Russia Monitor: The Very Definition Of Who We Are — And Will Be — Hangs In The Balance.

“This is Mr. Trump’s Republican Party”

— Lisa Lerer writing for the New York Times (7/15/19)


“The days for euphemisms… for lies, racism, illegality, and immorality have long since passed.”

— Journalist Dan Rather tweet (7/15/19


“Trump is a racist president.”

– Lawyer George Conway, spouse of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, headline from Washington Post Opinion column.


“No racist. No racist. You’re the racist.”

— CNN analyst, former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa tweeting in response to Rep Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) comments.

By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (5/18/19)

Dear Fellow Readers,

Trump is running his reelection campaign as the embodiment of former Alabama Governor and presidential candidate George Wallace who was a full-on, unapologetic racist. If the label of racist offends, feel free to substitute populist, or segregationist in the mode of former Nixon, Ford, Reagan consultant and presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan. Or maybe you prefer a silent majority flavor of President Nixon’s racist ‘euphemisms’.

I’m not saying all Republicans are racists, but there sure aren’t very many Republicans that stand up to Trump’s racism. The House voted to condemn Trump’s attacks against ‘The Squad’ of four progressive female reps of color in a 240 to 187 vote. Four Republicans and one Independent voted with Democrats including the only two Black House Republicans in Congress (Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) voted to condemn; Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) voted to condemn; Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC spoke out against Trump’s racist remarks). 

Four Republicans and one newly declared Independent were the few votes that sided with Democrats to condemn Trump’s racist remarks. The Republican denials vary from silence, through tepid tut-tuts to full-on embrace. Here’s the RawStory article with Rep. Liz Cheney’s comments that led to the “No racist, you’re the racist” quote above.

Liz Cheney calls Dem congresswomen ‘racists’ and baby killers instead of condemning Trump’s bigoted tweets

Cheney is the daughter of former VP Dick Cheney and senior fellow at American Enterprise Institute, Lynne Cheney. A useful aside, Lynne was portrayed by actress Amy Adams in the film ‘Vice’, and — in my words — was shown to be Dick Cheney’s dark side. If you didn’t raise an eyebrow, reconsider that remark and understand the Liz Cheney is to the right of both her father and mother – and has designs to run for U.S. Senate. Meanwhile she is already third-ranking member of House Republicans.

I refuse to repeat Cheney’s racist remarks but I want to highlight the ‘tell’ that every Republican is now making use of – Democrats as socialists, if not communists and using racism to use ‘The Squad’ as the embodiment for those attacks.

Here is an excellent review of the Trump/Republican reelection strategy as well as the history of Republican embrace of racism over the last 60 years.

White identity politics drives Trump, and the Republican Party under him

Michael Scherer summarizes and poses exactly the right question:

“…President Trump made clear that his reelection campaign will feature the same explosive mix of white grievance and anti-immigrant nativism that helped elect him.

“Trump’s combustible formula of white identity politics already has reshaped the Republican Party, sidelining, silencing or converting nearly anyone who dares to challenge the racial insensitivity of his utterances. It also has pushed Democratic presidential candidates sharply to the left on issues such as immigration and civil rights, as they respond to the liberal backlash against him.

“Left unknown is whether the president is now on the verge of more permanently reshaping the nation’s political landscape — at least until long-term demographic changes take hold to make nonwhite residents a majority of the country around 2050.”

“White grievance and anti-immigrant nativism is a too tame a euphemism for racism.

Trump and Republicans have brought the fight, there is no backing down; the very definition of who we are — and will be — hangs in the balance.


Speaking of Russia…

Once upon a time this column was about Trump-Russia and the Mueller Report but like every news outlet of any flavor I have followed the rants of our racist president to see what Putin’s influence got him… and us.

I have been waiting to shift more attention to the Mueller Report around his appearance before joint House Committees now rescheduled for next week. I will pick this up again in advance. But there is Trump-Russia news.

For anyone following WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s influence role with Trump-Russia, CNN has brought forward the most complete connecting many of the dots that have been reported to date.

Exclusive: Security reports reveal how Assange turned an embassy into a command post for election meddling

The scope and scale is an eye-opener based on “new documents obtained exclusively by CNN”. The picture presented is the possibility, “raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy” including “a new dimension to the Mueller report, which cataloged how WikiLeaks helped the Russians undermine the US election.

Some of the WikiLeaks releases of Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DNCC) emails were managed by Assange “directly from the embassy”.

The DNC publicly announced it had been hacked and named Russia; Trump dismissed this as a “farce”. But meanwhile:

“Assange was busy back at the embassy. That month, members of the security team worked overtime to handle at least 75 visits to Assange met Russian citizens and a hacker later flagged in the Mueller report as a potential courier for emails stolen from the Democrats.”

I encourage you to read the entire article but especially the part about the hacker, Andrew Muller-Maguhn, and his long-term relationship with Assange. You can even see the embassy surveillance shots of the comings and goings like the time “about 100 hard drives” were delivered to Assange at the embassy. Assange was running the WikiLeaks releases AND the embassy:

“The security documents lay out a critical sequence of events on the night of October 18. Around 10 p.m., Assange got into a heated argument with then-Ecuadorian Ambassador Carlos Abad Ortiz. Just before midnight, Abad banned any non-diplomatic visitors to the embassy and left the building. Behind the scenes, Assange communicated with the foreign minister in Quito.

“Within an hour of Abad’s departure, he called the embassy and reversed the ban.”

We may very well learn more with long-time Trump adviser Roger Stone goes to trial for the charges brought against him by Mueller for “coordinating with Trump officials about WikiLeaks’ stolen emails”.

Explain to me again how Mueller — while not exonerating — did not offer a stronger case for Trump coordination with Putin? We’ll be asking ourselves that question for years.

Final Word: Conway’s “Trump is a racist president”

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway’s mother came to the US from the Philippines and had his own moment to witness his mother being told to “go back to your country”. Conway gives us the two closing thoughts; the first based on his reflections on the woman that confronted his mother, and the “many more like her”:

“They never went away. Today they attend rallies, and they post ugliness on Facebook or Twitter. As for the victims of historic racial oppression, no matter how much affirmative action (or reverse discrimination, or whatever you want to call it) the nation offered, they, too, had resentments that never went away — in part because of people like the parking-lot woman. Those resentments often led to more, not fewer, charges of racism as the years passed — charges of institutional racism and “white privilege.””

Conway digs deeper and delves into the confusion and resentment of “an unaffluent white parent, who may have never uttered a racial slur” offering a defense of, “all I’ve done was mind my own business”.

It is a defining observation and question – a white “unaffluent” parent resenting being ‘lumped’ as a racist while just “mind(ing) my own business”.

To which Conway jumps past solace, noting, “how naïve an adult could be” and closes with this:

“But Sunday left no doubt. Naivete, resentment and outright racism, roiled in a toxic mix, have given us a racist president.”

We are decades if not centuries past the point where we should have ‘woken up’ to white privilege and racism. Who knows, maybe Putin did us a favor – this is a battle that is fought by many daily and by all of us when history repeats as it has. Can we win this and settle up? Finally?