Home / Politics / Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Charlottesville sorts patriots and cowards

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Charlottesville sorts patriots and cowards

If Trump’s position doesn’t highlight the giant overlap between the Alt-Reich and their Republican hosts, he’s far from the only one to give a response that blames the victims as much as the murderer. 

RIght wing media figure John Cardillo finds liberals fretting over Nazi murder hilarious.


By “bumpier” one can only assume he means “as we drive our cars over more people.” What a card.

Former Trump chairman and Virginia Senate candidate Corey Stewart already spent the first part of the week championing the cause of the Confederate statue that was the nominal focus for the Nazi jamboree. So it shouldn’t be surprising that he was equally graceful in his statements after the terrorist attack.

Stewart, who plans to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine (D) next year after losing to Gillespie in GOP gubernatorial primary, posted a video on Facebook on Saturday evening accusing the media and Democrats of ignoring violence from the left and urged vigilance against attempts to stifle conservative speech in the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence …

“I don’t believe that this is caused by white supremacy. I believe this is caused by two groups duking it out on the streets,” Stewart said in an interview, adding that he hasn’t wavered in his support for the Lee statue and thinks that the KKK and other “racist groups” will not heed calls to butt out. “They have nothing to do with us, and they are trying to hijack this issue.”

Yes. Two groups “duking it out” … if one of those group consists of peaceful marchers and the other consists of a guy in a car who struck most of them from behind. Of course, there were other incidents of violence. Like this one.

At about 10 a.m. today, at one of countless such confrontations, an angry mob of white supremacists formed a battle line across from a group of counter-protesters, many of them older and gray-haired, who had gathered near a church parking lot. On command from their leader, the young men charged and pummeled their ideological foes with abandon. One woman was hurled to the pavement, and the blood from her bruised head was instantly visible.

“Duking it out” is apparently Stewart-speak for mobs of 20-something guys bravely hurling an elderly woman to the ground. Oh, and the police that were praised for their actions on Saturday?

Standing nearby, an assortment of Virginia State Police troopers and Charlottesville police wearing protective gear watched silently from behind an array of metal barricades — and did nothing.

The statements from Trump and other Republicans have made it all but official. We’re a country where the word “terrorist” is reserved for brown people. White people are just … concerned about how committing a few murders will give dirty leftists and excuse to “stifle conservative speech.”

Of course, the Supreme Court hasn’t decided that driving over people constitutes speech. But … you know Neil Gorsuch as the decision halfway written. He’s just waiting for a test of the many “go ahead and hit ‘em” laws that Republicans are putting on the books.

Because this is a different kind of Sunday, I’m going to start off with an article that’s going on a year old before I hit the fresh pieces.


Sarah Posner and David Neiwart 

The first warning sign that something new was brewing came in June 2015, as Donald Trump joined the crowded field vying for the Republican presidential nomination. In the extravagant lobby of Trump Tower in New York City, he announced he would build a wall to keep out Mexican criminals and “rapists.”

“I urge all readers of this site to do whatever they can to make Donald Trump President,” wrote Andrew Anglin, publisher of the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, 12 days later. Anglin, a 32-year-old skinhead who wears an Aryan “Black Sun” tattoo on his chest and riffs about the inferior “biological nature” of black people, hailed Trump as “the only candidate who is even talking about anything at all that matters.”

That’s not “economic concern.”  It’s plain old racism then, racism now, racism forever. It’s the foundation of Trump’s campaign. The people waving torches — and driving cars into crowds — in Charlottesville have every expectation that Trump has their back. After all, they’ve had his.

Trump’s move was a “game changer,” said MacDonald, a 70-year-old silver-haired former academic who edits the Occidental Observer, which the Anti-Defamation League calls “online anti-Semitism’s new voice.” Trump, he wrote, “is saying what White Americans have been actually thinking for a very long time.” 

Trump exchanged the dog whistle for a bull horn. And reaped a reward.


Christine Emba on choosing sides.

Things that have many sides: a Rubik’s cube, a baseball diamond, a complex personality. Things that don’t: the racism and hate seen in Charlottesville this weekend.

Alas, our president doesn’t seem to know the difference. No, that’s too generous. He must know, but he does not care. Or worse, he would rather allow the confusion than endanger his base of support.

It’s not Trump doesn’t see sides. It’s that he doesn’t seem the immorality of his chosen side. They supported him, so he supports them. It’s the only moral guidance Trump knows.

On Friday night and Saturday morning, Ku Klux Klan members, would-be Nazis and open white supremacists marched under President Trump’s name. Former Klan leader David Duke, speaking at the rally that sparked this wretched affair, crowed that the marchers were going to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump” to “take our country back.” His friends and followers spewed repugnant rhetoric and fought with counter-protesters. Three people are dead. But rather than swiftly condemning the instigators of this violence, as a president should, Trump kept silent. And when he finally did break from his golf vacation, his statements were a disgrace.

It’s almost as if Trump is the twisted, Nazi version of a messiah. Or, you know, that other guy.


Michael Eric Dyson on the nature of Trump’s governing coalition.

We cannot pretend that the ugly bigotry unleashed in the streets of Charlottesville, Va., this weekend has nothing to do with the election of Donald Trump.

In attendance was white separatist David Duke, who declared that the alt-right unity fiasco “fulfills the promises of Donald Trump.” In the meantime, Mr. Trump responded by offering false equivalencies between white bigots and their protesters. His soft denunciations of hate ring hollow when he has white nationalist advisers like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller whispering in his ear.

It’s not as if Trump was alone in his blameless framing. In their articles on the Nazi terrorist attack, The New York Times went with “Car Hits Crowd After White Nationalist Rally in Charlottesville Ends in Violence” while the Washington Post provided “One dead as car strikes crowds amid protests of white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville.” Both headlines make it seem as if a glitch in some automatic vehicle was to blame rather than a murderous racist ass from Ohio who did this (don’t follow that link if you’re not prepared to be sickened).

This bigotocracy overlooks fundamental facts about slavery in this country: that blacks were stolen from their African homeland to toil for no wages in American dirt. When black folk and others point that out, white bigots are aggrieved. They are especially offended when it is argued that slavery changed clothes during Reconstruction and got dressed up as freedom, only to keep menacing black folk as it did during Jim Crow. The bigotocracy is angry that slavery is seen as this nation’s original sin. And yet they remain depressingly and purposefully ignorant of what slavery was, how it happened, what it did to us, how it shaped race and the air and space between white and black folk, and the life and arc of white and black cultures.

As much as the Alt-Reich made the removal of a Confederate statue the excuse for this weekends melee, the truth is slavery is just one of many heinous acts they’re willing and eager to embrace.


Michael Gerson on Trump’s unwillingness to stand up to plain old evil.

One of the difficult but primary duties of the modern presidency is to speak for the nation in times of tragedy. A space shuttle explodes. An elementary school is attacked. The twin towers come down in a heap of ash and twisted steel. It falls to the president to express something of the nation’s soul — grief for the lost, sympathy for the suffering, moral clarity in the midst of confusion, confidence in the unknowable purposes of God.

Not every president does this equally well. But none have been incapable. Until Donald Trump.

Small side note: The National Hurricane Center is predicting that this year is likely to be difficult, with an above average number of serious storms. And … we now return you to your program.

Trump’s reaction to events in Charlottesville was alternately trite (“come together as one”), infantile (“very, very sad”) and meaningless (“we want to study it”). “There are so many great things happening in our country,” he said, on a day when racial violence took a life. …

Ultimately this was not merely the failure of rhetoric or context, but of moral judgment. The president could not bring himself initially to directly acknowledge the victims or distinguish between the instigators and the dead. He could not focus on the provocations of the side marching under a Nazi flag. Is this because he did not want to repudiate some of his strongest supporters? This would indicate that Trump views loyalty to himself as mitigation for nearly any crime or prejudice. Or is the president truly convinced of the moral equivalence of the sides in Charlottesville? This is to diagnose an ethical sickness for which there is no cure.

Trump doesn’t view loyalty to himself as the most important factor in determining right or wrong. It’s the only factor.

Ira Katznelson on Jefferson Sessions’ efforts to make an affirmative a negative

Jeff Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee 20 years ago that affirmative action irritated people (he meant white people) because it could cause them to lose opportunities “simply because of their race.” This sense of grievance lies behind the Justice Department’s recent memo seeking lawyers to investigate “race-based discrimination” in college admissions.

It also implies that all that stands between hard-working whites and success are undeserving minorities who are doled out benefits, including seats at good schools, by reckless government agents.

That’s a big piece of why it was so important for so many Republicans to tear down the story of Barack Obama. He couldn’t be a whip-smart hard worker who tore through the toughest colleges in the country, tackled hard assignments, and not only earned the top positions but won respect in the process. He had to be an interloper, and outsider who got a start by lying, a boost by cheating, and a pass because of his skin color.

In fact, today’s socioeconomic order has been significantly shaped by federally backed affirmative action for whites. The most important pieces of American social policy — the minimum wage, union rights, Social Security and even the G.I. Bill — created during and just after the Great Depression, conferred enormous benefits on whites while excluding most Southern blacks.

Southern Democrats in Congress did this by carving out occupational exclusions; empowering local officials who were hostile to black advancement to administer the policies; and preventing anti-discrimination language from appearing in social welfare programs.

Katznelson’s points here are good ones, and far too often overlooked: Even the legislation that we think of as the progressive package that launched a middle class boom in the second-half of the Twentieth Century, was carefully constructed to generate an advantage for whites.


Moustafa Bayoumi on Trump’s failure to acknowledge the bombing in Minnesota.

The Trump administration doesn’t want unity. In fact, doctrinally, it aspires to division.

It should come as no surprise that Donald Trump has said nothing about the attack, though he is notoriously quick to comment on attacks perpetrated by Muslims. But his silence is hardly the worst of it.

That Gorka quote on the front page came from here. I lifted it because it was the clearest example I could find of the Trump regime’s willingness to blame anyone but white supremacists for the violence they’re spreading over the country. But when it comes to the mosque bombing …

Why should it even matter if the perpetrator was from the “left”, the “right”, or even from Mars? When a president weighs in on such matters, he is not adjudicating guilt or innocence. He is speaking for a country concerned about the welfare and security of everyone in the nation. He is reiterating our common destiny as Americans.

Not so with Trump. While Gorka suggested that the president may issue such a statement in the future, I’m certainly not holding my breath. Why? Because Gorka’s comments reflect something deeper and much more insidious about this administration. …

Gorka’s comments and Trump’s actions show that this administration is more than willing to sacrifice different segments of the American public to keep itself in power. They seek no other way. 

Sebastian Gorka is probably spending this Sunday checking his shocks and thinking about his ability to make a “bumpy” ride.


Leonard Pitts breaks a personal rule.

“Amazing,” wrote one person. “So it’s okay for you to name call the President of the USA and then exclaim that you don’t respond to name-calling?”

The short answer is Yes. The longer answer goes like this:

Not that he’s happy about it.

As a general rule, I’ve always tried to avoid name excessive calling in this space, particularly of the chief executive. …

It is a tacit surrender, an admission that I don’t believe I can persuade him or them. That is, trust me, a bitter pill for someone who has spent more than 40 years as a professional persuader. But it says less about me than about the fact that many of us now live beyond the reach of reason and logic.

Those guys marching with torches in Charlottesville, and their supporters back home, aren’t going to be reached by reason. They’re having too much fun with hate.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch on America’s history of going to war with big mouths.

No one in his right mind, probably including Kim, doubts America’s ability to unleash its nuclear and/or conventional weapons arsenal and annihilate North Korea. Something of that magnitude would be necessary to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear threat and prevent its artillery and ground forces from gutting South Korea.

Until last week, such a scenario seemed unthinkable. But Kim’s and Trump’s penchants for irrational behavior create perfect-storm conditions for catastrophe. The two risk a cascade of miscalculations and miscommunication that could spark a major war. Lots of better options remain to be explored.

North Korea is in a position where they own a weapon they don’t dare use. Except … Trump is working to put them into a position of use it or lose it—the one action that could turn bluster into disaster. It’s far from the first time America got caught in the trap of a presidential ego.

Consider the conditions that led to America’s disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003. At the time, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein posed no actual threat to U.S. security. Yes, he talked a lot, and his government bluffed that it might possess weapons of mass destruction. It was sheer bluster, but President George W. Bush succumbed to it in spite of multiple intelligence indicators that Iraq was a paper tiger.

A war of words, unsubstantiated by belligerent actions on Iraq’s part, prompted the United States to invade in 2003, costing our country more than $1.7 trillion and 4,400 service members’ lives. U.S. leaders allowed heated rhetoric to win the day. But the war was entirely avoidable.

And there’s the little matter of the 500,000 or so Iraqis killed so Bush could show Saddam who was boss.  There’s also the fact that, should an actual war develop with North Korea, it will make all those numbers seem laughably small.


Indivisible has actions lined up to support those working against hate in Charlottesville.

This weekend, hate groups and domestic terrorists of all stripes went to Charlottesville, VA to push their hateful message of white supremacy, fascism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry.

When they got there they waged violence on unarmed anti-racists, killing several and injuring many others. We mourn for the lives that were lost, and we will honor all those under attack by congregating against hate in our own communities.

Click the link to find activities in your area.

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