Monday, August 21, 2017

Trump's Big CON: Even If He Is Not Racist, Trump Uses Racism

UPDATE IV:  "We have learned today that Stephen Bannon, the most prominent nationalist and friend to the alt-right in the White House, is on his way out. . .

Don’t be fooled.

Republicans will likely seize on Bannon’s ouster to argue that, in his heart, Trump isn’t really a racist. . .

Trump himself has said that he is 'the least racist person that you have ever met.' I could make a long and detailed case for why Trump is not in fact the least racist person you have ever met.

But this is the wrong question to ask. Not only can’t we know with absolute certainty what lies in Trump’s heart, but it also could not matter less. He’s the president of the United States — what matters isn’t what he feels but what he does and the kind of example he sets.

And by those much more important measures, Trump is the most racially divisive president in our lifetimes — and it’s not even close. "

Read the Washington Post, Steve Bannon is out. That’s good, but the problem is still Donald Trump., which notes:

"Let’s give ourselves a reminder of what President Trump has done just since becoming a candidate, setting aside his history as a private citizen:

    In the speech announcing his presidential candidacy, he attacked Mexican immigrants, saying 'When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.'

    He retweeted a racist graphic showing a dark-skinned man wielding a gun and listing bogus statistics alleging falsely that black people are responsible for the vast majority of homicides of white people. That was in addition to the multiple times he retweeted messages from the Twitter accounts of neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

    Though immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans, he put an intense focus on individual crimes committed by an undocumented person, telling lurid stories meant to inflame as much hatred as possible. After becoming president, he created the Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement office, whose purpose is to publicize crimes committed by immigrants.

    He repeatedly characterized African Americans as living in a hellish nightmare that could only be saved by him. 'You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?' he said. That statistic, of course, was bogus.

    He said that the judge presiding over his trial for fraud in the Trump University lawsuit (for which he eventually agreed to pay $25 million to compensate his victims) couldn’t be impartial, because 'He’s a Mexican.' The judge in fact is an American who was born in Indiana; saying 'He’s a Mexican' is no more accurate than saying about Trump, 'He’s a German.' But the idea that your heritage forever defines your identity and determines whether you qualify as a 'real' American is an old racist notion.

    He proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States, and even said he’d be open to creating a registry to track all Muslims in the country.

    His 'America First' slogan was a deliberate echo of the America First party of the early 1940s, which trafficked in anti-Semitism as it attempted to keep America out of World War II.

    For almost the entirety of the campaign he continued to hold to the racist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, the issue that enabled him to transform himself from a reality TV star into a political figure. In addition, he frequently questioned whether Obama could have fairly been admitted to Columbia University and Harvard Law School, demanding to see Obama’s grades to prove that he was actually qualified.

    His Justice Department is reportedly planning to seek out cases where it can sue universities for discriminating against white people.

    Soon after taking office, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, made clear that the Justice Department would no longer concern itself with investigating police abuse of minority citizens, and has taken steps to pull back from the consent decrees the Obama administration negotiated with local police departments to improve their conduct.

    He made the ludicrous claim that he only lost the popular vote because 3 million to 5 million undocumented immigrants voted illegally, then set up a commission to 'investigate' the matter, the results of which will be used to further the Republican effort to make it as hard as possible for African Americans and other minorities to register and vote.

    On Thursday, he made another reference to a bogus story he told repeatedly on the campaign trail, in which Gen. John Pershing supposedly responded to terrorism by taking 50 Muslim prisoners and summarily executing 49 of them with bullets dipped in pig’s blood, on the theory that this would be particularly offensive to Muslims. So in addition to proclaiming his support for a fictional war crime, Trump is arguing that offending Muslim religious sensibilities is the way to fight terrorism (this from a man who says it’s a deep insult to Christians when a department store puts up a 'Happy Holidays' sign).

    And of course, not only has he now embraced the cause of monuments celebrating the Confederacy — a rebellion against the United States for the purpose of maintaining slavery — he has explicitly equated its leaders to the founders of the American republic, putting figures like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson on the same plane as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Given this extraordinary record, no sane person believes that it’s some kind of accident that all manner of neo-Nazis and white supremacists have felt emboldened by Trump’s campaign, his election victory and his presidency to become more vocal and demonstrative than they ever have before.

Indeed, if you ask them that’s exactly what they’ll tell you. They regularly praise and celebrate President Trump, and say that his words and actions show that they no longer need to hide their ideology of hate."

UPDATE III: "James Murdoch, chief executive of 21st Century Fox, has pledged to donate $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League, according to an email he sent to friends. He told them, 'What we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people.' He continued: 'These events remind us all why vigilance against hate and bigotry is an eternal obligation — a necessary discipline for the preservation of our way of life and our ideals. The presence of hate in our society was appallingly laid bare as we watched swastikas brandished on the streets of Charlottesville and acts of brutal terrorism and violence perpetrated by a racist mob.' In pointed criticism of President Trump, he went on: “I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.”

The sentiment is lovely, and the money is certainly appreciated by those fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry, but the email reeks of hypocrisy, to be blunt. Murdoch seems blissfully unaware of — or in denial about — his family’s role in creating the Trump phenomenon, fueling the rise of a xenophobic, racist demagogue and continuing to fan the flames of his noxious populism, which has brought us to where we are. . .

Instead of giving the ADL what amounts to pocket change for James Murdoch, why doesn’t he clean up his own news operation? Fox News has, more than any other outlet, popularized birtherism, Trumpism and white grievance-mongering, creating an alternative universe for white, older, working-class voters whom Trump whipped into a frenzy. That might cost more than $1 million, but at least Murdoch could sleep well at night, look at himself in the mirror and tell his family that he is a patriot, not a guy who’s making a mint tearing apart the country."

Read the Washington Post, To curtail hate, James Murdoch must clean house at Fox News.

With a few few exceptions, the Republi-CON handwringers, who pandered to fear, anger, and hatred for years to win elections, are hypocrites.

UPDATE II:  How could The Donald equate Nazis, racisits and murder with those protesting the same?

Because "moral equivalence is an option — for those who are willfully blind to history and have a shriveled emptiness where their soul once resided."

Read the Washington Post, There is a shriveled emptiness where Trump’s soul once resided.

UPDATE:  In some respects, until very recently The Donald had diffent views.

"In 2015, Trump endorsed then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s decision to remove a Confederate flag from the statehouse after the shooting in Charleston. 'I would take it down, yes,' he said. 'I think they should put it in a museum and respect whatever it is you have to respect.'

But Trump can never turn down a good wedge issue, if he’s convinced it will gin up conservatives: In November 2012, Trump said Mitt Romney lost the election because he was too 'mean-spirited' on immigration and toward Hispanics. 'He had a crazy policy of self-deportation, which was maniacal,' Trump told Newsmax. 'It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote. … He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.' Just months later, though, Trump was convinced by his advisers that an especially hardline on Mexican immigration was crucial to win the GOP nomination. So he went vastly further than Romney ever did."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s embrace of Confederate statues as a wedge issue underscores Bannon’s enduring influence.

"The truly shocking thing, looking back at what has been written and said since the events in Charlottesville, is that anybody is shocked. Donald Trump’s first appearance on the front page of the New York Times was in 1973, when President Richard Nixon’s Justice Department sued his family’s real estate company for discriminating against black would-be tenants. In the 4½ decades since, he has used racial smears and stereotypes — Mexican rapists, sly Jews, lazy blacks — over and over again, in public, including during last year’s election campaign.

During that campaign, he, his sons and his campaign advisers tweeted and passed on anti-Semitic and racist memes, sometimes deleting them later and sometimes defending them. He was signaling constantly to those who held anti-Semitic and racist views, implying that he understood them, that he was on their side. 'But his grandchildren are Jewish' has always been a pretty thin defense, right up there with 'But some of his best friends are black.' And it doesn’t matter anyway: It makes no difference what this president (or any president) thinks privately about black or brown people, or which churches or synagogues his friends and family attend. What matters is something different: how the president uses racism in politics — and whether it works.

To date, Trump has used bigotry mainly as an electoral tool, to excite a relatively small group of supporters — let’s call them the alt-right because it’s a useful shorthand — and to persuade them to attend his rallies, to donate money, and above all to coordinate and staff (I suspect both as volunteers and professionals) his online campaign. This tactic was successful largely because the rest of his voters, mainstream Republicans, were not bothered by the tactics that Trump used to win the election. Either they didn’t see the online racism — not everyone uses social media, especially Twitter — or they found compelling reasons, such as hatred of Hillary Clinton or desire for a conservative Supreme Court, to overlook it.

The question now is whether Trump will go further, manipulating racism for political ends as others have done in other countries."

Read the Washington Post, Beware: Trump may use the alt-right to turn himself into the center.