Are they racists or trolls?

It seems there will be a Boston ‘Free Speech’ rally assuming they can get anyone to speak:

Organizers of the Boston Free Speech Coalition, which also identifies as the New Free Speech Movement, garnered attention for the rally by inviting speakers with known ties to white nationalism, white supremacists, and racist views.

Medlar said his group supports free speech for everyone, including those who are the most vile. He said his group denounces violence.

Here is part of their statement on their Facebook page:

While we maintain that every individual is entitled to their freedom of speech and defend that basic human right, we will not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry. We denounce the politics of supremacy and violence. We denounce the actions, activities, and tactics of the so-called Antifa movement. We denounce the normalization of political violence.

We are a coalition of libertarians, progressives, conservatives, and independents and we welcome all individuals and organizations from any political affiliations that are willing to peaceably engage in open dialogue about the threats to, and importance of, free speech and civil liberties. Join us at the Parkman Bandstand where we will be holding our event. We look forward to this tide-changing peaceful event that has the potential to be a shining example of how we, in the city of Boston, can come together for the common goal of preserving freedom of speech for all and respectfully discussing our differences of opinion without engaging in violence.

It’s just a complete coincidence that all of their originally planned speakers (Gavin McInnes, Kyle Chapman, Augustus Invictus, Joe Biggs, and Brandon Navom) are conservative and, at least partially, part of the alt-right. So, please don’t claim that they’re ok with racism even though some of their original speakers are outright racists.

Here’s the thing, there are only two reasons that you invite these type of abhorrent people to speak at your rally (notice it’s very different to support a person’s right to speak and giving them a forum to speak at; the first is something all free speech advocates should do, the second is not). First, because you have similar views. Second, you’re a troll just trying to stir up trouble for fun or profit. I’m not sure which fits the organizers of this event, but both reasons mark them as pretty bad people.

Donald Trump and Nazis

It seems that President Trump can be convinced to say Nazis are bad, of course he also did this:

“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” the president said in the interview Sunday, speaking from his golf club in Bedminster. “He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot, and I hate to see what has happened to him.”

It’s pretty obvious that Kevin Drum is right:

Trump refused to explicitly condemn neo-Nazis and white nationalists for two days, and there’s no question that his fans got the message: “He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together,” wrote the Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin. “No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.”

Today Trump grimly recited a prepared text from a teleprompter, but did so under such obvious pressure that his white nationalist fans understand he’s just playing a role. This is exactly the way he handled the David Duke controversy last year: weasel words for a couple of days, followed by an obviously insincere condemnation under heavy pressure.

And here comes Dinesh D’Souza:

Author Dinesh D’Souza explained why white nationalists actually belong in the Democratic party, which promotes ethnic nationalism, just days after violence displays by white supremacists left the nation grieving.

It’s always been ahistorical crap that Nazis were on the left, but when actual Nazis and white supremacists explicitly say they like Trump and  say ‘God bless him’, you might want to lay low for a bit.

Oh and here’s more:

Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke said on Saturday that the white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville ― called “Unite the Right” ― was in line with “promises” made by Trump.

We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” said Duke, speaking at the rally. “That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he’s going to take our country back. That’s what we gotta do.” 

And I don’t know if D’Souza noticed but they call themselves the Alt-Right, a term declared by white supremacist Richard Spencer.

Ruth Pfau

Now that I’m older, I look at the obituaries more often. Sometimes you run into ones like this:

Dr. Pfau, while not widely covered in the Western media, was renowned in Pakistan for her efforts to stop the spread of leprosy, a bacterial infection also called Hansen’s disease that when untreated can cause disfigurement and blindness. Around the world, its victims have often been relegated to “leper colonies” and regarded as outcasts.

The Express Tribune of Pakistan once credited Dr. Pfau with having “single-handedly . . . turned the tide of leprosy in Pakistan and won the gratitude and personal attentions of people ranging from military rulers to elected ministers to the general public.”

She has a couple great quotes:

But diverted to Pakistan while waiting for her visa in 1958, she was to stumble upon leprosy, a disease she had never heard of in a country she did not know existed.

“Well if it doesn’t hit you the first time, I don’t think it will ever hit you,” she recalled, after first seeing leprosy during a visit to a makeshift dispensary built on a disused graveyard in Karachi.

“Actually the first patient who really made me decide was a young Pathan.

“He must have been my age, I was at this time not yet 30, and he crawled on hands and feet into this dispensary, acting as if this was quite normal, as if someone has to crawl there through that slime and dirt on hands and feet, like a dog.”

and:

“Not all of us can prevent a war; but most of us can help ease sufferings — of the body and the soul.”

After helping Pakistan to become the first Asian country to have leprosy under control, she also:

She has also assisted the country’s many forgotten displaced people and rescued victims from the 2005 earthquake and floods of 2010.

Like Mother Teresa, she was a European nun working for decades among people with leprosy but she thought they weren’t all that similar:

She said her focus was on removing the root of the problem – not just dealing with its symptoms – the same ethos that has served her so well over the years in Pakistan when dealing with poor, displaced and marginalised people.

“The most important thing is that we give them their dignity back,” she insisted.

We need more people in the world like her.

Presented for your inspection

Here is part of the ‘argument’ from someone who was in the strategic planning office in the National Security Council (luckily he was fired/resigned):

While opposition to President Trump manifests itself through political warfare memes centered on cultural Marxist narratives, this hardly means that opposition is limited to Marxists as
conventionally understood. Having become the dominant cultural meme, some benefit from it while others are captured by it; including “deep state” actors, globalists, bankers, lslamists, and establishment Republicans. Through the campaign, candidate Trump tapped into a deep vein of concern among many citizens that America is at risk and is slipping away. Globalists and lslamists recognize that for their visions to succeed, America, both as an ideal and as a national and political identity, must be destroyed. Atomization of society must also occur at the individual level; with attacks directed against all levels of group and personal identity. Hence the sexism, racism and xenophobia memes. As a Judea-Christian culture, forced inclusion of post-modern notions of tolerance is designed to induce nihilistic contradictions that reduce all thought, all faith, all loyalties to meaninglessness. Group rights based on sex or ethnicity are a direct assault on the very idea of individual human rights and natural law around which the Constitution was framed. “Transgender acceptance” memes attack at the most basic level by denying a person the right to declare the biological fact of one’s sex. When a population has 2 + 2 = 5.

If you replaced Islamists by Jews, this could have come straight out of Mein Kampf–in two ways: it’s really badly written and uses a big conspiracy, with an enemy, to explain why ‘their’ nation is being taken from them. Here let’s look at a short part:

Political warfare is one of the five components of a Maoist insurgency. Maoist methodologies employ synchronized violent and non-violent actions that focus on mobilization of individuals and groups to action. This approach envisions the direct use of non-violent operational arts and tactics as elements of combat power. In Maoist insurgencies, the formation of a counter-state is essential to seizing state power.

This describes ANY insurgency (for example, it describes exactly what he is trying to do with this memo) but this guy thinks that putting Maoist in there will scare people and end any argument (my father often mentioned how people he was arguing with would say that something he was arguing for was ‘communist’ as if that would end the argument).

And he ends with:

The recent turn of events give rise to the observation that the defense of President Trump is the defense of America. In the same way President Lincoln was surrounded by political opposition both inside and outside of his wire, in both overt and covert forms, so too is President Trump. Had Lincoln failed, so too would have the Republic. The administration has been maneuvered into a constant backpedal by relentless political warfare attacks structured to force him to assume a reactive posture that assures inadequate responses. The president can either drive or be driven by events; it’s time for him to drive them.

This is almost explicitly calling for a Civil War. I’m not sure if he recognizes that, he does seem to be pretty stupid, but it is.

What makes this even scarier is:

Among those who received the memo, according to two sources, was Donald Trump Jr.

Trump Jr., at that time in the glare of media scrutiny around his meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the presidential campaign, gave the memo to his father, who gushed over it, according to sources.

In a comedy of errors, Trump later learned from Sean Hannity, the Fox News host and close friend of the president, that the memo’s author had been fired. Trump was “furious,” the senior administration official said. “He is still furious.”

The President of the United States thought this was an intelligent message. We are so fucked.

Trump supporters don’t believe in democracy

Well now, isn’t this comforting:

Nearly half of Republicans (47 percent) believe that Trump won the popular vote, which is similar to this finding. Larger fractions believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted (68 percent) and that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often (73 percent).

Moreover, 52 percent said that they would support postponing the 2020 election, and 56 percent said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress were behind this.

This was in response to this question:

If Donald Trump were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote, would you support or oppose postponing the election?

Now it seems that they were primed to say this by being asked if they thought there was a lot of voter fraud (I’d be curious how much this would change if they only asked this one question), but it’s still stunning. More than half of Republicans would be ok with postponing the election if Trump said there was a possible problem (I wonder how long they would be willing to postpone the vote). That’s more than a little scary.

Fuck

It seems North Korea might now have nuclear weapons small enough to put on rockets:

A report in The Washington Post on Tuesday went further. The newspaper said U.S. intelligence officials have assessed that a decade after North Korea’s first nuclear test explosion, Pyongyang has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, including by intercontinental missiles — the type capable of reaching the continental U.S.

Luckily we have a calm and rational person for our President:

‘‘North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,’’ Trump said during a briefing on opioid addiction at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

We are so fucked.

Trump is trying to kill Obamacare

Donald Trump is trying to convince everybody that the ACA is in a death spiral. It isn’t according to the CBO:

Although premiums have been rising under current law, most subsidized enrollees purchasing health insurance coverage in the nongroup market are largely insulated from increases in premiums because their out-of-pocket payments for premiums are based on a percentage of their income; the government pays the difference between that percentage and the premiums for a reference plan. The subsidies to purchase coverage, combined with the effects of the individual mandate, which requires most individuals to obtain insurance or pay a penalty, are anticipated to cause sufficient demand for insurance by enough people, including people with low health care expenditures, for the market to be stable in most areas.

Nevertheless, some areas of the country have limited participation by insurers in the nongroup market under current law. Several factors could lead insurers to withdraw from the market—including lack of profitability and substantial uncertainty about enforcement of the individual mandate and about future payments of the cost-sharing subsidies to reduce out-of-pocket payments for people who enroll in nongroup coverage through the marketplaces established by the ACA.

Pay attention to that last bit because the Trump administration is trying very hard to kill the ACA:

As the fate of the Affordable Care Act dangled dramatically in the Senate last month, the Trump administration abruptly canceled contracts with two companies that have helped thousands of Americans in 18 cities find health plans under the law.

The suspension of the $22 million contracts, which ends enrollment fairs and insurance sign-ups in public libraries, is one of the few public signs of how an administration eager to kill the law will run the ACA’s approaching fifth enrollment season.

President Trump continues to stage photo ops at the White House and on travels with people he terms “Obamacare victims.” The Department of Health and Human Services is issuing weekly maps showing the few dozen counties that might lack an ACA health plan for next year.

Officials provided no assurances at that meeting, however, about whether the administration would continue the government’s other usual enrollment activities or promotion. (In January, it had halted most advertising aimed at encouraging consumers to sign up in the final crucial days before the deadline for 2017 coverage.)

For now, the largest mystery looming over the upcoming enrollment season is whether the president will carry out his stated resolve to end payments made to insurers on behalf of about 7 million lower-income customers to help them afford their ACA plans’ deductibles and copays.

There are other unknowns that also will shape — or upend — the enrollment period when it begins Nov. 1: Will the government contact the roughly 10 million people with ACA coverage to alert them that sign-ups will last just 45 days, about half as long as in the past three years? Will HHS run call centers for consumers who need help as they look for plans? Will the HealthCare.gov computer system be adjusted to accommodate a possible crush of shoppers given the shorter time frame?

And how will automatic enrollment be handled? In previous years, notices have been sent out in mid-December, informing customers with coverage about price changes for their current health plan and urging them to shop around. This year, Dec. 15 is when enrollment will end.

If the rates go way up ( or if insurance companies drop out of many more parts of the country) it will be largely because insurance companies won’t know how much the government will subsidize people and they don’t know if the mandate will be enforced; if the number of people who sign up for the ACA goes way down it will be for the same reasons and because the Trump administration won’t advertise and won’t help anyone if they want to sign up.

The only reason the ACA will fail is if the Trump administration kills it.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: