Nice! Not Nice!

August 18, 2017

“Nice! Not Nice!” The President Show, on Comedy Central.

Related:

“Why The President Show Might Just Work,” David sims, The Atlantic

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Removing Confederate Monuments

August 18, 2017

“I didn’t start the problems with race in this country, but I did force the people of New Orleans to confront them,” reflects Mayor Mitch Landrieu. 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival.

The monuments:

More:

‘The Confederacy lost and we’re better for it’: New Orleans mayor,” USA Today

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Border Patrol Hiring Surge

August 17, 2017

President Trump plans to hire and train 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, 500 in the next year. There’s even a mobile app to recruit them. What could possibly go wrong? John Oliver explains.

More:

“Trump’s plan for Border Patrol, ICE hiring surges face timing, security obstacles,” Caroline Kelly Todd J. Gillman, Dallas Morning News

“The Border Patrol’s Corruption Problem,” Jeremy Raff, The Atlantic

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President Trump Clarifies His Remarks

August 17, 2017

President Trump Clarifies His Remarks
On Tuesday, President Trump clarified his thoughts on white nationalist protesters, stating that “you also had some very fine people on both sides” of the violence in Charlottesville. Very fine people like former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke  thanked him for his support. Mr. Trump also compared Robert E. Lee with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Political leaders and commentators were quick to express their appreciation:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL):  “Your comments give white supremacists ‘a win.'”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “there are no good neo-Nazis.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI-1): “White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.”

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA): “It’s wrong. Why can’t he just say that?”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “What the president said yesterday was wrong. There is no moral equivalence between those who are inciting hate and division and those who took to the streets to make it clear that those views are unacceptable. Every one of us must stand against hatred, bigotry, and violence, in both our words and our actions.”

Rep. Leonard Lance (R, NJ-7): “Mr. President, there is only one side: AGAINST white supremacists, neo-Nazis, anti-Semites & the KKK. They have no place in America or GOP.”

Admiral John Richardson: “The shameful events in Charlottesville are unacceptable and must not be tolerated.”

Rep. Steve Scalise (R, LA-1): “We must defeat white supremacy”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “…you are now receiving praise from some of the most racist and hate-filled individuals and groups in our country.”

Rep. Paul Mitchell (R, MI-10): “You can’t be a “very fine person” and be a white supremacist”

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK): “Anything less than complete & unambiguous condemnation of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK by the @POTUS is unacceptable. Period.”

Rep. Charlie Dent (R, MI-15): “POTUS must stop the moral equivalency! AGAIN, white supremacists were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville”

Read the rest of this entry »

Kim Thinks Trump Won’t Bite Himself In the Ass. We’re Not So Sure.

August 16, 2017

Kim Thinks Trump Won't Bite Himself In the Ass. We're Not So Sure.

As Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un blunder and bluster their way towards nuclear conflict, one factor may hold Mr. Trump back from a rash military act. It’s something very important to him: His own self-interest. “The president owns a 59 percent interest in Trump Korea LLC,” points out Phillip Y. Lipscy, “a joint venture with Daewoo.”

“Trump World Seoul consists of six properties located in Seoul, Busan, and Daegu. In particular, Trump World I, II, and III are located in the heart of Seoul, which would be subject to heavy North Korean conventional artillery bombardment in the event of a major peninsular conflict.

North Korea may thus perceive threats by the president as noncredible given his personal exposure to financial loss. Despite Trump’s tough rhetoric and sending aircraft carriers to nearby waters, Kim Jong Un may reasonably calculate that the president will not risk annihilation of what the Trump Organization describes as an ‘unmatched project that is a true asset to the Trump portfolio.’

Trump World Seoul also puts the president at risk of personal coercion by the North Korean regime. Kim Jong Un could seek to deter U.S. intervention by threatening to specifically target and destroy Trump’s business assets in the event of U.S. escalation. Kim need not physically destroy a Trump Tower to harm the president’s bottom line: Prominently identifying Trump properties as targets will affect their economic viability.

The president stands to lose personal wealth if a military conflict imperils any Trump property. In the vast majority of cases, insurance coverage for commercial property excludes damages sustained in interstate wars. The president therefore faces a direct, personal incentive to avoid escalating conflicts that could potentially result in the destruction of Trump Organization assets.”

— “The Trump Tower Peace Theory,” Phillip Y. Lipscy, Foreign Policy

On the other hand, playing chicken is second nature to Mr. Trump, and this kind of dispute brings out the playground bully in him. It’s why he’s involved in 3,500 lawsuits, but he can’t lawyer his way out of this.

Maybe President Trump should consult with his Ambassador to South Korea. Oh wait, he hasn’t appointed one.

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Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Hatred, Bigotry and Violence

August 15, 2017

Hatred, Bigotry and Violence

After white nationalists descended on Charlottesville Virginia to protest planned removal of a Robert E Lee statue, a car was deliberately driven into a group of peaceful counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring 19. The car ramming was called an act of “domestic terrorism” by many from across the political spectrum, who condemned the white nationalist movement behind it. While he first resisted calling out the white racists, domestic fascists, KKK members, and neo-confederates behind the fatal attack, two days later Donald Trump finally joined the critics.

Why was Mr. Trump reluctant to condemn these malignant groups? Because they were early and enthusiastic endorsers of his presidential bid, and he never disavowed their support during or after the campaign, until now. The alt-right, white nationalists, neo-confederates, and old-fashioned white racists form a significant part of his core constituency, and Charlottesville’s “Unite the Right” was their event.

While many Republicans were quick to condemn the White Supremacists behind Charlottesville, the GOP has been using a white racist strategy for decades. Donald Trump Trump just shinnied up that poison tree.

More:

“‘Blood and soil’: Protesters chant Nazi slogan in Charlottesville,” Meg Wagner, CNN

“How Donald Trump emboldened Charlottesville white supremacists,” Eric Hananoki, Media Matters

“Charlottesville And The Rise Of White Identity Politics,” Perry Bacon Jr., FiveThirtyEight

“The Hoods Are Off,” Matt Thompson, The Atlantic

“These are your people, President Trump,” Colbert I. King, Washington Post

“How white supremacy morphed into white victimization,” Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune

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We’ve Been Here Before

August 14, 2017

Don’t Be a Sucker!a short film produced by the US War Department in 1943. It was re-released in 1947 to make the case for the desegregation of the U.S. armed forces.

Watch the 18-minute film here

More:

“After Charlottesville violence, World War II anti-fascist propaganda video finds a new audience,” Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

“Why an Anti-Fascist Short Film Is Going Viral,” Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic 

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New York State Funds National Comedy Center

August 14, 2017

New York State Funds National Comedy Center
National Comedy Center (artist’s concept)

The nonprofit National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY has received a $500,000 grant from the New York State government. Appalachian Jamestown is the birthplace of Lucille Ball, who left when she was 3 years old. Her family later moved to nearby Celoron, a lakeside village with a great amusement park, and young Lucy understandably prefered living there. After her family went broke and moved back to Jamestown, 14-year-old Lucy soon left for New York City. Somehow Jamestown got the Comedy Center and Celoron got a really ugly statue of Lucy (later replaced).

It will cost $50 million to complete the Comedy Center. That’s a lot of whoopee cushions. State funding totals $14 million, the U.S. Department of Commerce kicked in $2 million, and the balance has come from private foundation sources. The center will open in 2018, but Jamestown held its annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival last week, and there seems to be a Lucy-Desi Museum there, too. If you want to pay your respects, Lucy’s remains were moved to Jamestown’s Lake View Cemetery.

More:

“Editorial: While some joke about a comedy center in Jamestown, the concept makes sense,” Buffalo News

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Top image (“National Comedy Center — artist’s conception”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Inside My Love

August 13, 2017

“Inside My Love,” written by Leon Ware, performed by him with Carleen Anderson at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, 2001. The song was first recorded in 1974 by Minnie Riperton.

More:

“Leon Ware, Renowned Soul Songwriter, Dead at 77,” Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone

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Little Queenie

August 13, 2017

“Little Queenie,” written by Chuck Berry, interpreted by The Rattles on Radio Bremen TV’s “Beat Club,” 1965.

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