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7 Deeply Troubling Facts About The United Daughters Of The Confederacy

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

It’s helpful, in the midst of any conversation about this country’s Confederate monuments, to understand who put these things up, which also offers a clue as to why. In large part, the answer to the first question is the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a white Southern women’s “heritage” group founded in 1894. Starting 30 years after the Civil War, as historian Karen Cox notes in her 2003 book “Dixie’s Daughters,” “UDC members aspired to transform military defeat into a political and cultural victory, where states’ rights and white supremacy remained intact.” In other words, when the Civil War gave them lemons, the UDC made lemonade. Horribly bitter, super racist lemonade.

This article was produced by Make It Right, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Though the UDC didn’t invent the Lost Cause ideology, they were deeply involved in spreading the myth, which simultaneously contends the Confederacy wasn’t fighting to keep black people enslaved while also suggesting slavery was pretty good for everyone involved. Lost Causers — plenty of whom exist today, their sheer numbers a reflection of the UDC’s effectiveness — argue that Confederate monuments are just innocent statues; that taking them down erases history; that we cannot retroactively apply today’s ideas about the morality of slavery to the past. The response to those ridiculous cop-outs is that Confederate monuments honor and glorify people who fought to maintain black chattel slavery; that they were erected for the explicit purpose of obfuscating history; and that the immorality of slavery was always understood by the enslaved. Excuses, excuses: get better at them.

“In their earliest days, the United Daughters of the Confederacy definitely did some good work on behalf of veterans and in their communities,” says Heidi Christensen, former president of the Seattle, Washington, chapter of the UDC, who left the organization in 2012. “But it’s also true that since the UDC was founded in 1894, it has maintained a covert connection with the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, in many ways, the group was the de facto women’s auxiliary of the KKK at the turn of the century. It’s a connection the group downplays now, but evidence of it is easily discoverable — you don’t even have to look very hard to find it.”

In 2017, after the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, UDC President Patricia M. Bryson posted an open letter claiming the UDC’s members “have spent 123 years honoring [Confederate soldiers] by various activities in the fields of education, history and charity, promoting patriotism and good citizenship,” and that members, “like our statues, have stayed quietly in the background, never engaging in public controversy.” But that isn’t true, not by a stretch. The UDC’s monuments, books, education and political agenda have always spoken loudly—in absolutely deafening shouts — on issues from anti-black racism to the historical memory of the Civil War across the South. Today, a shameful number of Americans don’t think slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War—even though the seceding states literally spelled this out in document form — in part because of the UDC’s campaign of misinformation. The most minor of gains made by blacks during the Reconstruction were obliterated nearly as soon as they were obtained, and the UDC backed that disenfranchisement full stop. Even the current UDC has mostly steadfastly refused — with rare exceptions — to take down Confederate monuments. They know the power of those symbols, both politically and socially, and they aren’t giving an inch, if they can help it.

The UDC have had a huge impact on this country, and to pretend they’ve stood “quietly in the background” would be laughable if it weren’t so insulting. The UDC both trained and became the white women of 1950s massive resistance, who author Elizabeth Gillespie McRae writes did “the daily work on multiple levels . . . needed to sustain racial segregation and to shape resistance to racial equality.” They set a precedent for a huge swath of today’s white women voters whose main political agenda is white supremacy — women who in a 2017 Alabama Senate race backed the alleged pedophile who wistfully longed for slavery and supported the presidency of a man who brags about grabbing women’s genitals when he’s not shouting his racism from the rafters. They have contributed to the construction of a “white womanhood” that has historically been and currently remains incredibly problematic, rendering “white feminism” eternally suspect. With their impact considered, and signs of their handiwork all over society — even carved indelibly into mountain sides — it seems worth understanding a few things about the UDC both then and now. Here are seven things you should know about the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

1. They published a very pro-KKK book. For children.

In 1914, the in-house historian of the UDC Mississippi chapter, Laura Martin Rose, published “The Ku Klux Klan, or Invisible Empire.” It’s essentially a love letter to the original Klan for its handiwork in the field of domestic terror in the years following the Civil War, when blacks achieved a modicum of political power.

“[D]uring the Reconstruction period, sturdy white men of the South, against all odds, maintained white supremacy and secured Caucasian civilization, when its very foundations were threatened within and without,” Rose writes.

She goes on to provide a look at the roots of racist anti-black stereotypes and language in this country, a lot of which is still recognizable in modern right-wing rhetoric. For example, she accuses black people of laziness — and wanting a handout — for refusing to keep working for free for white enslavers, and instead trying to find fortune where the jobs were: “Many negroes conceived the idea that freedom meant cessation from labor, so they left the fields, crowding into the cities and towns, expecting to be fed by the United States Government.”

In one section, with pretty overt delight, Rose highlights the methods the KKK used to terrify black people, including posting notes around towns with the “picture of a figure dangling from the limb of a tree,” and exalts the KKK’s lawless, murderous violence:

“In the courts of this invisible, silent, and mighty government, there were no hung juries, no laws delayed, no reversals, on senseless technicalities by any Supreme Court, because from its Court there was no appeal, and punishment was sure and swift, because there was no executive to pardon. After the negro had surrendered to the Ku Klux Klan, which he did by obeying their orders to the very letter, — for they feared that organization more than the devil and the dark regions, — the Invisible Empire vanished in a night, and has been seen no more by mortal man on this earth.

To be clear, Rose is here gushing about vast extrajudicial violence committed by the KKK against black people. In 1870, a federal grand jury labeled the KKK a “terrorist organization.” In 1871, a congressional committee was convened specifically to address the issue of Klan violence, and the report based on testimony from those hearings estimated “20,000 to as many as 50,000 people, mostly black, died in violence between 1866 and 1872.”

“This book was unanimously endorsed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy” at its general convention in November 1913, Rose notes, and the group “pledged to endeavor to secure its adoption as a supplementary reader in the schools and to place it in the libraries of our land.”

2. Actually, they published at least two very pro-KKK books…

…and probably many more. Another UDC ode to the KKK was written by Annie Cooper Burton, then-president of the Los Angeles chapter of the UDC, and published in 1916. Titled “The Ku Klux Klan,” much like Rose’s aforementioned book, it argues that the Klan has gotten a bad rap just because they terrorized and intimidated black people, not infrequently assaulting and raping black women, murdering black citizens, and burning down black townships. For these reasons, she suggests, the UDC should do even more to show reverence to the Klan:

“Every clubhouse of the United Daughters of the Confederacy should have a memorial tablet dedicated to the Ku Klux Klan; that would be a monument not to one man, but to five hundred and fifty thousand men, to whom all Southerners owe a debt of gratitude.”

By “all Southerners,” Burton clearly means “only white people,” which is also what she means whenever she uses the word “people.”

3. They built a monument to the KKK.

The UDC was busiest during the 1910s and 1920s, two decades during which the group erected hundreds of Confederate monuments that made tangible the racial terror of Jim Crow. This, apparently, the group still considered insufficient to convey their message of white power and to reassert the threat of white violence. So in 1926, the UDC put up a monument to the KKK. In a piece for Facing South, writer Greg Huffman describes a record of the memorial in the UDC’s own 1941 book “North Carolina’s Confederate Monuments and Memorials:”

“IN COMMEMORATION OF THE ‘KU KLUX KLAN’ DURING THE RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD FOLLOWING THE ‘WAR BETWEEN THE STATES’ THIS MARKER IS PLACED ON THEIR ASSEMBLY GROUND. THE ORIGINAL BANNER (AS ABOVE) WAS MADE IN CABARRUS COUNTY.

“ERECTED BY THE DODSON-RAMSEUR CHAPTER OF THE UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY. 1926”

4. Their most intense efforts focused on the “education” of white children.

Historian Karen Cox, author of 2003’s “Dixie’s Daughters,” has written that the UDC’s biggest goal was to indoctrinate white Southern children in the Lost Cause, thus creating “living monuments.

“They had a multi-pronged approach to doing that,” Cox told me. “It involved going into schools and putting up battle flags and portraits of generals. It meant getting schools renamed for famous Confederates. It was creating the Children of the Confederacy, which was their formal youth auxiliary, so that the UDC could draw membership from the group when they became adults…Children were always involved in the unveiling of monuments. They would select one child to pull the cord, and then there’d be cheers when the monument was unveiled. Children in the stands would form what they called a ‘living battle flag.’ Then they sang Southern patriotic songs.

Cox has also written about the Confederate catechism, a call-and-response style drill written by a UDC “historian” that posed as a history lesson:

“‘What causes led to the War Between the States, between 1861 and 1865?’ was a typical question. ‘The disregard, on the part of the states of the North, for the rights of the Southern or slaveholding states’ was the answer. ‘What were these rights?’ The answer . . . was ‘the right to regulate their own affairs and to hold slaves as property.’”

AP reporter Allen Breed has noted that the wording of the catechism has been “tweaked over the years,” but the version displayed on the UDC website as recently as August 2018 included this line: “Slaves, for the most part, were faithful and devoted. Most slaves were usually ready and willing to serve their masters.”

5. They’re big fans of black chattel slavery from way back.

The UDC were perhaps the most efficient agents making the ahistorical Lost Cause myth go viral. They did this through a number of methods, the most visually apparent being the 700 monuments exalting people who fought for black chattel slavery that still stand. But also, in the rare cases the UDC has “honored” black people with statuary and monuments, it has been in the form of “loyal slave” markers — an actual subgenre of Confederate monuments — which perpetuate the image of content enslaved blacks and benevolent white enslavers.

In 1923, the UDC tried to erect a monument in Washington, D.C., “in memory of the faithful slave mammies of the South.” The Senate signed off on it, but the idea never came to fruition.

More successful was the UDC’s effort at placing a monument in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, that plays fast and loose with the biography of Haywood “Heyward” Shepherd (the UDC didn’t even bother to get his first name right), a free black man whom an inscription depicts as a “faithful negro” who chose slavery over freedom, as all “the best” blacks did.

The UDC was even given a place in Arlington National Cemetery for a Confederate monument that includes a weeping black “mammy” figure holding a white child and an enslaved black man marching alongside his enslaver into battle. The 1914 marker intentionally included the enslaved figure to propagate the idea that black people were willing, eager soldiers for the Confederacy — a suggestion that would mean the war couldn’t have been about slavery, which wasn’t so bad anyway. As historian Kevin Levin has documented at length, that lie has become a neo-Confederate talking point in a long list of other neo-Confederate lies.

6. They get tax breaks that help keep their workings financially solvent.

The UDC is a nonprofit. That means it’s a tax-exempt organization. That recent article about the UDC by AP reporter Allen Breed notes that the annual budget of Virginia, where the UDC is headquartered, “awards the state [division of the] UDC tens of thousands of dollars for the maintenance of Confederate graves — more than $1.6 million since 1996.”

7. They continue to exert political and social influence.

For the most part, the UDC has publicly kept pretty mum on the subject of Confederate monument removal, which has led some to conclude that the group is largely inactive, and even obsolete. Their numbers have dwindled since their heyday, but they remain tenacious about keeping Confederate monuments standing, thus continuing their cultural and political influence.

The UDC does this mostly through lawsuits. (The number of Confederate markers on courthouses has always shown the group’s keen interest in the power of the legal system.) When the San Antonio City Council voted in the weeks after the racist violence in Charlottesville to remove a Confederate monument from public property, the UDC filed suit against city officials. The Shreveport, Louisiana, chapter of the UDC has announced it will appeal a federal judge’s 2017 dismissal of the group’s lawsuit to keep up a Confederate monument at a local courthouse. The UDC threatened legal action against officials in Franklin, Tennessee, when city officials announced plans — not to take down a UDC monument to the Confederacy, but to add markers recognizing African-American historical figures to the park, which the UDC claims it owns. The city of Franklin, with pretty much no other option, responded by filing a lawsuit against the UDC.

And then there’s the case of the UDC vs. Vanderbilt University, in which the group’s Tennessee division filed suit after school administrators announced plans to remove the word “Confederate” from one of its dorms. A state appeals court ruled Vanderbilt could only implement the plan if it repaid $50,000 the UDC had contributed to the building’s construction in 1933 — adjusted to 2016 dollars. Vanderbilt opted to pay $1.2 million to the UDC rather than keep “Confederate” in the dorm name, which it raised from anonymous donors who contributed to a fund explicitly dedicated to the cause.

Kali Holloway is a senior writing fellow and the senior director of Make It Right, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

 

Melania Trump’s Parents May Be Examples Of So-Called ‘Chain Migrants’

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Every year or so, Republicans politicize a new phrase, wielding it as a kind of weapon to slash away at the truth and logic. Most recently, that honor goes to “chain migration,” a 1960s academic term that the GOP has rebranded as a signifier of open borders and the browning of America. As it turns out, the expression may actually have more personal associations. First Lady Melania Trump’s Slovenian parents, who have reportedly settled in the U.S. to be near their daughter and grandson, may have taken advantage of the same so-called chain migration policies the Trump administration is trying to destroy.

The White House has been cagey about the immigration status of Viktor and Amalija Knavs, 73 and 71, respectively. “I don’t comment on [Mrs. Trump’s] parents, as they live private lives and are not part of the administration,” FLOTUS flack Stephanie Grisham recently told the Washington Post.

So with the help of immigration experts, the Post assembled a list of possibilities for the Knavses’ visa status, two of which suggest classic Trumpian hypocrisy at work. As IR-5 visa holders, Mrs. Trump’s parents would be “legal permanent residents because they are the parents of a U.S. citizen,” which is to say, they would have benefited from the same chain migration policy the GOP wants to kill. The Post also considers that the Knavses are here on tourist visas, which allow holders to remain in the country for six months but can also be extended to a year. The outlet points to this as a “relatively simple explanation, which makes it curious why the White House would not confirm it if this is indeed the case.”

Alternatively, according to the Post, Viktor Knavs, who is a former member of the Yugoslavian Communist Party, and his wife could be here as international students, which only seems plausible if they’re quietly taking classes at some online school with accreditation hanging by a thread. They might also have been given parole “based on humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons.” It’s unclear how the Knavses’ presence has served to benefit American society at large, but it seems like a fairly Trumpian path to take. (“If my parents [were] looking to move to the U.S., and if I were president, I would have them paroled,” immigration lawyer Matthew L. Kolken told the Post.) It’s a fun exercise to try to imagine President Obama circumnavigating visa rules by paroling his wife’s foreign-born, ex-Communist father and explaining it was for “significant public benefit reasons.” Impeachment proceedings would have started before the ink on the forms was dry.

In any case, FLOTUS spokesperson Grisham responded to the Washington Post list by stating that “None of those options apply.”

The Post article doesn’t even mention that Mrs. Trump’s older sister, Ines Knauss, may also have come to the U.S. through chain migration policies. In February 2017, CNN searched public records and found that Ines “lives just blocks from Trump Tower in the Trump Park Avenue property.” A subsequent report noted that “neither [Ines], family attorneys nor the White House answered an inquiry about whether she was sponsored for a visa or residency by her sister.”

The same shadiness that hangs over Melania Trump’s family’s status extends to her own immigration history. It’s been more than a year and half since Trump announced on the campaign trail that he would explain inconsistencies in his wife’s immigration story by holding a “little news conference.” An AP investigation just days before the 2016 presidential election found that before she had the proper paperwork, Mrs. Trump worked illegally in the U.S., perhaps taking jobs away from American-born fashion models. Since moving to the states, Mrs. Trump has gone on television to vocalize support for her husband’s racist birther campaign against the first black president; lied under oath about her nonexistent college degree; plagiarized a speech by Michelle Obama; pretended to start, and then totally dropped a cyberbullying campaign; and cost taxpayers ungodly amounts in private jet travel and security for her extended Trump Tower penthouse stay.

Even beyond Melania, “chain migration” seems to be a longstanding tradition in the Trump family. Donald Trump’s Bavarian grandfather arrived in the U.S. in 1885 and “moved in with his older sister Katharina—who had emigrated in 1883.” Mary Anne MacLeod, Trump’s mother, boarded a ship from her native Scotland to New York City in 1929. (According to the New Yorker, “On at least two ship manifests and in the 1930 census, her occupation is listed as “maid” or “domestic,” exactly the kind of unskilled labor Trump wants to keep out of the country.) Trump’s first wife, Ivana Zelníčková, came to the U.S. from what was then Czechoslovakia. She gave birth to three Trump offspring before becoming a U.S. citizen in 1988.

If chain migration is indeed the plague the Trump administration and the GOP keep making it out to be, it seems like the first family might be the first place to sound the alarm. The absence of merit-based immigrants (sorry, appearing in low-budget insurance commercials is not a “high skills” occupation) among the Trumps seems like an obvious cause for concern.

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.


New Study: White Nationalists Are Worst Terror Threat

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Last June, the Trump administration rescinded funds previously earmarked to counter right-wing extremism and white supremacist violence. Just two months later, 19 people were injured and protester Heather Heyer was killed by a neo-Nazi demonstrator in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. Though Charlottesville has become the most cited example of contemporary right-wing terror, it hardly offers a full picture of the threat posed by those Trump described as “very fine people.”

A new study from the Southern Poverty Law Center finds there have been more than “100 people killed or injured by alleged perpetrators influenced by the so-called ‘alt-right’—a movement that continues to access the mainstream and reach young recruits.” The SPLC report tracks the rise in alt-right related violence beginning in 2014, when 22-year-old Elliot Rodger murdered six people and injured 14 others in Isla Vista, California. Like many alt-right adherents, Rodger’s radicalization began in men’s rights forums, which helped stoke his racism, misogyny and self-loathing. The study identifies 13 killers who have collectively killed 43 people and injured 67 others. “While some certainly displayed signs of mental illness,” the media tendency to depict these violent right-wing extremists as troubled loners is conveniently misguided. The SPLC notes that the most conspicuous unifying background trait among these individuals is a “history of consuming and/or participating in the type of far-right ecosystem that defines the alt-right.”

A healthy number of those identified in the report are outspoken fans of Donald Trump, the report notes. Nicholas Giampa, who in December murdered his ex-girlfriend’s parents before killing himself, was an “enthusiastic supporter of then-candidate Donald Trump [who] often used racist slurs to attack Trump’s critics.” Charlottesville killer James Alex Fields’ social media pages were reportedly filled with Trump and Pepe memes. A Daily Beast report found Sean Urbanski, the alleged killer of U.S. Army Lieutenant Richard Collins III, “apparently liked memes about Donald Trump, white supremacy, and the alt-right.” Alexandre Bissonnette, the Quebec mosque murderer and the lone Canadian in the group, was reportedly an avid supporter of both Trump and Marine Le Pen. In July 2017, former Breitbart intern Lane Davis stabbed his father to death; a little over a year before, he wrote a rap ode to Trump he posted on YouTube. (Choice lyrics: “Finger on the trigger/Trump might use a nuke, boy/But he’d rather use a tariff/And that’s superb.”)

The alt-right’s visibility has grown alongside Trump’s political career, and the two appear inextricably linked. Nine of the attacks cataloged by the SPLC occurred in the shadow of the Trump presidency, leading the organization to cite 2017 as the most violent year of the alt-right’s existence thus far. Overall, the mean age of far-right killers is 26, with the youngest just 17. Members of the alt-right have been open about their efforts to appeal to young, impressionable minds. An Anti-Defamation League report released late last month noted that there has been a drastic increase in the amount of “white supremacist propaganda—flyers, stickers, banners, and posters—appearing on college and university campuses.” Racism and misogyny have also been allowed to grow unchecked online in spaces such as 4chan and Reddit, and more recently, “alt-tech” sites such as Gab and WASP.love (a racist dating site).

Back in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security published a report on right-wing extremism that warned of increasing violence from militias, hate groups and other right-wing terrorists. Following pushback from GOP lawmakers who leaked the report, as well as their conservative reporters, the document was officially retracted by DHS and “the Extremism and Radicalization Branch was quietly dismantled,” according to the New York Times. Yet multiple recent studies have shown that white nationalists now pose a far greater terroristthreat to the U.S. than ISIL. The Trump administration’s sympathy for the alt-right and other white supremacists and its refusal to counter their terror, means these fanatics will likely only grow more dangerous. Daryl Johnson, the counterintelligence analyst pushed out of the DHS for his prescient report, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post just after the Charlottesville tragedy, again attempting to offer a warning.

“Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, militia extremists, and other radical right-wing zealots march side-by-side at pro-Trump rallies across the country,” Johnson wrote. “Trump’s endorsement of the border wall, the travel ban, mass deportations of illegal immigrants—these ideas were touted on white supremacist message boards merely 10 years ago. Now they’re being put forth as official U.S. policy…Extremists no longer hide anymore. They number in the hundreds of thousands and are extremely well-armed. The political apparatus and the news media appears confused in their reporting of the scope of the domestic terrorist threat — some ignoring it completely. When 9/11 happened, the government made an effort to connect the dots beforehand, but failed because of a lack of communication among agencies. In this case, the government isn’t even trying—and worse, it appears to be enabling the threat to flourish.”

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

 

White Nationalists, Coming To Your Local College Campus

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

In early 2017, Donald Trump took to his medium of choice to simultaneously defend alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and admonish those who had protested his appearance at a California campus.

“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” Trump wrote in a pre-dawn tweet nearly a year ago to the day.

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s threat was empty, since presidents can’t single-handedly cut off federal loans to educational institutions. But more important than the substance of his tweet was its subtext: in the fray between the racist alt-right and its opponents, the president was stating his unequivocal support for the racists. Months later, Trump would restate his position when he referred to a group of white nationalists and neo-Nazis as “very fine people.”

There have always been racists in this country—the U.S. was founded on and prospered from genocide and slavery—but this president’s open support has given extremists a bold new confidence. Trump might be happy to know that the white supremacists he publicly sympathizes with have stepped up their recruitment efforts on campuses all around America.

Over the course of a year, there has been an exponential increase in incidents of “white supremacist propaganda—flyers, stickers, banners, and posters—appearing on college and university campuses,” according to a new study from the Anti-Defamation League. Researchers note that during the fall semester of 2016, there were 41 reports of these incidents on campuses around the country. One year later, that figure increased by more than 3.5 times to 147 incidents. Since September 2016, the ADL has tracked 346 examples of white racist propaganda on “216 college campuses, from Ivy League schools to local community colleges.” In 2018 alone, there have already been 15 reports.

The ADL stresses that these incidents have happened throughout the U.S., “in 44 states and the District of Columbia.” White supremacist organization American Vanguard papered the UT Austin campus in early 2016, putting up flyers urging students to “imagine a Muslim-free America.” At Central Michigan University last Valentine’s Day, students received an anti-Semitic card featuring an image of Adolf Hitler and the words “my love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews.” Posters were found on both the George Washington University and University of Maryland campuses exhorting white students to “report any and all illegal aliens” because “America is a white nation.” Those incidents, based on ADL’s count, are just the teeniest fraction of what’s happening on schools from coast to coast.

The groups spreading hate at American colleges belong to the longstanding tradition of U.S. white terrorist groups using paraphernalia both to make their presence known to potential new members and to intimidate people of color and other targeted groups. Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, highlighted these goals last March as he spoke about the rise in white racist college recruitment efforts in the New York Times.

“Flyers allow them to not only recruit but get public attention. It’s not only part of the way they can identify sympathizers but terrorize marginalized communities,” Greenblatt stated. “Social media allows them to go to very targeted audiences in specific ways. Flyers starting to show up saying that any one of these organizations is here and present will not only raise eyebrows but I think really heighten concerns among organizations of students and that’s what they want.”

With the ascent of Trump, who revealed his own racist attitudes as both a candidate and president, alt-right activists have made colleges a centerpiece of their recruitment strategies. Figures such as Richard Spencer (one of the giggling neo-Nazis seig heiling in this video) have rushed to college campuses under the guise of defending free speech. Putting colleges on the defensive for not showing the proper enthusiasm while letting fascists take the lectern is a neat trick, and it’s worked incredibly well. Many universities have bowed to alt-right pressure and allowed figures like Yiannopoulos, who planned to publicly announce the names of undocumented UC Berkeley students, to appear (the talk was later canceled). The result is that students are left to raise their voices against the speakers, and protests can erupt beyond expectations. Never mind the hundreds of thousands of dollars schools have had to shell out for the costs of hosting these vainglorious extremists and quelling the scenes they provoke.

Numerous white racists have been vocal about their goal of increasing the number of students in their ranks. “We will not rest until alt-right ideas are represented on campuses nationwide,” read a 2017 tweet from the founder of white supremacist group Identity Evropa, Nathan Damigo, whose Italian surname would have kept him out of any “white” power group in the early part of the last century.

“People in college are at this point in their lives where they are actually open to alternative perspectives, for better and for worse,” Richard Spencer told Mother Jones in 2016. “I think you do need to get them while they are young. I think rewiring the neurons of someone over 50 is effectively impossible.”

“It’s striking a blow directly at the heart of our foes,” Matthew Heimbach, a vocal white supremacist who physically attacked a black girl at a Trump rally in 2016, told the Washington Post. “It lets them know that there are people that are radically opposed to them, that aren’t afraid of them, that will challenge them. It shakes their thought that they’ve got the campus environment locked down and lets them know that people who oppose them go to their school or are a part of their local community.”

ADL head Greenblatt notes that we find ourselves in a “political environment where white supremacists have felt more welcome than any time in recent memory.” He suggests colleges find ways to highlight the fact that racist propaganda is a fringe view that has no rightful place on campus or in society at large.

“While campuses must respect and protect free speech, administrators must also address the need to counter hate groups’ messages and show these bigoted beliefs belong in the darkest shadows,” Greenblatt said in a statement, “not in our bright halls of learning.”

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

Trump’s Accusers Offer New Revelations

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

On Monday morning, three women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual abuse appeared on Megyn Kelly’s NBC Morning Show and took part in a press conference led by Brave New Films to demand a congressional investigation into the charges against the president.

Jessica Leeds says Trump groped her repeatedly on a plane three decades ago. Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist for a real estate development company with an office in Trump Tower, has alleged that Trump tried to kiss her several times in 2005. Samantha Holvey, who represented the state of North Carolina in the 2006 Miss USA pageant, says Trump would appear backstage to leer at her and other contestants. At least 16 other women have accused Trump of sexually inappropriate behavior.

Here are seven of the most disturbing allegations to emerge from their interviews.

1. Trump verbally insulted one of the women years later.

Leeds says that three years after he assaulted her on a plane, she ran into Trump at a gala.

“I recognized him, immediately,” she said. “He’s the guy on the airplane. But he stands there, as I’m handing him this table assignment, and he says, ‘I remember you. You were that…woman from the airplane. He called me the worst name ever.”

“You don’t want to say it out loud. Does it begin with a C?” Kelly asked.

“Yes,” Leeds responded.

2. They were disappointed by the majority of white women voting for Trump.

Kelly asked what the women made of the fact that 53 percent of white women voted for Trump, despite at least a dozen women having accused him of sexual assault and/or harassment, and the emergence of a 2005 video in which Trump boasted about grabbing women by the genitals.

“That’s what hurt the most,” Holvey responded. “That women, who have lived through this—everybody has their own story of a man touching them inappropriately…This is not an incident that only happens once in a blue moon. This is a daily thing for women. And for [white women who voted for Trump] not to say, ‘You know what? That’s wrong. I don’t support that. I’m not voting for that. I don’t want that person to be leading my country.’ And that was so painful.”


Read the full article here.

9 New And Crazy Revelations About Unhinged Trump

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

On Saturday, the New York Times offered a lengthy look at Donald Trump’s presidency from the inside with an article informed by “60 [presidential] advisers, associates, friends and members of Congress.” The piece is a portrait of a president who has made almost no strides toward being a competent statesman and instead continues to do things his way, in the hope he can reinvent his role on his own ill-defined terms. The Trump presidency has largely been defined by the president’s highly visible insecurities and outsized ego. “Despite all his bluster, [Trump] views himself less as a titan dominating the world stage than a maligned outsider engaged in a struggle to be taken seriously.” Also, the guy seems able to tear himself away from his television only long enough to take in a few rounds of golf.

Here are nine of the craziest revelations from the Times article.

1. He watches a ton of television, but lies about it.

As soon as he wakes around 5:30am each morning, Trump turns on cable news and channel-hops throughout the day. Fox News shows like “Fox & Friends,” along with programs hosted by Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro, which offer unfailingly fawning coverage, give the president “comfort and messaging ideas.” Trump reportedly “hate watches” MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and CNN, particularly Don Lemon, in order to get “fired up.”

Those close to the president told the Times they “estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television, sometimes with the volume muted.” (According to staffers, “[n]o one touches the remote control except Mr. Trump and the technical support staff — at least that’s the rule.”)

He also lies about his level of TV consumption. During a recent trip to Asia he insisted reports about his television obsession were based on “fake sources,” out of fears it would bolster “criticism that he is not taking the job seriously.”

2. He’s erratic, and his behavior is often determined by how his news coverage looks.

Trump basically starts tweeting from his iPhone shortly after waking and taking in cable news headlines, even dashing off messages “while propped on his pillow.” Staffers are careful to keep an eye on “Fox & Friends” live in the morning for a guide to the president’s headspace and a sense of how difficult the day will be.

“If someone on the show says something memorable and Mr. Trump does not immediately tweet about it, the president’s staff knows he may be saving Fox News for later viewing on his recorder and instead watching MSNBC or CNN live — meaning he is likely to be in a foul mood to start the day.”

But moodiness means that the president is unpredictable at every turn; cranky and volatile one moment and personable the next. “Several advisers said the president may curse them for a minor transgression…then make amiable small talk with the same person minutes later.”

3. He still doesn’t read and needs briefings tailored to his short attention span.

Trump has previously admitted that he doesn’t read because he imagines he has “a lot of common sense.” His disdain for knowledge has been a consistent marker of his approach to U.S. intelligence. Post-election, Trump defended his practice of skipping most daily briefings by noting he didn’t need “to be told the same thing in the same words every single day” since he is “like, a smart person.” He now gets verbal updates each day, with staffers noting he has “become more attentive during daily intelligence briefings thanks to pithy presentations by Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director.”

“He really loves verbal briefings,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told the Times. “He is not one to consume volumes of books or briefings.”

4. He drinks up to 12 Diet Cokes a day.

According to a new book by erstwhile campaign Trump staffers Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, “On Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke.” (Another Trump staffer told Axios, “Big Macs were served on silver trays in his private jet.”) The Times reports that Trump puts away two six-packs of Diet Cokes every single day, which he guzzles while (what else?) channel surfing and spouting off to anyone within earshot.

“Watching cable, [Trump] shares thoughts with anyone in the room, even the household staff he summons via a button for lunch or one of the dozen Diet Cokes he consumes each day.”

5. For all his complaints about his news coverage, he absolutely hates not being talked about.  

According to insiders, Trump gets sad when he doesn’t see himself prominently featured among the day’s stories. Who would have thought a narcissist with the most fragile of egos would desperately need any kind of attention he can get.

To an extent that would stun outsiders, Mr. Trump, the most talked-about human on the planet, is still delighted when he sees his name in the headlines. And he is on a perpetual quest to see it there. One former top adviser said Mr. Trump grew uncomfortable after two or three days of peace and could not handle watching the news without seeing himself on it.

6. He persists in fabricating his own reality.

Nearly everyone in Trump’s orbit Times writers spoke with “raised questions about his capacity and willingness to differentiate bad information from something that is true.” That jibes with a recent report from the Washington Post that even behind closed doors, the president traffics in falsehoods and conspiracy theories, raising absurd questions about Barack Obama’s birth certificate, insisting he actually won the popular vote and suggesting 2005 Access Hollywood footage of him bragging about grabbing women’s pussies may not be real.

7. He thought being president would be like ruling a monarchy.

Trump had never held a role in the military or government before the election and was clearly uninterested in politics or policy. During the campaign season, he promised to defend nonexistent Articles of the Constitution, while as president, he revealed complete ignorance about Abraham Lincoln’s membership in the Republican Party of yore. After eight years of enduring racist taunts about every move he made, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Obama had to “spend more time with his successor than presidents typically do” because Donald Trump was so out of his depth coming into the job.

In April, Trump told Reuters that being president is “more work than in [his] previous life,” and that he’d thought leading the country “would be easier.” Which is dunderheaded for all the obvious reasons, but also because Trump essentially thought winning the U.S. presidential election was akin to becoming king, per the Times report.

Mr. Trump’s difficult adjustment to the presidency, people close to him say, is rooted in an unrealistic expectation of its powers, which he had assumed to be more akin to the popular image of imperial command than the sloppy reality of having to coexist with two other branches of government.

The story goes on to note that “Trump expected being president would [entail]…ruling by fiat, exacting tribute and cutting back-room deals.”

8. Nancy Pelosi offered this blatant and totally undisguised shade.

“[H]e was utterly unprepared for this. It would be like you or me going into a room and being asked to perform brain surgery. When you have a lack of knowledge as great as his, it can be bewildering.”

9. Despite the mere five years that separate them, Trump made fun of Bernie Sanders’ age.

While giving a White House tour to four Democratic legislators, Trump began speculating on who might run against him in 2020. He suggested Bernie Sanders would almost certainly run “even if he’s in a wheelchair,” and then mocked both the aged and disabled by “making a scrunched-up body of a man in a wheelchair.”

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.