Morning Report: FOMC minutes slightly dovish 8/17/17

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2460.8 -6.5
Eurostoxx Index 378.5 -0.6
Oil (WTI) 46.6 -0.2
US dollar index 86.5 0.2
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.24%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103.09
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 103.97
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.88

Stocks are lower this morning after WalMart missed earnings. Bonds and MBS are up.

The FOMC minutes from the July meeting showed that some member are still worried about inflation being too low, while some are worried about overshooting the inflation target. “Many participants, however, saw some likelihood that inflation might remain below 2 percent for longer than they currently expected, and several indicated that the risks to the inflation outlook could be tilted to the downside. Participants agreed that a fall in longer-term inflation expectations would be undesirable, but they differed in their assessments of whether inflation expectations were well anchored. One participant pointed to the stability of a number of measures of inflation expectations in recent months, but a few others suggested that continuing low inflation expectations may have been a factor putting downward pressure on inflation or that inflation expectations might need to be bolstered in order to ensure their consistency with the Committee’s longer-term inflation objective.” This statement was taken as dovish and bonds rallied a few basis points on it. The rest of the minutes were uneventful as nothing much had changed economically from the June meeting. There were a few members who wanted to announce the change in balance sheet policy at this meeting but most wanted to wait. That probably means that we will get no hike and an announcement on balance sheet reduction at the September meeting. We didn’t see any reaction in the Fed Funds futures either, with December still a toss-up.

Initial Jobless Claims fell to 232k last week, which remains near historical lows. The last time we were at similar levels, the population was much smaller and there was a military draft going on.

Industrial Production rose 0.2% last month, while manufacturing production fell 0.1% Lower auto production drove the decline. Capacity Utilization was unchanged at 76.7%. There is still a lot of slack in manufacturing, which is why capital expenditures have been so low. Separately, the Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey increased.

Average home sizes grew in the aftermath of the housing boom, as only the luxury end of the sector was working. With Millennials not in a position to buy, aging boomers were the only game in town. From the bottom, average square footage increased from 2388 square feet to 2,622 square feet. However we are seeing this reverse as builders pivot to selling more starter homes. Average and median home size is still above the 2006 peak however.

Household debt increased in the second quarter to $12.84 trillion, which is up about 15% from the post-bubble trough. Mortgage balances increased, however new origination fell as higher interest rates took a bite out of refis. Auto loans increased, as incredibly easy financing is being used to sell cars these days, and credit card balances increased as well. 90 day delinquencies declined to 1.5% of all mortgage loans outstanding.

108 Responses

  1. http://www.weeklystandard.com/charlottesville-fallout-shows-that-many-americans-have-zero-desire-to-understand-others/article/2009329#.WZWimW2DPAI.twitter

    One of the most depressing lessons of the last two years is that a significant chunk of Americans has zero desire to understand each other. Sometimes this is rooted in ignorance. Sometimes it is rooted in a lack of common sense. And sometimes it is rooted in a lack of empathy. It is not a symptom of the right or of the left. It is not a symptom of a political movement at all. It is a symptom of a people terrified of being challenged, of not having all the answers to all of society’s ills, of the possibility of being wrong, of accepting vulnerability, of appearing weak.

    No, it is simply that the two sides cannot stand each other…

    Like

    • Time to separate.

      I’ve never met a person whom regretted their divorce.

      Like

    • “One of the most depressing lessons of the last two years is that a significant chunk of Americans has zero desire to understand each other.”

      I think this is true. It’s easy to feel it’s not, when you spend a lot of time reading material of people you don’t agree with, talking reasonably with them about politics or work, and so on. But in regards to the general populace (and an anecdotal survey of Internet forums and the Facebag . . . I mean Facebook … can easily demonstrate this) I’m pretty sure the author is correct. The vast majority of American’s (and perhaps people) have zero interest in understanding anything that varies at all from their particular set of beliefs. It’s a new Victorianism.

      Perhaps the KKK and neo-Nazis have some understanding of the people who disagree with them. Not much, I don’t think, given the stridency of their assertions of racial superiority, but tiny minorities sometimes have understanding, out of necessity, unavailable to dominant majorities.

      I don’t know if it’s “terrified of being challenged”, etc. Laziness seems a more likely explanation, and the efficiency of assuming you understand everybody else based on regurgitated memes over actual investigation cannot be denied. Assuming you already know everything you need to, even though you almost certainly do not, takes way less time than talking, investigating, reading multiple viewpoints, doing research, thinking, etc.

      While the “two sides” can’t stand each other, I don’t get a lot of evidence that are hating real people as opposed to their two-dimensional concepts of those people. Do WaPo writers or Antifa have some deep understanding of what animates conservatives in rural America? Do they care? I think the answer to both questions is obviously “no”.

      But the majority of people aren’t interested in compromise or getting along. We are instinctually tribal, and tribal competition is where all the dopamine is. Lizard brain for the win.

      Like

      • Also, I don’t think this is a lesson of “the last two years”. I think it’s always been broadly true, and the modern character of our tribalism was present when I was kid, from Nixon to Carter to (especially) Reagan. Didn’t meet a single bully in school who wanted to understand where I was coming from. 😉

        Like

    • “it is simply that the two sides cannot stand each other”

      Yes, they understand each other just fine.

      The conceit that this is all about “education” and “understanding” is a progressive one.

      Like

      • we all hate nazis. and that’s the extent of our similarities. we can make common cause with that. and that’s it.

        there’s history for it too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • “we all hate nazis. and that’s the extent of our similarities. we can make common cause with that. and that’s it. ”

          That’s not good enough for progressives. You have to sign on to the whole package or you aren’t fit to be in the club.

          This is why Trump still has a good shot at winning, even now.

          The progressives don’t realize the extent to which they are activating the previously indifferent opposition by forcing them to “pick a side”, especially since the issue they’ve chosen to use for that is taking down Confederate monuments.

          Not a jobs program or something similar – pure identity politics that’s quite easy to frame as anti-white.

          Liked by 1 person

        • “That’s not good enough for progressives. You have to sign on to the whole package or you aren’t fit to be in the club.”

          Certainly true of modern progressives.

          It ain’t WWII anymore.

          “This is why Trump still has a good shot at winning, even now.”

          Yup. Never has a president tried so hard to lose, and the opposition tried so hard to re-elect him.

          Like

        • No argument here. from where i’m standing, it’s just a different flavor of statist.

          Like

      • “Yes, they understand each other just fine.”

        I see little evidence of this amongst the general populace. I don’t believe for a second the Antifa understand the vast majority of Americans. Maybe they understand that Nazis are bad, but . . .

        More to the point, they don’t care. You aren’t going to exert any effort in communication or understanding when you don’t care. Tribal identity trumps everything.

        Like

  2. This is a perfect summation of a view of the Presidency that I completely oppose:

    “The leader of our country is called the president because he’s supposed to preside over our society. His job is to lead, to cajole, to scold, to correct our path, to lift up what is good about us and to absolutely and unequivocally and immediately condemn what is evil in us. And if he does not do that, if he does not preside over our society, then he is not a president.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2017/08/15/he-is-not-a-president-read-seth-meyerss-blistering-takedown-of-trumps-reaction-to-charlottesville/

    No, that’s not his job. It’s to preside over the executive branch, faithfully execute the laws of the United States and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

    The last thing I want is moral instruction from the President or any politician. Looking to them as moral paragons is a contributing factor to polarization, in that disagreeing with them politically becomes a sign of immorality as far as their supporters are concerned.

    Like

    • Amen, brother. That’s description of the presidency is wrong on every level.

      Yes, I would like Trump to be more civil, myself (personal preference in human interactions), less narcissistic, and better at communicating.

      I don’t want him condemning what is “evil” in me. Or “preside over society” like an emperor-king.

      “No, that’s not his job. It’s to preside over the executive branch, faithfully execute the laws of the United States and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

      If only there was some document somewhere that made that clear. That people could refer to, if they were confused.

      Like

  3. Footage of the demonstration appears to show Felarca repeatedly punching a member of the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white nationalist group described as ”a front for neo-Nazi sympathizers” by ABC 10. The taller man is holding up his hands while trying to get police officers to help. Other protesters drag the man to the ground before the police intervene.

    At her arraignment last week, Felarca told the court that the charges against her are false and should be dropped.

    “Standing up against fascism and the rise of Nazism and fascism in this country is not a crime,” she said. “We have the right to defend ourselves.”

    Mark, can you explain how this broad’s ideology and actions aren’t every bit as evil, malignant and potentially lethal as the idealology and (lack of initiation of the assault) actions of the man she assualted?

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_59949dece4b0d0d2cc83d266?section=us_queer-voices&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000054

    Like

    • I can. The woman in this case is either mentally ill or a sociopath. Also potentially a narcissist. The gaslighting is notable.

      ““Standing up against fascism and the rise of Nazism and fascism in this country is not a crime,” she said. “We have the right to defend ourselves.””

      I think the larger problem (and the slippery slope, here) is that when speech, or even existing, is something you can philosophically and emotionally equate with actual, physical violence (and your peers are all concurring), then it makes it acceptable for you to physically attack people for what they say. Or what you think they said.

      Or what you think they believe. Or might have said they believed in the past.

      Or whatever occurs to you, because once another personal holding repugnant beliefs becomes the same thing as them doing physical violence to you personally (allowing you to respond with actual physical violence with a clear conscious), multiple people are going to die. Those concerned for their physical safety should stay away from such clashes/demonstrations/townhall meetings.

      These folks are in the process of moral self-licensing-to-kill. They are granting themselves permission to be as destructive or violent as they want.

      Fortunately, in most cases, the police and the courts will not agree. In some of them they will, because this is the stupid future we live in now.

      Like

    • From ace:

      “Not kidding….@wolfblitzer just said the Barcelona attack is a “copycat” of the Charlottesville attack.”

      And the media wonder why nobody takes them seriously, and consider them essentially fake.

      Also good, from ace:

      “The police identify one of those responsible in the Barcelona attack: Driss Oukabir”

      So he’s either an Islamist, or an upcoming Star Wars character.

      Like

  4. Once again, I’m failing to see the difference in Antifa behavior versus neonzi behavior.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2017/08/17/jake-tapper-antifa-protesters-attacked-several-journalists/

    It’s only a matter of time before the bodies start piling up as a result of their “Direct Action.”

    Don’t forget, Stalin and Mao had constitutions, as did Hilter. That Democrats are not required to denounce these murderous thugs at every opportunity is proof that their outrage at so called right wing violence is entirely manufactured.

    There is no difference between these groups.

    Like

    • “There is no difference between these groups.”

      There are important superficial differences. And it is a superficial world.

      “Once again, I’m failing to see the difference in Antifa behavior versus neonzi behavior.”

      I see a difference. Once is sort of acknowledged by folks on the right, while one is pretty much completely ignored by folks on the left. That’s different.

      But we’re still talking about Fight Club.

      Like

    • “Once again, I’m failing to see the difference in Antifa behavior versus neonzi behavior.”

      That wasn’t your original goal post. It was this:

      “this broad’s ideology and actions”

      The actions are the same. The ideology and end goals are different. That does matter.

      Like

      • Disagree completely, her ideology is no different than the neonazi’s in that both want to supress the ideology and behavior of those that disagree with them via violence either from themselves or from the State.

        This seems pretty obvious, what about their ideology, suppression and elimination of disagreement, and behavior, suppression and elimination of disagreement through violence is different from each other?

        I’m not trying to be obtuse here, I really don’t understand the distinction you’re making. Aren’t they both after state control of thought and action?

        Like

        • That’s not the relevant difference. It’s to what end. Racial genocide or a foolish attempt to end racism.

          Like

        • So, you disagree that both Antifa and neonazi’s want to use violence and the State to suppress that which they disagree with?

          Like

        • jnc:

          Racial genocide or trying to end racism.

          You think antifa is trying to end racism?

          As an aside…absent a vocal opposition movement, which do you think is more likely to prove convincing to a large portion of the modern US population, and hence gain enough political power to impose authoritarianism on the nation:

          1) An ideology that openly claims racial superiority and openly seeks racial genocide, or

          2) An ideology that claims to be fighting for “freedom” and “inclusion” and against “hatred” but which in fact opposes the free exchange of both goods and ideas, and seeks to impose total ideological conformity?

          Like

        • No, I agree that their tactics are the same, but not the end goals.

          I think the Nazi’s are worse. I take them at their word about what they want to do.

          The Anti-fa want something more like Canada and Germany where you can be charged criminally for “hate speech” or ideally “racism”.

          Like

        • But they aren’t going to stop at criminalizing hate speech…They want Utopia….

          Liked by 1 person

        • Brent:

          But they aren’t going to stop at criminalizing hate speech…They want Utopia….

          On the plus side, though, at least they aren’t nazis.

          Like

        • On the plus side, though, at least they aren’t nazis.

          It would be better if they were, actually. Then the media would have greater clarity and accuracy as to their fundamental nature.

          Like

      • jnc:

        The ideology and end goals are different. That does matter.

        The only difference I see is that the authoritarianism of one has a racial element, while the authoritarianism of the other has an ideological element. And I am not sure why that matters. They are both authoritarians.

        Like

        • They also brand themselves very differently, and the response in the media to that branding is very different.

          Like

        • KW:

          They also brand themselves very differently, and the response in the media to that branding is very different.

          And I understand that the leader of one is right-handed, and the leader of the other is left-handed. So yeah, I was wrong. The two movements are totally different.

          Liked by 1 person

        • “The only difference I see is that the authoritarianism of one has a racial element, while the authoritarianism of the other has an ideological element.”

          One is about wiping people out. Literally. The other is “reeducation”.

          Like

        • Is it your belief that Antifa wouldn’t use violence and extermination to deal with those that resist “reducatiom”?

          Like

        • Yep.

          Edit: On the extermination part. No I don’t think they’ll do a cleansing to the level that the Nazi’s would and have done in the past.

          The Anti-fa want something more like Canada and Germany where you can be charged criminally for “hate speech” or ideally “racism”.

          Like

        • jnc:

          No I don’t think they’ll do a cleansing to the level that the Nazi’s would and have done in the past.

          Why not? Pol Pot wasn't motivated by a racial ideology, but he exterminated an awful lot of people, all in an effort at "re-education". And his ideology wasn't all that far from the extreme left's.

          Like

        • Ok, thanks for the clarification.

          Where I disagree is that a group that does not differentiate between, say, Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopolos and Richard Spencer, and are happy to use preemptive violence to silence all three is more interested in extermination of non-conformity. To me, the preemptive use of force to achieve some benign, limited expansion of speech limitation is the tell that speech control is the start and absolute conformity at all costs is the end.

          Like

        • The Anti-Fa aren’t the heirs to Pol Pot. They are mostly anarchists, not old school communists.

          I’m not viewing them as generic extreme leftists, but rather judging them on what they actually say they believe and how they act.

          They don’t go on about one party rule for example.

          Like

        • jnc:

          The Anti-Fa aren’t the heirs to Pol Pot.

          The point isn’t that they are the heirs to Pol Pot. The point is that your distinction between those who are racially motivated and those who are ideologically motivated isn’t much of one if the concern is some kind of mass killing.

          I tell you what…given the ideology of the mainstream left in the US, the direction that it is going, and the way in which it is already abusing the power it does hold in order to subjugate people who don’t toe the progressive line, I think the radical left – of which anti-fa is a part, despite those who label themselves simply “anarchists” – poses a much, much bigger danger to the nation than does whatever small cadre of neo-nazis and Klansmen might exist. So I’m not going to break out the fainting couch simply because Trump doesn’t call out David Duke as some kind of uniquely sinister danger to the nation, to the exclusion of anything the left has to offer.

          Like

        • the radical left – of which anti-fa is a part, despite those who label themselves simply “anarchists” – poses a much, much bigger danger to the nation than does whatever small cadre of neo-nazis and Klansmen might exist. So I’m not going to break out the fainting couch simply because Trump doesn’t call out David Duke as some kind of uniquely sinister danger to the nation, to the exclusion of anything the left has to offer.

          I concur that the American Nazis and Klansmen are primarily curiosity, and there are only as many folks interested in them as there are due to the attention the left and the MSM gives them. They are historical footnotes.

          If the media gave as much attention and hand-wringing over to the Whigs, we’d have a few thousand men and women marching around statues of Henry Clay, declaring their opposition to the Masons and imperialism in the White house. A lot of this is created by the sheer attention given to them.

          Some of this can be said about antifa, too. Their ranks swell because of the attention they get, and what the media “advertising” promises them: they’ll be heros and get to beat the crap out of Nazis, set cars on fire, and loot a Starbucks. It’s like one of those Marine recruitment ads for millennials.

          I think the antifa thing will peter out. It will last longer than Occupy Wallstreet, but here it’s kind of dependent on Trump as a bogeyman. If that goes away, what’s the point?

          But I think it’s a very good idea to keep an eye on all the politicians and media figures that want to give antifa a pass for violent tactics. I think it will be hard for them to ignore a death, or multiple deaths, that can be attributed to antifa. They will eventually have to change their tune on the peaceful resistance to the evil fascism of ideas we may not agree with.

          Also, as concerning (or more concerning) than antifa is the general, broad effort on the left to seriously expand the definition of Nazi and White Nationalist to encompass every human being to the right of them. Steve Bannon is not Richard Spencer. Period. Sebastian Gorka–there’s no evidence he’s a Nazi, and there are elected politicians saying he’s a proven Nazi, and the media regurgitates his “Nazi affiliations” without a shred of evidence . . . it’s all part of making “Everybody I Don’t Like Is Hitler” into a totally real thing for them.

          There is a difference between, say, the people who wanted to preserve the Robert E. Lee statue for local heritage or historicity, and the Nazis that showed up. A very large difference. A lot of people barely left-of-center are trying to blur that gap, and make everybody who doesn’t agree with them on almost everything into a Nazi.

          Which is not new, I guess, but seems to be gaining traction.

          Like

        • KW:

          Their ranks swell because of the attention they get…

          I think the fact that Mark was unaware of its existence until 2 days ago is a good indication of how much attention they actually get.

          I think the antifa thing will peter out.

          The fact that it has existed for more than a decade in Europe, and it has actually expanded it ranks and its reach in that time, makes me think the exact opposite.

          Also, as concerning (or more concerning) than antifa is the general, broad effort on the left to seriously expand the definition of Nazi and White Nationalist to encompass every human being to the right of them.

          I very much agree, but it isn’t limited to this, and this corruption of concepts and language is one of the things that makes proponents of violence like antifa even more dangerous. Antifa justifies its violence on the grounds that it is simply using it in defense of the good, and against those who espouse evil, like racists and homophobes. But who qualifies as a racist and a homophobe? According to even the mainstream left people who object to same sex “marriages” are “homophobes”, and people who oppose racial movements like BLM are “racists”. If mainstream leftists are happy to financially destroy a Christian business owner simply because he declines to cater a SSM, what is the radical left going to be willing to do to such a “homophobe”. The academic left has made great efforts, and unfortunately great strides, towards equating metaphorical “harm” with actual, physical harm, and equating “harmful” words with actual, physical violence. How long before antifa, in its justification of violence to oppose violence, start using violence against people for their spoken or written “violence” against the favored victim group?

          And this is why jnc’s sanguine attutude towards the “goals” of antifa is, to me, entirely misplaced. This is a genuine and real threat, far bigger than that posed by Richard Spencer and a bunch of neo-nazi skinheads.

          Liked by 1 person

        • It was the Nazis, etc, I was concerned about in terms of the attention they are getting. I think it ultimately empowers them instead of diminishing them. Which is a bad thing.

          I agree that antifa presents the larger real danger, primarily because they are getting a pass and encouragement from much of the media and D.C. Politicians. Their weakness will be, I think, that they can’t help but eat themselves. They already managed to assault two reporters in Charlottesville. And then defend their assaults. Like douchebags. They are only going to get a pass in the press for so long. I think they’ll turn on the wrong people or stretch their purity tests too far.

          These are people highly dependent on infrastructure. Yet the assault on reporters (who clearly would not have been doing Nazi things) suggest they are unfocused and reactive and sloppy. They are going to bite the hands that feed them one too many times.

          One of them may also get the bright idea to drive a car into a crowd of suspected Nazis, which will not help the antifa cause.

          Put another way, these would be a Timothy McVeigh’s people in a lot of ways. Their apologists may not see that, but I suspect they will at some point.

          Like

      • The ideology (espoused) is unquestionably different, although the ideology espoused individually by some of the antifa folks . . . not so much.

        The end goals (espoused) are different, but the practical upshot is suppression and elimination of undesirable identity groups. The best thing you can say about antifa is that, should they gain significant power (unlikely) that you could pretend to be a fellow traveler and make a convincing case, and possibly survive in the new antifa utopia of thoughtcrime. Whereas in Nazi utopia, you can’t fake skin color. Not impossible to fake religion, though.

        Although there’s a possibility that a pure streak of antifa could scour Internet archives and Facebook and blogs for thoughtcrime posts. So it might be about as hard to live in The US of Antifa as it would be to live in the United State of AmeriKKKa.

        Fortunately, I think either thing is highly unlikely, and as long as we avoid locations where Nazis and Antifa are expected to get together and do their Fight Club thing, we should be safe.

        Like

  5. You knew this was coming…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yeah. Give them more press coverage. That will totally convince them to change their mind.

      Like

    • “Its conception of this right is unduly narrow.”

      Technically, the argument should be that their view is unduly broad, in that it protects people who are on the “wrong side”.

      The ACLU itself is pointing out that the police apparently wanted things to escalate so that the rally could be shut down. They are at odds with the Mayor and Governor in Virginia.

      “It is the responsibility of law enforcement to ensure safety of both protesters and counter-protesters. The policing on Saturday was not effective in preventing violence. I was there and brought concerns directly to the secretary of public safety and the head of the Virginia State Police about the way that the barricades in the park limiting access by the arriving demonstrators and the lack of any physical separation of the protesters and counter-protesters on the street were contributing to the potential of violence. They did not respond. In fact, law enforcement was standing passively by, seeming to be waiting for violence to take place, so that they would have grounds to declare an emergency, declare an ‘unlawful assembly’ and clear the area.”

      https://acluva.org/20108/aclu-of-virginia-response-to-governors-allegations-that-aclu-is-responsible-for-violence-in-charlottesville/

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Technically, the argument should be that their view is unduly broad, in that it protects people who are on the “wrong side”.”

        Now I got to go read the article to see what the rationale for saying their conception was narrow was.

        Like

    • After the A.C.L.U. was excoriated for its stance, it responded that “preventing the government from controlling speech is absolutely necessary to the promotion of equality.” … While admirable in theory, this approach implies that the country is on a level playing field, that at some point it overcame its history of racial discrimination to achieve a real democracy, the cornerstone of which is freedom of expression.

      How in the world does the ACLU’s approach imply that?

      Most obviously, the power of speech remains proportional to wealth in this country, despite the growth of social media.

      Is the author implying that Charlottesville happened because of all those wealthy Nazis out there? Or just getting a dig in on Citizens United.

      Left-wing academics across the country face this kind of speech suppression,

      … of people disagreeing with you saying so, and sometimes being a$$holes about it?

      Ah, I see what she’s getting at. It’s too narrow because it only considers speech.

      The A.C.L.U. needs a more contextual, creative advocacy when it comes to how it defends the freedom of speech. The group should imagine a holistic picture of how speech rights are under attack right now, not focus on only First Amendment case law. It must research how new threats to speech are connected to one another and to right-wing power.

      We need to realize that everyone has free speech, but some people’s speech should be freer than others.

      Like

    • we’re so screwed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Glenn Greenwald had the best rebuttal to this line of argument:

      “The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville
      Glenn Greenwald

      August 13 2017, 10:37 a.m.

      Beyond that, the contradiction embedded in this anti-free speech advocacy is so glaring. For many of those attacking the ACLU here, it is a staple of their worldview that the U.S. is a racist and fascist country and that those who control the government are right-wing authoritarians. There is substantial validity to that view.

      Why, then, would people who believe that simultaneously want to vest in these same fascism-supporting authorities the power to ban and outlaw ideas they dislike? Why would you possibly think that the List of Prohibited Ideas will end up including the views you hate rather than the views you support? Most levers of state power are now controlled by the Republican Party, while many Democrats have also advocated the criminalization of left-wing views. Why would you trust those officials to suppress free speech in ways that you find just and noble, rather than oppressive?”

      https://theintercept.com/2017/08/13/the-misguided-attacks-on-aclu-for-defending-neo-nazis-free-speech-rights-in-charlottesville/

      Yes, because giving Jeff Sessions and Trump the power to decide what is hate speech will work out so well for the left.

      Like

      • Most levers of state power are now controlled by the Republican Party

        The problem is, they think this is just this close to totally changing. The fact that they’ve felt this way for 30 years and it has been going in the opposite direction not withstanding.

        They stand a decent chance of making progress in DC. 2018 could be okay for them, 2020 might see them unseating Trump. These are not guaranteed, at all, but distinct possibilities. It’s not irrational to consider those possibilities. Of course, they also tend to think that once they make progress in DC, they will never lose it. Which, historically, is never the case.

        Where I suspect they are over-optimistic is the states. I just don’t think they will make significant progress in the states over the next decade or two. They may lose even more ground. I have seen no evidence that the Democrats have found any way to fight the GOP’s ground game at the state level. And nothing I’ve seen recently suggested they are going to do anything but get worse at it.

        They seem to be less and less inclined to actually understand, or concern themselves, with what works at the state and local levels. All politics may not be local, but the mayor and the governor and the state legislature sure is.

        Like

      • Re answer Greenwald won’t say is that they don’t really believe the US is a bastion of right wing hate, they’re LARPing.

        Like

      • jnc:

        Yes, because giving Jeff Sessions and Trump the power to decide what is hate speech will work out so well for the left.

        Greenwald is right that the left is being intellectually contradictory, but really what else is new? As a practical matter, however, it is genius, because the left actually knows that it’s portrayal of the right as a threat to free speech is false. So giving Jeff Sessions (I won’t vouch for Trump) the power to decide what is hate speech will work out just fine for the left. They are not really worried that he’s gong to shut them down, and when the left manages to get power, they will be in a position to impose the restrictions they want.

        BTW, as right as Greenwald is about the internal contradiction, this is absurd.

        For many of those attacking the ACLU here, it is a staple of their worldview that the U.S. is a racist and fascist country and that those who control the government are right-wing authoritarians. There is substantial validity to that view.

        No there isn’t. The closest thing we have to fascism in this country are the left-wing authoritarians.

        Like

  6. Antifa: Fighting Nazis without a permit!

    http://dailycaller.com/2017/08/16/major-figures-work-to-mainstream-violent-antifa-protesters/

    Because what is 19 (and more) injured and one dead, when you can make a meme romanticizing violent thugs?

    Trump’s response was weak, but at least he didn’t frickin’ try to lionize the Nazis and compare them to the Greatest Generation.

    PS: I realize I’ve been corked on this, but wanted to link to the Daily Caller bit with the tweets and whatnot.

    Like

  7. On the removal of the Confederate monuments, it’s interesting how both extremes feel psychologically beleaguered.

    The left/Resistance still is reacting to the victory of Trump and the overall state of Republican control of the various levels of government. Fights over symbols like this are part of their “resistance” strategy to basically make the point that they are still here, aren’t going away, and can actually do something.

    The right and especially the alt-right protesters, are reacting to the near total control of the progressives of the media/culture landscape and the decision to “spike the ball” on the Civil War, 150 years after the fact.

    There have been observations that the statutes are “participation trophies” for the side that actually lost the war, and that’s more true than the people making them may actually realize. The iconography was part of the bargain/compromise that ended Reconstruction and facilitated the nation moving past the Civil War along with things like the Spanish American War. Of course, this came at the expense of black people and their civil rights for the subsequent 50 – 100 years and to some extent is still going, but it’s not the statues themselves that cause that.

    The progressives re-litigate those symbolic settlements at their peril, especially at this particular historic moment. The idea that absent the monuments this all goes away as opposed to getting worse is badly mistaken. How big of a body count is it worth to get rid of the statutes?

    In the end, I believe they are simply going to activate more opposition to themselves that was previously content to sit on the sidelines and focus on going to work, raising the kids, and drinking a beer or two on the weekend.

    Force people to pick a side, and you may not like which side they pick, especially when the basis is identity. They’ve given Trump a great issue to deflect from his lack of achievements while in office.

    I’m reminded of what is probably the best piece Vox ever put up:

    “To beat Trump, what his opponents need to do is practice ordinary humdrum politics. Populists in office thrive on a circus-like atmosphere that casts the populist leader as persecuted by media and political elites who are obsessed with his uncouth behavior while he is busy doing the people’s work. To beat Trump, progressives will need to do as much as they can to get American politics out of reality show mode.”

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/30/13767174/case-for-normalizing-trump

    This is the exact opposite of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “but it’s not the statues themselves that cause that”

      This seems obvious. So it should seem obvious that there are other areas these folks could focus their time and attention. But toiling away on policy papers or volunteering for election campaigns don’t let you punch anybody, or get in front of the TV cameras.

      Like

    • “How big of a body count is it worth to get rid of the statutes?”

      In the way that, for the left, any amount of money should be spent “if it saves just one life”, I think any amount of lives can be spent if it defeats just one racist.

      Like

    • jnc:

      The idea that absent the monuments this all goes away as opposed to getting worse is badly mistaken.

      I totally agree with this.

      The questions I would ask any serious person (as opposed to antifa types) who thinks these monuments should be taken down is this: Since the erection of these monuments, has the number of people who have been inspired by the ideas to which you object (and which they ostensibly represent) grown, or has it shrunk? Do you honestly believe that the existence of these statues are inspiring people anew to racist beliefs?
      If you drive into a small town that has a statue of Robert E Lee on the local common, do you really believe that most people in the town are stone cold racists who long for the days of slavery? Is it not possible for people to admire Robert E. Lee despite thinking that slavery was a moral atrocity and rightly abolished?

      Like

      • I wouldn’t support putting them up today or erecting new ones, but I don’t think it’s worth it from a cost-benefit standpoint to take them down now.

        It is interesting to watch Democratic politicians flip flop on this like they do everything else when the wind shifts with their base. It’s why people know that they can’t be trusted on things like gun control. One bad headline is all it takes to ditch “long held principles”.

        Like

      • @scottc1: “No I don’t think they’ll do a cleansing to the level that the Nazi’s would and have done in the past.”

        Ultimately this is about them being offended. Like when Bush’s atty general draped the naked statues? It’s the new nudity for the new Victorian prudes.

        In some sense, I get the impulse. I’m just not sure what happened to the normally kind of slow: “look, guys, this isn’t cool any more. Let’s put this in storage, or in the museum.”

        In most cases. I have no idea how we still have Aunt Jemima as a product.

        https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/04/new-racism-museum-reveals-the-ugly-truth-behind-aunt-jemima/256185/

        But do you get a sense that any people in this fray are about rationally achieving quantifiable goals, or making measurable progress towards some concrete standard? I don’t.

        Like

      • “Is it not possible for people to admire Robert E. Lee despite thinking that slavery was a moral atrocity and rightly abolished?”

        It is, but they usually go further and come up with some convoluted argument about how the war wasn’t about slavery and Lee wasn’t really fighting on it’s behalf.

        Reminds me more and more of the people who claim ISIS has nothing to do with Islam.

        Like

        • There is not a rational argument to be made that the Civil War was not about slavery. Certainly, it was about states rights–specifically on the issue of slavery. It was a cold war long before it was hot, and that was always over the issue of slavery: will it be banned in new states formed from the territories? Will fugitive slaves in free states be returned to their owners in slave states by the federal government? Etc.

          I’m sure to many in the south, it was about a great many things. Many of those who fought and agitated for war did not own slaves and would never own slaves, so for them it was ultimately an abstract principal of self-determination (which included the principal of the right to own other human beings, although they did not and never would). But it was ultimately all about slavery, and there’s no good historical argument to say that it wasn’t.

          Like

  8. Columbus day and Chief Wahoo are part of white supremacy…

    Like

  9. I think Glenn Greenwald is right here.

    “Glenn Greenwald‏Verified account @ggreenwald Aug 15
    Replying to @ggreenwald

    Responses to Charlottesville attack have perfectly tracked standard responses to Al Qaeda/ISIS attacks, w/some of the players scrambled.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Two days ago I had no idea what “antifa” was. I have now read about them including their own shrill bleating and web site.

    They are a nasty intentioned group, anti-free speech, and think violence is justified. I think that it is appropriate to call attention to their embrace of violence and it should not be up to the ACLU to carry that ball alone.

    The media and elected Democrats should be able to say they oppose white supremacists and neo-Nazis and the KKK but that anti-fa’s calls to violence put them on the same level as those they are opposing, and that those tactics are dangerous to liberty no matter who espouses them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Concur.

      And I think the Nazis and the KKK are odious and evil, but have been so reduced as I wouldn’t normally worry about them. Except I am now worried that the antifa folks and their sympathizers are going to swell their ranks. Potentially.

      Crossing my fingers. Hope it doesn’t happen. But I really don’t think the antifa are doing the anti-Nazi, anti-white-nationalist movement any favors. If American Nazis become a serious problem, I’m pretty sure we’ll have antifa to thank. And the media, and DC politicians, for treating them seriously and as something intimidating, to be scared of, and worth talking about for hours and hours and hours.

      That just feels like a really bad idea, to me.

      For me, I’m going to stay clear of any location where antifa and Nazis are planning to protest each other.

      Like

  11. Looks like their donations dried up.

    Like

  12. Open Blogger at Ace on Charlottesville and our drama culture:

    http://acecomments.mu.nu/?post=371177

    Here’s what these emotionally driven people are missing. Literally nothing has to be done to stop Nazis in America except to ignore them. They are a marginalized and hated group. They have no money, no institutional backing, no power and no message capable of winning converts. People aren’t going to decide that they want to be Nazis because they march down a few streets yelling slogans.

    Those on the left have convinced themselves that they’re “fighting hate.” They’re doing nothing of the sort. What they’re doing is empowering a group that would otherwise be insignificant to anyone’s everyday life had they not had their sense of relevancy affirmed by the attention that they receive.

    This need for drama has become pathological on the left, including some even using their children as an excuse for their hysterical overreactions. “What am I supposed to tell my children when they see this kind of hate?” they lament self righteously as they drag their kids into their unnecessary, self-created drama.

    Good stuff. There’s pretty much nothing in that piece I disagree with.

    Like

    • “This need for drama has become pathological on the left”

      They all feel inadequate for having missed the real Civil Rights movement, which was the galvanizing event in progressive mythology and the one they keep using as a frame of reference. So they keep trying to recreate it.

      There’s a similar phenomenon on the right with the Reagan hagiography. Republicans need to move past Reagan and realize that things are the same as they were in 1979.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The post is dead on.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. The ridiculous campaign by virtually every media outlet, every Democrat and far too many squishy Republicans to label Trump some kind of racist and Nazi sympathizer is beginning to have the stink of an orchestrated smear

    This is where my brain goes, too.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/08/charlottesville_and_its_aftermath_what_if_it_was_a_setup.html

    What if Signer and McAuliffe, in conjunction with Antifa and other Soros-funded groups like Black Lives Matter, planned and orchestrated what happened in Charlottesville and meant for events to unfold roughly as they did? If they did, it was icing on their sick, immoral cake. If this was all part of a plan, one would hope those behind it suffer for their part in and responsibility for the tragic death of a young woman, Heather Heyer. The “founder” of Unite The Right, Jason Kessler, was an activist with Occupy Wall Street and Obama supporter.

    More on Kessler from ZeroHedge:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-14/report-‘unite-right’-organizer-jason-kessler-was-occupy-movement-obama-supporter-8-m

    I’m not sure his conversion of Occupy Wall Streeter/Obama Supporter to “white nationalist” is credible.

    There’s a lot of money out there for a capable, professional provocateur to work to torpedo Trump and the right.

    There is speculation he is a Soros plant.

    http://www.trunews.com/article/jason-kessler-white-supremacist-or-soros-plant

    Like

    • This whole thing is a great way for Trump to remind his base that he’s on their side against those who consider them deplorables, and defect from any concerns they may have about his record so far.

      He’s an idiot, but he’s still their idiot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I seriously think the MSM and the Democrats and the left are way-overestimating the buyer’s remorse on the part of Trump voters. Indeed, I think they (the Trump voters) might actually be suffering some buyer’s remorse, if the left wasn’t constantly making them say: “Well, it could be worse.”

        There’s this sense (and they keep feeding it to each other) that the country is horrified by Trump and, the in privacy of the voting booth, would totally take it back. I’m just not sure that’s true.

        Like

  14. Not to worry. I was assured by folks on PL yesterday that the idea of people trying to take down statues of Jefferson and Washington in DC (and elsewhere) is a strawman, slippery slope argument by conservatives and other racists, and nothing could be further from the truth. Just another attempt to mislead and distract from the real, important issue at hand.

    http://www.lifezette.com/polizette/begins-democratic-strategist-calls-statues-washington-come/

    “I don’t care if it’s a George Washington statue or a Thomas Jefferson statue, or a Robert E. Lee statue,” commentator Angela Rye said on CNN. “They all need to come down.”

    Like

    • As yellowjacket so openly minded said, if there’s a non-bigoted reason for [keeping the statues] I haven’t heard it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yellowjacket also told me that talking about pulling down statues of Washington and Jefferson was a slippery slope strawman.

        That seems unlikely absent evidence to the contrary, and now there is obvious evidence to the contrary, exactly one day later. Although there was already evidence, as at the academic level there have been arguments about removing or qualifying references to Jefferson and Washington for awhile now.

        Like

    • I appreciate her honesty and intellectual consistency.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Here’s former Senator Russ Feingold calling half of all Americans nazis.

    Russ. Fucking. Feingold.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/19/republican-party-white-supremacists-charlottesville?CMP=edit_2221

    Guess it’s open season in registered Republicans. Protect yourself accordingly.

    Liked by 1 person

Be kind, show respect, and all will be right with the world.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: