Sending A (Hateful) Message

The New York Times recently reported on yet another outrage perpetrated by our persistently outrageous administration; the refusal to sign on to a global “call to action” addressing online hate. The call to action came in the aftermath of the horrific slaughter of worshippers in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The White House on Wednesday announced it would not sign the Christchurch call to action, an informal international pact among France’s and New Zealand’s leaders and social media platforms to combat online extremism.

The call to actionis a broad statement of intent, rather than a detailed policy proposal. It urges nations and private tech companies to address terrorist content online. Specifically it urges signers to “ensure its efficient and fast removal and to prevent the use of live-streaming as a tool for broadcasting terrorist attack.” The White House refused to sign the accord on the ground that it violated constitutional free-speech protections.

Anyone who believes that this administration gives a rat’s patootie about freedom of speech should check into a mental hospital without delay.

Of course, in its announcement that the U.S. would not be signing on, the nature of those Free Speech “concerns” was not addressed. Nor could they be, since the “Call” wasn’t a legal decree. It was and is merely a non-binding pledge, lacking any provisions for enforcement or even suggestions for regulations. It was– and is–simply an official acknowledgment of a growing problem that has been exacerbated by the total lack of internet regulation. As the Times article pointed out,

Without legally binding mechanisms or strict policy enforcements, the stakes of signing are low. So the act of not signing sends a strong message and cheapens the free-speech protections the administration claims to hold dear, using the First Amendment as a political tool and an excuse for inaction.

Trump’s sudden solicitude for the First Amendment reminded me of Nat Hentoff’s 1992 book, “Free Speech for Me but Not for Thee.”

The administration’s trepidation at intervening in the content moderation processes of social media platforms is also wildly inconsistent with the president’s own behavior on tech-platform oversight. For months, Mr. Trump has used his Twitter feed to rail against perceived social media censorship of conservatives and threatened to intervene.

Last August, he accused Googleof “suppressing” conservative voices and “hiding information and news that is good” about him after seeing an infographic on cable news from a “not scientific” study. In April, the president met with Twitter’s C.E.O., Jack Dorsey, where he derailed a conversation on public health to complain about losing followers of his personal Twitter account. Mr. Trump hinted at intervening in tech-platform moderation as recently as this month after Facebook banned a number of pro-Trump media figures for “extremism.” His response on Twitter: “We are monitoring and watching, closely!!”

As if to make its priorities regarding online freedom even clearer, just hours after declining to sign the Christchurch call, the White House announced an online tool for reporting tech-platform bias. “No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump,” it said.

Trump’a free-speech solicitude is limited to right-wingers and racists.

If there was ever any doubt that Trump’s appeal has always been grounded in bigotry, misogyny and white nationalism, we can add his refusal to sign the “Call” to the mountain of evidence that already exists.

There is a reason David Duke and his ilk claim Trump as one of their own.  For confirmation, you need only read the report in the most recent issue of the Atlantic: “An oral history of Donald Trump’s Bigotry.” It’s a devastating”in his own words” documentation of the life-long bigotry of a man whose only claim to superiority is dependent upon inherited money and skin color.

Thanks to our antiquated and undemocratic Electoral College, we are saddled with a President who repeatedly tells the world that America is now on the side of hatred and white nationalism. Trump’s “Muslim ban,” his ridiculous “wall,” his administration’s appallingly inhumane treatment of would-be refugees at our southern (but not our northern) border, his defense of the “very fine” people among the Charlottesville neo-Nazis, his disdain for “shithole” countries, his move to deny transgender individuals the right to serve in the armed forces….the examples go on and on.

In 2020, if the electorate doesn’t massively repudiate this repulsive, reptilian man and his nest of vipers and idiots, we are no longer the (imperfect but aspirational)  America so many of us thought we were.

The 2020 election will also send a message–it will tell us just what percentage of our neighbors share Trump’s ignorant and hateful attitudes– just how many are willing to vote for a sub-human incompetent because he hates and fears the same people they do.


  1. The Weather Lord is wreaking His wrath in the Plains States this morning while the careless are abed. It’s useless to pray they will change their ways so convinced they are of their righteous rectitude.
    Awake “Christians”!

  2. OMG May 23, 2019 at 6:13 am

    The Weather Lord is wreaking His wrath in the Plains States this morning while the careless are abed. It’s useless to pray they will change their ways so convinced they are, following Trump’s and Pence’s lead, of their righteous rectitude.

    Awake “Christians”!

  3. Sheila ,I don’t want to be a globalist,nor a Muslim. You liberals cant destroy America fast enough. Look to history, and try not to repeat it. Actually, you should stop blogging. There are too many stupid people you could contaminate.

  4. Trump’s hateful messages are sent via all forms of social media and his live speeches which are repeated hourly (or less) 24/7/365. He will not agree to or sign any document to monitor or limit spewing his own hate and lies. His bogus “thoughts and prayers” the America’s hundreds of dead in school, places of worship, entertainment sites and on our streets have been meaningless. I’m waiting today to see if he pardons Linde for supporting the Taliban when he is released from the federal prison in Terre Haute. Will Linde’s actions and messages be monitored (or spied on as Trump considers it), or will he again leave the country? Maybe Trump has a place for him in his administration.

    “The 2020 election will also send a message–it will tell us just what percentage of our neighbors share Trump’s ignorant and hateful attitudes– just how many are willing to vote for a sub-human incompetent because he hates and fears the same people they do.”

    The state level elections this November will send a preliminary message to the nation; will it be a forewarning of a continuation of the status quo or a glimmer of hope for better things to come in 2020? November seems too far away to make a guess at the outcome.

  5. This admin is scary. It figures someone like Dan would post with his ignorant, head up his backside, view. That the comment remains should show him how out of touch he is.

  6. With Trump, it is more than ideology. He wants the ability to use “hate” speech to spread bigotry to solidify and expand his base and to destroy any checks and balances restraining his ability to use government for his own selfish purpose to enhance is ego and his wealth. Trump is a threat to our liberal, representative democracy. He has been working overtime since January 20, 2017, destroying all the norms and guardrails of liberal democracy. If, in 2020, he wins a second term and the Senate and wins back the House, our liberal democracy is seriously at risk. Never in my previous 71 years, did I think I would have to worry about the resilience of democracy in the United States of America.

  7. “…repulsive, reptilian man and his nest of vipers and idiots…”
    Thanks for that description.
    Such a great description of the Trump Administration

  8. The “oral history” in The Atlantic had quotes from 40 people who have dealt with Trump in one way or another (such as the Central Park Five, he thought should be executed). The two white supremacists were the only ones whose comments were neutral. Every other one was negative.

  9. No one is asking Dan to be a Muslim. Globalist? Well, I think we are beyond thinking the nations of the world are not interconnected, especially economically. I am not sure what someone like Dan means by globalist or looking at history. When I look at history, I fear a fascist dictatorial regime who wants us all to be Evangelicals.

  10. Let’s be clear about what the refusal to sign this document actually says about us. We are telling the world that we’d like to see more live-streaming of massacres and that we’re okay with live streaming be-headings. Oliver Wendell Holmes must be spinning in his grave. He thought it was beyond the limits of Constitutionally protected free speech to yell fire in a crowded theater. Now we can live stream a firebombing of a crowded theater.

    Money is speech and corporations are people, so everything gets devalued, especially life.

  11. I’m not going to repeat all of the colorful adjectives you used to describe the President and those who support him, but yes, they are indeed hateful and beyond the pale.

    One could have written a similar screed 3 years ago, calling the former President a nigger, swinging from a tree and other horrendous descriptors. You are no better than all of these so-called white male supremacist (s) you repeatedly ascribe as responsible for all of our current national woes .
    You’ve sunk to a new low…and the hypocrisy and irony are glaring

  12. Dan,

    You say Sheila should stop blogging. Isn’t that trying to restrict free speech and defy the First Amendment. History shows that LIBERALS actually enhance societies while so-called conservatives (backward-thinkers) tend to destroy them for the sake of their “me first” attitudes.

    The Trump administration doesn’t sign on to these things because the domestic terrorists are HIS people. He expects them to defend him when it’s time for him to go to prison or, at least, be voted out of office. You know, the coming “coup” of 2020 will bring these monsters out of the closet to defend their master monster in the White House.

  13. As is so often the case, Trump seems to ask himself, “What is the most odious thing I can do or say under the circumstances?”, and then respond accordingly. He has an astoundingly good record at finding just what he’s looking for. It’s my contention that he is criminally insane, because one of the characteristics of that subgroup of miscreants is their total lack of awareness that they are acting in indictable ways. He has gotten away with it for so long that he has no doubt about achieving a perfect lifetime record.

    After informing Pelosi and Schumer that they have no business investigating him and that he will cripple the government for a year and a half if they don’t cease and desist, he now faces exposure of his financial records. Will they spell his political demise or simply document his criminality?

    Stand clear of the hundreds of gallons of venom he will spew in desperation during the election process. If he doesn’t win in 2020, he will go to jail where, one can hope, he will be a victim of an untold number of would-be business associates whose lives he has ruined, not to mention his previous personal attorneys.

  14. Today I read in the Guardian: Trump’s former secretary of state Rex Tillerson told a Congressional committee this week that Vladimir Putin out-prepared Donald Trump during their 2017 meeting in Germany.

    Trump appointed Tillerson to one of the most senior positions in American government and in response to the report tweeted that Tillerson was “a man who is ‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State.”

    It was of course President Agent Orange who selected Tillerson to be SOS. Now President Agent Orange acts with his normal Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) by name calling Tillerson. The norm of President Agent Orange name calling and disparaging is now no longer shocking and the Trumpters view this as a strength, rather than a limited intellect.

    Polite fact based disagreement has given way to crude insults, which keeps President Agent Orange’s followers cheering like a bunch of drunken frat rats.

  15. Trump has now told us that he will not come to work if he and his are under investigation, so like any other employee (and aside from his divers other transgressions), we should fire him for not working. He is not the boss; we are. I have in years past quit many jobs, but I always left the premises when I quit. He should leave the premises as he is not working anymore since, with his destruction of the underlying employment agreement, he is arguably a trespasser. He should go home and leave the debris to President Pence as we resume our trek back to the cave.

  16. Pelosi’s press conference today rang so many bells…..Trump’s head must be ringing too. My favorite was her calling on Trump’s family and associates to conduct an intervention. That is a very polite way of saying the orange hairball is INSANE. Go, Nancy. You are now, officially, his nemesis.

    How’s that committing to do no governing work for you, Dan?

  17. Nancy’s suggestion that Trump’s family do an intervention is a good one and characteristically done in order to prevent the patient from doing harm to himself, but what about an “intervention” under the 25th Amendment for the rest of us? Trump, always unhinged, has lately (though still lucid) become incoherent due to, I think, the pressure of seeing his firewalls collapse with one adverse court finding after another, and the pressure is going to become more acute as congressional committees look over his tax returns, his money laundering, etc. I think he would resign but for the fact that he has criminal indictments waiting for him when he walks out the door. I also think he is not going to survive, politically speaking, and that Tom Perez should prepare for a Jeb, a Marco, a Ted, or some other usual suspect (forget Pence) who will run on the libertarian, uh, Republican ticket. Time will tell.

  18. I note that the right to free speech is amoral which is why I make the effort to practice Buddhist teachings on right speech — is it thoughtful, honest, intelligent, necessary and kind? Of course, the truth is not always kind especially when speaking truth to power. I like what Mayor Pete said on Fox News about Trump’s tweets. I’ve often wished the POTUS would get a bad case of laryngitis but then he’d probably practice really ugly speech on twitter.

  19. Gerald; I also like Nancy’s recommendation of an intervention but doubt that any of his family, administration or staff understand the term…or the need for an intervention if they do understand. I also support her holding off on any impeachment action at this time (no matter how much proof they think they have); it would be a waste of that vital action as long as McConnell and his sitting Republican Senators are there to acquit Trump of any charges the House might bring. We all need to admit Trump will not be ousted from the Oval Office unless and until he is voted out in 2020. Consider the fact that part of Nancy’s reason for standing strong against impeachment now is to protect this country from Pence’s Christless christianity and evangelical leadership. Just sayin’

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