The Call Is From Inside The House

White supremacists face a problem: if they openly stated what they believed, people would recoil in horror, yet if they don’t state what they believe how will they know where their friends are? The obvious solution is to use coded language, which at minimum will fly over the heads of normies and at maximum get parroted by them out of ignorance. So what sort of codes do white supremacists use?

14 Words” is a reference to the most popular white supremacist slogan in the world: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The slogan was coined by David Lane, a member of the white supremacist terrorist group known as The Order (Lane died in prison in 2007). … Because of its widespread popularity, white supremacists reference this slogan constantly, in its full form as well as in abbreviated versions such as “14 Words”, “Fourteen Words,” or simply the number “14.”

Trump’s been infamous for repeating white supremacist language, which isn’t surprising if his rumoured reading habits are true, but this has emboldened his supporters to break out the codewords. Both Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter have been caught spreading the “fourteen words” signal.

Coulter’s “14!” was overwhelmingly answered with “88,” a reference to another one of [David] Lane’s white supremacist terms. It stems from his “88 Precepts,” a list of statements on what he calls “natural law.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 88 is often used among neo-Nazis, because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet and 88 stands for “Heil Hitler.”

With that background, you can imagine why my eyebrows shot up when Salty Current shared this link.

This is an actual story on an official government website with a 14-word headline starting with “we must secure”. This is not an accident. There are actual Nazis-who-call-themselves-Nazis at DHS.

That press release looks quite different from other White House press releases. It’s not connected to any action by the White House, and even when compared to fact sheets it’s lacking any paragraphs to give proper context. Posted on the 15th of February, it consists of 13 bullet points broken by 1 non-bulleted paragraph. It has a twin, also released on the 15th and also asking to “secure the nation,” consisting of a one-sentence opening paragraph followed by 15 bullet points.

That first release has an odd paragraph (emphasis mine):

The increase in claims filed is not associated with an increase in meritorious claims. As of FY 17, the asylum grant rate for defensive applications in immigration court is approximately 30%. On average, out of 88 claims that pass the credible fear screening, fewer than 13 will ultimately result in a grant of asylum.

Chris Hayes points to this as a potential explanation:

Interviews to assess credible fear are conducted almost immediately after an asylum request is made, often at the border or in detention facilities by immigration agents or asylum officers, and most applicants easily clear that hurdle. Between July and September of 2016, U.S. asylum officers accepted nearly 88 percent of the claims of credible fear, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data.

While that and the non-14 bullet points are enough to calm his fears, they aren’t enough for me. Read back through the first press release, and you’ll see it loves giving two-digit numbers in percentages. Yet when handed the figure of “88 percent,” it dropped the percentage mark.

The popularity of “14 words” is both a blessing and a curse; it makes it easy for white supremacists to see their allies, but it’s also easily spotted by other people. If those press releases contained exactly 14 bullet points, there wouldn’t be any plausible deniability that a code was involved. A logical way to keep up the code, then, would be to dance around it a bit; throw out a lot of 13’s and 15’s instead, and have the normies tie themselves in knots debating if there’s a code there at all. After all, what are the odds that someone who uses white supremacist language, shows sympathy to white supremacists, and might have a white supremacist as their father, would go on to surround themselves with white supremacists or people sympathetic to their cause?

For white supremacists, however, there is no debate. All that confusion helps them get the word out that they’re not alone, that there are many other people sympathetic to their cause, and that some of those supporters hold the highest offices in the US of A. It’s a message to stay strong and keep the faith.

A Worthy Challenge

I’ve been grinding my gears a bit. The topics in my queue are pretty heavy, and desperately need some levity to balance them out. Unfortunately, the lightest things I can blog about aren’t ready or appropriate for the blog. So I’m at a loss for what to write about.

Thankfully, Nate Hevenstone has come to my rescue. In a series of three posts, he lays out a bit of history behind “intelligence” …

What’s interesting is that the test was not designed to measure intelligence. It was actually designed to find out which children needed extra help in school, because of what Binet called “developmental delay”. It was Terman, in his revision, that changed the Binet-Simon Test from a means of discovering children who need help to a means of classifying humans into “intelligence categories”.

… and starts explaining why “stupid” is an ableist slur, something he continues in the second and then expands to other words …

Ultimately, “stupid” is a word that can easily be replaced with so many other words. It’s one of those words where, even if you remove the fact that it’s an ableist slur, it’s entirely superfluous. It serves no purpose since it really doesn’t elucidate… well… anything.

… and finally offers some alternatives in the third, and issues a challenge.

For just one month, stop using “stupid”, “moron”, “idiot”, “dense”, “crazy”, “insane”, and similar words, and stop using the diagnostic names of actual conditions (“deaf”, “dumb”, “blind”, “autistic”, “schizophrenic”, “sociopathic”, “bi-polar”, etc) as slurs, as well.

I’m game! In fact, I’ve done this before: for years now, I’ve challenged myself not to assume people’s pronouns. I was pretty hardcore about this at first, insisting on “they” unless I could track down a place where the person in question flagged their pronouns. They only time I found it annoying was when discussing abortion, but the benefits of inclusive language more than outweigh any discomfort. I also enjoyed the challenge, English really loves to mix gender and pregnancy.

In fact, I might be a little too game. After some searching, I can only find myself using “stupid” either in Proof of God, which I stopped writing in 2013, or buried at the end of a repost from Sinmantyx that dates from 2015. While I have used intelligence as an insult, you can also find me acknowledging that’s not cool.

Ah well, there’s no harm in being extra mindful, and it’s a good excuse to up my pronoun challenge. Are you gonna join in, too?

The Nightmare Hasn’t Stopped

I don’t mean in the “we have to vote the assholes out” sense, either. I was briefly put at ease by articles like these:

The Trump administration insisted it didn’t have a policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. It said that it was merely following the law. And it said “Congress alone can fix” the mess.

It just admitted that all that was nonsense — and that it badly overplayed its hand.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who on Sunday and Monday insisted that this wasn’t an actual policy and that the administration’s hands are tied, will now have to untie them as the White House will reverse the supposedly nonexistent policy. Amid an outcry from Senate Republicans and an emerging promise to fix the problem themselves — just as the White House had demanded — the Trump administration has drafted an executive action to change the policy and keep families united.

President Trump caved to enormous political pressure on Wednesday and signed an executive order meant to end the separation of families at the border by detaining parents and children together for an indefinite period.

“We’re going to have strong — very strong — borders, but we are going to keep the families together,” Mr. Trump said as he signed the order in the Oval Office. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”

Alas, the White House has fully embraced the “troll the libs” mentality of the far-Right. Stephen Miller, one of the main architects behind ripping kids from their families, has said his goal is to create “constructive controversy – with the purpose of enlightenment.” In college, this meant “he wrote op-eds comparing his liberal classmates to terrorists and musing that Osama bin Laden would fit in at his high school.” Other news reports paint him as overjoyed at images of crying children.

“Stephen actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border,” an outside White House adviser said. “He’s a twisted guy, the way he was raised and picked on. There’s always been a way he’s gone about this. He’s Waffen-SS.”

Caving in so easily is out-of-character for this crew, it had to be a cover or distraction for something else.

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Dispatches From Enlightenment Now: Sweatshop Feminism

Steven Pinker loves hiding behind other people’s opinions. Remember the bit on voluntary chemical castration in The Blank Slate? Pinker is careful not to say that he’d like to castrate sex offenders explicitly, but by championing the argument and chastising others for not taking it seriously he’s able to promote the idea yet have someone else to blame.

Enlightenment Now is no different; at one point, Steven Pinker brings forward an argument that 19th century sweatshops were empowering for women.

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Fire All Trump Voters Into The Sun

I’ve been a fan of Rachael Maddow for years. She’s a consummate pro, and hosting a live show for a decade has given her a deft ability to handle interviews and distill down complex talking points on the fly.

So when that polished exterior breaks down on live TV, you know you’re in for some heavy shit.

PZ beat me to this one, but it’s important enough to put on repeat. Trump and his cronies are literally using babies as pawns for political and financial gain. Anyone who voted for him is complicit in this, because you knew what you were voting for. This is on you, and if you have even a crumb of humanity in you, I expect you to stop supporting the party of Trump. If you do not, I will hold you responsible for their actions, including the mass incarceration of babies.

Police and Pride Parades

Deja vu: the Edmonton Pride parade halted in the face of a brief protest, and after considering the protester’s demands the organisers decided to ban police and RCMP from marching with them. Something similar happened in Calgary last year, when protesters convinced Pride organisers to block police/RCMP from walking with Pride while in uniform (inadvertently causing our local CFI affiliate to implode and rebrand, which was for the best).

I’m not a member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, but I can understand the sentiment.

Not wanting to lose the momentum gained from Stonewall, the newly empowered LGBT rights leaders in several different cities began mobilizing, trying to answer the question “Now what?”

On November 2, 1969, at the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations in Philadelphia, the first pride march was proposed by way of a resolution. The Christopher Street Liberation Day march was then held in New York City on June 28, 1970, marking the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with an assembly on Christopher Street and a march covering the 51 blocks to Central Park. […]

In 1970, walking in broad daylight with a sign saying you were a homosexual was not only terrifying but could prove deadly. Many of the marchers in those first Pride events were genuinely scared they might not make it to the end of the route. They had no idea where they were going to finish or if anyone would show up to march with them or if they would even make it halfway down the street without being mobbed by an angry, violent crowd.

Pride parades began as a protest against police violence, as well as a defiant show of existence. The pageantry that arrived in later years was a natural consequence.

The oft-echoed reason for the necessity of a parade is that there is still work to be done. There is still a lack of equality and there are still people who are afraid of coming out. The jovial and unrepressed nature of a parade can be inspiring.

Another reason? It’s just fun, writes travel blogger Adam Groffman. In a movement that is so frequently grabbing headlines for issues such as marriage inequality and bullying against LGBT youth, it’s even more imperative to balance that out with an image of “fun and cheer.”

In a time when the rights of LGBT+ people are under increasing attack, it was also natural that the protest side of Pride parades would reassert itself. And let’s face it, the police have a very bad track record with this community. In 1967, a Calgarian named Everett Klippert was branded a “dangerous sex offender” and served four years in prison for being gay. In the 1970’s, police demanded the university records of gay students at the University of Calgary and set up “sting operations” to catch them hooking up. On December 12th, 2002, Calgary police raided the Goliath bathhouse. Despite finding no evidence of wrong-doing, it took three years for the charges to be dropped, and even then the police thought they’d done nothing wrong.

“Prior to December 12, I would’ve said that Calgary Police Service is not a homophobic organization,” said [Steven] Lock outside the courthouse. “Post December 12, I don’t have that view anymore.”

That sort of thing leaves a mark.Mix in the increasing activism from people of colour and the First Nations about police brutality, and you’re more than justified from excluding uniformed police from marching in Pride parades.