We Finally Know What It Takes to Be Called Racist

Kevin Drum - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 16:00

Remember back when we wondered just what it would take for the news media to call Donald Trump’s statements “lies”? Seems like decades ago, doesn’t it?

We’ve moved past that—way, way past that—but more recently there’s been a similar question: what does it take to get them to call something racist, as opposed to, say, insensitive or racially charged. Ladies and gentlemen, we have our answer: appearing in blackface in your medical school yearbook. These screen caps are all from Friday night.

Categories: Politics

This week at progressive state blogs: Women leaders take charge in MI; Medicaid expansion in OK?

Daily Kos - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 16:00

This week at progressive state blogs is designed specifically to focus attention on the writing and analysis of people focused on their home turf. Here is the January 26 edition.  Inclusion of a blog post does not necessarily indicate my agreement with—or endorsement of—its contents.

At FortBoise Blog of Idaho, Tom Van Alten writes—The end of the beginning of the end:

Maybe. It sure ought to be, right? Having perpetrated a 5-week long cruel joke on the country, and sputtering out the usual dog's breakfast of fake arguments about the "crisis" his sabotage is attempting to create, and threatened most of all with denial of an audience for a State of the Union speech, the president* caved, and caviled and pretended this was more of the "winning" he promised we'd get tired of.

We are tired of it, that's true enough.

state blogs. fortboise

Consider this moment, with news organizations providing updated interactive diagrams of everyone who's been charged, and found (or pleaded) guilty, so far, and how they're connected to Donald J. Trump. One of his myriad former lawyers (a.k.a. "fixers"), a former national security advisor, campaign chairman, campaign advisors, a dozen Russian intelligence officers, a baker's dozen of "Russian nationals," and after yesterday's visit from the FBI, his "longtime informal advisor" Roger J. Stone Jr.

And another updated interactive, of the more than 100 contacts with Russians before the inauguration, with a dozen members of the crime family who will be listening for the sound of Mueller's shoes dropping. Trump himself, of course, his daughter, Junior, Dan Scavino, the recused and excused Jeff Sessions, court jester Carter Page, son-in-law (so to speak) Jared "back channel" Kushner, Rick Dearborn, Michael Caputo, J.D. Gordon, Avi Berkowitz, Erik Prince.d

Give credit where due, the orange man has a remarkable aptitude for fakery, falsity, and fatuousness. Carefully examine his performance art, and you find a maze of twisty passages that are all wrong. 

Categories: Politics

Saturday Soulful: Tedeschi Trucks Band, "Anyhow" (Live in Studio)

Little Green Footballs - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 15:59

Tedeschi Trucks Band perform "Anyhow" from their new album "Let Me Get By" live in their own Swamp Raga Studio.

Directed by Marc Lowenstein.

Categories: Politics

Northam won't resign; claims 'honest conversation' about racism only possible if he stays governor

Daily Kos - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 15:42

With his wife Pamela by his side, feeding him words, Democrat Ralph Northam refused to step down as Virginia governor on Saturday afternoon, further exacerbating and escalating a racist public relations crisis that broke Friday afternoon.

Members of the press crowded into the Virginia Governor’s Mansion Saturday for a prepared statement from Northam, addressing a shockingly racist photo on his personal page in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook, which showed a man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood, ostensibly while attending a racist costume party over 34 years ago.

Northam denied, denied, denied.

I believe then and now that I am not either of those people in that photo.


That is not me, that’s not who I am. While I have made mistakes in my past, what started yesterday is not realistic, and I just hope folks will realize that.

His excuses were numerous and varied, and included “I did not purchase the EVMS yearbook,” and theories about human error on the part of the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook committee, but he did not waver on his insistence that he was not in the image despite apologizing for being in the image.

I didn’t study it very well. The first thing I said to the person that showed it to me was ‘That can’t be me.’

When pressed about apologizing for something he didn’t do the day before, Northam wasn’t convincing.

Categories: Politics

We Are All Social Democrats Now

Kevin Drum - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 15:18

I know there’s some history behind the American use of “social democrat” as a political description, but those fights happened more than a half a century ago and maybe it’s time to let them die. Why? Because life would sure be a lot easier if we could all learn to accept social democrat as the most accurate description of most modern progressives.

I’m perfectly happy with the label, myself. For those of you who are hazy about what social democracy is, here’s a quickie bullet list. Assuming I didn’t bungle anything, it basically follows the work of Sheri Berman, one of today’s foremost scholars of social democracy and author of The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe’s Twentieth Century:

  • Non-revolutionary; accepts democracy as its political foundation
  • Seeks to reform and reshape capitalism, not destroy it
  • Market based, but harnessed to the common good by a regulatory state
  • High progressive taxes to support a generous welfare state
  • Fundamentally communitarian, originally designed to counter the appeal of nationalism
  • Undergirded by belief in both social and economic equality

It’s worth adding that like most political movements, social democracy is both flexible and limited. It doesn’t insist on any particular view of gun rights or abortion, for example, nor will it tell you if recessions are best handled by monetary or fiscal policy. Likewise, although it would certainly point strongly in the direction of universal health care, it easily subsumes everything from the British model to the Swiss. (Or, in American terms, everything from the VA system to Obamacare.)

For more, check out Berman’s “Understanding Social Democracy,” a short paper that mirrors the history and exposition of her book.

Categories: Politics

Saturday midday open thread: Senators probe NRA Russia links; carbon missions to rise again in 2019

Daily Kos - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 14:56

What’s coming up on Sunday Kos:

  • Lift Every Voice and Sing for Black History, by Denise Oliver Velez
  • 13 ways it costs more to be poor, by David Akadjian
  • Yes, it is damn cold, but that does not mean climate change is not happening, by Mark E Andersen
  • Fund the wall or we kill the economy: GOP debt ceiling extortion returns, by Jon Perr
  • The measles virus is not a benign childhood disease, by Susan Grigsby
  • Donald Trump's climate stupidity is a threat to the United States and the entire world, by Laurence Lewis
  • Just what is the true cost, risk, and benefit analysis of Medicare for all? by Frank Vyan Walton
  • Hey, Howard Schultz: We don't need another unqualified, inexperienced billionaire as president, by Sher Watts Spooner
  • 'We must retrain people's minds to be human first': A pastor weighs in on Trump's politics of fear, by Kelly Macias
  • The real reason billionaires want to be President is sinister, by Egberto Willies
  • Now is the time to modernize the government, by Chris Reeves

• Adelsons pumped a half-million bucks into Trump aides' legal defense fund:

Billionaire Republican donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson gave $500,000 to a legal defense fund set up to help aides to President Donald Trump that are involved in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The Adelsons each contributed $250,000 on Oct. 1 to the Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust, which was set up last year to help campaign aides pay for legal bills related to the investigation. The donation came during the height of the midterm elections, when the Adelsons were also the largest contributors to the Republican Party's political campaigns and committees, shelling out more than $100 million in support of GOP candidates.

Tens of thousands of protesters pour into the streets of Venezuela calling for President Nicolás Maduro to step down:

“I believe [the end] is coming very soon – this week,” said Barbara Angarita, 49, as she and thousands of other demonstrators poured down the Avenida Principal de las Mercedes in Caracas. “We must have a free country, free for all Venezuelans and for our descendants.”



Congressional investigators not buying NRA’s claims regarding Russian influence claim:

After remaining all but mum for the past two years about news reports detailing its ties to Russia, the National Rifle Association finally spoke up this week. The gun group tried to distance itself from a 2015 trip to Moscow by top NRA officials that was arranged by Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty last year to acting as a Russian agent and participating in a conspiracy against the United States. But congressional investigators are challenging the NRA on what they think is a bogus cover story and stepping up investigations of the group. [...[

… Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, who is investigating the NRA as the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, has information contradicting the gun group’s claims that it had no “official” connection to the 2015 Moscow trip, sources told Mother Jones. Wyden is preparing a detailed report on the trip. And congressional investigators are homing in on David Keene, a former NRA president who was the trip’s primary organizer on the NRA side, according to people familiar with the matter. “This was driven in large by Keene,” said a person who reviewed NRA emails about the travel plans. Keene, a longtime conservative Republican figurehead and former opinion editor for the Washington Times, also sought an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the trip, according to reports this week, though one did not take place.

Greenhouse gas emissions will increase—again—in 2019. 

For those who didn’t think so before, it ought to be clear by now that the greatest current threat to national security is the guy sitting in the big chair in the Oval Office: Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who is the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said: “It is a credit to our intelligence agencies that they continue to provide rigorous and realistic analyses of the threats we face. It’s deeply dangerous that the White House isn’t listening.” Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted: “The President has a dangerous habit of undermining the intelligence community to fit his alternate reality. People risk their lives for the intelligence he just tosses aside on Twitter.” 

Cherokee Nation citizen and ethnic studies professor Adrienne Keene offers some advice to non-Native teachers of Native studies: “I believe it’s important to feel uncomfortable as a non-Native teaching a Native Studies course. If you aren’t, I’d be worried. But the discomfort shouldn’t be paralyzing, it should be catalyzing. There are positive pathways forward.”

Categories: Politics

Ralph Northam Press Conference Live Feed

Balloon Juice - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 14:12

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is scheduled to give a press conference today at 2:30 PM. The live feed is at the bottom of the post.

As late yesterday afternoon turned to night and then morning, Governor Northam has apparently decided he won’t resign. From the reporting, Northam no longer believes, despite yesterday’s apology by video, that he is in the offensive picture. Specifically, he doesn’t remember the photo, nor does he believe that he is the man in blackface, nor the man in the Klan costume. And he has been contacting his former classmates to ask if they know who the two men are who are in the picture.

All of this may be true: that it is not Northam in the picture and that the picture was put on the wrong page. It doesn’t matter. He’s had that yearbook for almost 34 years. So have others who were in medical school with him at the time. Had he come out, during his first run for office or even his run for governor when the Virginian Republican Party and his Republican opponent, Wisconsin native and neo-Confederate enthusiast Cory Gardner, accused him of turning his back on his own family’s history with the Confederacy, disclosed the picture, explained that it was coming to an understanding that going to a costume party in blackface and/or in a Klan costume was both wrong and morally unacceptable, and that is why he’s denounced his forebears service to and support of the Confederacy, there would be a very different discussion about the photo, the yearbook, and whether Northam should remain in office. This is, however, not what happened.

It doesn’t matter whether he’s in the photo or not. It doesn’t matter if it was put on the right yearbook page or not. It doesn’t matter if this accurately represents who Northam is in 2019. Right now America, both state and society, are subjected to a non-stop barrage of bigotry, prejudice, and lying from the President of the United States. Every time he gives remarks, off the cuff or prepared, whether from the Oval Office, the Roosevelt Room, the Cabinet Room, the Rose Garden, the White House lawn, one of his rallies, or, as I fully expect to happen, from the dais of the House of Representatives next Tuesday, Americans are confronted with a President who lies about his own bigotry and prejudice, then makes more bigoted and prejudiced statements, and then delivers more lies on a wide variety of topics. Right now one political party, the Republican Party, goes out of its way to cozy up to, play footsie with, and tolerate bigots. It’s why Senator McConnell can condemn Congressman Steve King’s remarks, while never being held to account for his own longstanding relationship with neo-Confederate organizations. It’s why Congressman Scalise can do the same thing despite campaigning for Congress as “David Duke without the baggage”. And that’s before we get to the President’s political appointees, such as Stephen Miller and Kirstjen Nielsen, who are just as bad if not worse.

Right now there is a need in the US for both formal and informal leaders, and this includes Northam, to stand up, tell the truth, and do the right thing. American state and society are in desperate need for more of this, not less. And Northam can do America a great service today if he stands up at his press conference and provides one last act of formal leadership and resign. He needs to resign not because he or anyone else may be sure that he is actually either the man in black face or the man in the Klan costume or that the picture is on the right page, but because American needs to see examples of leaders who take responsibility, even if they’re not 100% sure that they are the responsible party, when something bad happens, and then take the hard and important first steps to fix the problem. Which, in this case, would be to resign. The real question about whether Northam is a real leader, and is even morally fit to be a leader, is less about the picture in his yearbook from 1985. It is really about whether he leads today by giving up power and seeing it peacefully and efficiently transferred to his lieutenant governor or whether he tries to petulantly cling to power in the hope that an explanation for the photo surfaces that exonerates him and allows him to brazen this out. You can’t teach character, despite what the knuckleheads at the Combined Arms Center think. You can identify it, you can nurture it. You can mentor it. You can reinforce it. But you either have it or you don’t. At 2:30 today we will learn if Governor Northam has character and is actually fit to lead, even as he gives up formal leadership, or if he doesn’t.

Open thread.

Categories: Politics

There Can Be No Doubt Trump Colluded With Roger Stone On Wikileaks

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 13:51

In an 85 minute interview with the NY Times, Donald Trump denied having anything to do with Wikileaks or Roger Stone's actions surrounding their release of hacked Democratic emails.

He also has a bridge to sell you and for an extra few dollars, Chris Christie will autograph any section you want.

Mueller's indictments of Stone spell out interactions with the Trump campaign and Wikileaks pretty clearly and Donald's relationship with Roger Stone goes much longer and deeper than Michael Cohen's ever did.

Here's some information from the indictments:

read more

Categories: Politics

Black Marine vet says white cop assaulted him after filming cousin's traffic stop from his porch

Daily Kos - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 13:45

Adrian Burrell, a 28-year-old U.S. Marine veteran, has retained a civil rights attorney after he says white police officer David McLaughlin assaulted him (resulting in a concussion) on January 22 after McLaughlin noticed him filming the officer as he pulled a gun on his cousin. This happened in Vallejo, California.

As he elaborates in an interview with the SF Gate, Burrell said he was in his home at around 3:15 pm when he noticed that his cousin was outside his home with his hands up. McLaughlin crouched behind the door of his patrol car, with his gun pointed at Burrell’s cousin, who was still on his motorcycle in the driveway. Before long, McLaughlin turned his sights on Burrell as he filmed from his porch, which is where the incident continued to escalate. 

Burrell posted a video of part of the incident to Facebook and Instagram, where it has since gone viral.

Categories: Politics