Kanye Clarifies a Few Things
"Well, I see good things in Hitler."
Alex Jones: "You're not Hitler. You're not a Nazi."
Kanye West: "Well, I see good things about Hitler… I love everyone, and Jewish people are not gonna tell me ‘You can love us and you know what we’re doing to you with the contracts, what we’re pushing with the pornography.’
But this guy that invented highways, invented the very microphone I use as a musician. You can’t say out loud this person ever did anything good, and I’m done with that. I’m done with the classifications. Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.”
"They did good things too. We have to stop dissing the Nazis all the time.
"The Jewish media has made us feel like the Nazis and Hitler have never offered anything of value to the world."
As the interview moved forward, Kanye said he doesn't like the word "evil" associated with Nazis, adding: "I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis.”
So, how the hell is your week going?
Historians will note that all of this occurred while the dinner companion of the former President of the United States was appearing on conspiracy monger Alex Jones’s InfoWars show, wearing a black stocking face mask.
In other words, the guy is barking mad. But it was, nevertheless, a clarifying moment. The House GOP decided that, on second thought, it was unwise to celebrate this bizarre bigot as a giant of the New Conservatism.
As Philip Bump notes, with some understatement, “The GOP’s bet on Kanye West has gone very bad.” So, for the time being, the party of “Kanye. Elon. Trump,” is just the party of “
Kanye. Elon. Trump.” (But stay tuned.)
Even so, the deletion of the tweet was hardly a burst of rediscovered conscience. Over at Mediaite, Sarah Rumpf recounts all of “The Bizarre, Hateful Things That Happened In The Two Months The Official GOP Tweet ‘Kanye. Elon. Trump.’ Was Still Up.”
And after Ye posted an image of a swastika inside a Star of David, even Elon Musk found himself thinking that maybe content moderation is not such a bad thing after all, and re-suspended his BFF from Twitter. (Even the alt-right social media site Parler decided it was time to cancel Ye.)
So, for those of you keeping track at home:
In today’s Bulwark, my colleague Will Saletan walks through all of the failed Republican attempts to spin the Trump/Ye/Fuentes dinner.
Some leading GOPers, like Steve Scalise and Elise Stefanik, simply say nothing. Others issue condemnations, but don’t mention Trump; or they blame “staff”; or insist that there’s no way that Trump himself is a bigot. Some, like Kevin McCarthy, simply pretend that Trump said what he should have said.
On Tuesday, McCarthy claimed that Trump “came out four times and condemned” Fuentes. That’s totally false: Trump, in four statements after the dinner, said no such thing. In fact, on Monday—several days after the dinner, and a day before McCarthy spoke to reporters—Trump’s spokeswoman had repeated on TV that “President Trump’s not going to shy away from meeting with Kanye West.”
Lindsey Graham pretended that Democrats did the same thing because blah blah blah, while others played pundit and passed it off as a political mistake, or just a “personal choice”. Others, like Representative James Comer, insisted we should just move on to more pressing issues… like Hunter Biden’s laptop.
The pattern is familiar, writes Will:
When Trump crosses a moral line, Republicans find ways to excuse him, deflect the criticism, and move on. Maybe they imagine that our moral boundaries will hold—that racism and antisemitism will remain unacceptable—even when a current, former, and potentially future president is shielded from accountability for ignoring those boundaries. But no true conservative would make that bet.
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Speaking of having a really bad day
There’s losing, and then there is being slam-dunked, stuffed in a dumpster, and set on fire. Via the NYT:
In a unanimous but unsigned 21-page ruling, a three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta shut down a lawsuit brought by Mr. Trump that has, for nearly three months, slowed the inquiry into whether he illegally kept national security records at his Mar-a-Lago residence and obstructed the government’s efforts to retrieve them.
The appeals court was sharply critical of the decision in September by Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee who sits in the Southern District of Florida, to intervene in the case. The court said Judge Cannon never had legitimate jurisdiction to order the review or bar investigators from using the files, and that there was no justification for treating Mr. Trump differently from any other target of a search warrant.
This is putting it politely. You can read the whole opinion here.
A shorter version of what the appellate court told Judge Aileen Cannon yesterday:
No Senator Collins, he has not learned his lesson.
Former president Donald Trump expressed solidarity with the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, sending a video of support to a fundraising event Thursday night hosted by a group called the Patriot Freedom Project that is supporting families of those being prosecuted by the government.
“People have been treated unconstitutionally, in my opinion, and very, very unfairly, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it,” he said in the video, which appeared to have been shot at his Mar-a-Lago estate. “It’s the weaponization of the Department of Justice, and we can’t let this happen in our country.”
1. How to Avoid Having Dinner With a Nazi
I want to stress that this checklist will not protect you against all dinners with Nazis. Even the great Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest during the war, found himself having dinner with Adolph Eichmann one evening, after all. But the checklist will save you from most common accidental Nazi dining experiences. Before having anyone over to dinner, ask yourself all of the following questions:
Have any of your dinner guests recently become famous for having given antisemitic speeches or public statements or for public advocacy of a hierarchy of the races? Have any of them used nuclear warfare metaphors to describe what they are going to do to Jews? If yes, formal membership in a Nazi organization may not be required for infamy to ensue….
Are your guests bringing guests of their own? This is a particularly tricky area. One doesn’t want to be rude, after all. But many accidental Nazi dining incidents seem to happen not as a result of the primary dinner invitations but because of the secondary invitations, the guests bringing surprise guests of their own. You will want to verify that all of your guests have applied this checklist to each of their own guests. If they have not, you will want to do so yourself.
Have any members of Congress been stripped of their committee assignments for associating with your guest? If yes, you will want to verify that this unfortunate legislative de-platforming took place for some reason other that that your guest is a Nazi.
Does your guest do any of the following things with respect to the Holocaust: (1) deny that it took place? (2) endorse it? (3) acknowledge that something took place but argue about how many people were really killed? (4) argue about the means by which those people were really killed? (5) All of the above?…
2. Elon Musk’s Twitter Report Card
3. Is the “China Model” Finally Failing?
After decades of growing economic freedom, writes Dalibor Rohac, the Chinese people may also be demanding political freedom.
The past decade has not been kind to optimists who hoped that economic liberalization would beget a gradual embrace of democracy by countries around the world. “China will move increasingly to political freedom,” Milton Friedman predicted in 2003, “if it continues its successful movement to economic freedom.”
Of course, under Xi Jinping’s rule, China moved away both from its pro-market economic outlook and tightened the totalitarian control of its society with an Orwellian system of constant surveillance and concentration camps. Could the current protests against the government’s oppressive zero-COVID policies across Chinese cities vindicate Friedman and others who predicted a convergence of political and economic freedom?