Sessions Continues Trump's White Supremacist Campaign Against Chicago

Meanwhile, on Twitter...

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: White supremacy; privilege.]

"The video of this part-time Nazi, this junior secessionist, is a perfect portrait of the very white privilege the so-called 'alt-right' decries as liberal fiction. White privilege isn't just an easy bank loan or the cumulative effects of discriminatory housing policy. It's also the privilege to disappear. The privilege to terrorize a community and return to your regular life with the ease of peeling off a polo shirt."—CJ Hunt, writing for GQ about a video he shot of a young white man in Charlottesville who got separated from the group of white supremacists with whom he was demonstrating, so he took off his identifying shirt to conceal his ideology, as he tried to blend in with protestors chanting "Black Lives Matter."

Head on over to watch the video and/or read the whole thing.

[H/T to Eastsidekate.]

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt standing in the garden beside a plant blooming with small yellow flowers
Zelly in the garden.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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We Resist: Day 209

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Shame on Everyone Who Abets Donald Trump and Hope Hicks Tapped as White House Comms Director.

[Content Note: Nazism; violence; war] Earlier today, I mentioned in comments that a friend expressed shock last night that I would support antifa violence against Nazis. I replied, "Really? Because this nation fought a war in which over 400,000 of our people died to stop Nazis. How the fuck does it make sense that going to war to stop Nazis is a moral imperative but punching a Nazi is a bridge too far?"

I have relatives I never met because they died fighting WWII. Nazis kill people. Their ideology is explicitly eliminationist. Punching a Nazi is self-defense, and I support people's right to defend themselves against eliminationist violence. I will defend them, too.

So, yeah, I would punch a Nazi. And I would be fully prepared to deal with the consequences of that. I realize it's a criminal act to punch someone. And I'd still the fuck do it.

All of which is preface to this observation: I take up space in solidarity with the people who already risked their lives fighting Nazis once before.

S.H. Miller in a letter to the Roanoke Times: "My father was 23 years old, one of many young American males who landed June 6, 1944 on Normandy Beach in France to 'fight the Nazis.' My father was one of the lucky ones, returning home after being horrifically wounded in France, and awarded both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service. Those hate-filled marchers not only have forgotten all the men and women of every race, ethnicity, religion who have died upholding the ideals of being American, but have gravely dishonored their sacrifices. I am ashamed for all those who took part in this white supremacist march, and their most unpatriotic, un-American activity. I am grateful that my father never lived to see such despicable actions, the ignorant reverence of the Nazi flag, and the ideology that cost more than 400,000 American lives."

* * *

[CN: White supremacy; violence] Further on the subject of white supremacy being inherently eliminationist: Steve Crump at the Charlotte Observer: 'I'm Glad That Girl Died' During Virginia Protest, Says North Carolina KKK Leader. "Monday night, Justin Moore, the Grand Dragon for the Loyal White Knights of Ku Klux Klan, said he was glad Heyer died in the attack. 'I'm sorta glad that them people got hit and I'm glad that girl died,' Moore said in a voicemail to WBTV. 'They were a bunch of Communists out there protesting against somebody's freedom of speech, so it doesn't bother me that they got hurt at all. I think we're going to see more stuff like this happening at white nationalist events,' Moore warned."

Note that Moore doesn't give a single fucking shit about Heather Heyer's right to freedom of speech, or even her right to live. That's what we're dealing with.

[CN: White supremacy; anti-Semitism] Alan Zimmerman at In Charlottesville, the Local Jewish Community Presses On.
On Saturday morning, I stood outside our synagogue [Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, VA] with the armed security guard we hired after the police department refused to provide us with an officer during morning services. (Even the police department's limited promise of an observer near our building was not kept — and note, we did not ask for protection of our property, only our people as they worshipped).

Forty congregants were inside. Here's what I witnessed during that time.

For half an hour, three men dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles stood across the street from the temple. Had they tried to enter, I don't know what I could have done to stop them, but I couldn't take my eyes off them, either. Perhaps the presence of our armed guard deterred them. Perhaps their presence was just a coincidence, and I'm paranoid. I don't know.

Several times, parades of Nazis passed our building, shouting, "There's the synagogue!" followed by chants of "Seig Heil" and other anti-Semitic language. Some carried flags with swastikas and other Nazi symbols.

A guy in a white polo shirt walked by the synagogue a few times, arousing suspicion. Was he casing the building, or trying to build up courage to commit a crime? We didn't know. Later, I noticed that the man accused in the automobile terror attack wore the same polo shirt as the man who kept walking by our synagogue; apparently it's the uniform of a white supremacist group. Even now, that gives me a chill.

When services ended, my heart broke as I advised congregants that it would be safer to leave the temple through the back entrance rather than through the front, and to please go in groups.

This is 2017 in the United States of America.

Later that day, I arrived on the scene shortly after the car plowed into peaceful protesters. It was a horrific and bloody scene.

Soon, we learned that Nazi websites had posted a call to burn our synagogue. I sat with one of our rabbis and wondered whether we should go back to the temple to protect the building. What could I do if I were there? Fortunately, it was just talk – but we had already deemed such an attack within the realm of possibilities, taking the precautionary step of removing our Torahs, including a Holocaust scroll, from the premises.

Again: This is in America in 2017.
This is 2017 in the United States of America.

[CN: Images of white supremacist violence] Abdul Aziz at Colorlines: [PHOTO ESSAY] These 8 Images Sum Up the Absolute Terror of 'Unite the Right' Actions in Charlottesville. "On August 11 and 12, 2017, photojournalist Abdul Aziz did what he's been doing for at the past six months: He placed his body in the middle of White nationalist demonstrations and captured evidence of the manufactured chaos and violence."

Meanwhile, what the fuck is the Republican Party doing about the empowered white supremacy they've been cultivating for decades?

Either pretending that they haven't been exploiting white voters' racial resentments to win elections for decades (ex. Senator Mitch McConnell) or saying it's time to put all of this white supremacy nonsense behind us and move onto important things (ex. Senator Ron Johnson).

Then there are the Bushes, two former Republican presidents, who will condemn white supremacy while not even mentioning Donald Trump by name. How brave.

At the White House, a memo was issued urging Republican members of Congress "to echo the president's line, contending that 'both sides...acted inappropriately, and bear some responsibility.'"

And at the RNC:

It is the height of temerity for the RNC to claim that they don't want the votes of white supremacists. If they didn't have the votes of white supremacists, there wouldn't be a Republican officeholder in the entire goddamned country.

Finally, please be assured that everyone's definitely got their priorities straight:

* * *

Two items in resistance to anti-trans policy:

Auditi Guha at Rewire: The Legal Backlash Against Trump's Ban on Transgender Troops Has Begun. "Lawyers from GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) filed a federal lawsuit in Washington, D.C., this week on behalf of five transgender service members with nearly 60 years of combined service in the U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard, and Army. 'Trump's directive to exclude transgender people from military service has created a tidal wave of harms that have already been felt throughout our armed services. Transgender service members have been blindsided by this shift and are scrambling to deal with what it means for their futures and their families,' Shannon Minter, NCLR legal director, said in a statement."

Andy Towle: Texas Anti-Transgender 'Bathroom Bill' Dies Over Worries It Would Damage Economy, State's Image. "The hideous anti-transgender bathroom bill in Texas is officially dead after the legislature adjourned its special session without the support to bring the bill up. Reuters reports: 'Business leaders and civil rights groups had battled to defeat the bills, saying they advanced bigotry, would tarnish the state's image, and damage its economy. The measures were blocked by moderate House Republicans.'"

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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Excellent Work, Baltimore!

[Image: Confederate monument being removed in Baltimore overnight.]

Following the terrorist attack in Charlottesville, the Baltimore City Council unanimously passed a resolution to remove the city's four Confederate monuments, and they didn't waste any time getting it done.
Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday morning crews working for the city began removing the four Confederate monuments at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday and finished at 5:30 a.m.

"It's done," she said Wednesday morning. "They needed to come down. My concern is for the safety and security of our people. We moved as quickly as we could."
Well done, Baltimore. Thank you.

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Hope Hicks Tapped as White House Comms Director

image of Hope Hicks, a young thin brunette white woman
[Image via YouTube.]

Jonathan Swan at Axios: Hope Hicks Expected to Take Over Comms Director Duties.
Hope Hicks is expected to take over the duties of the White House communications director on an interim basis, per a source familiar with the arrangements.

The big picture: A lot of people think she is the only one who can do the job, and it shouldn't be ruled out that Hicks, who didn't actively seek the job, could last in the position on a more permanent basis.

...Trump wants someone he knows in the job: Trump trusts Hicks to speak on his behalf in a way he'll never trust another member of the comms staff, viewing her almost as another daughter. Bringing in an outsider like Mike Dubke was a disaster, as the president never trusted him.

...People who really know Hicks inside the White House say she is chronically underestimated due to her age and past career experience, but she gets Trump in a way others don't due to the experience of the grueling campaign.
Congratulations on your new job as communications director for a disgusting white supremacist, Hope Hicks. Shame on you.

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Shame on Everyone Who Abets Donald Trump

[Image is text from a New York Times article reading: "No word in the Trump lexicon is as tread-worn as 'unprecedented.' But members of the president's staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private."]

Shame on every single person working for this despicable man. Shame on each of them for working to advance his sickening agenda. Shame on all of them for tolerating his divisive, damaging, dangerous bigotries (and likely sharing them), but squirming about his making them public, because it makes their extremely privileged lives awkward.

Shame on this fucking guy.

[Image is Mike Pence staring at Donald Trump while he is speaking, as they both sit at a table together.]

Shame on the media who treated Trump like entertainment and spectacle; who covered the campaign by only scrutinizing optics and barely addressing policy; who did not meaningfully explore Trump's evident bigotry; who cynically recast his supporters' bigotry as "economic insecurity"; who did not make plain that "Make America Great Again" is a thinly veiled white supremacist slogan and that "America First" is an anti-Semitic phrase; who did not incessantly detail Trump's personal history of white supremacy, including housing discrimination, his campaign against the Central Park Five, his birther crusade against President Barack Obama, his support of eugenics, his gross campaign announcement address, his entire campaign of dogwhistled and bullhorned racism.

Shame on the media for giving seemingly endless airtime to an empty podium awaiting Trump's presence.

screen cap of CNN coverage showing an empty podium with an all-caps chyron reading: 'IN MINUTES: TRUMP UNLEASHES CLINTON ATTACK SPEECH'

Shame on everyone who said — and are saying still —that there is no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

What we saw from Trump yesterday was hideous and contemptible and appalling, but it was not surprising. That is who Trump is. It is who he has been his whole life; it is who he declared himself to be when running for president; it is who he has been straight through every day of his presidency.

And yet millions of people chose to abet his ascendancy and choose to abet him still.

Shame on him, and shame on them.

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Open Thread

image of a red couch

Hosted by a red sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Brenda A.: "When you're listening to the radio, are you listening more to the words or to the melodies?"

Consciously focusing more on the lyrics. Subconsciously focusing more on the music, particularly the arrangement and/or production.

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Here Is Something Nice

[Image Description: David Beckham sits on a teak beach chair on a stone tile deck. Beside him is a large box labeled LEGO Disney castle, the unassembled contents of which are strewn across part of his chair and most of the empty chair beside him. He is deep in concentration, reading the instruction booklet.]

1am done... Someone's gonna have a nice surprise in the morning 👸 zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ❤️

A post shared by David Beckham (@davidbeckham) on

[Image Description: David Beckham poses in front of the completed castle, a small but proud grin on his face. The castle sits on a mantle in front of a closed drape, and all the little characters are perfectly posed around their completed 4,000-piece home.]

My profound thanks to my friend Jess Luther for making sure I saw these and for squeeing over them with me, because Becks forever.

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Trump's Chilling Press Conference

This afternoon, Donald Trump appeared at a podium in the gilded lobby of Trump Tower and unleashed his fury that leftists weren't being accountable for their violence in Charlottesville. It was Trump fully being Trump, and it was deeply chilling.

TRUMP: But when you say "the alt-right"— Define alt-right to me. [points at reporter] You define it. Go ahead.


TRUMP: No, define it for me! Come on, let's go. Define it for me. [the reporter tries to speak] Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging in? [holds up his hand to silence her] Excuse me. What about the alt-left that came charged at, as you say, the alt-right? [angrily] Do they have any semblance of guilt?

[reporters try to ask questions; Trump holds up his hand to silence them]

TRUMP: What about— Let me ask you this: What about the fact they came charging — that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs— [mimes swinging a club] Do they have any problem? I think they do. [reporters try to speak; he holds up his hand] So, you know, as far as I'm concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day— [a male reporter says something, and Trump points at him and lowers his voice] Wait a minute. I'm not finished. [the reporter keeps talking] I'm not finished, Fake News. That was a horrible day—

[reporters again try to ask questions and Trump tightens his mouth and grips the podium, looking enraged]

TRUMP: I will tell you something: I watched those very closely — much more closely than you people watched it — and you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I'll say it right now. [reporters try to speak, but Trump speaks over them more loudly] You had a group— You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.
MALE REPORTER, OFF-SCREEN: —on both sides, sir? You said there was hatred, there was violence on both sides? [crosstalk]

TRUMP: Well, I do think there's blame, yes. I think there's blame on both sides. You look at— You look at both sides; I think there's blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it, and you don't have any doubt about it, either! [reporter tries to speak, but Trump holds up his hand] And, AND, and if you reported it accurately, you would say.

[crosstalk as reporters ask questions; someone asks about Heather Heyer losing her life]

TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me. [crosstalk] And you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people. On both sides! You had people in that group— [reporter tries to speak; Trump holds up his hand] Excuse me. Excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

[crosstalk as reporters ask questions]

TRUMP: You know, George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we gonna take down— [reporter tries to respond; Trump holds up his hand] Excuse me. Are we gonna take down— Are we gonna take down statues to George Washington? [reporter tries to respond; Trump plows on] How about Thomas Jefferson? Whaddaya think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him? [reporter tries to respond; Trump plows on] Okay, good. Are we gonna take down the statue? 'Cause he was a major slave owner! Now are we gonna take down his statue?

[reporters tries to respond; crosstalk as other reporters try to ask questions; Trump holds up his hand]

TRUMP: So you know what? It's fine. You're changing history; you're changing culture; and you had people — and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally — but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats— [shakes his head disgustedly] You got a lotta bad people in the other group.

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Emo Prince vs. Trump: Emo Prince Always Wins

I don't know if you know this or not, but current President of the United States Donald Trump used to tweet a lot about Kristen Stewart and her former fucking boyfriend Robert Pattinson. Trump had a number of very cool opinions about their relationship and used to tweet those opinions in a perfectly normal and healthy way.

Etc etc etc. Just normal stuff. Blink. Gulp.

Anyway, Robert Pattison — about whom I used to write silly stuff because I like him, and if a day ever comes again when we are not teetering precariously on the brink of global thermonuclear war, I will quit writing about politics and never publish anything again unless it is about Robert Pattinson's glorious hair — is doing promotions for a new movie, and, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he was asked about Trump tweeting about him. And his answer is suitably amazing.
Does it seem somewhat surreal that the current president of the United States once wrote a bunch of tweets about you?

[Laughs] I think there's so many different levels of it. Your identity exists on many different planes at the same time and they all can be quite different from each other. When he said that, it didn't really mean anything. But I guess now I'm sort of thinking, like, "Well, I guess that is related to me." But how does that fit in with all the other things going on in my life? And sometimes you think, "Can I use this in my acting? Or should I be putting it away?" It's kind of interesting, I guess. I don't know — this could be why people get annoyed with me.
That is a perfect response. For a dozen different reasons. But chiefly because it isn't about Donald Trump at all.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat lying on the back of the sofa, looking very flat

This picture of Sophie totally cracks me up. I was lying on my back on the sofa last night when I took this photo of her, so I took it from below her, and the angle, combined with the peculiar way she was lying, just made her look so flat! LOL. She's very talented — she can be a catloaf OR a pancake!

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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We Resist: Day 208

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Trump Didn't Want to Explicitly Condemn White Supremacy and So What Happens Now? and It's Like I Don't Even Care About Unifying in Opposition to Donald Trump.

Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig, and Rosalind S. Helderman at the Washington Post: Trump Campaign Emails Show Aide's Repeated Efforts to Set Up Russia Meetings.
Three days after Donald Trump named his campaign foreign policy team in March 2016, the youngest of the new advisers sent an email to seven campaign officials with the subject line: "Meeting with Russian Leadership - Including Putin."

The adviser, George Papadopoulos, offered to set up "a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump," telling them his Russian contacts welcomed the opportunity, according to internal campaign emails read to The Washington Post.

The proposal sent a ripple of concern through campaign headquarters in Trump Tower. Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis wrote that he thought NATO allies should be consulted before any plans were made. Another Trump adviser, retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, cited legal concerns, including a possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Russia and of the Logan Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments.

But Papadopoulos, a campaign volunteer with scant foreign policy experience, persisted. Between March and September, the self-described energy consultant sent at least a half-dozen requests for Trump, as he turned from primary candidate to party nominee, or for members of his team to meet with Russian officials. Among those to express concern about the effort was then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who rejected in May 2016 a proposal from Papadopoulos for Trump to do so.

The exchanges are among more than 20,000 pages of documents the Trump campaign turned over to congressional committees this month after review by White House and defense lawyers.

...To experts in Russian intelligence gathering, the Papadopoulos chain offers further evidence that Russians were looking for entry points and playing upon connections with lower-level aides to penetrate the 2016 campaign.
This reminds me of a previous piece by Hamburger and Helderman at the WaPo, about how the campaign was terribly lax in its vetting, bringing on "anyone with a pulse" who was willing to work for Trump. That left his campaign, in particular, wide open to "walkers," sent in by Russian intelligence.

And, given the increasing problems the administration is having hiring qualified and competent people to fill positions at the top of the federal government, there's no reason to believe that has changed. Which is very concerning indeed.

Lachlan Markay and Spencer Ackerman at the Daily Beast: Paul Manafort Sought $850 Million Deal with Putin Ally and Alleged Gangster. "Paul Manafort partnered on an $850 million New York real-estate deal with an ally of Vladimir Putin and a Ukrainian moneyman whom the Justice Department recently described as an 'organized-crime member.' That's according a 2008 memo written by Rick Gates, Manafort's business partner and fellow alumnus of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. In it, Gates enthused about finalizing with the financing necessary to acquire New York's louche Drake Hotel. Two former federal prosecutors told The Daily Beast that the hotel deal was likely to be an item of focus for special counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into ties between Trump associates and the Kremlin." Whoooooops!

* * *

[Content Note for this section: White supremacy.]

Note that Trump's entire reason for even retweeting this person is to once again imply that Chicago is a violent shithole thanks to its violent Black population. And don't think Trump's rhetoric doesn't matter: Since moving to Pennsylvania, I have been asked multiple times by people who learned I lived in Chicagoland if Chicago is really the nightmare hellscape Trump says it is. Fucking asshole.

Jessica Schulberg at the Huffington Post: Controversial Trump Aide Katharine Gorka Helped End Funding for Group That Fights White Supremacy.
Weeks before a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to three deaths and 19 injuries, the Trump administration revoked a grant to Life After Hate, a group that works to de-radicalize neo-Nazis.

The Department of Homeland Security had awarded the group $400,000 as part of its Countering Violent Extremism program in January, just days before former President Barack Obama left office. It was the only group selected for a grant that focused exclusively on fighting white supremacy. But the grant money was not immediately disbursed.

Trump aides, including Katharine Gorka, a controversial national security analyst known for her anti-Muslim rhetoric, were already working toward eliminating Life After Hate's grant and to direct all funding toward fighting what the president has described as "radical Islamic terrorism."
If you're wondering if there is any relation, yes, Katharine Gorka is married to actual White House Nazi Sebastian Gorka.

Yesha Callahan at the Root: Interview: How Corey Long Fought White Supremacy with Fire. "From the death of Heather Heyer to the brutal beating of Deandre Harris and the numerous others injured, it'll be a long time before the residents of Charlottesville are able to make any sense of what happened. But Corey Long, a lifelong resident, not only witnessed the town going from peaceful to chaotic, but was captured in one of the most iconic photos taken over the three-day period. The 23-year-old elder care worker says he went to the counterprotests to have his voice heard. He didn't want to see racism win and destroy the city he was raised in. 'I went out to voice my opinion. To have my freedom of speech. Just like the racist Nazis who took over my town,' Long said in an interview with The Root. ...Long said the only weapon he had was a can of spray paint that a white supremacist threw at him earlier, so he took a lighter to the spray paint and turned it into a flame thrower. And a photographer snapped the photo. But inside of every photograph there's an untold story."

Callahan's reporting on Charlottesville has been fantastic. If you missed her piece in which she spoke to Deandre Harris, linked in yesterday's We Resist thread, make sure to catch that one, too.

* * *

Ronald A. Klain at the Washington Post: If Trump Goes Down, Pence Will Too. From your fingertips to Maude's ears, Mr. Klain!
In the 213 years since the 12th Amendment created our system of joint presidential-vice-presidential tickets, no vice president has been elected to the highest office after serving with a president who declined to seek, or was defeated in seeking, a second elected term. And as for coming to office via the president’s ouster, the only vice president to follow that path, Gerald Ford, lost when he campaigned to retain the office — and he had far less to do with President Richard M. Nixon’s scandals than Pence does with the mess around Trump.

This is the vice-presidential prisoner's dilemma: There is no distance he can achieve, no political support he can muster, no congressional chits he can collect, no donor base he can assemble that can survive the fallout from a failed presidency. A vice president is either implicated as being in the loop or looks foolish if he insists that he was out of it. There's too much video of any vice president praising, promoting and partnering with his boss to say, "President who?"

...Nothing Pence is doing now will break him out of a political imprisonment of his own creation.

In case you missed it, you can hear me on the Hellbent podcast talking about why it's so important to prevent Mike Pence from assuming the presidency.

* * *

Julian Borger at the Guardian: North Korea Attack on Guam Could 'Quickly Escalate into War' Says James Mattis. "James Mattis, the US defence secretary, has warned that a North Korean missile attack aimed at US territory 'could escalate into war very quickly,' saying US forces would know 'within moments' if one was heading towards Guam, home to military bases and 160,000 people."

Game on. For fuck's sake.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

Open Wide...

It's Like I Don't Even Care About Unifying in Opposition to Donald Trump

During the election, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon famously tousled then-candidate Donald Trump's hair, after which his ratings plummeted, because lots of people don't find it entertaining to watch a grown man giggling while playing with the hair of an aspiring dictator.

In May, the New York Times published a gross White Man Redemption Story, starring Fallon, who whined about how bad all the criticism had made him feel. He had the opportunity to apologize, but instead went for righteous defense: "I don't want to be bullied into not being me, and not doing what I think is funny. Just because some people bash me on Twitter, it's not going to change my humor or my show."

That's taking a position on the wisdom and decency of normalizing a man known to be an aggressive bigot as he was seeking to lead the nation. Indeed, it is a political position (despite the incessant claims that Fallon isn't political). It's a political position with which I happen to firmly disagree.

Last night, Fallon took two minutes at the top of his show "to address the events in Charlottesville." His first words were: "Even though the Tonight Show isn't a political show..." Oh, but it is.

Fallon condemned the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville. What he did not do, again, is apologize for his own role in Trump's ascendancy — for using the highly visible platform of the Tonight Show, which is indeed regarded (wrongly) by millions of viewers as "apolitical," to normalize the very man who has leveraged the United States presidency to empower the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, and elsewhere.

That failure made Fallon's statement incomplete, at best.

If you guessed that the response to this tweet was my being resoundingly lectured for being part of the problem for having "purity tests" and not welcoming Fallon "with open arms," give yourself a million gold stars.

You see, the problem isn't that Jimmy Fallon used the veneer of apoliticism that upholding the oppressive status quo confers upon his show to bestow mainstream credentials on the extremist Trump, earning millions of dollars and risking absolutely nothing to wait to say something until after a white woman has been killed by white supremacists empowered by the extremist he helped normalize, and even then failing to make himself trustworthy by acknowledging his mistake, while people with much smaller platforms and much more to lose took enormous risks speaking out against and sounding alarms about Trump every day, a job that was made exponentially more difficult by Fallon's "apolitical" hair-tousling routine.

The problem is that I'm a bitch.

Isn't it always?

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So What Happens Now?

[Content Note: White supremacy; anti-semitism; violence.]

Now that white supremacists have been even further empowered by Donald Trump's catastrophic failure to singly and strongly condemn their ideology, it's unlikely, to put it mildly, that they are going to do anything but escalate and intensify public displays of their vicious bigotry.

Which will in turn oblige decent people to push back. While the president and his administration fail utterly to side with citizens who resist violent oppression.

If anything, this administration will begin cracking down on the resistance.

A couple of relevant items today then:

Alan Feuer at the New York Times: Far Right Plans Its Next Moves with a New Energy.

The white supremacists and right-wing extremists who came together over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va., are now headed home, many of them ready and energized, they said, to set their sights on bigger prizes.

Some were making arrangements to appear at future marches. Some were planning to run for public office. Others, taking a cue from the Charlottesville event — a protest, nominally, of the removal of a Confederate-era statue — were organizing efforts to preserve white heritage symbols in their home regions.

Calling it "an opportune time," Preston Wiginton, a Texas-based white nationalist, declared on Saturday that he planned to hold a "White Lives Matter" march on Sept. 11 on the campus of Texas A&M — with a keynote speaker, Richard B. Spencer, who was featured at the Charlottesville event.
One hitch: Texas A&M has canceled the rally. "The school said in a statement that it made the decision after consulting law enforcement and 'considerable study.' The event won’t happen because of 'concerns about the safety of its students, faculty, staff, and the public,' the school said. The move is sure to prompt questions about its legality, however, because A&M is a public university that can't block an event because of the views of its organizer."

But the school's got a fairly compelling argument about safety, given that Heather Heyer was killed and 19 people injured by a single person at the white supremacist event in Charlottesville, and many others, like Deandre Harris, were seriously injured by mobs of white supremacists, too.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Meanwhile, in Boston, a 17-year-old young man "dressed in all black" smashed the Holocaust Memorial, which is the second time it has been vandalized this summer. "The suspect was detained by two bystanders until police arrived at the scene. Witnesses said they heard the suspect ranting incoherently."

With an utterly different goal, protesters in Durham toppled a Confederate monument. "Gov. Roy Cooper criticized the action, tweeting that 'the racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable but there is a better way to remove these monuments.'" Cool, you should do that then!

As for the administration, when asked whether Trump would make a presidential visit to Charlottesville, one White House official bluntly responded: "Why the hell would we do that?" Hahaha of course. Why would Donald Trump behave like a president? Good point.

Trump did, however, announce that he is "considering pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court in July." Said Trump: "He's a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him." Arpaio is a terrible human being, who is aggressively bigoted. He's also a hero of many white supremacists and nativists. So the timing here is important: Trump is signaling to white supremacists that he's got their back, after ostensibly condemning them.

And this morning, he signaled that he is still waging war on the free press by retweeting a cartoon image of a train bearing his name smashing into a CNN reporter. "The cartoon reads 'Fake news can't stop the Trump train.' In July, Trump shared a GIF of himself beating the CNN logo to a pulp. Thirty minutes after promoting the cartoon at 7 a.m. Tuesday, it was deleted from Trump's Twitter feed." Which was long enough for his supporters to see it. As always, deleting the tweet may be a violation of the Presidential Records Act, but he doesn't give a fuck.

Finally, on the subject of the administration cracking down on the resistance, Julia Carrie Wong and Olivia Solon at the Guardian report: U.S. Government Demands Details on All Visitors to Anti-Trump Protest Website.
The US government is seeking to unmask every person who visited an anti-Trump website in what privacy advocates say is an unconstitutional "fishing expedition" for political dissidents.

The warrant appears to be an escalation of the department of justice's campaign against anti-Trump activities, including the harsh prosecution of inauguration day protesters.

On 17 July, the department of justice served a website-hosting company, DreamHost, with a search warrant for every piece of information it possessed that was related to a website that was used to coordinate protests during Donald Trump's inauguration. The warrant covers the people who own and operate the site, but also seeks to get the IP addresses of 1.3 million people who visited it, as well as the date and time of their visit and information about what browser or operating system they used.

The website,, was used to coordinate protests and civil disobedience on 20 January, when Trump was inaugurated.

"This specific case and this specific warrant are pure prosecutorial overreach by a highly politicized department of justice under [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions," said Chris Ghazarian, general counsel for DreamHost. "You should be concerned that anyone should be targeted simply for visiting a website."

The warrant was made public Monday, when DreamHost announced its plans to challenge the government in court. The department of justice declined to comment. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

All of this is headed in the worst possible direction. Our worst fears about a Trump presidency were our worst fears for a reason.

It's likely going to get a lot worse before it get better. I wish I had better news. I really do.

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Trump Didn't Want to Explicitly Condemn White Supremacy

Buried deep in an AP piece by Jonathan Lemire comes this no-shit but nonetheless important reveal:

Loath to appear to be admitting a mistake, Trump was reluctant to adjust his remarks.

The president had indicated to advisers before his initial statement Saturday that he wanted to stress a need for law and order, which he did. He later expressed anger to those close to him about what he perceived as the media's unfair assessment of his remarks, believing he had effectively denounced all forms of bigotry, according to outside advisers and White House officials.

...At the trade event later in the day, he was asked why it took two days for him to offer an explicit denunciation of the hate groups.

"They have been condemned," Trump responded before offering a fresh criticism of some media as "fake news."

He followed with a tweet declaring "the #fakenews will never be satisfied."
While it's undoubtedly true that Trump is always "loath to appear to be admitting a mistake," I'm reasonably certain that, in this case, Trump was even more "reluctant to adjust his remarks" because he doesn't actually want to explicitly condemn white supremacists. The only way he could bring himself to do it was to "denounce all forms of bigotry," which, in his mind, meant also alluding to the "bigotry" of counterprotestors, including and especially Black Lives Matter.

As for Trump tweeting about how the media "will never be satisfied," I predicted that would be the precise message following his second (failed) attempt at condemning white supremacy, and I had a few thoughts on why that was.

The entire reason that he is predictable to me is because he adheres unerringly to the patterns of white supremacy. That is telling. And it is why no one should ever make fucking excuses for this president, ever.

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Open Thread

Hosted by a turquoise sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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Question of the Day

What is the number one resource you would recommend to a white person just beginning to get engaged with anti-racist work?

I recommend Dr. King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by resistance.

Recommended Reading:

Kenrya Rankin: [Content Note: White supremacist violence] What You Need to Know About the Aftermath of the Racist Violence in Charlottesville

Imani Gandy: [CN: Racism; voter suppression] Indiana Republicans Apparently Don't Want Black People to Vote

Fannie Wolfe: Let's Not Downplay "Identity Politics"

Victoria Law: [CN: Nativism; displacement; racism; misogyny; violence; sexual assault] After Abuse and Prison, a Woman Faces Deportation to a Country She's Never Been To

Keith Reid-Cleveland: [CN: Police brutality; death; racism] Betty Shelby, Who Shot and Killed Terence Crutcher, Is Officially a Cop Again

Charline Jao: Shonda Rhimes Moving to Netflix Is a Really Big Deal

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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