Contact Me By Email

Contact Me By Email

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Case for a Trump-Russia Conspiracy Is Getting Stronger - The Atlantic











"‘There are definite legal consequences to Cohen’s statement,’ said Jens David Ohlin, a law professor and vice dean at Cornell Law School. ‘This reeks of a criminal conspiracy. It doesn’t even matter if nothing came of the meeting [although that’s far from clear]. If Trump knew about the meeting and was okay with it, Trump and those around him could be guilty of an inchoate conspiracy.’"

(Via.). The Case for a Trump-Russia Conspiracy Is Getting Stronger - The Atlantic:

Trump’s Lose-the-House Strategy. He might not mind Speaker Pelosi as a political foil for 2020. - WSJ

President Donald J. Trump in Washington, D.C., July 30.

A Conservative take on Trump's current strange behavior heading up to Fall, the mid-term elections.   

By The Editorial Board

"Does President Trump care if Republicans lose the House of Representatives this November? If that seems like an odd question, consider that Mr. Trump is running a campaign strategy that puts the House at maximum risk while focusing on the Senate. The latest evidence is Mr. Trump’s threat to shut down the government in September if he doesn’t get money for his border wall.

It’s always risky to use the word “strategy” about Mr. Trump because he’s so impulsive and capricious. Only last week GOP leaders thought they had his agreement to delay a wall-funding brawl until after the election. Then on Sunday Mr. Trump tweeted that “I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!

Did Mr. Trump pop off on a whim, or did he consult Stephen Bannon, his former White House aide and strategist from 2016? The shutdown threat fits Mr. Bannon’s midterm election strategy, which is to stress issues that polarize the electorate to drive voter turnout among the Trump base. This means muting talk of tax cuts and the economy and talking up immigration and trade policies that bash foreigners.

“Trump’s second presidential race will be on November 6 of this year. He’s on the ballot, and we’re going to have an up or down vote. Do you back Trump’s program, OK, with all that’s good and all that’s bad? Do you back Trump’s program, or do you back removing him?” Mr. Bannon said recently, though Mr. Trump’s name won’t be on any ballot.

A shutdown brawl fits this polarize-and-hope-to-conquer strategy. Mr. Trump may figure that shutdown pressure would force Senate incumbents running for re-election in Trump-leaning states into a corner on voting for the wall. One problem with this strategy is that Senate Democrats have enough votes to block wall funding even if they give eight of their incumbents a pass to vote for it.

The bigger problem is that what works in Senate races in Trump states might boomerang in House districts where the majority will be won or lost. These are swing districts where moderate Republicans and independents determine who wins. Think Miami-Dade, northern Virginia, the Denver and Philadelphia suburbs. Hillary Clinton carried 23 of those seats in 2016, and Democrats need to gain only 23 seats to take the House.

Hostility to immigration and trade aren’t popular in those districts by and large, and a shutdown wouldn’t be either. Voters know Republicans control the Congress. While the polls typically show that voters blame both sides in a shutdown, the GOP risk is that they’d hold the party in power more responsible. This is all the more likely if President Trump is inviting a shutdown on Twitter.

The Bannon belief that this is a “base election” may work in Senate races in North Dakota or Missouri, where Republicans have a party advantage. But the opposite is probably true in swing House seats. A constant focus on immigration and making this a referendum on Donald J. Trump will drive up Democratic turnout.

Take Loudoun County in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Republican Ed Gillespie carried Loudoun by 456 votes in his Senate race in 2014 that he narrowly lost. Mr. Gillespie increased his Loudoun vote by 795 in the Governor’s race in 2017 but lost the county by an astounding 23,432 votes as Democrats poured out of the subdivisions to register unhappiness with Mr. Trump. This bodes ill for Barbara Comstock, who represents Loudoun in Congress.

Mr. Trump might not welcome a Democratic House, but he also might not fear it as long as Republicans keep the Senate. More than even most politicians, Mr. Trump always needs a foil, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be from central political casting.

A Democratic House would mean the end of most of Mr. Trump’s agenda of the last two years. But Mr. Trump’s policy alliance with House Republicans has been in part one of convenience. Mr. Trump could cut deals with Democrats on paid family leave, public-works spending and trade protectionism.

House Democrats would start up the impeachment machinery, and once underway the momentum would be hard to stop. But as long as he’s safe from conviction by the Senate, Mr. Trump might figure he could benefit from a backlash against impeachment the way Bill Clinton did. The President and Mr. Bannon also might think a Democratic House improves Mr. Trump’s chances for re-election as Republicans and independents conclude he’s the only barrier to a left-wing government led by a President Elizabeth Warren.

The biggest loser in all this would be a genuine conservative agenda. Judges aside, the House has been essential to Mr. Trump’s main achievements that have lifted the economy—corporate tax reform, deregulation—and whatever government-reform victories they’ve had. If they lose the House this year, Republicans aren’t likely to get it back until the end of the Trump Presidency.

The Bannon strategy is an incitement to Democrats to vote in precisely the places where House Republicans are most vulnerable. The more the election is a referendum on Donald Trump and his polarizing political style, rather than on a reform agenda for the next Congress, the better for Democrats."

Trump’s Lose-the-House Strategy - WSJ

'Both parties are mired in white supremacy,' says ex-candidate in Denver...

Saira Rao calls out Congress' apathy toward abuses of immigrant families...

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sen. Blumenthal: Talk of second Trump Tower meeting ‘truly damning’. Rather than deny that collusion took place between Russians and the Trump campaign, Rudy Giuliani argued that collusion itself is legal.

Sen. Blumenthal: Talk of second Trump Tower meeting ‘truly damning’

Official Clip ft. Roy Moore | Ep.3 | Who Is America? | Saacha Barron punks former Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore who was defeated as a result of a surge of voting by African American women.

Noam Chomsky on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez This commentary describes one part of the post 2015 branch of the Democratic Party. I support their broad agenda though I do have some issues with their understanding of and therefore their strategy for implanting their agenda. I am and have been distrustful if many of many of Bernie Sander's supporters. They remind me of the simplistic thinking leftists of my father's generation and those I knew as a during my younger years in NYC. I view American politics as a whole with grate skepticism.

Fareed: Trump's flip-flopping bad for US



(Via.) Fareed: Trump's flip-flopping bad for US

Malcolm X Interview On Canadian TV (1965)

Malcolm X and Ali Warning About Liberals and Multiculturalism. LOL

John Oliver: Facebook - Last Week Tonight

The Black Panther still in prison after 46 years

Opinion | Michael Cohen Takes a Bullet - The New York Times

"By Charles M. Blow, www.nytimes.comView OriginalJuly 29th, 2018

If Trump’s personal lawyer really puts family and country first, he could earn a sliver of redemption.

First, let’s state forthrightly that Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer, the fix-it man, the one who mopped up Trump’s messes, the one who said he would “take a bullet for the president,” is an incredibly unsavory character and a bully.

He thought himself a tough guy, Trump’s muscle collecting the crumbs of Trump’s money.

For instance, in 2015 he threatened a Daily Beast reporter who was writing about the time Trump’s first wife, Ivana, claimed Trump had raped her, only to later say that she didn’t want her use of the word rape “to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

According to that reporter, Cohen erroneously — and outrageously — claimed, “You cannot rape your spouse,” before launching into this tirade:

“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know … So I’m warning you, tread very [expletive] lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be [expletive] disgusting. You understand me?

“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up … for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet … you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it.”

This is not a likable man, or one deserving of sympathy.

Ever since the F.B.I. raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel room in April, seizing thousands of documents as well as digital devices, it has been clear that Cohen was in very real trouble, and that that peril may well extend to Donald Trump and his family.

The New York Times reported at the time:

“President Trump’s advisers have concluded that a wide-ranging corruption investigation into his personal lawyer poses a greater and more imminent threat to the president than even the special counsel’s investigation, according to several people close to Mr. Trump.”

Cohen was going down. The only question was how he would manage the descent.

Would he remain loyal to a president who doesn’t seem to understand that loyalty should be reciprocal, or would he succumb to pressure and the very real prospect of a stint in prison, and cooperate with investigators?

It is becoming incredibly clear that Cohen has broken from the president, as he keeps signaling that he is willing to disclose whatever he knows of Trump’s concealments. And he could know quite a bit.

CNN reported on Friday that “sources with knowledge” told the network that Trump knew of the infamous Trump Tower meeting during the campaign in which Russians promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.

According to the report:

“Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians’ offer by Trump Jr. By Cohen’s account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources.”

That revelation would be damning if true, not only because Trump and his associates have repeatedly lied about the nature of that meeting, but also because it would go more directly to the heart of collusion and conspiracy.

That’s the thing about Cohen: He was so often in the room. He undoubtedly knows things about all the issues that plague this president: those around the women who have made allegations against him, his murky financial entanglements and the Russian attempts to connect with his campaign.

Not only are there documents, but also Cohen has secret recordings, including of the president, as we found out last week.

Cohen is a valuable asset and he knows it.

Now he’s attempting to convert himself from parasite to patriot.

Earlier this month, Cohen was interviewed by ABC and said of his loyalties: “I put family and country first.”

Now, Trump’s new fix-it man, the rambling, incoherent Rudy Giuliani, is on a mission to discredit Cohen.

Trump seems to always surround himself with lap dogs and lackeys, people who will do and say anything to defend and protect him, praise and promote him. Trump is the sun at the center of his own universe.

But, as Cohen attorney Lanny Davis told CNN’s Chris Cuomo last week:

“Why is Giuliani out falsely disparaging Michael Cohen — because they fear him.” Davis continued:

“What do they fear, Chris? Why am I representing him? They fear that he has the truth about Donald Trump. He will someday speak the truth about Donald Trump.”

For this, Trump world will seek to destroy him. Michael Cohen will indeed take that bullet, metaphorically speaking of course — not for Trump, but from him.

But, if Cohen indeed becomes a cooperating witness for the Robert Mueller Russia investigation, he will salvage a tiny bit of honor from a life of dishonor. He will purchase a sliver of redemption."

Opinion | Michael Cohen Takes a Bullet - The New York Times

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Attorney: 'Stand your ground' law is license to kill people of color

Police Pulled 9-mm Gun On Ving Rhames At His Home In Califirnia | News One

Michael Cohen ‘is no longer willing to take a bullet for Donald Trump’, according to another former Trump aide, Sam Nunberg.

"A second former Trump campaign adviser, Sam Nunberg, said Cohen’s decision to hire Washington power lawyer Lanny Davis made it clear he was looking for a deal.

“Any political person would know: the minute he signed Lanny Davis, it was over,” said Nunberg. “He wants to make a deal or do what he feels is going to be best for him. He’s no longer willing to take a bullet for Donald Trump.”

The question of whether Cohen remains loyal to Trump is separate from the question of whether Cohen is approaching a deal with prosecutors. But Cohen’s personal loyalties are still highly relevant and on Wednesday, Davis said those loyalties had shifted.

“Cohen is trying to reset his life as not being Donald Trump’s bullet-taker, or worse, a punching bag for Donald Trump’s defense strategy where he takes the bullets,” Davis told NBC News. “This is a turn for him. It’s a new resolve to tell the truth no matter what, even if it endangers him.”

In the 1990s, Davis worked for Bill Clinton. In his Friday tweet, Trump called Davis “Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer” and asked: “Gee, I wonder if they helped [Cohen] make the choice!”

‘Family and country first’

Cohen is facing potential charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations in connection with a company he set up before the 2016 election to facilitate a payment to the pornographic film actor Stormy Daniels. Davis released an audio recording on Tuesday night in which Trump appears to suggest to Cohen that a payment to suppress the former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story be made in cash. Both women have alleged affairs with Trump which Trump has denied.

The Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in the Cohen case, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The legal pressure on Cohen could subside if he were able to reach a deal with prosecutors in which he would, the thinking goes, attest to activity by Trump or within the Trump Organization that prosecutors might use to prosecute a separate crime or crimes. Such a deal between Cohen and prosecutors could be very bad for Trump, analysts think."

Police Pulled 9-mm Gun On Ving Rhames At His Home In Califirnia | News One

Trump’s ‘emoluments’ battle: How a scholar’s search of 200 years of dictionaries helped win a historic ruling - The Washington Post








"D.C. and Maryland are suing President Trump for violating a little-known constitutional provision called "the emoluments clause." (Video: Jenny Starrs/Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Just 10 days before his inauguration, Donald Trump called a news conference in New York to deal, among other things, with mounting questions about how he would separate his presidency from his vast business interests, including the new Trump International Hotel in Washington, and avoid violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

It was a rambling affair. He railed about Hillary Clinton, “fake news,” the Russia “witch hunt” and the “nonsense that was released” by intelligence agencies — before finally getting to the point. He introduced a lawyer, who hauled out stacks of folders, which Trump described as “some of the many documents that I’ve signed turning over complete and total control” of his businesses to his sons.

The lawyer, Sheri Dillon, then explained how, even though Trump would be receiving income from his business empire, the Constitution’s emoluments clause would not be a problem. The provision, Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, bars federal officeholders from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”

But by Dillon’s standards, it did not apply to emoluments “that have absolutely nothing to do” with the office of president: that is, to transactions connected with a president’s private business.

The president’s lawyers would later elaborate with a similarly narrow definition of the clause. It applies only to foreign benefits “conferred that arise from services rendered to a foreign state” by the president “in his or her official capacity,” they argued in a brief. The clause is “office-and-employment-specific.” In other words, it bars only payments or presents or other emoluments given the president in connection with a decision he might make as president.

That would take Trump off the hook for, say, foreign payments to his hotels from which he profited because he did not get them in his “official capacity.”

It was for some a little too convenient, sending them scurrying to dictionaries for a definition of “emoluments,” since neither the framers of the Constitution nor the justices of the Supreme Court have provided one.

Among the seekers was John Mikhail, a law professor with a PhD in philosophy and associate dean at the Georgetown University Law School. But while reporters, for example, tended to look it up in Merriam-Webster, Mikhail went to dictionaries available to the framers of the Constitution in 1787, which is what litigants do when trying to figure out what the Founding Fathers meant.

 (Courtesy John Mikhail, Georgetown Law)But Mikhail didn’t stop at a few dictionaries. With the aid of a Georgetown law student, Genevieve Bentz, he embarked on a lexicological odyssey into dozens of long-forgotten dictionaries, published over a 200-year period before 1806, 40 regular dictionaries and 10 legal dictionaries, listed here.
The research yielded a very different, much broader definition than that put forward by Trump’s lawyers. “Every English dictionary definition of ’emolument’ from 1604 to 1806″ uses a “broad definition,” including “profit,” “advantage,” “gain,” or benefit,” he wrote in his paper describing the research.

As to the “office-and-employment-specific” interpretation by Trump’s team, Mikhail wrote that “over 92 percent of these dictionaries define ’emolument’ . . . with no reference to ‘office’ or ’employment.’ ”

In other words, by his research, the emoluments clause would bar any benefit or profit to a president via a foreign state, whether in his capacity as president or in any other role, such as the owner of a hotel. It would, specifically, cover Saudi Arabia or Kuwait renting out space at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

“I sort of felt like I had them in the crosshairs,” he told The Washington Post on Thursday.
He did.

On Wednesday, Mikhail’s labors paid off. In a historic decision, U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte in Greenbelt, Md., ruled that a suit brought by the District of Columbia and Maryland could go forward instead of throwing it out, as the administration desired.

Messitte cited, in part, what he called the “exhaustive” research of Mikhail, mentioning him by name 17 times.
And while citing numerous other factors, the judge’s choice of definition proved crucial to the ruling, the first on the meaning of the Constitution’s emoluments clauses. (There are two, one covering domestic gain, the other foreign.

The judge noted that Mikhail’s dictionary research was more extensive than that of the president’s lawyers, covering “virtually every founding-era dictionary.” Citing Mikhail again, Messitte said, “the President’s definition appears in less than 8% of these dictionaries” vs. 92 percent for the broader meaning.
 (Courtesy of John Mikhail)“The clear weight of the evidence,” wrote the judge, “shows that an ’emolument’ was commonly understood by the founding generation to encompass any ‘profit,’ ‘gain,’ or ‘advantage.’
“Though the Court agrees that mere counting of dictionaries may not be dispositive, it nonetheless remains highly remarkable that [quoting Mikhail] ‘every English dictionary definition of “emolument” from 1604 to 1806 relies on one or more of the elements of the broad definition DOJ rejects in its brief.’ ”
Accepting the broader definition, everything else fell into place.
If the emoluments clause referred narrowly to compensation for official services, as Trump argued, that would make it a bribery clause.

A violation would therefore be almost impossible to prove, since bribery entails a quid pro quo. As the plaintiffs noted, he said, it didn’t make sense “that the Framers would have wanted to leave a large loophole that would preclude the [emoluments] Clause from accomplishing any meaningful purpose.”
Plus, the founders listed bribery among the crimes for which a president can be impeached. Why would they do that if it was covered by the emoluments clause?

Another thing that didn’t make sense: The foreign emoluments clause allows a president to accept things of value with the consent of Congress, he recalled. He said he doubted that the Founding Fathers would tolerate bribery of the chief executive as long as Congress said it was okay.
“It seems highly unlikely that the Framers would have intended bribery to be both an impeachable offense and, at the same time, an activity Congress could consent to when a foreign government donor is involved. The President makes no attempt to come to terms with this anomaly.”
Mikhail’s research was a massive undertaking, possible only because the old dictionaries are available not just in musty libraries anymore but on the Internet. A task of perhaps 15 years with journeys to scores of libraries could be achieved in a matter of weeks.

 (Courtesy John Mikhail)Mikhail told The Post he and Bentz “worked feverishly night and day,” using online databases to dive into works like Thomas Blount’s “Glossographia,” published in 1656; Samuel Johnson’s “A Dictionary of the English Language,” published in 1753; James Barclay’s “A Complete and Universal English Dictionary,” published in 1774; and dozens more, including the standard legal dictionaries of the era.

From these, Mikhail would ultimately produce blog posts at Balkinization, which were widely referenced by other legal blogs, followed by a carefully researched paper, followed by a joint amicus brief summarizing his findings, which was submitted to the court.

The government, he told The Post, was trying “to suggest that the meaning of the term emolument is tethered to an office — that was their term. … I already knew that a lot of dictionaries said otherwise, and had a pretty strong inclination that if I dug deeper into dictionaries it would continue to validate that fact. And that’s what we did.”

It’s by no means the end of the line. It was not a ruling on the merits. An appeal is likely. But Mikhail’s mining of a question never answered by the Supreme Court is likely to remain at the forefront of the litigation.

“Judge Messitte’s thoughtful opinion certainly was gratifying,” Mikhail told The Post Thursday, crediting his researcher as well as his collaborators on the amicus brief, Jack Rakove, Gautham Rao, Simon Stern and Jed Shugerman.
“I was obviously quite pleased for the issues to be resolved in the way that they were. I had a sense that he might come down this way,” having attended oral arguments. “But I didn’t really didn’t expect that he would do so so strongly. He really did embrace the theory that we had been proposing.”

Trump’s ‘emoluments’ battle: How a scholar’s search of 200 years of dictionaries helped win a historic ruling - The Washington Post:

Friday, July 27, 2018

Corruption Case Begins Against Kazakh Couple That Allegedly Laundered Money Through Trump Tower

"On Thursday, a court in Kazakhstan launched preliminary hearings of a corruption case against the former mayor of the Kazakh city of Almaty, Viktor Khrapunov, and his wife Leila Khrapunova, a couple with deep ties to the Trump Organization.

The former mayor and his wife have been accused of a wide array of crimes, including money laundering embezzlement, abuse of office, fraud and the creation of an organized crime group. They are currently living in Switzerland, but are being tried in absentia. The couple claims that the charges against them are politically motivated.

Reports and court documents have demonstrated that the couple has deep ties to Trump associates, including Trump’s current lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former Trump adviser Felix Sater. They have also been accused of using purchases in a Manhattan Trump tower to launder stolen money.

An investigation published last year by McClatchy, for example, showed that the international real estate and investment firm Bayrock Group, which has partnered with the Trump Organization on multiple projects, was previously in business with the couple."

For Facebook and Twitter, reality is hitting hard - CNET

"It's almost like a script for a bad movie. 

Just as Facebook and Twitter face slowing user growth after attracting nearly half the world's population to their respective services, coordinated campaigns of harassment and abuse have begun to show their effects. User counts are dropping and stock prices are in freefall. 

This week, social media is having a moment of reckoning. 
It began Wednesday with Facebook, which announced that daily active user counts had fallen in Europe, to 279 million from 282 million earlier this year. Facebook also indicated it was no longer growing in the US and Canada, two of the most lucrative advertising markets. Just as Facebook was working through its second year of nearly nonstop scandals over unchecked political meddling and data misuse, it was becoming clear that the days of consistent and relatively easy growth were fading.

Then, on Friday, Twitter said it too was seeing user counts drop, to 335 million people who log in each month from 336 million just three months earlier, in part because of its efforts to, as it says, improve "the long-term health of the platform." 

For Facebook and Twitter, reality is hitting hard - CNET

How to Be Healthier, Happier and More Productive: It’s All in the Timing - WSJ

How to Be Healthier, Happier and More Productive: It’s All in the Timing

"...Scientists began measuring the effect of the time of day on human brain power more than a century ago, when the pioneering German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus conducted experiments showing that people learned and remembered strings of nonsense syllables more effectively in the morning than at night. Since then, researchers have continued that investigation for a range of mental pursuits. They’ve drawn three big conclusions.

First, our cognitive abilities don’t remain static over the course of a day. During the 16 or so hours we’re awake, they change—often in a regular, foreseeable manner. We are smarter, faster and more creative in some parts of the day than others.

Second, these daily fluctuations can be extreme. “The performance change between the daily high point and the daily low point can be equivalent to the effect on performance of drinking the legal limit of alcohol,” write Russell Foster, a neuroscientist and chronobiologist at the University of Oxford, and Leon Kreitzman in their book “Rhythms of Life.” Other research has shown that time-of-day effects can explain 20% of the variance in human performance on cognitive undertakings.

Third, how we do depends on what we’re doing. We’re more effective at some tasks early in the day and at other tasks later in the day...:

How to Be Healthier, Happier and More Productive: It’s All in the Timing - WSJ

Opinion | Pop Culture Gets Radical - “Sorry to Bother You” and “Dietland” offer something we need at this moment - The New York Times

"This is a must-see film.

"When the history of this terrible moment in American life is written, I suspect the surreal and deeply radical indie film “Sorry to Bother You” will be a major cultural marker, like “Easy Rider” in 1969 or “Slacker” in 1990. Watching it — agog that it ever got made in the first place — felt like getting a little glimpse into the future, and not just because its dystopian satire is half a step away from our reality.

“Sorry to Bother You,” a sleeper hit, may be the most overtly anticapitalist feature film made in America. If you want to get a feel for the zeitgeist behind the growth of the Democratic Socialists of America, the wave of unionizing in digital media, the striking teachers in red states, and the general broad seething fury about inequality that’s particularly pronounced among people who came of age amid the Great Recession, it’s a good place to start. It’s the kind of art we can expect as more and more members of the creative class find themselves living precariously, forced to spend inordinate energy worrying about their basic material needs.

I say this even though the film’s writer and director, Boots Riley, avowed Communist and frontman for the Oakland hip-hop act The Coup, is, at 47, far from a millennial. And though “Sorry to Bother You” feels shockingly current, as Jonah Weiner wrote in The New York Times Magazine, Riley published the screenplay as a book in 2014. If it took a long time to gestate, though, it feels like it was born at precisely the right moment.

The film is impossible to really summarize, and I don’t want to give away its gobsmacking twists. It’s about an African-American man named Cassius Green — he goes by Cash — living with his girlfriend, an avant-garde artist, in the garage of his uncle’s house, which is facing foreclosure. Desperate for work, he becomes a telemarketer, where his uncanny ability to feign the voice of a confident white man makes him a star, lofting him into a rarefied realm of high-paid, grotesquely immoral salesmanship. The movie includes subplots about unionization, (literal) debt slavery, viral videos, brutal reality television and the cultural worship of sociopathic entrepreneurs. (As well as weird disturbing stuff I don’t want to give away.) I’ve never seen anything like it.

Last week it was the seventh highest grossing film in the country, on a list that is dominated by big-budget studio movies. The reviews have been rapturous; the young socialists feel seen. “Riley has made the indignity of wage labor a part of the public conversation, including among a multiracial demographic that has been excluded from media narratives about the progressive movement,” Briahna Gray wrote in The Intercept.

Even if it weren’t that good, the mere existence of the movie would be an astonishment. That’s also how I feel about “Dietland,” an uneven drama on AMC about an overweight ghostwriter for a fashion-magazine editor who gets involved with feminist terrorist revolutionaries. (It’s wild to see corporate advertising on a show in which the anarchist idea of the “propaganda of the deed” is invoked more or less sympathetically to justify murdering misogynists.) Dietland is another early sign that the atmosphere of ambient rage we’re all living in is making its way into pop culture.

In another time, the fantasies of violent leftist resistance in “Sorry to Bother You” and “Dietland” might have caused more of a backlash. But the scary obliteration of limits on the right has also opened up new imaginative space on the left. Donald Trump is trying to destroy liberal democracy, a system that seemed inviolable, before our eyes. Watching it happen, it’s hard not to wonder: what other systems might be more fragile than they seem?

At least for the duration of “Sorry to Bother You,” capitalism feels evil but also tawdry and preposterous, and labor solidarity seems sexy and exuberant. Sitting in the theater, I felt like I had a new apprehension of what it might be like to be young, idealistic, and at the mercy of nearly totalitarian economic forces.

Americans in their 20s and 30s, after all, are as a cohort poorer and more indebted than their predecessors, while being surrounded by comic-book villain displays of wealth. (Just this week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whose family owns 10 yachts, proposed to make it harder for students defrauded by for-profit colleges to seek loan forgiveness.) They are the most diverse generation of adults in history at a time of vicious right-wing backlash from older white people.

At moments in “Sorry to Bother You,” I thought of the ads of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kaniela Ing, a left-wing congressional candidate in Hawaii, both made by the cheekily-named company Means of Production. Both spots showed members of a multicultural working class in small apartments and grimy streets, as the candidates spoke urgently of the systems squeezing their communities. The tone of these advertisements is very different than that of “Sorry to Bother You,” but the worlds they depict, of defiance in the face of privatization and relentless economic pressure, are similar. As multicultural socialism reshapes our politics, it’s probably inevitable that it will also start to reshape our entertainment. Right now, anticapitalism is a growth market."

Opinion | Pop Culture Gets Radical - The New York Times

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Trump’s Favorite Problems to Fix Are the Ones He Created | The Daily Show

Families remain separated as deadline passes

As Death Toll Rises in Flint, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha on Her Fight to Exp...

Skepticism after US government says it's 'on track' to reunite 2,551 children | US news | The Guardian

Kirstjen Nielsen arrives for a closed doors meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on 25 July, on Capitol Hill. In the meeting, she said the government was ‘on track’.

"The Trump administration on Thursday faces its court-imposed deadline to reunite 2,551 children it forcibly separated amid concerns from advocates and attorneys that parents were coerced into being deported without their children.

The US homeland security department (DHS) secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, said the government was “on track” to meet the deadline, during a meeting on Wednesday with roughly 20 members of the Congressional Hispanic caucus.

Many of those present told the Associated Press that Nielsen’s comment was met with open disbelief and anger. Representative Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from Texas, tweeted that Nielsen told the caucus: “I am not a racist. Nobody believes families should be separated.”

The Trump administration is due to update the court on Thursday with the latest figures for how many families have been reunited. The count on Tuesday was 879 parents reunited with their children.

The government also said Tuesday that 463 parents had been deported without their children, alarming attorneys who doubt immigration authorities clearly explained to parents what they were agreeing to do."

Skepticism after US government says it's 'on track' to reunite 2,551 children | US news | The Guardian

Facebook’s forecast for the future looks suddenly bleak - The Verge


















Facebook’s forecast for the future looks suddenly bleak - The Verge

How NYC plans to survive the next superstorm

Mueller Examining Trump’s Tweets in Wide-Ranging Obstruction Inquiry - The New York Times

"WASHINGTON — For years, President Trump has used Twitter as his go-to public relations weapon, mounting a barrage of attacks on celebrities and then political rivals even after advisers warned he could be creating legal problems for himself.

Those concerns now turn out to be well founded. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is scrutinizing tweets and negative statements from the president about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Several of the remarks came as Mr. Trump was also privately pressuring the men — both key witnesses in the inquiry — about the investigation, and Mr. Mueller is examining whether the actions add up to attempts to obstruct the investigation by both intimidating witnesses and pressuring senior law enforcement officials to tamp down the inquiry.

Mr. Mueller wants to question the president about the tweets. His interest in them is the latest addition to a range of presidential actions he is investigating as a possible obstruction case: private interactions with Mr. Comey, Mr. Sessions and other senior administration officials about the Russia inquiry; misleading White House statements; public attacks; and possible pardon offers to potential witnesses."

(Via.). Mueller Examining Trump’s Tweets in Wide-Ranging Obstruction Inquiry - The New York Times:

Opinion | What Doesn’t Kill Him Makes Him Stronger - The New York Times

By Charles Blow

"Facts don’t matter to millions of Americans anymore. That is just the truth. Republicans bewitched by Donald Trump have devalued the import of truth.

It is a sad truth and a dangerous one. What is the operational framework of a society when the truth ceases to be accepted as true?

There may be precedents in other countries, but one would be hard pressed to find a precedent here. It is becoming cliché now to say that we are in uncharted territory with Trump and his regime, but that is precisely where we are.

There is tremendous possibility for peril, but luckily for Trump and the country, we have so far avoided all-out catastrophe. There is no guarantee that our lucky streak will be extended.

Every day there is no catastrophe, every day yet another never-before-seen, outrageous scandal emerges from this administration and Trump is not destroyed by it, it strengthens him and numbs us and steels his supporters.

The more he lies without paying a price for it, the more he weakens the power of the truth to defend right and condemn wrong. And he expands his latitude to lie more.

Trump is experiencing something of a Superman Syndrome: Having survived so many episodes that would have destroyed another presidency, he has become ever more emboldened in his offenses because he comes to see himself as invincible. What doesn’t kill him makes him stronger.

Rather than lying less, Trump is increasing the frequency of his lying. As The Washington Post’s Fact Checker reported last month:

“When we first started this project for the president’s first 100 days, he averaged 4.9 claims a day. But the average number of claims per day keeps climbing as the president nears the 500-day mark of his presidency. In the month of May, the president made about eight claims a day — including an astonishing 35 claims in his rally in Nashville on May 29.”

Trump has gone from making 4.9 false claims a day to now making 6.5 a day.

It’s not that this behavior is being normalized as much as it is becoming ritualized.

On Tuesday, Trump upped his assault on truth, telling the audience at a veterans’ event in Kansas City, Mo., “Just stick with us, don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” before telling them, “Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”

There was applause and cheering from the crowd.

Rather than the presidency imposing some sense of propriety on Trump, he has used the power of the position to project a sort of hypnotic disregard and amnesiac self-delusion upon the people who follow him. So much of what Republicans once said they believed has now been betrayed.

Furthermore, Trump plays to a duality, a contradiction within his supporters: tough guy with a tender ego. He boasts about being strong while simultaneously whining about being assailed.

His griping, in a weird way, is what fuels his gasconade. He insists to his supporters that he is being treated unfairly and their reflexive defense of him prevents them from even entertaining the fairest of criticisms.

Indeed, the more Trump is rebuked by his opponents, the more his base rallies.

As New York Magazine wrote this week about a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll: “Trump has seen his approval rating tick up to 45 percent, an all-time high for him in the survey. Trump’s high rating, up one percent from June, is thanks largely to support of Republicans, 88 percent of whom told pollsters that they approve of the job he’s doing. Among them, 64 percent strongly approve of Trump, who is experiencing an almost unheard-of level of support from members of his own party.”

CNN obtained on Tuesday a secret recording between Trump and his then-attorney Michael Cohen made two months before the election in 2016 in which the two men discussed setting up a company to funnel a payment to American Media to make sure it continued to keep silent about the story of former Playboy model Karen McDougal, a woman who claims to have had an affair with Trump.

That alleged affair happened soon after Melania Trump had given birth to the couple’s son, and allegedly during the period that Trump is accused of having a sexual encounter with the porn star Stormy Daniels.

The White House had previously denied any knowledge that McDougal had even sold her story. That clearly was a lie. Trump not only knew; he was discussing buying it from the seller.

This would have been a lethal revelation for any other president, but in these maddening Trump days, it becomes just another breach of faith, protocol, custom and possibly the law to toss on top of the ever-growing mound.

Rather than cowering in shame at his deception and his unseemliness, Trump simply goes on the attack, tweeting outrage and indignation:

“What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped — can this be so? Too bad!”

We are all trapped, for the time being, held hostage by an empowered president, a self-neutered Congress, and a cultish horde of Trump voters.

But it is the vote that is the most likely way to curb this rolling tragedy. The midterm elections are only a little more than 100 days away.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

Charles M. Blow has been an Op-Ed columnist since 2008. His column appears every Monday and Thursday. He joined The Times in 1994 and was previously the graphics director. He also wrote the book “Fire Shut Up in My Bones.”

Opinion | What Doesn’t Kill Him Makes Him Stronger - The New York Times

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Armwood Opinion Channel Volume 1 Number 2 - WWII, Race And Technology

Opinion | Trump, ‘He’s Like a Rapper’ - The New York Times




















"Some people are baffled by Donald Trump’s fawning admiration of the world’s strongmen. I am not.

If you know anything about Donald Trump’s formative years in his native New York, you know that this has been part of his life since the beginning.

In particular, he was a young man in the city when the hip-hop cultural movement was born here in the 1970s. He witnessed the birth and ascendancy of hip-hop in the city, the moguls it made, the bravado it brandished.
He liked it, envied it, aped it. He created of it something all his own: He learned to assert white privilege and emulate black power.

There have always been white people like Trump who fetishize black culture — thrill seekers who want to dip their toes into what they view as exotic, but also want to stay dry and removed from it.

Trump practiced the racism of exceptions: He disdained poor minorities — those who wanted to rent his property; criminal suspects like the Central Park Five, of whom he wrote, “I want to hate,” and whom he wanted to have executed. But he marveled at the exceptional, those who amassed money and power while projecting a counterculture aesthetic and ethos.
He admired the men who learned how to monetize swagger. He has learned from them and applied their lessons to his largely white world.

That’s why I think this racist actually believes on some level that he is not a racist. He counts his flirtation with rich black rappers and athletes as proof of his egalitarianism.

As Donald Trump Jr. told The Daily Caller in February while defending his father against charges of racism: “You know it’s amazing — all the rappers, all his African-American friends, from Jesse Jackson to Al Sharpton, have pictures with him.”
Perhaps Trump’s most notable and consequential hip-hop relationship was his odd friendship with the troubled boxer Mike Tyson, who has also rapped from time to time. Tyson sometimes entered the ring with Public Enemy’s “Welcome to the Terrordome” blaring. In a way Tyson was the epitome of hip-hop: Brash, bold, raw, powerful, dangerous, reckless.
Despite Tyson’s many issues — his drinking, his drug use, his problems with the law, his rape conviction — Tyson remained a hero to Trump.

As Chris Ayres wrote earlier this month in British GQ about this strange relationship: “From an early age, Trump, like his brothers, Freddy and Robert, had been instructed by his father, Fred, to think and act like a ‘killer.’ And the world had seen no better or more celebrated killer than Iron Mike. In particular, Trump was fascinated by Tyson’s disruptive, asymmetrical tactics.”

Ayres makes a grand assertion, one that has merit:
“It was Tyson — not Steve Bannon or even Vladimir Putin — who planted the strategic seeds for Trump’s hostile takeover of the United States of America in 2016.”

I would say that it wasn’t only Tyson, but also New York City’s hip-hop culture writ large that Trump weaponized. He is the Elvis Presley of politics, a cultural appropriator who took the coarser side of the black men whose thrall he was in and repackaged their qualities behind a white face.

Indeed, his previous and present relationships with hip-hop royalty have put the hip-hop royals in a bind, because the racism we see was not their experience of him. For them, his racism was muted by their money.
In 2015 Russell Simmons penned an open letter to “To My Old Friend Donald Trump” in which he writes, “You’re smarter and certainly more loving than you let on.” And after Trump’s atrocious Charlottesville comments, Simmons said of Trump, “He’s not acting on any real belief.” In April, Kanye West tweeted: “You don’t have to agree with Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him.”

I guess the relationship status between Trump and some in hip-hop should read: “It’s complicated.”

In 2015, when Trump was a candidate, rapper Ja Rule said of him: “Trump is very entertaining. He speaks very openly and candidly about what he feels. I think it’s a breath of fresh air for everybody to hear it. It’s not always the politically correct thing, but I think that’s what people are enjoying about Trump being in the running. … Trump is crazy. He has always been an outspoken person. I’m not shocked by anything that comes out of his mouth at all. He’s like a rapper.”

At least Trump was a wannabe rapper. He wanted to be associated with the power rappers projected, with the glamour and the girls and the gangster motif. That is the same way he’s now operating on the world stage.

The problem for America is that men pretending to be strongmen will always yield to stronger men. They will always bow to the men they want to be. In the presence of the real thing their mimicry is made mockery. As we would say in hip-hop, Trump is faking the funk.

Opinion | Trump, ‘He’s Like a Rapper’ - The New York Times

Camerota: White House is changing reality of Trump-Putin Meeting. utin meeting. White House lies about what Putin said on this video. What else is new? They are denying Putin admitted that he wanted Trump to win and that he directed his people to help elect Trump.


Putin admits helped Trump get elected

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

End of the American dream? The dark history of 'America first' | Books | The Guardian

















"When he promised to put America first in his inaugural speech, Donald Trump drew on a slogan with a long and sinister history – a sign of what was to follow in his presidency

Sarah ChurchwellLast modified on Mon 23 Apr 2018 07.49 EDT“Sadly, the American dream is dead,” Donald Trump proclaimed when he announced his candidacy for president of the United States. It seemed an astonishing thing for a candidate to say; people campaigning for president usually glorify the nation they hope to lead, flattering voters into choosing them. But this reversal was just a taste of what was to come, as he revealed an unnerving skill at twisting what would be negative for anyone else into a positive for himself.

By the time he won the election, Trump had flipped much of what many people thought they knew about the US on its head. In his acceptance speech he again pronounced the American dream dead, but promised to revive it. We were told that this dream of prosperity was under threat, so much so that a platform of “economic nationalism” carried the presidency.

Reading last rites over the American dream was disquieting enough. But throughout the campaign, Trump also promised to put America first, a pledge renewed – twice – in his inaugural address. It was a disturbing phrase; think pieces on the slogan’s history began to sprout up, explaining that it stretches back to efforts to keep the US out of the second world war.

In fact, “America first” has a much longer and darker history than that, one deeply entangled with the country’s brutal legacy of slavery and white nationalism, its conflicted relationship to immigration, nativism and xenophobia. Gradually, the complex and often terrible tale this slogan represents was lost to mainstream history – but kept alive by underground fascist movements. “America first” is, to put it plainly, a dog whistle. The expression’s backstory seems at first to uncannily anticipate Trump and (at least some of) his supporters, but the truth is that eruptions of American conservative populism are nothing new – and “America first” has been associated with them for well over a century. This is merely the latest iteration of a powerful strain of populist demagoguery in American history, from president Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) to Louisiana senator Huey Long a century later – one that now extends to Trump.

The slogan appears at least as early as 1884, when a California paper ran “America First and Always” as the headline of an article about fighting trade wars with the British. The New York Times shared in 1891 “the idea that the Republican Party has always believed in”, namely: “America first; the rest of the world afterward”. The Republican party agreed, adopting the phrase as a campaign slogan by 1894.

By 1916 'America first' had become so popular that both presidential candidates used it as a campaign sloganA few years later, “See America First” had become the ubiquitous slogan of the newly burgeoning American tourist industry, one that adapted easily as a political promise. This was recognised by an Ohio newspaper owner named Warren G Harding, who successfully campaigned for senator in 1914 under the banner “Prosper America First”. The expression did not become a national catchphrase, however, until April 1915, when President Woodrow Wilson gave a speech defending US neutrality during the first world war: “Our whole duty for the present, at any rate, is summed up in the motto: ‘America First’.”

American opinion was deeply divided over the war; while many decried what was widely perceived as a baldly nationalist venture by Germany, there was plenty of anti-British sentiment, too, especially among Irish-Americans. American neutrality was by no means always motivated by pure isolationism; it mingled pacifism, anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, nationalism and exceptionalism as well. Wilson was delivering the “America first” speech with his eye on a second presidential term: “America first” should not be understood “in a selfish spirit”, he insisted. “The basis of neutrality is sympathy for mankind.”

 First in line … Republican national convention in Cleveland, Ohio, 2016.First in line … Republican national convention delegates in Cleveland, Ohio, 2016. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesThe phrase was rapidly taken up in the name of isolationism, however, and by 1916 “America first” had become so popular that both presidential candidates used it as a campaign slogan. When the US joined the war in 1917, “America first” was transposed into a jingoistic motto; after the war, it slipped back into isolationism. In the summer of 1920, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge delivered a keynote speech at the Republican National Convention, denouncing the League of Nations in the name of “America first”. Harding secured the Republican nomination and promptly sailed to victory that November using the slogan, which his administration would invoke ceaselessly before it collapsed amid the ruins of the US’s greatest political bribery scandal to date.

By 1920, “America first” had joined forces with another popular expression of the time, “100% American”, and both soon functioned as clear codes for nativism and white nationalism. It is impossible to grasp the full meaning of “100% American” without recognising the legal and political force of eugenicist ideas about percentages in the United States. The so-called “one-drop rule” – which said that one drop of “Negro blood” made a person legally black – was the foundation of slavery and miscegenation laws in many states, used to determine whether an individual should be enslaved or free. The logic of the one-drop rule extended from the notorious three-fifths compromise in the constitution, which counted slaves as three-fifths of a person. Declaring someone 100% American was no mere metaphor in a country that measured people in percentages and fractions, in order to deny some of them full humanity.

In 1920 Upton Sinclair published a furiously satirical novel called 100%: The Story of a Patriot, inspired by the case of a radical, Tom Mooney, who was sentenced to hang for a 1916 bombing on charges widely viewed as spurious. Sinclair’s novel is told from the perspective of Peter, “a patriot of patriots, a super-patriot; Peter was a red-blooded American and no mollycoddle; Peter was a ‘he-American’, a 100% American ... Peter was so much of an American that the very sight of a foreigner filled him with a fighting impulse.”

Peter fully believes that:
100% Americanism would find a way to preserve itself from the sophistries of European Bolshevism; 100% Americanism had worked out its formula: “If they don’t like this country, let them go back where they come from.” But of course, knowing in their hearts that America was the best country in the world, they didn’t want to go back, and it was necessary to make them go.

But “100% American” was not only xenophobic and nativist. When Senator Knute Nelson died in 1923, he was hailed in obituaries across the US as “100% American” – despite having been born in Norway. Why? Because Nelson was descended from “the true Nordic line”, “from the race which set up strong gods and bred strong men”.
“Nordic” was yet another code, used in the same ways that the Nazis would use “Aryan”. “Nordicism” held that people of northern Europe were racially superior to those of southern Europe (and everywhere else), a theory espoused by white supremacists such as Lothrop Stoddard and Madison Grant, whose The Passing of the Great Race: or The Racial Basis of European History (1916) became one of the most influential works of eugenicist scientific racism. But in practice, Nordic was used to describe anyone who was blond, white, Caucasian or Anglo-Saxon. Colloquially, “Nordic”, “100% American” and “America first” were used all but interchangeably.

















A 1927 Ku Klux Klan parade in Washington DC.A 1927 Ku Klux Klan parade in Washington DC. Photograph: Buyenlarge/Getty ImagesIt should come as little surprise, then, that the Ku Klux Klan also adopted “America first” as a motto. In 1919 a Klan leader gave a Fourth of July speech declaring: “I am for America, first, last and all the time, and I don’t want any foreign element telling us what to do.” The fantasy of a US once populated solely by the racially pure Nordic “common man” was the Klan’s genesis myth as well, the prelapsarian past to which they intended to force the country to return – by violence if necessary.

In January 1922, the Klan staged a parade in Alexandria, Louisiana, bearing two flaming red crosses and banners with slogans including “America First”, “100% American” and “White Supremacy”. That summer the Klan took out an advertisement in a Texas newspaper: “The Ku Klux Klan is the one and only organization composed absolutely and exclusively of ONE HUNDRED PER CENT AMERICANS who place AMERICA FIRST.”

If the Klan were allowed to take over the US, one newspaper cautioned, 'we shall have a dictatorship'Within months, Americans were watching the rise of fascism in Europe, as Mussolini took power in Rome. Explaining “fascists” to American readers that year, the press found an obvious example ready to hand. “In our own picturesque phrase,” wrote the New York World, “they might be known as the Ku Klux Klan.” It does not require hindsight to view the Klan as a crypto-fascist organisation: their contemporaries could instantly see the likeness, and the danger. In November 1922 a Montana paper noted that, in Italy, fascism meant “Italy for the Italians. The fascisti in this country call it ‘America first’.” There are plenty of the fascisti in the United States, it seems, but they have always gone under the proud banner of “100% Americans”.

The autumn of 1922 also saw the first mention of a rising German fringe politician called Adolf Hitler in the US press. At the time, a young American journalist named Dorothy Thompson was living in Vienna, where she was reporting on the rise of antisemitism. By November 1923, she was in Munich trying to interview Hitler following his abortive Beer Hall Putsch, filing articles on the way he had updated German nationalism thanks to “suggestions from Mussolini”.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle warned its readers that the KKK was no different from “100 % patriotism in Europe”:
There should be no misunderstanding about the Klan. It represents in this country the same ideas that Mussolini represents in Italy; that Primo Rivera represents in Spain. The Klan is the American Fascista, determined to rule in its own way, in utter disregard of the fundamental laws and principles of democratic government.
If such people were allowed to take over the US, it cautioned, “we shall have a dictatorship”.

By 1927, the Klan had spread across the country. That May, roughly 1,000 Klansmen gathered to march in the Memorial Day parade in Queens, New York, many in white robes and hoods, accompanied by 400 members of their women’s organisation, the Klavana. Some of the reported 20,000 spectators in Queens that day objected to the Klan’s presence in a civic parade; fights broke out, and it turned into a riot. In the days that followed, the New York papers revealed the names of a total of seven men who had been arrested in Queens. Five of them were identified as “avowed Klansmen” who had been marching in the parade and were arrested for “refusing to disperse when ordered”. A sixth was a mistake – a car had run over his foot – and he was immediately released. The seventh, a 21-year-old German-American, was not identified in the press as a Klansman. The reports only stated that he was arrested, arraigned and discharged. No one knows why he was there. His name was Fred Trump.

In September 1935, a month after announcing he would run for president, Senator Long of Louisiana was assassinated. Called “America’s first dictator”, Long had worried many observers with his blend of populism and authoritarianism. After his death, one writer referred to Long as “the Mississippi valley rendering of Il Duce”. Despite assurances from many Americans that it can’t happen here, Long’s rise to power had shown just how it could. Its growing presence was so clear that at the end of 1935 Sinclair Lewis published a novel inspired by Long’s career (but written before his murder), in which he imagined what American fascism would look like. The title of It Can’t Happen Here was “ironical”, Lewis told reporters: “I don’t say fascism will happen here,” he said, “only that it could.”

Lewis and Thompson had married in 1928, and his novel was heavily influenced by her circle’s conversation about the situation in Europe. She had just become the first American foreign correspondent to be ejected from Germany by Hitler, making her an international celebrity. “Whatever else the Hitler revolution may or may not be,” she wrote, “it is an enormous mass flight from reality.” On her return to the US, Thompson was given a nationally syndicated newspaper column; immediately she began writing about the emergence of bands of loosely organised fascists around the US, where a “Union party” had assembled to unite the right, creating an amalgamation of white supremacist fascist groups.
One of Thompson’s columns on American fascism was titled “It Can Happen Here”, in which she asked:

Whom do they hate? Life, which has treated them badly. Who is to blame? Some scapegoat is to blame. The Negroes working in the fields that should be theirs? Or the Jews? Do they not keep the prosperous shops? Or the Communists … or the trade unionists … Or the Catholics who have a Pope in Rome? Or the foreigners who take the jobs? These are to blame. Therefore exterminate them. We are poor and dispossessed. But we are white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant. Our fathers founded this country. It belongs to us.

Just as Thompson’s column was published, in May 1936, William Faulkner finished Absalom, Absalom!, a novel driven by the proposition that what had defined southern history was the fact that poor white people gained self-respect and racial pride from their belief in their inherent superiority to black people. If that sense of racial superiority were ever threatened, the story predicted, they would erupt in violence. A year earlier, WEB Du Bois had explained that “white laborers were convinced that the degradation of Negro labor was more fundamental than the uplift of white labor”. Although white labourers remained poor, Du Bois wrote, they were “compensated in part by a sort of public and psychological wage”, the wage of racial superiority.

In the autumn of 1940, a coalition of Americans against US entry into the second world war formed the America First Committee. Charles Lindbergh would become their spokesman, Thompson perhaps their fiercest opponent. “I am absolutely certain in my mind that Lindbergh is pro-Nazi,” she wrote in 1941. “He hates the present democratic system and … intends to be President of the United States, with a new party along Nazi lines behind him.” By May 1941, Lewis had joined the America First Committee, while he and Thompson had quietly separated. According to Lewis’s biographer, he was “at that time vigorously opposed to American intervention in the European war … his sympathies with the America First people”.

In August 2017, seven months into Donald Trump’s presidency, a coalition of American fascists calling themselves Unite the Right staged a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. It came as a shock to many observers that the Klan and neo-Nazis could march in modern America, shouting: “Jews will not replace us.” It came as a greater shock that Trump refused to condemn them.

When the story emerged during the 2016 campaign that Trump’s father had been arrested at what was often described (erroneously) as a “Klan rally”, Trump at first denied that the Fred Trump in question was his father, saying they’d never lived at the address named in the newspaper reports. But although Donald never lived there, the Trump family did. There is no evidence that Fred was at the 1927 Memorial Day parade to support the Klan. What’s remarkable is that, of the parade’s 20,000 spectators, the only six who were arraigned after the riots were five “avowed Klansmen”, and Fred Trump.

Donald has spoken often, and proudly, of the father he idolised. “My legacy has its roots in my father’s legacy,” he stated in 2015. There is good reason to think eugenics plays a role in that legacy. “The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development,” said one of Trump’s biographers, Michael D’Antonio. “They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.” Trump also endorsed a garbled version of eugenics in a 2010 interview: “I think I was born with the drive for success because I have a certain gene. I’m a gene believer.” And while it is true that no one knows why Fred Trump was arrested along with five members of the Klan in 1927, it is also true that his later record would not suggest he was there to protest against the Klan. Maybe it was all just a coincidence.

Or maybe not. In October 2017, the New York Times reported that Trump’s close adviser, Stephen Miller, chose “100% Americanism” as a quotation for his high school yearbook page. Trump made international headlines in January 2018 when he demanded during discussions of immigration from Haiti and Africa why he would want “all these people from shithole countries”, adding that he wanted “more people from places like Norway”. Commentators noted that Norway is overwhelmingly ethnically white, but many were puzzled by what seemed an arbitrary preference. “Why Norway?” asked a Houston Chronicle report, highlighting the “racialism” of the choice; it added that the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer had approved Trump’s remarks, which indicated: “Trump is more or less on the same page as us.” The Chronicle did not, however, mention that the page in question continues to specify Nordicism per se – and “America first” – as its racial ideal for the US.

We cannot hear a dog whistle if we are not in its range. We cannot understand the subtexts of our own slogans if we do not understand their contexts; we risk misreading our own moment if we don’t know the historical meanings of expressions we resuscitate, or perpetuate. We are all asking urgent questions about the present, but there are far more surprising answers than many think to be found in the past. The backstory of loaded phrases can help us understand how we found ourselves facing these problems today – and even, perhaps, how to stop them from detonating into violence once more •

End of the American dream? The dark history of 'America first' | Books | The Guardian: ""

“Bring the War Home”: The Long History of White Power and Paramilitary V...

Clarence Thomas' wife, Ginni Thomas, shares fake news pics on Facebook. Is this suprising? Birds of a feather...






















   This is fake, stock photo.













"The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas shared fake news images on Facebook of African-Americans who allegedly “walked away” from the Democratic party.

Modal TriggerGinni Thomas' postFacebookGinni Thomas, a lawyer and conservative activist, shared a number of posts from “The Citizens Mandate” that appeared to show former members of the Democratic party — but the individuals are models posing for stock images.

“Thank you, #WalkAway movement, for showing us there are American citizens appalled at what they are seeing in the Democrat Party and its activists,” Thomas wrote on July 16 along with the mocked up image of an African American woman.

The item showed the model along with a list of inflammatory reasons she purportedly left the political party.
The image is a stock photo that can be found by a simple image search.
Modal TriggerGinni Thomas' postFacebookThomas shared a second post from the Citizens Mandate page on Saturday that showed an African American man who the group also claimed had left the party.
“My wife and I both work full time and still cannot afford to send our own kids to college,” read the image Thomas shared on Saturday.

That man is also a stock image model.

This what not the first instance of Thomas sharing questionable material on social media

Clarence Thomas' wife, Ginni Thomas, shares fake news pics on Facebook: ""

Monday, July 23, 2018

Technology, Politics and Jazz? Armwood Opinion Channel - Volume Number 1


YouTube Processing: Explained! It does seem to take for ever, LOL

Steve Schmidt: "Dangerous Day For American Democracy" | Deadline | MSNBC

Donald Trump's Russia speech lipsynced & jazzified with saxophone and piano

Georgia Rep. Jason Spencer screams 'N-word,' drops pants on TV. ... And some folks question the permanence of American racism? This is a Georgia legislator. This is America.

Police: ‘Distraught’ boy ‘lunged’ at officer before being restrained | WSB-TV. Why would the cop arrest the father in front of the child? Ignorant dumb and just plain stupid. The child received scrapes and bruises and had to go to the emergency room. If this had been a White family, would the police have handled the situation with this level of insensitivity? I think not. White privilege is permanent in America.

Police: ‘Distraught’ boy ‘lunged’ at officer before being restrained | WSB-TV:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Why Donald Trump's Legal Team Would Leak Cohen Playmate Hush Money Tape | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC - YouTube

Why Donald Trump's Legal Team Would Leak Cohen Playmate Hush Money Tape | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC - YouTube

Trump’s worst week yet? The week started out terribly for the President with a Russia crisis of his own making and it only got worse, ending on a down note in the polls. Yamiche Alcindor, Jason Johnson and Evan McMullin join Katy Tur in for Lawrence O’Donnell

The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC

The last 9 days of news summarized. After an extraordinary nine days of news, watch Ali Velshi recap the NATO Summit, the president’s trips to the UK and Helsinki, the latest on the Russia investigation, and President Trump’s announcement for a second meeting with Putin.

The last 9 days of news summarized

The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC

The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC

Trump’s longtime lawyer: Cohen 'weak', potential 'co-conspirator'

Trump’s longtime lawyer: Cohen 'weak', potential 'co-conspirator'

Rev. Al dishes on his meeting with Michael Cohen

Rev. Al dishes on his meeting with Michael Cohen

Friday, July 20, 2018

Tamara Johnson Shealey was live with David Slavin, John H Armwood and special guest Saira Rao

Race, racism and race relations are REAL issues inside of the Democratic Party and too few people are willing to talk about it. As a Democratic Candidate who faced it in a 2018 Primary "race race" in Georgia's 40th State Senate District, I know this all too well. Meet Sairo Rao, a Colorado Congressional Candidate, who had her own race relation issues inside of the Democratic Party and using her voice to speak "truth to power"! There is an elephant in the room inside of the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party must be inclusive of ALL PEOPLE if they want to win future elections.

Erin Burnett: Tape shows Trump's team lied

Opinion | Disgusted With Donald Trump? Do This - The New York Times















"The moral of the Helsinki freak show, the NATO tragicomedy and the children in cages near the border isn’t just that Donald Trump lacks any discernible conscience, real regard for this country or mature appreciation of history and our exalted part in it. It’s that this next election matters — immeasurably."

(Via.). Opinion | Disgusted With Donald Trump? Do This - The New York Times:

British Journalists Get Trumped for the First Time - Between the Scenes ...

British Journalists Get Trumped for the First Time - Between the Scenes ...

Boots Riley - Bringing Rebellion to the Forefront with “Sorry to Bother ...

Thursday, July 19, 2018

E FM 4 -1-- 2009 Busan, Korea - Discussion, the possibility of unifying the two Koreas

WaPo: Trump ignored briefing laying out tough stance against Putin

WaPo: Trump ignored briefing laying out tough stance against Putin

Critical race theorist Derrick Bell on racism - The Best Documentary Ever

Lenovo Miix 630 review: A sleek, slick 2-in-1 at an attractive price

E FM Korean Unification 3 1 2009

Opinion | ‘Sort of a Double Negative’ - The New York Times

By Charles M. Blow  Opinion Columnist July 18, 2018

"It is an unfathomable proposition that the day would ever come when America could rightly question the loyalties of its own president, but that is precisely where we have arrived.

Donald Trump’s “Surrender Summit” with President Vladimir Putin of Russia was such a disloyal, traitorous display that it boggles the mind.

Russia attacked our election in 2016. Russia. Moscow did it to help get Trump elected. Putin himself admitted that “patriotic” Russian hackers may have meddled in the election. These are not open questions. These are facts.

And yet, Trump chose to meet with the man who directed those attacks. He did so one on one behind closed doors, so we have no idea what they discussed, confessed, agreed to or even conspired.

At the news conference that followed the meeting, Trump undercut our own intelligence community, instead siding with Putin, saying:

“I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

After which Trump said, “So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

Then he said: “What he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators, with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer.”

That’s right, Trump thinks the criminal’s denial of the crime was “powerful” and thinks its an “incredible offer” that the criminal wants to help investigate the crime he committed.

Trump on Tuesday tried to backpedal one minor part of his comments, saying:

“In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ Sort of a double negative.”

No, the negatives are that there is now an open question as to whether this president is compromised by or somehow loyal to the Russians, and that he has conditioned and cowed an entire American political party into not only supporting his behavior but defending it.

This is truly an American crisis moment.

Trump’s base of supporters have an undying loyalty to him because he has the same for them. He still has high approval among Republican voters because he has executed an unprecedented policy of defending only their concerns, which at their root are about racial insecurity and hostility, no matter how they try to dress it up.

Trump has no desire or intention to reach out to the rest of America or try to be the president of all of America. His mission is to lift this hostile minority over the horrified majority.

Trump’s supporters love this. Finally, someone is unapologetically fighting for white supremacy, white culture and white identity, for protectionism, xenophobia and Christian supremacy. No matter how much he lies, no matter how much he fumbles, no matter how much he betrays the greater America, Trump will remain the hero of white, Republican, racist America.

And, because these people were such a large portion of the Republican Party even before Trump emerged as their champion, traditional Republicans who at least talked the game of inclusion, of principles and of Christian, family values, are now tucking their tails to save their behinds.

Trump conducted himself as if he was hostage to Putin; Republican lawmakers conduct themselves as if they are hostage to Trump. Our country may well be hostage to it all.

That is a chilling thing to digest.

Maybe, barring calamity, this situation could exist for a while, until more Democrats are elected to Congress or until Trump is no longer president. But there is no safeguard against such a calamity. There is no way to fully judge our exposure and the danger we face because Trump has a thing for or with the Russians.

Trump likes to say that a country without borders is no longer a country. But a democracy in which the public ceases to have confidence that its elected leader is acting in the interest of his own country and not another is no longer a democracy.

That is the real question here: Is a Trump-led America still a democracy as we understand it? Is it still an independent country? Is he accountable to the American public or to a foreign republic?"

Opinion | ‘Sort of a Double Negative’ - The New York Times

Derrick Bell: Advice to Young African Americans

Trevor Responds to Criticism from the French Ambassador - Between The Sc...

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

#ManchurianPresident #TraitorInChief Trump again questions the entire point of NATO

Opinion | Trump and Russia: One Mystery, Three Theories - The New York Times



A conservative's take on Trump's unpresidential behavior. It is always necessary to look at things from one's opponent's viewpoint.

My official pundit’s opinion on Donald Trump, Russian election interference, collusion, kompromat and impeachment is that I’m waiting for the Mueller investigation to finish before I have a strong opinion. This allows me to cultivate the agnostic’s smug superiority, but it also leaves me without a suitably en fuego take after something like the immediately infamous Trump-Putin news conference — not because the president’s behavior wasn’t predictably disgraceful, but because the nature and scale of the disgrace can’t be assessed without a certainty about Trump’s motives that’s somewhat out of reach.So maybe this is a good time to step back and sketch out the three main ways to understand Trump’s relationship to Russia and Putin and the 2016 hacking of his Democratic rivals, the three major theories that make sense of our president’s strange conduct before and since. I’m not going to formally choose among them, but for people interested in betting I will offer odds for each.

Scenario 1: Trump Being Trump

In this theory of the case, you can explain all of Trump’s Russia-related behavior simply by finding him guilty of being the person we always knew him to be — vain, mendacious, self-serving, sleazy and absurdly stubborn, with a purely personalized understanding of allies and adversaries, a not-so-sneaking admiration for strongmen and the information filter of an old man who prefers his own reality to the discomforts of contrary information.
Thus Trump is friendly to Putin for the same reason that he praised the Chinese Politburo after Tiananmen Square and now praises Xi Jinping; the same reason that he likes the Saudi royals and buddies up to Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the same reason that after a brief period of bellicosity he’s ended up as a tacit apologist for Kim Jong-un. We have ample evidence, going back decades, that Trump simply likes authoritarian rulers, that he admires their supposed toughness and doesn’t give a fig about their cruelty, that he thinks they would make more reliable allies and partners for the United States than the ingrate democracies of Western Europe. And as Ben Domenech of The Federalist noted after the Helsinki performance, we also have ample evidence that he likes people who seem to like him and considers anyone who criticizes him an enemy: “Thus, the Euros are bastards, and Xi and Kim and Putin are not bad guys.”

If Trump seems to have a more intense affinity for Putin than for other autocrats, two further explanations may suffice. First, his history of doing business deals with Russians makes him particularly inclined to seek geopolitical deals with Russia — an inclination that’s essentially a shadier version of the affinity that the Bush family and other Arabists had with the Saudis and the Gulf States, cross-pollinated with the sleazy campaign-finance relationships that the Chinese cultivated with the Clinton White House.

At the same time, his vanity and amour propre, joined to his rage against his doubters, makes it impossible for Trump to admit that anyone else helped him win the White House — so he cannot bring himself to fully acknowledge and criticize Russian election meddling because to do so might call into question not only his legitimacy but his self-conception as a political grandmaster.

And what about the election-season contacts with suspicious Russian nationals and WikiLeaks, the Don Jr. meeting and the Roger Stone forays? In this theory they’re indicators that Trump, a shady guy surrounded by shady guys and professional morons, might well have colluded given the opportunity — but they don’t prove that any such opportunity presented itself. After all, neither the hacking nor the leaking of emails required his campaign’s cooperation, so there was no reason for the Russian side to advance beyond a deniable low-level meeting and WikiLeaks D.M.s, and thus no real opportunity for the Trump team to be a true accessory to the underlying crime.

This narrative does not exonerate Trump; indeed, it provides various grounds to condemn him. But those grounds are the same grounds that were obvious during the campaign: We watched him blow kisses to dictators then, complain about our allies then, promise a détente with Russia while exploiting the D.N.C. hacking then, double and triple down on falsehoods and bogus narratives then, cling to self-destructive feuds (the Khans, Alicia Machado) in the same way that he clings to public flattery for Putin … and after all this, he was still elected president. So be appalled when he behaves appallingly, but do not be surprised, do not confuse Trump being Trump with Trump being treasonous — and recognize that he isn’t leaving office until you beat him at the polls.

Overall it’s a theory that fits Trump’s personality extremely well, fits the available facts reasonably well, and doesn’t require any new revelations or heretofore-hidden conspiracies. So I continue to give it a … (consults extremely scientific methodology) … 65 percent chance of being the truth.

Scenario 2: Watergate With Russian Burglars

But in outlining the previous scenario I’ve conceded that people around Trump, including his own family members, did show a willingness to collude with dubious figures — and this concession alone means I can’t go along with Trump apologists and anti-anti-Trumpers who insist that collusion theories don’t have any evidence behind them. At the very least, they have the evidence of Don Jr.’s obvious enthusiasm and Stone’s conspicuous maneuvering. And then there is the reasonable point that if he were anyone else, much of Trump’s own behavior — the firing of James Comey, the rage against the investigations, the frequent lies and denials of the obvious, the unnecessary self-destruction — would look a lot like the behavior of a guilty man.

Because Trump is Trump, I think it’s more reasonable to see this behavior as of a piece with all his other irrational-seeming, self-destructive behavior on questions unrelated to l’affaire Russe. But there’s always the possibility that this characterological analysis is a form of overthinking, and that when the truth comes out we’ll look back and say that his guilt should have been obvious all along.

And what kind of guilt would it be? There are various possibilities, but the latest Mueller filing supplies one possible answer: In addition to the email leaks, we now know that the Russian hackers also accessed Democratic campaign analytics, a prize that (far more than the emails) would have been hard to fully weaponize if they weren’t shared directly with the Trump campaign.

Is there evidence of this weaponization? Not necessarily: A Twitter theory that the Trump team’s late spending shifts were suspiciously targeted and timed runs into the difficulty that 1) anyone could see by the fall that his electoral path ran through the Midwest and 2) the Democrats didn’t see his Wisconsin-Pennsylvania upsets coming, so why would their stolen analytics have helped Trump’s people target their way to victory?

But the Russians presumably hoped to do something with those analytics, people in Trump’s circle did show a willingness to communicate with them … and we know not only from Richard Nixon but also from Lyndon Johnson that the temptation to spy on your opponent’s campaign can be irresistible to politicians more experienced than Donald Trump.
So a Watergate-style endgame with a Russian twist is hardly a paranoiac’s fantasy: If the Trump campaign got stolen campaign data and Trump knew enough about it to inform his firing of Comey, that’s collusion and a case for impeachment wrapped into one scenario. And the odds that something like this is the truth I boldly place at … (calculates) … 25 percent.

Scenario 3: The Muscovite Candidate

That leaves 10 percent for the most dramatic theory, which is that any collusion wasn’t just something Trump’s team stumbled into during the campaign but something connected to a much longer-running Russian intelligence operation, and that Trump’s relationship to the Russian state is not just a personal or ideological affinity or a campaign-season alliance but a partnership forged through blackmail or bribery or both.

Most of that 10 percent covers the narrow version of this theory, in which Putin and Co. are blackmailing Trump with damaging financial information from his recent Russian dealings or with the mythical-or-is-it pee tape. A much smaller fraction of the fraction is left for the more baroque theory, elaborated (with caveats, but also way too much credulity) by Jonathan Chait in New York magazine recently, that Trump was actually compromised-cum-recruited by Russian intelligence all the way back in 1987, and that his whole worldview was somehow made in Moscow to help unmake the West.

There is a great deal of enthusiasm for this kind of theory, on social media especially, and on many days I think it’s embarrassing or risible — a birtherism of the center-left, an exculpatory fantasy from an establishment thrashing about to evade its own responsibility for the rise of populism, a “brown scare” about an omnicompetent Putin and a fascist international that mirrors similar paranoias on the right.

The first two narratives I’ve offered seem far more parsimonious, Trump seems like too brazen a sinner to be effectively blackmailed, and his worldview seems very palpably his own. Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s actual Russia policy, with its combination of the public bromance with Putin and more hawkish policies behind the scenes, would be a pretty a strange way for a Kremlin stooge to play his part.

But one of the vows I took after Trump's stunning political ascent was to refuse to be that surprised again, to refuse to simply laugh at scenarios that seem outlandish or unlikely — because, as they say, that kind of reflexive laughter is how you got Trump. And much as I’m inclined to put the Muscovite Candidate scenario at 1 percent or 0.1 percent, as I worked on this column the number kept creeping upward. After all, there’s got to be something in those tax returns … of course the Russians spy on foreign celebrities when they visit … the way he talks about Putin is, well, weirder than the way he talks about other foreign leaders …

Don’t fit me for that #Resistance shirt just yet; my money is still on the strange-but-not-that-crazy explanations for our president’s behavior. But in the age of Donald Trump, everyone should hedge their bets.

Opinion | Trump and Russia: One Mystery, Three Theories - The New York Times