July 3, 2021

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

HELTER SKELTER:

Tucker Carlson's history of fearmongering about white replacement, genocide, and race war (NIKKI MCCANN RAMIREZ,  07/01/21, Media Matters)

Flashing an "ANTI-WHITE MANIA" graphic on screen, Fox host Tucker Carlson declared on June 24 that something must be done "to save this country" from the scourge of critical race theory "before we become Rwanda."

Carlson's barely veiled reference to a genocide that killed more than half a million people invoked images of violent racial conflict in the United States. The segment also came on the heels of Carlson's full-throated embrace of the "great replacement" conspiracy theory on April 8 -- echoing a belief long held by white nationalists -- that a wave of "Third World" invaders is coming to replace you and reshape your country, and you, the audience, should do something about it. The segment drew widespread condemnation, including a statement from the Anti-Defamation League CEO calling for Carlson's removal from Fox.

Carlson has often used his show to launder white nationalist ideology, and his recent attachment to the "great replacement" conspiracy theory, "white genocide" narratives, and race war fearmongering is the culmination of years of violent and racist rhetoric.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

THE TRUMP BRAND:

Sexual harassment scandal threatens to derail Arizona election audit ( JOHN WRIGHT, JULY 3, 2021, Raw Story)

According to the alleged victims, the primary offender engaged in unwanted touching, demanded dates from women he thought were attractive, and made comments about their appearances, asking them things like, "You showing off your butt?"

When they rebuffed his advances, he would insult them. He also reportedly was prone to angry outbursts. "This issue seemed to stem from some type of anger over women having authority over him," one witness said.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

TAX WHAT YOU DON'T WANT:

Home to Freud, Austria Debates Carbon-Tax Therapy to Ease Climate Anxiety (Jonathen Tirone, July 1, 2021, Bloomberg)

Austria wants to become climate neutral by 2040, a decade earlier than most of the European Union, but doing so will require deep structural changes to the economy which go beyond installing more solar panels and windmills. Despite already generating some fourth-fifths of its electricity with renewable hydropower, the country's emissions have continued to rise over the last three decades because of industrial pollution and a love affair with cars.

That's led the coalition government, made up of the conservative People's Party and the environmentalist Green Party, to champion what officials call "eco-social-tax reform" that would be the centerpiece of Austria's climate policy. Leaders want to put a price on emissions and bake that cost into everything from road transportation to home heating. Essentially, citizens would be on the hook for every ton of planet-warming carbon dioxide they emit. 

"We need new ways of thinking about our tax codes to make them fit for the future," Leonore Gewessler, minister for climate, energy and transportation, said in an interview. "We need a fair price for greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere, which makes climate-friendly behavior cheaper."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

ALL DOWNHILL SINCE WE LET THE SCOTS IN:

To Be an AmericanThis July Fourth, let's remember the immigrants who were drawn to this country's promise of liberty and who have contributed to its greatness. (LINDA CHAVEZ,  JULY 2, 2021, The Bulwark)

Immigrants have always seemed to me the quintessential Americans, representing hope, aspiration, and a desire to start anew. And yet, for much of our history, immigrants have faced opposition from those who didn't quite trust they could ever become true Americans. Even some of our Founding Fathers voiced concern about those not born in the colonies of English descent. Benjamin Franklin came to be embarrassed by a notorious 1751 remark in which he had complained about the "Palatine Boors" who would "shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs any more than they can acquire our Complexion." Thomas Jefferson famously warned in his Notes on the State of Virginia that foreigners would bring with them the language and principles of government of the nations they left and transmit them to their children. Alexander Hamilton, though himself an immigrant, went further, writing in 1802 that, "The influx of foreigners must . . . change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities."

Strikingly, the Founders voiced these sentiments at a time when few immigrants were coming to the new nation, something that changed with the influx of Irish, Germans, Scandinavians, and others after about 1820. By the mid-nineteenth century, the immigration trickle became a stream of newcomers from Northern and Central European countries. This sparked even more backlash, including the creation of a political party nicknamed the Know-Nothings. The Know-Nothings won 100 seats in Congress, 8 governorships, and several large-city mayoralties in the 1850s, reflecting the popularity of nativism across America. But the backlash to immigration sparked its own counterreaction, with Abraham Lincoln emerging as perhaps the biggest champion of immigration and immigrants.

Lincoln opposed nativism throughout his political career. He was an early and vocal critic of Know-Nothingism. In a letter to a friend in 1855, Lincoln declared, "When the Know-Nothings get control, [the Declaration of Independence] will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.'" Lincoln made support of immigration, along with opposition to slavery, one of the themes of his losing campaign to replace incumbent Illinois Sen. Stephen Douglas. In one of his famous debates with Douglas in 1858, Lincoln noted that the Declaration of Independence's guarantee of freedom belonged to immigrants as much as to the native born: "They have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, and so they are." When he sought the nomination of the newly formed Republican party, Lincoln supported inclusion of a plank in the party's platform that pledged that naturalized citizens' rights would not be abridged in any way and that their rights be protected both at home and abroad. In his first address to Congress after being elected president, Lincoln called for legislation to increase immigration, which resulted in subsequent passage of "An Act to Encourage Immigration." Lincoln signed it into law on July 4, 1864.

In early 1861, as he traveled from Springfield to Washington for his inauguration, Lincoln summed up his views on immigration at a stop in Cincinnati where he spoke to a group of German-born Americans: "If there are any abroad who desire to make this the land of their adoption, it is not in my heart to throw aught in their way, to prevent them from coming to the United States." If we really believe in the promise of America, we should take Lincoln's words to heart. A great nation does not close itself off from the world. It welcomes those who will make it even greater.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

YOU MEAN THEY MIGHT HAVE TO GOVERN THEMSELVES?:

Afghans left to pick up the pieces of the West's failed war  (Paul Rogers, 3 July 2021, openDemocracy)

The Taliban have even surprised themselves with the speed at which they have been taking over districts throughout Afghanistan. When Biden announced the withdrawal on 1 May, the Taliban controlled 73 of the country's 407 districts - and they have taken over another 69 since then.

They also have territorial control of many other parts of Afghanistan, including rural areas close to the capital, Kabul. They are already contesting most of the districts that they do not control, and while the government still holds provincial capitals, some are already under pressure.

The general assumption now is that the Taliban will easily take over the country before the end of the year, but this is far from certain for two reasons. One is that as they have advanced, so militias have been formed that are ranged against them, either under the control of powerful interests or to protect vulnerable minorities. Of the former, many are linked to warlords with family histories going back decades and include regional strongmen, who are determined to hang on to their power bases, especially in the north.

Some of these were at least partially integrated into Kabul politics after 9/11 but, with the possibility of a Taliban takeover, they are now looking to their own longer-term interests and preparing to fight.

Among the minorities, the most notable are the Hazaras, a Persian-speaking ethnic group who have long been persecuted, and recently suffered heavy casualties in attacks that were reportedly carried out by elements linked to Isis. They make up a tenth of the population of Afghanistan, mostly living in central mountainous districts, with some in western Kabul. The great majority of Hazaras are Shi'a Muslims and the fear of a Taliban takeover is deeply embedded, so much so that militias are being trained and armed to withstand future Taliban actions.

The second reason for questioning an easy path to power for the Taliban is the determination of the Americans to prevent a future Taliban government hosting Isis or al-Qaida groups, some of whom are already active in the country. If that were to happen, the Pentagon would likely launch military action through special forces and CIA rather than ground troops.

As remote warfare becomes the dominant response to those threatening Western interests, standard US tactics now involve aircraft and drones firing stand-off missiles, private security contractors and support for militias. This is the same for other major states whenever threats arise and will be the case in Afghanistan. It is a pattern of control also being attempted against jihadi groups across the Sahel and East Africa as Isis and al-Qaida increase their influence there.

Left out of this strategy, of course, are the millions of ordinary people trying to just live their lives in peace, whether in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, or a dozen other countries.

While the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq were well-intentioned, they really just deferred the moments when the citizenries would have to decide how they chose to be governed.  We should have done Syria instead and just used air power to remove any future regimes that brutalized the populations.