You know what’s ruining this country? Talking about racism.

Maxine Waters has been getting praise the last couple of days for her actions in standing against a bill designed to erode consumer protections. The protections in question are designed to make it harder for auto-loan companies to discriminate against people of color in lending terms.

The auto-loan business is unlike, say, the mortgage business where it’s relatively rare for the seller of a home to negotiate the terms of a mortgage taken out by the buyer. In the car business, negotiating the terms of a potential loan is part of the wheeling and dealing that goes into the process of selling the car. It turns out that there’s a lot of data that discrimination in loan terms has been happening even very recently. (This, unfortunately, is actually quite like mortgages where we know from the information that came out after the 2008 housing crash that people of color had been systematically pressed into taking unfavorable loan terms.) Because of this, these regulations have a direct impact on car dealerships themselves who are implicated in creating unfair terms – indeed the closely-connected, but frequently legally-separate loan companies don’t always know anything about the race of the buyer, but the car seller interacting with a buyer face-to-face certainly does. And it’s that seller negotiating the terms. So, of course, car sellers were a primary target of the regulations.

This has not gone down well with car sellers who take great exception to the idea that people of color being routinely charged more interest than white folks should in any way reflect badly on them … or justify intrusive government regulations. Trump, of course, is here to help out those beleaguered racists who desperately want the freedom to change people different interest rates based on race. Thus entered Maxine Waters and her praiseworthy defense of reasonable regulations on the floor of the House.

Not everyone found Waters’ defense praiseworthy, however. Mike Kelly, coincidentally the owner of several car dealerships, did not like Waters’ floor speech one bit. Not that he wanted to disagree with her, of course. He hated being put in a position where he was forced to disagree with her. The truly terrible thing about repealing anti-discrimination protections is that when repealing law whose entire purpose is to prevent discrimination based on race, the repeal’s opponents mention race at all!

“We have seen the economy take off,” Kelly, who also owns three auto dealerships, exclaimed. “I just think that if you come to the floor and there are 60 minutes to debate. 30 minutes on each side. But as I was sitting there, I had 30 minutes of Democrats coming down and talking about how bad automobile people are because they discriminate against nonwhite buyers. I said that’s not America. We don’t talk about those things.”

There’s so much to address. I’d love to leave the Jordan Peterson post up longer. I need to follow up on what happened in Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank yesterday. And yet, here I am quoting some asshat white man who thinks the biggest tragedy in repealing a requirement that we not discriminate based on race is that we violate the sacred dictum that in REAL AMERIKKKA we shouldn’t ever talk about race.

Fuck Trump’s America.

 

Might I Remind You of a Couple Things?

In light of the attacks on Syria, I thought it might be good to remind the community of a couple things.

The first is one you’re less likely to remember, though it is important: Two years ago, during the campaign, Trump was asked by Mika Brzezinski on the MSNBC show Morning Joe about the source of his foreign policy advice, given that there were so many difficult issues active in 2016.

He replied:

I listen to myself and speaking with myself, number one, because I have very good brain and have said a lot of things, so I would listen to myself. … My primary consultant is Myself.”

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Somehow, I think this republican and Malcom might agree on some things

So over at The New Civil Rights Movement, queer writer David Badash comments on goat fucking, child molester Erick Erickson‘s new story. Apparently, a member of the House of Reps went off on Trump and the position in which he has placed congressional republicans. I wouldn’t ever recommend giving the goat fucker any clicks, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun quoting from Badash’s coverage:

If we’re going to lose because of him, we might as well impeach the motherf**ker,

And that’s just the rep getting going.

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Joe Biden is a Thug, and not the good kind

During an anti-violence rally, of all things, Joe Biden saw fit to declare:

“A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, ‘I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it,'” Mr. Biden told the crowd. “They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said ‘no.’ I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.’ “

In the midst of a national outcry about violence in schools, prompting but not only prompting intense, renewed attention on US gun laws, and at a rally specifically called to oppose violence, albeit focussed on sexualized violence, Biden chose to use his platform to endorse teens beating on teens.

As they say in the UK, “Good show, Mr. Biden. Good Show.”

 

The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Trump

So many of us have said for so long that Trump is authoritarian. Some of us even said Fascist, though that definition is up for debate and if it means anything, shouldn’t be merely a synonym of authoritarian.

Nonetheless, our warnings fell on 62,984,825 deaf ears. It seems that a heck of a lot of people thought that Trump might be hostile to some persons’ rights, but not their own rights.

Frankly it reminds me quite a bit of how in the anti-domestic/sexual violence community we’ve been saying for years that if someone can’t show respect to an intimate partner, that bodes ill for that person’s propensity to violence more generally. Since heterosexual relationships are most common, this has often taken the form of warning that men who abuse women need to be taken more seriously as threats to their communities. In a world where most lawmakers are men, men who didn’t fear they might end up in an abusive relationship with a man, the glowing-scarlet flag of intimate partner violence has been treated as little import. We’ve slowly changed perceptions so that at least the actual violence to the intimate partner is treated, legally, as violence against others might be. In other words, violence against women isn’t treated as a warning sign of future dangerousness to a community, but is more frequently than it once was taken as an actual violation of the laws against assaults and/or batteries.

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Mama Monday: It’s the Mother’s Fault

So, Politico has just the story we need in the contemporary USA: a how-to for blaming everything Trump on a woman.

Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump’s behavior—as much as, or more than, any policy he’s advanced—stands as a subject of consternation, fascination and speculation. Psychology experts read and watch the news, and they have the same basic curiosity lots of people have: What makes somebody act the way he acts? None of them has evaluated Trump in an official, clinical capacity—Trump is pretty consistently anti-shrink—but they nonetheless have been assessing from afar, tracking back through his 71 years, searching for explanations for his belligerence and his impulsivity, his bottomless need for applause and his clockwork rage when he doesn’t get it, his failed marriages and his ill-tempered treatment of women who challenge him. And they always end up at the beginning. With his parents. Both of them. Trump might focus on his father, but the experts say the comparative scarcity of his discussion of his mother is itself telling.

Crafty ‘Cubi of Candy Corn! This is going to be terrible, isn’t it?

Oh, yes. Oh yes indeed.

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Hold My Beer: John Kelly Rescues Trump On Confederate Monuments

Still working on a very turbulent and difficult move – oy, this one has been hard. Nonetheless, I have recently been informed that the world has been marching on without me. For those of you who aren’t suffering move-induced-lack-of-time-and-spare-energy, I thought you might like to hear all about the cool praise-y things the United States’ President’s chief of staff General John Kelly has to say about Confederate general and slaver who came across as particularly cruel to his slaves compared to other slavers Robert E. Lee. It turns out that, even at this point in my moving process, I have some thoughts to express on these “thoughts” that Kelly had on television with Laura Ingraham sitting across from him.

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Doing Libertarianism Wrong

Rand Paul has gotten libertarianism wrong again. Despite the fact that he has attempted at times to throw off the libertarian label as too limiting and ultimately inaccurate in describing the whole of his political philosophy, Paul has also clearly embraced the label many times. More importantly for our discussion, many movement libertarians have embraced Paul as a movement leader, giving the initial fundraising momentum necessary to Paul’s political success. So why is Paul seemingly so intent on violating whatever limited principles libertarianism might hold?

It’s no surprise that most libertarians are doing libertarianism wrong of course: most of us don’t think through most of our positions, even many times on important issues. There simply are too many important issues for us to be educated or even thoughtful about every single one. I’m sure I do progressive queer feminism wrong many times as well. In fact, that’s part of the reason why I’ve chosen the life path that I have, with its focus on study that permits more time to examine those positions, more exposure to knowledgable, thoughtful takes on important issues I haven’t yet considered, and more support for rethinking issues that one had previously thought settled.

Nonetheless, you don’t exactly expect movement leaders to do that movement wrong. If a person wasn’t competent on issues important to a movement why would that person have been accepted as a leader?

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Good Witch or Bad Witch: Andrew Jackson

In addition to being the subject of the most morally abominable statement I’ve ever heard made on television, Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of the United States and a staunch defender of slavery.

A populist, Jackson was nonetheless very much an advocate of the status quo: he opposed many SCOTUS decisions that had the potential to create change and consistently sided with those who wanted to keep social structures locked in the same forms they had taken in preceding decades. He did antagonize many with power, but from my rough reading of history that appears to be because of his autocratic tendencies: his policy outlines were similar to those of others of his party, but by acting unilaterally he was effectively reducing the opportunities for other office holders to exercise their powers in legislative and other governmental processes. Jackson favored a “strong presidency”, which just happened to benefit his autocratic hunger for power. Justifying this publicly, he insisted that Congress was corrupt and vesting king-like power in the executive was the only effective check on congressional corruption. While in office, Jackson preserved the status quo not least by rejecting new legislation: he exercised his veto more than all previous presidents combined. And yet, Newt Gingrich thinks that Jackson was a huge “change agent”. Listen to Gingrich speak of Trump (from CBS This Morning):

I think Trump is a remarkable figure. I think he’s a historic figure. He’s certainly probably the biggest change agent since Andrew Jackson in the 1820s and 1830s.

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Another Misused Phrase

Readers of this blog, both of you, know how I feel about the misuse of the phrases witch hunt and lynch mob, and more generally about all the variations of the word lynch. I’d like to discuss another phrase without the same level of history but with vital importance to understanding the self-serving faux-martyrdom of those in our society who are actually the most powerful ad privileged. It’s used in this NY Times piece on Mueller’s investigative tactics:

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