August 10, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 9:54 PM


Posted by orrinj at 7:03 PM


A Lesson from a Ballgame (JAY NORDLINGER, August 10, 2019, National review)

I was reading the sports pages, or their modern equivalent. Apparently, a man at a Texas Rangers game was taunting an Hispanic family, in a racist way. He has now been banned from the stadium. You can read about the episode here.

By the way, if you take Hispanics out of baseball -- you're not going to have baseball. Almost by themselves, they seem to be keeping our pastime alive, at least at the MLB level. I'm reminded of Asians -- East Asians -- in classical music. Have you walked the halls of a conservatory lately?

"Thank God for China," said the late maestro Lorin Maazel, when I asked him about the future of classical music.

Anyway, back to the ballgame. "This is America," people might say. "The racist taunter? Yup, that's America, all right." Well, it is and it isn't. America is big (in more than one sense).

The Rangers offered the harassed family free tickets to another game. Moreover, a season-ticket holder offered his front-row seats to them, for another game. "I wanted to affirmatively do something and take some form of action," he said. "I didn't want to just read the story and think, 'Ah, that's terrible, I can't believe someone did that.'"

Word of all this got around on Facebook. The mom in the family, Jessica Romero, reported, "I've gotten messages from Washington, D.C., Ohio, Louisiana, California, all over" -- positive messages. "I've tried to respond, but there are so many. It's kind of amazing to me how kind people are and the words they're sending."

Posted by orrinj at 6:13 PM


CVE for White People: The Trumpist Movement and the Radicalization Process (Quinta Jurecic, Benjamin Wittes, November 4, 2016, Lawfare)

[T]rumpism is very likely a kind of gateway drug for some people for violent extremism. It offers an ideational set of preconditions off of which the radicalizing individual can spring.

But Trumpism doesn't simply provide--like certain Islamisms--an ideational platform on which radicalization can take place. It also provides key aspects of the crucial social networks for very large numbers of people. Nazis and white supremacists have always been able to find each other online, but unless you visited their particular corners of the web, they had very little way to reach you. They were a relatively small group of people speaking almost entirely to themselves.

Trump has changed that. Now white supremacists and alt-righters are a small group of people in a giant stadium, doing the wave in the bleachers with Sieg Heils. Everyone in the stadium gets to see them, particularly because the Trump campaign often puts them on the Jumbotron by retweeting them or refusing to repudiate them. Notoriously, in January, Trump retweeted a message from a user with the Twitter handle "@WhiteGenocideTM," a reference to a widespread white supremacist meme. Later in the campaign, Trump also refused for days to conclusively repudiate David Duke's endorsement of his candidacy.

What's more, if you follow Donald Trump's own Twitter feed, you inevitably get exposed to a steady diet of the hardest-core white supremacists as they fawningly reply to him. Even if you don't follow Trump, you see those people attacking the journalists and commentators you do follow. And if you attend Trump's rallies or watch clips of them online, you can find other Trump supporters chanting slogans like "Jew-S-A." A recent video shows one rally attendee in Cleveland coaching another through calling reporters members of the "L├╝genpresse"--a Nazi phrase meaning "lying press."

So all of a sudden, huge numbers of people are potentially subject to the influence of peer groups they didn't even know they had. More perniciously still, the radicals get to approach this very large new audience through the cleansing lens of an apparently mainstream political candidacy and party. That Trump supporter taught to shout "L├╝genpresse" presumably didn't know that he was screaming a Nazi slur; he was just following Trump's lead, and the lead of those around him, in jeering at the "dishonest media."

How big is the amplifying effect of Trumpism for white supremacy? This week, the name David Duke was trending on Twitter as a result of Duke's appearance at a debate for a Louisana seat in the U.S. Senate. When he announced his Senate bid in July, Duke explicitly linked his candidacy to the Trump campaign, saying that he had been inspired to run by Trump and was "overjoyed" to see Trump "embrace most of the issues that I've championed for years." As of December 2015, the white supremacist website Stormfront was upgrading its servers in response to its "steady increase" in traffic driven by Trump's then-new prominence on the national stage. Its traffic, we regret to report, currently outperforms that of Lawfare by a factor of several times.

There's a simple measure for whether our basic theory here is, in a general sense, right: If it is, we will see a significant spike in white supremacist violence over the next few years. The Trump campaign has provided a baseline undemocratic ideation to hundreds of millions of people and also provided a platform through which extremists, both violent and non-violent, can recruit and cultivate. If our collective understanding of the process of violent radicalization is correct, the result will be blood.

Posted by orrinj at 5:59 PM


Biden: The Second Amendment Isn't 'Absolute' (Cameron Cawthorne, AUGUST 10, 2019, Free Becon)

"The Second Amendment -- no amendment is in fact absolute," Biden said. "You cannot stand up in this hall and yell fire. That's not freedom of speech because they know the consequence of yelling fire: There'll be a stampede, and someone will get hurt."

Even Heller, which got legislated a right that is contratextual, stated not only that the 2nd is not absolute but that assault weapons can legitimately be banned, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., PETITIONERS v. DICK ANTHONY HELLER (Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court, 6/26/08, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES)

Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152-153; Abbott333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489-490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251; see generally 2 Kent *340, n. 2; The American Students' Blackstone 84, n. 11 (G. Chase ed. 1884). Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment , nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.26

    We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those "in common use at the time." 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of "dangerous and unusual weapons." 

Posted by orrinj at 4:36 PM


The Human Events revolving door (Cockburn, August 10, 2019, Spectator USA)

If you can't take the heat, don't spend a summer at the self-styled 'flagship conservative outlet of populist and nationalist thought.'

Raheem Kassam, the notorious, now-former global editor-in-chief (not to be confused with their national editor-in-chief) of the recently relaunched Human Events is out.

Or is he? Kassam 'will be leaving that role,' the outlet said in a press release. But the scarf-wearing svengali says it's just a reshuffle: 'There's [nothing] to write I'm not leaving it's a role change,' he said in a text to Cockburn's burner. His Instagram bio still describes him as the 'Editor in chief of @HumanEvents.'

Like Stalin after Lenin's stroke, lawyer-financier Will Chamberlain now heads the party and the state, apparently taking over from Kassam as editor.

Posted by orrinj at 4:32 PM


Scoop: Trump tells advisers Israel should bar entry to Reps. Omar and Tlaib (Jonathan Swan, Barak Ravid of Israel's Channel 13, 8/10/19, Axios)

Trump told confidants he disagreed with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer's rationale for Israel to overlook the law to let Omar and Tlaib visit Israel. Dermer said last month: "Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel."

Trump said that if Omar and Tlaib wanted to boycott Israel, "then Israel should boycott them," according to a source with direct knowledge.

Israeli officials say congressional Democratic leadership pushed Dermer to allow the congresswomen into the country. Their advocacy, per those officials, is a major reason why Netanyahu will allow the two women in. 

The Democrats had argued that if the Israeli government blocked Omar and Tlaib's entry, then other Democratic members would cancel a planned, AIPAC-sponsored Israel trip in solidarity, these officials said. figure out how banning Congressional critics would help Israel make its case for the Occupation.

Posted by orrinj at 4:14 PM


'A Number the Authorities Can't Ignore': Moscow Opposition Sees Record Protest Turnout Despite Crackdowns (Moscow Times, 8/10/19)

"50,000 is a number that the authorities simply can't ignore," said Konstantin Gaaze, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank. "This sends out a very strong signal and shows that there is real solidarity among protesters."

This week's event was largely held in support of those who have been detained and arrested -- sometimes violently -- over previous protests. Chants calling on Russia to free its political prisoners could be heard along with chants in support of the rejected candidates.

Attendants wore shirts and held up signs in support of Yegor Zhukov, a 21-year-old student who faces up to eight years in prison on "mass unrest" charges, as well as the students who had been detained while picketing Zhukov's arrest.

The solidarity has spread outside the capital, with several other Russian cities staging their own protests in solidarity this weekend.

The Moscow event, held the day after the 20-year anniversary of President Vladimir Putin first coming to power, "showed that there are many more non-loyal people than the Kremlin hoped for," said political analyst and former Kremlin adviser Gleb Pavlovsky. "These people aren't the traditional opposition, but a much wider group."

Posted by orrinj at 11:19 AM


Woman awarded $725,000 in lawsuit against neo-Nazi website founder (AP, 8/10/11)

The first black woman to serve as American University's student government president won a lawsuit Friday against a neo-Nazi website operator who orchestrated an online harassment campaign against her.

Andrew Anglin runs the anti-Semitic Daily Stormer website. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)
Andrew Anglin runs the anti-Semitic Daily Stormer website. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

A federal judge granted default judgment to Taylor Dumpson and awarded her more than $725,000 after The Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin and a follower failed to respond to her lawsuit.

Posted by orrinj at 10:12 AM


Posted by orrinj at 8:16 AM


The Denialists: It takes a lot of work to try to exonerate the president's fomenting of racist violence, but Trump fans are giving it their all. (CHARLES SYKES  AUGUST 9, 2019, The Bulwark)

While most conservatives continue to maintain a cringing silence at the president's behavior, York and Thiessen form a vanguard of denialism. Others are sure to follow and amplify the message, because we know how this works.  An entire cottage industry has arisen on the right denying, for example, that Trump called neo-Nazi's in Charlottesville "very fine people." So expect the gaslighting to continue until morale improves.

York really wants us to know that the El Paso shooter had lots of things going on besides racism. The killer decided to murder Hispanics because he thought they were "invaders" who wanted to "replace" us. But other than that ...

 Crusius worried about many things, if the manifesto is any indication. He certainly worried about immigration, but also about automation. About job losses. About a universal basic income. Oil drilling. Urban sprawl. Watersheds. Plastic waste. Paper waste. A blue Texas. College debt. Recycling. Healthcare. Sustainability. And more. Large portions of the manifesto simply could not be more un-Trumpian.

Water sheds. Plastic waste. Recycling. And, so you see, not Trumpian at all. This assumes, of course, that we know what constitutes Trumpism, that protean mess that adapts so easily to different agendas and impulses. It's almost as if York hasn't been reading our friends at American Greatness, or the other populist illiberal rethinkers who also seem to be worried about many things other than immigration. Tucker Carlson, for example, has staked out a notably nationalist and anti-immigrant position, but often sounds a lot like Elizabeth Warren. 

In any case, the argument is silly on its face:  a Nazi who worries about transportation policy and recycling is still ... a Nazi. A racist who supports a basic income is still... a racist. 

Posted by orrinj at 7:39 AM

60-40 NATION:

Americans Largely Support Gun Restrictions To 'Do Something' About Gun Violence (Domenico Montanaro, 8/10/19, NPR)

A solid majority of Americans say they are in favor of stricter gun laws in the United States -- 61% said so in a May Quinnipiac poll. But the breakdown by party is illuminating - 91% of Democrats think gun laws should be stricter, as do 59% of independents, but just 32% of Republicans.

Almost three-quarters (73%) in the poll also said more needs to be done to address gun violence.

All of the "crazy" stuff Republicans want Democrats to run on is supported by massive majorities of Americans. 

Posted by orrinj at 7:16 AM


Top intel official interrupted meeting to urge his deputy to resign (Zachary Cohen, 8/09/19, CNN)

The circumstances surrounding Gordon's resignation, including the role Coats appears to have played in the timing of her announcement, seem to indicate she was forced out for political reasons.

"I offer this letter as an act of respect & patriotism, not preference. You should have your team," she wrote in a handwritten note to the President that was released by the White House.

Gordon's abrupt departure, with only one week's notice, and Trump's longstanding hostility toward the intelligence community -- which he has publicly derided, likened to Nazis and disagreed with -- is likely to heighten concerns that the President may be trying to politicize agencies that are meant to stand apart from partisanship or politicking.
Intelligence professionals emphasize the need to keep politics out of their work in order to offer policy makers the clearest assessment they can of threats and opportunities.

Yet, Trump has made clear his desire to bring to heel US intelligence agencies, which have produced evidence he disagrees with on Iran, North Korea, Russia's interference in US elections and other issues.

Where's Admiral Poindexter when we need him.
Posted by orrinj at 7:12 AM


Las Vegas Security Guard Linked to White Supremacist Group Arrested for Possession of Bomb Parts (BRIAN DAY, 8/09/19, KTLA5)

As laid out in a criminal complaint filed Friday,"Climo was communicating with individuals who identified with a white supremacist extremist organization using the National Socialist movement to promote their ideology," according to the DOJ statement. " The organization encourages attacks on the federal government, including critical infrastructure, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community."

Throughout 2019, authorities alleged Climo took part in encrypted online conversations in which he would regularly use slurs against minorities, Jews and the LGBTQ community.

"He discussed attacking a Las Vegas synagogue and making Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices, and he also discussed conducting surveillance on a bar he believed catered to the LGBTQ community located on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas," the DOJ statement said.

Posted by orrinj at 7:01 AM


Jewish comic Andy Kindler says Donald Trump is the joke that keeps on giving (STEVE NORTH, 8/10/19, JTA) 

Known for his countless appearances on the "Late Show with David Letterman" and his recurring role as sportswriter Andy on "Everybody Loves Raymond," Kindler has also established a niche as an ombudsman of sorts for the business of comedy. Since 1996, he's given a "State of the Industry" speech, which he describes as "part rant, part roast," at the annual Just for Laughs festival, which is in the midst of its final and busiest week in Montreal.

Kindler, standing before fellow comics, journalists and Hollywood insiders, unabashedly bashes comedians he feels have lost the funny. In his often controversial opinions, that includes everyone from Jay Leno to Ricky Gervais, with whom he's had a years-long feud.

And he looks at developments beyond the comedians, which in recent years include the shadow that US President Donald Trump has cast on the comedy business. Kindler believes Trump's influence is surprisingly positive.

"When he first got elected, everyone was depressed. But now that he's so overtly a racist, it's actually great for comedy," Kindler said.


Trump's Trip to Dayton and El Paso: The Back Story (Katie Rogers, Maggie Haberman and Rick Rojas, Aug. 9, 2019, NY Times)

By the time President Trump arrived in El Paso on Wednesday, on the second leg of a trip to meet with people affected by mass shootings in two cities, he was frustrated that his attacks on his political adversaries had resulted in more coverage than the cheery reception he received at a hospital in Dayton, Ohio, the first stop on his trip. So he screamed at his aides to begin producing proof that in El Paso people were happy to see him.

One of those people was Tito Anchondo, who had lost his brother and sister-in-law, Andre and Jordan Anchondo, when a gunman opened fire on a Walmart last Saturday and killed 22 people. Mr. Anchondo traveled to the University Medical Center of El Paso on Wednesday to meet Mr. Trump, and as the president stood by and flashed a thumbs-up during a White House photo opportunity, the first lady, Melania Trump, cradled Mr. Anchondo's 2-month-old nephew, whose parents had both been gunned down. [...]

The episode was one result of Mr. Trump's frustration over his news coverage and of the angry reaction that by the end of the trip had led to a mishmash of White House-distributed photographs, tweets and videos that focused on the president instead of people affected by the shootings.

Mr. Trump first became aware of the negative headlines watching television aboard Air Force One, and bellowed at the small coterie of advisers traveling with him, including Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff. He was especially upset after he saw footage of a news conference held by Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, and Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton, a Democrat, but no positive images of himself while visiting Dayton's Miami Valley Hospital.  [...]

Part of the concern that some of Mr. Trump's advisers had heading into Wednesday was that the president would veer off script, and they wanted to make the visits as brief as possible, said those familiar with what took place.

Their concerns were given weight when raw video posted by someone at University Medical Center circulated on Twitter, showing Mr. Trump talking up his rally crowds and comparing himself to Beto O'Rourke, the former Democratic congressman from El Paso who is running for president.

Posted by orrinj at 6:55 AM


How 2016 coup attempt led Turkey to buy Russian air defenses (Kadri Gursel August 10, 2019, Al Monitor)

First, the delivery began July 12, three days ahead of the third anniversary of the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which was led by followers of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen within the Turkish military. [...]

The most important sign was the choice of the Murted air base as the place of landing for Russian planes carrying the pieces of a system designed to shoot down NATO warplanes. It was the ultimate cue decoding the symbolism in terms of Turkey's relations with the United States. 

Murted had served as the headquarters of the botched attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government. The F-16 jets that bombed the parliament and the police special operations center in Golbasi in the capital's outskirts had taken off from that base, which was called "Akinci" at the time. It is a Turkish tradition to rename places where bad events have happened. So did the air force. Two months after the coup attempt, it did away with "Akinci" and renamed the base "Murted," the name that had been used until 1995.

The landing of the S-400-carrying Russian planes at the same base from which putschist pilots had taken off exactly three years ago to bomb their "targets" in Ankara was a manifestation of the grave stage the crisis between Turkey and the United States has reached.

There is no excuse for failing to secure your democracy.

Posted by orrinj at 6:50 AM

JOHN 2:15:

In Defense of Political Hypocrisy (Christian Barnard, 8/09/19, Quillette)

Bernie Sanders' campaign has come under fire for not paying staffers the $15 minimum wage he promotes--and for using the private health-care system he often criticizes as immoral. Similar scorn is being hurled at environmentalist-minded celebrities who recently traveled to a Google climate-change conference via private jets, and even yachts. I am far from being ideologically aligned with Sanders or most Hollywood stars. But I will use the occasion to make a broader point about those who insist we all practice what we preach politically. Simply put: It's petty to weaponize the spectacle of political hypocrisy to score points and avoid taking the other side seriously. As George Orwell put it in his essay about Rudyard Kipling, "a humanitarian is always a hypocrite"--since his or her standard of living is dependent on practices that he or she deems criminal. But that doesn't mean we can simply ignore their arguments.

The first and most obvious problem with targeting a political opponent's hypocrisy is that the practice always is applied selectively. Libertarians--and I'm including myself--sometimes scoff casually at the upper-class socialist who condemns capitalism while benefiting from the many innovations and luxuries that capitalism made possible. But those same libertarians often will fail to acknowledge that they benefit from public education, subsidies and infrastructure whose scope (or even, in some cases, very existence) they oppose. In his 2016 bestseller Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance pointed out a species of this phenomenon he observed in poor Appalachian communities, where strident conservatives preached against the vices of government reliance while collecting welfare benefits and remaining perpetually unemployed.

If this kind of hypocrisy can be taken as a fatal flaw in regard to any argument, then surely all have sinned and none can judge. 

Posted by orrinj at 6:41 AM


The false choice between liberty and security (John Ashmore, 8/09/19, CapX)

While the methodology and conclusions of the project have been scrutinised - and criticised - in some detail, the biggest problem here is the idea that liberalism and security are mutually exclusive, or even antithetical.

Take policing, for example. One does not lose liberty by the government employing more police officers. The same is true of the security services, whose often unheralded work underpins our freedom to go about our daily business without fear of attack.

Equally, how are we to construe 'economic security'? A reasonable definition might be a decent regular wage combined with a good standard of living. And no system produces those outcomes - that security - better than liberal free market capitalism.

If you look at the Heritage Foundation's list of the world's freest economies, all enjoy high living standards, high average wages and low unemployment. That the UK comes in 7th on that list should be a source of pride and confidence, even with the current uncertainty over Brexit.

What the top countries also share, with the exception of the oil- rich United Arab Emirates, is an economic system based on the rule of law - a key component of prosperity and one which may yet hinder the world's rising power, China, from escaping the so-called Middle Income Trap.

The poles are Freedom and Security. The optimal point on the spectrum is provided by republican liberty. We don't lose liberty to the police, we trade freedom for greater security, which is the essence of liberty.