Donald Trump Is Afraid of Steve Bannon, and That’s Why He Won’t Fire Him: Report

If the president fires his political strategist, he could lose support from angry white nationalists.

Steve Bannon has built a lucrative career as an outspoken advocate and defender of white male privilege, but his strategy of pandering to the nation’s inner nationalist-racist demon that helped Donald Trump win the presidency is increasingly becoming a problem for the administration.

So will the president finally boot Bannon from the White House?

According to some insiders, Trump is hesitant to kick out a man who is held in such high esteem among the president’s key constituency of alt-right supporters. Bannon headed the popular right-wing news site Breitbart before joining Trump’s presidential election campaign.

“The president obviously is very nervous and afraid of firing him,” a White House insider told Reuters. As Trump’s popularity tanks, he could be hesitant to alienate his hard-right base by firing one of their own.

On Tuesday, during a heated press conference where Trump offered unequivocal support to the swastika-waving nationalists that descended on Charlottesville last weekend, the president hinted at yet another White House shakeup.

“We’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon,” Trump said during the event at Trump Tower in New York when asked about Bannon’s fate in the wake of widespread condemnation of the president’s response to the clashed in Charlottesville.

For months Bannon has jockeyed for influence against Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the president’s national security advisor and is said to have an acrimonious relationship with Jared Kushner, the president’s closest advisor and son-in-law.

The latest Gallup tracking poll shows Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 34 percent, down from 37 percent last week.

By Angelo Young / Salon

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Our Fight Against Fascism

When editor-in-chief of the Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg asserts that “the struggle in Charlottesville is a struggle within our own civilization, within Trump’s own civilization,” and that in the wake of such events “an American president should speak up directly on behalf of the American creed, on behalf of Americans who reject tribalism and seek pluralism, on behalf of the idea that blood-and-soil nationalism is antithetical to the American idea itself,” who, exactly, can place his logic?

It reads nicely, and it seems a conscionable thought to have after a woman dies fighting Nazis on American soil. But, really, what history books has Mr. Goldberg been reading?

“Our civilization’s” ongoing genocide against indigenous groups and the violently enforced systematic oppression of Black Americans notwithstanding, the US government – of which Trump is now Commander-in-Chief – has a storied and bloody history of assassinating foreign heads of state precisely because, democratically, a body of citizens or voters “seeking pluralism” elsewhere in the world had commenced down an antifascist political path that did not suit Washington’s interests.

Ariel Dorfman, for instance, reminisces of the 1970s presidential inauguration of Salvador Allende in Chile:

[A]lmost three years later, a few days after the Hawker Hunter planes under the control of General Pinochet attacked the palace on September 11, 1973. Their bombs left a black yawning gap where the balcony stood. Where the president once waved his handkerchief, there is nothing. Allende is dead. And we can sense that outside the frame, below where the balcony jutted out, there is only emptiness…

Oh, were it so easy to condemn Trump for failing to say the “right thing” at the “right time,” and to have that be the end of it. Is this what the Liberal pluribus desires from America’s much-detested Caesar? It may be enough to keep Rachel Maddow employed, but, unfortunately, the reason for the president’s neutrality on fascism is much more serious than this—and let there be no doubt that he, especially, is unaware of the profound impetus for his now proven Nazi-sympathizing.

As we are thoroughly living under oligarchy, we should turn to Deleuze to elucidate a root cause of the Oval Office’s reigning fascist bent:

The administrations in charge never cease announcing supposedly necessary reforms: to reform schools, to reform industries, hospitals, the armed forces, prisons. But everyone knows that these institutions are finished, whatever the length of their expiration periods. It’s only a matter of administering their last rites and of keeping people employed until the installation of the new forces knocking at the door. These are the societies of control

Clearly, the rightward-leaning have shown a distinct susceptibility to every brand of hate-driven politics—and we should recall that the colonial residence of bigoted pilgrims did not predate the arrival of slave ships on American shores, but that it followed one year later (1620 and 1619, respectively). Nevertheless, Liberals have their work cut out for them if they expect to right the ship of American democracy simply by writing lukewarm editorials about “the American idea” and babyishly debating whether it is “OK” to punch Nazis in the face. In fact, our democracy is a ship that has always been listing! It has hardly been a democracy! And those who cry wolf because they think our political vessel founders only now really must have little-or-no experience with political organizing beyond the soothing environs of their yoga studio. Luckily for them, there is a very toothsome radical history they can get on board with.

Nearly a century ago, Spanish anarchist Buenaventura Durruti offered very valuable advice during an interview he gave with the Toronto Star:

No government in the world fights Fascism to the death. When the bourgeoisie sees power slipping from its grasp, it has recourse to Fascism to maintain itself. The Liberal Government of Spain could have rendered the Fascist elements powerless long ago. Instead it compromised and dallied. Even now at this moment, there are men in this Government who want to go easy on the rebels… We want revolution here in Spain, right now, not maybe after the next European war. We are giving Hitler and Mussolini far more worry with our revolution than the whole Red Army of Russia. We are setting an example to the German and Italian working class on how to deal with Fascism.

Our fight against fascism requires that we also set an example for the world, which the US military currently terrorizes. Huffing and puffing about what Trump says or fails to say is superficial. Of course, it is much easier than mounting a revolution to fight fascism to the death. And just how many bourgeois liberals, exactly, are willing to pony-up?

by Mateo Pimentel/DissidentVoice

Posted by The NON-Conformist

American Tourist Gets Beaten Up In Germany After Giving Nazi Salute

A drunken American tourist was assaulted over the weekend after repeatedly raising his arm to give the Nazi salute outside a bar in the German city of Dresden.

Dresden police said the 41-year-old man, who didn’t get too banged up in the attack, is being investigated for violating the law against the use of symbols from certain banned groups. Public displays of Nazism, such as the swastika symbol and gestures like the “Heil Hitler” salute, have been outlawed in Germany since the end of WWII, The Guardian reported.

The incident unfolded early Saturday, Aug. 12, when the tourist, “who was strongly under the influence of alcohol,” exited a bar in the city’s Neustadt area and proceeded to give the Nazi salute in the street, according to the newspaper.

“An unknown passerby then beat up the man and slightly injured him,” the police said in a statement.

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CBO: High costs if Trump follows through on ACA sabotage threats | MSNBC

For health care advocates, congressional Republicans’ difficulties in passing regressive health care legislation have brought some comfort, but the threats haven’t gone away. Not only are many GOP lawmakers committed to returning to the issue, but systemic sabotage from Donald Trump remains a real possibility.

Indeed, as we’ve discussed many times, the president has made repeated threats to cut off cost-sharing reductions (or CSRs) – a component of the Affordable Care Act that helps cover working families’ out-of-pocket costs – which Trump has effectively turned into a political weapon. The mere threat has already pushed consumers’ costs higher.

But what if the president followed through on the threat and decide to use this weapon? NBC News’ Benjy Sarlin noted the latest findings from the Congressional Budget Office.

Health care premiums will spike, insurers will exit the market, and deficits will increase if President Donald Trump follows through on his threats to cut off government payments to insurance companies, according to a new Congressional Budget Office report.

The cost of a “silver” insurance plan under Obamacare would be 20 percent higher in 2018 and 25 percent higher by 2020 compared to current law, according to the report. About five percent of the population would not be able to buy insurance through Obamacare at all next year, the CBO predicted, because companies would withdraw plans in response to the “substantial uncertainty” created by the move.

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Donald Trump: Charlottesville Remarks Stir Trouble

For seven months, President Donald Trump giddily has ignored the norms of his office and tried the patience of those who had more than a passing knowledge of its history.

But during Tuesday’s press conference, before the gold-plated bank of elevators inside his Midtown temple to himself, the President defended those linked to white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other racist corners of American society in a display that defied any historical precedent. So striking was his bold protection of a small but vocal part of his political base, many reporters in the marble foyer dared to interrupt the President. If he was breaking with custom, so, too, would they.

 “If you look, they were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Trump said of the Friday night march around the University of Virginia campus. That torch-lit procession featured white nationalists chanting “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us.”
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Race, Criminality and the Persistent Myth of Black on Black Crime

In America, more frequently than any other race of people, white people kill white people. In fact, Caucasians have a lengthy history of victimizing and killing one another in their communities and, in 2014, of the 3021 murders of Caucasians nationwide, Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics report 2488 of the offenders were white. As is customarily the case, white-on-white crime — murder, in particular—dominates federal statistics every year.

That same year, of the 2451 murders of African-Americans, 2205 were committed by Black offenders. In other words, in 2014, an African-American was killed by a member of the same race 90 percent of the time while a white person was killed by a member of the same race 82 percent of the time, a difference of eight percentage points. This eight percentage point margin has pretty much remained constant for the past four decades.

Given this relatively small difference, and the consistent recognition that people victimize and murder those closest to them both racially and residentially, it begs the question why so much attention has been paid to the issue of “Black-on-Black crime.” Tellingly, a July 2017 Harvard-Harris Poll reported 70 percent of voters said black-on-black crime in African-American communities is a bigger issue than police violence against African-Americans. Twelve percent of the poll’s respondents were Black.

So, here in 2017, why is there so much focus on this popular notion of Black-on-Black crime? And how did such a construct come about in the first place?

“The term, Black-on-Black violence, comes from a sunken place,” offers Georgetown University law professor and former federal prosecutor Paul Butler.  A featured legal commentator for CNN, MSNBC and NPR, Butler is author of the recently released, “Chokehold: Policing Black Men.” “It is a way of pathologizing Black people and making it seem like we’re different from everybody else.” Upon acknowledging that intraracial crime is the norm, Butler points out, “White people don’t go around being afraid of other white people, yet they’re afraid of Black men or ‘thugs’ when they are much more likely to be victimized by other white folks.”

“But we don’t have an expression called ‘white on white crime,” continues Butler, clarifying, “that’s why I say that Black-on-Black crime expression comes from a sunken place, from this stereotype of Black men as thugs.”

“The term means we are focused on what Black people do to each other as a unique phenomenon,” echoes Khalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of history, race, and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Author of The “Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America,” Muhammad explains the term “comes on the heels of a long history of stigmatizing Blackness as a criminal race, essentially that African-Americans have a unique heritage of and propensity to violence.” By the 1970s, continues the historian, Black-on-Black crime becomes “a way of saying that Black people are criminals, just look at what they do to themselves.”

Despite this history, some have argued this special focus on Black crime is warranted due to African-Americans’ disproportionate representation in crime statistics. African-Americans reportedly account for 13 percent of the population yet, according to the Bureau of Justice statistics, committed 52 percent of homicides recorded between 1980 and 2008. “Relative to their share of the population, African Americans commit dramatically more crime, especially violent crimes and murders, than whites do,” wrote National Review’s Patrick Brennan in 2013, in response to an article dismissing the notion of Black-on-Black crime. He noted when such a group is only one-sixth the size of white Americans and commits crimes at “shockingly disproportionate rates,” it “certainly seems like it should qualify as a ‘thing.’”

While such critiques fail to account for the role income and inequity play in the process — African-Americans are far more likely to live in impoverished communities with higher crime rates owing to a wide range of well-established historic, socioeconomic and systemic factors — Muhammad takes it a step further. He says such critics “don’t know the history, because the way to solve crime within the Black community, or among African-Americans, is no different than any other community.” Muhammad points to the current and rampant heroin and opioid abuse among white Americans and the wide range of “criminality related to that, including theft, rape and murder. For every so-called drug dealer in the hood, there are many thousands more drug dealers in rural white America, or who wear white lab coats as physicians deliberately overprescribing painkillers.”

The point being, stresses Muhammad, “we don’t talk about the solution to that crisis as a problem of ‘white-on-white crime,’ now do we? We don’t because we know the use of the Black-on-Black crime term is meant to divorce it from a social context of being a problem for all of us to being just those people’s problem.”

“Just like white people are responding to economic inequality by engaging in self-destructive forms of drug use and drug dealing, so too have African-Americans,” continues Muhammad, saying “the only group that gets labeled” with such an intraracial moniker are African-Americans as this history of stigmatization

The phrase “Black on Black” crime has been sourced to an August 1970 article in the Chicago Daily Defender where civil rights activist Jesse Jackson took Illinois’ and nationally elected leaders to task for their “silence and ineffectiveness in dealing with the present black-on-black crime crisis.” Incensed by the inequitable application of law enforcement in the Black community, Jackson challenged enforcement leaders to “investigate, arrest and prosecute the guilty” while exercising “equal vigor to protect the innocent.”

Then, in December, Defender columnist Warner Saunders reported being invited to speak at a seminar on “black-on-black crime.” Saunders prepared for the seminar by interviewing a local street hustler who committed crimes against other African-Americans because of proximity and his knowledge that apathetic police patrolling the Black community, unlike those in the white suburbs, would enable him to get away with it.

“We first see the actual ‘Black-on-Black crime’ term being used in the Black press in the 1970s as a way of saying that we need to stop hurting and stealing from and robbing each other, and that it used to be white people who were our enemy but, today, it is ourselves,” says Muhammad, adding “Black people were also responding to the overwhelming stereotypes that preceded them and had existed since the end of slavery.”

By 1972, the term had gone mainstream as the popular Chicago Tribune joined the discussion of intraracial crime in the Black community and noted African-American psychiatrist Alvin F. Poussaint published the book, “Why Blacks Kill Blacks.” Soon after, wrote CityLab’s Brentin Mock in 2015, “the tone of the conversation began to shift, from black writers chastising white officials for neglecting black victims of crime in black neighborhoods, to direct chastising of black communities themselves.” Consistently, in November 1973, a strongly-worded editorial in Ebony magazine gave notice such Black-on-Black crime “will no longer be suffered in silence.”

“In the midst of, essentially, the early days of the ‘War on Crime’ and Richard Nixon’s ‘Law and Order’ campaign,” says Muhammad, “overwhelmingly white policymakers were essentially saying that Black people themselves are admitting they have a crime problem and the best response to preventing crime and saving Black lives is to beef up our criminal justice apparatus.” In other words, he says, “The law and order rhetoric used the Black-on-Black crime myth” as a way of placing blame and justifying increased police spending while “saying that we are also helping Black people too.”

Seven years later — amidst growing urban poverty and crime, white flight from urban centers, increasingly segregated communities, and an affiliated disincentivization and reluctance by cities to maintain quality services — the NAACP passed a resolution at its 1980 annual convention in Miami highlighting, among other things, the need for the criminal justice system to “recognize that crimes committed by blacks — against blacks — are as unlawful, are as humanly devastating, and are as undesirable in our black communities as crimes committed by blacks upon whites, or any group.” The increasingly intolerant tone of the language employed by the country’s most established civil rights organization gave further license to those looking to twist or co-opt its intentions and attribute culpability to the community itself.

It’s a practice in full effect today as President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions seek draconian measures to criminalize and over-incarcerate the drug problem in largely-Black urban centers yet simultaneously declare a national crisis for the mostly-white opioid epidemic, including planned emergency funds for widespread treatment, expanded facilities and the training and supplying of police officers with anti-overdose remedies.

After acknowledging how Black social ills are commonly criminalized and stigmatized while large-scale white problems are deemed a matter of “public health”—his book, “Chokehold,” contains numerous and representative statistics — Butler drives home the impact of such a racially-skewed national lens.

“When we think Black-on-Black, but we don’t think white-on-white, it causes people to feel like the problem is with Black men themselves,” says Butler. He suggests a substantial portion of Americans likely believe “that if they would just pull up their pants and stop calling each other ‘nigga,’ then it would be all good. And if they would just do the right thing, then they wouldn’t have to worry about being shot by police.”

Of the numerous things the expression does, contends Butler, Black-on-Black crime “provides white people, in particular, absolution. It says that it’s not an issue they have to worry about, or can do anything about anyway, because it’s a problem that Black men have.” Therefore, “We don’t look at it as a public health issue, and we don’t look at it as a national emergency,” continues Butler.  “We look at it as thugs wilding out.”

By D. Amari Jackson/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Opinion: Charlottesville… What White America Should Do About Trump

Saturday, August 12th, will go down as a dark day for America. A coalition of white nationalists attempted to rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Young and old donned swastikas. White militia in full camouflage and many openly carrying weapons set out to “protect” the demonstrators. Angry men and women screamed vile and racist slogans. Violence broke out with counter-protesters. Then James Alex Fields, Jr., a 20-year-old from Ohio, decided to plow his car into a peaceful crowd protesting the racist spectacle. Heather Heyer of Charlottesville was killed and at least 19 people were injured. Cornel West, who joined the counter protests with a group of clergy, witnessed it all and told me, “I have never seen this kind of hatred.”

If these were normal times, even if you believed a press conference to be typical American racial theater, you would expect the President of the United States to condemn unequivocally the hatred and bigotry of the white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville. But these aren’t normal times.

 Instead, Donald Trump offered a mealy-mouthed response. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

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