Posting this with no comment because it is expected and so obviously bone-headed Trump:
US President Donald Trump’s administration has disbanded a government advisory committee that was intended to help the country prepare for a changing climate.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration established the committee in 2015 to help businesses and state and local governments make use of the next national climate assessment. The legally mandated report, due in 2018, will lay out the latest climate-change science and describe how global warming is likely to affect the United States, now and in coming decades.
The advisory group’s charter expired on 20 August, and Trump administration officials informed members late last week that it would not be renewed. “It really makes me worried and deeply sad,” says Richard Moss, a climate scientist at the University of Maryland in College Park and co-chair of the committee. “It’s another thing that is just part of the political football game.”
One mean spirited decision intended to end the effort to end slavery led to one million dead and the end of slavery anyway.
I spent some time this weekend at a political event comparing prosecutors and other legal eagles, who were all hoping to get the job of Attorney General. They were Candidates General, I guess. Trump was mentioned, and somewhere along the line, Dred Scott was mentioned as well. I turned to a highly placed official sort of dude and said, “Did you know that Dred Scott lived in Minnesota?” He did not know that. So I asked a couple of other people if they knew, and they did not. Finally I found the smartest person in the room and she didn’t know either.
Gee, I thought, if you want to be the Attorney General of Minnesota and you are going to invoke the name of Dred Scott, you really ought to know that he lived just a few short miles away from where you are standing there invoking!
So I wrote this:
In 1857, US Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney ruled that a person who is black and of African ancestry can never be thought of as an American citizen, and therefore, has no standing to bring a law suit in federal court. In the same decision, Taney determined that a previous act of Congress that prohibited slavery in most of the territory north of a certain latitude, in land that was in the United States but not in a given state, was unconstitutional. In so doing he decided and determined that the US Congress could not prohibit slavery.
This decision was made in response to a suit filed by a slave named Dred Scott, who lived for a while, during a very important part of his life, just south of the Twin Cities.
Mr. Scott had been born a slave in Missouri, but later lived in various non-slave territories, as one of his owners was in the military and moved around a lot. During that time, he met and married Harriet Robinson, who was also a slave. Mr. Scott was owned by a military doctor stationed at Fort Snelling, which had been built on Lakota-Dakota land known as B’Dote (or Bdote) near what is now Bloomington Minnesota, home of the Mall of America. Ms. Robinson’s owner was Lawrence Taliaferro, who was the fort’s Indian Agent. Since Taliaferro was a Justice of the Peace, it was he who both gave his slave the permission to marry her fiance, and it was he who performed the ceremony.
At the time, Fort Snelling was in “Wisconsin Territory,” which is why, I suspect, Minnesotans by and large don’t know that Dred Scott lived here. Wisconsin Territory included parts of North and South Dakota, all of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and possibly tiny bits of adjoining lands. But if you come across a reference to Dred Scott in a history book, the word “Wisconsin” is right there, and Minnesotans think of the Green Bay Packers and move on.
Previous legal decisions, and a certain amount of common logic sprinkled with a sense of humanity, had already determined that a slave who then lived as a free person for a while got to be a free person for the rest of their lives. Since slavery was not legal in what was to eventually become Minnesota, and other territories in which Scott lived, he had a pretty solid legal case to make that he should be freed even after his owner moved him back into a slave state at a later time.
In order for Justice Taney to determine that Scott’s case was invalid, he had to create law that made the federal abolition of slavery in all non-state territories impossible, and to make all blacks non-citizens. Taney’s ruling was only the second time the Supreme Court had found an act of Congress unconstitutional, and of all the SCOTUS decisions ever made, this one had by far the greatest and most negative ultimate consequence.
Mr. Scott’s history is more complicated. There were changes in who owned him. He had tried to buy his freedom. He and his wife had children, including children born in non-slave territory. Abolitionists got involved. The Dred Scott vs. Sandford supreme court case, and all the legal events that preceded it, were major news at the time. The final result of Taney’s decision sealed the fate of the United States, set back civil rights by a century and a half, and contributed materially to the violent deaths of about a million people.
Fast forward to 1879.
From the time of the birth of the nation, but with greater intensity starting around 1830, and getting more and more intense in subsequent decades, the United States continuously wrestled with the issue of slavery. Abraham Lincoln had always thought slavery was bad, but he was enamored with the US Constitution and could see no easy direct way to make slavery illegal country-wide. He felt it would eventually die out as a practice, through a combination of legal and social changes.
But reducing or eliminating slavery had become an order of magnitude more difficult than it ever had to be because of Taney’s Supreme Court ruling. When Abraham Lincoln was elected to be president of the United States, slave owners felt that their ownership of other humans, and their right to spread that practice to the other sates simply by moving to them (with their property, their slaves) was threatened. This threat was sufficient that they assembled armies, caused their states to separate from the Union, and attacked the US Federal government with military force. The ensuing Civil War is the reason most of the previously mentioned million people died, but many others, blacks, have been killed before, during, and after the war by white supremacists. (This includes Union soldiers who were black, who were routinely killed on the spot when taken prisoner by Southern soldiers.)
After the war, there was a rapid and remarkable shift in society and politics in the south. Federal authority made it possible and relatively safe for southern Blacks to run for office and to vote in elections. Suddenly there were black faces in state legislatures and the US Congress.
But at the same time organizations like the Klu Klux Klan formed, and these organizations and their supporters infiltrated local and state governments. In some cases, they set up separate governments. On election day, in some jurisdictions, there were two voting boxes, and you could pick which one to cast your ballot in. The white supremacists had their vote, everyone else had a different vote, and when the results were different, the federal government would enforce the correct vote. At times, these disputes turned into small shooting wars, and were sometimes accompanied by random slaughter of blacks living in local communities.
Eventually the new fight over the old south fully evolved at the federal level and things got really strange.
In 1876, the United States had its most contentious election for president ever. Samuel Tilden, a Democrat (and thus of the party of the South) from New York (and thus maybe not so much from the party of the south) won 50.9% of the vote to Rutherford B. Hayes’ 47.9%. Hayes is credited with having had 185 electoral votes to Tilden’s 184.
Initially, however, the count was Tilden with 184 electoral votes, Hayes with 165, and 20 from that special category of votes that involved the multiple voting boxes and other shenanigans. The states with the bad votes were Florida (of course), Louisiana, and South Carolina (and there was a small problem in Oregon as well).
Eventually, a deal was struck. This deal was almost certainly illegal and extra constitutional, but even if that wasn’t the case, the deal was bad. But it is hard to say because the process and even details of the decisions made in the deal were kept secret and to this day we are not entirely sure what happened.
Rutherford Hayes, the Republican, was awarded all the messy votes, and became president. But, in return for keeping the Presidency out of the hands of the Party of Slavery, the federal authorities that were in the South keeping the white supremacists at bay, were withdrawn.
This is the beginning of the Jim Crow era, the era of terror and and harassment, hate and murder, bestowed by southern whites on southern blacks.
OK, fast forward to 1879 but for real this time, now that you have the context.
Slavery, a fight against slavery, Roger Taney personally ensures the continuation of slavery for a few, as well as the many, and produces the most bone-headed court decision ever, which is on the top list of three or four reasons that definitely led to the Civil War, followed by a lot of white supremacist whinging about, followed by the Jim Crow era.
And that is when art and antiquities collector William Walters (of the Walters Museum), who had hid out in Europe during the Civil War and seems to have been involved in about zero political activities as far as I can tell, paid for the erection of a monument to Roger Taney in Baltimore.
Now, fast forward a bit farther to March 6th, 2017. That is when this happened:
This is Charles Taney III, a great great grand whatever of Roger Taney, hugging Jynne Jackson, a great great grand whatever of Dred Scott, in front of the Taney statue. This photograph was taken at a ceremony in which Taney publicly apologized to Jackson.
Lynne M. Jackson winced outside the Maryland State House on Monday as she listened to Charlie Taney repeat some of the words his great-great-grand-uncle wrote in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision 160 years ago.
Black people cannot be U.S. citizens and have no rights except the ones that white people give them. Whites are superior to blacks. Slavery is legal.
“You can’t hide from the words that [Roger Brooke] Taney wrote,” Charlie Taney said, standing a few feet from a statue of his ancestor, who lived in Maryland and was chief justice of the nation’s highest court from 1836 until his death in 1864.
“You can’t run, you can’t hide, you can’t look away. You have to face them.”
Then Charlie Taney turned to Jackson, the great-great granddaughter of Scott, an enslaved man who sued for his freedom. He apologized — on behalf of his family, to the Scott family and to all African Americans, for the “terrible injustice of the Dred Scott decision.”
And just a few short months later. during the early morning hours of August 18th, as a result of civil unrest stemming from pro-Nazi and pro-white supremacist remarks made by President Donald Trump, that Taney statue was removed:
Many of the Southern statues related to the Civil War, or, I suppose,pro-slavery supreme court decisions, were installed at about the same time as the Taney sculpture. The motivation behind the Taney statue, and possibly, who was really behind it, are an enigma, but in many cases, statues or monuments were erected by local governments under pressure (from within or elsewhere) by organizations like the KKK or other post war white supremacist groups and individuals. These statues were put up after the election of 1876 and the start of the Jim Crow era and their erection was very much part of that social movement.
A second wave of statue building and memorializing of things Southern happened during the 20th century Civil Rights Era. At this time, many schools were named after southern notables.
So at the start of Jim Crow, blacks living in southern cities were served up a reminder of their place in southern society. During the Civil Rights Era, black students were served up a reminder of their place in southern society, during the period of forced integration of schools.
No wonder so many northerners require southerns to prove that they are not a) assholes or b) stupid before giving them a break. Considering that our least racists and overall best presidents have come from the South, and Donald Trump comes from Queens, New York, northerners should give southerners more of a break. But we can do that while at the same time noting that there are a lot of people in this country that don’t deserve anyone’s respect because of their hateful views.
Meanwhile, in Bloomington, MN, you can find a memorial to Dred Scott, as well as a Dred Scott miniature golf course, a playground, and a car repair place.
I’d tell you what the plaques in Bloomington say, but I can’t find the text. I will visit the park soon and report back, it is not too far from me.
Meanwhile, if you live in or near the Twin Cities, get over to Fort Snelling and visit the place where Harriet and Dred lived. There is some interpretive history there, and the rest of the historic site is pretty interesting too.
General John F. Kelly is retired from the US Marine Corps, where he commanded the Southern Command. He replaced political operative Reince Priebus as President Trump’s Chief of Staff.
The White House Chief of Staff is the highest ranking staff member in the White House, and was formalized as such in 1961. This is not a Senate confirmable position. What the Chief of Staff does varies from administration to administration but it is almost always about the same. This person can be the puppeteer, in the case of a President who is weak and in need of a guiding hand. This person is always a gatekeeper. Communication with the president is actually communication with the POTUS/COS and if the actual president is present is the decision of the Chief of Staff. If a president is not present or unable to make an important decision, it is not the Vice President who steps in, but the Chief of Staff, short term. Or, at least, this is what we have come to understand from the combination of glimpses into real life and realistic fiction about the workings of the Executive.
The Trump administration has never been in control. Trump has blundered from tweet to tweet, changing and randomizing American policy, bringing the US to what feels like the brink of a war with North Korea, destroying all of our relationships with other nations, frightening and angering most of the citizens with bone-headed domestic policy blunders, and generally being annoying. Much of this confusion and clownish governing happened prior to about two weeks ago, peaking with the rolling out of a particularly awful communications director, a character from a first draft of a Carl Hiaasen novel. And when the insanity reached that crescendo, they called in the Cavalry. Or, actually, the Marines. In the form of General John Kelly.
At the time, everyone said the same thing. The General, being a general and a Marine and all, would impose order, control Trump, bring some sense of normalcy to the White House.
But that didn’t happen. Of all the bad things that have happened in the train wreck known as the Trump administration, some of the worst things have happened since Kelly landed on that particular beach. It was after Kelly arrived that we moved to the brink of a new Korean War. It was after Kelly arrived that Trump lost the confidence even of many of his supporters with his blatant nod to the white supremacist movement. Most recently (though I’ve not checked my twitter feed in 45 seconds so who knows) we have top advisor Steven Bannon declaring his own war on All The Staff, reversing Trump’s North Korea policy, and doing an end run around the State Department to advance an entirely new policy with China. Who knows where that will go?
So, there are two facts that tell me that there is a fallacy lurking here, for which I think I have a simple explanation.
Fact 1: Everybody knows that a disciplined Marine General like John Kelly means the restoration of order. This fact is so clear and certain that after two weeks of unmitigated chaos exponentially worse than any prior two week period in the Trump Circus, it is still held on to by everyone.
Fact 2: Fact 1 is clearly untrue.
The fallacy is that being of a military background (in this case a Marine General) fully qualifies a person to know how to generate and impose, restore or maintain, and manage, order.
It could be that John Kelly was actually a lousy general, or that he is purposefully trying to Ruin America, or perhaps some other explanation pertains. But none of that seems to apply.
Rather, I think this: Order exists in the military when you get there. Ask around. You probably know people with this story. A person who is wandering, directionless, unable to maintain order in their own life, joins the military and there finds order not because the military inspires it in them, but because the military imposes it on them. This changes their life, for the better, and thereafter they can thank the already in place inherent fundamental order of the military.
Marine generals do not create order and discipline, nor do they bring it with them to unordered chaotic climes where they can put it. The military has evolved over centuries of time, and is older than most existing nations. It has the order and discipline built in, it is a hierarchical structure based on chains of command and the concept of order itself. It is not a coincidence that the essential communication, utterance, linguistic event, in the military is called an “order” an that order is obeyed on pain of punishment anywhere from doing 100 pushups up to execution by firing squad.
Marine General John Kelly moved from an environment where order is the order of the day, often in the form of orders inevitably obeyed, to a place of deprived chaos. He moved from a milieu in which his wish was someone else’s command to the job of baby sitting a psychotic megalomaniac with zero impulse control who is, in fact, his commander in chief. Having a retired Marine General put in charge of a Trump in this manner, at this time, is actually the worst possible idea. Marine Generals give orders and they are followed. A Chief of Staff for Trump can not order Trump to do anything, and is likely unequipped with the laser pointers, shiny objects, yummy cookies, and psychological tasers needed to control the stupendously horrific combination of the world’s biggest baby who happens to also be the word’s most powerful person.
I suspect Reince Priebus had more of the skills to manage Trump than Kelly will have in ten lifetimes. Controlling the staff and the communications is Kelly’s only option, and that is clearly far less than what is needed. There may be no controlling Trump in any event, but this commander will never be controlled by any general.
General John Kelly can not serve as an effective Chief of Staff on the basis of his experience in an environment of order, precisely because the remnant of that environment is the Commander in Chief that he needs to, but can not, boss around. He might have been a good Chief of Staff for other reasons, or on the basis of other experiences, but that apparently is not the case.
I believe this is the fallacy. I believe this is a deep fallacy, because it is unnoticed even though it is right in front of everyone’s face. I expect that someday we will know of a thing called the “Kelly Effect,” when someone moves from a place of great order to a place of chaos, and the chaos wins.
It wasn’t much of a corner, he was already pretty much there, but yesterday, Donald J. Trump, pretender to the Presidency of the United States, threw in his lot with the “good people” of the fascist, white-supremacist, KKK-loving movement.
There is a lot of commentary out there about this. None of it surprises me, I and others have been pointing at this train wreck all along. But there is one new thing I’ll mention now. Listen to Trump’s tirade about the protestors. When he speaks of the past notables, including Jefferson and Washington, and the statues, he is plain and articulate, non-hesitant, and clear. He sounds like someone with an IQ. He even sounds thoughtful. That is Trump speaking articulately about that which he has often on his mind.
Donald Trump is not a clown who has served as a stooge for Steve Bannon. He is Steve Bannon’s mentor. Trump is not the accidental friend of the Klan and the Nazis. He is, following in his father’s footsteps, the Klan and the Nazis.
Of all the great segments ever done by Rachel Maddow, the following is one of the best; Watch every second of it, and you learn things and you will be afraid:
May I also recommend this also historical piece from a day earlier:
You can tell when Rachel Maddow is about to land a roundhouse punch, when she’s about to put the ball a few blocks down the street from the park, when she starts a segment with something like “Back in 1924.” She appreciates, almost exclusively among commenters and anchors, the importance of the historic context on one hand and the granularity and nuance on the other. Almost wants to make me pay for cable, that’s how good she is.
I have a feeling that foxes are in trouble with the new EPA administration, but FOX is in great shape. According to an analysis by Media Matters, Scott Pruitt has spent considerably more time appearing on Fox News than other networks. In fact, he’s spent twice as much time on Fox as he has on all the cable outlets combines.
Most of that time has been on, of course, “Fox and Friends” but he’s actually spread himself fairly evenly across a range of shows. His time on non-Fox cable includes six appearances, including two on This Week, one on Meet the Press, one on Morning Joe, and two others.
I guess he knows what side of his toast is buttered on.
In a series of strange events, President Donald Trump once again invoked violence against a CNN reporter and, apparently, embraced the idea that he is a fascist.
Following the homicidal terrorist attack on anti-White Supremacist demonstrators, trump saw fit to post the following tweet, memorialized here in a retweet by Kyle Griffin, an MSNBC producer.
Similar to an earlier contrived production in which Trump himself is shown in a video beating a CNN reporter, this shows a train labeled TRUMP running over a CNN reporter in cartoon form.
That tweet was deleted soon after being posted. I wonder how that happened. Did Trump think better of his choice? Did General Kelly storm the bathroom and wrestle Trump’s phone away from him? Did the NSA dive in there and delete the offending tweet in such a way that Trump will never see that it was deleted but the rest of us will? Can they even do that?
Meanwhile, a guy from the UK named Mike Holden, tweeted the observation that Trump is a fascist, so his alleged ikntent to pardon Arizona Joe Arpaio, Sheriff makes sense. Astonishingly, trump re-tweeted Holden’s remark.
I checked. Trump’s twitter account does not say “retweets are not endorsement,” and we know from the evidence of considerable prior practice that Trump’s retweets are, in deed, endorsements.
That tweet was also removed, and again, one wonders how that happened.
SNL, are you paying attention?
I found out about these tweets in this WaPo article.. So, it is probably fake, but whatever.
Locked and load means ready to pull the trigger. Making that conditional on Kim Jong-un becoming a pacifist means Trump is going to pull the trigger. Based on this statement of policy by President Trump (when President speaks/tweets, policy comes out his mouth or other orifice), bombs should be dropping, missiles flying, ancillary terrorist attacks initiated, naval forces engaged, and possibly action across the DMZ started, by the end of the day, or at least, by the end of the weekend. Tens of thousands will be dead by Wednesday. Maybe hundreds of thousands.
Or, possibly, Donald Trump is full of shit, and we elected a stupid clown as a president.
I hope the latter. I also hope that Kim Jong-un is rational enough to see this for what it is, and to let Baby Trump’s tantrum settle down enough that something shiny can come along and distract him.
I also hope that the continuing erosion of support for Trump by his base accelerates a bit as the war-loving, Putin-sucking, America-hating deplorables get mad at Trump for not actually pulling the trigger and initiating World War III.
In this day of proto-apocalyptic politics in America, that would be a good day.
The truth about the Statue of Liberty and that poem and everything.
The Statue of Liberty has been a symbol of American openness to immigration since it was built. However, modern White Supremacists want us to believe it was something else. I found one example of that on the Internet, writtne by Hunter Wallace with the tags “Identity” and “The Jewish Question,” and titled “David Brooks: The Great War for National Identity”:
…millions of Jews came to the United States during the Great Wave. Much of the early 20th century is the story of how these Jews rose from working class occupations into the American middle class before ascending into the highest levels of the American elite.
By the mid–20th century, America’s traditional Anglo-Protestant elite was being replaced by a more cosmopolitan New York-based Jewish elite. This new elite wasn’t and never has been exclusively Jewish (it included, for example, Catholics like the Kennedys), but was predominantly so, enough for Jewish intellectuals to have a major impact on American culture.
Around the mid–20th century, Jewish intellectuals began to change American culture and rewrite American national identity. They introduced new concepts like “racism” and new taboos like “anti-Semitism.” They concocted the myth that America was “a nation of immigrants.” Previously, Americans had no clue that there was even such a thing as “racism,” or that “anti-Semitism” was immoral, or that “we are all >…immigrants.” As Jews became more concentrated in culturally sensitive institutions (i.e., the elite news media, top universities, the entertainment media), they introduced an entirely new moral code.
The Statue of Liberty is one of my favorite examples:
“The Statue of Liberty myth provides a good case study of the shift to a post-WASP, consensus-liberal version of America. In current parlance, the Statue of Liberty is viewed as a symbol of the openness of America to immigration, and the plaque at its base by Emma Lazarus, which urges other nations to “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” is believed to be organically connected to the statue and its liberal-universalist narrative. Unfortunately, reality is not so simple. Lazarus’s poem was not present when the statue was inaugurated in October 1886. Nor did President Grover Cleveland make any mention of the statue’s significance for immigrants in his acceptance speech.
Some Americans, especially Protestant clergymen, greeted the gift of the statue cautiously. In addition, the statue was often viewed less as a beacon for immigrants than as a guardian of American purity. As for Emma Lazarus’s oft-quoted poem, it was first erected on the interior wall of the immense statue in 1903 owing to the financial contribution of one Georgina Schuyler. Schuyler had donated the bronze plaque in memory of Lazarus, an obscure poet of Jewish ancestry whose work she admired. Not until the 1930s did the contemporary myth of a statute to immigrants arise – exactly the period in which the cosmopolitan ideas of America’s organic intellectuals were starting to win wider elite acceptance. In turn, this attitude change prompted officials to relocate Lazarus’s obscure poem to its current position at the base of the statue. …”
Kauffman is a fairly obscure figure, but he seems to have promulgated the myth that America, as a country, was made up at the time of the American Revolution of almost entirely white British Protestants. That is a myth that ignores the non-Protestants or at least non-mainstream Protestants such as Quakers, Shakers, and various other sundry groups, Catholics, non-religious, etc. white people from Britain, all the non-British that came from Europe, all the Africans who were here non-voluntarily (about 20% of the population in the 1770s), and the Native Americans (about 100,000 within the colonial boundaries, but a strong majority in the western areas being settled at the time). White British Protestants were probably a minority in the land between the coast and the farthest extent of settlement (up to the French territories) at the time of the revolution, and that proportion of society certainly shrank further in the decades immediacy following the Revolution when additional lands occupied mainly by Native Americans, but also French and Spanish and others, were added to the US. And, it shrunk father when immigration from across Europe including many Germans, and across the rest of the world, including, obviously, more Africans, and many from the Middle East and Asia, occurred as well.
Roughly speaking, by 1790, English members of the US population was about just over half of the total, with non British Europeans being about 10%. British-Protestants may have been just barely a majority, but just. We were not a pure land of wasps at the time, or any time since.
The Statue of Liberty was at the time it was built, and is recognized today as having been built as, a monument to American Liberty, as in the American War of Independence. It dates to the centenary celebration of the Declaration of Independence, more or less. From Wikipedia:
The torch-bearing arm was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and in Madison Square Park in Manhattan from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar.
As part of the fundraising effort, Emma Lazarus, who was at the time heavily involved in helping refugees who had left eastern Europe under pogroms there against Jews, was asked to write an original poem. Clearly, the idea of freedom and liberty and the promise of America were tied together in the minds of all the people involved in erecting this statue, which is why the poem linked to both the statue and the fund raising was about the openness of America to receive the tired, poor, huddles masses.
The original manuscript for the poem, “The New Colossus,” is curated by the American Jewish Historical Society, which is always happy, I’m sure, to do its part in the Great American Jewish Conspiracy to annoy 21st century white supremacists.
Here is the poem:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Stephen Miller, representing the White House and Donald Trump, gave the White House Press corps a pretty straight forward White Supremacist line. Me? I’d rather have the coarse and belligerant Scramucci than this guy. Well, neither, actually.
Trump gave a talk to a gathering of police out on Long Island, earlier today. It went horribly. There are cops that are going to take Trump’s lead, take what he said seriously, and because of that, they are going to harm or kill Americans and end their own careers, destroying their own families and parts of their communities along the way.
The President of the United States egged the police on to disdain their civilian bosses, and they cheered him. The President of the United States told the police that they should not avoid harming suspects, and they clapped. The President of the United States encouraged the police to injure suspects, and they cheered.
He called American citizens being harassed by the police “animals.”
This was like and unlike Trump’s over-the-top and embarrassing tirade in front of the Boy Scouts. Similar because this was in both cases Trump being an unmitigated and stupid ass. But different because even though both the cops and the Boy Scouts were blindly cheering and clapping and yowling at these obnoxious comments, we could guess that the leaders of the Boy Scouts were potentially embarrassed. Also, for every Boy Scout there is one or more parental unit of some kind, and we knew many of them would be upset about Trump’s yammerings. And that all turned out to be true, and the Boy Scouts eventually, after some pressure, apologized.
But with the cops we should not assume anything like this is true. The only thing worse than a bunch of cops that show up to hassle some citizens is an organized bunch of cops in the form of an association or union. Today, Trump empowered the police, as a faction on our increasingly fractionated society, to become more violent. I don’t think there is any doubt that they will do this.
The New York City police department did not attend the Long Island event. Some see this as a boycott, since New York is a sanctuary city, and Trump intends to crack down on sanctuary cities. But it is not clear what the position of the New York City, or any other police department or group of police is. As far as I can tell, Trump’s new violence is something cops love. You should see the happy glowing faces of the cops standing behind the president when he tells them to treat suspects like animals, knock their heads on their cruisers, and otherwise, hurt them.
Happy glowing faces of cops clapping and cheering because they just got permission from the head of the United States to be physically harm American citizens.
I have been looking for the name of the organization that sponsored this talk, but I haven’t been able to find it. Whatever organization that is, we should demand that they apologize for Trump’s speech. But they won’t. Because they are cops.
Today is also the day that Donald Trump fired his Chief of Staff and replaced him with the Director of Homeland Security. The top security officer, in a sense, the top cop, of the country is now, apparently, at least according to a set of tweets, going to also be the person closest to the President in any official capacity in the West Wing. I wonder who thought of that idea?
Think about that for a minute. This is what dictators do.
Watch Chris Hays alter the anatomy of a Republican Congress member:
If you give your children over to the Boy Scouts for a day or two, they may do something to them akin to abuse. This happened.
The Boy Scouts knew what they were getting into when they invited Donald Trump to speak at their national event. They even posted warnings for the troop leaders and scouts, on their blog.
As a unit leader or staff member, you can help make the president’s visit a success by ensuring that any reactions to the president’s address are, as we state in our Scout Law, friendly, courteous, and kind. This includes understanding that chants of certain phrases heard during the campaign (e.g. “build the wall,” “lock her up”) are considered divisive by many members of our audience, and may cause unnecessary friction between individuals and units. Please help us ensure that all Scouts can enjoy this historical address by making sure that your troop members are respectful not only of the president, but of the wide variety of viewpoints held by Scouts and Scouters in the audience tonight.
The speech was a travesty. It was rambling and foggy, the sort of thing that might make one worry about drug abuse or a brain problem. It was insulting to many people. It was inappropriate, including profanity and reference to sexual exploits of famous people (see below). It was dishonest, unfair, un-American, and stupid.
Many felt right away that the Boy Scouts should be asked to formally and publicly disavow the speech or make some sort of comment on what happened. For my part, I called the Northern Star Boy Scout office (that’s our regional Boy Scout thing) and complained. My friend Dave wrote this public letter:
Dear Boy Scouts of America,
During the Kennedy administration, I was a cub scout in Vienna, Austria, a city on the front line of the Cold War. Parts of that city, and nearly every other city in Europe, were still in ruins after the war ignited by an out-of-control demagogue placed in power by a minority of the voters. Part of my mother’s family had to flee their homes to America, while others were murdered by agents of that government.
That is why I forced myself to watch the current president’s speech to the Boy Scouts Jamboree in its entirety. It was a disgrace. It began with outright lies and accusations. (“The fake press will say there were 200 people here.”) It trashed his opponent, who was favored by more voters, though not by electoral tampering with the majority, and whom many Boy Scout parents must have voted for. It favored one religion over another. It used what at least used to be a swear word. It sowed divisiveness amongst Americans. It urged disrespect against a former President. It denigrated the nation’s government itself. It promoted its political campaign rhetoric and co-opted the audience into shouting its slogan.
According to the speaker, he is an honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. I urge you to rescind that title.
I expect that as honorable officials of the Boy Scouts of America, you will issue a statement to all troops identifying the remarks that were inappropriate and did not conform to the Boy Scout regulations about politics.
David J. Formanek
All the media, being fake and all, have gone after Trump (though I’m not sure about FOX news), and generally speaking, the reaction is strong and widespread. Even as this is happening, of course, Trump-trolls are scanning social media for anti-Trump comments, and complaining about how we are taking away Donald’s “free speech.” Which, of course, no one has done. We have the First Amendment right to complain about what the president says, and forces that intend to curtail that right are truly nefarious.
(Note: One item on a local FOX news page decries the comparison liberals are making between Hitler, the Hitler Youth, and Trump’s Boy Scout Speech. That comparison certainly has been made by many! I just watched the famous Hitler to the Youth speech (not the Hitler Youth, just German youth). The comparison is apt, but Hitler was a much more focused orator than Trump.)
Many parents of scouts, and many former scouts, reacted negatively to Trump’s speech and in many cases to the Scouts’ lack of good decision making and failure to take responsibility for the fiasco they knowingly created. See twitter examples below. The BSA, for its part, has as of this writing said nothing other than that they do these events and invite the presidents, so what?
Clearly, the Scouts, as an organization, are clueless, even if many of their members are still prying their jaws off the floor. They should know something about the Constitution by now, and recognize that Donald Trump is the greatest threat to it since Major General Sir George Prevost. After all, the Boy Scouts of America have been in a Constitutional fight or two.
In a five to four decision, the Supreme Court ruled that opposition to homosexuality is part of BSA’s “expressive message” and that allowing homosexuals as adult leaders would interfere with that message.
It is inappropriate to subject youth, especially in the context of an organization that desired to have no undesirables near their boys just in case, to the sort of Drek spewed by Donald Trump at this Jamboree. It is Orwellian, at best, to pretend nothing bad happened, that the Boy Scouts of America didn’t do something horribly wrong by inviting the profane and obnoxious pussy-grabber-in-chief to speak to their kids. The Boys Scouts of America have committed the unforgivable sin of pretending that nothing is wrong, that all is normal, of standing by while our Democracy burns, and perhaps, adding fuel to the fire.
My son will not be joining the Boy Scouts. What about yours?
I put this as an appendix because to get the full force of it all, you have to read a lot of rambling and offensive text and look stuff up in Wikipedia.
I remember growing up in New York State learning that William Levitt was famous for creating white suburbs developing land on Long Island and elsewhere in order to facilitate a white flight from increasingly non-white Manhattan. He may or may not have been involved in the conspiracy to keep public transit busses off Long Island because they were used by black folk to get to places like Coney Island. Anyway, from Wikipiedia:
Levitt refused to integrate his developments. The Jewish Levitt barred Jews from Strathmore, his first pre-Levittown development on Long Island in New York, and he refused to sell his homes to blacks. His sales contracts also forbade the resale of properties to blacks through restrictive covenants, although in 1957 a white couple resold their house to the first black family to live in a Levitt home. Levitt’s all-white policies also led to civil rights protests in Bowie, Maryland in 1963. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union opposed Levitt’s racist policies, and the Federal Housing Administration prepared to refuse mortgages on his next Levittown. Nevertheless, Levitt would not back down and continued planning another whites-only Levittown in Willingboro Township, New Jersey. He fought legal challenges in New Jersey courts until the United States Supreme Court refused to hear his case.
Trump, also associated with promoting and renting segregated housing in New YOrk, went on a long tirade about how great Levitt was, and how the Scouts should aspire to be him.,
… When I was young there was a man named William Levitt. You have some here. You have some in different states. Anybody ever hear of Levittown?
And he was a very successful man, became unbelievable – he was a home builder, became an unbelievable success, and got more and more successful. [Note: Levitt was like Trump, went bankrupt and otherwise failed quite often at business.] And he’d build homes, and at night he’d go to these major sites with teams of people, and he’d scour the sites for nails, and sawdust and small pieces of wood, and they cleaned the site, so when the workers came in the next morning, the sites would be spotless and clean, and he did it properly. And he did this for 20 years, and then he was offered a lot of money for his company, and he sold his company, for a tremendous amount of money, at the time especially. This is a long time ago. Sold his company for a tremendous amount of money.
And he went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life. I won’t go any more than that, because you’re Boy Scouts so I’m not going to tell you what he did.
[This may be a reference to Levitt’s divorse, affair with his secretary whom he later married, and his later affair and marriage with a french art dealer, but who knows. Maybe Trump knows more than just that. Anyway, Levitt might have been a fellow pussygrabber.]
Should I tell you? Should I tell you?
You’re Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life.
So look at you. Who would think this is the Boy Scouts, right? So he had a very, very interesting life, and the company that bought his company was a big conglomerate, and they didn’t know anything about building homes, and they didn’t know anything about picking up the nails and the sawdust and selling it, and the scraps of wood. This was a big conglomerate based in New York City.
And after about a 10-year period, there were losing a lot with it. It didn’t mean anything to them. And they couldn’t sell it. So they called William Levitt up, and they said, would you like to buy back your company, and he said, yes, I would. He so badly wanted it. He got bored with this life of yachts, and sailing, and all of the things he did in the south of France and other places. You won’t get bored, right? You know, truthfully, you’re workers. You’ll get bored too, believe me. Of course having a few good years like that isn’t so bad.
[None of that is true. Levitt became the titular head of the company after he sold it, and it was even named after him, but he never re-owned it. Not that this matters; Just letting you know the alt-facts are flowing. Most of this story is incorrect, muddled, or made up.]
But what happened is he bought back his company, and he bought back a lot of empty land, and he worked hard at getting zoning, and he worked hard on starting to develop, and in the end he failed, and he failed badly, lost all of his money. He went personally bankrupt, and he was now much older. And I saw him at a cocktail party. And it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party.
[Reminder: this is a speech to the Boy Scouts of America.]
It was the party of Steve Ross – Steve Ross, who was one of the great people. He came up and discovered, really founded Time Warner, and he was a great guy. He had a lot of successful people at the party.
And I was doing well, so I got invited to the party. I was very young. And I go in, but I’m in the real estate business, and I see a hundred people, some of whom I recognize, and they’re big in the entertainment business.
And I see sitting in the corner was a little old man who was all by himself. Nobody was talking to him. I immediately recognized that that man was the once great William Levitt, of Levittown, and I immediately went over. I wanted to talk to him more than the Hollywood, show business, communications people.
So I went over and talked to him, and I said, “Mr. Levitt, I’m Donald Trump.” He said, “I know.” I said, “Mr. Levitt, how are you doing?” He goes, “Not well, not well at all.” And I knew that. But he said, “Not well at all.” And he explained what was happening and how bad it’s been and how hard it’s been. And I said, “What exactly happened? Why did this happen to you? You’re one of the greats ever in our industry. Why did this happen to you?”
And he said, “Donald, I lost my momentum. I lost my momentum.” A word you never hear when you’re talking about success when some of these guys that never made 10 cents, they’re on television giving you things about how you’re going to be successful, and the only thing they ever did was a book and a tape. But I tell you – I’ll tell you, it was very sad, and I never forgot that moment.
And I thought about it, and it’s exactly true. He lost his momentum, meaning he took this period of time off, long, years, and then when he got back, he didn’t have that same momentum.
I’m so glad the Boy Scouts got to hear that inane and inaccurate story.
Part of the active effort to defend Trump and his administration and campaign against accusations that they directly engaged with the Russians to alter the outcome of the 2016 presidential election appears to be the faking of explosive documents, sent to news agencies. When these fake documents are then used, and subsequently discredited, the news agency, the reporters, the specific story at hand, and the entire investigation against Trump and his people all lose credibility.
Who is behind this attack? I assume someone who would lose if actual involvement between Trump and Putin’s people became known. This might even strengthen the argument that such involvement happened, otherwise why go through all this trouble to throw the American press off the scent? Also, as you’ll see from Rachel Maddow’s reporting of this, the individual, individuals, or organization involved in this probably has some limitations on their understanding of certain aspects of security. The job they’ve done in the two known instances is good but not that good.
We have no way of knowing at the moment if similar attacks have happened against Congress or the Special Council’s office.
It seems to really be a thing, and in some ways this is not really unexpected. This is a fascinating story.
America became very ill early last year when one of the two main political parties seriously embraced a fake candidate for the most important job in the land.
America was given a very poor prognosis in August when that party endorsed this clown for president. Then, in November, the fatal blow happened, but as is the case with many fatal things — being sentenced to death, being told you have incurable cancer, etc. — it took a while before the death throes.
From some point in time, around January, though the late winter and spring, we gained the full realization that the country’s election had been hacked (already suspected), but that the people who voted for the clown didn’t care. Then the leaders of the world singly or in small groups wrote off America and its leader, and so on. The last moments of life consisted of this or that horrific tweet or tweet storm, perhaps yesterday morning’s short video of the clown pretending to beat the crap of the press at a boxing match was the moment.
Unlike in the movies, it is sometimes hard to tell exactly when death happens. We understand it as a range of time.
Now, there is still life in this country. But it is not the essential life. It is the life we find in a dead carp washed up on a stinking muddy bank. The maggots, the bacteria, the bits of still greenish water plant stuck to the gills. Life, yes, but not the life. There are those who had wished the clown would be elected so that he could destroy America and we can start over. They got the first part of their wish. The second part is unlikely to be realized in their benighted lifespans. Today the stinking carp-clown is putting together a list and we all know what he is going to use that list for.
Do you, America, have the understanding you need, the bravery you need, and the commitment you need to renew the revolution? I think not. You’ve shown no evidence that you do.
There are advantages to living in a third world country. But those advantages come only after the fall has completed, and that will take some decade or two worth of misery, and those advantages will only pertain to the richest of the rich. They, the richest of the rich, have taken, finally, what they want.
The bad news is this: The hyper-privileged have won. The good news: They won a stinking dead carp. Enjoy, suckers.