Archive for August, 2017

Water Music

Something Will Shine

At the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Mall, 54 years to the day after the great man gave his greatest speech, clergy of all varieties, but mostly rabbis and black ministers, came together in common cause,

The Rev. Al Sharpton, joined by Martin Luther King III, stopped in at a pre-march prayer session held by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and addressed the assembly of 300 rabbis, cantors and lay leaders.

Sharpton told the Jews that “we could not commemorate 636395306990478867-XXX-20170828-MinistersMarch-03this day and face the challenges today without standing together as Dr. King stood 54 years ago.” Invoking those murdered in the Freedom Summer of 1964, he went on: “We should never forget that it was Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner that died together—two Jews and a black—to give us the right to vote.”

Sharpton spoke of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched with King at Selma, and he addressed the more recent ill feelings. “We have had days good and bad, but from this day forward, we’re going to make sure we do our part to keep this family together,” he said. “When we can see people in 2017 with torches in their hands, talking about ‘Jews will not replace us,’ it’s time for us to stop praying to the cheap seats and come together.”

Some of the rabbis shouted “amen.”

Sharpton asked for 1,000 ministers, and got somewhat more than that among the 3,000 assembled for Monday’s march. Rabbis swayed and clapped to hip-hop and gospel music. There were skullcaps of every color and size, mainline Protestant ministers in white collars and colorful shawls, black evangelicals in bright choir robes, black-robed monks, Buddhists in saffron, a Sikh in a yellow turban. There were Black Lives Matter signs and posters with verses of scripture.

A cantor led the crowd in the Hebrew song “Hine Ma Tov”—how good it is for brothers to live as one. A black Jewish woman in a tallit—a Jewish prayer shawl—spoke, and a rabbi blew a shofar. A black Catholic nun spoke.

“God’s majestic creation,” observed Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, head of the Religious Action Center. From the Nazis in Charlottesville, Pesner said, “we learned that anti-Semitism and white supremacism are intertwined. They are dual threats that call us to act and confront them together and directly.”

African Americans responded with cries of “Yes!” and “All right!” to the rabbi’s preaching.

Sharpton picked up the theme. “You’re going to see the victims of Nazism, the victims of white supremacy, march to the Justice Department and say we don’t care what party is in, we are not going to be out,” he told the crowd. “We are coming together like Dr. King and Abraham Heschel did, like Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner did.”

“We don’t have a person to lose,” King told the Jews at their prayer meeting Monday morning. “We are brothers and sisters.”


I first heard the silence late Tuesday night, while pecking at my phone, waiting for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to denounce President Donald Trump’s latest comments on neo-Nazis after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the death and mayhem that resulted.

After the President tried to compare neo-Nazis to what he described as the “alt-left,” saying “I think there is blame on both sides,” there was still no outcry from Jared or Ivanka.170721163651-jared-kushner-ivanka-trump-split-exlarge-169Slowly, as the hours ticked away, the silence descended.

Many think of silence as the absence of noise, but that’s only one type of silence. There is a different, darker variety, one Jews and African-Americans have gotten to know well over the centuries. This silence doesn’t suppress sound—it amplifies it. It is the boom of the MS St. Louis departing for Nazi-threatened Europe after being denied entry by port after port. It’s the whisk-whisk of Southern belles fanning themselves at the slave auction. It’s the presence of apathy amid injustice and horror.
I’d heard this kind of silence, long ago. I heard it in the Soviet Union, in the footfalls of teachers and classmates calmly walking around me and the other Jew in my class as we received our daily beatings. I’d heard it in the Doppler effect of cars passing my family and other refugees when we were hitchhiking along frigid Austrian roads.

But the silence emanating from Jared and Ivanka was exponentially more powerful than any I’d heard before. To me, as a Jew, seeing nothing but two tweets from Ivanka brought the kind of pain I’m sure is echoed by African-Americans anytime Ben Carson defends the President, and Asian-Americans in the wake of Elaine Chao’s and Nikki Haley’s equivocations: condemning hate in general terms while carefully avoiding criticizing the very administration they’re part of.

If two Jews at the pinnacle of American power—one, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, the other, a woman who had devoted years of rigorous study to converting to the religion—refuse to denounce Trump’s equivocations on neo-Nazis, are they still Jews?

By Wednesday, it was clear I wasn’t the only one wondering. In a stunning move, Rabbi Emeritus Haskel Lookstein—who had supervised Ivanka’s conversion—issued a statement condemning the Trump administration for its heinous response to Charlottesville’s bloodshed. Numerous Jewish organizations including the Union for Reform Judaism, the Orthodox Rabbinical Association of America, the American Jewish Committee and the Republican Jewish Coalition rebuked the President’s speech as well. Rumblings of a herem, religious censure, the Jewish equivalent of the bell, book and candle method once used by Catholics to excommunicate, began rolling through Twitter.Holocaust girl 13Wednesday night I asked a friend, Rabbi Andy Bachman, if something akin to an excommunication was warranted or even possible. It turned out I wasn’t the first one to call him on the topic that day. “A herem wouldn’t do much,” Bachman replied, “it would only be valid in the eyes of the ultra-Orthodox. But do you really need an interdict? These people have chosen to stand aside from thousands of years of their tradition: What can you think of that’s worse?”

I couldn’t. For me, embracing a Jewish identity came as the result of a battle, years of slowly undoing the damage of Soviet persecution which lasted long after I landed on US soil. I couldn’t imagine people born into safety and privilege throwing away their birthright like trash. And yet, that’s what happened—that was the silence I’d heard.
It was the scratching of matches lighting White House Shabbat candles, the humming of carefully memorized prayer, the rote motions of Jewish life without the true practice of Judaism. It was the silence of two of the world’s most powerful Jews, cutting themselves off from their people.


What Gary Cohn, Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner did—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.

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 maxresdefaultcourt, and he would beg the king for leniency toward the Jews, but, ultimately, his loyalty was to the king.

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.”

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?

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.

Dana Milbank

Mongo Law

Resident Trayf spent 18 months as the ultimate law-and-order candidate, promising to rescue an American way of life he said was threatened by terrorists, illegal immigrants and inner-city criminals.

But during seven months as president Mr. Trump has shown a flexible view on the issue, one that favors the police and his own allies over strict application of the rule of law. Over the past two years, in ways big and small, Mr. Trump has signaled that taking the law into one’s own hands is permissible, within the executive branch or in local police departments, or even against a heckler at one of his rallies.

The president’s pardon last week of Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., and a strong supporter of Mr. Trump’s during the 2016 campaign, illuminated the impulses that shape his opinion. The case, and the pardon that ended it, involved an assumption that minorities were more likely to tumblr_ndyc2tL2Bl1tt6oy1o1_1280commit crimes, a belief in the use of force to keep people in check, and what some of the president’s advisers privately describe as at best a lack of interest in becoming fluent in the legal process.

In his words and acts, Mr. Trump has sent a permissive message to people in law enforcement that they can bend the law, if not break it.

“Arpaio is a public official accused of racial profiling, and in the pardon statement, he was praised for his actions,” said Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. Mr. Waldman drew a line from the pardon to Mr. Trump’s statements last month to police officers on Long Island in which he appeared to encourage local law enforcement officials to give suspects rougher treatment. The president made those comments despite years of wrenching debate over a string of cases of police shootings of unarmed black men. “When the president says, ‘Make sure to hit the heads of people on the door of the police car,’ or pardons a sheriff accused of racial profiling, it redefines the law as just brute force,” Mr. Waldman said.

The pardon, the conservative Washington Examiner said in an editorial, showed “once again Trump really means ‘busting heads’ when he says ‘law and order.’” The editorial added: “But ‘law and order,’ if the words have any meaning, has to apply to government actors as well. Lawless sheriffs promote disorder, and that’s what Arpaio did to get himself convicted.”

While Mr. Trump has spoken often of the significance of the rule of law, his actions have raised questions about his commitment to hallmarks of the American system like due process, equal protection under the law, independence maxresdefault.thumb.jpg.c13c3e410f47861454129ecc2215b746of judicial proceedings from political considerations, and respect for orders from the courts.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump enthusiastically endorsed a brutal interrogation technique declared illegal under international law. “Torture works,” Mr. Trump said at a South Carolina event in early 2016. When protests erupted at his rallies, he repeatedly waxed nostalgic about the “good old days” when people could take such matters into their own hands. He endorsed stop-and-frisk policing, and said immigration by Muslims should be banned to protect Americans’ safety. He argued to Bill O’Reilly, then a Fox News host, that immigrants in the country illegally may not be entitled to due process at all. On the same program, Mr. Trump insisted, despite established law, that the 14th Amendment does not guarantee citizenship to people born in the United States if their parents are here illegally.

Robert Bauer, who was White House counsel under President Barack Obama, said: “It’s very difficult to say that he stands for law and order—in fact, in many respects he’s kind of the president of disorder. He’s lurching around and basically responding to what he sees as his personal imperative at any given moment.”

Maggie Haberman

The decision of many leftists to maintain an equal distance is inexcusable. The imperative to oppose racism trumps opposition to neoliberal policies.

A more confident left used to understand that our humanism compelled us to stop the xenophobes from getting their hands on the levers of state power, particularly the police and security forces. Just like in the 1940s, we have a duty to ensure that the state’s monopoly over the legitimate use of violence is not controlled by those who harbour violent sentiments toward the foreigner, the cultural or sexual minority member, the “other.”

The belief in the state’s checks and balances, and in the idea that the rule of law would prevent turning state power against the vulnerable, is not one that the left can risk entertaining. Trump confirms this.

Yanis Varoufakis

What Mongo Means By “Our” Country

Resident Trayf’s twitler lamenting that the removal of Confederate statues tears apart “the history and culture of our great country” raises numerous questions, among them: Who is encompassed in that “our”?

Mr. Trump may not know it, but he has entered a debate that goes back to the founding of the republic. Should American nationality be based E-White-statue-120715on shared values, regardless of race, ethnicity and national origin, or should it rest on “blood and soil,” to quote the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., whom Trump has at least partly embraced?

Neither Mr. Trump nor the Charlottesville marchers invented the idea that the United States is essentially a country for white persons. The very first naturalization law, enacted in 1790 to establish guidelines for how immigrants could become American citizens, limited the process to “white” persons.

What about nonwhites born in this country? Before the Civil War, citizenship was largely defined by individual states. Some recognized blacks born within their boundaries as citizens, but many did not. As far as national law was concerned, the question was resolved by the Supreme Court in the infamous Dred Scott decision of 1857. Blacks, wrote Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (a statue of whom was removed from public display in Baltimore this week), were and would always be aliens in America.

This was the law of the land when the Civil War broke out in 1861. This is the tradition that the Southern Confederacy embodied and sought to preserve and that Mr. Trump, inadvertently or not, identifies with by equating the Confederacy with “our history and culture.”


Why Mongo Wants To Touch Joe’s Penis

Resident Trayf had little to offer that was specific or coherent in the rambling, hate-filled speech that he delivered in Phoenix this week—the one that he later assessed in a self-congratulatory tweet as “enthusiastic, dynamic, and fun.” The speech lurched between schoolyard bragging (“I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment” than the “élite” and “I live in the White House, too, which is really great”), the usual whining about reporters (“sick,” “bad,” “dishonest” people), and insults to Arizona’s two Republican senators, one of whom is currently battling brain cancer. The rhetorical flourishes borrowed from Fascist tropes, with their distinctive mix of vague language and unmistakable menace: the virtuous “we” and the unspecified “they,” who are trying to take away “our” customs and culture; the “thugs,” who protest the leader’s vision of America.

But there were a few moments when Trump got very particular, and one of them was when he chose to express his keen admiration for Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County. In July, Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court, for defying an earlier court order to stop detaining people joe-arpaio-Picture-quotes-_1_solely on suspicion of their immigration status. In Phoenix, Trump hinted that he would pardon Arpaio. He said that he wasn’t going to cause controversy by issuing a pardon then and there, but Sheriff Joe “can feel good,” he pledged, and was “going to be just fine.” Trump is likely a fan of Arpaio’s because Arapio is a fan of his—an early supporter who also went all in for birtherism, at one point sending members of a so-called Cold Case Posse to Hawaii to dig up something incriminating about Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

But Trump probably also likes Arpaio because the former sheriff represents in miniature what the President would like to be more maximally—a successful American authoritarian. Earlier this month, in a conversation with Fox News, Trump called Arpaio “an outstanding sheriff” and “a great American patriot.” It’s worth considering what it takes, in Trump’s view, to deserve such tributes.


A Couple British Spies Have A Little Chat About Mongo

John le Carre: And then there was the genetic inheritance I got from my father. This was a man who, while still being pursued by the police, or bankrupt, or Christ knows what, who had done prison time, then boldly stands as a parliamentary candidate. He had a huge capacity for invention. He had absolutely no relationship to the truth. He would come talk to me in the morning and I would challenge him, and 56bcb8491a00002d00ab2770in the evening he would say, “That’s not what I said to you.”

Sarah Lyall: Do you see parallels with President Trump’s view of the truth?

JLC: Exactly that. He is the most recent model. Before that it was Robert Maxwell. The parallels are extraordinary. My sister, too, we absolutely recognize the same syndrome. There is not a grain of truth there.

SL: Do you think the Russians really have something on Trump?

Ben Mcintyre: I can tell you what the veterans of the S.I.S. [the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6] think, which is yes, kompromat was done on him. So they end up, the theory goes, with this compromising bit of material and then they begin to release parts of it. They set up an ex-MI6 guy, Chris Steele, who is a patsy, effectively, and they feed him some stuff that’s true, and some stuff that isn’t true, and some stuff that is demonstrably wrong. Which means that Trump can then stand up and deny it, while knowing that the essence of it is true. And then he has a stone in his shoe for the rest of his administration.

It’s important to remember that Putin is a KGB-trained officer, and he thinks in the traditional KGB way.

JLC: The mentality that is operating in Russia now is absolutely, as far as Putin is concerned, no different to the mentality that drove the most exotic conspiracies during the Cold War. It worked then, it works now. As far as Trump, I would suspect they have it, because they’ve denied it. If they have it and they’ve set Trump up, they’d say, “Oh no, we haven’t got anything.” But to Trump they’re saying, “Aren’t we being kind to you?”

BM: And today you get this wonderful Russian lawyer woman [Natalia Veselnitskaya] who is straight out of one of our books, a character that is possibly connected to the Russian state. Who knows? They exist somewhere in that foggy, deniable hinterland. It’s called maskirovka—little masquerade—where you create so much confusion and uncertainty and mystery that no one knows what the truth is.

JLC: For Putin, it’s a kind of little piece of background music to keep things going. The smoking gun might or might not be the documents exchanged about the Trump Tower in Moscow. Then there’s the really seedy stuff in the Caucasus. There are bits of scandal which, if added up, might suggest he went to Russia for money. And that would then fit in with the fact that he isn’t half as, a tenth as rich as he pretends to be.

Mongo: I Am War Man, Hear Me Roar

Mongo tonight went on the television and announced that he is expanding the United States’ 136-year-old war in Afghanistan, “because I am committed to hurting and killing brown people wherever they may be, and that is why all 62,979,879 of you voted for me.”

There had been some concern that the televised address might disastrously slip sideways, as earlier in the day Mongo, the stupidest human in the history of humans, had gazed directly at the sun during the solar eclipse. (An event the sun intended as a protest against the existence of Mongo, and a warning that if the planet does not soon rid itself of Mongo, the sun will go President Trump Views The Eclipse From The White Housecompletely dark, and stay that way.) Because it takes several hours for the retinal damage incurred by staring directly into the sun to manifest itself, there were fears that when Mongo went on the television tonight, to recite the War Man plan, he might suddenly stop reading from the Mongoprompter, and begin shouting “I CAN’T SEE! I CAN’T SEE!”

However, Mongo’s doctor, Harold Bornstein, assured the enemies of the people, after Mongo made it through the speech without going blind, that Mongo “is mostly lizard, and so he has several eyelids. Some of them were safely shut, even while the main ones were open, as he looked into the sun.”

The Mongo speech began with a long opening section in which he regretfully informed the MongoRoids that they cannot serve in the US military if they are going to wear the swastika armbands and give the Sieg Heil salute. He said that such outward displays of Mongoism must be eschewed “because we need a shitload of black and brown people in the military so they can get killed to serve American interests,” which he defined as “my interest in smoking a bunch of meth and diddling my daughter.”

Then Mongo waved the bloody shirt of 9/11—he termed it “a horror of Brown People.” He said that the US military that does not have the Sieg Heilers in it must press on in Afghanistan or else Brown People will come from there and make 9/11s in America on the white people. In this he was basically selling his Afghanistan policy to the MongoRoids as an extension of his Hitler Ban and his Hitler Wall: wherever there is Brown, it must be Confronted, and Stopped.

Mongo then spread like a stain into other brown-people nations. Pakistan he described as “a stupid country” that was “invented by a couple of British drunks over lunch.” He asserted that since there are no Mongo hotels or casinos there, “I see no reason for it at all.” India he bashed for making money that by divine right belongs to the white people, and said: “since they are killing us in trade, they need to get killed in Afghanistan.”

He also vowed that “there will be no more nation-building.”

“I want all the other nations to be raging tire-fires, just like this one,” Mongo said.


Boston Dunks Mongo Pee Party

Fresh off their Nuremberg rally in Charlottesville, Mongo’s Nazis planned Saturday to get their hate on up in Boston. They would masturbate with Confederate flags, ecstatically sing “The Horst Wessel Song,” everywhere give the stiff-arm salute to banners bearing the image of their shitlord, Mongo. Crowning the festivities would be a mass pee-in, in honor of Mongo’s favorite recreational activity.

But something happened on the way to the Wolf’s Lair. Some 40,000 of the Sane and Decent people hit the streets in Boston; the Mongo Pee Party then dribbled right away. The poor pepes were not even able to sing their opening anthem, “Nearer My 599329463d1d1.imageMong To Pee.”

The Sane and Decent people, they had not heeded the advice of the nice white progressive lady Tina Fey, who had urged them to stay home and eat “sheetcake.” No. Instead, they acted on the wisdom of this woman:

To actually advise people to not protest Nazis can only come from someone of immense privilege, from someone whose community actually faces no threat, and from someone who will most likely make it out okay if things go south.

Ignoring Nazis isn’t taking the high road. Protesting and facing potential danger is taking the high road. Obviously, we cannot afford to sit at home. While I wholeheartedly believe “sheetcaking” is a great coping mechanism that can cure many a broken heart, the last time we let Nazis scream into the empty air, it ended up in a fucking genocide.

I’m Tired Of Arguing That I Matter

There’s something demoralizing about having to make the case that you matter.

Yet somehow, it’s all I’ve been doing since Friday night when the events in Charlottesville began.

It leaves little time to process my own hurt and fear as a black person in a profoundly racist moment. Instead, I must go on the offensive. How can I convince the skeptics and equivocators, my friends and neighbors, that yes, the concerns of Americans with darker skin or Jewish surnames are as important as their own? But someone has to do it, or this will happen again.

There is the patient arguing of facts that should be indisputable: no, the Klan members and neo-Nazis marching with torches and shields are not equivalent to the clergy, ordinary citizens, activists and even “anti-fascists” who protested 100_1708_thumb[1]against them. No, there weren’t “many sides” that were equally violent. In fact, violence—the belief that people of color are inferior and should be removed to create a white ethnic state—is the animating philosophy of the white supremacists marching in front of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s statue. Opposing that violence is in no way comparable to the violence itself, and it is disgraceful of the president to say so.

Then there are the analogies, the individual stories, all the more painful for being constantly retold: no—I can’t just “get over it,” because I can’t just take off my dark skin, which permanently marks me as the other. No, they aren’t “just statues”: They bring up personal, painful memories of current racism and marginalization—shall I recount those for you, again? Yes, the fact that Charlottesville’s marchers were willing to mow down protesters and kill an innocent person feels existentially threatening to me, a black woman, the sort of person who is their real target.

The more I explain, the more depressing it becomes. Because there is little so disheartening as having to argue for why your friends, neighbors and countrymen should care about your life. To ask politely why you aren’t valued and propose that they reconsider.

Because that’s really what it comes down to, isn’t it? Does our nation care about its blacks, its Jews, its people of color? How much are their comfort and their safety worth? Are they worth more than the satisfaction that comes with being able to make a dig at “identity politics” and your left-leaning movement of choice? More than a flag or statue that you have some pleasant association with, if any at all? More than your unwarranted commitment to defending an obviously incompetent president? More than the minuscule possibility that hiding out in a pack of Nazis might have been one “very fine” person who shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush?

Each time I allow myself to argue with an obdurate, defensive person about what happened in Charlottesville, or about what Confederate statues mean and why they should go, my own question becomes more obvious. Why would so many Americans rather undergo one million mental contortions than admit that someone else’s safety matters? Why is it so hard for you to care?

The answer, I think, is not one that I’ll like. But perhaps you can take up the burden of explaining that to me.

Christine Emba

He Will March On A Road Of Bones

The Whiter House released a statement Friday saying that The Nazi and Whiter House chief of staff Order Man had “mutually agreed” that this would be The Nazi‘s last day in his job. 

“He has until the end of today to clean out his things,” Order Man said. “If he tries to come back after that, he will be shot down like a dog.”

Order Man described The Bannon-OneOfUsNazi as “a pustule” with “scum invading his face,” and said that everything The Nazi touched while in the Whiter House “will be removed with tongs and thrown into an incinerator.”


If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Twitler against his opponents—on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America.

The Nazi

The Republican establishment has no interest in Twitler’s success on this. They’re not populists, they’re not nationalists, they had no interest in his program. What Twitler ran on—border wall, where is the funding for the border wall, one of his central tenets, where have they been? Have they rallied around the Perdue-Cotton immigration bill? His natural tendency—and I think you saw it this week on Charlottesville—his actual default position is the position of his base, the position that got him elected.

I feel jacked up. Now I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, “it’s Bannon the Barbarian.” I am definitely going to crush the opposition. There’s no doubt. I built a fucking machine at Der Sturmer. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.

The Nazi

Resident Twitler, by asking, ‘Where does this all end’—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln—connects with the American people about their history, culture and traditions. The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it’s all racist. Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it.

The Nazi

They also claim that Sebastian Gorka, a Bannon ally and another white nationalist sympathizer, may be on the chopping block, too. I hope they fire him by the end of this sentence so it will make Bannon even madder. I doubt that White Walker Stephen Miller goes, but hopefully he gets his somehow, too.


Steve Bannon is much like y’all’s president. He’s racist, he’s pompous to the point that he might suck his own cock, as one former White House communications director might argue, and he loves attention. The only key difference between the two is that Bannon isn’t a complete idiot. Bannon is also a true believer in terms of ideology, whereas Hoghead Cheese Hussein doesn’t really care about anything and is bannon-quote-1000pxlargely fueled by KFC, McDonald’s and narcissism.

While both clowns and their factions are frightening for varying reasons, I must say that I am very much looking forward to the white-on-white crime that’s going to happen as a result of Bannon’s White House ID being chopped and screwed. Bannon will want revenge, and that means he will be harassing his former co-workers and perpetual clowns along with all those Pepe the Frog-exploiting fucks. He’ll go even harder on Gargamel, or House Speaker Paul Ryan, as some refer to him, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And knowing Sunkist Stalin, he will tweet something foul about Bannon and really set him off.

Like, please go off, Steve Bannon. What is the white nationalist/white devil equivalent of Lil Jon’s “Bust a nigga head to the white meat, white meat”? Tell Bannon to do that to his former colleagues. Stat.

Let all of those white-hood, neo-Nazi-enabling fucks tear each other down. People have been predicting a conservative civil war for so long. Let the latest happenings on The Real Housewives of White Nationalism be the start of it.

Michael Arceneaux

Yeehaws Desert Mongo

In the hours and days since Mongo swaggered out in the swastika armband, jackbooting around and demanding everyone address him as “Adolf,” the Sane and Decent people across nineteen galaxies have run from him at top speed.

Most recent to leave him are the nation’s Trump-puts-America-first-in-manufacturing-trade-speechcountry musicians, who formerly had remained mum, or eagerly offered him their sisters. Bezos provides here a report on how such dirtclod luminaries as Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill are now cleaning their spurs on Mongo’s ass.

Yeehaw megastar Keith Toby has meanwhile reached out to red to announce that tomorrow morning he will release a new anti-Mongo recording. “I jist caint abide him no more,” Toby told red. “There’s somethin’ real wrong with that boy.” Toby shared with red the first lines of his new song, which are reproduced below.

i like to drink some whiskey
and then go crash my truck
when my hound shits on the carpet
i could give a fuck
i’ve diddled some my sisters
my aunts and cousins too
when they test my pee down at the job
it comes back pure homebrew
but a man must have some standards
or he might as well be dead
and so i stand no more with him
who watches hookers pee the bed
Toby says the flip side of this tune will feature his Wall of Voodoo-style rendition of the Johnny Cash classic “Ring Of Fire,” which, he says, “references Mongo’s bunghole.”

Sail Away


What If The Confederacy Had Lost The War?

After watching a clip of an ESPN fantasy football bit where a group of white men “buy” black players from an (also white) auctioneer, I couldn’t kykx32sw2cjrue37jcfwhelp but ask: if this was the idea that received the go-ahead to produce, what the fuck else was on that producers’ meeting whiteboard?

As Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman opined earlier this week, I wonder how America would look today if the Union actually won the war. Who knows? Maybe a network might produce a show about that one day.

Damon Young

I’ve Been Told I Will Be Hung From This Statue

Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down, of to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee Trump-in-confederate-flag-jacketto another name. So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop? You are changing history, you’re changing culture. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly the taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee. A lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest.

Jefferson Davis Mongo

President Trump, by asking, ‘Where does this all end’—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln—connects with the American people about their history, culture and traditions. The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it’s all racist. Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it.

The Nazi

Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson—who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!

Mongo, Grand Dragon

In the middle of Emancipation Park in Charlottesville on Saturday, two young women, one white and one black, took each other’s hands and held them tightly, and with their other hands they gripped the steel barrier in front of them.

A few feet away, a young white man with a buzzed haircut and sunglasses leaned towards them over a facing barrier. “You’ll be on the first fucking boat home,” he screamed at the black woman, before turning to the white woman. “And as for you, you’re going straight to hell,” he said. Then he gave a Nazi salute.

For the third time in a few months, white nationalists had descended on the small, liberal city of Charlottesville in the southern state of Virginia, to protest KKK_in_South_Caroagainst the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee.

In a column they surged into the park, using sticks and their fists to shove aside anti-fascist counter-protesters. Then they blocked off the entrance with shields. Inside, David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, grinned and waved as the crowd, almost entirely white and male, cheered him on, chanting his name and putting their arms up in Nazi salutes.

They had reason to be pleased. They were in the middle of the largest gathering of white nationalists in America for decades.

Twenty-four hours earlier, Reverend Brenda Brown-Grooms closed her eyes and prayed for peace. Sitting in a side room at St Paul’s Memorial Church, while volunteers undertook non-violent resistance training next door, she prepared herself for a “reckoning” the following day in her home town.

“This is physically a very beautiful place, it has always been my template for what a city should look like,” she said. “But I’ve always understood that this beautiful place is also quite ugly. And the statue has become the match point for that ugliness.”

Reverend Brown-Grooms was born in Charlottesville in 1955. She grew up in Vinegar Hill, a black neighbourhood since razed to the ground in one of a series of redevelopment programmes that pushed _97365119_2017-08-1115.48.58the black community out of the city and into housing projects.

As a girl, under segregation, she did not dare set foot in the white neighbourhood which was home to Emancipation Park—then Lee Park—and she had never been there until May, when the KKK came to town and lit torches under the statue.

“This summer has been one long prayer here in Charlottesville,” she said.

About 200 white nationalists gathered after dark in Nameless Field, down the road from where she sat, and marched through the University of Virginia campus holding torches. They chanted “Blood and soil”—an old Nazi slogan —and “Jews will not replace us”.

The air was hot from the torches and acrid from smoke. “The heat here is nothing compared to what you’re going to get in the ovens,” shouted Robert Ray, a writer for the white supremacist website Daily Stormer. “It’s coming,” he spat.

Standing in the middle of Emancipation Park on Friday, looking up at the statue of Robert E Lee, was the city’s deputy mayor, Wes Bellamy.

Mr Bellamy is the first black deputy mayor of the city. A sharply-dressed, outgoing character, emphatic in his desire to see the statue removed—”155%”—he has become a lightning rod for people who believe their heritage is being torn up.

“I get hate mail and death threats every day. I’ve _97365121_2017-08-1117.53.31been told I will be hung from this statue. I’ve been told I will be hung from the trees in this park,” he said.

“But that lets you know what you’re doing is right. How can you have a 28ft statue to a man who, if he were alive today, I would not be allowed to look in the eye? Who, if he were walking down the street, would make me walk off the sidewalk? How can we have that statue here, if we are to be an equitable city?”

Mr Bellamy stopped in the park to speak to residents, who congratulated him on passing his doctorate that day, and to local police officers, some of whom he knew by name. Then he headed off, under strict instructions from police, as the white nationalists came into town, to keep his whereabouts on Saturday a secret.

Joel Gunter

Daughter Of A Bliss Divine

As today the people spoke over the vacated shell of Heather Heyer, the businesses were deserting Mongo in droves, after yesterday he came out with the Hitler moustache. ​

The group of leaders from banking, consulting and manufacturing had resolved to disband and condemn Trump’s Tuesday claims that “both sides” were responsible for violence at a white supremacist and neo-Nazi gathering and that some “very fine people” were among the marchers defending 599232831b4b9.imagea Confederate statue.

The businesses have come a long way since Nat King Cole had to go off the air because the advertisers were afraid of offending the white people.

The Nat King Cole Show was ultimately done in by lack of a national sponsorship. Companies such as Rheingold Beer assumed regional sponsorship of the show, but a national sponsor never appeared. Cole had survived for over a year. Commenting on the lack of sponsorship his show received, Cole said shortly after its demise, “Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark.”

An effect of “globalism” not often grokked by those who scream about it, is that it has helped nudge capital towards more racially progressive policies—white people make up only 9% of the world’s population, and you are not going to earn a lot of money, for long, in this world, if you march around in a swastika armband.
Just like after the Nazi boy shot the black people in the Charleston church, the Nazis of Charlottesville—and their confederate, the resident—have sparked revulsion that is bringing more Confederate crud down.
I don’t care what anyone says. I know that eros is winning.
Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I’ve looked over.
See below Heather Heyer, creating “Ode To Joy.”

A Dog Whistle Strong Enough That Every Dog In America Is Deaf And In Constant Pain

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 167609-fullcountry,” Trump said. “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. nazisAnd 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.”

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.

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 104651129-GettyImages-831221870.720x405alternate 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.

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.

Alexandra Petri

I Saw Myself

DHFfy8IXoAAn5L7-1.jpg-largeI saw myself
a ring of bone
in the clear stream
of all of it
and vowed,
always to be open to it
that all of it
might flow through
and then heard
“ring of bone” where
ring is what a
bell does

What It Means, To “Make America Great Again”


Asked by a reporter in New Jersey whether he wanted the support of white nationalists, dozens of whom wore red Make America Great Again hats during the Charlottesville riots, Trump did not respond.

They Are The President

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

The comforts in considering the white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., to be fringe are obvious. For white people, speaking of them and their views as if they’re unique and anomalous allows them (the “good” white people) to distinguish themselves from these racists, while also minimizing their ubiquity and influence. If they’re fringe—if they only exist in the crevices and butt cracks of the country—the good white people can continue to believe they’ve done enough, and they can DHE57R4XUAICyXSeat their quiche with peace of mind.

And, for those of us (and “us” could be Black people, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, homosexuals and anyone else the nationalists believe are oppressing them and wish to rid America of) who still believe in the fantasy of the fringe alt-right, the comfort exists in convincing ourselves that there just aren’t that many of them. Because if they’re not fringe, if they’re actually everywhere, then . . . fuck. 

Unfortunately, “then . . . fuck” is the reality. The men and women who marched last night, chanting and hashtagging #unitetheright, and the men and women in Charlottesville today, are not fringe. They are not unique. Perhaps they exist in the crevices and butt cracks, but they’re in the coffeeshops and boardrooms too. They are your neighbors. Our neighbors. My neighbors. They’re schoolteachers and Little League baseball coaches; bartenders and accountants; architects and marketing directors; registered nurses and police officers. They wait on your tables, they answer the phones when you call tech support, they fly your planes when you travel to Phoenix, they deliver your UPS packages and leave notes when you’re not there and they perform surgeries on your broken limbs. And for the white people who believe they’ve done enough, who believe their hands are washed, they’re at your kitchen tables and happy hours and bbqs and weddings. They’re in your families. They’re on your couches. They’re on your T-Mobile family plans. They’re in your beds.

There were enough of them to elect Donald Trump, enough of them to applaud and support the ascension of Steve Bannon and the appointment of Jeff Sessions. Enough white men and women so dead set on retaining whichever privileges they believe to be their white birthrights that they’d rather there not be an Earth than exist without that status.

They are everywhere.

Damon Young

Get Him Out Of There

One of the difficult but primary duties of the modern presidency is to speak for the nation in times of tragedy.

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

Trump and his people did not believe the moment trump29n-2-webworthy 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.

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.


Get Him Out Of There

Trump is a walking, one-man campaign for ending nuclear deterrence.

Jeffrey Lewis

After half a year of comic internal disarray, even in the face of broad public dismay, Trump’s administration had, through most of July, managed to hold together some basic level of partisan cohesion with a still-enthusiastic base and supportive partners in Congress. This has quickly collapsed.

Signs of the disintegration have popped up everywhere. The usual Trumo_mussolinistaff turmoil came to a boil in the course of ten days, during which the following occurred: The president denounced his own attorney general in public, the press secretary quit, a new communications director came aboard, the chief of staff was fired, the communications director accused the chief strategist of auto-fellatio in an interview, then he was himself fired. Meanwhile, the secretary of State and national-security adviser were both reported to be eyeing the exits.

More disturbingly for Trump, Republicans in Congress have openly broken ranks. When the Senate voted down the latest (and weakest) proposal to repeal Obamacare, Trump demanded the chamber resume the effort, as he has before. This time, Republican leaders defied him and declared the question settled for the year. When the president threatened to withhold promised payments to insurers in retribution, Republicans in Congress proposed to continue making them. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley, responding to the president’s threat to sack Jeff Sessions, announced he had no time to confirm a new attorney general. Many Republican senators have endorsed bills to block the president from firing the special counsel.

The most humiliating rebuke came in the form of a bill to lock in sanctions on Russia, passed by Congress without the president’s consent. The premise of the sanctions law is that Congress cannot trust the president to safeguard the national interest, treating him as a potential Russian dupe. It passed through both chambers almost unanimously. Trump delayed signing the bill for days, then submitted to its passage in the most begrudging fashion possible, releasing a statement that reads less like something a president would publish to commemorate the signing of a law than a petulant handwritten note a grounded teen might tape to the bedroom door.

During his very brief tenure as communications director, Anthony Scaramucci blurted out something very telling: “There are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president.” The conviction that Trump is dangerously unfit to hold office is indeed shared widely within his own administration. Leaked accounts consistently depict the president as unable to read briefing materials written at an adult level, easily angered, prone to manipulation through flattery, subject to change his mind frequently to agree with whomever he spoke with last, and consumed with the superficiality of cable television. In the early days of the administration, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and then–Homeland Security Director John Kelly secretly agreed that one of the two should remain in the country at all times “to keep tabs on the orders rapidly emerging from the White House.”


When I Worked

August 2017