Down to 2 old white guys, again


Since 2010, 54 women came to power as prime ministers, presidents or chancellors…

Estonia, Singapore, Ethiopia and Finland – these are some of the 21 countries currently governed by a female president or prime minister…Yet a woman president of the U.S. still remains only a hypothetical.

The 2020 Democratic nomination contest originally featured six women candidates, a record number. But the most prominent female candidates for the Democratic nomination – Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar – have all dropped out, and the focus of the race has narrowed to two males.

[This] research examines what countries where women run the government have in common – and why the U.S. still lags behind.

Same as it ever was. Not even any new lies to supplant all the old rationales.

Racism is as American as apple pie

A number of competent economists have written of the origins of racism as a “successful” defense of slavery. In the days of slavery being one of the supports of the economy of this new nation fighting to survive disengagement from status as a British colony – a believable rationale was needed to defend the white, rural, wealthy supporters of our revolution who relied on an economic system centuries out of date that worked “well enough” to keep and maintain their political power.

It worked well enough to survive the Civil War. It worked well enough to keep Democrats in power in the Deep South for decades after that war. It worked well enough to supplant the Democrats with Republicans when the strength of the new civil rights movement challenged the core of American racism.

So, now, Trump and his followers wheedle their support for “very fine people on both sides” – a tagline that worked well enough to satisfy a majority of electors in the 2016 election, the leaders of the Republican Party ever since.


Photograph by Mark Peterson

” New York’s December 23, 2019–January 5, 2020 issue confronts America’s growing white supremacy movement through a photo-documentary portfolio by Mark Peterson and an essay by poet and National Book Award–nominated author Claudia Rankine. “It is our inheritance,” Rankine writes. “Institutionalized since the Civil War by a government that only recently, and tentatively, began to address domestic terrorism for what it is…”

” James Walsh, a writer at New York, contributed additional research and reporting in order to bring readers more context to the phenomenon. He spoke with Nate Snyder, a former counterterrorism official in the Department of Homeland Security, who notes that Trump’s rhetoric has had an impact on the movement’s rebirth. After Trump’s comments about Charlottesville, his infamous words about “very fine people on both sides,” Snyder says: “You saw activity on [neo-nazi site Stormfront] exponentially spike. “It was a validation point. You started seeing posts like ‘We now have an ally in the White House…'”

RTFA. The time to speak up on a national scale, from pages and pulpits that thrive on moderation, is overdue. Nice folks can no longer turn their back on the most vicious, reactionary stream polluting American culture.

Facebook to ban two white nationalist groups


Megan Jelinger/Anadolu Agency

❝ Facebook will no longer allow Red Ice TV and Affirmative Right to use its platform, following a Guardian report on the continued presence of prominent white nationalist organizations on the site eight months after a promised ban.

A Facebook spokesperson said on Tuesday that the company has now determined that Red Ice TV and Affirmative Right violate its policy against “organized hate”. The ban will include the pages of the Red Ice TV hosts Lana Lokteff and Henrik Palmgren, as well as their internet radio show, Radio3Fourteen…

❝ YouTube banned Red Ice in October for repeated violations of its ban on hate speech.

❝ Facebook has for years failed to proactively police its site for hate groups and white supremacists, despite a longstanding ban on “hate”. As white nationalist terrorist attacks rose around the world, the company maintained a policy distinction between white supremacism and white nationalism until March of this year, when it finally agreed to ban white nationalist content. The company still allows Holocaust denial content, though it says that it works to prevent such content from spreading…

What? Did you think foot-dragging was wholly-owned by the Republican Party. The only part that surprises me is these dilettantes of democracy believe folks angry over backdoor support for bigots will simply forget about them after a while.

What mass shooters have in common

❝ For two years, we’ve been studying the life histories of mass shooters in the United States for a project funded by the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. We’ve built a database dating back to 1966 of every mass shooter who shot and killed four or more people in a public place, and every shooting incident at schools, workplaces, and places of worship since 1999. We’ve interviewed incarcerated perpetrators and their families, shooting survivors and first responders. We’ve read media and social media, manifestos, suicide notes, trial transcripts and medical records.

❝ Our goal has been to find new, data-driven pathways for preventing such shootings. Although we haven’t found that mass shooters are all alike, our data do reveal four commonalities among the perpetrators of nearly all the mass shootings we studied…

❝ So what do these commonalities tell us about how to prevent future shootings?

One step needs to be depriving potential shooters of the means to carry out their plans. Potential shooting sites can be made less accessible with visible security measures such as metal detectors and police officers. And weapons need to be better controlled, through age restrictions, permit-to-purchase licensing, universal background checks, safe storage campaigns and red-flag laws — measures that help control firearm access for vulnerable individuals or people in crisis.

I come from a hunting and gun-owning family. The immediate generations before me – in my father’s family alone there were at least 7 who worked for firearms manufacturers. No big deal in industrial Southern New England.

I lived through periods of practically zero gun regulation. I lived through periods nearly equivalent to most of what’s asked for by people of conscience and good sense, nowadays. I’m still a gun owner.

My life and lifestyle wasn’t altered in the least by those regulations. Personally, I support a return to those strictures. Personally, I think those who use fear of regulation as an excuse for lousy politics are intellectually dishonest, deceiving no one other than themselves and their sympathizers.

Added proof of racist intent to alter census — won’t bother SCOTUS bigots


Samuel AlitoChip Somodevilla/Getty

❝ If we had a fair Supreme Court not driven by partisanship in its most political cases, Thursday’s blockbuster revelation in the census case would lead the court to unanimously rule in Department of Commerce v. New York to exclude the controversial citizenship question from the decennial survey. Those newly revealed documents show that the Trump administration’s purpose in putting the citizenship question on the upcoming census was not its stated one to help Hispanic voters under the Voting Rights Act, but rather to create policy that would be “a disadvantage to the Democrats” and “advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic Whites…”

…It’s difficult to produce a greater smoking gun than explicitly saying you are hoping to help the GOP by increasing white voting power. But this revelation, coming from the hard drive of a deceased Republican political operative and made available to Common Cause by his estranged daughter, is ironically more likely to lead the Republican-appointed conservative justices on the Supreme Court to allow the administration to include the question that would help states dilute the power of Hispanic voters…

❝ As I explained in Slate back in March, the U.S. government is defending the inclusion of a question about citizenship for the first time since the 1950 census as needed to provide accurate demographic information to the Department of Justice to help it protect Latinos in Voting Rights Act lawsuits. Two lower courts had found that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross insisted on including the citizenship question for undisclosed reasons and that the DOJ voting rights claim was a mere pretext. Republicans have again lined up in favor of including the question, which Democrats oppose as likely to inhibit a complete and accurate count of all persons in the United States as explicitly demanded by the Constitution, leading to lower representation in Democratic-leaning areas and fewer federal resources based on population.

All of this may be the first open display of what passes for conservative in today’s Republican Party. The remaining hard-liners will stick with the fake president and his protozoan fascist brain trust through every attempt to drag the United States back to the level of civil war rationales for “keeping down” everyone but “acceptable” white folks.

Someday MAGA hats will be shameful secrets, like Klan robes

❝ Donald Trump’s values and beliefs may appear incoherent, but they are not a buffet or à la carte meal from which a person can pick and choose from. Rather, they are a nasty, incestuous knot that cannot be easily untangled. Ultimately, to wear Donald Trump’s MAGA hats or his other regalia is to share and endorse his racism, sexism, nativism, bigotry and anti-social behavior. To utter the words “Make America Great Again” with no sense of irony or foreboding is to announce one’s betrayal of human decency and distrust of democracy.

❝ How do Trump’s MAGA hats and other clothing and slogans help to create a sense of political community for his followers? Is “Make America Great Again” an implicit threat against nonwhites, Muslims and others that he and his followers deem to be a type of enemy Other? Does Trumpism represent larger cultural battles in America about the role of academics, teachers, intellectuals and other experts in public life? Should Trump’s supporters be held morally accountable for their political decision-making and the harm that they are causing to American society?

❝ If you look at the reasons that Trump and his movement actually believe (and often explicitly say) that American is not great any longer, it’s because there’s now too many nonwhite immigrants. America for Trump and his supporters is no longer great because black people have too many rights or there are too many women in the workplace.

Trump and his MAGA hats and slogans and policies are also connected to things like the Muslim ban, building the wall, calling Mexicans rapists and saying the terrorists are crossing into the border among these caravans from Guatemala. The obvious conclusion is hard to escape. It takes a certain kind of willful denial and willful ignorance to wear a MAGA hat and assume that you’re not conveying all those values and beliefs.

RTFA if you need reinforcing arguments for the concept. Actually, if you have the habit of reading science-based articles, verifiable material reality – it’s just one more good source to give to your friends who haven’t the habit.

Sporting Goods store owner backs boycott of Colin Kaepernick — going out of business sale starts this week

❝ A Colorado sports apparel store is closing after its owner’s decision to boycott Nike gear as a protest against the brand’s embrace of Colin Kaepernick proved to be a financial death blow.

Stephen Martin, owner of Prime Time Sports in Colorado Springs, took all Nike goods off his shelves this past fall after the global brand launched a marketing campaign with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback — “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything….”

❝ “Being a sports store and not having Nike jerseys is kind of like being a gas station without gas…”

Martin decided Sunday that his business couldn’t go on and started marking down goods 40 percent off. He estimated that it’ll take four weeks to liquidate all his inventory.

Martin says he feels good about his decision. No doubt. I can’t think of many bigots who didn’t feel justified in their racism, sexism, ethnic hatreds, whatever. Some few learn and reflect years later on their foolishness. Most don’t.

The MAGA hat is now a symbol of hate


Getty/Uproxx

❝ The hat’s its own thing. It is imbued with a symbolism that’s divorced from complicated ideologies. The volumes it speaks aren’t about the thorny issues of immigration policy; they’re about Trump’s coarse blanket statement about “criminals and rapists.” It doesn’t represent a side of the continual battle waged over the bodily autonomy of women; it’s “grab ’em by the pussy.” It’s not connected to any piece of the important conversation about how to heal America’s racial divide, make peace with our shared past, and fight racism in the present while moving forward as a nation; it’s simply the voice saying “both sides” after Charlottesville.

❝ That red hat, emblazoned with the phrase “Make America Great Again” in white letters, isn’t a political statement anymore. It’s a declaration of intolerance that has taken on a life of its own. So when a few dozen smirking white kids wearing the hat have a confrontation with an Omaha elder at the Lincoln Memorial, the context added by viewing a preceding confrontation with a sect of the Hebrew Israelites becomes largely unimportant. The kids are wearing a symbol of hate. Not just a symbol of hate to adults involved in the political conversation, either. A symbol that has been linked to bullying in schools across the country.

There once was a nation that abused a symbol originated by Native Americans. Put it on their hats, their flag. In the spirit of nationalism, the supremacy of bigots. Lots of Americans died stopping the spirit that hat, that symbol, came to represent.