In The Roanoke Times, Virginia Tech history professor Peter Wallenstein explains how Southern states favor of “states’ rights” except when they are not.
In The Seattle Times, Rabbi Daniel Weiner reflects on the recent anti-Semitic vandalism of his synagogue, in which the words, “Holocau$t is face hi$tory,” were spray-painted on its wall. He responds to persons who believed that he unfairly blamed Donald Trump for the deed. Here’s an excerpt (emphasis added):
Though employed by both sides of the political divide, the stigmatic label “fake” has become most associated with our current Commander-in-Chief. A few in the community felt that I had unfairly indicted President Donald Trump, carelessly invoking a causative link between this hateful act and the man himself. But as I endeavored to scrupulously point out, I saw a correlation, not causation. Yet that correlation evokes grave concerns that transcend who actually had their finger on the spray can.
There has been much documented about the intersections between Trump associates and the “alt-right” — a cleansing euphemism for white supremacy. Trump’s actual regard for vulnerable populations, Jews among them, is inconsequential to his intoning of the classic “dog-whistles” of anti-minority tropes. If he is truly aware of the implications of his words, it is troubling. If he plumbs the abyss out of mere political expediency, it is equally dangerous, displaying a reckless disregard for truth and propriety unworthy of the office he currently holds.
When you blow a dog-whistle, don’t be surprised when the dogs respond.
At the Boston Review, Richard White turns the light of history on the spurious claim that “America was founded as a Christian nation” in considering two recent books on the topic. He points out that those who make such a claim almost always do so in pursuit of a particular political and economic agenda, rather than in pursuit of salvation.
Here’s a bit of his discussion of Steven Green’s Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding:
Green dates the idea of a Christian nation to the Second Great Awakening, which occurred at a time—the antebellum era—when Americans were striving to create a cohesive national identity. Religious competition remained intense, but more and more of the competing denominations were evangelicals who conflated their nationalism and religion in ways that made divine intervention and providential thinking suitable for politics. It was this second American generation, rather than the Founders, who created the myth that has been with us in various forms ever since.
The various forms are important; the original myth is not the same as the one currently in fashion. Both see God’s guiding hand behind the nation’s history and regard Christianity as the basis of republican principles. The old myth, however, was optimistic and tried to be inclusive, which was possible in what was still an overwhelmingly Protestant country. It was oriented toward the future and intent on explaining a providential American destiny. The new myth, by contrast, is sectarian and divisive in a country full of Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc., not to mention agnostics, atheists, and the sometimes-inchoate mass who define themselves as spiritual. Rather than look to tomorrow, today’s myth appeals to those who think they have lost an ideal past.
Do read please read the rest. It will help you better understand our home-grown Pharisees.
The Local delves into the history of the current strained relations between Germany and Turkey. It seems a bit superficial and anecdotal, but, if you you want to understand some of the headlines coming out of Europe these days, it may be a good place to start.
There’s nothing new about new about rebranding–“old wine in new bottles” is a cliche, but cliches become cliches because they express a truth succinctly. “Alt-Right” for “white supremacist” is a rebranding effort. The rebranders hope that you will forget that behind the shiny new label is the hate bottled from the same cesspool they’ve been swimming in for centuries.
At Above the Law, Elie Mystal excoriates another contemporary attempt to rebrand bigotry, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/us/politics/trump-travel-ban.html. A snippet:
Again, the Trump Administration is learning that courts are not so easily fooled. When you campaign on a “Muslim Ban,” promise a “Muslim Ban,” and then issue an order that is in effect a “Muslim Ban,” changing its name at the last minute doesn’t work.
This might come as a shock to the Witch King of bankruptcy, but “Rebranding” doesn’t work either. Not in front of a judge. You can stick a funnel on a horse and call it a unicorn, Mr. Trump, but you can’t make it s**t rainbows. You’re dealing with educated people now, not just fleecing yokels anymore.
For all their bleating about “personal responsibility,” Republicans always seem surprised to find out that their own actions have consequences.
The Girl Guides (that’s “Girl Scouts” in USAn) of Canada have had enough of Trump and Republican “mean for the sake of mean.”
The ban does not mention the latest Executive Order by President Trump barring travel to “the States” by citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries, and imposing a 120-day moratorium on accepting Syrian refugees.
“While the United States is a frequent destination for Guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain,” GGC executives Sharron Callahan and Holly Thompson said in an advisory Monday afternoon.
More at the link.
Antony Davis and James R. Harrigan explain busybullies, those persons who always know what’s best for you because they just know and sit down and shut up, okay?
Busybullying is really about social inequality – busybullies believe that their opinions as to what is acceptable should matter more than other people’s. Busybullies, believing themselves morally superior, will happily lie to get the government to force you to submit to their enlightened wills.
First they will say that the thing they don’t want you doing is dangerous to you. When you tell them it isn’t or that you don’t care, they will tell you it is dangerous to others. When you demonstrate that it isn’t dangerous to others, they will tell you that it’s bad for “society.” They will offer exactly no evidence for any of their claims because, in their eyes, moral superiority is its own evidence. But your evidence they will subject to the highest scrutiny before dismissing it out of hand.
The court in Würzburg (Germany) ruled that the US social media giant is not obliged to actively search out and delete defamatory posts, like those that had falsely linked the claimant, Anas Modamani, 19, to Islamist attacks and violent crimes.
Modamani wanted the US social media giant, represented by Facebook Ireland Limited, to stop the spread of such defamatory fake news, which have been shared countless times.
He was represented by German lawyer Chan-jo Jun, who has previously launched legal action against Facebook, demanding it stop the spread of racist hate speech and other content illegal under German law.
Elie Mystal applauds the Supreme Court’s decision to look behind closed doors.
Warning: Language and graphic imagery.
. . . . of which the preeminent is to be mean for the sake of mean.
The uncomfortable truth–the one that no one dares to talk about–is that the United States of America has Trumpled its way to becoming a rogue nation.
The next stop is pariah.
Frankly, if things continue on the course of the past week, I’d not be surprised if civilized nations begin to impose sanctions on the Trumpled States of America within the next six months.
Distressed and depressed. Not surprised.