The Thing About That Photo From the Trump Rally

First, the photo, and my commentary about it on Twitter:

(Here’s a direct link to the photo on the Chicago Tribune site if for some reason you can’t see it.)

The problem with that photo is not that someone is giving the Nazi salute at a Trump rally. Neither Trump nor any of the other presidential candidates can be accountable for the actions of a single person at one of their events. The problem with the photo is at this point no one is surprised that someone is giving the Nazi salute at a Trump rally. And this is something that Trump can be held responsible for: That his own positions and actions have made an environment where someone feels letting rip with a Nazi salute is a perfectly okay thing to do.

Which is not to say that the right (and the GOP specifically) wants to own this. One of the first things the trolls* did on Twitter is try to suggest the woman in the photo (identified by name and city of residence by the Chicago Tribune, as one does as a matter of standard journalistic practice) was a supporter of Bernie Sanders named Portia Boulger, thanks to a photo showing Ms. Boulger with roughly the same hair as the woman in the photo — apparently to these folks, all older, gray-haired women look the same. Sadly for them, Portia Boulger’s current haircut is shorter and she can account for her whereabouts last night. But this doesn’t stop folks on the right looking for someone, anyone, else to blame.

Well, no. Sorry, guys, but the right spent decades blowing dog whistles. Now that you’ve got a candidate who has graduated from a dog whistle to a bull horn, you shouldn’t be surprised when some of his supporters decide that thank God it’s time to stop being politically correct and fling out fascistic symbolism in this new, accepting environment. Disavowal is difficult when the difference between Trump’s tactics and the ones the right has been using for numerous election cycles is in degree, not kind. You get to own this one. Enjoy it.

(*It appears that one of the first trolls to do this, winning a retweet from Donald Trump, Jr., was Vox Day, noted eater of crayons. If the Trump folks really want to put some daylight between themselves and the forces of willfully incompetent bigotry, this is a poor way to do it. It also reaffirms that if you’re really determined to make an ass of yourself in public, associating yourself with Vox Day is a very fine way to make that happen.)

203 thoughts on “The Thing About That Photo From the Trump Rally

  1. “…was Vox Day…”*

    I will assume that the Declaration of Victory, The Yuuuuge Website View Numbers, and The Damn You Scalzi statements have all been released then? Or has Day suddenly discovered originality?

  2. The attempted Boulger slander is yet another example of the right’s firm belief that the worst thing ever in the whole wide world is to be accused of racism. To them, it’s so bad that a person accused of racism cannot possibly be on their side and must therefore be a left-wing plant.

    But actual racism? Ehh, it’s not so bad.

  3. Alternatively, the riots were caused by, in Trump’s words, “professional people”. I wonder if they are full time professional people, or part time.

  4. Godwin Wept (with apologies to St John the Evangelist) Many years ago I had a discussion with a friend who is African American about how much better things were (in my eyes) than they had been. He allowed that yes, things were some better but not maybe as shiny as I thought. I was so very very wrong. He was so very very right.

  5. I imagine there’s some irony in the fact that many of those currently excusing Trump and the behaviour of his supporters would, if asked, deride Chamberlain and policies of appeasement.

  6. There’s a post from the man in the denim jacket at the left of ths picture. I think it makes the picture worse and better. I apparently can’t post a link to it, but you should be able to find it by searchng facebook for Michael Joseph Garza. It’s a powerful narrative.There’s a post from the man in the denim jacket at the left of ths picture. I think it makes the picture worse and better. I apparently can’t post a link to it, but you should be able to find it by searchng facebook for Michael Joseph Garza. It’s a powerful narrative.

  7. Well put, as usual.

    Wholly apart from the outright terror I feel regarding a Trump presidency — OK, even typing that phrase turns my stomach more than a little — it’s the absolute mortification, with respect to the global stage. I have friends on every continent except Antarctica. They are, quite understandably, horrified by his ascendency.

    And I have no earthly idea what to say to them.

    Especially the ones in Germany, who pretty much universally are saying things that boil down to “Did you learn NOTHING from our mistake? Do you really need to REPEAT IT?!”

  8. *checks Wikipedia*

    Wow, I feel *soiled* just looking Duke up.

    As for the GOP and their little old lady fan, I think Our Generous Host has pretty much covered it. This whole thing is so very messed up.

    Good luck to those of you in the US.

  9. We need to stop comparing Trump’s supporters to Nazis. Obviously, it turns them on. (I’m a long-time lurker, first-time poster. Howdy, John! Nice site! Great books! Cool scamperbeasts!)

  10. There certainly are a lot of similarities between Vox Day’s methods and Trump’s methods.Both took advantage of a weakness in the nominating process of their particular areas of interest. In fact, one might wonder who learned from whom.

  11. You sure that’s not parody/sarcasm? I mean, if I was dropped in the middle of a Trump rally, I could see myself doing that as criticism, not support.

    Why would anyone think it’s a good idea to salute Trump that way unless you’re an actual Nazi.

    Don’t worry, the GOP establishment will find something to indict Trump on before too long. It’s hard to run for president when on trial – just ask Rick Perry.

  12. It is hard to NOT compare Trump supporters to Nazis when they enthusiastically embrace Nazi salutes and fascistic comments….But I know, Godwin etc etc. Even if it is correct, you can’t do this because Godwin. Seriously, folks.

  13. Except isn’t there that shot of Trump asking his supporters to raise their right hands & solemnly swear to vote for him? You know, the shot where there is A ROOM OF TRUMP SUPPORTERS doing the Nazi salute?

  14. What I find even more incredible is people are actually voting an openly socialist candidate in Bernie Sanders. Yes, the Trump crowd amazes me (not in a good way) but at least Trump is not supporting National Socialist agendas. While on the DNC ticket you have a candidate calling for socialism in America and people are actually voting for him. How ignorant has our government school system made Americans?

  15. Arphaxad: “Socialist” ≠ “National Socialist”. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that Sanders isn’t a nationalist, and perhaps you haven’t noticed that Hitler wasn’t a Socialist. Or maybe you were self-schooled.

  16. Arphaxad, kind of derailing things here.

    Hold my nose and vote for an alternative to Hillary? Yeah, I can see doing that.

  17. Arphaxad: The slightest amount of research would show you that the National Socialist party of Hitler had as much to do with Socialism as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka North Korea) is a Democratic Republic.

  18. Guys, Bernie Sanders isn’t the topic here. Let’s snip the derail, please. Also, you should all be ashamed for rising to the derailing bait (to, uh, mix metaphors here).

  19. Look at how much conservatives hate whatever Democrats were doing fifty years ago. The GOP actually does hate one kind of racist: an EX-racist.

  20. Arphaxad:

    Bernie Sanders policies which would bring the US into line with first world nations are truly terrifying.

    Tremble at the horror that is Sweden!

  21. Sarcasm Alert: Looks like Donald Trump beta-tested his low budget get-out-the-vote operation in Chicago last night, but it’s damn hard to determine for which campaign . . .

  22. While every political candidate currently in the running “scares” me for one reason or another, Trump is the only one to actually feature in a personal nightmare.

  23. The thing I found truly unsettling wasn’t so much the physical gesture (although that was unsettling enough), but the call by Trump to pledge allegiance to him. One pledges allegiance to a country,not a person. Pledging allegiance to a person detaches loyalty from any kind of ethical framework.

  24. “It’s payback time. It’s payback time.” That was Trump in Cleveland today, moments after a “protestor” was intercepted trying to jump on the stage. . .

  25. So has anyone quoted (maybe) Sinclair Lewis yet? “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”

    Between Trump and Cruz . . . ouch. Just–ouch.

  26. @zardeenah – Yes, let’s fight against those “Commie” nightmares – like Denmark, Sweden and South Korea, all with National Health Care and affordable collage – and booming economies.

    I’m seeing this kind of Red Scare BS coming a lot from Clinton surrogates lately, starting with Bill Clinton and Sen. Claire McCaskill, which is one big reason I’ve lost all respect for Hillary as a candidate and as a human being.

    Yes, it’s off topic, but @Arphaxad’s disgusting, uninformed comment hasn’t been Malleted so it deserves a hot response.

  27. Mary Frances, that’s a mis-attribution. What he actually said in the 30’s in “It Can’t Happen Here” was far more on point:

    “There were two things, they told Doremus, that distinguished this prairie Demosthenes. He was an actor of genius. There was no more overwhelming actor on the stage, in the motion pictures, nor even in the pulpit. He would whirl arms, bang tables, glare from mad eyes, vomit Biblical wrath from a gaping mouth; but he would also coo like a nursing mother, beseech like an aching lover, and in between tricks would coldly and almost contemptuously jab his crowds with figures and facts – figures and facts that were inescapable even when, as often happened, they were entirely incorrect.”

  28. John’s point, about how people don’t seem surprised over the actions of this woman (who may be doing this as a goof, or depending upon your perspective, may be a plant by someone hoping to discredit Mr. Trump) may raise a serious issue. Assume, for argument’s sake that whoever the Democrats nominate as their candidate for the Presidency wins. What happens to the followers of the likely Republican nominee? That likely nominee advances the proposition that with his election, he’d “Make America Great Again.” Is this simply code for a time before the election of the first man who identifies as African-American (after all, Mr. Trump contributed to the “birther” thinking about Mr. Obama being Kenyan, even suggesting that the piece in the major H’awaiian newspaper about the marriage of Mr. Obama’s parents was a plant to support the supposed fiction that Mr. Obama was an American and not a Kenyan, although as Jon Stewart said last year, what about the piece, a few years later that showed up in the same paper announcing the divorce of Mr. Obama’s parents?)? Does it go back further, perhaps to the time of Mr. Reagan, whose Administration supported an illegal effort to destabilize the government of a Central American government by selling weapons to Iran, and which was the last time that granted an amnesty to all undocumented workers?

    Or sidestep exactly what “Make America Great Again” means. What happens with the people whose candidate lost? Will these be people who express their dissatisfaction with the Federal government by occupying Federal property and claiming that they are liberating it for the true owners (which likely does not mean the indigenous people who occupied that land for millennia as that would implicitly undermine the Manifest Destiny philosophy)? Can these people find that opportunities exist for them to express their views while joining in a national effort to preserve the dynamic society of America?

    Perhaps all this is premature, with a national election less than eight months away. John’s point seemed like a starting point to consider what will happen in the future.

  29. It’s frightening to watch the situation in your country from Europe. Even more to see that people are welcoming fascism. Here we don’t have Trumps, but we got our share of far-right parties amassing votes. Nobody reads about History anymore or what? Last time it took a bloodbath to take down those wannabe emperors. This cannot end well.
    Guess Pink Floyd were right.

  30. Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here is well worth reading, by the way, for the light it has to shed on Trump’s rise in these benighted times. Lewis wrote it about Huey P. Long, and during the Great Depression; but nevertheless.

  31. Crayons? Sure. But long ago, so maybe made of something else now. Back then, at summer camp, we also tried toothpaste which had some totally toxic disinfectant in it more suitable for floor cleaner and which has since been outlawed. But also peppermint flavoring. We liked the toothpaste. The crayons, not so much. A lot like chewing on a colored candle. Waxy, crumbly, sticks to your teeth, and is not flavored with peppermint.

  32. Susan Montgomery: that’s a mis-attribution. What he [Sinclair Lewis] actually said in the 30’s in “It Can’t Happen Here” was far more on point:

    I figured. It’s the reason for the “maybe” in my original comment. What actually happened was, I was unpleasantly reminded of what happened to Huey Long by that video clip of the Trump rally in Dayton, above (not that I’m making an analogy between the careers of Long and Trump; their histories are extremely not-alike, in my opinion), went looking for details and found the quote attributed to Huey Long. It doesn’t appear to be exactly his, either, as it happens–one of those things were people said “Hey that sounds like so-and-so,” and the connection stuck.

    I suspect that the connection to Lewis came about because of It Can’t Happen Here, which I have also been thinking about over the past few weeks . . .

  33. Interesting comment about the current GOP situation in the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/03/us/politics/paul-ryan-faces-tea-party-forces-that-he-helped-unleash.html?_r=1

    “The party repeatedly made myopic decisions, tolerating the intolerable views of a segment of the party unwilling to accept that problem-solving is complicated,” said Tony Fratto, a Republican consultant who served in the George W. Bush administration. “The short game was winning some midterms. The cost was creating an incoherent and unsustainable coalition.”

    The tendency to blame anyone but themselves for Trump and this slow descent into national madness shows that the GOP is a long way from learning any lessons. My big worry: who comes after Trump?

  34. Are you sure he’s an eater of crayons and not a sticker up his nose of crayons?

    I’m pretty sure Vox was the kind of kid you could troll horribly by telling them “Mom says you shouldn’t stick those crayons up your nose!” and 20 minutes later you get to watch them head off to the emergency room.

  35. “We need to stop comparing Trump’s supporters to Nazis.”
    Um .. why not? They are fascists. The Nazis were fascists.
    How else do we prevent the American Fascists from coming to power?
    By fighting them before they come to power.

    The Trump Brown Shits have already started providing violence and “security” at rallys, like the original Brown Shirts. I expect that this violence will escalate soon and deaths will happen.

    Fight now or pay later.
    Jesus Wept

  36. So much for the Republicans being the party that wants to see people accept responsibility for their actions. Trump doesn’t accept responsibility for what his speeches have encouraged his followers to do, and many of the Republicans refuse to accept responsibility for making it possible for Trump to do so well in the primaries. But if you’re a poor to lower middle class person, obviously you are there because you’ve made bad choices and should accept responsibility for those bad choices… Even if you’re facing bankruptcy due to medical bills for illnesses or accidents you had no control over, and so on.

  37. what’s really noticeable for me about Trump Jr’s actions is that when it became absolutely clear that this was bullshit (rather than merely obvious to people with working eyes), his response was to… delete the tweets. Not to say “oops, that was wrong”, not to apologise to the woman he arguably libelled, but to shove the posts in the memory hole and hope that people either didn’t notice or would soon forget.

    You can tell a lot about character from how someone deals with getting it wrong A willingness to own a screwup is a huge positive in my eyes and a sign that someone is aware of themselves and willing to learn. Trump Jr showed off his character today, and it was ugly as sin.

  38. Labelling her “grandma” and “senior citizen” doesn’t sit well with me, a kind of simultaneous sanitizing and othering that seems purposeless, other than that she is gendered because she is not the default, and she’s old, something women are rarely allowed to be out in public. “Grandma” — not “a grandma” — suggests she’s someone you or I could know or be related to. That’s true for any person you could photograph. The unsettling part of benign hatred is that it is commonplace, under every rock. Her being white and female doesn’t make her more or less like me, your hypothetical audience, because I may not be white and female bigots aren’t exceptional to me. “Senior citizen” suggests… what? She should know better, or this is characteristic behavior of An Old?

    I may very well be trolling your tone, here, about a very little thing. But you’re generally open to having your unconscious biases be interrogated, gently, so I’m giving it a go. I don’t even know what I’m objecting to precisely but that that language you’ve used in two tweets is coded in a way you may not have intended.

  39. @ Peter Cibulskis
    An analysis I have seen suggests the parallel is with Spain in the early 30’s prior to the Civil War.

  40. I’m probably as old as Sieg-Heilng Woman, and I wouldn’t want to be characterized as “Peacenik Grandpa”, though the adjective fits.

  41. Yep, can’t be her. Because all of her fellow socialist lib friends say it is not her that must be the case. When someone who thinks it was not her in the photo tried to call her, no answer, And he said the answering machine was “outdated” (WTF?).

    Portia then said when finally contacted that she at a Bernie 2016 Friday night. Too bad the person who runs that office would/could not.

    And hey, she says her hair is short now. Right. ‘ Cause some crazy old socialist Bernie-not would never don a wig along with Trump gear and throw a Nazi support to make themself appear to be a supporter, right morons? Just another socialist bernie-bot. Probably really believes all the free carp he promises would actually be “free”. LOL.

  42. @bog – I heard she also smothered Scalia in his sleep, shot JFK, helped fake the moon landings and flies the chemtrail planes.

    Any other conspiracy theories you hold? Are you a flat earther too?

  43. Bogtrotter52: For what it’s worth, the Chicago Tribune identifies the Sieg-Heil Lady as “Birgitt Peterson, of Yorkville”.

    As a general rule, things are as they seem. Not always, but that’s a better bet than a conspiracy.

  44. @bogtrotter52 actually it mostly can’t be her because it’s someone else.

    Actually look at the picture of Portia Boulger. The multiple extant pictures of Portia Boulger. And then look at the picture of Birgitt Peterson. The multiple extant pictures of Birgitt Peterson. If they’re the same person then as well as putting on a wig, Boulger must have swapped jaws for the night.

    Think about how ridiculous you sound right now. Think of how ridiculous this makes your cause look.

  45. @ianrennie

    You expect mere facts and the lamestream media to stop this? Haven’t you been paying attention the last 15 years?

    It’s now lodged in the Trump supporters brainstem that this was a Bernie supporter. Nothing will remove that.

  46. @Peter Cibulskis – You took the line “We need to stop comparing Trump’s supporters to Nazis” out of context. It was clearly a joke, as indicated by the next sentence: “Obviously, it turns them on.”

    Yes, they clearly deserve the comparison. My comment was joking that they get excited by the comparison–as clearly indicated by the words that I wrote. (Whether there was any humor in my comment is subjective, but what I said was clear–until you took it out of context.)

    Taking things out of context like that isn’t cool, man. That’s Trump-follower-style behavior. Deeply uncool.

  47. I find very interesting the perception that Trump’s actions are really only different in degree, not kind, from the GOP at large. I’m agnostic as to whether or not that’s substantively true. What I do think is interesting is that a large number of my friends and family, deeply conservative and overwhelmingly Republican, find Trump totally abhorrent. My own parents, lifelong Republicans who have never once voted for a Democratic candidate for President (seriously), have already sworn that if Trump wins the nomination, they will cross party lines. It’s possible they, and the rest of my thirty-odd aunts, uncles, and cousins I have heard say similar things, are merely a small exception within the GOP. Personally, I’m not so sure they are. Either way, I have every expectation that if Trump makes it to November, he will get decidedly trounced.

  48. I’m seriously not a Trump fan, but I think you are jumping to conclusions. If we want to profile the woman, which you all are doing withTrump voters anyway, she looks like she belongs firmly in Hillary or Bernie’s camp. She sure could have been trying to make Trump look bad.
    Some guy at the Trump rally in St Louis, was stomping on a flag and wearing an anomomous mask. Maybe we can now say everyone who likes Guy Fawkes is a Trump supporter.
    Stop seeing what you want to see and think things through.

  49. Carol: Even if it is correct, you can’t do this because Godwin. Seriously, folks.
    That’s not what Godwin’s Law was about. Godwin’s Law is about the degeneration of a conversation in hyperbole, esp calling people that you disagree with Nazis. (AKA Godwin’ing a conversation)

    Comparing all GOP to Hitler is hyperbole. Not all GOP are Brownshirts. Not all GOP leaders are Hitler. But Trump and his Brown Shits? We have gone past hyperbole into direct and verifiable comparisons, both of actions and political positions.

    Trump is directly advocating exactly the same behaviors of Hitler, this makes for a fair comparison. Early and Middle Hitler. Hate for others. Trump wants a database of Muslims? The modern day equivalent of Jews and Homosexuals being required to wear patches.

    Trump’s followers? Well they have begun to openly enact the behaviors of the brown shirts.
    Actively attacking “brown terrorists”, throwing suckerr punches, “security” attacking protesters and having them illegally arrested.

    This is not Godwin. This is a fascist movement.

  50. Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    -W.B. Yeats

  51. (Whether there was any humor in my comment is subjective, but what I said was clear–until you took it out of context.)

    Failure Mode of Clever … Thanks John for making me reread your essay on the topic.

  52. Obama nailed it:

    What is happening in this primary is just a distillation of what’s been happening inside their party for more than a decade. I mean, the reason that many of their voters are responding is because this is what’s been fed through the messages they’ve been sending for a long time — that you just make flat assertions that don’t comport with the facts. That you just deny the evidence of science. That compromise is a betrayal. That the other side isn’t simply wrong, or we just disagree, we want to take a different approach, but the other side is destroying the country, or treasonous. I mean, that’s — look it up. That’s what they’ve been saying.

    So they can’t be surprised when somebody suddenly looks and says, you know what, I can do that even better. I can make stuff up better than that. I can be more outrageous than that. I can insult people even better than that. I can be even more uncivil. I mean, conservative outlets have been feeding their base constantly the notion that everything is a disaster, that everybody else is to blame, that Obamacare is destroying the country. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. It’s not, we disagree with this program, we think we can do it better — it’s, oh, this is a crisis!

    So if you don’t care about the facts, or the evidence, or civility, in general in making your arguments, you will end up with candidates who will say just about anything and do just about anything. And when your answer to every proposal that I make, or Democrats make is no, it means that you’ve got to become more and more unreasonable because that’s the only way you can say no to some pretty reasonable stuff. And then you shouldn’t be surprised when your party ultimately has no ideas to offer at all.

  53. John: I know you want to keep the discussion focused on Trump, and please feel to delete this if you want (no hard feelings), but Team Sanders now has this emerging mainstream media narrative to deal with:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/how-bernie-sanders-supporters-shut-down-donald-trump-s-rally-n537191?cid=sm_tw&hootPostID=5f0fb8fb653d2ecfa55f7064956237a4

    While we are too close to recent events to make any definitive conclusions about public, the country just might say to hell with Trump and the Far Right and to hell with Sanders and the Far Left.

    This would give both Clinton and Kasich an opportunity to position themselves as Champions of Stability.

  54. As a fellow North American, I feel your pain; as someone living three hours north of Montana, I feel some emotional distance. I haven’t seen anyone quoting President Harry Truman, a man who told news reporters, to their surprise, that he could have been an historian.

    The U.S. Constitution may not be as good as the Canadian Charter, but still, (couldn’t resist, relax) Truman believed the U.S., through having a fine constitution, would be safe even if the republic had a few bad presidents in a row. Right now, that is my long view.

  55. It’s sad and in many ways a very frightening group of candidates vying for the presidency this go round. Trump is an outrageous ass clown who has won the following of many lemmings who are disgusted with our present do nothing and are feeding in to their resentment of what they feel is holding America back, and our young people are sheep for the “revolution” that Sanders keeps throwing out there which as some of us know is socialism, having gone so far as to praise the “values” inflicted on Cuba by the Castro regime but it’s fun to hear about free education and healthcare…when that happens in American it will be a cold day in hell. Cruz is a tea party radical. There’s not one presidential appearing candidate out there, its going to
    be a tough vote.

  56. At age 75, it’s perhaps less easy for me to take the long view.

    As Keynes said, “In the long run we are all dead”. But right now the long run doesn’t look good: global warming, resource depletion, overpopulation, diminishing supplies of fresh water, antibiotic resistance — to say nothing of terrorism and nuclear proliferation. The balance is incredibly sensitive, and who knows how resilient the environment can be?

    How comfortable can one be in the passenger seat of a powerful car driven by a cranky three-year-old?

  57. There’s also this guy

    and this guy

    Not an isolated incident. But then anyone who’s been paying attention should know that Trump has the Stormfront vote, the NeoConfederate vote, the Gamergate vote, and (even though he ‘denounces’ it) the KKK vote.

    I’ve got a screencap of a Trump supporter get told that, no, it wasn’t that Bernie supporter, and here’s a link to the article proving it, and she just literally refused to acknowledge that she was wrong.

  58. Nationalism is growing in Europe, has been, even before the refugee crisis; we live in an increasingly diverse world, ever more multiculturalism, ever more homogeneity, ever less distinction and sense of belonging. The right-wing nationalists in Europe are finding a voice by exploiting these psychological tensions of needing to be able to define yourself by differences from the rest. Trump’s doing just the same – nationalism, kick out the ‘others’, we’re the best. He might be more low-key than, say, Hitler, but the impulse is the same. And the cracks show…. white grandma swinging Hitler salute, old white dude saying he’ll kill the black kid…. I’m white, and rap’s the only music I can’t listen to, but the cliches are too obvious.

  59. Yes, that is how The Obama would put it – it’s the ‘others’s’ fault for blaming the other other…. meanwhile, presiding over Wall Street’s greatest spree, the greatest divide in the wealth gap. Easy enough to blame the ‘other’, and then blame the ‘other’ for blaming the ‘other’. Anything this thing says, this The Obama says, is no different than the misleading crap ass-spewing out of The Trump.

    — These things aren’t people.

  60. CNN is now reporting protesters being pepper sprayed by police. Some of the people who have been sprayed were pretty far from “the action” and appear not to have been doing anything particularly “disruptive”, certainly not violent or even offensive per video shot on cellphones. Then there’s the CBS reporter (of Indian descent) who was aggressively arrested Thursday and charged with “resisting arrest” when he clearly wasn’t–though he did tell the police he was with the press and had “press credentials”. Again–caught on video, he peacefully submitted to being pushed to the ground and handcuffed.

    What the hell is going on? How is it these police officers are behaving like hired thugs?

    Are they hired thugs? I don’t know how these things work, but is it possible Trump is paying them a little “bonus” to act as his “personal thug force” rather than acting as the responsible impartial law enforcement officers our tax dollars pay them to be? Why are the police exacerbating the violence when their supperiors know they are being watched closely? What the hell is going on?!

  61. Godwin on Godwin’s Law (NY Magazine, 2013):

    “American history has its own flirtations with fascism and racism and militarism, and people have believed in any and all of these things, so with certain individuals it has to come up from time to time. So it’s not the case that the comparison is never valid. It’s just that, when you make the comparison, think through what you’re saying, because there’s a lot of baggage there, and if you’re going to invoke a historical period with that much baggage you better be ready to carry it.”

    Godwin on Godwin’s Law and Donald Trump (Washington Post, 2015):

    “If you’re thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler or Nazis when you talk about Trump. Or any other politician.”

  62. Can I start declaring some trump voters as “domestic enemies”? Between Trump’s nascent fascism and Cruz’s full blow “Yahweh’s anointed king in the end times redistribution of wealth” Pentecostal Dominionism, I’m losing faith in anyone to the right of Nixon.

    As a resident of South Carolina, I’m mortified to have to agree with Lindsey Graham when he says his party has gone batshit crazy and that the choice between Trump and Cruz is the same as being shot to death and poisoned. Mine you I consider Trump/Cruz/Rubio to be Arsenic/Strychnine/Cyanide.

    I like Bernie, I like Hillary, hell at this point I’d take Ford (Gerald). The Republican’ts did this to themselves and are actively NOT trying to do it to the rest of us. They wanted Straight White Ultra-Conservative Male to be the be-all/end-all of the electorate. They have it now.

  63. @digitalatheist Lindsay’s commentary was about the best to the point commentary I have heard. I am no Lindsay Graham fan, but that was spot on. It is worth a video link.

  64. KFL-

    What the hell is going on? How is it these police officers are behaving like hired thugs?

    Are they hired thugs? I don’t know how these things work, but is it possible Trump is paying them a little “bonus” to act as his “personal thug force” rather than acting as the responsible impartial law enforcement officers our tax dollars pay them to be? Why are the police exacerbating the violence when their supperiors know they are being watched closely? What the hell is going on?!

    Having lived in neighborhoods on the borders of gentrification, I’d say they’ve always been like hired thugs to a non-white people, and now you’re just starting to see it applied to white people. If you’re not white, police treat you like a suspect and a threat on a regular basis. I’ve seen it. People I know who’re black have experienced it.

    My guess is that plenty of the police support Trump because they like the idea of more beatdowns that they can get away with, and less oversight. They know that Trump, if he were in charge of things, would do everything in his power to protect the police from anything they were ever accused of, no matter what.

    Hell, he still thinks the central park five are guilty and should have been tortured to death. There’s no need for a conspiracy theory. Trump being Trump and the police being the police is enough.

    Much of white America has been the frog slowly being boiled in the pot of racist hatred. Trump is just the point where we realize it’s starting to hurt us too.

  65. There is no comparison between Sanders and Trump re their supporters’ anti-social activities. Trump encourages his supporters’ worst instincts while Sanders doesn’t and has at least once called his people out on their actions. To suggest that they are somehow similar is ridiculous. Things are getting very weird out there.

  66. Peter Cibulskis–Fine, I failed at being clever. You failed at basic reading comprehension. Let’s call it a draw and start this over.

    Hi, Peter. I’m Paul. Nice to meet you. Mr. Scalzi’s site is great, don’t you agree?

    Shame about this Nazi-salute-giving Trump supporter, isn’t it? Not surprising, consider the candidate and his wanna-jackbooted-thug supporters, but it’s a shame to see it in America. Do you think her attempt to explain her actions is believable? Or is she just trying to cover her butt by pretending she didn’t really mean it?

    Peace!

  67. @ digital atheist

    Can I start declaring some trump voters as “domestic enemies”?

    I’d really rather you didn’t. It looks just like what too many Tea Partiers want to do to people; let’s not go there.

    Rather I’d say that there are a certain number of people who are authoritarian by nature, and a larger number of people who become authoritarian when they are frightened. The current situation, with a shrinking middle class and widening economic inequality means that more people are frightened of financial ruin (with good reason, I think.) And the right-wing news sources have been putting out a constant drumbeat of fear of crime and terrorism (fear which is in my opinion not justified by the facts on the ground) that is contributing to making more people frightened.

    As I understand it, authoritarians (including people who aren’t usually but become authoritarian when frightened) want to see the world in simple terms and want a strong leader who will punish someone–often a scapegoat, of course. I think that’s what Trump is appealing to.

    I am worried about Trump supporters too. Frightened people will do terrible things, and the only reason it doesn’t happen here is because there are still enough nonfrightened people to vote no. So let’s not frighten each other into thinking of some subset of our fellow citizens as being some kind of criminal for freely assembling, and promoting and voting for their favored candidate.

  68. @Magda: “There is no comparison between Sanders and Trump re their supporters’ anti-social activities. Trump encourages his supporters’ worst instincts while Sanders doesn’t and has at least once called his people out on their actions. To suggest that they are somehow similar is ridiculous. Things are getting very weird out there.”

    Agreed on Trump. But even if Sanders had no foreknowledge of the anti-Trump effort his “supporters” organized in Chicago (his campaign has officially denied involvement), he still has to deal with the fact that his supporters were behaving aggressively, using threat of violence to shutdown a campaign event. That’s called intimidation by any reasonable standard . . .

    And whatever Trump and his people have done, they have yet to shutdown an opposing campaign event. And now the Sanders people have given Trump supporters both the idea and the motivation to give it a try.

    Whether Sanders likes it or not, he now has a small Street Army that is prepared to act on his behalf, at least in Chicago. Rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly, everything this army does from this point forward will attach to Sanders. . .

    If I were President Obama, I’d be strongly tempted to summon every candidate still in the race to the White House for a Summit, the purpose of which would be to get a public commitment from all sides to (1) “cool it” and to (2) urge their respective supporters to remember the legacy of MLK and his commitment to nonviolence.

  69. @Cat Faber
    I’m really torn, but when it comes to the brand of stuff Donald and Ted are peddling, well I never met my uncle because he died fighting their predecessors. The only reason my parents met is because Uncle Sam sent my father here for basic training. Another uncle spent about 1 1/2 years as a “guest” (prisoner) of the Luftwaffe. TRUMP SCARES THE HELL OUT OF ME!

    Mind you, so does Cruz, but is because he ain’t grown up yet and realized that other people count a bit more than his fairytale. He frightens me in a Taliban kinda way.

    Back to Trump though. No, I don’t want his supporters arrested or anything, but I want them fought at every possible chance. Be it disrupting Trump rallies, vigorous protests, family squabbles, you name it.

    I understand people worrying about economic woes. Been there done that. Was in the work force before The Ronald got his Piss On The Poor/Middle Class policies firmly entrenched. It has been a downhill slide since then.

    Last thing, no, Trump’s idiots shouldn’t be arrested as such but they DO need to be laughed at and shouted down vociferously,. Mocked, shunned, and relegated to a U.S. that will not quietly accept their opinion as having equal weight. At 48 I find that i’m unusual from my peers of the same age class. I’m only one generation removed from WW2. I’m only here because of it. Most of the people in my age range are talking about their grandparents having to fight Nazis. In my case, if my parents were still alive they would be ready to fight…

  70. You actually believe the tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy nuts theory of the GOP “Dog whistle”?

    Wow/

  71. @Scorpius: No, it isn’t a hypothesis when the first thing you hear after the day that President Obama is elected is: “Someone needs to tell that N***** that it’s a WHITE HOUSE. From Republican people I know. Everything the GOP has done since then is based on his skin color and his name. You know it, I know it. If he was what and named Barry Jones, the Republican’ts would have co-opted him years ago.

  72. “Back to Trump though. No, I don’t want his supporters arrested or anything, but I want them fought at every possible chance. Be it disrupting Trump rallies, vigorous protests, family squabbles, you name it.”

    wow. so you want to shut down free speech and act like a PC police to “vigorously” shut down speech and thought that is DoublePlusUngood.

    Wow, that’s not fascist at all.

  73. “Everything the GOP has done since then is based on his skin color and his name. You know it, I know it.”

    Uh, I don’t “know it”. The GOP opposed President Obama because his policies were bad and he was inexperienced in 2008-2009. They oppose him now since all of his major policies have hurt Americans (most Americans are frustrated over loss of doctors after he lied and said “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, over radically increased premiums and copay. They’re concerned about the illegal war in Libya, the transferring of arms to Mexican drug cartel the “fast and furious” debacle. The politicization of the IRS. The actively working to deprive men of their constitutional rights in cases of campus rape [Hey, you don’t get a lawyer, you don’t get to cross-examine the accuser. We’re going to wreck your life completely over a charge that is probably false]. The fact that the criminal Hillary will not be prosecuted showing that America is split into two classes: the Democrats and SJWs who get away with horribly illegal sh*t [this is our new royal class]; and the people who are judged and imprisoned for doing a lot less than the criminal Hilary has done.), he has shown that he is dreadfully incompetent and a complete narcissist who petulantly squanders opportunities to show he’s a decent man (skipping Scalia and Nancy’s funeral to go off and play golf or something), he has enabled and grown the groups like AlQaeda through directly arming them.

    He’s a horrible president and will go down in the people’s mind as a totally wasted opportunity; while in the new royal class’s eyes he’ll be declared a saint or something.

  74. Scorpius, how many of the problems you are attributing to Obama are of his own making/agenda, and how many of them are because of the obstructionism and refusal to cooperate in any way of the ‘esteemed opponents across the aisle’? Or simply, because he doesn’t do things the way you think he should, not because it’s bad, just different.

    Enough of a derail. I have heard about the Republicans recently ‘They sowed the wind, and now are reaping the whirlwind’ a great deal. The problem is the collateral damage always associated with a great storm.

  75. Pedro: get back to me when Trump condemns violence. Until then, there’s no comparison.

    I was wondering when Scorpius was going to show up. For the record, Obama is not a bad president, and if he’d had even 10% of the co-operation the Democrats gave Bush after 9/11, he might even have been a great one. Republicans have a lot to be ashamed of in the past 15 years.

  76. Scorpius: [Obama] skipping Scalia and Nancy’s funeral to go off and play golf or something

    Is that a joke? Because I wasn’t aware that it was customary for presidents to attend the funerals of Supreme Court justices, or former First Ladies–in fact, it is far more common for current First Ladies to attend the funerals of First Ladies (see Laura Bush at Lady Bird Johnson’s funeral) and very few presidents have gone to the funerals of Supreme Court justices over the years, including the past 30 years–I checked. Obama ordered the flags to half-staff for Nancy Reagan (which, again, is rarely done for First Ladies; again, I checked) and Scalia’s family was apparently quite content with Obama meeting them privately at the Great Hall; Biden is Catholic, so it actually seemed like a nice gesture for him to be the one to attend the Funeral Mass.

    But that’s really a side-issue, for this discussion. To tell you the truth I really do know your opinions of Obama already, from past posts. Given the topic of this post, I’d really be more interested in your opinions of Donald Trump.

  77. @Scorpius, arguing with people isn’t abrogating their free speech in any way, and is not therefore facist. If I said ‘I think Trump supporters should be arrested and forcibly silenced’, that would be violating their right to free speech. If I say ‘I think Trump supporters are dangerous and ignorant and will vociferously argue that point’, that is not in any way violating their right to free speech. That is simply me exercising my First Amendment right to disagree with their speech.

    ‘Free speech’ does not mean ‘nobody gets to disagree with me’. It just means that you won’t be arrested for speaking your mind.

  78. “While on the DNC ticket you have a candidate calling for socialism in America and people are actually voting for him. How ignorant has our government school system made Americans?”

    And the man even **admits** that he wants to turn America into a hellhole like Sweden or Denmark!

  79. @howardbrazee says: Wrong Fascist leader – Trump is Mussolini.

    Still not quite right. Trump is Silvio Berlusconi, American edition. The similarities are astonishing. But Musollini’s not totally wrong, because Berlusconi often sent warm smiles in the direction of parties that were the direct descendants of Benito’s.

    So this is fascist taxonomy hair-splitting, but… I wish people would ease off of equating Trump with Hitlerism. If we’re cursed with a Trump-ist future (which I very much doubt), it won’t be ruthlessly bloodthirsty. I’d expect it to be long on bombast, crony looting, and general fecklessness. Instead of Gotterdamerung, a fairly quick slide in shabbiness and rot.

  80. Ms. Peterson, should one choose to accept her explanation of her actions, appears to have achieved the Failure Mode of Clever.

    Maybe, but I’m inclined to grant a little more authority to a woman who spent her childhood in the wreckage of Hitlerism. Check out the movie “Germany Year Zero” some time.

    Also, her remark pulls the rug out from the original post, don’t you think?

  81. Whats going on in America. Earlier I thought this just happen in India or other parts of the world except American and European but they are proving me wrong. That what for American yell”America is greatest country in the world.” I don’t think so :(

  82. Also, her remark pulls the rug out from the original post, don’t you think?

    It really doesn’t. That someone, especially someone from Germany, thought that it was a good idea to throw around the Nazi salute is appalling.

  83. Um, now I’ve consolidated some posts. Sorry for the stream of one-off posts preceding this.

    scorpius says: You actually believe the tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy nuts theory of the GOP “Dog whistle”?

    You actually believe Republicans haven’t been relying on Nixon’s Southern Strategy since, well, Nixon?

    A little late scorpius says: They [Republicans] are concerned about the illegal war in Libya

    That is absolute horseshit. I think the administration was wrong to sign on to a hare-brained adventure cooked up in Paris. That war has turned out to be just as much a disaster as critics expected. Obama should have done what Eisenhower did during the Suez crisis, and yanked hard on the leash.

    I remember being very angry at Obama at the time. I remember frustrating conversations with believing Dems, who were content to call it a terrific war because so few Americans were killed. But I don’t remember even a peep of doubt from any Republican. Their only criticism is, of course, “Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!” — and that’s only because they think they can use it to hobble Clinton. The general question of whether presidents can launch wars on a whim doesn’t interest them at all.

  84. @sglover “So this is fascist taxonomy hair-splitting, but… I wish people would ease off of equating Trump with Hitlerism.” Fair enough, there are other fascists to whom Trump can be more accurately compared. Then again, if you read the first article the New York Times ran about Hitler in 1922, you’ll see that Trump is very much following in Hitler’s own path to power.

    For example: “But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.”

    With minor revisions, the article could be about Trump’s rise. So while you may be correct in your contention that Berlusconi and Musollini are more appropriate comparisons, Trump fits the Hitler model pretty well, too.
    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9A0CE0D91E3EEE3ABC4951DFB7678389639EDE

  85. Mein Kampf may have been a best seller, but it seems that nobody read it, or they would have known what Hitler was going to be. In the 20s, he was a wild-eyed demagogue with a band of thuggish followers. He didn’t become a warmonger and a mass murderer until he became Chancellor as a result of a free election.

  86. I think this “Nazi salute” is a teapot in the tempest that is Donald Trump’s campaign. It’s very similar to the salute that American children use to do when they recited the Pledge of Allegiance (the one before “under God” was inserted betwixt “one nation” and “undivided”).

    To me, the photos of the pledge looked more religious than fascist. I personally find that disturbing also, since they were pledging to Mr. Trump. Even if they had made the pledge with their hands over their hearts, it would have been troubling, but only as a part of the whole Donald Trump phenomenon. I don’t have a particular phobia to pledges.

    The woman in the photo claims to have been demonstrating the the difference between the Trump pledge and a “real” Nazi salute. If that’s true, then this is the equivalent of quoting someone out of context to make it seem that they were saying the opposite of what they really meant.

  87. Actually, Mein Kampf appears to be a bestseller that people actually read. It was in-demand in libraries and widely quoted at the time. It wasn’t just a book to display and gather dust.

  88. My imagination is caught in the by-the-way reference to protesters at Trump rallies as probably being Bernie supporters. You know those socialists (commies), pushing their agenda, making it seem as if everybody agrees with them when in truth only the fanatics are the danger. Why there might be an attack by those fools and the left, including the Dems and their candidate would be unjustly blamed, sadly. False flag anyone?

  89. “But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.”

    Yeah, no, that’s the New York Times reporter not understanding Hitler at all in 1922. His anti-Semitism was deep and sincere from the beginning.

  90. Snickle: Actually, Mein Kampf appears to be a bestseller that people actually read.

    Depends on which edition/translation they read, I suspect, at least in the English-speaking world. Mein Kampf first appeared in English in the early 1930s (1933, I think, after Hitler became Chancellor), with extensive abridgment, some at the specific request of the Nazi party. (And yes, a lot of what they wanted cut was the more virulent anti-semitism, I believe.) It didn’t get an unabridged translation until around 1938-1939–there were a couple of them, then.

  91. @aebhel – “‘Free speech’ does not mean ‘nobody gets to disagree with me’. It just means that you won’t be arrested for speaking your mind.”

    And here you go:
    “They’ll never do it again. It’ll destroy their record. They’ll have to explain to mom and dad why they have a police record and why they can’t get a job. And you know what? I’m going to start pressing charges against all of these people. And then we won’t have a problem.””

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/03/12/donald-trump-demands-that-police-arrest-rally-protesters/

  92. @Scorpious, Please pass me some of what you are smoking. I’m guessing that you think that Reagan was a good President, also Bush and Bush. You are mistaken. Just because they were white and espoused your negative views of people who are not white, straight, Christian, neo-conservative, or male does NOT make them great presidents. Barack Obama’s TERMS in office do not make him a bad president. His terms speak more to the racist Republican’ts in the House and Senate. President Obama was just an uppity black man who got above his station for most Republican’ts. That, and the fact he wasn’t theirs.

  93. @Mary Frances, I was responding to Theophylact whose comment was about internal German politics, so I don’t think translations come into play. I can’t find a link right now, but I heard a scholar a while back explain that it has been a very common claim that Germans bought the book but didn’t actually read it. It’s a way of explaining, like Theophylact did, that the Germans would have stopped him sooner if they had read it. However researchers have gone back and looked into book patterns and Mein Kampf doesn’t fit that model. The “I should own this book to show my standing in the community” books have great sales but do poorly in libraries, and Mein Kampf did well in both. It was also widely quoted, which is hard if people haven’t read it. It’s possible people thought it was hyperbole, but it was widely read in Germany before his rise to power.

  94. Then either the reading skills of the German populace have been much overestimated — or they knew what Hitler was intending to do. Stupid, or evil: take your choice. I’d rather think that like many difficult best-sellers (the much shorter A Brief History of Time comes to mind) it remained largely unread, even if selected passages were quoted. I myself have many such cobblestones on my shelves.

  95. @pedro

    Whether Sanders likes it or not, he now has a small Street Army that is prepared to act on his behalf, at least in Chicago. Rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly, everything this army does from this point forward will attach to Sanders. . .

    Bullshit. The UIC protest began with UIC students and faculty. The protesters were people who are anti-Trump because they are anti-racist. It’s only in the overheated imaginations of you and the right-wing media that protesting against a racist demagogue speaking at a majority minority university is limited to Sanders supporters. This had nothing to do with Sanders or any other candidate.

    If Sanders gets blamed for every anti-Trump action from this point forward it will be as much of a lie as Trump’s claim that he has not encouraged his followers to assault protesters.

  96. @Theophylact, you are assuming everyone who read it understood it and the implications. There are more options than your “[s]tupid or evil” reduction. It’s also possible that they didn’t think he was serious, or they figured he just meant to deport people instead of kill them. It’s human nature, when we like some aspect of a person or idea, to gloss over the messy and ugly parts of it. Lots of people love extreme rhetoric that attacks their “enemies” in exaggerated terms (see: Coulter, Ann) without a thought to where that sort of mindset can lead. You want us to believe that the book was bought, borrowed, and quoted, but somehow never read. I can’t think of any book that’s read by all the people who buy or borrow it, but the evidence indicates that many did.

  97. Snickle: Not thinking a political program is serious is stupid. (The New York Times made that stupid error in 1922.) Thinking that it’s okay to just deport citizens rather than kill them is evil. (Trump is suggesting that in his speeches.) Take your choice. Anyone who votes for Trump because they think he doesn’t mean what he says is a fool; anyone who votes for him because they do believe him is evil.

    And any Republican who says Trump is unfit to be President but who supports him anyway — well, if I believed in Hell, there’d be a place reserved there for them.

  98. Theophylact: You say “stupid” and I think “human.” I don’t think the NYT was populated by stupid people in 1922, and I’ve heard Trump supporters downplay extreme statements by figuring that he’s just blowing off steam and will be surrounded by less-extreme people who would prevent things from going to badly. I don’t share their confidence, I tend to think people mean what they say, and Trump has said some terrible things to large, cheering crowds. I’d wager that most support the idea of a wall with Mexico, but it probably gets fuzzier after that. He’s said so many contradictory things that they can probably find a version they support before they convince themselves that his other versions don’t count.

    Are some people “stupid” and “evil”? Sure. But it’s also human to blind ourselves to things we don’t want to see. He had a best seller, it was read, and he still was elected to power. If we want to stop that sort of thing from happening again we need to understand it in human terms, not by insisting an entire nation never read a popular book.

  99. or they knew what Hitler was intending to do

    Uh, yes? Did they know the full contours of the Final Solution? No, and neither did Hitler in the 1920s and early 1930s. Did they know he was advocating extreme anti-Semitism? Yes, and they didn’t have to read his book to know that. Did they know he was sending his forces to attack the Jews in the mid-1930s and still remained very supportive of him? Uh, yes.

    Anti-semitism in Germany didn’t start with Hitler, and the Germans were very clear on what he was advocating. The Nazis were not some alien force that came and took over Germany, with the ordinary Germans unable to stop them. They were elected into office because the Germans *liked* their ideas. The Germans continued to like their ideas for a long ways into World War II.

  100. The only knowledge I have of the readership of Mein Kampf is from William Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Shirer was a news correspondent in Germany. (with scores of quotes on google) As I dimly recall, Shirer said in his book that the Germans bought it as a comfort piece, that it gathered dust on their coffee tables.

    To me this makes sense since even before computers most Americans didn’t own a library card, and, even after the coming of the exciting Internet, the length of our host’s blog entries is the longest that most people can stand to read.

  101. As I dimly recall, Shirer said in his book that the Germans bought it as a comfort piece, that it gathered dust on their coffee tables.

    Not quite. He compared it to the Bible — every German felt they needed to have access to it, even if not all had read every word. I trust you don’t think that — because not everyone has read every word of the Bible — that it hasn’t had an influence.

  102. Snowcrash : I will assume that the Declaration of Victory, The Yuuuuge Website View Numbers, and The Damn You Scalzi statements have all been released then? Or has Day suddenly discovered originality?

    Well, you know how it is – unless John can provide two certified statements from doctors and the laboratory results of a stomach analysis showing that dipshit actually physically eats crayons, then John’s a liar and dipshit somehow wins.

    Lo, the field on which we grow our fucks stretches long and completely barren before us…

  103. Dear Pedro,

    Stop being ridiculous. Nobody running a national campaign with millions of followers controls what they do, especially not the 0.1% extreme fringe (in a national campaign, there are thousands of one-in-a-thousand extremists). The candidate is NOT responsible for their actions. The candidate is only responsible for what they exhort their followers to do and what they say about their followers actions afterwards.

    Nobody except Trump, not one of the other candidates, has approved of or even failed to condemn extreme unrighteous behaviors. Trump says it’s all just fine.

    If you genuinely believe otherwise, I sincerely hope you fail to vote this fall, as you’ve not demonstrated even a minimal grasp of politics.

    pax / Ctein

  104. @Nutella: “Bullshit. The UIC protest began with UIC students and faculty. The protesters were people who are anti-Trump because they are anti-racist. It’s only in the overheated imaginations of you and the right-wing media that protesting against a racist demagogue speaking at a majority minority university is limited to Sanders supporters.”

    Please see my post at March 12, 2016 at 8:49 pm and the link to the NBC News story,
    “How Bernie Sanders Supporters Shut Down Donald Trump’s Rally in Chicago,” by Alex Seitz-Wald.

    I wouldn’t exactly describe NBC News as “right-wing” media.

    Judging from the strength of your reaction, you clearly grasp that very negative consequences will attach Sanders’ campaign if he can’t shake that emerging “narrative.”

    On the one hand, Sanders and Trump come from radically different backgrounds and well-spaced points on the political spectrum, but on the other, Sanders and Trump are insurgent candidates. Each poses a serious threat to the power of the Democratic and Republican Party establishments, respectively.

    What happened in Chicago is basically a two-fer that makes both Sanders and Trump look like they can’t control their followers . . . that they are more interested in “pay back” in the case of Trump or “revolution” in the case of Sanders.

    To the extent that the electorate perceives the country to be falling apart at the seams in response to such things, it will largely turn away from Trump and Sanders and toward candidates that promise sanity/stability.

    FWIW: I think Trump has legitimately earned such perceptions, although the Nazi/Fascist aspect pushes the “envelope of credulity” a bit harder than it can probably withstand. As for Sanders, he just might be getting a bad rap. Not that the Clinton campaign really cares . . .

    @Nutella: “If Sanders gets blamed for every anti-Trump action from this point forward it will be as much of a lie as Trump’s claim that he has not encouraged his followers to assault protesters.”

    Narratives tend to fall apart when they deviate too far from observed reality for long enough.

    Sanders might be able to beat the “bad rap,” but not if people claiming to be his supporters continue to shut down Trump campaign events and cause chaotic scenes in the streets. If such things continue to happen, voters will likely say, a “pox on both their houses,” and vote accordingly.

    @Ctein: “Stop being ridiculous. Nobody running a national campaign with millions of followers controls what they do, especially not the 0.1% extreme fringe (in a national campaign, there are thousands of one-in-a-thousand extremists).”

    Yup.

    On March 6, 2016 at 3:44 pm, days before the events in Chicago, I made the following observation about Donald Trump and his campaign events on this very blog:

    “Concerning thuggish behavior at his campaign rallies, Trump is clearly playing with fire here. First, he’s falling right into the narrative trap that is being set for him. (This discussion is in some ways touches on that.) Second, if he is not more careful, one of his rallies could degenerate into a serious brawl. If someone gets killed or seriously hurt . . . “

    Guess what? Donald Trump walked right into that trap as anticipated, though fortunately no one is in the hospital on life support or worse.

    As for Sanders, see my response to Nutella’s second point above. I would only add that the problem for Sanders is to avoid the media’s “forced pairing” with Trump, and that could prove to be very difficult if stories like that NBC News report continue to get run. Because “low information voters.”

  105. Trump: ““They’ll never do it again. It’ll destroy their record. They’ll have to explain to mom and dad why they have a police record and why they can’t get a job. And you know what? I’m going to start pressing charges against all of these people. And then we won’t have a problem.””

    That worked very well with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., didn’t it?

    And that’s going to add more fuel to the fire when the protestors keep on coming (arrests or no).

    (Though, personally, ridicule may work better on both the huckster and his crew….)

  106. The problem I have with this photo is that there’s no context and media outlets are masters of making up the context to fit whatever line they are running at the time. While she appears to be wearing a Trump shirt, it’s obscured. It may well be an “I support Trump.” It may also be “Trump is an ass.” Is she making the salute on her own behalf, as in “Heil Donald!” or is she saying to the two people apparently confronting her that THEY are acting like Nazis? For that matter is she associating that gesture with Nazi Germany at all? It’s not like they’re the only ones to have used it. Admittedly, given the time and location it’s highly likely that she does indeed see this as a Nazi salute, but you never know.

    In essence, I want to know more.

  107. “To me, the photos of the pledge looked more religious than fascist. I personally find that disturbing also, since they were pledging to Mr. Trump. Even if they had made the pledge with their hands over their hearts, it would have been troubling, but only as a part of the whole Donald Trump phenomenon. I don’t have a particular phobia to pledges.”

    Exactly. As Ted Cruz said (paraphrased) “You shouldn’t be pledging your loyalty to us, we work for you so we should pledge our loyalty to you” he was speaking about himself and the other presidential candidates. And let’s face it, if you go into a lot of churches in “flyover country” (as the coastal elites call it) you see a lot of people doing pledges for abstinence or keeping away from drugs and holding up their hands like that..

    “@Scorpious, Please pass me some of what you are smoking. I’m guessing that you think that Reagan was a good President, also Bush and Bush. You are mistaken. Just because they were white and espoused your negative views of people who are not white, straight, Christian, neo-conservative, or male does NOT make them great presidents.”

    OK, you now are REQUIRED to provide examples of where Reagan, Bush I, Bush II or myself “espoused” negative views of people who are not white, Christian or neoconservative because they were not white, Christian or neoconservative or you are REQUIRED to apologize for your libel.

    BTW, just for the record, I don’t like trump and his trumpettes and have sworn to never vote trump. BTW, I didn’t hold my hand up when I “pledged” so you can’t accuse me of being a Nazi.

  108. I think it is fascinating that these events changed the dialog surrounding crossover voters, Sanders, and Trump. Last week Sanders was touted as a viable candidate for disillusioned Republican voters in the general and an alternative to Trump due to his outsider perspective and positive outlook. This week he is now described as a left wing socialist instigator who would send off his supporters to do acts of violence and that all Trump supporters must hate. Or at least the concept is constantly brought up and linked in the public mind before being dismissed, because, gotta show both sides after all. Verrrrrry interesting media manipulation around this, and the most powerful swing Trump could have taken in the circumstances. (Note: I am commenting on the current media dialog and not my personal view of the candidates)

  109. “It appears that one of the first trolls to do this, winning a retweet from Donald Trump, Jr., was Vox Day, noted eater of crayons.”

    It’s like watching a snake eat its own tail, isn’t it?

  110. Sanders is pretty much a left-wing trump. With his horribly misinformed and uneducated views on economics (hello, if we raise tariffs other countries will also, and that won’t bring in jobs it’ll just make us all drastically poorer. Both trump and Sanders are both for high tariffs to “bring back” jobs. And hello, student loan interest rates are so much higher than home lab rates since there nothing for the lender to reclaim if the borrower defaults, and there’s a much higher rate of default.), his whip game his followers up into a frenzy of hate.

    Personally, I want a showdown between Cruz who, despite his religious devotion and other flaws, is a good candidate. He’s probably the smartest politician I have seen. And a Cruz/Clinton showdown will ensure that we have a more moderate person who is willing to make deals and compromise than trump or Sanders.

    Finally, you’ll probably notice that I don’t capitalize trump’s name, that’s intentional. I’m trying to start a mass movement of people doi that to eventually needle trump’s fragile as paper-thin ice and cause him to lose it in a debate.

  111. “And he whips his followers up into a frenzy of hate”. Damn autocorrect. And sorry John for the double post, blame it on autocorrect.

  112. As an old guy — I was born in 1940, conceived before the war broke out in September 1939 — I remember a lot of stuff. I went to school with Alger Hiss’s son. I listened to the 1952 Democratic Convention on a portable radio at summer camp. I watched the Army-McCarthy hearings on television. I remember bomb shelters and air raid drills in school.

    I haven’t been as depressed about politics as this since 1968, when both Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were killed and Richard Nixon, the guy I thought had had a stake put through his heart in 1964, rose from the dead and became President. And Nixon was better than any of this year’s crop of Republicans, at least as far as his platform was concerned.

  113. I will be attending my county convention on Saturday as a Hillary delegate. From there I will attend my state convention. But it won’t matter in the red state I live in. (For you Bernie people, I am good with Bernie too.)

    Ohio democrats on the other hand can make a difference if they can switch parties in the primary. If they can register as Republicans they can push Trump past Kaisich. I would so love for Hillary to run against Trump. My biggest fear is that Republicans turn to Kaisich in a brokered convention. That would be the toughest candidate in the general.

  114. With his horribly misinformed and uneducated views on economics (hello, if we raise tariffs other countries will also, and that won’t bring in jobs it’ll just make us all drastically poorer. Both trump and Sanders are both for high tariffs to “bring back” jobs.

    Here’s Sander’s position on trade issues

    http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-trade/

    Would you like to point at the “let’s put up high tariffs” bit? Do you have an alternative source showing him making such statements?

  115. @Scorpius, guessing you were posting from a phone? Sometimes keyboards work better. I’ll assume “home lab rates” = “home *loan* rates” with apologies if I’m putting words in your mouth.

    While it’s true that the SNL sketch re re-possessing educations was fictional, student loans are non-dischargable and backed by the federal government. In other words, they’re pretty low risk for lenders.

  116. Yes, jon, I did mean home loan rates. And I meant trump’s fragile, ice thin as paper EGO. I’m posting from one of my iPads . Which tells me I shouldn’t try to post from an apple product; just my windows box or lappy.

  117. “We’re going to wreck your life completely over a charge that is probably false”

    Scorpius you are a piece of dog shit. The reason most women never come forward about their assaults is attitudes like you just demonstrated. I hope you step on a rake today.

  118. Phoenician in a time of Romans,

    Um,

    1) In the post you link it clearly says that NAFTA and other trade agreements are about tariffs (among other things).

    2) NAFTA reduced the tariffs on Mexico and Canada to near zero (if not zero, I can’t find any information other than they “eliminated” tariffs with Mexico and Canada).

    3) Mexico, at least, had a 25% tariff placed on the goods the businesses in that country paid (who am I kidding, the companies don’t pay the tariffs; the consumer does).

    4) Sanders wants to eliminate NAFTA and TPP.

    5) Which would restore tariff rates on Mexico to 25%.

    There, just putting the pieces together for you, big guy, I know since you’re a Sanders follower it might not be so easy for you.

  119. MPAVictoria

    I’m a “piece of dog shit” for pointing out that there’s a movement on campuses (lead by the Obama administration and the administrators; not the students) which wants to eliminate the basic rights of a right to trial, the right to attorney and the right to confront your accuser for male students who are accused of rape? I’m a “piece of dog shit” for pointing that women do lie about rape? Am I a “piece of dog shit” for pointing out that many men have had their lives ruined by zealot campus administrators who believe the woman despite all evidence and banish the male student from campus?

  120. Scorpius: “Sanders is pretty much a left-wing trump.”

    Derp. Derp. Derp.

    Sanders isnt calling for people to do violence in his name. He isnt telling supporters to beat up protesters and he will pay their legal fees. “Left wing Trump” is idiotic propaganda.

    I didnt think it possible to have a lower opinion of you, but in that one and only regard, you just proved me wrong.

  121. @Anonymouse: “Last week Sanders was touted as a viable candidate for disillusioned Republican voters in the general and an alternative to Trump due to his outsider perspective and positive outlook. This week he is now described as a left wing socialist instigator who would send off his supporters to do acts of violence and that all Trump supporters must hate.”

    Well said. When the media narrative turns against one side, it’s like the other side suddenly has the political equivalent of “air supremacy” . . .

  122. Anonymouse: (Sanders) “would send off his supporters to do acts of violence”

    Citation Needed.

    Please note, I am not looking for a URL to some website that says this about Sanders, but sources of quotes from Sanders’ mouth calling for violence.

  123. Scorpius: “I’m a “piece of dog shit” for pointing out that there’s a movement on campuses (lead by the Obama administration and the administrators; not the students) which wants to eliminate the basic rights of a right to trial”

    No. You are a piece of dog shit for thinking a expulsion from campus requires a government trial.

    Students get expelled for plagerism without a trial. Students get expelled for assaulting another student without a trial. Students get expelled for rape without a trial.

    Why ? Because getting getting expelled from school by administrators isnt the same as being thrown in jail by the government. It is like getting thrown out of a bar for being a jerk, no trial neccessary. If the government wants to throw you in jail, then you get the rights associated with a trial.

    Unless you are advocating that every human transaction resulting in a disagreement be resolved by a government trial, this has to be one of the silliest case of the indigant vapors you’vd put on in a while.

  124. I’m not a fan of Trump. I think he’s a danger and I agree with all the anti-Trump sentiment that’s out there. That being said, all these comparisons to Nazis based on photos should be scary to all of us, regardless of our political affiliation.

    Trump tells his supporters to raise their hand and make a pledge to vote for him and a single frame is used to represent the photographer’s/editor’s views and not the truth of what was occurring.

    Where was the same comparison when there was a photo of Hillary supporters looking like they were giving the Nazi salute at a rally. It was hosted on Getty Images (first reference I found: https://twitter.com/JustinRaimondo/status/706273914050097153)

    There are plenty of reasons to dislike Trump. When you have to make up reasons to not like him, it makes it look like the truth isn’t enough. It’s enough to hate him for what he is. Lying when the truth is so readily available builds him up in a way none of us should want.

  125. Americans who don’t want Trump to be nominated or elected can contribute to those goals by registering and voting, whether they live in the country or overseas. the estimated 8.7 million Americans overseas can register and request a ballot using the websites of, for example, either the US Vote Foundation or the Federal Voting Assistance Program (www.fvap.gov). Vote or shut up.

  126. Er–John, the epithet came from an earlier exchange, not Greg. Just FYI–I was wondering when you’d step in.

  127. Well, isn’t this special?

    Let’s ignore the veiled insults and attempts to pass off your derp as wisdom and cut to the heart of the matter, shall we, Scorpio?

    Scorpio: 4) Sanders wants to eliminate NAFTA and TPP.

    Yes, he does. This is what you characterized as, and I quote,

    “hello, if we raise tariffs other countries will also, and that won’t bring in jobs it’ll just make us all drastically poorer. Both trump and Sanders are both for high tariffs to “bring back” jobs.”

    So these “high tariffs” you mention were actually the status quo prior to the signing of NAFTA, which came into effect 1 Jan 1994. It’s highly debatable that NAFTA had any effect in US unemployment since then, but the real wages of US goods-producing workers has been essentially stagnant since 1980 – and NAFTA didn’t change that either.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NAFTA%27s_effect_on_United_States_employment#Job_loss

    So, in summary, Sander’s ACTUAL TRADE POLICY which you paint as a potential socialist disaster of apocalyptic proportions would be… a return to the early 90s. You may not have noticed, but the past decade or so haven’t been that much fun for the US economy…

  128. Erick: “Pledging” is not like waving. Pledging yourself to an individual leader has a certain unfortunate cast to it, whether it’s a right-arm salute or not. This isn’t supposed to be a country of loyalty to persons, only to the Constitution.

    (For the record, I object to the Pledge of Allegiance as well. Even if you don’t take to be idolatry but merely symbolic, and even if you leave out the noxious “under God” clause, you should only have to do it once.)

  129. “Er–John, the epithet came from an earlier exchange, not Greg. Just FYI–I was wondering when you’d step in.”

    Yep it was me. I think saying that most women lie about their sexual assaults qualifies someone as dog shit.

  130. Mary Frances:

    I was out for much of the day on personal matters. Greg did use the phrase, but I’ll allow he may be responding to other comments and used it because I did not step in earlier to tell people to rein it in. I’m which case a) my error, b) everyone should take a deep breath and try to recenter.

  131. For the record, MPAVictoria, when I commented at 5:36 PM, I wasn’t disagreeing with you: stating that accusations of campus rape are “probably false” is unconscionable. Just–I know John tends to step in when things get heated, and I thought maybe he’d missed the root of this particular heat. (And if you hadn’t, John, my apologies for misreading. I’ll back away from the keyboard now.)

  132. So, that’s where my crayons went. But shouldn’t “Eater of Crayons” be capitalized, like a title?

  133. @Greg – please re-read. My comment was about the changing media narrative around Sanders as influenced by Trump, not about anything Sanders actually said or did. It is important to pay attention to that narrative as the election proceeds, especially given the unique nature of this cycle and Trump’s facile manipulation of media sources to tell his story

  134. @Peter Cashwell

    A large part of the problem is that the term “racism” has different meanings to different people. For a lot of–predominantly white–people, the label immediately calls to mind lynchings, the KKK, and Jim Crow affecting African Americans as a whole. Call it an array of horrors, if you will. The idea that the term is nuanced and includes a whole range of possible actions isn’t just missed; it’s not even consciously processed.

    So instead of recognizing even small, seemingly insignificant acts as being included in that term–such as someone locking a car door when a young black man walks past–they’re still stuck on the array of horrors and that winds up defining the term for them to the detriment of anything else. I think that the reason why there’s such a seemingly irrational overreaction over the insult is fear that others working from the same definition will see it and group them in with the KKK and that array of horrors. It’d be an interesting idea to look at for a research paper.

    In some ways, I think the label itself is counter-productive because people kind of shut down when they see it getting lobbed at them. Suggest that action X is racist and the immediate answer is “no it’s not” because no reasonable person wants to be grouped with the KKK. And that’s about as far as the discussion will get because, to that person, you’ve pretty much just invoked Godwin’s law and accused them of being a Nazi or a Klansman. Maybe both.

    Basically, you see a prompt to change a behavior or empathize with someone else. They see a personal insult. Not out of maliciousness, but through a lack of understanding.

  135. Anonymouse, for what it’s worth, I read your original comment as being about the media changing its own narrative, not about Trump working to change the media narrative about Sanders.Possibly I wasn’t reading closely enough, but I’m glad your clarified your meaning in any case.

  136. It’s very sad what is happening to this woman. It totally makes sense to me that, upset that the protesters were calling Trump supporters Nazis for their cheering of fascist and totalitarian Trump speech and violent reactions to protesters and journalists, that she would declare that if she was going to be called a Nazi, they should get the salute right and show them what that looked like, without thinking about what such behavior meant. And have it never occur to her that surrounded by people with phone cameras and journalists that someone would take a picture of her doing it.

    This woman’s been lied to, probably her whole life. She’s being used by Trump in his games of revenge, on which he’s staked his fortune. And now she’s a little pivot point, a bewildered symbol of empty, damaging bigotry and authoritarianism. It doesn’t excuse her, doesn’t excuse her support for a man who calls for blood just to energize the crowd, but it’s just such a massive waste. Any one of the Republicans, including Trump, will strip her of everything she has left happily.

    We’ve been down this road before. Doesn’t get any easier.

  137. @Kat Goodwin: you are aware that several other people, including the photographer, disagree with her story about why she was giving the salute, and the the photograph does not reflect the incident as she claims it happened? It’s entirely possible to pity her and think she was stupid, rather than malicious, without assuming that she is telling the truth and everyone else present who talked about the incident is lying.

    @Erick: Did any of the people in your linked photo claim that they were giving the Nazi salute for any reason, even ironically or to ‘show how it was done’, as did the woman in the photo?

    @PhoenicianRomans: I assume you are engaging in third-party arguing here; there’s no reasoning with people for whom ingroup favorability bias rises to the level of a central obsession, and cognitive dissonance is so smoothly practiced it explains ‘doublethink’ better than Orwell ever could. Eastasia, Eurasia, who cares? It’s the Other Guys, who are terrible, and it’s perfectly fine to accuse them of two opposite things at once because… what part of they’re the Other Guys and they’re terrible didn’t you understand?

  138. It strikes me in many ways that Trumps accusations against Sanders are rather a bit of an insult to Clinton. A whole bunch of anti-racism protesters, largely people of colour, self-organize to disrupt Trumps rally and his assumption is not that they are Clinton supporters because of Sanders well documented struggles connecting with PoC but are actually Sanders supporters cause they got up off their asses and did something. Either the implication is that Clinton supporters don’t care about racism or that they are too lazy to do anything – either way a nasty show of what the Republicans think about Clinton supporters.

  139. Greg:”Students get expelled for plagerism (sic) without a trial. Students get expelled for assaulting another student without a trial. Students get expelled for rape without a trial.”

    Well, the first is merely a violation of a university’s student code of conduct, the second is a criminal act that, if it occurs on campus, the student is expelled when evidence is shown or a trial on assault is concluded not in the accused’s favor; the third is something that very often doesn’t have the immediate evidence assault has and the one thing that university administrators don’t wait for proof of any kind (in fact they usually ignore proof vindicating the accused) or a verdict before tossing the man off campus.

    MPAVictoria: I’ve tried dealing with you on civil level; you’ve responded with more insults. So, I feel in no way compelled to treat you differently (I will consign myself to non-gendered insults so as not to give our Host a reason to unleash the dreaded BanHamma.) MPAVictoria, you ignorant shit-wit. I guess you’re blessedly-ignorant about the spate of men being tossed off campus because they were accused by women of rape in cases where prosecutors have looked and determined (post-expulsion and after a police investigation had been performed) that not only were the charges “probably false” but that the evidence they have after the police investigation was concluded that the rape(s) couldn’t have possibly happened (just read up on “Jackie” and the humiliation of Rolling Stone Magazine). No, MPAVictoria, you brain-dead troll, you automatically assumed the worst; and didn’t bother asking me what I meant. Well, MPAVictoria AKA “dog-barf-for-brains” I await your apology with bated breath.

    Aebhel: “arguing with people isn’t abrogating their free speech in any way, and is not therefore facist.”

    Aebhel, if all they were doing were “arguing with people” then you’d be correct; but they’re not. What they’re doing is showing up with the STATED intent to “shut down” trump’s events (lead by the murdering terrorist Bill Ayers).

  140. Oops, changed on bit of my post then didn’t change the second. Here’s how it should have read>

    “the spate of men begin tossed off campus because they were accused by women in cases where prosecutors have looked and determined before the police investigation was completely concluded that the evidence they had at the same time as the university were “probably false” and after the police investigation was concluded that the rape(s) couldn’t have possibly happened”

    Also, since I’m adding a second post I’d like to say @Josh Jasper: Did you even read the survey that Yahoo cited or were you completely awed by Yahoo’s long history of writing stories about that which they know nothing about? Well, I did look at the Gallup poll they cited and it’s his job approval and it’s at 50% (wow, what a winner! Half the country thinks you’re doing a good job/half the country doesn’t). But never mind that, thinks Yahoo!, it jump up to 50% from where it’s been riding at… wait for it… 47%. In statistics we call what the President’s approval numbers have been doing a “stationary process” (My mathematician side is screaming at me about how I’m dumbing it down that it’s all covered by definitions of eigenvalues/vectors and operators, but that’s a whole other can of smelt). Now, far be it for me to think that 50% (or really 47%) isn’t a vote of confidence for how great the American people think Obama is.

  141. Oy, “completely concluded that the evidence they had at the same time as the university that the rapes were “probably false”.”

    John, please save my sanity and save me from repeated posting on your blog and please install an “Edit” button.

  142. Tom: “I think the label itself is counter-productive … Suggest that action X is racist and the immediate answer is “no it’s not” because no reasonable person wants to be grouped with the KKK. And that’s about as far as the discussion will get because”

    If one were to model the human mind, it would be a judgement engine where the mind is always right and good and everyone else around it is open to being judged as good or evil. The mind contains a secondary defense mechanism whereby when the mind is challenged with being wrong or bad, it will create a narrative/justification to layer on top of the engine so as to protect itself from being judged bad. The youngest version of this might be something along the lines of “they started it”. History suggests that only when faced with overwhelming evidence will the natural mind accept that it is doing something evil or immoral.

    After losing the civil war, reconstruction failed, and the South reverted to trying to implement a “white==good, black==bad” enforcement system, they rewrote history so that they were good and the North was just a bunch of meddling fools, and they created the notion that “the South will rise again”, suggesting the problem, the evil cause, was the Northern imposition, not the fact that they were holding human beings as slaves.

    Immediately after WW2, many Germans denied the Holocaust. “Throughout the fifties West German officialdom encouraged a comfortable view of the German past in which the Wehrmacht was heroic, while Nazis were in a minority and properly punished.” There was talk of reparations to the Jews, but many Germans fought it because it meant admitting they were the evil ones. “Survivors of the Holocaust feared laundering the reputation of Germany with money, and mortgaging the memory of their dead. Beyond that, there was a taste for revenge. “My soul would be at rest if I knew there would be 6 million German dead to match the 6 million Jews,”” [source]

    That last points to the problem. Vengeance. The natural mind’s response to an evil act is vengeance and even preemptive destruction. People see a hostage being beheaded and many call for nuking the entire middle east. In the natural mind, being wrong equates with death, its how the mind reacts to evil, so by way of basic empathy, if the mind is wrong, it must be killed.

    And so, people fight with all their might to avoid being wrong. People will create all manner of convoluted excuses and justifications to make them the “good” people, the “right” people, the “better” people. They will resort to fallicious logic, such as “we all agree we are good and just, therefore we are good and just”. It doesn’t have to be correct. It just has to a narrative/justification that can be laid down in the mind between the engine of judgement and the self.

    So, one looks at Trump’s followers, his most ardent supporters. They are white. They were born in America. They are generally Christian. And Trump is telling them exactly what the natural mind wants to hear: It’s not their fault. Trumps campaign isn’t a list of actions he will take when he gets in office. Rather its a laundry list of narratives/justifications that listeners can use to lay down in their minds between the engine of judgement and the self. Trump’s campaign can be boiled down to “It’s not your fault. It’s *their* fault.” And people who want badly for their situation to be someone else’s fault, eat it up. It doesn’t have to be correct or factual. It just has to satisfy the need of the natural mind to be the “good” guys picked on by the “bad” guys.

    The problem is not accusing a racist of being racist. The problem is accusing *anyone* of, literally, ANY wrongdoing AT ALL. The natural reaction is to say “Oh, no, we can’t be the evil ones in this equation”.

    So, if telling anyone they are wrong about something naturally invokes the “I am right” mechanism, what do you do? Thus far, history doesn’t show a clear, workable, answer.

    Gandhi choose nonviolent resistance. It took him from 1930 to 1949, he spent a lot of time in jail, and in the end, he won India its independence, but was assassinated by someone who thought he was too accommodating to the British. But it worked because the British held in importance their vision of themselves as “civilized” people, and violently cracking down on peaceful protesters violated that view.

    Trump and his supporters? They don’t care about being “civilized”. The problem, according to Trump et al, is the country is too “politically correct”, that people aren’t allowed to beat up whoever they identify as the problem. Trump supporters are now giving the Hitler Salute and shouting stuff like “Go to Auschwitz”, which indicates they have found a way to justify being evil incarnate, and the narrative/justification they’re using has rewritten history and embraces the natural mind’s response to evil: vengeance and violence. That which is evil must be wiped out. And they have defined as evil anyone who doesn’t look like them.

    So, do we not call them racist or fascist because it is “counter productive”? Well, it’s nothing specific to them, its an aspect of being human. And human history doesn’t show us any instance where evil people are told they are evil and the evil people look at themselves and say, “Oh my gosh, you are so right. I am so sorry.” It’s never happened. In fact, the opposite. Germans right after WW2 tried to rewrite history so they were the good people caught between the “evil nazis” and the rest of the world. The South has rewritten history so that they were the good people invaded by the evil, conquering North.

    It seems that, at least historically speaking, the only thing good people can do is honest self-evaluation to make sure they’re not justifying evil behavior (because we’re human, and history shows humans can do evil things and totally justify it to themselves), and call out evil when they see it (either in themselves or others). The hope is that enough people will hold as important the notion that they are “civilized” and eventually recoil in horror at the evil acts done by certain people.

    I know at an *individual* level, you can sometimes take someone aside, have a face-to-face conversation with them in a nonconfrontational manner, and possibly get them to see that they are in some way contributing to the problem. But my experience has been this is impossible to do in “turn-based” communication such as a blog or something like that. It needs to be face to face so that when someone starts to espouse some bullshit justification, you can interupt them in the moment, and stop the conversation, force them to look at what they just said, and halt the conversation until they acknowledge it for what it is. In turn-based communication, if someone points out a justification, the other person ignores it and instead finds some little detail you got wrong.

    For example, if someone doesn’t like what I’m saying right now because they are layering their mind with all sorts of narrative/justifications to defend their support of Trump, they might ignore all that and instead point out that the years I listed for Gandhi are in fact wrong. Gandhi was killed in 1948, so he couldn’t be working until 1949.

    There is an internet saying about how when you argue online, you’re not trying to convince the person you are arguing *with*, but rather you are trying to convince *everyone else* who is reading it. It basically says you can’t convince the other person they are wrong, because once they start down that path, they would rather die, kill, start a civil war, or commit genocide, than admit they acted in an evil way.

    So, yeah, calling a fascist “fascist” is about as far as the conversation will get *with them*, but you really can’t convince anyone they are evil in a turn-based form of communication. The best you can hope for is to convince *everyone else* to avoid becoming fascist so they can see it for what it is. In that regard, calling a fascist “fascist” isn’t “counter-productive”, hopefully it acts as a warning to keep others away from making the same mistake.

    Because once a person goes evil, they will do almost anything to justify it and no amount of internet blogging is going to change their mind.

  143. Greg:”Students get expelled for plagiarism without a trial. Students get expelled for assaulting another student without a trial. Students get expelled for rape without a trial.”

    Scorpius: “Well, the first is merely a violation of a university’s student code of conduct, the second is a criminal act that, if it occurs on campus, the student is expelled when evidence is shown or a trial on assault is concluded not in the accused’s favor;”

    What. The. Fuck???? Seriously? Do you think that “plagiarism” violates the University’s code of conduct but *RAPE* does NOT?????

    So, you’re saying a school can expel you without trial for plagiarism, but if the issue is assault or rape, the school must wait until a criminal trial is complete before they have the authority to expel you?

    So, by your amazing logic, if I go into a bar and start a fight, the bar cannot tell me “don’t ever come back here again” until a criminal trial convicts me of assault and battery? If I go into Macy’s and shoplift a bunch of their stuff, they can’t ban me until a criminal trial convicts me?

    This is quite literally the DUMBEST FUCKING THING I”VE HEARD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

  144. @scorpius, you were specifically calling someone a facist for stating that while they did not want Trump supporters to be forced into silence, they did feel the need to argue against what they said. In case you’ve forgotten:

    ” “Back to Trump though. No, I don’t want his supporters arrested or anything, but I want them fought at every possible chance. Be it disrupting Trump rallies, vigorous protests, family squabbles, you name it.”

    wow. so you want to shut down free speech and act like a PC police to “vigorously” shut down speech and thought that is DoublePlusUngood.

    Wow, that’s not fascist at all.”

    Disrupting and/or protesting rallies is not facist. Trump supporters are legally allowed to hold rallies. Trump opponents are legally allowed to protest those rallies. Both parties are exercising their right to free speech. Unless someone is using the actual threat of violence to shut down a rally, which the person you were speaking to was not advocating, they are not violating anyone’s right to free speech. The same law that allows people to hold up pictures of dismembered babies outside Planned Parenthood clinics and scream at patients that they’re murderers allows people to call Trump supporters names outside his rallies and hold up signs comparing him to Hitler.

    If you want to get legalistic about it, they’re still not violating anyone’s right to free speech even if they do threaten violence. A private citizen threatening another private citizen for what they’re saying is behaving immorally and perhaps illegally, but unless they are acting as a representative of the United States government, they are not violating anyone’s First Amendment right.

  145. John your space and your rules but I am amazed you are allowing someone to post who claims that most sexual assault allegations at universities are false.

  146. MPAVictoria:

    I occasionally allow stupid things to be said because I know the commenters here will expertly rebut and make the original poster look foolish.

    That said, I agree that we have wandered far afield, so let’s get back on topic. Also, Scorpius, enough. Any more on that particular topic will get the Mallet.

    Indeed, things have wandered far enough afield at this point that it might just be better to close the thread. You folks currently participating have a few more comments to convince me otherwise.

  147. “Disavowal is difficult when the difference between Trump’s tactics and the ones the right has been using for numerous election cycles is in degree, not kind. You get to own this one. Enjoy it.”

    Well said, John. I wonder what the “establishment” Rs are so horrified about. Trump messing up their tactic by taking it to its logical conclusion? The fact that the difference between Trump’s views and those of the other clowns still in the car is hard to perceive with the naked eye?

  148. “Trump’s speeches do sound better in the original German.”
    Gerry O’Brien… I know you said this really far up the thread, but I have to say you have made my day.

    Or as Hardwick would say.. POINTS!

  149. And this, gentlepersons, is why we don’t feed trolls.

    I’m fine with taking Ms. Peterson on her word. I’m not even sure it constitutes a cleverfail.

    Frankly, I think all the Nazi comparisons to Trump are largely overblown. I’m no history professor (h/t David), but if memory serves, Adolf Hitler came to power with the express help of an active political party. While Trump clearly has some support among the Republican primary voters, his support structure is far less organized than the Tea Party. And even if he does win the nomination, while the GOP – as a party – will probably get behind him to get him elected, I’m not sure he’ll continue to enjoy that kind of support while in office.

    But I could be wrong.

  150. I don’t think Trump is a fascist. I think Trump is a celebrity. That might be worse for the country, considering how we treat celebrities.

  151. Greg: “If one were to model the human mind, it would be a judgement engine where the mind is always right and good and everyone else around it is open to being judged as good or evil. The mind contains a secondary defense mechanism whereby when the mind is challenged with being wrong or bad, it will create a narrative/justification to layer on top of the engine so as to protect itself from being judged bad. . . ”

    Good conceptual food for thought. . .

  152. Doc: “Frankly, I think all the Nazi comparisons to Trump are largely overblown.”

    I think the difference between Trump now and early Hitler is negligible. The only important question is whether Trump if elected would start a world war, and I think the answer is m… yah… possible.

    Trump might say “starting ww3 is the last thing on my list”. But its still on his list.

    And just to add a little humor….

    http://www.threepanelsoul.com/comic/the-important-thing

  153. Is it possible that this photo is being taken out of context? I simply cannot wrap my brain around the idea of throwing the Nazi salute in support of a particular candidate. Now if this person was flinging Nazi salutes to protest Trump’s Fascist ideas, I can understand that. I won’t support it. But I can see where it is coming from. I will not believe that a person capable to tying their own shoes, breathing (without being reminded), and walking upright can possibly think that we need more Hitler in American life.

  154. @mchlpllck, Sadly, those people do exist, but I think in this case the situation was more complicated; it seems that the woman in question is a Trump supporter but was trying to make a point to protesters who were calling him Hitler. Not the best way of doing it, IMO, but it doesn’t seem to have been straight up done in support of Trump.

  155. mch : “I will not believe that a person capable to tying their own shoes, breathing (without being reminded), and walking upright can possibly think that we need more Hitler in American life.”

    And I am sure Donald Trump thanks you for that…

  156. Mythago:

    you are aware that several other people, including the photographer, disagree with her story about why she was giving the salute, and the the photograph does not reflect the incident as she claims it happened? It’s entirely possible to pity her and think she was stupid, rather than malicious, without assuming that she is telling the truth and everyone else present who talked about the incident is lying.

    Oh I don’t actually believe she’s telling the truth about what happened, nor do I think the guy in the picture (gesturing with his hands,) who talked about her and the photographer, etc. are lying about it. But I do believe that she believes what she said, in some form. And while she’s clearly an active racist, she’s also clearly not an actual neo-Nazi. (For one thing, she wasn’t doing the salute right.) It’s the whole Evil League of Evil stuff with the Puppies and so forth.

    And that lets them ignore the issues the protesters are actually raising. The protesters aren’t “nice” to their minds, so they don’t have to be nice back. They don’t really think about how they are re-enacting the 1960’s civil rights movement (or they are happy to re-enact it and hope to totally crush it this time.) Actually, Amanda Marcotte summed it up fairly well, although not all the issues:

    The modern conservative movement is filled with people who believe they are due deference from the rest of us but are getting mockery instead. The conservative media has stoked this narrative of cultural resentment for decades, too. “Liberal elite” is a common catchphrase on the right. Some might think that term is an economic one, but in reality, it’s a cultural one. The “liberal elite” is mostly composed of people who belong to the middle class: Journalists, college professors, artists, even lawyers, most of whom are not millionaires. Meanwhile, the right absolutely hero worships conservative billionaires like the Waltons, the Kochs, and yes, Donald Trump.

    No, the “liberal elite” is a term of cultural resentment, rooted in a thwarted sense of conservative entitlement. It’s backed by this narrative that there once was a time when America was “great” because the culture was controlled by white Christians, but at some point, usually the 1960s, the undesirables — hippies, artists, people of color, secularists, feminists, gay people — started taking over. This sense that something has been stolen and needs to be taken back is the organizing narrative of conservative populism.

    And the funny thing is, of course, that we didn’t “take over.” We’re still protesting for our rights. Black Lives Matter is protesting for court, legal and prison reform to end systemic bigotry and violence, as well as discrimination towards black people in education and jobs. And that makes them, to these people, violent criminal thugs, same as last time fifty, sixty years ago, when they worked for the exact same things. No issue they raise can be legitimate; no protest they make can be acceptable. And if that means embracing tenants of American fascism and totalitarianism to stop them, so be it. So this woman has been raised with and embraced certain beliefs and that has been a waste. I’m not really pitying her. I’m pitying the cost of the world view.

  157. Birgitt Peterson, Nazi Salute Girl, was born in West Germany in 1946. The Nazi Salute is banned in Germany. I find it extremely hard to believe that she was born in a country where the Nazi salute is specifically illegal, yet she thought it “clever” to use it as part of a teachable lesson.

    She says she was never a Nazi and the only organizations she ever belonged to are Republican and Tea Party. She also says she believes the Republican party should be broken up and Trump is the one to do it. The most generous thing one can say about her politics is that she is a Tea Party extremist. But given the Tea Party is whiter-than-the-oscars(TM), it doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch to think she is indeed a racist and the salute was more “Hitler was right” than “I fart in Hitler’s general direction”.

    An interesting thing about Trump supporters: They don’t care if you say Trump is racist or bigotted or fascist. They see those labels as badges of honor. To them, the problem with America is political correctness has made us soft. So, the antithesis to political correctness is blatant and violent bigotry, and they are letting their fascist flag fly.

    She knew what she was doing, with some distance from her fascist friends however, she is backtracking and trying to spin what happened.

  158. @JChest – First, that Snopes article has NOTHING to do with this woman giving the Nazi salute. (She admits she gave the salute. She claims she didn’t mean it, but she DID give it.) That article is about Trump’s rally where he had people raise their hands and pledge themselves to him. That’s a totally different incident, not the same rally where the lady did the Nazi salute.

    Second, the article itself confirms that Trump DID indeed have his supporters raise their right hands and swear allegiance to him in this election. The Snopes article merely debunks certain claims about that incident–claims I haven’t actually seen anyone making.

    So, what exactly did you think you were proving with that Snopes link?

  159. Kat : And the funny thing is, of course, that we didn’t “take over.” We’re still protesting for our rights.

    Kat, the logic is that by visibly protesting you HAVE taken over. Things were so much quieter and more civilized back in the halcyon days when women stayed in the kitchen, blacks knew their place and kept quiet, gays were nailed in the closet, and transsexuals were never heard of. You know, back when they were young, the world had more color, it didn’t hurt to eat, and children were always polite and respectful.

  160. Yep, we become the “thought police” because we think their expressed thoughts are awful. And so they play the game of fine, if I’m so awful, I’ll take up the label. This is behavior not limited to the rightward. It is a particular favorite of white people and men of all political stripes in the West. That way, you’re just insulting them, trying to get them in trouble; you’re not raising a legitimate issue of set bigotry and discrimination.

    The block on civil rights and increased equality is never something like the Klu Klux Klan. It’s ordinary people in the culture they are used to, nervous, facing change where they are no longer visibly, automatically respected and trusted for just being part of the right, central, important group, who refuse to listen unless you put a tuxedo of polite obsequiousness on the demon baby eating your leg. And even if you do put a tuxedo on the demon baby, that just means that they claim it’s not a demon baby at all and certainly not eating your leg. Why, there’s a black/gay/female person right over here who says that there is no demon baby. So stop claiming that they are evil potentates who let the demon baby eat your leg, or dang it, they will support the demon baby and let it eat you.

    Because having to face the demon baby and deal with our role in letting it rampage, our own assumptions, biases and acts of callousness, is way worse to us somehow than the actual damage the demon baby of bigotry does. We fear what the cost of admitting it and changing it will be. (Quite often the cost is nothing.) So any claim that the demon baby is well established in law and society and business and eating people must be declared illegitimate, exaggerated, overly pushy and emotional, or an outright lie, preferably by dominating conspiracies.

    That’s why I don’t have as much of a problem with the Trump rallies’ going-ons as my husband does (though I don’t want anybody to die, obviously.) But those rallies have the demon baby on full out display, no tuxedo. And only when Americans can’t run away from that, can’t pretend their society is not as prejudiced as shit, do they start listening to complaints and being open to change. That’s how we got marriage equality, ended legal segregation, got women the vote.

    But it’s a waste. It’s an enormous waste of people, the potential of children, resources, time, money, land, etc. We spend all our time wrestling over the demon babies, on artificial cultural divisions used to make small groups of people money and power, denying that we are actually in a boat together instead of competing against one another, and the big problems (climate change, pollution, healthcare) just get worse, along with discrimination itself.

    Luckily, human being are actually way more cooperative to survive than they are destructive to survive. That’s what gives me hope.

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