A few words about “tactics”

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In the current climate, I have no doubt I can piss off a bunch of different people for a variety of reasons in only a few words. Let’s see. But, before I talk about tactics, a few words about Boston.

Boston has a troubled history regarding race relations, more troubled than many Northern big cities and nearly as troubled as a few Southern ones. Don’t believe me, read the magnificent book by J. Anthony Lukas entitled Common Ground (1985) that chronicles the lives of three Boston families during the busing/ desegregation era.

That time wasn’t that long ago and I have no doubt things are still problematic, but 40.000 Boston folks showed up yesterday in counterprotest to the planned “Unite the Right” rally. That’s a nice number – on short notice – and is a fairly good indication of who’s winning the war of hearts and minds. Four hundred something doofuses with tiki torches in Charlottesville versus 40,000 folks in Boston inviting them to go home.

Numbers are important. They provide perspective. But numbers are increasingly hard to come by because the media often chooses not to supply them, hoping to gin up interest in an event (including, maybe especially, on social media) by magnifying its relative importance. If I were a Catholic, I would term the dearth of numbers in the mainstream media as a sin of omission rather than commission. But it’s still a sin. Tight camera shots are another malefactor.

Those are media tactics, which we should at least be aware of. They want popular stories to have “legs,” run a long time on those legs, and hopefully turn into a miniseries. It has always been thus, back to the little girl or boy who fell down the well in Radio Days while America listened glued to the set, praying for her or his safe return. But watching the miniseries … or listening to the rescue efforts … doesn’t provide us with the necessary information to make moral or even practical decisions regarding current events and their implications. That’s where longer magazine and newspaper pieces come in. Where books come in.

I’m fairly well versed in the “alt-right” movement and its antecedents. In the main room of my memory is a timeline of the American Civil Rights Movement and a map of Vietnam. In the near future, I plan to read up on the antifa (antifascist) group, the decision of the ACLU to withdraw support for the Unite the Right assembliers if they come armed, and I can’t wait for the arrival of longer magazine pieces on Charlottesville, for the first book on Charlottesville if it’s not a poorly executed rush job. I want to know more. I want the blanks of real-time media coverage filled in. Their lenses adjusted. Wider shots. I hate not knowing as much as I should know because things are always, well, ginned up. And then people start tweeting (i.e. taking a virtual pee) and, well, forget about it.

I told you the good news from Boston yesterday, here’s the bad news. The Unite the Right rally speakers were never able to speak. I had hoped they would be able to voice their hate as planned, so that folks could hear how stupid they are, make jokes about their hair, ask during breaks what’s up with Steve Bannon’s mouth (herpes?), speculate on when exactly was the last time any of these alt-white righties had a date.

The New Right Nation will, apparently, be an all dude thing. That’s gonna be a tough sell, even in the reddest parts of the South and middle America. No par-tay either. Just a lot of speeches and chest-beating and marching across bridges to nowhere. I wish we’d heard them talk. Hearing the bald guy with the weird mouth talk and talk (on that VICE video that’s been making the rounds) was the best non-advertisement for Unite the Right I’ve ever seen. Let Stupid talk. He’ll hang himself.

Stupid didn’t talk in Boston because scuffles broke out, the White Righties fled, the police shut things down. Better that than the barely supervised chaos of Charlottesville over an expanding time frame that was destined to lead to violence eventually. But better still would be letting them speak to a handful of hooded clappers while Smart and Reasonable speaks across the park to that crowd of 40,000.

Tactically, for me, the most effective counterprotest is to rally in opposition to the speakers you detest. Telling what you perceive to be the truth (while dissecting what’s wrong with what they profess) to a crowd ten, a hundred, a thousand times as large.

My ideal “better” entails no street fights. No physical attacks. No violence. Which is where antifa and I butt heads … metaphorically, of course.

I only know a little, so I concede in advance I may not know enough, but some of the antifa activists advocate instigating violence against the alt-right and actively shut down their events. In a lot of localities, the alt-righters and the antifas have scuffled at events in the past, yell at each other by name, so it’s like a monthly reunion of the Jets and Sharks but without the dancing. It’s parochial and not helpful at all.

I would prefer no scuffles, no physical attacks, no violence of any kind. From anyone. The Black Panthers (to name only one group from the past) did not run around instigating violence. They merely let it be known that force in their neighborhoods would be met by force. Not free speech in their neighborhoods. Force. Violence. And all or nearly all of the violence associated with the Panthers was started by police, up to and including the police murder of Fred Hampton.

Let the other side be the ones to instigate violence. Be the bad guys. Be the ones who do time. It worked during the Civil Rights Movement and it will work now. Not to mention that violence and the threat of violence begets more violence.

I heard people say they felt that the antifas at Charlottesville had “protected” them from Unite the Right members intent on violence. Maybe, but it also endangered them and others. The violence of the first days … some of which appears to have resulted in the alt-wrongers showing up heavily armed the last day … put hundreds of people in jeopardy. Watching all those stupid fuckers with automatic weapons in a tense crowd of mostly noncombatants was a nightmare. One I hope does not become a recurring dream.

Which brings us to the ACLU. They made a decision not to support Unite the Right type groups in their right to assembly if they choose to assemble armed. I know I am good with their support of the rights of such groups under peaceful pretenses. I think I also favor withdrawal of that support because of guns.

Providing legal support to their armed assembly … even in an open carry state (God how I hate guns!) … might open the ACLU up to legal action. And lawsuits if gun violence occurs. I think the ACLU also feared losing a significant part of their donor base like what happened to them after Skokie even though no significant violence occurred there. I think it was a business decision – on the part of ACLU – awaiting a philosophical justification, but I’m cool with that. Did I mention how much I hate guns?

My few words turned into a wide-ranging screed, which happens a lot with me. Sorry about that. As Pascal said, if I’d had more time, I would have written a shorter letter. I’m open to corrections on facts and differences of opinion, but I’m not sure how much I’ll engage back and forth. I’ve posted too much this week and I’m sick of hearing myself talk.

It appears to be a nice sunny day outside. I think I’ll take a closer look.

Coming this Fall … Alt-Confederate Clothes!

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Or should we say returning this Fall, since the alt-right has generated such interest in all things Johnny Reb that the fashions of the Old Confederacy are back by popular demand. But it’s 2017, not 1861, and we’ve gone way beyond basic gray.

Be brave, Richard Spencer, and dare to wear yellow. David Duke has yellow bellbottoms most Klan consider de rigeur.

Yes, macho dudes, it’s a lot of buttons to button, but you’ll look so sharp in your alt Confederate uni that you won’t have to button them alone for long. The alt-girls will swoon!

We at Johnny Reb Fashion know that not everyone can live in a Southern state. That’s why we’ve designed a sash that can double as a scarf in winter weather.

Your alt-sword is purely decorative, unfortunately, but there is ample room in your Johnny Reb jacket for a concealed firearm and color-coordinated holsters for you lucky alt-studs who reside in an Open Carry state.

Come on, white people, you can do it. Make America Two Countries Again! Buy Johnny Reb!

Closing the circle NeoNazis – Trump – Russia

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I have written about this in the past, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been talked about more in the standard media, but there is a strong connection between America’s youthful rightwing extremists (especially those who aver White Supremacy such as Richard Spencer) and Putin’s Russia.

They see Russia as an example of White Supremacy in action and contemporary Russia’s high level of anti-Semitism is, needless to say, copacetic as well. The guy in the middle is actually Steve Bannon (and Gorka et al) not the virtually mindless Donald Trump, but Trump has the power and they vie for his brain.

NeoNazi leader Richard Spencer’s ex-wife is Russian and a disciple of Alexander Dugin, the fascist racist philosophical force behind Putin … and much of America’s so-called alt-right. To the extent, the alt-right has intellectual content that content is a mix of Hitler and Alexander Dugin. And the dots continue from Russia through the fascist and/or National Front parties of Europe and elsewhere to America under Trump/ Bannon/ Gorka/ Miller/ Spencer.

Google Alexander Dugin and read up. Bring your barf bag. Compare his thoughts and poltical desires with Steve Bannon’s. Get a second barf bag. And read the link below from Newsweek, which just connected a couple quick dots seven hours ago.

Heil! MAGA! Nostrovia!

In this photo from Skokie, I’m the tall guy in back with cool shades and his mouth hanging open …

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Just kidding. Despite my reputation as a latter day Zelig, I was not actually present for the Skokie Klan rally and counterprotest in 1978.

Although I did visit a buddy in Skokie the week before it and encouraged him NOT to bust heads. To just show up and show solidarity. For one thing, there weren’t that many heads to bust … maybe 50 knock-kneed really dumb-sounding Klan dudes sporting the half-hood look made popular during the second resurgence of the Klan in the 1960s.

I also lost a couple friends by vehemently defending the ACLU’s decision to represent the Klan in its attempts to hold a rally. And I have not wavered in that position. An inch. With the obvious exceptions of not being able to shout “Fire” in a crowded theater or specifically call for violence against another person or group of people, my support of free speech is absolute. Both in principle – which is what makes the first amendment the cornerstone of liberty – and in practice.

The more you let the Klan types talk … especially in public and in debate … the less attractive they become to weak minds and to young unloved men searching for identity in all the wrong places. None of their ideas are evidence-based. Or logical. Or strong enough to survive the mildest debate. And most of the Klan types wilt under pressure, cringe, turn and run … not to mention whine when they lose their jobs or their Mom gets mad … so any semblance of emotional strength or emotional appeal usually fades as well.

The only time that shit seems attractive is when lit by the LED screen of a lonely viewer of Breitbart or some other online receptacle of horse manure and obvious idiocy. Alone in your room … while posting Pepe the Frog pics for the amusement of other curdled adolescents … you might imagine your pimple-assed face to be the face of a new Aryan nation.

But not in the light of day. Not in the light of Liberty.

P.S. I wasn’t happy with the way the local police handled Charlottesville. And I’m not convinced that the right of assembly always means the right to assemble exactly where you want to … e.g., I support the ability of a locality – for public safety reasons – to deny one venue and suggest an equivalent substitute. But those posts are for another day.

What Trump added today and why he added it …

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A word, first, about Trump’s demeanor. No sadness, no remorse at his own inadequacy from the day before, no apology for not being “clearer,” some obvious impatience that he had to speak about this – again – and not matters he considers more important. Nearly everything was discussed in general terms. A raised voice toward the end – when he condemned the list of groups he was given to condemn – which some might mistake for passion or at least sincerity, but it was just loud rote.

In his small-handed way, Trump was again trying to act the Tough Guy. The Strong Man. Doing his puffed-up Mussolini impersonation, minus the sash. Letting us know that the nation is in good hands (which look less small when you face the palm out and spread the fingers) and, hey, I’m on this, k?

There was lots of talk about the law and having legal authorities handle this. Trumpolini dreams at night that the country’s various law enforcement agencies all work for him. Remember that one cop group endorsement he got during the campaign? And kept mentioning with such pride?

Trump spoke most – among his advisors – to Fire and Fury Bannon and White Supremacy Gang Sign Miller before the first speech, when he didn’t manage to condemn any group by name, spread the blame wide and far back in history, and presented round one of the Strong Man “law and order” stuff.

That speech was for his election supporters … neo-Nazis, white nationalists, KKK, mouth breathers on 4Chan and reddit who read Breitbart and are scared of women and talk tough only on their computers … and they got the message. They were elated that he didn’t condemn them. He’s still with us. He’s grateful. His inept and inapt Presidency is our fulfillment.

The media piled on these last couple days and required Trump to issue a “clarification.” Although he didn’t label it as such, because that would mean he said something wrong the first time. And he looked plenty impatient while he issued. The righty whiteys and other mouth breathers will get that message, too … roughly translated as “see what our guy has to put up with from the lamestream press?” But they know what’s in Trump’s heart. Hatred. Contempt. Same as theirs.

Don’t believe what Trumpolini said today … he didn’t believe it either … the truth is in what he failed to say the first time around.

Can We Get to the Last Act Already?

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The last act where the brain-addled (adderalled?) King Donald finally turns on Bannon and hangs his sorry ass for treason and general irritation? Hey, I’m not the one asking for Steve Bannon to hang. Bannon is. By comparing himself, grandiosely and pathetically, to the arch Tudor schemer Thomas Cromwell, who pulled the strings on an unwitting Henry the VIII until Hank summoned his last particle of brain matter and executed him.
“I am Thomas Cromwell,” Steve Bannon said in a recent New York Magazine article where he also compared himself happily to Darth Vader. I haven’t seen Star Wars in a long time, so I just remember a guy who talked low and breathed heavily as if he drank a little. So far so good. I can’t tell if Vader has trouble remembering to shave – like Bannon – because he’s always wearing that space mask thing. And I stopped watching those movies after somebody got his arm torn off. Was that Vader or the blonde good guy star?
Either way, the Cromell comparison seems to work better. And I know more about Cromwell than Vader, so let’s stick with historical Tom. Cromwell manipulates Henry into doing what he wants – for years – until Henry gets wise (or runs out of other people to hang) and offs Cromwell. Happy ending, right? Please understand, I’m 100% against capital punishment … even for treasonous lieges … so I’m only wishing and hoping here for the symbolic execution of “You’re fired.”

King Donald Trump is a licentious greedhead, a reality TV buffoon, who hates one at a time (when someone punctures the gas-filled balloon of his narcissism) not in groups. King Donald doesn’t really hate Mexicans. He hates the Mexican-American judge who ruled against him on the Trump School Fraud. King Donald doesn’t hate Muslims.He hates this Muslim or that Muslim who refused to offer him a building permit or complained about the service in one of his hotels.  Crown Prince Donald talked hate and scapegoated to get elected. And he does those things now to stay elected, while he loots the government coffers and cuts deals in foreign states.  He’s a crook, first, an idealogue barely at all.

But his Cromwell, Steve Bannon? Steve’s a hater. He hates Jews, Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants of all kinds.  He wants ALL immigrants banned … the green card thing wasn’t a “mistake,” it’s something Bannon insisted on.  As you will read in the linked article, he has advocated a hiatus on all immigration (including legal immigration) from all countries and a cessation of multi-nation treaties.  He thinks – and here is where a purportedly bright man shows himself woefully stupid – that the U.s. can cut deals one nation to another nation one deal at a time. And that we will have the upper hand, always, in negotiations, ’cause, you know, we’re Amurica.

Bannon seeks to ally the United State under King Donald with other haters around the world, most of whom are also fascist. Nigel Farage in the UK (a Bannon friend) and the Brexit crowd, fascist shithead Marine Le Pen in France, Putin and Putin and Putin until the last syllable of democratic time. Bannon is a big Putin fan and a disciple of Alexandr Dugin, who is Putin’s fascist ideological inspiration. The Breitbart crowd are also Putin fans, the self-proclaimed neoNazis, all the “National Front” parties in Europe and Latin America. Steve Bannon hates just about everyone, except fellow haters (as long as they’re white and not Jewish) and alt-right. sycophants. He probably even hates Trump.

“Cromwell” Bannon is a disaster in his current job. He is genuinely dangerous. And he owns the ear of an impulsive, deeply incompetent man, who hopefully will have a late Henry the VIIth moment and dump him. Hopefully sooner the later. It will happen because Trump’s ratings will continue to fall, his audience to shrink, the applause to fade.

After money – and sex, which might prove tricky in the White House, especially at 70 and in the days of cell phones and cameras – King Donald craves attention. And all-purpose hate – in the Bannon style – isn’t playing as well in office as it did on the campaign trail.

The early Trump ratings are poor and will continue to drop, I predict. When they fall too far, so will his Cromwell. Here’s hoping his fall is painful and spectacular. I can hate, too.