na­tion­al norms in the Refugee Con­ven­tion.

    “Euro­pean states must stop this dis­mal race to the bot­tom and begin to meet their inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions, by uphold­ing refugees’ human rights and dig­ni­ty,” said Dal­huisen. “Any­thing less is a betray­al of our com­mon human­i­ty.”

    But Mar­cus Knuth, Ven­stre’s spokesman on inte­gra­tion issues, said such crit­i­cism was unfair.

    “Den­mark con­tin­ues to be one of the most wel­com­ing and car­ing places that you can seek asy­lum in. So the crit­i­cism that all of a sud­den we were doing some­thing wrong we find high­ly, high­ly unfair,” he told AFP.

    “We sim­ply wish to be put more at par with oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries so that we are not one of the coun­tries that receive by far the most asy­lum-seek­ers.”

    Inter­na­tion­al crit­i­cism
    Home to 5.6 mil­lion peo­ple, Den­mark reg­is­tered 21,000 asy­lum appli­ca­tions in 2015, mak­ing it one of the top EU des­ti­na­tions per capi­ta for migrants but putting it far behind the 163,000 reg­is­tered in neigh­bour­ing Swe­den.

    Inter­na­tion­al crit­i­cism had mount­ed in the run-up to Tues­day’s vote, with refugee agency UNHCR claim­ing it vio­lates the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Human Rights, the UN Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child, and the UN Refugee Con­ven­tion.

    But Ras­mussen, whose Ven­stre par­ty won a June 2015 elec­tion after promis­ing an “imme­di­ate slow­down” of Den­mark’s refugee influx, has been unfazed, argu­ing that the UN Refugee Con­ven­tion may need to be changed if refugees keep pour­ing into Europe.

    For­eign Min­is­ter Kris­t­ian Jensen defend­ed the new law last week as he appeared before the Unit­ed Nations for a review of Den­mark’s human rights poli­cies.

    “The Dan­ish wel­fare state is based upon the very sim­ple prin­ci­ple that the state will pro­vide and pay for those unable to take care of them­selves, not for those who are able,” he told the Human Rights Coun­cil.

    He and Støjberg reit­er­at­ed the same line as they faced ques­tion­ing from Euro­pean MPs in the civ­il lib­er­ties com­mit­tee on Mon­day.

    Twen­ty-sev­en MPs vot­ed against the bill in the one-cham­ber par­lia­ment, includ­ing three dis­sent­ing Social Democ­rats. A leg­is­la­tor for Green­land, a Dan­ish ter­ri­to­ry, abstained and 70 MPs did not take part.

    The bill is sched­uled to be signed into law by Queen Mar­grethe with­in a few days.

    Dan­ish law­mak­ers last week also passed a res­o­lu­tion push­ing the gov­ern­ment to look into the con­se­quences of build­ing tem­po­rary hous­ing com­plex­es out­side cities for refugees, like the coun­try did dur­ing the Balka­ns war in the 1990s.

    The move is backed by the anti-immi­gra­tion Dan­ish Peo­ple’s Par­ty, which sees it as a first step towards build­ing state-run camps where refugees would stay with­out inte­grat­ing into Dan­ish soci­ety.

    “After thorny nego­ti­a­tions with the oth­er par­ties, Inte­gra­tion Min­is­ter Inger Støjberg agreed to exempt wed­ding rings and oth­er items of sen­ti­men­tal val­ue.”
    That’s right, this was the mod­er­ate ver­sion of what the Dan­ish gov­ern­ment orig­i­nal envi­sioned.

    So might we see an EU probe into Den­mark’s new law? Ummm....prob­a­bly not:

    The Local DK
    Ger­many con­fis­cates more from refugees than Den­mark

    Pub­lished: 28 Jan 2016 10:41 GMT+01:00

    Den­mark has faced sting­ing inter­na­tion­al crit­i­cism for a new law allow­ing refugees’ valu­ables to be con­fis­cat­ed — but Ger­many already has stronger rules in place.

    The new Dan­ish leg­is­la­tion passed on Tues­day, which would allow author­i­ties to con­fis­cate valu­ables worth more than 10,000 Dan­ish Kro­ne (€1,340) from refugees,was described as despi­ca­ble by US-based rights watch­dog Human Rights Watch (HRW).

    “Does a rich coun­try like Den­mark real­ly need to strip the very assets of these des­per­ate asy­lum seek­ers before pro­vid­ing them basic ser­vices?” HRW’s exec­u­tive direc­tor Ken­neth Roth asked in a press con­fer­ence in Istan­bul on Wednes­day.

    Some crit­ics have even likened the Dan­ish pro­pos­als to the con­fis­ca­tion of gold and oth­er valu­ables from Jews by the Nazis dur­ing the Holo­caust.

    Chi­nese artist Ai Wei­wei, who is cur­rent­ly a guest pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Art in Berlin, pulled an exhi­bi­tion in Den­mark in dis­gust.

    But Ger­many actu­al­ly has long estab­lished rules on con­fis­cat­ing refugees’ valu­ables which are stricter than those set out by the new Dan­ish law.

    For Matthias Höhn, chief whip for Die Linke (the Lefty Par­ty) in the fed­er­al par­lia­ment, this is a “heart­less” treat­ment of vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple.

    “Because refugees are denied legal ways into Europe, they become depen­dent on the dirty trade of smug­glers — that means sell­ing belong­ings and prop­er­ty for the expen­sive jour­ney which comes at enor­mous risk to their lives,” Höhn told The Local

    “Tak­ing away their remain­ing mon­ey and last heir­looms is per­haps strict­ly legal, but it’s more than a bit heart­less.”

    Manda­to­ry search­es

    In Bavaria — where the vast major­i­ty of refugees arrive in the coun­try — cash and valu­ables can be con­fis­cat­ed with a val­ue of over €750.

    A spokesper­son for the Bavar­i­an social min­istry con­firmed to The Local that upon arrival “refugees are searched for doc­u­ments, valu­ables and mon­ey.”

    “When we sus­pect that the an asy­lum seek­er is hold­ing large sums and does not agree to be searched, the police are called in.”

    The spokesper­son explained that valu­ables tak­en from refugees are put into the state bud­get and go towards financ­ing the costs of hous­ing refugees, so that “avail­able assets are used before the state rais­es extra tax­es.”

    In the neigh­bour­ing south­ern state of Baden-Würt­tem­berg the rules are even stricter. There, refugees can have valu­ables worth more than €350 tak­en from them.

    Mean­while in North Rhine-West­phalia refugees are only allowed to have €200 in valu­ables before local author­i­ties can start tak­ing their pos­ses­sions.

    They ‘must repay costs’

    All three states are imple­ment­ing fed­er­al laws, which require asy­lum seek­ers to use up their own resources before receiv­ing state aid.

    “If you apply for asy­lum here, you must use up your income and wealth before receiv­ing aid,” Aydan Özoguz, the fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s inte­gra­tion com­mis­sion­er, recent­ly told Bild news­pa­per.

    “That includes, for exam­ple, fam­i­ly jew­ellery. Even if some prej­u­dices per­sist – you don’t have it any bet­ter as an asy­lum seek­er as some­one on unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fit,” Özoguz added.

    But, out­side Die Linke, there were few crit­ics of the prac­tice inside Ger­many.

    ...

    “The spokesper­son explained that valu­ables tak­en from refugees are put into the state bud­get and go towards financ­ing the costs of hous­ing refugees, so that “avail­able assets are used before the state rais­es extra tax­es.””
    That’s some­thing to keep in mind when you hear com­plaints in Ger­many or Den­mark about the all these refugees using pub­lic ser­vices once they get asy­lum: not only do they not have a choice on the mat­ter, after the refugees risk their lives to get there, they’re the first ones to pay the costs of those ser­vices and it’s paid with their life sav­ings. And fam­i­ly jew­els.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 28, 2016, 7:40 pm
  12. This does­n’t bode well for the refugees in Europe who ini­tial­ly found a sur­pris­ing­ly cham­pi­on in the form of Europe’s ‘Queen of mean’ Angela Merkel: Fol­low­ing record high domes­tic pop­u­lar­i­ty rat­ings for Merkel ear­ly last year, a recent poll indi­cates that 40 per­cent of Ger­mans want her to resign over her refugee poli­cies:

    Reuters
    Forty per­cent of Ger­mans say Merkel should resign over refugee pol­i­cy: poll

    BERLIN
    Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:03pm EST

    Forty per­cent of Ger­mans want Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel to resign over her refugee pol­i­cy, a poll showed on Fri­day, in a sign of ris­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion with her wel­com­ing stance towards peo­ple flee­ing con­flict and eco­nom­ic hard­ship in the Mid­dle East and Africa.

    Merkel, who enjoyed record high pop­u­lar­i­ty rat­ings ear­ly last year, has grown increas­ing­ly iso­lat­ed in recent months as mem­bers of her con­ser­v­a­tive bloc have pressed her to take a tougher line on asy­lum seek­ers and Euro­pean allies have dragged their feet on the issue.

    Respond­ing to pop­u­lar pres­sure, Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tives and their left-lean­ing Social Demo­c­rat (SPD) coali­tion part­ners agreed on Thurs­day to tight­en asy­lum rules, reach­ing a com­pro­mise on how to stem the influx of migrants.

    The Insa poll for Focus mag­a­zine sur­veyed 2,047 Ger­mans between Jan. 22 to Jan. 25. It showed 45.2 per­cent believed Merkel’s refugee pol­i­cy was not a rea­son for her to resign. It was the first time the poll­ster had asked vot­ers whether Merkel should quit.

    Anoth­er poll released on Fri­day, by the Elec­tor Research Group, showed sup­port for Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tive bloc steady at 37 per­cent. As recent­ly as Sep­tem­ber, they were on 42 per­cent. Sup­port for the SPD was also unchanged, at 24 per­cent.

    The poll put the right-wing Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD), which sup­ports a hard line on immi­gra­tion, on 11 per­cent.

    The three rul­ing par­ties — Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats, their Bavar­i­an allies, and the SPD — are eager to show vot­ers that the gov­ern­ment is in con­trol of the refugee cri­sis before three state votes in March and a gen­er­al elec­tion next year.

    A dis­pute over tighter immi­gra­tion rules has nonethe­less been strain­ing the rul­ing coali­tion.

    ...

    “The three rul­ing par­ties — Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats, their Bavar­i­an allies, and the SPD — are eager to show vot­ers that the gov­ern­ment is in con­trol of the refugee cri­sis before three state votes in March and a gen­er­al elec­tion next year.”
    Keep in mind that Merkel has already indi­cat­ed she’s run­ning for a fourth term in 2017. And this is on top of Fin­land and Swe­den both announc­ing plans for mass depor­ta­tions. And this rais­es anoth­er issue now that Europe is lean­ing towards send­ing the refugees back: One of main argu­ments you hear in the US against accept­ing more refugees is that they lacked the prop­er doc­u­men­ta­tion to vet them for ter­ror­ist ties. Well, in those cas­es where there is indeed a lack of doc­u­men­ta­tion, it also means it’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly going to be be so easy send­ing them back to where they came from. Why? Because they won’t be able to prove they’re cit­i­zens of where they came from either:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press
    Mass expul­sions ahead for Europe as migrant cri­sis grows

    By Karl Rit­ter Jan­u­ary 28 at 2:56 PM

    STOCKHOLM — Daz­zled by an unprece­dent­ed wave of migra­tion, Swe­den on Thurs­day put into words an uncom­fort­able real­i­ty for Europe: If the con­ti­nent isn’t going to wel­come more than 1 mil­lion peo­ple a year, it will have to deport large num­bers of them to coun­tries plagued by social unrest and abject pover­ty.

    Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Anders Yge­man said Swe­den could send back 60,000–80,000 asy­lum seek­ers in the com­ing years. Even in a coun­try with a long his­to­ry of immi­gra­tion, that would be a scale of expul­sions unseen before.

    “The first step is to ensure vol­un­tary returns,” Yge­man told Swedish news­pa­per Dagens Indus­tri. “But if we don’t suc­ceed, we need to have returns by coer­cion.”

    The coer­cive part is where it gets uncom­fort­able. Pack­ing unwill­ing migrants, even entire fam­i­lies, onto char­tered air­planes bound for the Balka­ns, the Mid­dle East or Africa evokes images that clash with Europe’s human­i­tar­i­an ideals.

    But the sharp rise of peo­ple seek­ing asy­lum in Europe last year almost cer­tain­ly will also lead to much high­er num­bers of rejec­tions and depor­ta­tions.

    Euro­pean Union offi­cials have urged mem­ber coun­tries to quick­ly send back those who don’t qual­i­fy for asy­lum so that Europe’s wel­come can be focused on those who do, such as peo­ple flee­ing the war in Syr­ia.

    “Peo­ple who do not have a right to stay in the Euro­pean Union need to be returned home,” said Natasha Bertaud, a spokes­woman for the EU’s exec­u­tive Com­mis­sion.

    “This is a mat­ter of cred­i­bil­i­ty that we do return these peo­ple, because you don’t want to give the impres­sion of course that Europe is an open door,” she said.

    EU sta­tis­tics show most of those reject­ed come from the Balka­ns includ­ing Alba­nia and Koso­vo, some of Europe’s poor­est coun­tries. Many appli­cants run­ning away from pover­ty in West Africa, Pak­istan and Bangladesh also are turned away. Even peo­ple from unsta­ble coun­tries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Soma­lia can’t count on get­ting asy­lum unless they can prove they, per­son­al­ly, face grave risks at home.

    Frans Tim­mer­mans, the Commission’s vice pres­i­dent, told Dutch TV sta­tion NOS this week that the major­i­ty of peo­ple seek­ing asy­lum in Europe are not refugees.

    “More than half, 60 per­cent, should have to return much more quick­ly. If we start with doing that, it would already make a huge dif­fer­ence,” he said.

    Send­ing them back is eas­i­er said than done. In 2014, EU nations returned less than 40 per­cent of the peo­ple who were ordered to be deport­ed.

    Some­times those seek­ing asy­lum go into hid­ing after receiv­ing a neg­a­tive deci­sion. Some­times their native coun­try doesn’t want them back.

    EU coun­tries, includ­ing Swe­den and Ger­many, have had some suc­cess send­ing peo­ple back to the Balka­ns on char­tered flights. Of the 37,000 who returned from Ger­many on their own accord last year, all but about 5,000 were from the Balka­ns.

    “It’s been more dif­fi­cult with Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Mikael Ribben­vik, direc­tor of oper­a­tions at the Swedish Migra­tion Agency. “The returns have worked dur­ing some peri­ods, and not so well dur­ing oth­ers.”

    One of the biggest obsta­cles to send­ing peo­ple back is to obtain trav­el doc­u­ments from their home coun­tries. Peo­ple rou­tine­ly lose or even destroy their trav­el papers com­ing to Europe, cre­at­ing con­fu­sion about where they are from.

    “Most coun­tries in the world don’t accept some­one if can­not be proved that it’s one of their cit­i­zens,” Ribben­vik said.

    Swe­den has urged the EU and its Fron­tex bor­der agency to help estab­lish return agree­ments with the coun­tries of ori­gin.

    Frontex’s bud­get for deport­ing peo­ple was sig­nif­i­cant­ly increased this year, allow­ing it to coor­di­nate more flights and help coun­tries pre­pare their own.

    Under U.N. rules, coun­tries are sup­posed to offer pro­tec­tion to refugees flee­ing war and per­se­cu­tion. But some Euro­pean coun­tries also offer pro­tec­tion to peo­ple deemed at risk of tor­ture or the death penal­ty or who are suf­fer­ing from an excep­tion­al­ly seri­ous dis­ease.

    ...

    “One of the biggest obsta­cles to send­ing peo­ple back is to obtain trav­el doc­u­ments from their home coun­tries. Peo­ple rou­tine­ly lose or even destroy their trav­el papers com­ing to Europe, cre­at­ing con­fu­sion about where they are from.”
    Yep, Europe has a whole bunch of freez­ing ‘hot pota­toes’ it does­n’t want and may not be able to toss back to their home coun­tries. It’s unclear what their options are that don’t involve send­ing peo­ple back to their doom, although Egypt­ian bil­lion­aire Naguib Sawiris prob­a­bly has some sug­ges­tions (involv­ing let­ting him cre­ate a refugee island nation). It will be inter­est­ing to see if this is the year he get Europe’s ear.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 29, 2016, 4:03 pm
  13. Back in Novem­ber, Don­ald Trump’s raised a few eye­brows when he sug­gest­ed, in response to a pro­test­er get­ting aggres­sive­ly thrown out of one of his events, that “maybe he should have been roughed up.” So it was already becom­ing appar­ent that the Trump cam­paign was going to be flirt­ing with endors­ing polit­i­cal vio­lence and incor­po­rat­ing the psy­chol­o­gy of a vio­lent mob as part of the cam­paign’s pop­u­lar appeal.

    Well, last month Trump appeared to have answered his rhetor­i­cal ques­tion about whether or not pro­test­ers deserve to be “roughed up” when he told a ral­ly that his secu­ri­ty was going to get “so tough and so nasty, and when that hap­pens we’re not gonna have any more prob­lems… Pret­ty soon they’re gonna get so nasty that we’re not gonna have any more protest­ing, you know that right?”:

    Raw Sto­ry
    Trump vows secu­ri­ty will get even more ‘nasty’ as more ral­ly atten­dees are man­han­dled for no rea­son

    Betha­nia Pal­ma Markus
    13 Jan 2016 at 10:28 ET

    The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur accused GOP front run­ner Don­ald Trump of cre­at­ing a dan­ger­ous “mob men­tal­i­ty” among his sup­port­ers after TYT reporter Jor­dan Chari­ton cap­tured footage of sup­port­ers throw­ing peo­ple out of a ral­ly, appar­ent­ly for no rea­son.

    The footage shows Trump sup­port­ers stand and sur­round a young woman who was sit­ting qui­et­ly at a ral­ly in Burling­ton, Ver­mont on Tues­day. They loud­ly demand she be thrown out by secu­ri­ty. As she is being forced out, the woman fran­ti­cal­ly insists she wasn’t doing any­thing except sit­ting in her seat.

    “If you think this isn’t dan­ger­ous, you’re not pay­ing atten­tion,” Uygur cau­tions. “This is exact­ly what has hap­pened in coun­tries in the past… We haven’t even cho­sen if we’re going to go in this direc­tion yet. But this is how it begins, when you start that mob and you empow­er that mob… This is exact­ly how fas­cism begins.”

    In the video shot by the TYT crew, Trump tells his sup­port­ers, “We’ll get more and more angry as we go, is that okay?”

    He then said his secu­ri­ty would be “so tough and so nasty, and when that hap­pens we’re not gonna have any more prob­lems… Pret­ty soon they’re gonna get so nasty that we’re not gonna have any more protest­ing, you know that right?”

    As one man is thrown out of the ral­ly, Trump directs his secu­ri­ty not to give him his coat, and to throw him out in 10-below weath­er.

    “If it’s jok­ing around, I’m no longer amused,” Uygur says. “This is exact­ly how fas­cism starts. You start rough­ing peo­ple up, and you get your own sup­port­ers to rough them up. You start tak­ing their stuff, you start throw­ing them out in the cold.”

    Chari­ton then describes how he and the rest of the TYT crew were treat­ed by Trump ral­ly staffers. Pro­duc­er Eric Byler’s video shows police offi­cers telling them they have to leave, because “they don’t want you here.”

    ...

    “As one man is thrown out of the ral­ly, Trump directs his secu­ri­ty not to give him his coat, and to throw him out in 10-below weath­er.”
    Throw­ing peo­ple out into freez­ing weath­er with­out a jack­et is indeed pret­ty nasty. And guess what: Trump’s mob secu­ri­ty just got a big endorse­ment to get a lot nas­ti­er:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire
    Trump To Crowd: ‘Knock The Crap Out Of’ Toma­to Throw­ers, I’ll Cov­er Legal Fees

    By Sara Jerde
    Pub­lished Feb­ru­ary 1, 2016, 3:42 PM EST

    Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump told the crowd gath­ered at his cam­paign ral­ly on Mon­day to “knock the crap” out of any­body who threw a toma­to at him.

    Trump said the even­t’s secu­ri­ty staff told him there was a risk peo­ple would throw the juicy fruit.

    “So if you see some­body get­ting ready to throw a toma­to, knock the crap out of them,” Trump said at his ral­ly in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

    “I will pay for the legal fees. I promise,” he added. “They won’t be so much because the courts agree with us too.”

    A pro­tes­tor was arrest­ed last week for throw­ing toma­toes at Trump at a dif­fer­ent Iowa event.

    ...

    “So if you see some­body get­ting ready to throw a toma­to, knock the crap out of them...I will pay for the legal fees. I promise...They won’t be so much because the courts agree with us too.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 1, 2016, 3:13 pm
  14. Before Don­ald Trump thumped the com­pe­ti­tion in New Hamp­shire, there was the stum­ble out of the Iowa gate was inevitably going to rat­tle the con­fi­dence of some of Trump’s sup­port­ers. Espe­cial­ly those dri­ven to the charis­ma of a patho­log­i­cal ‘win­ner’. But for those drawn to Trump for more ide­o­log­i­cal rea­sons, Trump’s loss was like­ly just seen as a bump in the road to vic­to­ry and nation­al great­ness. Espe­cial­ly for those that have already embraced Trump as Amer­i­ca’s Belat­ed Great White Hope:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Muck­rak­er

    White Nation­al­ist Sup­port­ers Are Unde­terred By Trump’s Iowa Cau­cus Loss

    By Alle­gra Kirk­land
    Pub­lished Feb­ru­ary 2, 2016, 4:20 PM EST

    The founder of a white nation­al­ist super PAC that launched a robo­call cam­paign for Don­ald Trump in Iowa is unde­terred by his favored can­di­date’s sec­ond-place fin­ish, and plans to move for­ward with anoth­er robo­call cam­paign to get out the vote for Trump in New Hamp­shire.

    William John­son, chair­man of the white nation­al­ist Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty and founder of the Amer­i­can Nation­al Super PAC, told TPM in a Tues­day phone inter­view that he believes Trump is “well-placed to move for­ward in the oth­er pri­maries.”

    John­son said Iowa cau­cus win­ner Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑TX) sim­ply “had a longer-term ground game in a state that is amenable to ground games. And Trump didn’t have that involve­ment in the state.”

    John­son’s PAC made nation­al head­lines in Jan­u­ary after it rolled out a robo­call cam­paign in the Hawk­eye State that lav­ished praise on Trump’s anti-immi­grant pol­i­cy pro­pos­als. The call fea­tured endorse­ments from a Fil­ipino-Amer­i­can min­is­ter, Rev. Don­ald Tan, and Jared Tay­lor, the founder of the white suprema­cist Amer­i­can Renais­sance mag­a­zine.

    “We don’t need Mus­lims,” Tay­lor said on the robo­call. “We need smart, well-edu­cat­ed white peo­ple who will assim­i­late to our cul­ture. Vote Trump.”

    When asked about the cam­paign in late Jan­u­ary, Trump, who is not affil­i­at­ed with the Amer­i­can Nation­al Super PAC, told CNN he “would dis­avow” the robo­calls. But he added that he was­n’t sur­prised by their con­tent.

    “Noth­ing in this coun­try shocks me. I would dis­avow it, but noth­ing in this coun­try shocks me,” he said.

    Trump explained the calls by repeat­ing his claims that undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants com­mit crimes against U.S. cit­i­zens.

    “Peo­ple are angry, they’re angry at what’s going on,” he con­tin­ued. “They’re angry at the bor­der. They’re angry at the crime. They’re angry at peo­ple com­ing in and shoot­ing Kate [Stein­le] in the back in Cal­i­for­nia, in San Fran­cis­co. They’re angry when Jamiel Shaw was shot in the face by an ille­gal immi­grant. They’re angry when the woman, the vet­er­an, 65 years old, is raped, sodom­ized, and killed by an ille­gal immi­grant.”

    In a Tues­day phone inter­view with TPM, Tay­lor not­ed that Trump’s expla­na­tion dove­tailed nice­ly with the white nation­al­ist views espoused by the super PAC.

    “He didn’t put it in racial terms when he was asked to dis­avow the calls,” Tay­lor said. “He said peo­ple are furi­ous about some of the immi­grants who come in ille­gal­ly and com­mit all sorts of prob­lems. He is express­ing sym­pa­thy not with the con­scious­ness of race and the wish of whites to remain the major­i­ty; what he’s express­ing sol­i­dar­i­ty with is the idea that we shouldn’t be let­ting in immi­grants who are going to kill us and com­mit crimes. But in many respects it boils down to the same thing as a prac­ti­cal mat­ter.”

    Numer­ous stud­ies, includ­ing one released last sum­mer by the non-par­ti­san Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Coun­cil, have found that undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants are actu­al­ly less like­ly to com­mit seri­ous crimes than U.S.-born cit­i­zens.

    ...

    Tay­lor said the peo­ple who actu­al­ly experience—or, in his words, “suf­fer from”— diver­si­ty “are behind the kind of sup­port that Trump, and to some extent Cruz, are get­ting.”

    Nei­ther John­son nor Tay­lor said they view Cruz as a viable alter­na­tive to Trump, despite his win in Iowa and his sim­i­lar­ly strong rhetoric about undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants and refugees from Mus­lim coun­tries.

    “I don’t sup­port Cruz for a vari­ety of rea­sons,” John­son said. “Cruz is a con­ser­v­a­tive and I’m a pop­ulist and a nationalist…Cruz is just not the man for the job so I would not sup­port him at all.”

    As for Tay­lor, he said he admires Trump’s “less polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect instincts” and trusts him to not com­pro­mise on his posi­tions if elect­ed.

    “I can imag­ine Don­ald Trump say­ing some­thing like, ‘What’s wrong with white peo­ple pre­fer­ring to remain the major­i­ty in the Unit­ed States?’ ” Tay­lor said. “I can’t imag­ine Ted Cruz say­ing some­thing like this.”

    In Tay­lor’s mind, Cruz has sim­ply mod­eled his increas­ing­ly hard­line stance on immi­gra­tion off Trump’s.

    “I pre­fer the orig­i­nal rather than the imi­ta­tion,” he said.

    “In a Tues­day phone inter­view with TPM, Tay­lor not­ed that Trump’s expla­na­tion dove­tailed nice­ly with the white nation­al­ist views espoused by the super PAC.”
    Yeah, that’s a pret­ty good way to describe this:

    ...
    When asked about the cam­paign in late Jan­u­ary, Trump, who is not affil­i­at­ed with the Amer­i­can Nation­al Super PAC, told CNN he “would dis­avow” the robo­calls. But he added that he was­n’t sur­prised by their con­tent.

    “Noth­ing in this coun­try shocks me. I would dis­avow it, but noth­ing in this coun­try shocks me,” he said.

    Trump explained the calls by repeat­ing his claims that undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants com­mit crimes against U.S. cit­i­zens.

    “Peo­ple are angry, they’re angry at what’s going on,” he con­tin­ued. “They’re angry at the bor­der. They’re angry at the crime. They’re angry at peo­ple com­ing in and shoot­ing Kate [Stein­le] in the back in Cal­i­for­nia, in San Fran­cis­co. They’re angry when Jamiel Shaw was shot in the face by an ille­gal immi­grant. They’re angry when the woman, the vet­er­an, 65 years old, is raped, sodom­ized, and killed by an ille­gal immi­grant.”
    ...

    The ‘ol “I dis­avow this group I com­plete­ly agree with for the fol­low­ing rea­sons” non-dis­avow­al dis­avow­al. It’s not hard to see why White Suprema­cists con­tin­ued robo-call­ing for Trump in New Hamp­shire.

    But it’s still a lit­tle supris­ing to see so lit­tle White Nation­al­ist enthu­si­asi­am towards Ted Cruz, which says a lot of what Trump says, but appar­ent­ly with­out the white nation­al­ist pizazz that Trump pos­sess­es:

    ...
    As for Tay­lor, he said he admires Trump’s “less polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect instincts” and trusts him to not com­pro­mise on his posi­tions if elect­ed.

    “I can imag­ine Don­ald Trump say­ing some­thing like, ‘What’s wrong with white peo­ple pre­fer­ring to remain the major­i­ty in the Unit­ed States?’ ” Tay­lor said. “I can’t imag­ine Ted Cruz say­ing some­thing like this.”

    In Tay­lor’s mind, Cruz has sim­ply mod­eled his increas­ing­ly hard­line stance on immi­gra­tion off Trump’s.

    “I pre­fer the orig­i­nal rather than the imi­ta­tion,” he said.

    ...

    Ouch. That’s a pret­ty big lack of faith in Ted from an increas­ing­ly impor­tant GOP pri­ma­ry con­stituen­cy. So with polls closed in South Car­oli­na’s pri­ma­ry and Don­ald Trump the pro­ject­ed strong first place fin­ish­er and Ted Cruz fight­ing Mar­co Rubio for a dis­tant sec­ond or third place, it’s prob­a­bly safe to say that Ted Cruz did­n’t do super well with South Car­oli­na’s White Nation­al­ists. But that does­n’t mean he did­n’t try:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire
    Pro-Cruz Robo­call Knocks Trump On ‘Our’ Con­fed­er­ate Flag In South Car­oli­na

    By Alle­gra Kirk­land
    Pub­lished Feb­ru­ary 19, 2016, 5:11 PM EST

    A super PAC sup­port­ing Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R‑TX) pres­i­den­tial bid has launched a robo­call cam­paign knock­ing his rival Don­ald Trump for his com­ments about tak­ing down the Con­fed­er­ate flag, the Charleston Post and Couri­er report­ed Fri­day.

    “Peo­ple like Don­ald Trump are always butting their noses into oth­er people’s busi­ness, but Trump talks about our flag like it’s a social dis­ease,” a male narrator’s voice says on the call.

    The minute-long call was bankrolled by the Coura­geous Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Com­mit­tee, a pro-Cruz group. A sped-up mes­sage at the end of the record­ing says the Cruz cam­paign had no involve­ment in the cre­ation of the robo­call.

    The ad aligns Trump with South Car­oli­na Gov. Nik­ki Haley ®, who called for the Con­fed­er­ate flag to be removed from the state Capi­tol grounds after a gun­man with white suprema­cist sym­pa­thies killed nine black parish­ioners last sum­mer at a his­toric Charleston church. [Defend­ers of the flag denied its racist con­no­ta­tions, call­ing it a sym­bol of South­ern her­itage.]

    “Put it in a muse­um; let it go,” Trump’s voice can be heard say­ing repeat­ed­ly dur­ing the robo­call.

    ...

    Lis­ten to the ad here and read the full text below:

    “Put it in a muse­um; let it go.”
    “That’s Don­ald trump sup­port­ing Nik­ki Haley remov­ing the bat­tle flag from the con­fed­er­ate memo­r­i­al in Colum­bia.”

    “Respect what­ev­er it is you have to respect, because it was a point in time, and put it in a muse­um.”
    “Peo­ple like Don­ald Trump are always butting their noses into oth­er peo­ple’s busi­ness, but Trump talks about our flag like it’s a social dis­ease.”

    “Respect what­ev­er it is you have to respect. Let it go; put it in a muse­um.”
    “Don­ald Trump has bankrolled near­ly every Demo­c­rat in the coun­try. He’s fund­ed our ene­mies. He’s ridiculed our val­ues.”

    “Respect what­ev­er it is you have to respect. Let it go; put it in a muse­um.”
    “On Sat­ur­day send Don­ald Trump and his New York val­ues back to Man­hat­tan. Ted Cruz for pres­i­dent. Let’s take our coun­try back now—before it’s too late.”

    “The ad aligns Trump with South Car­oli­na Gov. Nik­ki Haley ®, who called for the Con­fed­er­ate flag to be removed from the state Capi­tol grounds after a gun­man with white suprema­cist sym­pa­thies killed nine black parish­ioners last sum­mer at a his­toric Charleston church. [Defend­ers of the flag denied its racist con­no­ta­tions, call­ing it a sym­bol of South­ern her­itage.]”
    While Ted’s line of attack clear­ly did­n’t work in time for South Car­oli­na, since Ted Cruz is look­ing like the clos­est thing to real com­pe­ti­tion for Trump, it’s look­ing like one of the emerg­ing dynam­ics for the rest of the GOP pri­ma­ry could be a grow­ing attempt by the sec­ond place can­di­date to assert that he, and not the lead­ing can­di­date, is the real white nation­al­ist can­di­date.

    Will Cruz suc­ceed? It’s a long shot, but it’s pos­si­ble. Cruz makes a point of high­light­ing how much Ronald Rea­gan has influ­enced him on the cam­paign trail. If he can sell that as a gen­uine sen­ti­ment and the real and only lead­ing can­di­date that would tru­ly fol­low in Rea­gan’s foot­steps, who knows, Ted Cruz just might get the sup­port he needs. Espe­cial­ly when it comes to Rea­gan and “states’ rights”. There’s some GOP-base issue-space syn­er­gy there for Ted. And Ted knows it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 20, 2016, 5:34 pm
  15. The white suprema­cist “Amer­i­can Nation­al Super PAC” expand­ed its pro-Trump robo­call­ing efforts to Ver­mont and Min­neso­ta. Guess what the mes­sage is now that the race has nar­rowed con­sid­er­ably and Trump has two Cuban-Amer­i­cans as his pri­ma­ry remain­ing oppo­nents: “don’t vote for a Cuban. Vote for Don­ald Trump”. And, of course, there’s also some stuff about white geno­cide.

    So if you’re liv­ing in Min­neso­ta or Ver­mont, try not to be super shocked if and you get a dis­turb­ing phone call about white geno­cide in the next week. Sure, you can be dis­turbed since you’re name was some­how added to a ‘white nation­al­ist friend­ly’ call list and gen­er­al­ly shocked that this is where US pol­i­tics finds itself, but try not to be super shocked about get­ting the actu­al phone call:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Muck­rak­er

    New White Suprema­cist PAC Robo­calls: ‘Don’t Vote For A Cuban,’ Vote Trump! (AUDIO)

    By Alle­gra Kirk­land
    Pub­lished Feb­ru­ary 24, 2016, 4:52 PM EST

    A white suprema­cist super PAC is rolling out a fresh robo­call cam­paign this week in Ver­mont and Min­neso­ta telling vot­ers, “Don’t vote for a Cuban. Vote for Don­ald Trump.”

    In a record­ing of the robo­call sent to TPM, Amer­i­can Nation­al Super PAC founder William Daniel John­son calls on white Amer­i­cans to brush aside their fears of being brand­ed as racist and stop the “grad­ual geno­cide against the white race” by elect­ing Trump.

    “The white race is dying out in Amer­i­ca and Europe because we are afraid to be called ‘racist,’” John­son says in the record­ing, which will be pushed out Wednes­day in Ver­mont and Thurs­day in Min­neso­ta. Vot­ers in both states will head to the polls on Super Tues­day to vote in the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry.

    John­son, who serves as the head of the white nation­al­ist Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty, has pushed out sim­i­lar robo­call cam­paigns through his PAC in Iowa and New Hamp­shire. Both the par­ty and PAC explic­it­ly praise Trump for cham­pi­oning what they see as a pro-white, anti-immi­grant mes­sage.

    The PAC is not affil­i­at­ed with Trump’s cam­paign, and John­son pre­vi­ous­ly told TPM that he has nev­er com­mu­ni­cat­ed with the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. Just before the New Hamp­shire pri­ma­ry, Trump said he planned to return a $250 dona­tion from John­son.

    Though Trump has said he “would dis­avow” the mes­sage espoused by his white nation­al­ist sup­port­ers, he’s expressed sym­pa­thy with vot­ers who are “angry” about the pres­ence of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants in the U.S.

    The real estate mogul also has sug­gest­ed that his lead­ing rivals, Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑TX) and Sen. Mar­co Rubio (R‑FL), may not be eli­gi­ble to serve as pres­i­dent. Cruz was born in Cal­gary, Alber­ta to a Cuban father and an Amer­i­can moth­er, while Rubio was born in Mia­mi to Cuban immi­grants.

    ...

    “Though Trump has said he “would dis­avow” the mes­sage espoused by his white nation­al­ist sup­port­ers, he’s expressed sym­pa­thy with vot­ers who are “angry” about the pres­ence of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants in the U.S.”
    Note that while Trump mere­ly ‘express­ing sym­pa­thy’ with the white suprema­cists when direct­ly asked to dis­avow their pre­vi­ous pro-Trump robo­call cam­paigns, recall that the ini­tial state­ments about Mex­i­can immi­grants that led to such white nation­al­ist enthu­si­asm for Trump in the first place went a lot far­ther than just express­ing sym­pa­thy.

    So we’ll see how much ‘white geno­cide’ becomes a fac­tor in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion as a Trump cam­paign cen­tered around nativist themes pro­ceeds to crush the GOP com­pe­ti­tion. Trump will pre­sum­ably be down­play­ing these top­ics once he gets the gen­er­al elec­tion where ‘white geno­cide’ and ‘don’t vote for the Cubans’ prob­a­bly isn’t going to play well. But as is becom­ing increas­ing­ly clear, white suprema­cists robo­calls prob­a­bly aren’t going to hurt him too much with his exist­ing base of sup­port either:

    The New York Times
    Mea­sur­ing Don­ald Trump’s Sup­port­ers for Intol­er­ance

    Lynn Vavreck
    FEB. 23, 2016

    Exit poll data from the South Car­oli­na pri­ma­ry revealed that near­ly half the Repub­li­cans who turned out on Sat­ur­day want­ed undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants to be deport­ed imme­di­ate­ly. Don­ald Trump won 47 per­cent of those vot­ers.

    Vot­ers were asked if they favored tem­porar­i­ly bar­ring Mus­lims who are not cit­i­zens from enter­ing the Unit­ed States, some­thing Mr. Trump advo­cates, and 74 per­cent said they did. He won 41 per­cent of that group.

    Mr. Trump, who hand­i­ly won that South Car­oli­na pri­ma­ry and all its del­e­gates, is attract­ing Repub­li­can vot­ers across demo­graph­ic groups — con­ser­v­a­tives, mod­er­ates, evan­gel­i­cals and those who are not born-again Chris­tians. In a sense, he is unit­ing parts of the par­ty that have been on oppo­site sides of recent nom­i­na­tion bat­tles.

    A new set of pub­lic opin­ion sur­vey results ask­ing atyp­i­cal but time­ly ques­tions has shed some light on the Trump coali­tion. The results sug­gest how Mr. Trump has upend­ed the con­tem­po­rary divide in the par­ty and built a sig­nif­i­cant part of his coali­tion of vot­ers on peo­ple who are respon­sive to reli­gious, social and racial intol­er­ance.

    New data from YouGov and Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling show the extent to which he has tapped into a set of deeply root­ed racial atti­tudes. But first, two caveats about these data are worth bear­ing in mind. The nation­al YouGov sur­vey was done near the mid­dle of Jan­u­ary, before the Iowa cau­cus­es and New Hamp­shire and South Car­oli­na pri­maries. Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling is a com­pa­ny aligned with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, and some of its results over the years have been sus­pect­ed of bias. Tak­en by itself, its con­clu­sions could be doubt­ed. Tak­en with the YouGov and exit poll data, how­ev­er, these three sur­veys can give us a bet­ter idea of Mr. Trump’s back­ers.

    ...

    Pos­si­bly more sur­pris­ing are the atti­tudes of Mr. Trump’s sup­port­ers on things that he has not talked very much about on the cam­paign trail. He has said noth­ing about a ban on gays in the Unit­ed States, the out­come of the Civ­il War or white suprema­cy. Yet on all of these top­ics, Mr. Trump’s sup­port­ers appear to stand out from the rest of Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry vot­ers.

    Data from Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling show that a third of Mr. Trump’s back­ers in South Car­oli­na sup­port bar­ring gays and les­bians from enter­ing the coun­try. This is near­ly twice the sup­port for this idea (17 per­cent) among Ted Cruz’s and Mar­co Rubio’s vot­ers and near­ly five times the sup­port of John Kasich’s and Ben Carson’s sup­port­ers (7 per­cent).

    Sim­i­lar­ly, YouGov data reveal that a third of Mr. Trump’s (and Mr. Cruz’s) back­ers believe that Japan­ese intern­ment dur­ing World War II was a good idea, while rough­ly 10 per­cent of Mr. Rubio’s and Mr. Kasich’s sup­port­ers do. Mr. Trump’s coali­tion is also more like­ly to dis­agree with the deseg­re­ga­tion of the mil­i­tary (which was ordered in 1948 by Har­ry Tru­man) than oth­er can­di­dates’ sup­port­ers are.

    The P.P.P. poll asked vot­ers if they thought whites were a supe­ri­or race. Most Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry vot­ers in South Car­oli­na — 78 per­cent — dis­agreed with this idea (10 per­cent agreed and 11 per­cent weren’t sure). But among Mr. Trump’s sup­port­ers, only 69 per­cent dis­agreed. Mr. Carson’s vot­ers were the most opposed to the notion (99 per­cent), fol­lowed by Mr. Kasich and Mr. Cruz’s sup­port­ers at 92 and 89 per­cent. Mr. Rubio’s back­ers were close to the aver­age lev­el of dis­agree­ment (76 per­cent).

    Accord­ing to P.P.P., 70 per­cent of Mr. Trump’s vot­ers in South Car­oli­na wish the Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag were still fly­ing on their state­house grounds. (It was removed last sum­mer less than a month after a mass shoot­ing at a black church in Charleston.) The polling firm says that 38 per­cent of them wish the South had won the Civ­il War. Only a quar­ter of Mr. Rubio’s sup­port­ers share that wish, and even few­er of Mr. Kasich’s and Mr. Carson’s do.

    Nation­al­ly, the YouGov data show a sim­i­lar trend: Near­ly 20 per­cent of Mr. Trump’s vot­ers dis­agreed with Abra­ham Lincoln’s Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion, which freed slaves in the South­ern states dur­ing the Civ­il War. Only 5 per­cent of Mr. Rubio’s vot­ers share this view.

    Mr. Trump’s pop­u­lar­i­ty with white, work­ing-class vot­ers who are more like­ly than oth­er Repub­li­cans to believe that whites are a supreme race and who long for the Con­fed­er­a­cy may make him unpop­u­lar among lead­ers in his par­ty.. But it’s worth not­ing that he isn’t per­suad­ing vot­ers to hold these beliefs. The beliefs were there — and have been for some time.

    Mr. Trump has rein­vig­o­rat­ed explic­it appeals to eth­no­cen­trism, and some vot­ers are respond­ing.

    “Nation­al­ly, the YouGov data show a sim­i­lar trend: Near­ly 20 per­cent of Mr. Trump’s vot­ers dis­agreed with Abra­ham Lincoln’s Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion, which freed slaves in the South­ern states dur­ing the Civ­il War. Only 5 per­cent of Mr. Rubio’s vot­ers share this view.”
    Yep, Don­ald Trump has a dis­pro­por­tion­ate lev­el of sup­port with­in the GOP from peo­ple who also sup­port slav­ery. Of course, as the rest of his pri­ma­ry oppo­nents fall to the way­side that rel­a­tive lev­el of slav­ery-sup­port­ers should be dilut­ed as he picks up his oppo­nents’ less-pro-slav­ery sup­port­ers. Unless, of course, Trump man­ages to bring in white suprema­cist vot­ers who would have oth­er­wise vot­ed third par­ty or just skipped the elec­tion alto­geth­er. If that hap­pens, who knows how high a frac­tion of Trump’s sup­port­ers will be pro-Slav­ery before this elec­tion is over.

    In oth­er news, guess who just declared that whites who don’t sup­port Trump are com­mit­ting trea­son against their her­itage? Hint: Think of the cur­rent House Major­i­ty Whip and just start free-asso­ci­at­ing. It’s a big hint.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 25, 2016, 2:32 pm
  16. With Super Tues­day loom­ing in the US 2016 pres­i­den­tial pri­maries, with around a third of the total del­e­gates up for grabs, the media is aflut­ter with a ques­tion that real­ly cap­tures the spir­it of the con­tem­po­rary polit­i­cal moment: Why exact­ly did Don­ald Trump refuse to dis­avow the sup­port of David Duke and the KKK when asked direct­ly three times in a row on Sun­day? Was it because he was­n’t famil­iar with who David Duke is and what he stands for, as Trump was claim­ing dur­ing the inter­view? Could it have been due to a faulty ear­piece, as Trump lat­er assert­ed? Or was it that Don­ald Trump did­n’t want to seem like he was big­ot­ed against peo­ple who like David Duke:

    Slate

    Don­ald Trump Can’t Dis­avow the KKK Because It Might Demor­al­ize His Base

    By Michelle Gold­berg

    Let us dis­pel with the notion that Don­ald Trump doesn’t know who David Duke and the KKK are. In 2000, Trump briefly flirt­ed with run­ning for pres­i­dent on the Reform Par­ty tick­et, but con­clud­ed that the par­ty was too full of extrem­ists. Among them were David Duke, the Louisiana politi­cian and for­mer Grand Wiz­ard of the KKK, right-wing pop­ulist Pat Buchan­nan, and all-pur­pose fringe fig­ure Leno­ra Fulani.

    “The Reform Par­ty now includes a Klans­man, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a com­mu­nist, Ms. Fulani,” the New York Times quot­ed Trump say­ing in a state­ment. “This is not com­pa­ny I wish to keep.”

    How things have changed! On Sun­day morn­ing, CNN’s Jake Tap­per asked Trump to dis­avow Duke’s sup­port for his cur­rent pres­i­den­tial bid. “I know noth­ing about David Duke,” Trump replied. “I know noth­ing about white suprema­cists. And so you’re ask­ing me a ques­tion that I’m sup­posed to be talk­ing about peo­ple that I know noth­ing about.”

    Tap­per kept press­ing him, but Trump refused to say a neg­a­tive word about either Duke or the KKK. “I don’t know what group you are talk­ing about, you wouldn’t want me to con­demn a group that I know noth­ing about; I’d have to look,” Trump said. “If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them and cer­tain­ly I would dis­avow if I thought there was some­thing wrong, but …”

    Tap­per inter­ject­ed, “The Ku Klux Klan?”

    Trump con­tin­ued, “You may have groups in there that are total­ly fine and it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups, and I’ll let you know.”

    “OK, I mean I’m just talk­ing about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but,” said Tap­per.

    “I don’t know any—honestly I don’t know David Duke,” replied Trump. “I don’t believe I’ve ever met him. I’m pret­ty sure I didn’t meet him, and I just don’t know any­thing about him.”

    What’s inter­est­ing here is not that Trump is lying, but why he is lying. For most politi­cians, reject­ing the KKK is not a hard call. Trump, how­ev­er, seems to sus­pect that doing so will demor­al­ize his base. Giv­en how much white nation­al­ist sup­port he has, he might be right.

    Indeed, Trump’s com­plete men­dac­i­ty coex­ists with a twist­ed sort of hon­esty about his own motives. He doesn’t pre­tend to be any­thing but a big­ot and a bul­ly. Sun­day, a few hours before refus­ing to con­demn white suprema­cists, he retweet­ed @ilduce2016, a Twit­ter bot cre­at­ed by Gawker’s Ash­ley Fein­berg that posts Mus­soli­ni quotes, ascrib­ing them to Trump. (Its avatar is a pho­to of the Ital­ian fas­cist sport­ing Trump’s poufy orange comb-over.) The quote Trump retweet­ed was, “It is bet­ter to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep,” fol­lowed by the hash­tag #MakeAm­er­ica­GreatA­gain. When Chuck Todd asked Trump about it on Meet The Press, Trump respond­ed, “Mus­soli­ni was Mus­soli­ni. It’s a very good quote, it’s a very inter­est­ing quote. I know who said it, but what dif­fer­ence does it make whether it’s Mus­soli­ni or some­body else?”

    “You want to be asso­ci­at­ed with a fas­cist?” Todd asked. “No, I want to be asso­ci­at­ed with inter­est­ing quotes,” Trump replied. His asso­ci­a­tions are cer­tain­ly inter­est­ing. And to para­phrase Mar­co Rubio, it seems like he knows exact­ly what he’s doing.

    You read that cor­rect­ly: just hours before Don­ald Trump repeat­ed­ly refused to dis­avow David Duke’s endorse­ment, Trump was found retweet­ing quotes from a Twit­ter account named “@ilduce2016” that was specif­i­cal­ly set up by Gawk­er to post Tweets of Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni and attribute them to Trump. And Trump reweets them and defends it! So that was the Trumpian con­text before the whole David Duke non-dis­avow­al took place.

    So here we are. Two days before Super Tues­day, the lead­ing GOP can­di­date who just hit 49 per­cent in a nation­al GOP pri­ma­ry poll refused to dis­avow David Duke’s endorse­ment by play­ing dumbamnesic:

    Buz­zFeed
    Trump Dis­avows For­mer KKK Leader David Duke’s Sup­port

    “I dis­avow, OK?”
    post­ed on Feb. 26, 2016, at 3:03 p.m.

    Andrew Kaczyn­s­ki
    Buz­zFeed News Reporter

    At a news con­fer­ence in Texas on Fri­day, Don­ald Trump said he dis­avows the sup­port of white nation­al­ist and for­mer Ku Klux Klan grand wiz­ard David Duke.

    “I didn’t even know he endorsed me. David Duke endorsed me? I dis­avow, OK,” Trump said.

    Duke, who has expressed his sup­port of Trump’s mes­sage on immi­gra­tion through­out the elec­tion, urged his radio lis­ten­ers on Wednes­day to vol­un­teer and vote for Trump.

    “Vot­ing for these peo­ple, vot­ing against Don­ald Trump at this point is real­ly trea­son to your her­itage,” Duke said, refer­ring to Ted Cruz and Mar­co Rubio. “I’m not say­ing I endorse every­thing about Trump, in fact I haven’t for­mal­ly endorsed him. But I do sup­port his can­di­da­cy, and I sup­port vot­ing for him as a strate­gic action. I hope he does every­thing we hope he will do.”

    “I didn’t even know he endorsed me. David Duke endorsed me? I dis­avow, OK”
    That was Don­ald Trump’s response to a ques­tion about David Duke’s endorse­ment two days before he refused to dis­avow Duke on CNN. It’s the kind of flip-flop that real­ly does raise the ques­tion: did the Trump cam­paign deter­mine that Fri­day’s Duke-dis­avow­al was a mis­take that need­ed to be fixed? It seems pos­si­ble, which means the results of tomor­row’s Super Tues­day GOP pri­maries might even more dis­turb­ing than nor­mal.

    Keep in mind that this all could be worse, or at least more dis­turb­ing: Trump could have retweet­ed the “Blood alone moves the wheels of his­to­ry” @IlDuce2016 tweet instead. That would have been more dis­turb­ing giv­en our Trumpian polit­i­cal con­text.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 29, 2016, 6:51 pm
  17. David Duke has a mes­sage to the Trump cam­paign fol­low­ing Trump’s “dis­avow­al” of Duke’s sup­port: “Look, Don­ald Trump, do what­ev­er you need to do to get elect­ed to this coun­try because we need a change.”

    Well, it looks like the Trump cam­paign will need to ‘do what­ev­er needs to do’ again. It turns out the Trump cam­paign issued press cre­den­tials to James Edwards of the white nation­al­ist The Polit­i­cal Cesspool radio show. It was a total­ly inno­cent mis­take. Real­ly!

    Not only that, but the show is going to air a pre­vi­ous­ly-taped 20 minute inter­view with Don­ald Trump Jr. this Sat­ur­day. The Trump cam­paign is, of course, deny­ing that it knew any­thing about the nature of Edwards and his show and Don­ald Trump Jr. swears that “would­n’t have con­sent­ed to an inter­view with a pro-slav­ery radio host had he known the host held those views.” Also a total­ly inno­cent mis­take! *wink*:

    Media Mat­ters

    Trump Cam­paign Runs For Cov­er Fol­low­ing Rev­e­la­tion They Cre­den­tialed White Nation­al­ist Radio Show

    MATT GERTZ
    3/2/2016

    Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign is run­ning for cov­er fol­low­ing the rev­e­la­tion that a white nation­al­ist radio show received press cre­den­tials for a Trump ral­ly and will fea­ture an inter­view with Don­ald Trump, Jr.

    On March 1, Media Mat­ters and Lit­tle Green Foot­balls’ Charles John­son report­ed that James Edwards, host of the white nation­al­ist radio pro­gram The Polit­i­cal Cesspool, had writ­ten in a blog post that he “attend­ed a Don­ald Trump ral­ly in Mem­phis on Sat­ur­day night as a ful­ly cre­den­tialed mem­ber of the media” and that his upcom­ing show “will fea­ture a pre­vi­ous­ly taped 20-minute inter­view with Don­ald Trump, Jr.” Edwards repeat­ed­ly praised Trump in his blog post, call­ing him “the first Repub­li­can nom­i­nee that I have ever vot­ed for” and declar­ing him “the only can­di­date who gives us a chance at hav­ing a fight­er who will put Amer­i­ca first.”

    As Media Mat­ters has doc­u­ment­ed, nation­al civ­il rights groups have crit­i­cized the pro­gram for sup­port­ing anti-Semi­tes, Holo­caust deniers, and white suprema­cists like David Duke. The show open­ly states on its web­site that it’s a “pro-White” pro­gram that wish­es “to revive the White birthrate above replace­ment lev­el fer­til­i­ty.” Edwards has also claimed that Mar­tin Luther King Jr.‘s “dream is our night­mare,” “inter­ra­cial sex is white geno­cide,” and “slav­ery is the great­est thing that ever hap­pened to” African-Amer­i­cans.

    After com­ing under heavy crit­i­cism, the Trump cam­paign has respond­ed by furi­ous­ly backpedal­ing, seek­ing to avoid the taint of their tox­ic white nation­al­ist sup­port­ers as Trump tries to solid­i­fy his hold on the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion.

    Trump’s cam­paign claimed in a March 2 state­ment that media cre­den­tials were pro­vid­ed “to every­one that request­ed access to the event on Sat­ur­day in Mem­phis,” adding: “There were close to 200 reporters in atten­dance and we do not per­son­al­ly vet each indi­vid­ual. The cam­paign had no knowl­edge of his per­son­al views and strong­ly con­demns them.”

    But Trump’s cam­paign has fre­quent­ly denied access to spe­cif­ic reporters and pub­li­ca­tions who have dis­pleased them. In fact, accord­ing to The Wrap, the African-Amer­i­can pub­li­ca­tion The New Tri-State Defend­er was denied cre­den­tials for the Mem­phis event Edwards attend­ed.

    Trump’s son has also claimed that he “would­n’t have con­sent­ed to an inter­view with a pro-slav­ery radio host had he known the host held those views,” accord­ing to Bloomberg­Pol­i­tics. He assert­ed that the inter­view “was not vet­ted” and was the result of him call­ing “35 dif­fer­ent sta­tions to tout his father’s GOP pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, and one host asked him to speak with anoth­er host, who end­ed up being Edwards.”

    ...

    Trump’s cam­paign has repeat­ed­ly been the sub­ject of heavy crit­i­cism and strug­gled to pro­vide expla­na­tions for the sup­port and praise they have received from white nation­al­ist groups and fig­ures. White nation­al­ists have praised Trump for spurring “unprece­dent­ed inter­est in” their ide­ol­o­gy and putting their ideas “firm­ly in the main­stream.” Trump was recent­ly exco­ri­at­ed after he repeat­ed­ly refused to denounce for­mer Ku Klux Klan grand wiz­ard David Duke’s sup­port dur­ing a Feb­ru­ary 28 CNN inter­view.

    “As Media Mat­ters has doc­u­ment­ed, nation­al civ­il rights groups have crit­i­cized the pro­gram for sup­port­ing anti-Semi­tes, Holo­caust deniers, and white suprema­cists like David Duke. The show open­ly states on its web­site that it’s a “pro-White” pro­gram that wish­es “to revive the White birthrate above replace­ment lev­el fer­til­i­ty.” Edwards has also claimed that Mar­tin Luther King Jr.‘s “dream is our night­mare,” “inter­ra­cial sex is white geno­cide,” and “slav­ery is the great­est thing that ever hap­pened to” African-Amer­i­cans.”
    And now we can add Don­ald Trump Jr. to the long list of “pro-White” guests on the show. Except, of course, it was a total­ly inno­cent mis­take! It just hap­pens to have been an inno­cent mis­take that does­n’t appear to apply to black jour­nal­ists. How odd:

    ...
    Trump’s cam­paign claimed in a March 2 state­ment that media cre­den­tials were pro­vid­ed “to every­one that request­ed access to the event on Sat­ur­day in Mem­phis,” adding: “There were close to 200 reporters in atten­dance and we do not per­son­al­ly vet each indi­vid­ual. The cam­paign had no knowl­edge of his per­son­al views and strong­ly con­demns them.”

    But Trump’s cam­paign has fre­quent­ly denied access to spe­cif­ic reporters and pub­li­ca­tions who have dis­pleased them. In fact, accord­ing to The Wrap, the African-Amer­i­can pub­li­ca­tion The New Tri-State Defend­er was denied cre­den­tials for the Mem­phis event Edwards attend­ed.
    ...

    All inno­cent mis­takes!

    It’s also no doubt an inno­cent mis­take that the air­ing of this inter­view is going to be on the same day as the Louisiana pri­ma­ry. Yes, David Duke’s home state is Louisiana and his strain of pol­i­tics is par­tic­u­lar­ly effec­tive there, but it’s all total­ly coin­ci­den­tal and inno­cent! Real­ly!

    In oth­er news...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 2, 2016, 6:53 pm
  18. Fol­low­ing the GOP’s fail­ure to pre­vent Barack Oba­ma’s reelec­tion in 2012, one of the more dark­ly amus­ing aspects of the pre­dictable GOP soul search­ing were the con­clu­sions of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tees par­ty “autop­sy”: the GOP is too sou­less. That’s not how they put it, but that was the basic gist of the “autop­sy” report. The par­ty was seen as mean, xeno­pho­bic, and hos­tile to those that weren’t straight fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­t­ian white vot­ers. In oth­er words, the GOP was get­ting a lit­tle to overt­ly white nation­al­ist-ish for non-white vot­ers to feel com­fort­able join­ing. And if you’re an oli­garch that relies on the GOP to secure pro-oli­garchy poli­cies, the tra­di­tion­al GOP ‘grand-bar­gain’, where the demands of tra­di­tion­al white social con­ser­v­a­tives are wed­ding to the needs of the Big Busi­ness oli­garchy, can become very bad for busi­ness if demo­graph­ic changes make a white nation­al­ist-Big Busi­ness par­ty polit­i­cal­ly unten­able.

    So what was the solu­tion to bring the par­ty back to elec­toral life? Become a more “inclu­sive” and com­pas­sion­ate par­ty, espe­cial­ly on poli­cies towards undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants, so the par­ty does­n’t end up find­ing itself in a demo­graph­ic tomb. That was basi­cal­ly it. Make a few con­ces­sions on hand­ful of issues near and dear to Lati­no vot­ers. That’s the path to a viable future for the GOP.

    Of course, that was also 2013. And as we now know, the GOP did indeed give itself makeover for the 2016 elec­tion. A makeover that, accord­ing to some, gives the par­ty a path to the future. A makeover that looks like Don­ald Trump in clown make­up, which has under­stand­ably prompt­ed a num­ber of observers to con­clude that Don­ald Trump has killed the GOP’s ‘autop­sy’. Or, rather, he smoth­ered the post-autop­sy kinder, gen­tler GOP while it was still in the crib.

    Well, as the arti­cle below points out, it’s not so much that Trump killed the kinder, gen­tler GOP of the future, so much as he got in front of the rest of the GOP which was try­ing to do the same thing:

    Politi­co

    Trump kills GOP autop­sy

    Repub­li­can elders drew up a blue­print for a kinder, more inclu­sive Repub­li­can par­ty. Trump is tear­ing it apart.

    By Kyle Cheney

    03/04/16 05:15 AM EST

    Reel­ing from a sec­ond straight loss to Barack Oba­ma, a flail­ing Repub­li­can Par­ty in 2013 found its cul­prit: Mitt Rom­ney’s cal­lous tone toward minori­ties. Instead of being doomed to irrel­e­vance in a chang­ing Amer­i­ca, the par­ty would rebrand as a kinder, more inclu­sive GOP. They called their find­ings an “autop­sy,” and par­ty lead­ers from Paul Ryan to Newt Gin­grich wel­comed it with fan­fare.

    But even then, Don­ald Trump was lurk­ing.

    “New @RNC report calls for embrac­ing ‘com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform,’” he wrote in a lit­tle-noticed tweet, nes­tled along­side digs at Mark Cuban and Antho­ny Wein­er on the day of the report’s release. “Does the @RNC have a death wish?”

    Pun­dits laughed it off as the buf­foon­ish ram­ble of a fringe New York bil­lion­aire on that March 2013 day, but what Trump didn’t say — and what the par­ty estab­lish­ment couldn’t have imag­ined — is that, three years lat­er, he would be the one on the verge of mak­ing that death wish come true. The bil­lion­aire has not only ignored the report’s con­clu­sions, he has run a cam­paign that moved the par­ty in the exact oppo­site direc­tion.

    Now, with Trump’s GOP takeover ful­ly under­way, inter­views with four co-authors of the 2012 autop­sy and 10 oth­er Repub­li­can lead­ers reveal a par­ty estab­lish­ment ter­ri­fied that Trump is not only repeat­ing the party’s fail­ures — he’s destroy­ing the par­ty in the process. And while the lead­ers con­tin­ue to insist that their report laid out the Repub­li­can Party’s best chance of vic­to­ry, they fear Trump’s dom­i­nance will tear the par­ty apart before they ever get a chance to put it in play.

    “Swing vot­ers would flock away from him in droves,” said Hen­ry Bar­bour, one of the autopsy’s authors. And as for Trump’s claim that his work­ing-class appeal­ing will bring back Rea­gan Democ­rats, the vet­er­an Mis­sis­sip­pi Repub­li­can oper­a­tive is unmoved: “He’s chas­ing some ghost that I don’t think exists any­more.”

    After mount­ing for months, ten­sion explod­ed Thurs­day with the return of Rom­ney him­self, who ripped Trump as a “fraud” and declared him anath­e­ma to what the Repub­li­can Par­ty aspired to be. It’s part of a last-ditch effort by Rom­ney, 2008 GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee John McCain and oth­er par­ty lead­ers to snatch the pri­ma­ry back from Trump before he rolls through to the gen­er­al elec­tion.

    But mem­bers of the GOP estab­lish­ment con­cede that they have lit­tle influ­ence over Trump, and have thus far been unable to exert much lever­age in their party’s pri­ma­ry: “The par­ty itself is less con­se­quen­tial than ever before, and since our shel­lack­ing in 2012, the trib­al dif­fer­ences are increas­ing­ly irrec­on­cil­able,” said for­mer Utah Gov. Jon Hunts­man. “If Trump pre­vails, he will have sin­gle-hand­ed­ly upend­ed the old Repub­li­can order and built a new move­ment in its place. The ques­tion then will be, is it sus­tain­able?”

    For GOP lead­ers, what’s so vex­ing about Trump’s cam­paign is that it’s a pho­to-neg­a­tive of every­thing the autop­sy said was need­ed to win a gen­er­al elec­tion.

    The report — the prod­uct of 2,600 inter­views with vot­ers, experts, par­ty offi­cials and busi­ness lead­ers, as well as a poll of His­pan­ic Repub­li­cans and an online sur­vey of 36,000 stake­hold­ers — was remark­able for its blunt crit­i­cism of Repub­li­can pol­i­tics. The par­ty, the report’s five authors argued, had become the realm of “stuffy old men” and spent too much time “talk­ing to itself” rather than engag­ing new vot­ers. Back­ing immi­gra­tion reform, the authors con­clud­ed, would be nec­es­sary to shed that image. “If we do not, our Party’s appeal will con­tin­ue to shrink to its core con­stituen­cies only,” the authors wrote.

    Trump trashed that advice on Day One and nev­er looked back. His cam­paign opened with a speech describ­ing undoc­u­ment­ed Mex­i­can immi­grants as rapists and mur­der­ers, which Trump fol­lowed with a call for a ban Mus­lims enter­ing the U.S. And just days ago, he went on nation­al tele­vi­sion and refused to con­demn the Ku Klux Klan. (He lat­er dis­avowed the group and sup­port from for­mer KKK grand wiz­ard David Duke, but his crit­ics say he has still been far too close to white suprema­cist groups and rhetoric.)

    Trump’s cam­paign declined to com­ment on the lessons of the GOP autop­sy. But the day after its release in 2013, he expand­ed on his cri­tique, deliv­er­ing a point­ed attack that pre­viewed a theme he’d deploy in his pri­ma­ry run. “.@RNC report was writ­ten by the rul­ing class of con­sul­tants who blew the elec­tion,” he tweet­ed. “Short on ideas. Just giv­ing excus­es to donors.”

    Trump insists his rise is an alter­na­tive path to grow­ing the GOP. “Why can’t the lead­ers of the Repub­li­can Par­ty see that I am bring­ing in new vot­ers by the mil­lions — we are cre­at­ing a larg­er, stronger par­ty!” he tweet­ed Wednes­day.

    And indeed, in the pri­ma­ry, Trump has defied his car­i­ca­ture as sole­ly the can­di­date of old, arch-con­ser­v­a­tive men — build­ing a coali­tion that stretch­es across the party’s ide­o­log­i­cal and demo­graph­ic fault lines.

    But that argu­ment hasn’t quelled the pan­ic among vet­er­an Repub­li­cans, who insist that regard­less of how far the strat­e­gy takes Trump, it’s ulti­mate­ly a dead end for the par­ty as a whole. Ari Fleis­ch­er, an autop­sy coau­thor and for­mer press sec­re­tary to Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, added that a Trump loss in Novem­ber would be val­i­da­tion for the autop­sy. “If Trump’s the nom­i­nee and he los­es spec­tac­u­lar­ly, I think you’ll actu­al­ly have a sto­ry that says we were right,” he said.

    “The fact remains, America’s demog­ra­phy is chang­ing and that won’t stop … So let’s just say Don­ald Trump wins the elec­tion because of his unique appeal to blue-col­lar Democ­rats. The report will be valid for his suc­ces­sor most like­ly,” Fleis­ch­er con­tin­ued. “Demo­graph­ics is demo­graph­ics, and what we said remains impor­tant.”

    Bar­bour was sim­i­lar­ly skep­ti­cal about the party’s fate if it dis­re­gard­ed the autopsy’s advice.

    “What we advo­cat­ed for is that the Repub­li­can Par­ty be the con­ser­v­a­tive par­ty, but that we be a wel­com­ing par­ty. That’s always going to be a good idea,” said Bar­bour. “Could we have advo­cat­ed more that Repub­li­cans need­ed to do a bet­ter job engag­ing with work­ing-class Amer­i­cans? Sure, absolute­ly. But, look, we tried to be very can­did in the report, and I think we tried to call a spade a spade.”

    It’s not just Trump. The rhetoric on immi­gra­tion, even from can­di­dates oth­er than Trump, has jolt­ed to the right. Ted Cruz recent­ly pledged to root out and deport undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants on a large scale after sug­gest­ing in Jan­u­ary that he’d take a soft­er approach. And Mar­co Rubio, who once embraced immi­gra­tion reform and embod­ied much of what the report rec­om­mend­ed the GOP become, is also run­ning on an anti-amnesty pro­gram — and pledg­ing to rescind Obama’s exec­u­tive orders on deferred depor­ta­tion for cer­tain undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants.

    And there’s anoth­er group the report tout­ed that has been large­ly reject­ed by the party’s vot­ers: gov­er­nors.

    The autop­sy described Repub­li­can gov­er­nors as mod­els for inclu­sive pol­i­tics, point­ing to their sweep­ing vic­to­ries in 2010. But pri­ma­ry vot­ers have proven that their appetite for gov­er­nors — and for strik­ing a deal on immi­gra­tion reform — is vir­tu­al­ly nonex­is­tent. Of the sev­en cur­rent and for­mer Repub­li­can gov­er­nors who ran for pres­i­dent this cycle, only Ohio Gov. John Kasich remains, and he’s dra­mat­i­cal­ly behind in the race.

    If the autop­sy proves prophet­ic and the par­ty los­es big in 2016, some fear the cur­rent Repub­li­can coali­tion won’t get anoth­er chance to act on the report’s advice.

    A Trump pri­ma­ry win “would pre­cip­i­tate the breakup of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. I wouldn’t be a part of it and a lot of peo­ple I know wouldn’t be a part of it,” said Pete Wehn­er, an aide to the last three Repub­li­can pres­i­dents. “It would take decades to undo it, poten­tial­ly. The Repub­li­can Par­ty is becom­ing rede­fined by Trump, and the ques­tion is, Can we jerk it back?”

    One RNC leader even sug­gest­ed the par­ty’s destruc­tion is already under­way.

    “The 2012 autop­sy is just what you called it — a case study on the dead rather than a clin­i­cal review for lessons to be learned with pre­ven­tive mea­sures out­lined for healing/averting future cas­es of the dis­ease which caused our demise,” said Ada Fish­er, a com­mit­tee­woman from North Car­oli­na. “A rebel­lion is at hand. Bernie Sanders and Don­ald Trump both reflect this new direc­tion.”

    ...

    Some in the estab­lish­ment are so dis­mayed at what Trump means that they’re open­ly mus­ing that a Trump loss in Novem­ber would be poten­tial step for­ward for the par­ty, forc­ing Repub­li­cans to accept the con­clu­sions of the 2012 autop­sy.

    “I’m not pre­pared to say it would be ‘bet­ter’ for the par­ty to lose, only that it might has­ten a mod­ern­iza­tion that I think is already a cou­ple elec­tion cycles over­due,” said Fer­gus Cullen, for­mer chair­man of the New Hamp­shire Repub­li­can Par­ty, who said he would­n’t sup­port Trump under any cir­cum­stances. “Some­times, it takes mul­ti­ple defeats before a major­i­ty of a par­ty real­izes it needs to adapt to chang­ing times in order to stay rel­e­vant. Half the par­ty seems stuck in 1980.”

    “The Repub­li­can Par­ty has to make its own inner peace with the chang­ing demo­graph­ics in Amer­i­ca,” added Wehn­er. “If it runs against His­pan­ics and oth­er minori­ties, that ulti­mate­ly can’t be sus­tained.”

    Where some oper­a­tives fore­saw doom for the par­ty, oth­ers described oppor­tu­ni­ty. Trump may not speak from the same play­book as Repub­li­can insid­ers, they argue, but he’s bring­ing new ener­gy to a par­ty des­per­ate for it.

    “I reject that the the­sis that Trump is nec­es­sar­i­ly divi­sive in the long term. He is divi­sive in the GOP pri­ma­ry large­ly because he is chal­leng­ing the sta­tus quo of both the con­sult­ing and gov­ern­ing class­es,” said Jesse Ben­ton, a long­time aide to Ron and Rand Paul. “But as this cam­paign moves for­ward, I think it will be up to exist­ing lead­ers to get over it and work togeth­er with Mr. Trump to grow what appears to be a bur­geon­ing move­ment and make sure that it has a pos­i­tive, not neg­a­tive, tone. For exam­ple, they must stress that no one is mad at Lati­nos. The Trump move­ment must do due dili­gence to show that they embrace Lati­nos.”

    Tim Albrecht, an Iowa based Repub­li­can PR con­sul­tant and for­mer advis­er to Gov. Ter­ry Branstad, sug­gest­ed Repub­li­cans at all lev­els could ben­e­fit if the par­ty can “har­ness the pas­sion” of Trump vot­ers and turn them into into straight-tick­et GOP vot­ers.

    Some oper­a­tives argued that the par­ty itself is at fault for fail­ing to con­nect with vot­ers the way Trump has, that lead­ers should learn from his abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate a per­sua­sive mes­sage to grass-roots vot­ers and speak the lan­guage of ordi­nary Amer­i­cans.

    “We need­ed to find a bet­ter mes­sage,” said Bar­ry Ben­nett, for­mer cam­paign man­ag­er to Ben Car­son who has infor­mal­ly offered advice to Trump. “As Repub­li­cans, we always have the incli­na­tion to fight the last cycle’s wars all over again. We need to be bet­ter at lis­ten­ing. Only then will we get bet­ter at talk­ing.”

    Trump, Ben­nett added, is bring­ing new vot­ers into the GOP fold, even if they’re not the ones the par­ty envi­sioned. “He is mak­ing the tent larg­er, which is the goal,” he said.

    Fish­er, the North Car­oli­na com­mit­tee­woman, said it’s for that rea­son that par­ty lead­ers should embrace Trump if he becomes the GOP nom­i­nee.

    “I spend a lot of time in beauty/barbershops, on the block and where ordi­nary peo­ple are,” she said. “They like Trump and his in-your-face style. He is viewed as stick­ing it to ’em. If Trump becomes the nom­i­nee then we should accept it and help him win and become a great pres­i­dent. In no case should the par­ty ever hope to lose.”

    “A Trump pri­ma­ry win “would pre­cip­i­tate the breakup of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. I wouldn’t be a part of it and a lot of peo­ple I know wouldn’t be a part of it,” said Pete Wehn­er, an aide to the last three Repub­li­can pres­i­dents. “It would take decades to undo it, poten­tial­ly. The Repub­li­can Par­ty is becom­ing rede­fined by Trump, and the ques­tion is, Can we jerk it back?””
    Trump is going to send that GOP into the polit­i­cal desert for decades to come. That’s is the fear being expressed by a num­ber of GOP insid­ers. But as we also saw, it’s a rather curi­ous fear since Trump is hard­ly the only GOP­er who saw the post-autop­sy kinder, gen­tler GOP as DOA. Almost the entire par­ty was against the plan, includ­ing the vot­ers:

    ...
    It’s not just Trump. The rhetoric on immi­gra­tion, even from can­di­dates oth­er than Trump, has jolt­ed to the right. Ted Cruz recent­ly pledged to root out and deport undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants on a large scale after sug­gest­ing in Jan­u­ary that he’d take a soft­er approach. And Mar­co Rubio, who once embraced immi­gra­tion reform and embod­ied much of what the report rec­om­mend­ed the GOP become, is also run­ning on an anti-amnesty pro­gram — and pledg­ing to rescind Obama’s exec­u­tive orders on deferred depor­ta­tion for cer­tain undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants.

    And there’s anoth­er group the report tout­ed that has been large­ly reject­ed by the party’s vot­ers: gov­er­nors.

    The autop­sy described Repub­li­can gov­er­nors as mod­els for inclu­sive pol­i­tics, point­ing to their sweep­ing vic­to­ries in 2010. But pri­ma­ry vot­ers have proven that their appetite for gov­er­nors — and for strik­ing a deal on immi­gra­tion reform — is vir­tu­al­ly nonex­is­tent. Of the sev­en cur­rent and for­mer Repub­li­can gov­er­nors who ran for pres­i­dent this cycle, only Ohio Gov. John Kasich remains, and he’s dra­mat­i­cal­ly behind in the race.

    ...

    As we can see, Trump isn’t killing the future of the GOP. He’s mere­ly lead­ing a rit­u­al sac­ri­fice with many par­tic­i­pants.

    And it’s not a rit­u­al done in despair with no hope for the future. It’s a sum­mon­ing rit­u­al and it’s intend­ed bring forth a new GOP too. Just not the one the authors of the ‘autop­sy’ report had in mind:

    ...
    Trump insists his rise is an alter­na­tive path to grow­ing the GOP. “Why can’t the lead­ers of the Repub­li­can Par­ty see that I am bring­ing in new vot­ers by the mil­lions — we are cre­at­ing a larg­er, stronger par­ty!” he tweet­ed Wednes­day.
    ...

    The Don­ald does have a point. For instance, if you’re an overt white nation­al­ist who prefers can­di­dates that overt­ly express white nation­al­ist sen­ti­ments and open­ly flirts with fig­ures like David Duke, a Trumpian GOP real­ly is going to be more wel­com­ing. Sure, such vot­ers are large­ly in the GOP’s pock­et any­way, but not all of them and they may not be inclined for vote for mere dog whis­tles. Trump is col­laps­ing and expand­ing and the GOP tent the GOP ‘Big Tent’ simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. And if Trump can lead this rein­vig­o­rat­ed white nation­al­ist ‘Big Tent’ to elec­toral suc­cess, the long-term demo­graph­ic trends that threat­en the GOP may no longer be a prob­lem. That’s of course, assum­ing the Trumpian white nation­al­ist revolt some­how leads to sig­nif­i­cant­ly few non-white Amer­i­cans:

    Media Mat­ters

    White Nation­al­ist Group Head­ed By “Peace­ful Eth­nic Cleans­ing” Leader Hold­ing Pro-Trump Con­fer­ence In D.C.

    Blog ››› March 3, 2016 2:02 PM EST ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    The Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute, a white nation­al­ist “think tank,” is hold­ing an event focused on Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump at the Ronald Rea­gan Build­ing and Inter­na­tion­al Trade Cen­ter in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. on March 5.

    In a report about the event from WUSA 9 (Wash­ing­ton, D.C.‘s CBS affil­i­ate), Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute pres­i­dent Richard Spencer said Trump is a fig­ure “ener­giz­ing” the white nation­al­ist move­ment, not­ing, “He’s fight­ing for us. He’s say­ing we’re going to be great again. We’re going to win again. And there’s this implic­it iden­ti­ty to this. There’s this implic­it nation­al­ism.” He added, “I think he’s evok­ing a lot of feel­ings amongst peo­ple, and I think implic­it in what Don­ald Trump is doing is a con­cep­tion of Amer­i­ca as a Euro­pean coun­try.”

    Trump’s cam­paign has faced crit­i­cism for the can­di­date’s fail­ure to con­demn the Ku Klux Klan in an inter­view with CNN after for­mer KKK Grand Wiz­ard David Duke endorsed Trump, as well as its deci­sion to give press cre­den­tials to a pro-Con­fed­er­ate white nation­al­ist radio show. Trump’s can­di­da­cy has ener­gized the white nation­al­ist move­ment and put their ideas “firm­ly in the main­stream.”

    Spencer told WUSA of Trump’s han­dling of Duke: “He nev­er said ‘I con­demn this.’ He nev­er said any of that. He said I dis­avow. And I think that’s what he should say. The fact is Don­ald Trump is Don­ald Trump. He does not need to answer for David Duke.”

    Accord­ing to the Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute’s (NPI) web­site, the event will con­sist of three address­es: “Trump and ‘Gen­er­a­tion Alt Right’,” “The Trump Phe­nom­e­non and the Implic­it White Revolt,” and “Break­ing Through To The Oth­er Side.”

    The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter (SPLC) iden­ti­fies Spencer as “one of the coun­try’s most suc­cess­ful young white nation­al­ist lead­ers –a suit-and-tie ver­sion of the white suprema­cists of old, a kind of pro­fes­sion­al racist in khakis.”

    Spencer has called for “peace­ful eth­nic cleans­ing” and described Mar­tin Luther King Jr. as “a fraud and degen­er­ate in his life” who “has become the sym­bol and cyno­sure of White Dis­pos­ses­sion and the decon­struc­tion of Occi­den­tal civ­i­liza­tion.” He also described immi­gra­tion as “a kind a proxy war — and maybe a last stand — for White Amer­i­cans, who are under­go­ing a painful recog­ni­tion that, unless dra­mat­ic action is tak­en, their grand­chil­dren will live in a coun­try that is alien and hos­tile.”

    The SPLC wrote that NPI was estab­lished with the mis­sion “to ele­vate the con­scious­ness of whites, ensure our bio­log­i­cal and cul­tur­al con­ti­nu­ity, and pro­tect our civ­il rights.” The group has opposed affir­ma­tive action and advo­cat­ed “mass depor­ta­tion” as a “viable solu­tion to Amer­i­ca’s ille­gal immi­gra­tion cri­sis.”

    ...

    Yep, Richard Spencer, a lead­ing “Alt Right” fig­ure and a guy who advo­cates the cre­ation of a sep­a­rate whites-only “eth­no-state”, is so excit­ed about the prospects of a Trump pres­i­den­cy that his think-tank’s con­fer­ence is ded­i­cat­ed to Trump. And if we did have some sort of “peace­ful eth­nic cleans­ing” or a not so peace­ful eth­nic cleans­ing, boy could that do won­ders for the GOP’s future! No demo­graph­ic cri­sis there! Ok, you still might need to imple­ment Richard Spencer’s eugen­ics poli­cies, but it’s not like a white Amer­i­can is impos­si­ble. It mere­ly requires killing the post-Civ­il Right Amer­i­ca and sum­mon­ing an ear­li­er incar­na­tion. So while try­ing to cre­ate a kinder, gen­tler GOP that appeals more to minori­ties might seem like the only pos­si­ble path for the GOP going for­ward if the par­ty is going to avoid some sort of demo­graph­ic obliv­ion, there’s anoth­er path: the mass depor­ta­tion of non-whites and ban­ning of new non-white immi­grants. Indef­i­nite­ly. And while the Trump plat­form isn’t quite there yet, it’s where his sup­port­ers like Richard Spencer are and it’s the log­i­cal con­clu­sion that to the white nation­al­ist path Trump has put for­ward as a post-autop­sy alter­na­tive.

    Who knows what the odds of suc­cess are if the GOP and the broad­er Amer­i­can oli­garchy decide to head down that path, but con­sid­er­ing that it’s the path the GOP is cur­rent­ly trav­el­ing and prob­a­bly would still be trav­el­ing on even if Trump nev­er got in the race, the GOP had bet­ter hope those odds are good. Every­one else should prob­a­bly hope oth­er­wise.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 5, 2016, 5:55 pm
  19. Josh Mar­shall had a recent post on the rise of the Trump phe­nom­e­na with one of the more chill­ing obser­va­tions of this polit­i­cal sea­son: “a large por­tion of the GOP is not sat­is­fied with what can real­is­ti­cal­ly be achieved by con­ven­tion­al polit­i­cal means”:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Edi­tor’s Blog

    The Great Betray­al

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished March 7, 2016, 12:40 PM EST

    There’s a point I want­ed to address about the GOP pri­maries and the Trump phe­nom­e­non that con­nects up with my piece this morn­ing (“Lust for Destruc­tion”) and anear­li­er post on the GOP implo­sion and the con­cept of ‘tech­ni­cal debt’. I was lis­ten­ing to a CPAC round­table late last week (tele­vised, I was­n’t there) where the pan­elists, includ­ing The Week­ly Stan­dard­’s Fred Barnes, dis­cussed the basic divi­sion in the GOP today: between peo­ple who feel the par­ty estab­lish­ment has betrayed them and those who do not.

    I could dig up polls that sub­stan­ti­ate this. But there’s abun­dant pub­lic opin­ion data con­firm­ing this divi­sion. The only sur­prise is how abrupt­ly and destruc­tive­ly it’s played out in this pri­ma­ry process. But it is worth unpack­ing just what this means. We can do a deep inter­pre­ta­tion that places this sense of betray­al in the declin­ing eco­nom­ic prospects for many mid­dle class Repub­li­can vot­ers or the broad­er cli­mate of eth­nic and cul­tur­al trans­for­ma­tion in the coun­try. But at least nom­i­nal­ly it’s not about either one of those things.

    The betray­al is that the GOP promised it would destroy Oba­ma’s pres­i­den­cy (end it in 2012, defang it before and after) and turn back the var­i­ous things he’s done to dam­age the coun­try and ‘trans­form’ it. But let’s remem­ber that Repub­li­cans played a high stakes game of brinks­man­ship in 2011, threat­en­ing to default on the nation­al debt if Pres­i­dent Oba­ma did­n’t com­ply with var­i­ous demands, an event total­ly with­out prece­dent in more than two cen­turies of Amer­i­can his­to­ry. There was the Cruz gov­ern­ment shut­down in 2013 to attempt to force yet anoth­er show­down over Oba­macare. There was the suc­cess­ful effort to kill immi­gra­tion reform in 2013. There’s the cur­rent refusal to even receive the Pres­i­den­t’s nom­i­na­tion to fill a Supreme Court vacan­cy, at the begin­ning of the fourth year of his term — again, total­ly unprece­dent­ed in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. (We had ser­i­al rejec­tions in the mid-19th cen­tu­ry, nev­er a refusal even to con­sid­er a nom­i­na­tion.) And these are only some of the most high stakes exam­ples.

    I’ve nev­er been ter­ri­bly impressed when peo­ple note Mitch McConnel­l’s ear­ly dec­la­ra­tion that his pri­ma­ry goal in oppo­si­tion was to ensure that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma was a one term pres­i­dent. That’s almost always an oppo­si­tion lead­er’s goal — the dif­fer­ence was that he said it out loud and how far he proved will­ing to take it. But by almost any objec­tive stan­dard, con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans have tak­en a long list of either rare or total­ly unprece­dent­ed actions to fight Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. And they’ve accom­plished a fair amount — thought large­ly in neg­a­tive terms — by doing so. This is the con­text for half the part feel­ing “betrayed” by the par­ty estab­lish­ment that opt­ed for a get along and go along with Pres­i­dent Oba­ma.

    This was also, of course, the back­drop to the last intra-GOP blow-up before the pri­maries real­ly got under­way: the over­throw of Speak­er John Boehn­er. He resigned some­what on his own terms. But it was large­ly a mat­ter of choos­ing his moment to jump. The move to over­throw Boehn­er was large­ly dri­ven by the belief that with Boehn­er out of the way, the far right fac­tion of the par­ty (about half the GOP) would final­ly get a clean shot at Oba­ma. No more pussy-foot­ing around, no more betray­als, no more chick­en­ing out at the last minute just when the shut­down was start­ing to work.

    You can say all sorts of things about these folks being crazy, or extrem­ists or what­ev­er else. But set aside all these eval­u­a­tive or par­ti­san inter­pre­ta­tions and one thing is fair­ly clear in objec­tive terms: a large por­tion of the GOP is not sat­is­fied with what can real­is­ti­cal­ly be achieved by con­ven­tion­al polit­i­cal means. One might even add here work­ing with allies on the Supreme Court to come close to over­turn­ing Oba­macare on what were extreme­ly flim­sy grounds. Yes, it’s a bum­mer to take over the House and lat­ter the Sen­ate and still have Oba­macare. But as long as you have a rel­a­tive­ly pop­u­lar Pres­i­dent with a veto pen, that’s life. You need to elect a pres­i­dent too.

    As I not­ed at the end of last month, some of this is a prod­uct of “hate debt” and “non­sense debt” — build­ing up wild­ly unre­al­is­tic expec­ta­tions by over-promis­ing and trad­ing in an increas­ing­ly apoc­a­lyp­tic polit­i­cal rhetoric. But it’s not all that. Some­thing this pow­er­ful, as we’ve dis­cussed, isn’t just ginned up by polit­i­cal lead­ers. It runs much deep­er. But again, the over­reach­ing point is impor­tant: The nar­ra­tive of ‘betray­al’ — at this vol­ume and inten­si­ty — only makes sense if you are deal­ing with a chunk of the elec­torate with expec­ta­tions that are deeply unre­al­is­tic in the con­text of con­ven­tion­al polit­i­cal action.

    That is a volatile sit­u­a­tion when you’re talk­ing about at least a quar­ter of the nation­al elec­torate.

    That gets you Trump. It also gets you Ted Cruz. And it may get you worse still.

    “As I not­ed at the end of last month, some of this is a prod­uct of “hate debt” and “non­sense debt” — build­ing up wild­ly unre­al­is­tic expec­ta­tions by over-promis­ing and trad­ing in an increas­ing­ly apoc­a­lyp­tic polit­i­cal rhetoric. But it’s not all that. Some­thing this pow­er­ful, as we’ve dis­cussed, isn’t just ginned up by polit­i­cal lead­ers. It runs much deep­er. But again, the over­reach­ing point is impor­tant: The nar­ra­tive of ‘betray­al’ — at this vol­ume and inten­si­ty — only makes sense if you are deal­ing with a chunk of the elec­torate with expec­ta­tions that are deeply unre­al­is­tic in the con­text of con­ven­tion­al polit­i­cal action.
    Yep, you can’t explain the rise of Trump just in terms of the “hate debt” and “non­sense debt” that the GOP has built over the course of the Oba­ma pres­i­den­cy. Because such “debt” would be worth­less if you did­n’t simul­ta­ne­ous­ly have an elec­torate that sim­ply does­n’t seem to under­stand how the US polit­i­cal sys­tem works and what can actu­al­ly be accom­plished when you have one par­ty in the White House and the oth­er par­ty con­trol­ling con­gress.

    As Josh notes, when some­thing like a quar­ter of the elec­torate sim­ply does not have a real­is­tic expec­ta­tion of how the US polit­i­cal sys­tem works, that’s the kind of zeit­geist that gets you a Trump, Ted Cruz, or worse.

    So, with that in mind, it’s worth not­ing that Roger Stone, Trump’s long-time polit­i­cal advis­er, was recent­ly mak­ing some rather huge promis­es to the Alex Jones fans at the recent event in Austin: Once elect­ed, Trump is blow­ing the doors open on all the stuff Alex Jones talks about:

    Media Mat­ters
    Roger Stone Sells Him­self As Trump’s Inside Man To Gath­er­ing Of Con­spir­a­cy The­o­rists

    Blog ››› March 1, 2016 11:32 AM EST ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    At a book sign­ing in Austin, Texas, polit­i­cal “dirty trick­ster” Roger Stone sold him­self to a group of con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists as a con­duit to the cam­paign of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump.

    On Feb­ru­ary 27, a packed house came to see Stone talk about his offi­cial and unof­fi­cial involve­ment with Trump’s cam­paign and pro­mote his books Jeb! and the Bush Crime Fam­i­ly and The Clin­tons’ War On Women (which is ded­i­cat­ed to an anti-Semit­ic Holo­caust denier).

    The event was held at Brave New Books, a con­spir­a­cy-friend­ly book­store that ped­dles — along­side sev­er­al of Stone’s books and Flouride Fil­tra­tion Sys­tems — books with titles like 9/11 Syn­thet­ic Ter­ror: Made in USA and Alien Agen­da: Inves­ti­gat­ing The Extrater­res­tri­al Pres­ence Among Us. Brave New Books also hosts a week­ly “Con­spir­a­cy Com­e­dy Open Mic” and has pro­mot­ed mul­ti­ple 9–11 con­spir­a­cy books with in-store events.

    Also in atten­dance was Stone’s co-author Robert Mor­row, who has pub­lished bizarre sex­u­al writ­ings about the Clin­ton fam­i­ly and has wished death on Sec­re­tary Clin­ton.<

    The night kicked off with an intro­duc­tion by radio host Alex Jones, arguably the lead­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist in Amer­i­ca (Infowars.com, his web­site, called him “one of the very first found­ing fathers of the 9–11 Truth Move­ment”), who was recent­ly praised by Trump for his “amaz­ing” rep­u­ta­tion. Stone, who is a fre­quent pres­ence on Jones’ show, appeared late last week for an extend­ed inter­view on Jones’ pro­gram.

    Dur­ing his speech, Jones praised Trump for oppos­ing the “glob­al­ist agen­da” — reit­er­at­ing a pre­vi­ous claim that Trump’s call to audit the Fed­er­al Reserve was evi­dence of his sup­port of the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry move­ment — and described Stone as “the true Trump insid­er” work­ing to expose the “great mighty Oz.”

    In his pre­sen­ta­tion, Stone pro­mot­ed an array of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, rehash­ing the unsup­port­ed claims in his books that the Clin­tons have cov­ered up sex­u­al crimes, some­times with the aid of the Bush fam­i­ly. Stone also claimed that Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush had a role in the assas­si­na­tion attempt on Ronald Rea­gan in 1981, and that Lyn­don John­son was involved in the Kennedy assas­si­na­tion.

    Stone also dis­cussed the recent con­tro­ver­sy between him and CNN. The net­work recent­ly released a state­ment say­ing Stone would “no longer appear” on the net­work in response to a series of incen­di­ary tweets he had sent about cur­rent and for­mer net­work per­son­al­i­ties. Stone called polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor Ana Navar­ro an “enti­tled diva bitch” and “pompous shit­head,” while also describ­ing for­mer CNN ana­lyst Roland Mar­tin as a “stu­pid negro” and “fat negro.” Stone has also made sim­i­lar com­ments about oth­er media per­son­al­i­ties.

    In his speech, Stone was unapolo­getic. He claimed he had appeared on CNN only “three” times in the past 18 months, a false­hood he has repeat­ed sev­er­al times since being banned by the net­work. In real­i­ty, Stone appeared on the net­work 22 times between August of 2015 and last week, accord­ing to Nex­is.

    ...

    Stone float­ed the the­o­ry that Repub­li­can insid­ers like Mitt Rom­ney might mount an effort at the Repub­li­can Con­ven­tion to deny Trump the nom­i­na­tion, and that he has assem­bled a team of polit­i­cal oper­a­tives in order to com­bat them. He then pro­mot­ed the web­site StopTheSteal.org, which sends read­ers to a dona­tion page for Stone’s pro-Trump super PAC.

    The ques­tion and answer ses­sion was large­ly focused on the Trump cam­paign, with the audi­ence prob­ing Stone for hints as to what Trump tru­ly believes and what he would do on issues of impor­tance to con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists if elect­ed pres­i­dent.

    One audi­ence mem­ber asked Stone why Trump had not yet ful­ly embraced the 9–11 attacks con­spir­a­cies, fail­ing to use his promi­nent posi­tion in nation­al media to raise the affil­i­at­ed issues. The ques­tion­er also not­ed that as some­one whose orga­ni­za­tion has con­struct­ed build­ings, Trump “knows that [World Trade Cen­ter Build­ing 7] was wired for demo­li­tion.” (Con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists have for years clung to the con­spir­a­cy that World Trade 7 was felled by explo­sives, in light of copi­ous evi­dence to the con­trary.)

    The audi­ence mem­ber added, “But at a debate he says, ‘well Jeb’s a nice guy he’s just got low ener­gy.’ No, he’s a crim­i­nal and he needs to be pros­e­cut­ed for trea­son, and why isn’t Don­ald Trump say­ing that now before they kill him?”

    In response, Stone declared it “an excel­lent ques­tion,” and said Trump “would have gone to the next lev­el with Jeb,” but Bush left the race.

    A sec­ond ques­tion­er chimed in and gave a ram­bling response agree­ing with the 9–11 con­spir­a­cies, lament­ing that a “par­tic­u­lar nation has a tremen­dous stran­gle­hold over our sys­tem of gov­ern­ment, our mon­e­tary sys­tem, and our media,” and rais­ing con­cerns about how Ron Paul’s 2012 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign was man­aged.

    Stone respond­ed by explain­ing that as a polit­i­cal strate­gist, he thinks Trump rais­ing major ques­tions like those brought up by the audi­ence “might make us feel good, it might ulti­mate­ly get us jus­tice, it would not help him get elect­ed. I would rather see him raise those ques­tions after he has the pow­er.”

    “Stone respond­ed by explain­ing that as a polit­i­cal strate­gist, he thinks Trump rais­ing major ques­tions like those brought up by the audi­ence “might make us feel good, it might ulti­mate­ly get us jus­tice, it would not help him get elect­ed. I would rather see him raise those ques­tions after he has the pow­er.””
    That’s right, if Trump wins, the far-right con­spir­a­cy mon­ger indus­try that’s been build­ing up a nar­ra­tive for decades could become the overt world­view of White House. At least, that’s assum­ing Trump lives up to the expec­ta­tions Roger Stone is estab­lish­ing for him to the con­spir­a­cy com­mu­ni­ty.

    And sure, Trump will prob­a­bly dis­ap­point these vot­ers by not going quite as far as they would pre­fer. But keep in mind that, of all the var­i­ous promis­ing Don­ald Trump has made to vot­ers to com­plete­ly trans­form the Unit­ed States, the trans­for­ma­tion of the White House into one where Alex Jone’s world­view becomes part of the offi­cial admin­is­tra­tion “brand” is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est trans­for­ma­tion to achieve. It would just involve Trump, well, being Trump.

    Of course, if Trump wins the White House that prob­a­bly means it retains con­trol of the House and Sen­ate too in which case all those bold GOP promis­es of trans­form­ing Amer­i­ca (elim­i­nat­ing Oba­macare, gut­ting the social safe­ty-net, etc) real­ly can sort of hap­pen. Sure there are the obvi­ous right-wing good­ies that can be done, like gut­ting social pro­grams, restrict­ing abor­tions, kick­ing the poor and bash­ing gays, etc. That can all hap­pen with a GOP sweep.

    But those are also the kind of polit­i­cal red meat that will appeal heav­i­ly to the GOP’s tra­di­tion­al base but may not have all that much res­o­nance with the new vot­ers Trump is bring­ing into the par­ty. And the par­al­lel promis­es of an econ­o­my that actu­al­ly makes the lives of aver­age GOP vot­ers bet­ter only grows more remote the more polit­i­cal pow­er the GOP obtains. Any promis­es of actu­al pros­per­i­ty would be large­ly unachiev­able.

    That’s all part of why, if Don­ald Trump does indeed end up lead­ing the GOP to a sweep in Novem­ber and the par­ty gets the pow­er it needs to achieve its full destruc­tive poten­tial, it’s going to be very inter­est­ing to see how exact­ly the par­ty decides to cre­ate actu­al pos­i­tive ben­e­fits for the elec­torate that extends beyond the tra­di­tion­al social con­ser­v­a­tive red meat. Because, again, the par­ty can promise death, destruc­tion and pros­per­i­ty, but it can only actu­al­ly deliv­er on the death and destruc­tion part unless you’re real­ly rich. That’s just how GOP-o-nomics works. Even if Pres­i­dent Trump round­ed up and deport­ed every last undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grant, that’s not going to do a lot of good to low-wage Amer­i­can work­ers see­ing the gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions and safe­ty-net shred­ded. And the promis­es of pros­per­i­ty are poten­tial­ly a pret­ty impor­tant aspect of the GOP’s sell­ing point for vot­ers that are dri­ven to can­di­dates like Trump in part because they’ve found them­selves falling through the grow­ing socioe­co­nom­ic cracks and see him as their last chance for decent liv­ing. At the same time, a Trump pres­i­den­cy the a GOP-con­trolled con­gress would be a fab­u­lous chance for the GOP to sort of “rebrand” itself in a way that expands its appeal the poten­tial Trumpian-vot­ers in the future.

    So, should the GOP take total pow­er and unleash its full destruc­tive poten­tial on the nation, some­thing oth­er than the stan­dard right-wing polit­i­cal red-meat is going to have to be offered as a pos­i­tive achieve­ment if the GOP wants to keep its new­ly expand­ed Trump coali­tion. Some­thing pos­i­tive for both the tra­di­tion­al GOP base and those new vot­ers. And that’s why you have to won­der if the Alex Jones-ifi­ca­tion of the White House is going to be seen as a pos­si­ble pos­i­tive achieve­ment for both the new Trump vot­ers and tra­di­tion­al GOP base by hav­ing the pres­i­dent cater to every last right-wing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry of the last few decades in the high­ly entertaining/zany man­ner that’s become Trumps brand.

    Sure, Trump might attempt to main­tain a polit­i­cal­ly ‘safe’ dis­tance from folks like Jones once he’s in office. But since this is Don­ald Trump and the mod­ern GOP we’re talk­ing about here, who knows, maybe embrac­ing Alex Jones to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly pla­cate the new Trumpian vot­er while pay­ing back all that “hate and non­sense debt” with the tra­di­tion­al base is part of the GOP’s near future. It makes about as much sense as any­thing else we’ve seen.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 9, 2016, 8:12 pm
  20. Glenn Beck issued a stark warn­ing to his fol­low­ers a few weeks ago after at: Don­ald Trump is groom­ing Brown­shirts. Now, nor­mal­ly we can ignore Beck­’s ram­blings as large­ly divorced from real­i­ty, espe­cial­ly when he’s mak­ing Brown­shirt com­par­isons. But in this case, it’s actu­al­ly kind of hard to dis­agree with Beck. *shud­der*:

    Inside Edi­tion

    Trump Sup­port­er Who Punched Pro­test­er: ‘Next Time, We Might Have To Kill Him’

    by Inside Edi­tion 3:42 PM EST, March 10, 2016

    The Trump sup­port­er who was filmed suck­er punch­ing a pro­test­er dur­ing Wednesday’s ral­ly in North Car­oli­na said: “Next time, we might have to kill him.”

    Mul­ti­ple videos show the pro­test­er, 26-year-old Rakeem Jones, rais­ing a mid­dle fin­ger to the crowd as secu­ri­ty escort­ed him from the ral­ly — before the unnamed sup­port­er punched him to the ground.

    INSIDE EDITION tracked down the sup­port­er, 78-year-old John McGraw, who was unre­pen­tant.

    When asked if he liked the ral­ly, he said: “You bet I liked it. Knock­ing the hell out of that big mouth.”

    And when asked why he punched the pro­test­er, he said: “Num­ber one, we don’t know if he’s ISIS. We don’t know who he is, but we know he’s not act­ing like an Amer­i­can, cussing me... If he wants it laid out, I laid it out.”

    He added: “Yes, he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him. We don’t know who he is. He might be with a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion.”

    On Thurs­day, offi­cials arrest­ed and charged McGraw with assault and bat­tery and dis­or­der­ly con­duct, accord­ing to the Cum­ber­land Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office.

    Jones told INSIDE EDITION on Thurs­day morn­ing that his left eye still hurts from the punch and he remains con­fused about why he was being tak­en out by secu­ri­ty in the first place.

    He added that he does­n’t regret going to the ral­ly for the GOP fron­trun­ner.

    “Don­ald Trump prob­a­bly does­n’t care about what hap­pened. He is already onto the next thing,” he said. “If I can go to anoth­er [Trump] ral­ly, I would go if I can.”

    ...

    “Don­ald Trump prob­a­bly does­n’t care about what hap­pened. He is already onto the next thing...”
    While that’s an under­stand­able sen­ti­ment from the guy who just got suck­er punched, you can’t say Trump does­n’t care about what hap­pened. Trump made it very clear that he cares. He cares about see­ing more inci­dents just like it:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trump On Vio­lence Against Pro­tes­tors: ‘We Need A Lit­tle Bit More’ Of That

    By Kather­ine Krueger
    Pub­lished March 11, 2016, 10:30 AM EST

    Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial fron­trun­ner defend­ed his sup­port­ers’ right to “hit back” at cam­paign event pro­test­ers in a Fri­day press con­fer­ence where he received Ben Car­son­’s endorse­ment.

    Trump remarks came the day after John McGraw, 78, was crim­i­nal­ly charged for alleged­ly suck­er-punch­ing a black pro­test­er at a Trump ral­ly in North Car­oli­na Wednes­day evening.

    Asked if he’s “play­ing a char­ac­ter” when he says things like “I want to punch a pro­test­er in the face,” Trump respond­ed there have been “some vio­lent peo­ple” protest­ing his ral­lies.

    “These are peo­ple that punch. Peo­ple that are vio­lent peo­ple,” Trump said. “The par­tic­u­lar one where I said ‘I’d like to bang him,’ that was a very vicious – a guy who was swing­ing, very loud, and then start­ed swing­ing at the audi­ence.”

    He con­tin­ued: “You know what? The audi­ence swung back. And I thought it was very, very appro­pri­ate. He was swing­ing. He was hit­ting peo­ple. And the audi­ence hit back. And that’s what we need a lit­tle bit more of.”

    ...

    Trump seemed to be ref­er­enc­ing an an inci­dent at a ral­ly in Las Vegas late last month, when he remarked “I’d like to punch him in the face, I tell ya” as a pro­test­er was being removed.

    “You know what I hate? There’s a guy total­ly dis­rup­tive, throw­ing punch­es, we’re not allowed to punch back any­more. I love the ol’ days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be car­ried out on a stretch­er, folks,” he told the crowd.

    The Repub­li­can also called the pro­test­er “nasty as hell,” but CNN report­ed the man did not appear to be fight­ing the secu­ri­ty offi­cers escort­ing him out of the venue.

    “You know what? The audi­ence swung back. And I thought it was very, very appro­pri­ate. He was swing­ing. He was hit­ting peo­ple. And the audi­ence hit back. And that’s what we need a lit­tle bit more of.”
    That’s right, Don­ald Trump isn’t just encour­ag­ing vio­lence against pro­tes­tors like he was doing before. He’s now open­ly endors­ing vio­lence at his ral­lies after the fact.

    So the ques­tion still remains: Will Trump start pay­ing the legal fees for his ral­ly audi­ences? But as the arti­cle below points out, John McGraw’s legal fees may not be the only fees Trump ends up pay­ing since his cam­paign is poten­tial­ly liable too:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Trump once said he would pay legal fees for peo­ple who beat up pro­test­ers. Now that it’s hap­pened, can he?

    By Philip Bump March 10 at 4:00 PM

    At a ral­ly on the day of the Iowa cau­cus­es this year, Don­ald Trump told the audi­ence that he’d been warned about pro­test­ers with toma­toes in the audi­ence.

    “So if you see some­body get­ting ready to throw a toma­to, knock the crap out of ’em, would you? Seri­ous­ly. Okay? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise.”

    Lat­er the month, as a pro­test­er was being led out of anoth­er ral­ly, Trump lament­ed that he was­n’t clos­er. “I’d like to punch him in the face, I tell ya,” he said.

    On Wednes­day, as you’ve like­ly heard, some­one at a Trump ral­ly decid­ed to act in Trump’s stead. Trump had again com­plained about the pro­test­ers, say­ing that “in the good old days this didn’t used to hap­pen, because they used to treat them very rough,” accord­ing to the Atlantic’s David Gra­ham. So, John McGraw, 78, slipped up a row of seats to the aisle where some pro­test­ers were being led out. With­out warn­ing, he appar­ent­ly threw a punch.

    McGraw was arrest­ed for assault and bat­tery. Which rais­es two ques­tions: First, will Trump hon­or his pledge to pay legal fees? And sec­ond, can he, legal­ly?

    We sent an email to the Trump cam­paign to ask whether or not the cam­paign would pay McGraw’s fees. We have not yet received a response and, frankly, aren’t real­ly expect­ing one. But it may actu­al­ly not mat­ter.

    Jim Sut­ton, an elec­tion law attor­ney in Cal­i­for­nia who’s been prac­tic­ing for 25 years, described the sce­nario as “the out­er bounds of cam­paign law” — but not nec­es­sar­i­ly some­thing for which there isn’t guid­ance.

    Sut­ton notes that there’s prece­dent for a cam­paign being liable for an injury suf­fered by a pro­test­er at a cam­paign event. At an inau­gu­ra­tion event for for­mer Cal­i­for­nia gov­er­nor Pete Wil­son ®, a pro­test­er sued after being injured by event atten­dees. The cost of those injuries end­ed up in the lap of the cam­paign com­mit­tee — the legal enti­ty that holds a cam­paign’s mon­ey — and its insur­er.

    What’s more, Sut­ton expects Rakeem Jones, the vic­tim of the attack, to sue. “Look, they’re not going to just sue the per­son who hit them,” Sut­ton said. “They’re obvi­ous­ly going to sue the Trump cam­paign. If for no oth­er rea­son, that’s where they assume the mon­ey is and because they’re mad at the can­di­date and might want to embar­rass him.”

    “Because there’s poten­tial legal lia­bil­i­ty for the cam­paign, then for the cam­paign to say, ‘I’m also going to pay the legal fees for this indi­vid­ual’ — I would say that prob­a­bly does pass legal muster,” Sut­ton said, “because it’s part-and-par­cel of the com­mit­tee’s lia­bil­i­ty.” The cam­paign would pay if it were an employ­ee that were sued, for exam­ple. Or, for that mat­ter, an inde­pen­dent con­trac­tor. Or, for that mat­ter a vol­un­teer.

    “This is the next step out,” Sut­ton said, “an attendee. That is push­ing the bound­aries ... but I think it’s pos­si­ble that it pass­es legal muster to the extent that the com­mit­tee also faces legal lia­bil­i­ty for the actions of that ral­ly sup­port­er.”

    Inter­est­ing­ly, if Trump him­self want­ed to pay the legal fees, he’d like­ly have to report that as a con­tri­bu­tion to his cam­paign since those fees are “an expense for the pur­pos­es of pro­mot­ing the cam­paign,” in Sut­ton’s esti­ma­tion. He analo­gized to the mon­ey giv­en to John Edwards dur­ing the 2008 elec­tion cycle to pay off Edward­s’s mis­tress. Edwards was indict­ed for vio­lat­ing cam­paign finance law for not report­ing the mon­ey as a con­tri­bu­tion. This is a very dif­fer­ent side of that very weird coin.

    But all of this is sim­ply Sut­ton’s best guess. “This is into the arcane cor­ri­dors of cam­paign laws and how terms are defined,” Sut­ton said. The law “cer­tain­ly did­n’t envi­sion this type of thing.”

    ...

    “Because there’s poten­tial legal lia­bil­i­ty for the cam­paign, then for the cam­paign to say, ‘I’m also going to pay the legal fees for this indi­vid­ual’ — I would say that prob­a­bly does pass legal muster...because it’s part-and-par­cel of the com­mit­tee’s lia­bil­i­ty.”
    Well, so it’s looks like Trump might be liable, but we don’t real­ly know because the egging on vio­lent mob dynam­ics by can­di­dates isn’t some­thing the law has real­ly had to address before:

    ...
    But all of this is sim­ply Sut­ton’s best guess. “This is into the arcane cor­ri­dors of cam­paign laws and how terms are defined,” Sut­ton said. The law “cer­tain­ly did­n’t envi­sion this type of thing.”
    ...

    Yes, the Trump phe­nom­e­na is now break­ing the polit­i­cal and legal mold. This time vio­lent­ly.

    Sad­ly, we can’t say this was unex­pect­ed. But what should be high­ly unex­pect­ed is the appro­pri­ate use of a Nazi anal­o­gy by Glenn Beck. That just does­n’t hap­pen. And yet, this is where we are.

    No one ever said the break­down of civil­i­ty would­n’t get weird. Vio­lent, yes, but not Glenn-Beck-was-right weird.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 11, 2016, 4:06 pm
  21. It was always clear that a Trump pres­i­den­cy was going to be some­what unortho­dox, at least in style. But if the fol­low­ing arti­cle is accu­rate, Trump’s plans are even more unortho­dox than almost any­one could have imag­ined: When Trump’s cam­paign was try­ing to recruit Ohio Gov­er­nor John Kasich for the VP slot, he report­ed­ly offered to make Kasich the most pow­er­ful VP in his­to­ry by putting Kasich in charge of for­eign and domes­tic pol­i­cy:

    The New York Times Mag­a­zine

    How Don­ald Trump Picked His Run­ning Mate

    By ROBERT DRAPER
    JULY 20, 2016

    One day this past May, Don­ald Trump’s eldest son, Don­ald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior advis­er to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who left the pres­i­den­tial race just a few weeks before. As a can­di­date, Kasich declared in March that Trump was “real­ly not pre­pared to be pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States,” and the fol­low­ing month he took the high­ly unusu­al step of coor­di­nat­ing with his rival Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz in an effort to deny Trump the nom­i­na­tion. But accord­ing to the Kasich advis­er (who spoke only under the con­di­tion that he not be named), Don­ald Jr. want­ed to make him an offer nonethe­less: Did he have any inter­est in being the most pow­er­ful vice pres­i­dent in his­to­ry?

    When Kasich’s advis­er asked how this would be the case, Don­ald Jr. explained that his father’s vice pres­i­dent would be in charge of domes­tic and for­eign pol­i­cy.

    Then what, the advis­er asked, would Trump be in charge of?

    “Mak­ing Amer­i­ca great again” was the casu­al reply.

    Ulti­mate­ly, Trump chose Gov. Mike Pence of Indi­ana, not Kasich, to be his run­ning mate. (Nei­ther Don­ald Jr. nor oth­er rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Trump cam­paign replied to mul­ti­ple requests for com­ment for this arti­cle on Tues­day.) About this, both much and lit­tle can be made. On one hand, vot­ers do not seem to care all that much about who the No. 2 is when they go to the polls. On the oth­er, how a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date goes about pick­ing that per­son offers an ear­ly look at the nominee’s exec­u­tive style. In Trump’s case — based on the rec­ol­lec­tion of over half a dozen oper­a­tives and elect­ed offi­cials work­ing with both the Trump cam­paign and poten­tial run­ning mates Trump con­sid­ered — the win­now­ing of his ini­tial wish list reveals a dis­tinct blend of prac­ti­cal­i­ty, impetu­ous­ness and dis­en­gage­ment.

    ...

    “When Kasich’s advis­er asked how this would be the case, Don­ald Jr. explained that his father’s vice pres­i­dent would be in charge of domes­tic and for­eign pol­i­cy.”

    That’s, uh, a pret­ty big job for the vice pres­i­dent: for­eign and domes­tic pol­i­cy. And what will Don­ald do as pres­i­dent? “Make Amer­i­ca Great Again”, pre­sum­ably in ways that don’t involve shap­ing for­eign or domes­tic pol­i­cy. You almost have to won­der if this leak is intend­ed to add to the Rorschach nature of Trump’s can­di­da­cy by sug­gest­ing to vot­ers wary of Trump’s bom­bas­tic demeanor that he would­n’t actu­al­ly be allowed to break things. Either way, it will be inter­est­ing to see if some ver­sion of this offer was made to Mike Pence because, based on a com­par­i­son of con­gres­sion­al vot­ing records, Mike Pence is the most con­ser­v­a­tive vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee in mod­ern his­to­ry. that’s the kind of vice pres­i­dent that could break a lot of things when he’s put in charge of for­eign and domes­tic pol­i­cy.

    You also have to won­der if Trump’s alleged offer to Kasich sug­gest­ed that Trump him­self is plan­ning on spend­ing the pres­i­den­cy basi­cal­ly doing real­i­ty TV shows or some oth­er sort of self-pro­mo­tion­al puffery as part of a “Make Amer­i­ca Great Again” exec­u­tive branch ini­tia­tive and tru­ly leav­ing almost all the details to some­one else. The ol’ Trump-and-Dump. That does seem pos­si­ble.

    But if the fol­low­ing inter­view of Chris Christie accu­rate­ly reflects Trump’s plans, there is anoth­er task that could keep Pres­i­dent Trump occu­pied while Vice Pres­i­dent Pence runs the exec­u­tive branch: fir­ing gov­ern­ment employ­ees and recruit­ing busi­ness­peo­ple to work part-time as their replace­ments (while keep­ing their jobs in pri­vate sec­tor). If that sounds more than a lit­tle fascis­tic, well, this is a Trump admin­is­tra­tion we’re talk­ing about, after all:

    Reuters

    Exclu­sive: Trump could seek new law to purge gov­ern­ment of Oba­ma appointees

    CLEVELAND | By Emi­ly Flit­ter
    Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:21am EDT

    If he wins the pres­i­den­cy, Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump would seek to purge the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment of offi­cials appoint­ed by Demo­c­ra­t­ic Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and could ask Con­gress to pass leg­is­la­tion mak­ing it eas­i­er to fire pub­lic work­ers, Trump ally, Chris Christie, said on Tues­day.

    Christie, who is gov­er­nor of New Jer­sey and leads Trump’s White House tran­si­tion team, said the cam­paign was draw­ing up a list of fed­er­al gov­ern­ment employ­ees to fire if Trump defeats Demo­c­ra­t­ic rival Hillary Clin­ton in the Nov. 8 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

    “As you know from his oth­er career, Don­ald likes to fire peo­ple,” Christie told a closed-door meet­ing with dozens of donors at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Cleve­land, accord­ing to an audio record­ing obtained by Reuters and two par­tic­i­pants in the meet­ing.

    Christie was refer­ring to Trump’s star­ring role in the long-run­ning tele­vi­sion show “The Appren­tice,” where his catch-phrase was “You’re fired!”

    The Trump cam­paign did not respond to requests for com­ment.

    Trump’s tran­si­tion advis­ers fear that Oba­ma may con­vert these appointees to civ­il ser­vants, who have more job secu­ri­ty than offi­cials who have been polit­i­cal­ly appoint­ed. This would allow offi­cials to keep their jobs in a new, pos­si­bly Repub­li­can, admin­is­tra­tion, Christie said.

    “It’s called bur­row­ing,” Christie said. “You take them from the polit­i­cal appointee side into the civ­il ser­vice side, in order to try to set up ... road­blocks for your suc­ces­sor, kind of like when all the Clin­ton peo­ple took all the Ws off the key­board when George Bush was com­ing into the White House.”

    Christie was refer­ring to pranks com­mit­ted dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion from Bill Clin­ton to George W. Bush in 2001. Dur­ing that peri­od, some White House staffers removed the W key on com­put­er key­boards and left deroga­to­ry signs and stick­ers in offices, accord­ing to a report by the Gen­er­al Account­ing Office, an inves­tiga­tive arm of Con­gress.

    “One of the things I have sug­gest­ed to Don­ald is that we have to imme­di­ate­ly ask the Repub­li­can Con­gress to change the civ­il ser­vice laws. Because if they do, it will make it a lot eas­i­er to fire those peo­ple,” Christie said.

    He said fir­ing civ­il ser­vants was “cum­ber­some” and “time-con­sum­ing.”

    ...

    Christie also told the gath­er­ing that chang­ing the lead­er­ship of the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, long a tar­get of Repub­li­cans con­cerned about over reg­u­la­tion, would be a top pri­or­i­ty for Trump should he win in Novem­ber.

    Trump has pre­vi­ous­ly vowed to elim­i­nate the EPA and roll back some of Amer­i­ca’s most ambi­tious envi­ron­men­tal poli­cies, actions that he says would revive the U.S. oil and coal indus­tries and bol­ster nation­al secu­ri­ty.

    Christie added that the Trump team wants to let busi­ness­peo­ple serve in gov­ern­ment part time with­out hav­ing to give up their jobs in the pri­vate sec­tor. Trump fre­quent­ly says he is bet­ter equipped to be pres­i­dent because of his busi­ness expe­ri­ence.

    Although Christie was repeat­ed­ly asked dur­ing the meet­ing, he declined to name any poten­tial Cab­i­net picks. He said Trump was not ready to do that yet.

    “Christie added that the Trump team wants to let busi­ness­peo­ple serve in gov­ern­ment part time with­out hav­ing to give up their jobs in the pri­vate sec­tor. Trump fre­quent­ly says he is bet­ter equipped to be pres­i­dent because of his busi­ness expe­ri­ence.”

    It looks like lus­tra­tion isn’t just for Ukraine. So long ‘revolv­ing door’! When busi­ness­es get to send their paid employ­ees to staff the agen­cies than reg­u­late them, there’s basi­cal­ly no need for a revolv­ing door between the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors. And it’s pret­ty much going to have to be Trump cronies and the busi­ness fill­ing all those fed­er­al jobs since no one is going to want to be a ded­i­cat­ed fed­er­al employ­ee in gen­er­al after Pres­i­dent Trump gets done demo­niz­ing them and gut­ting their work­er pro­tec­tions (and then fir­ing half of them).

    So as we can see, Trump’s plans for del­e­gat­ing pow­ers appar­ent­ly isn’t lim­it­ed to mak­ing the vice pres­i­dent the chief pol­i­cy archi­tect. Once he gets done gut­ting the fed­er­al employ­ment rolls and replac­ing key per­son­el with cor­po­rate shills, a whole lot of pow­er is going to be wield­ed direct­ly by the cor­po­ra­tions employ­ing the busi­ness­peo­ple cho­sen for their “part-time” work. A mas­sive con­cen­tra­tion of vice pres­i­den­tial pow­er cou­pled with a dif­fuse han­dover of gov­ern­ment pow­er in gen­er­al direct­ly over to Trump’s bud­dies in the busi­ness sec­tor.

    What’s Trump him­self going to do after del­e­gat­ing away so many pow­ers? Make Amer­i­ca great again, sure, but how? Maybe he’ll wres­tle Putin for glo­ry. Or maybe not. He’s pre­sum­ably still retain­ing his Com­man­der in Chief respon­si­bil­i­ties so he might just be plan­ning on get­ting occu­pied with WWIII right away. Who knows. It’s all part of the “Make Amer­i­ca Great Again” fun mys­tery. We don’t get to know what his vision of “great­ness” entails oth­er than build­ing a “big beau­ti­ful wall” and gener­i­cal­ly “win­ning”.

    But now, thanks to these reports that his vice pres­i­dent is going to be Trump’s brain when it comes to pol­i­cy, we have a bet­ter under­stand­ing of why Trump has been so vague about what needs to hap­pen to “Make Amer­i­ca Great Again”: his vision appears to cen­ter around hand­ing the reigns of pow­er over to the GOP (via Vice Pres­i­dent Pence) and over to the busi­ness sec­tor (via the new “part-time” fed­er­al employ­ees), and allow­ing those twin forces of the GOP and the busi­ness elites to just impose what­ev­er their vision of Great­ness is on the nation. Because don’t for­get, unlike with Hillary Clin­ton, if Trump wins, his par­ty will like­ly have con­trol of both hous­es of con­gress too. So if Vice Pres­i­dent Pence and Trump’s busi­ness cronies decide to pur­sue an agen­da that would make the George W. Bush admin­is­tra­tion blush, guess what, that will actu­al­ly hap­pen. All of it. The whole agen­da.

    You have to admit it’s a pret­ty great vision. Assum­ing you’re a Trump crony.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 20, 2016, 12:15 pm
  22. The Illi­nois Repub­li­can del­e­gate just removed one its del­e­gates over her Face­book post­ings this week. It turns out she’s an open white suprema­cist. So was she removed for being an open white suprema­cist? Nope. She was actu­al­ly pro­filed by the Chica­go Tri­bune back in May about the open white suprema­cists join­ing the Illi­nois Trump del­e­ga­tion. No, she was removed for advo­cat­ing vio­lence against Black Lives Mat­ter pro­tes­tors (while also using racial slurs, of course, but it’s very unclear that part played a role in her removal):

    Chica­go Tri­bune

    Illi­nois Repub­li­cans remove Trump del­e­gate with ‘whitepride’ social media han­dle

    Rick Pear­son
    July 21, 2016, 10:32 AM, Cleve­land

    The Illi­nois Repub­li­can Par­ty on Wednes­day revoked the cre­den­tials of a Don­ald Trump del­e­gate from Chica­go who has used a social media han­dle of “whitepride” for “pub­licly made racist com­ments and threats of vio­lence.”

    Lori Gayne, an elect­ed Trump del­e­gate from the city and west sub­ur­ban 5th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, was stripped of her Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion del­e­gate cre­den­tials, state GOP Chair­man Tim Schnei­der said.

    “The Illi­nois Repub­li­can Par­ty has zero tol­er­ance for racism of any kind and threats of vio­lence against any­one,” Schnei­der said in a state­ment.

    “Let me be unequiv­o­cal­ly clear, racism and threats of vio­lence have absolute­ly no place in the Illi­nois Repub­li­can Par­ty or in a civ­il and inclu­sive soci­ety,” he said.

    GOP offi­cials said Gayne post­ed some­thing on Face­book on the open­ing day of the con­ven­tion that includ­ed a pho­to sug­gest­ing law enforce­ment offi­cers were pre­pared to shoot African-Amer­i­can pro­test­ers and used a racial slur.

    In May, a Tri­bune pro­file of Trump del­e­gates elect­ed in the March 15 pri­ma­ry revealed that Gayne used the han­dle “whitepride” on social media.

    “With all the racism going on today, I’m very proud to be white. Just like black peo­ple are proud to be black and now, as white peo­ple, when­ev­er we say some­thing crit­i­cal we’re pun­ished as if we’re racists. I’m tired of it. I’m very proud,” Gayne said then in an inter­view.

    “I’m so angry I don’t even feel like I live in Amer­i­ca. You can call me a racist. Black Lives Mat­ter? Those peo­ple are out of con­trol,” she said.

    ...

    State Rep. John Cabel­lo, R‑Machesney Park, co-chair of the Illi­nois del­e­ga­tion and a major Trump sup­port­er, said he sup­port­ed free speech but said Gayne had crossed the bounds to be a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Illi­nois Repub­li­cans.

    “I don’t believe her voice is one we want in the par­ty,” Cabel­lo said.

    “In May, a Tri­bune pro­file of Trump del­e­gates elect­ed in the March 15 pri­ma­ry revealed that Gayne used the han­dle “whitepride” on social media.”

    That’s right, the Illi­nois GOP del­e­ga­tion decid­ed to keep Lori “whitepride” Gayne even after the Chica­go Tri­bune pro­file of as one of the many open white suprema­cists Trump del­e­gates but decid­ed to remove her now because she crossed the line by post­ing pro-vio­lence posts on Face­book. Ok, well, at least the Illi­nois del­e­ga­tion has stan­dards. They might be stan­dards that embraces open white suprema­cists, but now we know where the line is with the Illi­nois GOP. At least for Trump del­e­gates.

    Where that line is when it comes to flir­ta­tions with vio­lence from the Trump cam­paign itself, how­ev­er, remains an unfor­tu­nate­ly open ques­tion:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Edi­tor’s Blog

    The Trump Cam­paign is Now Wink-Wink­ing Calls to Mur­der Clin­ton

    By Josh Mar­shall

    Pub­lished July 20, 2016, 5:48 PM EDT

    As our reporters on the ground in Cleve­land are telling us, the “lock her up” theme of the Cleve­land con­ven­tion is per­va­sive. Signs, T‑shirts, mem­o­ra­bil­ia — it’s per­va­sive. It’s not just a chant on the con­ven­tion floor. The cam­paign isn’t just com­fort­able with it. They’re active­ly push­ing it. We not­ed ear­li­er that a New Hamp­shire Trump del­e­gate, who’s also a Trump advi­sor on vet­er­ans issue has just said Clin­ton should be “shot for trea­son.” He’s now being inves­ti­gat­ed by the Secret Ser­vice for threat­en­ing the for­mer First Lady and Sec­re­tary of State’s life.

    But there’s a part of this sto­ry that’s been over­shad­owed by the shock­ing nature of what Al Bal­dasaro said. That’s the response from the Trump cam­paign. In response to Bal­dasaro’s attack, Trump Cam­paign spokes­woman Hope Hicks said: “We’re incred­i­bly grate­ful for his sup­port, but we don’t agree with his com­ments.”

    I’m not sure why no one has ref­er­enced this. But this is the kind of state­ment one usu­al­ly hears about a pol­i­cy dis­agree­ment rather than a demand to mur­der the oppos­ing par­ty’s nom­i­nee.

    Calls for vio­lence or the killing of a polit­i­cal oppo­nent usu­al­ly spurs the oth­er can­di­date to total­ly dis­avow the per­son in ques­tion. Frankly, it’s a pret­ty new thing for a promi­nent sup­port­er of a promi­nent politi­cian to call for killing oppos­ing can­di­dates at all. But the Trump cam­paign is still “incred­i­bly grate­ful his sup­port” even though “we don’t agree” that Clin­ton should be shot.

    This too is not nor­mal.

    Maybe you did­n’t notice her state­ment until now. I assure you Trump’s more rabid sup­port­ers have — or at least noticed the con­spic­u­ous lack of any clear denun­ci­a­tion.

    Do I think peo­ple on the Trump cam­paign real­ly want to see Clin­ton injured or killed? No, I do not. But I do think they believe that excit­ing a cli­mate of agi­tat­ed griev­ance, mil­i­tant anger and aggres­sion helps them gal­va­nize, gain and inten­si­fy sup­port. On one and three they’re like­ly right. Just as impor­tant­ly, they clear­ly believe that any clear denun­ci­a­tion of the grow­ing cho­rus of angry and occa­sion­al­ly vio­lent threats would demor­al­ize and dis­heart­en a key part of their base. Trump’s brand is dom­i­nance and sub­mis­sion. Provo­ca­tion is his call­ing card. Call­ing a pause on their more febrile sup­port­ers would sim­ply be off brand and would be hard to clear­ly dif­fer­en­ti­ate in kind from the cam­paign-endorsed demand for her incar­cer­a­tion.

    I’m not sure I’ve seen a bet­ter exam­ple of the wink-wink atti­tude of the Trump cam­paign — here not just Trump’s impul­sive retorts but the cam­paign appa­ra­tus itself — to things that used to get peo­ple total­ly writ­ten out of the world of legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course. I’m work­ing on a piece about how the biggest lega­cy of the Trump cam­paign — assum­ing he isn’t elect­ed pres­i­dent — is the re-nor­mal­iza­tion of racism and anti-semi­tism in Amer­i­can polit­i­cal life. This is anoth­er part of the same sto­ry. We’ve already dis­cussed the numer­ous ways Trump has embraced the stylings, poli­cies and speech of a would-be auto­crat. He’s now mov­ing on to the kinds of banana repub­lic pol­i­tick­ing where the cost of polit­i­cal defeat is impris­on­ment or death or even a legit­i­mate form of ‘activism’ in advance of the bal­lot.

    ...

    “I’m not sure I’ve seen a bet­ter exam­ple of the wink-wink atti­tude of the Trump cam­paign — here not just Trump’s impul­sive retorts but the cam­paign appa­ra­tus itself — to things that used to get peo­ple total­ly writ­ten out of the world of legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course. I’m work­ing on a piece about how the biggest lega­cy of the Trump cam­paign — assum­ing he isn’t elect­ed pres­i­dent — is the re-nor­mal­iza­tion of racism and anti-semi­tism in Amer­i­can polit­i­cal life. This is anoth­er part of the same sto­ry. We’ve already dis­cussed the numer­ous ways Trump has embraced the stylings, poli­cies and speech of a would-be auto­crat. He’s now mov­ing on to the kinds of banana repub­lic pol­i­tick­ing where the cost of polit­i­cal defeat is impris­on­ment or death or even a legit­i­mate form of ‘activism’ in advance of the bal­lot.

    Well that’s pret­ty shock­ing. Oh wait, nev­er mind, it used to be shock­ing but is now what we should expect. That’s unfor­tu­nate. And shock­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 21, 2016, 2:26 pm
  23. Louisiana’s con­gres­sion­al races are now open for reg­is­tra­tion and the can­di­dates are flood­ing in. Espe­cial­ly for Louisiana’s Sen­ate seat being vacat­ed by Sen­a­tor David Vit­ter this year, with over 21 can­di­dates so far. So with that in mind, check out who just threw his hood into the ring:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    For­mer KKK leader David Duke, cit­ing Trump, announces Sen­ate bid

    By Elise Viebeck
    July 22 at 2:35 PM

    For­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke on Fri­day announced he will run for U.S. Sen­ate, link­ing his deci­sion to Don­ald Trump’s bid for the pres­i­den­cy.

    Duke, a strong sup­port­er of Trump, said he was “over­joyed” to see the businessman’s cam­paign “embrace most of the issues that I’ve cham­pi­oned for years,” includ­ing the nation­al­ist and pro­tec­tion­ist notion of “Amer­i­ca First.”

    The for­mer KKK grand mas­ter made the announce­ment one day after Trump offi­cial­ly claimed the Repub­li­can White House nom­i­na­tion.

    “We must stop the mas­sive immi­gra­tion and eth­nic cleans­ing of peo­ple whose fore­fa­thers cre­at­ed Amer­i­ca,” Duke said in a video post­ed to his web­site.

    Duke for­mer­ly rep­re­sent­ed sub­ur­ban New Orleans in the state­house between 1989 and 1993 and pre­vi­ous­ly ran unsuc­cess­ful­ly for Con­gress and the Louisiana gov­er­nor­ship. In Decem­ber 2002 he plead­ed guilty to felony fraud and tax eva­sion charges and was sen­tenced to 15 months in fed­er­al prison in April 2003. He was released after a year.

    If elect­ed, Duke would replace Sen. David Vit­ter (R‑La.), who is not seek­ing re-elec­tion after los­ing his bid for the gov­er­nor­ship last year. Duke is one of nine Repub­li­cans run­ning for the seat in a field of 23 can­di­dates that includes Reps. Charles W. Bous­tany Jr. (R‑La.) and John Flem­ing (R‑La.).

    “There are a lot of strong con­ser­v­a­tive can­di­dates in the race, but he remains a vis­i­ble per­son with name recog­ni­tion around the coun­try,” Louisiana State Uni­ver­si­ty polit­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­fes­sor Mar­tin John­son said in an inter­view. “In that sense, maybe he peaks his head above the pack.”

    At the same time, Louisiana vot­ers might hes­i­tate, giv­en Duke’s racial views, “even if there are ele­ments of his mes­sage that res­onate with them.”

    “Good­ness gra­cious, the guy is a Holo­caust denier,” John­son said. “He is hard to sup­port and he should be.”

    Duke said his goal is to rep­re­sent what he described as white inter­ests.

    “Thou­sands of spe­cial inter­est groups stand up for African Amer­i­cans, Mex­i­can Amer­i­cans, Jew­ish Amer­i­cans, etc. etc. The fact is that Euro­pean Amer­i­cans need at least one man in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate — one man in the Con­gress — who will defend their rights and her­itage,” Duke said.

    The announce­ment makes Duke a high-pro­file char­ac­ter in the unfold­ing dra­ma of an elec­tion sea­son defined by racial ani­mos­i­ty. Trump, who has repeat­ed­ly paint­ed undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants as a threat to America’s safe­ty and has strong­ly defend­ed law enforce­ment, is run­ning amid con­tin­u­ing episodes of lethal vio­lence by police against African Amer­i­cans.

    One recent episode took place in Baton Rouge, which left 37-year-old Alton Ster­ling, a black man, dead after an encounter with police offi­cers. Days lat­er, three police offi­cers were shot and killed in what inves­ti­ga­tors describe as an ambush by a black man who tar­get­ed them. Two of the offi­cers killed were white; one was black.

    Duke did not specif­i­cal­ly address the events in his home state on Fri­day, though they have been fre­quent top­ics for him on Twit­ter, where he has rough­ly 12,500 fol­low­ers.

    “I believe it’s time we start talk­ing about the real­i­ty of ter­ror­ism linked to Black rad­i­cals,” Duke tweet­ed July 17 after news broke about the police shoot­ings in Baton Rouge. “How is this any dif­fer­ent than ISIS?”

    The cam­paign is like­ly to raise fur­ther ques­tions for Trump, who ear­li­er this year false­ly claimed he knew noth­ing about Duke before lat­er dis­avow­ing him. The equiv­o­ca­tion drew a rebuke from House Speak­er Paul D. Ryan (R‑Wis.), who said dis­cus­sion of white suprema­cy should prompt “no eva­sion” from a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

    “If Don­ald Trump is vague or mixed about Duke’s can­di­da­cy, it is pos­si­ble that a lot of vot­ers will make an asso­ci­a­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly on the anti-immi­grant mes­sage,” John­son said.

    Duke’s can­di­da­cy could also reawak­en past con­tro­ver­sy for House Major­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise (R‑La.), who acknowl­edged in Decem­ber 2014 that he spoke to a white suprema­cist group found­ed by Duke in 2002. Scalise denied being involved with the group, but was wide­ly crit­i­cized for the speech.

    ...

    ““There are a lot of strong con­ser­v­a­tive can­di­dates in the race, but he remains a vis­i­ble per­son with name recog­ni­tion around the coun­try,” Louisiana State Uni­ver­si­ty polit­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­fes­sor Mar­tin John­son said in an inter­view. “In that sense, maybe he peaks his head above the pack.””

    Wow, so the KKK guy peaks his head above the pack at this point in the race in part because of his name recog­ni­tion but also because there are so many oth­er can­di­dates. That sounds eeri­ly famil­iar.

    And now we get to find out if David Duke’s sale pitch can work in a Trumpian media envi­ron­ment. And that’s not guar­an­teed, in part because Duke is almost using a Trumpian sales pitch that he alone can stand up for the white guy, but it’s a pitch that does­n’t real­ly make sense giv­en the real­i­ty of Trump:

    ...
    “Thou­sands of spe­cial inter­est groups stand up for African Amer­i­cans, Mex­i­can Amer­i­cans, Jew­ish Amer­i­cans, etc. etc. The fact is that Euro­pean Amer­i­cans need at least one man in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate — one man in the Con­gress — who will defend their rights and her­itage,” Duke said.
    ...

    LOL. Yes, there isn’t one per­son is stand­ing up for the white guy in the US Con­gress (He must have checked out of nation­al pol­i­tics fol­low­ing his guber­na­to­r­i­al run).

    Although it is true that there’s a dearth of open big­ots in Con­gress fight­ing for the poor white guy since the GOP is the par­ty of plu­to­crats and poor con­ser­v­a­tive whites have sim­ply been vot­ing against their eco­nom­ic self-inter­ests for decades in exchange for the promise of social con­ser­vatism. So there is a poten­tial open­ing for some­one like Duke sim­i­lar to the one Trump exploit­ed, which is part of why it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how close­ly Duke’s eco­nom­ic mes­sage fol­lows to Trump mod­el of using immi­grant-bash­ing as simul­ta­ne­ous play towards pop­ulist eco­nom­ics and anti-minor­i­ty sen­ti­ments. Don’t for­get that the one of the key lessons of the Trump phe­nom­e­na is that the nativist ele­ment of GOP base does­n’t actu­al­ly agree with the GOP’s long-time agen­da of slash­ing gov­ern­ment pro­grams and enti­tle­ments. The nativist base mere­ly wants that pub­lic spend­ing slashed for non-whites. And the only way to real­ly thread that nee­dle is by basi­cal­ly cre­at­ing eth­ni­cal­ly homo­ge­neous states which is clear­ly the next log­i­cal step for the Trump move­ment to take. Between ban­ning Mus­lims and deport­ing undoc­u­ment­ed Lati­nos the Trump agen­da is clear­ly dog-whistling a white sep­a­ratist tune. And that’s David Duke’s tune.

    So now that Trump has suc­cess­ful­ly used David Duke-like rhetoric and tac­tics to help lock­up the GOP nom­i­na­tion, David Duke can now use that updat­ed Trumpian mod­el to pro­mote him­self too. Although if Duke does man­age to ride the Trump train to even a top-tier fin­ish in the Sen­ate race, which would be a pret­ty big accom­plish­ment, he won’t just have Don­ald Trump to thank. It will be more a of a team effort:

    Time

    GOP Shows White Supremacist’s Tweet Dur­ing Trump’s Speech

    Sam Frizell / Cleve­land

    7/22/2016 1:34 AM ET

    The Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion dis­played a tweet by a white-suprema­cist account dur­ing Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­na­tion accep­tance speech on Thurs­day night.

    The tweet, writ­ten by the account @Western_Triumph, appeared on four large screens in the Quick­en Loans Are­na Repub­li­can after the halfway mark dur­ing Don­ald Trump’s accep­tance speech on Thurs­day night. It was one of a series of tweets by Twit­ter users that appeared in the hall that were curat­ed by the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion.

    The tweet cit­ed a line from Trump’s speech accept­ing the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion.

    “Tonight I’m with you, I will fight for you, and I will WIN for you!”-Donald J TrumpIt’s time to start WINNING again!#Trump­IsWith­Y­ou— West­ern Tri­umph (@Western_Triumph) July 22, 2016

    @Western_Triumph’s Twit­ter bio includes a series of white suprema­cist slo­gans as hash­tags, includ­ing “#AltRight,” “#ProWhite,” and “#Rac­e­Re­al­ist.” In oth­er tweets, the account’s author advo­cates for apartheid and race seg­re­ga­tion among oth­er racist mes­sages.

    Detroit­Birm­ing­ham­Bal­ti­moreetcProof is clear: Whites build things, and blacks destroy them.Hence.....Africa. https://t.co/7y0CqIrkbo— West­ern Tri­umph (@Western_Triumph) July 10, 2016

    The Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for com­ment.

    Trump has been accused for tac­it­ly encour­ag­ing racism on the Inter­net and among his fol­low­ers. He declined sev­er­al times last year to dis­avow the endorse­ment of David Duke, the for­mer grand wiz­ard of the Ku Klux Klan.

    Last year, Trump retweet­ed incor­rect sta­tis­tics that sug­gest­ed blacks were respon­si­ble for 81% of white homi­cide vic­tims. In June, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee retweet­ed an image that had first appeared on a white suprema­cist web­site and includ­ed a Jew­ish star, along with Hillary Clinton’s face and the words “Most Cor­rupt Can­di­date Ever” super­im­posed on a pile of mon­ey.

    The tweet by @Western_Triumph was one of a series of tweets the RNC showed dur­ing Trump’s remarks in which he accept­ed the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion.

    This is run­ning on the tweet screen loop here at #RNC­in­CLE check out the account. pic.twitter.com/9kgpzBLrlK— Andy Aplikows­ki (@AAARF) July 22, 2016

    It’s not the first sna­fu the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion has made with its Twit­ter screen. The par­ty also dis­played dur­ing the con­ven­tion pro­ceed­ings on Mon­day a tweet by the white-suprema­cist group VDARE.

    That’s right–that’s VDARE on the tweet-tick­er inside the GOP con­ven­tion hall in Cleve­land. Up next: Ricky Vaughn. pic.twitter.com/VJ4os8r3DF— Jeff B/DDHQ (@EsotericCD) July 20, 2016

    ...

    “The tweet, writ­ten by the account @Western_Triumph, appeared on four large screens in the Quick­en Loans Are­na Repub­li­can after the halfway mark dur­ing Don­ald Trump’s accep­tance speech on Thurs­day night. It was one of a series of tweets by Twit­ter users that appeared in the hall that were curat­ed by the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion.

    That was the RNC’s curat­ed tweet dis­played across the are­na after the halfway mark of Trump’s accep­tance speech. At least Trump him­self was­n’t respon­si­ble for the white suprema­cist retweet. This time.

    All in all, it’s obvi­ous­ly a pret­ty good year for anoth­er David Duke run. The zeit­geist is cer­tain­ly in his favor. But there is one big obsta­cle fac­ing his elec­toral ambi­tions: when it comes to brand­ing him­self as the “I’m for white guys!”-candidate, he’s going to have a lot of com­pe­ti­tion. This isn’t the same GOP it was when David Duke was nom­i­nat­ed as the par­ty’s guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date back in 1991. This is Trump’s GOP, which means David Duke is much less of a nov­el­ty than he used to be. Thanks, in part, to David Duke. So it’s going to be a lot hard­er to run and win as David Duke in a packed race that undoubt­ed­ly includes a num­ber of can­di­dates that fol­low the “David Duke with­out the bag­gage” mod­el that House Major­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise has been using to win office since the mid-90’s. Or, at least, it’s going to be hard­er in the­o­ry. But in a year when politi­cians declare “polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness” a nation­al secu­ri­ty threat, is David Duke’s “bag­gage” still “bag­gage”? That’s very unclear.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 22, 2016, 1:39 pm
  24. With all of the head-scratch­ing over the pos­si­ble Krem­lin back­ing and/or influ­ences on Don­ald Trump and his inner-cir­cle and the poten­tial­ly seri­ous impli­ca­tions of that, here’s a fun look at what might be anoth­er exam­ple a pro-Trump for­eign back­ing. In this case for­eign cor­po­rate back­ing and this isn’t just some ran­dom cor­po­ra­tion. It’s Axel Springer:

    First, let’s ask a ques­tion that Pan­do’s Paul Carr asked back in Novem­ber: Why does Hen­ry Blod­get, founder and chief edi­tor of Busi­ness Insid­er, love Don­ald Trump so much?:

    Pan­do

    Why does Hen­ry Blod­get love Don­ald Trump?

    By Paul Bradley Carr
    , writ­ten on
    Novem­ber 30, 2015

    Busi­ness Insid­er’s Hen­ry Blod­get has made a for­tune from know­ing how to troll for pageviews.

    There is, how­ev­er, a line where trolling cross­es over into pro­mot­ing hate speech, a line Blod­get pre­vi­ous­ly skirt­ed with head­lines like “Why do peo­ple hate Jews?

    With the Jews head­line, Blod­get even­tu­al­ly pulled back from the brink, re-titling his post “What are some of the sources of anti-semi­tism?” and apol­o­giz­ing for being “cav­a­lier” with “one of the most seri­ous top­ics in human his­to­ry.”

    Quite so. Les­son learned.

    So what, then, are we to make of Blod­get’s gush­ing cov­er­age of Don­ald Trump’s racist, abu­sive and out­right fas­cist pres­i­den­tial cam­paign?

    You don’t need me to remind you of Trump’s recent crimes against human decen­cy: His racist remarks against Mex­i­cans and oth­er immi­grants, his grotesque pub­lic attacks on dis­abled reporter Serge Kovales­ki, his sex­ist com­ments about women, his con­tin­u­ing lies about 9/11 “cel­e­bra­tions” in New Jer­sey, his pro­pos­al to mon­i­tor mosques and to require Mus­lim Amer­i­cans to car­ry spe­cial reg­is­tra­tion doc­u­ments.

    And yet as Trump’s rhetoric has become more vile, Blod­get and Busi­ness Insid­er have firm­ly posi­tioned them­selves as the candidate’s media mouth­piece.

    Here are the most recent sto­ries on Blodget’s own arti­cle page on Busi­ness Insid­er. This isn’t edit­ed — it’s a list of every sto­ry Blod­get has filed to Busi­ness Insid­er over the past two weeks...
    [see pic of five very pro-Trump Busi­ness Insid­er head­lines from Nov 10–27]

    And Blodget’s employ­ees have clear­ly tak­en the hint. A search for “Don­ald Trump” on BI reveals the fol­low­ing arti­cles and decks. (These are all from the first page of results.)

    This is the one thing that sets Don­ald Trump apart from oth­er nego­tia­tors

    Here’s how Don­ald Trump made his bil­lions

    Real-estate mogul Don­ald Trump on Tues­day released yet anoth­er wily Insta­gram video ad.

    Don­ald Trump went on an epic tirade against Ben Car­son at a cam­paign event in Iowa.

    The Wall Street Jour­nal: Don­ald Trump’s attacks are ‘exhil­a­rat­ing’

    15 celebri­ties who love and endorse Don­ald Trump

    ...and then, just in case you didn’t get the mes­sage…

    19 celebri­ties who love and endorse Don­ald Trump

    And if all that still weren’t enough, here’s Busi­ness Insider’s puff piece about Trump’s new book.

    “Crip­pled Amer­i­ca: How to Make Amer­i­ca Great Again,” released Tues­day, chron­i­cled all of Trump’s cam­paign-trail griev­ances while attack­ing the media, tout­ing the Trump brand, pre­sent­ing his ide­o­log­i­cal views, and defend­ing his record from crit­ics.

    And it was relent­less­ly on mes­sage: Trump is a win­ner, and Amer­i­ca would win big if he became pres­i­dent.

    But just because there’s a ton of cov­er­age favourable to Trump on Busi­ness Insid­er doesn’t mean Blod­get is a Trump fan, or that he’s using Busi­ness Insid­er to endorse Trump as a can­di­date. He might just be a tremen­dous­ly shit­ty jour­nal­ist, will­ing to give a plat­form for just about any­one who might bring in a few thou­sand more pageviews.

    Giv­en how dis­gust­ing Trump’s rhetoric has become, and giv­en how dan­ger­ous his poli­cies would be if they ever became law, you have to be very sure of your facts before accus­ing some­one of active­ly sup­port­ing him.

    So let’s keep going.

    ...

    By this point you’d have to work pret­ty hard to con­vince your­self that Blod­get’s inter­est in Trump is pure­ly pro­fes­sion­al as opposed to hero wor­ship. A real test, I guess, would be whether Blod­get is just as enthu­si­as­tic about Trump away from the pages of Busi­ness Insid­er, when there are no pageviews at stake.

    Guess what!

    Dur­ing a cam­paign stop in Spring­field, a reporter for the “Illi­nois Chan­nel” spoke to Blod­get about his inter­est in Trump. Here’s what Blod­get told him…

    “I’ve fol­lowed his career… I read his books when I was younger… He’s very impres­sive… His book [Crip­pled Amer­i­ca] is actu­al­ly smarter than a lot of peo­ple say it is… the fact that he gal­va­nized so many peo­ple is incred­i­ble to watch. I read [the Art of the Deal] when I was fig­ur­ing out what I was going to do with my life.”

    “It’s sur­pris­ing… we’re get­ting more details on what he says he’s going to do. I think one of the things that appeals to peo­ple about him is that he’s going against the plank on sev­er­al key issues. It seems like he is think­ing for him­self, which every­body seems to like. I think peo­ple like that… we’ve had this grid­lock in the unit­ed states for so long… and he’s a can-do guy, they like that. His tax plan sounds like the usu­al repub­li­can plan… so we’ll need more details there. But over­all there are a lot of inter­est­ing ideas.”

    Yeah. Not only does Blod­get pro­mote “impres­sive,” “inter­est­ing” Don­ald Trump today — and not only is he will­ing to ampli­fy Trump and his ideas to Busi­ness Insider’s tens of mil­lions of read­ers — but Blod­get even cred­its Trump’s busi­ness wis­dom for help­ing kick­start his career. (A career that, lest we for­get, almost end­ed when Blod­get was charged with civ­il secu­ri­ties fraud and forced to pay a $2m fine.)

    Per­haps Busi­ness Insider’s new Ger­man own­ers could take Blod­get aside and point out a few of the risks inher­ent in endors­ing poli­cies and speech like Trump’s. In the mean­time, here’s an extract from Blodget’s Pan­do Month­ly inter­view in which he explains why his post about “why peo­ple hate the Jews” was “a colos­sal mis­take… one of the biggest I have made as a writer.”

    Top two, cer­tain­ly.
    ...

    “Per­haps Busi­ness Insider’s new Ger­man own­ers could take Blod­get aside and point out a few of the risks inher­ent in endors­ing poli­cies and speech like Trump’s.”

    Yes, per­haps Busi­ness Insid­er’s new own­ers, Ger­man pub­lish­ing giant Axel Springer, should have a chat with Blod­get about the poten­tial con­se­quences of aggres­sive­ly back­ing a politi­cian like Trump.

    You also have to won­der what Blod­get him­self is think­ing since giv­en his per­son­al his­to­ry and the fact that Busi­ness Insid­er was sort of the path to redemp­tion for a man who was per­ma­nent­ly banned from the US secu­ri­ties indus­try. It’s espe­cial­ly inter­est­ing giv­en how Blod­get pined for a fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive he could vote for in 2012, where­as Don­ald Trump’s pro­posed tax slash­ing plan could spike the deficit by over $12 tril­lion by some esti­mates. Why would a fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive out to rebuild his rep­u­ta­tion aggres­sive­ly back Trump?

    But even more inter­est­ing is why a Ger­man media empire would buy a US pub­li­ca­tion that was aggres­sive­ly back­ing Trump? Well, one pos­si­bil­i­ty that Axel Springer want­ed Busi­ness Insid­er to back Trump. And it’s a pos­si­bil­i­ty we can’t rule out because as the arti­cle below point out, all that aggres­sive Trump back­ing by Blod­get and Busi­ness Insid­er took place short­ly after Axel Springer bought Busi­ness Insid­er (for a very pre­mi­um price) with the con­di­tion that Blod­get stay at the com­pa­ny for a long time:

    Busi­ness Insid­er

    The inside sto­ry of Busi­ness Insid­er’s $442 mil­lion sale to Axel Springer

    Alyson Shon­tell

    Nov. 10, 2015, 2:47 PM

    In 2009, in the mid­dle of the finan­cial cri­sis, Busi­ness Insid­er was run­ning low on cash.

    Over the pri­or year, the stock mar­ket had tanked as the econ­o­my plunged into the deep­est reces­sion since the Great Depres­sion. Busi­ness Insid­er, a new­ly formed web­site that had grown out of a two-year-old tech pub­li­ca­tion called Sil­i­con Alley Insid­er, only had six months of cash in the bank. And investors weren’t bang­ing the doors down.

    “I did­n’t feel as close to death then as we were in hind­sight,” Busi­ness Insid­er CEO Hen­ry Blod­get says now. “I don’t remem­ber being ter­ri­fied, but it’s a mir­a­cle we made it through that.”

    In those days, even apart from the finan­cial cri­sis, the com­mon wis­dom was that dig­i­tal media was a lousy invest­ment. Blod­get fre­quent­ly joked that the quick­est way to clear a room full of ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists was to tell them you ran a media start­up.

    “Investors would say, ‘The two of you have no media back­ground,’ ” Busi­ness Insid­er’s for­mer chair­man and cofounder Kevin Ryan recalls. “Sec­ond­ly, they’d say, ‘There has been no online media com­pa­ny start­ed in 15 years — no exam­ple where any­one has built up even a remote­ly suc­cess­ful com­pa­ny worth even $100 mil­lion. You are great peo­ple doing a ter­ri­ble busi­ness that can’t be done.’ ”

    In the end, after many meet­ings and some beg­ging, Blod­get and Ryan cob­bled togeth­er a $1 mil­lion financ­ing from a hodge-podge of investors includ­ing Allen & Co. The round val­ued Busi­ness Insid­er at a measly $7 mil­lion, near­ly flat from the $6 mil­lion val­u­a­tion Busi­ness Insid­er received from ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists one year pri­or.

    Blod­get has since described the $1 mil­lion as a “bailout” dis­guised as an “invest­ment.”

    Six years lat­er, that invest­ment paid out nice­ly for all involved.

    In late Sep­tem­ber of 2015, glob­al media con­glom­er­ate Axel Springer shelled out $343 mil­lion to acquire most of Busi­ness Insid­er, valu­ing the com­pa­ny at $442 mil­lion.

    The val­u­a­tion raised eye­brows. It was more than AOL paid to buy The Huff­in­g­ton Post in 2011, and more than Jeff Bezos paid to buy The Wash­ing­ton Post in 2013 (the Ama­zon founder is also a Busi­ness Insid­er investor). At $442 mil­lion, Axel Springer val­ued Busi­ness Insid­er at 6X its for­ward rev­enue pro­jec­tion, which is rough­ly in line with how AOL val­ued The Huff­in­g­ton Post. Like Huff­in­g­ton Post in 2011, Busi­ness Insid­er has no prof­its as it invests for growth.

    While we rarely write about our­selves, we decid­ed to report the sto­ry of our sale to Axel Springer because read­ers usu­al­ly enjoy these sto­ries. We spoke to half a dozen peo­ple involved in the trans­ac­tion to get the inside scoop. It should go with­out say­ing, but dis­clo­sure: The author and edi­tor of this piece work at Busi­ness Insid­er, and work close­ly with many of the peo­ple in this sto­ry, so we are con­flict­ed out the wazoo.

    Here’s a look at how Busi­ness Insid­er was built, and sold.

    Find­ing Hen­ry
    In April 2007, Kevin Ryan met a lot of busi­ness jour­nal­ists with the aim of start­ing a dig­i­tal tech pub­li­ca­tion, but he left each meet­ing frus­trat­ed. None of them felt like the right per­son to start his next ven­ture with.

    Ryan is a ser­i­al entre­pre­neur who served as the CEO of Dou­bleClick — an adver­tis­ing plat­form that went pub­lic in the 1990s and then even­tu­al­ly got gob­bled up by Google. He has gone on to found a half dozen star­tups with Dou­bleClick­’s cofounder, Dwight Mer­ri­man, includ­ing flash sale fash­ion site Gilt Groupe and enter­prise soft­ware start­up Mon­goDB.

    In 2007, Ryan and Mer­ri­man had an idea for a new com­pa­ny. It would be a dig­i­tal pub­li­ca­tion ded­i­cat­ed to cov­er­ing New York City’s rapid­ly-grow­ing tech scene. Increas­ing­ly, peo­ple were read­ing news online instead of in news­pa­pers. Ryan craved a high-veloc­i­ty blog that would be easy to skim and under­stand.

    He called an old acquain­tance from his Dou­bleClick days, for­mer Wall Street ana­lyst Hen­ry Blod­get. Blod­get had writ­ten a book and launched a blog, Inter­net Out­sider, while writ­ing occa­sion­al arti­cles for Slate. He was­n’t a tra­di­tion­al jour­nal­ist, but maybe that was what Ryan’s site need­ed.

    With­in the first three min­utes of their meet­ing, Ryan knew he’d found his co-founder and CEO.

    “He was like, ‘I get it, this is a good idea, yes, we should do this,’ which was encour­ag­ing,” Ryan says.

    Blod­get says it only took him ten sec­onds to get on board.

    “I had always want­ed to start some­thing,” Blod­get says. “I saw so many cool com­pa­nies when I was an ana­lyst and I thought I would learn a ton.”

    The only thing left to weigh was Blod­get’s con­tro­ver­sial past.

    ...

    Axel Springer

    Busi­ness Insid­er’s pres­i­dent and chief oper­at­ing offi­cer, Julie Hansen, joined the com­pa­ny in 2008, as employ­ee num­ber five. A for­mer Conde Nast, CBS, and Time, Inc., exec­u­tive, Hansen led Busi­ness Insid­er’s sales and tech­nol­o­gy teams, over­see­ing the devel­op­ment of a pro­pri­etary pub­lish­ing sys­tem and grow­ing rev­enue from a trick­le to tens of mil­lions of dol­lars.

    Hansen and Rich Kennedy, Busi­ness Insid­er’s head of busi­ness devel­op­ment, built the com­pa­ny’s inter­na­tion­al part­ner­ships. Ger­many was a pri­or­i­ty, and in 2014, Hansen reached out to Axel Springer and oth­er Ger­man media com­pa­nies to dis­cuss a licens­ing part­ner­ship.

    Found­ed in 1946, Axel Springer had grown to become one of the largest pub­lish­ing hous­es in Europe. Its brands include nation­al dai­ly paper BILD, DIE WELT and finance por­tal Finanzen.net. In 2014, the com­pa­ny began mak­ing a series of invest­ments in U.S. dig­i­tal media prop­er­ties, includ­ing OZY and Mic.

    Hansen flew to Berlin to meet Axel Springer’s exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent Christoph Keese in the sum­mer of 2014 and came back ener­gized. The com­pa­ny’s head­quar­ters, next to where the Berlin Wall once stood, was breath­tak­ing. An always-on door­less ele­va­tor shot employ­ees up to any of the 19 floors in Axel Springer’s sleek head­quar­ters. An exclu­sive jour­nal­ists-only club made of wood from an old cas­tle was perched on the top lev­el. Hansen raved to Blod­get about the Axel Springer team, and how Busi­ness Insid­er might fit into their future plans.

    Axel Springer was­n’t only inter­est­ed in a licens­ing deal, Hansen report­ed. It might also want to explore an acqui­si­tion. Blod­get met with some mem­bers of Axel Springer’s team in Lon­don that fall, while vis­it­ing Busi­ness Insid­er’s new Lon­don office. They vague­ly dis­cussed Axel Springer’s acqui­si­tion strat­e­gy, but ulti­mate­ly both par­ties decid­ed a strate­gic invest­ment in Busi­ness Insid­er would be best.

    In Jan­u­ary 2015, Axel Springer led a $25 mil­lion round in Busi­ness Insid­er at a $225 mil­lion post-mon­ey val­u­a­tion. Axel Springer put in $20 mil­lion for 9% of Busi­ness Insid­er and a seat on the board.

    In June, Blod­get first met Axel Springer’s CEO Math­ias Döpfn­er. He had been invit­ed to speak at the NOAH Inter­net Con­fer­ence in Berlin. Döpfn­er met Blod­get in the bar of the Crowne Plaza next door.

    The con­ver­sa­tion they had left a last­ing impres­sion on both CEOs.

    They dis­cussed busi­ness strate­gies, career mis­steps, and the futures of their com­pa­nies. Blod­get described his long-term vision for Busi­ness Insid­er, which includ­ed heavy invest­ment in video and the launch­ing of prop­er­ties beyond busi­ness. If the com­pa­ny were ever to sell, he explained, he want­ed a part­ner that had a sim­i­lar­ly long-term view and cared deeply about jour­nal­ism, not just short-term prof­it max­i­miza­tion.

    “There’s no way he could have known it, but that was exact­ly what I was hop­ing to hear from him,” Döpfn­er now says of that after­noon.

    “It hap­pens so rarely that you meet some­body who thinks like you. I think that emo­tion­al fac­tor tied us togeth­er. It plays a role [in an acqui­si­tion]. I mean, peo­ple think busi­ness is all about ratio­nal cri­te­ria, num­bers and quan­ti­ta­tive things. In the end, empa­thy, intu­ition, — you like some­body, you don’t like some­body — it all plays a role.”

    Döpfn­er’s team watched Busi­ness Insid­er close­ly over the next few months as Blod­get’s team spun out two new web­sites, Tech Insid­er and Insid­er, and the com­pa­ny’s over­all traf­fic reached near­ly 90 mil­lion month­ly unique vis­i­tors.

    Mean­while, dig­i­tal media com­peti­tors like Vox, Buz­zfeed, and Vice raised mas­sive amounts of cap­i­tal at mul­ti-bil­lion-dol­lar val­u­a­tions. Busi­ness Insid­er began to receive inbound inter­est from ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists for large amounts of financ­ing, and — despite the com­pa­ny still hav­ing $30 mil­lion in the bank — the board kicked around the idea of rais­ing anoth­er large round in the fall.

    Axel Springer want­ed to attack a larg­er mar­ket than just Europe. It spent years ded­i­cat­ing itself to dig­i­tal jour­nal­ism by sell­ing off print pub­li­ca­tions and invest­ing in media star­tups. It also tried to buy some glob­al media brands, but those bids fell through. It made a bid to buy the Finan­cial Times in July and lost the deal at the last sec­ond to a $1.3 bil­lion bid from Nikkei. Axel Springer also report­ed­ly had a term sheet to acquire The Huff­in­g­ton Post for over $1 bil­lion, but Verizon/AOL opt­ed to keep it.

    On August 5, two weeks after the Finan­cial Times deal fell apart, Blod­get had break­fast with Springer’s Christoph Keese in New York in a quaint Gramer­cy restau­rant, Maiali­no. Keese expressed Axel Springer’s inter­est in acquir­ing Busi­ness Insid­er. Blod­get said he’d be hap­py to talk, and relayed the con­ver­sa­tion to his board.

    The com­pa­ny was­n’t look­ing to sell, and some board mem­bers felt there would be mon­ey left on the table if Busi­ness Insid­er sold now. Some felt the offer need­ed to be at least $500 mil­lion. Oth­ers felt a low­er price would be accept­able because Blod­get felt great about Axel Springer’s strat­e­gy and team and viewed Springer as a great home for the com­pa­ny.

    Would Blod­get stay?

    Ryan was vaca­tion­ing in Europe when he learned of Axel Springer’s inter­est. He cleared his sched­ule and flew to Berlin in July to meet with Axel Springer’s CEO. After the vis­it, Döpfn­er invit­ed Blod­get to Pots­dam, a sub­urb of Berlin, to dis­cuss a poten­tial deal over a break­fast of cheese, grapes, bre­sao­la, and lattes in his fam­i­ly’s home.

    Blod­get and Döpfn­er’s dis­cus­sions boiled down to one ques­tion: Would Blod­get and Hansen stay if Axel Springer bought the com­pa­ny?

    Many entre­pre­neurs enjoy build­ing small star­tups, not run­ning big com­pa­nies. Some­times, they’re con­trac­tu­al­ly oblig­at­ed to remain at acquir­ing com­pa­nies for a year or two, then they leave to start some­thing else.

    For Axel Springer, a year or two was­n’t enough. The com­pa­ny want­ed Blod­get and Hansen to com­mit to a much longer time­frame. Springer also want­ed Blod­get and Hansen and the Busi­ness Insid­er team to remain moti­vat­ed to make the com­pa­ny a big suc­cess.

    Blod­get gave it a lot of thought and ulti­mate­ly decid­ed to make a major long-term com­mit­ment. But he told Döpfn­er he did­n’t want to be con­trac­tu­al­ly oblig­at­ed to stay. He’d be stick­ing around because he want­ed to keep devel­op­ing Busi­ness Insid­er and see­ing it grow, not because he had to.

    Blod­get end­ed up exchang­ing a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of his equi­ty own­er­ship in Busi­ness Insid­er — cash he might oth­er­wise have tak­en out in a sale — for a future equi­ty incen­tive that would vest over ten years. Blod­get report­ed­ly owned 10 to 15 per­cent of Busi­ness Insid­er at the time of the acqui­si­tion. When asked about his own­er­ship per­cent­age, Blod­get declined to com­ment.

    With Blod­get and Hansen’s con­tin­ued employ­ment assured, Busi­ness Insid­er’s board sent Ryan to work out the finan­cial details of the sale with Döpfn­er.

    Since Blod­get would be stay­ing at the com­pa­ny, the board felt he had a con­flict of inter­est.

    When a start­up gets acquired, there are three par­ties to con­sid­er: the sell­ers, the buy­er, and the employ­ees. Blod­get’s ongo­ing lead­er­ship role and equi­ty own­er­ship made his inter­ests dif­fer­ent than those of the oth­er investors. So Ryan took over the price talks.

    The whole process took about 45 days, and the bulk of the deal was ham­mered out in just three weeks. Busi­ness Insid­er then signed a 30-day exclu­siv­i­ty agree­ment so no oth­er bid­der could come in while Axel Springer per­formed due dili­gence. Axel Springer was­n’t eager to see anoth­er deal slip away.

    In the end, Axel Springer agreed to buy 88% of Busi­ness Insid­er for $343 mil­lion in cash, bring­ing its total stake up to 97%. Jeff Bezos’ invest­ment firm would keep the remain­ing 3%. The deal val­ued the com­pa­ny at $443 mil­lion.

    After a long meet­ing in Busi­ness Insid­er’s board room on Mon­day, Sep­tem­ber 28, the deal was final­ized. Six­teen Busi­ness Insid­er and Axel Springer exec­u­tives went to din­ner at Barn Joo, a near­by Kore­an restau­rant, to cel­e­brate.

    The next morn­ing, Blod­get rode the sub­way to work, men­tal­ly prepar­ing to tell his staff the good news.

    When he emerged from under­ground, an email from a Busi­ness Insid­er edi­tor Sam Ro was wait­ing in his inbox. Ro had seen the acqui­si­tion on Twit­ter, and want­ed to write the news.

    Blod­get quick­ly found a park bench, pulled out a wire­less modem and his lap­top, and sent an email to Busi­ness Insid­er’s 35o employ­ees at 7:14 AM titled, “Big News!”

    “Blod­get and Döpfn­er’s dis­cus­sions boiled down to one ques­tion: Would Blod­get and Hansen stay if Axel Springer bought the com­pa­ny?”

    Ok, so it would appear that retain­ing Hen­ry Blod­get for an extend­ed peri­od of time was a stick­ing point for the buy­out nego­ti­a­tions. And sure enough Blod­get agreed to stay and the buy­out was final­ized at the end of Sep­tem­ber. Then, a cou­ple of months lat­er, we have Paul Carr at Pan­do writ­ing about how Hen­ry Blod­get and Busi­ness Insid­er have sud­den­ly because super pro-Trump. Wow. What a coin­ci­dence. A coin­ci­dence that fits Axel Springer’s long-stand­ing right-wing edi­to­r­i­al tilt:

    Alter­Net

    Could the Pos­si­ble Sale of Huff­in­g­ton Post to Right-Wing Com­pa­ny Affect Its Edi­to­r­i­al Line?
    Pro-war Ger­man media con­glom­er­ate Axel Springer is noto­ri­ous for incit­ing vio­lence and hatred against left­ists and Mus­lims.

    By Max Blu­men­thal / Alter­Net
    June 3, 2015

    This month, Newsweek qui­et­ly report­ed that a Ger­man media con­glom­er­ate called Axel Springer was the “most seri­ous” con­tender to buy the Huff­in­g­ton Post in the pro­posed sale of the magazine’s cor­po­rate par­ent, AOL, to Ver­i­zon. While Newsweek detailed Springer’s siz­able media hold­ings in Ger­many and beyond, from the tabloid Bild to the news­pa­per Die Welt, it failed to note the strin­gent­ly enforced right-wing edi­to­r­i­al line that makes Springer the Ger­man equiv­a­lent of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

    Among the five pre­am­bles of Springer’s cor­po­rate prin­ci­ples is the require­ment that employ­ees “sup­port the vital rights of the State of Israel.” Jour­nal­ists are also expect­ed to “uphold the prin­ci­ples of a free social mar­ket econ­o­my” and “sup­port the Transat­lantic Alliance and main­tain sol­i­dar­i­ty with the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca in the com­mon val­ues of free nations.” The web­page out­lin­ing Springer’s pre­am­bles mys­te­ri­ous­ly dis­ap­peared from the web months before the com­pa­ny entered the bid­ding for the Huff­in­g­ton Post. (An archived ver­sion of the page can be viewed here.)

    ...

    Springer’s edi­to­r­i­al line offers a stark con­trast to the pro­gres­sive tone of the Huff­in­g­ton Post. Found­ed in 1946 by the jour­nal­ist Axel Springer, the com­pa­ny now holds about $3 bil­lion in assets and over­sees a col­lec­tion of low-brow pub­li­ca­tions most­ly asso­ci­at­ed with what lib­er­al-mind­ed Ger­mans deri­sive­ly refer to as “the boule­vard press.” It was dur­ing the late 1960’s when Springer took a turn to the pop­ulist right, with Axel Springer sic­c­ing his most pop­u­lar tabloid, Bild, against the rad­i­cal left-wing stu­dent move­ment in West Ger­many. The paper homed in on Rudi Dutschke, one of the movement’s most vis­i­ble lead­ers, accus­ing him of con­spir­ing to bring down West Ger­many through vio­lent rev­o­lu­tion while call­ing on patri­ot­ic Ger­mans to “elim­i­nate the trou­ble mak­ers.”

    On April 11, 1968, a lone­ly neo-Nazi mechan­ic and avid Bild read­er named Josef Bach­mann rid­dled Dutschke with bul­lets as he bicy­cled through Berlin. Bach­mann lat­er tes­ti­fied in court that he had devel­oped his view of Dutschke exclu­sive­ly through arti­cles appear­ing in the Springer press and assort­ed jin­go­is­tic rags. As protests explod­ed across West Ger­many, with stu­dents chant­i­ng, “Springer pulled the trig­ger!” Axel Springer direct­ed his edi­tors to call for harsh police crack­downs on the demon­stra­tors while white­wash­ing Bach­mann as a lone mad­man as deranged as his vic­tim, the “red mani­ac” Dutschke. (Dutschke died of injury-relat­ed com­pli­ca­tions in 1979; Springer’s deeply anguished son com­mit­ted sui­cide months lat­er.)

    With the onset of the so-called war on ter­ror, Springer has shift­ed its sights from the rad­i­cal left to the Mus­lim men­ace. A Bild arti­cle warn­ing last August of an epi­dem­ic of Ebo­la import­ed by black migrants from Africa was typ­i­cal of Springer’s cov­er­age. A month ear­li­er, the paper ran a screed by Nicholaus Fest argu­ing that with their “far dis­pro­por­tion­ate crim­i­nal­i­ty of young peo­ple with a Mus­lim back­ground” and sup­posed ten­den­cy toward “anti-Semit­ic pogroms,” Mus­lims had no place in Europe. Fest’s tirade earned cen­sure from the Ger­man Press Coun­cil, which ruled that its big­ot­ed con­tent “was incom­pat­i­ble with the rep­u­ta­tion of the press.”

    ...

    In keep­ing with its stat­ed com­mit­ment to “uphold the prin­ci­ples of a free social mar­ket econ­o­my,” Springer pub­li­ca­tions have aggres­sive­ly cam­paigned for eco­nom­ic aus­ter­i­ty through­out the Euro­zone. In Feb­ru­ary, Springer’s Bild launched the “We say NO!” cam­paign against new loans to Greece with a giant front-page head­line read­ing, “NEIN!” The tabloid then pub­lished self­ies of hon­est-look­ing, hard-work­ing Bild read­ers hold­ing the paper in defi­ance, grant­i­ng the cam­paign to hol­low out the Greek pub­lic sec­tor with a pop­ulist veen­er. Bild was wide­ly panned for the stunt, includ­ing by the Ger­man Jour­nal­ists Asso­ci­a­tion, which accused the paper of “cross­ing the bor­der into polit­i­cal cam­paign­ing.”

    Though the Huff­in­g­ton Post would not offer a com­ment on its pos­si­ble sale to Springer, sev­er­al edi­tors I spoke to were pre­vi­ous­ly unaware of the Ger­man media congolmerate’s hard-right edi­to­r­i­al line. The ques­tion now is whether they will pub­licly oppose a deal that threat­ens to reverse the pro­gres­sive direc­tion of one of America’s most pop­u­lar online news out­lets.

    “This month, Newsweek qui­et­ly report­ed that a Ger­man media con­glom­er­ate called Axel Springer was the “most seri­ous” con­tender to buy the Huff­in­g­ton Post in the pro­posed sale of the magazine’s cor­po­rate par­ent, AOL, to Ver­i­zon. While Newsweek detailed Springer’s siz­able media hold­ings in Ger­many and beyond, from the tabloid Bild to the news­pa­per Die Welt, it failed to note the strin­gent­ly enforced right-wing edi­to­r­i­al line that makes Springer the Ger­man equiv­a­lent of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

    Note that the sale of the Huff­in­g­ton Post to Axel Springer nev­er hap­pened. And maybe breath a sigh of relief.

    So Ger­many’s equiv­a­lent of Rupert Mur­doch’s News Corp. ful­ly acquires Busi­ness Insid­er and the pub­li­ca­tion pro­ceeds to fall in love with Don­ald Trump. And Axel Springer isn’t done with its US media spend­ing spree.

    So as alarm­ing as it would be if it turned out Trump is get­ting covert assis­tance from the Krem­lin and Wik­iLeaks, it’s worth keep­ing in mind that covert assis­tance from a Ger­man media giant on a US spend­ing spree is arguably going to be more dam­ag­ing because it’s the kind of dam­age that’s com­plete­ly legal and large­ly the same kind of dam­age Fox News does to soci­ety every sin­gle day. A new News Corp.-like enti­ty enter­ing the US media space is a pret­ty big deal. An pret­ty big hor­ri­ble deal.

    In oth­er news...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 26, 2016, 6:45 pm
  25. This July 28, 2016 Dai­ly Mail Arti­cle (UK) shows that the Munich gun­man was a Nazi who believe he was an Aryan.
    Head­line: Teen gun­man who mur­dered nine in Munich wor­shipped Hitler and saw it as ‘an hon­or’ that they shared the same birth­day

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3712190/Teen-gunman-murdered-nine-Munich-worshipped-Hitler-saw-honour-shared-birthday.html

    Some of the key state­ments in the arti­cle are:

    “Munich gun­man Ali David Son­ly wor­shipped Adolf Hitler and saw it as an ‘hon­our’ that he shared the same birth­day as the Nazi leader, it has been revealed.”

    “Son­ly, 18, shot nine peo­ple dead at a shop­ping cen­tre in the south­ern Ger­man city on Fri­day before turn­ing his hand­gun on him­self.”

    “The Ger­man-Iran­ian con­sid­ered him­self ‘Aryan’ and had built up resent­ment against Arabs and Turks, who, it is claimed, bul­lied him at school.”

    “The Frank­furter All­ge­meine news­pa­per said he was a racist who held extreme right wing views about for­eign­ers and minori­ties.”

    “Son­ly had Iran­ian par­ents and held an Iran­ian as well as Ger­man pass­port.”

    Posted by James T | July 28, 2016, 5:58 pm
  26. With Don­ald Trump’s sur­ro­gates like Roger Stone now push­ing the meme that Khizr Khan is a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood agent and his son was secret­ly on an “Islamist mis­sion” inside the US mil­i­tary when he died in com­bat, it’s worth not­ing that the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Dai­ly Report, a site that is about as vig­i­lante about the real threats asso­ci­at­ed with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and pro­mot­ing of Islamist theoc­ra­cy as you’ll find any­where, finds the charges against the Khan fam­i­ly to be flim­sy at at best:

    Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Dai­ly Watch

    Web­site Smears Father Of Slain US Army Offi­cer With Accu­sa­tions of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Ties- Can Things Get Any Low­er?

    By gmb­watch on August 1, 2016

    Two years ago, the GMBDW com­plained about the mis­use of GMBDW research. As we wrote at that time:

    The GMBDW has been pub­lish­ing for over sev­en years. Pri­or to this, fol­low­ing 9/11, the GMBDW edi­tor was already gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion on the net­works, lead­er­ship, ide­ol­o­gy, fund­ing, and oth­er salient facts about the glob­al net­work lat­er named the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood (GMB). From the out­set, our great­est chal­lenge has been gain­ing accep­tance for the notion that there even is such a phe­nom­e­na as a Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood as we have defined it. Some 3700 posts lat­er, that chal­lenge still exists due to a regret­table com­bi­na­tion of ide­ol­o­gy, polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, and will­ful blind­ness to the fac­tu­al evi­dence pre­sent­ed on these pages. On any rea­son­able view, these facts speak for them­selves.

    More recent­ly, an addi­tion­al chal­lenge has emerged, name­ly the use of GMBDW research to spin unsub­stan­ti­at­ed and fan­ci­ful sto­ries about the same net­works we have so care­ful­ly tried to doc­u­ment. The most egre­gious exam­ple is the claim, since gone viral, that the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood has “infil­trat­ed” the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. Sto­ries based on this alleged infil­tra­tion typ­i­cal­ly fea­ture rogues gal­leries of “Mus­lim Broth­er­hood oper­a­tives” said to be whis­per­ing in the ear of the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and aimed at caus­ing the down­fall of the Unit­ed States. In most cas­es, the sto­ries include high-pro­file indi­vid­u­als first iden­ti­fied by the GMBDW as tied to the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood using cri­te­ria we have long since pub­licly explained.

    It has now come to our atten­tion that one of the worse offend­ers in this regard has sunk to even new lows. As one media report explains, a long time friend and con­fi­dant to Don­ald Trump has called Khizr Khan, the father of slain US Army Cap­tain Humayun Khan, a “Mus­lim Broth­er­hood agent.”:

    Roger Stone, a long­time friend and con­fi­dant to Don­ald Trump, jumped into the fray over Khizr Khan’s scathing crit­i­cism of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee on Sun­day, call­ing Khan a “Mus­lim Broth­er­hood agent.” Khan, the father of slain Amer­i­can war hero Humayun Khan, slammed Trump for his anti-Mus­lim rhetoric and “school­yard bul­ly­ing” in a DNC speech last week. His com­ments prompt­ed a great deal of praise, but they also trig­gered a spat between Trump and the Khan fam­i­ly, with Trump ques­tion­ing why Khan’s wife did not speak dur­ing the DNC speech. While Trump’s VP on Sun­day appar­ent­ly engaged in dam­age con­trol by say­ing Trump “adores” the Khan fam­i­ly, Stone took to Twit­ter to write: “Mr. Khan more than an aggriev­ed father of a Mus­lim son—he’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood agent help­ing Hillary.” Stone then linked to a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry web­site claim­ing Khan’s son was killed not as a hero in Iraq, but as a Mus­lim on an “Islamist mis­sion” killed before he could com­plete it. Trump has not yet com­ment­ed on Stone’s remarks.

    The web­site referred to in the above report has fre­quent­ly used GMBDW research to spin con­spir­a­cies about the Broth­er­hood so con­vo­lut­ed that nei­ther the GMBDW edi­tor, with over 25 years of inves­tiga­tive expe­ri­ence, nor any oth­er trained ana­lyst can even fol­low the chain of “log­ic” in the reports. Ara­bic trans­la­tors also tell us that the Ara­bic media sources used by the site, often dubi­ous in the first place, often do not remote­ly say what the reports assert they do. In the case of Khizr Khan, we forced our­selves to once again to delve into the tor­tured analy­sis and found that the site claims Mr. Khan is a “Mus­lim Broth­er­hood agent” because:

    * He wrote a paper on Islam­ic law that acknowl­edges the writ­ings of a “S. Ramadan”, pre­sum­ably but not con­firmed to be the now deceased Said Ramadan, the he son-in-law of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood founder Has­san al-Ban­na.

    * He was once in Sau­di Ara­bia “the moth­er­land of Wah­habism”, although the amount of time he spent there is not iden­ti­fied nor any activ­i­ties on the part of Mr. Khan that any­thing to do with “Wah­habism.”

    * His law firm pro­vides immi­gra­tion ser­vices for Mus­lims.

    He is said to have authored a paper called “In Defense of OPEC although the link to the paper pro­vid­ed does not link to such a paper nor could such a paper be found.

    * He once worked for a law firm that does work for the Sau­di Embassy and that donat­ed $50,000 to the Hillary Clin­ton Cam­paign.

    From these slen­der reeds, the site con­cludes that Mr. Khan:

    * Is a pro­mot­er of Islam­ic Sharia Law.

    * Is a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood agent, work­ing to bring Mus­lims into the Unit­ed States.

    * Is a Mus­lim plant work­ing with the Hillary Clin­ton cam­paign, prob­a­bly for the inter­est of Mus­lim oil com­pa­nies as well as Mus­lim immi­gra­tion into the U.S.

    * Is upset, that a Trump vic­to­ry will elim­i­nate and destroy decades of hard work to bring in Islam­ic immi­gra­tion into the Unit­ed States

    The GMBDW has reviewed Mr. Khan’s arti­cle on Islam­ic Law and finds noth­ing with­in that could remote­ly be con­strued as “pro­mo­tion” of Islam­ic Sharia Law. In addi­tion, we note that S. Ramadan, who­ev­er he may be, is not cit­ed as a source with­in the text so it is like­ly that Mr. Khan want­ed to cred­it his con­tri­bu­tion to his think­ing on the sub­ject. Even if S. Ramadan is, in fact, the indi­vid­ual in ques­tion we fail to see how cred­it­ing him in an arti­cle could con­ceiv­ably be used as evi­dence for being an “agent of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.” As for the rest of the so-called “evi­dence” we will leave to our read­ers to decide if the con­clu­sions drawn have any con­nec­tion to real­i­ty.

    The site com­pounds the dis­taste­ful and bla­tant smear attempt on Khizr Khan with the vile sug­ges­tion that his son was some­how on “an Islamist mis­sion” dur­ing his Army ser­vice in Iraq:

    In regards to his son, many were the ‘Mus­lim mar­tyrs’ who joined the US mil­i­tary. ……Is it like­ly that Khan’s son was killed before his Islamist mis­sion was accom­plished? Only anoth­er type of inves­ti­ga­tion will deter­mine that. Do they ever men­tion how many sol­diers have died because of Mus­lim trai­tors? Do they ever bring up how many Chris­tians in the US mil­i­tary were killed?

    In fact, Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan who in 2005 was killed by a sui­cide bomber in Iraq after attempt­ing to stop his vehi­cle and after warn­ing fel­low sol­diers of the attack. The site’s sug­ges­tion, offered with­out even the usu­al non­sen­si­cal “evi­dence”, rep­re­sents a new low in ter­ri­to­ry already lit­tered by those with seem­ing­ly no scru­ples and who have tak­en to call­ing “Mus­lim Broth­er­hood” any­body whom they would like to tar­get and for any rea­son. The author of the site in ques­tion has him­self claimed to be a for­mer ter­ror­ist who saw the light of rea­son although his claims have been debunked by mul­ti­ple media out­lets. The GMBDW wish­es to dis­so­ci­ate itself from and we con­demn with­out reser­va­tion the vile tac­tics of this web­site in attempt­ing to smear Khizr Khan and his late son who brave­ly gave his life in ser­vice of his coun­try. ...

    “The GMBDW has reviewed Mr. Khan’s arti­cle on Islam­ic Law and finds noth­ing with­in that could remote­ly be con­strued as “pro­mo­tion” of Islam­ic Sharia Law.”

    That’s a pret­ty strong endorse­ment for the Khan fam­i­ly.

    So we’ll see if the Trump cam­paign turns this “the Khans are pro­mot­ing Shari­ah” meme into a per­ma­nent line of attack for the rest of the cam­paign. Since the back and forth between Trump and the Khans does­n’t appear to be end­ing any time soon it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble we’ll see the Khan fam­i­ly, and their secret Shari­ah plot, become a much big­ger part of the 2016 cam­paign. If that hap­pens, it’s also worth not­ing that one of the best ways to pro­mote Islamist theo­crat­ic ambi­tions is to smear every Mus­lim as a secret Islamist out to destroy democ­ra­cy. Just ask ISIS since that’s their strat­e­gy too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 1, 2016, 6:46 pm
  27. This isn’t going to go well: It sounds like GOP lead­ers, includ­ing enthu­si­as­tic Trump back­ers like Newt Gin­grich, are start­ing to hatch a plan to get Don­ald Trump to stop caus­ing a new con­tro­ver­sy almost every day. They’re hop­ing to enlist the help of Trump’s kids for some sort of inter­ven­tion designed to con­vince Trump to “reset” his cam­paign (LOL). Beyond that, there’s report­ed­ly even talk about the mechan­ics of replac­ing Trump if he leaves the race (let’s hope the GOP does­n’t drag Rafael Cruz out of his alleged retire­ment). So there appears to be an effort to gob­ble togeth­er an “inter­ven­tion” team capa­ble of sit­ting Trump down and con­vinc­ing him that he absolute­ly must break his addic­tion to behav­ing like him­self, along with a recog­ni­tion that if things don’t go the way Trump wants them to go there’s noth­ing stop­ping him from leav­ing the race.

    All in all, it’s the kind of sit­u­a­tion that could­n’t hap­pen to a nicer par­ty. Lit­er­al­ly. Because a nicer par­ty would have nev­er nom­i­nat­ed Trump in the first place. Oh well. Here we are:

    NBC News

    Trump Allies Plot Can­di­date Inter­ven­tion After Dis­as­trous 48 Hours

    by Chuck Todd and Hal­lie Jack­son

    Aug 3 2016, 12:47 pm ET

    Key Repub­li­cans close to Don­ald Trump’s orbit are plot­ting an inter­ven­tion with the can­di­date after a dis­as­trous 48 hours led some influ­en­tial voic­es in the par­ty to ques­tion whether Trump can stay at the top of the Repub­li­can tick­et with­out cat­a­stroph­ic con­se­quences for his cam­paign and the GOP at large.

    Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee head Reince Priebus, for­mer Repub­li­can New York City may­or Rudy Giu­liani and for­mer House Speak­er Newt Gin­grich are among the Trump endorsers hop­ing to talk the real estate mogul into a dra­mat­ic reset of his cam­paign in the com­ing days, sources tell NBC News.

    The group of GOP heavy­weights hopes to enlist the help of Trump’s chil­dren — who com­prise much of his inner­most cir­cle of influ­en­tial advis­ers — to aid in the attempt to res­cue his can­di­da­cy. Trump’s fam­i­ly is con­sid­ered to have by far the most influ­ence over the can­di­date’s think­ing at what could be a make-or-break moment for his cam­paign.

    Trump cam­paign chair­man Paul Man­afort said Wednes­day he had heard noth­ing of such a meet­ing and dis­put­ed that it would be nec­es­sary, say­ing on FOX News that “the only need we have for an inter­ven­tion is with some media types who keep say­ing things that aren’t true.”

    “The can­di­date’s in con­trol of his own cam­paign,” he said.

    GOP vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Mike Pence also told FOX News he has “nev­er heard any­thing about a meet­ing of that kind,” dis­miss­ing the idea as “inside base­ball dis­cus­sions.”

    But a source famil­iar with the dis­cus­sions around a planned meet­ing tells NBC News “the inter­ven­tion is real, and over­due.”

    The idea of an inter­ven­tion is in its ear­ly stages, and there’s no guar­an­tee that Trump’s team would enter­tain a con­ver­sa­tion requir­ing such com­pre­hen­sive changes for a can­di­date who has resist­ed calls to mod­er­ate his tone or reel in his most out­landish polit­i­cal posi­tions.

    Stunned Repub­li­cans began seri­ous­ly con­sid­er­ing the idea of an exit ramp after an extra­or­di­nary few days dur­ing which Trump con­tin­u­al­ly lashed out against a Gold Star fam­i­ly crit­i­cal of his posi­tion on Mus­lim immi­gra­tion, declared that he’d “always want­ed” a Pur­ple Heart but that it’s “eas­i­er” to receive one as a gift, and declined to endorse top Repub­li­can can­di­dates includ­ing House Speak­er Paul Ryan.

    Sources in the can­di­date’s orbit tell NBC News Trump is aware of the dis­sat­is­fac­tion with­in the par­ty. But while some labeled the state of affairs “Crazy­town” and “worse than ever,” they also described a sense of pow­er­less­ness, bemoan­ing the fact there’s “noth­ing that we can do, that any­body can do right now.”

    There’s absolute­ly no indi­ca­tion Trump is con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the race, a move that would seem wild­ly out of char­ac­ter for a can­di­date who has prid­ed him­self on “win­ning” and grasped at any poll that shows him dom­i­nat­ing an oppo­nent. Still, some Repub­li­cans are qui­et­ly con­sid­er­ing the arcane mechan­ics of what would hap­pen to the par­ty’s tick­et if Trump was to leave the pres­i­den­tial race.

    Advis­er Kellyanne Con­way dis­put­ed the notion that Trump would bolt the tick­et, say­ing “I would push back on any for­mal report that the can­di­date is going to leave the race.”

    ...

    “There’s absolute­ly no indi­ca­tion Trump is con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the race, a move that would seem wild­ly out of char­ac­ter for a can­di­date who has prid­ed him­self on “win­ning” and grasped at any poll that shows him dom­i­nat­ing an oppo­nent. Still, some Repub­li­cans are qui­et­ly con­sid­er­ing the arcane mechan­ics of what would hap­pen to the par­ty’s tick­et if Trump was to leave the pres­i­den­tial race.

    Keep in mind that while there is no indi­ca­tion Trump is con­sid­er­a­tion leav­ing the race, there are strong indi­ca­tions that Trump is lay­ing the ground­work to claim that the race is rigged against him since that’s what he keeps say­ing. So if if polls end up show­ing Hillary Clin­ton with a widen­ing lead as the elec­tion approach­es it’s not incon­ceiv­able that Trump will used the “rigged elec­tion” charge as an excuse to walk away. So while the GOP appears to be expe­ri­enc­ing some exis­ten­tial angst over the dam­age the Trump cam­paign might do to the par­ty, Trump him­self has got to be feel­ing some intense exis­ten­tial angst over the prospect of los­ing to Hillary Clin­ton since “win­ning” and a cel­e­bra­tion of Trump win­ning is sort of the basis of both his author­i­tar­i­an appeal and per­son­al ego.

    With those exis­ten­tial angst-induc­ing sit­u­a­tions in mind, check out the lat­est update on Don­ald Trump’s views on the use of nuclear weapons:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Joe Scar­bor­ough Claims Trump Asked Advi­sor Why US Can’t Use Nukes (VIDEO)

    By Kather­ine Krueger
    Pub­lished August 3, 2016, 8:58 AM EDT

    MSNBC host Joe Scar­bor­ough report­ed on the air Wednes­day morn­ing that when Don­ald Trump met for a brief­ing with an unnamed for­eign pol­i­cy expert, the GOP nom­i­nee alleged­ly asked, “Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?” sev­er­al times.

    Scar­bor­ough made the claim dur­ing an inter­view with retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hay­den, who expressed con­cern about how Trump would be an “errat­ic” and “incon­sis­tent” com­man­der-in-chief.

    When Hay­den curt­ly said he’s not aware a sin­gle one of his col­leagues advis­ing Trump on for­eign pol­i­cy, Scar­bor­ough spoke up.

    “I have to fol­low up with that, but I’ll be very care­ful here. Sev­er­al months ago, a for­eign pol­i­cy expert on the inter­na­tion­al lev­el went to advise Don­ald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, why can’t we use them?” Scar­bor­ough said.

    “Trump asked three times?” com­men­ta­tor Mike Bar­ni­cle asked.

    “Three times in an hour brief­ing, ‘Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?’” Scar­bor­ough said again.

    Sev­er­al beats of stunned silence went by before co-host Mika Brzezin­s­ki said, “Be care­ful, Amer­i­ca and be care­ful, Repub­li­can lead­ers. Your par­ty is blow­ing up.”

    Scar­bor­ough turned the con­ver­sa­tion back to Hay­den, ask­ing the retired gen­er­al about the time­line and steps if a Pres­i­dent choos­es to use nuclear weapons. Hay­den respond­ed the sys­tem in place is “designed for speed and deci­sive­ness. It’s not designed to debate the deci­sion.”

    The “Morn­ing Joe” host, a for­mer GOP con­gress­man, did not name the “for­eign pol­i­cy expert” he said met with Trump. Scar­bor­ough also did not say how he knew about the brief­ing or Trump’s remarks.

    In an inter­view with Fox News lat­er on Wednes­day, Man­afort said it was “absolute­ly not true” that secu­ri­ty brief­ing meet­ings have been held.

    “The idea that he’s look­ing at try­ing to under­stand where to use nuclear weapons, it just did­n’t hap­pen,” he said. “I was in the meet­ing. It did­n’t hap­pen.”

    Trump has said he would “nev­er, ever” rule out using nuclear weapons to fight the Islam­ic State as Pres­i­dent. In a March inter­view, after MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said nobody wants to hear a can­di­date for Pres­i­dent talk­ing about the use of nuclear weapons, Trump fired back: “Then why are we mak­ing them?”

    ...

    “I have to fol­low up with that, but I’ll be very care­ful here. Sev­er­al months ago, a for­eign pol­i­cy expert on the inter­na­tion­al lev­el went to advise Don­ald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, why can’t we use them?”

    If we have them, why can’t we use them? Good ques­tion. Or rather, ter­ri­fy­ing ques­tion. But it was appar­ent­ly a ques­tion on the mind of the man the GOP is try­ing to arrange an “inter­ven­tion” for in order to ensure he does what they con­sid­er nec­es­sary to win the elec­tion and obtain the nuclear launch codes. It’s one more rea­son why the GOP’s Trumpian exis­ten­tial cri­sis is every­one’s exis­ten­tial cri­sis. Thanks GOP.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 3, 2016, 12:45 pm
  28. Oh look, Don­ald Trump just hint­ed at polit­i­cal vio­lence if he does­n’t win again:

    CNN

    Trump: ‘Sec­ond Amend­ment peo­ple’ could deal with Clin­ton

    By Jere­my Dia­mond and Stephen Collinson, CNN

    Updat­ed 5:36 PM ET, Tue August 9, 2016

    Wilm­ing­ton, North Car­oli­na (CNN)Donald Trump set off a fierce new con­tro­ver­sy Tues­day with remarks about the right to bear arms that were inter­pret­ed by many as a threat of vio­lence against Hillary Clin­ton.

    .“Hillary wants to abol­ish — essen­tial­ly the Sec­ond Amend­ment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, noth­ing you can do, folks. Although the Sec­ond Amend­ment peo­ple, maybe there is, I don’t know,” Trump said.

    He added: “But I tell you what, that will be a hor­ri­ble day, if Hillary gets to put her judges in, right now we’re tied.”

    Trump’s ambigu­ous com­ments alarmed some polit­i­cal observers as to whether he was threat­en­ing her life or call­ing for increased polit­i­cal activ­i­ty.

    Rob­by Mook, Clin­ton’s cam­paign man­ag­er, issued a two-sen­tence state­ment in response to Trump.

    “This is sim­ple — what Trump is say­ing is dan­ger­ous. A per­son seek­ing to the be pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States should not sug­gest vio­lence in any way,” he said.

    ...

    But Jason Miller, Trump’s senior com­mu­ni­ca­tions advis­er, said Trump was mere­ly talk­ing about Sec­ond Amend­ment sup­port­ers large influ­ence as a group.

    “It’s called the pow­er of uni­fi­ca­tion — 2nd Amend­ment peo­ple have amaz­ing spir­it and are tremen­dous­ly uni­fied, which gives them great polit­i­cal pow­er. And this year, they will be vot­ing in record num­bers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clin­ton, it will be for Don­ald Trump,” he said.

    The for­mer head of the CIA, retired Gen. Michael Hay­den, told CNN’s Jake Tap­per: “If some­one else had said that said out­side the hall, he’d be in the back of a police wag­on now with the Secret Ser­vice ques­tion­ing him.”

    US Secret Ser­vice com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor Cathy Mil­hoan told CNN the agency “is aware of Mr. Trump’s com­ments.”
    Hay­den added: “You’re not just respon­si­ble for what you say. You are respon­si­ble for what peo­ple hear.”

    ...

    “That was more than a speed bump. That is actu­al­ly a very arrest­ing com­ment. It sug­gests either a very bad taste with ref­er­ence to polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tion and an attempt at humor or an incred­i­ble insen­si­tiv­i­ty — it maybe the lat­ter — an incred­i­ble insen­si­tiv­i­ty to the preva­lence of polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tion inside of Amer­i­can his­to­ry,” he said. “That is a top­ic that we don’t ever come close to, even when we think we are try­ing to be light­heart­ed.”

    Sen. Chris Mur­phy, D‑Connecticut, who sup­ports increased gun con­trol mea­sures, tweet­ed: “Don’t treat this as a polit­i­cal mis­step. It’s an assas­si­na­tion threat, seri­ous­ly upping the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a nation­al tragedy & cri­sis.”

    ...

    “Hillary wants to abol­ish — essen­tial­ly the Sec­ond Amend­ment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, noth­ing you can do, folks. Although the Sec­ond Amend­ment peo­ple, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

    It’s worth not­ing that, while this vague threat was obvi­ous­ly direct­ed at Hillary Clin­ton, it was also less obvi­ous­ly direct­ed at the Supreme Court and pre­sum­ably any oth­er branch­es of the gov­ern­ment that would be involved in pre­vent­ing “the Sec­ond Amend­ment peo­ple” from basi­cal­ly just tak­ing over in a vio­lent coup. Because it’s not like Trump becomes Pres­i­dent and the “the Sec­ond Amend­ment peo­ple” just get to take con­trol if some­thing hap­pens to Hillary (maybe some­one needs to clar­i­fy this with him). There’s going to be a lot more involved than that if “the Sec­ond Amend­ment peo­ple” decide to take things into their own hands. You basi­cal­ly need some sort of Ser­pen­t’s Walk sce­nario for Trump’s vague threat to even make any sense.

    So, yes, Trump did threat­en Hillary Clin­ton. But basi­cal­ly every­one else too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 9, 2016, 2:58 pm
  29. One of the inter­est­ing ques­tions raised by Julian Assange’s new role as Don­ald Trump’s dirty tricks hacker/propagandist is what on earth the left-wing gov­ern­ment of Ecuador thinks of all giv­en Assange’s res­i­dent sta­tus in their Lon­don embassy and Trump’s start­ed off his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign por­tray­ing Lati­no immi­grants as rapists. Well, back in March Ecuaador’s pres­i­dent Rafael Cor­rea shared his views on the prospect of a Trump pres­i­den­cy which were sur­pris­ing­ly pos­i­tive. Why so pos­i­tive? Because Cor­rea sees a Trump pres­i­den­cy as like­ly to spark a left-wing pop­ulist back­lash across Cen­tral and South Amer­i­ca and cre­ate a divide between glob­al pow­ers:

    Latin Post

    Ecuador Pres­i­dent Rafael Cor­rea on Don­ald Trump: ‘Latin Amer­i­ca Will Have an Increase in Pro­gres­sive Trend if He Wins’

    By Pao­lo David
    First Post­ed: Mar 02, 2016 05:59 AM EST

    Ecuado­ri­an Pres­i­dent Rafael Cor­rea told the Ecuado­ri­an Broad­cast­ing Asso­ci­a­tion that Don­ald Trump win­ning the pres­i­den­cy is good for Latin Amer­i­ca. How­ev­er, Cor­rea point­ed out that it will be bad for the Unit­ed States if Trump becomes pres­i­dent, as report­ed by teleSURtv.

    “Since Latin Amer­i­ca is quite inde­pen­dent from the U.S., I think we may even see an increase in the pro­gres­sive trend here. That would be a major pos­i­tive of a Trump vic­to­ry,” Cor­rea said.

    He added that a Trump regime will be just like George W. Bush’s gov­ern­ment that will lead to a great divide between pow­er­ful nations. Dur­ing the Bush era, many pro­gres­sive thinkers and groups emerged in Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries like Argenti­na, Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

    ...

    Demo­c­ra­t­ic Pres­i­dent is Good for the US

    Although it is not­ed in the teleSURtv report that Cor­rea said Trump will be good for pro­gres­sives in Latin Amer­i­ca, he men­tioned that a Demo­c­ra­t­ic U.S. pres­i­dent is good for over­all “world secu­ri­ty.” He praised both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clin­ton while call­ing Trump “clum­sy.”

    The Ecuado­ri­an pres­i­dent said that despite Sanders’ age of 74, the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date is sup­port­ed by young peo­ple because of his anti-estab­lish­ment pol­i­tics. “He is icon­o­clas­tic. He is against Wall Street, against the big transna­tion­als. He is say­ing what peo­ple want to hear,” Cor­rea said.

    Cor­rea also said that he has a high regard for Clin­ton but sees her as part of the estab­lish­ment.

    “Ecuado­ri­an Pres­i­dent Rafael Cor­rea told the Ecuado­ri­an Broad­cast­ing Asso­ci­a­tion that Don­ald Trump win­ning the pres­i­den­cy is good for Latin Amer­i­ca. How­ev­er, Cor­rea point­ed out that it will be bad for the Unit­ed States if Trump becomes pres­i­dent, as report­ed by teleSURtv.”

    Note the Cor­rea has stat­ed that he hopes Hillary Clin­ton wins for the sake of the US and the World. Still, it’s kind of fas­ci­nat­ing that a can­di­date who’s per­son­al busi­ness involves build­ing large struc­tures is gar­ner­ing so much of his sup­port, from both real sup­port­ers and iron­ic sup­port­ers like Cor­rea, over every­one’s faith that he’ll just burn the place down and they will some­how ben­e­fit from this. Dis­turb­ing, but also fas­ci­nat­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 11, 2016, 2:40 pm
  30. Here’s the lat­est indi­ca­tion that Trump cam­paign’s plan for win­ning the the White House at this point most­ly revolves around plan­ning on first los­ing and then declar­ing the vote invalid. Roger Stone has already made it clear that the Trump cam­paign will be claim­ing there was elec­tron­ic vot­ing machine fraud, but as the arti­cle below points out, that does­n’t mean the Trump cam­paign isn’t also plan­ning on declar­ing wide­spread in-per­son vot­er fraud. It’s going to be full spec­trum vot­er fraud! Or rather, a full spec­trum fraud­u­lent cam­paign to declare full-spec­trum vot­er fraud. When Trump does vot­er fraud fraud, you know it’s going to be YUUUUGE.

    So that’s some­thing we should expect based on Trump’s recent procla­ma­tions. Inter­est­ing­ly, the par­tic­u­lar plan the Trump cam­paign is cur­rent­ly devel­op­ing for win­ning through los­ing — call­ing for his sup­port­ers to be “Trump Elec­tion Observ­er” on elec­tion day to try to spot signs of vot­er fraud — might actu­al­ly vio­late a con­sent decree imposed on the GOP back in 1981 when it attempt­ed to use sim­i­lar vot­er intim­i­da­tion tac­tics. As the arti­cle also points out, it’s a con­sent decree that the GOP has vio­lat­ed numer­ous times since mak­ing the decree any­way, but that does­n’t stop them from try­ing again. So Trump’s new plans for expand­ing his vot­er fraud fraud is an old GOP trick. Imag­ine that:

    The Nation

    Don­ald Trump Is Encour­ag­ing Intim­i­da­tion and Racial Pro­fil­ing at the Polls
    Courts blocked the GOP from intim­i­dat­ing minor­i­ty vot­ers. Now Trump is try­ing again.

    By Ari Berman

    8/15/2016 10:46 am

    In 1981, dur­ing a New Jer­sey guber­na­to­r­i­al elec­tion, the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee launched a “Bal­lot Secu­ri­ty Task Force” that sent sam­ple bal­lots to vot­ers in pre­dom­i­nant­ly African-Amer­i­can and His­pan­ic precincts. When 45,000 let­ters were returned as unde­liv­er­able, the RNC tried to remove the vot­ers from the rolls and hired off-duty cops to patrol polling sites in black and His­pan­ic neigh­bor­hoods of Newark and Tren­ton. Police car­ried firearms at polling places and wore arm­bands read­ing “Nation­al Bal­lot Secu­ri­ty Task Force,” while the RNC post­ed large signs say­ing, this area is being patrolled by the nation­al bal­lot secu­ri­ty task force. it is a crime to fal­si­fy a bal­lot or to vio­late elec­tion laws.

    After the elec­tion, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee won a court set­tle­ment order­ing the RNC to “refrain from under­tak­ing any bal­lot secu­ri­ty activ­i­ties.” Now Don­ald Trump may be vio­lat­ing the con­sent decree against the GOP by ask­ing his sup­port­ers to become a “Trump Elec­tion Observ­er” to “Stop Crooked Hillary From Rig­ging This Elec­tion.”

    Trump unveiled the page on his web­site the same day he cam­paigned in Penn­syl­va­nia, where he claimed, “The only way we can lose, in my opinion—and I real­ly mean this, Pennsylvania—is if cheat­ing goes on…. And we have to call up law enforce­ment. And we have to have the sher­iffs and the police chiefs and every­body watch­ing…. The only way they can beat it in my opinion—and I mean this 100 percent—if in cer­tain sec­tions of the state they cheat, OK? So I hope you peo­ple can sort of not just vote on the 8th, go around and look and watch oth­er polling places and make sure that it’s 100 per­cent fine, because with­out vot­er identification—which is shock­ing, shock­ing that you don’t have it.”

    Let’s leave aside the fact there’s no wide­spread vot­er fraud in Penn­syl­va­nia or else­where and that Trump is los­ing Penn­syl­va­nia by nine points in the Real Clear Pol­i­tics aver­age. His elec­tion observ­er pro­gram mir­rors the type of vot­er intim­i­da­tion the courts have blocked the RNC from doing. And his call for law-enforce­ment offi­cers to mon­i­tor the polls express­ly vio­lates Penn­syl­va­nia law. “No police offi­cer in com­mis­sion, whether in uni­form or in citizen’s clothes, shall be with­in one hun­dred feet of a polling place dur­ing the con­duct of any pri­ma­ry or elec­tion, unless in the exer­cise of his priv­i­lege of vot­ing, or for the pur­pose of serv­ing war­rants, or unless called upon to pre­serve the peace,” accord­ing to Penn­syl­va­nia Title 25, Sec­tion 3047. “In no event may any police offi­cer unlaw­ful­ly use or prac­tice any intim­i­da­tion, threats, force or vio­lence nor, in any man­ner, undu­ly influ­ence or over­awe any elec­tor or pre­vent him from vot­ing or restrain his free­dom of choice.”

    ...

    Trump’s sup­port in the pri­ma­ry direct­ly cor­re­lat­ed with racial resent­ment toward African Amer­i­cans, His­pan­ics, and Mus­lims, which is why it’s not a stretch to imag­ine Trump’s elec­tion observers’ racial­ly pro­fil­ing and intim­i­dat­ing minor­i­ty vot­ers at the polls. His wide­ly debunked claim that “peo­ple may vote 10 times” is his campaign’s lat­est racist dog whis­tle, on par with call­ing Mex­i­cans “rapists,” propos­ing ban­ning Mus­lim immi­gra­tion to the Unit­ed States, or vow­ing to deport 11 mil­lion undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants.

    Poll chal­lenges have their roots in Jim Crow–era vot­er sup­pres­sion, writes Nico­las Riley of the Bren­nan Cen­ter for Jus­tice:

    Chal­lenger laws were his­tor­i­cal­ly enact­ed and used to sup­press new­ly enfran­chised groups, like African Amer­i­cans and women. Many states orig­i­nal­ly enact­ed chal­lenger laws to block minor­i­ty vot­ers’ access to the polls. Vir­ginia, for instance, passed its first chal­lenger law in the imme­di­ate wake of Recon­struc­tion along­side a host of oth­er sup­pres­sive mea­sures, such as poll tax­es and lit­er­a­cy tests, aimed at recent­ly freed for­mer slaves. Oth­er states—like Flori­da, Ohio, and Minnesota—similarly passed chal­lenger leg­is­la­tion dur­ing the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry to sup­press turnout in black com­mu­ni­ties. Even in states where chal­lenger laws were not enact­ed with an obvi­ous dis­crim­i­na­to­ry pur­pose, polit­i­cal oper­a­tives still often used chal­lenges to dis­crim­i­nate against new­ly enfran­chised groups of vot­ers. For exam­ple, dur­ing a spe­cial elec­tion in Lisle, NY, in 1918—the first elec­tion after women won the right to vote in the state—every woman who attempt­ed to cast a bal­lot was chal­lenged at the polls.

    Trump is tak­ing a well-worn page from his party’s play­book. The RNC has repeat­ed­ly tried to dis­en­fran­chise minor­i­ty vot­ers through such tac­tics even after the con­sent decree was issued in the 1980s. From a deci­sion by the US Court of Appeals for the Third Cir­cuit:

    In Louisiana dur­ing the 1986 Con­gres­sion­al elec­tions, the RNC alleged­ly cre­at­ed a vot­er chal­lenge list by mail­ing let­ters to African-Amer­i­can vot­ers and, then, includ­ing indi­vid­u­als whose let­ters were returned as unde­liv­er­able on a list of vot­ers to chal­lenge. A num­ber of vot­ers on the chal­lenge list brought a suit against the RNC in Louisiana state court. In response to a dis­cov­ery request made in that suit, the RNC pro­duced a mem­o­ran­dum in which its Mid­west Polit­i­cal Direc­tor stat­ed to its South­ern Polit­i­cal Direc­tor that “this pro­gram will elim­i­nate at least 60,000–80,000 folks from the rolls…. If it’s a close race…which I’m assum­ing it is, this could keep the black vote down con­sid­er­ably.”

    In 1990, the DNC brought a law­suit alleg­ing that the RNC vio­lat­ed the Con­sent Decree by par­tic­i­pat­ing in a North Car­oli­na Repub­li­can Par­ty (“NCRP”) pro­gram. The DNC alleged that the RNC had vio­lat­ed the Decree in North Car­oli­na by engag­ing in a pro­gram of the North Car­oli­na Repub­li­can Par­ty (“NCRP”) in which 150,000 post­cards were sent to res­i­dents of pre­dom­i­nant­ly African-Amer­i­can precincts. This pro­gram alleged­ly attempt­ed to intim­i­date vot­ers by warn­ing that it is a “fed­er­al crime…to know­ing­ly give false infor­ma­tion about your name, res­i­dence or peri­od of res­i­dence to an elec­tion offi­cial.” The post­cards false­ly stat­ed that there was a 30-day min­i­mum res­i­den­cy require­ment pri­or to the elec­tion dur­ing which vot­ers must have lived in the precinct in which they cast their bal­lot.

    In 2004, the week before the gen­er­al elec­tion for pres­i­dent, Ebony Mal­one, an African-Amer­i­can res­i­dent of Ohio, brought an enforce­ment action against the RNC, alleg­ing that the RNC had vio­lat­ed the con­sent decree by par­tic­i­pat­ing in the com­pi­la­tion of a pre­dom­i­nant­ly minor­i­ty vot­er chal­lenge list of 35,000 indi­vid­u­als from Ohio. Malone’s name was on the list. To com­pile the list, the RNC had sent a let­ter to reg­is­tered vot­ers in high minor­i­ty con­cen­tra­tion areas of Cleve­land and the Ohio Repub­li­can Par­ty sent a sec­ond mail­ing approx­i­mate­ly a month lat­er. Reg­is­tered vot­ers whose let­ters were returned as unde­liv­er­able were added to the chal­lenge list.

    Fol­low­ing an evi­den­tiary hear­ing, the Dis­trict Court issued an Order bar­ring the RNC from using the list to chal­lenge vot­ers and direct­ing the RNC to instruct its agents in Ohio not to use the list for bal­lot secu­ri­ty efforts.

    In Ohio 2004, “14 per­cent of new vot­ers in major­i­ty-white vot­ing precincts would face chal­lengers while 97 per­cent of new vot­ers in major­i­ty-black loca­tions would face chal­lengers,” wrote the Bren­nan Cen­ter. RNC staffers referred to the vot­er chal­lenge list as a “gold­mine” and also had plans to chal­lenge Demo­c­ra­t­ic-lean­ing vot­ers in New Mex­i­co, Flori­da, Neva­da, and Penn­syl­va­nia if John Ker­ry had won.

    More recent­ly, the Tea Par­ty group True the Vote tried to recruit one mil­lion poll watch­ers in 2012, to make vot­ing “like dri­ving and see­ing the police fol­low­ing you.”

    Forty-six states allow pri­vate cit­i­zens to chal­lenge the eli­gi­bil­i­ty of prospec­tive vot­ers, either on or before Elec­tion Day, and 24 allow pri­vate cit­i­zens to chal­lenge a vot­er at the polls with­out offer­ing any doc­u­men­ta­tion to show that the vot­er is actu­al­ly inel­i­gi­ble, accord­ing to the Bren­nan Cen­ter.

    The prob­lem of vot­er intim­i­da­tion is par­tic­u­lar­ly wor­ri­some in 2016 because after the Supreme Court gut­ted the Vot­ing Rights Act, the Depart­ment of Jus­tice “severe­ly cur­tailed” the num­ber of fed­er­al elec­tion observers who mon­i­tor vot­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion at the polls.

    The only elec­tion rig­ging occur­ring in 2016 is the GOP’s attempt to sup­press the vote. It like­ly won’t suc­ceed, espe­cial­ly with recent court vic­to­ries, but that doesn’t mean Trump and com­pa­ny won’t try.

    “The prob­lem of vot­er intim­i­da­tion is par­tic­u­lar­ly wor­ri­some in 2016 because after the Supreme Court gut­ted the Vot­ing Rights Act, the Depart­ment of Jus­tice “severe­ly cur­tailed” the num­ber of fed­er­al elec­tion observers who mon­i­tor vot­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion at the polls.”

    Yep, while Trump’s appar­ent vot­er intim­i­da­tion plan may sound eeri­ly like the GOP’s many past attempts at vot­er intim­i­da­tion, but now with one key dif­fer­ence: it’s being attempt­ed in the post-Vot­ing Rights Act-era where the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment if forced to pre­tend the GOP isn’t a par­ty ded­i­cat­ed to (and increas­ing­ly reliant on) using vot­er intim­i­da­tion tac­tics to win elec­tions.

    So will Trump man­age to intim­i­date his way into high­er office this time around? We’ll see. But as the arti­cle below notes, it’s not entire­ly clear that win­ning the White House is Trump’s top pri­or­i­ty. Sure, becom­ing Pres­i­dent is like­ly a high a Trumpian pri­or­i­ty, but per­haps not the top Trumpian pri­or­i­ty:

    Blue Nation Review

    Trump Is Seek­ing a White Nation­al­ist Awak­en­ing NOT the White House

    Ignore just about every bit of analy­sis you’re hear­ing in the nation­al media about Trump’s cam­paign — it’s based on a false assump­tion. Exam­in­ing his words and actions through the prism of a tra­di­tion­al pres­i­den­tial cam­paign is a futile exer­cise. Trump isn’t cam­paign­ing for the White House, but for a white nation­al­ist “awak­en­ing.” Under that rubric, every­thing he’s doing makes sense.

    By Peter Daou
    August 14, 2016

    The New York Times paints Don­ald Trump as a lost and con­fused pup­py:

    Advis­ers who once hoped a Pyg­malion-like trans­for­ma­tion would refash­ion a crude­ly effec­tive polit­i­cal show­man into a plau­si­ble Amer­i­can pres­i­dent now increas­ing­ly con­cede that Mr. Trump may be beyond coach­ing. … In pri­vate, Mr. Trump’s mood is often sullen and errat­ic, his asso­ciates say. He veers from bark­ing at mem­bers of his staff to grum­bling about how he was bet­ter off fol­low­ing his own instincts dur­ing the pri­maries and sug­gest­ing he should not have heed­ed their calls for change. He broods about his sour­ing rela­tion­ship with the news media, call­ing Mr. Man­afort sev­er­al times a day to talk about spe­cif­ic sto­ries. Occa­sion­al­ly, Mr. Trump blows off steam in bursts of boy­ish exu­ber­ance: At the end of a fund-rais­er on Long Island last week, he play­ful­ly buzzed the crowd twice with his heli­copter.

    I don’t buy it.

    Trump knows exact­ly what he’s doing — it’s just not what the media and pun­dits think it is:

    I love watch­ing these poor, pathet­ic peo­ple (pun­dits) on tele­vi­sion work­ing so hard and so seri­ous­ly to try and fig­ure me out. They can’t!— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2016

    I don’t know if Trump got to this point by design or acci­dent, whether he always planned to seize a moment in his­to­ry or whether he real­ized he couldn’t defeat Hillary so he sim­ply aimed high­er than the pres­i­den­cy.

    Like so many oth­er polit­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, pun­dits, writ­ers and reporters, I’ve grap­pled might­i­ly with the cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance of Trump’s can­di­da­cy.

    ...

    And then it hit me: Trump’s strat­e­gy makes per­fect sense. Not for a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, but for some­one seek­ing to lead an upris­ing — and per­haps a vio­lent one.

    It’s a clas­sic exam­ple of Occam’s razor: the sim­plest expla­na­tion, the one with the fewest assump­tions, is the cor­rect one.

    Ditch all the con­tor­tions of cam­paign log­ic, the psy­chob­a­b­ble about “nar­cis­sism,” the myr­i­ad excus­es about real­i­ty TV, enter­tain­ment, etc., and lis­ten to Trump’s words. They speak painful­ly and dan­ger­ous­ly clear­ly. And they are being met with pre­cise­ly the desired effect:

    The leader of Italy’s far-right North­ern League par­ty, Mat­teo Salvi­ni, hailed US pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Don­ald Trump as ‘hero­ic.’

    KKK leader Thomas Robb:

    “At least he’s say­ing things that many, many peo­ple in this coun­try are iden­ti­fy­ing with and are say­ing, “Yeah, that needs to be done.” So it isn’t Don­ald Trump that you guys are con­cerned with. You’re not afraid of Don­ald Trump. You’re afraid of the mass­es of peo­ple, the mil­lions of peo­ple sup­port­ing Don­ald Trump becom­ing awak­ened to what they feel to be a coun­try that’s being tak­en away from them.”

    Don Black, for­mer Klan leader who runs the white suprema­cist web­site Stormfront.org:

    “There’s an insur­gency among our peo­ple that has been seething for decades that have felt intim­i­dat­ed and demor­al­ized. The Trump can­di­da­cy has changed all that. What­ev­er he says, even if he gets the facts wrong, it still res­onates with peo­ple.”

    And there’s more:

    Richard Spencer, a lead­ing white nation­al­ist who coined the term “alt-right” … came to nation­al atten­tion last year when he pro­nounced Don­ald Trump as the can­di­date for white Amer­i­cans in an inter­view with The Wash­ing­ton Post’s David Weigel. Almost exact­ly a year lat­er, he’s even hap­pi­er with the pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee. “I think with Trump, you shouldn’t look at his poli­cies. His poli­cies aren’t impor­tant. What’s most impor­tant about Trump is the emo­tion. He’s awak­ened a sense of ‘Us’ a sense of nation­al­ism among white peo­ple. He’s done more to awak­en that nation­al­ism than any­one in my life­time. I love the man.

    Trump’s unwill­ing­ness to car­ry out the basic require­ments of a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, his refusal to build a nation­al infra­struc­ture, his will­ful igno­rance of issues, his inex­plic­a­ble cam­paign sched­ule — these betray not stu­pid­i­ty, but inten­tion­al­i­ty. He doesn’t care. And he doesn’t care because he’s not after the pres­i­den­cy. It’s pos­si­ble he nev­er was.

    He’s after some­thing big­ger, some­thing to match his grand ambi­tions:

    His plan is work­ing, not to win the White House, but to change Amer­i­ca — and the world — by trig­ger­ing a white nation­al­ist upris­ing and becom­ing a “hero­ic” fig­ure­head in what his fol­low­ers see as a defin­ing war against inex­orable demo­graph­ic shifts.

    Vir­tu­al­ly all the pun­dit­ry about Trump’s cam­paign assumes he is run­ning to win the pres­i­den­cy. Seen through that lens, lit­tle he’s doing makes sense. And so we get Rube Gold­berg excus­es and expla­na­tions, none of which real­ly add up to a coher­ent view of the 2016 race. When you’re oper­at­ing under a false assump­tion, the result of your analy­sis will nec­es­sar­i­ly be wrong.

    But there’s a sim­pler, scari­er, more log­i­cal ratio­nale for Trump’s behav­ior: That he’s a shrewd, polit­i­cal­ly tal­ent­ed and ambi­tious man who seeks to lead a his­toric upris­ing, a white nation­al­ist “awak­en­ing” that will trans­form Amer­i­ca and the world.

    Oth­er­wise how do you explain this:

    His Alex Jones-style con­spir­a­cy-mon­ger­ing; his metic­u­lous­ly craft­ed words of incite­ment and exhor­ta­tions to vio­lence; his attacks on a fed­er­al judge; his descrip­tion of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma as a ter­ror­ist (the “founder of ISIS”); his birtherism; his elim­i­na­tion­ist lan­guage toward Hillary Clin­ton; his fierce misog­y­ny and indif­fer­ence to sex­u­al harass­ment; his feud with the Khan fam­i­ly; his Mus­lim ban; his use of anti-Semit­ic sym­bols; his embrace of tor­ture; his capri­cious­ness about the pro­lif­er­a­tion and use of nuclear weapons; his praise for dic­ta­tors; his flir­ta­tions with Putin and Russ­ian hack­ers; his undi­lut­ed xeno­pho­bia; his racist dog whis­tles (“look at my African-Amer­i­can”); his infa­mous bor­der wall and relent­less anti-Mex­i­can big­otry; his claims of a “rigged” elec­tion; his uncon­cealed calls for vot­er intim­i­da­tion; his refusal to dis­avow ties to white suprema­cists.

    We can’t attribute all that to hap­pen­stance, acci­dent, enter­tain­ment, fool­ish­ness, igno­rance or inex­pe­ri­ence. If we do, we will end up regret­ting it.

    Trump has a pur­pose — it’s just not the one the “experts” think it is. And it could prove to be much more dan­ger­ous. Which means we have to work even hard­er to defeat and dele­git­imize him in Novem­ber.

    “Trump has a pur­pose — it’s just not the one the “experts” think it is. And it could prove to be much more dan­ger­ous. Which means we have to work even hard­er to defeat and dele­git­imize him in Novem­ber.”

    Yes, if Trump win­ning scares you, just imag­ine how much scari­er it would be if he’s not even try­ing to win but instead try­ing to become a white nation­al­ist polit­i­cal mar­tyr. A mar­tyr who would have won if it was­n’t for all that vote rig­ging.

    So, all in all, it appears that we might have a sit­u­a­tion where Trump’s plan to win is to lose and claim a vic­to­ry that was thwart­ed by elec­tion fraud in order to cre­ate a giant cri­sis. But that strat­e­gy for vic­to­ry might actu­al­ly be part of a larg­er strat­e­gy of, win or lose, cre­at­ing a white nation­al­ist “awak­en­ing” intend­ed to give white Amer­i­ca a big push towards neo-Nazi think­ing. While it might seem like the one sil­ver lin­ing of this sce­nario is that Trump might not actu­al­ly be try­ing to win the elec­tion and become pres­i­dent but instead mere­ly wants to cre­ate a big elec­toral cri­sis, keep in mind that if you’re try­ing to turn your los­ing pres­i­den­tial cam­paign into a nation­al plat­form for white nation­al­ist memes you’re still­ing prob­a­bly plan­ning on becom­ing pres­i­dent some­day. Just not nec­es­sar­i­ly the elect­ed pres­i­dent.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 15, 2016, 2:28 pm
  31. Did you hear? Don­ald Trump expressed regret for all the offen­sive things he’s said over the last year. Is a gen­er­al elec­tion “piv­ot” actu­al­ly mate­ri­al­iz­ing?

    Well, here’s a sign. It’s not a great sign: The Trump cam­paign just released its first TV ad of the gen­er­al elec­tion and accord­ing to the NPR arti­cle below it’s part of the cam­paigns recent shift in strat­e­gy to cre­ate a kinder, gen­tler, more “theme” based Trump cam­paign. So what’s the theme in this new ad? Why, it’s that ille­gal immi­grants and Syr­i­an refugees are flood­ing into the coun­try, col­lect­ing Social Secu­ri­ty, and gen­er­al­ly trash­ing the place. What a big shift in strat­e­gy:

    Nation­al Pub­lic Radio

    WATCH: Don­ald Trump Releas­es First Cam­paign Ad, To Air in 4 States

    Domeni­co Mon­ta­naro
    August 19, 20169:06 AM ET

    Long doubt­ing the effi­ca­cy of tele­vi­sion ads, Don­ald Trump is final­ly ced­ing to this one mea­sure of polit­i­cal grav­i­ty, air­ing his first ad of the gen­er­al elec­tion.

    The ad, titled “Two Amer­i­c­as: Immi­gra­tion,” will air in four bat­tle­ground states — Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia, North Car­oli­na and Flori­da. The Trump cam­paign is putting $4.8 mil­lion behind it for now, and it will run over the next 10 days.

    The ad focus­es on secu­ri­ty, specif­i­cal­ly immi­gra­tion. It tries to con­trast an Amer­i­ca with Hillary Clin­ton in charge with that of Don­ald Trump. An announc­er says, over fad­ed images, that in Clin­ton’s Amer­i­ca, “The sys­tem stays rigged against Amer­i­cans. Syr­i­an refugees flood in. Ille­gal immi­grants con­vict­ed of com­mit­ting crimes get to stay. Col­lect­ing Social Secu­ri­ty ben­e­fits, skip­ping the line. Our bor­der open. It’s more of the same, but worse.”

    The imagery shows immi­grants (pre­sum­ably) with blurred-out faces being hand­cuffed or sim­ply walk­ing around. That’s all replaced by bright col­or images in Don­ald Trump’s Amer­i­ca, with shots of the bor­der being tight­ly patrolled by heli­copter.

    Trump’s Amer­i­ca is sim­ple: “secure. Ter­ror­ists and dan­ger­ous crim­i­nals: kept out. The bor­der: secured. Our fam­i­lies: safe. Change that makes Amer­i­ca safe again.”

    The ad comes a day after Trump expressed “regret” for some­times choos­ing the wrong words and caus­ing “pain.” He is head­ing to Louisiana on Fri­day, where floods have rav­aged the state.

    The state’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nor said he wel­comed Trump to the state, but not for a “pho­to op.” He wants him to vol­un­teer or make a “siz­able dona­tion.”

    ...

    It all appears to be part of the much-promised shift now that Trump has yet anoth­er new team of lead­ers in his cam­paign The “regret” remarks and dif­fer­ent tone from Trump cer­tain­ly have the hall­marks of Repub­li­can poll­ster KellyAnne Con­way, installed as his cam­paign man­ag­er ear­li­er this week.

    Trump’s cam­paign has promised to focus on more “themes.” It appears evi­dent that the Trump cam­paign is going with a “Two Amer­i­c­as” theme for their ads, the first being on immi­gra­tion. (Two Amer­i­c­as is the theme used by 2008 Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date John Edwards, not to con­trast his world­view with anoth­er can­di­date’s but to high­light the gap between those doing well and those strug­gling to get ahead.)

    That’s some­thing he has land­ed in con­tro­ver­sy for dur­ing this cam­paign right from the start. In his speech announc­ing his run last year, he said that immi­grants com­ing to the U.S. ille­gal­ly from Mex­i­co were bring­ing drugs and were rapists, and some, he assumed, “were good peo­ple.”

    ...

    “That’s some­thing he has land­ed in con­tro­ver­sy for dur­ing this cam­paign right from the start. In his speech announc­ing his run last year, he said that immi­grants com­ing to the U.S. ille­gal­ly from Mex­i­co were bring­ing drugs and were rapists, and some, he assumed, “were good peo­ple.”

    Yep, the first ad of the gen­er­al elec­tion is basi­cal­ly a slight­ly warmed over ver­sion of the open­ing speech Trump made when he announced his cam­paign when he called Mex­i­can immi­grants large­ly rapists and crim­i­nals. And this is part of the cam­paign’s new shake­up. Shock­er.

    And here’s anoth­er shock­er: That state­ment in the new ad about undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants col­lect­ing Social Secu­ri­ty ben­e­fits includ­ed a cita­tion in the ad. A cita­tion for the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies, a far right orga­ni­za­tion with strong ties to a vari­ety of white nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tions. In the first Trump ad of gen­er­al elec­tion. How total­ly shock­ing and what a big shift:

    Right Wing Watch

    Trump’s Dystopi­an TV Ad Cites Anti-Immi­grant Group’s Attack On DACA/DAPA

    Sub­mit­ted by Miran­da Blue on Fri­day, 8/19/2016 12:43 pm

    Don­ald Trump is out with his first TV ad of the gen­er­al elec­tion, and it’s pre­dictably despi­ca­ble: an image of “Hillary Clinton’s Amer­i­ca” being flood­ed with refugees and “ille­gal immi­grants con­vict­ed of com­mit­ting crimes” while “the sys­tem stays rigged against Amer­i­cans.” The ad has drawn com­par­isons to the infa­mous anti-immi­grant ad that Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Pete Wil­son ran in 1994 as he was try­ing to push through a bal­lot mea­sure impos­ing dra­con­ian penal­ties on undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants.

    The ad, also unsur­pris­ing­ly, cites the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS), the group whose reports pro­vide a con­stant stream of ammu­ni­tion to anti-immi­grant politi­cians despite its trou­bling roots in white nation­al­ism and his­to­ry of skew­ing the facts.

    The CIS cita­tion comes about 10 sec­onds into the ad, when the nar­ra­tor warns that in Clinton’s Amer­i­ca, “ille­gal immi­grants con­vict­ed of com­mit­ting crimes get to stay, col­lect­ing Social Secu­ri­ty ben­e­fits, skip­ping the line.”

    The ad’s cita­tion appears to be refer­ring to an April 14 CIS arti­cle on the impli­ca­tions of U.S. v. Texas, the Supreme Court case on Pres­i­dent Obama’s DAPA and expand­ed DACA exec­u­tive actions, which extend­ed tem­po­rary depor­ta­tion relief to some peo­ple brought to the coun­try as chil­dren and some of their par­ents. This appears to be where the Trump cam­paign got the “col­lect­ing Social Secu­ri­ty ben­e­fits” line, which it dis­hon­est­ly links to its smear of “ille­gal immi­grants con­vict­ed of com­mit­ting crimes” (the DAPA and DACA pro­grams bar peo­ple con­vict­ed of most crimes from eli­gi­bil­i­ty). Those who receive eli­gi­bil­i­ty to work under the pro­grams do become eli­gi­ble for Social Secu­ri­ty, which they pay into like near­ly every oth­er Amer­i­can work­er, under rules that exist­ed long before Pres­i­dent Oba­ma took office.

    It’s telling that the Trump cam­paign is get­ting its argu­ments about immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy from CIS. The group is one of a large net­work of anti-immi­grant orga­ni­za­tions start­ed by John Tan­ton, an activist with white nation­al­ist lean­ings and a trou­bling­ly extreme “pop­u­la­tion con­trol” agen­da includ­ing such things as sup­port­ing China’s bru­tal one-child pol­i­cy.

    CIS itself is more con­ser­v­a­tive in its rhetoric than its founder—allowing it to gain a foothold among mem­bers of Con­gress and oth­ers eager for research sup­port­ing an anti-immi­grant agenda—but the agen­da it pro­motes is one that demo­nizes immi­grants.

    ...

    “The ad, also unsur­pris­ing­ly, cites the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS), the group whose reports pro­vide a con­stant stream of ammu­ni­tion to anti-immi­grant politi­cians despite its trou­bling roots in white nation­al­ism and his­to­ry of skew­ing the facts.”

    Yes, the big shift in the Trump cam­paign appears to be that now it cites white nation­al­ist groups explic­it­ly in its adver­tis­ing. That should total­ly improve his pop­u­lar­i­ty with the minor­i­ty groups. Espe­cial­ly the more they about groups like CIS and its white nation­al­ist, pro-eugeni­cist John Tan­ton, who has the stat­ed goal of a keep­ing the US over­whelm­ing­ly demo­graph­i­cal­ly white for­ev­er over fears that soci­ety will oth­er­wise be destroyed:

    Right Wing Watch

    The Anti-Immi­grant Lob­by: The White Nation­al­ist Roots of the Orga­ni­za­tions Fight­ing Immi­gra­tion

    His­to­ry
    The Pol­i­cy­mak­ers: Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR)
    The Think Tank: Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS)
    The Polit­i­cal Pow­er: Num­ber­sUSA
    Side­bar: Where the Mon­ey Comes From
    Side­bar: Hate Media
    Side­bar: Recruit­ing Envi­ron­men­tal­ists
    Side­bar: Eng­lish Only
    Side­bar: Deflect­ing Charges of Racism

    The issue of immi­gra­tion is front and cen­ter in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump launched his cam­paign by bash­ing Mex­i­can immi­grants, call­ing them “rapists,” “killers” and drug deal­ers, and he lat­er argued that the U.S. should not only reject all refugees from the con­flict in Syr­ia but tem­porar­i­ly bar all of the world’s 1.6 bil­lion Mus­lims from enter­ing the U.S. at all. Oth­er can­di­dates have scram­bled to keep up with his extrem­ism.

    Amer­i­cans as a whole have favor­able views on immi­gra­tion: A June 2015 Gallup poll found that 65 per­cent of Amer­i­cans sup­port­ed keep­ing immi­gra­tion at its cur­rent lev­el or allow­ing an increase, and a 2015 Pew sur­vey found that 72 per­cent of Amer­i­cans sup­port find­ing a way for undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants to legal­ly stay in the coun­try. In 2014, Pew found that only 17 per­cent of Amer­i­cans sup­port­ed a gov­ern­ment effort to round up and deport all of the undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants liv­ing in the U.S., the plan backed by Trump. Pew found that 57 per­cent opposed repeal­ing the Constitution’s pro­tec­tion of birthright cit­i­zen­ship, a favorite tar­get of the anti-immi­gra­tion move­ment and many Repub­li­can politi­cians.

    Despite these wide­spread pos­i­tive views on immi­gra­tion and immi­grants, anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment has become so per­va­sive in the Repub­li­can Par­ty that bipar­ti­san immi­gra­tion reform has been stalled for years, and even for­mer sup­port­ers like Sen. Mar­co Rubio of Flori­da have backed down under polit­i­cal pres­sure.

    This dis­con­nect is in large part thanks to the lob­by­ing, mes­sag­ing and grass­roots activism efforts of a small group of inter­con­nect­ed orga­ni­za­tions all stem­ming from one activist, John Tan­ton, the archi­tect of the anti-immi­gra­tion move­ment as we know it today. Although Tan­ton, a retired oph­thal­mol­o­gist, has retreat­ed from much of his activism, the net­work that he found­ed con­tin­ues to exert out­sized pres­sure on politi­cians and pol­i­cy­mak­ers.

    Although these Tan­ton-con­nect­ed groups say they reject anti-immi­grant rhetoric, they all have ties to the dark under­bel­ly of the anti-immi­grant move­ment, which smears immi­grants using racial terms, plays to fears of demo­graph­ic change, and caters to those who want the U.S. to be and remain a nation run by and for a white major­i­ty. Tan­ton has explic­it­ly described his work using these racial terms, while some of his fol­low­ers have used sub­tler dog-whis­tles to get the point across. One of these groups, the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR) is list­ed as a hate group by the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter (SPLC) because of its his­to­ry of smear­ing immi­grants and its ties to explic­it­ly white nation­al­ist activists and groups.

    Tan­ton and lead­ers of his affil­i­at­ed groups have some­times also tak­en dis­turb­ing posi­tions on “pop­u­la­tion con­trol,” includ­ing sup­port­ing China’s one-child pol­i­cy, which result­ed in decades of forced abor­tions and ster­il­iza­tions in that coun­try.

    The three major anti-immi­gra­tion groups, all of which stem from Tan­ton, are FAIR, which the Cen­ter for New Com­mu­ni­ty describes as the “rhetor­i­cal com­pass” of the move­ment; Num­ber­sUSA, the movement’s grass­roots activism wing, which says it has “more than three mil­lion par­tic­i­pants in all 435 con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts”; and the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS), the movement’s research arm, whose claims are fre­quent­ly echoed on talk radio, on the cam­paign trail and on Capi­tol Hill.

    The orga­ni­za­tions sat­u­rate media cov­er­age of immi­gra­tion issues, both fuel­ing neg­a­tive con­ser­v­a­tive media cov­er­age and pro­vid­ing spokes­peo­ple to offer more toned-down quotes to the main­stream media. Look­ing back at the defeat of Pres­i­dent George W. Bush’s 2007 effort at immi­gra­tion reform, Bush’s com­merce sec­re­tary Car­los Gutier­rez said the effort’s main adver­saries were “on the one hand talk radio, on the oth­er it was these groups: FAIR and Num­ber­sUSA, Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies.” When the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” forged a bipar­ti­san immi­gra­tion reform bill six years lat­er, the same groups waged a cam­paign to stop it.

    The groups main­tain close ties to anti-immi­gra­tion politi­cians, includ­ing mem­bers of the con­gres­sion­al Immi­gra­tion Reform Cau­cus, which sup­ports more restric­tive immi­gra­tion poli­cies.

    CIS offi­cials have been called to tes­ti­fy before con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees at least 26 times since Repub­li­cans gained con­trol of the House in 2011, weigh­ing in on issues includ­ing the DREAM Act, Syr­i­an refugees and unac­com­pa­nied minors from Cen­tral Amer­i­ca, accord­ing to a review of com­mit­tee records. FAIR has claimed that it “has been called to tes­ti­fy on immi­gra­tion bills before Con­gress more than any orga­ni­za­tion in Amer­i­ca.”

    In 2007, after a bipar­ti­san immi­gra­tion reform plan fell apart, Sen. Jeff Ses­sions of Alaba­ma, a lead­ing anti-immi­gra­tion voice in the Sen­ate, who is now the chair­man of the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Committee’s sub­com­mit­tee on immi­gra­tion, spoke to a meet­ing of FAIR’s board of advi­sors and thanked them for help­ing to stir up oppo­si­tion to the bill. In 2013, as Con­gress was con­sid­er­ing anoth­er bipar­ti­san immi­gra­tion com­pro­mise, Ses­sions and three Repub­li­can House mem­bers joined a CIS tele­con­fer­ence to argue against it. Ses­sions, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Steve King of Iowa, the most out­spo­ken anti-immi­gra­tion mem­ber of the House, spoke at a ral­ly orga­nized by a front group of FAIR, and King joined Num­ber­sUSA Pres­i­dent Roy Beck on the road.

    King and Ses­sions have played a crit­i­cal role in fun­nel­ing the ide­ol­o­gy of the Tan­ton groups to activists, pol­i­cy­mak­ers and can­di­dates. King, now a promi­nent endors­er of Cruz’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, is infa­mous for hav­ing assert­ed that young undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants who would be eli­gi­ble for the DREAM Act have “calves the size of can­taloupes because they’ve been haul­ing 75 pounds of mar­i­jua­na across the desert.” He led House efforts to roll back Pres­i­dent Obama’s attempt to pro­tect some DREAM­ers from depor­ta­tion. Ses­sions helped Trump craft his immi­gra­tion plan, which would, among oth­er things, attempt to dri­ve away undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants through poli­cies tar­get­ing their chil­dren. In Jan­u­ary 2016, a top aide to Ses­sions left to join Trump’s cam­paign.

    The role that these groups play in con­nect­ing activists, politi­cians and talk radio per­son­al­i­ties in order to cre­ate an echo cham­ber may be best illus­trat­ed by FAIR’s annu­al “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event, which brings con­ser­v­a­tive talk radio hosts from around the coun­try to a “radio row,” where they inter­view anti-immi­gra­tion activists and Repub­li­can politi­cians.

    ...

    HISTORY

    John Tan­ton, who was described by the Amer­i­can Prospect as the “archi­tect” of the net­work at the cen­ter of today’s anti-immi­gra­tion move­ment, has helped cre­ate a host of inter­con­nect­ed orga­ni­za­tions, the most influ­en­tial of which have been FAIR, Num­ber­sUSA and CIS.

    Tan­ton, now retired and liv­ing in Michi­gan, came to the anti-immi­gra­tion cause through the “pop­u­la­tion con­trol” move­ment that was, in the 1960s and 1970s, one of the strands of activism behind envi­ron­men­tal­ism and efforts to expand birth con­trol and abor­tion rights, but has since been large­ly reject­ed by both move­ments. In the late 1960s, Tan­ton was briefly the pres­i­dent of his local chap­ter of Planned Par­ent­hood, but quit, accord­ing to the Prospect, “when a wom­an’s right to con­trol her own body — rather than pop­u­la­tion con­trol — became the dom­i­nant talk­ing point about abor­tion.” (Even at the time, many fem­i­nists object­ed to “pop­u­la­tion con­trol” argu­ments in favor of repro­duc­tive rights.) Tan­ton was also influ­enced by a “pop­u­la­tion con­trol” vision of envi­ron­men­tal­ism: He served for a time as the head of Zero Pop­u­la­tion Growth, and has over the years tried unsuc­cess­ful­ly to win envi­ron­men­tal­ist groups over to his harsh view on immi­gra­tion.

    Tanton’s com­mit­ment to “pop­u­la­tion con­trol” extends to sup­port­ing China’s bru­tal one-child pol­i­cy. Tan­ton him­self told an inter­view­er in 2006 that through the pol­i­cy Chi­na had “brought the pop­u­la­tion under con­trol,” adding that “unfor­tu­nate­ly for us, India has not gone through the same demo­graph­ic tran­si­tion.”

    Tan­ton even­tu­al­ly found his call­ing in the effort to restrict immi­gra­tion. Between 1979 and 1999, Tan­ton found­ed, pro­vid­ed fund­ing for, or was oth­er­wise involved in the cre­ation or growth of 13 anti-immi­gra­tion groups, accord­ing to a list cre­at­ed by the SPLC. The first of these was FAIR, which he found­ed in 1979. In 1985, he found­ed the CIS, fol­lowed by Num­ber­sUSA in 1996. These groups, in turn, have spawned oth­er orga­ni­za­tions, and Tan­ton has been involved in the cre­ation of still oth­ers.

    Tan­ton has made it clear that one of the major fac­tors dri­ving his anti-immi­gra­tion activism is his inter­est in the Unit­ed States remain­ing a major­i­ty-white nation. He wrote in a 1993 let­ter: “I have come to the point of view that for Euro­pean-Amer­i­can soci­ety and cul­ture to per­sist, it requires an Euro­pean-Amer­i­can major­i­ty and a clear one at that. I doubt very much that our tra­di­tions will be car­ried on by oth­er peo­ples.” He warned in 1997 that Amer­i­ca could be over­run by immi­grants “defe­cat­ing and cre­at­ing garbage and look­ing for jobs.” In 1993, he wrote a memo out­lin­ing an idea he had come up with along with three well-known white nation­al­ists to start a group called “League for Euro­pean Amer­i­can Defense, Edu­ca­tion, and Research” — a group ded­i­cat­ed to pre­vent­ing the end of a white major­i­ty in Amer­i­ca.

    In leaked mem­os from a 1986 strat­e­gy ses­sion, Tan­ton fret­ted specif­i­cal­ly about Lati­no immi­gra­tion — or what he called a “Latin onslaught” — see­ing it as a threat to America’s white major­i­ty. He wrote that white Amer­i­cans would have to “com­pete” with Lati­no immi­grants and choose between hav­ing chil­dren and let­ting “some­one else with greater repro­duc­tive pow­ers occu­py the space.”

    “As whites see their pow­er and con­trol over their lives declin­ing,” he asked, “will they sim­ply go qui­et­ly into the night? Or will there be an explo­sion?”

    In a 1996 let­ter, Tan­ton fret­ted about “less intel­li­gent” peo­ple hav­ing chil­dren: “Do we leave it to indi­vid­u­als to decide that they are the intel­li­gent ones who should have more kids? And more trou­ble­some, what about the less intel­li­gent, who log­i­cal­ly should have less? Who is going to break the bad news [to less intel­li­gent indi­vid­u­als], and how will it be imple­ment­ed?” At one point, Tan­ton found­ed his own pro-eugen­ics orga­ni­za­tion, the Soci­ety for Genet­ic Edu­ca­tion. He also authored a paper titled “The Case for Pas­sive Eugen­ics.”

    When the SPLC read through Tanton’s papers in 2008, the group found “a lengthy record of friend­ly cor­re­spon­dence with Holo­caust deniers, a for­mer Klan lawyer and lead­ing white nation­al­ist thinkers.”

    One of these cor­re­spon­dents was Har­ry Wey­her, a fel­low eugen­ics pro­po­nent who for decades led a “race bet­ter­ment” group, the Pio­neer Fund, which became a financier of FAIR.

    The Pol­i­cy­mak­ers: Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR)

    FAIR, which Tan­ton found­ed in 1979, and whose advi­so­ry board he remains a mem­ber of, in many ways shapes the anti-immi­gra­tion movement’s pol­i­cy pri­or­i­ties. The group is cur­rent­ly call­ing for a mora­to­ri­um on all immi­gra­tion, except in nar­row instances, with the ulti­mate goal of set­ting legal immi­gra­tion at “the low­est fea­si­ble lev­els,” which it places at less than one-third of the cur­rent immi­gra­tion lev­el. Along with want­i­ng to dras­ti­cal­ly lim­it legal immi­gra­tion, FAIR takes a hard-line posi­tion against undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants, pro­mot­ing the “self-depor­ta­tion” poli­cies — that is, mak­ing life so dif­fi­cult for undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants that they are forced to flee — that were cham­pi­oned by Mitt Rom­ney in his 2012 pres­i­den­tial run. FAIR oppos­es any plan to give undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants a path to cit­i­zen­ship or legal sta­tus.

    FAIR’s legal arm, the Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), has helped craft anti-immi­grant leg­is­la­tion around the coun­try, includ­ing Arizona’s infa­mous “self-depor­ta­tion” mea­sure SB 1070 and efforts to end the 14th Amendment’s guar­an­tee of birthright cit­i­zen­ship. In 2010, Think Progress wrote that “IRLI has been behind most, if not every, local leg­isla­tive immi­gra­tion crack­down over the past few years.” Much of this work was dri­ven by IRLI lawyer Kris Kobach, who joined the group in 2003. Kobach is now sec­re­tary of state of Kansas, but remains “of coun­sel” to IRLI. He served as an advi­sor to Mitt Rom­ney dur­ing his 2012 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, when Rom­ney espoused the doc­trine of “self-depor­ta­tion.”

    FAIR’s cur­rent pres­i­dent is Dan Stein, who has worked for the orga­ni­za­tion since 1982. Stein has framed the immi­gra­tion debate in racial terms, call­ing the 1965 Immi­gra­tion and Nation­al­i­ty Act, which elim­i­nat­ed a quo­ta sys­tem that favored North­ern Euro­peans and shut out Asians and Africans, an attempt to “retal­i­ate against Anglo-Sax­on dom­i­nance“ in the coun­try. He has warned that Pres­i­dent Obama’s immi­gra­tion poli­cies will cause the U.S. to “fall apart” like Iraq and once spec­u­lat­ed that the U.S. has seen so few ter­ror­ist attacks under Pres­i­dent Oba­ma because ter­ror­ists see him as an “ally” and “don’t want to embar­rass” him.

    While Stein has hint­ed at immi­gra­tion restric­tion as a tool of white nation­al­ism, FAIR has open­ly asso­ci­at­ed with peo­ple who explic­it­ly advo­cate for the U.S. to remain a white-dom­i­nat­ed nation.

    A short-lived tele­vi­sion pro­gram pro­duced by FAIR in 1996 fea­tured inter­views with well-known white nation­al­ists Sam Fran­cis, Jared Tay­lor and Peter Brimelow, and a com­mon area of dis­cus­sion was that the immi­grant “inva­sion” would destroy Amer­i­ca. Stein, inter­view­ing one guest, won­dered, “How can we pre­serve Amer­i­ca if it becomes 50 per­cent Latin Amer­i­can?” In a 1991 inter­view for an arti­cle on the high­er birth rates among Asian and Lati­no immi­grants than among native-born Amer­i­cans, Stein said, “It’s almost like they’re get­ting into com­pet­i­tive breed­ing. You have to take into account the var­i­ous fer­til­i­ty rates in design­ing lim­its on immi­gra­tion.” Six years lat­er, he told the Wall Street Jour­nal, “Cer­tain­ly we would encour­age peo­ple in oth­er coun­tries to have small fam­i­lies. Oth­er­wise they’ll all be com­ing here, because there’s no room at the Vat­i­can.”

    Over a peri­od of 10 years in the 1980s and 1990s, FAIR took in more than $1 mil­lion from the Pio­neer Fund, which SPLC describes as “a eugeni­cist orga­ni­za­tion that was start­ed in 1937 by men close to the Nazi regime who want­ed to pur­sue ‘race bet­ter­ment’ by pro­mot­ing the genet­ic lines of Amer­i­can whites,” and for sev­er­al years after­ward con­tin­ued to receive sup­port from indi­vid­ual lead­ers of the fund.

    ...

    Kobach, the lawyer with FAIR’s legal arm who is now sec­re­tary of state of Kansas, has made his own nods to the fear of a dimin­ish­ing white major­i­ty in the U.S., warn­ing that Democ­rats are “replac­ing Amer­i­can vot­ers with new­ly legal­ized aliens” and telling a caller to his radio pro­gram who wor­ried that a His­pan­ic major­i­ty would con­duct “eth­nic cleans­ing” of whites that while such an event was unlike­ly, under Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, “I won­der what could hap­pen.”

    FAIR has also tried out pure­ly polit­i­cal argu­ments to get Repub­li­cans on its side on immi­gra­tion with the goal, as Tan­ton put it in 2001, “to change Repub­li­cans’ per­cep­tion of immi­gra­tion so that when they encounter the word ‘immi­grant,’ their reac­tion is ‘Demo­c­rat.’”

    To achieve this aim, FAIR has some­times paint­ed immi­grants as not just inher­ent­ly lib­er­al but inher­ent­ly un-Amer­i­can. As Stein said in the 1997 Wall Street Jour­nal inter­view, “Immi­grants don’t come all church-lov­ing, free­dom-lov­ing, God-fear­ing. … Many of them hate Amer­i­ca; hate every­thing that the Unit­ed States stands for. Talk to some of these Cen­tral Amer­i­cans.”

    The Think Tank: Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS)

    In 1985, a few years after he launched FAIR, Tan­ton cre­at­ed the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies as a think tank to “wage a war of ideas” to fur­ther spread his view of immi­gra­tion. Today, CIS spokes­peo­ple are fre­quent­ly quot­ed in the media, and its stud­ies sup­ply the anti-immi­grant move­ment and its allied politi­cians with a stream of talk­ing points and fig­ures to back up its posi­tions.

    One recent CIS “fact” that quick­ly became a mat­ter of ortho­doxy in the anti-immi­grant move­ment was its insis­tence in 2014 that “all employ­ment growth since 2000 went to immi­grants.” This asser­tion was repeat­ed over and over again in the right-wing media, includ­ing on Rush Limbaugh’s radio pro­gram. Sen. Jeff Ses­sions, a lead­ing anti-immi­gra­tion voice in Con­gress, cit­ed this “fact” in an “immi­gra­tion hand­book” for incom­ing Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress. For­mer Sen. Rick San­to­rum incor­po­rat­ed it into his talk­ing points for his 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

    But CIS’ study was high­ly flawed, as many out­side observers explained. Alex Nowrasteh of the lib­er­tar­i­an Cato Insti­tute metic­u­lous­ly recre­at­ed the center’s data and dis­cov­ered that the only rea­son­able con­clu­sion he could come to “is that immi­grants hold about a per­cent­age of jobs in the econ­o­my that is rough­ly equal to their per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion.”

    Anoth­er CIS “fact” that quick­ly became part of the right-wing blood­stream was that in 2013, the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion “freed 36,007 con­vict­ed crim­i­nal aliens … who were await­ing the out­come of depor­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings.” CIS neglect­ed to men­tion that many of these releas­es were required by law and that many of those released were peo­ple who had com­mit­ted less seri­ous crimes. But with­out con­text, the num­ber served to feed a favorite nar­ra­tive with­in the anti-immi­grant move­ment — the nar­ra­tive of immi­grants as vio­lent crim­i­nals. Despite the CIS report’s flaws, it was quick­ly picked up by anti-immi­gra­tion mem­bers of Con­gress and by lead­ing GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates Don­ald Trump and Ted Cruz, who cit­ed it as evi­dence that the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion was sup­pos­ed­ly fail­ing to enforce immi­gra­tion laws.

    A num­ber of oth­er CIS stud­ies pur­port­ing to sup­port the group’s pol­i­cy goals have been exposed as flawed or have been debunked. One flawed study tried uncon­vinc­ing­ly to prove that the U.S. is at risk of hav­ing par­ents come to the U.S. to have chil­dren with the spe­cif­ic intent of rais­ing them (in for­eign coun­tries) to become Islam­ic extrem­ists who would then return to the U.S. as cit­i­zens to com­mit ter­ror­ist attacks, also known as Rep. Louie Gohmert’s “ter­ror baby” the­o­ry.

    In her vit­ri­olic anti-immi­grant book “Adios, Amer­i­ca,” pub­lished in 2015, pun­dit Ann Coul­ter cit­ed CIS and its staffers at least 18 times.

    CIS has also backed FAIR’s “self-depor­ta­tion” idea, which CIS Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Mark Kriko­ri­an very straight­for­ward­ly explained is an attempt to “make it as dif­fi­cult as pos­si­ble for ille­gal aliens to live a nor­mal life here,” forc­ing them to flee the coun­try.

    One of CIS’ most pow­er­ful mes­sages, how­ev­er, has been a polit­i­cal one aimed at Repub­li­cans con­sid­er­ing embrac­ing immi­gra­tion reform. After Mitt Romney’s defeat in the 2012 elec­tion, thanks in part to erod­ing sup­port among Lati­no vot­ers, an “autop­sy report” com­mis­sioned by the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee urged the par­ty to “embrace and cham­pi­on immi­gra­tion reform” in order to win back Lati­no vot­ers. In 2013, a bipar­ti­san group of sen­a­tors won the Sen­ate pas­sage of an immi­gra­tion reform pack­age that includ­ed a path to cit­i­zen­ship for some of the country’s undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants. Quick­ly, it became clear that the Repub­li­can major­i­ty in the House would not even take up a vote on the bill. With­in months, Sen. Mar­co Rubio, one of the bipar­ti­san “Gang of Eight” who draft­ed the bill, had backed away from it.

    The bill was defeat­ed thanks to a cam­paign by some of the most stri­dent anti-immi­gra­tion mem­bers of Con­gress, with the sup­port of anti-immi­grant groups.

    Along with pol­i­cy argu­ments against immi­gra­tion reform, anti-immi­grant groups had a polit­i­cal argu­ment: that instead of embrac­ing a mod­er­ate posi­tion on immi­gra­tion in order to win back Lati­nos who favored George W. Bush, the GOP should put its ener­gy and resources into expand­ing its pop­u­lar­i­ty and increas­ing turnout among white vot­ers, in part by scape­goat­ing peo­ple of col­or. For anti-immi­grant groups, this strat­e­gy had the added bonus of turn­ing Repub­li­cans away from attempts at mean­ing­ful reform.

    The first per­son to clear­ly lay out the case that the GOP should stop try­ing to win over peo­ple of col­or and focus sole­ly on white vot­ers was the extrem­ist writer Steve Sail­er, writ­ing for the white nation­al­ist web­site VDARE in 2000. What became known as the “Sail­er Strat­e­gy” had a resur­gence in pop­u­lar­i­ty as the anti-immi­grant move­ment tried to sink the “Gang of Eight” bill — even if its pro­po­nents didn’t cite Sail­er by name. Pat Buchanan, who has tout­ed Sailer’s work, blunt­ly called for a new “South­ern Strat­e­gy” to stir up white vot­ers’ fears of Lati­nos, while Eagle Forum’s Phyl­lis Schlafly declared that “the peo­ple the Repub­li­cans should reach out to are the … white vot­ers” because there was “no evi­dence at all that these His­pan­ics com­ing in from Mex­i­co will vote Repub­li­can.” As the Sen­ate debat­ed the “Gang of Eight” pro­pos­al, CIS echoed these sen­ti­ments in a press release, say­ing that by sup­port­ing the bill, Repub­li­cans would “alien­ate” the “less-edu­cat­ed whites” who they should real­ly be turn­ing out to win elec­tions.

    CIS spokes­peo­ple reg­u­lar­ly make this argu­ment, along with anoth­er one that has long been pop­u­lar among white nation­al­ists: that Lati­no immi­grants will nev­er vote Repub­li­can because they are inher­ent­ly lib­er­al. Dur­ing the debate over the “Gang of Eight” bill, CIS Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Mark Kriko­ri­an argued that the GOP shouldn’t both­er try­ing to increase its share of the Lati­no vote because “gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, His­pan­ic vot­ers are Democ­rats, and so the idea of import­ing more of them as a solu­tion to the Repub­li­can Party’s prob­lems is kind of sil­ly.” In anoth­er inter­view, Kriko­ri­an argued that immi­gra­tion reform would “destroy the Repub­li­can Par­ty” and ulti­mate­ly “the repub­lic.” The next year, he charged that Democ­rats were using immi­gra­tion as “a way of import­ing vot­ers” and to “cre­ate the con­di­tions, such as increased pover­ty, increased lack of health insur­ance, that lead even non-immi­grant vot­ers to be more recep­tive to big gov­ern­ment solu­tions.” At one point, Kriko­ri­an told Repub­li­cans that they should oppose immi­gra­tion reform sim­ply to deny Pres­i­dent Oba­ma a polit­i­cal vic­to­ry.

    ...

    CIS main­tains close ties to FAIR. When he launched CIS, which was at its start a project of FAIR, Tan­ton put his friend and FAIR board mem­ber Otis Gra­ham in charge. In 1995, CIS’ cur­rent direc­tor, for­mer FAIR employ­ee Mark Kriko­ri­an, took over, while Gra­ham con­tin­ued to sit on its board of direc­tors. Today, three of the 10 mem­bers of CIS’s board of direc­tors also sit on FAIR’s board of direc­tors or board of advi­sors.

    The Polit­i­cal Pow­er: Num­ber­sUSA

    The first Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial debate of the 2016 cam­paign cycle smashed TV rat­ings records, thanks in large part to the front-and-cen­ter place­ment of Don­ald Trump, who had achieved unex­pect­ed pop­u­lar­i­ty in a cam­paign based on racist broad­sides against immi­grants.

    But dur­ing a com­mer­cial break, many view­ers were treat­ed to a seem­ing­ly dif­fer­ent view of the immi­gra­tion debate: an ad fea­tur­ing a diverse group of Amer­i­cans say­ing that cur­rent lev­els of legal immi­gra­tion are too high, not because of racial or eth­nic con­cerns, but because of “the num­bers.”

    The ad direct­ed view­ers to the web­site of the group Num­ber­sUSA, which states promi­nent­ly that it says “‘no’ to immi­grant bash­ing” and that “nei­ther race nor eth­nic­i­ty should be fac­tors in set­ting or debat­ing immi­gra­tion poli­cies.”

    What won’t be found on NumbersUSA’s web­site is any ref­er­ence to its white nation­al­ist ties or its ori­gins as part of John Tanton’s anti-immi­gra­tion net­work.

    Roy Beck, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of Num­ber­sUSA, found­ed the grass­roots activism group in 1996 under the umbrel­la of Tanton’s foun­da­tion, U.S. Inc. At the foun­da­tion, he also served as an edi­tor of Tanton’s “The Social Con­tract” mag­a­zine, which lat­er became infa­mous for pub­lish­ing the work of white nation­al­ist writ­ers, and helped edit a book by Tan­ton and Wayne Lut­ton, a white suprema­cist who would lat­er become the edi­tor of “The Social Con­tract.” In 1996, spoke to a meet­ing of the white suprema­cist Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens, although he lat­er claimed to be igno­rant of the group’s views. Tan­ton even­tu­al­ly named Beck the “heir appar­ent” of his foun­da­tion. In 2002, Beck split his group from Tanton’s and began the process of attempt­ing to sep­a­rate him­self from his for­mer employer’s con­tro­ver­sial views.

    Although Beck has attempt­ed to dis­tance him­self from some of these more unsa­vory asso­ci­a­tions, NumbersUSA’s restric­tion­ist goals remain in line with the goals pro­mot­ed by Tan­ton. Num­ber­sUSA wants to elim­i­nate birthright cit­i­zen­ship and dras­ti­cal­ly reduce legal immi­gra­tion by seek­ing “elim­i­na­tion of most or all” per­ma­nent immi­gra­tion cat­e­gories except imme­di­ate fam­i­ly mem­bers, a lim­it­ed num­ber of refugees and those with “tru­ly extra­or­di­nary skills in the nation­al inter­est.”

    Although Num­ber­sUSA takes a soft­er tone than many in the anti-immi­grant move­ment, that belies its hard-line pol­i­cy stances. In the sum­mer of 2015, as Trump rose in the polls on a wave of anti-immi­grant hate, Beck low­ered Trump’s grade on his group’s score­card because the can­di­date had “seemed to be defen­sive and try­ing to prove that he isn’t hos­tile to immi­grants by also indi­cat­ing he would like to see legal immi­gra­tion increased.” The group’s activism and care­ful­ly placed attacks on mem­bers of Con­gress helped to sink Pres­i­dent George W. Bush’s attempt at immi­gra­tion reform and the 2013 “Gang of Eight” plan.

    Beck couch­es these hard-line poli­cies in care­ful lan­guage. NumbersUSA’s web­site cites its major con­cerns as the envi­ron­ment and unem­ploy­ment, both of which it says are neg­a­tive­ly impact­ed by the cur­rent lev­els of legal and ille­gal immi­gra­tion. It links immi­gra­tion to “traf­fic grid­lock” and claims that immi­grants and “Amer­i­can-born refugees” flee­ing immi­grant-packed cities are erod­ing the “way of life” in small towns. The group warns, with lit­tle expla­na­tion, that pop­u­la­tion growth through immi­gra­tion will also erode “indi­vid­ual lib­er­ties.” It also makes a spe­cif­ic appeal to African Amer­i­cans, part of the anti-immi­grant movement’s long-term attempt to dri­ve a wedge between African Amer­i­cans and Lati­nos.

    It’s no coin­ci­dence that Ann Coul­ter cit­ed Num­ber­sUSA in one of the most racist pas­sages of her 2015 book “Adios, Amer­i­ca,” writ­ing, “Send­ing their poor­est, most back­ward peo­ple to the Unit­ed States is obvi­ous­ly a big help to Mex­i­co, but it’s pret­ty rough on America’s land­scape. The sheer num­bers of immi­grants tromp­ing into the Unit­ed States can’t help but to harm our wilder­ness areas. That’s why the largest anti-immi­gra­tion group is called ‘Num­bersUSA,’ not ‘His­pan­ics Lit­ter and Scorch the Earth.’ But it is also a fact that the vast major­i­ty of Ted­dy Kennedy immi­grants [admit­ted after the removal of racist quo­tas in 1965] come from peas­ant cul­tures that have no con­cept of ‘lit­ter.’”

    Beck clear­ly real­izes that while his mes­sag­ing steers clear of racism, his group’s base is large­ly in Trump’s camp. In 2014, when a coali­tion of fringe anti-immi­grant hate groups orga­nized ral­lies to stir up resent­ment against the large num­ber of unac­com­pa­nied chil­dren from Cen­tral Amer­i­ca flee­ing to the south­ern bor­der of the U.S., Num­ber­sUSA qui­et­ly pro­mot­ed the protests to its email list. In 2013, as the Sen­ate was prepar­ing to vote on an immi­gra­tion reform pack­age, Num­ber­sUSA spokes­woman Rose­mary Jenks joined a con­fer­ence call orga­nized by Eagle Forum — a group that fre­quent­ly presents immi­gra­tion as an issue of racial demo­graph­ics — where she warned, “If this amnesty pass­es, that’s it for Amer­i­ca.”

    As immi­grants’ rights advo­cate Frank Shar­ry put it to the New York Times in 2007: “Roy Beck takes peo­ple who are upset about ille­gal immi­gra­tion for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, includ­ing hos­til­i­ty to Lati­no immi­grants, and dis­ci­plines them so their mes­sage is based on pol­i­cy rather than race-based argu­ments or xeno­pho­bia.”

    Side­bar: Where the Mon­ey Comes From

    FAIR, CIS and Num­ber­sUSA are heav­i­ly fund­ed by foun­da­tions con­nect­ed to a sin­gle wealthy con­ser­v­a­tive fam­i­ly, the Scaifes. Tan­ton was a friend of the late Cordelia Scaife May, whose Col­com Foun­da­tion — which says it wants to roll back America’s “ever-increas­ing pop­u­la­tion” — con­tin­ues to fund much of the Tan­ton net­work. The Cen­ter for Media and Democ­ra­cy (CMD) wrote in 2013, “Like Tan­ton, May was an envi­ron­men­tal­ist com­mit­ted to pop­u­la­tion con­trol — and believed lim­it­ing immi­gra­tion was the best way to do it — and found­ed the Col­com Foun­da­tion to advance this goal, pro­vid­ing tens of mil­lions to anti-immi­grant groups as well as fund­ing legit­i­mate envi­ron­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions.”

    In the 2013 tax year, the most recent for which tax records are avail­able, Col­com pro­vid­ed FAIR with a lit­tle over $4 mil­lion of the $6.3 mil­lion grants and con­tri­bu­tions it received that year; about $1.9 mil­lion of the $2.4 mil­lion that CIS took in; and near­ly $4 mil­lion of the $6.3 mil­lion received by NumbersUSA’s edu­ca­tion­al arm.

    Foun­da­tions run by Scaife May’s broth­er, the con­ser­v­a­tive mega-donor Richard Mel­lon Scaife, have also kicked in mil­lions of dol­lars to Tan­ton net­work orga­ni­za­tions.

    FAIR attract­ed con­tro­ver­sy when it was report­ed that between 1985 and 1994, Tan­ton had sought and received $1.2 mil­lion for the group from the Pio­neer Fund, a eugeni­cist group with the goal of “race bet­ter­ment.”

    ...

    Tan­ton has made it clear that one of the major fac­tors dri­ving his anti-immi­gra­tion activism is his inter­est in the Unit­ed States remain­ing a major­i­ty-white nation. He wrote in a 1993 let­ter: “I have come to the point of view that for Euro­pean-Amer­i­can soci­ety and cul­ture to per­sist, it requires an Euro­pean-Amer­i­can major­i­ty and a clear one at that. I doubt very much that our tra­di­tions will be car­ried on by oth­er peo­ples.” He warned in 1997 that Amer­i­ca could be over­run by immi­grants “defe­cat­ing and cre­at­ing garbage and look­ing for jobs.” In 1993, he wrote a memo out­lin­ing an idea he had come up with along with three well-known white nation­al­ists to start a group called “League for Euro­pean Amer­i­can Defense, Edu­ca­tion, and Research” — a group ded­i­cat­ed to pre­vent­ing the end of a white major­i­ty in Amer­i­ca.”

    So the very first gen­er­al elec­tion ad from the Trump cam­paign fea­tures a cita­tion to an anti-immi­grant think-tank ded­i­cat­ed to main­tain­ing a clear white major­i­ty in the US because he’s con­vinced that soci­ety will implode if that is no longer the case.

    In oth­er news, the Trump cam­paign and RNC just met with His­pan­ic lead­ers to bol­ster the GOP’s Lati­no vot­er out­reach efforts.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 20, 2016, 6:32 pm
  32. Politi­co has an arti­cle on the grow­ing con­cerns over the Trump cam­paign’s grow­ing plans to pre­emp­tive­ly declare to the US elec­toral sys­tem and polls as all rigged and threat­en­ing to not rec­og­nize the legit­i­ma­cy of the elec­tion if he los­es. In par­tic­u­lar, the arti­cle address­es con­cerns with­in the GOP over the pos­si­ble con­se­quences of this strat­e­gy. There were the obvi­ous poten­tial con­se­quences like how this mine under­mine the Trump vot­ers’ faith in democ­ra­cy and real­ly erode the gen­er­al social con­sen­sus that makes democ­ra­cy work.

    But the arti­cle focus­es the GOP-spe­cif­ic con­cerns like the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Trump and the Alt-Right are going to use their rig­ging charges as an excuse declare a need to revenge against the sys­tem and then go off to start their own Alt-Right par­ty that would become a direct com­peti­tor to the GOP. And that’s not an unimag­in­able con­cern, espe­cial­ly when you con­sid­er­ing the grifter-nature of both Trump and the Alt-Right media mavens like Steve Ban­non and the incred­i­ble mon­ey they could make in com­ing years tap­ping into Trumpian griev­ance pol­i­tics.

    Now, grant­ed, hav­ing a Trump third par­ty pop up that’s a direct Alt-Right com­peti­tor to the GOP (which is basi­cal­ly cryp­to-Alt-Right any­ways) could be great for split­ting the right-wing vote dur­ing elec­tions and allow­ing the coun­try to move out of its cur­rent polit­i­cal Dark Age. But that sce­nario comes at the cost of hav­ing an overt­ly Alt-Right/bor­der­line-neo-Nazi third par­ty with sub­stan­tial sup­port basi­cal­ly per­ma­nent­ly becom­ing part of the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal main­stream, which is a pret­ty mas­sive price to pay to see the GOP per­ma­nent­ly weak­ened (don’t we already have enough of those?).

    It’s all a reminder that the dam­ages the Trump could pose for the GOP in the long-term are real­ly only lim­it­ed to the GOP as long as the Trumpian move­ment does­n’t become long-term too:

    Politi­co

    What if Trump won’t accept defeat?

    As their nom­i­nee unrav­els, Repub­li­cans wor­ry where his scorched-earth, rigged-elec­tion rhetoric leads the GOP and the coun­try.

    By Eli Stokols

    08/22/16 05:01 AM EDT

    Don­ald Trump is on track to lose in Novem­ber and to refuse to accept the legit­i­ma­cy of that Elec­tion Day result. That’s a prob­lem not just for Hillary Clin­ton but for both polit­i­cal par­ties and the coun­try. For every­one, real­ly, oth­er than Don­ald Trump.

    By hir­ing Breitbart’s Steve Ban­non, a media provo­ca­teur in his own image, and accept­ing the res­ig­na­tion of the man who was sup­posed to pro­fes­sion­al­ize him, Trump is sig­nal­ing the final 78 days of his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign will be guid­ed by a staff that indulges his deeply held con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and val­i­dates his her­met­i­cal­ly sealed world­view.

    That includes his insis­tence that the only way he los­es is in a “rigged” elec­tion. Accord­ing to two long-time Trump asso­ciates, the notion of a fixed elec­tion isn’t just viewed as smart pol­i­tics inside Trump Tow­er; it’s some­thing the GOP nom­i­nee believes.

    “If he los­es, [he’ll say] ‘It’s a rigged elec­tion.’ If he wins, he’ll say it was rigged and he beat it. And that’s where this is head­ed no mat­ter what the out­come is,” said one Trump ally. “If Don­ald Trump los­es, he is going to point the fin­ger at the media and the GOP estab­lish­ment. I can’t real­ly pic­ture him giv­ing a con­ces­sion speech, what­ev­er the final mar­gin.”

    “It’s the same as how he looks at the polls,” said anoth­er close Trump con­fi­dant. “Any poll that shows him ahead he likes. Any poll that shows him behind, he thinks it’s rigged.”

    Trump began to sug­gest that the elec­tion would be “fixed” last month as Hillary Clin­ton opened a lead fol­low­ing July’s par­ty con­ven­tions. “The only way we can lose, in my opin­ion — I real­ly mean this, Penn­syl­va­nia — is if cheat­ing goes on,” Trump said at a ral­ly in Altoona. Days ear­li­er in Wilm­ing­ton, North Car­oli­na, he’d warned that with­out stronger vot­er iden­ti­fi­ca­tion laws peo­ple would be “vot­ing 15 times for Hillary.” The first image of a Trump cam­paign ad, released on Fri­day, is that of a polling place as a nar­ra­tor alleges “the sys­tem” is “rigged”; and his cam­paign has already begun recruit­ing vol­un­teers to mon­i­tor polling places, specif­i­cal­ly in urban precincts where African-Amer­i­can vot­ers, very few of which sup­port Trump, pre­dom­i­nate.

    Trump’s words are hav­ing an effect. Just 38 per­cent of Trump sup­port­ers believe their votes will be count­ed accu­rate­ly; and only 49 per­cent of all reg­is­tered vot­ers are “very con­fi­dent” their votes will be tab­u­lat­ed with­out error, accord­ing to a Pew Research sur­vey last week.

    The impli­ca­tions — short- and long-term — are seri­ous. Inter­views with more than a dozen senior GOP oper­a­tives sug­gest grow­ing pan­ic that Trump’s descent down this alt-right rab­bit hole and, beyond that, his efforts to de-legit­imize the very insti­tu­tions that under­gird Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy — the media and the elec­toral process itself — threat­en not just their con­gres­sion­al majori­ties or the party’s sur­vival but, poten­tial­ly, the sta­bil­i­ty of the country’s polit­i­cal sys­tem.

    “We’ve nev­er had a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date who has ques­tioned the legit­i­ma­cy of an elec­toral out­come nation­al­ly,” said Dan Senor, who was a for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to Mitt Romney’s 2012 cam­paign. “This does take us to a whole new world if the actu­al pres­i­den­tial can­di­date is ques­tion­ing the legit­i­ma­cy of this process, and the dam­age to our democ­ra­cy could be sub­stan­tial.”

    In 2008, even as some on the far right ques­tioned Barack Obama’s legit­i­ma­cy as pres­i­dent based on false sug­ges­tions he was not born in Amer­i­ca, McCain con­ced­ed quick­ly. Most notably, after the Supreme Court’s 2001 Bush v. Gore deci­sion, count­less Democ­rats com­plained that the result was unjust — but Al Gore and Joe Lieber­man did not.

    “Among the val­ues most nec­es­sary for a func­tion­ing democ­ra­cy is the peace­ful tran­si­tion of pow­er that’s gone on unin­ter­rupt­ed since 1797. What enables that is the accep­tance of the election’s out­come by the losers,” said Steve Schmidt, the GOP oper­a­tive who was John McCain’s cam­paign strate­gist in 2008.

    “Here you have a can­di­date after a ter­ri­ble three weeks, which has all been self-inflict­ed, say­ing the only way we lose is if it’s ‘rigged’ or stolen — in a media cul­ture where peo­ple increas­ing­ly don’t buy into gen­er­al­ly accept­ed facts and turn to places to have their opin­ions val­i­dat­ed where there’s no wall between extreme and main­stream posi­tions. That’s an assault on some of the pil­lars that under­gird our sys­tem. Peo­ple need to under­stand just how rad­i­cal a depar­ture this is from the mean of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics.”

    Should Trump opt not to con­cede after a loss or delib­er­ate­ly roil his sup­port­ers and spark upris­ings by refus­ing to accept the legit­i­ma­cy of the elec­tion results, he would still have lit­tle recourse to alter a sig­nif­i­cant elec­toral vic­to­ry for Clin­ton. Only if the elec­tion were close, hing­ing on one or two states where there were alleged vot­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties, could Trump seri­ous­ly con­test the result in court.

    But beyond who wins the White House in Novem­ber, many Repub­li­cans fear that Trump’s efforts to dimin­ish people’s con­fi­dence in main­stream media, fair elec­tions and in pol­i­tics itself will have a last­ing impact.

    “The dam­age this is going to do to var­i­ous insti­tu­tions is going to be long term,” said Char­lie Sykes, a promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tive radio host in Mil­wau­kee who has been one of the country’s most out­spo­ken and con­sis­tent anti-Trump voic­es. “How do you restore civ­il dis­course after all of this? He is a post-mod­ern author­i­tar­i­an who’s in the process of dele­git­imiz­ing every insti­tu­tion — the media, the bal­lot box — that can be a check on him.”

    Sykes, who is open about his grow­ing dis­com­fort with the increas­ing­ly par­ti­san media land­scape and reduc­tive, zero-sum polit­i­cal cul­ture he and his more stri­dent cohorts have helped cre­ate, views Trump’s talk of “rigged” sys­tems and its sub­se­quent val­i­da­tion and ampli­fi­ca­tion by out­lets like Bre­it­bart as “dan­ger­ous.”

    “There’s a siz­able por­tion of his fan base that will believe these things, and it’s tox­ic to our democ­ra­cy,” he con­tin­ued. “You’re basi­cal­ly tak­ing ideas and voic­es that have been on the fringes — jus­ti­fi­ably — and Don­ald Trump is bring­ing them square­ly into the main­stream and weaponiz­ing them. This is some­thing we’ve not had to con­front before. At one time there were respon­si­ble voic­es that would have drawn some lines that would have kept these voic­es from dom­i­nat­ing our dis­course; and they don’t exist now.”

    Hav­ing resist­ed and ulti­mate­ly reject­ed efforts by Man­afort and RNC Chair­man Reince Preibus to con­trol and tem­per his mes­sage, Trump is seem­ing­ly reded­i­cat­ing him­self to the pugilis­tic pop­ulism, the eco­nom­ic nation­al­ism and eth­nic trib­al­ism that have so endeared him to the con­ser­v­a­tive base — and so lim­it­ed his appeal beyond it.

    Kellyanne Con­way, the poll­ster whose hir­ing as cam­paign man­ag­er was announced the same day as Bannon’s, might have giv­en Repub­li­cans exas­per­at­ed by Trump’s inabil­i­ty to piv­ot a glim­mer of con­fi­dence that the nom­i­nee was tack­ling one of his biggest prob­lems, a 30-point deficit to Clin­ton with col­lege-edu­cat­ed white women — if not for Bannon’s plan to “let Trump be Trump” that’s like­ly to under­cut her efforts.

    Trump’s late efforts over the week­end to reach an African-Amer­i­can con­stituen­cy that’s almost entire­ly writ­ten him off illus­trate just how unlike­ly it may be that Trump’s own words will be con­sis­tent enough to per­suade the skep­tics. At a ral­ly in Michi­gan, he swung from pre­dict­ing he’d win 95 per­cent of black vot­ers in a reelec­tion bid (polls show he’ll be lucky to win 5 per­cent this year) to patron­iz­ing them into sup­port­ing him. “You’re liv­ing in pover­ty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs,” he said. “Fifty-eight per­cent of your youth is unem­ployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

    ...

    “If the Repub­li­can Par­ty wants to be a gov­ern­ing par­ty again, it has to think about how rep­re­sen­ta­tive it is of the Amer­i­can peo­ple as a whole,” said Lan­hee Chen, a fel­low at Stanford’s Hoover Insti­tu­tion and an advis­er to Mar­co Rubio and oth­er Repub­li­cans. “It’s tough to do that when the premise of a cam­paign seems to be exclu­sion and sep­a­ra­tion. I think it’s very hard to get to a place where you have a par­ty that peo­ple see as rep­re­sent­ing all of the diverse inter­ests of the coun­try.”

    Chen and oth­ers point to one poten­tial sil­ver lin­ing: that thus far in this elec­tion cycle Trump­ism has only worked for Trump. Paul Nehlen, whose pri­ma­ry chal­lenge of Speak­er Paul Ryan was effec­tive­ly engi­neered by Ban­non and aid­ed by Breitbart’s dai­ly drum­beat of anti-estab­lish­ment pro­pa­gan­da, drew a measly 15 per­cent of the vote on pri­ma­ry day. And main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive donors have suc­cess­ful­ly tak­en out a hand­ful of Tea Par­ty incum­bents in oth­er pri­maries, demon­strat­ing that par­rot­ing Trump’s lan­guage may not work for can­di­dates oth­er than Trump.

    But these oper­a­tives under­stand that Trump, even if he is humil­i­at­ed on Elec­tion Day, is unlike­ly to qui­et­ly exit the polit­i­cal stage — his most ardent cheer­lead­ers, unlike­ly to admit their can­di­date nev­er had a chance.

    “I can’t see the fever swamp, alt-real­i­ty media uni­verse on the right learn­ing the lessons of this,” Sykes said. “Can you see Sean Han­ni­ty and Lau­ra Ingra­ham say­ing, ‘OK, sor­ry, we screwed up’?”

    And many wor­ry that the new­ly con­sum­mat­ed Trump-Bre­it­bart part­ner­ship will endure, per­haps in anoth­er form — and that both men will be eager to exact revenge.

    “What I wor­ry about is that they’re look­ing past Novem­ber at form­ing a dif­fer­ent par­ty — that they’ve used the GOP as a vehi­cle to build this fol­low­ing and that then they just go and build some­thing new,” said Katie Pack­er, Mitt Romney’s deputy cam­paign man­ag­er in 2012 and the leader of an anti-Trump super PAC.

    “That’s dam­ag­ing because some of these peo­ple who like Trump should be Repub­li­cans. My hope is that if he los­es big, any­one who’s not a racist nation­al­ist says ‘Nev­er again’ and the racist nation­al­ists just retreat to their base­ments where they belong. But my fear is that Ban­non and Trump unit­ing could be about them look­ing to do some­thing long-term that would ensure this fringe ele­ment remains.

    “And many wor­ry that the new­ly con­sum­mat­ed Trump-Bre­it­bart part­ner­ship will endure, per­haps in anoth­er form — and that both men will be eager to exact revenge.”

    Trumpian revan­chism. Or rather, pre­emp­tive fan­ta­sy revan­chism. That does seem like a rea­son­able con­cern. For every­one.

    But per­haps the group that should be most con­cerned about revenge plots is the GOP­ers who will be placed in a posi­tion to either fol­low Trump’s lead and declare the elec­tion a rigged sham and the gov­ern­ment ille­git­i­mate or just accept­ing a loss and plan­ing for 2020. Because if Trump los­es and declares “this was rigged! I don’t accept this at all!”, every sin­gle elect­ed GOP­er is going to be expect pub­licly choose sides on that issue and you can be sure the Trumpian hordes are going to be keep­ing track of who betrayed Trump.

    In oth­er words, if Trump goes through with his “it’s all rigged” plan and los­es big, his last gift to the GOP this elec­tion might be to place the rest of the GOP into a posi­tion where they are either on “Team Trump” or, in the eyes of Trump vot­ers con­vinced it was all rigged, “Team Trump Trai­tor.” Those are basi­cal­ly going to be the two options for each indi­vid­ual GOP­er. It’s also a strat­e­gy that could eas­i­ly drag every last elect­ed GOP­er in the House and Sen­ate and maybe even state offi­cials into the scheme if Trump’s plan for not accept­ing defeat some­how involves hav­ing state gov­ern­ments refuse to accept their state’s elec­toral out­come.

    So is the rest of the GOP will­ing to go all in on Trump’s “it’s all rigged!” strat­e­gy or resist it and risk a new revenge-ori­ent­ed Trumpian third par­ty? They had bet­ter decide soon, because while this grow­ing “it’s all rigged!” cam­paign strat­e­gy might seem like a Trump cam­paign strat­e­gy the rest of the GOP is part of that strat­e­gy too whether they like it or not. They can join “Team Trump” and fuel the fan­ta­sy revan­chist revenge move­ment, or join “Team Trump Trai­tor” and fuel the fan­ta­sy revan­chist revenge move­men­t’s desire for revenge on the GOP too.

    And either choice is prob­a­bly fine with Trump since he’s guar­an­teed to get at least some GOP­ers to back him all the way on any attempt to declare the gov­ern­ment ille­git­i­mate. When some­one traps you in a divide and con­quer ploy, they’ prob­a­bly don’t care very much which side you choose as long as there’s divi­sion. And there’s def­i­nite­ly going to be divi­sion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 22, 2016, 3:02 pm
  33. A recent press release revealed that the Law Firm of Sul­li­van and Cromwell has advised AT&T on the acqui­si­tion of Time Warn­er Inc. which own’s the CNN and HBO. CNN does not have the same type of favor­able right wing bias as Rupert Mur­doch’s FOX News. This trans­ac­tion is report­ed­ly going to be being chal­lenged by Trump’s Jus­tice Depart­ment. This is the same Law Firm that Employed for­mer CIA Direc­tor Allen Dulles and Sec­re­tary of State John Fos­ter Dulles. Allen Dulles used to send Cables with a Hiel Hitler Greet­ing and John Fos­ter Dulles cried when Sul­li­van and Cromwell had to close their Ger­man Office in the late 1930’s.

    https://www.sullcrom.com/news-sullivan-cromwell-advises-atandt-inc-acquisition-time-warner-inc-2016

    S&C Advis­es AT&T Inc. in $108.7 Bil­lion Acqui­si­tion of Time Warn­er Inc.

    OCTOBER 22, 2016
    S&C is advis­ing AT&T Inc. in its defin­i­tive agree­ment to acquire Time Warn­er Inc. in a stock-and-cash trans­ac­tion val­ued at $107.50 per share. This pur­chase price implies a total equi­ty val­ue of $85.4 bil­lion and a total trans­ac­tion val­ue of $108.7 bil­lion, includ­ing Time Warner’s net debt.

    Time Warn­er is a glob­al leader in cre­at­ing pre­mi­um con­tent, has the largest film and TV stu­dio in the world and an exten­sive library of enter­tain­ment. Time Warn­er owns HBO, Warn­er Broth­ers and Turn­er Net­works, among oth­ers. AT&T has unmatched direct-to-cus­tomer dis­tri­b­u­tion across tele­vi­sion, mobile and broad­band. The com­bined com­pa­ny will com­bine pre­mi­um con­tent with a dis­tri­b­u­tion net­work capa­ble of deliv­er­ing it based on cus­tomer pref­er­ences.

    The S&C team advis­ing AT&T Inc. was led by Joseph Frumkin, Eric Krautheimer and Melis­sa Sawyer. Andrew Mason advised on tax mat­ters; Matthew Friest­edt advised on exec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion and ben­e­fits mat­ters; Nad­er Mousavi advised on intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty mat­ters; Neal McK­night and Ari Blaut advised on financ­ing mat­ters; and Steven Peikin, Adam Paris and William Mon­a­han advised on lit­i­ga­tion mat­ters.

    Posted by Mary Benton | November 28, 2017, 5:42 pm

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