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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ron DeSantis' "monkey this up" comment has a racist history

When Andrew Gillum became the first African-American candidate for governor of Florida in Tuesday's primary, his Republican opponent, Trump fanboy Ron Desantis, was quick to mobilize racism in the hope that by doing so he might win enough white racist support to turn the clock back to when America was racist before, and win the election by doing so. He did this by telling a Fox News host:
"The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state."
After mobilizing what has been a racist meme against African Americans for more than a century, his campaign tried to deny that he knew exactly what he was doing, and claimed it's "absurd" to say "monkey" is a racial dog whistle. Yesterday, DeSanti told Sean Hannity "It has zero to do with race, It has everything to do with whether we want Florida to go in a good direction." He is now claiming that the comment was about Gillum's "socialist policies." Only there are a few problems with that explanation. First, Gillum is not a socialist, although I wish he was. DeSanti is just using that as another smear. He doesn't have to tell people he is African-American. Second, there isn't a long history of a monkey meme for Marxists.  Google "monkey Marx" images and you'll get a lot about the Marx brothers' film "Monkey Business" but not Karl Marx. Google "monkey Obama" images and you'll get literally hundreds of racism images. Maybe some of these images were posted on the racist facebook group Ron DeSantis administered until yesterday, when Media Matters staffer Natalie Martinez called him out.

Fox News' Shepard Smith asked "Was that racist or a figment of speech?"

I have composed this blog post to answer his question.

First some history:
The Coon Caricature: Blacks as Monkeys

A hateful association between Blacks and monkeys or apes was yet another way that the antebellum South justified slavery. Blacks were considered by some Whites to be more simian than human, and therefore had no self-evident rights, including freedom. After the Civil War, the emancipation of slaves, and passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15 amendments to the Constitution, White bigots used the association to justify Jim Crow laws, and the use of violence, such as the lynching of Blacks who challenged or threatened the status quo.
This should make clear that what DeSanti's is promoting leads to genocide, and since a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll let these images speak for themselves:

1900s Postcard
1907 Postcard

1900s Postcard

1907 The Little Nigs of Tiny Town comic strip

These images aren't just a part of America's racist past, as Ron DeSanti's reminds us, they are with us still. Skip forward a hundred and one years from the "Little Nigs of Tiny Town," and we are subjected to images like these, minus the N-word.

Anti-Obama Button, 2008 campaign

Anti-Obama T-shirt, 2008 campaign

Anti-Obama T-shirt, 2008 campaign

Cartoon of Michael Jordan as an Ape

Little Monkey 2009
New York Post cartoon comparing President Obama,
and Black victims of police shooting, to apes

Obama as Monkey
Primate in Chief

Obama as Monkey

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

More on Russian promotion of white supremacy worldwide & Trump's SA Tweet

On Friday, I published Was Trump trolling Putin trash with his tweet on South Africa? in which I placed Trump's tweet about "the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers," in the context of the recent Russian-led "white genocide" South Africa meme. I have also written recently about Russia's leadership of the worldwide white supremacist movement in Why didn't Democracy Now disclose Russian ties to racist Charlottesville rally?, and Rev. Dr. William Barber II, please remove your name from this apology for the Trump-Putin white supremacy project.

The US white-Left has played a supporting role in Putin's promotion of white supremacy in the United States. Trump could never had been elected without their backhanded support. I wrote about this in The white-Left Part 1: The two meanings of white and The white-Left Part 2: Why that is the best name for it

In Friday's piece on Russia's work in spreading the white supremacist myth of "white genocide" in South Africa, I focused exclusively on the racist propaganda coming out of the Russia media outlet RT and its affiliates. I fear that the Putin mouthpiece Sputnik was neglected, even though it has been even more prolific in promoting this racist meme than RT. But first, a related video:

This Russian news item reported on an advanced contingent of Afrikaners welcomed to Russia, It was posted to YouTube by Russia Insight with subtitles, 7 July 2018:

Russia Welcomes Afrikaners: 15000 Boers Plan To Move To Russia From South Africa

Adi Slebus: "It's a matter of life and death - there are attacks on us. It's got to the point where the politicians are stirring up a wave of violence."
And now, here is the Sputnik collection. I can't claim this is comprehensive as I keep finding more, and I still have to report to my day job tomorrow. Perhaps some paid journalist could look into this. I still haven't seen another piece place Trump's tweet in its larger context. None have mentioned either the new racist propaganda film on that subject, Farmlands, [ Which no one I asked about it at the Left Coast Forum had even heard of it, including Greg Palast, even though it had 1.5 million YouTube views on Friday, and has added another 100K views in the four days since.] or the Russian offer to resettle white South African farmers. Maybe they should do their day job, so I can lay on the beach in my time off.

This appears to be the piece that kicked off this campaign:

3 March 2018 What Do People Say About Future Confiscation of White Farmers' Land in S Africa?
The South African parliament has adopted the motion to change the country’s constitution in order to pave the way for a planned confiscation of white-owned land without compensation.
This was right after Jacob Zuma had been ousted as president of South Africa in February 2018. His successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, ran on a platform of land reform, and now he was starting to implement it. The Russian campaign for Trump's tweet began with this very first article:

White farmers are being slaughtered and now the South African government is coming for their land.

Where are you, @realDonaldTrump?

RETWEET so POTUS acts. https://t.co/UnhjOXN0iH

— Based Monitored 🇺🇸🇮🇪 (@BasedMonitored) 28 февраля 2018 г.
6 March 2018 Ex-Israeli Spec Ops Soldier Trains S Africa's White Farmers to Defend Themselves
Even as the South African government attempts to ease the situation by promising to redistribute land to the black population, the number of assaults on white farmers is continuing to grow.
7 March 2018 Seizure of White Farmers' Land in S Africa 'Severe Infringement on Human Rights'
Sputnik has discussed this issue with Kallie Kriel, the CEO of AfriForum.
Al Jazeera described AfriForum as "the fascist organisation that toured the US and the UK earlier this year in a bid to call attention to what it calls "the plight" of white farmers." The organization claims that it "played a role" in Trump's tweet.

8 May 2018 139 S Africa Farms May Be Taken From White Owners Without Compensation - Reports
South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) has targeted 139 farms that they plan to expropriate without compensation in the coming weeks.
This Spring expropriation never happened. This was Russian fear mongering.

16 May 2018 In South Africa White Farmers Reportedly Arm Themselves Amid New Murders, Attacks
The recent murder of an elderly white couple in South Africa has triggered another round of debates of violence against white land owners. According to the South African Crime Intelligence & Community Awareness page, Coleen Engelbrecht was strangled with an iron cord, while the intruders cut her husband’s throat. The killing has become another episode in a wave in brutal farm attacks in rural areas.
This is the same technique use by "Farmlands." South Africa has a very high crime rate, so they focus on cases of brutal bandistry by black criminals on white farmers, and imply a government supported program of "white genocide."

17 May 2018 S Africa Facing Crisis Regarding Violence in Attacks on White Farmers – Activist
Locals are taking up arms to protect their property in South Africa amid a wave of murders and attacks on white farmers. The AfriForum civil rights group has shared its view on the reasons in an interview with Radio Sputnik.
They really like this racist "civil rights" group.

20 May 2018 Attacks on White Farmers in S Africa: Expert Explains How Gov't May Protect Them
The splash of violence has triggered uproar on social media, with many users blaming the authorities for turning a blind eye to racial murders.
Radio Sputnik discussed this with Paul Toohey, chief reporter for the News Corp Australia Network and author of the report "Silent slaughter: South Africa's farmers being attacked, forced from land".
7 July 2018
"A Matter of Survival": South African Farmers Consider Moving to Russia (PHOTOS)

Several members of South Africa’s white Boer and Afrikaner minorities are entertaining the possibility of moving to southern Russia. But it’s not only the local fertile land, which they say was “created by God for farming,” that attracts them – they are certain that it may be a matter of survival.

It was a long trip for the Schlebusch family. They’ve been preparing for this journey for over a year – making presentations, writing emails and a memorandum to their friends in Russia – a distant country on another continent, where they’ve never been before, but which they like for its traditions and support of traditional Christian values. More...
28 July 2018 System of 'Ethnic Domination' in South Africa Has to be Changed - Activist
Members of South Africa's white Boer and Afrikaner minorities are calling for help, saying that they have no place in today's "Rainbow country." Sputnik interviewed Dan Roodt – an activist who has traveled to many world capitals in an attempt to attract attention to their plight.

Dan Roodt retweeted this. Ann Coulter is a regular contributor to Tucker Carlson's racist blog, The Daily Caller. He also retweets Peter Brimelow. [See condition to Kudlow below.]

1 August 2018 S Africa to Legalize Land Seizure From White Farmers by Changing Constitution
Land ownership has been a major irritant in South Africa, whose post-apartheid governments have been trying to take fertile land away from white farmers and hand it over to black owners. Around 10 percent of land in white ownership has been redistributed since.

3 August 2018 Land Grab Targeting White Farmers Won't Make S Africa '2nd Zimbabwe'

5 August 2018 139 S Africa Farms May Be Taken From White Owners Without Compensation - Reports

11 August 2018
South Africa Vows to Avoid Zimbabwe-Style Land Grabs Targeting White Farmers

The South African government's announcement last week that the constitution would be amended to allow for the expropriation of land, the vast majority of which is held by white South Africans, without compensation, has led to fears that the country will erupt in violence almost a quarter of a century after the formal end of apartheid.

South Africa's markets and its national currency – the rand – have stumbled this week after the country's president confirmed in a television address that section 25 of the country's constitution, which deals with property issues, will be amended to allow the state to redistribute land without paying for it. More...
16 August 2018 S. Africa's Gov't May Seize 195 Farms From White Owners – Reports
AfriForum, a lobby group which mainly represents white South Africans, says it has obtained a list of 195 farms which the government plans to seize.
The government’s land redistribution plans are seen by many investors as a breach of property rights.
19 August 2018 White Farmers 'Panicking', Put Their Land up For Sale in South Africa – Reports
"They are confused about the lack of any apparent strategy from the government and many are panicking. So many farms are up for sale, more than we've ever had, but no one is buying."
20 August 2018 'ANC Has Not Paid Sufficient Attention to Land Reforms for 20 Years' – Professor

After Trump's tweet, they really got busy making the most of it:

23 August 2018 South African Government Slams Trump for Remark on Land Reform in Country

23 August 2018 S Africa Attacks Trump as US President Takes on Controversial 'Land Grab' Issue
The long-term problem of land expropriation from white farmers in South Africa took a new turn after US President Donald Trump entered the fray, drawing discontent from the African nation’s government.
23 August 2018 Trump Has No Africa Policy, Tries to Hide It Attacking S Africa - Ex-US Envoy

23 August 2018 South Africa Summons US Charge D'Affaires Over Trump's Tweet - Reports

24 August 2018 'Wrong Path': DoS Comments on Possible Consequences of South African Land Reform
The government of South Africa risks going down the wrong path if it continues land expropriation without compensation, US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press briefing.
24 August 2018 ‘Playing With Dynamite’: Trump Stokes Racial Tensions in South Africa
US President Donald Trump has become the latest international leader to express solidarity with the white farmers.
Peter Dutton, then Australia's minister of home affairs, was the only other "world leader" they mentioned, however they did quote Gerald Horne, professor of history at the University of Houston:
"So we see that there's a kind of ‘White International' erupting, a white reactionary international, which I dare say also carries the seeds of fascism, particularly given the unsettled history in South Africa. Where by the way, the European invasion commenced in 1652, as opposed to the 1890s in Zimbabwe — once Rhodesia — which suggests that the roots of white supremacy and racism are much deeper in South Africa."
24 August 2018 Trump's Tweet on Land Reform 'Serves Only to Polarize Debate'

LATE BREAKING: Trump attacks Google!

When Putin wanted his own "Fox News" for Russia, he got his chief financial backer, Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeev, to fund it; his ideological mentor Aleksandr Dugin, to run it; and former Fox News founding productor and Sean Hannity producer, Jack Hanick to create it. On the other hand, Trump wants the kind of control over all media that Putin enjoys in Russia. In his continuing efforts to achieve this in the United States he is going after Google:
He has put his white supremacist economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, on the job. A few hours after Trump's tweets, Kudlow said the Trump administration is "taking a look" at imposing regulations on Google. Kudlow has come a long ways from his Students for a Democratic Society [SDS], antiwar organizer days. Last week Larry Kudlow hosted neo-Nazi Peter Brimelow as a guest at Ludlow's home for Ludlow's birthday party. Brimelow founded the white supremacist site VDare almost 20 years ago. Most recently Brimelow has come out in support of Trump on South Africa, writing in VDare:
President Donald J. Trump has finally addresssed the plight of white farmers in South Africa, to the outrage of the Main Stream Media, which had NOT GIVEN PERMISSION for this story to be told.
VDare has been pushing this South African "white genocide" nonsense since at least March, [when the Russia effort also apparently started] with articles like, Congress Passed Lautenberg Amendment To Rescue Soviet Jews—Why Not For White South Africans? (But Trump Can Take Executive Action NOW), 12 March 2018. In support of Trump's white supremacist South Africa policy, it reprinted a piece Brimelow wrote in support of white-rule Rhodesia back in 1979. They still celebrate Rhodesia, as did Dylann Roof and many other latter-day klansmen.

After Robert Costa in the Washington Post, broken the news about Kudlow's dinner guest, he claimed not to be aware of Brimelow's views. This is hard to believe because just the day before the birthday bash, a White House speechwriter was dismissed on the news that he had spoken next to Brimelow on a 2016 panel. Brimelow has been a guest at Kudlow birthday parties for years, Brimelow, for his part says "I've known Larry for nearly four decades and like him." Therefore I think it is safe to conclude that our white supremacist president has put one of his white supremacist underlings to the task of bringing Google to heel. If they succeed, we are all in very big trouble, and I will definitely have trouble researching articles like this. I fear that is the ultimate point.

MSNBC is saying that this Google meme also originated in Moscow.

More, later....

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Was Trump trolling Putin trash with his tweet on South Africa?

File Under: Why We Do The Things We Do

When, after 579 days in office, US President Donald Trump finally got around to mentioning Africa in a tweet, it was to support a white supremacist meme about so-called "white genocide" in South Africa:
The Washington Post reported:
Former U.S. diplomats and South African leaders denounced Trump’s declaration in a tweet late Wednesday that he had instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to monitor the “large scale killing” of white farmers and the government’s expropriations of their land.

White-nationalist groups have for years spread false claims about the murder rates, assertions that have been widely debunked. Local police data shows the number of people murdered on farms has dropped by half over the past two decades — from 140 in 2001-2002 to 74 in 2016-2017, according to the Associated Press.
While the tweet brought criticism from many quarters, Trump's deplorables ate it up:

Daily Stormer got giddy!

Breitbart was on it

Coincidentally, on Thursday, Democracy Now reported on how VDARE founder, Peter Brimelow was given a birthday party at the home of Trump's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow. He may also be a fan of Russia. When, in April, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced new sanctions against Russia for its support of Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria, Kudlow caused a row by accusing Haley of "momentary confusion."

VDARE was on this story, as was David Duke, and Richard Spencer.
VDARE supports Trump's tweet

The Washington Post piece goes on to talk about where Trump's tweet appeared to come from:
Trump’s tweet appeared to come in response to a segment on Fox News in which host Tucker Carlson railed against a plan by South Africa’s governing party to pursue constitutional changes allowing the government to redistribute land without compensating the owners. The measure is designed to redress racial inequalities that have persisted for nearly a quarter-century after the end of apartheid in 1994.

Obviously, this tweet was prompted by the Tucker Carlson report on Fox News, all the media commentators agree, and Trump even points to that in his tweet.

The funny thing is that this South Africa land seizure story really hasn't received much coverage on Fox News. As near as I can tell, this is the first story they have run on this subject, at least in awhile - I didn't go back more than a few months. On 22 July they ran 11 taxi drivers killed in South Africa ambush after attending funeral, by Travis Fedschun, on the website, but it made no mention of land seizures, alleged murdered farmers, or "white genocide." In fact, the story didn't even reveal the ethnicity of the murdered taxi drivers.

But it's gotten a lot more coverage now. Since the Tucker Carlson report prompted Trump's tweet, they have run: Inside South Africa's racist land seizuresTrump speaks out about Africa again, and many cringe and Tucker: Our ruling class believes in collective punishment. Clearly, they are now on a roll with this story.

So, if the Tucker Carlson report was the catalyst for Trump's tweet, where did Carlson's report come from?

While much of this South Africa "white genocide" mythology has been around since the end of apartheid, it has gotten a big boost recently in worldwide white supremacist circles, especially from Putin's Russia.

On 25 June 2018, the Lauren Southern documentary Farmlands was released. [YouTube 1:13:31] Calling Farmlands "a complete failure," AltNewsMedia wrote:
The opening proposition of the documentary is that in present day South Africa the white farmers and white people in general are being subjected to a terrible persecution that the State is endorsing through lack of response. From the outset it appears that Southern and her production associates have entered into this endeavour with the intent to portray a pre-written narrative that there is a proto-genocide of white people taking place in South Africa, which they have subsequently tried to fit the content to.
What we get is a series of interviews with victims of horrific crimes of banditry and an attempt to link these crimes with an overt policy of racism towards white people.
They even go to a city to talk to a white business owner who has suffered multiple raids to try and illustrate the point that it is not just the remote nature of the white farmlands that is leading to these attacks.

They do all these things and none of them join up to support their narrative.
Jared Taylor, from American Renaissance, is also an RT guest
In less than two months the YouTube posting has received 1.49 million views, so while this critic obviously found it wanting, it has nevertheless played very big in white supremacist circles worldwide and has popularized an updated version of the old mythology. Southern retweeted Trump's white genocide tweet with the comment, "This is huge."

Finding Farmlands possible connections to Putin's Russia remains on my to-do list, however a quick search of Lauren Southern's Twitter feed turned up this picture of her with Aleksandr Dugin, who has been described as "Putin's brain," and that may give us a clue:
I do think that Russia puts a lot of money into documentaries that serve the Putin/Dugin agenda. Some of that money is so well camouflaged that the recipients may not even be aware of the ultimate source.

Whether there were direct or indirect connections between Southern's film and Putin's project, its release at the end of June was very fortuitous for a white nationalist propaganda program the Kremlin was just starting to promote big time.

Less than two weeks after this film debuted, Putin announced that he was granting Russian land to 15,000 white South African farmers. As reported by The Impious Digest:
Putin Grants Free Russian Land To 15,000 Christians Facing “White Genocide” In South Africa

10 July 2018
By Sorcha Faal
A truly heart breaking new Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) report circulating in the Kremlin today says that President Putin has personally authorized the granting of free farm land in Russia to up to 15, 000 Christian men, women and children preparing to flee from South Africa as “a matter of life and death”—whose farms there, their ancestors have worked since the 18th Century, have all now been seized from them without payment, and whose “white genocide” extermination of the “Hitler of South Africa” now warns is near—but whom have all, also, been “rejected from protection” by the West who have, once again, turned their backs on God—with Canada outright rejecting their refugee status, the United States ignoring a petition signed by thousands to aid these Christian refugees, and the European Union not even able to be considered as it has been completely taken over by “degenerate liberalism”. More...
A day earlier, RT had reported:
‘A matter of life & death’: 15,000 white South African farmers seek refuge in Russia, report says

9 July 2018
A delegation of 30 South African farming families has arrived in Russia’s farmbelt Stavropol Region, Rossiya 1 TV reports. The group says it is facing violent attacks and death threats at home.

Up to 15,000 Boers, descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa, are planning to move to Russia amid rising violence stemming from government plans to expropriate their land, according to the delegation.

“It’s a matter of life and death – there are attacks on us. It’s got to the point where the politicians are stirring up a wave of violence,” Adi Slebus told the media. More...
This campaign has been launched to use confusion over a constitutional struggle in South Africa to build the Russian led worldwide white supremacist movement.

On 1 August, RT ran this story, with tags lines virtually identical to the ones Tucker Carlson would run [6:54 minute Fox News report vs. 6:32 minute RT report] three weeks later.

It is probably worth noting that Rep. Ron Paul Jr. spent a week in Russia in the intervening period because he is widely seen as a messenger between Trump and Putin. I do not as yet see a connection to this story.

On RT, the story went relatively quiet for a while, and then this week, they started hitting it hard every day. On Sunday they lead with:

South African winemaker warns land seizures could be ‘disastrous’ for industry & economy

Land expropriation in South Africa is touching almost all spheres of business in the country, and wine making is no exception. RT has talked to a South African wine producer concerned about the land seizures.

19 August 2018 | 11:03 GMT

That was followed on Monday with this:

‘Panicking’ white farmers putting land up for sale in South Africa – report

South Africa’s white farmers have been desperately trying to sell their lands at record pace ahead of planned government land seizures, according to a local farmer’s union. However, there are no buyers.

20 August 2018 | 10:41 GMT

And then this:

Land seizures begin in South Africa after owners refuse govt lowball buyout offer - report

South African authorities have reportedly started seizing white-owned land after negotiations on buying out the properties stalled. The first seizures are targeting game farms in the Northern province of Limpopo.

20 August 2018 | 15:29 GMT

Wednesday, they kept up the drumbeat with this:

South Africa’s land expropriation could trigger default, warns agricultural bank

Seizing privately-owned land without compensation could be costly for the South African economy. The government would be forced to bail out banks as farmers stop investing and paying off debts, warns state-owned Land Bank.

22 August 2018 | 06:49 GMT

That same day, Tucker Carlson ran his first South Africa land seizures piece. Then Benedict Donald sent a tweet clearly supportive of the Kremlin campaign. This allowed RT to crow:

Trump orders Pompeo to ‘closely study’ South Africa’s land expropriation

US President Donald Trump has expressed concern over the fate of white farmers in South Africa, where the extremely controversial land redistribution reform might leave owners without their properties or any compensation.

23 August 2018 | 02:52 GMT

RT knew it had landed a big fish, and since the US Presidential endorsement of the Kremlin campaign had now created an international incident, they were able to follow that with this:

‘Misinformed’: South Africa rejects Trump tweet on land seizures & ‘killing of farmers’

The South African government has slammed US President Donald Trump’s “narrow perception” over land seizures in the country after he ordered US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to study the situation.

23 August 2018 | 11:21 GMT

And this, still on Thursday, pointing to a tweet effect that everyone in the self-centered western media, including this excellent Washington Post piece, seemed to have missed:

Rand sinks after Trump questions land confiscation from white farmers in South Africa

The South African rand slumped almost two percent on Thursday, following US President Donald Trump’s tweet about the country's land reforms. Trump's comment raised fears about the possibility of US economic sanctions.

23 August 2018 | 12:05 GMT GMT

I'd suggest we look for someone in the Trump orbit that was short selling the rand prior to Trump's tweet. In any case, RT was just eating it up. After State Department, spokeswoman Heather Nauert confirmed that Trump and Pompeo had discussed South Africa, adding “expropriation of land without compensation would not be a good thing” and would send South Africa down the “wrong path,”, the Kremlin went with this story:

State Dept warns South Africa of ‘wrong path’ amid land expropriation row

Expropriation of land without compensation “would not be a good thing” and would send South Africa “down the wrong path,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters amid a diplomatic row with Pretoria.

23 August 2018 | 20:47 GMT

In less than a week after RT had started pounding its South Africa drum, its reverberations were being felt around the world, thanks in large part due to the support of President Trump. Still, the catalyst for Trump's tweet was the single Fox News report, not anything from Russia media, right?

Is it possible that Tucker Carlson and Fox News were playing the role of cut out, much as WikiLeaks did during the election -- cut out between the Russia source and Donald Trump? I mean, he could hardly admit that the inspiration for his first presidential tweet mentioning Africa came from the Kremlin!

When we look for connections between Fox News and Putin's Russia, this particular "conspiracy theory" has a lot going for it. For one thing, there is Jack Hanick, Sean Hannity's former director. He was one of the founding producers for Fox News, where he worked from 1996 to 2011. When Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev wanted to create the "Fox News" of Russia in 2014, he hired Hanick to create Tsargrad TV, and hired Dugin to run it. Hannick has traveled extensively between the US and Russia. He celebrated Trump's victory at Konstantin Rykov’s election night party in Moscow.

Tucker Carlson's Fox News show has also shared a number of repeat guests with RT and Sputnik, including Max Blumenthal, Stephen Cohen, and Glenn Greenwald. Clearly, they also shared this South Africa story in a timely matter. The question is: Was that just coincidence and Putin's good fortune, or was it something else?

The bottom line is this: Everybody is decrying Trump's South Africa tweet, but nobody is saying that he is carrying Putin's water, and once again, he is carrying Putin's water!

Tucker Carlson on need for country to have a common race or religion

Tonight, while in a heated argument with former Hillary Clinton adviser Richard Goodstein, Tucker Carlson let slip his racist view that country needs to have a common race and religion, before taking it back to his common language cover story.

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Black unemployment rate rising under Trump!

File Under: What have you done for me lately?

the uncounted unemployed on LA's skid row
US President Donald Trump is fond of bragging about how he has presided over the lowest black unemployment rate in history, and if you limit history to the period covered by US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports [1972-2018], and exclude slavery, he has a point. In May 2018, the 'Seasonally Adjusted Black or African American Unemployment Rate' hit an all time low of 5.9%.

But it has started rising again in the months since then. In June, it jumped up 0.6%, a rise of more 10% in one month, for a black unemployment rate of 6.5%, and in July it ticked up again to 6.6%.

Seasonally Adjusted Black or African American Unemployment Rate'
While two months rising does not a trend line make, and we don't know how August will look, this may be an important stat to watch as the midterms approach, and Trump steps up his hypocritical claims about how good he has been for black people. The overall unemployment rate was 3.8% in May, it rose to 4.0% in June, before coming back down a bit to 3.9% in July. This makes the delta between the rise of the black unemployment rate and the general unemployment rate very troubling in this most recent period, because while the general unemployment rate rose a negligible 0.1% between May and July, the black unemployment rate rose 0.7%. That means that in this most recent period, the black unemployment rate has been increasing at more than seven times that of the white unemployment rate.

This delta will be important to watch going forward because the claim of the "Trump economy" is that if he is successful in raising the yachts, he will be raising the little boats as well, including black ones, because racism is no longer a problem{if it ever was}.

It is true that black Americans share in a growing economy, albeit, at a lower rate than whites. It is also true that what could be called the "Trump racist revival" is introducing a counter trend. Along with the increased vilification, voter suppression, and criminalization of black people in Trump's America, now that racists feel more comfortable in acting out their racism, can we expect more discrimination in employment? If even a handful of capitalists who would like to discriminate think they can get away with it now, with Trump in the White House, and Jeff Sessions heading the Justice department, we can expect this delta to start showing up in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Is that what we are starting to see here?

While Trump likes to date the start of the "Trump economy," not just from the date of his inauguration, when he started exercising power, but from the date of his election, claiming just the knowledge that he was headed for the White House caused a major turn around! Trump may think he has near magical powers over the US economy, but in reality it doesn't work that way. The US economy is like a big ship, perhaps the biggest of all. Being a capitalist economy, it is prone to crisis and doesn't steer easily at all. A president has rather limited levers of control, and generally they are slow to operate and may take years to have an effect. [Not to mention, the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator.]

For example, Barack Obama inherited the economic crisis of 2008, when many thought we would soon have to start numbering our Great Depressions the way we have come to number our Great Wars. Three months into his presidency, the national unemployment rate stood at 9.0%, before peaking at 10.0% in October 2009. Black unemployment stood at 15.8% then, but continued to rise, peaking at 16.8% in March 2010. Now, Obama can hardly be blamed for the unemployment rate on the date he took office, but he can say that things started to turn around after his policies started to have an effect.

Unemployment Rate (seasonally adjusted)
As the Bureau's own graph shows, what Trump is bragging about represents the continuation of a downward trend in the overall unemployment rate that started under President Obama in the beginning of 2011. Trump can claim to not run it aground, or hit an iceberg, yet! But his crazy economic policies, like his tax cut for the rich, and tariffs policies developed on a whim, haven't had a chance to have much effect....yet. It remains to be seen what the effects of the "Trump economy" will be of the living standard of all workers, especially those that are last to be hired.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The hidden danger of Trump's politicization of security clearances

US President Donald Trump is moving quickly and effectively to create an executive branch that is loyal to him personally, not the Office of the President, or the Constitution of the United States.

This is a very dangerous development for democracy.

Yesterday, Peter Strzok, a well regarded FBI agent of 21 years, and a top man on Russian counter-intelligence, was booted from the FBI for privately expressing anti-Trump sentiments shared by a majority of Americans. This was proceeded by the firing of ex-FBI directors James Comey and Andrew McCabe because they were trouble for Trump.

Today, he revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan. He also said  he was "evaluating action with respect" to the clearances of a number of his other high-profile critics. The White House named Susan E. Rice, the former national security adviser; James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence; Michael V. Hayden, the former head of the C.I.A. and National Security Agency; Sally Q. Yates, the former acting attorney general; and ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page. He also include on the list Bruce Ohr, a current Justice Department employee, who Trump dislikes because he is friends with Christopher Steele, who compiled a dossier containing damaging information about Trump.

On MSNBC Andrea Mitchell talked about how it is obvious that Trump is using his control of security clearances to punish his very vocal critics. She also pointed out that the ability for a current administration to be able to inform and consult with past intelligence officers is in the national interest. On the other side, the president's supporters have accused some of his most prominent critics, especially Brennan and Clapper, of monetizing their security clearances, because they contribute to their access, and status as expert critics. It is true that a security clearance is a valuable asset for its holder.

While all the attention has so far been on Trump's threatening the security clearances of his high profile critics, a message in my Linkedin inbox today reminded me that a security clearance is often seen as a well earned benefit of government employment. More than 4.3 million people have Federal security clearances, including nearly 2.9 million people graded "confidential" or "secret," and another 1.4 million graded "top secret." As the message in my inbox indicates, those established security clearances represent a valuable asset both to the former government employees that hold them, and the corporate employers forced to hire workers with security clearances.

This is a well established system that has benefited both ex-government employees, many of whom accepted government wages well below industry standards as part of their public service, and employers, who will no doubt pass any added cost in acquiring security clearance employees on to the taxpayer, one way or another. Now, Trump has stepped in to use his executive power to re-purpose this system to create a Federal bureaucracy personally loyal to him, and if the focus remains on a few high-profile security clearance losses, the real impact of what Trump is doing will be greatly underestimated.

Here is the message that prompted this blog post. I received it from an unnamed jobs recruiter:

Thank you for the connect. I saw you were working with Linux and I wanted to ask you for some help.

I have a client that is looking to fill their Linux Admin position in Edwards AFB, CA. The position is working with pretty cool work - rocket propulsion systems and missile systems. They would prefer someone with a secret clearance but would be willing to look at someone who is a clearable US citizen, and at least 5 years of Linux experience. Would you happen to know of anyone that may fit the description?
It's a good thing that I am happy with my current position, and not looking for a new one, because I don't have a security clearance and don't expect to get one. Even if I could get a security clearance, it would cost this employer more time and money. So, obviously any ex-gov't Linux SysAdmin with a security clearance would have a leg up on me.

The short story is this: No doubt John Brennan will keep his new job with NBC News. He doesn't need a security clearance for it. But many lower level jobs in government and private industry do require security clearances. In that connection, it is particularly significant that the name of a current government employee, Bruce Ohr, was included on his hit list. The implication is that Donald Trump can circumvent HR and anything like norm government procedure to effect the current and future employment of 4.3 million American citizens on a whim. That is a very powerful lever in his effort to build a personal dictatorship out of the Federal government, if it is not checked.

I just thought somebody should point this out.

Clay Claiborne.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

3 Syrian homes bombed by Russia while Omarosa is all the news

Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that additional casualties have raised Friday's death toll from the Russian assault on Urem al-Kubra in Aleppo Governorate, Syria to at least 36, including 20 children and 7 women. They were massacred when Russian warplanes bombed three residential homes. They included a displaced man, his wife, and their 5 children. White Helmets have been working since sundown Friday to recover people from the rubble. They were able to save 11 civilians including 4 children. The Daily Telegraph reported on it with video.

The three consecutive Russia raids targeted civilian homes in the center of the town at 6.30 pm Friday afternoon. Elsewhere in Syria Friday, SOHR reported:
9 citizens including 1 child and 3 women were killed in Khan Shaykhun massacre, and 3 citizens including 2 children were killed in the aerial bombardment on al-Tah town, and the intense aerial bombardment in both areas caused more than 100 people to go missing and injured, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation, and due to the presence of missing people under the ruins of destruction whose fate is not known yet, also the shelling caused destruction and serious damage to the infrastructure and property of citizens.
None of this is making US news reports. Even Democracy Now is keeping quiet about these Putin/Assad atrocities.

The very first Geneva Convention was signed by 16 European countries in 1864, and it recognize that attacking field medics and destroying field hospitals constituted a war crime. That principle has stood for more that 150 year before it was boldly violated by Bashar al-Assad on 26 July 2018 when he declare his intention on Russian state media to murder Syrian civil defense volunteers. The Putin/Assad camp already have a vicious propaganda campaign designed to discredit the life saving work the White Helmets are doing by branding them as terrorists.  They have been aided in this assault on humanity by many prominent members of the US white-Left.  While these propaganda lies have been debunked many times, as in this piece by Emma Grey Ellis, in Wired, 30 April 2017, Inside the Conspiracy Theory that turned Syria's First Responders into Terrorists, they just go on repeating them.

Since Assad's threat to commit a war crime had Putin's blessing, and Trump's acquiescence, it was clear to all that the White Helmets were in mortal danger. 98 White Helmet volunteers and 324 members of their families were evacuated from southern Syria, through the Golan Heights, to Jordan. Because they traveled through Israel to get to Jordan, the Assadists had a propaganda field day. After those stories made the rounds, most people were probably led to believe that that was it for the White Helmets; they were all washed up. And yet here they are; still saving lives while risking their's in Aleppo.

I can only marvel at the rank hypocrisy of the white-Left that loudly called out the US for what was almost certainly an accidental attack on the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in which 42 were killed, 3 October 2015, but then went quiet as Russian and Syrian forces attacked medical facilities more than 300 times since Russia began military operations in 2015. Not an Accident! Where is the protest, even now as Assad boldly proclaims his intention to contravene a 150 years limit to war's brutality, and murder medical rescue personnel? Veterans for Peace has its national convention coming up, 22-26 August. I'm willing to bet they will say nothing about this because 1) the US isn't doing it, & 2) some of their leaders like Putin and Assad.

Syria is still a killing field

Syria is still a killing field even while US media is consumed with such distractions as the latest White House tweet or what one reality TV star has to say about another reality TV star.
This live map show the widespread devastation currently underway in Syria. Click here for the interactive version.
Friday's murderous assault was just another day in the violent campaign by the Assad regime and its allies, Russia and Iran, to wipe out the very last pockets or resistance to its fascist dictatorship. This campaign has been greatly stepped up since Donald Trump had his secret summit with Vladimir Putin. We know that Syria was discussed, we just don't know what was said, or what Trump may have agreed to.

The Kremlin has talked about expanded military cooperation in Syria after the summit. Russia’s ambassador to the US spoke of “specific and interesting proposals” on how the two countries could cooperate in Syria. While US officials have had nothing to say about any new Trump-Putin agreement on Syria, the Mercury News reported:
Russian officials, however, have spoken more expansively than their U.S. counterparts about the substance of the two leaders’ conversation. The Russian ambassador to Washington on Wednesday said one idea under discussion was a joint U.S.-Russian counterterrorism campaign in Syria, saying that Trump “listened . . . with interest.”

Officials said that Putin and Trump also discussed an earlier Israeli-Russian agreement to keep Iranian-backed forces away from Syria’s southern border with Israel. It’s not clear what future involvement if any the United States could have in such an arrangement.
Those who understand the basic political unity that binds Trump to Putin and Assad will also understand why all three are heroes to the white supremacists protesting in Washington, DC, today on the first anniversary of Charlottesville. The "grand bargain" Trump and Putin are likely to arrive at for Syria will probably involve completely restoring the Assad dictatorship in Syria, with Russian military occupation as the guarantor, and the forced repatriation of Syrian refugees, even though many will likely face imprisonment, torture and execution for their bid for freedom. Actually, they have probably already made this deal, maybe even before Helsinki.

Syrians won't stop dying even after the uprising is put down.....................for now!

This video shows what the people of Urem al-Kubra were already dealing with before Russia bombed them:

The residents of Urem al-Kubra criticising the infighting factions

Northern Syria Observer
Published on Mar 10, 2018

Residents of Urem al-Kubra, dominated by HTS, showing their outrage about the infighting between the factions after the death of the muezzin, Mohammad Hasib by their bullets, whishing the factions to go out of their residential areas and going with their clashes away from the civilians

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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