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Monday, August 21, 2017

Is Trump A Racist?

The Omnivore was told by a Trump-voter (on Twitter) that The Omnivore thinks president Trump is a racist ("Heaven forfend," The Omnivore can hear many of his readers thinking). She also asserted that The Omnivore was being cagey about this.

He's not--but his views are complex than can easily be asserted in 140 characters--and some of the answers might surprise you.

He promised to write something on this--so let's do it!

First Things First: He CAN'T/MUST Be A Racist Because--

Let's get something out of the way first: there are plenty of people who say, with some justification, that Trump cannot be a racist because:
  • His daughter is a Jewish convert and his son-in-law is a Holocaust survivor's grandson--so he can'ti be antisemitic
  • He won an Ellis Island award for helping [ black people? ]
  • Attestations from personal relationships (with black people and others) that say he's alright.
  • Etc.
 On the other side there are things like:
  • The Civil Rights lawsuit that showed that he, running Trump industries, treated black people differently and worse. The Trump family negotiated their way out of a guilty verdict--but did not really refute the charges.
  • Continued insistence after it's shown to be bullshit that the Central Park 5 are somehow actually guilty.
  • Asserting that Obama's Birth Certificate was fake (and sticking to it today, kinda).
  • Various quotes about Jewish accountants or whatever.
  • His dad was arrested at a Klan rally.
  • Etc.
So what are we to make of all this? Well, The Omnivore will tell you (what he thinks--since apparently the disclaimer is needed).


Trump Is About Like A LOT Of 70+ Year Olds

What "being racist" in America means has changed--and fairly recently. Back in the day, you were racist if you wore a Klan hood, or prattled on about the Protocols of Zion or what have you. Sometime, maybe in the 90's? It changed so that how you salted your eggs in the morning could somehow be a racist tell.

This is an exaggeration--but the point remains: how we talk and think about racism (Institutional Racism, micro-aggressions, innate racial responses, negative-racial-opinions, etc.) has changed. People haven't

On the flip-side, however, having black friends or Jewish family members you treat well isn't proof that you don't hold negative opinions of black people or think "Jews are good with money." People make exceptions for family all the time. We are human--we compartmentalize, rationalize, and so on. We are not natively creatures of principle. Winning an award for good works or having black friends is proof you aren't a hard core Klan-marching race-warrior. But it isn't proof that you don't think that blacks are somehow genetically more criminally inclined or less intelligent than whites (etc.).

Conversely, the running of large apartment complexes can be "economically racist" even if the person running them isn't especially. If you think (with some significant justification) that moving a few black people into a unit makes it less desirable for white people (with some significant justification) you might act to prevent it even if you don't hate black people.

Similarly, the Central Park 5--when Trump suggested they were all guilty, etc. a lot of people thought that was true. The fact that he (apparently) still maintains that (even when it's patently not true) is first and foremost evidence that Trump never backs down or changes his mind about anything.

The Birth Certificate, similarly: Believing that Obama has some weird hidden backstory was a (racist) narrative promoted by the right-wing media. According to reports The Omnivore found credible, Trump really did pay people to go to Hawaii and investigate. It turns out? It's a short investigation. Obama was born there. The sentiment that Obama was a fraud was, generally correctly, read by black voters as a racist sentiment based on the conspiratorial thinking, lack of evidence, and lack of common sense to it--but, again, Trump's belief in it is not necessarily covering powerful and blanket racist views of all black people--he just really didn't like Obama.

The Net-Net: The Omnivore thinks that Trump is about as racist ('racist'?) as a lot of 70 year old men who watch Fox News. He's not some super-crypto-racist who secretly has a Klan-hood in his closet. If the apocryphal "Apprentice 'Nigger' Tape" were to come out, The Omnivore would not be shocked to find gambling in the establishment

On the other hand, if, as the current evidence suggests, it doesn't exist, The Omnivore wouldn't be shocked either.

However, that doesn't clear Trump the way one might expect. Trump has been a rich guy--a very rich guy--for almost all his life. He has gotten far saying things that most people don't--and he, and this is pretty obvious to everyone, thinks so highly of himself he doesn't believe he has ever done anything wrong:

Like, Literally.
For a president of the United States in a mixed-race (and racially fraught) America we don't want an average 70-year-old as the president. Your average "blunt, plain-spoken, uncle" is watching Fox & Friends and yelling at the TV. . . . Uh--hey, wait a minute--

We want someone who recognizes that the kind of racism that existed in the past is divisive. We want someone who recognizes that saying Obama had a faked Birth Certificate is a character flaw (and it's even more of one if he didn't believe it) and tries to do better.

Trump is not these things. No--Trump, in fact, is kind of the opposite. He is a person who believes that, because he thinks he is without sin, he is justified in whatever belief he holds--and justified in whatever pursuit of power he decides to go on.

Which brings us to . . .

Trump is Exploiting / Enabling White Supremacists

Trump is not a white-nationalist racist (as far as we know)--but he certainly holds views that they like. We can see that in nearly uniform endorsement of him from the white supremacist community--something that has no precedent in modern history. White kids in school use Trump's name to taunt non-white kids. Marchers in Charlottesville wore Trump hats and chanted "Trump" while marching with literal Nazis.

There is a reason for this--the reason is that Trump is by his behavior and words--making it more-okay to be a white supremacist in America.

If that sounds horrible, let's make sure we get a few things straight.

He Has In Fact, Disavowed

Trump has disavowed David Duke (and even did it before the famous 'ear-piece' incident). He has said bad things about Neo-Nazis and White Nationalist. He said all those things. The problem is that Obama said a lot of stuff too--and no one who liked Obama focused on the bad things Obama said--they focused on the good things. People who didn't like Obama? They focused on the bad.

People who liked Obama gave him the benefit of the doubt. No one who didn't like Obama gave him the benefit of the doubt.

So when Trump talks about "many sides," the white supremacists see that as proof that he's okay with them since, he is elevating antifa to their level--and America didn't fight a war against antifa--nor did they gas millions of Jews.

The problem is that we did fight a war against the Nazis and they did gas millions of Jews--and so to a bunch of ordinary people it--yes--looks insane for Trump to put these two on the same moral plane (he says he didn't do that--but, of course, it sure looks like he did).

The Nazis know that the president of the United States is going to have to say something about them--something bad--when he says what appears to be the least bad thing he can--the most boiler-plate denunciation and the forced-looking Monday-night "hostage video" that is way, way, WAY more than they asked for. It's more than they could hope for. Denouncing Nazis in the strongest terms is about the easiest thing a president can do.

So why didn't he?

Why Trump Didn't Do A Better Job Of Denouncing Nazis

There are dozens of theories about this--but instead of tackling each one at length, The Omnivore is going to tell you what the correct one is (yes, yes, The Omnivore knows how that sounds--How about The One The Omnivore is Interested In Discussing? Better?).

Trump has a hard time denouncing Nazis because he is wired to stand up for his base against Political Correctness. His base does believe that antifa is as bad as the Nazis. Part of this is a weird Fox-News understanding of what has happened recently--but part of it is that antifa calls "all Trump-voters Nazis" and non-Nazi Trump-voters really hate that. By hitting both-sides he aids white supremacists--but he also validates the millions (yes, millions) of people who voted for him who feel like they are in a culture war with leftists. 

Remember that Trump's major value proposition thus far is upsetting liberals and he's definitely doing that. If he had denounced the Charlottesville Nazis and not said a word about antifa a lot of his voters would have felt like he caved to Political Correctness. That would be the unpardonable sin in today's political climate.

Antifa wears all black--they wave the Russian / Soviet flag. They are avowed socialists when they are not being violent anarchists. The signifiers they have adopted (dress, slogans, iconography) are that of the far-left. They are ideological opposites of the Trump coalition.

As such, they are on the same emotional plane with the Nazis even if they are mostly lame idiot mama's boys and American white nationalists have, to their name, an impressive body count and real, multi-state criminal organizations.

So Trump was in a bind: did he support his base? Or his nation? 

He did what he'd always done--what he did during the campaign--since day one. He fed the wolf that was most likely to vote for him.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Omni-splainer: Who Loves Antifa??


As The Omnivore writes, there is a free-speech rally in Boston. From reports it has something like 100 free-speechers and like 1000 or more counter-protesters, some of whom are  . . . antifa! Antifa, standing for anti-fascist is the current demon of modern politics.

They look the part: black-clad, with bandannas across their faces like cut-rate ninja stage-coach robbers, they are vilified by the right as hooligans and rioters--beloved by the socialist left--and, until recently, not on most people's minds.

But they are now--hoo-boy. Why? What'd they do this time?

Let's Back Up--What'd They Do LAST Time?

You can trace antifa back a long way--but this isn't a history lesson. Antifa was of interest for their violent reaction to some speakers on college campuses. Having decided that guys like Milo were, in fact, violence (or maybe gateways to violence, whatever) they rioted at Berkeley. This was, by all accounts a for-real scary riot. No one died--but it was full-on leftist violence against a guy who was just speaking.

During Trump's inauguration they were out there again, setting fires. They torched a limo. One of them punched Richard Spencer and ran off. There were rumbles in Seattle. If you go back far enough, you can find guys with a similar 'do' breaking Starbucks windows at the World Trade Organization meeting in the 90's,

This was antifa--up until last week.

There are a couple of things you should understand about this:

  1. The national-threat of antifa is, thus far, way, way less than, say the Weathermen or the original Black Panthers. They are not a national movement--there is no central organization. They might . . . stack up to the Proud Boys? It's not clear.
  2. They have, thus far in our story, been a stereotypical leftist violent overreaction. The case that is made that Milo Y. is violence which must be met with violence starts on a slippery-slope and goes down-hill from there. It's absurd. Yes: Milo is a tremendous asshole--but the guys setting fires and street-fighting to stop him from speaking have, it turns out, managed to top it (The Omnivore isn't sympathetic to Milo or his troupe--but man, if anything could make him . . .).
  3. They were adored by the Left. Now, a lot of people want "the Left" to be anything left of, say, Mitt Romney--but if we go by what people actually attest to, it looks more like this: The Left (socialists who want to destroy capitalism and replace it with Somalia Utopia). There are Liberals who rejected Bernie Sanders and voted for Hillary and maybe would have preferred Joe Biden. There are moderates who were confounded by 2016 but, probably voted against Trump. There is the right--Republicans--who almost all voted for Trump even though he embodies only one of their ideas (Gorsuch). There's the alt-right/nazi/pepe-right which voted for Trump because he's their God of Hellfire.
In this space it is clear that the Left is who really wanted a street-fight with Milo. The screeching bernie-bro rage-against-the-machine socialist crowd was perfectly okay with violence wearing a black mask--probably because it was the only way they could ever get TV to take them seriously.

But antifa got more support on the right than the left.

Huh??

The person to whom The Omnivore is Omni-splaining knows this--but he doesn't like it. What's this secret that must not be spoken? Oh--it's here:

The dread truth is that the violent-left and the right-wing outrage / provocateur machine have a symbiotic relationship. Ann Coulter isn't a great thinker--but boy does she upset liberals. Milo was better at that--and he got better billing! Ben Shapiro is smarter than Ann but not quite as transgressive as Milo--so he comes in at the middle.

The fact is that even in Berkeley, everyone--all the players--were getting what they wanted. The antifa guys were just giving them more than they expected--they were ecstatic. The person to whom The Omnivore is Omnisplaining? He was probably ecstatic too: "Oh, I got a little hit of validation!! Mmmm--so good!"

That's okay--we all like to be validated--even if it's outrage kabuki. You gotta get your kicks where you can.

But then things changed.


What Changed?

It was easy to mock or hate antifa before Charlottesville. You could even revile them with every fiber of your being if that's what got your penis hard. They were violent thugs. They were fighting for a position that was literally toxic (we should be able to riot and beat people up if an obnoxious speaker comes to campus). They were in danger of maybe killing someone.

Then a white supremacist killed someone in Virginia. For the nation--which polling shows is paying close attention to that shit--the images coming out of Charlottesville were chilling. They weren't black-clad momma's-boys chilling either. There were paramilitary guys with tricked out AR's. There were swastika-flags flying. There were white supremacists with their hands wrapped for fighting and guys in body armor with shields and sticks.

The tiki-torch ceremony was both artistically sophisticated and frightening to behold: These were angry preppies holding lit torches in the 100's, shouting Nazi slogans. They surrounded some UVA students (unarmed, no masks) around the statue of Thomas Jefferson. 

This was a show of force. It worked: they looked like, well, a force.

Then came Saturday. We saw images of people fighting in the streets. We got scattered reports that there were altercations--that the cops weren't keeping order--that it was kind of a war zone. In that space, we know--we saw--some people wearing the antifa-colors fighting literal Nazis.

Now, to be fair, we also saw clergy, in their robes, linking arms to stand against the column of Nazis--we saw people without masks fighting Nazis. We saw footage where you couldn't tell which side was which.

But at the end of the day, one thing was clear: a young woman had been murdered and the killer was a white supremacist.


Let's Pause For A Second

Before we wrap up, The Omnivore wants to make sure you're following along and understand two very important things;

(a) There was an attempt to make everyone standing against the Nazis with violence into antifa. Does Black Lives Matter count as the alt-left? Who knows. Do people who came out there and mixed it up count as antifa if they weren't wearing the bandanna? Maybe? The Omnivore doesn't know--and neither does anyone else. The use of the term Alt-Left is, by design, cagey that way.
(b) The guys who fought in Virginia were, almost certainly, not the guys who torched Berkeley. It's possible--but these guys probably didn't cross the continent for this (their moms would not lend them the cars). If you fly the antifa-flag you bear the burden--that's true--but if the only thing you ever did in your life for "The Left" was put on a black hoodie and a bandanna and went and punched a Nazi that day?

Well, The Omnivore isn't going to give you too much grief.


Back To Where We Were Going

Today in Boston a bunch of people cheered "antifa"--it's in quotes because we don't, again, know who those guys were. Maybe they were also in Virginia? Maybe they were in Berkeley? The Omnivore doubts both--they were, suspects The Omnivore, home-grown--but they flew the flag and they got cheered.

What's that mean?

The Omnivore is going to tell you that most of those people out there--who came to oppose an anemic free-speech rally by what appears to be libertarians? Those people probably don't have a good grip on who Milo is. They probably don't know what happened at Berkeley. 

But they do know what happened in Charlottesville and it scared them. You bet your ass it scared them: somebody died. It should have scared them. 

It turns out that fighting actual, literal Nazis is a way to improve your stature with a certain class of people. We even have a term for them: Americans.

Contagation

This feels to The Omnivore like an inflection point in the Trump presidency--a point at which things have "actually changed" to some degree. This comes on today's (and it's only 7 AM) announcement that POTUS/FLOTUS (and the VP will not be attending the Kennedy Awards so as to "avoid political distractions."

Of course this isn't happening in a vacuum:

And, well, you know:


It's Not ALL About Charlottesville

Bannon, at least according to some, gave his resignation up on August 7th. That may or may not be bullshit--but if it's true that was before Trump fumbled the ball on denouncing racists. A couple of tech-leaders had already quit because of his Paris Accord pull-out. Ichan also bailed yesterday because of conflicts of interest--nothing else.

So what's going on?

The answer is Contagion. When you are tagged as undesirable people who closely associate with you also get classed as undesirable. The closer the association, the more people get "on them." Like a disease, so long as the behavior stops or at least subsides, it goes away.

Like a disease, there are probably people who can associate with you--but survive if they have sufficient counter-cred (an "immunity"). So, yeah--it's like a disease.

Trump seems to have hit a point where he is marked badly enough to make people unwilling to take on the risk of being contaminated with him.

This was, we should note, already happening with his appointments. Trump had to choose an FBI director who would be passable--but we also know he really wants one whose loyal. Every choice he now makes will be questioned: what was the required pledge? Was there one? Would we know?

Additionally, of course, Trump hires people, uses them up, and fires them. It seems unlikely that, for example, Kellyanne Conway is going to come out of this with her reputation intact. She'll be recognized as a person who was willing to jettison her integrity to lie for the team. Same with Spicer.


What Comes Next?

It's not impeachment. What The Omnivore thinks comes next is the attempt of the tainted to inoculate themselves from further damage. That means: Tell-Alls.

Bannon has said he's going to war (he says against Trump's enemies--but we know that means His (Bannon's) enemies in the administration--like Kelly, Kushner, and McMaster). The Omnivore would expect other people expelled from the admin to see this inflection point as a chance to tell their side without looking like a complete traitor.

The net effect of this, is, of course, going to be churn, drama, and stasis. We're about to come up on the Debt Ceiling and if we blow it, we're facing the probability of a serious recession. What are the odds that this administration can right the ship and brush off the sleights and do what's necessary to keep the country going?

Well done, Trump-voters. Well done.

Friday, August 18, 2017

How Would The Omnivore Know?

The Omnivore really shouldn't have to write this.

An Omni-Friend (who, to be fair, may no longer consider himself such) who voted for Trump, sent The Omnivore a hard-to-follow email that, as far as The Omnivore can tell (and this is honest--no snark) boiled down to this:

Paraphrase: The Left's "rent-seeking" led to Trump. That "rent-seeking behavior" is exemplified in refusal to acknowledge that a person believes that black lives matter unless they say it in exactly the right way. This demand, (which he described as bullying) is pervasive with the left.
Is this a good point? Well, if black lives matter is a valid sentiment how about white lives mattering too? It would seem to be logical, right?
These Guys Think So

Okay, okay--White Lives Matter might be going a bit too far, yeah? How about the saintly "All Lives Matter"? Shouldn't black people be okay with that?


Huhh. Okay--but who is this guy? Let's look.
Yeah--so, maybe All Lives Matter and White Lives Matter have some really, really obvious associations? Maybe?

When the Omni-Friend expressed his distaste with rent-seeking and accused The Omnivore of ignoring his arguments, The Omnivore asked him: "Do you think black lives matter? How would I know?"

How Would The Omnivore Know?

He hasn't responded. Maybe because he's busy. Maybe because he's pissed. The Omnivore wouldn't blame him for either. You see, he thinks The Omnivore shouldn't be asking that question--he's a good guy (and he is!). He wouldn't let a black guy drown if he was walking by the lake and saw him in distress.

He (probably) gives to charities. He doesn't call black people racist names--he even (probably) voted for Obama. Of course he fucking thinks black lives matter--and he shouldn't have to say it in Just That Way for people to know.

The Omnivore even bets he's got black friends.

So sure--this guy isn't a Kloset Klansman--but let The Omnivore pretend to ask him what he thinks about Philando Castile.

Philando Castile was a black man who was shot in Minnesota in 2016. There was a traffic-stop because the cop thought he looked like a suspect. Philando was in the passenger seat, a three-year-old girl in the back--and, when the officer approached, Philando told him that he was a Concealed Carry Permit holder and had a gun.

In case anyone is not aware--this is what you're supposed to do. Philando was ordered to hand over his Id (he wasn't driving) and when he reached for it, the officer shot him and killed him. It was captured live. If not, the officer would probably not have gotten off.

The officer got off anyway.

Let's look at the National Rifle Association's statement on that acquittal--the NRA is one of the biggest proponents of Concealed Carry in the world. They defend--and seek to expand--those rights. They point out, relentlessly, that CC-permit holders are one of the least likely demographics to commit a crime.

Here is their fiery statement on the officer's acquittal

I don't agree with every single decision that comes out from courtrooms of America. There are a lot of variables in this particular case, and there were a lot of things that I wish would have been done differently. Do I believe that Philando Castile deserved to lose his life over his [traffic] stop? I absolutely do not. I also think that this is why we have things like NRA Carry Guard, not only to reach out to the citizens to go over what to do during stops like this, but also to work with law enforcement so that they understand what citizens are experiencing when they go through stops like this.
Reason Magazine notes:

Although Loesch goes further than that, she is careful not to take a position on whether Yanez should have been acquitted. She says she sometimes disagrees with decisions reached by juries but does not say whether this is one of those times.
Surely The Omnivore is nit-picking here? One could almost think the life of a black-man is worth less to the NRA's philosophy than their signaling to their base. Let's take another shooting in the same general area.

Justin Ruszczyk, a 40 year old yoga instructor in her pajamas, called the police to report a potential sexual assault. One of the police officers was allegedly startled and shot her, killing her. Here's a reporter from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.


So, yeah--there seems to be a difference. Could it be--might it be--that black lives matter less than some other lives?

Perish the thought.

The Omnivore doesn't know if the Omni-Friend considers BLM a terrorist organization--chanting about killing cops and ambushing and shooting five police officers in Dallas. The Omnivore is going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn't believe those things--but who knows.

Maybe he's a big, even-handed, both-sides guy?

Or maybe he's not that well read? (He is). But here's the thing--if he really resents not being able to say All Lives Matter--or White Lives Matter--how is The Omnivore to know what he would do if, say, one of The Omnivore's black children was killed in a traffic stop like Castile? Would he be outraged? Or just kind of shrug?

How would The Omnivore know?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Omni-Splaining: Holy Crap Was Trump Defending Racists

The Omnivore should not have to write this.

Yesterday Trump gave a free-wheeling, off-the-rails, and combative press conference with reporters about his responses to the violence in Charlottesville. Most observers who were not in the Nazi-camp were horrified--but a few, some Trump Supporters--came to his defense. So The Omnivore, sadly, does need to write this.


What Was The Problem With Yesterday's Speech?

The Trump-Supporter in question feels that Trump was pretty even-handed. There was violence on both sides. The ACLU, in fact, defended the white nationalist's right to protest on the grounds when the city tried to move them further away for security reasons. Notably, the city didn't try to move the counter-protesters (perhaps because they wanted the groups separated?). Anyway, the ACLU successfully intervened, the protest and the counter-protest happened at the same time--and, well, a woman died when a white nationalist who had been in attendance on the Nazi-side rammed his car into a bunch of people, killing one and badly wounding many others.

This came in a climate where there was intense clashes all around the park as the Nazi-protesters emptied out into the general street. These clashes were between the Nazis (and other affiliated groups) and the counter-protesters--and looking at the video it's sometimes hard to know who is who--and who started what.

So, when Trump described "both sides" as bearing blame, well, isn't he kind of right?

No--and he's not just not-kind-of-right. He's horribly, horribly wrong.

Before we go any further, we should note that Trump is really explicit about his judo-grip on the facts of the case:




Okay--he's got the facts. Now what?

Trump Was Horribly Wrong

The Omnivore is going to Omni-splain on two basic fronts. Neither of these is going to "defend antifa"--we can talk about antifa after. No--this is going to hinge on the fact that:

  1. Trump defended torch-carrying Nazi-chanters in a fully and knowingly disingenuous way (for someone who had "all the facts"). There was no reason to do this--it's immaterial to a discussion of blame for Saturday's violence.
  2. Trump is creates a group, the alt-left (which is, itself, white-nationalist language) to be his counter-balance. This creation is a smokescreen that helps no one but the Nazis.
  3. The Nazis were, unabashedly, pro-Trump. This, alone, should concern him more than counter-protesters who were anti-Trump. They are doing their race-hatred bearing his name.

The Tiki-Nazis



Here is Trump:

Ok--so here we have an assertion--that the group above--the torch-carrying Nazis had some "very fine people" in the group--as well as some "very bad people." The very-fine people (who, The Omnivore asserts, the Trump-supporter in question can not pick out of the crowd) were there, presumably to protest the taking down of a Confederate statue.

If they were there for Heritage-not-Hate, that might not be so bad, right?

Here's what they were there for:

Does this really look like a march to save a goddamn statue? 

Look at that guy who got top billing: Mike Enoch. He hosts a show The Daily Shoah.

You, Trump-Supporter, don't know who Mike Enoch is. And you also, in your goddamn comfy chair at your computer don't know what "Shoah" means. So you feel just fine assuming that this is about Heritage-Not-Hate and there probably were good people there.

Shoah is the Jewish word for Holocaust. The guy getting top billing hosts a radio show called the Daily Holocaust. Is that okay?

Do those eagles look familiar? Maybe naziriffic? Yes--yes they do. 

THIS IS THE RALLY THE PEOPLE MARCHING HAD A FUCKING PERMIT FOR. THIS IS A GODDAMN NAZI RALLY.

Do good people attend a Nazi rally? Even for Heritage (not Hate).

Sure they do.

Let's keep going. Trump doesn't just leave it at that--he doubles down--in case there is any question, talking about the "very quiet protesters." They don't have the "rough, bad people."



Very quiet:
The protest of the statue included chants like:

"Blood and Soil"--a literal Nazi slogan. Also "Jews (or You) Will Not Replace Us." These were shouted slogans as they encircled the non-violent counter-protesters around the statue.

That's who Trump was defending.

Let the Omnivore make a final point here: How do we know there were no "good people" out there with the Tiki-Nazis? Because good people don't march with Nazis.

Full Stop.


Point 2 - The Creation of the Alt-Left

Trump could have said "antifa"--he has all the facts. He knows who is who and what is what. If he meant antifa, he could have said that. He didn't. He said "alt-left." Why does this matter? Well, it matters because Trump is doing the same rhetorical sleight-of-hand magic trick that the Nazi-guys are doing. He's doing it right in front of you and you're falling for it.

For starters: there is no alt-left. The Alt-Right is something people claim to actually belong to. It has at least loose precepts. The Alt-Left is a term that the Alt-Right Nazis lump people into who they don't like. Is it violent Antifa thugs? Sure. How about Black Lives Matter people? Of course (the person who was killed was, according to the Trump Supporter, a Black Lives Matter person--so maybe Trump thinks she had in commin'? The Klan is certainly glad she died.


So we don't know who is in this group and who is out of it.

Ahh--but Trump is just attacking the violent ones, right?

We're sure it's not these counter-protesters there without a permit?

Here we go--here are some BLM guys engaged in violence--trying to stop white nationalists from passing them. These people could certainly get counted, right? Looks violent?


The fact here, though is that the Nazi side knew there would be violence and came ready to fight. Look at their hands--see that? Wrapped for fighting.
So one side has a legal permit, fights to stay in a more-dangerous area, and comes ready to rumble? Generally it is considered that if someone rolls up on your town, looking for trouble? They started it.

Now--none of this gets to antifa. Does antifa have any legal or moral right to engage violently with Nazis? In other words, could they be right to punch a Nazi?

Legally? No.

Morally?


Nazis--literal Nazis--are the closest thing to an Army of Darkness that the world has ever known. When people fly their flag--when they throw their salute--when they march under the banner of the death-camps? Well, you can certainly condemn antifa for starting fires at Berkeley, causing property damage to stop Milo from speaking. Beating up people with bike-locks who are there to provoke.

You can--and The Omnivore does.

But people marching under a literal swastika flag and chanting Nazi slogans?

If you are going to strongly condemn violence against those guys, well, that's your right--but by the time we've set the dials to literal praise of genocidal evil appearing in an American town, in force? Both-sidsing it is moral cowardice.

Sorry.


3. They Did It In Trump's Name

The  marchers were, in some cases, explicit:
And

When you are carrying out your Nazi Marchers wearing the banner of Trump--and chanting his name--you would expect that if he didn't like it, he might tell you to stop.

Try using the Trump name or logo in your business venture without his permission and see what happens. In this case? Nothing--no comment about his name showing up on these guys.

What would you, Trump-Voter, have done if Communist were marching and committing violence with Obama-logo shirts on? Given him a pass? The Omnivore doesn't think so.

We know, Google. We know.

Conclusions

People were aghast yesterday when Trump, off-script and unfiltered came out in a stunning defense of the hate-group that descended on Charlottesville--unquestionably empowered by his election. They were right to be: it's being done, literally under the banner of the Swastika--and in Trump's Name.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Omni-Splainer: How To Denounce A Nazi


Apparently it's harder than you think.

There are several common errors people make when trying to denounce Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and affiliated right-wing hate-groups. These are simple mistakes that anyone could make--but given the current climate, it's probably necessary that we explain the proper way to denounce or otherwise discuss Nazis.


Let's Start With the Pitfalls First

Let us be frank: Denouncing Nazis is deceptively difficult. Well meaning people are often caught in the crosshairs of political correctness for a simple slip of the tongue or the use of "problematic" language when discussing modern Nazism. It's sad that our country has become so divided that well-meaning attempts to decry an ideology that exterminated millions of people does, itself, draw criticism if not phrased exactly right.

To this end, this special Omni-Splainer covers what not to do when discussing how bad Nazis are.

A Note: For purposes of this Omni-Splainer, the term "Nazi" will not solely refer to swastika-bearing, goose-stepping, Seig Heil salute-throwing white (Aryan) supremacists--but, for simplicity's sake, a larger umbrella of the various white-nationalist hate groups we are now seeing gaining prominence in America.


1. Nazis Are Pretty Singular -- Try To Keep Them That Way

Black Lives Matter is a terrorist hate-group**. We can all agree--but they haven't killed several million people, waged a World War, or herded Jews into extermination camps. In fact, as an organization, they haven't killed anybody. So while we understand that you must discuss BLM, it is of key importance that when discussing Nazis and right-wing hate groups, you keep BLM out of the discussion.

We understand the extreme difficulty there--but it's one of the things you must do to properly denounce a Nazi.

Note 1: Stalinism killed more people than Nazis and did it during peace-time. So you would think you could use the left's love of Communism to bring them in for criticism in the same breath with decrying Nazism. This sounds logical (and it is)--but it is a bad move. In order to do this, you can't "move first." You must let your lefty-audience first invoke Soviet Communism and then pounce. We understand that this is going to be very, very hard for you--but to bring in communist iconography when discussing Nazis is simply going to make you look like some kind of body-count fetishists (or, worse, a crypto-Nazi defender!).

Remember: Wait for them to bring in Soviet Communism first. This is an "advanced move."

Note 2: If you are more-clever than the people you are denouncing Nazis to, you might, sometimes, be able to get away with claiming the Dallas Police Shooter was a member of BLM or that various marchers with kill-cops signs are part of BLM (despite their coming out later in the day in many cases). This is fine--but be aware that if you are denouncing Nazis to someone familiar with BLM, you can easily get tripped up. Again, we would stay away from this altogether, as hard as that is.

Note 3: Do not confuse Black Lives Matter with the Bureau of Land Management. They share an acronym and the hostility of the right--but it's a newbie mistake.

2. Start and Stop At Nazis -- Try To Avoid "Antifa"

This is probably the hardest part--but it is also the most important. When denouncing Nazis, limit yourself to the far-right White Nationalist ideologies. Yes, Antifa-goons are just as bad. Yes, they are even worse. That is true--however, when trying to denounce Nazis, when you bring in Antifa, it winds up looking to casual observers like a defense of Nazis.

No, this doesn't make any sense--and yes, refusing to condemn Antifa just 'feels wrong.' We know--the act of condemning Nazis without also blaming the left leaves a sour taste in one's mouth--but it is necessary. When condemning Nazis stick to Nazis.

3. Don't Fall In To the "Alt-Right Trap"

There are many different types of Nazis and they have gradients of adherence in behavior to the classic Nazi ideology--but it's a mistake to try and divide them up when denouncing Nazis. Saying that "you hate Nazis--but those Alt Right guys are okay" inevitably ends in the guys you said were "okay" standing next to a literal Nazi and laughing at Jewish-Globalist jokes. It is better and safe to class everyone who is marching with, standing with, and fighting with a Nazi as a Nazi.

We understand that this is painful--and, in many cases, might even include you--but it's necessary if you are going to denounce Nazis.

Note: While it is tempting to dismiss Tiki-Torch carrying Nazis as LARPER kids (whatever that means), it is a mistake. While there is no doubt that many of the current Nazis are soft-handed mommas boys, the act of denouncing Nazism requires that you treat them as you would want to be treated: with respect. Doing otherwise all too often comes off sounding like an excuse for the Nazis and that will limit the power of your denunciation. 

4. Be Careful About Defending Trump and Republicans When Denouncing Nazis

Nazis, almost singularly in American politics, wear Donald Trump clothing when doing their Nazi-ing. They, again, pretty much singularly in American politics, have endorsed Trump in print and speech. Now, we all know that Black Lives Matter loved Obama--but the footage of them shouting his name and throwing Black-Power "Obama Salutes" doesn't seem to exist (we presume it is being suppressed by the leftist media).

That said, until it surfaces, you have a problem: Trump has found himself, through no fault of his own, linked to Nazis and has had a very hard time denouncing it. As Trump is not a politician, it takes him--like it takes you--several attempts to get it right. He doesn't know how to do it forcefully. He isn't aware that he should call out the use of his name in White Nationalist slogans or publications.

This is stuff that many Americans understand--but Trump is new to all of this.

As such, we understand your wish to defend him.

It is also true that the Republican party voted something like 98% with Trump--even though links to Nazis and far-right / alt-right ideology were clear and irrefutable (his chief strategist called his news outlet the "platform of the alt-right," after all). To many this feels like "guilt by association."

Of course it isn't. Trump can't control who wears his hats. He cannot be logically expected to ask Nazis to take his hats off--Trump knows there's no such thing as bad advertising! He's a business man--that's why America elected him.

However, as tempting as it is, when denouncing Nazis don't try to do so in the context of defending Trump or Republicans. Instead just hope your audience understands that in order to create a winning coalition to Make America Great Again, Mr. Trump needs every vote he can get.

However he gets it.

** They are NOT a terrorist group. This is just what people who have difficulty denouncing Nazis usually believe.

Monday, August 14, 2017

How Nice Should We Be To Nazis?


Here is a reporter on the ground talking about what went on in Charlottesville this weekend. Notably:

  1. The Nazis came ready for battle.
  2. Antifa (and others) showed up and engaged them.
  3. There were some milita types--heavily armed (3%-ers) who were kinda trying to keep the peace.
So The Omnivore got a question: Does us "dehumanizing" our enemies (such as the Nazis, to be clear) feed into their bad behavior? Does someone fighting with a Nazi just add to the problem?


First, Let's Get Some Bullshit Off The Table

Let's be clear about a few things here--just in case anyone is dedicated to hiding behind some flimsy-but-common rhetoric.
  1. Black Lives Matter isn't a domestic terrorist organization  - Oh, a lot of people want it to be. For sure. And there is certainly some stuff to cherry pick. But the fact is that BLM is two things--a loose organization protesting police killings and a slogan that a bunch of people shot. Deftly conflating them for rhetorical points is easy if people don't do any research.
  2. Antifa / Black Bloc are assholes - There are real anarchists or angry momma's boys or whatever who are out there to smash windows and set things on fire. These people are bad--they're violent for the sake of being violent. We should condemn them.
  3. Clenched Fists Of Communism Have A Bad History Too - Modern socialists are pussycats compared to the Cold War KGB--but anyone wrapping themselves in Stalinist flags is doing a version of what the guys with Nazi flags are. Even if they're chanting "Health Care for Everyone," doing it under a banner of millions of innocents dead isn't right either.
So while there were, in fact, several "Sides" in attendance, (1) they are not all created equal. (2) A comparatively small number were Antifa. (3) The Nazis (et. al.) showed up looking for a fight and got one. Without the Nazis there would have been no fight.

If the communists hold a march, spoiling for a fight, under a Stalinist flag, you can condemn them first and foremost too. But that's not happening today (you can see Sheriff Clarke's description of the Women's March in DC as, literally, a "Woman's Riot" if you want to understand how you look talking about Communism in reference to Charlottesville).

So we're clear: The violence came to town because of, and intentionally on the part of, the Nazis. If you say "He started it" doesn't count in grade-school fights . . . you're right.

On the other hand "He started it" is a perfectly moral and legal defense for killing someone in a home invasion.

You will need to decide for yourself where Charlottesville lies. But don't worry too much: The Omnivore gonna help you out there too.

If A Nazi Comes Along, You Must Punch Him! (to the tune of 'Whip It')

The Omnivore will not condemn you for punching a Nazi. 

Where did the Nazi march fall on the scale of escalating threat of real violence to you? Huh--we just don't know, do we? The Omnivore means, it could just be some angry preppies in golf shirts, right? Nothing to be concerned about, right? Right? HOW COULD WE KNOW WHERE THIS COULD GO?
The above is Madison Square Garden, 1939.

You knew that, right? You knew that, didn't you? Okay--so, The Omnivore will credit you with knowing what happened after that. There was this big war that encompassed kinda the whole world. Maybe you heard about it in school.

So--the guys marching this weekend in Charlottesville? Couldn't happen in America? It almost did. They don't really wanna do the ovens thing? Chances are? Yes, yes they do. If they could.

They'll never amount to much if we just don't engage with them? They're in the fucking White House, son. They scored a bigger victory than those guys in the black and white photo up there ever did.

So tell The Omnivore again how you shouldn't "de-humanize" these people? Or punch them? How you should not objectify them Because they literally made soap out of their victims (at least experimentally--but still, being turned into an object is literal objectification).

One Last Thing

The point here is that once someone has sworn in with the Nazis--for real--for sure--out and proud--you can then treat them like a Nazi. If punching is across your personal line? Cool. If you are okay with Captain America punching Hitler? Be inspired. It's all good.

But what if they're only 50% Nazi? Or they're kinda-cadgily being "Alt-Right" or whatever? Well, when those people march in to my town, armed for a fight, talking hate--even if they use the Odin Symbol so as to be Nazi--but--Not Nazi Enough?

Real-Talk 1: When you come looking for a fight. Spoiling for one--and you get one--The Omnivore isn't gonna feel sympathy. That also goes for the antifa girl who was crowing about punching Nazis and found out they could punch better than she could. You bring it--okay--it's brung.

Real-Talk 2: When someone is marching for "free speech" in the service of a regime that would execute or exile various races (and certainly limit free speech) there is a moral disconnect that should make it apparent that they are trying to con you. They want a legal defense for their advocacy of violence--but they won't extend that to you when they have the chance (they want a white ethnostate). They want a legal defense of speech--but will close your mouth with a cudgel when they get the chance.

Why would you give these people the benefit of the doubt? Any benefit of the doubt? This isn't literally a home-invasion--but The Omnivore asserts that when they are marching on your street . . . it's functionally pretty damn close to one.