Sunday 9th of August 2020

when racism was more civilised and had less anger...

black humour

How Netflix Beat Hollywood to a Generation of Black Content

The company didn’t set out to build a big library of Black programming, but now it’s the envy of its rivals.

The Black documentarian Stanley Nelson says his phone has been “ringing off the hook” as America is looking again at racism and the Black experience. Justin Simien, the creator of “Dear White People,” says the reactions to his pitches have grown warmer. And the director Ava DuVernay reports a flood of calls to “me and every other Black person that’s ever picked up a camera.”


Hollywood is scrambling, in its traditional way — late, liberal, a bit ham-handed — to catch up with this cultural moment. Some streaming services have made civil rights-themed programming free to all, while studios race to sign new projects by Black directors. And to the immense frustration of mostly white executives all over town, they also find themselves — again! — scrambling to catch up with Netflix, already a threat to their technology and business model, and now winning the race to the center of the conversation as well.


On June 10, Netflix flexed the depth of its Black programming by showcasing a “Black Lives Matter” collection of 56 shows, films and documentaries, including Ms. DuVernay’s mini-series on the false convictions of the Central Park Five, “When They See Us” and her documentary on systemic racism and mass incarceration, “13th.”

“Netflix doesn’t have to trot out the one or two things, but it has a library that’s a wide cross section of taste and content that speaks to the understating of that audience,” said Ms. DuVernay, who is producing a new scripted Netflix series on the former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick. She called the service “the foremost and most robust distributor of Black images in the world.”

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/05/business/media/netflix-hollywood-black-culture.html

 

 

Image at top from Punch 1973 collection.

gentile black and anti-semitism...

more punch

 

More Punch cartoons from 1973...

black covid19...

Teresa and Marvin Bradley can’t say for sure how they got the coronavirus. Maybe Ms. Bradley, a Michigan nurse, brought it from her hospital. Maybe it came from a visiting relative. Maybe it was something else entirely.


What is certain — according to new federal data that provides the most comprehensive look to date on nearly 1.5 million coronavirus patients in America — is that the Bradleys are not outliers.


Racial disparities in who contracts the virus have played out in big cities like Milwaukee and New York, but also in smaller metropolitan areas like Grand Rapids, Mich., where the Bradleys live. Those inequities became painfully apparent when Ms. Bradley, who is Black, was wheeled through the emergency room.


“Everybody in there was African-American,” she said. “Everybody was.”


Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates. But the new federal data — made available after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — reveals a clearer and more complete picture: Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/05/us/coronavirus-latinos-af...

 

Read from top.

stormy monday...

singing the blues...

 

Singing the Blues

 

Image from Pick of Punch...

 

 

Read from top.

modern slavery in paris...

Camélia Jordana: "I have a taste for debate"


The 27-year-old singer and actress, who plays in Frédéric Farrucci's "La Nuit Venue", [Nightfall] a thriller against the backdrop of modern slavery, returns to the controversy raised by her comments on police violence against blacks.


On the morning of this interview, on June 24, Camélia Jordana arrived with straightened hair, a hairstyle she wore on the set of "On n’est pas couché" [we're not lying down], a month earlier, on May 23 when, denouncing the police violence , she declared on France 2 that people "are massacred daily" because of their skin colour. "Today, my hair is straitened. When I have frizzy hair, I don't feel safe when in the presence of cops in France," she told columnist Philippe Besson.


On June 9, Place de la République in Paris, the 27-year-old singer and comic artist — revealed by La Nouvelle Star (M6) — sang an old gospel with other artists (Sandra Nkaké, Pomme…), We Shall Overcome, in tribute to the American George Floyd and Frenchman Adama Traoré, two black men who died following a police arrest - on May 25, 2020 and July 19, 2016.


In La Nuit Venue, Frédéric Farrucci's first feature film, the outspoken actress finds a role to match. She plays Naomi, a night beauty, a club dancer call girl, whose life turns upside down when she meets Jin, driver of electric-bikes and Chinese, run by the mafia of his country, interpreted by a non-professional actor, Guang Huo. This is a film noir on contemporary slavery.

 

"Nightfall" revisits Paris and its outskirts, through the eyes of a VTC driver.

 

— What touched you in the script?


— I arrived in Paris around the age of 17. I was not educated, I placed myself politically with engaged artists: I call them my "family of leftists", I lived 24/7 with them. Reading the script of "La Nuit Vient", with its descriptions and script, I felt everything that has crossed my life since the terrorist attacks in 2015, and "On n’est pas couchéen 2016… Frédéric Farrucci succeeds in describing the atmosphere of the capital at night, an atmosphere which breaks our hearts with capitalism and contemporary slavery. There is also a tension and loneliness that one feels during the day. These are the same feelings that gave birth to my album Lost (2018), where news-events transpires. It was like, who is this guy who wrote this film?

 

I do not know of any French feature film in which the Chinese community is on screen, except a few popular comedies with an Asian character. The fact that half of the film is in Mandarin, that it talks about the living conditions of Chinese refugees, excited me a lot. It's new, and it's done with rare intelligence and finesse. Naomi, my character, frightened me enough and at the same time attracted me ...

 

 

Read more:

https://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2020/07/13/camelia-jordana-le-fem...

 

 

Translation by Jules Letambour

 

 

Read from top.

 

 

See also: we walk the journey together... in writing history with a slanted white quill...

 

 

See also: on the eve of july 14th... in futility...

 

empathy, love, patience, observations, pavlov's dog, cartooning and understanding...

mother of god!

Following a call from anti-racist activist Shaun King, several statues of the Virgin Mary have been vandalized in the United States, particularly in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

On 22 June, former Protestant pastor Shaun King tweeted:

"All murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down. They are a gross form white supremacy. Created as tools of oppression. Racist propaganda. They should all come down. ”

A controversial figure, Shaun King had his heyday during the presidential campaign of Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders.

Retorting to King’s tweet, Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison pointed out that many statues of the Black Madonna can be found in Europe and of the Black Jesus in Africa.

On the East Coast, several statues of the Franciscan saint Junípero Serra - canonized by Pope John Paul II as "apostle of California" - were also vandalized and the San Gabriel Mission burned down. The United States regularly experiences attacks on Jewish, black, and Muslim places of worship. This wave of intolerance has now also reached Catholic places of worship.

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article210555.html

 

 

Read from top.

"groupthink at our university was just horrible"

 

From a conversation with the scholar Glenn Loury, who is black, in City Journal:

Yu: Hundreds of thousands of people are protesting George Floyd’s death, as well as broader issues having to do with the structure of American society. On June 1, President Christina Paxson wrote a letter to the Brown University community indicting the structures of racism and prejudice that she and most on the left claim to lie at the heart of American society. A few days later, you wrote and published your challenge to this letter. Why?

Loury: If my dear colleague, Christina Paxson, professor of economics, as well as president of this university, were simply to have said, “Dear colleagues, I have been pondering the events of the last few days and weeks, and it has brought me to a set of conclusions that I want to share with you from my heart,” and then she proceeded to do so, I would not have written to my friend, nor would I have made public what I wrote, which was printed in City Journal. I wouldn’t have done it because she’s entitled to her opinion. But that’s not what happened.

What happened was a letter signed by the president and cosigned by the provost. It was signed by the senior vice president for administration, by the senior vice president for finance, by the person in charge of advancement and development for the university. It was signed by the university’s general counsel, by the vice president for diversity and inclusion, and by every other functionary all the way down the line to the dean of the School of Public Health. They signed a political letter.

These events don’t speak for themselves. Americans disagree about Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter is not axiomatic. The group represents a thrust in American politics. We can talk about it. I’m not without sympathy for the struggle for racial justice, but I have disputes with people when it comes to interpreting what’s going on in American cities. The letter doesn’t mention the fact that it’s dangerous on the streets of many inner-city neighborhoods where police have to operate every day, that there are a lot of weapons out there, or that the homicide rate is extraordinarily high and that most of the people committing the homicides in these places are black.

Now, imagine that I wrote not a Left letter, but a Right letter: “I think the blacks are complaining too much.” Suppose I wrote that letter and I had everybody in the administration sign it. So it’s a political statement. It may be a very sympathetic and a very persuasive statement, but it’s political! Universities ought not to be political in this sense. When I received that letter, signed by everybody on the payroll of this university who gets paid above $400,000 a year, I thought: “This is thought-policing.” They’re telling us what to think. They’re saying that this is what “Brown values” require one to think. They’re speaking about a “We” with a capital W, and it’s including everybody.

Well, it didn’t include me! So, I object. I object to the soft tyranny of having political postures put forward as self-evident truths to which every decent member of this community should subscribe. I object to that. That’s the last thing that a university should be doing. It’s malpractice. It is administrative malpractice of this precious institution to be swept along by political fad and fancy, and then demand the assent of every administrator, in lockstep, without any dispute among themselves. This is horrible, I thought. I thought the propagation of such groupthink at our university was just horrible.

I know this will seem a bit hysterical, but I felt violated by the letter, because it was trying to tell me what to think. And not only that. It was also, in effect, telling me what I can say in my classes without contravening “Brown values.” It was telling me what I can and cannot write, what I can and cannot pronounce in my public statements if I wish to remain a member in good standing in this community. That is an outrage, in my opinion.

 

 

 

Read more:


https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/glenn-loury-structural-racism-catastrophe/




Read from top

overactive affirmative action...

...

Dover’s failed school board rebellion inspired multiple books, law review articles, and films, including a Nova doc that won a Peabody award. For decades, whether in Arkansas or Texas or Louisiana, every time even a small group of fundamentalists tried bullying teachers via this stacking-the-school-bureaucracy trick, northern press heathens would descend in mammoth numbers. Especially in 2005, which felt like the dawn of a new thousand-year reign of Bushian conservatism, liberal audiences jumped at any opportunity to re-create the magic of one of their foundational knowledge-over-superstition parables, the Scopes Monkey Trial. 

Fifteen years later, America is a thousand Dovers, and the press response is silence. This time it’s not a few Podunk school boards under assault by junk science and crackpot theologies, but Princeton University, the New York Times, the Smithsonian, and a hundred other institutions. 

When the absurdity factor rocketed past Dover levels this week, the nation’s leading press organs barely commented, much less laughed. Doing so would have meant opening the floodgates on a story most everyone in media sees but no one is allowed to comment upon: that the political right and left in America have traded villainous cultural pathologies. Things we once despised about the right have been amplified a thousand-fold on the flip.

Conservatives once tried to legislate what went on in your bedroom; now it’s the left that obsesses over sexual codicils, not just for the bedroom but everywhere. Right-wingers from time to time made headlines campaigning against everything from The Last Temptation of Christ to “Fuck the Police,” though we laughed at the idea that Ice Cube made cops literally unsafe, and it was understood an artist had to do something fairly ambitious, like piss on a crucifix in public, to get conservative protesters off their couches. 

Today Matt Yglesias signing a group letter with Noam Chomsky is considered threatening. Moreover a lot less than booking a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit can get you in the soup – a headline, a retweet, even likes are costing people jobs. Imagine how many movies Milos Forman would have had to make if Jerry Falwell had been able to get people fired this easily. 

This is separate from the Democratic Party “moving right,” or in the case of issues like war, financial deregulation, and surveillance, having always been in lockstep with the right. This is about a change in the personality profile of the party’s most animated, engaged followers. 

Many who marched against Dick Cheney’s spy state in the early 2000s lost interest once Donald Trump became a target, then became full converts to the possibilities of centralized speech control after Russiagate, Charlottesville, and the de-platforming of Alex Jones, with even the ACLU wobbling. (Some of the only left media figures to be consistent on this issue work at the World Socialist Web Site, which has gone after woke icons like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over Internet censorship). Support for the “radical transparency” concept that made Wikileaks famous receded in favor of a referendum on the political and sexual iniquity of Julian Assange: many activists today are more concerned with who than what and find nuance, contradiction, and double-meaning repulsive. Bad person = bad idea!

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it was the exact profile of Bush-era conservatives, who were so famously impervious to irony that corporate America could not develop for them one functioning comedy concept. Just five years ago, the Atlantic ran one of many investigations into the issue, quoting University of Delaware professor Dannagal Young:

Stephen Colbert, for example, may say that he’s looking forward to the sunny weather that global warming will bring, and the audience members know this isn’t what he really means. But they have to wonder: Is he making fun of the kind of conservative who would say something so egregious? Or is he making fun of arrogant liberals who think that conservatives hold such extreme views?

As Young noticed, this is a kind of ambiguity that liberals tend to find more satisfying and culturally familiar than conservatives do… In contrast, conservative talk radio humor tends to rely less on irony than straightforward indignation and hyperbole. 

The old Republican right’s idea of “humor” was its usual diatribes against Bad People, only with puns thrown in (are you ready for “OxyClinton”?). As a result the Fox effort at countering the Daily Show, the 1/2 Hour News Hour — a string of agonizing “burns” on Bush-haters and Hillary — remains the worst-rated show in the history of television, according to Metacritic. The irony gap eventually spelled doom for that group of Republicans, as Trump drove a truck through it in 2016. However, it’s possible they just weren’t as committed to the concept as current counterparts.

Take the Smithsonian story. The museum became the latest institution to attempt to combat racism by pledging itself to “antiracism,” a quack sub-theology that in a self-clowning trick straight out of Catch-22 seeks to raise awareness about ignorant race stereotypes by reviving and amplifying them. 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture created a graphic on “Aspects and Assumptions of White Culture” that declared the following white values: “the scientific method,” “rational, linear thinking,” “the nuclear family,” “children should have their own rooms,” “hard work is the key to success,” “be polite,” “written tradition,” and “self-reliance.” White food is “steak and potatoes; bland is best,” and in white justice, “intent counts.” 

The astute observer will notice this graphic could equally have been written by white supremacist Richard Spencer or History of White People parodist Martin Mull. It seems impossible that no one at one of the country’s leading educational institutions noticed this messaging is ludicrously racist, not just to white people but to everyone (what is any person of color supposed to think when he or she reads that self-reliance, politeness, and “linear thinking” are white values?). 

The exhibit was inspired by white corporate consultants with Education degrees like Judith Katz and White Fragility author Robin DiAngelo, who themselves echo the work of more consultants with Ed degrees like Glenn Singleton of Courageous Conversations. Per the New York Times, Courageous Conversations even teaches that “written communication over other forms” and “mechanical time” (i.e. clock time) are tools by which “whiteness undercuts Black kids.”

The notion that such bugbears as as time, data, and the written word are racist has caught fire across the United States in the last few weeks, igniting calls for an end to virtually every form of quantitative evaluation in hiring and admissions, including many that were designed specifically to combat racism. Few tears will be shed for the SAT and ACT exams, even though they were once infamous for causing Harvard to be overpopulated with high-scoring “undesirables” like Jews and Catholics, forcing the school to add letters of reference and personal essays to help restore the WASP balance. 

The outcry against the tests as “longstanding forces of institutional racism” by the National Association of Basketball Coaches is particularly hilarious, given that the real problem most of those coaches are combating is the minimal fake academic entry requirement imposed by the NCAA to help maintain a crooked billion-dollar business scheme based on free (and largely Black) labor. The tests have been tweaked repeatedly over the years to be more minority-friendly and are one of the few tools that gave brilliant but underprivileged kids a way to blow past the sea of rich suburbanites who feel oppressed by them… But, fine, let’s stipulate, as Neon Bodeaux put it, that “them tests are culturally biased.” What to make of the campaign to end blind auditions for musical positions, which the New York Philharmonic began holding in the early seventies in response to complaints of discrimination?

Before blind auditions, women made up less than 6 percent of orchestras; today they’re half of the New York Philharmonic. But because the change did not achieve similar results with Black and Hispanic musicians, the blind audition must now be “altered to take into fuller account artists’ backgrounds and experiences.” This completes a decades-long circle where the left/liberal project went from working feverishly to expunge racial stereotypes in an effort to level the playing field, to denouncing itself for ever having done so. 

This would be less absurd if the effort were not being led in an extraordinary number of cases by extravagantly-paid white consultants like DiAngelo and Howard Ross, a “social justice advocate” whose company billed the federal government $5 million since 2006 to teach basically the same course on “whiteness” to agencies like NASA, the Treasury, the FDIC, and others. 

It’s unsurprising that in the mouths of such people, the definitions of “whiteness” sound suspiciously like lazy suburban white stereotypes about Black America, only in reverse. They read like a peer-reviewed version of Bill de Blasio’s infamous joke about “CP Time.” 

It’s perfect cultural satire, like a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode showing what ensues when Larry David is put in charge of creating a racial sensitivity exhibit for charity. The Smithsonian story is essentially the same tale of bubble-thinking run amok as the infamous “Museum of Creation” exhibit showing Adam and Eve partying with dinosaurs, only featuring opposite politics. 

Those creation exhibits inspired multiple loving treatments from some of our best press humorists. In a predictable pattern, however, major media mostly did not go near the Smithsonian story until it became the focus of attention from chortling conservatives. Only at that point did headlines like the following appear in the Washington Post:

African-American Museum site removes ‘Whiteness’ chart after criticism from Trump Jr. and conservative media

Once, the right couldn’t see or comment upon its own absurdities, and instead spent most of its time whining about being frozen out of the media at the exact moment its messaging was becoming hegemonic, e.g. when we weren’t even able to watch a football game without someone trying to shove Rush Limbaugh or Dennis Miller onscreen. Now the left has adopted the same traits (the NBA restart played on a “Black Lives Matter”-emblazoned court is going to make those old Monday Night Football broadcasts seem chill), with a major difference: it has the bureaucratic juice to shut down mass media efforts to ridicule its thinking. These are the same pontificating, stereotyping busybodies Republicans used to be, only this time, they’re winning the culture war. 

“Diversity through segregation” sounds like another idea clipped from poor over-invoked George Orwell, but it surged in recent weeks as the Smithsonian-style conception of “antiracism” caught fire.

In the media context, diversity consultants recently invited Intercept employees to a “Safe Space Conversation” that would feature “two breakout groups – one for those who identify as people of color and one for those who identify as white.”

The same strategy is used in DiAngelo’s version of antiracist training. A theater employee forced to go through her program described the shock of being separated into “affinity groups” in this episode of the Blocked and Reported podcast. If you’re wondering what employees who “identify as white” can learn from being put in a room without minority co-workers and urged to “express themselves sincerely and honestly,” you’re not alone. Is “learning to speak in the absence of Black people” a muscle any sane person believes needs development?  

At Princeton, the situation was even more bizarre. On July 4th, hundreds of faculty members and staff at Princeton University signed a group letter calling for radical changes. 

Some demands seem reasonable, like requests to remedy University-wide underrepresentation among faculty members of color. Much of the rest of the letter read like someone drunk-tweeting their way through a Critical Theory seminar. Signatories asked the University to establish differing compensation levels according to race, demanding “course relief,” “summer salary,” “one additional semester of sabbatical,” and “additional human resources” for “faculty of color,” a term left undefined. That this would be grossly illegal didn’t seem to bother the 300-plus signatories of one of America’s most prestigious learning institutions.

The Princeton letter didn’t make much news until a Classics professor named Joshua Katz wrote a public “Declaration of Independence” from the letter. Playing the same role as the Dover science teacher who feebly warned that teaching Intelligent Design would put the district at odds with a long list of Supreme Court decisions, Katz said it boggled his mind that anyone could ask for compensation “perks” based on race, especially for “extraordinarily privileged people already, let me point out: Princeton professors.” 

Katz also complained about the letter’s support for a group called the Black Justice League, which he described as a “local terrorist organization” that had recently engaged in an Instagram Live version of a kind of struggle session involving two students accused of an ancient racist conversation. Katz called it “one of the most evil things I have ever witnessed.” The video appears to have been deleted, though I spoke with another Princeton faculty member who described seeing the same event in roughly the same terms.

In response, University President Christopher Eisengruber “personally” denounced Katz for using the word “terrorist.” Katz was also denounced by his Classics department, which in a statement on the department web page insisted his act had “heedlessly put our Black colleagues, students, and alums at serious risk,” while hastening to add “we gratefully acknowledge all the forms of anti-racist work that members of our community have done.” 

That statement was only signed by four people, though there are twenty faculty members in the Classics department, but the signees all had titles: department Chair, Director of Graduate Studies, Director of Undergraduate Studies, head of the Diversity and Equity Committee. The pattern of administrative leaders not only not rejecting but adopting the preposterous infantilizing language of new activism – I am physically threatened by your mild disagreement – held once again. Not one institutional leader in America, it seems, has summoned the courage to laugh in this argument’s face.

The saving grace of the right used to be that it was too stupid to rule. Politically defeated liberals secretly believed that in a moment of crisis, the country would have to be turned over to people who didn’t think hurricanes were punishment for gay sex and weren’t frightened to enter a room with a topless statue. In an effort to console such readers, reporters like me were sent to mock every Dover-style cultural stooge-fest and assigned strings of features about dunces like Michelle Bachmann, who believed energy-saving light bulbs were a “very real threat to children, disabled people, pets, senior citizens.” 

The right still has more than its share of wing-nuts, the president being the most famous, and we’re allowed to laugh about them (in fact, it’s practically mandatory). Unfortunately, a growing quantity of opposite-number lunacies – from a chess site temporarily shut down by YouTube because of its “white against black” rhetoric, to an art gallery director forced to resignfor saying he would still “collect white artists” – is mostly off-limits. If we can’t laugh at time is a white supremacist construct, what can we laugh at?

Republicans were once despised because they were anti-intellectuals and hopeless neurotics. Trained to disbelieve in peaceful coexistence with the liberal enemy, the average Rush Limbaugh fan couldn’t make it through a dinner without interrogating you about your political inclinations. 

If you tried to laugh it off, that didn’t work; if you tried to engage, what came back was a list of talking points. When all else failed and you offered what you thought would be an olive branch of blunt truth, i.e. “Honestly, I just don’t give that much of a shit,” that was the worst insult of all, because they thought you were being condescending. (You were, but that’s beside the point). The defining quality of this personality was the inability to let things go. Families broke apart over these situations. It was a serious and tragic thing. 

Now that same inconsolable paranoiac comes at you with left politics, and isn’t content with ruining the odd holiday dinner, blind date, or shared cab. He or she does this infuriating interrogating at the office, in school, and in government agencies, in places where you can’t fake a headache and quietly leave the table. 

This is all taking place at a time when the only organized opposition to such thinking also supports federal troops rounding up protesters for open-ended detention, going maskless to own the libs, and other equivalent madnesses. If you’re not a Trump fan and can’t reason with the other thing either, what’s left?

...

 

 

Read more:

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-left-is-now-the-right

 

 

Read from top.

 

 

Matthew C. Taibbi (/taɪˈiːbi/; born March 2, 1970) is an American author, journalist and podcaster. He has reported on politics, media, finance, and sports. He is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone.

Taibbi began as a freelance reporter in the former Soviet Union, including a period in Uzbekistan, from where he was deported for criticizing President Islam Karimov. Taibbi later worked as a sports journalist for the English-language newspaper The Moscow Times. He also played professional baseball in Uzbekistan and Russia as well as professional basketball in Mongolia. Taibbi also worked for a short time as an investigator at a Boston-based private detective agency. In 1997, he moved back to Russia to edit the tabloid Living Here, but eventually left to co-edit rival tabloid The eXile. Taibbi returned to the United States in 2002 and founded the Buffalo-based newspaper The Beast. He left in 2003 to work as a columnist for the New York Press. In 2004, Taibbi began covering politics for Rolling Stone.[3][4] In 2008, Taibbi won a National Magazine Award for three columns he wrote for Rolling Stone. In 2019, he launched the podcast Useful Idiots, co-hosted by Katie Halper and distributed by Rolling Stone. In 2020, he began self-publishing his online writing, while still contributing to the Useful Idiots podcast and the print edition of Rolling Stone.

Taibbi has authored several books, including The Great Derangement (2009); Griftopia (2010); The Divide(2014); Insane Clown President (2017);[5] I Can't Breathe (2017); and Hate Inc. (2019).

Taibbi is known for his brazen style, having famously branded Goldman Sachs a "vampire squid" in a 2009 article. His work has often drawn comparisons to the gonzo style of writer Hunter S. Thompson, who also covered politics for Rolling Stone.[6][7][8][9]

Read more:

 

 

a republican's confession...

 

We Lost the Battle for the Republican Party’s Soul Long Ago


Only fear will motivate the party to change — the cold fear only defeat can bring.


By Stuart Stevens


Mr. Stevens is a Republican political consultant.

 


After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential race, the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, commissioned an internal party study to examine why the party had won the popular vote only once since 1988.


The results of that so-called autopsy were fairly obvious: The party needed to appeal to more people of color, reach out to younger voters, become more welcoming to women. Those conclusions were presented as not only a political necessity but also a moral mandate if the Republican Party were to be a governing party in a rapidly changing America.


Then Donald Trump emerged and the party threw all those conclusions out the window with an almost audible sigh of relief: Thank God we can win without pretending we really care about this stuff. That reaction was sadly predictable.


I spent decades working to elect Republicans, including Mr. Romney and four other presidential candidates, and I am here to bear reluctant witness that Mr. Trump didn’t hijack the Republican Party. He is the logical conclusion of what the party became over the past 50 or so years, a natural product of the seeds of race-baiting, self-deception and anger that now dominate it. Hold Donald Trump up to a mirror and that bulging, scowling orange face is today’s Republican Party.


I saw the warning signs but ignored them and chose to believe what I wanted to believe: The party wasn’t just a white grievance party; there was still a big tent; the others guys were worse. Many of us in the party saw this dark side and told ourselves it was a recessive gene. We were wrong. It turned out to be the dominant gene.


What is most telling is that the Republican Party actively embraced, supported, defended and now enthusiastically identifies with a man who eagerly exploits the nation’s racial tensions. In our system, political parties should serve a circuit breaker function. The Republican Party never pulled the switch.


Racism is the original sin of the modern Republican Party. While many Republicans today like to mourn the absence of an intellectual voice like William Buckley, it is often overlooked that Mr. Buckley began his career as a racist defending segregation.


In the Richard Nixon White House, Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips wrote a re-election campaign memo headed “Dividing the Democrats” in which they outlined what would come to be known as the Southern Strategy. It assumes there is little Republicans can do to attract Black Americans and details a two-pronged strategy: Utilize Black support of Democrats to alienate white voters while trying to decrease that support by sowing dissension within the Democratic Party.


That strategy has worked so well that it was copied by the Russians in their 2016 efforts to help elect Mr. Trump.[Gus note: there is no proof the Russians interfered with the 2016 US presidential elections...]


In the 2000 George W. Bush campaign, on which I worked, we acknowledged the failures of Republicans to attract significant nonwhite support. When Mr. Bush called himself a “compassionate conservative,” some on the right attacked him, calling it an admission that conservatism had not been compassionate. That was true; it had not been. Many of us believed we could steer the party to that “kinder, gentler” place his father described. We were wrong.


Reading Mr. Bush’s 2000 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention now is like stumbling across a document from a lost civilization, with its calls for humility, service and compassion. That message couldn’t attract 20 percent in a Republican presidential primary today. If there really was a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, we lost.


There is a collective blame to be shared by those of us who have created the modern Republican Party that has so egregiously betrayed the principles it claimed to represent. My j’accuse is against us all, not a few individuals who were the most egregious.


How did this happen? How do you abandon deeply held beliefs about character, personal responsibility, foreign policy and the national debt in a matter of months? You don’t. The obvious answer is those beliefs weren’t deeply held. What others and I thought were bedrock values turned out to be mere marketing slogans easily replaced. I feel like the guy working for Bernie Madoff who thought they were actually beating the market.


Mr. Trump has served a useful purpose by exposing the deep flaws of a major American political party. Like a heavy truck driven over a bridge on the edge of failure, he has made it impossible to ignore the long-developing fault lines of the Republican Party. A party rooted in decency and values does not embrace the anger that Mr. Trump peddles as patriotism.


This collapse of a major political party as a moral governing force is unlike anything we have seen in modern American politics. The closest parallel is the demise of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, when the dissonance between what the party said it stood for and what citizens actually experienced was so great that it was unsustainable.


This election should signal a day of reckoning for the party and all who claim it as a political identity. Will it? I’ve given up hope that there are any lines of decency or normalcy that once crossed would move Republican leaders to act as if they took their oath of office more seriously than their allegiance to party. Only fear will motivate the party to change — the cold fear only defeat can bring.


That defeat is looming. Will it bring desperately needed change to the Republican Party? I’d like to say I’m hopeful. But that would be a lie and there have been too many lies for too long.


Stuart Stevens is a Republican political consultant and the author of the forthcoming book “It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump,” from which this essay is adapted.

 

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

 

 

Read from top.

 

See also: 

the legacy of slavery…