The UK's Conservative Party recently put up a new statue of known anti-Semite Nancy Astor

Nancy Astor was the first woman to sit in Parliament; this is true. She took her seat as a member of the Conservative Party on November 28, 1919. And so, to celebrate the centennial, the party put up a brand new statue of her outside of her former home at Plymouth Hoe. According to the BBC, the statue was made by artist Hayley Gibbs and cost £125,000, which was raised through crowdfunding.

It's somewhat of a relief that they paid for it themselves. Because Astor wasn't actually the first woman elected to Parliament. No, that honor went to that incomparable badass Constance Markievicz, the Irish revolutionary, suffragette, and staunch advocate for workers' rights. In keeping with Sinn Féin's abstentionist policy, however, Markievicz refused to actually take her seat in the British House of Commons, or participate in any parliamentary processes.

But okay, fine. Nancy Astor was the first woman to literally take her seat in Parliament. Whereas Markievicz famously advised women to, "Leave your jewels in the bank and buy a revolver," Astor once said, "I am the kind of woman I would run from." Case in point: while Astor claimed to despise the Nazi party for oppressing women, she also allegedly told Joseph Kennedy that she saw Hitler as a welcome solution to the “world problems” that were the Jews. According to the History News Network:

Astor wrote Kennedy that Hitler would have to do more than just "give a rough time" to "the killers of Christ" before she'd be in favor of launching  "Armageddon to save them.

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Conservative politician apologizes for saying people on welfare "needed putting down".

Francesca O'Brien, the Conservative candidate for the Gower constituency in the forthcoming UK elections, said that people appearing on the TV show "Benefits Steet" needed "putting down".

In the posts following the broadcast of the first episode of Benefits Street five years ago, Ms O'Brien said: "Benefit Street..anyone else watching this?? Wow, these people are unreal!!!"

Responding to another user's comment, she said: "My blood is boiling, these people need putting down."

In a statement released on Sunday, Ms O'Brien said: "These comments were made off the cuff, a number of years ago.

"However, I accept that my use of language was unacceptable and I would like to apologise for any upset I have caused."

Benefits Street was a Channel 4 documentary about people on welfare, broadcast in 2014, criticized at the time for "vilifying and misrepresenting benefits claimaints" in tabloid fashion. O'Brien neglected to delete her social media history before launching her bid for office. Read the rest

The cruelty is the point

Last year, Adam Serwer published a phenomenal article about Trump and his supporters titled "The Cruelty Is The Point". His no-nonsense tour of Trumpdom outraged conservatives, who were uncomfortable being seen as fellow travelers to smirking alt-right trolls. Even liberal media, which patronizingly casts Trump as the sigh of the oppressed Cletus, objected to Serwer's straightforward explanation of why people support his lies, atrocities and outrages.

Anyway, here's Ben Shapiro praising Trump as "so cruel" in that fawning nasal whimper of his.

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Punched Nazi Richard Spencer ejected from Conservative conference

Richard Spencer, the American white nationalist guru famous for being punched on camera by an antifascist protestor, was ejected today from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) by security guards.

“I’m not welcome on the property?” Spencer asked.

“I’m not going to debate this,” said the guard. “This is private property. They want you off the property.”

After Spencer asked if could stay if he would simply “stay out of trouble,” he said a hashtag — “Free Spencer” — into the cameras, and posed for another photo as he was taken outside.

He attracted attention to himself after walking out during a deranged speech from American Conservative Union director Dan Schneider, who, desperate to distance the movement from Spencer's ilk, had described the Alt Right as a "left-wing" group. Read the rest

Conservative "suckers" were primed for Trump

Jeet Heer explains that Republicans fell for Trump because of years of conservative policy that told them science, reason and skepticism were bad. Put simply, they were primed to be suckers: “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”

Conservative ideology, as Perlstein persuasively argues, is particularly vulnerable to grifters because of its faith in the goodness of business and its concomitant hostility toward regulation—which makes it easy for true believers to buy into the notion that some modern Edison has a miraculous new invention that the Washington elite is conniving to suppress. In Perlstein’s words, “The strategic alliance of snake-oil vendors and conservative true believers points up evidence of another successful long march, of tactics designed to corral fleeceable multitudes all in one place—and the formation of a cast of mind that makes it hard for either them or us to discern where the ideological con ended and the money con began.” There’s another factor at work here: The anti-intellectualism that has been a mainstay of the conservative movement for decades also makes its members easy marks.

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As Trump takes Nevada, Republicans face facts

Donald Trump thrashed his Republican rivals so completely in Nevada's caucus that he won about as many votes as Marc Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich combined. For Republicans hoping it would all go away, the knowledge that even a "consensus candidate" can't prevail is dawning.

At The Guardian, Jeb Lund explains that Trump's victories aren't mysterious if you understand why people are angry, which very few people in politics or the media appreciate, even now.

But you don’t need some grand overarching political science theory. There are millions of miserable people in America who know exactly who engineered the shattering of their worlds, and Trump isn’t one of those people – and, with the exception of Bernie Sanders, everyone else in the field is running on the basis of their experience being one of those people.

When you are abused and bullied enough, anyone willing to beat up or burn down whomever put you in that position is your friend. Even a bully can be a hero if he targets others bullies – and that is, more or less, what Trump has done since day one.

At The Federalist, though, Mollie Hemingway blames the media for enabling him and for embracing his awful talking points.

They’re complicit. You can’t cry “dangerous and outrageous” with this type of cross-network coverage that other candidates would pay millions of dollars to have. Every day is a test for the media and Trump. And every day they fail, and he succeeds wildly.

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