The day in racist, totalitarian creep

To my knowledge, President Trump has yet to comment on the four people who were murdered yesterday in Tennessee. It could be because the gunman used an assault weapon, like those the Republicans are fighting to keep on the market, in spite of widespread public support for legislation that would see them banned. Of course, it could also be that the victims in this case were people of color, or the fact that the attack wasn’t thwarted by a so-called “good guy with a gun.” Personally, however, I think it’s probably because the suspected perpetrator was yet another angry white male, seemingly motivated by the paranoid propaganda of the far right… you know, the people we refer to euphemistically as “Trump’s base”.

When everything is said and done, I don’t know that it really matters why Trump has yet to speak about this particular mass murder, when, in the past, he’s been so quick to acknowledge the crimes perpetrated by non-white gunmen. Whatever the specific reason, we know that, once again, an act of what appears to be white supremacist terrorism has taken place on American soil, leaving multiple American citizens dead, and our President has refused to acknowledge it for what it is… instead spending his precious time off the golf course tweeting about how the Meuller investigation is a “witch hunt,” and reminding his co-conspirators of his pardon power.

Again, none of this is normal. And we can’t forget that. Every time something like this happens, we need to acknowledge it, and not merely brush it aside as just one more dead parakeet at the bottom of the coal mine.

Speaking of things the President has yet to address, it’s probably also worth noting that there was a Neo-Nazi rally in Georgia yesterday… Here, for those of you who might not be following any Nazis on social media, is a photo.

Oh, and here, as long as we’ve started down this very dark path, is one more thing to chew on. According to the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, it looks as though more and more GOP candidates running for office in 2018 are beginning to echo Trump’s authoritarianism. [Our old friend Dan Blankenship, who is running for Senate in West Virginia, just recently said, “We don’t need to investigate our president. We need to arrest Hillary… Lock her up!”] Here’s an excerpt.

…The question all this raises is whether there is a large swath of GOP primary voters who are fully prepared to march behind Trump into full-blown authoritarianism. The original plan was for Republicans to make tax cuts the centerpiece of their midterm campaign agenda. But in the Virginia gubernatorial race, the Republican candidate resorted to Trumpian xenophobia and a defense of Confederate statues to activate the GOP base, and in the Pennsylvania House special election, Republicans cycled the tax cuts out of their messaging. There just doesn’t appear to be much of a constituency for Paul Ryan Republicanism among today’s GOP voters.

The retirement of the House speaker himself has brought this recognition to a head. Figures such as Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio were supposed to create a youthful, forward-looking aura around limited government, constitutional conservatism and tax-cutting, safety-net-shredding plutocracy, broadening their appeal to (and edging the GOP into a new accommodation with) 21st-century diversifying America. But Trump won, Ryan is retiring to spend more time with his faded college Ayn Rand poster, and on his way out Ryan has acquiesced to Trump’s nativist nationalism and has lent his tacit support to the weaponization of Congress’ oversight machinery against the investigation into Trump, furthering his assaults on our institutions and the rule of law.

What happens if Trump fires Rosenstein or makes a serious effort to remove Mueller? It is not hard to envision many GOP candidates siding with Trump as a way to energize Republican voters, thus further rallying them against the investigation and making it even less likely that GOP lawmakers intervene. In other words, the GOP’s slide into authoritarianism could get a whole lot worse…

And just because I don’t know that I’ve yet succeeded in painting a dark enough picture for you, here’s a little something from White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who seems to think that those who express concern about Trump’s leadership are un-American… “At some points,” Sanders said on Fox News today, “Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this president.”

This is what the beginning of the end looks like, folks. If you just step back, and open your eyes up wide, you can see it. It’s plain as can be how all of this is going to play out. Trump won’t step aside peacefully, and the Republicans, who presently control both the House and Senate, won’t defend the rule of law. And I’m afraid, as a result, things are going to get incredibly ugly, as the GOP moves more to the right in hopes of retaining power, and avoiding the consequences of their crimes… Here’s wishing us all luck.

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25 Comments

  1. Demetrius
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I agree, Mark, but my sense is that many Democrats aren’t that worried … since they already seem to be counting on “anti-Trump” sentiment to deliver big victories this fall that will give them a majority in the House of Representatives (and possibly the Senate) … just like many of them were 100% confident that Clinton would win the presidency in 2016.

    I genuinely believe that many Americans desire a credible, inspiring alternative – one that offers practical, easy-to-understand solutions that address ordinary people’s concerns about bread-and-butter issues like the economy (real jobs, decent wages), education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc.

    Other than being the “opposition” or “anti-Trump,” can anyone say what the Democrats actually stand for these days? More than ever, we desperately need a genuine opposition party.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    No one will save us. We cannot count on the Republican led Congress to stand up to Trump. There are no checks and balances. There is only raw power. If we want to stop this, we have no choice but to take to the streets.

  3. Kit
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    NRATV: Heroic Waffle House customer James Shaw Jr. could have stopped attack “permanently” if he had a gun.

    https://t.co/MCI5pjKhaN

  4. 734
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Don’t forget Trump using words like “infested and breeding” when talking about immigrants.

    https://www.alternet.org/breeding-concept-trump-using-language-white-supremacists-no-coincidence-because-he-one

  5. wobblie
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    remember that it is only tribal loyalty that counts. Ignore the Democrats who have voted to loosen gun restrictions (that great Democrat Manchin comes to mind). Or the three that are joining with the Republicans to ensure that Pompeo becomes Sec. of State.

    As Demetrius says we need an opposition party. The only way that is going to happen is by pushing the Democrats to the left. Enabling lesser evilism only gets you more evil.

  6. Meta
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Salon: “Toronto and Tennessee: Two white suspects, no Trump tweets”

    Since the Nashville Waffle House shooting early on Sunday morning, Trump has tweeted about former FBI director James Comey, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, North Korea, praise he received from political consultant Mary Matalin, the ongoing probe into his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia, his visit with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, sanctuary cities, the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, NAFTA, food stamps and the US Senate race in Tennessee (he retweeted Vice President Mike Pence for that last one).

    Notably absent from this list was any reference to either of the attacks that have been dominating headlines, and that have left two countries shaken.

    On Sunday Travis Reinking, a 29-year-old man living in Tennessee, is believed to have committed a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee that left four people dead. Reinking was on the run for more than a day before a major area-wide manhunt eventually tracked him down to a wooded area near a construction site roughly one mile from where he allegedly committed his crime. It is unclear what Reinking’s motives were for committing the mass shooting, although early reports revealed that he had tried to breach the White House last year and considered himself to be a “sovereign citizen.”

    The silence from the president’s Twitter account could mean that, in order of priority, another mass shooting could be less important than a fire in Trump Tower, the residential apartment building owned by his private company (one which the president’s family still controls). Trump’s tweet came hours after reports of the fire.

    Read more:
    https://www.salon.com/2018/04/24/toronto-and-tennessee-two-white-suspects-no-trump-tweets/

  7. EOS
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Ten people were killed and 15 others were injured after a white rental van mowed down pedestrians along a busy street in Toronto on Monday. No one condemned the use of motor vehicles or renewed calls to have them eliminated either. I don’t know the race of the victims or the perpetrator because it doesn’t matter. I’m sure they were all humans.

  8. wobblie
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Since the Waffle House shooter and the Toronto driver were both white (though some would argue that Armenians hardly qualify as white), they were taken alive because we all know there actions were caused by “mental illness” not politically or racially motivated and despite being armed were not a danger to the officers who arrested them.

  9. Lynne
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Good luck with that, wobblie. The issue really is that what you consider a lesser evil is what others see as their first choice. And lesser evilism to many is the far left party you are advocating. Party unity is important but doesn’t necessarily have to be tribal.

  10. Wobblie
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Lynne I recognize the importance of nuance. As I have said before I voted straight Democratic in most elections. I am sick and tired of my wants and desires not counting. HC said she could care less about my vote when she chose Kane.
    Do you honestly think that he would have defended Woman’s rights? HC was advancing the rightward drift of the Democratic Party and that needed to be stopped for all our sakes.

  11. Lynne
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I think Kaine would be better than Pence in the office of VP in terms of women’s rights. I don’t know what to tell you about being sick and tired of your wants and desires not counting because that is the nature of the beast when your wants and desires are not what most people voting in primaries want (although fwiw, HRC made significant changes and adopted a platform that was very much influenced by the wants and desires of the Sanders primary voters). She actually was bringing the party to the left and then nominated Kaine as a nod to centrists. When you have a large organization with many different groups, you will never get a candidate who meets everyone’s ideal of perfection.

    If anything, I think her loss is going to end up moving the Democratic party to the right if only because Trump is so awful that many moderate Republicans are switching parties at the same time many on the far left are defecting for third parties. THAT will move the party more to the right than HRC could. The good news is that many in the far left are staying in the party. The bad news is that many of them don’t understand that their argument that no one should vote for whom they consider the lesser of two evils works against them when it is their candidate who gets the nomination.

    To me, I see the primary season as the time to work to get the candidate I consider to be the best candidate nominated. But if another candidate gets the nomination, the power of the party is when everyone agrees to vote for that person even if they weren’t an individuals first choice. Otherwise we will just end up with one powerful party who does understand that concept and it will be the GOP. They run just about everything already because of this. They control almost 3/4 of state governments and both houses of congress and the presidency. Yup. your vote sure moved things to the left *rolls eyes* Seriously though, if people on the left cannot learn to accept the realities of our system as the right has done, we are only going to be able to function as a weak opposition party

  12. Demetrius
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    “They (the Republicans) control almost 3/4 of state governments and both houses of congress and the presidency.”

    Yes, exactly. So why do you and others keep insisting the solution is to double-down on the same failed strategies mainstream Democrats have pursued for going on 30 years now? Better yet, why are you all so condescending and dismissive of others who argue they should adopt a different approach?

  13. Lynne
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Because, Demetrius, no one has offered a better solution. I hear you that you see problems but identifying problems is the easy part. Coming up with solutions, and especially *realistic* solutions is harder.

    Why are you so condescending and dismissive of others who only want to educate people about the realities of our system? Is that not part of the problem. That many on the left simply haven’t figured out that voting is the most important thing one can do?

  14. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    “Better yet, why are you all so condescending and dismissive of others who argue they should adopt a different approach?”

    I think that doing policy research and writing up a plan for publication on a website doesn’t take a whole lot of effort. Really, the money is there, there are skilled people out there… why is it so hard to come up with even a skeleton of a plan?

    I am dismissive of the lazy nature of discourse among the American left, not the spirit of what the say.

  15. Wobblie
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    As I’ve said repeatedly the money for social problems are there it is a matter of bombs or food stamps. Folks who argue about “realism” would have been against social security because its a ponzi scheme.

  16. Lynne
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Wobblie, I don’t disagree that the money is there nor do I have problems with diverting defense money towards other things. However any realistic plan must involve convincing those who do like defense spending, such as those employed in that industry but also those who are so fearful of invasions that a super strong military is what they want. Also those who benefit from the USA’s strong military presence in terms of American Imperialism and how it benefits us. Otherwise it is just useless grandstanding.

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    EOS should maybe pay more attention to the kind of thinking that leads to attacks like those in Toronto. In that case, race may not be an issue, but gender definitely was. This was the most depressing thing I read today. And there was lots of solid competition: https://twitter.com/i/moments/988846729897365506

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius– I don’t think most of us here are advocating for business as usual. We are suggesting that creating change requires strategy and a broader understanding of the impacts of proposed policies. Good policy matters. No one here said anything like, let’s just keep doing things as we always have. We simply suggested the left needs to be better informed and better prepared to create change. We all have criticisms of the standard Dem strategies as well. Criticizing any group is a way to encourage improvement, Being ‘realistic’ is not a deficit to creating change. It’s the only way to create it.

  19. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I don’t get what’s so wrong with asking that people have done their homework.

    I really don’t.

  20. wobblie
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    IL, I have not seen you make one comment, or ask one question about the spending on defense. Have not seen you ask one question about “homework” on the roll back of Dod-Frank and the deregulation of payday lenders. The only time I see you raising these kinds of objections is when it comes to spending for people. Free college–you raise the issue. Though it was not that many years ago (I guess it has been 10) that our Democratic Governor Granholm (by no means a leftest) was advocating for free community college.

    As MKL pointed out on numerous occasions the white liberal class is a major disappointment.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Those questions are unnecessary in a forum dominated by liberals and progressives, Wobblie. We share your concerns, not your certainty on leftist revolution being the solution. That doesn’t mean we don’t believe in solutions, just that we don’t think yours are possible. Or workable. From what we can tell.

  22. Demetrius
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    FWIW – Despite the fact that only one Democratic vote was needed for him to be confirmed, five Democratic senators (Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin, McCaskill, Nelson) just voted with the Republicans to confirm outspoken foreign policy hawk Mike Pompeo to be the our next Secretary of State.

    Since each of them is up for re-election this fall, I’m sure that later this summer, and in to the fall, I can look forward to receiving breathless fundraising appeals from the DNC, and Democratic Senatorial Campaign committee, begging me for money to help secure their electoral victories.

    To wobblie’s point – when is the “lesser evil” simply “evil.” And at what point is the enemy of my enemy STILL an enemy?

  23. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    “I have not seen you make one comment, or ask one question about the spending on defense. Have not seen you ask one question about “homework” on the roll back of Dod-Frank and the deregulation of payday lenders. The only time I see you raising these kinds of objections is when it comes to spending for people. Free college–you raise the issue.”

    We spend too much on defense. I don’t work in defense and am not particularly knowledgeable in that area, so I can’t speak to the practicalities of cutting certain aspects of defense spending…. so there’s not much I can say beyond that. Saying “we should cut defense” seems to obvious to continuously repeat in such a simple manner.

    Dodd-Frank: Well, I think you need to read my blog from 5 years ago when I was writing about the subprime crisis and the even older roll back of Glass-Steagall and how that roll back created the conditions which led to the crash of 07-08. Unfortunately, I don’t blog anymore. I even gave lectures on it several times believe it or not.

    Free college: University funding is something I know a lot about, thus it is very easy for me to comment on. It isn’t that I don’t think that people shouldn’t be able to go to college or that I find student loans defensible in the least, but the model proposed by the Sanders camp was a joke. He effectively offered a huge subsidy to the rich, while oddly paying for it out of volatile stock trades. What he was suggesting sounded like something he just made up on the spot one day, and couldn’t be bothered to come up with anything else.

    Yes, I think that low income students should be subsidized, but college should not be free given that most people who go are not low income. Administrative salaries and tuition increased should be controlled. Student loans, if they are to exist, should be offered at either no interest or should have their interest rates pegged to inflation and should be easier to discharge.

    Sanders spoke of none of that, it was just “free stuff” talk that pandered to people who couldn’t be bothered with the details. In that, I couldn’t take him seriously as a candidate.

    I supported Granholm’s plan. Not sure what else you want from me there.

  24. Lynne
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    “when is the “lesser evil” simply “evil.” And at what point is the enemy of my enemy STILL an enemy?”

    I think that is a good question and one I actually think about a lot. I can’t think of an election where I felt that the lesser of two evils was just too evil for me to vote for either of the main candidates. I made a joke after 2016 that if Sean Penn ran against Kidd Rock, I might sit that one out but until I have been tested, I cant know for sure. I also would like to think that if such an election were to occur with two really horrible candidates that I actually could not bring myself to vote for, I would vote with my feet as a friend of mine did a few years ago.

    He renounced his US citizenship and now is stateless. He lives in Paraguay.

    The reality though is things would have to be a LOT worse than President Penn or President Rock before I would take that step. It would have to be a Hitler/Stalin level situation. AND I would have to either be an intended victim of such a regime (not far fetched. I am a bit of an uppity broad) or not privileged enough to help others more by staying. Like a lot of liberals I like to joke about fleeing the country if so-and-so gets elected. I like to picture myself on a beach in Belieze when I make those jokes.

    I actually am one of those Americans who can legitimately be called a patriot in that I have a genuine love of this country. I want to live here. But yeah, Penn /Rock race? I am writing in Hillary Clinton!

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Talk of enemies and evil is silly. Even in the Trump age. We are all complicit in our own way u. The current political scenario and you can’t escape that by calling the other side evil.

    We all have capacity for evil as well as good.

    I can’t stabd white supremacists and supportvthe Antifa movement, but I also recognize that the most effective way to actually convert white supremacists out of their hatred is for intervention by people who shared their views at one point.

    Antifa May hobble white supremacists from gaining more power, but compassion is what disarms the movement completely.

    It’s simply useless to think of anyone as evil. Understandable but useless. It’s ebtirely possible to be an effective part of the resistance without being animated by hatred.

    Those who cling to ideas of evil and good sides really need to ask themselves what their investment is in their own hatred. How does it serve them.

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