A problem largely created by white residents

In summary, LePage not only vastly overestimated the portion of black and Hispanic faces in the collection, he incorrectly blamed people of color and out-of-staters for a problem that is largely created by white residents. Perhaps LePage simply misremembered and thought it was more black men, though given that he had ample time to check his figures, there would seem to be an subconscious tendency to blame black men. On the other hand, LePage’s list of greatest hits shows a consistent focus on race, including his assertion that President Obama hates white people and his refusal to attend Martin Luther King Day celebrations.

–David A. Graham, Paul LePage’s Binders Full of White People


Make Faerun great again!

Cryptofascists suffer a totalizing AC penalty due to their congenitally thin skin.
Cryptofascists suffer a totalizing AC penalty due to their congenitally thin skin.

How could anybody, Republican or Democrat, or the leaders of any nation, believe a thing this man promises? He revels in being a traitor to his vows and promises. And let’s say that as president, he came to think of himself as the nation’s CEO, and approached diplomacy with these gutter ethics — and succeeded. What kind of lesson would that teach? It would corrupt the public’s morals even worse than they already are.

Look, many of us believe, with very good reason, that Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy. Trump is in another league entirely on this front. If the presidential contenders had Dungeons & Dragons alignments, Hillary would be lawful evil, and Trump would be at best neutral evil, at worst, chaotic evil.

–Rod Dreher, Trump, Vows, & Treason

On a related note, this is delightful.

Whatever the wreckage

Trump is emblematic of the values of this particular variety of capitalism, prizing profits over any social purpose. This has made him incredibly wealthy, he says. Lucky Donald. Now he has ridden that wave to the presidential debate stage, whatever the wreckage of human lives left in his wake. But all is justified under the mantle of “business,” in Trump’s telling; greed and cruelty are fine—in his estimation, often brilliant, I suspect—in the name of profit.

–Rebecca J. Rosen, “That’s Called Business, By the Way”

Three categories: American and Muslim and normal

While these clips may be designed to give Muslims a face and voice, they do so in a way that can undermine their aim.The videos include few traditional or conservative Muslims whose dress, accents, or descriptors are far from the norm. The implication that these Muslims are “normal” by American standards allows little space for Muslims who are not “normal”—even if that just means they don’t like Christmas movies. The Americanness of Muslims should not be predicated on their ability to blend in.

One of several response videos, which itself went viral, specifically critiques the mollifying aspect of these videos, preferring to assert political differences many Muslims may have. One participant sums up the response well: “I’m Muslim, but I don’t need to prove my loyalty to you or anyone else.”

That seems to be the fate of all Muslims’ efforts to blend in: rejection. These efforts can only bring exhaustion, along with the loss of distinctive elements of Muslim culture. Only by organizing politically, asserting themselves in the most American way of all, can they hope to make their true voice heard and eventually ensure their relative safety. They should not be afraid of displaying their customs, views, or practices that may appear different.

Muslims should not shy away from the fact that their religion is different from the norm of their supposedly secular country. Rather, they must demand that their country accepts them as they are, for all the contributions they make, even if that means failing to look, sound, and act like what America has deemed “normal”.

–Nafisa Eltahir, Muslim Americans Should Reject Respectability Politics

The best words

They are going to expand their companies and do a tremendous job. I’m getting rid of the great thing for the wealthy, it’s a great thing for the middle class and for companies to expand and when these people are going to put billions and billions of dollars into companies and when they are going to bring $2.5 trillion back from overseas where they can’t bring the money back because politicians like Secretary Clinton won’t allow them to bring the money back because the taxes are so onerous and the bureaucratic red tape, it’s so bad.

So what they are doing is leaving our country and, believe it or not, they are leaving because taxes are too high and because some of them have lots of money outside of our country and instead of bringing it back and putting the money to work because they can’t work out a deal and everybody agrees it should be brought back, instead of that, they are leaving our country to get their money because they can’t bring their money back into our country because of bureaucratic red tape, because they can’t get together. Because we have a president that can’t sit them around a table and get them to approve something, and here’s the thing, Republicans and Democrats agree that this should be done. $2.5 trillion.

I happen to think it’s double that. It’s probably $5 trillion that we can’t bring into our country, Lester, and with a little leadership, you’d get it in here very quickly and it could be put to use on the inner cities and lots of other things, and it would be beautiful. But we have no leadership. And honestly, that starts with Secretary Clinton.

–Donald Trump quoted by Ezra Klein, The first debate featured an unprepared man repeatedly shouting over a highly prepared woman

He knows words. He has the best words.

Donald Trump has no idea what he’s talking about, and he has no idea how to talk about it. Yet he simply keeps talking. And people claim that he’s speaking for them. That actually does say a lot.

Flourishing away from home

What feels like a “safe space” to one person can feel stifling or even “unsafe” to another. A sex-positive feminist may want to decorate her dorm door with a poster from a provocative art exhibition. An evangelical Christian across the hall might not feel “at home” seeing graphic images each morning upon leaving her dorm room. Yet forbid the feminist artist from decorating her door as she sees fit and she will find the space she inhabits seems less like home. The whole standard is untenable.

And I worry that some progressive college students are missing this inherent untenability by unconsciously proceeding as if there is a right to feel at home in college, but only for those with a “correct” or “enlightened” view of what home should be.

My correspondent has the best of intentions. But I fear that the best that could come of his framework is a place where students who share his ideology and temperament are very comfortable… and everyone else is not. Insofar as some aspects of home, like an environment free of racism, ought to be lodestars, it is because of their independent value, not because they are home-like.

But among my 30-something peers, I have so many friends and acquaintances, across the full diversity of identity groups, who regard the collegiate periods that were least like home––the semester abroad, the challenging roommate, the residence hall where it was forbidden to speak their native language, and yes, the late-night dorm debates with folks whose viewpoints they found offensive––as the times that most contributed to their education, their growth, and their later flourishing.

–Conor Friedersdorf, A College Is a Community but Cannot be a Home

A mixture misunderstood by many

Like other Socialists with a national audience, Bohn misunderstood the basic social foundation of his own movement’s appeal. In the person of Debs, in the vibrant movement in the Southwest, and in communities such as St. Mary’s, religious belief and a deep-rooted patriotism did not inhibit the growth of a strong class awareness. That awareness developed within a specific political and cultural context that provided it with a most powerful ally: through these men and women and their specific traditions a class analysis—so at odds with the dominant ideology of individualism—entered American culture and its political discourse with a power and force otherwise unimaginable. Misunderstood by many, that mixture of biblical appeal, democratic ideology, and growing class awareness was the great strength of the Debsian Socialist movement and remains today its most potent legacy.

—Nick Salvatore, Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist. Urbana, Chicago, London: U. of Illinois Press, 1982. p. 240

The view from the right side of history

Underlying liberal denigration of the new nationalism — the tendency of progressives to describe it as nothing but “racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia” — is the desire to delegitimize any particularistic attachment or form of solidarity, be it national, linguistic, religious, territorial, or ethnic. As I explained shortly after the Brexit vote, cosmopolitan liberals presume that all particularistic forms of solidarity must be superseded by a love of humanity in general, and indeed that these particularistic attachments will be superseded by humanitarianism before long, as part of the inevitable unfolding of human progress.

For such liberals, any outlook that resists or rejects humanitarianism is an atavistic throwback to less morally pristine times, with the present always superior to the past and the imagined even-more-purely humanitarian future always better still.

Concerned about immigrants disregarding the nation’s borders, defying its laws, and changing its ethnic and linguistic character? Racist!

–Damon Linker, Liberals keep denigrating the new nationalism as racist. This is nonsense.

Everything is subjective!!!

‘There is no such thing as objective reporting,’ claim the heads of Putin’s propaganda networks Dmitry Kiselev and Margarita Simonyan, when asked to explain the editorial principles which allow for conspiracy theories to be presented as being equally valid to evidence-based research. The Kremlin’s international channel, RT, claims to be giving an ‘alternative’ point of view, but in practice this means making the editor of a fringe right-wing magazine as credible a talking head as a University academic, making a lie as worthy of broadcast as a fact. Donald Trump plays a similar game when he invokes wild rumors as reasonable, alternative opinions, couching stories that Obama is a Muslim, or that rival Ted Cruz carries a secret Canadian passport, with the caveat: ‘A lot of people are saying . . .’

This equaling out of truth and falsehood is both informed by and takes advantage of an all-permeating late post-modernism and relativism, which has trickled down over the past thirty years from academia to the media and then everywhere else. This school of thought has taken Nietzsche’s maxim, there are no facts, only interpretations, to mean that every version of events is just another narrative, where lies can be excused as ‘an alternative point of view’ or ‘an opinion’, because ‘it’s all relative’ and ‘everyone has their own truth’ (and on the internet they really do).

–Peter Pomerantsev, Why We’re Post-Fact