Op-Eds

How to Fight White Supremacy: Charlottesville, SPLC Offer Blueprints

by Sher Watts Spooner – The rise of white supremacy in the United States, with Donald Trump as its head cheerleader, has heightened tensions across the country. The “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the killing of Heather Heyer when a neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, has spurred marches, vigils, and actions nationwide to counter the hate speech of the white supremacist crowd. But many feel lost, wondering about the most effective methods of fighting racial hatred. Racial bias and hatred are nothing new in this country, but since the rise and election of Donald Trump, white supremacist groups have become emboldened to spew their specific brands of hate both online and in person. They are using any excuse to target minorities of any kind. The removal of statues honoring Confederate Civil War leaders is just the latest spark igniting publicity-seeking actions, often by heavily armed participants. What...

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Dick Gregory Took Us All on a Strange and Powerful Trip

by Nick Gillespie – Comedian, civil-rights activist, food guru, and conspiracy theorist made America a better, more-thoughtful place. The comedian and activist Dick Gregory has died at the age of 84. Talk about a career that’s virtually impossible to categorize. From avant-garde joke teller to civil-rights figure to diet guru to conspiracy mongerer, he lived a full life that in many ways mirrors all the twists and turns of American life over the past 50 or 60 years. He was relentlessly pessimistic about the state of the country even as he inspired his audience to work for change. I found him interesting because he was always out there on the horizon, lighting a path—albeit often one not particularly grounded in facts—that many of us would be following down soon after. Born in St. Louis in 1932, Gregory ran track for Southern Illinois University in Carbondale on a scholarship, got drafted, and eventually...

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Serious Questions About Trump’s Mental Fitness for Office Grow

by Kerry Eleveld – Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein tweeted last week that “important Republicans” and higher ups in the intelligence and military communities had been “increasingly saying in private that @realDonaldTrump is unfit to be president.” That was on Tuesday. By Thursday, GOP Sen. Bob Corker, chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, questioned Donald Trump’s fitness aloud with a quote that ricocheted around Washington at lighting speed. The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful… By Sunday, CNN’s Brian Stelter devoted an entire segment to mounting questions about Trump’s mental suitability to function as leader of our nation. “Is the president of the United States a racist? Is he suffering from some kind of illness? Is he fit for office? “And if he is unfit, then what?” Stelter asked on the program Reliable Sources. Bernstein appeared on the...

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The Lies on Afghanistan Trump Will Now Tell

by Matthew Hoh – There has never been progress by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, unless you are asking the U.S. military contractors or the Afghan drug barons, of whom an extremely large share are our allies in the Afghan government, militias and security forces, there has only been suffering and destruction. American politicians, pundits and generals will speak about “progress” made by the 70,000 American troops put into Afghanistan by President Obama beginning in 2009, along with an additional 30,000 European troops and 100,000 private contractors, however the hard and awful true reality is that the war in Afghanistan has only escalated since 2009, never stabilizing or deescalating; the Taliban has increased in strength by tens of thousands, despite tens of thousands of casualties and prisoners; and American and Afghan casualties have continued to grow every year of the conflict, with U.S. casualties declining only when U.S. forces began to...

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Axios: “Bannon Backed By Billionaire Prepares To Go To War”

by ursulafaw – Well, that didn’t take long. Bannon was shown the door approximately 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time and Axios has updated their coverage twice since then.Kudos to Johnathan Swan for calling this shot right: Steve Bannon’s next moves will be all about the billionaire Mercer family. I’m told Bannon, who visited New York this week, met with Bob Mercer and together they will be a well-funded force on the outside. Bannon has felt liberated since it became clear he was being pushed out, according to friends. He’s told associates he has a “killing machine” in Breitbart News, and it’s possible he returns to lead their editorial operation. Steve Bannon is in fine fettle as he contemplates a reunion with his killing machine. Swan quotes him as saying that Breitbart is going to “go thermonuclear against the globalists.” That no doubt includes Bannon’s favorite “globalist cuck” Jared Kushner. Now that Bannon’s out of...

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Here Are the 5 Reasons That Cause People to Become Refugees

by Brianna Acuesta – Some of these reasons may surprise you. If you’re unfamiliar with foreign politics, as many people are, it may be unfathomable that people “willingly” leave their homes and make dangerous treks to live in other countries. Not only that, but they do it by the millions, moving in separate hordes day by day because there is safety in numbers but too many people might draw too much attention. The fact is that, yes, these people choose to leave the only home they have ever known but they did not choose the elements and politics and war that forced them to do so. Though refugees are garnering tons of attention lately because there are so many fleeing from just a few countries, there have always been people seeking refuge in other nations throughout human history. However, there have never been as many refugees as there are today, according to the...

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Barack Obama is the Exact Moral Opposite of Donald Trump

by Ian Reifowitz – Barack Obama and Donald Trump are, in moral terms, the exact opposite of one another. This is exemplified by the way the two men have spoken about race when offering their most personal, heartfelt, and in-depth comments on the matter. For Trump, those comments came this past week in reaction to the events that led to the terrorist murder of anti-fascist activist Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. This isn’t referring to the prepared statement in which he solemnly condemned white supremacists—two days after he decided not to read it and instead equated violent white racists with the heroes who stood up to them. This refers instead to the series of remarks where Trump went off his prepared script and told the American people what he really thinks. In response to those remarks, Andrew Anglin, the editor of the major neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, exulted that Trump “uses our talking points … This man is...

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After Charlottesville, Mayors Step into Gap Left by Trump

by Joshua Eaton – U.S. Conference of Mayors and Anti-Defamation League announce nationwide plan amid leadership “vacuum” from White House. During a press call on Friday, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Anti-Defamation League announced a ten-point plan to combat hate groups in cities and towns across the country. The move comes after President Donald Trump blamed “many sides,” including what he called the “alt-left,” for a violent white supremacist rally and a car attack on counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, last Saturday that left one dead and dozens more injured. “It absolutely is a clear lack of a moral compass that’s driving this,” Shane Bemis, the Republican mayor of Gresham, Oregon, told reporters Friday. “ has no moral clarity to speak on this issue. Mayors would never do that in their own communities. It absolutely is a lack of moral leadership.” At press time, 240 mayors had signed onto the...

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The New York Times Confirms Trump is Not Only a Racist in Public, But ‘in private.’

by Dartagnan – There is still a segment of America out there that believes Trump’s public pronouncements—about African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, really anyone of different color or faith than himself—are some type of political invention,  an opportunistic, contrived pose to please the base of people who put him into office. No. He’s a real, genuine, dyed-in-the-wool racist. The real deal. Buried in this New York Times piece about how Trump has emboldened the white supremacist movement is an observation about Trump by his aides that explains when Trump is away from the cameras he’s just as much of a racist as he has sounded during this past week: 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. In other words, Trump wakes up hating African-Americans, Latinos, Jews...

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Waiting for a Grown-Up in the White House

by Michael Winship – Donald Trump is turning the presidency into a daycare center for his troubled inner child. This presidency is unconstitutional. T had returned, backpedaling, whining, reverting to the moral ambiguity of Saturday and tripling down. On Tuesday, Trump’s evil little twin held a press conference at which he undid whatever good he had accomplished the previous day when under duress he finally, finally came out and said “racism is evil,” and that the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists were bad, “repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” This had been an attempt to repair damage done by his equivocal and much criticized remarks on Saturday after the tragic events in Charlottesville. On Tuesday, though, Trump’s evil little twin had returned, backpedaling, whining, reverting to the moral ambiguity of Saturday and tripling down. Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman at The New York Times artfully summed it up: President Trump buoyed the...

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The End of a Political Era: Movement Conservatism Gets Real

by Heather Cox Richardson – The ascendency of Donald Trump empowers movement conservatives to make their rhetoric real, but the reality is that voters don’t want them to. The newly unemployed Reince Priebus recently said on Twitter that the Republican Party is in the best shape it’s been since 1928. And yet, a political circus daily assaults Americans. We have a demonstrably unfit Republican president, a Republican Congress unable to pass the measure on which its members campaigned for eight years, a revolt from military leaders against a presidential policy conveyed by tweet, and now an admission by Republican stalwarts former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake that Republican rhetoric was never more than a means to gain power. These things are not unrelated. We are witnessing the end of a political era, the era in which movement conservatism dominated America. We are seeing the nasty, snarling...

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New York Times: “There is no such thing as the ‘alt-left.'”

by raptavio –  Like to say “Alt-left”? This is you  The New York Times today: Researchers who study extremist groups in the United States say there is no such thing as the “alt-left.” Mark Pitcavage, an analyst at the Anti-Defamation League, said the word had been made up to create a false equivalence between the far right and “anything vaguely left-seeming that they didn’t like.” Some centrist liberals have taken to using this term. “It did not arise organically, and it refers to no actual group or movement or network,” Mr. Pitcavage said in an email. “It’s just a made-up epithet, similar to certain people calling any news they don’t like ‘fake news.’” “Some centrist liberals”, of course, includes our own Markos Moulitsas, a choice which I hope he’s come to regret in the wake of Tangerine Palpatine’s press conference today. When used by centrists and some liberals, of course, this...

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Obama Tweet Makes History

by Rika Christensen – Donald Trump is a bumbling fool. A racist bumbling fool who’s more afraid of alienating his racist base than anything. So when a national tragedy like Charlottesville occurs, his responses are insensitive at best, clumsy beyond belief, un-presidential, and oftentimes, just flat-out disgusting and wrong. When we most need a real president, we don’t have one…at least, not one that sits in the White House right now. But President Obama, despite having served his two terms and now living a civilian life, still manages to have the exact right thing to say. Sure, he no longer gets in front of the cameras and country and says it, but he does say it to his massive social media audiences, and he’s oftentimes more popular than Trump. Like with his response to Charlottesville. Twitter told the BBC that the following tweet, from one President Barack Obama, is now the most liked...

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Fascists Within Trump White House Started Working to Protect White Nationalists Before Taking Office

by Mark Sumner – Radical white supremacists have represented the greatest terrorist threat to America over the last 16 years, during which these extremists have been responsible for 26 attacks across the nation. That’s why the United States had programs in place to counter white nationalism and to deal with Americans radicalized by the violent rhetoric of these groups. Had programs. Because under Donald Trump the program for countering violent extremism has beencut and revamped to exclude white supremacists. That includes completely eliminating funding for the only group dedicated specifically to this threat. Weeks before a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to three deaths and 19 injuries, the Trump administration revoked a grant to Life After Hate, a group that works to de-radicalize neo-Nazis. The group had been awarded $400,000, but Trump aides stepped in before the money could actually be delivered. And who acted so quickly to make sure this...

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White House Gives Republicans Their Talking Points on Nazis: ‘The president was correct’

by Laura Clawson – No wonder Republicans won’t name Donald Trump and call him out for defending white supremacists and neo-Nazis while assailing anti-racist counter-protesters. They have their marching orders direct from the White House. The Atlantic’s Molly Ball ran the official White House talking points on Trump’s bonkers Tuesday press conference, and the first line is the one that really matters: The President was entirely correct — both sides of the violence in Charlottesville acted inappropriately, and bear some responsibility. The guy who drove the car into a crowd of counter-protesters bears responsibility for driving the car, and the people who got run over bear responsibility for not being able to dodge a fast-moving car, I guess. The White House goes on: Despite the criticism, the President reaffirmed some of our most important Founding principles: We are equal in the eyes of our Creator, equal under the law, and equal under our Constitution. He...

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CBO Finding Will Put Republicans in a Bind: What do They Hate More, Obamacare or Deficits?

by Joan McCarter – At the request of House Democrats, the Congressional Budget Office has released its analysis of the costs of Trump’s Obamacare sabotage. Specifically, it analyzes what will probably happen if the Trump administration stops paying cost-sharing reduction payments to health insurers. Those are the repayments insurers get for subsidizing the deductibles, copayments, and other means of cost sharing to some of the people who purchase plans, as required by the law. Its conclusions: premiums will be hiked 20 percent, then 25 percent in 10 years, and the deficit increased by $194 billion. In addition, about 5 percent of the population will live in an area where there is no individual insurance plan available—on or off the Obamacare exchanges—and more employers would likely end offering employment-based insurance. Noting that these “effects are uncertain and would depend on how the policy was implemented,” the CBO finds: The fraction of people living in areas with no...

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Defense Secretary Reveals the Trans Military Ban is in Limbo

by Zack Ford – The White House has yet to provide any guidance. Secretary of Defense James Mattis sent some mixed messages Monday when he stopped by the Pentagon newsroom to discuss President Trump’s intended ban on transgender personnel in the military—which the president announced via Twitter. At best, the proposal remains in limbo and is still being studied; at worst, it’s inevitably still coming. The key takeaway Mattis revealed is that Trump has yet to actually issue anything other than a few tweets and public comments. “I am waiting right now to get the President’s guidance in and that I expect to be very soon,” he explained. In the meantime, the military is continuing to study the issue, consistent with what Mattis announced when he agreed to delay the implementation of transgender recruitment by six months. The change to recruitment policy was initially set to take place July 1.”The policy is going to address whether or...

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NY Times Editorial Board Lambasts Trump

by teacherken – It is a signed editorial.   Signed by the editorial board.  Meaning all of the board. Its title is blunt  The Hate He Dares Not Speak Of. It begins as bluntly as any Times editorial I can remember: Let’s discard the fiction that President Trump wasn’t placating white supremacists by responding so weakly to the neo-Nazi violence that killed Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old counterdemonstrator in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. The neo-Nazis heard his message loud and clear. They they quote the response in The Daily Stormer  to  Trump’s weak response to what happened. They quote it.  I will not. The make sure we know that Trup’s advisers wanted him to make a more forceful statement, and that he did. They set the stage for their final pronouncements with this paragraph: Mr. Trump is alone in modern presidential history in his willingness to summon demons of bigotry and intolerance in service to himself. He began...

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We Should Have Followed Germany’s Example for Our Confederate Monuments

by kristenc – On Saturday, a white nationalist-Nazi-KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia turned into a brawl between protesters and counter-protesters, and resulted in a brutal murder. Three days later, the country is still grappling with the effects of the protest, but it’s important to remember how it all began: with a ‘Unite the Right’ rally meant to defend a confederate monument that was slated for removal. This is something we as a nation need to most past, and we even have a clear model we should be following: Germany’s. After World War II, Germany had to grapple with something ugly in its history. The country chose to deal with the aftermath of the Nazi regime by banning all Nazi iconography, destroying Nazi statues and allowing remaining Nazi architecture to fall into ruins, with little more than a plaque warning visitors to avoid the dangerous, crumbling remains. In Germany, expressing Nazi ideology...

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Father Disowns Son In Powerful Open Letter After Learning He Marched In Charlottesville

by Amanda Froelich – Pearce Tefft publicly denounced his son’s discriminative behavior in an open letter you need to read. If you seek to make the world a better place, be compassionate, be humble, and do good. Such is a message millions of parents have shared with their children. A man named Pearce Tefft took the same care when raising his son, Peter Tefft. Unfortunately, Pearce no longer recognizes the same boy he raised. This was made evident when spotting him in the Unite the Right rally — a protest which occurred over the weekend and turned shockingly violent. As a result, Pearce made the hard decision to disown his son. “Peter Tefft, my son, is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer,” he wrote in a powerful open letter published on August 14th. In his hometown of Fargo, North Dakota, Peter has been labeled a “Nazi” by locals. This developed six months ago,...

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