Monday, August 21, 2017

Derek Black: "My Father, The Founder Of The White Nationalist Website Stormfront..."


Last week, Newsweek reported something that Trumpanzee's "fine people" are actually correct about, namely that America is becoming less white, more diverse. When Trump's Nazi and Klan fans were marching around Charlottesville with their tiki-torches shrieking "You will not replace us," their fears, wrote, Cristina Silva, "are not unfounded, depending on whom you identify as white."
The nation's great thinkers have for decades pointed out the fallacy and racism inherent in grouping people by the color of their skin, particularly in a nation where the South's "one-drop rule" meant anyone with a black ancestor could be sold into the slave trade, regardless of how many white grandparents the person had.

Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates examined the nation's tortured history in his probing autobiographical Between the World and Me, through his repeated use of phrase "people who believe they are white." "Some of these straight-haired people with blue eyes have been 'black.' ...Virginia planters obsessed with enslaving as many Americans as possible are the ones who came up with a one-drop rule that separated the 'white' from the 'black,' even if meant that their own blue-eyed sons would live under the lash," he wrote in the 2015 best-selling book.

Decades earlier, social critic and writer James Baldwin challenged the nation's obsession with racial categories in in a 1963 television segment titled The Negro and the American Promise. "What white people have to do," Baldwin said at the time, "is try to find out in their hearts why it was necessary for them to have a nigger in the first place. Because I am not a nigger. I'm a man. If I'm not the nigger here, and if you invented him, you, the white people, invented him, then you have to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that. Whether or not it is able to ask that question."

Baldwin often sought to remind white America of its malleable racial differences, referring to African-Americans as the nation's “bastard” children. “The truth is this country does not know what to do with its black population,” he once said. “Americans can’t face the fact that I am flesh of their flesh.”

...[W]hite people have seen signs that their dominance over the general population might be waning. The Census Bureau announced in 2012 that non-Hispanic whites made up a minority of births in the U.S. for the first time. That year, minorities made up 50.4 percent of the nation's infants, in part because of a booming Hispanic population.

Some demographers have predicted the U.S. will become a majority-minority nation by 2050, with African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics and other minority groups outnumbering the people we call white.

The shift in the nation's racial demographics have already been stark. In 1965, whites represented 85 percent of the population, with the other 15 percent made up of African-Americans. These days, white people make up just 60 percent of the nation, while Hispanics account for 18 percent and Asians about 6 percent.

"The forces behind this transformation are a mix of immigration, births and deaths. The United States is more than four decades into what has been, in absolute numbers, the biggest immigration wave in its history-- more than 40 million arrivals. Unlike previous waves that were almost entirely from Europe, the modern influx has been dominated by Hispanic and Asian immigrants," the Pew Research Center concluded in 2012.

And that's exactly what white nationalists fear.

Richard B. Spencer, one of the nation's leading white nationalists who has backed President Donald Trump, has called for protecting the “heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world” by creating a white “ethno-state.” He supports doing so through “peaceful ethnic cleansing” that would remove minorities from the U.S.

After Trump condemned people protesting Nazis at the Virginia rally over the weekend, Spencer said this week he didn't think the president was truly denouncing neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists.

"His statement today was more kumbaya nonsense," said Spencer. "Only a dumb person would take those lines seriously."
Now, on to the son of Stormfront. Black, a former white nationalist, who once had his own popular alt-right radio show, penned an OpEd for the NYTimes over the weekend. "My dad," he wrote, "often gave me the advice that white nationalists are not looking to recruit people on the fringes of American culture, but rather the people who start a sentence by saying, 'I’m not racist, but …' The most effective tactics for white nationalists are to associate American history with themselves and to suggest that the collective efforts to turn away from our white supremacist past are the same as abandoning American culture. My father, the founder of the white nationalist website Stormfront, knew this well. It’s a message that erases people of color and their essential role in American life, but one that also appeals to large numbers of white people who would agree with the statement, 'I’m not racist, but I don’t want American history dishonored, and this statue of Robert E. Lee shouldn’t be removed.'"
I was raised by the leaders of the white nationalist movement with a model of American history that described a vigorous white supremacist past and once again I find myself observing events in which I once might have participated before I rejected the white nationalist cause several years ago. After the dramatic, horrible and rightly unnerving events in Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend, I had to make separate calls: one to make sure no one in my family who might have attended the rally got hurt, and a second to see if any friends at the University of Virginia had been injured in the crowd of counterprotesters.

On Tuesday afternoon the president defended the actions of those at the rally, stating, “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” His words marked possibly the most important moment in the history of the modern white nationalist movement. These statements described the marchers as they see themselves — nobly driven by a good cause, even if they are plagued by a few bad apples. He said: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.”

But this protest, contrary to his defense, was advertised unambiguously as a white nationalist rally. The marchers chanted, “Jews will not replace us”; in the days leading up to the event, its organizers called it “a pro-white demonstration”; my godfather, David Duke, attended and said it was meant to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump”; and many attendees flew swastika flags. Whatever else you might say about the rally, they were not trying to deceive anyone.

Almost by definition, the white nationalist movement over the past 40 years has worked against the political establishment. It was too easy for politicians to condemn the movement-- even when there was overlap on policy issues-- because it was a liability without enough political force to make the huge cost of associating with it worthwhile. Until Tuesday, I didn’t believe that had changed.

We have all observed the administration’s decisions over the past several months that aligned with the white nationalist agenda, such as limiting or completely cutting off legal and illegal immigration, especially of Hispanics and Muslims; denigrating black communities as criminal and poor, threatening to unleash an even greater police force on them; and going after affirmative action as antiwhite discrimination. But I had never believed Trump’s administration would have trouble distancing itself from the actual white nationalist movement.

Yet President Trump stepped in to salvage the message that the rally organizers had originally hoped to project: “George Washington was a slave owner,” he said, and asked, “So will George Washington now lose his status?” Then: “How about Thomas Jefferson?” he asked. “Because he was a major slave owner. Now are we going to take down his statue?” He added: “You’re changing history. You’re changing culture.”

Until Trump’s comments, few critics seemed to identify the larger relationship the alt-right sees between its beliefs and the ideals of the American founders. Charlottesville is synonymous with Jefferson. The city lies at the foot of Monticello and is the home of the University of Virginia, the school he founded. Over the years I’ve made several pilgrimages to Charlottesville, both when I was a white nationalist and since I renounced the ideology. While we all know that Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence, which declared that “all men are created equal,” his writings also offer room for explicitly white nationalist interpretation.

My father observed many times that the quotation from Jefferson’s autobiography embedded on the Jefferson Memorial is deceptive because it reads, “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these [the Negro] people are to be free.” It does not include the second half of the sentence: “Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.”

Jefferson’s writings partly inspired the American colonization movement, which encouraged the return of free black people to Africa-- a goal that was pursued even by Abraham Lincoln during the first years of the Civil War.

The most fundamental legislative goal of the white nationalist movement is to limit nonwhite immigration. It is important to remember that such limits were in place during the lifetimes of many current white nationalists; it was the default status until the 1960s. In the 1790s, the first naturalization laws of the United States Congress limited citizenship to a “free white person.”

Legislation in the 1920s created quotas for immigration based on national origin, which placed severe restrictions on the total number of immigrants and favored northern and western European immigration. It was only with the civil rights movement of the 1960s that the national origin quota system was abolished and Congress fully removed the restriction favoring white immigrants.

I’m not offering these historical anecdotes to defame the history of the country. I’m not calling for Jefferson’s statue to be removed along with the Confederate memorials. I do, however, think it is essential that we recognize that the white nationalist history embedded in American culture lends itself to white nationalist rallies like the one in Charlottesville. If you want to preserve Confederate memorials, but you don’t work to build monuments to historical black leaders, you share the same cause as the marchers.

Until Tuesday I believed the organizers of the rally had failed in their goal to make their movement more appealing to average white Americans. The rally superimposed Jefferson’s image on that of a pseudo K.K.K. rally and brought the overlap between Jefferson and white nationalist ideas to mind for anyone looking to find them. But the horrific violence that followed seemed to hurt their cause.

And then President Trump intervened. His comments supporting the rally gave new purpose to the white nationalist movement, unlike any endorsement it has ever received. Among its followers, being at that rally will become something to brag about, and some people who didn’t want to be associated with extremism will now see the cause as more mainstream. When the president doesn’t provide condemnation that he has been pressed to give, what message does that send but encouragement?

The United States was founded as a white nationalist country, and that legacy remains today. Things have improved from the radical promotion of white people at the expense of all others, which has persisted for most of our history, yet most of us have not accepted the extent to which white identity guides so much of what we still do. Sometimes it seems that the white nationalists are most honest about the very real foundation of white supremacy upon which our nation was built.

The president’s words legitimized the worst of our country, and now the white nationalist movement could be poised to grow. To challenge these messages, we need to acknowledge the continuity of white nationalist thought in American history, and the appeal it still holds.

It is a fringe movement not because its ideas are completely alien to our culture, but because we work constantly to argue against it, expose its inconsistencies and persuade our citizens to counter it. We can no longer count on the country’s leader to do this, so it’s now incumbent upon all of us.
Now a graduate student in history, this was hardly Derek's first splash into popular political culture. He was once a wunderkind of the right-wing fringe and after he rejected his parents' politics and last year, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Washington Post, Eli Saslow, profiled him, observing that "Years before Donald Trump launched a presidential campaign based in part on the politics of race and division, a group of avowed white nationalists was working to make his rise possible by pushing its ideology from the radical fringes ever closer to the far conservative right... Derek Black represented another step in that evolution. He never used racial slurs. He didn’t advocate violence or lawbreaking. He had won a Republican committee seat in Palm Beach County, Fla., where Trump also had a home, without ever mentioning white nationalism, talking instead about the ravages of political correctness, affirmative action and unchecked Hispanic immigration. He was not only a leader of racial politics but also a product of them. His father, Don Black, had created Stormfront, the Internet’s first and largest white nationalist site, with 300,000 users and counting. His mother, Chloe, had once been married to David Duke, one of the country’s most infamous racial zealots, and Duke had become Derek’s godfather. They had raised Derek at the forefront of the movement, and some white nationalists had begun calling him 'the heir.'"

Derek used to talk about how "The Republican Party has to be either demolished or taken over. I’m kind of banking on the Republicans staking their claim as the white party." It was a smart bet.
White nationalism had bullied its way toward the very center of American politics, and yet, one of the people who knew the ideology best was no longer anywhere near that center. Derek had just turned 27, and instead of leading the movement, he was trying to untangle himself not only from the national moment but also from a life he no longer understood.

From the very beginning, that life had taken place within the insular world of white nationalism, where there was never any doubt about what whiteness could mean in the United States. Derek had been taught that America was intended as a place for white Europeans and that everyone else would eventually have to leave. He was told to be suspicious of other races, of the U.S. government, of tap water and of pop culture. His parents pulled him out of public school in West Palm Beach at the end of third grade, when they heard his black teacher say the word “ain’t.” By then, Derek was one of only a few white students in a class of mostly Hispanics and Haitians, and his parents decided he would be better off at home.

“It is a shame how many White minds are wasted in that system,” Derek wrote shortly thereafter, on the Stormfront children’s website he built at age 10. “I am no longer attacked by gangs of non whites. I am learning pride in myself, my family and my people.”

Derek, age 9 with Gov. Kirk Fordice, Mississippi's first GOP governor since Reconstruction

Because he was home-schooled, white nationalism could become a focus of his education. It also meant he had the freedom to begin traveling with his father, who left for several weeks each year to speak at white nationalist conferences in the Deep South. Don Black had grown up in Alabama, where in the 1970s, he joined a group called the White Youth Alliance, led by David Duke, who at the time was married to Chloe. That relationship eventually dissolved, and years later, Don and Chloe reconnected, married and had Derek in 1989. They moved into Chloe’s childhood home in West Palm Beach to raise Derek along with Chloe’s two young daughters. There were Guatemalan immigrants living down the block and Jewish retirees moving into a condo nearby. “Usurpers,” Don sometimes called them, but Chloe didn’t want to move away from her aging mother in Florida, so Don settled for taking long road trips to the whitest parts of the South.

...So many others in white nationalism had come to their conclusions out of anger and fear, but Derek tended to like most people he met, regardless of race. Instead, he sought out logic and science to confirm his worldview, reading studies from conservative think tanks about biological differences between races, IQ disparities and rates of violent crime committed by blacks against whites. He launched a daily radio show to share his views, and Don paid $275 each week to have it broadcast on the AM station in nearby Lake Worth. On the air, Derek helped popularize the idea of a white genocide, that whites were losing their culture and traditions to massive, nonwhite immigration. “If we say it a thousand times-- ‘White genocide! We are losing control of our country!’-- politicians are going to start saying it, too,” he said. He repeated the idea in interviews, Stormfront posts and during his speech at the conference in Memphis, when he was at his most certain.

Derek finished high school, enrolled in community college and ran for a seat on the Republican committee, beating an incumbent with 60 percent of the vote. He decided he wanted to study medieval European history, so he applied to New College of Florida, a top-ranked liberal arts school with a strong history program... He left after one semester to study abroad in Germany, because he wanted to learn the language.
Saslow's report on how Derek's experience at college changed his attitude towards white nationalism is fascinating and I suggest you read the whole column. Most of it was because of friends he made at school although he did learn during his studies of medieval history that "Western Europe had begun not as a great society of genetically superior people but as a technologically backward place that lagged behind Islamic culture. He studied the 8th century to the 12th century," wrote Saslow, "trying to trace back the modern concepts of race and whiteness, but he couldn’t find them anywhere. 'We basically just invented it,' he concluded."

When his father read an article at the Southern Poverty Law Center Derek had written the day before, "Activist Son of Key Racist Leader Renounces White Nationalism," he called Derek to tell him he'd been hacked. When he told his father the letter he sent to the SPLC was real, his father hung up the phone. His parents and half-sisters freaked out and shunned him. He moved. He says he took one of those online political quizzes, and his views aligned 97% with Hillary Clinton’s. Eventually he came to the conclusion that race is a false concept.

Labels: , , , , ,

CNN And The DCCC-- Both Are Paul Ryan Enablers


New NBC News/Marist polls of registered voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin caused a stir when they were released yesterday. Mark Murray reported that Señor Trumpanzee's job approval ratings in the 3 key Midwestern states are in the mid-30s. "In addition, Democrats enjoy double-digit leads in Michigan and Pennsylvania on the question of which party voters prefer to control Congress after the 2018 midterms, and they hold an 8-point advantage in Wisconsin. In all three states, more than six in 10 voters say Trump’s conduct as president has embarrassed them, compared to just a quarter who have said it’s made them proud."
In Michigan, 36 percent of voters approve of Trump’s job performance (including 19 percent who strongly approve), while 55 percent disapprove (including 40 percent who strongly do).

In Pennsylvania, 35 percent give the president’s job a thumbs up (17 percent strongly), versus 54 percent who disapprove (41 percent strongly).

And in Wisconsin, 34 percent of voters approve of Trump (17 percent strongly), compared with 56 percent who disapprove (42 percent strongly).

...Ahead of next year’s midterm elections, the polls show that 48 percent of Michigan voters prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, versus 35 percent who prefer a Republican-controlled one.

In Pennsylvania, Democrats hold a 10-point advantage on congressional preference, 47 percent to 37 percent. And in Wisconsin, they have an 8-point edge, 46 percent to 38 percent.
The DCCC midterm strategy is basically to back conservative candidates in districts where Hillary beat Trump, by itself a very backward-looking strategy that is sure to guarantee the Republicans control of the House. So, for example, the DCCC declared early on that they would not be contesting any seats in Wisconsin, where Trump beat Hillary 1,405,284 (47.22%) to 1,382,536 (46.45%)-- a total Trump margin of 22,748 votes. Luckily for Democrats interested in winning back the House-- and for Democrats eager to see a big statewide turnout to help Senator Tammy Baldwin keep her Senate seat-- candidates are ignoring the DCCC in almost all the Wisconsin congressional district held by a Republican. The DCCC has managed to frighten off Democrats from challenging Sean Duffy (WI-07) and Mike Gallagher (WI-08), both potentially vulnerable Republicans in swing districts. Meanwhile the Wisconsin grassroots are forcing the DCCC's hand in WI-01, where this year's biggest electoral phenomenon, Randy Bryce, is challenging Paul Ryan, and in WI-06, where two Democrats-- Dan Kohl and Scott Olmer-- are waging a serious battle to take on radical right extremist Glenn Grothman. There are also two Democrats-- Ramon Garcia and Shawn Rundblade-- vying for the nomination to oppose Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05).

The DCCC can't comprehend Wisconsin. The state doesn't fit their one-dimensional cookie cutter model. Neither Clinton nor Trump won the primaries there.
Bernie- 567,936
Ted Cruz- 531,129
Hillary Clinton- 432,767
Trumpanzee- 386,370
On primary day, Bernie + Clinton took 1,000,065 votes while Cruz + Trumpanzee took 917,499 votes. But the DCCC decided to raise the white flag over Wisconsin and just not even contest the state at all. Great thinking from the organization that has do-nothing but lose and lose and lose-- dozen and dozens of seats-- in the last decade. And now they're whining because Democrats won't want to fund them any longer. You'd be better off stuffing your dollars down a sewer than contributing to the DCCC.

And compounding the problem-- bigly!-- Paul Ryan at the helm of Congress

In WI-01 Trump beat Clinton by nearly 10 points, a catastrophe but it never dawned on the geniuses at the DCCC to try to figure out that Hillary was the exact wrong candidate for the district. The voters there didn't like Trump at all but they judged him as the lesser of the two evils for their own and their families' aspirations. The one thing they knew they did not want was the status quo that Clinton represented. Now they're horrified by Trump. But look at the comparisons between how Trump did in the WI-01 counties and how Bernie did:
Kenosha-- Bernie- 14,612; Trumpanzee- 11,139
Racine-- Bernie- 14,651; Trumpanzee- 11,756
Rock-- Bernie- 17,337; Trumpanzee- 10,264
Walworth-- Bernie- 8,405; Trumpanzee- 7,534
[Too much of Milwaukee and Waukesha counties are not in the district for their county numbers to be meaningful to this WI-01 comparison.] This comparison isn't about how Bernie would have won, but about how the DCCC is guilty of political malpractice by deciding to give up on WI-01 based on how badly Hillary did there. It is beyond their comprehension how terrible a candidate she was for districts like WI-01 and how what Bernie-- as well as Randy Bryce-- are offering exactly what WI-01 voters are looking for. Imagine if Bernie winds up in southeast Wisconsin campaigning for Randy Bryce. Really... close your eyes and imagine it. Go ahead. It's Paul Ryan's worst nightmare-- as well as something the DCCC couldn't possibly comprehend. They'd probably want to send Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi, Ben Ray Lujan and Joe Crowley there instead.

Among registered voters in Wiscosnin, the poll showed that 57% have an unfavorable view of the GOP (33% have a favorable view), while "only" 49% have an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party (39% favorable). 46% of voters say they want a Congress controlled by Democrats and only 38% say they would prefer a Congress controlled by the GOP. The Wisconsin voters were also asked if they have favorable of unfavorable impressions of the following politicians:
Obama- 60% favorable/34% unfavorable
Bernie- 53% favorable/34% unfavorable
Scott Walker- 40% favorable/53% unfavorable
Tammy Baldwin- 39% favorable/34% unfavorable
Obviously all Democrats in Wisconsin have a 34% unfavorable rating. That's the hardcore Republican Party base reacting exactly how Fox News and Hate Talk Radio have taught them to react. Now look at this rather stunning survey that the DCCC ought to take a look at as well:

Goal ThermometerThat's a separate poll by PPP just of voters in WI-01, taken a few days after Ryan got House Republicans to vote to replace Obamacare with TrumpCare. It indicated that-- regardless of what the DCCC does-- Ryan will have a very tough time being reelected in 2018. The fact that Randy Bryce is proving to be one of the most effective-- if not iconic-- congressional candidates in any district anywhere in the country, never dawned on the DCCC when they made their 2018 calculations. Nor apparently did it dawn on CNN when they decided to give Paul Ryan what amounts to an infomercial tonight, while calling it a "town hall." People want a debate on real issues between Bryce and Ryan, not a series of pre-screened questions in front of a pre-screened audience, which is what Jake Tapper has agreed to. Please help Randy pay to run TV ads on the CNN Paul Ryan infomercial that CNN has banned him from. How? By tapping on the Stop Paul Ryan ActBlue thermometer on the right. Let me show you two more little charts, both showing twitter activity on the whole issue of fairness and CNN in regard to the favoritism they are showing towards Paul Ryan tonight. The first (on the bottom) was from Thursday and the second (the top one) was yesterday. You'll have to click on the images to be able to see the widespread enthusiasm for CNN to offer their viewers something worth watching instead of a canned Paul Ryan-Jake Tapper lovefest:

Labels: , , , , , ,

The Midnight Meme Of The Day


-by Noah

4 down and 2 to go. You might rejoice at this picture, it represents the pride of the Republican Party, but ask yourself, “Why are 2 of these clowns still there? How long? How long? Oh Lordy, how long?”

Oh, and there’s also the rest of Trump’s administration and staff of Nazi sympathizers. Judging by their silence, the White House staff is a stinking rat-infested cesspool of them, hundreds of them. We shouldn’t be surprised, though. Anyone who would want to work for someone like Herr Trump is more than suspect on every level.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Do You Know Anyone Who's Fashy-- As In Fashionably Fascist?


Ugly Nazi with ugly Nazi hairdo

Not surprisingly, Israel's most respectable newspaper, Haaretz, covers American news very thoroughly. Señor Trumpanzee, who, despite-- in at least one case-- his long association with virulent anti-Semites, is only popular in two foreign countries (Russia and Israel). Soon after he moved into what he calls "a dump," but what most Americans call the White House, Haaretz ran a story about how Trump male supporters started sporting their neo-Nazi haircuts.
In November, just four days after the presidential election, a somewhat unusual post appeared on the neo-Nazi news site Daily Stormer. The writer, Andrew Anglin, called on white people to make New Balance clothing their uniform. The idea was inspired by a New Balance executive’s statement that he was “optimistic about Donald Trump.”

“This will be fantastic,” Anglin told his followers. “We will be able to recognize one another by our sportswear.”

Despite Anglin’s urging, this proposed repurposing of the New Balance label as a neo-Nazi label did not take off. But Anglin’s post still made it clear that the American so-called alt-right-- or “alternative right”-- is eager to find new identifying signs that will distinguish it from the mainstream. No more shaved heads, tattoos and military boots, but rather fashion symbols that will enhance the movement’s appeal and legitimacy among the American public at large.

White nationalist leader Richard Spencer said in a 2013 interview with Salon, “We have to look good,” explaining that middle-class folks won’t want to be part of something that is “crazed or ugly or vicious or just stupid.”

Spencer himself always wears three-piece Brooks Brothers suits, and an expensive gold watch and cufflinks. And the charismatic leader also adopted an iconic hairstyle: short on the sides and long on top. The look was very popular around the start of this decade, first with hipsters from Brooklyn and later among fans of David Beckham and Brad Pitt, with whom it had come to be identified.

Lately, especially after a video of Spencer being punched in the head went viral, more and more white supremacists have been adopting the hairstyle, known as the “fashy” (for “fashionable fascist”). The Washington Post reported in December that a conspicuous number of attendees at a neo-Nazi convention in the capital were sporting the fashy, and that some were also giving the straight-armed salute.

Over the past months, the hairstyle has become associated with dedicated members of right-wing American movements, as well as with others who just identify with their ideology. So strongly associated, in fact, that a lot of other people are becoming wary of those sporting the look. For example, in an article published last weekend on the Refinery 29 women’s fashion website, several women said they always “swipe left” on Tinder whenever someone with that hairstyle turns up, so as to avoid a potential date with a far-rightist.

“I’m literally so afraid of every man on Tinder now,” said Brooklyn-based writer Allison Davis. “I never know now if it’s a white guy who’s trying a little too hard to be hip, or an actual neo-Nazi,” she confessed.

The alt-right’s appropriation of the hairstyle has also impacted men who hitherto were fond of the look and didn’t associate it with political views of any sort. Dan H., also of Brooklyn, who preferred not to give his full name, told the site that he’d been getting his hair cut that way for five years, but lately he’d started getting comments from people who pointed out its fascist connotations. He described running into a woman he’d dated a few years before, who asked him, “Did you get a haircut? You look like a neo-Nazi.” Dan says that until then, he didn’t realize what kind of vibe it was giving off.

The hairstyle first appeared in England in the Victorian age. Then, too, it was associated with young hooligans, called Scuttlers. The Scuttlers belonged to gangs found predominantly in and around the poorer sections of Manchester. They used the hairstyle, plus accessories such as colorful scarves, to set themselves apart. The hairstyle remained associated with hooligans until the 1930s and 1940s, when it was adopted by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement in Germany. The Washington Post article said German soldiers of the time requested that haircut to make it easier to don and remove their helmets. The fact that many Nazi posters and other propaganda from the period feature young men with the fashy hairstyle surely doesn’t detract from the appeal it holds for Spencer and others like him.

The Washington Post article took a humorous look at the evolution the hairstyle has undergone in the past months, from hipster affectation to neo-fascist show of power: “Until a few weeks ago, you saw a man with that haircut and assumed he might be a good person to hit on, or to buy small-batch beer from, or to ask the whereabouts of the nearest bicycle shop. Now you see him and wonder if he’s trying to deport half the nation.”

How can one avoid such confusion? Heidi Beirich, who monitors hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told New York Magazine, “The guys in the suits are the ones we have to worry about.” And she warns, “Beneath the benign-looking guy and the benign-sounding name, the purpose of the [alt-right] National Policy Institute is to push the idea that all men are created unequal.”

Labels: , ,

Julius Krein, A Trump Propagandist Plays The “We Didn’t Know” Card


-by Noah

First, some background: Julius Krein is the founder of American Affairs a pro-Trump quartely, and founder of the Journal of American Greatness. He is from South Dakota and is a graduate of Harvard. He went into the financial world and worked for the Bank Of America and the Blackstone Group, a private equity and hedge fund operation that specializes in leveraged buyouts and has its roots in Lehman Brothers. Take a few moments and let the significance of that sink in.

Krein says he formed American Affairs” to, quote, “give the Trump movement some intellectual heft.”

OK, so now that we know all of this, I guess we can assume that Krein is not a stupid man, but, he is a man with a predator background who had a voice that was larger than most, and, sadly, he used it in the service of promoting Donald Trump and Trump’s brand of fascism. It’s hard to think of Krein as a “very fine” person. No, he used his money and what intelligence he has to promote Trump and the evil for which he stands.

Just think of the idea of giving Trump’s fascism “intellectual heft.” Provide cover is more like it. Anyway, Trump and intellect are not two things that would come together in any kind of word association game, unless that game required you to deal in opposites. The only real world way to associate Trump with intellect, and, more importantly, anything good and decent is through the use of propaganda.

So, there you have it, Krein is a propagandist, a press flak, a brainwasher for Trump. Calling him anything else is an insult to caring, intelligent people anywhere (Although I do have to admit that I have thought of a other few things I could call him.)

On Thursday, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Krein titled “I Voted For Trump. And I Sorely Regret It.” The alternative title should be “I Voted For Trump And All I Got Was This Shitty Red Hat.”

In his mea culpa opinion piece, Krein admitted that he had made statements such as Trump being “the most serious candidate in the race” and writing dozens of articles and making a similar number of radio and TV appearances in support of his guy, even when “conservative friends and colleagues said I had to be kidding.” Krein also admits to knowing that Trump was “Crude and meandering for almost all of the primary campaign”, but, he saw Trump as being different than the more “conventional candidates.” True that.

Krein says he liked that Trump was a critic of corporations for off-shoring jobs and attacked financial industry executives for avoiding taxes. I guess how Trump handled his own taxes and off-shored the work of his own companies never bothered him.

The first half of the Krein piece is a catalog of all the things he liked that Trump was saying about foreign and domestic issues. Apparently he never once questioned Trump’s sincerity, perhaps seeing what he wanted to see. It’s a pathetic attempt to justify his actions. He even states that he tried to steer Trump “in the right direction,” as if anyone could. It takes an out of control ego to think you could. I’m guessing Krein saw a bit of himself when he saw Trump.

According to the incredibly self-important Krein, the support he provided to Trump through the Journal of American Greatness was him acting as “one of the leading voices supporting certain themes of Trump’s campaign.” Michael Anton, now an advisor on the National Security Council was one of the journal’s predecessor, simply called American Greatness, most prolific writers.

Once Krein’s mission was accomplished and Trump was in the White House, he formed his previously mentioned quarterly to continue what he’d started. In another moment of self-aggrandizement (that right there could be a also be big part of his attraction to Trump), Krain states that
In this role, as one of the few people in the media who has been somewhat sympathetic to Mr. Trump, I am often asked to comment on his surprise victory, or more recently on his statements, and the gusher of news pouring out of this White House. For months, despite increasing chaos and incoherence, I have given Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt: ‘No I don’t think he is a racist’, I have told skeptical audiences. ‘Yes, he says some stupid things, but none of it really matters; he’s not really incompetent.’
Really? Well, it seems his idol’s handling of what happened in Charlottesville was too much even for a professional apologist and propagandist like Krein. More likely, he just wants credit for being one of the first rats off the ship.
It is now clear that my optimism was unfounded. I can’t stand by this disgraceful administration any longer, and I would urge anyone who once supported him as I did to stop defending the 45th president… Far from making America great again, Mr. Trump has betrayed the foundations of our common citizenship.
Krein even has the gall to say
It is now clear that we were deluding ourselves.
Oh boy. Wow. And to think, this assclown went to Harvard! What the hell do they teach people there? Certainly, in his case, it wasn’t any kind of analytical or critical thinking ability. Then again, maybe we should demand to see his diploma.

Think about this: The birtherism that his boy Trump founded his campaign on never tipped Krein off. The Central Park 5 case, the housing discrimination suits, the treatment of African-Americans at his casinos, his relationships with mafia and Russian mob figures, the ripped off contractors, the treatment of women, the treatment of underage beauty contestants, his racist stances on Muslims and immigrants, the refusal to hand over his tax records, the hypocrisy of talking about off-shoring of jobs while he and his family have their clothing lines made in China, his obvious lack of ANY knowledge of the Constitution, the psychotic desire to take Chemo away from American cancer patients, The destruction of national parks while he tries to protect monuments to treason and slavery, the making fun of the disabled, the Hitler salutes at his rallies, and the fact that anyone with half a brain could watch Trump speak for 2 minutes and see that he is severely mentally ill… none of that tipped off Julius Krein. Fuck you Julius Krein. Lying, disingenuous, 2-bit Goebbels wanna be scumbag. Accessory to treason. Fuck you.

Krein’s piece in Thursday’s Times is like someone saying “I know I didn’t get my brakes fixed. I thought they’d be fine,” after he’s just run over a dozen school kids and a crossing guard.

In Chaucerian times, people wore hairshirts and crawled on their bellies for a hundred miles to ask for forgiveness. This assclown thinks a disingenuous, self-promoting, half-wit not even half apology article in the New York Times will suffice. Not only that, but he still adheres to the republican agenda. Some Republicans are acting all “shocked, shocked I tell you, shocked and surprised” that Trump is what he is. It’s all “gee, we didn’t know.” This is part of an attempt that Republicans are making to create the impression that they are somehow separate from their President Trump.

But, I will be fair to Krein. Regardless of his motivations, he has spoken up. That, I suppose, makes him better than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who took even longer than Trump to address Charlottesville and pretend he was affronted not that we would have ever expected him to address it at all, especially after seeing his wife by Trump’s side nodding her approval while he said that some Nazis are “fine people” during his now infamous press tantrum. It also makes Krein better in my eyes than Speaker Paul Ryan, an American terrorist in his own right, who once said he couldn’t endorse Trump, went ahead and did so anyway, and continues to support the Trump agenda every hour of every day. It also makes him better than that full staff of Nazi sympathizers that infest the White House and say nothing. Anything any of these cretins have to say from now on will have no credibility because they have given away what is in their charred little hearts. Their silence has spoken. Their words will mean nothing, and you can say that about 99.9% of their party. Only a change of actions and attitudes will matter. Don’t hold your breath.

It’s hard to say that anything good came of Charlottesville but it did expose, once and for all, what lies at the core of the Republican Party, so much so that even a smug, self-important asswipe like Julius Krein could see it. Polls show, however, that the majority of republican voters still support Trump. Trump’s poll numbers may be sinking over all, but, if the election were held today, he would still win in most places where he won last November, just by smaller margins.

One final note: On Thursday night, Krein went on CNN, the Neville Chamberlain of news channels, to make his case for redemption. Oh wait. No, that wasn’t it at all. He just loves being on TV, like someone else I could name. Fuck you again, Julius Krein. May I send you a set of Hari Kari knives?

Labels: ,

Blue America's Newest Endorsed Candidate-- Derrick Crowe (TX-21)


Blue America has been busily vetting new congressional candidates since spring. Sometimes it takes a while since we don't base our endorsements on questionnaires but, rather, on "getting to know" the candidates and what they stand for and what their capabilities are. We've certainly gotten to know Derrick Crowe, our newest endorsee-- a progressive Texas Democrat who is running a campaign based on what he wants to do to represent the interests of TX-21 working families in Congress. The district stretches from Fort Sam Houston, Alamo Heights, Oleos Park, Castle Hills and the South Texas Medical Center north of San Antonio up through a corridor past New Braunfels, San Marcos and Buda into Clarksville and Downtown Austin almost to UT and then west into the Hill Country past Fredericksburg, Bandera and Kerrville. It was drawn to minimize the solidly blue Travis County vote but last year Trump underperformed past GOP nominees and barely won a majority (52.5%).

And Derrick is up against one of Congress' worst-- Lamar Smith, a decrepit Science denier who Paul Ryan put in charge of the House Science Committee where he has labored to undermine every effort to combat Climate Change. Derrick reminded us that he was also "Trump’s first donor in Congress, and thanks to him and his fossil fuel backers, every year my son has been alive has been the hottest year on Earth. I will not stand by while he ruins my son’s future. Mr. Smith has contributed to and lived off of this ugly, rigged system for three decades while the rest of us paid the price. Well, I’ve got news for him: we’re done paying."

Derrick has a very different vision of Climate Change than Smith, Trump and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt do. "A free, prosperous, just future depends on a stable environment. Climate change is already triggering severe impacts, as the recent draft climate report put it, 'from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the sea.' Folks in my district have already suffered through one of the clearest examples of a climate-change-driven disaster in the floods of 2015. More is on the way. We must act now to get carbon emissions down by electrifying our energy use, switching to renewables, and ratcheting up efficiency standards. If we do that rapidly, we have a chance to save the future."

My first experience with Derrick goes back to when George W. Bush was still president and he was the organizing force behind Brave New Film's "Rethink Afghanistan" project. He has a visceral understanding of progressive issues and appears to be someone who will be more than just a "good vote" in Congress, but someone-- like Pramila Jayapal, Ted Lieu and Ro Khanna can come forward as a natural thought leader. He's certainly running his campaign that way. "We are organizing around the solid, time-tested values of 'Liberty and Justice. For All.' Those principles are the heart of our democracy, and I’m tired of watching corporate-backed career politicians like Smith drag them through the mud," he explained to me yesterday. "Liberty means that your choices matter. It means that monopolies and corporate bosses can’t kill your small business dreams and pick your politicians for you. Justice means that trillions in financial fraud will send you to jail, a gram of marijuana doesn’t ruin your life, and that when you put in a full day’s work, you get paid a living wage. Liberty and justice for all means we respect every person and relationship, and we don’t target people for deportation or incarceration or harassment based on the color of their skin, their gender identity, or their sexual orientation."

Goal ThermometerHis perspective on the battle over healthcare is just what we're looking for at Blue America as well: "Health care," he told us, "should be a right in this country, not a privilege. Unfortunately, the bills the GOP has put on the table over the past several months would let us get sick, go bankrupt, and die early just so they and their rich friends can have tax cuts. That’s a stark vision. We have to answer that with an equally powerful vision: an America where everyone gets the care they need, achieved through Medicare For All." Please help us welcome Derrick to the Blue America ActBlue page by clicking on the thermometer on the right and contributing what you can to his campaign. Taking back Congress means making inroads in districts like Texas' 21st, despite the gerrymandering. With an extraordinary candidate like Derrick it's a winnable seat, especially as more and more independent voters and even mainstream Republicans continue to sour on Trump and his enablers, like Lamar Smith, in Congress.

Labels: , , , ,

Is Señor Trumpanzee An Anti-Semite?


I went to PS 197 and then James Madison High School in a very Jewish part of Brooklyn. And politically, a very liberal part of Brooklyn. Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Bernie Sanders grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same schools. It's still a very Jewish neighborhood... but not as liberal. Russian Jewish immigrants went heavily for Trump in this area and, in fact, Trump beat Hillary in precinct after precinct all over this part of Brooklyn. In an analysis right after the election, the Pew Research Center concluded that, nationally, 71% of Jews backed Hillary-- significantly less than the 78% who turned out for Obama in 2008, the 74% who voted for Kerry in 2004, or the 79% who voted for Gore in 2000, but 71% isn't bad. However, just before the election, the American Jewish Committee published a poll that found around half the Orthodox Jewish registered voters planned to back Trump and just 21% planned to vote for Clinton-- with 15% saying they would abstain.

Thursday, a prominent Jewish author, Pulitzer Prize and Hugo Award winner, Michael Chabon (The Yiddish Policemen's Union), who, 2 months ago enraged conservatives when he was interviewed on the radio and said "Every morning I wake up and in the seconds before I turn my phone on to see what the latest news is, I have this boundless sense of optimism and hope that this is the day that he’s going to have a massive stroke, and, you know, be carted out of the White House on a gurney and every day so far, I have been disappointed in that hope, but, you know, hope springs eternal; he’s an old guy, he doesn’t eat well, he’s overweight, he has terrible nutrition, he doesn’t exercise and it’s not that hard to imagine," penned an open letter to our fellow Jews.
To our fellow Jews, in the United States, in Israel, and around the world:

We know that, up to now, some of you have made an effort to reserve judgment on the question of whether or not President Donald Trump is an anti-Semite, and to give him the benefit of the doubt. Some of you voted for him last November. Some of you have found employment in his service, or have involved yourself with him in private business deals, or in diplomatic ties.

You have counted carefully as each appointment to his administration of a white supremacist, anti-Semite, neo-Nazi or crypto-fascist appeared to be counterbalanced by the appointment of a fellow Jew, and reassured yourself that the most troubling of those hires would be cumulatively outweighed by the presence, in his own family and circle of closest advisors, of a Jewish son-in-law and daughter.

You have given your support to the President’s long and appalling record of racist statements, at worst assenting to them, at best dismissing them as the empty blandishments of a huckster at work, and have chosen to see the warm reception that his rhetoric found among the hood-wearers, weekend stormtroopers, and militias of hate as proof of the gullibility of a bunch of patsies, however distasteful.

You have viewed him as a potential friend to Israel, or a reliable enemy of Israel’s enemies.

You have tried to allay or dismiss your fears with the knowledge that most of the President’s hateful words and actions, along with those of his appointees, have targeted other people--  immigrants, Black people, and Muslims--  taking hollow consolation in how open and shameless his hate has been, as if that openness and shamelessness guaranteed the absence, in his heart and in his administration, of any hidden hatred for us.

The President has no filter, no self-control, you have told yourself. If he were an anti-Semite--  a Nazi sympathizer, a friend of the Jew-hating Klan--  we would know about it, by now. By now, he would surely have told us.

Yesterday, in a long and ragged off-the-cuff address to the press corps, President Trump told us. During a moment that white supremacist godfather Steve Bannon has apparently described as a “defining” one for this Administration, the President expressed admiration and sympathy for a group of white supremacist demonstrators who marched through the streets of Charlottesville, flaunting Swastikas and openly chanting, along with vile racist slogans, “Jews will not replace us!” Among those demonstrators, according to Trump, were “a lot” of “innocent” and “very fine people.”

So, now you know. First he went after immigrants, the poor, Muslims, trans people and people of color, and you did nothing. You contributed to his campaign, you voted for him. You accepted positions on his staff and his councils. You entered into negotiations, cut deals, made contracts with him and his government.

Now he’s coming after you. The question is: what are you going to do about it? If you don’t feel, or can’t show, any concern, pain or understanding for the persecution and demonization of others, at least show a little self-interest. At least show a little sechel. At the very least, show a little self-respect.

To Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, and our other fellow Jews currently serving under this odious regime: We call upon you to resign; and to the President’s lawyer, Michael D. Cohen: Fire your client.

To Sheldon Adelson and our other fellow Jews still engaged in making the repugnant calculation that a hater of Arabs must be a lover of Jews, or that money trumps hate, or that a million dollars’ worth of access can protect you from one boot heel at the door: Wise up.

To the government of Israel, and our fellow Jews living there: Wise up.

To Jared Kushner: You have one minute to do whatever it takes to keep the history of your people from looking back on you as among its greatest traitors, and greatest fools; that minute is nearly past. To Ivanka Trump: Allow us to teach you an ancient and venerable phrase, long employed by Jewish parents and children to one another at such moments of family crisis: I’ll sit shiva for you. Try it out on your father; see how it goes.

Among all the bleak and violent truths that found confirmation or came slouching into view amid the torchlight of Charlottesville is this: Any Jew, anywhere, who does not act to oppose President Donald Trump and his administration acts in favor of anti-Semitism; any Jew who does not condemn the President, directly and by name, for his racism, white supremacism, intolerance and Jew hatred, condones all of those things.

To our fellow Jews, in North America, in Israel, and around the world: What side are you on?

Meanwhile, Ayoub Kara, the crackpot Druze right-wing Israeli Communications Minister, told the Jerusalem Post and his Jewish countrymen to ignore Trump's flirtation with Nazis because Trump allows Netanyahu to dictate America's Middle East policies. "Due to the terrific relations with the US, we need to put the declarations about the Nazis in the proper proportion... Trump is the best U.S. leader Israel has ever had. His relations with the prime minister of Israel are wonderful, and after enduring the terrible years of Obama, Trump is the unquestioned leader of the free world, and we must not accept anyone harming him."

Labels: , , , ,

If Ole Trumpanzee Doesn't Even Have Any Coattails In An Alabama GOP Primary...


The final count in the Republican primary in Alabama was 164,524 (38.87%) for crackpot Roy Moore and 138,971 (32.83%) for Trump and McConnell-backed establishment incumbent Luther Strange. Another crackpot, Rep. Mo Brooks took 83,287 votes (19.68%) and a scattering of 7 vanity candidates split another 30-some-odd thousand votes between them. Moore and Strange will face off in a runoff on September 26, the winner of which will then face Democrat Doug Jones, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, who won his 8-person primary with 109,105 votes (66.12%) on December 12. The only poll out for the GOP runoff shows Moore beating Strange 45-34%. As of August 18, Strange and PACs backing him spent had spent $3.4 million and Team Moore had spent $127,000. Much of Strange's money came from McConnell and Trump.

So how will Trump and McConnell handle the runoff? Trump is already trying to protect his own tarnished image by claiming Strange only did as well as he did because of the Trumpnazee seal of approval. McConnell will spend more millions of dollars.
And while Moore has plenty of detractors in-state who see him as a fringe rabble-rouser, even Strange’s allies admit the race is an uphill battle-- one where heavy attacks from Washington-based outside groups risk backfiring on their candidate in a state where voters detest being told what to do.

“Luther’s liabilities are how he got there and that the McConnell Washington crowd have been so heavy-handed in supporting him,” said one Alabama Republican strategist who supports Strange in the race.

“We’re a state full of folks who like to fight, who are defiant, we don’t like following rules, and that’s why Roy Moore is popular,” said David Azbell, a longtime Alabama GOP strategist. “A lot of folks think he can shoot off a lot of fireworks in D.C. while not doing a lot of harm.”

Alabama voters are also furious over a series of scandals that have rocked statehouse, and that taint got all over Strange with his appointment to the Senate. Strange had been the state attorney general in charge of the investigation into disgraced Gov. Robert Bentley (R)-- until Bentley appointed him to fill Sessions’ seat shortly before Bentley was forced to resign over a sex scandal.

Some saw Bentley’s support as a quid-pro-quo to get Strange out of his business. That’s a problem when paired with the association with McConnell, who has become a bogeyman on the right.

“Any time you’re the incumbent and 70 percent of people voted against you it’s hard to bounce back,” said Alabama GOP strategist Chris Brown, who ran the campaign of the fourth-place finisher, state Sen. Trip Pittman (R), and is neutral in the runoff.

Azbell, who backed Pittman in the primary, dislikes Moore enough that he’s never voted for him, skipping his line on the ballot both times Moore was the GOP nominee and working against him in past primaries. But he’s ready to break with precedent.

“I really don’t want Mitch McConnell and Robert Bentley telling me who my senator is going to be,” he said.

Moore is already looking to jiu jitsu McConnell’s backing, blasting the “silk-stockinged Washington elitists” supporting Strange.

It’s not the first time that’s worked for him: Moore won back his judicial seat by running against, and handily defeating, another Bentley appointee in 2012.

Strange’s allies argue that Moore will struggle to grow his appeal outside of his intense core of loyal followers. But the combination of an off-year primary, voters’ intense dislike of the traditional GOP establishment both in-state and in D.C. create the perfect climate for a Moore insurgency.

“Roy Moore has the intensity,” said GOP strategist Jon Coley, a Strange supporter. “Roy will turn his people out. Luther’s got to turn his people out and find a bunch more.”

The big question is how to do that.

The appointed senator will need to boost his support in a big way in the state’s more urban business communities-- especially in and around Huntsville, Brooks’ base-- and his allies worry that a deeply negative race may just turn off voters and convince them to stay home, leaving Moore with his rabid but limited base of support with the upper hand.

The strategy from the pro-McConnell Senate Leadership Fund of playing for a Strange runoff with Moore by destroying Brooks paid off. And while they’re off TV right now, they offered a glimpse of how they plan to attack Moore going forward, with ads attacking him for taking a $1 million salary from the Christian organization he runs and for flying on private airplanes with the organization’s money. A Washington Republican strategist said the group is now finalizing their strategy for the runoff.

Moore has deep support on the hard right for his repeated stands athwart the tide of social change-- in a state whose official motto is “We dare defend our rights.”

Moore has twice been forced from the state Supreme Court bench for disobeying court orders, first for installing, then refusing to remove, a monument to the Ten Commandments outside his courthouse, then just a few years ago for ordering his state to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

And Strange faces another challenge, with one of his best surrogates sidelined and another being notoriously unpredictable.

Sessions is a close ally-- Strange helped on his campaigns and followed him as state attorney general. But Sessions doesn’t plan to have any involvement in the race because of the ethical constraints of his current job.

And while President Trump’s endorsement was a huge boost for Strange in the first round, it’s unclear what he’ll do going forward.

Trump’s tweets and a late robocall backing Strange likely helped boost him to second place and kept alive his hopes of staying in Washington. But Trump hasn’t been unequivocal in his support. The president’s reaction to the runoff result was a pair of tweets congratulating both candidates-- and himself.

“What Trump does from here will be interesting to see. Luther must be holding his breath that Trump doesn’t have another post-Charlottesville and start flip-flopping on this. I’m holding my breath if I’m in his camp that this thing sticks for six weeks,” said the Alabama strategist supporting Strange.

It’s unclear how the next six weeks will shape up. But one thing’s for sure, according to Coley: “It’s going to be nasty.”

So what about the Democrat Doug Jones? A friend of mine active in local Alabama politics told me that "Jones is not the Joe Manchin of Birmingham. Doug Jones is a progressive, and I don't mean 'the most progressive candidate you can hope for from Alabama.' Doug Jones is a progressive in Alabama and he'd be a progressive in Maryland or Oregon or California or anywhere else. Jones was US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama during the Clinton administration. He reopened the dormant case of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and sent two klansman to jail for it. He was on scene at the Birmingham abortion bombing within minutes and brought the indictment against Eric Rudolph for it. Take a look at his issues page. He isn't hedging. He lists as 'priorities' strengthening public schools, paying a living wage, affordable college, affordable child care, combatting climate change, rejoining the Paris Accords, preserving access to contraception and abortion care, funding Planned Parenthood, equal pay for equal work, preserving and expanding ACA, and healthcare as a right. Doug Jones," he continued in an e-mail, "is a quality candidate who can raise money and stands for our values. I'm not being pollyannaish. This is going to be hard. We're still the underdog. But if we organize and direct overwhelming national resources, this can be done and we can take one more vote away from Mitch McConnell."

I tried confirming Jones' progressiveness personally but haven't heard back from him or his campaign yet. Jonathan Lee Krohn, writing for The Intercept, reported that "In the Deep South state of Alabama, Jones isn’t shrinking from a fight against white nationalism. 'Fifteen years ago, I actually went up against the Klan, and we won,' Jones began his victory speech Tuesday night. 'I thought we’d gotten past that, but obviously we haven’t.' All of a sudden, it matters who Doug Jones is."
So who is he? Best known for his work as U.S. attorney here in Alabama, Jones, in 1998, famously re-opened his office’s investigation of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing. Before he left office in 2001, Jones brought murder charges against two of the surviving Klansmen responsible for the attack, ultimately seeing both men convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Republicans in Washington see Jones as a major threat-- the perfect candidate to take down Moore. The question is whether there’s a state party behind him.

Once upon a time, Democrats controlled Alabama.

As a matter of fact, Democrats controlled state government in Alabama for over 100 years-- from Reconstruction until 2010-- and near the end they seldom agreed with each other on much of anything. But that didn’t seem to matter; they were in charge.

“Alabama’s Democratic Party, it was just an umbrella,” Jones told The Intercept. “You had people standing for civil rights, and at the same time you had people standing in the schoolhouse door.”

Around the turn of the century, the main dispute was between the white, socially conservative Blue Dogs from up north and the more progressive-minded, largely black representatives from the cities. The salve that kept everyone together was patronage, the party’s deep war chests, a voter turnout machine that bussed thousands of Alabamian Democrats to the polls, and the fact that they just kept on winning.

“[T]he party at the time was really just a confederation of factions that elected whoever they’re going to elect. And the only time it was really important was when a president was elected and there was patronage,” former Jones continued. “You know, U.S. attorneys and judgeships, that sort of thing.”

The bombing case was the only major civil rights case Jones worked on. Since leaving public service in 2001, while Jones has worked on the occasional corporate civil rights case, he’s primarily worked as a defense attorney for businesses and white collar criminals.

That included one particularly high-profile defendant: In 2004, Jones defended former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat, in his first trial regarding bribery charges. Legendary District Court Judge U.W. Clemon dropped the case, saying the allegations against Seigelman were unfounded, but in 2006 the Bush administration’s Department of Justice again began vigorously pursuing Siegelman, claiming he had used the governor’s office to benefit campaign donors.

Siegelman has long claimed his case was the result of a political hit ordered by Karl Rove, who had previously worked as a consultant for the Alabama GOP and was pushing for his conviction in order to help Alabama Republicans. Local politicians in both parties condemned the prosecution, but he was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Whatever Rove’s intention, inside Alabama, the fall of Don Siegelman was a major blow to the state’s Democrats, helping contribute to the party’s ultimate collapse in 2010. The GOP picked up eight Senate seats and 18 House seats in 2010, winning a supermajority in both chambers in the national tea party wave.

Once Republicans had taken over, they began doing what they do so much better than Democrats: tilting the rules so they can stay in power. In December 2010, just a month after the Republicans had won both houses of the State Legislature, Gov. Riley called a special session. Immediately, the Republicans introduced legislation making it illegal for professional associations to take money for dues out of state employees’ paychecks. This made it impossible for the Alabama Education Association (AEA) to collect membership dues from teachers’ paychecks.

The ban decimated the AEA and similar organizations that had bankrolled Democrats for decades. Suddenly, the state party was in free fall, with no money to cushion their fall.

Nancy Worley became party chair three years after the cataclysmic events of 2010. “I came into this office in 2013 and we were broke,” she said. “In fact, people were here waiting to turn off our power, that kinda thing.”

After Siegelman’s conviction, Jones continued to fight on on his client’s behalf. In 2007, Jones testified in front of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that he believed Siegelman’s conviction was “driven by politics” and not by a pursuit of the facts.

“There is no question in my mind,” Jones told the committee, according to a contemporary report in The Nation, “that the Justice Department in Washington was behind the investigation.”

While Siegelman was finally released from prison earlier this year, and has recently begun speaking around the country in support of a documentary about his trial, he has not yet appeared on the campaign trail or publicly endorsed Jones.

After his victory Tuesday night Jones said he wants to let Siegelman take care of himself and revisit with friends and family before concerning him with the rat-race of Alabama politics again.

The last candidate to come close to winning as a statewide Democrat in Alabama was a little-known circuit court judge named Bob Vance, who ran for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012.

The man he lost to-- by a mere 2 points-- was Judge Roy Moore, the current front-runner in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate... Vance finished the race with 48.2 percent of the vote, unheard of for a Democrat in Alabama these days. But in the end, Mowrey says, the campaign couldn’t overcome the fact that many Alabamians support Moore’s bigotry, his “states rights” stance on gay marriage, and his distaste for federal interference in what he deems religious affairs.

Vance finished the race with 48.2 percent of the vote, unheard of for a Democrat in Alabama these days. But in the end, Mowrey says, the campaign couldn’t overcome the fact that many Alabamians support Moore’s bigotry, his “states rights” stance on gay marriage, and his distaste for federal interference in what he deems religious affairs.

“It’s very hard to communicate that [Moore] puts himself above the law,” he explained, “because there’s this section of the Alabama electorate who says there’s nothing wrong.”

Jones said that moderates like those Vance appealed to voters in the Birmingham suburbs of Shelby and Blount County-- which in 2016 went 72 percent and 89 percent, respectively, for Trump-- are the key to “narrowing the gap.” And while he admits he has no chance of winning most voters in these heavily white, Republican counties, he says he’ll consider his campaign a success if he can simply make inroads.

“I don’t have to win Shelby County or Blount County, I just have to narrow the gap and get people rethinking how they’re gonna vote,” Jones said, his Birmingham drawl getting stronger as he gets excited, “And when you start narrowing that gap in those counties you’re gonna start narrowing the gap on a statewide basis and people are gonna have to take you seriously and they’re gonna have to talk to ya.”

The reason Jones is so optimistic about getting his message out there is that the Republican Party of Alabama has given him a very good reason to be.

The two top contenders, Moore and Strange, are both damaged goods, and are widely reviled across the state. Moore, who says that trans women are just trying to get “special treatment” by identifying as female, has a strong base within the state’s massive evangelical population. But outside of those voters, even within the Republican Party he is seen as a liability. A staffer for a competing campaign compared him to Todd Akin, a former GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri whose odd thoughts on “legitimate rape” cost him the race.

Strange, meanwhile, was appointed to hold this Senate seat in February after Jeff Sessions became Donald Trump’s attorney general until this special election could be held. At the time of his appointment by Gov. Robert Bentley, however, Strange was the attorney general and his office was investigating Bentley for alleged use of state resources to cover up an extramarital affair he’d been having with a senior staffer.

Many Alabamians thought at the time there must have been a quid pro quo between the governor and Strange, but he took the seat anyway. Subsequently, Strange has also come under investigation for alleged campaign finance violations in both his Senate campaign and his prior AG campaigns. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, August 16, the day after the primary.

Both of these candidates would, in an ideal world, be perfect opponents for the squeaky-clean Jones. But, despite being well-liked by every Alabamian I meet, Republican and Democrat, he has one fatal flaw.

“He’s got one big issue,” Strange’s campaign manager, Michael Joffrion, points out. “He’s got a ‘D’ after his name.”

In a state Donald Trump won with 62 percent of the vote, Jones knows victory is a long-shot. On Tuesday night, Moore alone got roughly as many votes as all of the Democrats combined. But the Jones campaign is still ebullient.

“Do not let anybody ever tell you Doug Jones cannot win this special election,” said Jones’ son-in-law, who introduced him Tuesday night. “What you will find if you look at the numbers tomorrow-- this is gon’ be close-- right now in Jefferson County, this county, … right now he has as many votes in this county where you worked as Luther Strange and Roy Moore combined.” (Jefferson County is an urban, solidly Democratic county.)

While Jones won comfortably, his vote total would have only been enough to finish third in the GOP primary. To win, he’ll have to bring new voters to the polls in December, and win votes from Republicans who despise Moore-- which, fortunately for Jones, exist in healthy proportions.

Jones, the former U.S. Attorney who prosecuted two Klansmen responsible for the 1963 Birmingham Church bombing, has begun pushing the issue of Charlottesville onto his Republican opponents. Endorsed by a plethora of national Democratic figures, including Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the Congressional Black Caucus, and former Vice President Joe Biden, Jones is attempting to appeal to the heart of a deeply conservative state with his record on civil rights.

...For Jones, though, this campaign began more as an opportunity to spread the Democratic message to the farthest reaches of Alabama than an attempt to turn Alabama blue. “We’ve got to get back into areas where we’ve been traditionally losing races and we’ve got to start narrowing the gap,” he told The Intercept. “For our campaign, our goal is to reach as many people as we can.”

But “narrowing the gap” in Alabama is a big ask.

Since 2014, Democrats have retained control in just eight of the state’s 35 Senate districts. While these districts comprise less than half the state’s population, they include a whopping 94.3 percent of Alabama’s black population and just a quarter of the state’s much large white population.

That means Doug’s gap exists somewhere among that vast majority of white Alabamians who live outside Democratic districts and voted overwhelmingly for Trump last fall. The problem is, these are the very voters Alabama Democrats have done precious little to court in recent years.

The chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, Worley, seems resigned to the party’s fate.

“You need to look at the demographics in North Alabama,” she said. “I don’t have to tell you that there’s a huge racial divide in the state of Alabama, along with the whole south. I mean, LBJ predicted that when he signed the Civil Rights legislation, you know, that he was crossing out the south.”

During the last legislative election cycle in 2014, in Worley’s second year as chair, Democrats lost seven seats in the state legislature, and didn’t even bother to field a candidate against Republican incumbents in another 58 districts.

Instead of attempting to compete, Worley’s strategy has been to stay put. Democrats now only have four legislative districts in North Alabama, for example, where they once had a majority of seats. The Democratic retreat to Birmingham and Black Belt is a microcosm of the national Democratic retrenchment on the coasts and in cities. More than a decade after former DNC Chair Howard Dean launched his 50-state strategy, the party is effectively nonexistent in many parts of the country. That makes capitalizing on an opportunity like the one Moore presents that much more difficult.

One of those remaining North Alabama Democrats is Rep. Craig Ford, the former minority leader in the state House. He has just two words for Worley and her fellow Democratic leaders who have given up on white Alabamians. “Party leadership,” he said. “I’m tellin’ ya man, I can’t tell ya enough: Party leadership is everything.”

Craig blames the leadership in the party that “made it all about race” and failed to tailor their message to a changing state. He also blames Worley, by name, for not encouraging Democrats to compete outside Birmingham and the Black Belt.

Doug agrees that the party is in shambles, though he refuses to go after Worley and the leadership. He traces things back to 2010, when the Democrats lost majorities in both houses of the state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction, ushering in seven years of complete Republican control.

“When folks started losing their base, their offices, people didn’t know how to respond,” he said. “They didn’t know how to be a two-party state so instead of gelling around a cohesive party theme-- not that it’s check the box, check the box, check the box, but general themes of Democratic party politics-- they tried to outmaneuver Republicans to the right and you can’t do that. And so they continued to lose races, and then you get demoralized.”

Up until this point, Democrats have “never really had a party,” Jones continued. Instead, it was a coalition of politicians in a one-party state who called themselves Democrats for political necessity.

“I think if we can get those candidates out there, we will end up with a party structure,” Jones concluded, optimistically. “The rest will kind of fall into place.”

Ford is even more optimistic. With the right party leadership and the right candidates, he thinks Alabama’s Senate seat could turn blue.

“A Democrat could win that U.S. Senate seat,” he said, though he clarifies himself with the help of a friend. “Somebody besides a Republican could win that race.”

UPDATE: Sometimes I Get Crazy Email

This one, very badly formatted by someone who is unfamiliar with how to work online, came from Roy Moore's campaign:

"Being within 10 points or less, (Strange's supporters) may pour another $3 million to $5 million into the runoff. There will be a negative onslaught on Roy Moore that he's never seen before."
-- Alabama Veteran Political Analyst Steve Flowers


After Tuesday night's first-round victory over Mitch McConnell, all eyes nationwide are focusing in on the battle brewing for U.S. Senate in the upcoming September 26 run-off election.

And Howie, the pundits all seem to agree on one thing -- It’s going to get nasty over the next 6 weeks

Can I count on you to stand with me by chipping in a generous contribution of $1,500, $1,000, $500, $250, $100, $75, $50, $35 or $25 to my campaign’s “Conservatives United” Money Bomb to help me fight back and win?

Howie, the September 26 run-off election is THE ultimate national showdown between the Washington insiders and conservative Republicans who are sick of Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and the rest of the establishment in Washington.

Unless conservatives rise up and deliver the final blow to the Washington establishment on September 26, you and I could be staring down the barrel of Mitch McConnell entrenched as Senate Majority Leader.

That means ZERO chance at REPEALING ObamaCare!

 ZERO chance at securing our border and building Trump’s wall.

ZERO chance of cracking down on illegal immigration.

ZERO chance of rebuilding our military.

And ZERO chance of restoring respect for the Constitution and the rule of law in Washington.

You and I must not allow that to happen.

That’s why I’m counting on your immediate financial support to help my campaign finish the job and DEFEAT Mitch McConnell on September 26.

You see, my establishment backed opponent begins the run-off with MILLIONS of dollars in his campaign coffers.

And that doesn’t include the tens of millions of dollars Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove plan to spend viciously attacking me and my campaign.

Friend, the situation is dire.

According to my Finance Team my campaign coffers are exhausted from yesterday’s election.

Based on current budget estimates, the first Phase of our Two-Phase Voter Contact and Outreach Victory Operation will cost roughly $150,000 to execute effectively.

And the bad news is, the deadline to fund this critical program is midnight on August 31.

So won’t you please stand with me in this all-out fight against McConnell and the establishment by chipping in the maximum amount you can afford to donate to my campaign’s "Conservatives United" Money Bomb immediately?

Of course, I understand only a few people are able to afford $2,700 ($5,400 per couple) -- the maximum legal amount under federal law.

If you are such a person, I believe this run-off election is an investment worth making. The future of the U.S. Senate -- and our country -- depends on the outcome.

But I also understand that $250 or $100 may be all many folks can give.

In fact, I know for some, $25 or $35 is a stretch.

And for others -- $10 or $15 can be a major sacrifice.

Whatever amount you can chip in to help out at this time, your contribution is greatly appreciated and will be put to immediate use to fund our Voter Contact and Outreach Victory Mobilization Program.

You and I are on the verge of defeating the establishment and taking our country back.

But Howie, Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove are ruthless.

Rumors are circulating they’re already scheming to pull the same dirty tricks on me that they pulled on Chris McDaniel in the 2014 run-off election for Senate in Mississippi.

This includes spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy Democrat votes in the September REPUBLICAN run-off.

To defeat McConnell and the establishment, I must be able to count on your immediate support.

So please stand with me in this historic fight against Washington by chipping in a generous contribution to my “Conservatives United” Money Bomb.

Thank you in advance for your support!


Judge Roy Moore

Labels: , , , , , ,