Monday, August 21, 2017

This Flag Belongs Only in a Museum

The only place a Confederate Battle Flag should be displayed is in a museum: like this one, which is in the Minnesota Historical Society.

This flag was captured at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. The First Minnesota Regiment suffered an 80% casualty rate to win it.
Virginia has asked for return of the flag for more than 100 years — and each time Minnesota has refused to return the hard-won symbol of victory. A president demanded return of Confederate flags, Congress passed a resolution ordering return of the flags, Virginians even threatened suit to get their flag back. And the answer has been the same: No.

In 1961, Virginia asked for the flag back to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Civil War, according to a Roanoke Times article. Minnesota said no.

In 1998, Virginia Civil War re-enactors asked for the flag and eventually threatened legal action. A Minnesota historian said: “Blood has been shed for that flag. . Who are we to return it?” And Minnesota Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III said that despite a 1905 order that Civil War relics be returned, Virginia had no right to it.

In 2000, when Virginia legislators requested the Southern Cross flag once again, Gov. Jesse Ventura said: “Why? We won. … We took it. That makes it our heritage.”

In 2002, the U.S. Army’s chief of military history even decided the wool flag should be housed in a Virginia military history museum. But the flag remained in Minnesota.

In 2003, Virginia officials — including Democratic Gov. Mark Warner — demanded the flag. Gov. Tim Pawlenty said in response: “They’re not getting it. … We believe it’s rightfully ours, and we’re not giving it back to Virginia.” 
When you get Pawlenty, Ventura and Humphrey to band against you, there's no doubt that you're in the wrong.

Somewhere In The Dark Corners of the Internet...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trump Supporters Still Cheering Their Guy

The latest "worst week" for President Trump does seem a little different than the other ones in that some members of his party, the business world, and the military are abandoning him in terms of his "both sides are bad" comments last week in references to Nazis and the Antifa movement. It's not different for his supporters, though, as we see in this front page story from the New York Times.

The Times has done a very good job of keeping the focus on Trump's supporters (the real problem) because they are the ones that put him in office. In looking at these folks in the piece, one can see why they still support him. They are very tribal and their tribe hates liberals and anyone they deem elitist. They are naive and are loathe to give an inch to the concerns of liberals. They feel to picked on and see Trump as their champion. They are experiencing the sunk cost fallacy i.e they are too emotionally invested to back out now.

I was particularly struck by the naivete of Parson Hicks, the young black woman who has failed in an epic fashion to see how her dear leader is emboldening Nazis. Worse, she seems to be cheering on his inability to reflect and take criticism. Her comments in this piece made me realize ignorance doesn't excuse guilt and complicity.

I LMAO when I read the comments from Larry Laughlin.

Larry Laughlin, a retired businessman from a Minneapolis suburb, compares Mr. Trump to a high school senior who could “walk up to the table with the jocks and the cheerleaders and put them in their place.” That is something that the “nerds and the losers, whose dads are unemployed and moms are working in the cafeteria,” could never do. Mr. Trump may be rich, he said, but actually belonged at the nerd table.

“The guys who wouldn’t like me wouldn’t like Trump,” he said. “The guys who were condescending to him were condescending to me. 

“I feel like I’m watching my uncle up there. Where me and Chuck Schumer — that’s like going to the dentist,” he added, referring to the Democratic leader in the Senate.

This goes back to a theory (now completely confirmed) that I had back when I posted on The Smallest Minority. These guys were bullied back in school and now the nation has to pay for their psychological trauma. Worse, they have hitched their wagon to a con man's star who has always been the guy who was at the elite's table and picked on the nerds. The fact that they are falling for this act illustrates just how fucking poor their judgement is.

The Chuck Schumer comment also confirms another one of points. Like adolescents, they don't want to be responsible and go to the dentist. Why on earth should we trust them with the security of this nation?

These people represent a very real danger to our country. I have no doubt that Donald Trump could, in fact, stand in the middle of 5th Avenue, shoot someone and get away with it. Many would call him a murderer and Trump's supporters? Their first reaction would be contrary. They would get angry at the liberal media for reporting fake news. They would blame the person Trump shot for being anti-American and elitist.

Given all of this, what should we do about them?

Listen To Those Who Lived It

The front page of my paper today had this article as its lead.

Nazi resurgence alarms Minnesota World War II veterans, Holocaust survivors.

The message is pretty clear. When you are tolerant of intolerance, bad things happen.

What A Week!

Hey, conservatives, Mike Pence looking more attractive these days?

The presidency of Donald Trump really went into the shitter this week as he all too willingly fell into the "Cult of Both Sides" defense of the Nazis and other white supremacists that were marching in Charlottesville, VA last weekend. Like the right wing bloggers and commenters that worship him, Trump tried to dodge the responsibility of fomenting racist assholes by making it seem like liberals are bad and stuff too. 

This drew swift condemnation from many people across the political spectrum and Trump has grown increasingly isolated from his own party. Senator Corker from Tennessee recently questioned his competence and capacity to serve as president. Business leaders withdrew from his economic councils, ultimately causing their collapse. Steve Bannon was fired from his position as Chief Strategist. What does it all mean?

Not all that much when you take a look at the polls. The problem isn't really Trump and we need to start shifting away from him. The problem is his supporters. The polls show they are sticking with him even if the majority of the country is not. I saw a lot of liberals in my news feed delighted at Bannon being gone. Who cares? Bannon isn't the problem. Trump isn't the problem. They are merely playing to a need that's out there. This need is pretty fucking dark if you consider they are willing to excuse literal Nazis being emboldened and moving to act. So, what are our options in deal with these people?

The best option is to build a larger and sustaining coalition that buries them at the polls in EVERY SINGLE ELECTION, including the odd year, local elections. The only reason why they win is due to complacency. It has nothing to do with their message being more popular. They simply are better voters. The good guys need more and better voters.

The second best option is to let them fuck up in the sunlight. The age of social media means you can't really do anything anonymously anymore. Take a look at what happened to some of the marchers in last week's protests in Charlottesville. Or how about Crying Chris Cantwell? Most of these folks talk a good game but, in the final analysis, they are limp noodles. Don't try to ban them from your college campus or stop their open and lawful protest. Give them a mic and let them talk. Put them out in front of every major news organization on television and online. If good people are going to build larger and sustaining coalitions to stop them, they need to have a continual reminder about what we are up against.

Stop attacking Trump. That doesn't mean that you can't relay what he has done or said. Since he thrives on the attention, take it away from him and put it on the people that support him. They are going to be around a lot longer than he is. The good news is that there are more of us than there are of them. Let's use that advantage wisely.

Raising Kids In The Age Of Social Media

Friday, August 18, 2017

What General Lee Thought about Civil War Monuments

After the terrorist attack in Charlottesville during protests over the statue of of Gen. Robert E. Lee, we've heard from the Nazis, Trump, the Baltimore City Council, and countless others.

What did General Lee think? Here's an article from the Republican Vindicator, September 3, 1869, about erecting memorials in Gettysburg, to which Lee replied.
The widely heralded meeting of the officers, (U.S and Confederate,) who took part in the battle of Gettysburg, to mark the operations of both armies on the field, by enduring memorials of granite, has proven, as many expected a great farce. But few of the prominent Northern officers were present and only two Confederate officers of minor grades. The Hotel man did not make as much as he expected, when he got up the idea.

Gen. Lee was invited and forwarded the following reply:
Lexington, VA., August 5, 1869.
Dear Sir--Absence from Lexington has prevented my receiving until to-day your letter of the 26th ult., inclosing an invitation from the Gettysburg Battle-field Memorial Association, to attend a meeting of the officers engaged in that battle at Gettysburg, for the purpose of marking upon the ground by enduring memorials of granite the positions and movements of the armies on the field. My engagements will not permit me to be present. I believe if there, I could not add anything material to the information existing on the subject. I think it wiser, moreover, not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered. Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
R. E. Lee.
The whole point of these monuments, most of which were erected 50 and 100 years after the Civil War, was not to record history, but to protest the advancement of the civil rights and glorify the cause of white supremacy by commemorating the men who enslaved African Americans.

This memorial, erected after the massacre of 150 blacks after a contested election in Colfax, LA, shows the true intent of the vast majority of Civil War monuments:

White supremacy. Who'd a' thunk?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Some armed antifa thugs heading to disrupt a peacefully-assembled white nationalist gathering.

A Loser's Idea of a Winner

Donald Trump always talks about winning, winning, winning. Winning so much we'll get tired of winning (he must be exhausted with all the "winning" he's done in the last seven months).

But Trump isn't a winner: he's a loser's idea of a winner. He has a loser mentality, thinking that if he surrounds himself with ostentatious trappings of success he'll be a winner. But he's a terrible businessman who bankrupted six companies, a conman whose only ability is self-promotion. Trump succeeded because his daddy set him up with an inheritance and some smart lawyers so he could always weasel out a win somehow, screwing everyone else in the process.

Trump knows this, and it's why he acts like a loser even when he wins. After the election, he whined bitterly, like a sore loser, lying about the popular vote total and the size of his inauguration crowd. No matter his success, he carps about how unfair everything is, like a five-year-old who was forced to share his toys with his brother.

Trump says he loves winners, ripping into John McCain and implying that McCain was a loser for getting captured in Viet Nam.

So why is Trump tweeting about the "beautiful statues and monuments" of a bunch of Civil War losers? Confederate soldiers betrayed the United States to defend the corrupt, evil, doomed and losing institution of slavery.

The Confederate traitors whose statues are being taken down in the South were losers: they lost a war that killed half a million Americans. That blood is on their hands. Why would we keep statues of them?

Lincoln was gracious in victory: instead of imprisoning and executing the traitorous losers, he granted amnesty to all but the officers in 1863. For that act of kindness he was assassinated. Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, was paroled after two years in prison and went to Canada. President Andrew Johnson issued a pardon for all Confederates on Christmas day in 1868.

Trump has leapt to the defense of people who chant slogans of the Nazis. The Nazis were a bunch of losers, who fought a losing war against the world, propagating a losing creed that Aryans are superior to all others.

Even if you strip out the racist aspects of the alt-right, their goal is the same as another loser, apartheid-era South Africa: Richard Spencer, an alt-right leader, wants to create a separate white homeland for whites.

The alt-right are a bunch of losers who think they can't compete with women, Jews, Asians and African Americans. They say it themselves: "We've lost our country and we have to take it back." But instead of buckling down, working harder, going to college, studying longer, they march with torches, wearing symbols of lost causes -- swastikas and Confederate flags, rally around statues of Civil War losers and whine about reverse discrimination.

They want to kick their competitors out rather improve their own performance: they're admitting they can't win in a fair fight. Just yesterday Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist and former Breitbart editor, called white nationalists "a collection of clowns."

The fact of the matter is, rich white men run everything in this country: the presidency, the congress, the judiciary, state and local governments, police forces, the military, corporations -- everything, even the basketball and football teams on which African Americans are the majority.

The alt-right loves Trump because he's a kindred soul: they're a bunch of white male losers who can't make it in a country totally dominated by white males, and Trump's a born loser who stumbled into the presidency.

In the same way that Obama provided hope for blacks, and Hillary provided hope for women, Trump provides hope for born losers.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hate Is Bad for Business

After several CEOs criticized Trump or quit his business advisory council (representing Merck, Intel, Campbell's Soup, 3M, Under Armour, three labor and nonprofit groups, and Walmart), Trump has thrown in the towel, disbanding the councils.

If ever there was a tweet on this account that Trump didn't write, this is it: polite, no sniping, and spelled correctly!

For a man who claimed that he was such a successful businessman, the dissolution of this council is a complete embarrassment. Being linked to some of the most reviled and violent organizations in world history -- the Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Confederacy -- is bad for business. And don't forget the FSB (the Russian security service), who helped Trump win the election through hacking and fake news.

It turns out that real businessmen have to worry about what their customers think of them. They can't afford to alienate 95% of the country to appease the stormtroopers and murderers that Trump thinks are very fine people.

In related news, the neo-Nazi pro-Trump propaganda organ The Daily Stormer lost its domain name when GoDaddy said it violated its policies. The site was briefly was registered by Google, which kicked them out, then it went with an .onion domain on the Dark Web (the marketplace for hit men, drug dealers and human sex traffickers), but now it has finally landed in Russia with a .ru domain.

What a surprise: the only place Trump's neo-Nazi propaganda mouthpiece can find to host it on the Internet is Russia. At least now the fact that it is fake news is implicit in its web address.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trump Just Does Not Know When to Shut His Big Fat Mouth

After being forced almost at gunpoint by his staff to woodenly read a script condemning the Nazis who killed a woman on Saturday, Trump just could not shut up:
President Trump reverted Tuesday to blaming both sides for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., and at one point questioned whether the movement to pull down Confederate statues would lead to the desecration of memorials to George Washington.
Trump categorically refuses to admit that all the alt-right marchers have evil intent: they denigrate the humanity and want to take away the rights of people they don't like -- Muslims, Jews, Mexicans, blacks, women, Democrats, liberals -- and forcibly eject many of them from this country. That's what "take the country back" means, Donald, and they mean it literally.

With his various statements it is now obvious that Trump either shares their goals, or he is going to great lengths to con them into believing that he shares their goals to use them as stormtroopers to keep his hold on power.

By doing this he condemns himself in the eyes of the vast majority of the country.

His statement is loaded with crap. Trump pretends that the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Odinists and Confederate sympathizers were marching quietly peacefully to prevent the destruction of the statue of an American hero, General Robert E. Lee. If so, why were they shouting "Sieg Heil" and "Jew cannot replace us?" Why did they carry torches like angry villagers in a black-and-white horror movie from the Thirties? Why were they wearing helmets and body armor, carrying shields, clubs and automatic weapons?

Trump says that if we "change history" by getting rid of statues erected to honor traitors, George Washington will be next. It is preposterous to compare George Washington to Robert E. Lee. Both were slaveholders, yes. But Lee was a traitor to the United States and killed thousands of Americans. At a time when the country -- the entire world -- was dismantling the most evil institution mankind has known, Lee took up arms in rebellion to kill his fellow citizens.

Many of the Founding Fathers knew that slavery's days were numbered, and many wanted to abolish it outright in the 1770s. But they knew the South would never stand for it, and it was essential for the Union to remain whole if the Revolution was to succeed. It was a change that they knew would have to be addressed at a future time.

Sixty-four years after Washington was president, it was time for the institution of slavery to end: by then it had been dying for centuries. The Atlantic slave trade had been banned by the United States in the 18th century. Slavery was abolished across Europe in the late 18th and early 19th century. The Haitian slave revolt (1791-1084) showed that slavery's days were numbered, that it was impossible for modern societies to keep slaves: ultimately the number of guards required would outnumber the slaves. Mechanization and industrialization were making slave labor inefficient.

States throughout the north passed laws against slavery and indentured servitude throughout the early 19th century, and banned repatriation of escaped slaves. In 1820 slavery was banned in the United States north of the 36th parallel. Britain banned slavery throughout the empire in 1833. In 1845 the Royal Navy had a fleet of 36 ships dedicated to wiping out the slave trade. Even the Russians abolished serfdom in 1861.

But the American South kept slavery because the slave owners told poor whites that if the plantations lost their Negro slaves white southerners would have to take their place in the fields. Poor Southerners didn't fight the Civil War for God and country: they fought because they were being threatened with enslavement themselves. Plantation owners subverted the clergy to justify slavery with religious nonsense like the Curse of Ham.

It was only after the war that the South changed course and started making up excuses about states' rights being the just cause they were fighting for. Most of the Civil War monuments erected to honor and ennoble Confederate traitors were put up in the early and mid-20th century, coinciding with attempts to repress the civil rights of blacks.

With his conflicting statements on Charlottesville, Trump is just doing what he always does: create chaos. He says one thing, issues a statement contradicting it, makes a joke, reverses course, contradicts himself, sometimes in the same sentence. He says nothing and everything, hoping something will stick. This way, no matter who he's talking to later on, he can always claim that he said the thing he thinks they wanted to hear. He insults the intelligence of his listeners, thinking they won't remember what he said a month, a week, a day, an hour or a minute ago. Sadly, far too many people don't remember.

The guy is a con man, and a bad one at that: anyone listening to him talk should be able to tell that Trump is either lying or stupid.

But, ironically, the biggest reason Trump voters say they like him is that, "He tells it like it is." They, too, are either lying or stupid.

This is why Trump is always in such hot water, and why his popularity is in freefall. He never knows when to shut up, whether it's about Russia, or neo-Nazis, or women, transgendered military members, or the media, or North Korea. He seems to think that if he keeps yelling louder, nastier and more outrageous things, he will eventually bully everyone into submission.

Here's hoping he's wrong. Again.

Who Is Less Evolved?

A couple of psychologists have created a "profile" of the alt-right, trying to elucidate what they're thinking:
A lot of the findings align with what we intuit about the alt-right: This group is supportive of social hierarchies that favor whites at the top. It’s distrustful of mainstream media and strongly opposed to Black Lives Matter. Respondents were highly supportive of statements like, “There are good reasons to have organization that look out for the interests of white people.” And when they look at other groups — like black Americans, Muslims, feminists, and journalists — they’re willing to admit they see these people as “less evolved.”
In general I am suspicious of making broad generalizations about a group of people and drawing conclusions about individuals from those stereotypes: that is the definition of racism and bigotry.

That being said, though, the study does underline a common thread of fascist and racist thinking over the centuries: that blacks, Jews, etc., are somehow “less evolved.”

The researchers had sliders allowing the subjects to rank how evolved certain groups are:

The alt-right's cumulative response ranked Muslims at 55.4, feminists at 57, blacks at 64.7, Democrats at 60.4, Jews at 73, and whites at 91.8. Yes, I agree, this is a totally bogus line of questioning: you can't really equate genetics (white, Arab, African) and social affiliation (Muslim, Democrat, feminist). But they're measuring attitudes here, not scientific reasoning.

What's interesting is that there is an actual measure of evolution: the percentage of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA in a person's genome. Neanderthals and Denisovans were archaic hominids who lived in Europe and Asia and died out tens of thousands of years ago, after modern humans left Africa and colonized the rest of the world. Neanderthals are typically characterized as violent, ape-like brutes with beetled brows and subhuman intelligence.

It turns out that Neanderthals were not as primitive as they are portrayed: their brains were as large as modern humans, they made comparable stone tools, and they appear to have buried their dead ceremonially. They were less adaptable than modern humans, however, which is probably why they died out.

And, before they became extinct, Neanderthals interbred with modern humans. Not all humans. Just non-Africans. Whites have 2% Neanderthal DNA and some Asians have as much as 5% Denisovan DNA.

Africans have zero Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA -- they are 100% modern human, while those "ethnically pure" Northern Europeans Hitler ranted about are descended from the thick-skulled, hunched, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.

Does that mean whites are less evolved than Africans? Neanderthal ancestry has been linked to several diseases and psychiatric and mood disorders. However, Neanderthal DNA may have contributed tougher skin and better adaptation to high altitudes.

No, the presence of Neanderthal DNA has not condemned whites to subhuman status. Just as dark skin does not make Africans or aboriginal Australians dumber, or epicanthic folds make southeast Asians smarter. The genetics of human intelligence is extremely complex and variable, dependent on thousands of interacting genes, as well as epigenetics, nutrition, education, and exposure to environmental toxins like lead and pesticides -- not a few minor physical characteristics.

But since people mix terms like Muslim, feminist, Mexican, Democrat and European when they talk about how evolved someone is, let us charitably assume they are talking about culture or behavior, not genetic heritage.

"Primitive behavior" is aggressive, violent, murderous, unthinking, selfish and reactionary; motivated by coarse biological and emotional imperatives such as sex, greed and hunger, rather than cogent reasoning.

If you look at the behavior the alt-right (and Donald Trump) display, they are aggressive, greedy, violent, selfish, unreasoning, and motivated by sex -- manifested as antipathy towards women, since feminists are one of their hated groups -- frequently employing physical and verbal intimidation.

And yes, murderous: Heather Heyer wasn't the first person a white supremacist has killed. A lot of the alt-right considers Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh a folk hero, like the white supremacist who was just arrested for trying to detonate the same sort of bomb McVeigh did.

By any objective standard, the alt-right -- and their F├╝hrer Donald Trump -- are no more evolved than the Neanderthals they descended from.

Desperately Seeking Dirt

Just past sunrise the morning after a Minneapolis police officer shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond, more than a half-dozen state agents piled into the victim’s house on Washburn Avenue, searching for blood, hair, guns, ammunition, knives, drugs or “writings” that would help them understand what happened.
She was shot in the alley behind her house, after calling the cops to report a suspected assault. She apparently slapped the trunk of the squad car, scaring the cops. The officer in the passenger seat shot her through the driver's side window, right past his partner's head.

We don't know what the shooter was thinking, because he has so far refused to give any kind of statement. He's still on paid administrative leave.

The cops found nothing and took nothing from the house. But they killed her, and suddenly she's a suspect and her house is being searched. It really seems like this was a fishing expedition looking for some kind of dirt so they could blame the victim.

That was how the case against the officer who shot Philando Castile went. They searched Castile's house, looking for some kind of dirt. When they found THC in Castile's blood they had what they needed: a pretext for killing him. The killer then based his defense on the idea that Castile was a murderous madman because he had exposed other people to highly carcinogenic second-hand smoke. Smokers beware, the cops are gonna come gunning for you!

It's crazy how the judges and prosecutors and cops circle the wagons to find some way to sully the reputations of the victims of incompetent, trigger-happy officers who make horrendous errors in judgment.

Do the police search the houses of the cops who shoot innocent civilians? Do they test their blood for the presence of alcohol and drugs? Do they search their cars, lockers, Internet search history and cell phone call logs? I don't know -- that part of the investigation never seems to be performed, or at least reported on.

The lawyer representing Don Damond, Justine's fiance, doesn't think there's anything wrong with getting a search warrant for Damond's house because a phone call reporting an assault originated there.

That is sheer lunacy: who is going to call the cops to report a crime if doing so suddenly puts you in the police crosshairs, you become a suspect in the investigation, your privacy is invaded and your reputation is destroyed? Getting your house searched is not just an inconvenience: cops frequently bust down doors, guns drawn, and trash the place while serving a search warrant. And all too often they break into the wrong house and kill completely innocent people, like a mechanic in Mississippi last month.

Any time you have an interaction with a cop -- or any person with a gun -- you run the risk of getting shot. Why would any sane person want armed people inured to the dangers of guns rummaging around in their house?

Back in the Sixties America was aghast after a murder in New York, when no one called the cops as Kitty Genovese was knifed outside her apartment building. Her assailant stabbed her twice, ran away when someone yelled at him to leave her alone, then came back ten minutes later and killed and raped her, stealing $49. Eventually someone did call the police. Genevose died en route to the hospital. If someone had called the police immediately she would have likely lived.

Will you have second thoughts about calling the cops if you see someone sneaking out of your neighbor's house? Will you go outside to help someone crying for help after calling the cops? Or will you be afraid that the cops will try to pin a crime on you? Or maybe even shoot you?

Those same thoughts are probably going through your neighbors' heads.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Nazis Must Be Destroyed

Trump Voters Following Up on Trump's Fifth Avenue Boast

Today the white nationalist who killed a woman in Charlottesville and injured 20 others in a terrorist attack was denied bail. Why, people moan, why is this happening?

Well, I'll tell you. Remember Trump's infamous campaign boast?
Sioux Center, Iowa (CNN) Donald Trump boasted Saturday that support for his presidential campaign would not decline even if he shot someone in the middle of a crowded street. 
"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump said at a campaign rally here. 
After the event, Trump declined to answer when asked by CNN to clarify his comments.
The GOP front-runner has repeatedly pointed to the loyalty of his supporters, many of whom tell reporters and pollsters that almost nothing could make them change their mind about voting for Trump in the presidential race.
After Charlottesville, we know all too well why these "Trump's voters" would still support him if he shot someone in the street: they want to kill people in the street. Now these "Trump's voters" are actually following through on Trump's campaign promises to beat people up and commit murder.

These "Trump voters" are a bunch of violent, murderous thugs. They want to start a race war, and they don't even care if they kill white people in the process (many of Saturday's victims were white). He has been egging them on for years now, starting back when he falsely claimed Obama wasn't born in the United States.

Whether they call themselves alt-right, KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, National Socialists, white nationalists, Hitler Jugend, or Odinists, they are a bunch of torch-carrying, gun-toting fascist racists who parade around wearing emblems of our WWII enemies and Civil War traitors and assassins. They're not even Christian: they use pagan runic imagery from the worship of Norse gods.

These are the people that love Trump and the people that Trump loves. Up until this very hour, two full days after what Jeff Sessions himself called a terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Trump had refused to condemn these thugs and racists.

Now Trump finally caved in to his chief of staff and read off a statement that he clearly did not author and clearly does not believe, because it lacks all the insults, personal attacks and petty asides that Trump lards into his own heart-felt rhetoric.

The neo-Nazis and KKK supporters at the Daily Stormer website gloated Sunday that Trump still loved them because he issued a bland condemnation of general violence of "many sides" at the demonstration. Today's statement will not anger them. They will understand that it's meaningless because Trump said it under duress, with chief of staff John Kelly holding a figurative gun to Trump's head.

If Republicans in Congress don't have the guts to impeach Trump, they should at least demand the resignations of white supremacist sympathizers on Trump's staff, including Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.

These people have no business being in government, as they have clear sympathies with white nationalist terrorist groups. They are a huge security risk: even Trump believes that Bannon is leaking information to the white nationalist propaganda mill in order to undermine national security advisor H. R. McMaster.

Trump's daughter and son-in-law are Jewish, for God's sake. How can he look them in the face while he still has these thugs on staff?

But Trump cannot fire these people: Bannon has too much dirt on Trump. It's the same reason Trump can't quit Putin.

Pulling Out of Climate Accord Hurts American Industry

The Trump administration is pulling out of the Paris Climate Treaty. In addition, Trump's people are hamstringing the EPA and appear to be considering gutting emissions standards for automobiles and power plants:
The Trump administration gave notice it intends to relax the rules governing greenhouse gas emissions on new model cars Thursday, in its latest move to undo President Barack Obama’s climate policies.

In a notice on the federal register, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department announced they were considering rewriting emissions standards for cars and light trucks made between 2021 and 2025.

While other climate-change initiatives spearheaded by President Obama — like the EPA strategy for reducing emissions from power plants, called the Clean Power Plan — received more scrutiny from industry and conservative critics, emissions standards for cars are just as consequential for curbing the buildup of atmosphere-warming gases, analysts said.
The problem with this plan is that the rest of the world is going forward with clean energy and reduced emissions. Germany is planning to have only electric cars by 2030, and other countries are considering similar moves.

If the United States doesn't have a domestic market for such automobiles, American companies won't build them. They won't develop the technology. They will fall behind and be taken over by foreign companies, much like Chrysler was.

The same thing is true for power generation: Americans pioneered semiconductors and solar cell technology. But we've lost out to the Chinese in photovoltaic technology. We have a fairly robust wind power market, especially in Texas, but European companies have the upper hand in wind technology, and the Chinese have 70% of the market for rare earth magnets used in wind turbines and all manner of electronic devices.

American car companies and electrical utilities are famously short-sighted: they have no incentive to plan for the future. CEOs get compensated for daily and hourly stock increases. Note the GM's big bold announcement in 2017 wasn't about new technology or new production lines, it was a $5 billion stock buyback program aimed at jacking up share prices.

The US auto industry has historically been more interested in selling high-end, high-profit gas guzzlers to fat and lazy Americans than increasing their world market share. But this is a doomed strategy: as economic inequality continues to grow in the United States Americans will be less and less able to afford expensive cars.

Tesla's electric cars are cool and everything, but they're pricey. Unless the US government does something to address growing gap between rich and poor Americans, or encourage domestic production of inexpensive cars, foreign companies will step in to sell their cheaper and more efficient vehicles to Americans.

The downward spiral Trump voters are worried about will only get worse as his policies (and lack of them) turn the United States into just another third-world country.

Russian Engines Used in North Korean Missiles

The Times has another story about how Russia is screwing over the United States yet again:
North Korea’s success in testing an intercontinental ballistic missile that appears able to reach the United States was made possible by black-market purchases of powerful rocket engines probably from a Ukrainian factory with historical ties to Russia’s missile program, according to an expert analysis being published Monday and classified assessments by American intelligence agencies.
The studies may solve the mystery of how North Korea began succeeding so suddenly after a string of fiery missile failures, some of which may have been caused by American sabotage of its supply chains and cyberattacks on its launches. After those failures, the North changed designs and suppliers in the past two years, according to a new study by Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. 
It's not clear that Putin himself authorized the sale of the missiles to North Korea: the factory involved was a target of North Korean espionage several years ago.

But the factory is in dire economic straits because of cutbacks in Russian missile programs and is in the part of the Ukraine affected by the civil war instigated and backed by Putin and Russian troops.

The American rocket launch company, United Launch Alliance, also buys engines from Russia, though members of Congress have pushed to end this and use American sources. Which is probably putting further economic pressure on Russian rocket companies to sell to the North Koreans.

The chaos sown by Putin in Ukraine has now spilled over to the Korean peninsula, and has threatened the United States. The chaos in Syria, allowing the spread of ISIS, was sown by Putin with his continued propping up of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. That in turn caused a massive crisis, flooding Europe with millions of refugees, sparking several terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and elsewhere in Europe. The hysteria has also spread to the United States, helping spark the rise of neo-Nazis, the KKK and Confederate dead-enders, assisted by Russian fake news and social media trolling, helping power Trump to the presidency.

Putin's foreign adventures are now directly threatening the integrity of the United States and Europe. Russia is directly threatening America and American interests, and Trump is still making kissy-face with the Russian dictator.

It's long been assumed that North Korea got their nuclear technology from Pakistan, but I'm not so sure of that now. After the Cold War many Russian nuclear scientists were abandoned by their government and wound up in North Korea.

In a way this is good news: if the North Koreans are dependent on Russian engines, their capabilities will be reduced if the supply line is cut.

Now the question is: will Trump call Putin out for screwing us, or will Trump bend over for the Russians again?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Tribes+Trolls=Epic Fail

The last few days have seen me come to a stark realization about Trump and his supporters. They don't know what to do now that they are governing so they can't govern. How do you lead when your core ideology is to be contrarian?

I base this on two cold and rational facts. First, these are very tribal people. If you are in The Cult, you can do whatever you want. You can stand in the middle of the 5th Avenue and shoot someone and no one will care. Fareed Zakaria explores this in depth in the video below.

Take this information and couple it with this.

So, we have a very tribal people who exist only to troll. Where does that leave us? With this...

If you had told me six years ago that the American Left would be self-destructing as rapidly and violently as they appear to be today, I'd have had you committed. But bear in mind, their "long march through the institutions" has secured their (ever more tenuous) grasp on the reins of power. They own academia, the media, and the entertainment industry almost completely, and that's still a lot of power, power they won't surrender easily.

Before I get back to my original point...hmm...let's see...Donald Trump has been a successful member of the media and entertainment industry for several decades. And he's their champion? Wow, Just about being conned...hook, line and sinker...

More importantly (and back to my original point), this proves that they can't fucking govern. It's still all the liberal elite's fault and all they know is plots, secret conspiracies, and being a whiny troll. Never in my life have I seen a group of people so incapable of reflection. They won. They run the entire government. And still, somehow, they take ZERO responsibility for their fuck up after fuck up.

When they lose next year (and it's going to be massive), the cognitive dissonance is going to be nuclear.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Trump's Chaos Spreads to Charlottesville

Nazis and Klan members are marching in the streets of Charlottesville. They beat up counterprotesters and rammed a car into a crowd.  They are protesting the removal of the statue of a traitor to the United States:
The turmoil began with a march Friday night and escalated Saturday morning as hundreds of white nationalists gathered. Waving Confederate flags, chanting Nazi-era slogans, wearing helmets and carrying shields, they converged on a statue of Robert E. Lee in the city’s Emancipation Park and began chanting phrases like “You will not replace us,” and “Jew will not replace us.” 
We all remember who Adolf Hitler was: the murderer of millions of Europeans, Americans and Jews. We don't have statues of him in the United States: instead we have a Holocaust Museum and WWII memorials to remember his victims. And why do these supporters of Trump, who professes such love for Israel, have so much hatred for Jews?

Robert E. Lee and the other Confederate leaders were traitors to the United States. We do not "erase history" by tearing down monuments to those traitors. I'm actually related to General Lee: it's not a point of shame, but neither is it a heritage to celebrate: his actions do not reflect poorly on his descendants unless they endorse his treachery by honoring him. Statues of Lincoln, Union generals and abolitionists serve as reminders of the heroes of the Civil War: we should not commemorate the calumny of the villains.

The Nazi sympathizers in Charlotte venerate Confederate traitors, Hitler, Vladimir Putin, and Donald Trump all in the same breath. Make no mistake what their intentions are:
“We’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump” to “take our country back,” Mr. Duke told reporters Saturday. Many of the white nationalist protesters carried campaign signs for Mr. Trump.
This is what Donald Trump has turned the Republican Party into. A bunch of Nazis and Klan members who advocate race warfare and anarchy. Republicans have been tiptoeing up to this line for decades, with Nixon's and Reagan's dog whistles to racist Southerners. But Trump has completely obliterated it, winking and grinning as his followers pledge fealty to him with Nazi salutes and Nazi slogans.

During the campaign Trump played dumb, pretending he didn't know who David Duke was, and what the Klan was. Now his followers are inciting race war at the same time he's threatening nuclear war with North Korea. He's apparently thinking of invading South America as well, saying that we have "many options for Venezuela."

Republicans in Congress, wise up: Trump is an incompetent, senile madman intent on destroying the United States out of sheer spite. He is filling his own pockets with money from the treasury, paid to his own businesses so the Secret Service and the Pentagon can provide "security" when he takes vacations at his own properties.

Trump has had more than a year to disavow these Nazi sympathizers, and he has never done so. These are "his voters." This is why they'll never turn their backs on him: they are died-in-the-wool racists and fascists, and they are convinced he is as well. Whether Trump himself is is irrelevant: he's happy to take their fealty and give them license to rain chaos down across the country while he rains chaos down in Washington, dismantling the rule of law.

At this point the Republican Party has to disavow Trump and impeach him. Unless Congress or the cabinet removes Trump from office, and soon, he will start to pull the same gimmicks that other dictators have in the past. If Congress doesn't act soon, it may well be too late.

Trump will continue to fuel strife between his supporters and everyone else, inciting more violence. He will attack his erstwhile allies in Congress, such as Mitch McConnell and John McCain, in an attempt to intimidate and silence them. He will purge government of officials who refuse to pledge personal loyalty to Donald Trump alone. He will sic the FBI and the Justice Department after his enemies, perhaps starting with Hillary Clinton. He will corrupt the military, firing any generals who will not follow illegal orders. He will use his voter fraud commission to take away the right to vote from Democrats and minorities. A majority of Republicans would even back Trump if he canceled the next presidential election. The next step would be to declare martial law.

Trump is using the standard dictator play book, drumming up fear and paranoia over foreigners (ISIS, immigrants), cozying up to the foreign country that vaulted him to power (Russia), alienating our democratic allies (Europe), then stoking a foreign war (North Korea, Venezuela) to terrorize Americans so they will acquiesce to his future despotic measures to shore up his power.

If Trump remains president the chaos in Charlottesville will spread across the entire country.

The Troll Party

I think Bill Maher reads our blog...:)

The Pajama Boy Wearing Mom Jeans

Entertainer Rush Limbaugh had an interesting quote the other day. In commenting on President Trump's stance on North Korea, he said,

“We don’t have a pajama boy who wears mom jeans who can barely throw a baseball, a first pitch, at a Nationals game, as president,” he said. “We have somebody out there who’s no-nonsense, and who’s not going to take this.”

First of all, both Trump and Limbaugh got draft deferments from Vietnam so they can take their "tough" talk and shove it up their chickenhawk asses. In addition, Limbaugh may have forgotten about this.

Trump won’t throw first pitch on Nationals opening day

At least Obama showed up!

And finally, what the fuck is a "pajama boy who wears mom jeans?" That sounds like an insult from the 1890s...

Friday, August 11, 2017

Trump: Thank You Sir, May I Have Another!

In retaliation for a sanctions bill passed by an overwhelming majority of Congress and reluctantly signed by Trump, Vladimir Putin has demanded that the United States reduce our diplomatic staff by 755.

Trump responded by thanking Putin:
“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down on payroll, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people, because now we have a smaller payroll,” Mr. Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. “There’s no real reason for them to go back. So I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’ll save a lot of money.” 
I am reminded of a scene from Animal House:

Trump is really baffling: he goes out of his way to insult allies like Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Jeff Sessions. These are people whose support he needs to accomplish everything on his agenda.

Trump then makes crazy apocalyptic threats against a whack job in North Korea with nuclear weapons without consulting his staff.

Trump reportedly fired campaign manager Paul Manafort, who's under investigation for colluding with the Russians, because Manafort treated him like a child:
"You think you've gotta go on TV to talk to me? You treat me like a baby!” Trump said.

“Am I like a baby to you? I sit there like a little baby and watch TV and you talk to me? Am I a f--king baby, Paul?”

When enemies, friends and allies disrespect Trump he is full of piss and vinegar. But when Russia says "bend over!" Trump asks "how far?"

Does Trump think that looking like Putin's bitch is what his supporters want to see? Does he think he's being funny? If he doesn't want to avoid further diplomatic tussles he could simply say nothing. But instead he digs the hole he's in with Russia even deeper.

Clearly, Trump is afraid of Putin in a way that he's not afraid of anyone else. Which means that Trump either has a real hard-on for Volodya, or Putin has something on him that will totally destroy Trump.

The FBI raid on Paul Manafort's house in July is an indication that the Russia investigation is getting closer to home. It looks like Manafort was involved with money laundering at Russian-owned Cyprus banks, along with Russian oligarch Oleg Derepaska and American real estate, with some involvement by Trump.

Manafort has worked with Kremlin-backed Ukrainian puppets in Eastern Europe for years. What if Manafort himself is the vector of collusion between Russia and Trump? Manafort worked as Trump's campaign manager for free. This guy never does anything for free: someone was obviously paying him for the time he spent with Trump.

During the Republican national convention in 2016 Manafort did Russia's bidding by removing language from the Republican platform calling for support for Ukraine against Russia's invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. This looks like collusion.

Was Russian paying Manafort to be Trump's campaign manager, like they paid Manafort to run political operations for Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian president backed by the Russians?

In the end, Trump will probably argue that the involvement with Russia was all Manafort, and the collusion ended when Manafort was fired. But Trump actually fired Manafort because he treated Trump like the child he is. Trump and surrogates like Flynn and Kushner continued to have questionable contacts with the Russians even after the election.

And Trump is still kowtowing to Putin to this day.