POLITICS

The inevitable backlash of the Alpha Boys and White ISIS

Because the subject has come up several times with a variety of 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, two weeks ago I wrote a long discussion on the need for and difficulties involved with implementing reparations for several of America’s past and current mistakes, and sins against its people.

So in summary, we’ve had 250 years of chattel racial slavery, followed by 100 years of racial terrorism and lynchings, sharecropping, black codes, Jim Crow, segregation, poll taxes, literacy tests, and the denial of voting rights. This was followed by another 50 years of a racially biased police and criminal justice system; red-lining; housing, lending, and job discrimination; voter suppression; white-flight; re-segregation; and a rapidly increasing wage and wealth gap.

And frankly, as bad as this is, the injustice and crimes that America rendered upon our Native American population is actually far, far worse than any of this and certainly should be addressed as well.

Reparations aren’t just about slavery itself (which again, didn’t technically end in 1868). It’s about all of this, all of these various issues of continued racial injustice and violence which have spanned more than 400 years.

Many people pointed out that this would likely spark a major backlash and that pushing this issue would likely guarantee a second term for Donald Trump. In reponse, I wrote a piece on the history of affirmative action, which documented how insufficient it has been as a form of reparations. Still, affirmative action has generated its own fairly rabid backlash and resistance during the past 50 years. 

This week I will examine how even the smallest attempt to balance the scales, or even the most minor pubic statement by either a lawmaker or a movie star, can spark a virulent backlash—or white-lash if your prefer—of anger, umbrage, and outrage, which is completely out of all reasonable whack.

If they’re going to distort your position and come after you for being too #woke; being openly in support of #Black Lives Matter and #MeToo; admitting to being a #Social Justice Warrior (SJW); or supporting reparations, you might as well get ready for the white-lash and buckle up.

It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

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Democratic lawmakers indicate they’ll move quickly to demand Mueller report—and Barr testimony

It was evident from the outset that House and Senate Democratic watchdogs weren't going to accept Trump Attorney General Bill Barr's terse, ambiguous summary of the Mueller report's claims as the end of investigative efforts into Trump campaign actions during 2016.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler almost immediately announced that he would be calling Barr before his committee to explain, in light of "the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report", why he went beyond Mueller's report to make the decision that Trump would not be criminally charged—a decision that appeared to watchers of Mueller's work to rest on a tortuously narrow interpretation of the known evidence.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were more pointed still in a joint statement responding to Barr's letter.

Attorney General Barr’s letter raises as many questions as it answers. The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay. Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report.

And most obviously, for the president to say he is completely exonerated directly contradicts the words of Mr. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility.

“Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise. The American people have a right to know.

Barr's summary is an indication that the Justice Department itself will not be indicting Trump based on their interpretation of the presented evidence—an expected outcome, based on Barr's own public hostility towards that outcome prior to his appointment. But the same summary mentions only in glancing reference that evidence was found suggesting Trump acted to obstruct justice; Barr did not dispute that the evidence existed, but came to a conclusion that it was not sufficient to lodge criminal charges against the sitting president.

That's not the same as saying the evidence in the report is not sufficient to warrant congressional deliberation, and possibly an impeachment investigation, against Trump. Barr is only making the determination that he himself won't be touching it.

And that's not going to fly with Democrats. They're going to insist that lawmakers from both parties see that evidence, and make those determinations, themselves.

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Barr summary of Mueller report is quite narrow, possibly slanted, and still very, very disappointing

Neither the Congress nor the the American public has seen the report created by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and at this point it’s difficult to know how closely the summary document prepared by Attorney General William Barr reflects the contents of that report. But—assuming Barr is not outright misrepresenting the contents of Mueller’s conclusions, or spinning those results beyond recognition—there’s nothing to say except that statements coming on Sunday have been deeply, deeply disappointing.

No matter what information trickles out from this point, no matter what action other prosecutors may take, the nation has missed a singular opportunity to address a festering cancer. That opportunity will not return. And the manner of its dismissal, a letter that’s already being heralded on the right as complete exoneration, no matter what the text says, is certain to empower even more undemocratic, disruptive, and simply ugly behavior. 

Donald Trump got a pass. He will walk away from this not just free from consequence, but emboldened in the idea that he really is above and beyond any rules. And on the possible charge of obstruction, he got a very special intervention from Barr, who had advertised this part of the pass in his job application to be attorney general.

It's very hard to pretend that the summary as Barr has written is is anything other than severely disappointing, as well as confusing. After all, we already knew that Russia had made extensive efforts to reach out to the Trump campaign, and those efforts were welcomed. From Donald Trump, Jr. eagerly inviting Russian operatives to stroll into campaign headquarters, to Paul Manafort ferrying polling data to a Russian agent, to George Papadopoulos working both ends of the campaign-Russia pipeline, there was never a moment where Donald Trump’s campaign was anything other than enthusiastic and receptive about the idea of working with Russia.

And for the investigation to end in such a state seemingly leaves a thousand threats still unresolved. What about Erik Prince’s meetings in the Seychelles? Why did Jeff Sessions hold a multi-hour private meeting with the Russian ambassador when no other Senator did the same? What about the dozens of connections that seemed to exist between the Bannon-created Cambridge Analytica and both Russian operatives and WikiLeaks?

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