Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

Robert Reich: The Resistance Report 3/24/2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeLYeLdSQCg

African-American Gun club: Trump was the cherry on top


Nazi-Allied Group Claims Top Trump Aide Sebastian Gorka As Sworn Member

From The Forward:  http://forward.com/news/national/366181/exclusive-nazi-allied-group-claims-top-trump-aide-sebastian-gorka-as-sworn/
 
Lili Bayer and Larry Cohler-Esses
March 16, 2017


Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany” during World War II, leaders of the organization have told the Forward.

The elite order, known as the Vitézi Rend, was established as a loyalist group by Admiral Miklos Horthy, who ruled Hungary as a staunch nationalist from 1920 to October 1944. A self-confessed anti-Semite, Horthy imposed restrictive Jewish laws prior to World War II and collaborated with Hitler during the conflict. His cooperation with the Nazi regime included the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews into Nazi hands.

Gorka’s membership in the organization — if these Vitézi Rend leaders are correct, and if Gorka did not disclose this when he entered the United States as an immigrant — could have implications for his immigration status. The State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual specifies that members of the Vitézi Rend “are presumed to be inadmissible” to the country under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Gorka — who Vitézi Rend leaders say took a lifelong oath of loyalty to their group — did not respond to multiple emails sent to his work and personal accounts, asking whether he is a member of the Vitézi Rend and, if so, whether he disclosed this on his immigration application and on his application to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2012. The White House also did not respond to a request for comment.

But Bruce Einhorn, a retired immigration judge who now teaches nationality law at Pepperdine University, said of this, “His silence speaks volumes.”

The group to which Gorka reportedly belongs is a reconstitution of the original group on the State Department list, which was banned in Hungary until the fall of Communism in 1989. There are now two organizations in Hungary that claim to be the heirs of the original Vitézi Rend, with Gorka, according to fellow members, belonging to the so-called “Historical Vitézi Rend.” Though it is not known to engage in violence, the Historical Vitézi Rend upholds all the nationalist and oftentimes racial principles of the original group as established by Horthy.

Einhorn said these nuances did not relieve Gorka of the obligation, if he’s a member, to disclose his affiliation when applying for his visa or his citizenship.

“This is a group that advocates racialist nativism,” said Einhorn. If Gorka did not disclose his affiliation with it, he said, this would constitute “failure to disclose a material fact,” which could undermine the validity of both his immigration status and claim to citizenship.

Continue reading at: http://forward.com/news/national/366181/exclusive-nazi-allied-group-claims-top-trump-aide-sebastian-gorka-as-sworn/
See also: Salon: Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka swore a lifetime loyalty oath to a Hungarian pro-Nazi group: Report

Mayim Bialik Is Sick Of People Calling Women ‘Girls’


Liberals are finally listening to Thomas Frank about what’s wrong with the Democratic Party

From The Chicago Reader:  http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/listen-liberal-thomas-frank-democratic-party-critique-trump-obama/Content?oid=25948366

The author of Listen Liberal looks prescient in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory.

By March 22, 2017

Perhaps Thomas Frank should have added an exclamation mark to the title of his latest book. As it was, Listen Liberal: Or, Whatever Happened to the Party of the People? largely fell on deaf ears when it was initially released in April 2016. Echoing arguments frequently made by Bernie Sanders during the primary campaign against Hillary Clinton, Frank's pointed polemic attacked the Clintons, Rahm Emanuel, and the mainstream Democratic Party for abandoning America's working people in favor of Wall Street and the professional classes. But the mainstream media and political commentators mostly shunned the book until after Election Day—when it suddenly looked prescient. On November 9, it was listed in the New York Times article "Six Books to Help Understand Trump's Win."

The liberals, in other words, are listening now—even if it's too late to avoid the horrors of a Trump presidency. Back on the road promoting the paperback edition, Frank will appear for a reading at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Hyde Park on March 27. But despite the recent attention his analysis is getting, the onetime Chicagoan and cofounder of the Baffler isn't necessarily more hopeful about the Democratic Party than he was a year ago.

When we spoke last year, there was a media silence around your book. How much has that changed? 

The book has sold well, lots of people have read it, I get a lot of e-mails, and people talk about it all the time. But the national American media is still not interested, by and large. It's weird because in other countries I'm on TV and radio all the time. I just came back from Australia and Scandinavia, and both places were very interested in it. The same is true in Canada and in the UK.

How do you explain the greater interest abroad?

They're very worried about Trump overseas. In Australia they're worried he might get them into a war. The other thing is that a lot of these countries think they're going to have their own Trump one of these days. If you look at what's happening to these left parties in Europe—they're getting slaughtered. It's happening all over the place.

What do you think blinded the Democrats and liberals to your critique?

That's a good question. The Democrats had all these postmortems and "What went wrong?" inquiries, but they refuse to admit they did anything wrong. For a long time, these people denied that the working class was walking away from the Democratic Party. Now they see it's plain and then switch to a new line of thinking: "Well, there's nothing we can do to win those people back, because the only possible appeal is to become a more racist party, and we're not interested in that."

So they're determined not to adopt left populism, which is what the Democratic Party used to do. The problem is that for the Clinton wing of the party, it's essential to their identity that they turn their backs on that kind of politics. That's who they are. They can't go back now.

It also seems like a lot of Democrats have used the Russian hacking scandal and the alleged Putin-Trump ties to paper over flaws with their own party. It was like, "Putin hacked the election so why should we change?"

Yes, they've made plenty of excuses. And as far as excuses go, it's pretty lame. The Comey intervention had a much bigger impact. And you know what had a bigger impact still, which they never talk about? The big increase in Obamacare premiums a few weeks before the election. I couldn't believe that Barack Obama didn't move heaven and earth to keep it from happening. Secondly, the [Trans-Pacific Partnership]. What the hell was Obama thinking pushing it right up until the end while poor Hillary was out there trying to distance herself from it? When you talk about blunders, those were worse than Russia—if it was Russia—stealing John Podesta's e-mail.

Continue reading at:  http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/listen-liberal-thomas-frank-democratic-party-critique-trump-obama/Content?oid=25948366

If We Don’t Act Now, Fascism Will Be on Our Doorstep, Says Yale Historian

From Bill Moyers:  http://billmoyers.com/story/dont-act-now-fascism-will-doorstep-says-yale-historian/

Timothy Snyder warns: History gives us a bunch of cases where democratic republics became authoritarian regimes.

By Steven Rosenfeld March 15, 2017

How close is President Donald Trump to following the path blazed by last century’s tyrants? Could American democracy be replaced with totalitarian rule? There’s enough resemblance that Yale historian Timothy Snyder, who studies fascist and communist regime change and totalitarian rule, has written a book warning about the threat and offering lessons for resistance and survival. The author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century talked to AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld.

Steven Rosenfeld: Three weeks ago, you said that the country has perhaps a year “to defend American democracy.” You said what happens in the next few weeks is crucial. Are you more concerned than ever that our political culture and institutions are evolving toward fascism, resembling key aspects of the early 20th-century European regimes you’ve studied?

Timothy Snyder: Let me answer you in three parts. The first thing is that the 20 lessons that I wrote, I wrote on Nov. 15. The book, On Tyranny, was done by Christmas. Which means if people read it now, and people are reading it, and it’s describing the world they are in, that means I’ve successfully made predictions based on history. We’re going to talk about what is going to come, but I want to point out that timeline — it was basically completely blind. But the book does describe what is going on now.

The year figure is there because we have to recognize that things move fast. Nazi Germany took about a year. Hungary took about two and a half years. Poland got rid of the top-level judiciary within a year. It’s a rough historical guess, but the point is because there is an outside limit, you therefore have to act now. You have to get started early. It’s just very practical advice. It’s the meta-advice of the past: That things slip out of reach for you, psychologically very quickly and then legally almost as quickly. It’s hard for people to act when they feel other people won’t act. It’s hard for people to act when they feel like they have to break the law to do so. So it is important to get out in front before people face those psychological and legal barriers.

Am I more worried now? I realize that was your question. No, I’m exactly as worried as I was before, in November. I think that the people who inhabit the White House inhabit a different ideological world in which they would like for the United States not to be the constitutional system that it now is. I was concerned about that in November. I’m concerned about it now. Nothing that has happened since has changed the way I see things.

SR: Let’s talk about how this evolution takes place. You’ve written about how “post-truth is pre-fascism.” You talk about leaders ignoring facts, law and history. How far along this progression are we? I’m wondering where you might see things going next.

TS: That’s tough because what history does is give you a whole bunch of cases where democratic republics become authoritarian regimes; sometimes fascist regimes, sometimes communist regimes. It doesn’t give you one storyline: A, B, C, D. It gives you a bunch of clusters of A, and a bunch of clusters of C. But factuality is really important and more important than people realize, because it’s the substructure of regime change.

We think about democracy, and that’s the word that Americans love to use, democracy, and that’s how we characterize our system. But if democracy just means going to vote, it’s pretty meaningless. Russia has democracy in that sense. Most authoritarian regimes have democracy in that sense. Nazi Germany had democracy in that sense, even after the system had fundamentally changed.

Democracy only has substance if there’s the rule of law. That is, if people believe that the votes are going to be counted and they are counted. If they believe that there’s a judiciary out there that will make sense of things if there’s some challenge. If there isn’t rule of law, people will be afraid to vote the way they want to vote. They’ll vote for their own safety as opposed to their convictions. So the thing we call democracy depends on the rule of law. And the things we call the rule of law depends upon trust. Law functions 99 percent of the time automatically. It functions because we think it’s out there. And that, in turn, depends on the sense of truth. So there’s a mechanism here. You can get right to heart of the matter if you can convince people that there is no truth. Which is why the stuff that we characterize as post-modern and might dismiss is actually really, really essential.

The second thing about “post-truth is pre-fascism” is I’m trying to get people’s attention, because that is actually how fascism works. Fascism says, disregard the evidence of your senses, disregard observation, embolden deeds that can’t be proven, don’t have faith in God but have faith in leaders, take part in collective myth of an organic national unity and so forth. Fascism was precisely about setting the whole Enlightenment aside and then selling what sort of myths emerged. Now those [national] myths are pretty unpredictable, and contingent on different nations and different leaders and so on, but to just set facts aside is actually the fastest catalyst. So that part concerns me a lot.

Continue reading at:  http://billmoyers.com/story/dont-act-now-fascism-will-doorstep-says-yale-historian/

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Crisis of Governance

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/158693999145

Robert Reich
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

 
America is in a crisis of governance. There is no adult in charge.

Instead, we have as president an unhinged narcissistic child who tweets absurd lies and holds rallies to prop up his fragile ego, whose conflicts of financial interest are ubiquitous, and whose presidency is under a “gray cloud” of suspicion (according to the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee) for colluding with Russian agents to obtain office in the 2016 election.

He’s advised by his daughter, his son-in-law, and an oddball who once ran a white supremacist fake-news outlet.

His cabinet is an assortment of billionaires, CEOs, veterans of Wall Street, and ideologues, none of whom has any idea about how to govern and most of whom don’t believe in the laws their departments are in charge of implementing anyway.

He has downgraded or eviscerated groups responsible for giving presidents professional advice on foreign policy, foreign intelligence, economics, science, and domestic policy. He gets most of what he learns from television.

Meanwhile, Congress is in the hands of Republicans who for years have only said “no,” who have become expert at stopping whatever a president wants to do but don’t have a clue how to initiate policy, most of whom have never passed a budget into law, and, more generally, don’t much like government and have not shared responsibility for governing the nation.

As a result of all this, the most powerful nation in the world with the largest economy in the world is rudderless and leaderless.

Where we need thoughtful resolve we have thoughtless name-calling. Where we need democratic deliberation we have authoritarian rants and rallies. Where we need vision we have myopia.

The only way out of this crisis of governance is for us – the vast majority of Americans who deserve and know better – to take charge. Your country needs you desperately.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Truth Of Trump’s “I Alone Can Fix It” Canard | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann


Anti-fascist radicals: Liberals don’t realize the serious danger of the alt-right

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2017/03/10/anti-fascist-radicals-liberals-dont-realize-the-serious-danger-of-the-alt-right/

To the "antifa" movement, cowardly liberals are nearly as bad as Donald Trump and the white nationalist right

Friday, Mar 10, 2017

Since the election of Donald Trump as president, liberals and leftists have been discussing how to best respond to American conservatism’s transformation from a shopworn, Cold War, anti-government philosophy into something else.

To the anarchists and socialists who consider themselves part of the global “antifa” movement (an abbreviation for “anti-fascist”), the transition currently taking place on the right is all too familiar. The rise of the alt-right and white nationalism within the U.S. is something the mainstream left doesn’t take seriously enough, they say, even as many Democrats compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.

If it is true that the civic nationalism of Trump and his top strategist Steve Bannon are helping to lay the groundwork for a more radical right — intentionally or otherwise — then their self-described opponents on the left need to do more than wear safety pins and post Facebook denunciations of the president they didn’t vote for say the antifa advocates.

As Natasha Lennard, a former staff writer for Salon, wrote earlier this year for the Nation that coming to such a realization is difficult for many people on the left. Despite their posture of desiring radical change, most leftists are actually conservative in a certain sense:
Liberals cling to institutions: They begged to no avail for faithless electors, they see “evisceration” in a friendly late-night talk-show debate, they put faith in investigations and justice with regards to Russian interference and business conflicts of interest. They grasp at hypotheticals about who could have won, were things not as they in fact are. For political subjects so tied to the mythos of Reason, it is liberals who now seem deranged.
Instead of merely talking among themselves about opposing racism, say the anti-fascists, leftists need to take direct action to make being a white nationalist as difficult as possible. That’s why many antifa proponents have concentrated their efforts on tactics such as targeting the financial means of support for websites they see as enabling or promoting fascist views; they have even engaged in acts of physical assault against members of the far right.

“Only by fighting and destroying fascism can we actually defeat it,” an anonymous member of the website It’s Going Down told Salon via email.

The antifas’ anonymity is one of several superficial characteristics they share with their bitter rivals on the alt-right. Another is that they take politics much more soberly than their less extreme counterparts do. For the antifas, understanding that white nationalists are deadly serious about instigating a “racial holy war” is the key to countering them.

“During the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany, while anarchists and communists were literally fighting the fascists in the streets, the liberals and social democrats attempted to debate the Nazis point for point in the halls of power,” the anonymous activist continued. “This did nothing, and also normalized the positions of the Nazis and also made them into legitimate positions.”

The center-left’s desire for an open society is its critical weakness, members of a Nebraska-based antifa collective told Salon via email because viewpoints that want to deny all free speech cannot be allow to speak freely.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2017/03/10/anti-fascist-radicals-liberals-dont-realize-the-serious-danger-of-the-alt-right/

Why the Left-wing Needs a Gun Culture

From Diversity of Tactics:  https://diversityoftactics.org/2017/01/21/why-the-left-wing-needs-a-gun-culture/
 
by Lorenzo Raymond
January 21, 2017


“We become depressed when we look around and see 1100 white supremacist militia groups, and some of our names at the top [of their kill lists]! You say ‘Oh my god, they got 1100 right-wing militia groups—how many left-wing ones we got?’  ‘Well, we’re working on our journal…’  I got nothing against journals, but it’s lopsided!’”

Cornell West, Left Forum 2014 keynote address
 
“When you are attacked by a rabid dog you don’t run or throw away the walking stick you have in your hand.” 

– Gloria Richardson, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organizer, Cambridge, Maryland, July, 1964 ¹

We live in a historical moment where everything seems upside down. A proto-fascist seemingly despised by the political establishment has ridden into the White House. That same establishment is now squirmingly trying to accommodate itself to that which it formerly despised. Social media—once thought of as the domain of lefty social justice warriors—turned out to be the far-right’s pathway to power. And while the reactionary candidate praised “the common man,” the liberal candidate gave secret speeches to Wall Street.

Now is the time to reconsider long-held preconceptions, as they embody precisely the thinking which led us to this point—this point where hate crimes against minorities are growing, and economic and ecological hopes are rapidly shrinking. At a juncture where liberals’ wholesale denunciation of “violence” and “gun culture” are revealed to have done nothing to reduce either one, the Left needs to disentangle the issue of oppressive force from that of necessary self-defense against oppressive force.
Brutality against minorities is escalating in the aftermath of the election, and we can only imagine what level it will reach as the Trump administration entrenches itself. Reports of attacks are too numerous to recount here, but the recent murders of a famous Black athlete (Joe McKnight) a young Black musician (Will Sims) and a 15-year old Black boy (James Means) are the most notable manifestations of the racist terror which is growing across the country. As the federal exoneration of George Zimmerman demonstrates, a state crackdown on such murders has never been in the cards, and will be even more remote under the Trump regime.

Reports from the BBC and other major news outlets show that gun ownership in the Black community has begun to grow in recent years. A Pew survey shows at least 54 percent of African-Americans have a favorable view of firearms, up from just 29 percent in 2012. The last poll was taken in 2014—in the years since then, a Southern Christian Leadership Council official has publicly called for armed self-defense, and Black Twitter, in the face of the Charleston massacre, has trended the hashtag #WeWillShootBack—so today the figures are likely higher.

Is the growing black gun movement succumbing to blind emotion and sowing the seeds of destruction? A look at progressive African-American history would suggest not. Although many sectors of the Left prefer to ignore it, there is now a small bookcase of academic studies with names like This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible. The importance of these studies is far from academic, however. They redefine our understanding of the most important American social movement of the past fifty years.

One of the first arenas of that struggle was the campaign to expose lynching in Mississippi, specifically the 1954 murder of Emmett Till. The key organizer of that campaign, TRM Howard, not only carried guns for his own protection, but made sure that there were armed guards at all times around campaign spokespeople like Mamie Till. After the rise of Martin Luther King, nonviolence became the image of civil rights, but this nominally pacifist movement never renounced its right to bear arms. When the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came to the Deep South to organize, they encountered a vigorous Black gun culture among those who were prepared to campaign for equality. Fannie Lou Hamer, legendary founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), told one interviewer that, “I keep a shotgun in every corner of my bedroom and the first cracker even look like he wants to throw some dynamite on my porch won’t write his mama again.” Prior to the MFDP’s work, voter suppression of African-Americans was the rule in Mississippi, but after its ascendance in the late 1960s, Blacks had full ballot access and the Klan was in retreat. The Mississippi movement represents the most effective organizing of the post-war Left; Their policy on armed self-defense can teach us a great deal, particularly as the whole country begins to feel more and more like the Jim Crow South.

But aren’t guns inherently oppressive, reactionary and patriarchal? This idea has found currency in the years since the end of the civil rights movement, but the years since the civil rights movement haven’t been especially good for the Left. From Jimmy Carter to Obama—not to mention from Reagan to Trump—the US has steadily slid to the Right in all but the most superficial ways. In place of working-class activists like Fannie Lou Hamer, we’re now led by pseudo-working-class celebrities like Michael Moore, who cemented the gun control consensus with his sensationalized documentary Bowling for Columbine. Just as Moore denounces the Democratic Party in three year cycles but always comes back to them at election time, his film admitted that there are more important factors contributing to violence than guns, but finally dumped the whole problem at the feet of the NRA. It is revealing that the very same Hollywood establishment that gave Moore an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine proceeded to boo him at the ceremony for opposing the Iraq War. For them, gun control has nothing to do with genuine peace, but everything to do with an orderly and centralized capitalist empire.

It’s inevitable that liberals’ perception of guns is formed hegemonically through the mainstream news media, despite the Left’s claim to be skeptical of it. While such outlets often tell us that guns kill 33,000 people per year in the US, we’re seldom reminded that alcohol kills over 80,000, and prescription drugs kill a devastating 120,000 each year. This may have something to do with the fact that pharmaceutical companies give corporate media over $5 billion per year in advertising, alcohol companies spend $2 billion on the same, and gun manufacturers comparatively nothing. The conventional liberal wisdom is that gun advocates make up for this in lobbying dollars, but shockingly, prescription opioid manufacturers alone spend eight times more courting politicians than the NRA does. Perhaps the gun lobby would like to spend more, but as The New York Times once acknowledged, “guns are a relatively small business in the United States.”

Continue reading at:   https://diversityoftactics.org/2017/01/21/why-the-left-wing-needs-a-gun-culture/

Frightbart

From Bill Moyers:  http://billmoyers.com/story/frightbart/

The view from Steve Bannon’s propaganda site will scare the bejeezus out of you, which is its point.

By Todd Gitlin March 11, 2017


The home page of Breitbart.com, the quasi-official voice of Steve Bannon’s White House, is a virtual stew of menace, a pit of monsters, an unending onslaught of apocalyptic horsemen rearing up at full gallop, coming straight at you, drawing closer…. But what the Breitbart reader is not being warned against is poisoned water, eviction, a melting glacier, a rising sea, a pauper’s grave, a burning cross, a bank swindle or a loss of medical care. Those are the kind of fears that afflict liberal wimps brainwashed by “the enemy of the people.”

A Breitbart reader quivers, all right, hunkered down in the safe spaces of Fortress America while enemies gather outside the gates. But what he or she needs protection from is, to take a recent dozen, (1) a “mass-murdering bureaucrat”; (2) an armed home invader in Louisiana who demanded money and wouldn’t accept food stamps; (3) naked, mushroom-crazed brothers running amok through an apartment complex in Indianapolis; (4) machete and axe attacks in Germany; (5) a woman in Belgium suspected of plotting a terror attack; (6) man-hating Swedish feminists; and, speaking of Sweden, (7) a growing number of fatal shootings there, and also there, (8) a suspected car bomb; and back at home, (9) a Trump-defying Paul Ryan who “targets his own Republicans, not Democrats, on Health Care”; (10) Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) warning that the CIA is spearheading “authoritarian government”; (11) to our north, “Women Kicked Out of Women’s Shelter to Make Room for a ‘Transgender’ Man,” and, if you like your fright more graphic, (12) “Mexican Cartel Spreads ISIS-Like Beheading Video to Gain Border Turf near Texas.”

And the next thing you know, when you’ve barely recovered from reading about the machete mayhem in Germany, here comes a report of tear gas released into the Hamburg metro. How dangerous is that? It depends where you look. If you read all the way to the bottom of the post, you earn this correction: “Due to a translation error, the original version of this article said 50 people were injured. In fact 50 people on the train were affected and at least six people are known to have been injured so far.”

In tune with Steve Bannon’s watered-down remake of Apocalypse Now, the world is going to hell. There are vultures, vultures everywhere. There is not only “American carnage” but European carnage, carnage just over the border, the French covering up for the sinister Mexicans, carnage sloshing throughout the entire Judeo-Christian world — though the agitated reader will occasionally find consolation in the bull market and in the knowledge that US Marines are “inching closer” to the ISIS-held Syrian city of Raqqa.

This reader will not learn from Breitbart that those Marines constitute a single artillery unit that, according to Reuters, has not yet opened fire. Odds are that this reader takes Breitbart’s word about Scandinavian carnage — a theme that’s now been beaten to death by the man in the White House — and will fail to dive deeper into the official Swedish murder statistics, so as to discover, for example, that between 2001-05 and 2011-15, deadly violence declined, although guns were more frequently used during the latter period, a fact officially attributed to the growth of gangs. By the way, in 1997, the rate of murder and manslaughter, with and without guns, was 1.77 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with almost four times that rate, 6.80, for the United States — assuming that one feels like cherry-picking dates to prove points. 

You, unsuspecting reader, you taxpaying innocent, you American babe in the woods, you, peacefully going on about your business in your apartment complex, you, pathetically offering up your unacceptable food stamps — They have it in for you. They are everywhere. As the man in the White House said about Obama body language he didn’t approve of: “There’s something going on.”

Continue reading at:  http://billmoyers.com/story/frightbart/

Bill Clinton: Resurgent nationalism ‘taking us to the edge of our destruction’

From Politico:  http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/bill-clinton-nationalism-235894?cmpid=sf


Don’t buy what purports to be nationalism that’s engulfed politics in America and all over the world, former President Bill Clinton said Thursday; what’s actually at play, he argued, is more insidious and interconnected than that.

“People who claim to want the nation-state are actually trying to have a pan-national movement to institutionalize separatism and division within borders all over the world,” Clinton said. “It’s like we’re all having an identity crisis at once — and it is an inevitable consequence of the economic and social changes that have occurred at an increasingly rapid pace.”

Making his first major public appearance since his wife lost last year’s presidential election, Clinton did not discuss President Donald Trump specifically, but warned repeatedly against “us versus them” thinking that he said has become such an active part of politics in America, in the Brexit vote, in the Philippines and throughout Europe.

The speech was the keynote at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution honoring the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

“The whole history of humankind is basically the definition of who is us and who is them, and the question of whether we should all live under the same set of rules,” Clinton said. He added that often, people “have found more political success and met the deep psychic needs people have had to feel that their identity requires them to be juxtaposed against someone else.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/bill-clinton-nationalism-235894?cmpid=sf

On Betrayal by the Left – Talking with Ex-Muslim Sarah Haider

From Quillette:  http://quillette.com/2017/03/16/on-betrayal-by-the-left-talking-with-ex-muslim-sarah-haider/
 
by Jeffrey Tayler March 16, 2017

In twenty-first-century America, what happens to a young woman who has wised up and quit a faith-based ideology that ordains the second-class status of women, the submissiveness of wives to husbands (even violent husbands), the partial disinheritance of female heirs in favor of their male counterparts, the stoning of adulterers (and especially adulteresses, given the misogynistic vagaries of evidentiary law associated with said ideology), the taking of captive women as sex slaves, the adherence to a cumbersome dress code, and that also sanctions the savagery of female genital mutilation? Does she win plaudits for standing up her for rights as a woman? Do progressives recite panegyrics that sing her courage and praise her clear-sightedness? Is she inundated with offers of support?

Does she feel, perhaps for the first time in her life, that the United States, her adopted country – the only country on Earth established, at least according to its foundational documents, on the rights to free speech, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – wholly and unreservedly welcomes her as one of its own?

Not necessarily! If the ideology is Islam (and it is) and the woman is a former Muslim (and she is), she must steel herself to face threats against her life from her onetime coreligionists and a hail of invective from, and insidious betrayals by, those posing as progressives. Moreover, she must prepare to fend off attempts to silence her viewpoint as “inconvenient” given our current political morass. Even more egregiously, if the woman is trying to help (as she is) others also striving after the gloriously secular freedom she has achieved for herself, she becomes a danger to the entire edifice of hypocrisy, cowardice, and fact-deficient balderdash forming the mainstream left’s view of Islam as a “religion of peace” distorted by a few deranged miscreants. In short, in the America of today, such a brave woman will find no haven extended to her, but, rather, confront wielders of figurative pitchforks eager to skewer her for both abandoning her religion and traducing her kind. And with Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency, her position becomes more precarious than ever.

Such a woman is Sarah Haider, a native of Pakistan who moved to the United States when she was between seven and eight, and who is co-founder and director of outreach for Ex-Muslims of North America. EXMNA, declares its web site, “advocates for acceptance of religious dissent, promotes secular values, and aims to reduce discrimination faced by those who leave Islam.” It also provides a range of services (e.g., temporary shelter, counseling) to its members, who are spread out in eighteen chapters across the continent, and offers a platform from which ex-Muslims can recount, via Youtube videos, their personal stories of faith-free enlightenment.

Soft-spoken, articulate, and earnest, Haider hardly fits the image of a sinister, subversive “native informant” or “house Arab” or “house Muslim” (as she has been vilified by some on the left) scheming to stir up “Islamophobia” and spoil life for American Muslims. Haider drifted away from Islam at age fifteen, but received national attention when, in 2015, she delivered a widely viewed lecture, “Islam and the Necessity of Liberal Critique,” at an American Humanist Association conference in Denver. She has been, since then, hailed as a hero by the neuroscientist and outspoken atheist Sam Harris (the host of the Waking Up podcast) and has appeared on, among other venues, Dave Rubin’s popular Youtube talk show, The Rubin Report.

I spoke with Haider via Skype one day recently. She told me that things have only gotten tougher for ex-Muslims since she made her appearance in Denver, and that she and her fellow apostates live with a level of threat that influences every aspect of life. (Apostasy is an offence punishable by death, according to Islam, and female apostates in particular, even in the United States, find themselves imperiled.) The more publicity she receives, the more potential danger she has to live with.
“Fear of being exposed has changed how I go about my life and how I socialize. As I become better known, I feel increasingly isolated.”

Worst of all, she feels so besieged in the United States.

“Ex-Muslims in the West should be free to be who they are and leave their religion. At the very least, we shouldn’t have to be fearful of our family and friends. If Muslims feel they’re being badly treated here [in the United States], they can go to Muslim-majority countries. But where can a person like me go? I’m in the safest place I can possibly be, yet I’m too afraid to tell people where I live. It’s tragic for me that there’s even a need for our organization.”

Continue reading at:  http://quillette.com/2017/03/16/on-betrayal-by-the-left-talking-with-ex-muslim-sarah-haider/