Category Archives: Religion

Collaborators in Trumpism, the new American Fascism

A must-read column today from the New York Times‘ Paul Krugman on Fascism, American Style:

As sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., Joe Arpaio engaged in blatant racial discrimination. His officers systematically targeted Latinos, often arresting them on spurious charges and at least sometimes beating them up when they questioned those charges. Read the report from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and prepare to be horrified.

Once Latinos were arrested, bad things happened to them. Many were sent to Tent City, which Arpaio himself proudly called a “concentration camp,” where they lived under brutal conditions, with temperatures inside the tents sometimes rising to 145 degrees.

And when he received court orders to stop these practices, he simply ignored them, which led to his eventual conviction — after decades in office — for contempt of court. But he had friends in high places, indeed in the highest of places. We now know that Donald Trump tried to get the Justice Department to drop the case against Arpaio, Trump Asked Top Aides Months Ago if Arpaio Case Could Be Dropped, Officials Say, a clear case of attempted obstruction of justice. And when that ploy failed, Trump, who had already suggested that Arpaio was “convicted for doing his job,” pardoned him.

By the way, about “doing his job,” it turns out that Arpaio’s officers were too busy rounding up brown-skinned people and investigating President Barack Obama’s birth certificate to do other things, like investigate cases of sexually abused children. Priorities!

Let’s call things by their proper names here. Arpaio is, of course, a white supremacist. But he’s more than that. There’s a word for political regimes that round up members of minority groups and send them to concentration camps, while rejecting the rule of law: What Arpaio brought to Maricopa, and what the president of the United States has just endorsed, was fascism, American style.

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Donald Trump’s ‘Pity Party’ in Phoenix

Did you know that there was only one victim in Charlottesville, Virginia, and it wasn’t Heather Heyer? Oh no, the victim was our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief at the hands of a “dishonest” media that accurately reported his words live on TV.

Donald Trump came to Phoenix to throw himself a “pity party” among his sycophant supporters with a long list of perceived grievances against all those whom he feels have done him wrong. He’s the victim in his revisionist history. The Daily 202: Trump’s penchant for revisionist history on display during Arizona rally.

This is in keeping with the conservative white grievance sense of victimhood, that they are “victimized” for their whacked-out conspiratorial non-factual beliefs in utter nonsense for which they are fed a steady diet from the conservative media entertainment complex. This sense of victimhood is the unifying “tribalism” around which they rally in this anti-intellectual movement led by the most dangerous demagogue in American history.

The Washington Post reports, Trump threatens government shutdown, suggests controversial pardon at Arizona rally (paragraphs have been reordered):

President Trump’s freewheeling comments came at a boisterous campaign rally here during which he went on an extended diatribe about the media, blaming reporters for the negative fallout he has received over his responses to the hate-fueled violence in Charlottesville.

At the outset of the rally, Trump selectively recounted the series of statements he made in the days following the melee in Charlottesville, arguing that he “spoke out forcefully against hatred and bigotry and violence” but that the media — whom he called “sick people” — refused to report it properly.

“You know where my heart is,” Trump said, before pulling a copy of his first of three statements on the violence out of his suit coat and reading it to his audience. He later accused the media of giving a platform to the hate groups that were central to the violence in Charlottesville that led to three deaths.

Following his comments last week, Trump was criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for blaming “both sides” for the violence and saying that “fine people” had marched along with white supremacists to protest the removal of a Confederate statue.

Trump did not mention either of those remarks in his diatribe against the media on Tuesday. He lied by omission to his sycophant supporters in his revisionist history, and his sycophant supporters didn’t care. Facts simply do not matter to these people, they are in thrall to Trump lies, President Trump has made more than 1,000 false or misleading statements, all that matters to them is their unquestioning devotion and loyalty to their “Dear Leader.”

Trump also never mentioned Heather Heyer, the woman mowed down by a white supremacist with his vehicle in Charlottesville. In Trump’s revisionist history, he was the only victim that day.

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Keep the protests peaceful, Arizona

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has asked the “Great White Hope” Donad Trump not to bring his racist circus act to Phoenix. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton: Now is not the time for Trump to visit my city. The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson has editorialized against Trump’s campaign rally as well. Star Opinion: President Trump, stay home.

And yet the darkness will descend on Phoenix like the shadow of  Monday’s total eclipse of the sun.

As Trump heads to Arizona, GOP leaders want him out of Jeff Flake’s Senate race. The Washington Post editorializes today that “If Trump pardons Joe Arpaio, America’s foremost racial profiler, it would further discredit his presidency.” This would be a travesty of justice.

The media is reporting on Trump’s visit as if they are anticipating, if not encouraging, violent protests like the one we saw in Charlottesville, Virgina. Oh, they will deny any such purpose, but a violent protest sells newspapers and fills hours of cable TV with chattering talking heads. Large Protests Are Planned Near Trump Rally in Arizona (New York Times). Our View: Donald Trump’s Phoenix rally will test him — and us (The Arizona Republic). The Republic also editorializes not to pardon Joe Arpaio. The Republic’s Elvia Diaz cautions, Be careful, Latinos. Trump is in Phoenix to provoke us.

UPDATE: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday said President Donald Trump will not discuss or act “today” on the possibility of pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. White House: Trump Won’t Pardon Arpaio At Arizona Rally Tuesday. “There will be no discussion of that today at any point, and no action will be taken on that front at any point today,” Sanders told pool reporters on Air Force One.

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Saturday’s so-called ‘Boston Free Speech’ rally

There are more alt-right white supremacy rallies planned for this weekend around the nation, but the one that the media is focusing on is Saturday’s so-called  “Boston Free Speech” rally on Boston Common.

For those of you old enough to remember, the Boston Busing Riots over school desegregation in the 1970s demonstrated that violent white racism was not limited to the South, but was shared by white northerners in the supposedly “liberal” state of Massachusetts, a center of the abolitionist movement.

The Boston Globe reports Boston Common will be ground zero for rallies today:

The city plans to dispatch more than 500 police officers to patrol Saturday’s “Boston Free Speech” rally on Boston Common Saturday, and city officials vowed to shut it down if it turns violent, as they prepared for what is one of the first big demonstrations since the violence in Charlottesville, Va., last week.

Authorities fear white supremacists will attend, and two of the rally’s keynote speakers have ties to extremist elements — including one who attended the Charlottesville rally.

Rally organizers have maintained the event is open to all political views and not a forum for hate groups, and the permit issued by the city is for only 100 people. But tens of thousands of counterprotesters are expected to show up to denounce racism and anti-Semitism.

Boston officials said Friday that they will shut down the Saturday event if there are signs of violence.

Wonder Woman may be on hand  to protest Nazis in America.

WonderWomanStephen Lam/Reuters

‘Delete-Alt-Right’ – Steve Bannon Fired

It appears that a series of interviews this week by chief White House strategist Steve Bannon displaying extreme hubris about his “power behind the throne” was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

There can only be one self-involved egomaniacal man-child in the White House, and that is Donald Trump.

New chief of staff Ret. Gen. John Kelly finally pulled the trigger and fired Steve Bannon (and more firings are rumored coming). Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon fired:

President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has been fired, multiple White House officials told CNN on Friday.

Sources told CNN that Bannon’s ouster had been in the works for two weeks and a source said that while Bannon was given the option to resign, he was ultimately forced out.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Bannon’s departure, but claimed the decision for him to leave was mutual.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” Sanders said in a statement.

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Sen. Bob Corker: Trump ‘has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate’

Senator Bob Corker is a “Reconstructed” Southerner from the former Confederate state of Tennessee. He rejects the institutional racism, violence and terrorism of white supremacy that is the heritage of slavery and Jim Crow in the old South.

Sen. Corker is the first GOP senator of whom I am aware to finally come out and say what everyone is thinking and knows to be true: Trump has not demonstrated ‘stability’ or ‘competence’ to lead effectively:

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has been one of the most outspoken GOP Trump critics in Congress, expressed displeasure with Trump’s response to the deadly weekend violence in Charlottesville and warned that if the president does not change his behavior, “our nation is going to go through great peril.”

The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,” the senator told reporters in Tennessee. “And we need for him to be successful.”

Corker’s remarks came on a day when at least two other Republican senators — Tim Scott (S.C.) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska) — also faulted the president. Scott, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, said in an interview with Vice News that Trump’s “moral authority is compromised.”

In his interview with Vice News, Scott said: “What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happens. There’s no question about that.” Tuesday was when Trump said, “I think there’s blame on both sides.”

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