The Problem of Prettifying Trump for Children’s Books.

Michael Ian Black and Marc Rosenthal, A Child’s First Book of Trump.

Unfortunately, when it comes to history, there’s a long, ugly history in the U.S. of lying to children. Books are filled with euphemisms and omissions, desperate to find any way to praise past politicians and their acts. This is quite the problem with presidential bios, going all the way back. People were considered courageous to mention that the oh so holy Saint Jefferson was a slaveholder. They omitted the rapes, subsequent pregnancies, and those inconvenient little slaves Jefferson fathered. You don’t find sections or books on just how genocidal presidents were when it came to Indians, or how they spent time and money on being devious bastards, making promises they fully intended to break. Nothing about the rapes, murders, and stealing of children, no. There’s very little action across uStates to undo all the whitewash. That much has not changed, but even in an industry well practiced in the art of whitewash, Trump is presenting special problems.

…Rosman catches the Scholastic folks red-handed as they rewrite history to try to prettify Trump for their audience. In a prepublication draft of the book, under the heading “Troubling Statements,” its authors initially explained: “Some of Trump’s biggest supporters were white nationalists. Their comments and actions during and after the campaign were racist and often dangerous. Trump did little to speak against them.” But in the final version, we get, instead, a page called “Campaign Statements,” which explains that, “Some of Trump’s critics felt he did not speak out against prejudicial people and groups strongly enough.”


The problem with Trump is not that he did not denounce the racism, much less the fact that some people might have felt this way. It’s that he actively encouraged not merely racism but a particularly violent strain of it; one that helped create an atmosphere of menace toward almost all people of color among his most virulent supporters. What’s more, this racism, according to the best data we can find, was central to his appeal both in the Republican primaries and in the general election. The fact that he is now president of the United States presents an additional ideological problem for children’s book publishers. Not only must they find a way around the fact that their subject is a racist, sexist, ethnocentric, McCarthyite, lying con man, but also that nearly half the country’s voters knew all this and picked him anyway.

To be honest about Trump is to be honest about America, and right now, that is just not the kind of thing children’s publishers are set up to do. It’s not even the kind of thing The New York Times or The Washington Post is set up to do — at least not without blaming “both sides” for whatever crime against democracy, decency or common sense Trump has most recently committed. Joana Costa Knufinke, group editor for nonfiction books in Scholastic’s library publishing division, uses this time-honored excuse when she explains to Rosman, “We make an effort to show both points of view.”


The challenge regarding Trump, however, is not that he has flaws, as men and all presidents do. The problem is that he is all flaws and that it was these flaws that got him elected president. Without those flaws — the racism, sexism, jingoism, dishonesty, incompetence, ignorance and belligerence — there is nothing left to say about Trump… except perhaps to make fun of his hair. This puts the nice people in the children’s book business in the uncomfortable position of either ignoring the new president or running interference of his destructive qualities and teaching our children to, at best, ignore them, or at worst, emulate them.

An incisive look at how the children’s publishing industry is going to be very busy orange-washing and filtering all information about the current unpresident of uStates. Highly recommended reading.

Full article here.

“Even Hitler Didn’t Sink To Using Chemical Weapons”

Tucker Viemeister.

“Someone as despicable as Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,”

So said one Sean Spicer. To date, the stupidity has already been excruciatingly difficult to bear, but this? Really? When asked for clarification, Spicer stated that Hitler never used gas on his own citizens, so y’know, all those German Jews? Guess they weren’t German. Or citizens. Jesus Fuck. The internet at large is already busy tearing Spicer apart.

Initial Story, Spicer Gets Eaten Alive.

The Pretension and Fawning Go On.

George Bush, “Sergeant Leslie Zimmerman U.S. Army, 2001-2004” (undated), oil on stretched canvas, 20 x 24 in.

George Bush, “Sergeant Leslie Zimmerman U.S. Army, 2001-2004” (undated), oil on stretched canvas, 20 x 24 in.

It’s no secret how much I loathe the pretentiousness of the art world. It’s not easy to find equal levels of pompous puffery, arrogance, and pretentious fawning that infest the art world. The latest person being painted over with fawning pretension is George W. Bush. Seph Rodney at Hyperallergic takes on the fawning of the New York Times.

Take the recent New York Times piece, “‘W.’ and the Art of Redemption” by Mimi Swartz, about the portrait-painting practice of former President George W. Bush. The piece, among other things, reports the landing of the book of his paintings, Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, on the New York Times best seller list. It’s part reputation rehab, part art review, part commendation, and part audition for the job of Bush’s headstone writer. We might one day see, etched in marble, something like: “Here lays the former president who found his true calling only after serving the highest office in the land.” And verily there will be tears.


The piece veers upward from there, lifted by the imprimatur of key art critics Jerry Saltz and Peter Schjeldahl, who use terms like “innocent,” “sincere,” “earnest,” and “honestly observed” to describe Bush’s portraits.

I don’t think Bush’s paintings are awful, they aren’t. I don’t think they are terribly good, either. They’re okay. If you inhabit the art world, or have wandered into it on occasion, you’ll find that “innocent”, “sincere”, and “earnest” are code words for primitive and childish, not worth anything as art, but hey, former president! I haven’t been in the art world for a while, so I’m not sure about “honestly observed”, but I’d wager a guess that it means something along the lines of “he’s doing his best.”

Swartz continues her transformation of the feckless leader into a sensitive and empathetic artist by tracing his tutelage under several art teachers: Gail Norfleet, Roger Winter, Jim Woodson, and Sedrick Huckaby. She makes Bush out to be a student, willingly learning from others, instead of the leader and “decider” he once touted himself to be. We are led to believe that all of this learning, nurturing, and patient working in obscurity, outside of the “swamp” that is Washington, DC, have now turned him a perceptive human being. Swartz tells us that “the proceeds from sales [of the book] will go to a nonprofit organization that helps veterans and their families recover,” and the George W. Bush Presidential Center website confirms this. (The hardcover edition costs $35, while the deluxe, signed and personalized edition costs $350.) But Swartz doesn’t ever acknowledge that it was Bush and his employees who started the Iraq war and put these very same people in harm’s way in the first place.

This is also a fine example of the dishonesty which comes into play when those in the art world decide to play at pointless flattery.

To be clear, this is the same man who, as president, pursued a war that was illegal and declared that coalition partners were “either with us or against us in the fight against terror” terror only as he and his administration defined it. Even his press secretary, Scott McClellan, later admitted that a sophisticated propaganda campaign sold the war to the public. Bush manipulated and strong-armed the media into supporting his reprehensible war, and this is what we lost in it: 134,000 Iraqi civilians, though Reuters notes that the conflict “may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number”; “$1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans,” according to Reuters, referencing the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies; and $33 billion in “U.S. medical and disability claims for veterans after a decade of war,” according to the initial Costs of War report in 2011, with that number rising to $134.7 billion just two years later.

The idea that people should forget such an enormous cost because Bush now paints portraits of military personnel is a pernicious one, at best.

What’s insidious about the Times piece is that it puts readers in the position of feeling the need to forgive Bush and recognize his current artistic work as somehow redemptive; otherwise we seem mean-spirited or, perhaps worse, unfairly unable to evaluate another person beyond stereotype. Swartz writes: “Mr. Bush discovered what many who paint discover: that as he worked on their portraits, he came to understand his sitters, and their pain, as well as their love for one another.” But art of this nature is not redemptive — it never is unless you shut your eyes, put your fingers in your ears, and yell nonsense. Art does not restore a soldier’s arms or eyesight, or provide them with physical therapy in order to learn to walk on prostheses. It does not heal their PTSD or bring back innocent Iraqi civilians from the dead.

I don’t believe Bush came to understand those he painted; I certainly don’t think he has the slightest idea of their pain, trauma, or bonds. I’m sure he’s selling that idea, and it’s a pity some people are licking the kool-aid off the floor. To even come close to a deep understanding of your subject, well, more is required than just painting. Going by the portraits at Hyperallergic, Bush didn’t even come to a shallow enough understanding for it to be reflected in the paintings. When an artist has an access of empathy while working, that tends to get into the work, in a visible way.

But we need to expand our imaginative faculties to viewing people in terms other than the ecclesiastical story of fall and redemption. Sometimes when you lose, you truly lose. And we lost that war, lost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars and a dwindling supply of international credibility and respect. George W. Bush may be a good painter and a caring friend to soldiers, but he’s also the man who callously put those soldiers in harmful situations, and has now reduced them to characters within a feel-good narrative that he can tell to friends, family, and the rest of the world.

I agree with that, absolutely. I can, and do, see Bush’s work as a way for him to feel better about himself, and in the end, it all comes back to putting focus on Bush. It’s yet another way of using people, the same people he used before. Well, at least the ones who survived.

The full article is at Hyperallergic.

Russia Investigation: Let the Tantrums Begin!

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes arrives for a weekly meeting of the Republican Conference with House Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP leadership on Wednesday. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes arrives for a weekly meeting of the Republican Conference with House Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP leadership on Wednesday. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee chair and former Trump transition team official Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) made the extraordinary claim that Democrats are actually the ones obstructing his committee’s investigation into connections between President Trump and Russian officials.

Nunes — who abruptly cancelled all scheduled committee hearings last week, including one that was to feature testimony from Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general who alerted the White House to Michael Flynn’s deceptions about his communications with Russian officials and was fired for refusing to enforce President Trump’s Muslim ban — told NBC News that “it appears the Democrats aren’t really serious about this investigation.”

“They need to give us their witness list because we have no idea who they even want to interview,” Nunes said. “So, at the end of the day here we’re going to get to the truth, we’re going to find out who’s actually doing a real investigation… we’re going to do an investigation with or without them, and if they want to participate that’s fine, but the facts of the matter are pretty clear.”

But a source with knowledge of the situation tells ThinkProgress that Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee actually submitted a tentative witness list to Republicans on Tuesday and haven’t yet heard back. That information was corroborated by Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand, who reported that a “[c]ommittee aide tells me Dems provided witness list to Nunes yesterday and offered to schedule hearings next week, have not heard back.”


Nunes might say “the facts of the matter are pretty clear,” but they’re not. Here’s what we do know. Last Wednesday, Nunes held a press conference where he appeared to clumsily validate Trump’s claim that Obama wiretapped his Trump Tower phones by saying he has “recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition.”

Instead of sharing that information with the intelligence community or his committee members, Nunes raced to the White House to brief Trump, whose campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with foreign agents. In the week since, Nunes has steadfastly refused to share what he claims to know about legal incidental collection at Trump Tower with his House Intelligence Committee colleagues.

The list of willful obstruction on the part of Nunes and Gowdy continues over at Think Progress, and it’s quite the long recount of obstruction. It would be downright laughable, the weak attempt to place blame on democrats, except for the fact that this is extremely serious. If this was anyone else, everyone would be going apeshit, screaming for impeachment and imprisonment. The silence of those on the right is more than telling, it’s an indictment all its own, of just how much they truly don’t care about such treasonous actions, as long as the crimes are being committed by someone on their side of the fence.

Think Progress has the full story.

Tin Cap Time.


The Heartland Institute recently had their “Fuck the Planet!” conference, attended by the Mercers, and all those others who have some sort of vested interest in killing off everyone and everything. I guess they’ll bug out to Mars with Musk when life becomes unsustainable.

The atmosphere was buoyant at a conference held by the conservative Heartland Institute last week at a downtown Washington hotel, where speakers denounced climate science as rigged and jubilantly touted deep cuts President Trump is seeking to make to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Front and center during the two-day gathering were New York hedge fund executive Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, Republican mega-donors who with their former political adviser Stephen K. Bannon helped finance an alternative media ecosystem that amplified Trump’s populist themes during last year’s campaign.

The Mercers’ attendance at the two-day Heartland conference offered a telling sign of the low-profile family’s priorities: With Trump in office, the influential financiers appear intent on putting muscle behind the fight to roll back environmental regulations, a central focus of the new administration.

The Washington Post has a full run down on the conference.

I’ll just focus here on the batshit element of such conferences, this time, embodied by ever loony Lord Christopher Monckton:

Raw Story has a rundown of his 5 main points, so click on over if you prefer to read.

Shaming Trump.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kinney talks about immigration at the White House (Screen cap).

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kinney talks about immigration at the White House (Screen cap).

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny used his time spent at the White House on St. Patrick’s Day to issue a subtle rebuke to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Speaking at the White House with Trump standing right next to him, Kenny relayed the long history of Irish immigrants who came to America and thrived there, despite being resented and hated by many.

“It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy,” Kenny said. “He, too, was an immigrant. And even though he is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe, he is also the symbol of — indeed, the patron of — immigrants.”

Kenny went on to explain that in past centuries, the Irish were “the retched refuse on the teeming shore,” who nonetheless “believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America.”

That is, no doubt, much too subtle for the Tiny Tyrant, but kudos to PM Kinney for having the courage to openly disdain the current regime’s xenophobia. It’s a welcome bit of truth and freshness in the in the stench laden clouds of bigotry hanging over uStates.

Full story and video here.

How Not To Advocate.

Dan Seum Jr. (Facebook).

Dan Seum Jr. (Facebook).

A medical marijuana advocate in Kentucky has been permanently banned from the third floor of the Capitol Annex. That strikes me as oddly specific, but what do I know? Anyroad, it seems that Seum Jr. was in the lobby of the Capitol Annex, talking to a group of people, when he quoted the former head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, then said he was ‘showing’ people this quote. Hmm, should be one or the other, right?

He said that while he was talking with others while in the lobby to visit representatives, he quoted “an appalling comment” made by the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930s to illustrate a history of discrimination and stereotyping against African Americans regarding enforcement of marijuana laws.

“I was showing them how appalling this quotation was and how I’m fighting the unfair marijuana arrests for the African-American community,” Seum said. He said he and Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana frequently cite the quotation, but that the offended legislative staffers must not have understood the context.


A letter sent to Seum recently by David Byerman, director of the Legislative Research Commission, said that while in the lobby, Seum “proceeded to engage in a racially-charged monologue.”

Byerman said in the letter, “Some of the offensive statements attributed to you include commenting that whites were afraid that ‘coloreds’ would have sex with white women, referring to African Americans and Latinos as ‘coloreds,’ and stating that white people were ‘scared of negroes.’ ”

An African-American employee of the legislature “within a few feet of you” was so offended that “she left her work station in distress,” Byerman wrote, and a second legislative staffer also reported being offended.

I’ll admit, I haven’t scoured the ‘net for every thing Harry Anslinger ever said, but there is a wiki page on him, which includes these two quotes:

In the 1930s Anslinger’s articles often contained racial themes in his anti-marijuana campaign:

Colored students at the Univ. of Minn. partying with (white) female students, smoking [marijuana] and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution. Result: pregnancy.

Two Negros took a girl fourteen years old and kept her for two days under the influence of hemp. Upon recovery she was found to be suffering from syphilis.

I can’t say that’s an unusual sentiment at all, and it’s very true that current and past drug laws have been used to provide fodder for the industrial-prison complex. I just wrote about that! That said, I find it odd that Seum would need to expound on this using the language of the past; it’s more than sufficient to discuss Anslinger with preferred, non-racist terms. Yes, people of colour have often been used to illustrate the evils of drug use, and in the context of deep racism, that still happens today. If anything, I’d say it actually happens more now than it did, given how much people have accepted the overwhelming amount of people of colour who are locked up every single day, buying into very old roots of racism, that “those” people are prone to such behaviour. It’s the same old othering, different terms.

When it comes to discussing the former FBoN, and Anslinger in particular, I would have gone a completely different direction, as far as discussion. In the early 1930s, Anslinger dismissed the use weed entirely, he said it never did anyone any harm whatsoever, and was not, in any way, connected to crime. At the time, Anslinger was rather devastated over the repeal of prohibition, and was rather intent on bringing about another prohibition. When that didn’t work, he finally turned his eyes to weed, and became a fervent anti-weed campaigner:

By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him…

That’s quite the turnaround. Remarkable, really. It starkly highlights the utter hypocrisy of drug laws and drug ‘wars’ in this country. Okay, back to Seum Jr., who says the whole thing is a dreadful misunderstanding:

But Seum says the matter is a “terrible misunderstanding” that occurred when legislative staffers overheard him quoting a racist comment that he said he strongly disagrees with, but that he often cites to illustrate a history of discrimination against African Americans.


Seum said in a phone interview Wednesday, “I’m an advocate for the African American. I’ve been advocating because of the disparaging numbers of African-American arrests in marijuana.”

He said that while he was talking with others while in the lobby to visit representatives, he quoted “an appalling comment” made by the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930s to illustrate a history of discrimination and stereotyping against African Americans regarding enforcement of marijuana laws.

This is not how you advocate for people, Mr. Seum. “I’m an advocate for the African American” Oh my. Not even “I’m an advocate for African American People.” Black people are not monolith. I imagine there are some unexamined biases there, we all have them. It’s perfectly fine to use past history as an example, and as a way to explain things to people, but simply picking deeply racist quotations, and quoting them out loud, using highly offensive language is probably not the best way to do that. I don’t think a permanent ban was called for, but I expect that was a handy expedient for certain politicians.

Full story here.

1984 for 2017.

Joe Baker, Room 101.

Joe Baker, Room 101.

…Part of 1984‘s appeal is the language Orwell developed for identifying fascist control methods that are increasingly visible today. Power structures like the Ministries of Truth, Peace, Plenty, and Love—each of which represents the opposite of its title—are reflected in an Environmental Protection Agency led by a climate change denier, and an education department run by someone who prefers “charter” to public education. Conway’s “alternative facts” sound a lot like the book’s “Newspeak,” the simplification and rebranding of common language, and “Doublethink,” whereby the government controls historical records and the news, sounds an awful lot like Breitbart retellings of current events.

With 1984‘s popularity, the constant debate about whether our current world is more like Orwell’s dystopia or the one described in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World has resurfaced as well. Both books warn of the dangers their authors perceived was on the horizon, but the living legacy of 1984 is its mark on language, so Creators asked artists to illustrate the terms and concepts from the book that they see reflected in today’s society.

Alex Gamsu Jenkins, Two Minutes of Hate.

Alex Gamsu Jenkins, Two Minutes of Hate.

You can see the rest of the fabulous artwork, along with each artist’s statement at The Creators Project. Fantastic work!

The Fake News Pandemic of 1942.

Library of Congress.

Library of Congress.

Politico has an excellent article up about a previous fake news pandemic. It would be good if we could all learn a lesson from the past.

Seventy-five years ago, tens of thousands of white Southerners responded with agitated concern when they learned both by word of mouth and in some regional newspapers that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was traveling widely throughout the former Confederate states, quietly organizing black women into secret “Eleanor Clubs.” The club motto, “A white woman in the kitchen by 1943,” portended a dangerous inversion of the region’s longstanding racial patterns.

It was already widely believed in the South that black men had been brazenly stockpiling ice picks, pistols, rifles and explosives in anticipation of a larger race riot. With millions of white men now serving in the armed forces and stationed away from their families, the story went, white communities were vulnerable to an impending assault. When that day came, black women—many of whom worked in domestic service—intended to force their white employers to cook and clean for them. “Eleanor Clubs are stirring up trouble that never should have arisen,” a white North Carolinian observed with worry. “Clubs are making the Negroes discontented, making them question their status.”

Of course, not a word of this was true. But that didn’t make these race rumors less vivid in the minds of many ordinary white Southerners.


The parallels between 1942 and today stand out. In both cases, a country undergoing profound demographic and economic change has proven hospitable to many of the same general types of rumors. In 1942, black men allegedly plotted a violent (and sexually violent) coup against white Americans. In more recent times, a Kenyan-born Muslim managed to capture the presidency, and encouraged violent Mexican criminals to vote illegally. Eleanor Roosevelt, a powerful first lady who did in fact champion black civil rights, was allegedly complicit in prompting a race war. Hillary Clinton, a powerful former first lady and would-be president, allegedly trafficked young girls through the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria.

In both eras, for many white Americans—particularly many white men experiencing a decline in economic and political power—these rumors were and are a way to protest a world in which women and people of color demanded greater privilege.

Highly Recommended Reading. Good lessons for us all.

Indigenous Activism Roundup.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Mni wiconi—”water is life”—appear to be empty words to the federal government, but they now constitute a battle cry for Native nations as they rise together in the U.S. capital today to voice their discontent with the Trump administration’s policies regarding indigenous rights and power.


Organizers also want the public to know that this gathering is not just about the Dakota Access Pipeline, even though it now serves as the symbol of all that’s wrong with the government-to-government relationship that tribes and the federal government are supposedly involved in. Tribes point to the Trump administration’s fast-track actions on the pipeline sans meaningful consultation and environmental review serving as the tipping point for Indian country by making a mockery of free, prior and informed consent—the right of every other sovereign nation in the world. They hope to make the point that the federal government, in going forward with the pipeline against the tribes’ wishes, abdicated its role as trustee to protect the tribes’ rights and resources, and violated their sovereignty and self-determination.

Full Story at ICMN. Think Progress also covers this story.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

“The Standing Rock movement is bigger than one tribe,” the Standing Rock Sioux said. “It has evolved into a powerful global phenomenon highlighting the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations and their right to protect their homelands, environment and future generations. We are asking our Native relatives from across Turtle Island to rise with us.”

Full story at ICMN.

There is No O’odham Word for Wall.

TUCSON, ARIZONA—The Tohono O’odham Nation Executive Branch is firm on their stance against a border wall being built.

“[It’s] not going to happen,” said Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manual. “It is not feasible to put a wall on the Tohono O’odham Nation…it is going to cost way too much money, way more than they are projecting.”

TON Chairman Manuel went on to say, “It is going to cut off our people, our members that come [from Mexico] and use our services. Not only that we have ceremonies in Mexico that many of our members attend. Members also make pilgrimages to Mexico and a border wall would cut that off as well.”

ICMN has the full story.

This Is My Body.

1 MA7XcJEmVWHKbOPof9j8yA

This Is My Body. A figure stands in the middle of the image with arms outstretched. A red headband covers the forehead and long, loosely braided dark hair, parted in the middle. White streams down the face, and the eyes are red and swollen. The body has a bleeding wound on its side, a hole in each palm, and three rubber bullet wounds. Dark figures with riot gear border the figure to the right, while water from a vehicle cannon shoots down at the figure. (Art done by Joann Lee Kim).

Joann Lee Kim has a stunning body of work, do yourself a favour and wander over for a long look. I came across Ms. Kim’s work at The Establishment, specifically an article by Dae Shik Kim Hawkins Jr., about the days when 500 ministers descended on the NoDapl camp. I was there for that, and talked to several of the ministers. The ones I spoke with all seemed rather dazed and overcome by everything happening at the camps. The particular perspective of the article is an interesting one, and quite important, I think: Christianity Is Co-opting The Justice Movement. It’s an excellent article. Solidarity is more important than ever, as is making sure that solidarity is intersectional and inclusive. When it comes to christian involvement in major social justice fights, particularly indigenous ones, it is very important that attention is seriously paid to the colonial roots and colonial mindset which still rules most peoples’ thinking and actions, especially those of churches.

Have a read, highly recommended. And when you’re done, have a look around at the rest of The Establishment, a lot of good writing going on there.


Housing a Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson speaks to HUD employees in Washington on Monday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh,

Housing a Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson speaks to HUD employees in Washington on Monday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh.

Ben Carson’s assertion that slaves were immigrants did not go unnoticed, by anyone.

“This is as offensive a remark as it gets,” said Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.

The remarks sparked outrage on Twitter, including from the actor Samuel L. Jackson. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also criticized Carson.

Samuel L. Jackson: OK!! Ben Carson…I can’t! Immigrants ? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!! MUTHAFUKKA PLEASE!!! #dickheadedtom.

A HUD spokesman later called the tempest “the most cynical interpretation of the secretary’s remarks to an army of welcoming HUD employees. No one honestly believes he equates voluntary immigration with involuntary servitude.”

“Involuntary servitude.” Even the mealy-mouthed spokesman can’t manage to say the word slavery. Carson probably thinks drapetomania is sound medical theory.

Carson was well received by the hundreds of HUD employees in the room and got a standing ovation at the close of his remarks.

And there are still people soundly denying the boot stomp of white nationalism. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only problem with Carson, who holds a number of seriously problematic views, especially when it comes to civil rights. Carson views a fair amount of rights to be “extras”, and he has no use for those at all, no. Primarily, this has to do with LGBT discrimination, and in his new position, it’s fair to surmise that bigotry will rule the day when it comes to fair housing.

It is common for conservatives to refer to “extras” as assistance for people in poverty, but Carson has used the word “extras” before when referring to LGBTQ protections.

“It’s one of the things that I don’t particularly like about the movement,” Carson said to Fusion’s Jorge Ramos in 2015. “I think everybody has equal rights, but I’m not sure that anybody should have extra rights — extra rights when it comes to redefining everything for everybody else and imposing your view on everybody else.”

Via Raw Story and Think Progress.