Down the staircase and through the rabbit hole…

As I type this, I’m laying on the couch in our living room, silently watching the family cat slowly disembowel a naugahyde chair on the other side of the room, as I try to assess just how broken I am. As I was able to walk on my own from the bottom of the staircase to where I now lay, I’m pretty sure I didn’t break anything, but I’ve clearly done damage to my elbow, ankle, hip, and knee, which are now competing with one another for the attention of my brain’s currently overloaded pain center. [As of right now, the hip has a pretty significant lead.] I’ve been living in this 175 year old house of ours for the past 17 years, running up and down the well-worn wooden stairs in my socks without incident, but I guess it was just a matter of time before my luck ran out. And it ran out in a big way, with me slipping on the very top step earlier this evening, sending me crashing the whole way down.

[I tried to find a fitting image for this post, but everything that came to mind was too dark… the staircase death scene from the Exorcist, the scene where Martin Balsam gets stabbed in the face and falls down the staircase in Psycho, the famous scene from Battleship Potemkin, etc. Finally, though, I settled on the above image from a Japanese game show in which men race to the top of a slippery staircase. The circumstances of my accident were somewhat different, but I suspect that the video would be just as funny.]

Arlo just counted the stairs for me. He says there are 15. I can’t get up to check, but that sounds about right. Assuming it is, I’d say I hit about 10 stairs before I came to a stop, approximately four steps from the bottom of the staircase, against a stack of suitcases and Lego boxes that Arlo had just gotten for his birthday. [Arlo turns 6 next week, but we just celebrated a bit early, taking advantage of the fact that most of my relatives were gathered in Kentucky over Thanksgiving.] And each of those 10 stairs hit my elbow, ankle, hip, and knee like a sledgehammer as I made my way toward the earth like Icarus.

I don’t know how it works for the rest of you who live your lives divided between two floors, but our staircase serves as a kind of staging area, as it sits between these two distinct areas of our home. Dishtowels and the like, after going through the laundry (which is on the second floor), get folded and stacked on the upstairs banisters, alongside dirty dishes that need to make their way back down to the kitchen. And everything we gather up when cleaning downstairs, that needs to eventually make its way back up to the second floor, where the bedrooms are, gets stacked on along the righthand side of the staircase, starting on the bottom step, and moving upward. And, at least in theory, when one of us goes up or down, we take a load with us, putting whatever it is where it needs to be. Of course, sometimes, the stacks on both ends grow to the point of being Suessian, with teetering towers of teacups and cutlery and the like, growing taller by the day.

In this instance, if memory serves, I was mid-stride onto the first step, at the top of the staircase, when it crossed my mind that I should take the clean dishtowels stacked on the banister down to the kitchen with me. So, I turned to my left to grab them, at which point I felt me feet fly out from under me, sending my left hip crashing into the hard edge of what was probably the second step down from the top… From that point onward, everything was in slow motion. I remember stretching out above my head with both arms, trying to grab onto a stair above me to keep from sliding. But, apparently, when you weigh about 200 pounds, and the stairs are slippery, gravity is pretty difficult to overcome. So, stair by stair, I made my way down, with my inside left elbow, left hip, left knee and left ankle hitting every one with a loud crack that sent my family running.

Linette was convinced that I must have tripped over one of the books, toys, or piles of dirty clothing that we’d stacked along the right side of the staircase when unloading the car. The truth is, however, that’s probably what kept me from hitting the final five stairs, and going on to crash through the front door like a bloated, pink Kool-Aid Man.

Thankfully, it wasn’t all that serious. Had it happened a few years from now, I have no doubt that I would have broken a hip, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be up and around in a few days. I’ll probably be limping for a while, and I’m sure I’ll have some pretty nasty bruises, but I’ll be OK. It does make one think, however, how things may have gone differently, as I personally know of people, not much older than myself, who have actually died after similar slip and fall accidents. So, as bad as I feel right now, I’m thankful.

Anyway, what this means for you is that you’re likely going to hear a lot of venting as I lay here, reading the news between searches for “stair runners” and movies like All The President’s Men.

So, let’s begin, shall we? And if you know of anything to add to my ever growing list of things to be outraged about, please share a link. Anything to take my mind off my left hip right now is a good thing.


I know the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, strictly speaking, says that elected officials cannot profit from their office by accepting payments, or gifts, from foreign governments. And I know, when it comes time for indictments, there will be ample evidence that Trump has violated the law in significant ways, not only having accepted the assistance of the Russian government to win the presidentcy, but having used his position to steer international business toward his D.C. hotel and other properties. With the said, though, I think it’s worth noting that he and his family of grifters have continued, in both large and small ways, to push ethical boundaries and established norms in hopes of further cashing in on what’s left of their White House residency. Yesterday, the Trump campaign texted out a Black Friday special offer under the headline “President Trump has a GREAT DEAL for you!”, and, today, Don Jr. has begun tweeting out about deals to be had on the shitty wines of the Trump Winery. This, of course, is exactly what we should have expected when we elected the man that gave us Trump-branded water, steak, and ties, but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing or infuriating when, after telling his white power base about his efforts to protect the sanctity of Christmas, he uses it as a platform to move more shit.

Oh, and speaking of Black Friday, according to the FBI, they got a record-breaking 203,086 requests for gun background checks… So I guess we’ll all be a lot safer in the coming year, right?


For whatever reason – maybe to prove to the world that they’re not elitist, and that they have their finger firmly on the pulse of the American heartland – the folks at the New York Times today chose to publish a charming little profile about a cool Nazi in Ohio who likes Seinfeld, has a Twin Peaks inspired tattoo, and even tolerated the presence of a bi-racial couple at his wedding. Well, as you might imagine, this didn’t sit well with some, who apparently feel kind of strongly that we shouldn’t be normalizing the far right, so much as reminding people where such beliefs, if left unchecked, ultimately lead. After saying “the election of President Trump helped open a space for people like him,” the article then dives into an exploration of just how normal the guy is, eating at Applebee’s, shopping at Target, and just living his life like the rest of us. Here, if you can stomach it, is a clip.

…On a recent weekday evening, Mr. Hovater was at home, sautéing minced garlic with chili flakes and waiting for his pasta to boil. The cats were wandering in and out of their tidy little rental house. Books about Mussolini and Hitler shared shelf space with a stack of Nintendo Wii games. A day earlier, a next-door neighbor, whom Mr. Hovater doesn’t know very well, had hung a Confederate flag in front of his house…

I suspect the folks at the Times would say it’s important to know what’s going on in the world, and that there’s this growing far right movement that people need to be aware of. The feature did, however, strike me as odd in tone, almost as if it were born from a grudging acceptance of this new reality, as opposed to sense that we need to defeat it… I’ll have to go back and check the Times archives to see if they wrote anything like this in the 1930s. Maybe, I’m thinking, there’s a piece somewhere that says, “Hitler, with a good-natured chuckle, refers to me as a member of the Lügenpresse, placing his hand on the small of my back and guiding me to a window overlooking the Alps, where he begins talking passionately about the ‘international Jew.’ I smile politely, and remind him that I’ve come to talk about his landscape paintings.” Regardless of intent, now that I’ve read the New York Times piece, I’m wondering if maybe it’s me that’s closed-minded. Should I be seeking out Nazi friends? If I just gave the Nazis a chance, would I come to see that they’re pretty much just like me, except, of course, for the stuff about hating democracy, people of color, etc.?

Oh, and speaking of white nationalism, I also just read that, after a meeting of the University of Michigan Regents, it looks as though the prospect of a Richard Spencer speaking engagement on campus is now pretty likely. For what it’s worth, I understand the situation the University is in. Given the many statements University administrators have made in defense of freedom of speech, and the fact that, as President Mark Schlissel just pointed out, they’re “legally prohibited from blocking such requests based solely on the content of that speech,” it would appear as though, at least to some extent, they were backed into a corner, with no good options. Still, though, it strikes me as odd, to say the least, that we’ll likely be seeing Spencer on campus when, as of yesterday, he’s been banned altogether for a period of five years from 26 European Union countries including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, and Poland, where some 60,000 white supremacists just marched in a “Europe Must Be White” march.

One last thing. For what it’s worth, the New York Times wasn’t the only publication making questionable decisions today. The Washington Post ran an editorial about how we shouldn’t try to stop species like polar bears from going extinct.


Benjamin Wittes, who is the editor-in-chief at the Lawfare blog, as well as a fellow at the Brookings Institution, has just posted something worth reading on Twitter… a political manifesto that suggests, for the good of our democracy, we put aside all of our disagreements concerning social issues, tax policy, etc., and just focus on the national emergency embodied by the Trump administration. I’d encourage you to read the whole thing, but here’s a clip.


A full year after the Access Hollywood hot mic recording of Donald Trump talking about how, because he was famous, he could grab women “by the pussy” without their consent, became public, President Trump appears to be changing his story. According to a report in today’s New York Times, he’s recently been suggesting to people in his inner circle that the tape was fake, reversing his original defense, which was that it was just “locker room talk”. One wonders if perhaps he’s getting ready for the release of even worse tapes, laying the groundwork for a “fake news” defense.


Earlier today, Trump tweeted out a link to a site called, which he positioned as an anecdote to “fake news”. Here, to give you a sense of what MAGAPILL is all about, is a graphic they tweeted out a few weeks ago.

Here, if you can’t make out the detail, is a bit of background from the conservative Weekly Standard: “Among the conspiracies listed are: ‘false flag terrorism’, genetically modified crops, the use of ‘algorithmic censorship’ of social media, ‘rogue intel factions’ at the CIA and Mossad, a ‘network of global corporate control’, ‘Luciferian rituals’, secret societies like the Knights Templar and the Jesuits, and ‘trauma based mind control.’ At the bottom of the entire conspiracy are the ‘Overlords’ from ‘Bloodline Families’ that include the aristocracy and royalty, the papacy, and the banking families, all of whom apparently practice a Luciferian religion that worships ‘the Dark Side through rituals, including child/human sacrifice’.”

That’s right. The sitting President of the United States, after attacking CNN as “fake news”, just directed the American people to get their news instead from an entity promoting the idea that “bloodline families” engaged in “Luciferian ritual” are secretly ruling the world. Not too long ago, this would have, on its own, been an impeachable offense. Now, though, on a day that the President has actively started campaigning on behalf of an accused pedophile, it doesn’t even make the evening news.

[It’s interesting to note, I think, that this graphic shared by MAGAPILL has completely spun Trump’s concept of “the swamp” on its head. When Trump ran for President, he said that he’d “drain the swamp,” removing Washington insiders from power. Instead, though, he brought these people – the super lobbyists and the Wall Street elite – into his administration. In more sane times, people would see this as a broken promise. Under Trump, though, all we have to do is say, “By ‘drain the swamp,’ he wasn’t referring to lobbyists, but to the members of the ‘Dark Side’ whole rule from the shadows, ‘through rituals, including child/human sacrifice’.”]

OK, that’s it for me. I hope you’ve gained something from my nearly eight hours of sitting here on this couch, reading the news and venting.

This entry was posted in Mark's Life, Politics, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    There’s a lot to be outraged about—US healthcare comes to mind, but I’m mad at the DNC, too, and standard time—but, really, I just want to wish you quick healing.

  2. Lynne
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Yikes. I am glad you are not more seriously hurt!

    And yes, plenty to be outraged about but plenty we can do about it too. We must turn out to vote in the midterms next year.

  3. TeacherPatti
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Glad this didn’t happen tho:

    Seriously, glad it wasn’t worse. Heal quickly!

  4. anonymous
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    The New York Times responded to criticism about that article about “the Nazi next door” living in Ohio….. “We regret the degree to which the piece offended so many readers. We recognize that people can disagree on how best to tell a disagreeable story. What we think is indisputable, though, is the need to shed more light, not less, on the most extreme corners of American life and the people who inhabit them. That’s what the story, however imperfectly, tried to do.”

  5. Demetrius
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Mark – sorry to hear about your fall, but I hope you’re up and around and feeling better soon.

    Regarding these “news” reports…. surely, while you were falling down the stairs, you must have also hit your head … and therefore all of these ridiculous reports are merely an elaborate hallucination.

    I’m sure you’ll feel better – and the world will be more rational – in the morning.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    There is a difference between normalizing extremism and understanding that the people who become Extremists are not particularly unusual. The normalization that Arendt and others warned of as allowing the rise of totalitarianism was not about individuals; it was about institutional erosion of liberalism. (Small l) Indeed, the entire point of that analysis was that otherwise sane role get swept up in these movements, that we all are capable of participating in evil.

    This seems to be a running theme in my commentary here. You express outrage at some individual act or failed person and I say, essentially, ‘I’ve met the enemy and he is us.”
    Neither of us is normalizing totalitarian creep when we do so. It’s important to remember that scapegoating works to quell anger and outrage at the system by directing it at one individual and tribalism does the same by directing it at a group. We believe attacking these people/groups is redemptive. But it only allows the poison to continue to spread.

    My issue with the NYT article is that it was shallow. It was essentially a version of those gossip magazine sections— “celebrities are just like us.” It showed that white supremacists live and shop among us, but doesn’t tell us how they evolved into Nazis. The bad guy being right there in our Daily lives is a horror story trope. At any rate, we do in fact have white supremacists among us. Especially around this part of Michigan. I’m interested in hearing what kind of article you would have liked to have seen written instead. Hope you feel better. Go see a doctor please.

  7. Kit
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Other universities declined Spencer’s requests. The University of Michigan did not. It’s that simple.

  8. Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Wow, that sounds like a terrible fall. I hope you’re feeling better…

  9. President Schlissel's letter to U-M
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    To All Members of the University of Michigan Community:

    I apologize for the short notice to our community, as many are already heading out of town for the holiday. We only today have finalized plans for how we will proceed, and we wanted to share this information as soon as possible, knowing that we will continue to have conversations in the coming weeks.

    After consulting widely with many members of our community, I made the difficult decision to begin discussions with Richard Spencer’s group to determine whether he will be allowed to rent space to speak on the University of Michigan campus. If we cannot assure a reasonably safe setting for the event, we will not allow it to go forward.

    When I accepted the presidency of this great university three and a half years ago, I did so in part based on my appreciation and respect for our shared values – that we can’t be excellent without being diverse and that all individuals, regardless of their background, deserve full inclusion in our community and an equal opportunity to thrive.

    We now face a very difficult test of our ability to uphold these values. This is a test we did not welcome, but it’s one that we must face together.

    My foremost priority is ensuring the safety of everyone at this university. However as a public university, the law and our commitment to free speech forbid us from declining a speaker based on the presumed content of speech. But we can and will impose limits on time, place and manner of a speaking engagement to protect the safety of our U-M community. Let me repeat: If we cannot assure a reasonably safe setting for the event, we will not allow it to go forward.

    If we do decide a safe event is possible, we would share that information with the U-M community in advance.

    Let me be clear. U-M has not invited this individual to our campus, nor is anyone in our community sponsoring him. His representatives made a request to rent space on our campus for him to speak. We are legally prohibited from blocking such requests based solely on the content of that speech, however sickening it is.

    Since the request came in, I have grappled with how to distance my personal feelings from the important safety considerations I must weigh as president. I recognize that an appearance by Spencer will cause genuine emotional hurt to many members of our community.

    I personally detest and reject the hateful white supremacy and white nationalism expressed by Mr. Spencer as well as his racist, anti-Semitic and otherwise bigoted views, as do the Regents and the entire leadership of this University. Many followers who show up at his rallies share his repugnant beliefs and should be shunned by our community.

    His views, and those of his organization and its followers, are antithetical to everything we stand for at the University of Michigan. We strive for intellectual rigor and equal opportunity for all who seek to learn, teach and conduct research for the public good.

    We have heard from many of you about your concerns since the request was submitted. We discussed these concerns with many members of our community as we weighed our options:

    1. As I mentioned, making the appearance as safe as possible for the members of our community and all involved was our foremost concern.

    We will continue to rely on a thorough assessment of safety considerations by our Division of Public Safety and Security.

    In general, limits on time, place, and manner of speech have been upheld in lawsuits alleging violations of First Amendment rights; content-based prior restraint – or denying the opportunity to speak in advance – has not. We will insist upon appropriate and lawful requirements on the time, place, and manner of his speech in ways that our experts conclude are most conducive to public safety for the entire community, including those who are not a part of our learning community.

    2. Denying the request would provide even more attention to the speaker and his cause and allow him to claim a court victory.

    Those who would use public spaces as venues to promote hate are emboldened by denials they can fight in court. Their formula is clear: Request to use public space. Sue if not allowed to speak. Claim oppression by the state to stoke outrage. Use each moment as a rallying cry for their views.

    3. As painful as it is to allow this speaker to rent our space, a democratic society without free speech is unimaginable.

    Historically, it is the speech rights of people from marginalized groups that are most often threatened, and always essential. If we refuse to rent space to this odious individual, it is easier to imagine our government at some point in the future deciding that some of your ideas are too dangerous, or too “opposed to our values” to allow others to hear. We can’t let this happen, even though it means we must allow vile speech.

    Here’s what we can do as a community.

    We can ignore him, reject the hate and evil he espouses, and offer support to those he targets with his racist and discriminatory views.

    We can also deprive him of the attention he needs to survive and deny him the crowds he craves. Imagine the power of a room mostly empty, with his only audience being a few followers surrounded by hundreds of empty seats.

    We can also support each other, speak out and protest in different venues. We know that many students, faculty, and staff might want to hold events of their own that reflect U-M values, away from the venue Mr. Spencer will rent. Once a time and place have been identified, we will work with our community to host these types of events. I will also encourage everyone to stay away from areas where the presence of his supporters might contribute to an unstable situation, which will help to keep our community safe while at the same time standing up for our values.

    We have created a website with information about the request. It will be updated as details are developed.

    All of us can unite against the evils of racism, anti-Semitism, discrimination and those who seek to degrade and diminish others. The University of Michigan is home to our nation’s strongest and best academic community – with students, faculty, staff and graduates who care deeply about their fellow Wolverines and who strive to lead in a better world. No one who rents space on our campus can take that away from us.

    Mark S. Schlissel

  10. BrianB
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I thought it was telling when Trump adopted “drain the swamp” as a campaign slogan and admitted that he didn’t like it at first and was surprised by its popularity. Cleaning up the government was never his intent, it was just something his followers latched onto so he kept saying it over and over and now he’s twisting it’s meaning to be the opposite of it’s intent. It’s like supporting Moore for his denials – words mean whatever he wants them to at a given moment, so there’s no objective criticism that sticks in this web of lies except for the fact that whatever action he takes is for his own personal benefit. It’s actually the opposite of populism – Americans only benefit from Trump’s actions in as much as they themselves are like Trump.

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Kit– Every university that has refused to rent space to Spencer or supporting groups has been sued (PennState, Ohio State, Florida, etc…). None have won the lawsuit. Florida will now be hosting him AND paying large sums of money into a fund that will help further his agenda and his reach. It’s really not THAT simple at all.

  12. Citywatch
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    We need to see all portions of his tax returns. They hold the key to all of this. Why do you think he will not share them? Business holdings are the link to his presidential actions and the taxes will also reveal illegal tax dodges and non-reporting of profits and other deceitful practices.

  13. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    “Still, though, it strikes me as odd, to say the least, that we’ll likely be seeing Spencer on campus when, as of yesterday, he’s been banned altogether for a period of five years from 26 European Union countries including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, and Poland, where some 60,000 white supremacists just marched in a “Europe Must Be White” march.”

    Which part is odd, in your opinion?

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    My home area was targeted by Westboro Baptist church after the mass murder of Amish school children. The Amish burnt down the school house to escape press attention. And then Westboro descends threatening to protest the funerals and drawing in more press. The community’s solution was to give Westboro Leader Fred Phelps an hour of uninterrupted radio air time in exchange for he and his followers leaving the area. It worked and no one listened. I’d love it if no one showed up to hear Mr Spencer speak. That’s unlikely to happen so I support peacefully disrupting him (using free speech) as much as possible. I would like the Michigan Marching Band to show up and play from the audience. Spencer may have the right to speak but he doesn;t have the right to be respected or listened to. Screw him. This is an opportunity for creative non-violent resistance. Unfortunately violence just plays into their hands by creating opportunity for false equivalence arguments. Witness the post Charlotte dialogue on this site…

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    BrianB– Populist candidates have historically been corrupt and prone to lining the pockets of their cronies. See big boss mayors of the 20th century. See all American populists. FDR was not a populist candidate. He ran against populists. Populist movements are emotionally compelling. The idea that populist movements are pure and so immune to corruption is precisely what makes them so vulnerable to corruption. Those two components together make the populist electorate easy marks for being conned. Trump will go down as one of the great populist candidates of our time. There are no great populist leaders. Time to read All the King’s Men again…

  16. M
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I don’t know how it would happen, but I’d love to see U-M find a way to ensure that Spencer, when he speaks on campus, is met with an entirely non-white audience.

  17. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    The impulse to want to control who speaks is odd.

    The impulse to want to control who listens is very odd too!

    What is going on?

  18. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    In a perfect world the presidents of State Universities would be able to control not only who gets to talk but also who gets to listen. Sounds awesome.

  19. Iron Lung
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    “Populism” has a negative connotation wherever used, as in “appealing to base anxieties of the people while realistically being able to offer nothing at all in order to simply gain political power.”

    I am often surprised that people are unaware of this.

  20. Iron Lung
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    If you meet people like Spencer with the only language they understand, they will cower behind police like scared sheep.

  21. Iron lung
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    While i dont condone violence, the reality is that nonviolent methods will be insufficient to deal with white supremacists because the only language they understand is violence.

    Those who malign “antifa” or the like willingly give a free pass to white supremacy and thus actively support it.

  22. nick
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    fascinating to learn the origins of a prevalent antifa image:

    perhaps more interesting was the interview with the guy kicking the nazi:

  23. Jcp2
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Trumpian core support is derived from the majority of white voters making between $50,000 to $100,000 per year. The Roy Moore dilemma is forcing them to decide which is worse, a possible pedophile versus a n**-lover. That this is even a consideration speaks to the strength of tribal identity. I don’t know how much the #Ibelieve movement will affect these views, only the tincture of time and the passing of a generation. After all, women’s suffrage and the Civil Rights Act didn’t ask permission to defend democracy.

    Also, hope you heal quickly Mark.

  24. nick
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    another incident from ann arbor’s past that is worth revisiting:

  25. ypsidoodledandy
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I’ll confess, my first thought on reading of your tumble was–you did it on purpose so you could spend time blogging!! (kidding).

    What is the day after update–minor bruises? (hopefully). You are right about people having died from similar falls.

    I can commend to you some no-slip self adhesive strips like the ones below (google it– there are lots of others) for your stairs–the ones I put on my 125 year old inside stairs after a slip of my own are about half the width of the ones shown, and really not a problem aesthetically (and no one has fallen since).


  26. Lynne
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    IL, I think there are ways to oppose white supremacists without violence. The easiest way is to just keep them from getting any power. The easiest way to do that is to let them speak and then offer really good rebuttals immediately afterwards. Let those who oppose the guy have their say too. I love the idea of allowing the band to be in the audience. If it were me, I would see what I could do to bring in a laugh track so that every time he said something, he could be met with the ridicule he deserves.

    I also think it is ok to just ignore guys like that. Maybe a dangerous thing in some respects but what if he came to speak at UofM and was greeted with an empty venue?

  27. Iron lung
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    If we simply ignored the confederacy, black people would still be enslaved.

  28. Iron lung
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    White supremacists have asitting president.

    Doesnt get more powerful than that.

  29. Iron lung
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    While i would never suggest that it should happen, it might please some peo0le to see Richard Spencer greeted with bricks.

  30. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Iron Lung,

    Your understanding of the word “populist” is narrow. People use the term now and historically in a variety of ways. Sometimes the term is used/ has been used in a neutral way pointing toward a “quantity”—as populist rhetoric targets the majority of a given population without regard to the “quality” or content of the message.

    Also, smarten the fuck up man. No group of people only understands the language violence. Stupid thing to say.

  31. wobblie
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    ” I would like the Michigan Marching Band to show up and play from the audience. ” I think that is an excellent idea Jean.

  32. Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    It all depends what they play. If they play “Hail to the Victors” every time he references the white race, I’d say that would kind of suck. If, however, they play the “sad trombone” every time he references the white race, that would be great. It’s all in the song choice and the timing.

  33. Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a guy giving a master class on how to serenade Nazis on the sousaphone.

  34. Iron Lung
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    “Also, smarten the fuck up man. No group of people only understands the language violence. Stupid thing to say.”

    Untrue. I guess you never had to deal with skinheads in the late 80s.

    Or real Nazis in the 1940s.

  35. Iron Lung
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    You guys think that white supremacists are like the NYT presented them recently. But that’s not the case. These are people advocating for ethnic cleansing.

    Where in the world has that every played out well? And yes, they do have political power.

    Bosnia? Rwanda? 1930/40s Germany? Poland? Armenia? The United States?

    Sousaphones are funny and all, but they won’t work. The only thing that will work with white supremacists is to meet them with violence when they assemble. Let the bricks fly.

    American liberals stupidly think that peaceful tactics will work. What “peaceful methods” do is normalize hate as some harmless phase that supposedly disaffected people go through… and if we can only talk them out of it, they will see the light and become like us.

    Liberals are spineless when it comes to white supremacists.

    Most of you think that white supremacists are just your drunken uncle at a family BBQ. Having met many of them, I can tell you that they are not and now their entire existence has been legitimized because liberal America was in denial for a while.

    This is a rant, but Black Lives Matter signs in your Ann Arbor lawn will not stop the readership of Stormfront or Richard Spencer.

    The UM shouldn’t give him a platform to speak in, but if they do, it would be pleasing to some to see him pelted with as many hard objects as possible, to show that liberals still have a spine when it comes to ethnic cleansing.

    Those people are a cancer. And they are growing in number.

  36. stupid hick
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Marching band audiences are a non-starter unless somehow you trick Spencer into inviting them to attend his private event, in the space he will rent on University of Michigan property. It won’t be open to the public as you imagine. He will be allowed to control the guest list to his private event in his rented space. I close this post with the words “private” and “rented space” once again to remind you that’s how it works if he succeeds.

  37. Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t the point of taking his show on the road to bring in new converts? I mean, if I were a Nazi, and I was doing a college tour, I wouldn’t just want all the same old Nazis who read my Nazi newsletter, or whatever, to come out and hear me speak. I’d want regular college kids to come by and catch the Nazi bug. But that’s just me. And I’m not a Nazi.

  38. Jcp2
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    The show is a trolling device to attract followers through social media. It’s not like college students will sign up openly yet at this time. They’ll do it online, just like the rest of his ilk. You’d make a terrible demagogue, M.

  39. ypsidoodledandy
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I guess I’m unclear why the University has to rent to Spencer, if, as was said above by the University President, Spencer is not affiliated with the school nor invited by any group at the school.

    Maybe under law, the University–as a technically public institution–has to rent to all comers, but why not just have a policy of not renting to ANY outside groups?

  40. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Iron Lung,

    I believe people have been nice to you here, myself included, because you have expressed that you are suffering from depression and quite frankly you have hinted toward being suicidal. We all hope you can find yourself in a better place mentally—we hope you can find a way to be happier. However, I would feel irresponsible now if I didn’t tell you to shut up. You don’t know what you are talking about half of the time. This is one of those times. You are speaking foolishly. Your calls for violence are irresponsible and counterproductive.

  41. Jean Henry
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    FF— you could not be more condescending. Iron Lung’s points have great historic precedent. Precedent he cited. Depression affects ones self perception but it doesn’t make one an idiot. In fact it may make one more acute in their ability to see what others, in their relative bliss, would deny. There is plenty of evidence that our greatest artists and intellectuals were depressive. Truth hurts. People with depressive mental illness are also less violent towards others than the average person. Take your stigmatizing BS elsewhere.

    Re the issue at hand: You may abhor All violence from the comfort of your easy chair. I have heard Iron Lung speak out against what he sees as senseless violence. Clearly this case is an exception for him. I personally don’t believe white supremacists have that kind of foothold in America yet. I believe violent opposition may rally more benign racists to extemism, but I acknowledge that at some point violence may be required. I also acknowledge that a few people willing to be violent can all the rest of us security in protest. They can also make things worse, especially for peaceful protestors of color. This is the case in any use of violence. For me a violent mob goes wrong too often. And there is evidence that white supremacists can be converted. Unfortunately neither violence or conversion are rightly the province of white liberals. We fail too often at both. We are good on the other hand at strategic non violent protest. I support that action, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think there is a place in resistance for acts of violence. In fact, every effective movement has had both elements. Sufferage didn’t take hold until women committed acts of violence. Etc etc. I just don’t know if Spencer is worth the trouble. Reasonable people disagree.
    Fuck mental illness shaming though. Seriously. Especially couched in expression of concern. Stop that. Better yet, apologize.

  42. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    No Jean. I refuse to apologize. I said what needed to be said even though I didn’t want to say it. You can flush the rest of your judgments about me down the toilet. If you or others have IL’s private email, then I certainly hope you will continue to, or start to, speak the truth privately, so we can avoid these kind of irresponsible calls for violence.

  43. JC
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Mark, I think his strategy is at least fourfold:

    —accrue as much attention as possible, not only to his “cause,” but also to his personal brand

    —to force universities to either allow him to speak, or better yet, to be denied and then take them to court to get funds, or surplus notoriety, or both

    —to be seen as a soldier in the fight against “liberal othodoxy,” which he believes has its most influential seat in academia

    Here is a recent piece on UM Regents/Spencer, at the end of which are some legal points that are worth considering:

  44. Jean Henry
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    FF– I feel certain that IL can handle your critique, which was not critique but simply reactive bullshittery. (I’m tougher on him than you…) You should apologize for being an asshole. A self-righteous asshole to boot, which is usually how that works… I’m an asshole all the time, so I know whereof I speak. You hold no moral high ground here. Violence and anger just freak you the fuck out. Some self-examination is in order. Things are pretty fucked up. If you can’t imagine a case for violence, you aren’t looking carefully enough backwards, forwards or around you.
    Beyond that, I was suggesting you apologize not because you overcame your concern to criticize IL, but because of your incredible level of condescension to IL and all of those who struggle with depression in doing so. The criticism was bullshit. The way you framed it was offensive. Dig a little deeper.

  45. Jean Henry
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    JC– Thank you. I think you are right. I think Spencer wins no matter what we do. We will have to strategize carefully as a community to address him effectively. Given that he is going to many such campuses, every stop is an opportunity to get resistance right. I’m going to look at best practices for resistance in other communities.

    How can we align all parts of our community– govt, university, activist, citizenry, radicals liberals and, importantly, police and other first responders in EFFECTIVE resistance against Spencer while assuring as little harm to our citizens and students as possible?

    Spencer does seem to hide or freak out when assaulted either verbally or physically. And his response weakens him to his followers as opposed to the way he is strengthened when we fear him.

    I suspect what works as resistance is fearlessness and selflessness. And that can be peaceful or not, but we have to put ourselves out there without making it about us, with no ego in it at all.

    I would love it if no one would show up to hear him speak, but given where we are, I doubt that will be the case. We are going to have to be clever and organized. I think the University did as it needed to do in allowing him to rent space. I think the community is doing what it needs to do in resisting that action. I think everyone has a role to play in resisting Spencer. In particular, I hope the A2 and campus police are prepared to do their jobs, v what happened in CVille. I’m definitely going to be inquiring with A2 city reps about what precautions and preparations are being activated.

  46. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    No, no, no. This is not some inability, on my part, to imagine the historical (or potentially future) necessity of the use of violence to secure rights or the use of violence as self-defense. What are you talking about? This is about IL claiming that Spencer, his crew, his followers, the people who attend and who are perceived as his followers, need to be pelted with rocks and bricks at their speech/ meeting in Ann Arbor.

    To IL’s call for violence in this situation, I say: “Shut the fuck up!”

    To IL’s friends I say: “Speak the fuck up!” (Preferably in private.)

  47. Jean Henry
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Maybe pies??? paint-filled pies?? Just kidding. Kind of.
    How can we make this challenge and opportunity to figure out how to effectively resist? Sam Green has made his career documenting the hopes and failures of radicalism. I don’t think he has any answers. (Good documentarians never do) I do think some embrace of the absurd works. If the keystones of successful white supremacist movements are hatred, division, isolationism, self-righteousness and the appearance of strength, it seems to me effective resistance would rely upon strategies to undermine those things.
    Or just hit the guy with a few bricks… or pies… paint filled pies… jk
    ok what about noize– music torture. Metal wouldn’t work alone, but metal with hip-hop and some modern jazz and lawrence welk? Children’s music? Or anything played really really loud?? What if everyone played whatever music they like at once incredibly loud and incredibly close. Cacophonic resistance FTW. Or pies… Or both…

  48. Jean Henry
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    FF– “No, no, no…” You pivoted again from the actual accusation I made.
    And still, you are off base. What part of “While i don’t condone violence,” [IL] didn’t you get?

  49. Jean Henry
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Oh I forgot that Spencer also folded in the Chad tactic– cultivating an appearance to be super together, ambitious, straight. clean cut and main stream. Even his rhetorical defense now is to seem calm while others get angry. So the trick is to undermine his credibility by making him appear fearful, weak, ridiculous, filthy, or in any way upset. Pies.

  50. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    No. I didn’t pivot. I simply don’t care to defend myself against some of your accusations because they are beside the point. Clearly I *was* an asshole to IL. So what?

    Yes, IL did say “I don’t condone violence”, but then went on to advocate for violence against Spencer in Ann Arbor!

    What is your point?

  51. Peter Bask
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Way to make lemonade, Mark. Wishes for a speedy recovery. Your blog keeps me well aware of the constant evolution of monster circus, for which I gain the positive benefit of not being eaten. Keep up the good work!

  52. Peter Bask
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    “the” monster circus

  53. Iron Lung
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I am not calling for violence.

    When it comes to people who advocate for ethnic cleansing, though, I fail to see any other way of dealing with them, given that the law is useless. I won’t be out there throwing bricks, and I won’t tell anyone to, but I wouldn’t be at all sad if people showed up and did it.

    Simply ignoring them or calling for peace will not work. How has it worked so far? We have a sitting President who is a white supremacist, and people now give neo-Nazis a free pass (“both sides”).

    I find that frightening and repugnant and will point out that liberals didn’t see it coming because they didn’t think it could happen and by failing to act earlier, they let it happen.

  54. kjc
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    FF, please give me your private email. i need to tell you something.

  55. Iron Lung
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    “I believe people have been nice to you here, myself included, because you have expressed that you are suffering from depression and quite frankly you have hinted toward being suicidal. We all hope you can find yourself in a better place mentally—we hope you can find a way to be happier. However, I would feel irresponsible now if I didn’t tell you to shut up. You don’t know what you are talking about half of the time. This is one of those times. You are speaking foolishly. Your calls for violence are irresponsible and counterproductive.”


    I find ethnic cleansing to be a scary prospect. You should take it seriously.

    But Jean is right, Spencer might not be worth the trouble.

    Regardless, simply ignoring Spencer and his ilk will not make them go away. They have a growing audience that doesn’t include anyone who comments on this site.

  56. Iron Lung
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    To be fair, Mr. Flakes comment is not without merit. I did, in fact,write a reactionary comment on my phone, but again, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that anyone actually go out and throw bricks, but rather made a statement on

    1) how futile other methods have become (and how futile they will always be with Nazis)
    2) how complete not said I would be if, in fact, Spencer did get pelted by bricks.

    I don’t think that is a crazy idea nor would it have anything at all to do with some real or percieved mental problems I may have.

  57. Iron Lung
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Flake implies that something I said (or, rather, didn’t say) is morally repugnant, dangerous and/or illegal.

    However, though he probably does like Spencer, Mr. Flakes is clearly not terribly disturbed by him (does he call for white supremacists to “shut up?”)

    Certainly, the law, like Mr. Flakes, also favors Mr. Spencer, giving him protection even while he offers a scenario that is, in fact, morally repugnant (obviously) and dangerous (there is ample historical precedent) and which, if enacted as he wishes, would have the support of the state.

    I say this not to attack Mr. Flakes, but to point out that I find the contrast incredibly interesting.

  58. Iron Lung
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    *does not like Spencer

  59. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    My comment was necessary and full of merit.

    You used double-talk to communicate a very clear message. I am glad you are now backtracking from your message that violence against Spencer would be welcomed and effective in Ann Arbor.

    Mission accomplished.

    But, don’t pretend like I was making stuff up, or falsely attributing things to you, because it might make you appear dishonest to “SOME PEOPLE”.

  60. disinterested observer
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    In my impartial opinion, Iron Lung is more self-aware and less often a fool than Frosted Flakes.

  61. Iron Lung
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Who are “SOME PEOPLE”? I’m not sure who that would be. Mark?

    In practice, I do not condone violence, but yes, in theory, I would very much like to see violence happen to Spencer and yes, if it did happen, I do think it would be effective.

    The video of him being punched gave me great joy. Aside from the fact that he advocates for ethnic cleansing, which deserves a fight, there’s nothing better than seeing a bully get taken down.

    Do I think throwing bricks in a crowded place is a good idea and would I recommend it? Clearly, no.

    So yes, people should not do that because people around the area might get hurt, in addition to the possibility of a protracted legal battle. As Jean said, Spencer just isn’t worth that.

    Again, it is interesting that my statements on Spencer appear to generate more of a visceral reaction than Spencer himself, white supremacy or neo-nazis. I think that you might do a bit of self reflection and consider whether you might, in fact, be part of the problem.

  62. Jean Henry
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    But pies? Can we throw pies?
    And play music loudly— all kinds
    I had a truly shitty day (though not as bad as Mark’s probably) and the idea of some effective but absurdist circus-type response to Spencer was pleasing.
    My daughter on the other hand is very up for Nazi punching. (Not encouraged FF…) The youth, whose historic memory encompasses 9-11, war, economic collapse, Obama’s election, twice, recovery, extraction of our troops from war (mostly) and then the shock of Trump — those youth are really angry and they aren’t messing around.
    I’d like to convince her about pies…

    Also— kjc. Good one. I laughed out loud. As the kids say…

  63. Catherine D
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Mark — Sorry you had such a bad fall. You’re old enough now for a fall like this to have some pretty serious repercussions over the next few days and weeks, so I also urge you to see a doctor with some expertise in body work of some kind (an osteopath would be my suggestion) to make sure you recover well.
    I know two men who died from falling down their interior staircases, one of whom was quite vigorous and probably not much older than you. Take good care of yourself. We need you and all the members of your family to live long and healthy lives.

  64. wobblie
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Pots and pans were used rather effectively by Chilean woman during the Pinochet era. Spencer has the right of free speech, does not mean he has the right to be heard.

  65. EOS
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Spencer wants to come here to talk. Others say he should be denied the ability to hold a speech because they are concerned about violence, while at the very same time they are the very ones who are actively planning violent responses. I hope the University prepares to arrest anyone who attempts to block free speech and prosecutes everyone who resorts to violence as an acceptable means to suppress speech to which they disagree.

  66. Jean Henry
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    EOS– Spencer’s speech advocates violence and displacement. This forum is openly liberal in focus. Please head over to some White Supremacist sites and tell me what you find in the comment threads there. I can guarantee you it’s not non-violence.

    Here is what a 18 year old skateboarder of mixed race was told in an A2 holding cell last year by two white supremacists with Nazi tattoos. (He engaged them because he honestly wanted to know what the hell they were thinking.)– “See that clover tattoo. We get a fourth leaf when we kill a n—–. Don’t worry. You’re nice; you’re not a n—–.”

    Look at the recent mass shootings by white supremacists…

    I don’t blame any protestor who shows up with bricks (or pies). I’m sure they will face arrest and possible retaliatory violence. And Spencer can still speak. That’s how the law works and it’s not going to change any time soon. The violence may be productive or may not. But the argument that the left is more violent than the right is demonstrably untrue. The left is historically and currently only violent in response to the escalation in right’s violence. And they are more likely to go there now, because 14% of the country thought it was no big deal to vote a bigoted white nationalist into the presidency, and another half of the country didn’t care enough to vote at all.

    I enjoy talking to people with whom I disagree but your inability to acknowledge reality, like the violence of white supremacists, is a non-starter in terms of discourse. I wish you were a more honestly inquiring and empathic human.

  67. Jcp2
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    While we are on the topic of whiteness, has anybody wondered why the media considers Meghan Markles biracial while Barack Obama is black?

  68. EOS
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    No, if Spencer commits any act of violence, he should be arrested as well. Trump isn’t a bigoted white nationalist and neither am I. I don’t condone violence by any individual, nor do I ascribe blame to anyone other than the individual who commits the crime. I am opposed to the suppression of speech. The Left doesn’t have a lock on Fascism, but they are currently the predominate Fascists. And, No, you don’t get a pass because you are still upset that Trump won the Presidency.

  69. EOS
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Here’s a look at recent mass shootings:

    Most are associated with some form of mental illness and, while not included in the data here, are also strongly correlated with patients taking SSRI’s.

    How many of these are white supremacists?

  70. Lynne
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    When it comes to violemce from the left directed at White Nationalists, I keep thinking of Turtellian and “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”

    Yes, they are advocating violence themselves but these groups also are very prone to play the victim card. I fear that they are deliberately provoking violence against themselves for the purpose of appearing sympathetic to certain troubled individuals. I think violence at this point would have the effect of becoming a recruiting tool. The NRA is certainly using such violence to sell guns

  71. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    “This forum is openly liberal in focus.”

    No. To Mark’s credit, This forum is an openly open forum.

    Advocating for free speech and non-violence should not be controversial.

  72. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Yes, Lynne.

    Spencer and his crew agree with you–as they are very self-aware about how their bread is buttered. Spencer has literally explained in his speeches (to the actual protestors !) how demonstrator violence, and disruptive tactics preventing him from speaking at his speaking engagements are actually his primary means of recruitment.

    The left is just not very smart. The lefts “goodness” is terribly overrated as well.

  73. Jean Henry
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    EOS– in answer to your question:

    Saying Trump is neither White Nationalist (Bannon’s term) nor a bigot is demonstrably untrue.

    FF– I agree the Left has not corner on goodness. I just don’t think they are the source of violence in this case. You and Lynne may be right that violence will feed Spencer’s aims. Or he may just be saying that to prevent assault. Historically limited acts of violence have moved movements in either direction more so than simple protest. No matter what the Left does in response to Spencer, they will be derided by his followers. That should be of zero consideration. Violence in response to violent threat to any group’s safety and autonomy and citizenship is not unusual, in fact it is standard. In denying the provocation to violence you are normalizing a monster. And Spencer is a monster. That’s NOT a partisan position. If you think it is, you are seriously over the edge. Free Speech includes the right to protest. Either said may become violent. If either does we will all support consequences and those resorting to violence will understand them. Understanding violence, how it works and doesn’t work and why people feel compelled to it is not the same as advocating it.
    How about we re-focus on how to address Spencer. What do you suggest? Should we treat him as any other speaker? Have you ever objected to any speaker on campus? If so, who?

    PS this forum is liberal in focus because Mark’s posts are openly partisan. The comment thread is open, but that doesn’t make this blog non-partisan any more than the National Review. Again, I suggest any who think Spencer is no big deal and that violence is more seated on the left, go over to some Spencer supporting sites and report back.

  74. Iron Lung
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    “I suggest any who think Spencer is no big deal and that violence is more seated on the left, go over to some Spencer supporting sites and report back.”

    I second this. Given how young he is, Spencer might one day hold a seat in Congress. He might even have a chance to become Senator. If you don’t think he’s a threat, you truly don’t have much of a grasp on history.

  75. Iron Lung
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    “I hope the University prepares to arrest anyone who attempts to block free speech and prosecutes everyone who resorts to violence as an acceptable means to suppress speech to which they disagree.”

    So can I arrange to speak at UM as well? I have the feeling they will deny my request.

    Interrupting a public speaker is not “blocking free speech” since our guarantees of free speech refer to what Congress can or cannot do, not what individuals do.

    I’m surprised that EOS doesn’t understand this. Congress can no more deny would be proponents of ethnic cleansing like Spencer than deny me the right to go and scream my head off at a Spencer speaking engagement. I can even bring my own PA if want and Congress can’t stop me.

    So yes, sure, leave the bricks at home, but go over there and tell that scumbag what you think as loudly as possible.

  76. Jean Henry
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    We are on the same page, IL. I want to hear some amazing sounds, very loud. I would like circus like chaotic diversion in a cloud of noize. I also support pies, but that may be an arrestable offense. Maybe I can front an old liberal white lady brigade. We’ll even wear glasses. Who would assault us? Post menopausal women take no prisoners lately. Lots of formally mild mannered teachers, librarians, social workers, nurses etc are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it any more. And we know how to make pies. It will be like those nuns chaining themselves to nuclear silos. I want multigenerational, multi cultural noisy chaos with those least likely to draw fire creating a human shield between the Nazis and protestors. Since I’m not a medic, I think I could take on that buffer role. Im still without an arrest. Bucket list item. Something to let the kids know I tried.

    Re your ability to speak at UM, IL, you can if you can raise a few grand to rent a hall. All public universities have that requirement. Anyone can rent space who meets basic requirements regardless of speech. The U is still weighing refusal on safety grounds.

    Maybe we should start a fund for Iron Lung to do his own campus tour. Unfortunately the obvious religious fundamentalist campuses are all private.

    If anyone wants to join the granny brigade (and feels like they are socially invisible and apparently benign enough to escape being a target for hate and violence), I’ll get something up on fb if/when Spencer is given access to space and date and time are confirmed.

  77. Lynne
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really know what the right response will be. My intention is to stay home. I don’t want to bring any more attention to this event than is necessary and my gut feeling is that protests feed into his message. I agree that the guy is a monster. I agree that he could end up in positions of power but god damn it, we are in this mess not from a lack of protesting but from a lack of voting. If we can’t get off of our asses and to the polls, UNITED (which yes, means accepting pretty much anyone who gets the Democratic nomination), we deserve to have a country with guys like that in power.

  78. EOS
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    @ Jean,
    I’m calling bullshit. You were first to reference recent “mass shootings by white supremacists”. So I gave you a comprehensive list of mass shootings.

    Then you post a PDF of the extremely biased liberal leaning ADL that claims there have been 150 right wing terrorists acts in recent years. Only several were actually mass shootings. So I wasted my time reading their garbage. Of the supposed 150 terrorist acts, only 65 involved any actual event. Some of the incidents on the list are unsolved cases for which there is no known suspect, but the ADL is somehow convinced that the perpetrator must be a right wing radical. Some of the supposed terrorist acts are merely felons who obtained weapons. Most of the persons cited have no known links to any right wing group, but the ADL has arbitrarily classified them as right wing lone wolf terrorists. I can’t believe any educated person would be swayed by this piece of propaganda. A dozen incidents carried out by lone individuals over the past 25 years is not a crisis and there’s no call to smear half the population as supporting violence.

    A pie in the face is an assault. Violence is not the answer. If you don’t want to hear the speech – stay home.

  79. Lynne
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    But I might consider being part of a granny brigade if the purpose of it is to maintain peace and to be a buffer consisting of a group no one generally wants to inflict violence upon. I might not be a good choice though because if protesters start getting violent with Nazis, I would probably feel compelled to protect the Nazis. It would make me feel dirty similarly to how I felt when I had to constantly defend Sarah Palin from hideously sexist attacks from liberal men during her run for VP. In retrospect, I really should not have been as surprised at the sexism from those same men directed at HRC more recently.

  80. EOS
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    @ Pete

  81. Jean Henry
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    For those interested in supporting the student walk out and joining the student teach ins this week, events are updated here:

    There is a teach in tonight (wed) on the history of white supremacy at the mi league room 4 from 7-9. There is another tomorrow night on effective strategies for peaceful protest location tba. Clearly the anti-fascists are looking for a fight…;-/

  82. Jean Henry
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    If pie fights are wrong, I don’t want to be right, EOS.

    Getting called bullshit on by you, of all people, has made my evening. Thank you.

  83. EOS
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

  84. EOS
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Keep it up with your conspiracy to commit violent acts and you’ll end up on ADL’s list.

  85. Iron Lung
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Do white supremacists really need defending?

  86. Jean Henry
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I love it when you get all moralistic, EOS. Pie violence is a growing concern, clearly. Among many concerns about the violent left. Sometimes they try to take our guns away by putting flowers in them. White Supremacists are oppressed. It’s a horror what all these liberals do to white men. Don’t even get me started about the fetuses. White men and fetuses are the oppressed, and ending those oppressions will free the world of suffering.

  87. Jean Henry
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Facebook took down the UM student strike organizing page as a ‘violation of community standards’. There are links in this article for anyone with time or inclination to participate.

  88. Iron Lung
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    If you look at white supremacists as an oppressed group, you are doing it all wrong.

  89. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    According to a recent survey:

    73% of Americans say they are willing to die (!) fighting to protect free speech that they do not agree with.

    Only 10% of Americans said they were not willing to die fighting to protect free speech that they do not agree with.

    17% were on the fence.

    The vast majority of American’s do not support free speech out of a sense of obligation to follow the law in general. American’s believe in the spirit of free speech…The average American has an unwavering faith that speech and the free exchange of ideas is a necessary ideal for the possibility of human progress. The fact that people on this site have repeatedly argued that it would be good to “stopspencer” from speaking (and being heard) through violence, physical obstruction, or obstructionist noise tactics puts the average person in the community in a very exclusive category. I wouldn’t be so disturbed by all of this but many of you are out of college now and actually middle aged. How did that happen? How is this happening?

    If you really want to make the world a better place skip the teach-in at the University. Read the UM policy on campus free speech and prohibited obstructionist tactics and then watch several hours of Spencer’s speeches on Youtube. Next, go to Spencer’s speech. Listen. During the Q/A period look down at your notes and read an intelligent statement and ask a good question when it is your turn to speak.

  90. Jean Henry
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Maybe oppressed isn’t right. It’s just that all those ‘special interest groups’ and all that identity politics going on are asking for ‘special’ treatment. –This thinking makes perfect sense if you believe our country has equity, that there already is an even playing field. Of course that requires ignoring the data, or twisting oneself in knots to explain it outside of oppression, but then most people do that reflexively. They believe in ’emotional truth’ not, you know, true truth.

    I’m pretty convinced this thinking, which simply supports maintaining the status quo, is the soil (delusion) from which Spencer and his ilk can cultivate followers. It’s a small step from believing supposed existing equity (status quo) is threatened to advocating for white superiority as a way of securing that advantage against threat. Tribalism 101. Every time people on the left or right attack what they call identity politics, they are defending the status quo– which IS white supremacy (not superiority– don’t argue; look at the numbers). There are degrees of defensiveness, and there are solid arguments against giving moral authority to ANY group, but, in the end, people fear change and the change upon us is greater equity. Despite the current reactive executive in chief of our government, our country is moving rapidly towards increasing diversity AND increasing voice, representation and agency for marginalized populations, which I believe is largely a function of population and the internet– both of which Trump/Putin have tried to control via totalitarian means.

    The frightened reaction to this impending change will make White Nationalist and then Supremacist ideology seem more acceptable and appealing to some. 1 of 6 Americans thinks military control of the govt is acceptable and holds some appeal…

    I believe in the change upon us. I am also truly frightened of the backlash to it. (and I think many of us were in some stages of denial about both up until last year) Progress and diversity have been stopped by fascism, racism and nationalism before (see the Jewish population in Europe before and after WW2 or the Native population in the US before and after the US government campaign against them). Ethnic cleansing works. And it’s the ultimate horror.

    And so, we have to fight the normalization of Nazi’s and white supremacist ideology with everything we’ve got in order to push past the barriers to necessary change. We can’t pretend this time is not momentous. We cant pretend it’s just about Trump either. As my 11 year old observed, “One man alone can’t produce that much hate.”

    I’ve spent the last year reading up on totalitarianism and fascism in the 20th century. We are facing a demographic shift in America and Europe that is exactly the kind of scenario that can lead to a rise in nationalism, protectionism, and acceptance of curbing of civil liberties. I keep thinking of Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying, “The videos may have been fake, but the threat is real. We have to keep talking about the threat.” That line is play-worthy.

    I have evolved my thinking. I don’t think we can afford to ignore Spencer. White supremacists are cleaning up their act in terms of physical presentation, rhetoric and levels of violence, precisely in order to normalize themselves and make them more appealing to millennials. We can’t pretend his rhetoric has no appeal. In these times, it does.

    The more we progress in our awareness of the scope of inequity and the need for change, the more others will pull back the reigns and valorize an even less just past.

    The more we realize change, the more others will point to those precise changes as threats to all we hold dear, and cling more tightly. (Nostalgia/Sentiment is always the language of resistance to change)

    Remember that Bannon, white nationalist strategist in chief, keeps minimizing the validity and size of White Supremacist movements in the mainstream press, even as he works with them behind the scenes and shares their audience. Whatever Bannon encourages us to do– in this case, ignore the Nazi’s and normalize (white) nationalism– is precisely what we can not afford to do.

    Sorry for going on here… I needed to synthesize all of this crap in my mind. Im just going on the assumption that no one bothers to read any of it. Except EOS and FF, who no doubt will object, because it’s people like me, talking about inequity and advocating for change, who are the problem.

  91. Jean Henry
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    FF– I believe strongly in free speech as an antidote to almost everything but Nazi-ism. I actually support Spencer’s right to speak and the students right to resist. I also support the University’s need to foster dialogue and prevent violence. And I really support resisting hate speech with louder speech of ALL kinds. And I understand the inclination to violence under direct threat, even while I don’t advocate for anything that poses true threat. I’m all for pies and graffiti not bricks and burning down buildings. And I know the fucking difference. I’m pretty lined up with the ACLU on all that. Not so much with the UM administration which, lets face it, is understandably more concerned with campus security and threat of lawsuit at this point, than fighting Nazis or free speech.

  92. Jean Henry
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    FF– Basically what I’m saying is that not all free speech is civil. The argument for civility goes out the window for me when dealing with bigotry and hate. We are free to differ on that.

  93. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I just have this weird feeling that pressing cream pies into peoples faces without their consent is not the answer.

  94. Jean Henry
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Nor was it intended to be. What could do is disrupt pride– the image of strength, legitimacy and seriousness that Spencer seeks to project.
    What doesn’t work with him is civil discourse. There is lots of video of people attempting that approach. I am capable of civil discourse with average bigots. I do it all the time. Especially with those whose bigotry arises from ignorance, lack of exposure and fear. I am even capable of compassion for them. As is evident here in all our conversations with Mr Warlord and most with EOS here, however, more entrenched and committed bigots employ a kind of circular logic that is impenetrable. It’s like pushing against a curtain, gain some purchase on one area and they pivot to another false claim. They will writhe their ‘logic’ against any disruption of their narrative. That does not mean they have no legitimate points; it simply means they will never ever acknowledge any one else’s. There is no point in civil discourse with Spencer. There is some point in pies and other means of disruption that undermine his authority and command of any space he occupies.

  95. Jean Henry
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I guess it’s critical for everyone to decide if they fear suppression of free expression ideas more than they fear the rise of fascism. I think where one falls on the fear spectrum likely correlates to the direct threat they feel from bigotry.
    I don’t even believe in that dichotomy (because fascism is obviously the ultimate form of suppression), but I hear it repeated in many quarters, including on the far left and establishment democrats.
    Before the recent election, I regularly questioned people who called those in power fascists or spoke of the rise of fascism, as engaging in hyperbole. I don’t do that anymore.

  96. Iron Lung
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    It is impossible to have civil discourse with people who advocate for ethnic cleansing.

  97. Lynne
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Iron Lung, re: “Do white supremacists really need defending?”

    I would hope not. I would hope that even hate *speech* would be met with peaceful protest and more speech and not violence. However here we are having a discussion about the appropriateness of violence in response to speech so yes, I fear that there might be a need to defend white supremacists from violent responses to their speech.

  98. Lynne
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    With that said, I probably wouldnt be willing to endanger myself to intercept any pies headed for nazi faces. not unless it was a cherry pie but then only for more selfish reasons

  99. Iron Lung
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I also thought that all of the screaming of fascism was overblown in the past.

    I don’t think that anymore. White supremacists managed to get a sympathizer into the most powerful position in the world. Spencer will likely run for Congress and get a seat somewhere. Who knows how many others will be able to follow suit.

    If you think that Spencer isn’t a threat, you really need to go back and start reading about the history of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Spencer probably won’t be the leader of a true ethnic cleansing campaign, but treating him lightly only puts us a step closer to it. It can happen here. History has shown us that no country, people, or governmental system is immune to it. It needs to be taken seriously.

    While I’m not going to suggest that anyone use violence against Spencer (for a number of reason), he also need not be shielded from violence or people screaming at his rallies given the gravity of what he represents, particularly by peace loving liberals.

    Again, it’s a drastic scenario, but when the deportations ramp up and the jails start getting filled and the camps are built, you don’t want to be the person that has to look back and ask “why didn’t I do something?”

    I have never been more worried about the future of the United States than I am now. As grim as it sounds, everyone should be worried. Call me oversensitive, or crazy or anything you like, but this is quite serious.


  100. kjc
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    “73% of Americans say they are willing to die (!) fighting to protect free speech that they do not agree with.”

    lol. sure they are.

  101. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    The survey question was slightly different than the way I phrased it above. According to the survey 73% of people surveyed agreed with the statement: “I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.” (voltaire)

    So, I don’t think, it is a matter of someone willing to sacrificing ones life to protect an individual instance of speech one disagrees with, but there are some people who might be willing, I guess….It is, I suspect, that 73% would be willing to risk their lives to protect free speech as a codified law for everyone, including those they disagree with.

    Another way to look at is that 73% of American’s would probably be willing to squash the enemies of free speech like a bunch of cockroaches if they thought that the fascistic 10% had any chance to silence their own speech and the speech of people they disagree with. I think that is the perspective that fascistic left needs to keep in mind moving forward.

    Some of you guys are really going to need to find ways to control that impulse toward fascism… Either you control the impulse or you need to get accustomed to the idea of losing. The other possibility is that you accept the possibility of getting actually squashed. And none of us want that to happen. What would we do without you? We would all so very much miss seeing all of those well placed online “lols”, kjc.

  102. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink


    If you can, I would prefer that you just deleted the last paragraph I wrote. I reread what I wrote, toward the end, and it just comes across as unnecessarily evil. My apologies.

    The point I was trying to make is that the vast majority of Americans are very serious about free speech. I think some on the left and many college aged millennial just don’t understand how important free speech is to many people….

  103. Lynne
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I find that college aged millennials often have a better understanding of the constitutional meaning of free speech than many older people. A lot of older people on both the right and the left don’t seem to grasp the concept that the law means only that the government cant silence you much. They think the right has no limits when it does.

    A private organization can refuse to rent you space or give you a platform on which to speak. Counter protesters can show up with airhorns and pots and pans and drown you out by having louder speech (within limits of local noise ordinances of course which also are not a violation of free speech even if they might limit it in terms of volume) . Even public institutions can have policies where they refuse to give someone a platform and it is not at all a violation of anyone’s freedom of speech if people use their own speech to pressure institutions they are part of not to host speakers they dont like., even if those institutions choose to give in to such protesters and cancel the engagement.

  104. wobblie
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    FF, what a joke. The overwhelming majority of Americans could give a shit about free speech. We have stood idly by while the instruments of speech have been monopolized by 5 corporations. When was the last time you saw Ralph Nader or Noam Chomsky on CNN or MNBC or FOX?
    We’ve stood idly by while Universities and other institutions of learning have dismissed or disciplined those who engage in speech they don’t agree with.
    What are the 73% of Americans going to do when Net neutrality ends? I suspect nothing.
    Since most of what we see happening is a lead up to war with Russia–do we get to hear anybody in the media warn us of this? Free Speech without the means to amplify and heard is a meaningless “right”. Even in totalitarian states you can express your feelings in private –it is the right of being heard that is at issue.

  105. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I think there is a difference between an academic knowledge of the law and the exceptions (and the exploitations of its loopholes) on the one hand; and on the other hand, being aware that the vast majority of American’s are emotionally married to the ideal of free speech, as our most fundamental right, as the rational exchange of ideas, in a way that is akin to religious-devotion to a lot of Americans.

    The “hecklers veto”, I think, would be seen, by most of the 73% of American’s to be an unfortunate falling short of the ideal due to practical impediments; but to some activists the “hecklers veto” is something to be aimed toward because it can end up in a short term victory.

    In terms of political strategy, adopting the policy of “fucking with” the 73%’s “free speech”, regardless of whether we are speaking of “free speech” in the academic sense or the everyday usage of the term, is bad policy. It is about as close to a spiritual barrier you can place between two people and two groups of people. In my estimation the left in recent years is increasingly in danger of alienating themselves from the 73% because they just don’t take discourse and the free speech of others seriously. This is one of the main reasons the left is being judged as a place where people just don’t want to “hang out”.

  106. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I am not sure I have ever seen Ralph Nader on CNN but I am also not sure how that is an interesting data point.

    We have incredible access to lots of points of view…We also have a lot of opportunities to amplify our voices that are relatively cheap compared to the past….

    One of the reasons people despise Hillary, as far as I can tell, is there was evidence suggesting that she manipulated via her msm connections, the extent that Bernie and Trumps voice would be amplified. That outrage is evidence of something isn’t it?

  107. EOS
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    The suppression of free expression IS the fascism that I fear.

  108. Iron Lung
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Well, if Trump and Spencer get their way, that’s exactly what you will see.

  109. Jean Henry
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    EOS misses the point entirely…. again.

  110. Lynne
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    FF, I think you might be assuming that the entirety of that 73% interprets the statement “I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.” in exactly the same way you do. I can assure you that isn’t true.

    One thing I have noticed is that a lot of people seem to think that freedom of speech means white guys get to say whatever they want without repercussions or consequences. I am thinking of the guys who were outraged when that Duck Dynasty guy got fired for his hate speech. Or an especially ironic video of Bill Maher interviewing Milo Yiannopoulos. Two white men victim babies who even though each has access to incredible platforms are who are heard much more than the average person try to shame those who used their own free speech to remove platforms from them to which they were never entitled in the first place.

    And then there are others who value the speech of those who would speak up against hate and insist that speakers with hateful messages not be given a microphone and a venue.

    and probably many other ways to see that statement. you have no way of knowing how most of that 73% feels about “heckler’s veto” or if they have a religious devotion to the philosophy or even what their boundaries are in terms of what speech they they would defend (few would consider death threats to be permissible for instance) .

  111. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:36 pm | Permalink


    They broke the response to the survey down by race and party affiliation too.

    There was virtual partisan agreement as Democrats, Independents and Republicans, agreed at a similar rate, with the statement “I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    65% of Blacks agreed with the statement.
    73% of “Other ethnicity” agreed with the statement
    75% of Whites agreed agreed with the statement

    Regarding the hecklers veto: The heckler’s veto is essentially the stopping of speech based upon a perceived potentially dangerous/ violent reaction on the part of the opposition to a particular speech. The hecklers, in the case of an actual hecklers veto, are literally a force which suppresses the 73%’s stated ideal. It’s not a matter of whether or not the 73% will fight the hecklers in the moment, but it is obviously a falling short of the stated ideal due to very real practical concerns.

    EOS is not missing the point at all, Jean. EOS stated the issue very clearly when he said: “Spencer wants to come here to talk. Others say he should be denied the ability to hold a speech because they are concerned about violence, while at the very same time they are the very ones who are actively planning violent responses.”

    So guys, don’t insinuate that EOS and I don’t understand “free speech”, because you learned how to exploit a loop hole in the first amendment at some university teach-in alongside a bunch of undergrads. There is nothing clever about any of these tactics…73% of Americans, cutting across race and political party think the people who carry out these suppression tactics are a special type of evil.

  112. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Lynne,

    I didn’t mean to address you in the last paragraph. I think IL suggested that EOS did not understand free speech and I think Jean accused EOS of missing the point when he was very much on point.

  113. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    So, this is the conundrum, as I see it. White people will be a minority at some point in the near future..they will feel threatened because being a minority is always a vulnerable situation. To prevent the over compensation of white fear from blossoming into frank white supremacy, perhaps some people think, oh, let them have a valve to blow off some steam and assert themselves. I don’t agree with that position, I am just saying… and I think really, that is what we think? we are down to who has blue or green eyes and lighter hair and who has brown or black eyes and hair?and other people would argue, it comes down to culture…which, in a place like Michigan, I don’t know what that would mean, since this is such an unusual state…flyover country…people who don’t even realize how unique they are .my point is Spencer should be denied access to speak.

  114. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    There are limits to free speech. Advocating for an all white community should be one of them.
    if he sues?
    well, he might. or he might be bluffing. Or maybe a lawsuit is better than the hassle he will bring to the city.

  115. Lynne
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    FF, and yet you are still speaking as if you know how all or even most of that 73% interprets the concept. Surele many object to “heckler’s veto” but just as surely there are many who answered yes to that question who don’t. I understand that YOU have such objections but I think it is a mistake to assume that because you see things a certain way, everyone does.

    Maria, White people will be in the minority eventually which is one reason why it would behoove white people to strive for a cultural shift towards egalitarianism. Because if we continue this “might makes right” and whoever has power gets to treat everyone else like dirt mentality, that will be the cultural norm when different groups come into power. White men especially will suffer and if suicide and drug overdose rates are any indication, that group is already fearing that somewhat as women and POC have been getting more of a voice

  116. wobblie
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    This discussion totally misses the concept of “Free Speech”. 5 mega media corporations control almost all the speech that is broadcast, or printed. They are getting ready to shut down Free Speech on the Internet. As a result of the corporate control of speech, we got to hear everything Trump had to say during the election season, while Bernie Sanders “speech” was kept to as low a murmur as possible.

    Ask Americans if they believe in censorship. Censorship obviously restricts “speech” and we get nothing but corporate censored news.

    Read the 1st. Amendment,” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”, notice how the right of Free Speech is coupled with other rights. The Press (ie. now public airways and Internet) have been or are in the process of being monopolize. The “no law respecting…the right of the people peaceable to assemble” has been distorted and practically eliminated. You have the right to assemble in “Free Speech Zones). Looks to me that that violates that “no law” provision. The Religion clause was thrown out the window when Congress passed the Religion Restoration Act–a law that 20 states have now followed.

    People saying they are in favor of Free Speech is no different that saying they believe in the 10 commandments, while fornicating outside of marriage, while lieing to your spouse, and lusting after every hot woman you see, kinda like our President. It is just expected.

  117. EOS
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Jean labels everyone with different political views as hateful bigots. She hates them, cannot tolerate them, and is unable to see that she is the persona of what she claims to oppose.

  118. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Well , it looks as though Marks Schlissels plan for dealing witbh Spencer is to try and declare him crazy. Tactically , that isnt going to is a card Schlissels overplays too often. 4

  119. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Lynne ,people intermarry and this who is a minority will vary. Sometimes it will be looks ir religion or how they talk isnt always about the skin color.

  120. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    So my conclusion is Schlissel has to face groups of people today who are considered currently minorities in society without trying to label them crazy. that is why the Spencer crazy thing will backfire for him legally. He can just say no instead.

  121. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    U of M simply is very embarrassing when it tries to fix things…so we went to the U of M dermatologists and they had their white doctors and their minority doctor..voila..the UMHS plan to deal with minorities. Schlissel has to do better than that, is my opinion…he is feeding white supremacy at this point with their inability to deal with people as people.

  122. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink


    I definitely am making some assumptions. I am just not sure if they are unreasonable assumptions. Sure, some of the 73% are white guys who merely want to hold onto their privileged place in society in which they are able to, like they were in the past, to say hateful things without repercussions, but that can’t be a significant portion of the respondents–because math. Further, the survey revealed virtually identical rates of commitment to “free speech” across race and political affiliation, suggesting that people’s views on “free speech” transcends whether or not they fit into the so-called privileged class or the so-called oppressed class.

  123. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Does anyone remember the Odd Couple episode of when people make assumptions?
    worth looking up.

  124. Jean Henry
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I don’t hate you EOS. I do think you are a bigot, but I’m full of compassion for you. God loves you too, in spite of your bigotry.

  125. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink


    I think you bring up a lot of valid concerns around the issue of free speech. Due to time limitations I just don’t think I will be able to engage with you on any of the things you brought up right now but I will make a general statement that I think we might, in the future, see an unfortunate erosion of free speech, in the form of more exceptions, in part because as a society we just aren’t smart enough to handle it, not smart enough to realize how important it is, not smart enough to realize how fragile our “rights” actually are….

  126. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Jean Henry…I think neutral is how I am about EOS. I think he is mean as a junkyard dog, but I am neutral towards him. I have to have compassion about someone else thinking something else than I do.
    I am not much of a liberal that way. I don’t feel sorry for people thinking what they do. I think. hmm.
    It is a power play to extend him compassion for being a bigot.

  127. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    So let me clarify… because the last post was not clear.
    Extending compassion for what a person considers bigotry is all about power. You tell him he is a sorry excuse of a human being for being a bigot.
    I am not sure he is a bigot. I do know he is quite unkind.
    I don’t know if he gets paid to write here under a label that is not his own, EOS. I think people should use their real names on blogs, but that is just me.

  128. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    …On the other hand, I really believe that if it comes to a point where individuals feel their speech is getting suppressed, then I think it could mean a temporary reordering of political affiliations. The issue is very much at play and is very much being played with.

  129. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Yes, if the democrats completely are impossible about discussing certain topics without endless labeling and suiing etc…then people will look to republicans for just some space to exist and not get harassed.

  130. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I will always be a democrat, but there are certain things about republicans I like.

  131. Jean Henry
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Maria: “It is a power play to extend him compassion for being a bigot.” I know this. I was applying the rhetoric of the Christian Right to EOS. What I feel about EOS is almost nothing. The old saw on the right that the left is intolerant of intolerance is an obvious ploy to normalize the inhumane. I am committed to liberal thought (small l) which means I am suspicious of ideologies. Equity and human rights are not an ideology. They are almost universally understood North Stars, principles.

  132. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    But in real life equity and human rights are not understood.

  133. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    In real life people want to keep their jobs and get raises…and if children have to leave a district to make that happen that is what happens.

  134. Jean Henry
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Maria and FF– So far, despite being socially conservative, being suspicious of state over-reach and supposedly being for limited government (all of which should appeal to many minority groups), the GOP has failed to attract many people of color or retain those it does attract.

    I suggest you ponder why that is.

  135. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    So the Michigan Alliance for Special Ed website has this post about a kid who should have more of social work intervention, which as we all know, what does that mean? it was never social work’s assignment to do anything much more than get new housing for people and fill out paperwork to make that happen…and so the social worker says I can’t do 4 times a month I can do only 1 time a month and that is exactly the problem..not enough staff, not enough time, not enough money to make these things happen for kids and still pay teachers raises..

  136. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    So how this has to do with a white supremacist showing up to town is that how the University handles it will be watched…what do people do when the impossible is the problem every day? That man thinks Michigan isn’t nice to black people and he has a chance on getting more people to follow him. And why would he think that?

  137. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Republic are funny..they way like government programs when they are in power.

  138. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I think they hoped to pick up votes that way..Chris Christie and his support of charter schools and of minorities, for instance..i think the GOP is trying., but they quickly overreach into peoples lives in their attempts.

  139. Jean Henry
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I just think the White working and middle class is more easily fooled into thinking the GOP has their back than POC.
    Because they can be easily swayed to think their problem is POC. Because bigotry.
    Given where the demographics of this country are going, the GOP better get smart soon, or they face existential threat via irrelevance in 20 years. Even with gerrymandering working in their substantial favor.

  140. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    The DNA results just came in: Spencer is the left’s baby boy.

    He is a little monster no doubt but many people are waiting for the responsible parties within the left to take some responsibility for their unintended little creation. Instead, we watch in horror, as you, against all maternal instincts, say “you do not belong to me” while you try to crush his little skull with a brick.

  141. Lynne
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Maria, re “Lynne ,people intermarry and this who is a minority will vary. Sometimes it will be looks ir religion or how they talk isnt always about the skin color.”

    I agree. I actually stared to write a whole essay last night about how “whiteness” is a social construct that has been ever expanding so that white people are always in the majority. I see this happening even now. As long as there is some way to differentiate the in-group (white people) from the out-group (everyone else) there will still be the issues we see.

  142. Lynne
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Re: “Yes, if the democrats completely are impossible about discussing certain topics without endless labeling and suiing etc…then people will look to republicans for just some space to exist and not get harassed.”

    I see that behavior of looking to republicans for space to exist and not get harassed as being a nice way of saying that they want to exist in a space where they are privileged without being asked to work on their racism. I even understand it. I have at times, when the work has become too much to me, retreated to all-white spaces where I don’t have to worry as much if what I am saying might be racist. It is a privilege though. And it is why bigots flock to the GOP. There is no denying that there is a bigot vote. I just don’t know what to do about it since I just can’t bring myself to accept their bigotry or stop discussing things like racism and sexism which make bigots uncomfortable,

  143. Lynne
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    FF, I don’t think you are getting my point about how very open to interpretation things like concepts of free speech are. That is my point. I don’t think the minority numbers necessarily mean what you think but they might. I don’t know either what was in the minds of those who answered that question.

    Re: ” Sure, some of the 73% are white guys who merely want to hold onto their privileged place in society in which they are able to, like they were in the past, to say hateful things without repercussions, but that can’t be a significant portion of the respondents–because math. “

    IF around 74% percent of the population is white and half of those are men and most of those men have grown up in an environment where they see their privilege as completely normal, I don’t think we are dealing with an insignificant portion of the respondents to that question. You know. Because math.

  144. Lynne
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    FF, what do you mean that Spenser is the left’s baby boy? My interpretation of that is that he has come into the power he has as a reaction to the progress the left has made with civil rights for marginalized groups. Is that what you mean?

    If so, maybe you should ask yourself why you wish to blame marginalized people for the actions of those who are freaking out because they are losing the privilege they were never entitled to in the first place. If that isn’t your meaning, I would love to hear you clarify that statement.

  145. Lynne
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Jean Henry, I am with you on that but I have to admit that another likely scenario is that the GOP will just expand the in-group. (see my earlier response to Maria about the expanding nature of the concept of whiteness)

  146. Iron Lung
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    “The DNA results just came in: Spencer is the left’s baby boy.”

    Spencer is from a long line of white supremacists. There is nothing at all new about what he represents. He is simply David Duke for a younger generation of bigots.

  147. Iron Lung
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Right wingers would love to have us believe that.

    “If you lefties had only kept quiet, we wouldn’t have white supremacists in the US.”

    Kind of like the “stop talking about race and it will go away” argument.

  148. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, you’re funny thinking space from harassment and labels is in the white world. I am just saying. It just depends on a group’s rules and how well a person understands and meshes and accepts a group’s rules. Written and otherwise.

  149. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Ff. I think teens read this blog.

  150. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Some reading for FF:

    “Now is the time to recalibrate the default assumptions of American political discourse. Identity politics is not the sole preserve of minority voters. This election is a reminder that identity politics in America is a white invention: it was the basis of segregation. The denial of civil rights to black Americans had at its core the idea that a black American should not be allowed to vote because that black American was not white. The endless questioning, before the election of Obama, about America’s “readiness” for a black President was a reaction to white identity politics. Yet “identity politics” has come to be associated with minorities, and often with a patronizing undercurrent, as though to refer to nonwhite people motivated by an irrational herd instinct. White Americans have practiced identity politics since the inception of America, but it is now laid bare, impossible to evade.”

  151. Kim
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    We know Trump said the words “grab them by the pussy.” He defended it as “locker room talk” at the time, and he told us that he had apologized to his wife. Now Billy Bush, who was with him when he said it, is confirming it.

    Billy Bush: “He said it. “Grab ’em by the pussy.” Of course he said it. And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America’s highest-rated bloviator…Surely, we thought, none of this was real. We now know better.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Sea Serpent