The Hard White Wall of Hypocrisy

So the Creature actually tweeted this:

I had never heard of Wayne Allyn Root. Turns out he is a nutjob opinion writer:

Root, a longtime conservative columnist and radio host, has promoted a wide range of false conspiracy theories, including that President Barack Obama attended Columbia University as a “foreign exchange student,” that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered by Democrats because he provided DNC files to WikiLeaks, that progressive donor George Soros hired the murderer of Charlottesville, VA, rally victim Heather Heyer, and that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ 2015 Obamacare ruling might have been the result of him being “blackmailed or intimidated.”

Root has nonetheless received direct access to Trump and his family, whom he has partied with at the president’s Mar-A-Lago resort.

Of course. Back to Trump:

“The last time ‘King of the Jews’ trended, things did not end well.” Charles Pierce

Fifty-three years ago, John Lennon said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, and the Bible Belt erupted in outrage. Today? Not so much.

One of my Facebook friends says that for Dispensationalists, which conservative evangelicals often are, claiming to be as loved as Jesus in Israel puts Trump in serious Antichrist territory. I’ll take his word on that; I don’t care to look deeply into Dispensationalism. But will any of Trump’s evangelical supporters express concern about this? I’m not going to hold my breath until they do.

We need a cartoon of Trump and Franklin Graham throwing Jesus under a bus.

And then there’s the Greenland thing. Trump actually cancelled a visit to Denmark that was supposed to have happened around the first of September because the Danish prime minister told him flatly she wasn’t selling Greenland. Kevin Drum:

Can we finally start talking publicly about Trump’s mental state? This is the action of a child, not an adult in full control of his faculties. Everyone aside from Trump understood that his Greenland compulsion was a sign of cognitive regression in the first place, and this episode demonstrates that it was no passing fantasy. Trump took it seriously enough to treat Frederiksen’s comments as just another incitement to a feud with a political enemy.

The man is not well. I don’t care what you want to call his condition, but he’s not well. I can only shiver at the thought of what the folks who work regularly with Trump really think of him these days.

Greg Sargent thinks that it’s possible Trump is aware that Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Denmark in mid-September, and Trump is afraid the Danes will treat Obama better than him and make him look bad. But as a “most charitable” reason, that still smells out loud.

This is a fresh tweet:

No, moron, the other NATO countries do not owe us protection money. NATO is not the Mob.

Oh, and Trump is now starting a war with the auto industry. He can’t understand why they aren’t grateful to him for getting rid of Obama emission standards. Instead of just reverting to manufacturing smog-emiting cars, automakers are agreeing to abide by standards passed by California that are, essentially, the Obama standards. The Trump Administration declared that states cannot set their own standards, but that is being challenged in court. The auto manufacturers probably realize that once Trump is gone the next president will reinstate the Obama standards, so there is no point retooling. But Trump is pissed.

No, he’s not well. And perhaps the most dangerous thing the King of the Jews said yesterday was to call Jews “disloyal.” Dahlia Lithwick:

At a press conference on Tuesday, President Donald Trump released a tirade of nonsensical statements after he was asked whether the United States should reconsider its policies toward Israel after the country refused entry to two Muslim American U.S. congresswomen. His reply? “I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation. Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they are defending these two people over the state of Israel?” Trump said. “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

Media accounts suggest it wasn’t exactly clear to whom Jews voting for a Democrat would be disloyal, but in context it appears that he was suggesting that Jews owe their first loyalty to Israel and that any choice to defend Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota—freshman Democrats who were first granted entry to Israel by the Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and then denied it after Trump suggested they be barred—is a choice not to defend Israel, where, according to Trump, Jews’ principal loyalty should lie.

This is not at all farfetched. Awhile back, in a speech to American Jewish Republicans, Trump referred to Benjamin Netanyahu was “your prime minister.” In Trump’s head, American Jews are not entirely American. This is dangerous. Some of Trump’s unhinged, gun-toting followers might take Trump’s “disloyalty” comments to mean that it’s time to shoot up another synagogue.

Jennifer Rubin notes that a number of prominent Democrats have criticized Trump’s words. And “Jewish groups — with the exception of the quisling Republican Jewish Coalition, which had the chutzpah to defend Trump — condemned the president,” she wrote.

However, we have yet to hear from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) or House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who claimed to be oh so concerned about anti-Semitism when the issue was statements by Omar. It comes as no surprise to anyone paying the slightest attention that their concern about anti-Semitism appears to be entirely situational.

Also, too:

He’s not well. Nancy Pelosi, please, do your job.

Update: Now he’s complaining the prime minister of Denmark was “nasty” to him. He’s escalating.

Trump: Where Dementia, Ignorance and Paranoia Collide

So this happened:

“I don’t think we’re having a recession,” Trump told reporters on Sunday in an attempt to quell fears over a potential market crash. “We’re doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they’re loaded up with money.”

“I don’t see a recession,” he continued. “I mean, the world is in a recession right now. Although, that’s too big a statement.”

Toss in some paranoia:

Trump accused the media of deliberately precipitating an economic apocalypse in order to run him out of office. “The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election,” he wrote on Twitter. “The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!”

The paranoia doesn’t end there. The New York Times reported on Sunday that in addition to his public grievances about the economy — which have also been directed at Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, whom Trump has accused of hamstringing growth by not cutting rates by enough — the president has been griping privately to aides and allies that everyone is out to get him and that all of this talk of an economic downturn is part of a multi-pronged scheme perpetrated by enemies who he believes are more concerned with sticking it to him than they are with the welfare of the United States. Very sane. Very normal.

I think there’s some dim understanding that somebody needs to do something. There’s a story out this evening that the Administration is considering a temporary payroll tax cut, among other things.

Charles Pierce:

Weaponized paranoia always has been at the heart of El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago‘s political identity. In the tangles of his mind, he is always standing strong and alone against a vast array of enemies, including the minions of The Deep State and certain Guatemalan toddlers. If he feels like his presidency* is in serious peril, he’s liable to go off the deep end. He’s already setting up the members of the cult to refuse to accept the result of any election he doesn’t win. (He’s recently gone off again about those busloads of Massachusetts voters who drove to New Hampshire to deprive him of his win there in 2016.) If a recession hits, he’s already blamed his own Fed chair and the evil media. Who would be left?

Democrats, of course.

“Our Economy is very strong, despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed, but the Democrats are trying to ‘will’ the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election,” Trump tweeted. “Very Selfish! Our dollar is so strong that it is sadly hurting other parts of the world.”

Yes, evil Democrats with their mighty mind-beams are willing the economy to slow.

A slowing economy wouldn’t necessarily be terrifying, except that the people in charge of the economy are the likes of Trump and Larry Kudlow, who have no clue what they are doing. So there’s little hope we’re going to escape some consequences. See also Paul Waldman, Trump’s Scam Is Failing Him, and He’s in a Panic Over It.

But while we’re speaking of mental instability– we are hearing more about Trump’s very serious idea about buying Greenland.

Trump made it clear on the tarmac as he prepared to board Air Force One, bound for the G7 summit in France, that he thought Greenland had a price, in the same way that everything and everybody has a price, and Denmark could be a willing seller.

He said: “We protect Denmark like we do large portions of the world. So the concept came up and I said, certainly. Strategically it’s interesting. It’s essentially a large real estate deal.”

The art of the deal is to spot your adversary’s weakness. Trump said Greenland was costing Denmark about $700m (£575m) a year in subsidies. While he pointed out this drain on the public finances, it was clear he saw it as a bargaining chip that could be used to persuade Danish taxpayers.

The Financial Times, in a mock assessment of Trump’s bid, put a price of $1.1tn on the combined value of Greenland’s mineral and defence assets.

Yeah, there’s a G7 summit coming up, in the French seaside town of Biarritz. This should be fun.

Democrats Challenge SCOTUS

Didn’t see this coming — last week Sheldon Whitehouse and four other Democratic senators  filed an amicus brief in a Second Amendment case the SCOTUS is considering. And it’s some brief.

“The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it,” writes Whitehouse, who is listed as the attorney of record on the friend-of-the-court brief. “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ ” The phrase is from a poll question with which a majority of Americans agreed.

Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) joined the incendiary brief, which questions whether the court’s conservative majority — nominated by three Republican presidents — is motivated by partisan intent and is in the pocket of the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

“Out in the real world, Americans are murdered each day with firearms in classrooms or movie theaters or churches or city streets, and a generation of preschoolers is being trained in active-shooter survival drills,” Whitehouse writes. “In the cloistered confines of this Court, and notwithstanding the public imperatives of these massacres, the NRA and its allies brashly presume, in word and deed, that they have a friendly audience for their ‘project.’ ”

The senators are challenging the legitimacy of this court to rule on cases touching on partisan issues, which is a damn ballsy thing to do. I’m impressed. And this could be read as a warning to Chief Justice Roberts to avoid letting his court turn into a rubber stamp for right-wing interests. Or else.

From ThinkProgress:

The brief itself is less a legal document than a declaration of war. Though parts of it argue that the high court lacks jurisdiction over this case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, the thrust of the brief is that the Supreme Court is dominated by political hacks selected by the Federalist Society, and promoted by the National Rifle Association — and that if those hacks don’t watch out, the American people are going to rebel against them.

Seriously.

New York State Rifle, Whitehouse writes, “did not emerge from a vacuum.” Rather, “the lead petitioner’s parent organization, the National Rifle Association (NRA), promoted the confirmation (and perhaps selection) of nominees to this Court who, it believed, would ‘break the tie’ in Second Amendment cases.” That promotional effort includes $1.2 million Whitehouse says the NRA spent on television advertisements supporting the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.

The City of New York actually rescinded the law that is being challenged by the gun-rights people to stop the case from going to the Supreme Court, so I don’t see how the case is not moot. The law put restrictions on transporting firearms that the Rifle & Pistol Association thought were unreasonable.

In another interesting development of a couple of weeks ago

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler is moving to bring new scrutiny to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s past, asking the National Archives on Tuesday to release a large cache of records related to his time in George W. Bush’s White House.

In a letter from Nadler and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), another senior Judiciary Committee member, the lawmakers said accessing the records are essential to “the public’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary.”

It may be too much to hope for that they might move to impeach Kavanaugh, but at the very least the SCOTUS is on notice that they need to act carefully or face consequences.

Now He Wants to Buy Greenland

If the United States had a functional POTUS, he’d be working overtime applying strong but diplomatic pressure on India to back off Kashmir and China to back off Hong Kong. IMO these hot spots of oppression are happening now in part because the U.S. doesn’t have a functioning POTUS. The leaders of those nations know that Trump is an ineffectual joke. So anything goes. Oh, and did I mention that India and Pakistan are both nuclear powers?

Michelle Goldberg:

All over the world, things are getting worse. China appears to be weighing a Tiananmen Square-like crackdown in Hong Kong. After I spoke to Khan, hostilities between India and Pakistan ratcheted up further; on Thursday, fighting across the border in Kashmir left three Pakistani soldiers dead. (Pakistan also claimed that five Indian soldiers were killed, but India denied it.) Turkey is threatening to invade Northeast Syria to go after America’s Kurdish allies there, and it’s not clear if an American agreementmeant to prevent such an incursion will hold.

North Korea’s nuclear program and ballistic missile testingcontinue apace. The prospect of a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine is more remote than it’s been in decades. Tensions between America and Iran keep escalating. Relations between Japan and South Korea have broken down. A Pentagon report warns that ISIS is “re-surging” in Syria. The U.K. could see food shortages if the country’s Trumpish prime minister, Boris Johnson, follows through on his promise to crash out of the European Union without an agreement in place for the aftermath. Oh, and the globe may be lurching towards recession.

Regarding the recession, see Paul Krugman, From Trump Boom to Trump Gloom. Krugman’s not predicting a recession — although neither is he ruling one out — but says it’s clear the “smart money” has turned against Trump’s management of the economy. The famous inverted yield curve amounts to a vote of no confidence in Trump.

So of course The Creature wants to buy Greenland. “The president is said to have discussed the idea of purchasing Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, during dinners and meetings with advisers.” At least he’s providing comic relief in dark times.

Are We Winning Yet?

A screen shot of the New York Times home page just now:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 800 points today, I understand. That’s probably not good.

From WaPo:

The global economy has begun to shudder.

On Wednesday, the U.S. stock market tumbled after a reliable predictor of looming recessions flashed for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average fell around 800 points, or 3 percent, and has lost close to 7 percent in the past three weeks.

Two of the world’s largest economies, Germany and the United Kingdom, appear to be contracting. Argentina’s stock market fell nearly 50 percent in recent days, and growth in China has slowed.

Whether the events presage an economic calamity or just an alarming spasm are unclear. But unlike during the Great Recession, global leaders are not working in unison to confront mounting problems and arrest the slowdown. Instead, they are increasingly at each other’s throats.

And President Trump has responded by both claiming the economy is still thriving while dramatically ramping up his attacks on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, seeking to deflect blame.

I am not qualified to explain inverted yield curves, but that’s what spooked everybody today. I understand that Trump’s trade war with China is not the only factor causes financial tectonic plates to shift, but it’s a major one.

Since financial reporters tend to be buoyantly optimistic about the economy until the moment the electricity is cut off and the foreclosure papers are tacked to the door, I find it unsettling that one story after another solemnly warns it ain’t lookin’ good out there. There are always qualifiers — disaster may not fall — but they are falling short of buoyant optimism today. It’s more like cautious hopefulness mixed with just a hint of panic.

Which brings us to the wonderfully understated headline Could managing the economy be more complicated than Donald Trump thought?

Paul Waldman:

Trump could not have been more wrong than when he insisted in 2018 that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” His trade war is somewhere between a failure and a disaster, precisely because he thought it would be easy to win. “We’re learning that maybe China has a higher pain threshold than we thought here,” said Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore. You mean they wouldn’t just knuckle under and give us back all our jobs? Who could have predicted such a thing?

Well, anybody who knew anything could have predicted such a thing, but that leaves out Trumpsters.

That’s our short-term problem, but the long-term problem suggested by the study of CEO pay is that the economy has been and continues to be organized primarily for the benefit of those at the top. And if we do find ourselves in a recession, it may cause people to step back and realize that not only did Trump have no idea what he was talking about when it came to our immediate challenges, everything he has done will make inequality worse.

One thing we can say for sure is that whatever happens over the next year or two, economic policy turned out to be quite a bit more complicated than Trump thought. Of course, you could say that about almost any policy.

Trump has been tweeting frantically all afternoon, insisting that “Tremendous amounts of money pouring into the United States” (from where?) and about the “tremendous mistakes” of Federal Reserve Chair “Jay” Powell that are messing up his brilliant trade war that he would be winning otherwise.

I keep wondering when the money people will wise up and stop supporting this clown.

How Many Valuable Allies Has Trump Insulted Lately?

This happened at a Hamptons fundraiser last week:

Of his fundraising visit, Trump went on to say, “I love coming to the Hamptons, I know the Hamptons well, everyone here votes for me but they won’t admit it.”

And of his tough stance on trade tariffs and US military aid, Trump told a story of going as a boy to collect rent checks with his father, adding, “It was easier to get a billion dollars from South Korea than to get $114.13 from a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, and believe me, those 13 cents were very important.” …

…Trump also made fun of US allies South Korea, Japan and the European Union — mimicking Japanese and Korean accents — and talked about his love of dictators Kim Jong Un and the current ruler of Saudi Arabia. …

… Talking about South Korea, Trump said it makes great TVs and has a thriving economy, “So why are we paying for their defense. They’ve got to pay.” He then mimicked the accent of the leader Moon Jae-in while describing how he caved in to Trump’s tough negotiations.

Here’s my favorite part:

On his remarkable friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “I just got a beautiful letter from him this week. We are friends. People say he only smiles when he sees me.”

That may actually be true.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there.

Turning to Japan, Trump then put on a fake Japanese accent to recount his conversations with Shinzo Abe over their conversations over trade tariffs.

Trump spoke about his friendship with Abe and how fascinated he was with Abe’s father, who had been a kamikaze pilot. Trump asked Abe if the kamikaze pilots were drunk or on drugs. Abe said no, they just loved their country. Trump remarked, “Imagine they get in a plane with a half a tank of gas and fly into steel ships just for the love of their country!”

How big of an ass do you have to be to say stuff like that to the bleeping prime minister of Japan? When Trump is finally gone the U.S. is going to have to spend the remainder of century apologizing for him.

Guns Don’t Make You Free

On Thursday, Dmitriy N. Andreychenko walked into a Walmart in Springfield, Missouri, wearing full body armor and carrying a semiautomatic handgun loaded with one round in its chamber and an “AR-style rifle.” He was also in possession of 100 rounds of ammunition. Andreychenko, aged 20, says he had no intention of hurting anybody. He was just making a video of himself swaggering around armed to the teeth in a Walmart to reaffirm his 2nd Amendment rights, or something.

Shoppers did not think well of Andreychenko’s stunt. They panicked and stampeded out of the store. Fortunately, there are no reports anyone was trampled. Another store patron, identified only as an off-duty fireman, pulled a gun on Andreychenko and held him until police came to take him into custody.

Like a lot of “red” states Missouri is pretty much anything goes as far as guns are concerned — carry what you want pretty much anywhere you want. Missouri also has the sixth highest rate of firearm deaths in the nation. The state motto should be changed to “The Shoot-Me State.” There was an open question whether Andreychenko would be charged with a crime, since state law allows him to openly carry lots of loaded firearms as long as he’s not doing it in a “threatening manner.”

But, apparently, a judge decided that what he did was threatening enough. Andreychenko has been charged with making a terrorist threat in the second degree, a Class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison. It’s not clear whether this charge was based on anything in Andreychenko’s cell-phone video or captured by store surveillance cameras, or the fact that he obviously just plain scared the stuffing out of a lot of people and caused a panicked evacuation of the store.

Andreychenko claimed he did not anticipate customers’ reactions, a Friday statement from a Springfield police officer says.

“This is Missouri,” he told investigators, according to law enforcement. “I understand if we were somewhere else like New York or California, people would freak out.”

Andreychenko’s wife and sister tried to talk him out of pulling the stunt. The wife allegedly told the police that Andreychenko is an “immature boy.” Yeah, that marriage is doomed.

This also points to the obvious stupidity of “open carry” laws. It’s fine to say that you can carry lots of guns as long as you don’t do so in a threatening manner. But the very act of openly carrying weapons is threatening in most contexts. Put another way, why else would somebody show up in a public place brandishing weapons if not, at the very least, to intimidate people? That’s really the whole point, isn’t it? It’s a dominance display, or at least an attempt at one:

Josh Marshall:

We should recognize these actions as precursor acts to mass shootings.

Indeed, yesterday the FBI announced the arrest of 23 year old Conor Climo for plotting to stage a mass shooting or bomb attack at either a synagogue or gay night club in Las Vegas. Three years ago he was in the news in Las Vegas as one of these self-styled open carry activists who’d decided he would patrol local neighborhoods uninvited with an AR-15 and various other military paraphrenalia. Here’s a local news report from September 2016. Police said he what he was doing was legal so long as he didn’t go within a certain distance of schools or certain government buildings.

Yep, the guy in the 2016 news story is the very same Conor Climo that the FBI just arrested. Back to Josh Marshall:

This isn’t just one example. It’s fairly obvious that anyone who carries off one of these stunts is worth monitoring for future mass casualty attacks. Despite the claims about acclimating people to the ‘normalness’ of being around random civilians with military style weapons and the language of “rights”, the obvious motivation behind these stunts is to feel power as evidenced by the ability to scare and terrorize people. That is to say, to experience the fear or terror or sense of powerlessness others feel when someone they don’t know or have any reason to trust is strutting around with an AR-15. The language and politics of extreme gun rights activists is consistently highly similar to those of far-right or white nationalist groups. They are of a piece both psychologically and ideologically.

I don’t expect the hard-right Missouri legislature to do a dadblamed thing about the phenomenon of play-pretend commandos shopping in Walmart. That would be for the best; the whackjob Texas legislature likes to respond to mass shooting by making sure the next shooter has an easier time arming himself by making their already absurdly loose gun laws even looser.

Folks, this is not freedom. Having to live among heavily armed Men With Issues whose personalities are somewhere on the Bozo spectrum is not my idea of freedom.  Further, if your “freedom” hinges on having to intimidate and dominate other law-abiding citizens, then your definition of “freedom” leaves a lot to be desired. And the “gun rights” crowd has a long history of using arms and intimidation to stomp on everyone else’s freedoms, especially freedom of speech when people speak up for gun control.

Charles Pierce wrote back in 2013,

The Republican party, a number of timid Democrats, and the conservative “movement” have played footsie with dangerous woodland characters for far too long. This stuff can be used, but it cannot be fully controlled. This is not political debate. This is empowered, enabled paranoia, with firearms. This is not an exercise in democracy. This is a little touch of Munich, 1923 come to the forested exurbs. This stuff can be used, but it cannot be fully controlled, and something very bad is going to happen.

Something very bad has happened a lot, and it keeps getting worse.

Dead Men Tell No Tales

The subtitle of this post is “Who took Epstein off suicide watch?

Like all federal prisons, the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan has a suicide prevention program designed for inmates who are at risk of taking their own lives.

After an apparent attempt three weeks ago, Jeffrey Epstein — the financier who was at the facility awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls — was a prime candidate.

Yet Mr. Epstein, 66, was not on suicide watch when he hanged himself and his body was found in his cell early on Saturday, raising questions about the steps officials took after the first incident to keep him from harming himself.

The New York Times article linked goes on to explain how these decisions usually are made but sheds no light on who made the call in Epstein’s case. “The federal Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to requests for information,” it says.

But, gee, who is in charge of the criminal justice system these days? And who has a history of interceding in the prison sentences of, um, certain convicts?

Nobody in the U.S.A. believes that Epstein alone was responsible for his death. The Right is certain that Hillary Who Can Bend Time and Space to Her Evil Will Clinton, She Who Is Behind All Nefarious Plots, ordered the death to protect Bill. The Left, of course, is very certain the person being protected is Trump and/or someone close to him. But there are a great many people with money and power with a keen interest in this case. Charles Pierce:

How in the hell do they let this happen? The guy was incarcerated in the Manhattan Correctional Center. He already had made one try. He had to be on suicide watch. And the suicide happens the day after a massive document dump in which a woman who said she was one of Epstein’s victims implicates an entire brigade of celebrity “clients,” up to an including some European royalty? There almost can’t be a dog more reluctant to hunt than this one.

A whole bunch of Somebodies need to get fired behind this. Beyond it, of course, a thousand conspiracy theories will now bloom across all the Intertoobz. The other people involved have to be nervous. Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s alleged accomplice who has yet to be charged, has to be looking over her shoulder. Is she looking over her shoulder to see if the FBI is back there, or to see if something darker is closing in? This country is losing what’s left of its mind.

So many people have been implicated in this scandal that I don’t believe Epstein’s death will end it, but it might take the criminal justice procedings off the front pages. I’m sure we’ll learn more eventually.

Los débiles

William Saletan makes some interesting points at Slate. Among other things, he notes that today’s white nationalists seem to be claiming they must dominate America not because they are superior to those other races, but because they aren’t.

Racist terrorists who have left behind manifestos or other writings—Dylann Roof (Charleston, 2015), Robert Bowers (Pittsburgh, 2018), John Earnest (Poway, California, 2019), and others—generally regard whites as victims. That’s their standard excuse for murder: that they were acting in self-defense. They’ve fretted about “ethnic replacement,” “demographic annihilation,” and “white genocide.” Crusius claimed to be fighting a “Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me,” he wrote. “I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”

The alleged El Paso shooter, Patrick Crusius, actually wrote that whites were threatened  “as stronger and/or more appealing cultures overtake weaker and/or undesirable ones.” In other words, he was less about white supremacy and more about white preservation. The “invasion” of nonwhite immigrants would overwhelm “white culture,” whatever Crusius imagines that is. Further, he fears whites themselves would disappear though intermarriage.

I find the culture thing annoying. In the realm of the fine arts, “white” culture is more or less European culture, which includes Spain. Your average wingnut wouldn’t know a work by Murillo or Velazquez from one by Rembrandt, and wouldn’t care. So it’s folk and popular culture that concerns them. Apparently wingnuts feel oppressed by mariachi bands, which is a damn shame because mariachi music makes me happy. If mariachis don’t cheer you up, there’s something wrong with you. And dare I say — La Bamba?

And speaking of invasions, let us not forget that Texas used to be a state of Mexico. But I digress.

So we’ve got these pathetic weenies who feel oppressed by frijoles and accoustic guitar music and are terrified their supposedly recessive DNA will be wiped out by aggressive, curly-haired dominatrix DNA from someplace not European. And these bozos think they deserve to be protected and preserved, why, exactly?

An article at Psychology Today on the Psychology of Racism says, “racism (and xenophobia of all kinds) … is primarily a psychological trait — more specifically, a psychological defense mechanism generated by feelings of insecurity and anxiety.” Well, of course it is.

In other words, racism — and xenophobia of any kind — is a symptom of psychological ill-health. It is a sign of a lack of psychological integration, a lack of self-esteem and inner security. Psychologically healthy people with a stable sense of self and strong inner security are not racist, because they have no need to strengthen their sense of self through group identity. They have no need to define themselves in distinction to — and in conflict with — others.

Do read the whole article, it’s quite good. So, your average racist is an individual with a badly integrated personality, low self-esteem and a deep sense of insecurity. Note that none of this rises to the level of “mental illness,” unless you want to define half the population as “mentally ill.” Marching around with tiki torches and assault weapons makes them feel stronger. I would add that men who are abusive of women have similar issues.

These specimens see themselves as big, strong men, but they aren’t strong at all. They are armored. They are defensive. People who go through life armored, whether with weapons or just belligerence, are weak people. Genuinely strong people don’t need armor except on a battlefield.

Trump is a very armored man, I have noticed. He is all belligerence and self-defensiveness. He is so insecure he wouldn’t allow press to cover his recent visits to Dayton and El Paso, but the White House public relations people assure us Trump was “greeted like a rock star.” Sure he was. And then there’s this:

While visiting a hospital in El Paso, Texas on Wednesday after a mass shooting that left 22 people dead, President Donald Trump found time to boast about the crowd size at a campaign rally he held in the city several months ago.

Trump was meeting with a team of medical staffers at the University Medical Center, where eight victims of the shooting are still in recovery, when he suddenly brought up the rally he held in El Paso (for which his campaign still hasn’t paid back its debt of over $400,000 to the city).

“I was here three months ago and we made a speech,” he said before shaking the hand of a hospital employee who said he was at the front row of that rally (which was held in February, not three months ago).

“That was some crowd,” Trump bragged. “And we had twice the number outside.”

That led to a tangent about 2020 Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke and the counter-protest he had led on the day of Trump’s rally.

“And then you had this crazy Beto,” he continued. “Beto had like 400 people in the parking lot. They said his crowd was wonderful. But we had some—”

Trump then interrupted himself to admire a hospital worker’s Trump-themed socks.

“Oh wow! Look at that,” he exclaimed. “Don’t tell it to the press because they won’t even believe it.”

I started to say Trump must have intestines of jello, but even jello beats whatever he’s got. Total wimp.