Tuesday, February 28, 2017

An American Reichstag Fire?

From The American Prospect:  http://prospect.org/article/american-reichstag-fire

February 27 is the anniversary of the fire that destroyed the Reichstag and gave Hitler a pretext to seize total power. How strong are America's firebreaks?

Peter Schrag February 24, 2017

Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and the court system. 
                                  —Donald Trump, tweet, February 5

On the night of February 27, 1933, less than a month after Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, fire gutted the central chamber of the Reichstag in Berlin, the nation’s parliament building. To this day, historians are still debating whether it was the work of a lone arsonist, the Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe, who was caught at the scene and soon confessed, or as journalist William L. Shirer later asserted in his classic Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, that there was “enough evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it was the Nazis who planned the arson and carried it out for their own political ends.”

But of one thing there was no doubt.

Within hours of the fire, hundreds of people were arrested and put in “protective custody” or sent to concentration camps, and the next morning (in the words of the Cambridge University historian Richard Evans), “the cabinet, which still had a non-Nazi majority, met to draw up an emergency decree that abrogated civil liberties across Germany. Signed by President Hindenburg the same day, it abolished freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and association, and freedom of the press, suspended the autonomy of federated states, such as Baden and Bavaria, and legalized phone-tapping, the interception of correspondence, and other intrusions.”

The decree was the first of two major measures that eliminated all institutional checks and gave Hitler absolute dictatorial powers. The second, passed a month later by the Reichstag, gave Hitler plenary power—the power to enact laws without any action by the parliament whatever. Quoting Evans again,

The Nazis used them to bludgeon their opponents into submission and their allies into compliance. By the summer of 1933 all opposition had been crushed, more than a hundred thousand Communists, Social Democrats, and other opponents of the Nazis had been sent to concentration camps, all independent political parties had been forced to dissolve themselves, and the Nazi dictatorship had been firmly established.

Could it happen here, as the historian Robert S. McElvaine of Millsaps College recently warned in the Huffington Post?  

The odds are that it could not—not in the same way and certainly not to the same extent, despite Donald Trump’s megalomaniacal rhetoric and the radicals in his entourage. Trump has no global agenda, clings fanatically to no ideology, has no Weltanschauung, as Hitler had; his highest priority appears to be himself.

Nor is America in 2017 like Germany in 1933. The two cultures are vastly different and the technology that enabled Trump to gain political power is just as accessible to his opposition. It’s also likely, judging by his appellate court opinions, that Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court, will, despite his conservative leanings on issues like abortion, be faithful to the Constitution’s protections of the press and free speech; he will not eviscerate them.
Moreover, in the view of CUNY historian Benjamin Hett, whose 2014 book Burning the Reichstag: An Investigation Into The Third Reich’s Enduring Mystery makes a strong case that the fire was a Nazi plot,

The media environment of today [he wrote me in an email]—with 24-hour cable news, the internet, Twitter, Facebook, etc., etc.—is so much more intrusive than in 1933 (and the federal government is so full of people who would be happy to leak incriminating information, not least in the intelligence services) that the Trump administration would have no chance of getting away with a deliberate terrorist attack as a pretext for a coup d’état. … The other important difference is that Trump is dramatically less popular than Hitler was in 1933 and there is significantly more pushback from the population to the things he is trying to do. Not that I wouldn’t put it past Trump and [Stephen] Bannon to be thinking about this kind of thing.

But as a refugee from Hitler (Class of ’41), I’m too much aware of the extent to which the Nazis were underestimated as low-class clowns and thugs until it was too late. Similarly, in the past election, the media, the pollsters, the Democrats and millions of other Americans, and not just the left, also underestimated Trump. In that context, I’m reminded of Hannah Arendt’s post-war observation that “in 1933, indifference was no longer possible. It was no longer possible even before that.”

Continue reading at:  http://prospect.org/article/american-reichstag-fire

Jon Stewart To The Media: It's Time To Get Your Groove Back


The Resistance Is the Majority of Americans — Not a New Tea Party

From Time Magazine:  http://time.com/4676825/democratic-resistance-tea-party/

Jesse Ferguson
Feb 21, 2017


On August 25, 2009, Democratic Congressman Bart Gordon held a town hall meeting in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. A local news report called it “a discussion about the nation's health care” that “led to loud boos and heckling” from the crowd. On February 9, 2017, Republican Congresswoman Diane Black — elected to Gordon’s seat in the fall of 2010 — held a town hall meeting in the same city. A local news report headline proclaimed, “Diane Black, GOP lawmakers faced defenders of Obamacare at lively town hall.” Sounds similar, right?

The zeitgeist is quickly setting in: Republicans right now face a backlash akin to what Democrats faced from the Tea Party in 2009 and 2010. Some have gone so far as to call this resistance the Democratic Tea Party. It’s a convenient comparison: Democrats like it because the Republican Tea Party was successful in 2010, and the media appreciates it as a simple and straightforward story. I've been guilty of leaning on it myself.

But the Democratic resistance and the Tea Party actually differ in a number of important ways, each of which tells a different story about where our country is and where our politics may be headed.
For starters, the Tea Party was forged as an opposition to a societal reality in our country, while today’s resistance is opposed to a political reality. The Tea Party began before the election of President Obama, as a reaction to President Bush and the bank bailouts of 2008. Tea Partiers believed that society and the economy had all left them behind. The movement’s anger was stoked by the realization that the country had changed to the extent that it would elect someone like Barack Obama and support his “liberal” policies like the Economic Recovery Act (the so-called stimulus) and the Affordable Care Act (scornfully dubbed “Obamacare”). These members wanted the entire country to revert to a set of values that more closely resembled what they saw on Leave It to Beaver.

On the other hand, the current resistance isn't based on a belief that our country has gone astray from some former golden age. It's a political backlash, borne out of Donald Trump’s policies and his presidency. Its participants aren’t rejecting the social structures of American society. They are embracing and defending our evolving structures of diversity and inclusiveness. The people stepping forward to resist the Trump Administration are standing against an Administration that doesn’t respect the core values that this nation holds: that we are all equal and that we can all achieve our own dreams.

Second, these movements were forged in entirely different political situations. Members of the Tea Party believed they had been marginalized and had to fight back against this new oppression. They represented a minority, losing the 2008 elections by almost 200 electoral votes and 10 million people, while Democrats gained a more significant majority in the House and a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate. Headlines announced a permanent progressive majority. The Tea Party disapproved of their country going in this new direction, which bred their movement’s anger.

Continue reading at:  http://time.com/4676825/democratic-resistance-tea-party/

Why We Must Beware Trump’s Willing Executioners

From The Forward:  http://forward.com/culture/363173/why-we-must-beware-trumps-willing-executioners/



It is a disgrace which gets worse with every day that passes,” one observer wrote of the deteriorating political scene we know all too well. “Politics everywhere and everywhere the terrorism of the Right…. It is astounding how easily everything collapses.” He added, “It is shocking how day after day naked acts of violence, breaches of law, barbaric opinions appear quite undisguised as official decree. Each new decree, he said, was “more shameful than the previous one….. The Liberals tremble.” And finally: “I for my part will never again have faith in Germany.” Thus wrote Victor Klemperer, a Jewish German scholar, in the first months of Hitler’s ascension. Historians have spent decades examining how Germany, an allegedly rational and highly cultured society, became unhinged. Future historians will no doubt be examining how America, the paragon of liberty, became unhinged. The simple answers are, respectively, Adolf Hitler and his acolytes, and Donald Trump and his parade of right-wing enablers, from the FBI to border patrol agents to white nationalists to plutocrats. But there are deeper answers, and they are far more frightening, with far-wider implications than the one-man theory.

They are answers that we Jews understand.

Of course, Jews don’t have to be told to be suspicious of analogies to Nazi Germany. We know they are usually facile, overwrought and wrong-headed, and that they can trivialize the greatest tragedy in the history of humankind. America is not Nazi Germany, Trump is not Hitler.

We are not headed for the genocide of refugees, only for their ban or deportation, to protect us, Trump says, from possible saboteurs, even if that echoes Hitler’s “indignant denial,” according to Klemperer, that he was accusing all Jews of threatening the state: “No harm will come to loyal Jews.” And however much the language of “round up” and “deportation” has a terrifyingly reminiscent ring for Jews, Trump has no real interest in political power or programs, only in personal adulation. He is our panderer-in-chief.

Still, one shouldn’t deny that there are situations in which historical antecedents can be instructive, not because, in this case, Trump is analogous to Hitler, but because the underlying political dynamics of Trumpism to those of Hitlerism may be so. Unfortunately, we Jews know an awful lot, too much, about unhinged societies.

We understand cause and effect, which is why Klemperer’s diaries, published as “I Will Bear Witness,” and Harvard scholar Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s now-famous analysis of grassroots Nazism, “Hitler’s Willing Executioners,” ought to be required reading in America now. Because whether or not Trumpism is a latter-day incarnation of Hitlerism, both are predicated on something similar, something we would rather not face, but something that is important to discuss, especially as Jews, as Trumpism barrels forward: Hitler and Trump are not the causes of a national movement of hatred; they are its beneficiaries.

So how did Germany become unhinged? According to Goldhagen’s analysis, it wasn’t all that “hinged” to begin with. If you think, he says, of political life as a national conversation, then one of the primary subjects of that conversation in Germany, hundreds of years before Hitler rose to power, was anti-Semitism. And just about every German participated in the dialogue. As one woman in the oral history, “What We Knew,” put it, “There was never any particular sympathy for the Jews,” which, of course, is putting it lightly. This was the sentiment that Hitler exploited.

Continue reading at:  http://forward.com/culture/363173/why-we-must-beware-trumps-willing-executioners/

Tennessee has declared war on same-sex families: Inside the legislation that would eradicate nearly all rights for LGBT couples

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2017/02/27/tennessee-has-declared-war-on-same-sex-families-inside-the-legislation-that-would-eradicate-nearly-all-rights-for-lgbt-couples/

A brace of bills in the Tennessee statehouse is aimed at rolling back gains made by during Obama administration

Monday, Feb 27, 2017

Heather MacKenzie bought her wedding ring at Wal-Mart. MacKenzie, now 38, proposed to her wife, Charitey, by driving to the top of Tiger Hill in Murfreesboro, a town located near the couple’s Tennessee home. The hill, a favorite spot for preteen sledders during the winter, looks over the entire town, as well as the vast expanse of the surrounding area. This was where the MacKenzies had their first date.
 The pair said “I do” in June 2015, just days after the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling legalized marriage between same-sex couples in their state. The MacKenzies were wed in Nashville in front of the courthouse under a magnolia tree.
 
Over a year later, the couple are expecting a child: Charitey is 12 weeks pregnant with a son. A trio of recently proposed laws, however, could jeopardize the future of their growing clan. This legislation seeks to erase any hint of legal recognition for LGBT couples in Tennessee, all but declaring war on the families of same-sex parents living in the state.

Filed by State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, House Bill 1406 would prevent a couple from listing on the birth certificate the second parent (the spouse not giving birth) after a woman becomes pregnant through artificial insemination. The legislation would nullify a provision of the Tennessee Code Annotated 68-3-306, which was issued as part of the Vital Records Act of 1977. The law states, “A child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination, with consent of the married woman’s husband, is deemed to be the legitimate child of the husband and wife.”

If Weaver’s bill passes, Heather would not be considered the legal guardian of the child on the way. In order to gain that status, she would have to file for a second-parent adoption, a process that’s both costly and time intensive. The couple is raising a daughter the two adopted four years ago and it cost $6,500 for Heather and Chariety to gain her custody.

“It’s a lot of money, especially after you’re preparing for a newborn,” said Heather, who works as a supervisor for an automotive distribution center in Smyrna. “And now you have to go adopt your own child. We know a lot of couples who have waited until their kids are in elementary school because they waited to save up to do the adoption. If something happens in between that time, it could be really harmful to your family.”

If Charitey were to be in a car wreck, for instance, Heather could make legal decisions for her but not for their expected child. The  newborn would have no rights to Heather’s inheritance or her insurance — an added complication for the couple. If HB 1406 were to be passed, it would go into effect on July 1, three months before Charitey is expected to give birth. Heather receives health care benefits through her workplace, but if the new baby would not be longer eligible for that coverage, who would pay for the hospital costs?

The legislation leaves a terrifying number of unanswered questions, few of which have been answered by HB 1406’s authors. Although Weaver claimed in a Facebook post that the legislation is not intended to target same-sex families, she didn’t address the fact that her bill does exactly that.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2017/02/27/tennessee-has-declared-war-on-same-sex-families-inside-the-legislation-that-would-eradicate-nearly-all-rights-for-lgbt-couples/

Friday, February 24, 2017

Trump Intensifies His Attacks on Journalists and Condemns F.B.I. ‘Leakers’

From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/us/politics/white-house-sean-spicer-briefing.html
 
By and

WASHINGTON — President Trump turned the power of the White House against the news media on Friday, escalating his attacks on journalists as “the enemy of the people” and berating members of his own F.B.I. as “leakers” who he said were putting the nation at risk.

In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr. Trump criticized as “fake news” organizations that publish anonymously sourced reports that reflect poorly on him. And in a series of Twitter posts, he assailed the F.B.I. as a dangerously porous agency, condemning unauthorized revelations of classified information from within its ranks and calling for an immediate hunt for leakers.

Hours after the speech, as if to demonstrate Mr. Trump’s determination to punish reporters whose coverage he dislikes, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, barred journalists from The New York Times and several other news organizations from attending his daily briefing, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.

The moves underscored the degree to which Mr. Trump and members of his inner circle are eager to use the prerogatives of the presidency to undercut those who scrutinize him, dismissing negative stories as lies and confining press access at the White House to a few chosen news organizations considered friendly. The Trump White House has also vowed new efforts to punish leakers.

Mr. Trump’s attacks on the press came as the White House pushed back on a report by CNN on Thursday night that a White House official had asked the F.B.I. to rebut a New York Times article last week detailing contacts between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russian intelligence officials. The report asserted that a senior White House official had called top leaders at the F.B.I. to request that they contact reporters to dispute the Times’s account.

“The fake news doesn’t tell the truth,” Mr. Trump said to the delight of the conservatives packed into the main ballroom at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just south of Washington. “It doesn’t represent the people, it doesn’t and never will represent the people, and we’re going to do something about it.”

In the West Wing less than three hours later, the consequences were becoming clear. Mr. Spicer told a handpicked group of reporters in a briefing in his spacious office that the White House would relentlessly counter coverage it considered inaccurate.

Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/us/politics/white-house-sean-spicer-briefing.html

Bannon makes stunning threat to media: We're going to make it worse for you every day

From Daily Kos:  http://m.dailykos.com/stories/2017/2/23/1637159/-President-Bannon-threatens-media-We-re-going-to-make-it-worse-every-day-for-you

by Leslie SalzilloFeb 23, 2017
 
On Thursday, during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon admitted Donald Trump’s goal (Bannon’s goal) in appointing new precarious cabinet members to head protective government agencies like the EPA — is to dismantle and “deconstruct” those organizations altogether. You can read that Daily Kos story by Dartagnan here. 
 
On the same day, during a joint CPAC press conference with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Bannon threatened the media with a quote that is undeniably one of the most odious and perilous public statements made against the free press by a White House official, on record. Chris Cillizza with The Washington Post cites Bannon.
“It's going to get worse every day for the media,” Bannon said, insisting that the “corporatist” media would continue to see Trump pursue exactly the sort of economic nationalism that journalism allegedly despises. Then he added this call to arms: “If you think they are giving you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.”
Cillizza says the message from Bannon was unmistakable: The enemy of Donald Trump and his team, is not really the Democratic Party, it’s the media. He adds that presidential administrations and the press have often experienced adversarial positions.
But what Bannon and, by extension, Trump are up to is something very different than simply an adversarial working relationship with the media. Bannon doesn't want to change the media. He wants to totally dismantle the media. He wants to break its back and leave it for dead by the side of the road.
What is somewhat ironic, more than disturbing, and almost comical, is that Bannon is telling reputable reporters, including those at the Washington Post, that the White House plans to destroy them. And rather than stand up to him, reporters rush back to their laptops to write up the story, staying respectfully neutral, while indirectly serving as a right wing echo chamber.

Bannon and Trump are using the press to threaten and berate — the press. When will the press, in unity, tell Bannon and Trump, to respectfully go fuck themselves? It’s obvious Bannon and Trump desperately need the press to survive. The mobster-like headman incessantly use the press every day, and seem to forget that it was the media that held their hands throughout the 2016 campaign and essentially walked them into the Oval Office.

So why does most of the media accept the degradation, which has become constant? And why do they keep going back for more? Something has to give, because Trump and his cast of hate-filled, lying fear mongers, should not be allowed to use American media as a beacon for tyranny. What’s that thing Dr. Phil likes to say?
"We teach people how to treat us."
Steve Bannon, the man who Time Magazine has labeled the “The Great Manipulator,” lives up to the title as he continues to feed, build, and control the growing far right extreme news rags like Breitbart. Most everything that goes out to Donald Trump’s base of fanatics is calculated, mostly false, insidious and dangerously hate-provoking. 

Continue reading at:  http://m.dailykos.com/stories/2017/2/23/1637159/-President-Bannon-threatens-media-We-re-going-to-make-it-worse-every-day-for-you

Exclusive: Senior Trump Aide Forged Key Ties To Anti-Semitic Groups In Hungary

From The Forward:  http://forward.com/news/national/364085/sebastian-gorka-trump-aide-forged-key-ties-to-anti-semitic-groups-in-hunga/
 


When photographs recently emerged showing Sebastian Gorka, President Donald Trump’s high-profile deputy assistant, wearing a medal associated with the Nazi collaborationist regime that ruled Hungary during World War II, the controversial security strategist was unapologetic.

“I’m a proud American now and I wear that medal now and again,” Gorka told Breitbart News. Gorka, 46, who was born in Britain to Hungarian parents and is now an American citizen, asked rhetorically, “Why? To remind myself of where I came from, what my parents suffered under both the Nazis and the Communists, and to help me in my work today.”

But an investigation by the Forward into Gorka’s activities from 2002 to 2007, while he was active in Hungarian politics and journalism, found that he had close ties then to Hungarian far-right circles, and has in the past chosen to work with openly racist and anti-Semitic groups and public figures.
Gorka’s involvement with the far right includes co-founding a political party with former prominent members of Jobbik, a political party with a well-known history of anti-Semitism; repeatedly publishing articles in a newspaper known for its anti-Semitic and racist content; and attending events with some of Hungary’s most notorious extreme-right figures.

When Gorka was asked — in an email exchange with the Forward — about the anti-Semitic records of some of the groups and individuals he has worked with, he instead pivoted to talk about his family’s history.

“My parents, as children, lived through the nightmare of WWII and the horrors of the Nyilas puppet fascist regime,” he said, referring to the Arrow Cross regime that took over Hungary near the very end of World War II and murdered thousands of Jews.

 In the United States, Gorka, who was appointed deputy assistant to the president on January 20, is known as a television commentator, a professor and an “alt-right” writer who describes himself as a counterterrorism expert. A close associate of Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, Gorka is now part of Bannon’s key in-house White House think tank, the Strategic Initiatives Group.
The newly formed group consists of figures close to Trump and is seen by some as a rival to the National Security Council in formulating policies for the president.
 

Continue reading at:  http://forward.com/news/national/364085/sebastian-gorka-trump-aide-forged-key-ties-to-anti-semitic-groups-in-hunga/
From  The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/23/town-hall-protests-donald-trump-angry-crowds

Donald Trump sneered at ‘angry crowds’ holding politicians to account. That’s exactly what we’re doing – and we’re only just getting started

Feb. 23, 2017

Americans are flooding into town halls across the country. Fearful that their country is being torn apart, they are turning out to protest their representatives in record numbers. Clearly, the furious crowds have gotten under Donald Trump’s skin. In a sneering tweet, the president dismissed the “so-called angry crowds” at town hall events as “planned by liberal activists.” We’ll take that as a compliment.

More than two dozen progressive activist groups are using ResistanceRecess.com, a site posted just last week by MoveOn.org, to search among more than 500 local congressional events around the country. Anyone can RSVP for an event and get a reminder email. So yes, that’s evidence of planning – apparently more planning than goes into a typical executive order issued by this White House.
But here’s the thing: the crowds are unmistakably real, and the anger runs deep.

Many of those showing up at town hall events have never done anything like that in their lives. Just like the participants in the millions-strong Women’s March and the spontaneous airport protests, the people filling these town hall events are acting with moral urgency – and with a deeply responsible sense of civic duty. Now it’s up to members of Congress to decide how to respond.
They can listen to their constituents, do their jobs and pull the country back from the precipice that Trump seems so determined to drive it off of. Or they can fail to heed the voices of their own voters – and face the consequences at the ballot box.

But one thing’s for sure: even after Congress returns from recess, the resistance isn’t going anywhere. We voters are watching.

The intensity at the town halls is so high that more than 200 elected officials have reportedly abandoned public forums in February entirely. But they’re in for the worst of it. Where politicians are cowering in fear of their constituents, citizens are forging ahead with town hall events of their own – with an empty seat at the front reserved for their member of Congress.

If their invited representatives don’t show up, the absence will speak volumes to the local news cameras and Facebook Live feeds streaming from their constituents’ mobile phones. And to make sure nobody forgets that their officials have gone AWOL, they’re buying local newspaper ads calling them out and plastering milk cartons with “MISSING” stickers in their local supermarkets.

Resistance Recess is blowing the Republicans’ momentum out to sea. But it’s not just Republicans facing energized crowds. In blue states and congressional districts, citizens are thronging to public events as well, demanding full-throated, no-fear resistance from Democratic lawmakers.

Their message: when fundamental principles, and our very constitution, is at stake, there is no room for compromise. Democrats who get the message and pledge to fight are greeted by cheers. Those who still haven’t realized that these aren’t normal times – and that their role now is to resist, not appease – are engulfed by fierce chanting: “Do your job!”

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/23/town-hall-protests-donald-trump-angry-crowds

Thursday, February 23, 2017

When Trump Voters Say They “Suffered For 8 Years Under Obama,” Here’s The Perfect Response

From Occupy Democrats:  http://occupydemocrats.com/2017/02/22/trump-voters-say-suffered-8-years-obama-heres-perfect-response/
 
By


One of many, many infuriating parts of having Trump as the President is the insufferable smugness of conservatives. When they’re not telling you to “suck it up, snowflake” or trying to sell you fake news, they’re gloating: “We suffered for eight years under that tyrant Obummer. Now it’s your turn.”
One man, Scott Mednick had enough with his Republican acquaintances and penned this powerful response:

“I am surprised you would wish suffering upon me. That, of course, is your right, I suppose. I do not wish harm on anyone. Your statement seems to continue the ‘US v THEM’ mentality. The election is over. It is important to get past campaigning and campaign rhetoric and get down to what is uniting, not dividing and what is best for ALL Americans.

There will never be a President who does everything to everyone’s liking. There are things President Obama (and President Clinton) did that I do not like and conversely there are things I can point to that the Presidents Bush did that I agree with. So I am not 100% in lock step with the outgoing President but have supported him and the overall job he did.

And, if you recall, during the Presidential Campaign back in 2008 the campaign was halted because of the “historic crisis in our financial system.” Wall Street bailout negotiations intervened in the election process. The very sobering reality was that there likely could be a Depression and the world financial markets could collapse. The United States was losing 800,000 jobs a month and was poised to lose at least 10 million jobs the first year once the new President took office. We were in an economic freefall. So let us recall that ALL of America was suffering terribly at the beginning of Obama’s Presidency.

But I wanted to look back over the last 8 years and ask you a few questions. Since much of the rhetoric before Obama was elected was that he would impose Sharia Law, Take Away Your Guns, Create Death Panels, Destroy the Economy, Impose Socialism and, since you will agree that NONE of this came to pass, I was wondering: Why have you suffered so?

So let me ask: Gays and Lesbians can now marry and enjoy the benefits they had been deprived of. Has this caused your suffering?

When Obama took office, the Dow was 6,626. Now it is 19,875. Has this caused your suffering?
We had 82 straight months of private sector job growth – the longest streak in the history of the United States. Has this caused your suffering?

Especially considering where the economy was when he took over, an amazing 11.3 million new jobs were created under President Obama (far more than President Bush). Has this caused your suffering?
Obama has taken Unemployment from 10% down to 4.7%. Has this caused your suffering?
Homelessness among US Veterans has dropped by half. Has this caused your suffering?

Continue reading at:  http://occupydemocrats.com/2017/02/22/trump-voters-say-suffered-8-years-obama-heres-perfect-response/

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Yes, Donald Trump IS an anti-Semite

From Haaretz:  http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.772405

We have to just come out with it, those of us who are American Jews in the media. It's time we made Trump bathe in his own batshit.

Bradley Burston Feb 19, 2017

If you're Jewish and you're still a Trump person after this week, you can stop reading this right now. It's not for you.

After this week, there are only two kinds of American Jews left. There's the denomination called Trump Jews, and there's the rest of us.

No more. Now we know. That Thursday news conference stripped things down to where everyone could see it: Donald Trump IS an anti-Semite.

It's time for people like me to just come out with it – particularly those of us who are American Jews who work in the media, those of us who've honestly been trying hard to be as kind and careful and and nuanced as we could.

It's time we made him bathe in his own batshit.

Cowed by years of having the charge of anti-Semitism used as a weapon by the Jewish right in a relentless effort to silence the left, we found every intellectual excuse not to apply the charge to Trump.

We gave him every break. Like the egghead freiers that we are, we cautioned that the evidence for his being an anti-Semite was weak, anecdotal. But we said this knowing that his racist, thunderously bigoted presidential campaign, with its emphasis on media-bashing and high-profile Jewish villains at the center of conspiracy theories, unleashed the most dangerous wave of overt anti-Semitism in the United States since the 1930s.

And the only thing he did about it, was to smile and let it help him ride it to the White House.

We've been such nice little Jews for him for so long. We let him off the hook time after time after time.

Continue reading at:  http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.772405

Before Milo Yiannopoulos Backed Sex With Teens, He Spewed Anti-Semitism

From The Forward:  http://forward.com/fast-forward/363722/before-miio-yiannopoulos-backed-sex-with-teens-he-spewed-anti-semitism/
 


It wasn’t a great weekend for Milo Yiannopoulos. The Brietbart News editor and alt-right provocateur was bounced from his speaking gig at the conservative CPAC conference and lost his lucrative book deal after an interview surfaced in which he spoke positively about pedophilia.

But Yiannopoulos, who grew up Catholic and whose mother is Jewish, had already done plenty to offend Jews.

“Most of the generation Trump, the alt-right people, the people who like me, they’re not anti-Semites. They don’t care about Jews,” Yiannopoulos told Dave Rubin on the Rubin Report last March when discussing the rise of hate speech on social media.

“They may have some prejudice about Jews,” he added. “Like the Jews run everything. Well we do. 
The Jews run all the banks. Well we do. The Jews run the media. Well we do. You know they’re right about all that stuff.”

When pressed by Rubin, Yiannopoulos insisted that Jewish control over finance and the media is “not in debate,” explaining that “Jews completely dominate the media. Vastly disproportionately represented in all of these professions. That’s just a fact, it’s not anti-Semitic to point out statistics.”

If college liberals are so naive, why did the campus right fall for Yiannopoulos?

From The Washington Post:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2017/02/21/if-college-liberals-are-so-naive-why-did-the-campus-right-fall-for-yiannopoulos/


February 21, 2017

 
I promised myself that I’d spend less of 2017 dissecting the provocations of assorted jerks and frauds. I held out for a while. But as Milo Yiannopoulos’s reign as the latest conservative enfant terrible crumbled this weekend over video of him suggesting that very young teenagers can consent to sex with adults, with organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference rescinding a speaking invitation that they had extended to him and a conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster canceling his $250,000 book contract, it seemed worthwhile to note one particular element of his confidence game.

Yiannopoulos’s rise coincided with a new wave of protest on college campuses and was directly facilitated by conservative college students who booked him in an attempt to raise even more ire from their liberal peers. At the same time that conservatives were criticizing liberal college students as vulnerable snowflakes making unreasonable requests of their administrations, conservative college students and groups were enabling the rise of an intellectual fraud at the cost of their own funds and credibility.

Utopianism can be a form of naivete. Given the sheer variety of students who gather on most college campuses, it would take an impractical — if not Orwellian — effort for administrators and faculty to anticipate their students’ every need. And given the inevitable contradictions between those needs and desires, it would be impossible to accommodate every single one of them. Hoping for a world free of economic precariousness, myriad forms of discrimination and the unkindnesses of youth may be impractical, given present political conditions and university politics. The solutions that the left and liberal college students propose may even be downright undesirable. But as forms of callowness go, wanting to improve the world is hardly the worst.

Contrast the wide-eyed earnestness of progressive college students, for which they’ve earned so much criticism, with the gullibility of their conservative peers, whose weakness for Yiannopoulos’s shtick was what inspired the American Conservative Union to say yes when Yiannopoulos asked to speak at CPAC.

In keeping with the broader themes of our political moment, Yiannopoulos is less a conservative than a fellow traveler who vexes liberals for profit.

Yiannopoulos’s embrace of the Gamergate backlash against the diversity movement in video games helped make him a media figure in the United States, but it seemed like a canny calculation rather than a genuine commitment. His outrageous statements about everything from Jewish control of the media to the Black Lives Matter movement to transgender people have long seemed less the product of a genuine worldview than a search for buttons to press, accompanying the jabs with naughty snickers. To regard him as genuinely politically conservative requires ignorance of conservative principles. To see his act as outrageous rather than derivative requires an unfamiliarity with subjects including art and gay history.

And yet, conservative college students were willing to keep booking Yiannopoulos, since demonstrating “that we are not these special snowflakes who need safe spaces,” as the organizer of one such event at Yale put it, apparently counts as high principle.

Continue reading at:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2017/02/21/if-college-liberals-are-so-naive-why-did-the-campus-right-fall-for-yiannopoulos/

Monday, February 20, 2017

Milo Yiannopoulos book deal cancelled after outrage over child abuse comments

Evening is falling before the start of the Night of the Long Knives.

I feel a great deal of schadenfreude regarding the downfall of Useful Idiot Milo, may Caitlyn's fall from grace soon follow.

Milo is a nasty lying Nazi troll, famous for his association with a ultra right wing propaganda rag.

This Year's Jerry Sandusky Award for the promotion of Man/Boy Molestation goes to Milo Yainnopoulos

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/21/milo-yiannopoulos-book-deal-cancelled-outrage-child-abuse-comments

Simon & Schuster pulls forthcoming autobiography, titled Dangerous, for which it had reportedly paid a $250,000 advance

Monday 20 February 2017

Simon & Schuster has cancelled the publication of Milo Yiannopoulos’ book, and his fellow Breitbart employees have reportedly threatened to quit if he is not fired.

A statement from the publisher late on Monday said: “After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos.”
Yiannopoulos confirmed the report on Facebook with a post: “They canceled my book.”

He added: “I’ve gone through worse. This will not defeat me.”

The book was reportedly secured for an advance of US$250,000 (£200,000) and was to be published by Simon & Schuster’s conservative imprint, Threshold Editions.

According to Yiannopoulos’ Facebook page, the book – an autobiography titled Dangerous – was due out on 13 June.

It is the third book that Yiannopoulos has announced that has not eventuated, after he flagged forthcoming titles on the Gamergate controversy and Silicon Valley that never appeared.

Continue reading at: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/21/milo-yiannopoulos-book-deal-cancelled-outrage-child-abuse-comments

See Also:

Milo Yiannopoulos’s Pedophilia Comments Cost Him CPAC Role and Book Deal

Alt-right website tries to weed out Jews from drug reform

'It gets scary when the most die-hard Trump partisans, who happen to be neo-Nazis, are coming after you'
From The Times of Israel:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/alt-right-website-tries-to-weed-out-jews-from-drug-reform/

A neo-Nazi ‘news’ outlet — the US’s top hate site — claims that ‘kikes’ are behind attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his ardent anti-drug policies

By Madison Margolin February 18, 2017

NEW YORK — Back in 1971, the father of the American “War on Drugs” drew a connection between Jews and cannabis.

“You know it’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish,” president Richard Nixon said. “What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob, what is the matter with them? I suppose it’s because most of them are psychiatrists.” 

Most Jews are not psychiatrists, of course, just as most marijuana law reform activists are not Jewish. Nixon, however, wasn’t alone in calling Jews out for their involvement in cannabis policy.

An anti-Semitic article published by alt-right website The Daily Stormer in late November entitled “Weed Kikes Attacking Jeff Sessions!” denigrates a number of Jewish activists by name for opposing President Donald Trump’s nomination of Jeff Sessions for US Attorney General, a position that directs federal drug law enforcement.

“The Jews come at you from every angle. Here they are coming at you from the weed lmao [sic] angle,” the article says. “The marijuana legalization agenda is entirely Jew.”

The Daily Stormer, recently ranked the US’s top hate site by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), took its name from Der Stürmer, a Nazi newspaper started by Julius Streicher, who was later hanged for war crimes at Nuremberg. SPLC calls the website a “malignant presence in the real world.”

The Daily Stormer article, one of many displays of anti-Semitism that seem to be gaining traction in America, doesn’t merely attack Jews for being Jewish: The pretense of this article is that association with Jews is inherently a smear against the drug reform movement.

It sets a dangerous precedent, though its argument itself isn’t very strong. The story names a prominent Jewish cannabis activist, Adam Eidinger from Washington, DC, who led protests against Sessions’ nomination, and later goes on to describe a cannabis-themed seder that took place in Portland, Oregon last year.

Perhaps the article’s strongest — or most accurate — point is acknowledging “a Jew group that considers legalizing drugs as part of the Jew agenda of ‘Tikkun olam’ (fixing the world).”
There are indeed many Jewish cannabis activists (and many Jewish psychiatrists). Including those interviewed for this article, many of these activists propose that drug policy reform really does align with Jewish values like tikkun olam and standing up against oppression.

The alt-right may be using anti-Semitism to discredit marijuana law reform and clearly the “marijuana legalization agenda” is not “entirely Jew,” as the article states, but Jewish morality does play a role for some of the Jewish activists who are motivated by social justice.

Continue reading at:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/alt-right-website-tries-to-weed-out-jews-from-drug-reform/

Impeachable


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mr. President: ‘Just who the hell do you think you are?’

From The Miami Herald:  http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article132721909.html
 


Dear Mr. So-Called President:

So let me explain to you how this works.

You were elected as chief executive of the United States. I won’t belabor the fact that you won with a minority of the popular vote and a little help from your friends, FBI Director James Comey and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The bottom line is, you were elected.

And this does entitle you to certain things. You get your own airplane. You get free public housing. You get greeted with snappy salutes. And a band plays when you walk into the room.

But there is one thing to which your election does not entitle you. It does not entitle you to do whatever pops into your furry orange head without being called on it or, should it run afoul of the Constitution, without being blocked.

You and other members of the Fourth Reich seem to be having difficulty understanding this. Reports from Politico and elsewhere describe you as shocked that judges and lawmakers can delay or even stop you from doing things. Three weeks ago, your chief strategist, Steve Bannon, infamously declared that news media should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”

Just last Sunday, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller declared on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that “our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

What you do “will not be questioned?” Lord, have mercy. That’s the kind of statement that, in another time and place, would have been greeted with an out-thrust palm and a hearty “Sieg heil!” 
Here in this time and place, however, it demands a different response:

Just who the hell do you think you are?

Continue reading at:  http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article132721909.html

None dare call it treason: As the Flynn scandal widens, let’s consider the evidence that Trump is a traitor

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2017/02/16/none-dare-call-it-treason-in-the-wake-of-the-flynn-scandal-what-more-proof-do-we-need-that-donald-trump-is-a-traitor/

Has Trump's entire team been compromised by Putin? If so, everyone who continues to support him is complicit



On Monday evening, national security adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign after supposedly losing the “trust” of President Donald Trump by failing to adequately and fully explain his phone conversations with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.
 As The New York Times explained on Wednesday, FBI agents apparently concluded that Flynn had not been “entirely forthcoming” in describing a phone call he had with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States. That set in motion “a chain of events that cost Mr. Flynn his job and thrust Mr. Trump’s fledgling administration into a fresh crisis.”
 
As the Times report elaborated, Trump “took his time” deciding what to do about Flynn’s dishonesty and was none too eager to fire him.
But other aides [such as other than press secretary Sean Spicer] privately said that Mr. Trump, while annoyed at Mr. Flynn, might not have pushed him out had the situation not attracted such attention from the news media. Instead, according to three people close to Mr. Trump, the president made the decision to cast aside Mr. Flynn in a flash, the catalyst being a news alert of a coming article about the matter.
“Yeah, it’s time,” Mr. Trump told one of his advisers.
Flynn is not alone. Other Trump operatives are also under investigation by the FBI for potentially illegal contact with senior Russian intelligence operatives.

This information is not new. The New York Times and other American news media outlets were aware of reports about Russian tampering in the 2016 election as well as an ongoing federal investigation of Trump, his advisers and other representatives. Instead of sharing this information with the American people during the election campaign, the Times and other publications chose to exercise “restraint” and “caution.” Decades of bullying by the right-wing media and movement conservatives would pay great dividends.

Afraid of showing any so-called liberal bias, the corporate news media demonstrated little restraint in its obsessive reporting about the nonstory that was Hillary Clinton’s emails. This, in conjunction with other factors, almost certainly cost her the election.

In all, the Republican Party and its voters have abandoned their Cold War bona fides and their (somewhat exaggerated) reputation as die-hard enemies of Russia and the former Soviet Union. To borrow from the language of spy craft, it would seem that they have been “flipped” by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Despite mounting evidence suggesting that Trump’s administration has been compromised by Russia, his public continues to back him. The Republican Party and its leadership have largely chosen to support Trump in a type of political suicide mission because they see him as an opportunity to force their agenda on the American people and reverse or undo by the social progress made by the New Deal, the civil rights movement, feminism, the LGBT movement and other forces of progressive change.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2017/02/16/none-dare-call-it-treason-in-the-wake-of-the-flynn-scandal-what-more-proof-do-we-need-that-donald-trump-is-a-traitor/

Republican Health Proposal Would Redirect Money From Poor to Rich

What else is new from the Republican Thieves.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/upshot/republican-health-proposal-would-redirect-money-from-poor-to-rich.html
 
Republicans in Congress have been saying for months that they are working on a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare in the Trump era. Now we have the outline of that plan, and it looks as if it would redirect federal support away from poorer Americans and toward people who are wealthier.

A white paper drafted by House leadership and the staff of the House and Senate committees that oversee health policy details a structure that could replace large sections of the Affordable Care Act. Crucially, the proposal largely contains provisions that could be passed through a special budget process that requires only 50 Senate votes, and fulfills President Trump’s promise that the repeal and replacement of the law would take place “simultaneously.”

The plan would make major changes in how health care is financed for Americans who don’t get coverage from work. It would greatly expand the number of Americans who could benefit from federal help in buying health insurance, but it would change who benefits most from that support.
Obamacare, as the A.C.A. is known, extended health coverage to 20 million Americans through two main mechanisms. It expanded Medicaid coverage to Americans below or just above the poverty line in states that participated, and it offered income-based tax credits for middle-income people to buy their own insurance. Obamacare was a redistributive law, transferring money from rich to poor.

The Republican plan would alter both of those programs, changing the winners and losers. It would substantially cut funding for states in providing free insurance to low-income adults through Medicaid. And it would change how tax credits are distributed by giving all Americans not covered through work a flat credit by age, regardless of income.

That means that the biggest financial benefits would go to older Americans, like, say, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. If he didn’t have a job in the Trump cabinet and access to government coverage, a 64-year-old multimillionaire like him would get the same amount of financial assistance as someone his age, living in poverty, and he would get substantially more money than a poor, young person.

The idea of matching tax credits to age makes some sense. Older people tend to have higher medical bills, and insurers, even under Affordable Care Act rules, charge them substantially higher prices. The new plan would also simplify the current system, which requires verifying every applicant’s income and then giving just the right amount of financial assistance. It would also eliminate incentives for low-income people to avoid earning more (higher earners can face a reduction in benefits).

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/upshot/republican-health-proposal-would-redirect-money-from-poor-to-rich.html

Is The Trump White House High? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The banality of evil. Evil depends on good people saying nothing.

From The Baltimore Sun:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-airport-inhumanity-20170206-story.html
 
By Chris Edelson
Feb. 6, 2017

 
A week ago, men and women went to work at airports around the United States as they always do. They showered, got dressed, ate breakfast, perhaps dropped off their kids at school. Then they reported to their jobs as federal government employees, where, according to news reports, one of them handcuffed a 5-year-old child, separated him from his mother and detained him alone for several hours at Dulles airport.

At least one other federal employee at Dulles reportedly detained a woman who was traveling with her two children, both U.S. citizens, for 20 hours without food. A relative says the mother was handcuffed (even when she went to the bathroom) and threatened with deportation to Somalia.
At Kennedy Airport, still other federal employees detained and handcuffed a 65-year-old woman traveling from Qatar to visit her son, who is a U.S. citizen and serviceman stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. The woman was held for more than 33 hours, according to the New York Times, and denied use of a wheelchair.

The men and women who work for the federal government completed these and other tasks and then returned to their families, where perhaps they had dinner and read stories to their children before bedtime.

When we worry and wonder about authoritarian regimes that inflict cruelty on civilians, we often imagine tyrannical despots unilaterally advancing their sinister agendas. But no would-be autocrat can act alone. As a practical matter, he needs subordinates willing to carry out orders. Of course, neither Donald Trump nor Steve Bannon personally detained any of the more than 100 people held at airports over the weekend pursuant to the administration's executive order on immigration, visitation and travel to the United States. They relied on assistance.

The men and women who reportedly handcuffed small children and the elderly, separated a child from his mother and held others without food for 20 hours, are undoubtedly "ordinary" people. What I mean by that, is that these are, in normal circumstances, people who likely treat their neighbors and co-workers with kindness and do not intentionally seek to harm others. That is chilling, as it is a reminder that authoritarians have no trouble finding the people they need to carry out their acts of cruelty. They do not need special monsters; they can issue orders to otherwise unexceptional people who will carry them out dutifully.

This should not be a surprise. The famous Milgram experiment and subsequent studies suggest that many people will obey instructions from an authority figure, even if it means harming another person. It is also perfectly understandable (which does not mean it is justifiable). How many of us would refuse to follow an instruction from a superior at work? It is natural to want to keep one's job, even if at the price of inflicting cruelty on another human being, even perhaps a child.

Continue reading at:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-airport-inhumanity-20170206-story.html