Despicable fascist Republicans attack Deb Haaland at her confirmation hearing

Deb Haaland, seeking to make history as the first Native American to hold a cabinet secretary position in the US, has weathered a torrent of hostile questioning from Republicans during her confirmation hearing as secretary of the interior.

In a striking opening statement, Haaland, a member of Congress for New Mexico, said “the historic nature of my confirmation is not lost on me, but I will say that it is not about me”, adding that she hoped her elevation would “be an inspiration for Americans, moving forward together as one nation and creating opportunities for all of us”.

A Laguna Pueblo member, Haaland, 60, said she learned about her culture from her grandmother’s cooking, participating in traditional ceremonies, and learning about the importance of protecting the environment from her grandfather. Haaland said “our climate challenge must be addressed” but conceded that fossil fuels will play a role in the US for “years to come”.

Haaland is considered a progressive on the climate crisis and has previously spoken out on the impact of fossil fuel development upon the environment and Native American tribes, positions that Senate Republicans were keen to attack during a sometimes-contentious confirmation hearing.

John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, criticized Haaland for a tweet from October 2020 in which she stated that “Republicans don’t believe in science”. Barrasso, who has previously incorrectly said the role of human activity in climate change is “not known” and that ambitious climate action in the form of the Green New Deal would mean “cheeseburgers and milkshake would become a thing of the past”, said the tweet was “concerning to those of us who have gone through training, believe in science, and yet with a broad brush, we’re all disbelievers”.

Haaland responded to Barrasso, a surgeon, saying that “if you’re a doctor, I would assume that you believe in science”. Scientists have repeatedly said that the US, and the rest of the world, needs to rapidly reduce planet-heating emissions from fossil fuels in order to prevent disastrous heatwaves, flooding and societal unrest associated with runaway climate change.

The early exchange set the tone for more than two hours of questioning where Republicans repeatedly assailed Joe Biden’s decision to pause oil and gas drilling on federal lands as calamitous for jobs. As interior secretary, Haaland would oversee the management of lands that make up nearly a third of America’s landmass, including tribal lands.

At times the questions were extremely pointed, with Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, asking Haaland: “Will your administration be guided by a prejudice against fossil fuel, or will it be guided by science?” Importantly for the chances for Haaland’s nomination, Joe Manchin, a Democrat who represents the coal heartland of West Virginia, said that he wanted to see the “evolution not elimination” of coal mining.

Haaland said that “we want to move forward with clean energy, we want to get to net zero carbon” but also struck a conciliatory note with her questioners. The nominee said that changes to energy use “are not going to happen overnight” and that she looked forward to working with the senators. At one point when Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, asked why she supported a bill protecting grizzly bears – Haaland responded: “Senator, I believe I was caring about the bears.”

Haaland had to repeatedly correct Republicans who said Biden had scrapped, rather than paused, oil and gas leases but acknowledged her role as a progressive champion would have to change somewhat if she were confirmed. “If I’m confirmed as secretary, that is far different role than a congresswoman representing one small district in my state,” she said. “So I understand that role, it’s to serve all Americans not just my one district in New Mexico. I realize being cabinet is very different, I recognize there is a difference in those two roles.”

During later questioning, Haaland raised the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic upon native Americans and raised concerns over tribes such as the Navajo being subjected to polluted water. In a response to a question from the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders about the opening up of an area sacred to native Americans in Arizona to mining, Haaland said she would “make sure that the voice of the tribal nation is heard on the issue”.

Haaland’s nomination has been vigorously supported by environmental and Native American groups as a landmark moment to confront the climate crisis while addressing widespread inequities experienced by tribes.

Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the steering committee for the Gwich’in people in Alaska, said that Haaland is a “visionary leader who knows we must protect places sacred to the American people like the Arctic national wildlife refuge.

“Our way of life, our survival is interconnected to the land, water and animals. Today we honor the woman set to be the first Native American in history to fill a presidential cabinet position, and look forward to working with her to ensure that indigenous voices are heard and our human rights respected.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/23/deb-haaland-confirmation-hearing-interior-secretary

The Republican Confederacy

To quote Mississippi’s William Faulkner, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Senators from states that were part of the Confederacy, or territory where slaveholding was legal, provide the ballast for Cruz’s demands. At least one senator each from Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas is on board.

Apparently, Trump’s defeat at the hands of Joe Biden, formerly vice-president to the first black man in the White House, and Kamala Harris, a black woman, is too much for too many to bear. Said differently, to these Republicans the right to vote is only for some of the people, some of the time – those people being this president’s supporters.

Trump’s equivocation over Charlottesville, his debate shoutout to the Proud Boys and his worship of dead Confederate generals are of the same piece. The vestiges of an older and crueler social order are to be maintained, at all costs.

Likewise, the reluctance of Trump appointees to the federal judiciary to affirm the validity of Brown v Board of Education, the supreme court ruling that said school segregation was unconstitutional, is a feature not a bug.

As for the Declaration of Independence’s pronouncement that “All men are created equal”, and the constitution’s guaranty of equal protection under law, they are inconveniences to be discarded when confronted by dislocating demographics.

“Stand back and stand by,” indeed.

Since the civil war, there has always been a southern party, frequently echoing strains of the old, slave-owning south. Practically, that has meant hostility towards civil rights coupled with wariness towards modernity.

To be sure, southern did not automatically equal neo-Confederate, but the distinction could easily get lost. And to be sure, the Democrats were initially the party of the south. During debate over the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Republicans gave Lyndon Johnson the votes he needed. Not anymore.

Cruz and Josh Hawley, the Missouri senator who kicked off the attempt to deny the electoral college result, are the products of places like Harvard, Stanford and Yale. John C Calhoun, the seventh vice-president, argued in favor of slavery and the right of states to secede. He went to Yale too. Joseph Goebbels had a doctorate from Heidelberg. An elite degree does not confer wisdom automatically. For the record, Cruz also clerked for a supreme court chief justice, William Rehnquist. Hawley did so for John Roberts.

A disputed election, a constitutional crisis, polarization … welcome to 1876

On Sunday, as the new Congress was being sworn in, a recording emerged of Trump unsuccessfully browbeating Georgia’s secretary of state into finding “11,780 votes, which is one more than we have”. From the sound of things, Trump’s fear of prosecutors and creditors, waiting for him to leave the White House, takes precedence over electoral integrity.

Back in May, after Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, predicted 240,000 deaths from Covid, and as armed protests to public health measures grew, an administration insider conveyed that Trump’s America was becoming a “bit” like the “late” Weimar Republic. Eight months later, the death toll is past 350,000 and climbing unabated.

Come nightfall on 6 January, the party of Abraham Lincoln will be no more. Instead, the specters of Jim Crow and autocracy will flicker.
Traitors Trump, Cruz, and Hawley can take a collective bow.

Edited from Lloyd Green opinion in The Guardian

Trump Cult Dead-enders just can’t deal with it

The Trump cult “dead enders” will never accept that their beloved ruler lost his re-election bid because they are not psychologically capable of letting go of their deeply held beliefs.

Trump has spent the last four years distorting reality to serve his own ends and his rabid followers have lapped up his lies because they comport with their own beliefs and cognitive dissonance rules their world.

It seems to us that most human beings will do just about anything to resolve contradictions between thier deeply held beliefs about the world and the reality of the world itself. Cognitive dissonance is so unpleasant, so disordering and catastrophic for the ego, that no amount of absurd, tortured reasoning is worse than reality contradicting a deeply held belief.  All of us try to resolve cognitive dissonance, but the Trump Cult has been a years-long exercise in it. Election denial is its latest manifestation. But before that came COVID denial, science denial, climate denial, ‘alternative facts,’ the inability of Trump’s most devoted fans to see him for the obvious con man that he is, and, at the movement’s very core, denial of the social and demographic changes that are transforming America.

Supporters of Trump who have been buffeted by reality are increasingly reaching for even more far-fetched conspiracy theories which helped along groups like QAnon.

Cognitive dissonance is also a primary reason that people resort to conspiracy theories, which Trumpworld increasingly resembles, not only in fringe manifestations like QAnon but in the allegation of widespread fraud in the presidential election, which, of course, has no factual basis whatsoever and is, at this point, simply a conspiracy theory writ large,” he explained. “In this light, QAnon isn’t some weird, fringe phenomenon with no connection to populist politics. It’s a logical extension of the populist worldview. If ‘the people’ are actually the majority, then a sinister minority—Jews, ‘coastal elites’, the media, the Satanic pedophiles, whoever—is actually in control. It’s a short jump from that to full-blown conspiracy madness. And when the anointed messenger of ‘the people’ turns out to be a buffoon chiefly interested in his own enrichment, well, that must all be a ruse. Or a media conspiracy. Or whatever.”

Edited from Jay Michaelson column in the Daily Beast

Trump’s wall of bullying baffling bullshit, a national embarrassment

 

‘Standing by sir’: Proud Boys praise Trump’s comment telling them to ‘stand by’ during first presidential debate

Shedding all semblance of decency, let alone public civility, a desperate Trump turned Tuesday’s presidential debate not only into a brawl but also a national embarrassment. Behaving like a petulant teenager, Trump rolled his eyes, constantly interrupted, hectored, tried to pick fights, and generally made a fool of himself as more than 80 million Americans tuned in, most of whom were likely thinking, ‘What have we become as a nation?’

It was clearly the worst presidential debate in American history, as Fox News moderator Chris Wallace got completely steamrolled by Trump’s bullying ways. And it was a debacle that Trump pre-planned. Allergic to debate prep and still seething about the blockbuster revelation about his massive tax evasion practices, Trump arrived with one goal — to make sure the debate was incomprehensible and that viewers learned as little as possible.

That’s why it’s time to call off the next two debates. Tuesday’s car wreck was a complete waste of time.

Months ago, I urged the Biden campaign to not show up for any of the debates this election season because I didn’t see the benefit of sharing the stage with a madman for 90 minutes. There’s no upside to normalizing his behavior with a presidential debate and the legitimacy it provides. Now everyone sees the results. Biden held his own last night, there’s no question, telling Trump more than once to “shut up,” which in the past would have been unthinkable for a Democrat to utter on a debate stage. And it was exactly what was called for.

But there’s no need to repeat the fiasco. There’s no need for Biden to show up again so Trump can smear Biden family members, make a mockery out of public discourse, and lie relentlessly about every topic discussed during the forums. Running for president is serious business, and Trump is a child.

And yes, the 2020 debates are already so much worse than the 2016 debates, when, in retrospect, Trump at least pretended to occasionally follow some of the norms of public behavior. But all of that is gone now. Lost in the authoritarian power that he craves in the White House, Trump deems it beneath him to share the stage, and the spotlight, with another politician.

Another reason for Biden to politely bow out is because while the press is going to correctly portray the Tuesday debate as a stunning failure, they’re going to couch it in Both Sides language, suggesting Biden was somehow at all responsible for the national embarrassment when it was entirely Trump’s doing.

That was apparent in real-time last night. From Politico: “The first Trump-Biden debate: A trainwreck.” New York Times: “Sharp Personal Attacks and Name-Calling in Chaotic First Debate.” CNN: “Pure Chaos at First Debate.” The Washington Post: “First Trump-Biden meeting marked by constant interruptions by Trump.” Technically those headlines were accurate, but all the news outlets presented the story as if both sides were to blame for the televised disintegration.

There’s also the simple fact that unless the Commission on Presidential Debates allows moderators to cut off Trump’s mic for the next two forums, it’s not possible for any moderator to keep control of the event. Wallace was completely humiliated by Trump, who ran over the Fox News anchor at every turn, making it impossible for there to be anything remotely resembling a revealing or intelligent debate.

Comically, Wallace told the New York Times he wanted to be “invisible” during the debate, meaning it was up to the candidates to engage each other. Commission officials actually thought Wallace would act as a “facilitator,” gently walking Trump through the evening’s topics. That makes sense if you think Trump is a rational, sane person. But Trump’s a nihilistic actor. And the Beltway’s refusal to acknowledge that — to think that protocols like presidential debates could still be adhered to — fueled last night’s disaster.

It also lends credence to canceling the next two debates, because it’s not possible to stage a two-person debate when one of them is a sociopath. The debate Commission can act quickly to try to save this format, by allowing Trump’s mic to be cut. But anything short of that would be a waste of time. It would be a waste of Biden’s time, and a waste of Americans’ time.

Trump has torn up so many norms and traditions with his radical behavior. So let’s add another one to the list — let’s cancel the next two debates. Nobody will miss them.

 

Eric Boehlert Press Run

 

The authoritarian cult of Trump explained

The Brain’s Attention System Is More Strongly Engaged by Trump
According to a study that monitored brain activity while participants watched 40 minutes of political ads and debate clips from the presidential candidates, Donald Trump is unique in his ability to keep the brain engaged. While Hillary Clinton could only hold attention for so long, Trump kept both attention and emotional arousal high throughout the viewing session. This pattern of activity was seen even when Trump made remarks that individuals didn’t necessarily agree with. His showmanship and simple language clearly resonate with some at a visceral level.

America’s Obsession with Entertainment and Celebrities

Essentially, the loyalty of Trump supporters may in part be explained by America’s addiction to entertainment and reality TV. To some, it doesn’t matter what Trump actually says because he’s so amusing to watch. With the Donald, you are always left wondering what outrageous thing he is going to say or do next. He keeps us on the edge of our seat, and for that reason, some Trump supporters will forgive anything he says. They are happy as long as they are kept entertained.

“Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn.”

Some intelligent people who know better are supporting Trump simply to be rebellious or to introduce chaos into the political system. They may have such distaste for the establishment and Democrats like Hillary Clinton that their support for Trump is a symbolic middle finger directed at Washington. These people do not have their priorities straight and perhaps have other issues, like an innate desire to troll others, or a deranged obsession with schadenfreude.

The Fear-Factor: Conservatives Are More Sensitive to Threat

Science has unequivocally shown that the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening. A 2008 study in the journal Science found that conservatives have a stronger physiological reaction to startling noises and graphic images compared to liberals. A brain-imaging study published in Current Biology revealed that those who lean right politically tend to have a larger amygdala — a structure that is electrically active during states of fear and anxiety. And a 2014 fMRI study found that it is possible to predict whether someone is a liberal or conservative simply by looking at their brain activity while they view threatening or disgusting images, such as mutilated bodies. Specifically, the brains of self-identified conservatives generated more activity overall in response to the disturbing images.

These brain responses are automatic, and not influenced by logic or reason. As long as Trump continues his fear mongering by constantly portraying Muslims and Hispanic immigrants as imminent dangers, many conservative brains will involuntarily light up like light bulbs being controlled by a switch. Fear keeps his followers energized and focused on safety. And when you think you’ve found your protector, you become less concerned with offensive and divisive remarks.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Humans Often Overestimate Their Political Expertise

Some support Donald Trump do so out of ignorance — basically, they are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand. When Trump tells them that crime is skyrocketing in the United States, or that the economy is the worst it’s ever been, they simply take his word for it.

The Dunning-Kruger effect explains that the problem isn’t just that they are misinformed; it’s that they are completely unaware that they are misinformed, which creates a double burden.

Studies have shown that people who lack expertise in some area of knowledge often have a cognitive bias that prevents them from realizing that they lack expertise. As psychologist David Dunning puts it in an op-ed for Politico, “The knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task — and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at the task. This includes political judgment.” These people cannot be reached because they mistakenly believe they are the ones who should be reaching others.

Lack of Exposure to Dissimilar Others

Intergroup contact refers to contact with members of groups that are outside one’s own, which has been experimentally shown to reduce prejudice. As such, it’s important to note that there is growing evidence that Trump’s white supporters have experienced significantly less contact with minorities than other Americans. For example, a 2016 study found that “…the racial and ethnic isolation of Whites at the zip-code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.” This correlation persisted while controlling for dozens of other variables. In agreement with this finding, the same researchers found that support for Trump increased with the voters’ physical distance from the Mexican border.

Trump’s Conspiracy Theories Target the Mentally Vulnerable

While the conspiracy theory crowd — who predominantly support Donald Trump and crackpot allies like Alex Jones and the shadowy QAnon — may appear to just be an odd quirk of modern society, the truth is that many of them suffer from psychological illnesses that involve paranoia and delusions, such as schizophrenia, or are at least vulnerable to them, like those with schizotypy personalities.

The link between schizotypy and belief in conspiracy theories is well-established, and a recent study published in the journal Psychiatry Research has demonstrated that it is still very prevalent in the population. The researchers found that those who were more likely to believe in outlandish conspiracy theories, such as the idea that the U.S. government created the AIDs epidemic, consistently scored high on measures of “odd beliefs and magical thinking.” One feature of magical thinking is a tendency to make connections between things that are actually unrelated in reality.

Donald Trump and his media allies target these people directly. All one has to do is visit alt-right websites and discussion boards to see the evidence for such manipulation.

A study published last year in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found a direct link between national collective narcissism and support for Donald Trump. This correlation was discovered by researchers at the University of Warsaw, who surveyed over 400 Americans with a series of questionnaires about political and social beliefs. Where individual narcissism causes aggressiveness toward other individuals, collective narcissism involves negative attitudes and aggression toward ‘outsider’ groups (outgroups), who are perceived as threats.

Donald Trump exacerbates collective narcissism with his anti-immigrant, anti-elitist, and strongly nationalistic rhetoric. By referring to his supporters, an overwhelmingly white group, as being “true patriots” or “real Americans,” he promotes a brand of populism that is the epitome of “identity politics,” a term that is usually associated with the political left. Left-wing identity politics, as misguided as they may sometimes be, are generally aimed at achieving equality, while the right-wing brand is based on a belief that one nationality and race is superior or entitled to success and wealth for no other reason than identity.

The Desire to Want to Dominate Others

Social dominance orientation (SDO) — which is distinct but related to authoritarian personality syndrome (#13) — refers to people who have a preference for the societal hierarchy of groups, specifically with a structure in which the high-status groups have dominance over the low-status ones. Those with SDO are typically dominant, tough-minded, and driven by self-interest.

In Trump’s speeches, he appeals to those with SDO by repeatedly making a clear distinction between groups that have a generally higher status in society (White), and those groups that are typically thought of as belonging to a lower status (immigrants and minorities). A study published last year in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that those who scored high on both SDO and authoritarianism were those who intended to vote for Trump in the election.

Authoritarian Personality Syndrome

Authoritarianism refers to the advocacy or enforcement of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom and is commonly associated with a lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others. Authoritarian personality syndrome —  a well-studied and globally-prevalent condition — is a state of mind that is characterized by belief in total and complete obedience to one’s authority. Those with the syndrome often display aggression toward outgroup members, submissiveness to authority, resistance to new experiences, and a rigid hierarchical view of society. The syndrome is often triggered by fear, making it easy for leaders who exaggerate threat or fear monger to gain their allegiance.

Although authoritarian personality is found among liberals, it is more common among the right-wing around the world. Trump’s speeches, which are laced with absolutist terms like “losers” and “complete disasters,” are naturally appealing to those with the syndrome.

While research showed that Republican voters in the U.S. scored higher than Democrats on measures of authoritarianism before Trump emerged on the political scene, a 2016 Politico survey found that high authoritarians greatly favored Trump

 

Edited from Raw Story by Bobby Azarian is a neuroscientist affiliated with George Mason University and a freelance journalist.

Donald Trump and his racist “Lost Cause”

By now it should be obvious to anyone paying attention that Donald Trump is one of the most notorious revisionists of any modern president, routinely authoring his own myths, lies and tall tales to counter the brutal reality of his incompetence, malevolence and despotism. It started from Day One, with his easily debunked insistence that his inauguration generated the largest audience in the history of audiences. His myth-making continues today with his whiny laments about his popularity backed with alleged “Democrat hoaxes” surrounding every one of his obvious crimes.

It’s no wonder, then, that Trump is a marketeer for the apocryphal “Lost Cause,” the toxic revisionist history that emerged in the decades following the Civil War and continues to flourish today. “History,” by the way, is used loosely here, given that the Lost Cause is nothing more than a series of dubiously manufactured myths — counterfactual propaganda designed to absolve southern whites of the sins that precipitated and fueled their separation from, and rebellion against, the United States in the name of preserving the right to own African slaves.

We can plainly observe the poison of the Lost Cause flowing through Trump’s blurts whenever he defends monuments to Confederate commanders, or when he defends the Confederate monikers for various U.S. Army bases. His most infamous defense of the “very fine people” who protested in support of the Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in 2017, was torn directly from the Lost Cause playbook.

Additionally, the police violence we’re witnessing today, along with the arguments of those who defend it, has its roots in the Lost Cause as well. Indeed, so much of the racism that currently exists, 155 years after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, is manifested and justified by the myths of the Lost Cause.

Origins of the Lost Cause

In many ways, the Civil War was the prototype for 20th century-style warfare. The military technology that was developed immediately before and during the war vastly outpaced the archaic Napoleonic tactics used during the first several years of Civil War battles. The new rifled musket was capable of firing conical Minié ball rounds faster, farther and more accurately than the old spherical rounds, yet massed armies continued to march in long lines of battle, shoulder-to-shoulder, within close range of the other side, causing a bloodbath of unprecedented magnitude.

Photography, another relatively new technology at the time, would deliver the images of mangled casualties to the public for the first time, leaving no doubt as to the mind-blowing devastation of war. Likewise, nightmarishly awful trench warfare emerged in 1864 — a “dress rehearsal” for World War I, as historian Shelby Foote once described it — adding to the ugliness and carnage. The Victorian “picnic” at Bull Run in 1861 would quickly evolve into the apocalyptic trench combat of Spotsylvania Courthouse and Petersburg three years later.

After the war, while the task of reunifying the nation began to take shape, few observers and participants forgot about the grisly horror show that had occurred. (Contemporary historians suggest that around 750,000 men died in the war, a larger number than was understood at the time — and by far the largest body count of any war in American history.) Someone would have to pay for the carnage, Northerners commonly believed. From there, several schools of thought emerged about how best to handle reincorporating the former Confederate states back into the Union. Radical Reconstructionists wanted to punish the South, executing the perpetrators of secession and redefining the Southern way of life so that secession could never happen again. Others wanted a more moderate, or more conciliatory approach, including Abraham Lincoln and his ham-fisted (not to mention overtly racist) successor, Andrew Johnson.

While Northern politicians and Union generals engaged in shepherding the policies of Reconstruction, authors, journalists and special interest groups sympathetic to the South began work on the reunification of hearts and minds: This was what would eventually emerge as the Lost Cause, a term first coined by Southern author Edward Pollard in 1866. In other words, revisionist historians began to address the task of reunifying white people of the North and white people of the South following so much brutality, with a clear motivation to exonerate southern whites.

The myths of the Lost Cause

While Northern politicians and Union generals engaged in shepherding the policies of Reconstruction, authors, journalists and special interest groups sympathetic to the South began work on the reunification of hearts and minds: This was what would eventually emerge as the Lost Cause, a term first coined by Southern author Edward Pollard in 1866. In other words, revisionist historians began to address the task of reunifying white people of the North and white people of the South following so much brutality, with a clear motivation to exonerate southern whites.

The central thrust of the Lost Cause was to reframe the animators of secession — Southern landowners and politicians, along with the insurgents who formed the Confederate military — as having fought for the more “noble” cause of Southern states’ rights. The goal was to erase slavery as the obvious and express intention of secession, even though the preservation of slavery is clearly enumerated in the Confederate constitution.

When Donald Trump defended the names of U.S. military bases named for rebel generals, he borrowed directly from the Lost Cause mythology: “These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom.” The Lost Cause was all about rebranding traitors and racists as having fought bravely for ideals like “heritage,” “freedom” and “nobility.”

Again, this entirely counterfactual, transforming greedy villains who were responsible for the subjugation of African Americans and the deaths of hundreds of thousands, into kinder, gentler souls who were only interested in defending their cultural heritage and the absolutist interpretation of the 10th Amendment. It’s not exactly a shock to learn that Trump and other Republican leaders subscribe to this “cultural heritage” fiction.

As bad as all that sounds, the subsequent myths of the Lost Cause are far more sinister and inexcusable.

One of the most dominant prongs of the Lost Cause was the characterization of Blacks as a common enemy of both northern and southern whites. Mythologists believed that if white people were fighting Black people, then white people wouldn’t fight each other again. The goal of smearing African Americans as the enemy of white America involved the whole-cloth fabrication of cultural myths about African Americans, emerging at the dawn of the 20th century and beyond. Architects of the mythology felt that Black people didn’t possess a cultural identity and therefore identities could be entirely invented for them by white supremacists.

Prime movers of the Lost Cause taught, therefore, that slaves actually liked being slaves, and were treated better than some whites. Likewise, the myth of Black Confederates, fighting willingly alongside their owners, emerged from similar sources. (In reality, while thousands of Black men accompanied their masters into the Confederate army, they were “camp slaves,” not soldiers. There is no reliable evidence that any Black people, free or enslaved, voluntarily fought for the rebel cause.)

Publications and, later, films would portray Black men as unpredictable thieves or as lazy and shiftless “takers,” as well as wanton rapists and subjugators of white people.

D.W. Griffith’s 1915 silent classic “Birth of a Nation” is the best known cinematic example of Lost Cause myth-making, though other silent films of the early 20th century were arguably more insulting, with titles and plots too horrendous to publish here.

The white protagonist of “Birth of a Nation,” fictional Confederate veteran Ben Cameron, invents the Ku Klux Klan to take back his southern heritage. Cameron’s KKK is portrayed as an avenging army of swashbuckling heroes who swarm to the rescue of a white woman being surrounded in her cabin by a platoon of lascivious Black soldiers. Naturally, these soldiers are played by white actors in blackface who behave in offensively stereotypical ways.

Black Union soldiers, meanwhile, are shown suppressing and intimidating white voters during Reconstruction. In one scene, several bayonet-wielding Black men disenfranchise white voters at a polling place. Black politicians, including the Silas Lynch character, are unanimously elected to the state legislature via the intimidation of white citizens at the hands of Black troops. The all-Black legislature then goes on to pass laws that strip white people of their right to vote. The politicians, meanwhile, ogle and harass white women in the street, but only when they aren’t getting drunk and eating chicken legs.

Given the pernicious vilification of Blacks during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it’s no surprise that in the United States between 1882 and 1968, white people lynched more than 4,400 African-Americans, in large part based on racial resentments and prejudices driven by the fiction of the Lost Cause.

Similarly, the epidemic of police violence against Blacks also has its roots in the Lost Cause.

In addition to the perpetuation of racist stereotypes, these myths were heavily borrowed to justify Jim Crow laws, which were specifically designed to oppress Southern Blacks. In Douglas Blackmon’s groundbreaking 2009 book, “Slavery by Another Name,” the author documents the symbiosis between Jim Crow laws, law enforcement and “neo-slavery” that lasted well into the 1940s and beyond. Blackmon detailed how nonsense laws against things like “vagrancy” were used to supply backwoods plantations and mines with slave labor. In the Jim Crow South, cops would arrest Black men for, in one example, not carrying proof of employment, then hustle them through kangaroo courts and eventually disappear them into a new and supposedly legal form of slavery in which many African-Americans were worked to death. The practice survived until Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the FBI to shut it down at the outset of World War II, yet forms of slave labor continue to exist within the modern prison-industrial complex today.

Blackmon’s stories of “vagrancy” arrests and the like also call to mind the atrocious “papers, please” policy enacted by Arizona’s SB 1070 law in 2010. (It was partially, but not entirely, struck down by the Supreme Court two years later.)

The Lost Cause in the modern era

The modern Republican “Southern strategy” has been all about exploiting Lost Cause myths to scare white people into voting for GOP candidates. The Reagan-era notion of “welfare queens” played up the “lazy and shiftless” stereotypes of the Lost Cause. The “makers and takers” slogan is a less overt iteration of the same thing.

The so-called “war on drugs” turned out to be just another excuse to lock up African Americans. Blacks arrested for possessing crack cocaine, for example, ended up serving longer prison sentences than whites arrested for possessing the same quantity of powder cocaine.

In 1988, Republican political strategist Lee Atwater, along with George H.W. Bush’s media consultant, future Fox News founder Roger Ailes, devised the infamous Willie Horton commercial in order to scare white people into voting against Michael Dukakis. Two years later, the late Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina rolled out his famous “white hands” commercial, which cautioned white people that affirmative action would allow black people to take their jobs.

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s “God damn America” video was exploited by Fox News and far-right media to scare white people into voting against Barack Obama, who had just about every Lost Cause trope catapulted at him throughout his two terms.

Fox News celebrities like Bill O’Reilly have routinely employed racist myths to attack the Obamas. O’Reilly once defended “the white power structure that controls America.” He also said about Michelle Obama, “I don’t want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there’s evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels.”

Social media memes of Barack Obama dressed as a witch doctor or the Obamas as monkeys or the Obama-era White House lawn littered with watermelons were all pure turn-of-the-century Lost Cause stereotypes.

All told, the Lost Cause has been one of the most successful disinformation campaigns in world history. Its themes continue to be intrinsic to the white misperception of post-Civil War racial history, including Trump’s “heritage” defense of military base names, his defense of Charlottesville white supremacists, and his fetish for law enforcement violence. Likewise, his routine attacks against African-American journalists (e.g., Yamiche Alcindor of PBS and Don Lemon of CNN), athletes (e.g., former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick) and lawmakers (e.g., “Low IQ” Rep. Maxine Waters) invariably echo the stereotypes of the Lost Cause.

It’s no wonder Trump is a proud student of its fiction. The Lost Cause has been so completely absorbed by the confirmation bias of white racists that its lies have become inextricably bound to conventional wisdom, printed and distributed as legitimate history for way too long. This is why it’s been so difficult to shake loose, and it’s why there’s such a powerful movement now against police violence and the continued lionizing of Confederate insurgents. It’s taken more than a century to finally begin to pull down some of the literal monuments to the Lost Cause, as well as to successfully achieve bans against the Confederate battle flag.

We’re making progress now, but how many African Americans and other people of color have been stripped of their constitutional rights along the way? How many have suffered and died as a consequence of these fictitious justifications for American racism, especially for our history of secession and slavery? The white supremacist mythmakers believed they were keeping the (white) peace after four gruesome years of war, but all they were doing was rationalizing more death — not to mention injustice — at the hands of racist vigilante groups, cops, politicians, corporations and scores of white supremacist followers, all brainwashed by these 155-year-old lies passed off as “history” and “heritage.”

 

 

Raw Story Bob Cesca, Salon – Commentary

Lying Trumplicans just keep lying

The queens of mean……..Rep. Liz Cheney with White House adviser Kellyanne Conway. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Secret memo tells House GOP to blame white supremacist violence on ‘the left’
The document also instructed members of Congress to parrot NRA-style talking points on gun safety.

House Republicans have been circulating a memo internally that instructs members of Congress to blame violence initiated by white supremacists, like the recent El Paso mass shooting, as something that is the fault of “the left.”

The Tampa Bay Times reported on the existence of the memo on Friday.

A spokesperson for Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) said the memo was “provided by the House Republican Conference,” is currently chaired by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Bilirakis included talking points from the memo in a newsletter he emailed to constituents this week. The memo provides Republican members a series of questions they are likely to face from constituents and gives them the language to respond.
One question on the document is, “Do you believe white nationalism is driving more mass shootings recently?” Republicans are instructed to respond, “White nationalism and racism are pure evil and cannot be tolerated in any form. We also can’t excuse violence from the left such as the El Paso shooter, the recent Colorado shooters, the Congressional baseball shooter, Congresswoman Giffords’ shooter, and Antifa.”
The El Paso shooter’s manifesto contained references to anti-immigrant sentiment, echoing the message that has for years been promoted by Trump and the right.
In fact, many of the Republicans who received this memo ran for office in 2018 on explicitly anti-immigrant campaign messages.

After the shooting, Republicans have sought to blame everything but the factors that directly contributed to the event. Instead of addressing guns and anti-immigrant/white supremacist sentiment, they blamed video games, mental health, “screens,” social media, and the lack of school prayer, among other excuses. Other questions in the memo reference concerns about Republican inaction on the gun show loophole and the availability of high-capacity magazines. “The answers are boilerplate Republican arguments against tougher gun restrictions,” the Tampa Bay Times noted. The boilerplate language reflects the influence of the NRA, who has urged Republicans to hold steady and not enact gun safety legislation. The troubled organization’s message is decidedly out of touch with the vast majority of Americans, who support a host of gun safety measures.

The memo adds to the growing evidence that the Republican response to the shooting is disinformation and inaction, following the path that the NRA has demanded for years.

from SharedBlueMedia By Oliver Willis

The climate Trump and Fox News has fostered

Making America great again, White Russian style

The manifesto of the El Paso mass murderer was ripped right from Trump’s twitter feed and Fox news

The crazy white anxiety, that an influx of non-white, “very visible”(non-white) immigrants will eventually overwhelm and displace white people in America, is a powerful driver for the far-right in America. This is the mentality that swept Trump into power, and it often turns deadly. Trumps stokes the fear that “This is ethnic replacement. This is cultural replacement. This is racial replacement. This is WHITE GENOCIDE.”

The “great replacement,” also known as “white genocide,” is summed up by its name: a secretive cabal of elites, often Jewish, is trying to deliberately destroy the white race through demographic change in importing immigrants and refugees. Obsession with racial purity obviously goes far back, but the modern iteration of “white genocide” comes almost directly from The Turner Diaries, a racist novel self-published in 1978 by neo-Nazi William Luther Pierce, writing under the pen name Andrew Macdonald. The book is set in a dystopian America where white people have been disarmed and oppressed by non-whites. The book culminates in a white nationalist revolution led by a group called The Order, who go on to plan a global genocide against non-white people.

In the Atlantic magazine, shortly before Donald Trump’s election, J.M. Berger, an expert on extremism, estimated that The Turner Diaries had inspired at least 200 murders since it was published. Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people, helped launch the novel to international fame when it was reported that his attack was styled on The Order.

According to Berger, Turner’s appeal lies in the fact that it doesn’t actually have any concrete ideology. The book is written for a racist audience, so it doesn’t waste any time or space trying to convince the reader of anything. As Berger puts it, “The abandonment of ‘why’ empowers a singular narrative focus on ‘what’ and ‘how’—the necessity of immediate, violent action and concrete suggestions about how to go about it.”

There’s another layer to the panic over demographics: the fear that birth rates for white people are falling all across western nations. The idea was partially popularized in a 2012 book by French philosopher Renaud Camus, and it’s articulated in another white nationalist trope, the “14 Words”: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

These ideas are filtering into the mainstream through social media, which right-wing extremists have been able to expertly game. Trump is continuing to amplify this through his bully pulpit. One conspiracy theory that took off last year with the #whitegenocide hashtag claimed, falsely, that the South African government was massacring white farmers and stealing their land, in part driven by YouTubers like Lauren Southern, who has produced both a “great replacement” video, which disappeared after the Christchurch attack, and a higher-production video called “Farmlands.” It bubbled all the way up to Donald Trump, who credulously touted the story himself on Twitter, saying, “I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers.”

Trump himself came across the story thanks to his buddy at Fox News’s Tucker Carlson who clearly influences Trump all the time. Carlson eventually was forced to retract the South Africa story, but still milks the concept and dedicates significant portions of his popular primetime show to segments that work as “great replacement” propaganda. Carlson’s coverage dovetails so neatly with white supremacist ideology that the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer praised him for being “a fully awakened White man.” Just a week before the New York Times story about the anti-refugee movement in Minnesota, Carlson talked about the rise in East African migrants in the U.S., saying, “The population growth in that part of the world, particularly on the continent of Africa, suggests that—I mean, this—this flood could become a torrent, no?”

Carlson added: “This is—it’s going to overwhelm our country, and change it completely and forever—and our viewers should know that.”

Thanks! This is on you Donald and Tucker

 

Based on an essay in GQ by Luke Darby

 

Germans know a fascist racist when they see one and they called it in 2017

Stern is Germany’s most popular magazine

 

Trump declared Friday that no one can criticize the United States while he is president, part of his renewed attack on four minority congresswomen whom he has targeted as un-American.

Trump also praised his supporters who chanted at a rally, “Send her back!,” a refrain directed at one of the lawmakers, ­Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Trump called the campaign crowd “incredible patriots” — a day after saying he disagreed with the chant.

Trump said Friday that criticism of the United States is unacceptable and that the four congresswomen “can’t get away with” it.

I can tell you this, you can’t talk that way about our country, not when I’m the president,” he told reporters outside the White House. (Beyond ironic since his whole campaign for the office was about how screwed up the country was because of the not born in this country black president.)

Meanwhile, the White House version of Igor, Stephen Miller, went on FOX on Sunday defended Trump’s racist tweets directed at four women of color and congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

In the interview on Fox News, conservative host Chris Wallace asked Miller to explain Trump’s “go back” remark and the “send her back” chant at a recent campaign rally.

“That is not protecting the American people, that is playing the race card,” Wallace said. “Let’s take the Obama birther — you don’t think that questioning whether the first black president is [a citizen]…”

“That’s not a race question!” Miller interrupted.

“I fundamentally disagree with the view that if you criticize someone and they happen to be a different color skin that that makes it a racial criticism,” Miller complained. “If you want to have a colorblind society, it means you can criticize immigration policy, you can criticize people’s views, you can ask questions about where they’re born and not have it be seen as racial.”

“And can you also say ‘go back’ where you came from?” Wallace wondered.

According to Miller, the audience chanted the racist phrase because they are tired of being “beat up” by liberals?!?

“During his 2016 campaign and even as Trump has been as critical of this country as anything The Squad has said,” Wallace observed. “He said President Obama was the most ignorant president in our history.

And crazy continues: Over at CBS: The completely unhinged racist spawn of the dark lord Cheney accused CBS host Margaret Brennan of unfairly bringing race into a discussion after Trump told four non-white Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to where they came from. Reporter Brennan asked Liz Cheney if it was appropriate for Trump supporters to chant “send her back” at a rally in North Carolina last week. “The news media wants to make this about race — you just did it,” Cheney told Brennan. “It’s not about race, gender, religion…”

That’s exactly what this is about!