TDB Top 5 International Stories: Monday 27th February 2017


5: The Uneasy Relationship Between Conservatives and the Alt-Right

The new, Trumpy face of the right is making the old-school conservatives of CPAC nervous.

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is open to pretty much anyone willing to call themselves conservative. That category included everyone from Christian fundamentalists to suit-and-tie-wearing think tankers to college kids sporting “Make America Great Again” hats. It included Jordan Evans, a conservative trans woman from Massachusetts who was disappointed with the Trump administration for reversing a policy on transgender bathroom use in public schools. It included Steve Bannon, who once upon a time organized “The Uninvited,” an alternative conference for speakers deemed too controversial by CPAC, and now occupies one of the most powerful positions in the White House. This reversal wasn’t lost on Bannon, dressed in black and sitting next to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on stage Thursday.

“I’d like to thank you for finally inviting me to CPAC,” Bannon said to Matt Schlapp, president of the American Conservative Union (ACU), the organization that hosts the conference.

Schlapp was days removed from famously uninviting Milo Yiannopoulos—a young gay conservative who got famous for being blunter and cruder than others in the movement—after a video of him praising pedophilia resurfaced. Schlapp insisted onstage that CPAC was more open than ever before: “Here’s what we decided to do at CPAC with ‘The Uninvited’: We decided to say that everybody is part of our conservative family.”

But those warm feelings evidently don’t extend to those sympathetic to the alt-right, that frothy mix of nationalistic and sometimes plain racist beliefs. Though people broadly aligned with the alt-right now occupy positions of power close to Donald Trump—Bannon, for one—this past week CPAC showed that traditional conservatives were still feeling out how to relate to the more populist views of the president and his supporters. The clearest indicator of this was that Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who is one of the most public faces of the alt-right, was kicked out of CPAC after buying a general admission pass and speaking to reporters.

Vice News

4: Stephen Colbert’s Blistering Performance Mocking Bush and the Press Goes Ignored by the Media

Stephen Colbert, the host of the Comedy Central fake news program “The Colbert Report” repeatedly mocked President Bush and the press for its failings in a blistering routine at the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner Saturday night. We play his comments. [includes rush transcript]

On Saturday night, over 2,000 journalists, politicians and Washington insiders gathered for the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner. President Bush was there and took part in a skit with presidential impersonator Steve Bridges.

And then there was the featured entertainer, Stephen Colbert, the host of the Comedy Central fake news program, The Colbert Report.

If you followed how the corporate press covered the night you might not have even realized Colbert spoke but he gave a talk that repeatedly mocked the President and the press for its failings.

Democracy Now

3: Year of diversity at Oscars ‘does little to even score’

On February 29, 1940, the 12th Academy Awards were held in Los Angeles at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in The Ambassador Hotel, which had a strict no-blacks policy.

Hattie McDaniel, the Kansas native who played Mammy in Gone With the Wind, was up for best supporting actress; producer David O Selznick had to pull strings so she could attend.

McDaniel sat not at the table with her fellow actors and director, but instead in a segregated area, a makeshift section at the back of the room against a wall.

As she presented the award to McDaniel, actress Fay Bainter said: “To me it seems more than just a plaque of gold. It opens the doors of this roof, moves back the walls, and it enables us to embrace the whole of America.

“An America that we love. An America that is almost alone in the world today as it recognises and pays tribute to those who’ve given their best regardless of creed, race or colour.”



THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S first moves on immigration enforcement represent an unprecedented hard-line position, envisioning thousands of new agents, enlisting local police as immigration enforcers, making virtually anyone a priority for deportation, bypassing immigration courts, and, of course, ordering the construction of the infamous wall along the Mexican border. And then there is the president’s own rhetoric equating immigrants with criminals — after campaign talk characterizing Mexicans as rapists, this week he referred to his immigration policy as a “military operation” against gang members, “drug lords,” and “bad dudes.”

Despite the emotionally charged rollout of these policies, it remains to be seen whether they will be fully implemented; the money and manpower required to do so would be extraordinary. There are parallels between Trump’s efforts and previous U.S. immigration crackdowns, when rhetoric about “criminal aliens,” hyped-up raids, and inflated deportation numbers created what was essentially a “terror campaign” in Mexican immigrant communities, says Kelly Lytle Hernandez, a historian at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“I think it would serve us to do our best to fight back against the scare campaign” promoting Trump’s enforcement operations, she said. “I don’t want to suggest that the terror isn’t real. But we don’t want to inflate it. I don’t want to fulfill Trump’s vision of mass deportation by fueling the panic and fear.”

The Intercept

1: White House scrambles to damp down scandal over FBI inquiry into Russia ties

The White House made a messy attempt on Sunday to control public perceptions of a widening scandal over alleged contacts between aides to Donald Trump and Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 election, alleging that the FBI had dismissed reports of such links.

The scandal has shown little sign of coming under control, with a Republican congressman calling for an independent inquiry, multiple congressional committees pursuing investigations and Trump escalating a war with the media in an apparent attempt at distraction.

While the White House has, by its own clumsy admission, been working behind the scenes to try to manage the conduct of Congress and intelligence agencies in the scandal, those efforts have so far backfired.

Contacts between the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and top FBI officials have come in for particular criticism as a violation of a necessary line separating the White House from justice department investigations with potential targets inside the administration.

The Guardian 



  1. Why the 11 year old story regarding Colbert? (story#4)

    Any arguable parallels to Trump’s refusal to attend should be explained.

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