Friday, February 23, 2018

A Conversation With Timothy Snyder About America's Sick Democracy and If Donald Trump Will Cancel the 2108 Midterm Elections

There are two guests on this week's special fundraising month episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show.

Jared Yates Sexton is the author of The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage. He is also a professor in the Writing and Linguistics Department at Georgia Southern University. Jared is a fellow traveler and friend of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He and Chauncey sit down at the virtual bar and salon and catch up on recent developments about the Mueller investigation, Trump's vileness, the horrible things lurking in the shadows, Trump and the Republican Party's treason, and of course professional wrestling.

Timothy Snyder makes a return appearance on The Chauncey DeVega Show. He is one of the world's foremost experts on fascism, authoritarianism, and the rise of Donald Trump. He is a Professor of History at Yale University and the author of the New York Times bestselling book On Tyranny. This is Professor Snyder's third appearance on The Chauncey DeVega Show. On this week's podcast he reflects on the state of American democracy after one year under Trump, cautions us all to be mindful of how the rule of law is being eroded, and warns about how Trump and his allies may try to stop the 2018 Congressional elections.

In this week's episode, Chauncey connects the dots between Trump's sociopathic behavior and the Parkland, Florida massacre. Chauncey also highlights the dangers of the Culture of Cruelty and how Trump's sociopathy is revealed in the broader war on so-called "illegal immigrants" in America. And at the end of this week's special fundraising month installment of the podcast, Chauncey shares a wonderful story about one of our doggie friends who decided to run for public office.

This episode with Jared Yates Sexton and Timothy Snyder can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Politics is Professional Wrestling: Did Trump Accidentally Reveal That He Knew Russia was Paying for Protesters at his Rallies and Other Events?

This is one of the two fundraising months for my podcast, online writing, and other projects for 2018. 

I usually put out the old begging bowl in December but decided to wait, as an experiment of sorts, until February. As a practical matter this means that the last fundraiser was back in June of 2017. 

As you know, I have been trying to do my best to shine a light of truth on the dangers embodied by Donald Trump on my podcast and through my various other writings and projects. To that end, I have featured conversations/interviews with some of the country's (and world's) leading experts about Donald Trump and his regime. 

I am not paid for the podcast. Nor am I compensated for the various TV and radio interviews that I participate in. I also try to offer help and support for other folks' work whenever I can in the form of informal advice or other labor. 

I have been given numerous offers to run advertisements and paid for content on my podcast, here, as well as on Facebook (believe it or not). I have declined such offers because I want to maintain my independence.

The podcast and other work requires approximately (at least) 20 hours of work a week...in addition to my "regular" job responsibilities. There is no vast "liberal conspiracy" that funds my work.

As I like to say and offering of "coffee money" from the good folks who listen to, read, and otherwise benefit from my work is so very much appreciated. If you can, and only if you have the resources, please do offer up some gold, silver, paper or other such monies over at the Paypal link on the right hand side of the screen here at chaunceydevega.com aka "Indomitable". We are getting close to the goal and your help will get us over the finish line.

*****

What is the secret of Donald Trump's political success?

Trump is effectively a professional wrestling heel (i.e., villain). He lies, demeans his opponents, cheats and then insults anyone who disagrees with him. When he gets caught conducting his foul business, he announces that he is the real victim.

Trump is a master salesman who keenly understood how to sell his particular brand -- which consists of racism, sexism, nativism, misogyny, ignorance, violence and crude behavior -- to his fanbase of human deplorables, who installed him in the White House.

Trump is a political con artist and a skilled showman. His reality TV-inspired spectacle is highly compelling to the lost, lonely and angry people who saw in him a role model and a human happiness pill.

For those (and other) reasons, Donald Trump was able to defeat Hillary Clinton, in quite likely the most bizarre presidential election in our history. Trump continues to use those traits and skills to remain popular among Republicans and his other supporters.

Because they were looking in the wrong places for answers, most of the chattering class were surprised by Trump's victory. I was not one of those voices. On national radio and TV, as well as here at Salon and elsewhere, I tried to sound the alarm about the high likelihood that Trump would win the 2016 presidential election. I was accused of being "hysterical," "too extreme" and overly "fatalistic," as well as "underestimating" the character of the Republican Party's voters and the American people. I was told I did not understand how "the system" worked.

Part of that prediction was influenced by my experience attending Donald Trump's infamous "no-show" rally in Chicago nearly two years ago. I listened to his supporters both outside and in the venue. I watched the melees after candidate Trump strategically declined to attend for "safety reasons," and I saw that it was Trump's public who instigated most of the violence. Such a spectacle was actually part of his plan. The logic was simple: Donald Trump would capitalize on fear. He sought to gin up White America's "law and order" anxieties about black and brown "criminals" and white "radicals" to win votes.

Moreover, the master provocateur, carnie showman and professional wrestler wannabe could even create that chaos himself. It would still advance his political goals.

One possible way to create the violence and mayhem that were fixtures of Trump's political rallies cum rodeos would be to pay protesters or other agent provocateurs to attend them. In a little-noted interview in March 2016, Donald Trump almost admitted to doing that very thing. From Politico:
Trump — who often says that he likes protesters because they are the only thing that makes camera operators aim away from him and pan his large crowds — also repeated a promise to deploy his own protests at future rallies but did not finish explaining why. “Every once in a while I’m going to bring my own demonstrator just to create —,” he said and trailed off.
It would seem that Donald Trump's campaign may have had quite a bit of assistance from Vladimir Putin's spies and other agents in transforming that idea into tangible action.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Race, Representation, and the Black Diaspora: A Very Special "Black Panther" Themed Episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show

There are two guests on this week's special fundraising month all things Black Panther episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show.

Adilifu Nama is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University and the author of the new book Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes. Adilifu and Chauncey discuss the cultural politics surrounding Black Panther, what the movie and graphic novel are trying to communicate about the Black Diaspora, and how the white gaze will be challenged by Black Panther's depiction of black folks' humanity.

Ramzi Fawaz also stops by the virtual bar and salon. He is an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the author of The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics. Ramzi explains how questions of inclusion and representation are central to comic books and graphic novels and the rich history of mutants in the genre. Ramzi also shares some powerful stories about the role that the "Letters to the Editor" page played in creating a sense of community for comic book fans--especially black and brown folks, gays and lesbians, women, and those readers who are not white, straight, and male.

In this week's episode of the podcast Chauncey offers an extensive meditation on why Americans love guns more than their children and how the gun god Moloch was fed new bodies and blood by the mass gun murder Nikolas Cruz this week in Parkland, Florida.

And at the end of this week's special fundraising month installment of the podcast, Chauncey shares his review of the movie Black Panther.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Toxic White Masculinity Kills Again

This is one of the two fundraising months for my podcast, online writing, and other projects for 2018. 

I usually put out the old begging bowl in December but decided to wait, as an experiment of sorts, until February. As a practical matter this means that the last fundraiser was back in June of 2017. 

As you know, I have been trying to do my best to shine a light of truth on the dangers embodied by Donald Trump on my podcast and through my various other writings and projects. To that end, I have featured conversations/interviews with some of the country's (and world's) leading experts about Donald Trump and his regime. 

I am not paid for the podcast. Nor am I compensated for the various TV and radio interviews that I participate in. I also try to offer help and support for other folks' work whenever I can in the form of informal advice or other labor. 

I have been given numerous offers to run advertisements and paid for content on my podcast, here, as well as on Facebook (believe it or not). I have declined such offers because I want to maintain my independence.

The podcast and other work requires approximately (at least) 20 hours of work a week...in addition to my "regular" job responsibilities. There is no vast "liberal conspiracy" that funds my work.

As I like to say and offering of "coffee money" from the good folks who listen to, read, and otherwise benefit from my work is so very much appreciated. If you can, and only if you have the resources, please do offer up some gold, silver, paper or other such monies over at the Paypal link on the right hand side of the screen here at chaunceydevega.com aka "Indomitable".

****

Over and over again in America, it is revealed that whiteness is the complexion for the protection. Toxic white masculinity has proven itself to be lethal once again.

On Feb. 10, a man named Joseph Nickell went on a lethal rampage in rural Kentucky, killing his parents, his girlfriend and her mother, before turning the gun on himself. Many reports have suggested that Nickell had a substance abuse problem and had previously been arrested for domestic violence, public drunkenness and fleeing the police. By his own description, Nickell was a "conservative Christian," who posted standard right-wing memes on his Facebook page, including a post that read, "I stand for the flag and kneel for the cross." Unconfirmed reports have also suggested that he was a strong supporter of Donald Trump and a gun fetishist who held anti-Islamic views, none of which would be remotely surprising.

As I have highlighted here at Salon and elsewhere, when white men who hold "conservative" views engage in mass shootings and other acts of spectacular violence, a basic and obvious public script is followed.

Nickell is "mentally ill" and a "lone wolf." The violence has nothing to do with politics. It especially has nothing to do with America's lack of any serious restrictions on handguns or assault weapons.

Moreover, to discuss Nickell's race, gender and reputed political views is imagined by too many as being untoward, impolite or otherwise outside the limits of approved public discourse.

There will be no moral panics about whether white conservatives have become possessed by radical, right-wing Christian zealotry and driven to kill their spouses, children, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances or random strangers. President Trump will not issue menacing threats and edicts about violent acts committed by men who look like him, voted for him and share his political values and beliefs. The right-wing media will not whip their viewers into a frenzy about the newest outrage and threat of the day.

There will be no questions echoing throughout America's public discourse about where a white conservative like Joseph Nickell became "radicalized." What was being taught in his church? How did he get such easy access to a gun? Why did his community not sound the alarm about him? What news programs, websites and other media did he consume? No one will ask those things.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Why Donald Trump Can't and Won't Condemn the Murderous and Violent "Alt-Right"

Have you heard of Blaze Bernstein? What about Buckley Kuhn-Fricker and Scott Fricker? Do Casey Jordan Marquez and Francisco Fernandez sound like familiar names?

The answer is almost certainly no. Those are a few names drawn from the list of more than 100 people murdered or injured by the white supremacist "alt-right" movement. The mainstream American news media has not devoted significant coverage to these victims. Why? Because while the rule "if it bleeds it leads" is the corporate media's informal modus operandi, right-wing violence has been increasingly normalized in the era of Donald Trump. Of course, Trump has not spoken the names of any of the 43 people killed by the "alt-right" because the perpetrators are not nebulous black or brown people -- or, worse yet, Muslims.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has been documenting the tide of right-wing terrorism and violence instigated by Trump's presidential campaign, and in a backlash against Barack Obama, the country's first black president. The SPLC's new report details that since 2014, there have been "at least 13 alt-right related fatal episodes, leaving 43 dead and more than 60 injured. . . . Nine of the 12 incidents counted here occurred in 2017 alone, making last year the most violent year for the movement."

"[T]hese perpetrators were all male and, with the exception of three men, all under the age of 30 at the time they are alleged to have killed. The average age of the alt-right killers is 26. The youngest was 17. One, Alexandre Bissonnette, is Canadian, but the rest are American. While some certainly displayed signs of mental illness, all share a history of consuming and/or participating in the type of far-right ecosystem that defines the alt-right."

The "alt-right" is the tip of the spear, and a distillation of the social pathologies and broken civic culture that elected Donald Trump. In essence, the "alt-right" provides the shock troops, and arguably the ideological vanguard, for Trump's and the Republican Party's white identity movement.

What do we know about white supremacists and other members of the so-called "alt-right" movement? A recent working paper titled, "A Psychological Profile of the Alt-Right" by psychologists Patrick Forscher and Nour Kteily offers some preliminary answers.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A Conversation with Yascha Mounk about Donald Trump and the Decline of Western Democracies

Yascha Mounk is the guest on this week's special fundraising month episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He is a Lecturer on Political Theory at Harvard University's Government Department, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Transatlantic Academy of the German Marshall Fund, and a Nonresident Fellow at New America's Political Reform Program. Yascha has also written three books including the forthcoming The People versus Democracy – Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It.

He also writes a column at Slate in addition to hosting The Good Fight podcast.

Yascha and Chauncey discuss how Trump rode a wave of global discontent about liberal democracies into the White House, how a lack of faith in democracies is spreading around Europe and other parts of the world, right-wing authoritarian populism, what can be done to save democracy, the responsibility of teachers and other educators in this moment of crisis, as well as what we know and don't know about how and why democracies succeed or fail. 

In this week's episode of podcast Chauncey shares how the Trump administration is now trying to kick immigrants out of the country if they dare to use public services such as Head Start or food stamps. Chauncey also reminds folks about the human cost of Trump's white supremacist war on black and brown immigrants by sharing a story about home healthcare workers and their importance to the most vulnerable Americans. And at the end of this week's special fundraising month installment of the podcast, Chauncey reads some hate mail.

This episode with Yascha Mounk can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Page Right Out of the Fascism 101 Playbook: Donald Trump's Military Parade is No Joke

This is one of the two fundraising months for my podcast, online writing, and other projects for 2018.

I usually put out the old begging bowl in December but decided to wait, as an experiment of sorts, until February. As a practical matter this means that the last fundraiser was back in June of 2017.

As you know, I have been trying to do my best to shine a light of truth on the dangers embodied by Donald Trump on my podcast and through my various other writings and projects. To that end, I have featured conversations/interviews with some of the country's (and world's) leading experts about Donald Trump and his regime.

I am not paid for the podcast. Nor am I compensated for the various TV and radio interviews that I participate in. I also try to offer help and support for other folks' work whenever I can in the form of informal advice or other labor.

I have been given numerous offers to run advertisements and paid for content on my podcast, here, as well as on Facebook (believe it or not). I have declined such offers because I want to maintain my independence.

The podcast and other work requires approximately (at least) 20 hours of work a week...in addition to my "regular" job responsibilities. There is no vast "liberal conspiracy" that funds my work.

As I like to say and offering of "coffee money" from the good folks who listen to, read, and otherwise benefit from my work is so very much appreciated. If you can, and only if you have the resources, please do offer up some gold, silver, paper or other such monies over at the Paypal link on the right hand side of the screen here at chaunceydevega.com aka "Indomitable".

****

Petit-fascist Donald Trump may finally get his very own military parade. At last he will be able to put on a Napoleon costume and parade about under the big top like "Tom Thumb" in P.T. Barnum's circus.

As both The Washington Post and New York Times reported on Wednesday, Trump has apparently told Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that he wants "a military parade in Washington similar to the Bastille Day parade he witnessed in Paris in July." An unnamed military official told the Post that the "marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France. . . . This is being worked at the highest levels of the military."

Trump's proposed parade has already been widely criticized because it will be wasteful, embarrassing, and beneath the dignity and honor of the United States military and its service people. Trump is indifferent to those concerns. As a would-be despot, Trump considers a military parade as his personal rite of power. On this point, he is correct. Such displays are expected from an authoritarian. And like his heroes and role models of despotic power, including Vladimir Putin, Saddam Hussein, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and China's Xi Jinping, Trump will not be denied his own martial spectacle.

For an authoritarian, a military parade fulfills several roles.

It celebrates and announces the great leader's power by intimidating his foes both international and domestic.

The authoritarian leader is the literal physical embodiment of the State. He imagines himself to be strong and powerful. By implication, the military parade is a public display of that supposed truth.

Because they are "masculine" ideologies, fascism and other types of authoritarian ideologies rely upon and emphasize phallocentric imagery. Donald Trump is obsessed with the size of his penis: He has mentioned his "great" organ many times, both during interviews as well as presidential debates. A military parade is the logical extension of Trump and other right-wing ideologues' obsessions with masculine virility and potency.

Fascist and other authoritarian regimes embrace militant nationalism as one of their guiding principles.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Black pain is lucrative: Martin Luther King Jr. was a radical socialist, not a truck salesman

This is one of the two fundraising months for my podcast, online writing, and other projects for 2018. 

I usually put out the old begging bowl in December but decided to wait, as an experiment of sorts, until February. As a practical matter this means that the last fundraiser was back in June of 2017.

As you know, I have been trying to do my best to shine a light of truth on the dangers embodied by Donald Trump on my podcast and through my various other writings and projects. To that end, I have featured conversations/interviews with some of the country's (and world's) leading experts about Donald Trump and his regime.

I am not paid for the podcast. Nor am I compensated for the various TV and radio interviews that I participate in. I also try to offer help and support for other folks' work whenever I can in the form of informal advice or other labor.

I have been given numerous offers to run advertisements and paid for content on my podcast, here, as well as on Facebook (believe it or not). I have declined such offers because I want to maintain my independence.

The podcast and other work requires approximately (at least) 20 hours of work a week...in addition to my "regular" job responsibilities. There is no vast "liberal conspiracy" that funds my work.

As I like to say and offering of "coffee money" from the good folks who listen to, read, and otherwise benefit from my work is so very much appreciated. If you can, and only if you have the resources, please do offer up some gold, silver, paper or other such monies over at the Paypal link on the right hand side of the screen here at chaunceydevega.com aka "Indomitable".

It would mean a great deal to me and also keep the various present and futures plans for this corner of the Resistance growing and moving forward in a positive direction.

****

Capitalism is the monster that ate the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

During Sunday night's Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, Chrysler aired a commercial for its Ram pickup trucks.
ADVERTISING

Marketing and advertising is the art of creating false needs. To that end, the Ram Super Bowl commercial tried to evoke feelings of heroism and selflessness on the part of consumers by mating the purchase of a $40,000 dollar truck to images of "first responders," athletes, cowboys, military personnel, doctors, teachers and other "everyday" Americans. The narration for this ad was provided by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1968 sermon "The Drum Major Instinct."

The Ram commercial borrowed heavily from this section of King's sermon:
And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, ["Everybody!"] because everybody can serve. ["Amen."] You don't have to have a college degree to serve. ["All right!"] You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. ["Amen."] You only need a heart full of grace ("Yes, sir! Amen!"), a soul generated by love. ("Yes!") And you can be that servant.
Even by the standards of the dream merchants who work in advertising and marketing, Chrysler's use of King's speech to sell their trucks was dishonest and tone deaf.

Contrary to the caricature offered by this commercial, Dr. King was a democratic socialist who was keenly aware of the harm done to society and individuals by greed and consumerism. In fact, the quote used during Sunday's Super Bowl commercial was taken from the very same sermon in which King warned the audience about the way advertisers manipulate feelings of groupthink, loneliness and a need for conformity masquerading as individuality:
Now the presence of the drum major instinct is why so many people are "joiners." You know, there are some people who just join everything. And it's really a quest for attention and recognition and importance. And they get names that give them that impression. So you get your groups, and they become the "Grand Patron," and the little fellow who is henpecked at home needs a chance to be the "Most Worthy of the Most Worthy" of something. It is the drum major impulse and longing that runs the gamut of human life. And so we see it everywhere, this quest for recognition. And we join things, over-join really, that we think that we will find that recognition in. 
Now the presence of this instinct explains why we are so often taken by advertisers. You know, those gentlemen of massive verbal persuasion. And they have a way of saying things to you that kind of gets you into buying. In order to be a man of distinction, you must drink this whiskey. In order to make your neighbors envious, you must drive this type of car. ["Make it plain!"] In order to be lovely to love you must wear this kind of lipstick or this kind of perfume. And you know, before you know it, you're just buying that stuff. ["Yes!"] That's the way the advertisers do it.
At the time of his assassination, King was exceedingly unpopular in the United States because of his focus on fighting poverty, standing against militarism, empowering working-class people and the poor, and struggling against housing segregation in Northern cities. The radical King -- as opposed to the sanitized and literally whitewashed public figure who is celebrated during Black History Month and embraced on his public holiday -- was a radical leftist who strongly opposed the excesses of capitalism and suspected that White America could not be rehabilitated from its racism.

For example, King said that "the price that America must pay for the continued oppression of the Negro and other minority groups is the price of its own destruction." He was also direct in his belief that white Americans "must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society.”

All in all, it's clear that King would not have supported a multinational corporation's attempt to sell wasteful and polluting vehicles in his name, nor did he support the destructive forces such a corporation both summons and represents.

Beyond abusing the history and reality of King's life, struggle and legacy, the Ram Super Bowl advertisement does additional harm as well. Misrepresenting Martin Luther King Jr. is an example of the way racial capitalism and neoliberal multiculturalism have convinced too many white Americans (and others) that the long arc of history along the color line has now permanently bent towards justice. In this delusion, white supremacy and white privilege have been vanquished and now it is white people who are the real "victims" of racism in post-civil rights era America.

Martin Luther King Jr. is an American hero and a global humanitarian. However, he belongs to Black America,and has a special relationship with black people's history. King's murder in 1968 made him a martyr. Some 50 years later -- and likely forever -- his loss is still a source of great pain for black and brown people around the world. With their failed effort to "honor" Dr. King, Chrysler and its advertising agency have mocked and cheapened that pain.

Unfortunately, such disrespect and callousness towards black and brown people is not new.

Black pain literally built the American empire.

When black football players take a knee to protest the pain and death caused by white supremacy in America, they are condemned by White America and its champion, President Donald Trump. Why? Because the act of black and brown people protesting racism and white supremacy is perceived as being worse than the harm and pain caused by those historical crimes. Trump won the 2016 election, to a large extent, because he promised to elevate his resentful and bigoted public by hurting black and brown people in America and around the world.

Black pain is lucrative. It built America, and in 2018 it can be exploited to sell trucks during the Super Bowl.

Friday, February 2, 2018

A Conversation with Psychiatrist Bandy Lee About How Donald Trump's Mental Health Continues to Imperil the United States and the World

The Chauncey DeVega Show is supported by its kind and good and generous listeners. There are no advertisements on the podcast. I have been offered that opportunity many times but have always said no. But twice a year, I put out the old begging bowl and ask the listeners--if they are able--to offer up a donation. The Paypal link can be found on the right-hand side of the screen here at chaunceydevega.com

Psychiatrist Bandy Lee is the guest on this week's special fundraising month episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. She is a faculty member at the Yale School of Medicine and one of the principle editors of the New York Times bestseller "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.".  This is the second time that Bandy Lee has appeared on the podcast.

Lee and Chauncey discuss the predictions made in her book about the dangers posed by Donald Trump's mental health to the safety of the United States and the world, what she told Congress when she testified there several weeks ago as well the role of social pathology in electing Trump and the power he has over his followers. 
Bandy also explains what it was like to be a target of the right-wing mob because of her truth-telling about Donald Trump and what motivates her to be brave and embrace the best of our humanity in a time of trouble and political darkness.

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega also speaks with reporter and opinion writer Tommy Christopher from the political news and commentary site Shareblue about Trump's hellish State of the Union speech. Chauncey also explains why the Nunez memo about Trump and his cabal being victims of the so-called "deep state" is a great distraction and ploy where the truth is ultimately irrelevant. And at the end of this week's special fundraising month installment of the podcast, Chauncey shares a fascinating story about orcas. 
This episode with Bandy Lee can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.



The Inevitable Power of White Women's Tears: Hope Hicks and White Female Privilege

Whiteness is the complexion for the protection -- and being white and female comes with great privileges as well.

According to Wednesday's New York Times, Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller will interview a former spokesman for Donald Trump's legal team named Mark Corallo, who resigned last July. Corallo will reportedly tell Mueller that he took part in "a previously undisclosed conference call" with President Trump and White House communications director Hope Hicks:

Mr. Corallo planned to tell investigators that Ms. Hicks said during the call that emails written by Donald Trump Jr. before the [June 2016] Trump Tower meeting — in which the younger Mr. Trump said he was eager to receive political dirt about Mrs. Clinton from the Russians — “will never get out.” That left Mr. Corallo with concerns that Ms. Hicks could be contemplating obstructing justice.

In response to this report, the sentiment has emerged on social media and elsewhere that Hicks -- a presidential confidante and senior figure in the Trump administration -- is somehow naive or too young or supposedly in over her head, and that she should be given the opportunity to make amends and to move on from the Russian scandal later in life.

This is extremely problematic. Hope Hicks is an adult who chose to work for Donald Trump. She was not coerced, and she is very well compensated. Her boss is a petit-fascist authoritarian who may have conspired with agents of a foreign government during the 2016 presidential campaign. There is a mounting body of evidence that he has obstructed justice in an effort to derail Mueller's investigation into Russian interference and other crimes.

If Hicks conspired with Donald Trump on these matters she should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Conservatives incessantly preach the merits of "personal responsibility." It is long past time they applied such standards to themselves.

Because Hope Hicks is a young white woman -- and one who by conventional white American standards is viewed as "attractive" -- she enjoys privileges and other unearned advantages that are denied to nonwhite women. Making excuses for her, and attempting to gin up sympathy and concern for her, all result from that fact.