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Today in American Fascism


Of course the fascist war against immigrants continues on Decoration Day. In Texas, pro-immigrant protestors held a rally inside the state capital. Now I don’t want to alarm you, but some Texas legislators are really racist. Such as this guy.

A Texas Republican reportedly threatened to “put a bullet in one of his colleague’s heads” during a scuffle on the House floor over the state’s new anti-‘sanctuary cities’ law on Monday, Democrats said.

Representative Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, reportedly made the comment “in the direction of” Representative Poncho Nevárez during a dispute that began when Rinaldi told two Hispanic lawmakers that he called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Senate Bill 4 protesters at the Capitol.

“There was a subsequent exchange between my brother Poncho and Representative Rinaldi and there was a threat made from Rinaldi to put a bullet in one of my colleague’s heads,” Representative Justin Rodriguez told reporters after the incident. “That kind of threatening language he needs to be called out and held accountable for.”

Rinaldi told Representative Ramon Romero Jr. on the House floor that the hundreds of protesters who were chanting in the gallery were a “disgrace,” Romero told the Observer.

“Fuck them, I called ICE,” Rinaldi said, according to Romero.

Romero said that prompted Representative Cesar Blanco to tell Rinaldi that Italian immigrants “are just like us,” and Rinaldi responded, “Yeah, but we love our country.”

“He saw a bunch of people who look Latino, and he assumed they’re undocumented,” Romero told the Observer. “So how can he say SB 4 won’t lead to racial profiling?”

A white supremacist from the Dallas suburbs? No! Oh, but I’m sure the Republicans who control the Texas legislature, the racists elected to leading state government positions, and the voters of Irving will totally see that this violent racist asshole is punished. Right? SB-4 is the Texas bill to punish sanctuary cities.

Meanwhile, there’s America’s fascist shock troops, the ethnic cleansing organization known as ICE.

Guadalupe Plascencia said she was alarmed when a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy asked her to sign papers related to her immigration status.

The 59-year-old hairdresser from San Bernardino had spent the night of March 29 in jail because of a decade-old bench warrant related to her alleged failure to appear as a witness in a court case. During her night in jail, Plascencia said a deputy asked her to sign documents acknowledging that officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had inquired about her.

“Why?” Plascencia asked. “I’m an American citizen.”

Confused and scared, Plascencia did as she was asked, assuring herself that the entire ordeal was a mistake that would soon be cleared up.

But as she tried to leave the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Plascencia said she was met by immigration enforcement agents, handcuffed and placed in the back of a van. Plascencia would spend the rest of the day in ICE custody, fearful that she would be deported despite becoming an American citizen some 20 years ago, following an amnesty program initiated by President Ronald Reagan.

“I felt helpless, like I was no one,” she said in a recent interview. “Here, they talk about rights … in that moment, I realized, we don’t have rights.”

Plascencia was eventually released after her daughter showed ICE agents her passport. But now she has taken the first step toward filing a lawsuit against the federal immigration agency and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in a case that raises issues of how an American citizen wound up in the custody of immigration enforcement agents.

Whoops! This citizen could have easily been deported, especially given the decreasing access to legal counsel those unfortunate enough to be picked up by ICE are receiving. But hey, she had an accent. Must be illegal! Get her!

At least our president showed great leadership over the white supremacist murders in Portland….

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  • Nick never Nick

    This kind of shit needs to be dealt with in an American way — with a giant punitive settlement awarded to the woman. Nothing else will work. The fact that such garbage can take place indicates there is a culture, distinct from such things as formal procedures or legalities, that is letting such stuff move forward. Budget pain for the institutions (and their funders), firing for the individuals and manager involved; right now the US is experiencing a sub rosa coup which is devolving policy to low levels, and it needs to be pushed back with clear judicial action.

    • I used to think that love of money could play a role in countering institutionalized racism, but I don’t anymore. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but big cities like New York and Chicago spends millions of dollars every year on settlements with victims of police brutality. You’d expect that to be an inducement to clean the police departments of these cities up, but it never is. People cling to racism even when it hurts them, and they will when it drains their public budgets as well.

      • Nick never Nick

        You’re probably right — I just have this pervasive sense of everything collapsing into shit, it’s frightening and shocking and personally destabilizing (and I’m living in Canada, FFS). I think that Charles Pierce’s frequent reference to ‘a fire burning in our politics’ is as basic a way of putting it as I’ve come across.

      • Brett

        The problem is that the city itself pays it out, and the overall settlement amount is pretty minor compared to the city’s overall budget. If we want monetary penalties to actually mean something, then the cost needs to come out of the department’s salaries.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          Amen. Make them sell one of their tanks or something to pay the settlement.

        • Hogan

          I’m a union guy, and I’m thinking “the money for your raises will be reduced by the amount of money we have to pay out for lawsuits” is not such a bad idea.

      • cpinva

        “People cling to racism even when it hurts them, and they will when it drains their public budgets as well.”

        unfortunately, it mostly doesn’t hurt them, financially or otherwise. the police unions provide free legal counsel, and the liability insurance covers the payments for damages. so, no skin off of anyone’s nose really, except for the increase in insurance premiums, and who either knows, or makes a big deal, out of those? no one, that’s who.

        now, if those officers and their supervisors had to pay out of pocket for legal counsel, pending resolution of the case, and any damages came out of their own pocket/pension fund, and those of their supervisors, i can almost guarantee a massive decrease in this activity, almost overnight, once the word got out from the very first case.

        this won’t happen of course, because our police folk are patriotic heroes, and they constantly threaten to walk off the job, if their little fee fees get hurt. fuck ’em, let ’em walk and replace them, and replace their ridiculous union contracts with union contracts that don’t give them nearly complete protection, when they commit illegal acts against their fellow citizens. they aren’t in a war zone, most cops never discharge their weapons in anger over their entire career. it’s time they started getting treated like the regular people they are, accountable for their actions like anyone else on the job. and if they don’t like it, they can find another job, like any other normal person.

        • efgoldman

          let ’em walk and replace them, and replace their ridiculous union contracts with union contracts that don’t give them nearly complete protection, when they commit illegal acts

          I’ve mentioned may times: Long before he even contemplated running for congress, Barney Frank, generally a friend of labor and unions, said public safety personnel (mostly police and fire) should EITHER have union representation OR civil service protections, but not both.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        As the ad says, “Being able to be racist? Priceless!!”

    • Denverite

      This kind of shit needs to be dealt with in an American way — with a giant punitive settlement awarded to the woman.

      Not to put on the lawyer hat or anything, but what are her damages? These sorts of false arrest or false imprisonment claims really aren’t very lucrative in terms of judgments or settlements, because unless the plaintiff loses his/her job or gets beat up or whatnot, there just aren’t any damages. And if there aren’t any significant actual damages, punitive damages are going to be capped at a super low number as well.

      I remember when I was clerking, there was a guy who was getting fucked with on multiple occasions (including multiple nights in jail) by the police because of an ex-wife with connections — and it was pretty much undisputed that he was getting fucked with — and he settled for a fairly low about (very low six figures, IIRC) because there just aren’t any damages in most cases like that.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        “This kind of shit needs to be dealt with in an American way”

        So, shoot all the ICE racists?

        Sounds difficult, and yet so satisfying.

      • eclare

        I don’t know what the law is in this situation, but isn’t this the purpose of punitive damages?

        • Denverite

          I think the best answer to this question is that the purpose of punitive damages is whatever the state legislature in question says that it is, but in general, between statutory caps* and Gore Due Process Caps, it almost never is to provide a realistic deterrent for otherwise low-damages tort claims. Even a generous view of Gore that would allow 3:1 or 4:1 multipliers wouldn’t be much use in cases where damages are five figures or less and the defendant is some sort of state or municipal entity.

          * For example, in Colorado, punitive damages are capped at 1:1 with actual damages, with a 3:1 cap available in special circumstances that I’ve seen occur precisely once in about a decade practicing law in the state (and that “once” was recently, and I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t get overturned on appeal because it was a plaintiff-friendly judge in a plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction [ETA: to be safe/clear, I wasn’t involved in that case]). Google tells me that Texas’s cap is: Twice economic damages (probably close to $0 here) plus non-economic damages (not zero here, but since there was no actual physical pain or suffering involved, I’d guess maybe $25k or so), with a cap on THAT of $750k. Bottom line is that given these facts I have a hard time seeing $100k in damages, and thus, I don’t know who would take her case given that governments fight like rabid raccoons so you’re looking at 18 months of hard-fought litigation against defense lawyers who know the fuck what they’re doing and who can make your life miserable for an ultimate payday (for the lawyers) of $30k or so, BEST CASE. Good luck!

          On another note, I went for a run by the ol’ alma mater this weekend. You will not be surprised to know that students were studying outside by the pool at 8:30 am on a Sunday.

      • Hondo

        The article mentioned a suit to be filed for “at least $25,000 in damages. Chicken feed. The ICE agents don’t give a shit even if it was $25,000,000.

        • Denverite

          No, they’d give a shit if it was $25M, or at least their bosses would. Probably $2.5M, too. $250k is iffy, and $25k is definitely not.

          • cpinva

            “No, they’d give a shit if it was $25M”

            no, they wouldn’t, because it’s not coming out of their personal pocket. either the city treasury or a liability insurance policy, designed especially for this contingency, will pay for it.

        • rea

          They say, “at least $25,000” probably because that’s the jurisdictional minimum for the court.

  • brad

    What I don’t get is who in that White House even cares enough about public opinion at this point to tweet that. Obviously it wasn’t Trump, but that staff is so toxic they almost certainly intentionally forgot to name the husband of Luxembourg’s gay PM in the pic of the leaders’ spouses posted on the WH Facebook page.
    It feels like putting garnish on an actual turd on a plate.

  • Breadbaker

    I’m still confused why the white victims of a racist with a knife in Portland are getting so much more press (and even apparently a tweet from the President) than the black Army lieutenant stabbed to death on the University of Maryland campus. If it’s the color of the skin of the dead, that’s a pretty sad thing.

    • wjts

      That’s part of it (probably most of it), but I think it’s also the heroism angle.

    • Yeah, it is meaningful and not in the good way.

    • Dr. Acula

      There’s also the racist attack on a Black man by a white guy with a machete in Clearlake, CA.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      To paraphrase Trump, he likes Army men who don't get killed.

      No matter how stupid you assume Trump’s motives are, you’re still likely overestimating them.

  • keta
  • Denverite

    A white supremacist from the Dallas suburbs? No!

    I think technically Dallas and Arlington have a long-running beef about who has to take Irving as one of their suburbs.

    Although I guess I was under the incorrect impression that after they blew up Texas Stadium, Irving just came to grips with the fact that no one would ever willingly enter its city limits ever again, so it just folded and became “Los Colinas” in the hopes that someone might be sufficiently fooled.

    • BubbaDave

      Speaking as somebody who formerly lived in Dallas and suburbs thereof for 20 years, there are many reasons to enter Irving’s city limits:
      – Dallas Comic Con
      – Shortest distance between Grapevine/Coppell and downtown Dallas
      – Shortest route from North Dallas to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington
      – Lawyers meeting with an Arab-American schoolkid who had the cops called on him for a digital clock

      • PohranicniStraze

        Also, the closest place to Fort Worth with good Indian food.

    • Karen24

      Irving was once described as ‘a great no-place’ because it was nothing but the most boring housing developments and office buildings.

      • Mike G

        You just described all of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
        The most boring, dehumanizing metropolitan area I’ve ever been to.

  • NeonTrotsky

    I don’t understand how it is legal to just lock people up and only then bother to find out if your agency is legally allowed to detain them or not. It defies logic.

    • Nick never Nick

      I might be wrong, but I suspect that this kind of mindset originates on the border, where even American citizens have very few ‘rights’, and has percolated inwards.

    • Jackson87

      I believe it falls into the category of “Shoot first, ask questions later”, a longtime favorite of fascists/authoritarians worldwide.

      • Brad Nailer

        Better to apologize afterward than to ask permission beforehand.

        • Ahuitzotl

          Better to not apologize afterward than to ask permission beforehand.

    • Cassiodorus

      This ties into a question I have. What are the odds they have deported an American citizen at this point?

      • LosGatosCA

        It’s a certainty.

        It’s like asking ‘has an innocent man ever been executed.’

        • allium

          Just like researching AGW or gun deaths, trying to find out would cause too many bad feelings. We should just strike its funding from the budget; or even better, pass a law prohibiting the research from ever happening.

      • Chetsky

        ISTR reading that during the mass deportations of the mid-20th century there were indeed many citizens who got deported. I don’t remember where I read it.

        • pseudalicious
          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            I can understand this stuff better- it was, after all, the Great Depression and people were desperate.

            We’ve got almost the same level of crazy today and while the economy could be better, and especially less tilted towards the 1%, but compared to the Depression we’re in great shape.

            I shudder to think what happens if we have a serious recession.

    • DrDick

      I would like to introduce you to the United States, where it has been SOP for people of color for over a century.

      • Origami Isopod


      • econoclast

        So right now is just as bad as it was a year ago, and Trump is no big deal? Good to know.

        • Origami Isopod

          That’s a really uncharitable reading. NeonTrotsky wanted to know when it became legal to ignore due process. It’s always been permitted in the U.S. when it comes to people of color. How legal it is depends on the jurisdiction. In many counties, the sheriff IS the law. Obviously there are fewer restraints on this under Trump but it is hardly new, merely being inflicted upon more and more people.

  • It’s a concealed carry state, right?? The two threatened lawmakers should have “stood their ground”.

    • Woodrowfan

      that only works if the person shot is of a darker skin tone that the shooter.

      • LosGatosCA

        Everyone, everyone, knows if you have an accent or your skin is not pure white you have no 2nd amendment remedies or rights.

        Also, stand your ground is not applicable for women who don’t want to be abused by a spouse, boyfriend (current or ex), or Donald Trump.

  • Bloix

    “the fascist war against immigrants”
    This is not just or even mainly a war against immigrants. The Republicans have gone all in on voter suppression to establish and maintain one-party rule forever. We are in the early stages of the next era of Redemption, no different from the one that began in the 1870s with the goal of rolling back Reconstruction and establishing permanent Democratic dominance in the South. The difference is that now the whole country is at stake.
    To accomplish their goal, the Republicans will need to use both legal means and illegal terror to stop people from voting, just as the original Redeemers did.
    And that means that overt and violent racism will be sponsored and normalized. What happened in the Texas legislature is not an unfortunate but unintended consequence of Donald Trump. It’s part of the plan.

    • CP

      Yep. That’s my guess as well, and I have no idea where it ends, given that the white Southern population is largely STILL living in the same mentality that made Redemption possible.

      • Denverite

        given that the white Southern population is largely STILL living in the same mentality that made Redemption possible.

        I mean, Virginia is a solidly bluish-purple state now, and North Carolina and Florida are just barely the reddish tint of purple.

        The Deep South is what it is, but to say the South hasn’t changed — even the white South! — in the past 140-150 years isn’t exactly right. Parts have changed dramatically.

        • Cassiodorus

          Florida is a “reddish tint of purple” in presidential elections, but hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1994 and the Republicans have an iron grip on the state legislature (close to two-thirds of seats in the House and a 25-15 majority in the Senate).

          • UserGoogol

            Massachusetts has had a lot of Republican governors too, state politics is just kind of weird. And Charlie Crist is a bit of an asterisk as far as party is concerned, even if he was not a Democrat at time of election.

          • While this is true, Florida politics are weird. A lot of our state-level Republicans aren’t really like national Republicans; as UserGoogol points out, Charlie Crist was elected governor as a Republican, after all, and Andy Gardiner (our state Senate president until he was term-limited out this year) wasn’t exactly a doctrinaire Republican, either; he was far closer to the Blue Dogs ideologically than he was to any elected Republican at the national level.

            But you have a point about our off-year elections. Then again, Rick Scott has rather low approval ratings and given the backlash against the Republican Party right now it’s quite likely they’ll face a bloodbath in 2018.

            • Cassiodorus

              Fair. Gardiner pushed for Medicaid expansion in his first year as Senate president, IIRC, and some other members (Latvala) seem to not be complete wingnuts.

              • Yes. He also tried to expand ID access to the poor (but was blocked by Gov. Voldemort), IIRC, & also did a ton for FL’s disabled community (and people on the autism spectrum in particular), which, since I’m a member of that community myself, I’m quite grateful for.

        • delazeur

          But weren’t Virginia and North Carolina notably less enthusiastic about secession than the other traitor states?

          • cpinva

            “But weren’t Virginia and North Carolina notably less enthusiastic about secession than the other traitor states?”

            a fair number of their white/male/christian citizens (including Lee) were against secession, and were pretty po’d at SC for starting a shooting war. unfortunately, those people got overwhelmed by those who saw money in secession. remember, wars are always, always, always about economics, regardless of what they may teach you in school. the Civil War was no different.

            • efgoldman

              wars are always, always, always about economics

              Where “economics” = the right of one class of human beings to imprison, buy and sell another to perform free labor for their entire lives.

              • CP

                There was a cracked.com article that I can’t find right now about popular misconceptions when it came to civil wars. Somewhere along the line, the article writer mentions that civil wars are ultimately almost always about economics. He preempts the question: “but wasn’t the American Civil War about slavery?” Well, yes. That is to say: the American Civil War was about one part of the population wanting to preserve their main economic resource, which consisted of… other human beings.

          • Neddie Jingo

            In my part of far-North Northern Virginia (just downriver from Harpers Ferry), the German population of Lovettsville voted 90%-10% against in the 1861 Referendum on Secession. The Quakers of Waterford voted against in similar proportion. Meanwhile, five miles to the south, the people of Hillsboro, Purcellville and Leesburg voted in the same proportion in favor. Made for an interesting war around here — interesting as in the “interesting times” of the Chinese curse. Traitors in our midst, that sort of thing.

            Local legend has it that western Loudoun’s roads remained unpaved (many still are) because Richmond was punishing us for that vote, even into the 1930s.

        • AMK

          Virginia being bluish has nothing to do with the white southern population, which hasn’t evolved any more than it has elsewhere. It’s all demographic displacement–enough transplants to outvote the natives in statewide elections (though not the heavily gerrymandered statehouse).

        • CP

          My basic point was that the majority of the white Southern population has never stopped using racism as its primary consideration when going to the ballot box. Which, at least since the mid-1960s, has also been true of the majority of the white American population in general.

    • Davis X. Machina

      You’re paranoid. And if you don’t believe me, believe humanoid.panda.

    • DrDick

      This is simply a re-escalation of AmeriKKKa’s longstanding war on people of color.

      • Origami Isopod

        Yep. Nothing the fascists are doing now has not already been perpetrated against PoC, disabled people, women, and, to a certain extent, poor people of all races. “We are all Kansas now” etc.

    • Hondo

      Lately, it has occurred to me that the original sin of slavery is proving to be our undoing. First, the constitutional convention allowed it to continue to the sake of keeping the slave states on board. Then we had the fugitive slave laws, Dred Scott, the abandonment of reconstruction due to the unwillingness to do what was needed; and that was to put the slave powers down permanently. Execute all confederate officials and officers, including Davis, Stephenson, and Lee. Disarm all whites in the former slave states, ensure that all freedmen can vote unhindered, arm the freedmen, jail any white man found with a firearm. That stops the rise of the clan, stops Jim Crow, and puts the rebellion down permanently. That wasn’t done and we are living with the consequences.
      After the Civil and Voting Rights Acts are passed we see the backlash of Goldwater and the rise of the right wing. It has been growing ever since, I believe it has been in response to the granting of the full rights of citizenship to non-whites. It is all derived for the original sin. We cannot escape it. As “New Reality” reminds us, the confederacy lives since we didn’t put the bullet in its brain when it mattered. Now it is too late.
      PS: Please ban “New Reality”. No one needs to hear his fucking bullshit. He has no 1st amendment right to spew his hatred. Your recent blog post about the libel case between the historian and the holocaust denier made the case that these people should not be debated nor given a platform. Thanks.

  • aturner339

    I’m not saying it is impossible to rationally enforce a fubdamentally irrational policy but it can’t make it any easier. Right now our immgration quotas are based on the best guess of congress rather than any particular economic reasoning. I know people are encounters of the idea that migration should subject to popular mandate but there is such a thing as too much democracy. We need a way for non wealthy immigrants to work legally in the US over a long term basis in numbers somewhere in the rabgebof what the labor market will bear.

  • Brett

    Remember when Texas Republicans were supposed to be the tolerant ones, the ones who had figured out how to welcome and win Hispanic votes and support? Now they’re just as bad as conservative Republicans everywhere else.

    • DrDick

      Nothing has actually changed.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      When was it claimed that Texas Republicans were “tolerant”? The main explanation I’ve seen for Texas Republicans doing better with Latino voters was that Texas has a larger share of multi-generational American-citizen Latino voters who vote more like whites of similar educational/socio-economic status.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again — did we as a nation learn nothing from Cheech Marin’s movie, “Born in East LA”?!

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Saw that movie as a kid, thought it was a funny joke — then it turns out that this has actually happened to many people. Who carries proof of citizenship on them at all times anyway?

  • LeeEsq

    In the Immigration lawyer world its a well-known secret that ICE deports a few hundred or thousand American citizens a year because of racist stereotyping.

  • New Reality


    • DrDick

      You misspelled “redamned”.

      • PohranicniStraze

        Also, misspelled “Heil”.

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man

      Is that like redeeming a coupon at the grocery store?

  • allium

    Interesting electoral history in his district:

    2012: won by 17.5%
    2014: won by 17.6%
    2016: won by 1.78%

    Not quite a blood-red bastion the last time around. Hopefully the memory of this will remain strong for next year.

    • New Real Troll!


      • allium


        • Hondo

          Don’t dismiss this asshole so casually. How are you proposing we stop him?

      • Gator90

        I suppose someone will come along and delete New Reality’s comment, but I rather hope they will not. It is a historical document illustrating what millions of white Americans think (in varying degrees of crudity), and as such it should be preserved.

        • New Real Troll!


          • Gator90

            In what sense have I demeaned whites? All I said is that millions of white people agree with you, and that your thoughts should be preserved for posterity. What could be demeaning about that?

            • wjts

              The closest this sad little specimen will ever come to accomplishing anything is posting tired, unoriginal comments on a relatively obscure blog. The only happiness in his awful little facsimile of a life comes from people who are smarter and better than he is taking his bait and engaging with him as though he were a real person. Why are you making his self-engineered miserable existence less soul-crushingly joyless by responding to him?

              • Gator90

                Er, the mind-numbing boredom of my own existence when figuratively chained to my computer in endless pursuit of billable hours?

                I actually do find such people sort of interesting. But I mostly lurk here; if there is a rule among regulars that New Reality and his/her ilk are not to be engaged or acknowledged, I will try to honor it.

                • Bruce B.

                  It’s not really a rule so much as our shared experience that they never wear out. They never admit defeat, they never change their minds, they never have anything new to say, and they’ll keep it up as least as long as anyone cares to engage them.

                  Each of them is like the sort of program you write when learning to program for the first time, that draws on a very limited set of data to produce a very limited range of outputs. If you bring up anything that isn’t in their data set, they’ll just ignore what you actually said and proceed as if you said something they’re set for. They only have one or a handful of things to show you, and once they’ve done that…it’s all just reruns.

                  Hence the general recommendation that we not engage. It’s worth noting that this has gotten more widely and strongly held over time, precisely because we have more collective experience in not finding any there there.

                • Hogan

                  Listen, and understand! That troll is out there! It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop … ever, until you are dead!

                • efgoldman

                  It’s not really a rule so much as our shared experience that they never wear out. They never admit defeat, they never change their minds, they never have anything new to say

                  But they always fucking die, just like everybody else.

                  I thought Scott banned this asshole troll earlier today.

          • tsam

            Somebody post that IP for me please

          • DrDick

            Sweet cheeks, I hate to tell you this, but I am lily white and almost half German and I think your head is so far up your ass that you can lick your tonsils. Let us start with the fact that humans do not have races. Then we can talk about the fact that we were all Africans until about 50,000 years ago. Finally there is the point that Europeans were rather swarthy until about 3,000 years ago. You are what happens when people spend too much time sniffing their own butts.

        • Hogan

          As if we will ever lack for such documents, in many formats and media. Let this one go.

  • Hondo

    My wife just applied to get the wallet card that comes with a new passport. I have been after her for a while now about this and this article lit another fire under her ass. Whether she decides to carry the card is up to her. She shouldn’t have to; I don’t. She was naturalized in 2004.
    Anyway, fuck this shit. Life is too fucking short to argue with assholes in a losing battle. This shit is inevitable and there is no stopping it. The progression toward competitive authoritarianism cannot be stopped.
    I’m retiring in a year after 30 years in engineering and 22 years in the aircraft industry. For a number of reasons, I have had enough. We are outta here as soon as we can manage it.

    • John Revolta

      We’ll try to carry on regardless

      • Hondo

        Yeah, good luck with that.
        It’s not that I don’t love my country, but more that I can accept the inevitability of history.

    • JMV Pyro

      Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Some of us don’t have the luxury of an escape route.

      • Nick never Nick

        There are many, many, many ways to leave America, permanently or semi-permanently — it’s not an Eastern Bloc country. No need to fetishize either staying or going.

    • Chetsky

      Don’t know where you live. I presume it’s a red state, maybe even deep red. So move to a blue state. Heck, move to a deep blue state. Here in CA, I’m surrounded by people of color, and by many millions of undocumented as well as their families. It’s a feeling of *safety* I cannot describe, knowing that one way or the other, if the bad things come, I’ll be surrounded by armies of people who feel as I do. It’s something I feel like I’d be willing to fight for.

    • The Great God Pan

      Looks like you’ll be getting a lot of shitty replies but I don’t blame you. It seems to me that people who can leave but choose not to may be falling prey to something like the sunk-cost fallacy.

      • Origami Isopod

        Yeah, I honestly can’t fault anyone who can leave and does.

        • JMV Pyro

          I can’t respect it. It just seems like a slap in the face to people like me who can’t leave the country for financial reasons, or people in my family who can’t leave due to medical conditions.

          What the fuck are we supposed to do in the nihilists eyes? Wait for the brown shirts to blow our brains out?

          • Hondo

            It feels like running. it feels like abandoning my country. But, what are you going to do to fight it? Are you willing to commit your family to this fight?
            My family left Sicily to escape the poverty, what is different about this?
            Tell me your plan for wresting our country from these people.

            • JMV Pyro

              Are you willing to commit your family to this fight?

              My family doesn’t have the luxury of leaving. They’re stuck here, which I guess means they’re part of this.

              Tell me your plan for wresting our country from these people.

              That’s a bullshit argument.

              So by your logic, unless I somehow metamorphisize into some magical superhero who knows how to solve this nations problems I should just cut and run? There is no such thing as a plan that’s guaranteed to work, there are no silver bullets that will fix bigotry or inequality or any one of the other problems currently plaguing the US.

              I have ideas of things I can do to help, causes I can contribute to with what minimal funds I can throw there way, local groups I’ve joined and work with to make sure at the very least my community is safer and more just.

              “Do I have an idea of how to wrest control of the country from these people?” Man, if I knew that do you honestly think I’d be here right now? And even if I did have some grand scheme of lawsuits and movements and direct action in the streets by what divination would I determine that it was foolproof?

              I don’t have the answers, but I sure as hell know that nothing will change if everyone who gives a shit gives up. So I will do what I can, when I can and continue to work for what I believe in because it’s the right goddamned thing to do and not because I have some divinely ordained path to victory.

              • wjts

                Right. I was born here, and I was raised here, and dad gum it, I am gonna die here. And no sidewinding, bushwhacking, hornswoggling cracker-croaker is going to robble my biscuit cutter.

                • tsam

                  **thumbs up emoji**

                • Hogan

                  Our fathers came across the prairies, fought Indians, fought drought, fought locusts, fought Dix… remember when Richard Dix came in here and tried to take over this town? Well, we didn’t give up then, and by gum, we’re not going to give up now!

                • I have always hated rich dicks.

            • Chetsky

              Lemme give you a different reason for staying (other than “move to a blue state!”): you’re obviously comfortably enough that you can imagine moving — this speaks to savings. When/if America gets bad enough that you’d move overseas (again, instead of to a blue state), what do you think will happen to the stock market? It isn’t like prewar Germany, with <1% Jews. The dusky-hued (and other colors like pink) are a massive part of the country. There's no way they can be oppressed without massive civil strife. That'll take down the economy. Oops! There goes your SPDRs. And social security? Pfft, yes?

              Myself, I believe that long before it gets to that, the Rs will be pulled back viscerally by their owners — b/c it's all good and well to play around, but when you unleash these sorts of monsters, well, it just isn't good for business.

              Look: I get worried too. I have family here, and worry a lot. I have family in a red state — and worry a shit-ton more about that. If I can get that family member to this here blue state, I'll worry a lot less. B/c maybe it all goes to hell. But really, with 39M Californians (and more than half minorities) I feel kinda safe here. OK, I'll stop repeating myself.

              • Redwood Rhiadra

                Myself, I believe that long before it gets to that, the Rs will be pulled back viscerally by their owners — b/c it’s all good and well to play around, but when you unleash these sorts of monsters, well, it just isn’t good for business.

                Sorry, but the election of Trump proved the “owners” ARE NO LONGER IN CONTROL.

                The Republicans won’t be pulled back. It’s too fucking late for that.

          • Nick never Nick

            Why? Everyone lives their life, everyone balances the relationship between themselves and the State. All through history people have left shitty situations, rather than stay and fight; most Americans are probably descended largely from them. It’s not a slap in the face to you or your family — and throughout history, many people have emigrated in ways that are difficult.

            • JMV Pyro

              Maybe I just have a different view on this then you, but I can’t help but feel like with everything I and the people I care about have been doing, people going on and on about how its all pointless and we should cut and run if we know what’s good for us pisses me off.

              • Nick never Nick

                Think of it like this — you’re too decent a person to castigate an El Salvadoran teenager who comes up here to start a new life and escape violence; I doubt very much that you yelled at Vietnamese refugees who cae here from Saigon; I really don’t think that you criticize a lesbian who moves here from Russia to start a new life. All these people faced situations far more perilous or compromising than Americans yet face.

                The argument against leaving is actually the opposite of what you’re saying — things AREN’T that bad, actually. Isolated incidents are still isolated incidents, even when we hear about each one. That means that Americans who choose to leave should be given the respect that all other people in the world are, when they choose to migrate; and if things do get as bad as the above examples, then all the more so.

                • Hob

                  If Hondo simply up and left the country, I don’t think anyone here would be bothering to give him any shit. What we have here is Hondo hanging out on a blog to announce how he’s going to leave the country, while also commenting over and over again on how we are all doomed and should all give up because nothing we can possibly do will make any difference.

            • All through history people have left shitty situations, rather than stay and fight; most Americans are probably descended largely from them.

              I’m fairly confident that I am descended entirely from them, though I have no particular reason to believe that any of their situations were as dire as those from which many of my neighbors’ ancestors emerged (and from which many other of my neighbors have themselves emerged quite recently—some in what seem to have turned out to be frying-pan-to-fire maneuvers), nor any reason at all to believe (though I’d like to…) that I’d have managed either to have left their shitty situations or to have stayed and fought very effectively.


              • Nick never Nick

                Yep, same here — my family are Mennonites, a group that has always had an ambivalent relationship to the State; they came from Switzerland originally to avoid conscription. We have no tradition of heroism, patriotism, or glory, but believe in a basically simple life, lived decently. I don’t see anything at all shameful in moving, the state is not the individual and everyone strikes their own balance in how to exist.

                And of course, as pointed out just below, though things in America are turning amazingly shitty amazingly fast, it still isn’t at the level of “time to pack up and get out now”. Personally, I suspect it never will reach that stage — that Trump will crapify everything for everyone, but most Americans will stay while a few will decamp in disgust.

          • As a person of Jewish descent, I feel it incumbent to point out that there are definitely points beyond which it would be absolutely foolish for people in certain populations not to leave a given country. We’re nowhere near that point yet for any populace I’m easily identifiable as a member of, but there are already minority groups whom I can’t entirely blame if they feel so threatened that they feel the need to leave this country, given what institutions like ICE are already doing. People can’t improve anyone else’s lives if they’re dead or imprisoned.

            • Origami Isopod


  • Hondo

    For reference:
    Is America Safe for Democracy: Why the US Is in Danger of Backsliding.
    Mickey, Levitsky, Way. Foreign Affairs, May/June 2017. pp 20-29.

  • Bloix

    From Frederick Douglass’s Decoration Day Address at Arlington Cemetery, 1971:

    When the dark and vengeful spirit of slavery, always ambitious, preferring to rule in hell than to serve in heaven, fired the Southern heart and stirred all the malign elements of discord, when our great Republic, the hope of freedom and self-government throughout the world, had reached the point of supreme peril, when the Union of these states was torn and rent asunder at the center, and the armies of a gigantic rebellion came forth with broad blades and bloody hands to destroy the very foundations of American society, the unknown braves who flung themselves into the yawning chasm, where cannon roared and bullets whistled, fought and fell. They died for their country.

    We are sometimes asked, in the name of patriotism, to forget the merits of this fearful struggle, and to remember with equal admiration those who struck at the nation’s life and those who struck to save it, those who fought for slavery and those who fought for liberty and justice.

    I am no minister of malice. I would not strike the fallen. I would not repel the repentant; but may my “right hand forget her cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,” if I forget the difference between the parties to that terrible, protracted, and bloody conflict…

    The essence and significance of our devotions here to-day are not to be found in the fact that the men whose remains fill these graves were brave in battle. If we met simply to show our sense of bravery, we should find enough on both sides to kindle admiration. In the raging storm of fire and blood, in the fierce torrent of shot and shell, of sword and bayonet, whether on foot or on horse, unflinching courage marked the rebel not less than the loyal soldier.

    But we are not here to applaud manly courage, save as it has been displayed in a noble cause. We must never forget that victory to the rebellion meant death to the republic. We must never forget that the loyal soldiers who rest beneath this sod flung themselves between the nation and the nation’s destroyers. If today we have a country not boiling in an agony of blood, like France, if now we have a united country, no longer cursed by the hell-black system of human bondage, if the American name is no longer a by-word and a hissing to a mocking earth, if the star-spangled banner floats only over free American citizens in every quarter of the land, and our country has before it a long and glorious career of justice, liberty, and civilization, we are indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble army who rest in these honored graves all around us.

    • Rob in CT

      1871, but yeah.

      I noticed (but was not surprised) that when one of the speakers at a local memorial day parade read the names of the fallen from that town in each war, the Civil War list was by far the longest. It was also the war that best matched up with his rhetoric (re: freedom isn’t free, etc).

      • Bloix

        Thanks for the correction. The date’s important: the war had ended only six years before, and already Douglass had to push back against people who were pretending that it had been a “war between the states”:

        “We are sometimes asked, in the name of patriotism, to forget the merits of this fearful struggle, and to remember with equal admiration those who struck at the nation’s life and those who struck to save it, those who fought for slavery and those who fought for liberty and justice…

        But we are not here to applaud manly courage, save as it has been displayed in a noble cause. We must never forget that victory to the rebellion meant death to the republic.”

    • Hondo

      Thanks for that.

  • Little Chak

    I apologize if this is old news (article is dated May 26), but in the spirit of “Today in American Fascism”:

    Unsurprising to anyone with even a modest knowledge of the subject, Trump’s much-championed ultra-fascist VOICE list outs victims of abuse and human trafficking. ICEThe US Gestapo promises to remove victims from the list as it is able to verify complaints.

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