Good morning Austin.
Happy Fifth of July.
As I commenced writing this I was watching Yankee Doodle Dandy, one of my favorite all-time movies, with James Cagney playing George M. Cohan, who was born on the Fourth, or maybe the Third of July. Here is Cagney, as Cohan, tap dancing down the White House steps after being told by FDR that he was being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his patriotic songs.
Meanwhile, in case you missed it, here was Donald J. Trump’s Fourth of July message.
Not a lot about the Founding Fathers, or the Declaration of Independence, or the meaning of America. But DJT is running for president and there was that very odd meme that he tweeted Saturday that required a little bit of explaining.
But Trump’s strategy wasn’t just to delete – it was delete and defend.
So we are confronted with the epic question – when is a six-pointed star a Star of David, and when is it a generic sheriff’s badge?
The sheriff/marshal’s badge often has five points.
But not always.
Wyatt Earp had a six-pointed star.
But, then again, Wyatt Earp’s longtime, common-law wife – Josephine Marcus – was Jewish and he is buried alongside here at a Jewish cemetery in Colma, California.
Here’s Unpacking Dreams, a number from the all-woman musical, I Married Wyatt Earp.
But it’s not just Earp who had a six-pointed star.
Trump’s favorite sheriff – Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona – has a six-pointed badge.
And here’s a six-pointed star that is described as a “blank sheriff badge stock illustration.”
But, I look at that star and I see a Star of David.
Then this from Anthony Smith at Mic.
Mic discovered Sunday that Donald Trump’s Twitter account wasn’t the first place the meme appeared. The image was previously featured on /pol/ — an Internet message board for the alt-right, a digital movement of neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and white supremacists newly emboldened by the success of Trump’s rhetoric — as early as June 22, over a week before Trump’s team tweeted it.
Though the thread where the meme was featured no longer exists, you can find it by searching the URL in Archive.is, a “time capsule of the internet” that saves unalterable text and graphic of webpages. Doing so allows you to see the thread on /pol/ as it originally existed.
Here are some other images from the same message board:
There is also link to this list of Jewish control of the Internet, media, banking, government, society, etc.
The post immediately following the Hillary Clinton six-pointed star meme picks up a thread expressing concern about Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whose father donated to the Clinton Foundation.
On the other hand, Drudge linked to a story recalling Trump’s history of opening a Palm Beach golf course to blacks and Jews.
Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, tweeted an explanation that they came up with meme from “an anti-Hillary Twitter user,” and that he replaced the six-pointed star with a circle because, of course, “as the Social Media Director of the campaign, I would never offend anyone …:
Never Offend. Really?
But this defense doesn’t really add up.
As you may recall, earlier in the campaign, Trump seemed to have trouble placing who Duke was, though he had denounced him earlier in his career.
Meanwhile, ten years ago I wrote a piece for The Forward about the tension between David Duke and Jared Taylor and between Jews and neo-Nazis in the white nationalist movement.
For the small, hardy band of right-wing Jews who attended this past weekend’s American Renaissance Conference, the biennial gathering of white nationalists ended on a sour note.
The events Saturday, February 25, passed without major incident. But then, late Sunday morning, none other than former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke approached the microphone on the floor during the question-and-answer session for French writer Guillaume Faye. After congratulating Faye for stirring remarks that “touched my genes,” Duke asked if there weren’t an even more insidious threat to the West than Islam.
“There is a power in the world that dominates our media, influences our government and that has led to the internal destruction of our will and our spirit,” Duke said.
“Tell us, tell us,” came a call from the back of the room.
“I’m not going to say it,” Duke said to rising laughter.
But Michael Hart, a squat, balding Jewish astrophysicist from Maryland, was not amused. He rose from his seat, strode toward Duke (who loomed over him like an Aryan giant), spit out a curse – “You f…ing Nazi, you’ve disgraced this meeting” – and exited.
As it happens, only a few minutes earlier Hart, a mainstay of American Renaissance conferences, had been trying to reassure Herschel Elias, a first-time attendee from suburban Philadelphia, that he should not let his observation that the meeting was “infiltrated by Nazis and Holocaust deniers” ruin his impression of American Renaissance.
“The speakers aren’t Nazis,” Hart assured him. “Jared isn’t a Nazi.”
Jared is Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance magazine. He founded the publication 1990, and since 1994 he had sponsored the biennial conference that bears its name. A former liberal, Taylor is glib, gracious and genial, capable of putting his white nationalism in the most benign and commonsense terms.
“We mean well to all people,” he said in his address at this year’s conference, “but our own people come first.”
The conference has attracted ever larger crowds, with this year’s event drawing about 300 people – all white (no more than 5% Jewish) and most of them male. The attendees are united by a common belief in black intellectual inferiority, opposition to non-white immigration and ardor for maintaining America’s white majority. By the end of this seventh biennial conference, however, the delicate state of his coalition seemed apparent.
Hart, who spoke at the 1996 conference about his plan for a racial partition of the United States, said that Taylor now had to face the fact that he must purge the Nazis or lose the Jews. “He can’t expect Jews to come if there are Nazis here,” Hart said.
And therein lies Taylor’s dilemma.
From the start, he has been trying to de-Nazify the movement and draw the white nationalist circle wider to include Jews of European descent. But to many on the far right, taking the Jew-hatred out of white nationalism is like taking the Christ out of Christmas – a sacrilege. Actually inviting Jews into the movement is an act of lunacy, or betrayal, to them.
In a January First Reading, I wrote about Taylor’s involvement with a robo-call for Trump in Iowa.
On June 17, Taylor posted a Dear Mr. Trump video expanding on this claim.
Whites not only trust government the least of any group, they are the most pessimistic about the country. Half of all whites think their children are going to be worse off than themselves. Whites are twice as likely than Hispanics to think that and 50 percent more likely than blacks. So it’s whites, your key supporters, who have the least faith and government and think the country is going to the dogs.
Mr. Trump, like it or not, you have become the spokesman for white people. For blacks and Hispanics that’s clearly what you are and that’s why they hate you. For whites, it’s not so clear, but they have a keen sense that’s something is wrong with their country, and they think you can do something about it.
Now I know you don’t see yourself as a spokesman for whites. I doubt you’ve ever thought very much about race. But you have healthy instincts, just like the people who support you. You’re willing to say unfashionable things about race, and about other things as well, despite all the PC propaganda.
White people love that.
I don’t mean to paint white people who support Trump with a broad brush.
My experience talking with Trump supporters at the few Trump rallies I’ve attended suggests are far richer and more complex reality.
In the new New Yorker, the wonderful writer, George Saunders, has a critical yet empathetic look at Who Are All These Trump Supporters? At the candidate’s rallies, a new understanding of America emerges.
Trump is wearing the red baseball cap, or not. From this distance, he is strangely handsome, well proportioned, puts you in mind of a sea captain: Alan Hale from “Gilligan’s Island,” say, had Hale been slimmer, richer, more self-confident. We are afforded a side view of a head of silver-yellow hair and a hawklike orange-red face, the cheeks of which, if stared at steadily enough, will seem, through some optical illusion, to glow orange-redder at moments when the crowd is especially pleased. If you’ve ever, watching “The Apprentice,” entertained fantasies of how you might fare in the boardroom (the Donald, recognizing your excellent qualities with his professional businessman’s acumen, does not fire you but, on the contrary, pulls you aside to assign you some important non-TV, real-world mission), you may, for a brief, embarrassing instant, as he scans the crowd, expect him to recognize you.
He is blessing us here in San Jose, California, with his celebrity, promising never to disappoint us, letting us in on the latest bit of inside-baseball campaign strategy: “Lyin’ Ted” is no longer to be Lyin’ Ted; henceforth he will be just “Ted.” Hillary, however, shall be “Lyin’ Crooked.” And, by the way, Hillary has to go to jail. The statute of limitations is five years, and if he gets elected in November, well . . . The crowd sends forth a coarse blood roar. “She’s guilty as hell,” he snarls.
He growls, rants, shouts, digresses, careens from shtick nugget to shtick nugget, rhapsodizes over past landslides, name-drops Ivanka, Melania, Mike Tyson, Newt Gingrich, Bobby Knight, Bill O’Reilly. His right shoulder thrusts out as he makes the pinched-finger mudra with downswinging arm. His trademark double-eye squint evokes that group of beanie-hatted street-tough Munchkin kids; you expect him to kick gruffly at an imaginary stone. In person, his autocratic streak is presentationally complicated by a Ralph Kramdenesque vulnerability. He’s a man who has just dropped a can opener into his wife’s freshly baked pie. He’s not about to start grovelling about it, and yet he’s sorry—but, come on, it was an accident. He’s sorry, he’s sorry, O.K., but do you expect him to say it? He’s a good guy. Anyway, he didn’t do it.
Once, Jack Benny, whose character was known for frugality and selfishness, got a huge laugh by glancing down at the baseball he was supposed to be first-pitching, pocketing it, and walking off the field. Trump, similarly, knows how well we know him from TV. He is who he is. So sue me, O.K.? I probably shouldn’t say this, but oops—just did. (Hillary’s attack ads? “So false. Ah, some of them aren’t that false, actually.”) It’s oddly riveting, watching someone take such pleasure in going so much farther out on thin ice than anyone else as famous would dare to go. His crowds are ever hopeful for the next thrilling rude swerve. “There could be no politics which gave warmth to one’s body until the country had recovered its imagination, its pioneer lust for the unexpected and incalculable,” Norman Mailer wrote in 1960.
The speeches themselves are nearly all empty assertion. Assertion and bragging. Assertion, bragging, and defensiveness. He is always boasting about the size of this crowd or that crowd, refuting some slight from someone who has treated him “very unfairly,” underscoring his sincerity via adjectival pile-on (he’s “going to appoint beautiful, incredible, unbelievable Supreme Court Justices”). He lies, bullies, menaces, dishes it out but can’t seem to take it, exhibits such a muddy understanding of certain American principles (the press is free, torture illegal, criticism and libel two different things) that he might be a seventeenth-century Austrian prince time-transported here to mess with us. Sometimes it seems that he truly does not give a shit, and you imagine his minders cringing backstage. Other times you imagine them bored, checking their phones, convinced that nothing will ever touch him. Increasingly, his wild veering seems to occur against his will, as if he were not the great, sly strategist we have taken him for but, rather, someone compelled by an inner music that sometimes produces good dancing and sometimes causes him to bring a bookshelf crashing down on an old Mexican lady. Get more, that inner music seems to be telling him. Get, finally, enough. Refute a lifetime of critics. Create a pile of unprecedented testimonials, attendance receipts, polling numbers, and pundit gasps that will, once and for all, prove—what?
Please read the rest.
Meanwhile, as all this was happening, Austin’s Vincent Harris, who has done social media for, among others, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Dan Patrick, was, fleetingly, apparently, doing social media for Donald Trump.
Psalm 107:1King James Version (KJV)
107 O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
The week after next, barring unlikely developments, Donald Trump will become the Republican nominee for president. Bill Clinton appears determined to do everything in his power to help give Trump a fighting chance against Hillary. But, if Trump doesn’t want to squander that long-shot opportunity, it might be a good idea for him to either hire Vincent Harris, or maybe just find an intern, to de-Nazify his Twitter memes before he clicks Tweet.