August 2, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 6:45 PM


Conservatives Are Hiding Their 'Loathing' Behind Our Flag (Will Wilkinson, Aug. 2, 2019, NY Times)

Barack Obama claimed resounding victory in two presidential elections on the strength of a genuinely conservative conception of pluralistic American identity that embraced and celebrated America as it exists. Yet this unifying vision, from the mouth of a black president, primed the ethnonationalist backlash that put Mr. Trump in the White House.

The molten core of right-wing nationalism is the furious denial of America's unalterably multiracial, multicultural national character. This denialism is the crux of the new nationalism's disloyal contempt for the United States of America. The struggle to make good on the founding promise of equal freedom is the dark but hopeful thread that runs through our national story and defines our national character. It's a noble, inspiring story, but the conservative nationalist rejects it, because it casts Robert E. Lee, and the modern defenders of his monuments, as the bad guys -- the obstacles we must overcome to make our nation more fully, more truly American.

Without obstacles, there is no story. The rise of Trumpist ethnonationalism opened a new chapter, a new variation on the primal American theme, and its outcome will again define us. We must remember that it's our story, that we write it -- with our bodies, our money, our voices, our votes. And we must never lose the thread.

To reject pluralism and liberalizing progress is to reject the United States of America as it is, to heap contempt upon American heroes who shed blood and tears fighting for the liberty and equality of their compatriots. The nationalist's nostalgic whitewashed fantasy vision of American national identity cannot be restored, because it never existed. What they seek to impose is fundamentally hostile to a nation forged in the defining American struggle for equal freedom, and we become who we are as we struggle against them.

...when your slogan insists that America isn't great?

Posted by orrinj at 4:34 PM


Posted by orrinj at 4:24 PM


Justice Department Will Not Prosecute Former FBI Director Comey Over Leaked Memos (Alex Henderson August 2, 2019, National Memo)

At issue was a memo Comey allegedly leaked that was classified as "confidential." The memo dealt with a conversation Comey had with Trump after being fired in May 2017 during the Russia investigation. But according to Solomon's sources, that memo wasn't classified as "confidential" until after Comey allegedly leaked it.

Pretty exquisite that he did nothing wrong for the same reason that Hillary didn't, after all his preening.

Posted by orrinj at 1:33 PM


Will Hurd and the Hollowing Out of the Republican Party (ANDREW EGGER  AUGUST 2, 2019 , The Bulwark)

[F]or years Hurd has been considered a politician with a near-limitless future, the kind of politician Republicans have long sought: a Republican from a 71 percent Hispanic district on the southern border with a preternatural ability to connect with constituents on both sides of our widening partisan divide. A less capable Republican would almost certainly have been swept out of Texas's 23 district in 2016--the district went for Hillary Clinton by four points--or if not then, than in the blue wave election of 2018. Rumors have swirled for years that when John Cornyn, the senior senator from Texas and one of the most powerful Republicans in the Senate, finally retires, Hurd would be a likely candidate for his preferred successor.

But in another sense, Hurd's decision not to seek reelection is entirely predictable: It's what all the other Trump-skeptical Republicans are doing. Hurd is no dyed-in-the-wool Never-Trumper: He's already pledged to vote for the president if he's the Republican nominee in 2020. But the Texas lawmaker has opposed some of Trump's signature policies, most notably the coast-to-coast wall on the Southern border that was one of the president's signature issues during the 2016 campaign. But as Trump has made clear time and again, he considers loyalty to himself and his agenda to be an all-or-nothing prospect. There's no room for the Will Hurds of the world in today's GOP.

The impact this shift is having on the Republican party isn't just ideological. It's generational. The Obama years weren't great for conservatives, but they did launch the careers of a whole swath of young GOP leaders: lawmakers like Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Hurd. Trump has diminished or destroyed them all, trading away decades worth of the party's future prospects to go on a mammoth bender today.

This is the primary strategic problem with the take-what-you-can-get-from-Trump most Republicans have taken. The GOP has reasoned that if it can just weather the Trump storm, bank a bunch of judges, roll back regulations, and grow the economy, then things can more or less return to normal in 2024. The problem is that these gains come at a price. And the cost isn't just the spiritual drag of having to pretend that they don't mind "send her back" and "very fine people" and the love affairs with Putin and Kim Jong-un. There is actual, ongoing damage being done to the future of the party that's happening below the surface, at the electoral and leadership levels. And every day the rot grows worse. Trump will leave eventually and maybe the SCOTUS majority stays in place and maybe it doesn't. But what will the GOP have left to build on?

Posted by orrinj at 1:30 PM


Nikki Haley rolls her eyes at Trump's tweet mocking Elijah Cummings' home burglary (The Week, 8/02/19)

Trump's tweet prompted a response from Haley, who served in the Trump administration as U.N. ambassador until 2018. "This is so unnecessary," she wrote, adding the eye-roll emoji.

Nikki will defeat Kamala in November 2020.
Posted by orrinj at 1:13 PM


Joe Biden Is Already Running Against Trump As the Democratic Nominee (JONATHAN V. LAST  JULY 31, 2019, The Bulwark)

[H]e has decided that you cannot beat Donald Trump with a program of open borders and killing private health insurance. And he is going to risk losing the primaries in order to win the general. Which, by the by, will strengthen his hand if he faces Trump, because he'll be able to point to the real fight he had with the progressive wing of his party on this issue. He'll say that he faced them down and won. "Open borders" would come off the table as a serious Republican weapon.

Look at the polling: Biden basically beating the second and third place candidates--Sanders and Warren--combined. He's the only Democrat leading Trump by double-digits.

And he's got a rationale for his campaign: "I'm running for president to restore the soul of this country."

I believed that Biden was in the strongest position going into the Detroit debates. After this performance, I'd say that his position is stronger still.

Two strong points from the Bulwark Podcast yesterday: (1) both the UR and Donald had taken permanent leads by this point in 2008 and 2016; and, (2) Joe's percentage is especially impressive given that there are still 20 candidates dividing support. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM



On a momentous day for Tribal Nations, Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY), the House Republican Conference Chairwoman, stated that the successful litigation by tribes and environmentalists to return the grizzly bear in Greater Yellowstone to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) "was not based on science or facts" but motivated by plaintiffs "intent on destroying our Western way of life."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Texas Rep. Will Hurd, House's Only Black Republican, Won't Seek Reelection In 2020 (Jessica Taylor , 8/01/19, NPR)

Texas Rep. Will Hurd, the lone black Republican in the House, announced Thursday evening he won't run for reelection in 2020.

Hurd's surprise decision is not only a setback for a party in need of diversity, but it also means there will be one less rare member of the GOP caucus who's willing to speak out against President Trump. The 41-year-old's exit makes it tougher for Republicans to hold onto his swing district near year and is also an ominous sign for his party's chances of winning back the House as retirements continue to mount.

He's not an old white man so he doesn't belong.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Trump's Encouraging QAnon May Result in Violence--Just ask the FBI (Justin Hendrix, August 1, 2019, Just Security)

On Thursday, Yahoo! News published an exclusive story detailing a May 2019 FBI assessment that online conspiracy theories "very likely" result in domestic extremists committing violent crimes. The report notes that it is "the first FBI product examining the threat from conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists and provides a baseline for future intelligence products," and predicts an increased risk of violent outcomes as the United States enters "major election cycles such as the 2020 presidential election."

If that happens, it may be in no small part due to President Donald Trump's endorsement and amplification of conspiracy theories and theorists such as QAnon. A few hours after the FBI assessment leaked, the President held a campaign rally in Cincinnati, where the pre-rally speaker Brandon Straka called out the phrase, "Where we go one, we go all," a rallying cry of QAnon believers. That's just the tip of the iceberg. 

But t, but, but....Antifa!

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM



Late one night in 1987, Moroccan policemen arrived at a house in the occupied city of Laayoune, the capital of Western Sahara, and demanded to speak to Aminatou Haidar. It would only take 10 minutes, they told her panic-stricken family; but those minutes stretched into days, weeks, months and then years. The 20-year-old was disappeared without trial to a secret facility not far from her home, where guards tortured her, subjecting her to starvation and threats of rape -- the price for painting graffiti and circulating leaflets calling for a free Western Sahara.

The day she was released, more than three years later, she was unable to stand, her body almost broken from the ordeal. But Haidar was not deterred from activism and since has become a leading voice of resistance to Moroccan repression in the territory, regarded as Africa's final colony. "It made me stronger and more determined, and I was even more conscious of the necessity to lead a struggle for self-determination," she says.

To Sahrawis, the formerly nomadic peoples native to the region, Haidar is the "Gandhi of Western Sahara," a tireless advocate for peaceful resistance who brings international attention to their much-forgotten plight; to the Moroccan government in Rabat, she's a dangerous agitator and separatist who continues to defy what the kingdom calls its "southern provinces," though no other country recognizes this claim.

Now, at age 53, she's become a voice of restraint -- pitted against a new generation of pro-independence activists who Haidar fears are too eager to launch a full-scale war, with tensions rising along the world's longest militarized border.