The social media rumor mill is out of control, time to check it before it wrecks us


Trump’s Racist Rhetoric and the slow-motion civil war

Mahud Villalaz received second-degree burns to his face …Lauren Justice for The New York Time


Resident House idiot Louie Gohmert of Texas said that House Democrats’ ongoing inquiry into the Trump’s criminal dealings in Ukraine is “about to push this country to a civil war if they were to get their wishes.” “And if there’s one thing I don’t want to see in my lifetime, I don’t want to ever have participation in, it’s a civil war. Some historian, I don’t remember who said, guns are only involved in the last phase of a civil war.”

Well, it looks like battery acid is involved in the early phase……..

Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett said Monday that Donald Trump is responsible for violent hate crimes like an acid attack which left a 42-year-old man with second-degree burns in the city on Friday.

Mahud Villaluz told a reporter from WISN that a man confronted him over a parking spot, called him “an illegal,” and told him to “go back to [his] country” before throwing battery acid at him. The incident was caught on surveillance video and a 61-year-old man was arrested in connection with the crime on Monday.

“My concern is that more and more people feel that because the president is saying it that this is okay,” Mayor Barrett said. “It’s not okay, it’s horrible.”

“Everybody knows what’s happening,” the mayor said of Trump’s encouragement of anti-immigrant sentiment and even violence. “It’s because the president is talking about it on a daily basis that people feel that they have a license to go after Hispanic people, and it’s wrong.”

The attack on Villaluz comes six months after the president laughed at a rally in Panama City Beach, Florida after an attendee shouted that migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border should be shot.

“Only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement,” Trump said at the rally.

Villaluz is a U.S. citizen who was born in Peru. He described the alleged attack in a press conference on Sunday.

“He started arguing, saying, ‘Why you came here and invade my country? Why you came here illegally?'” he told reporters. “[I said], ‘Sir, you don’t know my status. I’m a U.S. citizen too. He got mad when I told him everybody came here from somewhere else.”

“The rise of anti-Latino hate crimes during the Trump administration is directly related to Trump’s extreme anti-Latino rhetoric and deeds,” stated the Progressive PAC Latino Victory Fund.

Just wait until Trump is unelected and arrested, these crazies will go completely berserk.


News source Common Dreams

Can our Country and all it has stood for be salvaged?

America in Crisis: How Will We Get Out of this Mess?

Captions by James Simonelli

Our national crisis in 2017 is a situation that we never expected, and never want to see recur.

We are up against a hellish convergence of trends that transformed the last election into a freak show. The experience for most of us was gross in the extreme — grotesque. But it was just the beginning.

We are trapped in a political chamber of horrors without any visible doors. Will there be no reprieve? Fools and fanatics run riot as the rest of us seethe— but what can we do? That depends. Our position in life will determine our options and so will the flow of events . . . including the surprises.

In any case, there are limits right now to what anyone can do and that is a fact worth remembering.

It is far too soon to foresee how the crisis of 2017 will develop. Before long, we could find ourselves so completely worn out that we will simply find a way to muddle through. Or an emotional catharsis could propel the nation forward to a much better state of affairs. That is hard to predict.

But the trend has been steadily downward so far and we might have to wait until 2018 — and the next congressional elections — before significant things can be accomplished for the sake of America.

Will we ever feel the same about our country? Who can say? The leadership issue is essential. A great figure may arise before long who will lead us back into a semblance of political normality, or even to a state approaching grace. There is little we can do about that except watch and wait as the choices of the politicians play out.

But there are other types of possibilities — some more specific than others — that could pull us out of this disaster.

One of them, of course, is a resurgence of strength on the left that could balance, or even overcome, the disproportionate power in the hands of the radical right that has warped our political culture. And a steep plunge downward in our economic fortunes could strengthen the hands of politicians who protest the extremely dangerous maldistribution of wealth in the United States.

The investigations of the Trump-and-Russia connection are proceeding and so is revulsion toward the vile behavior of the president. A congressional inquiry into his mental condition has been suggested, and a full-fledged impeachment proceeding might be unavoidable. How much longer will Americans tolerate a misfit who drags our nation into the gutter? Almost anything is possible in this bizarre situation, especially if more Republicans begin to feel that this pariah could drag the whole party down to defeat in 2018. Indeed, the tipping point for the Republicans could come before the end of this year.

The condition of the Republican Party is itself a matter for reflection. The far right dominates the party, but that situation could be challenged. Republican moderates — those who remain — are in a weak position, but a bold new nonpartisan initiative could strengthen their hand.

The ferocity of the radical right is an affront to American decency. The insistence of the radical right that our social safety net should be destroyed could force millions to die in destitution. What do Christian ethics have to say about things like that?

The power of religious fervor can be double-edged, and so the power of the right could be confronted by a new non-denominational movement, one that is led by some responsible religious leaders along with some conscientious conservatives — and there are still plenty of them — to save the soul of the Republican Party. The Republican Party as such and conservatism as such would be spared, and yet the power of the radical right would be the subject of a national outcry. The Social Gospel movement of the Gilded Age could be revived through an attack upon cruelty. The Sermon on the Mount could be invoked in such a way as to emphasize the need for repentance. The leaders of this movement could argue that the nature of Christian spirituality is on the line in America — not by the standards of self-righteousness and vainglory, but by standards of decency and mercy.

A crisis of conscience for Republicans would strengthen the hand of Republican moderates — would it not?

It is possible that in the next generation a new party system may emerge. Attempts to destroy our existing party system and create a brand new one have been made now and then since the current system took shape in the 1850s. None of these attempts have yet succeeded. But some third-party movements have shaken the foundations of our system and ushered in significant change, and perhaps this could happen again.

In theory — though the process would produce many risks — we might do better with three or four political parties that could join in coalitions in response to the electorate’s wishes. If the Republican Party could somehow be split in two — into a party of irrational fanatics on the one hand and a party of rational conservatives and moderates on the other — our nation would be far better off. And then the Democrats in turn could be split into a party of progressive radicals and a party of consensus-builders.

But who will take the lead in such matters? In some ways it’s really a shame that Ross Perot and his people did not persevere in the 1990s. We might be far better off if they had.

Here’s a totally different scenario.

Things would also change if some moderate Republicans gave up on the Republican Party and decided to switch their allegiance by transforming themselves into Democrats. That would change our situation a lot — especially right now in the Senate. Perhaps the current crop of moderate Republicans have never thought of doing such a thing.

But perhaps they could think about it now.

Challenges could be launched to the structural injustices that make America undemocratic. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the partisan gerrymandering of state legislative districts. Perhaps a larger challenge could be launched against the “winner take all” procedure that perverts the Electoral College. The challenge would argue that the method of winner-take-all is at odds with the “original intent” of such Founders as Alexander Hamilton. Conservative justices who subscribe to “originalism” would be put on the spot and they would have to do some independent thinking. And some of them — such as the current chief justice — have proven they are capable of independent thinking.

If attempts to guide the flow of events toward best-case outcomes should fail, futuristic planning is in order — especially in light of the secession controversy that is going on in California. I have argued elsewhere that the constitutional case for disunion can be made. But that point would be disputed — to put it mildly — if the “Calexit” movement succeeds, and the movement is in flux. An earlier installment in this series broached the topic of a coming civil war. The bloodiest pages of history show that events can topple, quite suddenly at times, straight down to abysses of horror. Only fools would deny that this is so.

Could we save ourselves from such a fate? Would the threat of secession bring so many people to their senses — and back from the brink — that a change in our Constitution might be possible? A fundamental change through a package of constitutional amendments designed to ease the crisis? Stranger things have happened.

Some observers would stop right here in their analysis. They would shrink from any further speculation into prospects that no one can foresee. And yet . . . we might profit quite a lot from responsible attempts to think boldly, to “think the unthinkable.” Much better, perhaps, to consider some “unthinkable” ideas then to plunge on blindly into danger. So let’s proceed with the theme of disunion.

If secession should prove unavoidable, the change could still be a peaceful one — a point to emphasize. The threat of mass killing should surely make the need for a peaceful solution quite obvious — especially so if it permits our two antagonistic tribes to be rid of each other.

A no-fault separation.

If we find that nothing else can heal us, we may also discover that the strategy of disunion and rebuilding — accompanied by massive population shifts — may be impossible to prevent. Decade by decade, Americans may vote with their feet through emigration or dramatic relocation rather than submit to ways of life that they reject if their opponents try to force these situations upon them. Sophisticates, for instance, may begin to flee from “the heartland” and all that goes with it. Such migrations have played a fundamental role in the story of America — have they not?

It would take a long time for such events to play out — a very long time — and it would have to be our children or even their descendants who would make such choices later on.

Futuristic thinking along such lines might appear to be quixotic or even irresponsible, but consider: secession movements have also emerged in Quebec, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in some western Canadian provinces. If California were really to “exit,” the entire west coast might follow by the end of the twenty-first century. The idea of an independent republic in the Pacific Northwest has been broached many times in the course of our history. Such ideas are not out of the question.

The possibility of new experiments in nation-building should not be ruled out or laughed away. People may indeed choose to laugh, but we will never get to see who laughs last: historical developments have been fooling the smart alecks since time immemorial and no one can predict when that will happen.

Arrangements for cooperation between seceded states and a shrunken American Union — in matters of continental security, for instance — could be developed through intelligent treaties.

Evil must be faced, and we are all being hurried along into a future that we never foresaw. We must now turn our minds to the tasks that we believe to be our duty — to ourselves and the people we love. With intelligence and patience and audacity as needed, the best of us may prevail. Things could still go our way in due time.

And all may yet be well in our America.

by Richard Striner

Richard Striner, a professor of history at Washington College, is the author of many books including Father Abraham: Lincoln’s Relentless Struggle to End Slavery and Lincoln’s Way: How Six Great Presidents Created American Power.





Do the Trumpsters have you seriously worried yet? Civil war pt 3

The two posts we’ve had about the specter of American Civil conflict have been our most view posts of this year



In Today’s post we see that the fringe right is beginning marshal their troops for what they see is the inevitable Civil War


Would you go to war against your fellow Americans to show your support for President Donald Trump? For the last several months, that’s exactly what broadcaster Alex Jones—a favorite of the president—has been calling for.

In his radio show, on YouTube and on his Infowars website, Jones—who never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like and who has pushed the notion that Sandy Hook was faked—has been announcing that the United States is on the verge of a bloody second civil war. Like the radio DJs in Rwanda, Jones has been egging on his conservative listeners and viewers—an estimated 2.7 million people monthly—to kill more liberal fellow citizens over their political differences.

Jones is hardly alone in promoting this scary, emerging narrative on the right. The theme gained momentum after the shooting at the congressional baseball game last month. The day before the attack, on June 13, right wing broadcaster Michael Savage, host of syndicated show The Savage Nation, warned that “there’s going to be a civil war” because of “what this left-wing is becoming in this country.” After the baseball field shooting the next day, he said that he “know[s] what’s coming, and it’s going to get worse.” Savage also said of the shooting that “this blood is on [Democrats’] hands.”

After the shooting, Newt Gingrich opined on Fox that “we are in a clear-cut cultural civil war.” Former GOP speechwriter Pat Buchanan wrote that the appointment of a special prosecutor and political street clashes presage a “deep state media coup” and that the nation is “approaching something of a civil war,” and it’s time for Trump to “burn down the Bastille.”

But few commentators can match the relentless hysteria and reach of Jones. His recent YouTube video titles telegraph the tone: “Get Ready For CIVIL WAR!”  and “First Shots Fired in Second US Civil War! What Will You Do?” and “Will Trump Stop Democrats’ Plan for Violent Civil War?”

Jones’s followers have already turned broadcaster words into violent action. Last year, Edgar Maddison Welch drove from North Carolina to Washington, D.C., to fire on a pizza restaurant Jones had been saying was a front for Democratic pedophiles and Satanists. Court records indicate he had been talking to his friends about Jones’s theories before he went on his mission. In 2014, a right-wing couple, self-described Infowars fans Jerad and Amanda Miller from Indiana, killed two police officers after posting screeds on Infowars. Jones later theorized that the shooting was a false flag intended to discredit the right.

Media Matters for America (MMA), a progressive research organization, has staff assigned to track Jones Infowars shows daily. According to spokesman Nate Evans, right-wing media has been advocating violence more since Trump was elected, but Jones “has been particularly crazy about it.”

Among the statements MMA has culled from his broadcasts in recent months are the following:

On June 23, he accused “the left” of starting civil war and offered to personally execute convicted traitors because, he said, “I’m not going to sit here and just call for stuff without actually being part of it.” In the same broadcast he said, “I don’t need some coming-of-age deal to kill a bunch of liberals,” but “we have to start getting ready for insurrection and civil war because they’re really pushing it.”

On June 15, he warned “you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk.” The day before, he implicated himself and his listeners: “You’re trying to start a civil war with people. You’re taking our kindness for weakness. Do you understand the American people will kill all of you? You understand? We are killing machines, you fools.… But I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards, dumbass. I mean, they have no idea who they’re messing with.”

In a May 13 broadcast, he warned that “leftists want a war,” so “cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war.”

Jones has also called for extrajudicially arresting former FBI DIrector James Comey and Hillary Clinton and has encouraged Trump to use the military against dissenters. “I’d support the president right now moving against these people physically,” he said in a June 13 broadcast. “I mean, let’s be honest. We’re in a war. I would support the president making a military move on them right now.”

This is not the first time Jones has attracted attention by advocating violence against federal officials. In April, he let loose with a rant on California Democrat Adam Schiff, the ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee looking into Trump’s Russian connections. The profanity laced transcript was also homophobic and included an explicit threat of bodily harm.

“I’m not against gay people. OK. I love them, they’re great folks. But Schiff looks like the archetypal cocksucker with those little deer-in-the-headlight eyes and all his stuff,” Jones said. “And there’s something about this fairy, hopping around, bossing everybody around, trying to intimidate people like me and you, I want to tell Congressman Schiff and all the rest of them, ‘Hey, listen, asshole, quit saying Roger and I’—and I’ve never used cussing in 22 years, but the gloves are off—‘listen, you son of a bitch, what the fuck’s your problem? You want to sit here and say that I’m a goddamn, fucking Russian. You get in my face with that, I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch. You piece of shit. You fucking goddamn fucker. Listen, fuckhead, you have fucking crossed a line. Get that through your goddamn fucking head. Stop pushing your shit. You’re the people that have fucked this country over and gangraped the shit out of it and lost an election. So stop shooting your mouth off claiming I’m the enemy. You got that you goddamn son of a bitch? Fill your hand.’ I’m sorry, but I’m done. You start calling me a foreign agent, those are fucking fighting words. Excuse me.”

Tim Johnson, a Media Matters for America Research Fellow, who tracks Jones says that the civil war theme is a new one, and probably related to the fact that Barack Obama is no longer president, offering a clear, single enemy. “He needs something new, and so it’s that criticism of Trump equals civil war,” Johnson said.

An attorney with expertise in federal law told Newsweek at the time that Jones’s threats at Schiff appeared to break a federal law, U.S. Code Title 18, Section 115, which makes it illegal to threaten to assault a U.S. official and provides a penalty of up to six years in prison.

After Newsweek published that legal analysis, Jones publicly pulled back, and posted a video attempting to clarify his remarks as “clearly tongue-in-cheek and basically art performance.”

Federal officials are not known to have contacted him or looked into the matter.

Trump and the NRA incite the fringe right—Happy July 4th!?


Dana Loesch an American conservative talk radio host and television host at TheBlaze stars in controversial new NRA commercial that many believe is a call to action for the heavily armed fringe right.

The NRA ad is aligned with Donald Trump’s “American Carnage” inauguration speech — uncompromising, outraged and gloomy.

The ad begins with Loesch’s voice painting a dire picture of the U.S. political climate and culture.

“They use their media to assassinate real news,” Loesch says scornfully. “They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again.”

The video has generated more than 6 million views, thousands of comments and shares — and lots of controversy.

One Facebook user commented under the post.

“I’m an old white guy and a life member, but this BS is disgusting,” “When you spew crap like this, you don’t speak for me anymore. I try to avoid doing things on the spur of the moment, but I’ll be thinking about canceling my membership.”

“Jeeeeesus … it almost looks like you’re encouraging violence against demonstrators,” another person wrote. “Just let the police do their jobs when or if protests get out of hand.”

Critics released a petition calling for Facebook to remove the video, which the petition refers to as “inflammatory.” “All we have to do is look at the increase in violence since the election to see how unchecked violent rhetoric has real life consequences,” the petition states. “Letting this disturbing video stay on Facebook would be extremely irresponsible and could very well lead to disastrous repercussions.”

“The video tries to create an ‘us-vs-them’ narrative and pit Americans against one another,” the petition adds. “It paints liberals as liars and as violent, unruly protesters who law-abiding gun owners need protection from.”

In the ad, Loesch accuses “their” ex-president of endorsing “the resistance,” a movement of demonstrators who “smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports — bully and terrorize the law-abiding.”

“The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country, and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth,” Loesch concludes. “I’m the National Rifle Association of America, and I’m freedom’s safest place.”

And then there’s Trump’s not so subtle call for physical attacks

CNN contributor Ana Navarro warned Sunday that Trump’s tweet was an incitement to violence, and she worried that the president’s supporters would eventually act on his encouragement.

“This is just going way too far,” the conservative commentator said. “The president of the United States is inciting violence against the free press. In America, we cannot stand for it.”

The reporter who revealed the “obviously racist” and antisemitic Reddit user who created the animated image of President Donald Trump body-slamming CNN has been deluged with death threats.

Jared Yates Sexton, a journalist who teaches writing and linguistics at Georgia Southern University, reported Sunday that the president had shared an internet meme created by a Reddit user called “HanAssholeSolo.”

That person made frequent racist and threatening posts on Reddit, including one earlier this month identifying Jewish employees of CNN.

Sexton tweeted Monday that he had gotten numerous threats — often accompanied by antisemitic and Nazi themes — since revealing the meme’s creator.

Jared Yates Sexton  ✔ @JYSexton

Yesterday I broke the news that the guy who made Trump’s CNN gif also created an antisemitic meme and was obviously racist. 2/

Jared Yates Sexton ✔ @JYSexton

In the wake of that, I received numerous threats. I was told people wanted to shoot, strangle me, hang me, throw me out of a helicopter 3/

“Now articles are showing up on Neo-Nazi websites, there are videos spliced with Goebbels telling me not to test his patience,” Sexton tweeted. “That one also has footage from Natural Born Killers of a journalist being executed by a shotgun. On forums, under my tweets, there’s a list of excerpts from newspaper articles about journalists being slaughtered, the details gory.”

Sexton said some people had accused him of making up the threats, followed by a threat of their own.

“This environment is the creation of the man in the White House,” Sexton said. “There are valid criticisms of the media, many on point, this isn’t that. When you start calling a group of people enemies of the country, this is what happens. When you call them scum, this happens.”

He laid some of the blame at the feet of InfoWars’ radio host Alex Jones, who tells his listeners the mainstream media are pedophiles and Satan worshippers.

“Everyone keeps bringing up the shooting in Virginia,” Sexton said. “In a way, they’re right. That’s what happens in this environment. This shouldn’t be a country where these violent instincts are cultivated and encouraged. We’re at a real tipping point right now.”

Jared Yates Sexton  ✔ @JYSexton

This shouldn’t be a country where these violent instincts are cultivated and encouraged. We’re at a real tipping point right now.

Jared Yates Sexton ✔ @JYSexton

But make no mistake, there’s something growing in this country, and it is very, very ugly.

A history of incitement

Last year on the campaign trail, Trump regularly encouraged violence at his rallies.

Documented instances of such incitement and outbreaks of violence throughout the campaign cycle including:

And that’s just a taste of what happened throughout 2016 at Trump rallies. As the year progressed, Trump’s encouragement to his violent supporters crossed several lines including:


The Guardian summed up Trump’s time on the campaign trail succinctly:

You can trace back the decline in our politics to a single campaign and a single candidate, who riled up his crowds to turn on the press and hurl abuse in their direction.

That’s the same candidate who longed for the days when he could punch protesters in the face. Sure enough, his supporters ended up punching people in the face.

Fortunately, the rule of law still endures in the courts, where a Kentucky judge recently denied the candidate’s claims that he was just exercising his rights to free speech and couldn’t be sued for inciting violence.

The candidate is of course now president of the United States, who calls the media “the enemy of the American people.”


The honest truths at root of our American conflict – Civil War part 2

Our post the other day about the potential of a new civil war
has garnered a lot of attention and has been our most view post this year. So we continue the discussion………………

The problem isn’t a lack of understanding by coastal elites. The problem is a lack of understanding of why rural, Christian, white America believes, votes, behaves the ways it does by rural, Christian, white America.

As the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump is still being sorted out, a common theme keeps cropping up from all sides: “Democrats failed to understand white, working-class, fly-over America.”

Trump supporters are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all forms of the media are saying this. Even Democratic leaders are saying this. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, it is complete bullshit. It is an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to throw attention away from the real problem. The real problem isn’t east coast elites who don’t understand or care about rural America. The real problem is rural America doesn’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out. They don’t want to know why they feel the way they do or why they are struggling because they don’t want to admit it is in large part because of choices they’ve made and horrible things they’ve allowed themselves to believe.

The honest truths that rural, Christian, white Americans don’t want to accept and until they do nothing is going to change, are:

-Their economic situation is largely the result of voting for supply-side economic policies that have been the largest redistribution of wealth from the bottom/middle to the top in U.S. history.

-Immigrants haven’t taken their jobs. If all immigrants, legal or otherwise, were removed from the U.S., our economy would come to a screeching halt and prices on food would soar.

-Immigrants are not responsible for companies moving their plants overseas. Almost exclusively white business owners are the ones responsible because they care more about their shareholders who are also mostly white than they do American workers.

-No one is coming for their guns. All that has been proposed during the entire Obama administration is having better background checks.

-Gay people getting married is not a threat to their freedom to believe in whatever white God you want to. No one is going to make their church marry gays, make gays your pastor, accept gays for membership.

-Women having access to birth control doesn’t affect their life either, especially women who they complain about being teenage, single mothers.

-Blacks are not “lazy moochers living off their hard earned tax dollars” any more than many of your fellow rural neighbors. People in need are people in need. People who can’t find jobs because of their circumstances, a changing economy, outsourcing overseas, etc. belong to all races.

-They get a tremendous amount of help from the government they complain does nothing for them. From the roads and utility grids, they use to the farm subsidies, crop insurance, commodities protections…they benefit greatly from government assistance. The Farm Bill is one of the largest financial expenditures by the U.S. government. Without government assistance, their lives would be considerably worse.

-They get the largest share of Food Stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

-They complain about globalization but line up like everyone else to get the latest Apple product. They have no problem buying foreign-made guns, scopes, and hunting equipment. They don’t think twice about driving trucks whose engine was made in Canada, tires made in Japan, radio made in Korea, computer parts made in Malaysia.

-They use illicit drugs as much as any other group. But, when other people do it is a “moral failing” and they should be severely punished, legally. When they do it, it is a “health crisis” that needs sympathy and attention.

-When jobs dry up for whatever reasons, they refuse to relocate but lecture the poor in places like Flint for staying in towns that are failing.

-They are quick to judge minorities for being “welfare moochers” but don’t think twice about cashing their welfare check every month.

-They complain about coastal liberals, but the taxes from California and New York are what covers their farm subsidies, helps maintain their highways, and keeps their hospitals in their sparsely populated areas open for business.

-They complain about “the little man being run out of business” then turn around and shop at big box stores.

-They make sure outsiders are not welcome, deny businesses permits to build, then complain about businesses, plants opening up in less rural areas.

-Government has not done enough to help them in many cases but their local and state governments are almost completely Republican and so too are their representatives and senators. Instead of holding them accountable, they vote them in over and over and over again.

-All the economic policies and ideas that could help rural America belong to the Democratic Party: raising the minimum wage, strengthening unions, infrastructure spending, reusable energy growth, slowing down the damage done by climate change, healthcare reform…all of these and more would really help a lot of rural Americans.

We agree rational arguments are needed, even if they go mostly ignored and ridiculed. I believe in treating people with the respect they’ve earned but the key point here is “earned.” I’ll gladly sit down with Aunt Bee and have a nice, polite conversation about her beliefs about “the gays,” “the blacks,” “illegals,”…and do so without calling her a bigot or a racist. But, this doesn’t mean she isn’t a bigot and a racist and if I’m asked to describe her beliefs these are the only words that honestly fit. No one with cancer wants to be told they have cancer, but just because no one uses the word, “cancer,” it doesn’t mean they don’t have it. Just because the media, pundits on all sides, some Democratic leaders don’t want to call the actions of many rural, Christian, white Americans, “racist/bigoted” doesn’t make them not so.

Avoiding the obvious only prolongs getting the necessary treatment. America has always had a race problem. It was built on racism and bigotry. This didn’t miraculously go away in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It didn’t go away with the election of Barack Obama. If anything, these events pulled back the curtain exposing the dark, racist underbelly of America that white America likes to pretend doesn’t exist because we are the reason it exists. From the white nationalists to the white, suburban soccer moms who voted for Donald Trump, to the far left progressives who didn’t vote at all, racism exists and has once again been legitimized and normalized by Trump’s white America.

Full story at:






Are we on the verge of a new Civil War?


In an obvious sense, the root cause of our political crisis is Donald Trump. This crude and delusional man is despoiling some of our most treasured national assets, not least of all our standing in the world.

But there are deeper forces at work in this crisis: divisions among our people that are becoming almost tribal; the degradation of our political culture by the coarsening of public discourse; and deep structural flaws in our democratic process, for the fact cannot be evaded: Trump lost the popular vote. A majority of American voters did not want this situation to occur. And they do not want the corrosive policies that Trump and his minions are currently forcing upon them. Small wonder that people around the world are asking each other what could possibly have gone so very wrong with America. Small wonder that many of us are asking the very same question. This series will attempt to put our plight in historical perspective.

There is something about the behavior of Donald Trump in the White House that is almost hallucinatory. What is to be done about a president who seems impervious to normal standards of decency, who makes name-calling and ranting our new normal, and who gravitates toward extremists? There is a crude Beastiality in this that challenges the courage and imagination of ordinary people.

As to the people who voted for Trump, one can only wonder if they will ever come out of denial. How can they possibly enjoy a situation that makes us the laughing stock of the world? It is almost as if Trump’s supporters belong to a different nation altogether.

A white supremacist fights with counter-protesters

Serious friction between the two nations

One of the most demoralizing things about America today is the feeling that we are separating into “two nations,” two estranged populations who regard one another with a hatred that defies conciliation.

There are plenty of divisions in our polity that will never vanish completely, divisions we have lived with for years. Not the least of them is the perfectly normal division that results from our two-party system. But there was something quite different in 2016 as the “blue state” Americans and “red state” Americans assailed one another. There was something very different as, according to many accounts, the candidacy of Trump led to family break-ups and divorces. There was something about the election of 2016 that cut like a knife.

It transcended other sorts usual of divisions, even those of ideology and religion.

For instance, one of the stunning facts about the last election was the way that so many Christian evangelicals voted for a candidate who demonstrated scorn for some of their values. Of course, the phenomenon of “holding one’s nose” and voting for the lesser of two evils is not unusual. But if the content of much of the on-line support for Donald Trump is to be taken seriously, something more indicative was happening. “Lock her up,” was the chant at the Trump rallies as Hillary Clinton was vilified for the mistake of using the wrong email server. “A basket of deplorables,” was Clinton’s characterization of 50% of Trump’s supporters. Granted, there were issues at stake: Clinton did make admitted mistakes that had legal implications, and some of Trump’s supporters, such as the “alt-right” neo-Nazis, must indeed be held by all decent people to be deplorable.

But this was not an election in which such issues could be argued out on rational grounds. Abetted by the out-of-control technologies of social media, analysis for a great many people was impossible, unnecessary, and an afterthought. What seemed to matter above all else was the rush of immediate gratification, the rush of expressing one’s hatred for the likes of . . . them.

The radical right has brought to this point.

One of the most important causes of our deep division is the rise of the radical right. Once before, in the McCarthy era, this group became very powerful — until their power was reduced by the moderate and popular policies of Dwight D. Eisenhower. After the candidacy of Barry Goldwater crashed and burned in 1964, the Republicans reassembled as a party containing a considerable amount of ideological diversity.

Something comparable happened at the other end of the spectrum, in the days when the radical left surged forward in the late 1960s under the banner of groups like the S.D.S., the Weathermen, and the “Symbionese Liberation Army.” But the New Left never controlled the Democratic Party as the radical right had taken brief but unmistakable control of the Republican Party in 1964.

In any case, the surges of extremism on the right and left were short-lived. Both parties by the 1970s encompassed a spectrum of voters and leaders who ran the gamut from “conservative” to “moderate” to “liberal.” And within each one of those ideological labels could be found a welter of people who agreed with one another on some things while disagreeing on others. But this situation has changed.

The Democratic Party by the time of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had stabilized as a force for moderation with a slightly leftward tilt. But beginning with the Reagan presidency, Republicans lurched insistently rightward to the point where the party was veritably transformed within one generation by the radical right. Republicans today who believe in compromise and consensus — the values of Dwight D. Eisenhower, surely — no longer recognize their party. When one recalls the Republican liberals of the 1960s — Jacob Javits, Nelson Rockefeller, John Lindsay — it is impossible to find their counterparts now. Liberals and moderates have been driven out of the party or else reduced to a state of powerlessness as the shrill and fanatical forces of the right have taken over. Trump’s most powerful rival for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 was Ted Cruz. The days when the Republicans could nominate people like John McCain and Mitt Romney appear to be — at least temporarily — over.

Putting aside for a moment the policy agenda of the radical right, there is one thing about these people that is terribly clear: they are haters. Their agenda is to dominate, to persecute, to revel in others’ degradation. They smile when they hear that undocumented immigrants who have married, had children, and started businesses here in America are being deported. They like to hear such things, it makes them happy. There is an insensate cruelty in the radical right, a cruelty that poisons their minds. These people are looking for victims, especially those who are helpless.


Take no prisoners and bring everything crashing down

They “take no prisoners.” They will never give ground or say “enough.” They seek not only to defeat liberalism but to destroy a fabric of enlightened compromises that Republican moderates have built.

And so it was that in 2013, Steve Bannon, now a key adviser to Trump, said he wanted “to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.” So the Trump administration undercuts federal efforts that command overwhelming support. Agencies such as the EPA and NIH are under attack. Meanwhile, in states where they now possess both the legislature and the governorship, Republicans are planning to ram through some of the most extreme parts of the radical right’s agenda, to try to ban abortions with no exceptions whatsoever — even in cases of incest or rape — and to protect the “right” of psychotics to obtain deadly weapons whenever they feel the itch to kill.

And at the national level, they continue a slow but incessant campaign to undercut Social Security and Medicare in hopes of privatizing one or both of those systems sometime in the future.

In short, the radical right has been tearing this nation apart, and they have no intention of stopping. The Republican Party has been taken over by people who would if they could, force America’s majority — the majority who voted for Hillary Clinton — into a way of life they find abhorrent.

But let’s be fair. One has to acknowledge that some of Trump’s supporters, especially Christian evangelicals, feel as if they have been subjected to the treatment just described: they believe that they have been forced to go along with a way of life that they reject. Indeed, people on both sides of this culture war believe that their opposite numbers are people who “don’t understand what America is all about.”

If this isn’t a formula for civil war, what is? Granted, the opposite sides in our first civil war were aligned geographically by states. And with all due respect to the importance of the “blue state/red state division,” a struggle for control is going on right now in a great many states, and the outcome cannot be predicted.

We are in serious trouble.

Excerpted From:  America in Crisis Richard Striner, a professor of history at Washington College