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PostPosted: 13 Aug 2017 7:32 am 
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You Can Thank Trump For The White Nationalist Rampage

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Contributor

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The GOP would cut its throat if it denounced its racists and racism and really meant it.
It was hilarious and telling to see No. 45 Trump tweet that he condemns “all that hate stands for” following the racial-fomented violence by white nationalists in Charlottesville, VA.

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Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
3:19 AM - Aug 13, 2017
59,346 59,346 Replies 48,059 48,059 Retweets 152,281 152,281 likes




The hilarity is that one would have to reach back to presidential candidate George Wallace in 1964, and maybe toss in GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, to find someone who aspired to sit in the Oval Office who so blatantly, nakedly and shamefully pandered to racial bigots to snatch the office as Trump did. His broadsides against Hispanics, Muslims, immigrants, blacks and women are almost the stuff of political legend. They need not be repeated here.

Now, here’s what’s telling about his supposed condemnation of hate. He carefully and calculatingly did not utter the words “white” and “nationalists” or “alt-right” in his phony denunciation. He did not call out and lambaste any one organization or leader that precipitated the racial violence in Virginia ― and that included the KKK, which brazenly said it would be there. He was certainly not tongue tied when it came to pillorying Black Lives Matter for their alleged racism and egging on violence against police. Even more telling, he lumped the counter protesters against the white nationalists in the same hate mongering boat together.

Trump deftly sent yet another clear signal that when it comes to stoking racial hate and fomenting racial violence, there’s no difference between a white nationalist true believer and those who stand against what they stand for. Then again, Trump is just following a well-worn template that the GOP has used for ages when it comes to a racist crack, dig, slur, or in this case a racist ― and very violent ― march by white racists.

The ploy goes like this: Issue a pious, indignant statement denouncing the racist quip or act while at the same time being careful not to make any connection between the racist actions and the GOP. During the campaign, for instance, Trump refused at first to reject former Klan Kleagle David Duke’s endorsement, nor any other support from the Klan. But he then proceeded to stare down a supporter wearing a Klan-lettered t-shirt at a campaign rally. Trump was simply following the “shame on you for being an open racist but not the racism” script.

Trump learned from the GOP masters on this score. In 2010, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell flatly refused several direct, angled and nuanced efforts to discuss racism in the tea party. McConnell’s none-too-subtle refusal to weigh in on the issue was in direct response to the NAACP’s resolution demanding that the tea party speak out ― and speak out loudly ― against the racists among them. Long before the NAACP stirred debate on tea party racism with its resolution, a legion of Democrats, civil rights leaders, and even an online petition from an advocacy group, had begged the GOP to speak out against its naked bigots.

No go. The GOP would cut its throat if it denounced its racists and racism and really meant it. The shouts, taunts, spitting, catcalls, Obama as Joker posters, n-word slurs, Confederate and Texas Lone Star flag waved by some tea party activists ― and the deafening silence from GOP leaders during Obama’s early years in office ― was and still very much is an indispensable political necessity for the party.

GOP leaders have long known that blue collar and a significant percent of college-educated, white male voters who are professionals can be easily aroused to vote and shout loudly on the emotional wedge issues: abortion, family values, anti-gay marriage and tax cuts. They whipped up their hysteria and borderline racism against the Affordable Care Act ― and, by extension, Obama. These are the very voters that GOP presidents and aspiring presidents ― Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr. and George W. Bush, McCain and Romney ― and an endless line of GOP governors, senators and congresspersons have banked on for victory and to seize and maintain regional and national political dominance. The GOP banks on them again in 2018 to keep congressional and state offices control.

It’s no coincidence that the “alt-right” and white nationalist movement has become, big, bold, and violent in the last few years. It cut its teeth and honed its attacks on Obama. It then quickly found and latched tightly onto the move by some Southern cities and states to remove the insulting and odious, racist Confederate statutes and monuments and other relics that for a century and a half have rubbed slavery in the face of the nation. Trump is no fool. He knows that politically, the loudmouths who spew “alt-right” garbage have the quiet ear of legions, and those are the exact legions that he and the GOP count as their shock troops to maintain their political edge.

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PostPosted: 13 Aug 2017 7:37 am 
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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-13/d ... se/8801816

Charlottesville: Why was Donald Trump's response to the white supremacy rally so controversial?

Quote:
US President Donald Trump has come under fire for comments he made about the deadly clashes between white nationalists and anti-racism protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A woman was killed when a car ploughed into anti-racism protesters who were confronting white supremacists in the Virginia college town, and dozens more were injured in the violence between the two groups.

Mr Trump has been criticised for not explicitly condemning the white supremacists — described as "Nazis" by Virginia's governor — behind the rally.

What was the protest about?

The rally was organised by right-wing Charlottesville blogger Jason Kessler to protest against the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee.

The white supremacists were met by a nearly equal number of counter-protesters.

Mr Kessler had described the event as "pro-white" and said it was "about an anti-white climate within the Western world and the need for white people to have advocacy like other groups do".

A video posted on Twitter showed white supremacist marchers shouting "Heil Trump" and giving Nazi salutes as they walked past a counter-demonstration, while demonstrators opposed to the rally were seen burning Confederate flags. Another video showed far-right demonstrators shouting "blood and soil" , a slogan used by the Nazis.

"I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today," Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said.

"Our message is plain and simple, go home."


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Tom Perriello ✔ @tomperriello
Alt-right marcher shouting "Heil Trump."
2:19 AM - Aug 13, 2017
887 887 Replies 8,295 8,295 Retweets 4,746 4,746 likes


What did the President say?


Speaking at his New Jersey golf club, Mr Trump said:

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.
It's the words "on many sides" people have a problem with.

At the end of his press conference, Mr Trump left the podium, ignoring reporters' questions about whether he wanted the support of white nationalists who say they back him, or if the apparent car attack constituted an act of terrorism.


Prominent Republicans were among those calling on Mr Trump to make a stronger statement.

Colorado senator Cory Gardner tweeted: "Mr President — we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism."

And former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, the father of Mr Trump's press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, posted: "'White supremacy' crap is worst kind of racism — it's EVIL and perversion of God's truth to ever think our Creator values some above others."

Utah senator Orrin Hatch, who has been in office since 1977 and is the longest-serving Republican senator in US history, tweeted a video of white supremacists, saying "their ideas are fuelled by hate and have no place in civil society".

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12 Aug
Senator Hatch Office ✔ @senorrinhatch
Their tiki torches may be fueled by citronella but their ideas are fueled by hate, & have no place in civil society. https://twitter.com/aletweetsnews/statu ... 4778218496
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Senator Hatch Office ✔ @senorrinhatch
We should call evil by its name. My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home. -OGH
7:41 AM - Aug 13, 2017
4,692 4,692 Replies 33,801 33,801 Retweets 92,595 92,595 likes

Mr Trump did get some support, from white supremacists

The President's comments were praised by a writer on the white supremacist website, the Daily Stormer, who even specifically pointed out that Mr Trump had ignored the reporters' questions.

"Trump comments were good. He didn't attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us … no condemnation at all," an update on the website read.

"When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him."
Speaking to journalists at the rally, former Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard and white nationalist figure David Duke said protesters were "going to fulfil the promises of Donald Trump".

"That's why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he's going to take our country back," Mr Duke said.

But Mr Duke seemed less pleased after the President appealed for America to "come together as one".
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David Duke @DrDavidDuke
I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/sta ... 2780444672
4:03 AM - Aug 13, 2017
4,519 4,519 Replies 7,337 7,337 Retweets 6,869 6,869 likes


Mr Trump was backed up by Vice-President Mike Pence.

"As POTUS Trump said, 'We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation'," Mr Pence tweeted.

What's the President's track record?


In the lead-up to last year's election, Mr Trump came under scrutiny for being slow to condemnation white nationalists — the so-called 'alt-right'.

He was eventually forced to disavow Mr Duke after the latter said he supported the New York businessman's presidential bid.

Mr Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon once declared that his former news site Breitbart was "the platform for the alt-right".

While the President is apparently reluctant to single out the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville for criticism, he has previously made a point of calling out "radical Islamic terrorism" by name.

"Now, to solve a problem, you have to be able to state what the problem is or at least say the name," Trump said in a general election debate.
He's now facing pressure to apply the same logic to white supremacists.

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Marco Rubio ✔ @marcorubio
Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists
7:30 AM - Aug 13, 2017
9,804 9,804 Replies 22,392 22,392 Retweets 60,506 60,506 likes


AP and ABC

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PostPosted: 13 Aug 2017 7:47 am 
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https://www.economist.com/blogs/democra ... ottesville

Riots in Charlottesville
President Trump flunks a moral test

Donald Trump, a man of strong views, proves oddly ambivalent—once again—about white supremacist violence
Democracy in America

Aug 13th 2017by LEXINGTON | WASHINGTON, D.C.


Quote:
DEEP down, it is always about him. What the world thinks of him. The applause that is his due. The glory that enemies are trying to take from him. That, perhaps, is how best to understand the cramped, self-regarding moral code which seems to guide Donald Trump at moments which call for grand, inspiring acts of leadership.

To understand why Mr Trump could not bring himself to condemn white supremacists who brought fear and murderous violence to the Virginia college town of Charlottesville on Saturday, some Americans sought vast, dramatic explanations. They puzzled over the president’s mealy-mouthed reaction to the sight of Nazi banners waving in their country. They fretted about Mr Trump’s muted response to what appeared to be a political murder, as a car was driven at speed into a group of anti-racist marchers in Charlottesville, leaving one woman dead and at least 19 injured. And then some of those Americans peered into the moral void left by their president on a terrible day, and wondered if somewhere within that blankness they could make out something very dark and frightening indeed. Does the president of America sympathise with white racists, they wondered? Or at a minimum, does Mr Trump believe the votes of white racists to be so important that he does not want to alienate them as a voting block?


That is a weighty allegation, for which critics of the president offer mostly circumstantial evidence. On this latest occasion, Mr Trump was asked by reporters if he condemned the 500 or so white racists who assembled in Virginia this weekend, led by such provocateurs and publicity-seekers as David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and Richard Spencer, a leader of the so-called “alt-right”, to protest the planned removal of a Confederate monument. Mr Trump, so often a man of trenchant opinions, proved oddly reluctant to pin the blame for the violence on the white nationalists who set out to start a riot and inspire fear, and succeeded.

Instead the president deplored what he called a scene of: “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” Mr Trump, who is usually quick to claim credit for all important events that occur during his presidency, then sought to cast the protests as a historic, non-partisan sort of wickedness, like a bank robbery. “It’s been going on for a long time in our country, it’s not Donald Trump, it’s not Barack Obama,” Mr. Trump said, before calling for the “swift restoration of law and order,” and calling for unity among Americans of all races and creeds.

His feeble response certainly made Mr Trump sound isolated. Other national leaders of the Republican Party saw the same protests and had no hesitation in assigning blame. Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, called the views on display in Charlottesville “repugnant” and “vile bigotry.” Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who ran against Mr Trump for the presidential nomination last year and who has since co-existed with the president uneasily, said it was “very important for the nation” to hear the president describe the events in Charlottesville for what they are: “a terror attack by white supremacists.” On the Republican hard right, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, another presidential rival from 2016, said that “all of us” have a duty to speak out against white supremacists spreading hatred, racism and anti-Semitism, and called on the Department of Justice to probe the car-borne murder as a “grotesque act of domestic terrorism.” A moderate Republican from the swing state of Colorado, Senator Cory Gardner, tweeted a plea to acknowledge that the violence was the work of white supremacists, saying: “Mr. President—we must call evil by its name.”

It is also striking that Mr Trump is always quick to condemn Islamist terror attacks in Europe, often tweeting that they prove his wisdom in demanding harsh, border-tightening measures to keep America safe. Yet when a mosque was attacked in Minnesota earlier this month, the president was silent.

Lexington does not pretend to know what lies within Mr Trump’s heart. For his part the president has said that he is “the least racist person that you have ever met.” But here is something eminently knowable. Mr Trump ignored a question shouted by a reporter at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, about what he had to say to white supremacists who say that they support him. Some of those on the march in Charlottesville carried Trump campaign signs alongside Confederate battle flags and torches. Mr Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, had earlier said that he and other protesters were “going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump” to “take our country back”.

In other words, as Mr Trump watched the protests in Charlottesville, he knew that they threatened to sully the triumph that he returns to again and again in speeches and at rallies, even as his legislative agenda as president lurches from one setback to another: his unexpected election victory in 2016. Who knows what deep political calculations or personal beliefs seethe in Mr Trump’s head when he sees avowed racists waving placards with his name on them? It is enough to know something much simpler. Mr Trump is a man with an all-consuming interest in his image, and how it is perceived.

Consider the peevish tweet that the president sent out on Saturday afternoon complaining that the violence in Charlottesville had distracted attention from a staged photo-call with veterans from the American armed services, and officials from the Veteran’s Administration (VA) which provides old soldiers, sailors and airmen with medical services. Mr Trump said: “Am in Bedminster for meetings & press conference on V.A. & all that we have done, and are doing, to make it better-but Charlottesville sad!”

There is a parallel with the ongoing probes into whether the Trump campaign in 2016 colluded with Russian spooks attempting to influence the election. It remains a mystery whether Mr Trump or senior aides worked with a foreign power to attack American democracy. But it is already quite enough that Mr Trump thinks his victory’s legitimacy is being challenged. That questioning of his success is sufficient to make him furious. The president himself has said his frustration at not being exonerated over Russian meddling made him angry enough to fire the FBI director, James Comey.

Remember that the next time Mr Trump fails to live up to the office which he holds. When trying to understand him, start by looking for small, shallow explanations. Perhaps there are others, but self-regard is the right place to start. Whatever the subject, for this president, it is always about him.



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PostPosted: 13 Aug 2017 8:01 am 
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washington post

These are your people, President Trump
By Colbert I. King

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President Trump’s mealy-mouthed mutterings on the terrorism let loose in Charlottesville on Saturday are worthy of the hypocrite and instigator of hate that he has proved himself to be. Trump knows what was at work on those streets and who was behind it. As well he should. They are some of the same forces that helped to put him in the White House.

On hand giving the clan of white nationalists a verbal boost was former Ku Klux Klan leader and preeminent white nationalist David Duke. Just as the bigoted Duke was on hand on election night exclaiming on social media that Trump’s victory was “one of the most exciting nights of my life.” Duke tweeted at the time, “Make no mistake about it, our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump.”

And Duke’s people — Trump’s people, also — were out in force in Charlottesville with their hate-filled minds, their guns, and a weaponized automobile.

They were speaking your language, vomiting your sentiments, acting out what animates you from within.

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PostPosted: 13 Aug 2017 8:04 am 
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Washington Post

There are only two sides to Charlottesville. Trump is on the wrong one.
By Christine Emba

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Things that have many sides: a Rubik’s cube, a baseball diamond, a complex personality. Things that don’t: the racism and hate seen in Charlottesville this weekend.

Alas, our president doesn’t seem to know the difference. No, that’s too generous. He must know, but he does not care. Or worse, he would rather allow the confusion than endanger his base of support.

On Friday night and Saturday morning, Ku Klux Klan members, would-be Nazis and open white supremacists marched under President Trump’s name. Former Klan leader David Duke, speaking at the rally that sparked this wretched affair, crowed that the marchers were going to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump” to “take our country back.” His friends and followers spewed repugnant rhetoric and fought with counter-protesters. Three people are dead. But rather than swiftly condemning the instigators of this violence, as a president should, Trump kept silent. And when he finally did break from his golf vacation, his statements were a disgrace.


“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.”

Our country is one of free speech and open debate: about our policies, our priorities, the best solutions to our ills. The First Amendment applies to all, even vile white supremacists. But when it comes to accurately describing what they are and what they do, and when it comes to assigning blame — yes, blame — for the consequences of their actions, there aren’t many sides to the issue. There is good, and there is evil. There are those who represent our country’s values, and those who stand against them. There is domestic terrorism, and there are its targets.


As the leader of our nation, our president should know that some conflicts don’t deserve forbearance or false equivalence. There weren’t many sides in Charlottesville. There were two. Through his cowardice, complicity and unwillingness to confront what he has enabled, President Trump has chosen the wrong one.

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PostPosted: 13 Aug 2017 8:07 am 
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Washington Post
Trump babbles in the face of tragedy

By Michael Gerson

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One of the difficult but primary duties of the modern presidency is to speak for the nation in times of tragedy. A space shuttle explodes. An elementary school is attacked. The twin towers come down in a heap of ash and twisted steel. It falls to the president to express something of the nation’s soul — grief for the lost, sympathy for the suffering, moral clarity in the midst of confusion, confidence in the unknowable purposes of God.

Not every president does this equally well. But none have been incapable. Until Donald Trump.

Trump’s reaction to events in Charlottesville was alternately trite (“come together as one”), infantile (“very, very sad”) and meaningless (“we want to study it”). “There are so many great things happening in our country,” he said, on a day when racial violence took a life.

At one level, this is the natural result of defining authenticity as spontaneity. Trump and his people did not believe the moment worthy of rhetorical craft, worthy of serious thought. The president is confident that his lazy musings are equal to history. They are not. They are babble in the face of tragedy. They are an embarrassment and disservice to the country.


The president’s remarks also represent a failure of historical imagination. The flash point in Charlottesville was the history of the Civil War. Cities around the country are struggling with the carved-stone legacy of past battles and leaders. The oppression and trauma that led to Appomattox did not end there. Ghosts still deploy on these battlefields. And the casualties continue.

But Trump could offer no context for this latest conflict. No inspiring ideals from the author of the Declaration of Independence, who called Charlottesville home. No healing words from the president who was killed by a white supremacist. By his flat, foolish utterance, Trump proved once again that he has no place in the company of these leaders.

Ultimately this was not merely the failure of rhetoric or context, but of moral judgment. The president could not bring himself initially to directly acknowledge the victims or distinguish between the instigators and the dead. He could not focus on the provocations of the side marching under a Nazi flag. Is this because he did not want to repudiate some of his strongest supporters? This would indicate that Trump views loyalty to himself as mitigation for nearly any crime or prejudice. Or is the president truly convinced of the moral equivalence of the sides in Charlottesville? This is to diagnose an ethical sickness for which there is no cure.


There is no denying that Trump has used dehumanization — refugees are “animals,” Mexican migrants are “rapists,” Muslims are threats — as a political tool. And there is no denying that hateful political rhetoric can give permission for prejudice. “It acts as a psychological lubricant,” says David Livingstone Smith, “dissolving our inhibitions and inflaming destructive passions. As such, it empowers us to perform acts that would, under normal circumstances, be unthinkable.”

If great words can heal and inspire, base words can corrupt. Trump has been delivering the poison of prejudice in small but increasing doses. In Charlottesville, the effect became fully evident. And the president had no intention of decisively repudiating his work.

What do we do with a president who is incapable or unwilling to perform his basic duties? What do we do when he is incapable of outrage at outrageous things? What do we do with a president who provides barely veiled cover for the darkest instincts of the human heart? These questions lead to the dead end of political realism — a hopeless recognition of limited options. But the questions intensify.


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PostPosted: 13 Aug 2017 8:13 am 
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Washington Post

What a presidential president would have said about Charlottesville
By Editorial Board August 12


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HERE IS what President Trump said Saturday about the violence in Charlottesville sparked by a demonstration of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members:

We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.

Here is what a presidential president would have said:


“The violence Friday and Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., is a tragedy and an unacceptable, impermissible assault on American values. It is an assault, specifically, on the ideals we cherish most in a pluralistic democracy — tolerance, peaceable coexistence and diversity.

“The events were triggered by individuals who embrace and extol hatred. Racists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and their sympathizers — these are the extremists who fomented the violence in Charlottesville, and whose views all Americans must condemn and reject.

“To wink at racism or to condone it through silence, or false moral equivalence, or elision, as some do, is no better and no more acceptable than racism itself. Just as we can justly identify radical Islamic terrorism when we see it, and call it out, so can we all see the racists in Charlottesville, and understand that they are anathema in our society, which depends so centrally on mutual respect.


“Under whatever labels and using whatever code words — ‘heritage,’ ‘tradition,’ ‘nationalism’ — the idea that whites or any other ethnic, national or racial group is superior to another is not acceptable. Americans should not excuse, and I as president will not countenance, fringe elements in our society who peddle such anti-American ideas. While they have deep and noxious roots in our history, they must not be given any quarter nor any license today.

“Nor will we accept acts of domestic terrorism perpetrated by such elements. If, as appears to be the case, the vehicle that plowed into the counterprotesters on Saturday in Charlottesville did so intentionally, the driver should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The American system of justice must and will treat a terrorist who is Christian or Buddhist or Hindu or anything else just as it treats a terrorist who is Muslim — just as it treated those who perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

“We may all have pressing and legitimate questions about how the violence in Charlottesville unfolded — and whether it could have been prevented. There will be time in coming days to delve further into those matters, and demand answers. In the meantime, I stand ready to provide any and all resources from the federal government to ensure there will be no recurrence of such violence in Virginia or elsewhere. Let us keep the victims of this terrible tragedy in our thoughts and prayers, and keep faith that the values enshrined in our Constitution and laws will prevail against those who would desecrate our democracy.”

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PostPosted: 13 Aug 2017 11:28 pm 
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http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/ ... ous-215481

Why Trump Can’t Say the Obvious
The president won’t condemn white supremacy because he has no appreciation for America’s tragic history.
By JEFF GREENFIELD August 13, 2017

Quote:
It’s long past Passover, but the latest effusions from Donald Trump bring to mind the question that begins that ritual: “Why is this president different from all other presidents?”

Would any past president have not understood the need to read the collection of racists, neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and the euphemistically labeled “white nationalists” out of the company of decent men and women, rather than make morally bankrupt talk of violence “on many sides” and dog-whistling about the need to “cherish our history”? Would any past president have compounded the felony with a dismissive, clumsy tweet? (“Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!”)


But then, we have never had a president, of either party, or any political persuasion, so utterly disconnected from any understanding of our national history, of the still-unresolved fights over what it means to be a “real” American. Nor have we ever had a president who combines staggering historical and political ignorance with language skills that rank him somewhere around a developmentally challenged 9-year-old.

Consider how past Republican presidents dealt with controversies in which a political ally had crossed a clear bright line:

In 1976, on a flight after the Republican convention, conservative pop singer Pat Boone asked Gerald Ford’s agriculture secretary, Earl Butz, why the Republican Party couldn’t attract more black voters. “I’ll tell you what the coloreds want,” Butz said. “It’s three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit.” When the comment was published in Rolling Stone—the author of the piece was Watergate figure John Dean—Butz was forced out of the Cabinet.

In September 1981, Interior Secretary James Watt was addressing lobbyists at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting. Speaking about the different advisory panels offering guidance to the department, he said of one: “I got a black, two Jews, a woman and a cripple. And I’ve got talent.” The remark got hearty laughter from his audience, but the insulting nature of the comment drew enough fire that he left the Cabinet a month later.

On December 5, 2002, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott spoke at the 100th birthday celebration of South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who had run for president in 1948 on a segregationist third-party ticket. Lott said: "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we [the state of Mississippi] voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either.” It was likely meant to be a small piece of flattery, but the idea that America would have been better off with a segregationist president stuck a nerve, and President George W. Bush rebuked Lott. Speaking to a mostly black audience at a religious meeting in Philadelphia, he said: “Any suggestion that the segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive, and it is wrong … recent comments by Senator Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country. He has apologized, and rightly so. Every day our nation was segregated was a day that America was unfaithful to our founding ideals.” Shortly thereafter, Lott stepped down from his post.

What these incidents illustrate is something more than the willingness of a president to reject offensive remarks from his side of the political aisle. They reflect an understanding that a president is not just the head of government, but the head of state as well. Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bush knew full well that the overwhelming majority of black voters would not be voting for them, but they could not permit such remarks to be deemed “acceptable.” These Republican presidents showed they understood that there were not “many sides” to a controversy when someone gives the back of his hand to one group of Americans or another, much less when someone turns his bigotry into a murderous attack on protesters.

Indeed, there was a time, not that long ago, when Republicans would actually campaign for the votes of African-Americans. Reagan gave a memorable speech to the Urban League in 1980, detailing what he called the failure of liberalism to make life better for American blacks. George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign speeches talked extensively about the failing schools in minority neighborhoods and “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

And Trump? The simplest explanation is that “nationalism”—an outlook championed by Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, and celebrated in his acceptance and inaugural speeches—is what’s behind Trump’s unwillingness to condemn the racists at Charlottesville. But think about it: Would any halfway rational political mind think that in condemning neo-Nazis and Klansmen, you would risk losing any part of your broader base? That crowd of losers in Charlottesville was tiny—no more than a few hundred people. Is there anything more than a small fragment of Trump’s supporters who genuinely sympathize with the white hoods and swastikas? (Some readers will no doubt answer yes, I know. I think otherwise.)

The more convincing explanation for Trump’s moral failure is that he is, and always has been, completely disconnected from any understanding of the American political tradition. It is why, uniquely among chief executives, he almost never quotes a past president or political figure or thinker, nor references any part of the country’s past. For Trump, there is no past; only himself, rising as a self-creation out of the mist. He feels no need to speak against the poison of bigotry because he has no clue about how that poison has infected our past, and still infects our present.

Among the many ways that Donald Trump is the most manifestly unfit president in American history, put this one near the top of the list.

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PostPosted: 15 Aug 2017 5:25 am 
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Donald Trump’s despicable words
By Alexandra Petri August 14

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There should be no real difficulty in condemning Nazis, white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan. They are, for God’s sake, Nazis and white supremacists. This should not require moral courage. This is obvious. This is the moral equivalent of the text you type to prove you’re not a robot.

President Trump is always, terminally, at a loss for words, but it would be hard to think of worse words at a more vital time than his speeches in the aftermath of the racist, terrorist violence in Charlottesville on Saturday. First, Saturday’s mealy-mouthed speech about “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.” And then Monday’s halting, teleprompted follow-up, in which (two days later) he barely managed to acknowledge that, well, racism and bigotry have no place here.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides,” he said Saturday.


It is important when you consider the situation of a man whose face has been crushed by a boot to wonder if any damage might have been done to the boot.


One man’s life has been threatened, but on the other hand, another man’s property has been threatened. (Where have I heard this before? What is this park we are standing in, again?) You must consider and weigh these two things against one another. The North showed considerable aggression against the South, you could say.

This is not good enough. At what point can we stop giving people the benefit of the doubt? “Gotta Hear Both Sides” is carved over the entrance to Hell. How long must we continue to hear from idiots who are wrong? I don’t want to hear debate unless there is something legitimately to be debated, and people’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not among those things. They are self-evident, or used to seem so.

“It’s been going on for a long time in our country,” Trump said on Saturday. “Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, this has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”

If only. If only it had no place here. If only these statues had sprung up out of the earth on their own.


What did they think the mob was doing, gathered with torches?


Of course they gathered with torches, because the only liberty they have lost is the liberty to gather with torches and decide whose house to visit with terror. That is the right that is denied them: the right to other people’s possessions, the right to be the only person in the room, the right to be the only person that the world is made for. (These are not rights. They are wrongs.) You are sad because your toys have been taken, but they were never toys to begin with. They were people. It is the ending of the fairy tale; because you were a beast, you did not see that the things around you were people and not objects that existed purely for your pleasure. You should not weep that the curse is broken and you can see that your footstool was a human being.

But to rejoice in that discovery you have to stop being a beast first, and they have not. Why would they? Trump promises to turn the world back and bring the curse again. That is implicit in his every speech, a dog whistle strong enough that every dog in America is deaf and in constant pain.


Here we are in the year of our lord 2017 and the president of the United States lacks the moral courage to condemn Nazis and white supremacists. And they are not even making it difficult. They are saluting like Nazis and waving Nazi flags and chanting like Nazis and spewing hatred like Nazis. Maya Angelou was not wrong. When someone tells you who they are, believe them. Especially if what that person is telling you is “I am a Nazi.”

Barely, after two days, he has managed to mumble that their ideology has (should have) no place in our society. Silence sells hats, I guess.

“We’re proud of who we are,” Trump also said, “so we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we’re doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen.”

“We want to see what we’re doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen.”

Hmm, what could it be that we are doing wrong as a country? What is it exactly that has allowed these horrible ideologies to come out of the shadows, waving tiki torches and bringing terror with them? Could it be, Donald, something you’ve said? Could it be the silence that has greeted all your statements, so far past the pale of acceptable discourse that you can’t even see acceptable discourse from where you’re standing? Could it be all the refusal to name a campaign that began with rants about “rapists” and promises of a wall and a Muslim ban, and continued with sexist taunts and promiscuous retweets of conspiracists for the horror that it was? It was silence then from people who wanted to win that got us to where this can happen — this attack and this president, who won’t denounce even the most egregious of groups at the time when they have been responsible for a hideous act of terror.


But we have always been a country where things like this can happen. It is just harder not to notice now. And it is possible, sometimes, to be angrier at the person who makes you notice than at the thing you are seeing.

A truth that murder mysteries get right about human nature is that even when you find a man stabbed before the soup course, someone always wants to finish the soup. All right, someone was murdered, but I didn’t do it, and can this possibly mean I don’t get my soup? There are few things that are harder to shake than the conviction that you have never done anything wrong. You can’t have. It’s you. All right: You are not a murderer. You are a good person. But that does not mean that what you have was not ill-gotten. That does not mean that you deserve everything you have. You have to look at your history and see it, all of it.

“My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens,” Trump went on, “but our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other and cherish our history and our future together.”

We must cherish our history. (Somewhere, a dog whimpers.) Can we be a little more specific about what history? Can we be a little more specific about any of this? The specifics are where the principles are. What will we cherish, and what will we disavow? What are we putting on a pedestal, and what are we putting in a museum? Not all history is created equal.

You want many sides? Then history is a good place to start.

Monuments are always misleading, because so little good is unmixed. History contains heroes, but no one is a hero entirely, and no one is a hero for very long. You can be brilliant in some ways and despicable in others. You can be a clean, upright, moral individual in your private life who never swears, treats women with respect, and speaks highly of duty and honor– and go out every day and dedicate yourself to a cause that makes the world worse. You can live a despicable life and yet give people a powerful expression of an idea that makes the world ultimately, slowly, better. It is possible to contain such contradictions.


After President Trump condemned "many sides" for the violence in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, Republican and Democratic politicians criticized him for not calling out white supremacy for several days. (Bastien Inzaurralde, Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
Thomas Jefferson, presiding spirit of Charlottesville, certainly did. He wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights … life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but he also wrote in 1769 to the newspaper demanding the return of his property: a man named Sandy, a left-handed shoemaker, “something of a horse jockey.” This is one man’s inconvenient loss of property and another man’s freedom. Many sides.

“So important,” Trump said. “We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.”

Maybe. But there is nothing more pathological than the desire to be liked by everyone all the time. If you are continually attracting Nazis and white supremacists, you shouldn’t say, “WOW, everyone LIKES ME! Great!” you should ask yourself, “Where in my life have I gone seriously wrong?”

Who would stand over the body of someone who died protesting a hateful, violence, racist ideology and say that “we have to come together”? That we have to find common ground? I am sure there is common ground to be found with the people who say that some are not fit to be people. The man who thinks I ought not to exist — maybe we can compromise and agree that I will get to exist on alternate Thursdays. Let us only burn some of the villagers at the stake. We can eat just three of the children. All ideas deserve a fair hearing. Maybe we can agree that some people are only three-fifths of people, while we are at it. As long as we are giving a hearing to all views.

Only someone with no principles would think that such a compromise was possible. Only someone with no principles would think that such a compromise was desirable. At some point you have to judge more than just the act of fighting. You have to judge what the fighting is for. Some principles are worth fighting for, and others are not.

Certain truths used to be self-evident, to quote a man whose words were often better than he was.

But to Trump, they aren’t. Trump’s words are no better than he is. They are terrible words. They are the worst words.


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PostPosted: 15 Aug 2017 6:05 am 
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https://www.vox.com/2017/8/14/16144582/trump-tango

The Trump Tango is tiresome and pointless
A half-hearted disavowal way too late is something we’ve seen before.
Updated by Matthew Yglesias

Quote:
Donald Trump’s statement today on Saturday’s murder in Charlottesville — a grudging, teleprompted address that came only after days of foot-dragging and criticism — is the latest edition of a well-warn tango.

Time and again, Trump loudly and clearly signals solidarity with the worst and most deplorable elements in American life, only to grudgingly back away in a manner designed more to give his fellow Republicans cover than to redress any actual harms.

There was nothing in today’s remarks that couldn’t have been said two days ago, and there was no hint of remorse or self-reflection over the pain his behavior as caused.

White supremacists like David Duke who see Trump as winking at them will, rightly, feel that once again the president’s willingness to take political heat on their behalf constitutes a not-so-subtle thumbs up. Americans who feel alarmed by the growing boldness of white nationalists will, rightly, feel that the president doesn’t take their concerns seriously. But Republican Party members of Congress and conservative media and institutional leaders who were discomfited by Trump’s odd behavior will have the license they need to pretend that everything is fine.

And that, ultimately, is what matters.

We’ve seen the Trump Tango before
Donald Trump, famously, emerged as a force in Republican Party politics by spending years insisting that Barack Obama was secretly born in Kenya.

It’s far from clear whether Trump ever actually believed this or even whether Trump fans believed it. But by publicly embracing a racist conspiracy theory that mainstream politicians failed to take up, Trump signaled to racists all across our land that he was on their side. Then, later, after capturing the GOP presidential nomination, he finally gave a press conference to address the issue. He didn’t apologize to Obama for smearing him or to black America for the lengths he went to make them feel that a significant swath of the country would ever accept them as full members of the national community. He didn’t reflect in any way on the conspiracy theory, its meaning in American life, or his own embrace of it.


He simply said — at long last — that Obama was born in America and then insinuated, falsely, that it was really all Hillary Clinton’s fault.

Duke himself was also the beneficiary of a Trump Tango, as the president spent days going to great lengths to disavow the support of white nationalists only to eventually, and reluctantly, “do the right thing” long after any decent person would have. And while the Tango is most prominently used on racial controversies, Trump’s also deployed in several rounds of Russia-related controversies — going as far out of his way as possible to indicate that he isn’t actually mad at Russian hacking, while trying to give Republican Russia hawks a fig leaf of cover.

Setting up the next grievance
There are certainly subjects on which the dictum “better late than never” applies. And a president who actually came around on the issue of white nationalism would, indeed, be preferable to one who stubbornly stuck to his guns.

But the Trump Tango never involves an apology, a change of heart, or even a good-faith effort to pretend to be sorry.

Rather than remorse, it offers his allies and supporters an excuse. It would be untenable, for example, for the CEOs of consumer-facing companies to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a president who refuses to condemn white supremacists no matter how hungry they are for corporate tax cuts. By issuing a statement — no matter how late, reluctant, or obviously fake — Trump gives corporate America the excuse it needs to pretend to believe him.

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Trump calls out Nazis, white supremacists & KKK - but it still won't be enough for MSNBC or CNN.
2:47 AM - Aug 15, 2017
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Meanwhile, Trump’s fans and enablers in the conservative media get what they most want — another opportunity to play the embattled victim. Liberals, obviously, will say that Trump’s wildly unsatisfactory comments are unsatisfactory, which will give Trumpists the opportunity to denounce unreasonable liberals who just won’t give Trump a chance.

But there are no do-overs on the symbolic aspects of the American presidency. When tragedy strikes, the president is called upon to speak for the nation. Trump, plainly, is incapable of doing performing this function in anything but the most cramped and narrowly self-interested way.

The instinct to criticize Trump for late or inadequate responses is, on some level, pointless and self-defeating. He’s proven time and again that, given enough focus, he’s perfectly willing to execute the tango. But pressing him to do it only serves to let his collaborators off the hook. Rich, powerful septuagenarians who’ve defied the conventional wisdom and succeeded don’t change, and it’s time to stop waiting for Donald Trump.

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Donald Trump gave the most disgusting public performance in the history of the American presidency
By David Rothkopf

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Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon gave the most disgusting public performance in the history of the American presidency. Framed by the vulgar excess of the lobby of Trump Tower, the president of the United States shook loose the constraints of his more decent-minded advisers and, speaking from his heart, defended white supremacists and by extension, their credos of hatred. He equated with those thugs the courageous Americans who had gathered to stand up to the racism, anti-Semitism and doctrine of violence that won the cheers and Nazi salutes of the alt-right hordes to whom Trump felt such loyalty.

After several days in which Trump and his advisers wrestled with what should have been a straightforward task — condemning the instigators of the unrest that rocked Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend — Trump revealed the reason that finding those words was such a struggle. He, too, is an extremist.

No one who values the best of what the United States has stood for could watch without feeling revulsion, anger or heartbreak. No one who comes from a past such as mine, which includes similar mobs rising up and ultimately collaborating in the murder of dozens of my family members in Hitler’s Europe, could view Trump’s performance without a degree of fear as well. Certainly, the same must be true for African Americans who have watched such mobs lynch their family members and seek to deny them the most basic rights.


That is why condemnation of what happened in Charlottesville came so quickly and naturally from leaders of conscience worldwide. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has stepped up to fill the void as leader of the West created by Trump’s moral bankruptcy and incompetence, immediately called the actions of the white supremacists in Virginia “horrifying” and “evil” and stated, “It is racist, far-right violence and clear, forceful action must be taken against it, regardless of where in the world it happens.” She also swiftly displayed humanity and sensitivity by expressing sympathy to the family of Heather Heyer, killed by an extreme right-wing act of terrorism in the streets of Charlottesville. Trump has yet to speak to Heyer’s family directly or visit the site of the attack, steps he took, for example, following an incident at Ohio State, when the attacker was Muslim.


From the United Kingdom to Italy to the Vatican to China, the violence in the United States and the racism of the extremists were decried by leaders who seemed to grasp the values for which the United States has fought throughout the past century. This tracks with a broader trend in which foreign leaders, some once seen as the United States’ closest allies, have found themselves having to distance themselves from the inflammatory language and actions of the American president.

Some of us have long been urging people to see that the Trump presidency was “not normal.” But we are past such discussions now. There is only one conclusion that any American patriot of either party can draw. Trump must go.

It has been perfectly natural during the first few months of this presidency for commentators and political leaders to treat Trump, his statements and actions like those of his predecessors. But in the past week, the dangers of his reflexive behavior have become even more crystal clear. In a matter of days, the president’s reckless remarks have triggered fears of nuclear war with North Korea, he threatened military action against Venezuela, he continued his quiet war against the environment and the U.S. public health system and then, in response to Charlottesville, he revealed his true colors and that he is not preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution as his oath requires. Rather, he is at war with it and its values — from a free press, to an independent judiciary, to equal protection for all under the law.


Since the Team of Sycophants will never invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him, the responsibility lies with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to reveal his wrongdoing. A great task is upon whistle-blowers in the government to challenge Trump’s attacks on American institutions, upon Congress to investigate not only his ties to Russia but also his possible corruption, and ultimately, upon the American people to vote out Trump supporters and enablers on Capitol Hill, and then, ensure a suitable replacement for him in 2020.

Every day Trump remains in office is a victory for the extremists. But in that same moment on Tuesday, Trump made it clear that to defeat the champions of hatred in the United States, he must go. That he also must go to preserve the United States’ standing in the world, to ensure the safety of our people and our way of life has also been made clear in the past week. It is now time that we follow his dangerous words with our own actions. It is why Heather Heyer was on that street in Charlottesville. We owe it to her and to ourselves to remove him from office as soon as the law permits. Trump himself has demonstrated the price of each day of delay.

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PostPosted: 17 Aug 2017 12:16 am 
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What if Western media covered Charlottesville the same way it covers other nations
By Karen Attiah

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If we talked about what happened in Charlottesville the same way we talk about events in a foreign country, here’s how Western media would cover it. Those quoted in the “story” below are fictional.

The international community is yet again sounding the alarm on ethnic violence in the United States under the new regime of President Trump. The latest flash point occurred this past weekend when the former Confederate stronghold of Charlottesville descended into chaos following rallies of white supremacist groups protesting the removal of statues celebrating leaders of the defeated Confederate states. The chaos turned deadly when Heather Heyer, a member of the white ethnic majority who attended the rally as a counterprotester, was killed when a man with neo-Nazi sympathies allegedly drove his car into a crowd.

Trump, a former reality television host, beauty pageant organizer and businessman, rose to political prominence by publicly questioning the citizenship of the United States’ first black president, Barack Obama. Since his election, Trump has targeted Muslims, refugees, Mexicans and the media. He has also advocated for police brutality. These tactics have appealed to and emboldened white ethno-nationalist groups and domestic terrorist organizations.


After Charlottesville, Trump has largely refused to unequivocally condemn the actions of the white supremacist groups. In a shocking news conference Tuesday, Trump, fuming after consuming hours of cable television, doubled down on blaming “both sides” for the weekend’s violence. His remarks garnered praise from a former leader of a white terrorist group known as the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville,” Duke said on Twitter.


President Trump on Aug. 15 said that “there’s blame on both sides” for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
Beyond Trump’s coddling of white extremist groups, the emboldening of white supremacists and neo-Nazis raises questions about the state of the United States’ democracy 152 years after its brutal civil war over the rights of the white ethnic majority in its southern region to enslave members of the black ethnic minority. After the Charlottesville turmoil, more protests are expected around the country against the removal of Confederate monuments.


“Culturally, Americans are a curious lot,” said Andrew Darcy Morthington, an United Kingdom-based commentator who once embarked on a two-year mission trip to teach rural American children and therefore qualifies as an expert on U.S. affairs. “Donald Trump’s campaign message was that he would make America great again, and that there would be so much ‘winning.’ If America cares about being great, why has it fought so hard to keep monuments to the Confederate losers and enslavers?”

“The worst thing Britain ever did was letting go of our colony and thinking Americans were capable of governing themselves without eventually resorting back to tribal politics,” said Martin Rhodes, a shopkeeper in London. “I can’t believe a once-great empire would threaten everything it has built over generations just because a group of people give in to racism and xenoph…” Rhodes’s voice trailed off as he stared wistfully at a silent Big Ben.

Experts are also linking the weekend violence to the scourge of domestic terrorism carried out by white males, who have carried out almost twice as many mass attacks on American soil than Muslims have in recent years.


“This is the time for moderates across the white male world to come out and denounce violent racial terrorism, white supremacy and regressive tribal politics,” said James Charlotin, a Canadian national security expert. “Why haven’t they spoken out?”

European leaders have offered to convene the first-ever Countering Violent White Male Extremism (CVWME) summit somewhere in Europe, but critics have pointed out that Europe was the original exporter of many of the same colonial and white supremacist ideologies that have fueled misery all over the globe.

The Trump regime, which has failed to deliver on much of its legislation promises, is governing in a country awash in guns, where the maternal mortality rate, alcoholism and opioid drug use are on the rise.

“This is just a recipe for entrenched disaffection from the state and further isolation and radicalization of American white males,” Charlotin said.

“The Americans on both sides of the political spectrum like to talk about identity politics, or white identity,” said Mustapha Okango, a Kenyan anthropologist based in Nairobi. “The Americans like to lecture us and other Africans about keeping tribalism out of our politics and putting country ahead of our ethnic groups. America’s institutions are strong. But when I saw the images of those white men in polos carrying Party City tiki torches and weapons, it’s pretty clear American white tribal politics are alive and well, explicitly fueled by President Trump’s regime. White supremacy doesn’t just hurt blacks or other minority groups, it hurts the whole country. Take it from us Kenyans, it’s a dangerous recipe. We had hoped better for America.”

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http://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/16/opini ... index.html
How much longer can decent people serve in Trump's cabinet?
By Steven Lubet

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Steven Lubet is the Williams Memorial Professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. He is the author of "Fugitive Justice: Runaways, Rescuers, and Slavery on Trial," which includes details and quotes from the Anthony Burns case. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)President Donald Trump was not standing alone on the podium when he informed the world that some participants in the Charlottesville neo-Nazi march were "very fine people."

He was flanked by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, an immigrant from Taipei, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is Jewish, and Chief of Staff John Kelly, all of whom did their best to remain stone-faced while their boss veered ever more deeply into apologetics for racism.

As business executives, military leaders, and Republican office-holders join in the repudiation of Trump's statements, one question must be asked: How much longer can decent people continue to serve in Trump's cabinet?
There are few historical precedents and they tend to go both ways. William Jennings Bryan resigned as Woodrow Wilson's secretary of state over what he considered unnecessary bellicosity on the eve of World War I. In contrast, most members of Abraham Lincoln's cabinet tried to keep their jobs with Andrew Johnson, even after the new President showed his determination to undermine Reconstruction and the rights of newly freed African-Americans.
In fact, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton refused to leave his position even when Johnson fired him, which led to the latter's impeachment for violating the Tenure of Office Act. (Johnson was acquitted by a single vote in the US Senate and therefore served out his term.)
There is no single answer to the officeholder's dilemma -- to stay or go -- but there is one relatively obscure historical figure who wrestled with it quite openly, and came to what we can now recognize as a tragic, though heartfelt, conclusion.
Don't resurrect the Confederacy - de-zombify it
Don't resurrect the Confederacy - de-zombify it
In late May 1854, a fugitive slave named Anthony Burns was apprehended in Boston and brought before Judge Edward Loring for extradition to Virginia. The national government was much smaller in those days, and it was not unusual for state judges also to hold federal administrative positions. So it was with Loring, who was both a judge of the Massachusetts Probate Court and a United States Commissioner. It was thus Loring's obligation to rule on the slaveholder's petition for a "Certificate of Removal" under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
Many Bostonians were outraged, both by the seizure of Burns and the idea that a Massachusetts judge might play a role in condemning a man to slavery. There were loud and repeated calls for Loring to resign from his commissioner's appointment. A probate judge, they argued, was responsible for the welfare of widows and orphans, and should never be entangled in the ruthless business of slave catching.
A thoughtful man and a diligent jurist, Loring took the criticism seriously. He responded in writing. "It is said that the statute is so cruel and wicked that it should not be executed by good men," he allowed. But if all good judges were to resign as Fugitive Slave Act commissioners, he continued, "then into what hands should its administration fall ... and what is to be the protection of the unfortunate men who are brought within its operation? Will those who call the statute merciless commit it to a merciless judge?"

The President at the time was Franklin Pierce, a "northern man with southern principles" who put the full weight of his authority behind the Fugitive Slave Act and the return of Burns to Virginia. Loring had qualms about enforcing the law as demanded by the administration, but he believed that he had to remain on the bench.
"If the statute involves that right, which for us makes life sweet, and the want of which makes life a misfortune, shall its administration be confined to those who are reckless of that right in others, or ignorant or careless of the means given for its legal defense, or dishonest in their use?" Loring wrote. "If any men wish this, they are more cruel and wicked than the statute, for they would strip from the fugitive the best security and every alleviation the statute leaves them."
Kelly, Chao, and Mnuchin may well be indulging in the same rationale. As awful as they may have found Trump's comments, it is likely that they hope to exercise a restraining influence in the future. If they resign from their positions, after all, Trump will only name replacements who stand to be less diverse and humane. If that is their thinking, they ought to reflect on Loring's example.


Despite his protestations of mercy, Loring entered a judgment in favor of the slaveholder, as he believed the law required. He ordered Burns' rendition to Virginia, where he was beaten and starved. Burns' supporters later raised enough money to buy his freedom, and he returned to Boston, no thanks to Judge Loring.
It turned out that a good man could not play an honorable double role in aid of a racist law or presidential administration. The Massachusetts legislature later recognized as much by voting to remove Loring from the Probate Court, and he is remembered today as an abettor of slavery.

In the end, complicity is complicity.

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https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... moral-pale

The Guardian view on Donald Trump: beyond the moral pale
Editorial
The US president has gone even further than before in condoning the racist right. He must pay the price, at home and abroad

Quote:
In his angry and undignified press conference on Tuesday night, Donald Trump deliberately and shockingly crossed the line that separates the acceptable and the unacceptable in the conduct of an elected democratic leader in a multiracial society. Mr Trump must now face the consequences of this momentous and inexcusable decision. Those consequences should include the way that the leaders of multiracial European nations, including Britain, conduct their dealings with the US president from this moment on.

On Saturday, Mr Trump had already equivocated between America’s white racists and its anti-racists, after clashes in Charlottesville in which an anti-racist protester was killed by a car driven by a neo-Nazi activist. Mr Trump’s evasions drew widespread and instant condemnation, not least from within his own party. On Monday, he then read out a statement, clearly written by others, that sought to repair the damage. But the very next day, speaking with his own voice, he trashed his own retraction.

Mr Trump not only reasserted his view that the white supremacists and their opponents in the Charlottesville clashes were morally equivalent. He went further. He said that there were good people on both sides, thus implicitly lending at least partial presidential approval to a far-right rally in which swastikas were displayed, Nazi salutes made and antisemitic chants shouted. He also went out of his way to side with the supremacists against the removal of a statue of the Confederate general Robert E Lee – the ostensible cause of last weekend’s clashes – suggesting this could presage similar action against memorials to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson since both were slave-owners. Mr Trump’s petulant and narcissistic demeanour made it clear that he is more outraged by criticism and with the American press than he is with his country’s racists and its neo-Nazis. He clearly cannot help himself. But that is no excuse.

This is therefore a moment at which America and the world need to display the moral clarity of which the US president is so embarrassingly incapable. There are not “many sides” to the arguments that came to the boil in Charlottesville and since. There is a right side and a wrong side. Racism, antisemitism, white supremacism and Nazism, new or old, are wrong. A leader who cannot bring himself to say this clearly and unequivocally is not just clueless. He also forfeits his claim to moral authority and much of his right to be respected as leader. Yet that is where Mr Trump has put himself.

How Donald Trump emboldened the US far right
The question facing America in the wake of these events is how to get through to 2020 with its values, institutions and social decencies intact. America has plenty of resources to show that it is a better country than Mr Trump makes it appear. It will surely succeed. The most important test is for moderate Republicans. They must find the right way to turn away from Mr Trump before the next election. If they do not, they will lose, and they will deserve to lose.

There are some signs that moderate and independent Republicans grasp this. The two former Presidents Bush issued a strong statement against racial bigotry, antisemitism and hatred on Wednesday. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell did the same, stating “there are no good neo-Nazis”. House speaker Paul Ryan retweeted Mr McConnell’s remarks, and issued one of his own which said there can be no moral ambiguity about “repulsive” white supremacism and bigotry. Many other important Republicans made similar statements. Very few of them, however, called out Mr Trump by name. With all members of the house facing election in 15 months’ time – and a small cluster of off-year contests in November this year – Republicans will face many more demanding tests of their resolve well before 2020.

But Mr Trump’s behaviour poses questions for multiracial European nations as well. Politicians on this side of the Atlantic must show moral clarity themselves. British leaders responded well to Mr Trump’s remarks. Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Vince Cable led the way on Wednesday. Others swelled the chorus, not least the communities secretary Sajid Javid with a “Neo-Nazis: bad. Anti-Nazis: good” tweet. Words, though, are not enough. Mr Trump is still US president, so governments must deal with him. But there is no place for special courtesies now. Mrs May was wrong to offer Mr Trump a state visit. This country does not want it. The Queen does not need it. It must not go ahead. We will all be better off without it, and Mrs May should now say so.


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http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cass ... l-continue

Corporate America Loosens Its Awkward Embrace of Trump

By John Cassidy
August 16, 2017
Quote:


For all the moral turpitude, fake history, and agitated narcissism it placed on public display, the press conference that Donald Trump gave in the lobby of his gilded Fifth Avenue tower on Tuesday may ultimately serve a useful historical purpose. If nothing else, it clarified the ethical challenge that Trump’s Presidency presents to Americans of good will from all backgrounds and political persuasions: Who will stand against a man who described as ”fine people” members of the crowd that marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, dressed in white, carrying torches, and chanting “Jews will not replace us”?
Since last November, many business leaders, and even the representatives of some labor groups, have coöperated with Trump on the grounds that he is the duly elected President, and they want their voices heard in the White House’s policymaking process. But, in terms of reputational risk and personal moral calculus, the price of accommodating Trump increased after his press conference. By openly giving succor to the likes of David Duke, the former Klansman, and Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who helped organize the “Unite the Right” hate gathering in Charlottesville, Trump now occupies a place in the political firmament where it is becoming almost as risky for corporate chieftains to associate with him as it is for them to distance themselves. On Wednesday afternoon, Trump disbanded two White House councils that were formed for C.E.O.s to give him economic and manufacturing advice, but the move is unlikely to end corporate America’s contradictory relationship Trump.
Even before Trump’s astonishing press conference on Tuesday, three business leaders withdrew from the manufacturing council in response to Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s violence, which culminated in one of the “Unite the Right” protesters, James Alex Fields, Jr., allegedly driving a car into a crowd of counter-protesters and killing Heather Heyer, a thirty-two-year-old paralegal from Charlottesville.
“I am resigning from the President’s American Manufacturing Council,” Kenneth C. Frazier, the chief executive of the drug company Merck, said in a statement on Monday morning. “American’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal. As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Frazier is one of the few African-American leaders of a Fortune 500 company. Having dragged himself up from the streets of North Philly, he is clearly someone who doesn’t shrink from challenges, and in calling out Trump’s woeful response in such direct language he displayed considerable courage. Given the financial risks involved in dealing with the government, the heads of big corporations generally shy away from anything that smacks of explicit involvement in politics, especially anything that would be likely to alienate a President. Frazier’s actions duly incurred the wrath of Trump, who lashed out at him in a tweet on Monday, but they also seemed to encourage a few other C.E.O.s to come forward.
On Monday evening, Brian Krzanich, the C.E.O. of Intel, the giant chip maker, and Kevin Plank, the boss of Under Armour, the trendy sportswear company, both announced that they were quitting the manufacturing council. The statements they issued were far weaker than Frazier’s, but the timing of their actions was unmistakable. On Tuesday morning, Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a trade group, quit the council, too, saying in a tweet, “it’s the right thing for me to do.”
In reverting to his initial claim that both sides were responsible for Saturday’s violence, Trump upped the ante for other members of the White House council who had equivocated in their initial responses. What, for example, did Jeff Immelt, the highly influential chairman of G.E., think of Trump’s press conference? On Monday, G.E. issued a statement saying the company “has no tolerance for hate, bigotry or racism, and we strongly condemn the violent extremism in Charlottesville over the weekend.” But the company also said, “it is important for G.E. to participate in the discussion on how to drive growth and productivity in the U.S. Therefore, Jeff Immelt will remain on the Presidential Committee on American Manufacturing while he is the chairman of GE.”
With his words and manner on Tuesday, Trump made it increasingly difficult for people like Immelt to fall back on the “business is business” justification for continuing to deal with him. Even before the latest verbal atrocities, Immelt and other C.E.O.s had encountered heavy flak online.
On Tuesday night, the leaders of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. resigned from the manufacturing council. “We cannot sit on a council for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism,” Richard Trumka, the group’s president, and Thea Lee, the labor group’s deputy chief of staff, said in a statement. “President Trump’s remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America’s working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups.”
At lunchtime on Wednesday, Campbell Soup’s C.E.O., Denise Morrison, announced that she, too, was quitting the manufacturing council. So did another C.E.O., Inge Thulin, of 3M, saying it was no longer “an effective vehicle” for promoting the values of “sustainability, diversity and inclusion” that he and his company supported. Finally, just after 1 p.m., Trump tweeted that he was disbanding both councils: “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”
Seven hours after Trump claimed that he disbanded the groups, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday night that business executives, in fact, dissolved the councils, not Trump. During two conference calls Wednesday morning, a majority of CEOs agreed to disband both councils. IBM's Ginni Rometty, Pepsi's Indra Nooyi, Boston Consulting Group's Rich Lesser, BlackRock's Laurence Fink, and several other executives, were prepared to resign on their own, according to anonymous sources who spoke to the Journal. Several other corporate bigwigs opposed the disbanding, including Boeing's Jim McNerney. After the two calls, Blackstone Group's chief, Stephen Schwarzman, called Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and informed him of the executives' decision. Minutes later, Trump tweeted that he had eliminated the groups. The Journal's sources did not disclose the positions of each of the more than forty executives who served on the councils.
What stopped the corporate chiefs from going public with their opposition to Trump? Perhaps some of them privately agreed with some of the sentiments Trump expressed. More likely, they were still fearful of incurring his wrath and retribution. If this was the case, then, as Larry Summers, the former Treasury Secretary, noted in a withering blog post, “it is a damning indictment of the President and of their own cowardice.”
Summers ended his post by asking the C.E.O.s who hadn’t distanced themselves from Trump to wrestle with their consciences, and with Edmund Burke’s famous admonition that evil triumphs only when good men do nothing. The Jewish sage Hillel had an equally apposite quote: ”If not now, when?”

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http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz ... ral-vacuum

Ivanka and Jared Vacationing in Moral Vacuum


By Andy Borowitz
August 16, 2017

Quote:
MORAL VACUUM (The Borowitz Report)—After many noticed their silence amid the calamitous events of the past several days, Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, confirmed on Wednesday that they have been enjoying a late-summer vacation in a moral vacuum.
In a brief interview with reporters, Trump said that she and Kushner were “just loving” their time in the moral vacuum, calling it “our very favorite place to be.”
“It’s heaven,” she said. “We get up in the morning and never give a thought to our responsibility as Jews, Americans, or moral actors whose decisions have consequences for other people.”
She said that spending time in a moral vacuum had done her husband a world of good. “This is Jared’s favorite thing to do, besides meeting with Russians,” she said.

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The Trump administration’s most prominent Jews disgrace themselves


By Dana Milbank
Quote:
What Gary Cohn, Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner did this week — or, rather, what they didn’t do — is a shanda.

They’ll know what that means, but, for the uninitiated, shanda is Yiddish for shame, disgrace. The three men, the most prominent Jews in President Trump’s administration, could have spoken out to say that those who march with neo-Nazis are not “very fine people,” as their boss claims. Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, and Cohn, the chief economic adviser, were actually standing with Trump when he said it. They said nothing.

All three let it be known through anonymous friends and colleagues that they are disturbed and distressed by what Trump said — Kushner even got out word that he and his wife, Ivanka Trump, had counseled Trump otherwise — but none is speaking publicly about an outrage that makes millions of Americans feel as though they are living a nightmare.


We have seen such a character before in Jewish history: the shtadlan. The shtadlan , or “court Jew,” existed to please the king, to placate the king, to loan money to the king. He would dress like other members of the court, and he would beg the king for leniency toward the Jews, but, ultimately, his loyalty was to the king.


President Trump on Aug. 15 said that “there’s blame on both sides” for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
I thought we were past the age of the shtadlan. So did my rabbi, Danny Zemel. “These guys are the princes of American business power,” he said. “If they can’t find an ounce of moral fiber from their own Jewish past, we’re in a very sorry way. If they view themselves as court Jews, then they’ll keep their mouths shut and keep their nice jobs.”


That past is as ancient as the Bible. Abraham argued with God, urging the Almighty not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of the innocent. Moses, seeing an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, struck the offender, buried him in the sand and fled from Pharaoh. The daily Jewish liturgy includes the 146th Psalm, praying to a God who brings justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry, who lifts up those who are bowed down, who upholds the widow and the orphan, and who brings the wicked to ruin.

Certainly, Cohn, Mnuchin and Kushner have a particular obligation as Jews, because the violent white supremacists in Charlottesville were targeting Jews with their swastikas and chants of “Jews will not replace us” and “Sieg Heil.” One of their leaders told “Vice News Tonight” it was objectionable that Trump would “give his daughter to a Jew.” A few stood outside a synagogue brandishing rifles, forcing Sabbath worshipers to slip out a back door.

But Jews, because of our recent history, know what results from silence in the face of any type of bigotry. Before Trump dabbled in anti-Semitism, he made scapegoats of immigrants, African Americans, Latinos and, especially, Muslims. Two years ago, when I described the many actions that made candidate Trump a bigot and a racist, I noted that he hadn’t yet gone after Jews. That followed soon: the tweeted image of a Star of David atop paper money, and the speech and ads linking Jews to a secret “global power structure.”


This racist demagoguery now comes from the president of the United States. In tweets Thursday, Trump proclaimed his sadness at the removal of “our beautiful” Confederate statues, and he revived the bogus claim that, a century ago, Gen. John J. Pershing dipped bullets in pig blood before shooting Muslim prisoners.

Why is it so hard to condemn such filth? David Shulkin did. Trump’s Veterans Affairs secretary, who is Jewish (and an Obama administration holdover), said what needed to be said: “I do feel like as an American and as a member of the Cabinet, that I can speak for my own personal opinions on this, and I am outraged by the behavior that I have seen with the Nazis and the white supremacists.”

Shulkin said he will continue to speak. “Staying silent on these issues is not acceptable,” he said.


Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin on Aug. 16 said “it is a dishonor to our country’s veterans to allow the Nazis and the white supremacists to go unchallenged.” (The Washington Post)
Amen.

Even the rabbi who oversaw Ivanka Trump’s conversion, Haskel Lookstein, joined in a statement saying he was “deeply troubled by the moral equivalency and equivocation President Trump has offered.”


Amen.

Even Sheldon Adelson’s Republican Jewish Coalition called for “greater moral clarity” from Trump, saying “there are no good Nazis.”

Amen.

As I write this, my 13-year-old has come into my office and said the neo-Nazis at the Charlottesville synagogue make her reluctant to return to Hebrew school. She also asks if our family will be a target because people know I’m Jewish.

This is what Trump has done to America. And this is what Cohn, Mnuchin and Kushner allow with their shameful silence.

Do they prize their appointments so much? Well then, don’t quit. Speak out. Let him fire you. But don’t play the court Jew.

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PostPosted: 19 Aug 2017 2:37 am 
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Trump is a cancer on the presidency
By Jonathan Capehart

Quote:
On Monday, I declared that President Trump had neither the moral core nor the moral authority to respond properly to the openly racist horror that took place in Charlottesville. I said flat out that I didn’t believe him when he mouthed words that fell short of what was required for a moment so pivotal. Trump’s denunciation of “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups” later that day was as forced as the confessions from the Central Park Five.

On Tuesday, he proved my gut feeling right.

In the lobby of his tacky tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, the president of the United States defended the torch-bearing racists who lit up the night sky on the University of Virginia campus as they chanted “white lives matter.” He reiterated his “both sides” blasphemy, equating the racism and violence of the bigots who rallied last weekend with the counterprotesters who gathered to uphold the ideals of this nation. And he defended the cause of the Confederacy by siding with those trying to prevent the removal of statues that New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu correctly called “murder.”

The damage Trump has done to the presidency is unmistakable. The damage done to the nation is incalculable. He is unfit to serve.


Up until Trump’s election, the American people sent to the Oval Office men (thus far) who were a reflection of our better selves. None was perfect. All had shortcomings. But they revered the Constitution and its ideals. Expanding their support to buttress their moral authority to make decisions on behalf of all Americans was paramount to preserving national unity. Those men understood that the presidency was bigger than themselves. Not Trump.



He is siding with racists who want to turn the clock back to the 1800s. He is giving comfort to bigots who want to “take our country back” with racial violence. He is fueling the hate that allegedly drove James Alex Fields Jr. to plow his car into a crowd, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. He doesn’t see how doing these things is tearing the country apart. And he doesn’t care. Rather than a reflection of our better selves, Trump is a cancer on the presidency.


In his book “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency,” journalist Joshua Green notes the lesson Trump learned in 2011 while pushing the racist birther lie against then-President Barack Obama.

Trump, who has an uncanny ability to read an audience, intuited in the spring of 2011 that the birther calumny could help him for a powerful connection with party activists. He also figured out that the norms forbidding such behavior were not inviolable rules that carried a harsh penalty but rather sentiments of a nobler, bygone era, gossamer-thin and needlessly adhered to by politicians who lacked his willingness to defy them. He could violate them with impunity and pay no price for it. …

Privately, what amused him the most, he later told a friend, was that no party official in a position of power dared to stand up to him.

Trump must be held accountable for his false moral equivalency and his willingness to exalt the treasonous Confederacy at the expense of our union. The “harsh penalty” that escaped him in 2011 must be visited upon him now. People of good conscience must speak up and stay vocal. More Republicans must stand up to him now and do so boldly. They have to put the country before party or some longed-for policy that pales in comparison to the preservation of our ideals. And if Trump succeeds in surviving this unbelievable affront to all we say we are, he will not be to blame. We will.

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Business
Three fundraising giants cancel plans for galas at Mar-a-Lago

By Drew Harwell and David A. Fahrenthold August 17

Quote:
Three fundraising giants decided to pull events from President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach on Thursday, signaling a direct blowback to his business empire from his comments on Charlottesville’s racial unrest.

The American Cancer Society, a high-dollar client at the club since at least 2009, cited its “values and commitment to diversity” in a statement on its decision to move an upcoming fundraising gala. Another longtime Mar-a-Lago customer, the Cleveland Clinic, abruptly changed course on its winter event only days after saying it planned to continue doing business at Mar-a-Lago, a leading venue for charitable events in the posh resort town.

The American Friends of Magen David Adom, which raises money for Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross, also said it would not hold its 2018 gala at the club “after considerable deliberation,” though it did not give a reason. The charity had one of Mar-a-Lago’s biggest events last season, with about 600 people in attendance.


The cancellations will undoubtedly squeeze revenue for the private club Trump calls the “winter White House,” where similar-size events have often brought in fees of between $100,000 and $275,000 each.

But the Florida club may face an even deeper crisis of confidence from the local business community. The head of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, of which Mar-a-Lago is a member, called the business “morally reprehensible” on Thursday and said she expected more charities to defect.

President Trump on Aug. 15 said that “there’s blame on both sides” for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
“The glitter, the shine has gone from the club,” chamber executive director Laurel Baker said, “and I can’t help but think there will be more fallout from it.”

The rapid rejections of one of the president’s signature businesses revealed a possible financial vulnerability for Trump, who has been fiercely criticized this week for equating the actions of white supremacists and neo-Nazis with counterprotesters during a violent weekend in Charlottesville.

They also come days after Trump faced condemnations from corporate executives on two of the White House’s top business advisory groups, which were disbanded in a stinging rebuke to Trump after his controversial message.

The White House referred questions about the charitable events to the Trump Organization, which did not respond.


At least seven other groups that frequented Mar-a-Lago — including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in New York and the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami — have announced in recent months that they would choose other venues, citing reasons such as political differences and security hassles.

Mar-a-Lago’s upcoming winter season, the peak of Palm Beach social life, looks as though it will be the slowest period for charity events in at least a decade, according to a Washington Post analysis of upcoming events.

The Cleveland Clinic, one of the nation’s leading medical centers, abruptly canceled its event plans Thursday, and spokeswoman Eileen Sheil told The Post that “there were a variety of factors” behind the cancellation. “We’re not elaborating,” she added.

Shortly afterward, the American Cancer Society announced that it was backing out, saying in a statement: “Our values and commitment to diversity are critical as we work to address the impact of cancer in every community. It has become increasingly clear that the challenge to those values is outweighing other business considerations.”

Both health-related groups faced growing pressure to reconsider their support of the president’s business amid Trump controversies. But the cancellations don’t come without risk: The Cleveland Clinic said it had raised about $1 million a year for medical equipment over the past eight years at Mar-a-Lago.

[At Mar-a-Lago, the star power of the presidency helps charities — and Trump — make more money]

Baker, head of the Palm Beach chamber, spoke vigorously against Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, saying that her directive to nearby charities was “If you’re looking at your mission statement, can you honestly say having an event at Mar-a-Lago, given all that has transpired, is the best stewardship of your efforts?”

“The club is a member of the chamber. But right is right,” she added in an interview. She said her mantra this week is “ ‘The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.’ Especially for nonprofits. Especially for groups who help people who can’t help themselves.”


The Cleveland Clinic had still intended to host its ninth gala there as recently as last week. The move followed weeks of public turmoil, including a letter signed by 1,600 health professionals and others last month that said the Mar-a-Lago booking “symbolically and financially supports a politician actively working to decrease access to healthcare.”

The clinic’s chief executive, Toby Cosgrove, was among the business leaders on the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum who agreed to disband Wednesday. Trump said on Twitter that he would end the forum and a separate American Manufacturing Council “rather than putting pressure on the busi­ness­peo­ple.”

Mar-a-Lago has faced growing scrutiny from supporters of Trump’s “buy American, hire American” agenda because of its recent requests for foreign workers. The club, which has sought dozens of H-2B visas for foreign employees because it argued that it can’t find Americans to do the work, was absent last week at a job fair in West Palm Beach.

The charity moves are a welcome development for other venues, such as the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, where spokesman Nick Gold said calls have increased from groups looking to hold fundraising events.

“There’s a lot of concern from these charities, where their boards of directors are probably not wanting to be at Mar-a-Lago for a variety of reasons,” including reasons related to Trump, he said.

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https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... apolitical

Neutrality is dead. You’re either with Trump or against him
by Emma Brockes


Quote:
The president’s greatest deception is to appear apolitical. But to be disinterested now is basically to be on the right

Donald Trump’s “neutrality” on fascists is nothing of the sort.’

I was eating breakfast at the counter in a diner this week when the owner offered the guy sitting next to me a newspaper. “I don’t read the news,” he said after a pause. I sensed him, phone in hand, reaching to locate the meaning of “newspaper”. “Too much, right?” said the owner. The man replied: “I don’t care about news. I only care about money.” There was another pause. “And,” he added quietly, clearly acting on the assumption his wife can hear him at all times, “my family.”


If the rise of Donald Trump has a single good outcome, it might be assumed to be the death of political apathy. Who can fail to engage with the news when history is hurtling towards us like a fireball? But of course, in the same way that 9/11 didn’t kill irony, no such death has occurred – not least because Trump isn’t a politician with political ideas, but a showman with stunts. What has changed, perhaps, is what it means to be apolitical. To say “I don’t care about news” – when so-called American freedoms are, if not under genuine attack then at least threatened symbolically by the highest power in the land – is not to be neutral but way over to the right, in the same way that Trump’s “neutrality” on fascists is nothing of the sort. Or as Chris Matthews put it, quoting Churchill on MSNBC news last week: “I decline utterly to be impartial between the fire brigade and the fire.”

In the UK, I think of political apathy as a symptom of various wan assumptions that, irrespective of government, the country bumbles on regardless. In the US, apoliticism feels like a more decisive aesthetic, a rejection of government in the libertarian style that is, of course, itself deeply political and yet even now – especially now – has a vast and dishonest appeal. It is Trump’s greatest sleight of hand: vote for me, I don’t care about politics.

It was a good week to sit through four-and-a-half hours of The Memory of Justice, the Marcel Ophüls documentary made in the 1970s that is showing on HBO. It is an extraordinary film, switching between footage of the Nuremberg trials and interviews with its protagonists, among them Telford Taylor, the American prosecutor, who recalls cross-examining Goering in front of the rest of the smirking Nazi high command.


Turd Reich: San Francisco dog owners lay minefield of poo for rightwing rally
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The most affecting interview is with Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect and munitions supremo, who was sentenced to 20 years for war crimes and who talks urbanely about how good people, or at the very least, people with no history of homicide, were seduced by the glamour of Hitler’s interest in them.

There are some extraordinary accounts from ordinary Germans, including the inhabitants of a small town recalling a GP who served them after the war. Yes, they said, they remembered Dr Herta Oberheuser, so what? Didn’t it bother them, asked Ophüls, that she had performed experiments on prisoners at Ravensbrück concentration camp and served five years for crimes against humanity. Oh, that, they said: yes. And most looked away with a shrug.

Unlikely heroes of the resistance, part 25: Arnold Schwarzenegger coming out against Trump. The guys at OK Cupid banning Christopher Cantwell, “star” of Vice’s blockbuster video of the march in Charlottesville, who it turns out was single and looking for love on their site. And James Murdoch breaking loose from his father’s support of Trump, although it was hard not to be suspicious of this and wonder if it was a family-wide hedge.

There was something off about the Vice video, which focused too heavily on the kind of fringe nutter who, even in the company of a bunch of torch-bearing fascists, was clearly a loose cannon. Cantwell is a distraction from the kinds of seriously frightening people who run these militias, who are too canny to mouth off to the lady from Vice. And a week later here he is, trembling, crying and falling apart. Highlighting this joker was a misstep. More instructive to watch the Netflix documentary about Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, for a reminder that those who don’t seek the limelight are the ones to watch.

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http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/ne ... mp-w499649

The Media Is the Villain – for Creating a World Dumb Enough for Trump
Yet another TV executive says Trump is "good for business." Is sudden good fortune of news media by accident or design?

Quote:
The craziest part of Donald Trump's 77-minute loon-a-thon in Phoenix earlier this week came when he rehashed his shtick about the networks turning off live coverage of his speech. Trump seemed to really believe they were shutting the cameras off because "the very dishonest media" was so terrified of his powerful words.

"They're turning those lights off so fast!" he said. "CNN doesn't want its failing viewership to see this!"


Trump is wrong about a lot of things, but it's hard to be more wrong about any one thing than he was about this particular point.

No news director would turn off the feed in the middle of a Trump-meltdown. This presidency has become the ultimate ratings bonanza. Trump couldn't do better numbers if he jumped off Mount Kilimanjaro carrying a Kardashian.

This was confirmed this week by yet another shruggingly honest TV executive – in this case Tony Maddox, head of CNN International. Maddox said CNN is doing business at "record levels." He hinted also that the monster ratings they're getting have taken the sting out of being accused of promoting fake news.

"[Trump] is good for business," Maddox said. "It's a glib thing to say. But our performance has been enhanced during this news period." Maddox, speaking at the Edinburgh TV festival, added that most of the outlets that have been singled out by Trump are doing a swimming business. "If you look at the groups that Trump has primarily targeted: CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Saturday Night Live, Stephen Colbert," he said, "every single one of those has seen a quite remarkable growth in their viewing figures, in their sales figures."

Everyone hisses whenever they hear quotes like these. They recall the infamous line from last year by CBS chief Les Moonves, about how Trump "may not be good for America, but he's damn good for CBS." Moonves was even cheekier than Maddox. He laughed and added, "The money's rolling in, and this is fun. They're not even talking about issues, they're throwing bombs at each other, and I think the advertising reflects that."

For more than two years now, it's been obvious that Donald Trump is a disaster on almost every level except one – he's great for the media business. Most of us who do this work have already gone through the process of working out just how guilty we should or should not feel about this.

Many execs and editors – and Maddox seems to fall into this category – have convinced themselves that the ratings and the money are a kind of cosmic reward for covering Trump responsibly. But deep down, most of us know that's a lie. Donald Trump gets awesome ratings for the same reason Fear Factor made money feeding people rat-hair tortilla chips: nothing sells like a freak show. If a meteor crashes into jello night at the Playboy mansion, it doesn't matter if you send Edward R. Murrow to do the standup. Some things sell themselves.

The Trump presidency is like a diabolical combination of every schlock eyeball-grabbing formula the networks have ever deployed. It's Battle of the Network Stars meets Wrestlemania meets Survivor meets the Kursk disaster. It's got the immediacy of a breaking news crash, with themes of impending doom, conflict, celebrity meltdown, anger, racism, gender war, everything.

Trump even sells on the level of those Outbrain click-addicting photos of plastic surgery failures. With his mystery comb-over and his great rolls of restrained blubber and the infamous tales of violent fights with his ex over a failed scalp-reduction procedure, Trump on top of being Hitler and Hulk Hogan from a ratings perspective is also a physical monster, the world's very own bearded-lady tent.

Trump's monstrousness is ironic, since the image of Trump as the media's very own Frankenstein's monster has been used and re-used in the last years. Many in the business are of the opinion that, having created Trump and let him loose in the village, we in the press now have a responsibility to hunt him down with aggressive investigative reporting, to make the world safe again.

That might indeed be a good idea. But that take also implies that slaying the monster will fix the problem. Are we sure that's true?

Reporters seem to think so, and keep trying to find the magic formula. Just this week, staffers at the Wall Street Journal rebelled against editor-in-chief Gerard Baker. Baker, who has long been accused of being too soft on Trump, blasted his people for going too negative on the president in their coverage of the Arizona speech. He sent around a letter asking staff to "stick to reporting what [Trump] said," rather than "packaging it in exegesis and selective criticism."

Reporters fought back by (apparently) leaking the memo to the rival New York Times. This followed an incident in which a transcript of Baker's recent interview with Trump was leaked to Politico earlier this month. In it, Baker mentions being glad to have seen Ivanka Trump in Southampton, and small-talks with Trump about travel and golf. The implication here is that it's improper or unseemly for a newspaper editor to have a chummy relationship with this kind of a president.

And it is, sometimes. Reporters who should be challenging presidents and candidates are pretty much always cheating the public when they turn interviews into mutual back rub sessions.


But these intramural ethical wars within our business may just be deflections that keep us from facing bigger problems – like, for instance, the fact that we have been systematically making the entire country more stupid for decades.

We learned long ago in this business that dumber and more alarmist always beats complex and nuanced. Big headlines, cartoonish morality, scary criminals at home and foreign menaces abroad, they all sell. We decimated attention spans, rewarded hot-takers over thinkers, and created in audiences powerful addictions to conflict, vitriol, fear, self-righteousness, and race and gender resentment.

There isn't a news executive alive low enough to deny that we use xenophobia and racism to sell ads. Black people on TV for decades were almost always shirtless and chased by cops, and the "rock-throwing Arab" photo was a staple of international news sections even before 9/11. And when all else fails in the media world, just show more cleavage somewhere, and ratings go up, every time.

Donald Trump didn't just take advantage of these conditions. He was created in part by them. What's left of Trump's mind is like a parody of the average American media consumer: credulous, self-centered, manic, sex-obsessed, unfocused, and glued to stories that appeal to his sense of outrage and victimhood.

We've created a generation of people like this: anger addicts who can't read past the first page of a book. This is why the howls of outrage from within the ranks of the news media about Trump's election ring a little bit false. What the hell did we expect would happen? Who did we think would rise to prominence in our rage-filled, hyper-stimulated media environment? Sensitive geniuses?

We spent years selling the lowest common denominator. Now the lowest common denominator is president. How can it be anything but self-deception to pretend this is an innocent coincidence?

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