I Didn’t Vote for Trump. So I Have Nothing to Regret.

image of me holding a Hillary Clinton branded glass and smiling
I was with her. June 6, 2016.

Julius Krein, a conservative who founded the pro-Trump journal American Affairs, now regrets his vote for Donald Trump. What a story! Such an astounding story, in fact, that he has been given space at the New York Times to tell his amazing tale of being catastrophically wrong.

He uses an awful lot of words explaining how he came to be “riveted” by then-candidate Donald Trump, and pretending that Trump understands policy enough to be serious about it, before he comes to this:
From the very start of his run, one of the most serious charges against Mr. Trump was that he panders to racists. Many of his supporters, myself included, managed to convince ourselves that his more outrageous comments — such as the Judge Gonzalo Curiel controversy or his initial hesitance to disavow David Duke’s endorsement — were merely Bidenesque gaffes committed during the heat of a campaign.

It is now clear that we were deluding ourselves. Either Mr. Trump is genuinely sympathetic to the David Duke types, or he is so obtuse as to be utterly incapable of learning from his worst mistakes. Either way, he continues to prove his harshest critics right.
Even now. Even after Trump responded to a chilling display of white supremacist violence, in which one woman was killed and many others injured, by incredibly asserting “there’s blame on both sides.” Even after he insisted there were “very fine people” among the white supremacist provocateurs. Even after Trump has repeatedly employed a white supremacist talking point in defense of Confederate monuments.

Even now, Krein is not sure whether Trump is merely obtuse, or “sympathetic to the David Duke types.”

And he fails utterly to even entertain the possibility that Trump is himself an avowed white supremacist.

Which he clearly is.

Someone does not live a life careening from housing discrimination against Black applicants, to public musings on eugenics and the superiority of one’s own genes, to a crusade against exonerated men of color, to a birther campaign against the nation’s first Black president, to a presidential announcement address steeped in racism and nativism, to a campaign slogan that’s dogwhistled white supremacy, to anti-Semitic tweets and sloganeering, to an attack on a judge because of his ethnicity, to an entire campaign exploiting racial and xenophobic fears, to a presidential agenda centered around toxic attacks on immigrants and Muslims and demonizing cities with significant Black and/or immigrant populations, to defending Confederate monuments, and everything that has come before and in between, if one is merely obtuse.

Trump’s record on race is not one of accidental gaffes. It is one of a lifetime commitment to white supremacy.

And this, of course, is merely one of Krein’s failures to see Trump for who he really is. It is a monumental failure, and yet only one of many.

Donald Trump is a Russian nesting doll of character defects. Where other people have personality traits, Trump just has an endless promenade of red flags billowing in the breeze of his own shouted bravado. If there is a redeemable quality about the man, I have yet to see evidence of its existence.

And Krein overlooked all of it. Now he laments: “Far from making the transformative ‘deals’ he promised voters, his only talent appears to be creating grotesque media frenzies — just as all his critics said.”

Just as all his critics said. Not that they are being given space on the pages of the paper of record to make their case.

I was right about Donald Trump from the moment he announced his despicable candidacy. While highly paid (and highly visible) political commentators were having excited conversations about how “entertaining” Trump was, I was writing pieces about how dangerous Trump is, warning against treating him like a punchline.

Fully two years ago, I wrote: “The GOP would love it if we continue to treat Trump like a sideshow, instead of the uncensored id of their disgusting party that he really is.”

Where’s my New York Times spread for seeing plain as day one month into Trump’s campaign what Krein still cannot say with conviction: That Trump is a dangerous white supremacist who viciously exploits people who continue to extend him good faith, despite abundant evidence he doesn’t deserve any.

Krein’s piece comes immediately on the heels of the New York Times publishing the penned regret of a U-Va student newspaper editor who realized, only after Heather Heyer had been killed, that he had been “naive” about white supremacists.


What this tells us, among other things, is that the political media has not learned its lesson from the disastrous 2016. Still the voices of white men are prioritized, even when all they have to say is: I was wrong.

Maybe, just maybe, we should start listening to the people who got it right in the first place.

[Also published at Medium.]

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley lying on the couch, with his loooong nose in close-up
The nose knows.

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 210

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: Today in White Supremacy White House and Steve Bannon: A Story in Three Parts. And by Fannie: Throwback Thursday to When We Were Gaslit About Bigotry.

In yesterday's We Resist installment, in which I discussed my own support of strategic violence against Nazis, I wrote: "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."

On that note, I started my day (thanks to Eastsidekate, who passed it along) watching a video of anti-racist activists in Durham, North Carolina, lining up at the sheriff's office to turn themselves in for toppling a Confederate monument.


Video Description: A line of people of different races, genders, ages, identities, all wearing black t-shirts, walk toward the front door of the sheriff's office. They are filmed by a number of people holding cameras, and cheered by onlookers, who then chant: "Thank you. We love you. Thank you. We love you. Thank you. We love you." A person stands in the crowd of onlookers holding a sign reading: "Tear Down White Supremacy."

This is what principled resistance looks like. They tore down a monument to white supremacy. Their civil disobedience was unlawful, if nonetheless deeply ethical. They showed up, proudly, to accept the consequences.

Incredibly moving.

* * *

In absolute contrast... Caitlin MacNeil at TPM: Trump Increasingly Angry, Isolated Amid Fallout from Charlottesville Response. "Trump has been acting out of anger and has become increasingly isolated in the White House this week. After his initial statement failed to offer a full-throated condemnation of white nationalist and other hate groups, Trump was pressured by his aides to follow up with a more forceful statement. But after doing so, the President became angry and suspicious about attempts to control his messaging, prompting him to follow up with an impromptu news conference Tuesday that went off the rails when he blamed both sides for the violence in Charlottesville, Politico reported. Trump felt vindicated following that presser, according to the Washington Post." Of course he did.

But the more Trump rages in defense of white supremacy, the more that he's going to invite invigorated pushback — including from Democrats who see an opportunity to exploit, for citizens' great benefit, the current rift (even if only rhetorically) between the White House and Congressional Republicans.

E.A. Crunden at ThinkProgress: Two Politicians Want to Take Down the Confederate Statues in the U.S. Capitol. "Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted on Wednesday night that he would introduce a bill taking down Confederate statues in the building, though he did not give a specific timeline or indicate when the bill would be brought forward. ...House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) joined Booker's call to action on Thursday. 'If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy, I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately,' Pelosi said."

Pelosi's entire statement reads:
The halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy. The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation.

The Confederate statues in the halls of Congress have always been reprehensible. If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy, I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately.

Under the leadership of Democrats in Congress, we have recognized more women and people of color in Congress's collection of statues, including Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, and Helen Keller. As Speaker, we relocated Robert E. Lee out of a place of honor in National Statuary Hall — a place now occupied by the statue of Rosa Parks.

There is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country.

The number of Confederate statues at the Capitol is a major problem. It has been for a long time (always) — and the Democrats started addressing it when they were last the majority in Congress. But the progress came to a standstill once Republicans reclaimed the majority.

Following, a glimpse at the scope of the issue:

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post: The U.S. Capitol Is Basically a Confederate Statue Bazaar. "Just steps away from a statue of civil rights hero Rosa Parks stands the statue of Alexander Hamilton Stephens, who served as vice president of the Confederacy. The statue describes him as 'STATESMAN ― AUTHOR ―PATRIOT.' The inscription offers his credo: 'I am afraid of nothing on the earth, above the earth, beneath the earth, except to do wrong.' In 1861, he gave a speech in which he defended the institution of slavery and said it was 'an error' to assume 'the equality of the races.'"

Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post: The U.S. Capitol Has at Least Three Times as Many Statues of Confederate Figures as It Does of Black People. "In the Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection there are three times as many statues of Confederate soldiers and politicians as there are statues of Black people in the entire Capitol complex, according to records maintained by the Architect of the Capitol. ...Twelve of the statues memorialize individuals who either fought for the Confederacy or were active in Confederate politics. But not a single Black American is represented in the Statuary Hall Collection."


Think about that.

Finally on this subject, I did a Twitter thread earlier today on the "Washington/Jefferson" talking point employed in defense of Confederate monuments. That thread begins with this tweet (scroll down from there for the whole thing).

* * *

Esme Cribb at TPM: Phoenix Mayor Calls on Trump to Delay Planned Campaign Rally After Charlottesville.
Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday called on [Donald] Trump to postpone a planned campaign rally in the city after violence erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"I am disappointed that [Donald] Trump has chosen to hold a campaign rally as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville," Stanton said in a statement.

He suggested that Trump might have scheduled the rally to "announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio," who was convicted in July of criminal contempt of court.

"Then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation," Stanton said. "It is my hope that more sound judgment prevails and that he delays his visit."
Trump will not be delaying his visit, he confirmed this morning.

Meanwhile, just as North Korea was backing away from the edge of the nuclear cliff, Defense Secretary James Mattis inexplicably ratcheted the rhetoric back up today.


This is exactly what I was worried about yesterday. There isn't a single person in the Trump White House who isn't aware that military action increases support for presidents. They are all keenly aware of that upsetting reality — including Mike Pence, who [CN: video may autoplay at link] doubled-down on his support of Trump (and Trump's defense of white supremacy) yesterday, after his early return from his trip abroad. He's all in, on whatever plan they're cooking up.

* * *

In other news...

Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo at the New York Times: Trump Lawyer Forwards Email Echoing Secessionist Rhetoric. "Trump's personal lawyer on Wednesday forwarded an email to conservative journalists, government officials and friends that echoed secessionist Civil War propaganda and declared that the group Black Lives Matter 'has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.' The email forwarded by John Dowd, who is leading the president's legal team, painted the Confederate general Robert E. Lee in glowing terms and equated the South's rebellion to that of the American Revolution against England. Its subject line — 'The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville' — was a reference to comments Mr. Trump made earlier this week in the aftermath of protests in the Virginia college town. 'You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington,' the email reads, 'there literally is no difference between the two men.'"

Two things: 1. There are differences. Meaningful ones. 2. This administration is vasty overestimating my commitment to statues of former presidents. And I'm guessing I'm not the only one.

Matthew Nussbaum at Politico: Gorsuch to Headline Event at Trump Hotel. "Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is slated to headline a September event at the Trump International Hotel. The 'Defending Freedom Luncheon,' hosted by the nonprofit Fund for American Studies, is an invitation-only event to celebrate 'the constitutional framework that has protected our free society and made America exceptional,' according to the group's website."


Ayana Byrd at Colorlines: Trump Signs Executive Order That Rolls Back More Obama-Era Environmental Rules.
Though [Donald] Trump used his press conference [Tuesday] (August 15) to make it clear what he thinks of Charlottesville and what he dubbed the 'alt-left,' the stated purpose of his speech was to announce how he is planning to upgrade the nation's infrastructure.

On Tuesday, the president signed an executive order to improve what he called the country's 'badly broken' infrastructure, which he likened to what could be found in a 'third world country.' The order calls for a $1 trillion revitalization package, though no legislation currently exists for this upgrade.

The order is intended to eliminate and streamline some of the permitting regulations needed to construct federally-funded roads, bridges, pipelines, and other infrastructure. ...In order to shorten the completion time for this and other structures, Trump's order will reverse a number of regulations put into place during former President Barack Obama's time in office. This includes a rollback of the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, which was established by executive order in 2015. It requires the federal government to account for climate change and sea-level rise when building infrastructure. Bridges, schools, hospitals, and police and fire stations are some of the structures covered by this rule.
Who needs those?

(No one, in a nuclear wasteland.)

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

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Please Support Shakesville

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Please note that I don't want anyone to feel obliged to contribute financially, especially if money is tight. There is a big enough readership that no one needs to donate if it would be a hardship, and no one should ever feel bad about that. ♥

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Steve Bannon: A Story in Three Parts

Part One: Steve Bannon calls a Trump-critical writer at the lefty political magazine The American Prospect, under the auspices of appreciating an article he wrote on China, then gives an interview to that writer, during which Bannon pretends he's not a dedicated purveyor of white supremacy and simultaneously just happens to hand the perfect argument to lefties who believe that "identity politics" — that is, caring about the specific concerns of people other than straight, white, cis, able-bodied men — is a losing strategy for Democrats.

I asked Bannon about the connection between his program of economic nationalism and the ugly white nationalism epitomized by the racist violence in Charlottesville and Trump's reluctance to condemn it. Bannon, after all, was the architect of the strategy of using Breitbart to heat up white nationalism and then rely on the radical right as Trump's base.

He dismissed the far right as irrelevant and sidestepped his own role in cultivating it: "Ethno-nationalism—it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more."

"These guys are a collection of clowns," he added.

From his lips to Trump's ear.

"The Democrats," he said, "the longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats."
Suffice it to say that a founding member and former executive chair of Breitbart does not believe that white supremacy needs to be crushed. And suffice it to say that any lefty who takes political advice from Steve Bannon is a fool.

Naturally, this article got lots of attention, for a number of different reasons. So many people publicly wondered why Bannon had done this interview, as if there were any other explanation besides: Trump values strength and this was a major power play to foment existing divisions on the left, just at the moment when the administration risked the left rallying together against white supremacy.

Part Two: At Axios, an outlet known for its highly-placed White House sources, Jonathan Swan reports: "Steve Bannon thought he wasn't giving an interview."
Steve Bannon's White House colleagues can't believe what they're reading tonight — and here's the twist: neither can Bannon.

The White House chief strategist has told associates he never intended to do an "interview" with an editor at the American Prospect, a left-wing publication. ...Apparently Bannon never thought that the journalist might take his (very newsworthy) comments and turn them into a story. It's Anthony Scaramucci all over again (minus the curse words.)

The result is not good for Bannon, who is already under pressure, with colleagues lined up against him and a president who agrees with him ideologically but tells associates he thinks Bannon is a leaker.

Here's what one of Bannon's colleagues — somebody who's not an enemy of his — told me after reading the piece: "Since Steve apparently enjoys casually undermining U.S. national security, I'll put this in terms he'll understand: This is DEFCON 1-level bad."
So, here we're meant to believe that the incredibly media-savvy former Breitbart chief Bannon didn't expect for anything he said to a reporter he called to be published. He never requested that any of it be off the record; he's working for a White House plagued by leaks; and he asked to meet the reporter in person (though settled for a phone call) — but he never imagined that it would be printed. Sure.

I guess it's just extraordinarily good luck, then, that he offered a carefully crafted argument designed to divide the left one day after the president for whom he works used the term "alt-left" for the first time, sending many lefties into endless arguments about the use of the term.

Gee, I hope Bannon didn't get in BIG TROUBLE with his boss after being tricked into such a useful interview!

Part Three: Bannon tells the Daily Mail that his interview was a perfect distraction.
Steve Bannon said Thursday that his controversial interview with a liberal magazine writer was a positive for the White House since it slowed down the media's momentum in covering [Donald] Trump's remarks about the weekend's violence in Virginia.

Bannon told DailyMail.com that his remarks "drew fire away from POTUS"...and that he successfully "changed the [media] narrative" with a single phone call.

...Separately, a White House aide told DailyMail.com that Bannon's interview would be seen internally as a positive in one respect – his dismissal of "constant arguments about racism" as a prudent political strategy and his strong criticism of white nationalists as a "collection of clowns."

"The president doesn't like all the Democrats' focus on racism, and it's good that Steve mocked it as politically stupid," the aide said.
Wow, it's almost like Bannon knew what he was doing all along — and just coasted through this entire storm of media manipulation with the confidence of a man who knows he will be afforded good faith no matter how unearned, and no matter how absurd it might be to believe that an experienced rightwing media executive might be able to outsmart a reporter with flattery.

The Mail notes: "It's unclear if there has been any blowback in the West Wing from Bannon's unexpected on-the-record remarks to the magazine." I think we all know the answer to that.

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Throwback Thursday to When We Were Gaslit About Bigotry

Has it only been four months since Bernie Sanders said this at an Our Revolution rally:

"Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and just deplorable folks. I don't agree. I don't agree, 'cause I've been there. Let me tell you something else some of you may not agree with, and that is: It wasn't that Donald Trump won the election; it was that the Democratic Party lost the election!"
In light of the white supremacists decked out in Trump cosplay who marched in Charlottesville this past weekend, I'd like to revisit Sanders' claim.

Back in April, in response to Sanders' statement, I wrote:
"I cannot reconcile the terror I feel about what Trump is inflicting on us—with the support of his voters standing behind him—and the fact that Bernie Sanders is touted by his followers as the only true progressive in US politics while he acts so thoroughly dismissive of the bigotry Trump has stoked, provoked, and wielded during the course of his Electoral College win.

We survive and resist, I contend, not through a craven, dignity-destroying, white-man-centered capitulation to a mythical narrative wherein Trump supporters are something other than what they have shown us to be, but rather by speaking the words that our lived experiences have shown us to be true."
At this point, I want to emphasize that revisiting his statement isn't meant as point-scoring against Sanders. It never was. The fear of white supremacist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, homophobic, transphobic, disablist Neo-Nazis marching in the streets, if you can believe it, isn't for many people an abstract debating exercise where we're looking to rack up points against politicians. It's about a visceral fear. Namely, seeing the hatred that Trump inspires in people and then watching "the most popular politician in America"  tell masses of people that this hatred doesn't exist.

Some people may also be inclined to point out that Sanders is Jewish. Yes, he is. And he is not obliged by his identity to resist Trump in any particular way. My only request of the Senator is that he not audit my resistance or experiences with bigotry and publicly declare that this bigotry doesn't exist (until he's ready to make the same proclamations).

Flash forward to August 2017 and Sanders appears ready. Or, readier. After Charlottesville, he rightly acknowledged the racism on display and Trump's atrocious failure to condemn it. For instance, on August 12, he tweeted:


[Text: "No, Mr. President. This is a provocative effort by Neo-Nazis to foment racism and hatred and create violence. Call it out for what it is."]

Good. Any politician right now who does not condemn both Neo-Nazis and Trump is displaying a profound moral failure.

Yet, I juxtapose Sanders' two comments, that Trump supporters aren't bigoted and his more recent naming of bigotry, because it has been immensely frustrating to watch some people, Sanders included, just now publicly acknowledge it after having gaslit us about it to score points against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.
 
The frustration lies not in the fact that people — white men, especially — now seem to understand that bigotry in the US is much deeper and more widespread than they initially believed — that dawning realization is a good thing. Rather, the frustration is that people have been sounding the alarm bells about the gravity of our political situation for at least the past year. And, we could be living a different political reality if the women, people of color, and particularly women of color who were raising these concerns back then had been taken seriously.

But, this is how it so often goes, right? White guys with huge platforms swoop in as big heroes, not for listening to women/people of color who've been saying this stuff for years, but for acknowledging the bigotry only when the bigotry is so obvious it can no longer in good faith be denied by any reasonable person.

One sample out of bazillions:


[Description: Washington Post ran a profile on a University of Virginia op-ed writer who, before Charlottesville, wrote that the city should "let the alt-right rally occur." The writer changed his mind after the rally. Melissa tweeted, in response: "This dude's realization he was wrong about the alt-right is published by NYT, but people who have long been right??? Always w/ the 'learn from privileged people who got it wrong' rather than the LISTEN TO MARGINALIZED PEOPLE WHO GET IT RIGHT FROM GO."]

As Melissa wrote earlier this week, in light of the reality that Hillary Clinton herself warned us a year ago that Trump was running on a campaign centering white nationalism, what we are experiencing is "a catastrophic failure to listen to women."

Yes, we are. And going forward, what is the lesson? How do we move on? As those across the political spectrum bemoan political "bubbles," never forget that the biggest bubble of all is the white-male-discourse bubble of political punditry that so often tasks women/people of color with the emotional labor of understanding and listening to white men, but never the reverse. So, I ask, what are white men in the media and political elite going to do differently?

Even as many of them have been stunned by Trump's rise and the spate of hate he's provoked, they've certainly offered no shortage of opinions on what marginalized people ought to be feeling, thinking, or doing in response to the Trump Administration, as they've told us to ditch identity politics, not call people bigots, have empathy for Trump supporters, and ignore/be mean to Chelsea Clinton.

To what extent will popular white male politicians and pundits use their platforms to acknowledge that the conversations about bigotry pre-date their entry into them, and further, that these conversations have been had for a long time without them, because they simply chose not to listen? And, to what extent will they choose to listen, from now on?

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Today in White Supremacy White House

Sometimes Donald Trump's tweets are a distraction. Sometimes they are incredibly serious and demand our full attention. Frequently, they are both.

Today, his morning tweetshitz were just straight-up chilling, further evidence that he is intent on escalating his normalization and empowerment of white supremacy.

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Open Thread

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Ros: "What activity brings you satisfaction and joy that lasts beyond the time you spend doing it?"

Swimming.

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by gritted teeth.

Recommended Reading:

Amar Toor: Barack Obama's Response to Charlottesville Violence Is the Most Liked Tweet in History

Summer Concepcion: Four Days After Deadly Charlottesville Rally, Trump Has Yet to Call Mayor

Kenrya Rankin: Four Congressional Caucuses Call for Removal of White Supremacists from White House

Noor Al-Sibai: Navy Suspends Security Clearance of Right-Wing Conspiracist and Trump-Lover Jack Posobiec

Ally Boguhn: Democratic Prosecutor of Alabama Church Bombing Scores Decisive Victory in Special Election Primary

Ryan F. Mandelbaum: Groundbreaking Observation Confirms an Important Prediction of Quantum Physics

Bitch Flicks Editors: International Women-Directed Films at the 2017 London Feminist Film Festival

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

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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.

Open Wide...

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 ReformJudaism.org: 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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