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Fortunately, Nobody Like This Ever Became a Major World Leader Again

[ 0 ] August 16, 2017 |

–Ian Kershaw, Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris.

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BREAKING: A photo of the world’s greatest best beautiful high quality business president’s ego

[ 0 ] August 16, 2017 |

Fried dendrites in tRump’s brain or trees blasted in the Tunguska Event? Credit: The Leonid Kulik Expedition.

It was great to watch business leaders leave #TheStupidestPresidentEver’s manufacturing council after his latest pro-bigotry outburst.

Not only is it nice to see people say no to Nazis, but tRump’s yuge, delicate ego is his sole weakness and anything that harms it is good for the rest of the planet.

Being publicly rejected and repudiated by members of the President’s manufacturing Council – people who really are successful – has likely done to his ego what being stuck in a tumble dryer for an hour would do to a spun glass sculpture. Witness his statesman-like response after several members of the Manufacturing Council had announced their departure.

“For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on,” he tweeted Tuesday morning, adding at the end, “JOBS!”

As of this morning, at least 11 people had left the Manufacturing Council, because the one thing this vicious piece of shit won’t lie about is his affection for Nazis and affiliated scum.

And a few moments ago, his dear Strategic & Policy Forum disbanded.

The business leaders chose to dissolve the council in order to “condemn” the president’s comments about the Charlottesville violence, the same member said. The member described Trump’s defiant press conference on Tuesday as a “tripwire.”

They had heard from employees and customers about the council.

“There really was nothing to debate,” the member said.

That’s great, but it gets better.

Here’s the Liar-in-Chief’s 30 minute solo on le trombone du tristesse attempt to spin this self-inflicted disaster into more winning.

Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!

The End of Softselling Treason in Defense of Slavery

[ 0 ] August 16, 2017 |

Boy, one wanders around the West for a few days, turning a corner and finding oneself 15 feet from a grizzly bear who mercifully was far more interested in eating berries than eating you, and the whole world has changed.

My blog colleagues and many around the internet have said much of what I would say about Trump’s official approval of NeoNazis and NeoConfederates. It’s a truly horror show, yet one that completely fits Trump’s base, which is one reason why McConnell and the like won’t call Trump out by name, even if a few Republicans who can see their political futures ending at the next election (Cory Gardner) have. But let me state a few things here as I get back into my routine of real work now that vacation has ended and I am setting up in Oregon for the next few months.

I have been pushing the idea of the Confederacy as “Treason in Defense of Slavery” for the last decade. I didn’t invent the term. I stole it from Lemieux and Noon and I believe it originates with a long-time friend of LGMers (a southerner it should be stated). I am glad to see it start to become a useful public term for discussing secession for the right to buy, sell, rape, and kill black people. To see an overwhelming rejection on the left of any interpretation of the Civil War that does not center slavery is highly rewarding to me, even if it’s not worth the hell that has created the situation.

As of last weekend, there can never be a reconciliation on the left with treason in defense of slavery again. Unfortunately, and we’ve even seen it in comments here over the years, there developed an equivalency on the left between the Civil War and anti-capitalist politics. This was particularly salient in the 1960s, where, despite the beginnings of real historical studies of the horrors of slavery, the popular conception on the left was, while not directly racist, a sympathy for southern planters fighting against a northern captialism seeking to crush everything in its path. Thus you have first Gram Parsons and then Lynard Skynard using the Confederate flag as a backdrop to their concerts, The Band having a huge hit with “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and endless writings and other cultural productions on the left talking about how the Civil War was a capitalist war on the South, even if it happened to free the slaves.

This now defunct left interpretation of the Civil War is, of course, ridiculous. Historians such as Ed Baptist and Sven Beckert have demonstrated the deep integration of the plantation economy into not only a national but a global capitalism. Two generations of African-American history scholars have brought out the stories of slaves and freedom, exploring how slaves fought for their own goals and had their own demands both during and after the Civil War. Sure, capitalism was central to the Civil War, but the U.S. economy in the 1850s was a regionally integrated capitalist economy that was based more on the ownership of black bodies than any other commodity. Battles between northern and southern whites might have revolved around the future of that regionally integrated capitalism, but there was nothing anti-capitalist at all about the plantation South.

What this leaves is a far more correct interpretation of the Confederacy as a white supremacist state that hoped to become a world power based around slavery. There is nothing to romanticize, unless you want to romanticize white power. That’s what happened at Charlottesville and that’s what Herr Trump supports. That leaves no room for middle ground on this issue. There no longer can be any legitimate argument that Confederate memorials are “HISTORY” that need to be left alone. Scholars have pointed out the explicitly Jim Crow white nationalist origin of these monuments, as well as the inclusion of the Confederate flag on southern state flags in the 1950s and 1960s, the changing of which is another battle coming soon. Supporting these monuments is supporting the white nationalist origins of them that have been reclaimed by today’s racists.

Finally, the past is always politics. There is nothing about the study of history that is not political. How we understand the past is how we understand the present. Allowing the white South and their sympathizers to write the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction for a century explicitly reinforced white supremacy. The change in the study of the era in the last 40 years has challenged this and, not surprisingly, has fed into charges that higher education is “indoctrinating” our good young people. As per always, conservatives are projecting here because indoctrination is exactly what they want to do, especially with our history. Whatever happens with this nation, whether democracy is saved or a new century of white supremacy wins out beginning with Trump, supported by the Supreme Court, and doubled down upon by states restricting the suffrage, the battle over the past will be an important front in the war. And no event in our history is more central to that battle that the meaning of the Civil War.

This is why all of us on the left we need to fight for taking down all Confederate statues and ban the flying of the Confederate flag in public spaces. This is not about the past. It’s about the future.

Republican White Supremacy

[ 0 ] August 16, 2017 |

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You may have seen this, but there was an excellent illustration of this phenomenon in the news yesterday:

On Tuesday, hours after President Donald Trump refused to blame white nationalists for the violence in Charlottesville, a federal court ruled that congressional districts drawn by Texas Republicans after the 2010 election were enacted with “racially discriminatory intent” against Latino and African American voters.

This is the seventh time since 2011 that a federal court has found that Texas intentionally discriminated against minority voters, through its redistricting plans and strict voter ID law. This repeated finding of intentional discrimination means that federal courts could once again require Texas to clear any changes to voting laws or procedures with the federal government—a requirement that was in place until the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

Texas added 4.3 million new residents from 2000 to 2010 and gained four new congressional seats after the 2010 census. Although nearly 90 percent of that growth came from minorities, who lean Democratic, under the congressional redistricting map passed by Texas Republicans in 2011, white Republicans won three of the four new seats that resulted. The League of Women Voters called the plan “the most extreme example of racial gerrymandering among all the redistricting proposals passed by lawmakers so far this year.”

Also, the President gave a rambling apologia white supremacists, which upset his aides because they would prefer that his well-known racism be confined to private comments.

Getting the monument to Roger Taney in Baltimore torn down was excellent. Getting Shelby Country overruled would be much better (granting that with a Republican White House the preclearance provision would be essentially null and void anyway.)

Player Character Blogging: D&D 5th Edition, Session 1

[ 0 ] August 16, 2017 |

Image result for D&D urban encounters

I know I said I’d be heading back to real policyblogging soon (and I have a blog post on health care stuff handwritten, I just need to type it up), but since everything’s horrible and the world’s on fire, I thought it would be nice to do something fun for a change.

As you may remember, a while back I put up a series of “GM-Blogging” posts chronicling my time running “Masks of Nyarlathotep.” Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, that game went on hiatus.

Fortunately for fans of reading about roleplaying sessions, one of the members of my original group decided that they would like to try running a game as DM. So we’ve moved over from Call of Cthulhu to the new Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition for an urban investigation-focused game set in a Fantasy version of San Francisco (complete with an overbearing Magitech sector and skyrocketing inequality). Our party consists of:

  • “Honest Tomas” Rhymer (played by yours truly), a half-elf rogue/Fey pact warlock. Inspired by Moist von Lipwig from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, he’s a mostly pacifist con artist who got on the wrong side of a powerful Archfey, the Duchess of the Dark Side of the Moon. As a result, his soul has been hidden somewhere in the world and he has a year and a day to get it back (before unspecified bad things happen to him)…but to make things interesting, he’s been unwillingly declared the Duchess’ judicial champion, so that any spats she gets into with her fellow powerful supernatural beings means he gets unexpectedly attacked by horrible monsters to settle the dispute and is suddenly finding himself possessed of strange magics to help him win these fights. If he wins the fight, the Duchess sometimes sends him a clue as to where his soul might be…
  • Telfer, the Fantasy Catholic Cleric who’s also a closeted Sorcerer who can’t help his obsession with Wild Magic no matter how much the Church condemns it. Currently on “sabbatical” from the Church for undisclosed reasons, brought into the group by Tomas, who’s suddenly very interested in the subject of his immortal soul. While his god may be sending him visions that his sabbatical quest is to save Tomas’ soul in the non-metaphysical sense, his obsession with forbidden (i.e, Wild Magic and Warlock Pact Magic) sorcery is also growing. Which will win out?
  • Sera One-Horn, Tiefling Bard/Warlock and Rock Goddess. Sold her soul to the original party fiend Rockus in exchange for the Power of Rock, which she shows off every other knight at the Rancid Goat. Something of a local celebrity as a result of her hit single “Orkf*cker,” which has proven to be something of a crossover hit between the goth crowd, the preppies, and the orks who are hoping the lyrics aren’t metaphorical or ironic in any way. Helping Tomas come to terms with his new lifestyle change, and trading tips on how to sneak successfully and use a rapier effectively for Hexing lessons.
  • Lysander, Lawful Good Paladin working with the City Watch…Arts and Antiquities Division. Essentially Simon Pegg’s character from Hot Fuzz, Lysander is one of the few honest elves in the Braxtonshire City Watch and surprisingly avoids Lawful Stupidity through bringing in CIs/Consultants/Deputized Watchmen like the three idiots above, who he met through Tomas in Tomas’ guise as a mostly-honest merchant of arcane antiquities. Undergoing rapid promotion due to a series of successful cases which all get solved in a 24 hour period, despite a shocking amount of property damage although surprisingly few casualties.

Come join us, won’t you?

Read more…

Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan 2 years ago

[ 0 ] August 16, 2017 |

Maybe we can talk about flying the confederate flag (which aren’t displayed in an official capacity in Maryland), but removing confederate statues is right out!

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday that he supports taking some steps to address concerns over the Confederate flag and whether it is a historic symbol or racist reminder, but extreme measures only represented “political correctness run amok.”
[…]
Asked whether he would review Confederate statues around the state in the same way that the city of Baltimore is doing, Hogan said he “would have no interest in that.”

Gov. Larry Hogan, yesterday, signalling he intends to run for a second term:

Gov. Larry Hogan joined a groundswell of opposition to Confederate-linked monuments on Tuesday, calling for the removal of a statue of the Supreme Court chief justice who wrote an 1857 decision that upheld slavery and denied citizenship to black Americans.

The statue of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, a Calvert County native and author of the infamous Dred Scott decision, has stood on the front lawn of the State House in Annapolis since 1872, withstanding multiple efforts to remove it.

Meanwhile, in Charm City: Crews worked early this morning to rid the city of some large pieces of scrap metal.

As we’ve seen, confederate statues attract undesirable elements of society who use them as fetish objects in their weird, violent rituals. By removing them swiftly and in the middle of the night, supremacists are deprived of a rallying point for a protest in defense of statues commemorating treason and slavery.

Unless they want to stand around some empty plinths, looking pissed.

Yes it is all very symbolic. I assume some politicians will try to use agreeing to remove statues as a proxy for doing anything to stop the bigotry and oppression happening right under their noses. However, anyone who denies the importance of symbols to h. sapiens don’t know us very well.

Wednesday Morning Linkage…

[ 0 ] August 16, 2017 |
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Su-57 Prandtl Glauert singularity. By Rulexip – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

For your reading pleasure…

Republican Political Elites Today

[ 0 ] August 16, 2017 |

A man who could very well be the next United States Senator from the great state of Alabama:

Jeff Stein

Some right-wing conservatives think Sharia law is a danger to America — do you?
Roy Moore

There are communities under Sharia law right now in our country. Up in Illinois. Christian communities; I don’t know if they may be Muslim communities.

But Sharia law is a little different from American law. It is founded on religious concepts.
Jeff Stein

Which American communities are under Sharia law? When did they fall under Sharia law?
Roy Moore

Well, there’s Sharia law, as I understand it, in Illinois, Indiana — up there. I don’t know.
Jeff Stein

That seems like an amazing claim for a Senate candidate to make.
Roy Moore

Well, let me just put it this way — if they are, they are; if they’re not, they’re not.

That doesn’t matter. Oklahoma tried passing a law restricting Sharia law, and it failed. Do you know about that?

[…]

Jeff Stein

I’d like to learn more about the communities in America you think are under Sharia law.
Roy Moore

I was informed that there were. But if they’re not, it doesn’t matter. Sharia law incorporates Muslim law into the law. That’s not what we do. We do not punish people according to the Christian precepts of our faith — so there’s a difference.

I’ll just say: I don’t know if there are. I understand that there are some.

Well, let me just put it this way — if Roy Moore has sex with goats, he does; if not, he doesn’t. I understand that he does.

Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate, is impressive — he was able prosecute two of the Birmingham church bombers. If Moore wins the runoff, he is overwhelmingly likely to beat him anyway, because the neoconfederacy. (Although, admittedly, Jones would surely win if he would only offer full communism on a well-designed website.)

If History Has Taught Us Anything, It’s That Robert E. Lee Considered Violence in Defense of White Supremacy Unconscionable

[ 0 ] August 15, 2017 |

I’m pleased to see Rich Lowry call for taking Confederate monuments down. But the throat-clearing is a particularly strange product of the Robert E. Lee Apologist Industrial Complex:

Robert E. Lee wasn’t a Nazi, and surely would have had no sympathy for the white-supremacist goons who made his statue a rallying point in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.

Let’s review a few basic facts:

  • Robert E. Lee was a white supremacist. As Adam Serwer puts it, [w]hite supremacy does not “violate” Lee’s “most fundamental convictions.” White supremacy was one of Lee’s most fundamental convictions.”
  • Robert E. Lee was a cruel slaveowner who broke up the families of his slaves and brutally tortured escapees.
  • Lee, who could have chosen to remain loyal to the United States, chose instead to be a prominent military leader of a treasonous movement dedicated to the preservation of chattel slavery.

Are you “sure” that Lee would have been appalled by white supremacist goons marching in Virginia? I am quite sure he would have celebrated them. I must concede, however, that Lee — while he willingly joined a cause with significant ideological overlap — was technically not  Nazi. Or Maoist. Or a supporter of Francisco Franco. Or a member of Smashmouth.

 

 

 

Surely, This Is It For Trump

[ 103 ] August 15, 2017 |

Neo Nazi apologetics has to be The Line, right? And don’t call me Shirley.

When us lowly liberal type voters get up in arms, its one thing. But when people with corporate power and influence start bailing on the President? That’s got to be the sign of something else entirely. Four executives (as of the writing of this post) have publicly withdrawn and disassociated themselves from this administration specifically for the President’s silence, and blathering, about violence in Charlottesville. So that’s got to be it, right? This is what’s going to encourage GOP leadership to drop their shields and bury him, isn’t it? Not “the Russia thing”, but the f%^&ing Neo-Nazi apologist thing?

Admittedly, losing the support of the only people with the means to keep you in power because you think Indiana Jones And The Lost Ark is about moral relativism is pretty damn stupid. I’d much rather shovel popcorn into my mouth while watching that movie where its revealed the President conspired with the Kremlin to launder mob money and throw an election in his favor but this one is okay too.

Sweet mother of mercy, let it please be all over soon.

Trump melts down at press conference

[ 192 ] August 15, 2017 |

UPDATED BELOW

Not literally unfortunately.

Trump again blames all sides for Virginia violence in bizarre, chaotic press conference

President Donald Trump on Tuesday adamantly defended his response to the deadly white nationalist rally in Virginia in a chaotic press conference, backing again into the blame of all sides that put him into bipartisan hot water.

Bickering with reporters, some of whom he called “fake news,” Trump defended the protest that led to the violence and contended that some of the individuals carrying torches at the white nationalist rally did not have bad intentions.

“You had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists and the press has treated them absolutely unfairly,” Trump said at Trump Tower in New York. He repeatedly stressed that the rally started over the potential removal of a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Asking the rhetorical question of whether Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, he asked, “Are we going to take down Thomas Jefferson’s statue?”

The bizarre display will likely do little to staunch the bipartisan criticism heaped on Trump on Saturday after he condemned violence “on many sides.” The White House attempted to limit the damage Monday, when Trump made a statement condemning neo-Nazis, white supremacists and KKK members.

Only three and half more years of this to go.

UPDATE: Maybe not. I’m told that FOX News has done a sudden 180 on Trump after this performance. Has Murdoch decided to pull the plug on this show?

Charlotte Law School closes

[ 9 ] August 15, 2017 |

The law school reform movement recorded another small but significant victory today, with the sudden closing of the Charlotte School of Law, just days before the fall semester was scheduled to begin. CSL was one of the three ABA-sanctioned institutions run by Infilaw, a particularly scammy for-profit outfit which I profiled three years ago, in a piece that modesty forbids me from pointing out described exactly how this particular higher ed bust out scheme was being run, and where it was going to end up.

The good news for the school’s marks victims students is that those of them who remained enrolled to the bitter end, or who withdrew within the last 120 days, will now have their federal educational loans automatically discharged if they don’t transfer to another law school.

One student who transferred to another law school wrote to Above the Law:

Charlotte School of Law has never cared about its students, but the money they brought in. I’m sure their students will learn of its closure through the media. If students get an email, it will probably be later this afternoon.

On a personal note, I have no sympathy for the faculty of Charlotte School of Law. They brought this upon themselves and should be reminded of it. They were all well aware of the school’s problems and were complicit in its downfall with poor curriculum, grading curves, and being fine with accepting and then failing out unqualified students. Charlotte School of Law professors only cared about their jobs and positions, not the welfare of students. I do not wish terrible things on their families, but for all the faculty and staff at Charlotte School of Law, I wish the same fate the students will suffer upon them. I hope they encounter hard choices between a rock and a hard place, massive debt, and extremely poor job prospects as a consequence from coming out of that school.

This means that, after many decades over the course of which dozens of new ABA law schools were approved while none were ever shut down, four ABA law schools have gone out of business in just the last two years: Hamline,* Indiana Tech, Whittier, and now Charlotte (this represents 2% of all ABA schools). It remains to be seen if we are nearing some sort of tipping point, which will cause other university administrators who have been subsidizing money-losing law schools with bad reputations — several dozen ABA schools currently fit this description — to decide that they have been throwing good money after bad.

*Hamline University’s law school technically merged with William Mitchell, a free-standing law school, but since the new school is the same size as William Mitchell was prior to the merger, this in effect allowed Hamline to close its law school while minimizing reputational damage to the university as a whole.

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