"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Sunday, August 20, 2017

How Can We Miss Him If He Won't Go Away?

Signs of the times....

If everybody would just think like me, we'd all get along so much better!

“If the Republican Party on Capitol Hill gets behind the president on his plans and not theirs, it will all be sweetness and light, be one big happy family,” Bannon said in an interview with the Washington Post.

Bannon said he did not expect that rosy vision to come to pass at any point soon, though: “No administration in history has been so divided among itself about the direction about where it should go.”
Honestly, you can't slip a pice of paper between Bannon and Trump (no administration in history?  Do they always have to leap to the extreme?).   And Trump is the narcissist?  Bannon thinks there's only one right way to think:  his!  And if everybody just lined up with him, how much happier they would be!

I think the pundits misunderstood that declaration of "WAR!" that Breitbart issued.

And by the way, while you weren't paying attention:  richest country in the world, and people living here have to rely on diaper banks.  We aren't ashamed because we don't know and we don't care to know.  We're afraid of the poor.  Which is extremely odd for a "Christian nation."

Jerry Falwell, Jr. channels his inner Jeremiah

It's Sunday morning, why isn't he in church?

During an interview on ABC’s This Week, host Martha Raddatz asked Falwell, one of Trump’s top surrogates, to explain the president’s remarks.

“He has inside information that I don’t have,” Falwell opined. “I don’t know if there were historical purists there who were trying to preserve some statues. I don’t know. But he had information I didn’t have.”

“What made you think he knew that?” Raddatz wondered.

“I think he saw videos of who was there. I think he was talking about what he had seen, information that he had that I don’t have,” Falwell insisted. “All I know is it was pure evil. The media has tried to paint this as Republican versus Democrat, black versus white, Jew versus gentile, but it’s just pure evil versus good.”

“But when you say things like that, when you say it’s all evil, but you say you’re so proud of Donald Trump, that’s the message that resonated,” Raddatz observed. “It didn’t resonate that you think he might have some information.”

“I’m still intrigued by your idea that Donald Trump somehow knows there were some good people there,” she added.

“I don’t know that to be the fact,” Falwell admitted. “I just know that it’s totally true what you just said, there’s no good KKK, there’s no good white supremacist.”

Speaking truth to power doesn't mean what it used to mean.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Look away, look away, look away!

The "real" flag of the Confederacy

I've had to update my previous post on Texas history and Confederate monuments, and it made me think I should revisit the issue, taking as read what was said there and in comments.

Let me start with the complete selection of statements about secession that I found in the article at the SPLC website:

"We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.”

Texas Declaration of causes for secession, February 2, 1861

“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world.”

Mississippi Declaration of causes for secession

“They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails.”

Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy
Cornerstone Speech, March 21, 1861

“Our new government is founded upon … the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.”

Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy
Cornerstone Speech, March 21, 1861

“A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery.”

South Carolina Declaration of causes for secession,
December 24, 1860

What prompts this review is not the discussion in the earlier post, but the comments on CNN I found at this article on RawStory.  Bill Starnes, a member of the Confederate Sons of America, asserted to Brooke Baldwin that no laws outlawing slavery nationwide were pending in Congress prior to 1861, a bit of a red herring to anyone who knows the history of America prior to the Civil War.  He lost her completely when he declared that Abraham Lincoln was worse than Adolph Hitler; which tells you the level of his historical acumen.

But the clear cause of the war was racism and slavery, as evidenced in the quotes above.  Almost any other argument, I humbly submit, is moonshine, promoted by schools in the South at least (I am, as I said, a product of that education), and bolstered by monuments to racism that we call statues of Confederate "heroes," be they merely the anonymous soldiers of the war (as in the case in Durham, North Carolina) or actual figures from that war, like Jefferson Davis, or the men of Terry's Rangers and Hood's Brigade.   Interesting that there is no similar monument to honor Texas soldiers or officers from World War I or World War II on the Capitol grounds.

Those statues honored a "lost cause" and a "noble effort" which was neither, and was itself entirely moonshine and fiction.  Those monuments normalized racism.  They idealized a conflict that was conducted on as vile and disgusting a basis as any imaginable in the 20th century, and sanitized it to a point people who think they have actually studied history imagine the war was for nobler causes than human enslavement and pure racism.  Were there other reasons for the war?  Well, probably; just as one could say there were other reasons for the Holocaust.  But is that really relevant in a general discussion about whether slavery was a cause or not? Besides, having personally experienced the kind of passion and even violence that racism can inspire, I think racism and slavery are ample reasons to prompt war, especially given the "hidden wound" that the "peculiar institution" was from the beginning of the republic (which is actually the root cause of the war, returning us to the issue of slavery).

Interesting that I grew up hearing about "revisionist" historians who were "distorting" history by shifting attention away from the cowboys on TV shows of my childhood, and brave pioneer settlers (always white) facing the "savage Indians" and toward the people who were here when Europeans got here; as well as away from the "lost cause" and towards the horrors of slavery (horrors that were recorded in American literature in the 19th century, too, but washed from memory in the tidal wave of revisionist historical romance of Gone with the Wind and even Faulkner's work, where black Southerners play little or no role).  The real revisionism were the lies my teachers told me.  My teachers, and public monuments to bad men whose only interest was their own gain.  We were told it was about liberty and integrity and independence.  It was actually about dependence on the stolen labor of others, the utter denial of their liberty as well as their humanity, and the destruction of our integrity so that system could be maintained for the benefit of a few.

Same as it ever was, in other words.  We just tried to gild it; but you can't shine up shit.*

*Editor's note:  this is a personal statement.  Please feel free to disagree with the generalities or the particulars in comments.  The author will keep his inner pit bull on a leash.

"We are Strong!"

Our President is a Paklid.  Who thinks his own tweet is so clever, he responds to it:

And then somebody takes his phone away:

Ein volk, ein reich,, that's unfair.  But does this mean Bannon left, and then returned, or never left, and then did?  Also, they do know we can see those first two tweets, right?  And does this mean Trump will hold a press conference on Twitter to reverse what he said on Twitter?

And meanwhile, back at the ranch, before this started:

Republicans in Washington are exhausted and in despair after President Donald Trump’s gross mishandling of the administration’s response to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, calling it a “f*cking disaster” and worrying that Trump has done permanent damage to the party.

The Hill reported Saturday that Republicans of all stripes are concerned that Trump’s combative press conference and unwillingness to denounce neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan has undone years of outreach by the GOP to nonwhite voters.

A “veteran Republican strategist” told the Hill on condition of anonymity, “I don’t know where we go from here” after Trump alienated millions of Americans by saying there were “many fine people on both sides” of the violence that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and left at least 19 others injured.
If we are smart and tough the healing will begin!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Giving Caesar what is Caesar's

Trump's "Evangelical council" consists of 25 individuals.  Whether they even meet as a body, hold discussions, vote on proposals, set an agenda, I don't know.  It's my understanding at least one of Trump's business councils that he's since disbanded never formally organized or even met, at all.  So maybe this is just for grandstanding purposes.  Still, the composition of it is interesting.

Of it's 25 members, only 11 are described as "pastors."  Another is the "founder" of a "chapel," so we can stretch the point and make it 12.  Almost half, then; but the others are leaders of organizations, with one former member of Congress.  "Focus on the Family," for example, is not a religious organization at all.  Liberty University was founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, but it's President now is almost more secular than an atheist:

Some of these pastors are "televangelists."  Some run "megachurches," which is merely televangelism without the TV audience.  All are responsible for upholding a brand (several are noted as authors of several books) more than upholding the Gospels.  I say that without rancor or judgment.  I don't see how you can uphold the gospels and be rich at the same time.  I mention this because none of these people fit the model of "pastor" as I understand it.  They don't counsel their congregations, answer to their membership, baptize their children, bury their family members, respond to their needs.  They have staff to do that.  They don't pastor; I dare say, they preen.  All of these people (save Bachman) have businesses to run and sustain.  What they aren't doing is "evangelizing," a term that goes all the way back to the koine Greek of the Christian scriptures.  The root of the Greek word is our English word "angel," which meant to the original Greek audience not shining perfect white male with wings, but simply "messenger."  To that we add, again in English, the prefix "ev-", to get "evangel."  The "evangel" is the messenger of the good news.  If they are spreading the "good news," they are separating that effort very clearly from their efforts on this council; at least if their public statements about the council and the President are anything to go by.

Interestingly, Christianity Today, itself a conservative publication, tried to find someone on Trump's "council" who spoke unequivocally against Charlottesville and Trump's defense of racism.  The headline describes what the article is supposed to contain:

Here are quotes from the article from all members of the Evangelical Council:

“If we’re going to denounce some racism, we ought to denounce all racism, and I believe that was the point the President was making,” Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, told CBN. South Carolina pastor Mark Burns has also defended Trump’s approach on multiple news networks.

Jerry Falwell Jr. praised Trump in his first mention of the Charlottesville incident on Wednesday: “Finally a leader in WH. Jobs returning, N Korea backing down, bold truthful stmt about #charlottesville tragedy.So proud of @realdonaldtrump”
Well, that's three.  Not much condemnation there.  Johnnie Moore, who is also on the council, spoke in general terms about who was responsible:

The way that some in the media and in the administration as well as other politicians and also activists—Republican and Democrat, liberals and conservatives—have handled the Charlottesville incident has at times been unhelpful, too emotional, and insensitive. We all must condemn bigotry and hatred in pursuit of national healing and unity without exacerbating further conflict.
But the sharp limits of his comments are illuminated by the next comment quoted in the article, from a seminary professor at Southern Baptist Seminary (and NOT a member of the council):

President Trump addressed the nation in a press conference in which he said that the white supremacist protestors were “very fine people.” His full remarks were more than disappointing. They were morally bankrupt and completely unacceptable. People who protest while chanting Nazi slogans are not “very fine people.”
Hard to mistake who is being addressed there.  A past president of the Southern Baptist Convention also speaks strongly against the protestors:

“These protesters do not represent in any form or way the Christian faith or the values followers of Jesus stand for,” said Ronnie Floyd, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention which passed a resolution condemning the alt-right in June. “In fact, white nationalism and white supremacism are anathema to the teachings of Christ, who called us to love and to serve our neighbor—regardless of skin color, gender, or religion—to give up our life for our friends and to even love our enemies.”
Tony Suarez defended the council this say:

But Christianity Today couldn't find one example of a member of the council speaking to Trump as Daniel, Jeremiah, Samuel, Nathan, or Isaiah did (and shame on him for daring to include himself and his fellow council members in such company).

I would say Trump truly does corrupt and destroy everything he touches, and everyone who tries to associate with him in any way at all.  But my concept of the doctrine of original sin won't allow me to let those individuals off the hook quite so easily.

"At long last, sir, have you no shame?"

Article II, Section One, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution:

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
The Constitution of the United States, in Article III, establishes a judiciary.   Preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution means holding that judiciary as a co-equal branch of government, not declaring it an enemy of the people.

Trump is not upholding his oath of office, he's demagoguing in ways that would appall the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy.  McCarthy was merely censured and removed from office by the voters of Wisconsin.  We cannot wait four years for the voters to act on the President.

If trampling the Constitutional oath of office isn't a "high crime and misdemeanor," I don't know what is.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Something like this, actually

I want to pick up this whole set of comments and bring it up to a new post so I can better explain what I was trying to say; not argue over it, just explain my reasoning.  You can start with the original post, if you want to.

rustypickup said...
This is a case where I language fails us. The media use peace and non-violent interchangeably, whereas they are not the same. Even our use of non-violence lacks a full meaning of the actual circumstances. Intimidation and coercion as you have noted are important to the context of the situation. A lack of violence that is predicated on high levels of intimidation and coercion is not peace, it is merely a lack of violence on one side that arises from a threat of violence on the other. Actual peace would require a lack of violence by all parties, and also a lack of threats, intimidation or coercion by all parties. (Let alone a peace that surpasses all understanding...)

There can be no peaceful protest when the protesters are armed. There is implicitly a threat of violence against counter-protesters or the police. I don't think we should even call these non-violent protests. We lack the language to adequately describe the situation and the media doesn't communicate the true nature of the situation.

We are constitutionally protected from intimidation of our speech rights by the state, but the state has no positive obligation to protect our free speech rights from intimidation by private actors. Oppression via Jim Crow and other avenues was a state sponsored oppression implemented by state actors. From Brown v. Board of Education (and yes, based on even earlier SCOTUS decisions) to the various civil rights and voting rights acts, overt state oppression was eliminated. The backlash as it has formed is to move that oppression to private actors. This is the intent of open carry and unrestricted hidden carry laws. It is the reasoning for now allowing with recent jurisprudence, private actors to discriminate in the work place, impose religion in ways the state could never impose. I don't think we are even at the middle of the wave of this empowerment of the private actor to take on the oppression and intimidation that used to be practiced by the state. For example, stand your ground laws allocate the power to judge and inflict punishment to the private actor. Previously the state retained this power, and only under the most exceptional cases of self defense. Now in some states we allow for the imposition of the death penalty by a private actor in the mere defense of private property.

Our constitutional system is inadequate to respond to the current situation. To go further then immediate situation in Charlottesville, when the constitution was created, there was the individual and the state. Other private actors, by which I mean corporate entities, were not seen as powerful actors and certainly weren't considered to have rights in the way they were intended for the individual. The rise of the limited liability corporation, and the power it can exert and its ability by design to avoid responsibility and accountability has altered the landscape of the allocation of power.

I have rambled, but as I am typing more has been bubbling up. I need to go think about this more. Thank you for the place to think out loud.

The Peace that surpasses all understanding...
Peace be with you.
3:32 PM

Rmj said...

And also with you.

We are constitutionally protected from intimidation of our speech rights by the state, but the state has no positive obligation to protect our free speech rights from intimidation by private actors.

Actually it does, else public schools would not be concerned with school bullies (always have been, so far as I know), and peaceful protestors would not be protected by police from violent counter-protestors (if it was simply a matter of keeping the peace, protests would not be allowed in the first place).

What we have lost is the idea that speech itself is a communal, not just an individual (i.e., personal) right. If I am intimidated by someone staring at me as I speak, that's my problem. If I am intimidated by someone carrying a gun and staring at me, that's the state's problem, and an abrogation of it's obligation by passing laws allowing such open carrying of firearms. (And imagine if black protestors had shown up armed. Huey Newton could tell you about that.).

As a group and as a person, I have the freedom to speak, and the state not only has to allow that, but protect it. If it only does the former, but not the latter, what right do I have?
4:07 PM
rustypickup said...

Thank you for your reply. I think where we differ is our confidence that the state has any positive obligation to protect my right to speak (other than some general preference for public order). A appreciate your mentioning schools having a positive obligation to protect the students from other students, I hadn't thought of that circumstance. The only one I could think of where the state has to positively protect rights was the state needing to provide counsel to the accused in a criminal proceeding. Of course the counter party in that circumstance is again the state.

But I think my point of the state having no positive obligation to protect rights still holds. Here is what occurred at a synagogue in Charlottesville this weekend. Synagogue Where is the freedom to practice religion if the city doesn't provide police? The congregation can't go to court to demand the city act. If the city was preventing their worship, they could bring an action. But since it's private actors, they have no recourse other than to appeal to the political process. (Now I do suspect there is in federal civil rights law an ability to seek recourse).
The law is, indeed, a blunt instrument; no blunter than when private parties have to seek redress in civil court for wrongs done in public, during actions over which the state can exercise authority.  Whether the state does exercise its authority is the question, and it's not a legal question.  Legal questions deal with what the state can, and cannot, do.  The Constitution lays down some limits on state action; laws lay down others.  But laws and even the Constitution can also create obligations on the state (federal or state governments, or even local (city, county) governments).  Whether those obligations are observed is, by and large, a political question.

So does the state have "any positive obligation to protect my right to speak," apart from some general preference for public order?  Yes, clearly.  Texas A&M University has just cancelled an appearance by a white nationalist associated with Charlottesville (one of the organizers of that melee, IIRC), on the grounds he directly connected his appearance at the college to the riot in Virginia (what else can it be called?).  Now, there's a lot of local speculation among law professors on local radio about how strong a legal case the university (a public university) has against this appearance.  That is a Constitutional question, but the state clearly is trying to exercise an obligation to protect the speech of opponents of this racist, because the state fears violence if he is allowed access to their property for a speech about his ideas.

The state fears violence because the state has a positive obligation to protect the right of others to oppose this speaker.   The state is concerned about public order, but also disgusted by what this man wants to say (efforts to get the speech cancelled came from members of the Texas Legislature, among others.  They acted as private citizens, but they didn't want this man to have a platform on state property for his hate.)

If the speech occurs, the University will establish areas where opponents and supporters can gather to speak, but where they will stay separated from each other.  The state has a positive obligation to protect the right to speech, and not to stand by and let the two sides have at each other, even if all that happens is screaming and yelling.

This gets to be a finer point because Texas has open carry laws, and allows guns to be carried on campus (but they can't be carried openly on campus).  But the question is not:  can the state do anything?  The question is:  will the state do anything?

The synagogue in Charlottesville that went unprotected by the local police is a disturbing example.  Was the police force overwhelmed and reallocated away from that building?  Did the police simply not care?  That they had an obligation to protect that building in particular, under the circumstances, especially for worshippers there on their Sabbath, is clear.  Did they undertake that obligation?

Ay, there's the rub.

The legal question is:  can the state act, given the circumstances?  The political question is:  should the state act?

There is no legal or constitutional impediment to the state protecting the rights of speech, or peaceful assembly.  The issue is not:  why can't the law do it?  The issue is:  can we use the law to do it?  Yes, we can.

A member of the Houston City Council was quoted on local radio this morning about the violence in Charlottesville and planned similar marches here in Houston.  He said we (meaning the city government) had an obligation to protect the citizens of the city from violence and efforts to incite violence.  He was right.  The mayor of Houston and the police chief have both said violence will not be tolerated.  They are right.

If we don't use the law to protect the public, it is entirely on us.  What happened in Charlottesville does not have to be repeated.  But the system won't save us; the system won't ever save us.  We have to use the system for us.  For all of us.

Fun with Numbers!

So, do these numbers:

Indicate a "partisan divide"?  That Americans are "sharply divided"?  Or just that there is a minority, and a majority, view?  And that the majority doesn't think much of Trump?

Yeah, that's what I thought, too.  Glass half-empty, glass half-full.  You know the drill.

Monuments erasing history

Texas, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, has 66 monuments honoring the Confederacy.  At least four of those are on the grounds of the Texas Capitol, or in the building itself.

There is a monument to the Confederate soldiers, featuring five figures with Jefferson Davis in the center.  It was put up in 1903 by "surviving comrades."  There is a "Terry's Texas Rangers" monument, put up in 1907 by "surviving comrades."  It celebrates, not the iconic "one man, one riot" Texas Rangers, but the 8th Texas Cavalry which fought throughout the Civil War.  There is also a third, a monument to Hood's Brigade, erected in 1910 by "surviving comrades and friends."    It is:

A bronze figure of a Confederate soldier tops a gray granite shaft with hand-carved quotes by Confederate leaders. The monument stands as a memorial to the members of John B. Hood's Texas Brigade who fought in the Army of Northern Virginia between 1861-1865. Hood's Brigade participated in many of the Civil War's most famous battles including Sharpsburg (Antietam) and Gettysburg.
There are 21 monuments on the grounds of the Capitol.  Ten do not honor soldiers or specific wars.  Two memorialize World War II (one for the war, one for Pearl Harbor).  World War II is the only other war with more than one memorial to it.  There are three Civil War Monuments, all erected between 1903 and 1910.

There is also this curious plaque inside the Capitol Rotunda.  You have to search to find it; it is not prominently displayed.  It was put up in 1959, and rather undercuts any idea that these memorials are educational, or even "beautiful" (you can follow the links to the Civil War memorials specified above, and draw your own conclusion on their aesthetic value.  Personally, I find them ugly and uninspiring.)  The plaque, if you find it, looks like this:

Not surprisingly I couldn't find a picture of this on the State Preservation Board website; this comes courtesy of The Texas Observer.

If you can't read it, I've transcribed it:

Because we desire to perpetuate, in love and honor, the heroic deeds of those who enlisted in the Confederate Army, and upheld its flag through four years of war, we, the children of the South, have united in an organization called “Children of the Confederacy,” in which our strength, enthusiasm, and love of justice can exert its influence.

We, therefore, pledge ourselves to preserve pure ideals:  to honor our veterans; to study and teach the truths of history (one of the most important of which is that the War Between the States was not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery), and to always act in a manner that will reflect honor upon our noble and patriotic ancestors.

Erected by Texas Division/Children of the Confederacy/August 7, 1959
If anything, it is the prior monuments, which led to the 20th century invention of the "Noble Cause" that was "Gone with the Wind" (written, it should be noted, in 1936, by which time such monuments had been up long enough to erase the true history and replace it with romantic fantasy).  The monuments themselves indicate to later generations there must have been something worth memorializing in the war of secession, and it couldn't have been anything so base as human slavery.  I have to confess I was taught this version of history in Texas schools:  that the War Between the States was about "states rights," not about slavery.  Which is a lie, of course.  The Battle of the Alamo was not about freedom from tyranny; it was about slavery, too.  Mexico outlawed it, and the Texican colonists wanted slaves so they could get in on that sweet southern plantation economy.  It's the same reason they left the union a few years after joining it.  Any other version of Texas history is simply a lie; as this plaque is.

Texas Declaration of causes for secession, February 2, 1861

"We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.”*

Part of the argument against taking these monuments down is that they are educational; and that to remove them would erase history.  But it erases history to claim a monument with four Confederate soldiers on it and the President of the Confederacy are symbols of something honorable.  Jefferson Davis stood for the proposition that people should be owned by other people, and treated in a manner we wouldn't allow a dog owner to treat a dog, today.  "Terry's Texas Rangers" were not freedom fighters; they were traitors to the government they agreed to abide under; they were soldiers against the constituted order.  Hood's Brigade was not composed of honorable men who fought for liberty; they were rebels who turned against the government they had, a few years earlier, agreed to join, and did so precisely to keep Mexico at bay.  And this plaque, erected in 1959, is simply a series of lies meant to erase history and replace it with a more palatable white racist, white supremacist, version.  That there should be any controversy about removing it now, is what is shocking.  Kurt Vonnegut once argued that, instead of putting up the Ten Commandments in courthouses (and on state grounds; that's one of the 21 monuments on Texas Capitol grounds), we put up the Beatitudes.  In response to this plaque and the monuments outside, I'd at least like to see the Texas Declaration on secession posted in bronze, for all to see.  Might be educational, ya know.

Eric Johnson, a member of the Texas House, whose office is near this plaque in the Capitol, wants it removed.  Governor Abbott, in the mealy-mouthed nature we've come to expect from him, wants to sound like Trump lite:

"Racist and hate-filled violence – in any form — is never acceptable, and as Governor I have acted to quell it," Abbott said in the statement. "My goal as governor is to eliminate the racist and hate-filled environment we are seeing in our country today."

"But we must remember that our history isn't perfect," Abbott added. "If we do not learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Instead of trying to bury our past, we must learn from it and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Tearing down monuments won't erase our nation's past, and it doesn't advance our nation's future. As Governor, I will advance that future through peace, not violence, and I will do all I can to keep our citizens safe."

The pediment of the Texas Capitol displays the "six flags" which flew over Texas (more properly, the six sovereigns of the state's history).  Reading from left to right, they are:  Spain; France (Austin still has the home of the French Legation to the Republic of Texas); Mexico; the Republic of Texas (the Lone Star); the Confederacy (the white man on the white horse.  Lee, I presume); and the American Eagle.  Which, technically, should bracket the Confederacy, since Texas joined the union then left 12 years later.  But that would destroy the symmetry and confuse the story.  Anyway, arguably, that display is educational.  It is certainly historical.

There is nothing historical about that plaque in the rotunda.  It's simply a series of lies.  It buries the past to leave it up,  as it does to leave up any of the other monuments to the Confederacy on the Capitol grounds.  That there are three of them says more about what we still honor than simply what they stand for.  This plaque explicitly, and those statutes and monuments implicitly, bury history beneath granite and bronze.  They are lies, and it is the truth that will make us free.

It says so right on the next big state building directly north of the capitol, where they removed their statue of Jefferson Davis:

*A correction; I misread my source and published a statement from the Mississippi Declaration of causes for secession.  I've replaced it with the language used for Texas.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


No, it's not his "base" Trump was thinking of on Tuesday, and he wasn't trying to appeal to them.  Trump is a true believer, just like his friend and advisor, Steve Bannon:

On Tuesday night, while Gary Cohn was fuming about President Trump's latest comments, Steve Bannon was excitedly telling friends and associates that the "globalists" were in mass freakout mode.

Today, Bannon reveled in the disbanding of the president's business council, seeing this as yet more evidence that the Trump administration is at odds with the "Davos crowd," as Bannon often calls these corporate elites, in a voice dripping with contempt.

Bannon saw Trump's now-infamous Tuesday afternoon press conference not as the lowest point in his presidency, but as a "defining moment," where Trump decided to fully abandon the "globalists" and side with "his people."

Per a source with knowledge: "Steve was proud of how [Trump] stood up to the braying mob of reporters" in the Tuesday press conference.

You can't slip a piece of paper between them now:

Bottom line: Both Trump and Bannon are of one mind, and, within the White House at least, theirs is a minority view. They saw the backlash to Charlottesville as an example of political correctness run amok and instinctively searched for "their" people in that group of protesters. Bannon has told associates that Trump, on Tuesday afternoon, took it to the next level for the country by asking where does it end? He especially loved Trump's line: "I wonder, is it George Washington next week?" 

And Bannon thinks this is a winner for him:

“The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

Of course, "economic nationalism" doesn't mean much if you can't get anything passed into law.  As there is no evidence either Trump or Bannon know how to do that, I think focussing on race and identity is going to fill up the vacuum left by a complete lack of legislative accomplishment.

No matter; Bannon is a super-political genius, a legend in his own mind:

“We, our booking team—and they’re good—reached out Republicans of all stripes across the country today,” [Fox News' Shep] Smith said. “Let’s be honest, Republicans don’t really mind coming on Fox News channel, we couldn’t get anyone to come and defend him here, because we thought in balance somebody should do that”

“We worked very hard it throughout the day, and we were unsuccessful,” he added.
Ya kinda need those people to take any action of "economic nationalism."  Talking about vanquishing your White House enemies really won't get you very far:

“You might think from recent press accounts that Steve Bannon is on the ropes and therefore behaving prudently. In the aftermath of events in Charlottesville, he is widely blamed for his boss’s continuing indulgence of white supremacists,” Kuttner explained. “But Bannon was in high spirits when he phoned me Tuesday afternoon to discuss the politics of taking a harder line with China, and minced no words describing his efforts to neutralize his rivals at the Departments of Defense, State, and Treasury.”

Then again, that depends on where you're trying to go:

 Good news for President Donald Trump. There is one former presidential candidate standing with him today.” Jake Tapper said during his opening monologue on Wednesday’s installment of The Lead. “The bad news is, it’s David Duke.”

“Today, former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush issued a statement condemning racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and hatred,” Tapper said. “They were joined by the chiefs of staff of the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force and the National Guard.”

“We have freedoms in the country so klansmen and Nazis, they can think their ugly thoughts and spew their hideous words and they have the right to peacefully assemble,” Tapper said. “But to act as if these defeated, intellectually destitute, pathetic ideologies and people have any moral standing as they rally to intimidate and vomit forth their treasonous filth, it is not only immoral, it’s unpatriotic. It’s un-American.”
A point ex-CIA director Brennan made, in a note to Wolf Blitzer, who lost his grandparents in the Holocaust:

“I just want to extend my sympathies not only for their deaths but also to you and your family–and countless others–for the pain inflicted today by the despicable words of Donald Trump. Mr. Trump’s words, and the beliefs they reflect, are a national disgrace, and all Americans of conscience need to repudiate his ugly and dangerous comments,” Brennan wrote.

“If allowed to continue along this senseless path, Mr. Trump will do lasting harm to American society and to our standing in the world,” Brennan predicted. “By his words and his actions, Mr. Trump is putting our national security and our collective futures at grave risk.”

Yup; race and identity; who really cares about that?

Bannon and Trump love having enemies to vanquish.  They think it means they're winning.  This is the correct answer to John Judis's question* of why Trump hasn't moved to the center to govern.  Trump isn't interested in governing.  Trump is only interested in being Trump, and driving his enemies before him, and listening to the lamentations of their women.  Is this, as Judis suspects, Trump's second childhood?

I don't think Trump ever left his first one.

*and honestly, the effort to excuse Trump's toxic ideas as something other than simple racism, is practically a form of racism itself.  The President is a racist.  Even Seth Meyers sees it.

"If not for those meddling kids!"

So, a couple of things.  One, why do we keep expecting Jared and Ivanka to save us from Trump?

When that failed to quell the controversy, aides, including Mr. Trump’s new chief of staff, John F. Kelly, pressed him to make another public statement. Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, urged him to take a more moderate stance, according to two people familiar with the situation. But as with so many other critical moments in Mr. Trump’s presidency, the two were on vacation, this time in Vermont.

When haven't Jared and Ivanka been on vacation when they were expected to urge Trump "to take a more moderate stance"?  She sent out a tweet denouncing racism and white supremacy, which is about as effective as she's ever been.  She allegedly tried to get Trump to stay in the Paris Accords on climate change.


And then there's Steve Bannon:

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was reportedly “thrilled” and “proud” after President Donald Trump’s comments Tuesday that not everyone who attended a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend was worthy of condemnation.

Because, of course he was.  But does anyone think that if Ivanka had been in Trump Tower that day, or Bannon had been back at Breitbart (the voice for the 'alt-right,' in Bannon's own words.  If the President needs a definition of the term, he need look no further), that Trump wouldn't still have let his id off the leash in public?

Maybe we can get rid of Bannon.  But it won't make any difference until we get rid of Trump.

So, what is "white"?

"Is Sophia Vergara White?" is still the most visited post on this blog (I'm still not sure it isn't just for the picture).  So, is the guy in the picture white?  He says not:

“I’m not even f*cking white, so how am I a superior race?” he asked rhetorically. “I’m Spanish, listen: ‘Puerto Ricano.'”

Do people from Spain recognize Puerto Ricans as "Spanish"?  Do they recognize themselves as white?

By the way, this guy marched with the KKK in Charlotesville and bragged about beating up a black teenager.  So whatever he is, he's certainly a racist.

But is he white?

Oh, these problems of categories.....

'Consider your verdict!"

'Consider your verdict,' the King said to the jury.
'Not yet, not yet!' the Rabbit hastily interrupted. 'There's a great deal to come before that!'

It went all but unnoticed yesterday that the President of the United States, the man who administers the Justice Department of the United States, said this:

 Well, I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family, and this country. And that is — you can call it terrorism. You can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want. I would just call it as “the fastest one to come up with a good verdict.” That’s what I’d call it. Because there is a question: Is it murder? Is it terrorism? And then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car is a murderer. And what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.

The "legal semantics" there don't turn on the question of whether the death of Heather Heyers was a crime of murder or of terrorism; the only legal issue the President was addressing was the presumption of innocence.  Because he pronounced the driver of the car guilty.  He called for a fair trial, and then we hang him.  He became a character from a Lewis Carroll novel.

And nobody noticed.

Today, the Washington Post said this:

“That car in Charlottesville did not kill or wound just the 20 bodies it struck. It damaged the nation. Mr. Trump not only failed to help the country heal; he made the wound wider and deeper.”

The post also said Trump's remarks in the press conference yesterday marked “great day for [former Ku Klux Klan leader] David Duke and racists everywhere.”

“The president of the United States all but declared that he has their backs.”

So what does Trump do today?

Not sure how Amazon not paying sales taxes is hurting jobs in America, but the more salient question is:  what did Amazon do to Trump?

Three guesses, first two don't count.

This is so far beyond "Nixonesque" you can't even see Nixon in the rear-view mirror anymore.

Yeah, that never really happened....

Ever seen a cat fall off a table, leap up, and then walk away with feigned indifference that says "I meant to do that!"

In humans it looks something like this:*

Mostly because this tweet from yesterday is still up:

And the appropriate reaction is something like this:
*Not, after all, so fast.  Which came first, the tweet, or the news report?

CEOs on President Trump's top outside business-advisory group decided Wednesday to disband amid the tumult over his response to this weekend's white-nationalist violence in Charlottesville, top business sources tell Axios.

Answer:  the news report.   Cats still have more dignity than the POTUS.

Burning down the house

We aren't even arguing over the price anymore:

No word in the Trump lexicon is as tread-worn as “unprecedented.” But members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private. National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably as the president exacerbated a controversy that has once again engulfed a White House in disarray. [emphasis added]

John Kelly is frustrated?  Why doesn't he quit?  Steven Mnuchin is uncomfortable?  Why is he still in this Administration?  "If you support the racist, you are the racist."  There really isn't any other way to see it.  This wasn't Trump slipping the traces of respectability and surprising everyone with what he said.  The only surprise was:  he finally said it in public.

You can no longer deny the man's positions, his ideas, his thoughts.  This is no longer a question of "what's really in his heart."  We all know what's there.  He made it plain yesterday.

And as long as you stand with him, you agree with him.

(and, as Keith Olbermann points out, when two corporations take a more moral stance on racism and white supremacy than the POTUS, it's time to question the POTUS'a worthiness for high office.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"My God! It's full of ego!"

White; well-dressed; how could they be bad?

It's so much worse than I thought:

Q Mr. President, why do you think these CEOs are leaving your manufacturing council?

THE PRESIDENT: Because they’re not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country. And we want jobs, manufacturing in this country. If you look at some of those people that you’re talking about they’re outside of the country, they’re having a lot of their product made outsider. If you look at Merck as an example, take a look where — excuse me, excuse me — take a look at where their product is made. It’s made outside of our country. We want products made in the country.

Now, I have to tell you, some of the folks that will leave, they’re leaving out of embarrassment because they make their products outside. And I’ve been lecturing them, including the gentleman that you’re referring to, about you have to bring it back to this country. You can’t do it necessarily in Ireland and all of these other places. You have to bring this work back to this country. That’s what I want. I want manufacturing to be back into the United States so that American workers can benefit.

Q Let me ask you, Mr. President, why did you wait so long to blast neo-Nazis?

THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t wait long.

Q You waited two days —

THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t wait long.

Q Forty-eight hours.

THE PRESIDENT: I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct — not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement. But you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. And it’s a very, very important process to me, and it’s a very important statement.

So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts. If you go back to —

Q So you had to (inaudible) white supremacists?

THE PRESIDENT: I brought it. I brought it. I brought it.

Q Was it terrorism, in your opinion, what happened?

THE PRESIDENT: As I said on — remember, Saturday — we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America. And then it went on from there.

Now, here’s the thing —

Q (Inaudible) many sides.

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me. Excuse me. Take it nice and easy. Here’s the thing: When I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts. This event just happened. In fact, a lot of the event didn’t even happen yet, as we were speaking. This event just happened.

Before I make a statement, I need the facts. So I don’t want to rush into a statement. So making the statement when I made it was excellent. In fact, the young woman, who I hear was a fantastic young woman, and it was on NBC — her mother wrote me and said through, I guess, Twitter, social media, the nicest things. And I very much appreciated that. I hear she was a fine — really, actually, an incredible young woman. But her mother, on Twitter, thanked me for what I said.

And honestly, if the press were not fake, and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice. But unlike you, and unlike — excuse me, unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.

Q Why do Nazis like you — (inaudible) — these statements?

THE PRESIDENT: They don’t. They don’t.

Q They do. Look —


THE PRESIDENT: How about a couple of infrastructure questions.

Q Was it terrorism, that event? Was that terrorism?

Q The CEO of Walmart said you missed a critical opportunity —

THE PRESIDENT: Say it. What?

Q The CEO of Walmart said you missed a critical opportunity to help bring the country together. Did

THE PRESIDENT: Not at all. I think the country — look, you take a look. I’ve created over a million jobs since I’m President. The country is booming. The stock market is setting records. We have the highest employment numbers we’ve ever had in the history of our country. We’re doing record business. We have the highest levels of enthusiasm. So the head of Walmart, who I know — who’s a very nice guy — was making a political statement. I mean —

Q (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: I’d do it the same way. And you know why? Because I want to make sure, when I make a statement, that the statement is correct. And there was no way — there was no way of making a correct statement that early. I had to see the facts, unlike a lot of reporters. Unlike a lot of reporters —

Q Nazis were there.

Q David Duke was there.

THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts. And the facts, as they started coming out, were very well stated. In fact, everybody said, “His statement was beautiful. If he would have made it sooner, that would have been good.” I couldn’t have made it sooner because I didn’t know all of the facts. Frankly, people still don’t know all of the facts.

It was very important — excuse me, excuse me — it was very important to me to get the facts out and correctly. Because if I would have made a fast statement — and the first statement was made without knowing much, other than what we were seeing. The second statement was made after, with knowledge, with great knowledge. There are still things — excuse me — there are still things that people don’t know.

I want to make a statement with knowledge. I wanted to know the facts.

Q Two questions. Was this terrorism? And can you tell us how you’re feeling about your chief strategist, Stephen Bannon?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family, and this country. And that is — you can call it terrorism. You can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want. I would just call it as “the fastest one to come up with a good verdict.” That’s what I’d call it. Because there is a question: Is it murder? Is it terrorism? And then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car is a murderer. And what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.

Q Can you tell us how you’re feeling about your chief strategist, Mr. Bannon? Can you talk about that?


Q I would echo Maggie’s question. Steve Bannon has come under —

THE PRESIDENT: I never spoke to Mr. Bannon about it.

Q Can you tell us broadly what your — do you still have confidence in Steve?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’ll see. Look, look — I like Mr. Bannon. He’s a friend of mine. But Mr. Bannon came on very late. You know that. I went through 17 senators, governors, and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on very much later than that. And I like him, he’s a good man. He is not a racist, I can tell you that. He’s a good person. He actually gets very unfair press in that regard. But we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon. But he’s a good person, and I think the press treats him, frankly, very unfairly.

Q Senator McCain has called on you to defend your National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, against these attacks.

THE PRESIDENT: I did it the last time.

Q And he called on it again, linking —

THE PRESIDENT: Senator McCain?

Q — to the alt-right, and saying —

THE PRESIDENT: Senator McCain?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean the one who voted against Obamacare?

Q And he said —

THE PRESIDENT: Who is — you mean Senator McCain who voted against us getting good healthcare?

Q Senator McCain said that the alt-right is behind these attacks, and he linked that same group to those who perpetrated the attack in Charlottesville.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t know. I can’t tell you. I’m sure Senator McCain must know what he’s talking about. But when you say the alt-right, define alt-right to me. You define it. Go ahead.

Q Well, I’m saying, as Senator —

THE PRESIDENT: No, define it for me. Come on, let’s go. Define it for me.

Q Senator McCain defined them as the same group —

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at — excuse me, what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?

Let me ask you this: What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.

Q You’re not putting these —

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. I’m not finished. I’m not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day —

Q Sir, you’re not putting these protestors on the same level as neo-Nazis —

Q Is the alt-left as bad as white supremacy?

THE PRESIDENT: I will tell you something. I watched those very closely — much more closely than you people watched it. And you have — you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. You had a group — you had a group on the other side that came charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent.

Q Is the alt-left as bad as Nazis? Are they as bad as Nazis?


Q Do you think that what you call the alt-left is the same as neo-Nazis?

THE PRESIDENT: Those people — all of those people –excuse me, I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

Q Should that statue be taken down?

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me. If you take a look at some of the groups, and you see — and you’d know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you’re not — but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.

People protesting taking down a statue.  "You will not replace us" means...the statue?

So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

But they were there to protest — excuse me, if you take a look, the night before they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.

Infrastructure question. Go ahead.

Q Should the statues of Robert E. Lee stay up?

THE PRESIDENT: I would say that’s up to a local town, community, or the federal government, depending on where it is located.

Q How concerned are you about race relations in America? And do you think things have gotten worse or better since you took office?

THE PRESIDENT: I think they’ve gotten better or the same. Look, they’ve been frayed for a long time. And you can ask President Obama about that, because he’d make speeches about it. But I believe that the fact that I brought in — it will be soon — millions of jobs — you see where companies are moving back into our country — I think that’s going to have a tremendous, positive impact on race relations.

We have companies coming back into our country. We have two car companies that just announced. We have Foxconn in Wisconsin just announced. We have many companies, I say, pouring back into the country. I think that’s going to have a huge, positive impact on race relations. You know why? It’s jobs. What people want now, they want jobs. They want great jobs with good pay, and when they have that, you watch how race relations will be.

And I’ll tell you, we’re spending a lot of money on the inner cities. We’re fixing the inner cities. We’re doing far more than anybody has done with respect to the inner cities. It’s a priority for me, and it’s very important.

Q Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs — and it was vicious and it was horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch.

But there is another side. There was a group on this side. You can call them the left — you just called them the left — that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.

Q (Inaudible) both sides, sir. You said there was hatred, there was violence on both sides. Are the —

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. If you look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either.

And if you reported it accurately, you would say.

Q The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest —

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. They didn’t put themselves — and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group.

Q (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did.

You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

Q George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same.

THE PRESIDENT: George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down —

Excuse me, are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him?

Q I do love Thomas Jefferson.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, good. Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was a major slave owner. Now, are we going to take down his statue?

So you know what, it’s fine. You’re changing history. You’re changing culture. And you had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists — because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.

Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people. But you also had troublemakers, and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets, and with the baseball bats. You had a lot of bad people in the other group.

Q Who are the good people?

Q Sir, I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly? I just don’t understand what you were saying.

THE PRESIDENT: No, no. There were people in that rally — and I looked the night before — if you look, there were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day it looked like they had some rough, bad people — neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them.

But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest — because I don’t know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this: There are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country — a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country.

Does anybody have a final —

Q I have an infrastructure question.

THE PRESIDENT: You have an infrastructure —

Q What makes you think you can get an infrastructure bill? You didn’t get healthcare —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, I’ll tell you. We came very close with healthcare. Unfortunately, John McCain decided to vote against it at the last minute. You’ll have to ask John McCain why he did that. But we came very close to healthcare. We will end up getting healthcare. But we’ll get the infrastructure. And actually, infrastructure is something that I think we’ll have bipartisan support on. I actually think Democrats will go along with the infrastructure.

Q Mr. President, have you spoken to the family of the victim of the car attack?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I’ll be reaching out. I’ll be reaching out.

Q When will you be reaching out?

THE PRESIDENT: I thought that the statement put out — the mother’s statement I thought was a beautiful statement. I will tell you, it was something that I really appreciated. I thought it was terrific. And, really, under the kind of stress that she’s under and the heartache that she’s under, I thought putting out that statement, to me, was really something. I won’t forget it.

Thank you, all, very much. Thank you. Thank you.

* * * *

Q Will you go to Charlottesville? Will you go to check out what happened?

THE PRESIDENT: I own a house in Charlottesville. Does anyone know I own a house in Charlottesville?

Q Where is it?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh boy, it’s going to be —

Q Where is it?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s in Charlottesville. You’ll see.

Q Is it a winery or something?

THE PRESIDENT: It is the winery.

I mean, I know a lot about Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a great place that’s been very badly hurt over the last couple of days.

Q (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: I own, actually, one of the largest wineries in the United States. It’s in Charlottesville.

Q Do you believe your words are helping to heal this country right now?

Q What do you think needs to be done to overcome the racial divides in this country?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think jobs can have a big impact. I think if we continue to create jobs — over a million, substantially more than a million. And you see just the other day, the car companies coming in with Foxconn. I think if we continue to create jobs at levels that I’m creating jobs, I think that’s going to have a tremendous impact — positive impact on race relations.

Q Your remarks today, how do you think that will impact the racial, sort of conflict, today?

THE PRESIDENT: The people are going to be working, they’re going to be making a lot of money — much more money than they ever thought possible. But that’s going to happen.

Q Your remarks today.

THE PRESIDENT: And the other thing — very important — I believe wages will start going up. They haven’t gone up for a long time. I believe wages now — because the economy is doing so well with respect to employment and unemployment, I believe wages will start to go up. I think that will have a tremendously positive impact on race relations.
Just as an exercise, I highlighted every sentence Trump spoke that included the pronoun "I".  Sometimes it's innocuous enough; but the overall effect is that the entire point of this press conference is to talk about Trump, and how good he is, and how important he is, and how praiseworthy and right he is.  The statement from Heather Heyer's mother, for example, whom he cannot name (the mother or the victim) is all about how it affected him.  He really appreciated that someone publicly said something nice about him.  That was really something, and he won't forget it.

It's appalling.

"But you also had troublemakers, and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets, and with the baseball bats. You had a lot of bad people in the other group."

Today's Social Studies Quiz: How many statues of Thomas Jefferson are there in the South?

This was just about a statue, too

Well, that didn't take long:

“I have condemned neo-Nazis,” he said. “I have condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.”

“You had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned, totally — but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay?” he added. “And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”

“Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had trouble-makers, and you see them come with the black outfits, and with the helmets, and with the baseball bats,” he said. “You had a lot of bad people in the other group, too.”

“I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family and his country,” he said. “You can call it terrorism. You can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want. I would just call it as the fastest one to come up with a good verdict, that’s what I would call it, because there is a question, is it murder, is it terrorism? And then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car is a murderer. What he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.

“I didn’t wait long, I didn’t wait long,” Trump said, responding to reporters’ questions after announcing an executive order in the lobby of Trump Tower. “I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement, but you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the fact.”

“It takes a little while to get the facts,” he said. “You still don’t know the facts. And it’s a very, very important process to me. And it’s a very important statement. So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts.”

He pulled the statement he had made Saturday out of his pocket and re-read it, but left out the part when he said “many sides” were responsible for the weekend’s violence.

“This week it’s Robert E. Lee,” he said. “I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
I like the bit where he edits his own statement.  As someone interviewed on BBC World Service just said, Trump threw kerosene on the fire and then danced around the flames.

At least we know that teleprompter statement was something somebody wrote for him; as if there was any question.

I'm sure Congressional Republicans will be happy to defend Trump's statements.  After all, neo-Nazis and white nationalists should be condemned totally, for sure!  But all those people peacefully carrying torches through the UVA campus Friday night, shouting "Blood and soil!" and "You will not replace us!" were perfectly peaceful in their actions.   After all, who you gonna believe?  The President of the United States, who now says he has the facts, or the students on the UVA campus who were there?

“After this weekend, there should be no excuse for anyone to not take white supremacy seriously,” said History and Government major Weston Gobar. “Certainly the neo-Nazis who came to Charlottesville to intimidate minority communities take themselves seriously: They showed up with assault rifles and guns, wearing camouflage. They marched through a college campus with lit torches, yelling Nazi-era slogans and phrases like, ‘You will not replace us.’”

He continued, “The intention of this ‘alt-right’ rally was clear, and it had nothing to do with a statue. It was about intimidation. We need to call this violence — which culminated with the death of a 32-year-old woman — by it’s name: domestic terrorism.”

Politics and African-American and African Studies major Aryn A Frazier said, “On Friday night, I was locked in a church full of people, who were singing loudly to overpower the hate-filled chants of alt-right protesters carrying torches right outside the chapel doors.”

In spite of her fears, Frazier and her friends got up early on Saturday and joined the swelling ranks of counter-protesters gathering at Emancipation Park.

“It was obviously a very dangerous situation. The news said it. The governor said it when he declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard. The worried text messages of family and friends said it. And a woman murdered in the street said it,” she said.

Nonetheless, “Each time one of the white supremacists threw a water bottle filled with a purplish chemical I couldn’t identify, or released pepper spray or smoke into the crowd, the counter-protesters retreated. We coughed into surgical masks or scarves and clutched at our throats, but then turned back for more.”

Isabella Ciambotti, a creative writing major, described the scene on Saturday as, “Violence and hate and blood, that’s what I saw. What happened in Charlottesville this past weekend wasn’t a rally. It was a riot.”

“There were absolutely groups of peaceful protesters in Charlottesville this past weekend, many making a mature show of resistance. But what I saw on Market Street didn’t feel like resistance. It felt like every single person letting out his or her own well of fear and frustration on the crowd,” she said.

“At one point, a woman demonstrating with the white supremacists “turned to me, looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘I hope you get raped by a nigger,'” she recounted. “I would hear that line several more times before the end of the day.”

Must have been one of the "bad ones" Trump was talking about.  I'm sure he can identify the "good ones," too.  Eventually.  Besides, it was just about a statue; the President said so.