Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Donald Trump’s Unconstitutional Dreams

The president has birthright citizenship all wrong.
By Eric Foner
Mr. Foner is a historian who specializes in the Reconstruction period.

Part of the Fourteenth Amendment as posted on the wall of Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock, Ark. in 2014.CreditCreditPaul Natkin/Getty Images
In an interview with the news program “Axios on HBO,” President Trump announced that he plans to issue an executive order ending birthright citizenship, the principle that everyone born in the United States, with a handful of exceptions, is automatically a citizen of the United States.
“It was always told to me,” the president declared, “that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t.”
In fact, such an order would undoubtedly be unconstitutional. It would also violate a deeply rooted American idea — that anybody, regardless of race, religion, national origin, or the legal status of one’s parents, can be a loyal citizen of this country.
Birthright citizenship is established by the Civil Rights Act of 1866, still on the books today, and by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified two years later. The only exceptions, in the words of the amendment, are persons not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States. Members of Congress at the time made clear that this wording applied only to Native Americans living on reservations — then considered members of their own tribal sovereignties, not the nation — and American-born children of foreign diplomats. (Congress made all Native Americans citizens in 1924.)

Embedding birthright citizenship in the Constitution was one of the transformative results of the Civil War and the destruction of slavery. Before the war, no uniform definition of citizenship existed. Soon after the conflict ended, members of Congress asked Horace Binney, a prominent lawyer and a former congressman, to explore the meaning of citizenship.
“The word citizen,” he responded, “is found ten times at least in the Constitution of the United States, and no definition of it is given anywhere.” States determined who was a citizen and the rules varied considerably. Massachusetts recognized free African-Americans as citizens; many other states did not. For persons immigrating from abroad, moreover, racial distinctions were built into federal law.
The first Naturalization Act, in 1790, limited the process of naturalization to “white persons.” In 1857, on the eve of the Civil War, the Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott decision, declared that no black person, slave or free, could be a citizen of the United States or part of the national “political community.” Echoes of this outlook persist to this day, including in Mr. Trump’s long campaign to deny the birthright citizenship status of President Barack Obama.
Long before the Civil War, abolitionists black and white had proposed an alternative understanding of national citizenship severed from the concept of race, with citizens’ rights enforced by the federal government. Gatherings where northern free blacks agitated for equal rights called themselves conventions of “colored citizens” to drive home this idea. And by the conclusion of the war, the end of slavery and the service of nearly 200,000 African-Americans in the Union army and navy propelled the question of black citizenship to center stage of American politics.
The Fourteenth Amendment was meant to provide, for the first time, a uniform national definition of citizenship, so that states would no longer be able to deny that status to blacks. It went on to require the states to accord all “persons,” including aliens, the equal protection of the laws, as part of an effort to create a new egalitarian republic on the ashes of slavery.

The birthright citizenship provision, explained Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan, one of the founders of the Republican Party and the floor manager of the amendment’s passage in the Senate, was intended to “settle the great question of citizenship once and for all.” The amendment formed part of a constitutional revolution that, in the words of George William Curtis, the editor of the Republican magazine Harper’s Weekly, transformed a document “for white men” into one “for mankind.” In 1870, Congress amended the naturalization laws to allow black immigrants to become citizens. The bar to Asians, however, persisted; they could not be naturalized until well into the 20th century.
Mr. Trump’s prospective order would deny citizenship to children born in the United States to noncitizens. It is especially aimed at undocumented immigrants who supposedly pour into the country to have “anchor babies” — one of the president’s numerous exaggerations when it comes to the dangers posed by immigration. When the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, the category of illegal or undocumented immigrants did not exist. The closest analogy to children born today to such immigrants were the American-born offspring of newcomers from China. At the time, their parents could not become citizens, but in 1898, following the plain language of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court affirmed that a person of Chinese origin born in the United States was a citizen by birthright.
In the interview in which he discussed his plan to issue the executive order, Mr. Trump claimed that the United States is “the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States.” This, too, is an exaggeration, as many in the Western Hemisphere do recognize birthright citizenship. But it is true that in the past decade or two the nations of Europe have retreated from this principle. All limit automatic access to citizenship in some way, making it depend not simply on place of birth but also on ethnicity, culture, religion or extra requirements for the children of parents who are not citizens.
That has not been our way. Adopted as part of the effort to purge the United States of the legacy of slavery, the principle of birthright citizenship remains an eloquent statement about the nature of American society, a powerful force for assimilation of the children of immigrants and a repudiation of our long history of racism.
Mr. Trump’s order, if issued, will not only violate both the Constitution and deeply rooted American ideals, but also set a dangerous precedent. If the president can unilaterally abrogate a provision of the Constitution by executive order, which one will be next?
Eric Foner is the author of many works of American history, including “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1866-1877.” His latest book, “The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Forged a Constitutional Revolution,” will appear next year.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

George Washington for President

Patriots put love of their own people first, while nationalists put hate for other people first.
Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist

George Washington in the Oval Office.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
Dear Reader. I think you know, after 23 years of my writing this column, that I’m not lazy. I always try to come up with fresh ideas. Today, though, I am fresh out of fresh ideas. More than any time in my career, I think our country is in danger. It has a disturbed man as president, whose job description — to be a healer of the country in times of great national hurt and to pull us together to do big hard things that can be done only together — conflicts with his political strategy, which is to divide us and mobilize his base with anger and fear. And time and again he has chosen the latter.
When a person is promoted to a top job in life, usually one of two things happens: He either grows or he swells — he either evolves and grows into that job or all of his worst instincts and habits become swollen and just expand over a wider field. I don’t have to tell you what happened with President Trump. He is a shameless liar and an abusive bully — only now he is doing it from the bully pulpit of the presidency.
When you have a president without shame, backed by a party without a spine, amplified by a TV network without integrity, reason is not an option and hope is not a strategy. The only restraint on Trump is a lever of national power in the hands of the opposition party that can force some accountability.
The stakes could not be higher. If the coming midterms reaffirm Trump’s grip on every lever of national power — the White House, the Senate, the House and the Supreme Court — he will become even more swollen and more dangerous to our institutions, which are now straining to contain his excesses.

Trump once boasted, “I am a nationalist.’’ He surely is. And remember what President Charles de Gaulle of France once observed: Patriots put love of their own people first, while nationalists put hate for other people first. This is a time for every American patriot to do the only thing that can make a difference now:
In the midterm elections, vote for a Democrat, canvass for a Democrat, raise money for a Democrat, drive someone to a voting station to vote for a Democrat. I repeat: In the midterm elections, vote for a Democrat, canvass for a Democrat, raise money for a Democrat, drive someone to a voting station to vote for a Democrat. I repeat: In the midterm elections, vote for a Democrat, canvass for a Democrat, raise money for a Democrat, drive someone to a voting station to vote for a Democrat.
Beyond that, nothing else matters. We have to protect our institutions until this Trump era passes and we can restore the presidency to someone — Democrat or Republican — focused on loving our country more than hating others. To remind us what such a president sounds like, I cede the rest of my space to President George Washington and the letter he wrote, after a visit, to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I., dated Aug. 18, 1790. (Hat tip to the Jewish Women’s Theatre in Los Angeles, Dana Milbank, NPR and all others who have referenced this letter in recent days.).
Gentlemen: While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport, from all classes of Citizens.
The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and a happy people.
The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.
G. Washington

Thomas L. Friedman is the foreign affairs Op-Ed columnist. He joined the paper in 1981, and has won three Pulitzer Prizes. He is the author of seven books, including “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” which won the National Book Award. @tomfriedman Facebook



“Do we look like the kind of people who would rip you off? Wait, don’t answer that.”
By George Pimentel/WireImage.
By now it’s practically a matter of public record that Donald Trump is a lifelong huckster who will do anything to make a buck. Days after the 2016 election he agreed to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits against Trump University, a smoke-and-mirrors operation that made University of Phoenix look like Stanford, where instructors were given a “playbook” that included the name of a TrumpU employee to call “if an Attorney General arrives on the scene.” Before that, the ex-beauty pageant owner was slapping his name on everything from steaks to mattresses to cologne to deodorant in exchange for lucrative licensing fees. In June, the New York attorney general sued him alleging “persistently illegal conduct” related to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, charging that the charity served as “little more than a checkbook for payments to not-for-profits from Mr. Trump or the Trump Organization,” a suit Amanda Miller, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, called “politics at its very worst.”
In addition to a willingness to do anything to enrich himself—like, for instance, (allegedly) dodging taxes for decades—we’ve yet to see evidence that the president of the United States cares about anyone not related to him by blood or marriage, or possesses the sort of moral compass that would prevent normal people from engaging in activity that hurts others. (According to The New York Times, the Trump family created a company in 1992 that not only allowed the family to siphon millions to Trump, his siblings, and a cousin, but also let them pad invoices so they could raise the rent on low-income tenants who were supposed to be protected by rent regulations. In a statement, Charles Harder, a lawyer for Trump, told the Times: “There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone” and that such affairs were “handled by other Trump family members.”) So, really, it shouldn’t come as a surprise in the slightest that the president and his three adult children have been accused of pushing investment scams on thousands of vulnerable Americans in exchange for “lavish” payments they conveniently failed to mention in their sales pitches.
Filed in federal court in Manhattan on Monday . . . the 160-page complaint alleges that Mr. Trump and his family received secret payments from three business entities in exchange for promoting them as legitimate opportunities, when in reality they were get-rich-quick schemes that harmed investors, many of whom were unsophisticated and struggling financially.
Those business entities were ACN, a telecommunications marketing company that paid Mr. Trump millions of dollars to endorse its products; the Trump Network, a vitamin marketing enterprise; and the Trump Institute, which the suit said offered “extravagantly priced multiday training seminars” on Mr. Trump’s real estate “secrets.”
The four plaintiffs, who were identified only with pseudonyms like Jane Doe, depict the Trump Organization as a racketeering enterprise that defrauded thousands of people for years as the president turned from construction to licensing his name for profit. The suit also names Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump as defendants.
Back in 2011, New York’s Jessica Pressler wrote about the vitamin venture, which included products like “Prime Essentials” and “Custom Essentials,” a line of snacks for kids called “Snazzle Snaxxs,” a diet program called “Silhouette Solutions,” and a skincare line called “BioCé Cosmeceuticals.” Like Trump University, vitamin marketers were well-versed in what to do on the off-chance someone suggested Donald Trump would ever attach his name to something less than entirely legal:
The people at the Trump Network are trained to defend against allegations that it’s a pyramid scheme. Toward the end of Izzo’s seminar, we break into pairs to practice what to say when potential invitees suggest the business is a pyramid scheme. My partner is Billy, a former Wall Street trader who has worked his way up to “diamond director,” one of the highest levels in the company. The levels are determined by the number of people you recruit and the amount of products you and your downline purchase. “What’s a pyramid scheme?” he asks me. “Like the food pyramid? Like the Catholic Church? What about where you work? If you ask me, corporate America is a pyramid scheme. All the people on the top make all the money. The people at the bottom are spinning their wheels.” Then he plays his Trump card: “You think Donald Trump would involve himself in a pyramid scheme?”
In fact: yes! We do! We can also believe that Trump, a knownliar, allegedly told people they’d make so much money from these scams that they’d be able to quit their day jobs. Per the suit:
Trump doubled down on his claim during in-person endorsements, going so far as to suggest ACN was risk-free. Onstage at ACN’s International Convention in Barcelona, Spain, in March 2011, Trump explained to the auditorium that: “A lot of the [ACN] people that I’ve met had their job for two or three years, and all of a sudden they started leaving out of their job and going full-time at ACN because they’re making more money with ACN. So I like it because it really takes the risk out. It takes a lot of the risk out of the decision.”
Of course, for at least one plaintiff, that wasn’t the case at all:
Plaintiff Jane Doe is a resident of California who works as a hospice caregiver. In 2014, Doe attended a meeting for prospective ACN recruits. As she listened to the presentations, Doe was skeptical and unpersuaded. But then she saw a promotional video prominently featuring Trump. Trump’s endorsement was the turning point. . . . Doe had no idea Trump was being paid lavishly for his endorsement—the video made no mention of that. Doe joined ACN then and there. Despite her limited resources, Doe wrote a check for the $499 registration fee, in reliance on Trump’s endorsement. In the two years that followed, Doe paid thousands of dollars in fees and expenses to attend ACN events and host ACN meetings in an effort to succeed with the business. But, ultimately, she had extremely limited success—she earned a single check for $38.
In a statement, Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said the allegations in the suit are meritless and should be paid no attention because the plaintiffs’ attorney fees are being funded by a nonprofit whose chairman is a Democratic donor. “This is clearly just another effort by opponents of the President to use the court system to advance a political agenda,” he told the Times. Roberta Kaplan and Andrew Celli Jr., two lawyers for the plaintiffs, said “the case is being brought now because it is ready now,” and, to be fair, this isn’t the first time Trump has been accused of fraud. “This case connects the dots at the Trump Organization and involves systematic fraud that spanned more than a decade, involved multiple Trump businesses and caused tremendous harm to thousands of hardworking Americans,” the attorneys said in a statement.
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If Elon Musk could turn back time . . .
He’d still send that tweet that got him sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission:
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said the tweet that cost him and the company $20 million in fines each by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was “worth it.” . . . The Securities and Exchange Commission in September charged Musk, 47, with misleading investors with tweets on August 7 that said he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share and had secured funding. The tweets had no basis in fact, and the ensuing market chaos hurt investors, regulators claimed.
The settlement also dictated that Musk must step down as chairman of the company he founded, but apparently you can’t put a price on weed jokes.
Trump is thinking his trade war could use some more tariffs
Next month, Donald Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, where they’ll discuss the escalating trade war started by Trump earlier this year. So far, neither side has backed down, and despite Trump’s insistence that trade wars are “good” and “easy to win,” thus far U.S. companies and consumers have paid a lopsided amount of the price, while the president’s “trade policies” might actually create jobs in China. So what President Jobs, Jobs, Jobs is thinking is this situation could be vastly improved by introducing more tariffs. Per Bloomberg:
The U.S. is preparing to announce by early December tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports if talks next month between presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping fail to ease the trade war, three people familiar with the matter said.
An early December announcement of a new product list would mean the effective date—after a 60-day public-comment period—may coincide with China’s Lunar New Year holiday in early February. The list would apply to the imports from the Asian nation that aren’t already covered by previous rounds of tariffs—which may be $257 billion using last year’s import figures, according to two of the people.
Over the weekend, Trump told supporters in Indiana, “We’re in the middle of a pretty nasty dispute. . . . We’re in a trade dispute—I want to use that word because it’s a nice, soft word—but we’re going to win. You know why? ’Cause we always win.”
U.S. tax cuts working out exactly as corporate American said they would
Which is to say, they’ve had little to no effect on most companies’ investment and hiring plans, in spite of the promises made by Republicans and the White House, according to a survey released today:
The National Association for Business Economics found buoyant conditions in the third quarter of 2018, with its members reporting rising sales and improved profit margins, but reported that the Republican tax reform “has not broadly impacted hiring and investment plans.” The survey, conducted between September 26 and October 11, adds to a growing body of evidence that much of the windfall from tax reform has been spent on share buybacks rather than investment, jobs, or research and development. Republicans had predicted their changes to the tax code would trigger a boom in corporate investment and hiring, particularly in the U.S. On the day he signed the bill into law, Mr Trump said: “It’s going to be a tremendous thing for the American people. It’s going to be fantastic for the economy. It’s going to keep companies from leaving our shores and opening up in other countries.”
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan will no longer require interns to commit to a lifetime of servitude at age 8
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. won’t interview or extend summer internship offers to college sophomores this year and will go back to recruiting students in the fall of their junior year, executives said. It is a nod to a softer Wall Street, eager to cast off its sweatbox image to compete with perk-happy Silicon Valley. It is also an acknowledgment that a push in recent years to move up application deadlines isn’t bringing in the kinds of candidates banks need as they try to diversify their overwhelmingly white and male ranks.
Earlier timetables and “exploding” job offers that expire within a few days have ramped up the pressure on students to commit, said Amy Donegan, an assistant dean at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. “These are 19-year-old kids,” she said. “It’s really hard to tell them, ‘You can say no to that.’”
It’s unclear what impact the new policy will have on current junior employees who, at Goldman Sachs, are said to be this close to storming the C-suite and rioting over inhuman working conditions, like only getting $25 to spend on dinner each night

IBM to Buy Red Hat, the Top Linux Distributor, for $34 Billion

IBM’s purchase of Red Hat, the largest distributor of the open-source operating system Linux, is the latest competitive step among large business software companies to gain an edge in the cloud computing market.CreditCreditPau Barrena/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

IBM is making a big move to bring more software developers under its wing by acquiring Red Hat, the largest distributor of the popular open-source operating system Linux, for $34 billion.
The purchase, announced on Sunday afternoon, is the latest competitive step among large business-software companies seeking an edge in the fast-growing market for cloud computing.
In June, Microsoft acquired GitHub, a major code-sharing platform for software developers, for $7.5 billion.
With the deal for Red Hat, IBM is trying to position itself as a kind of corporate “Switzerland” in cloud computing — a trusted partner of businesses that are moving to the cloud, but are leery of becoming dependent on one major cloud supplier.

In the cloud model, software developers write applications that run on remote data centers. The advantage can be lower costs and faster development of new business software.
IBM is a champion of a hybrid approach to cloud computing. That means some crucial data and applications run on cloud technology inside a company’s data centers, while other computing tasks run on the clouds of tech companies.
The major third-party cloud platforms are Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Businesses complain that these cloud suppliers include proprietary technology that makes it difficult to switch from one cloud to another.
The IBM cloud strategy is to supply both hardware and software for companies to build their own private clouds, and it also has a third-party public cloud offering.
IBM, analysts say, cannot really compete broadly with so-called hyperscale cloud companies — Amazon, Microsoft and Google — which tap their deep coffers to spend many billions of dollars a year to build more giant data centers.

But IBM and Red Hat say they are well placed to be leaders in helping corporations make the transition to cloud computing without getting locked into the technology of an internet giant.
The two companies say they plan to offer the technology to link a company’s in-house cloud and multiple third-party clouds.
“Enterprises are moving to the cloud but 80 percent of them are not there yet,” said Arvind Krishna, an IBM senior vice president in charge of its hybrid cloud offerings. “We can provide a much easier path to manage and make secure both private clouds and links to multiple public clouds.”
Red Hat, founded in 1993 and based in Raleigh, N.C., has built a profitable business, with $2.4 billion in revenue last year, around open-source software, mainly Linux. Open-source code is distributed free, and can be modified by far-flung programmers, under certain rules.
Red Hat has expanded — and made money — by offering technical support, quality control, software tools and a forum for collaboration, charging subscription fees.
Linux is the preferred operating system for cloud computing. “For most corporations, hybrid cloud is the only practical way to the cloud,” said Paul Cormier, president for products and technologies at Red Hat.
The link with IBM, Mr. Cormier said, will accelerate Red Hat’s progress in the market for corporate cloud migrations.

Red Hat will join IBM’s cloud team, the companies said in a joint statement, but as a “distinct unit” to preserve its independence and neutrality in open-source development.
IBM’s offer of $190 a share in cash is more than a 60 percent premium over Red Hat’s closing price on Friday, $116.68 a share.
The hefty price tag, said one person close to the deal, who asked not be to identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly, is justified by Red Hat’s growth and strong cash flow.
IBM, he said, is paying about 30 times Red Hat’s free cash flow, well below the average for recent software company acquisitions, and it will help lift IBM’s growth and cash flow.
The boards of both companies approved the deal, and the sale is expected to close in the second half of next year. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Lazard advised IBM on the deal, and Guggenheim Partners and Morgan Stanley advised Red Hat.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: IBM to Buy Linux Seller To Compete In the Cloud. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe


Hate Is on the Ballot Next Week

Don’t let the whataboutists and bothsiders tell you it isn’t.
Paul Krugman
Opinion Columnist

Donald Trump supporters at a campaign event last week in Charlotte, N.C.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
In America 2018, whataboutism is the last refuge of scoundrels, and bothsidesism is the last refuge of cowards.
In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re in the midst of a wave of hate crimes. Just in the past few days, bombs were mailed to a number of prominent Democrats, plus CNN. Then, a gunman massacred 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Meanwhile, another gunman killed two African-Americans at a Louisville supermarket, after first trying unsuccessfully to break into a black church — if he had gotten there an hour earlier, we would probably have had another mass murder.
All of these hate crimes seem clearly linked to the climate of paranoia and racism deliberately fostered by Donald Trump and his allies in Congress and the media.
Killing black people is an old American tradition, but it is experiencing a revival in the Trump era.

When the bombs were discovered, many on the right immediately claimed that they were fake news or a false flag operation by liberals. But the F.B.I. quickly tracked down the apparent source of the explosive devices: A fanatical Trump supporter, whom many are already calling the MAGABomber. His targets were people and a news organization Trump has attacked in many speeches. (Since the bombings, Trump has continued to attack the news media as the “enemy of the people.”)
The man arrested at the Tree of Life synagogue has been critical of Trump, who he apparently believes isn’t anti-Semitic enough. But his rage seems to have been fueled by a conspiracy theory being systematically spread by Trump supporters — the claim that Jewish financiers are bringing brown people into America to displace whites.
This conspiracy theory is, it turns out, a staple of neo-Nazis in Europe. It’s what our own neo-Nazis — whom Trump calls “very fine people” — were talking about in Charlottesville last year, when they chanted, “Jews will not replace us.”
It’s also the barely veiled subtext of the manufactured hysteria over the caravan of would-be migrants from Central America. The fearmongers aren’t just portraying a small group of frightened, hungry people still far from the United States border as a looming invasion. They have also been systematically implying that Jews are somehow behind the whole thing. There’s a straight line from Fox News coverage of the caravan to the Tree of Life massacre.
So how are Trump apologists dealing with this ugly picture? Partly through denial, pretending not to see any link between hateful rhetoric and hate crimes. But also through attempts to spread the blame by claiming that Democrats are just as bad if not worse. Trump supporters try to kill his critics? Well, some Trump opponents have yelled at politicians in restaurants!

This whataboutism doesn’t stop with equating protests with violence. It also relies on outright lying.
The day after the Pittsburgh massacre, John Cornyn — the second-ranked Republican in the Senate — tweeted “Pelosi: If There Is ‘Collateral Damage’ for Those Who Don’t Share Our View, ‘So Be It’.” This is a lie, plain and simple. I know, because I was there.
Nancy Pelosi’s remark about collateral damage came while I was interviewing her in front of a live audience; you can see the interview here. She wasn’t talking about punishing political opponents. She was, instead, talking about the economic impact of policies to fight climate change, which she conceded would adversely affect some industries even as it helped others. Many people have pointed this out to Cornyn; as I write this column, he has not retracted his false claim.
But here’s the thing: Trump supporters aren’t the only people trying to pretend that he’s only doing what everyone does, that Democrats are just as bad and equally liable for the explosion of hatred.
False equivalence, portraying the parties as symmetric even when they clearly aren’t, has long been the norm among self-proclaimed centrists and some influential media figures. It’s a stance that has hugely benefited the GOP, as it has increasingly become the party of right-wing extremists.
You might have thought that the horrifying events of recent days would finally break through that norm. But you would have been wrong. Bothsidesism is, it turns out, a fanatical cult impervious to evidence. Trump famously boasted that his supporters would stick with him even if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue; what he didn’t point out was that pundits would piously attribute the shooting to “incivility,” and that Sunday talk shows would feature Fifth-Avenue-shooting advocates and give them a respectful hearing.
This needs to stop, and those who keep practicing bothsidesism need to be shamed. At this point, pretending that both sides are equally to blame, or attributing political violence to spreading hatred without identifying who’s responsible for that spread, is a form of deep cowardice.

The fact is that one side of the political spectrum is peddling hatred, while the other isn’t. And refusing to point that out for fear of sounding partisan is, in effect, lending aid and comfort to the people poisoning our politics. Yes, hate is on the ballot next week.

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Paul Krugman has been an Opinion columnist since 2000 and is also a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He won the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on international trade and economic geography. @PaulKrugman
A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A22 of the New York edition with the headline: Hate Is on the Ballot Next Week. Don’t Pretend Otherwise.. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Fixated on the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

Acouple of hours before opening fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, Robert Bowers, the suspected gunman, posted on the social network Gab, “hias likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” hias is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and Bowers had posted about it at least once before. Two and a half weeks earlier, he had linked to a hiasproject called National Refugee Shabbat and written, “Why hello there hias! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us?” Another post that most likely referred to hias read, “Open you Eyes! It’s the filthy evil jews Bringing the Filthy evil Muslims into the Country!!”
Bowers isn’t the only person apparently obsessed with hias. The extreme right has been vilifying the organization for some time. The anti-Semitic right has accused hias of bringing immigrants to the United States in a scheme that is somehow designed to benefit Jews. On the Jewish far right, the Zionist Organization of America has attacked hias and other Jewish organizations for lobbying to admit Syrian refugees to the U.S. and has accused hias of doing so for profit.
I am unlike most Americans—but like many, if not most, people who came here as refugees or asylum seekers—in that I was familiar with the hias acronym before the Pittsburgh shooting. I heard “He-ahs,” as it was pronounced in Russian, when I was fourteen and my family was about to leave the Soviet Union. I suspect no one in my family knew what the acronym stood for, but we had somehow learned that hias would take care of us once we crossed the border. Back then, the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee would help the newly stateless Jewish émigrés from the U.S.S.R. to pay for housing and expenses while they stayed in Italy on their way to the United States. hias would process the paperwork, obtaining visas that eventually allowed my family and tens of thousands of others to enter the United States as refugees.
The year my family came to the United States, hias turned a hundred years old. It was founded in 1881 to help Jews fleeing the pogroms in the Russian Empire. In the second half of the twentieth century, it also aided Jews leaving Hungary, Cuba, Iran, and Ethiopia, and non-Jews from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. In the two-thousands, hias reshaped its work to help displaced people all over the world. The organization works on resettlement in the United States, in refugee camps, and also processes the paperwork for people applying for resettlement through the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees.
My own second encounter with hias came the second time I left Russia, in 2013, now fleeing anti-gay persecution. This time I didn’t need help, but I knew that thousands of others did. Working with several other activists, I tried to put together an effort to convince Washington to create a streamlined mechanism for Russian L.G.B.T. people to receive provisional visas to the United States—as is sometimes done for groups facing the sort of persecution that makes every member a credible target. hias was the first non-queer group to show up for this effort. (Eventually several dozen groups supported the initiative, but the State Department blocked the effort.)
For me, Bowers’s obsession with hias made a warped kind of sense. I imagine Bowers’s world view is a distorted reflection of Donald Trump’s. The President fans hatred for immigrants, trans people, and Muslims. In Bowers’s mind, hias, with its commitment to helping all displaced people worldwide, becomes the perfect target for all hatreds. Trump’s message transforms into the idea that Washington is not doing enough, because terrorists equal refugees equal hias equal all Jews. He posts, therefore, “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no #maga as long as there is a kike infestation.” Then he goes on a shooting spree in a synagogue.

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