Monday, August 21, 2017

No, Mr Trump, we're not the same as the neo-Nazis

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/15/mr-trump-were-not-same-neo-nazis-charlottesville?CMP=fb_gu

In Charlottesville I faced off with men bearing torches and swastikas shouting ‘Jews will not replace us’. Yet the president thinks both sides are to blame


Tuesday 15 August 2017

The president of the United States called a mob of people marching with torches and chanting Nazi slogans “very fine people”. Fine people don’t chant Nazi slogans. Fine people don’t surround and attack college students. And fine people don’t stand with those who do.

I was there that night in Charlottesville. I can say with certainty that the only fine people I saw were the young students who stood outnumbered and ready to defend their campus and their beliefs against an onslaught of demagoguery.

I know some of those students. They were ready to die for what they believed in. I was prepared to die, too. A man wearing a swastika pin shouted transphobic and racist vitriol at me, inches from my face. 

The only fine people that night were those sprayed with mace and doused with lighter fluid from the torches that they were beaten with, afraid of being burned alive. Fine people don’t wear swastikas. Yet President Trump blamed both sides, despite the fact that only one side was run down by a terrorist. 

I was there when the attack happened. Despite the president deeming me – a transgender woman – unfit for military service, I ran toward the attacker with a weapon. I was ready to engage him if he tried to hurt more people.

I reached out to groups attending this event from the left, right and center to urge nonviolence. Meanwhile, the “unite the right” marchers said things like “we’ll fucking kill them if we have to” on camera.

The president can think “both sides” are to blame as long as he wants – but only one side beat a black man nearly to death with poles in a parking garage while hurling racist insults. It wasn’t our side. So why is the president blaming us along with the neo-Nazis?

It wasn’t the Ku Klux Klan and those who wave flags from the Third Reich who were urging nonviolence and trying to save lives in Charlottesville. It was leftist activists like me.

There is no room at the table for both you and decency, Mr President. As someone who stood face to face with men bearing torches and swastikas shouting “Jews will not replace us,” as someone who saw the blood spilled in Charlottesville first-hand, I can tell you this: you aren’t on my side. You aren’t on America’s side. You are on the wrong side.

‘They’re freaking chanting Jews will not replace us!’: Cooper corners guest for downplaying neo-Nazi rally

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/2017/08/theyre-freaking-chanting-jews-will-not-replace-us-cooper-corners-guest-for-downplaying-neo-nazi-rally/

15 Aug 2017

When a guest on Anderson Cooper 360 tried to dismiss the neo-Nazis and klansmen at Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally as a few bad apples, both the host and other guests were not having it.
“Today he’s saying that the people who were rallying around the Robert E. Lee statue on Friday night, with tiki torches of all things, chanting ‘Jews will not replace us’ and ‘blood and soil,’ calling the small group of counterprotesters who were there, calling them faggots — how do you defend that?” Cooper asked former George W. Bush staffer and current President Donald Trump supporter Paris Dennard.  “How do you defend the president for what he said today? Those people — he was saying that they were just quietly protesting the statue.”

“There were people on the other side chanting ‘Black Lives Matter,'” Dennard began, attempting to claim that not all the people present at the rally were violent white supremacists.

In a bizarre inverse of Trump’s claim of record-breaking crowds at his inauguration, Dennard continued his line of pursuit by claiming the majority of the crowds in Charlottesville weren’t violent bigots.

“What you’re saying literally makes no sense,” Cooper retorted. “I’m not characterizing the Black Lives Matter people as neo-Nazis — there was a small group of them, of mostly UVA students and their supporters, around the statue when the neo-Nazis arrived. It’s the people with tiki torches that the president is talking about as just being quiet, good people there just to protest the [removal of the] statue. They’re freaking chanting ‘Jews will not replace us’ on the streets of America.”
Even Dennards fellow guests took issue with his line of reasoning.

“The event said it was a pro-white demonstration,” CNN analyst Kirsten Powers said. “That’s what those people were there to do. Why are you acting like it’s just a few random bad apples?”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/2017/08/theyre-freaking-chanting-jews-will-not-replace-us-cooper-corners-guest-for-downplaying-neo-nazi-rally/

What Happened to Trump’s Beef With North Korea? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Making America Hate Again

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/164181239710

Robert Reich
Monday, August 14, 2017


Trump’s unwillingness to denounce hateful violence has been part of his political strategy from the start.

Weeks after he began his campaign by alleging that Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists, two brothers in Boston beat up and urinated on a 58-year-old homeless Mexican national, 
subsequently telling police “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

Instead of condemning the brutality, Trump excused it by saying “people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again.”

During campaign rallies Trump repeatedly excused brutality toward protesters. “You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.”

After white supporters punched and attempted to choke a Black Lives Matter protester, Trump said “maybe he should have been roughed up.”

Trump was even reluctant to distance himself from David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.  
Since becoming president, Trump’s instigations have continued. As Representative Mark Sanford, a Republican from South Carolina, told the Washington Post, “the president has unearthed some demons.”

In May, Trump congratulated body-slamming businessman Greg Gianforte on his special election win in Montana, making no mention of the victor’s attack on a reporter the night before.

Weeks ago Trump even tweeted a video clip of himself in a WWE professional wrestling match slamming a CNN avatar to the ground and pounding him with punches and elbows to the head.

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/164181239710

America’s Whiniest ‘Victim’

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/opinion/donald-trump-unfair.html?_r=0

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Night Fun and Culture: Antifa Edition














Still Making Excuses for Trump? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann


What A Jewish Journalist Saw In Charlottesville

From The Forward:  http://forward.com/news/379780/what-a-jewish-journalist-saw-in-charlottesville/

Nathan Guttman August 12, 2017

I had come to Charlottesville, Virginia for the “Unite the Right” rally to gauge the level of Jew hatred, amid all the racism and bigotry. So when, after a night of hate-filled demonstrations and a morning of clashes, the mayor cancelled all permits and kicked the white supremacists out of Emancipation Park, I wasn’t sure what to do until I got wind of a rumor that one hard-core gang had decamped to another park in this idyllic college town.


I headed to McIntyre Park with a few other reporters and was glad — if that’s the right word — to find a crowd of about 100 flowing into the space. A few miles away in downtown, a driver had rammed his car into counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19. But in McIntyre Park, a riotous group of men — one bare-shirted, the better to show off his swastika tattoo, another being treated for a deep gash in his head — was shouting angrily, at reporters, communists, socialists, bitches… and Jews.

“[L]ittle Mayor Signer — SEE-NER — how do you pronounce this little creep’s name?” asked Richard Spencer, a right-wing leader who dreams of a “white ethnostate,” as he stood on a bench under a tree to rally his troops, deprived of their protest.

The crowd knew exactly how to pronounce his name: “Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew” some shouted out. The rest burst out in laughter. And that was one of the only moments of levity the alt-right audience gathered under the tree enjoyed.

“The idea that I’d ever back down to such a little creep like Mayor Signer,” Spencer went on, “They don’t understand what’s in my heart, they don’t understand the ‘alt-right,’ they don’t understand this whole movement.” The term “alt-right” has many meanings, but Spencer’s mission is the salvation of what he sees as an oppressed white race.

After stepping down from the bench, I asked Spencer about the reference to the mayor and his faith. Signer, a Democrat who assumed office last year, is Jewish.

“I didn’t say that,” Spencer said. “I don’t know if he’s a Jew or not. Is he?”

A member of the group of supporters surrounding Spencer and the reporters volunteered an answer: “He is a Jew.”

“I actually don’t care. He could be Ethiopian,” Spencer added. “The way that he acted is absolutely outrageous. He looks like a fool and we’re going to make him look like an even bigger fool. That’s a lot of fun.”

Continue reading at: http://forward.com/news/379780/what-a-jewish-journalist-saw-in-charlottesville/

Why the Charlottesville Marchers Were Obsessed With Jews

From The Atlantic:  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/nazis-racism-charlottesville/536928/

Anti-Semitic logic fueled the violence over the weekend, no matter what the president says.

Emma Green Aug 15, 2017

The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville was ostensibly about protecting a statue of Robert E. Lee. It was about asserting the legitimacy of “white culture” and white supremacy, and defending the legacy of the Confederacy.

So why did the demonstrators chant anti-Semitic lines like “Jews will not replace us”?

The demonstration was suffused with anti-black racism, but also with anti-Semitism. Marchers displayed swastikas on banners and shouted slogans like “blood and soil,” a phrase drawn from Nazi ideology. “This city is run by Jewish communists and criminal niggers,” one demonstrator told Vice News’ Elspeth Reeve during their march. As Jews prayed at a local synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, men dressed in fatigues carrying semi-automatic rifles stood across the street, according to the temple’s president. Nazi websites posted a call to burn their building. As a precautionary measure, congregants had removed their Torah scrolls and exited through the back of the building when they were done praying.

“This is an agenda about celebrating the enslavement of Africans and their descendants, and celebrating those that then fought to preserve that terrible machine of white supremacy and human enslavement,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL. “And yet, somehow, they’re all wearing shirts that talk about Adolf Hitler.”

For these demonstrators, though, the connection between African Americans and Jews is clear. In the minds of white supremacists like David Duke, there is a straight line from anti-blackness to anti-Judaism. That logic is powerful and important. The durability of anti-Semitic tropes, and the ease with which they slide into all displays of bigotry, is a chilling reminder that the hatreds of our time rhyme with history and are easily channeled through timeless anti-Semitic canards.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/nazis-racism-charlottesville/536928/

Weeping Nazi started off as a “men’s rights activist,” which is no huge surprise

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2017/08/18/weeping-nazi-started-off-as-a-mens-rights-activist-which-is-no-huge-surprise/

Christopher Cantwell's trajectory from "men's rights" to white supremacy is sadly typical of the alt-right

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

The white supremacist rally that turned violent — and then deadly — on Saturday was immediately documented by Vice News Tonight and its correspondent Elle Reeve, in a video documentary released on Monday. It wasn’t just the turnaround speed that was impressive, but the level of access the Vice team got, largely due to the choice to embed with Christopher Cantwell, a self-appointed white supremacist leader whose big mouth and massive gun collection left an impression on the documentary’s viewers.

Watching the documentary, it’s clear enough how Vice got Cantwell to agree to be so closely followed and repeatedly interviewed: The guy craves the camera, repeatedly playing up his ugly views to Reeve, clearly knowing that he’s giving good sound-bites that will make it into the documentary. It’s no surprise, then, that Cantwell followed up the rally by posting a dramatic video to social media where he manages to cry for four minutes about his fear of arrest, all without shedding a tear. The video went viral, mostly because people want to see Nazis cry, and Cantwell scored even more attention for himself.

It also didn’t take long for internet sleuths to figure out that the 36-year-old, who now hosts a white supremacist talk show, has quite a history of making a spectacle of himself and has rebranded as different flavors of jackass several times over the course of his illustrious career. Cantwell ran for Congress in 2010 as a Libertarian. He and two friends started the “Free Keane Squad,” which made it to “The Colbert Report” in 2014 because their main form of activism appeared to be chasing meter maids around and harassing them for giving people parking tickets.

Cantwell also identified as a “men’s rights activist” and wrote for the site A Voice for Men, one of the hubs of organized misogyny on the internet. He expressed his views that the state supposedly gives “women the power to have men arrested for anything without any evidence at all” and how women, in their roles of “traditionally carrying the role of raising children and supporting the men,” did not evolve to have high IQs. Like men do. Allegedly.

It’s yet another example of how the world of online anti-feminism has become a gateway to white supremacy. While there hasn’t been any rigid academic analysis of this phenomenon, sites like We Hunted the Mammoth, which started as a way to monitor the various and overlapping worlds of online misogyny, have tracked that when men get together to gripe about their resentment of women’s growing independence, they often start drifting toward talking about “white genocide” and other white supremacist ideas.

The world of online misogynists is a complex maze. Some of the communities are geared towards older, divorced men. Some are “pick-up artist” sites, geared towards younger men who think they aren’t getting the female attention they believe they’re due. Some identify as “men going their own way,” which is to say giving up on women altogether. But what brings them together is anger over the fact that feminism has liberated women to date whomever they wish and leave marriages that aren’t working. This makes it much harder, in the “men’s rights” misogynist view, for men to acquire or keep the submissive female partners they feel entitled to.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2017/08/18/weeping-nazi-started-off-as-a-mens-rights-activist-which-is-no-huge-surprise/

Richard Spencer is ‘happy’ Trump didn’t blame white nationalists for Charlottesville

From The Times of Israel:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/richard-spencer-is-happy-trump-didnt-blame-white-nationalists-for-charlottesville/

After the president takes days to condemn white supremacists, the alt-right leader says he believes Trump shares their view of US history

By Eric Cortellessa August 14, 2017

WASHINGTON — Richard Spencer is pleased with the president.

A white supremacist and one of the leading figures of the alt-right, Spencer said he was “happy” US President Donald Trump did not initially fault his movement for the deadly turn Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally took in Charlottesville, Virginia.

After the rally, which was organized to protest the city’s plans to remove a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee, ended in a 20-year-old Ohio man ramming his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring 19 others, Trump addressed the nation.

He condemned “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides.” He then repeated for emphasis: “On many sides.”

Trump’s words Saturday quickly prompted widespread outrage, as many saw them as suggesting a false equivalence between the white supremacists and their opponents, while pointedly failing to specify who was in the wrong.

But for Spencer, the most prominent member of the alt-right who attended the demonstration, Trump was sending a message that was reassuring.

“I was happy that he didn’t claim that white nationalists created these problems” in Charlottesville, Spencer told The Times of Israel on Monday. “I think in his gut he knows that we are not the ones aggressing.”

Asked if he felt personally condemned by the president’s Saturday statement, Spencer said: “No.”
It took two days and unceasing pressure until Trump was willing to take a stronger stance, saying “racism is evil” from a podium at the White House on Monday and calling out white nationalists by name.

Continue reading at:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/richard-spencer-is-happy-trump-didnt-blame-white-nationalists-for-charlottesville/

Antifa International

Reblogged from Antifa International:  https://antifainternational.tumblr.com/post/159425251484/you-antifa-guys-are-actually-more-hateful-and


you antifa guys are actually more hateful and violent than any neo nazi group in the 21st century. its fucking disgusting and you should be branded as terrorists just as much as the KKK
We’d usually just block you, Anon, but we’re going to use your message as a reminder of where the violence is coming from in 2017.  Off the top of our heads, here’s what the year has looked like so far:

January 20, 2017: A right-wing extremist shoots a protestor at a Milo Yiannopoulos event at the University of Washington.

January 29, 2017
: Alexandre Bissonnette walks into a mosque in Canada during evening prayers and opens fire, shooting 17 people and killing six of them.

January 2017: Over 40 Jewish centers in the U.S. receive bomb threats.

 February 22, 2017:  Adam Purinton tells two men from India to “get out of my country” then shoots both plus a bystander, killing one.

February 28, 2017: a mosque in Toronto is set on fire by arsonists.

March 12, 2017: a mosque in Ypsilanti, MI. is set on fire by arsonists.

March 20, 2017: James Jackson arrives in Manhattan with a sword and stabs the first black man he sees to death.  He later tells authorities he “intended to kill as many black men as he could.”

March 24, 2017: Yelling “I hate Muslims!” a man in Minneapolis stabbed a Somali man in an attempt to kill him.

March 26, 2017: A racist mob attacks a 15-year-old Polish boy in Gloucestershire and, when a local Asian shopkeeper tries to intervene, attack him as well with crowbars and baseball bats, then attempt to run him over with a car.

March 31, 2017: A 17-year-old Iranian/Kurdish boy is nearly beaten to death by a mob of eight people in Croydon after he revealed to them that he was a refugee.

April 6, 2017: A Charlotte store is set on fire by an arsonist who leaves a warning message for the shop owner that he “did not want any refugee business owners and that they would torture the owner if they did not leave and go back to where they came from,” according to police.  It was signed “White America.”

MAY 5TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

April 30, 2017: A  white man storms a pool party in San Diego and shoots four black women, two black men, and one Latino man while allowing white attendees to leave.  One victim dies while the other six sustain critical injuries.

MAY 10TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

May 5, 2017: A man walking his dog on South Beach in Miami is confronted by two men who call him a “fucking faggot,” then attack him, beating him unconscious.  At one point in the attack, one of the attackers shouts  “all faggots need to die and we’re going to make sure they do!”

MAY 18TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

May 14, 2017: Vandals spray-paint hate graffiti on the home of a black family in upstate New York before attempting to set the house on fire while the family slept.  Although the family escaped unscathed, their garage burnt to the ground and their house suffered some damage.

May 17, 2017: A homophobic mob break into the home of a gay couple and shoot and stab both men to death.

MAY 23RD: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

May 20, 2017: University of Maryland student and member of the “alt-Reich” facebook group Sean Urbanski walks up to 22-year-old Richard Collins III, who is black and who Urbanski does not know, and stabs him to death in an unprovoked attack.

May 27th: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

May 24, 2017: A barrage of doxxing, rape threats, and death threats received by trans comic book artist Sophie Labelle forces her to cancel an appearance and event at a Halifax book store, which also received bomb threats and threats of attacking the event.  Labelle is forced into hiding.

May 26, 2017: Three men intervene on a MAX train in Portland when they witness another man verbally abusing two Muslim women with an Islamophobic tirade.  The Islamophobe responds by pulling out a knife and stabs the three interveners, killing two of them.  

MAY 30th: EDITED TO INCLUDE:
May 27, 2017: A white man drives his pickup truck through a campsite, targeting the Native Americans camping there while yelling racial slurs at them.  He intentionally drives over two Native American men, killing one and injuring the other.

June 3rd: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

March 3, 2017: A Sikh man is shot and injured in front of his Seattle house by a white man waring a mask, who yells at him to “go back to your country!”

May 27, 2017: A 34-year-old Anthony Hammond lets loose with a flurry of racial slurs directed at a black man in a parking lot, then pulls out a machete and stabs the man before barricading himself in his apartment for several hours, until finally surrendering to police.

JUNE 13th: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

January 1, 2017: 19-year-old Nathan Richardson encounters 67-year-old jogger Wenqing Xu and beats him to death in an unprovoked, random attack.  After committing the murder, Richardson texted his friends that he “fucked sum chink up. Bodied him. I think pure crime scene – his head’s gone,”

JUNE 19TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

June 18, 2017: two men armed with baseball bats attack a group of Muslim teenagers, kidnapping a 17-year-old girl, who they beat to death, dumping her body in a pond.

June 1, 2017: A Princeton professor and racialized woman is forced to cancel a three-city lecture tour to promote her book about the Black Lives Matter movement after receiving over 50 death threats.

June 19, 2017: Shouting “I’m going to kill all Muslims!” 47-year-old Darren Osborne drives a courier van through a crowd of Muslims leaving a Finsbury mosque, killing one person and injuring ten others.

JULY 4TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

January 28, 2017: a First Nations woman walking with her sister is struck by a trailer hitch hurled from a passing vehicle.  After struggling in hospital for several months, she succumbs to her injuries.

June 21, 2017:  an Islamophobe approaches a Muslim man and woman sitting in a car stopped at a traffic light and knocks on the window.  When the driver rolls down the window, the Islamophobe sprays the driver and passenger with acid, severely burning both.

JULY 16TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

February 21, 2017: a 24-year-old transgender woman is shot and killed in Chicago, IL.

February 26, 2017: a transgender woman is shot and killed in New Orleans, LA.

March 1, 2017: a transgender woman is stabbed to death in New Orleans, LA.

March 22, 2017: a 38-year-old transgender woman is shot and killed in Baltimore, MD.

April 21, 2017: a 28-year-old transgender woman is shot and killed in Miami, FL.

May 17, 2017: a 34-year-old transgender woman is shot and killed in Fresno, CA.

July 2, 2017:  a 28-year-old transgender woman is shot and killed in Lynchburg, VA.

JULY 25TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

June 3, 2017: 38-year-old white supremacist Phillip Wade racially abuses a 57-year-old black man on an Oakley, CA. bus, then pulls a knife and stabs the man to death while the man is walking away from the confrontation.  The victim is the third racialized person Wade has stabbed in the past six years and the second person he’s murdered.

July 16, 2017: A man attempts to pull the hijab off of a Muslim woman waiting for the tube in London, then hits her when she resists.  He then pins her friend to the wall and spits in her face before leaving.

July 16, 2017: Arsonists set a mosque in Manchester ablaze.

July 18, 2017: A NASA researcher of South Asian descent has her car windshield shattered by a rock thrown through it by an assailant screaming “go back to your country!”  She’s injured in the attack.

AUGUST 2ND: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

July 19, 2017: Two men exit a car and attack a racialized pedestrian with their fists and an iron bar.

AUGUST 7TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

August 5, 2017: A mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota is firebombed, narrowly missing killing & injuring dozens of members there for morning prayers.

AUGUST 10TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

August 8, 2017: A well-known Chicago neo-nazi starts an altercation at a concert, then pulls out a smuggled knife and stabs a man and a woman at the show.

AUGUST 12TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

August 12, 2017:  A white supremacist in Charlottesville, VA. drives his car at high speed directly into a crowd of anti-racist protestors, killing one woman and seriously injured 19 other people.

AUGUST 12TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:

January 25, 2017
: An arsonist destroys the only mosque in Victoria, Texas.

AUGUST 16TH: EDITED TO INCLUDE:
August 12, 2017: A self-identifed member of the white supremacist “three percenter” movement is arrested by the FBI after unsuccessfuly trying  to blow up a bank in Oklahoma City with a car bombed modeled after the one used by Timothy McVeigh.

In case you have trouble counting, Anon, that’s three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve shootings, three four five six seven arsons, two three four seven eight nine ten eleven stabbings, two three four five mob beatings, over 40 41 bomb threats, one failed bombing, and an acid attack by bigots, Islamophobes, nazis and racists so far this year.

Eight Nine Eleven Twelve Fourteen Fifteen Sixteen Seventeen Eighteen Nineteen Twenty twenty-one twenty-two twenty-three twenty-four twenty-five twenty-six Twenty-seven Twenty-Eight people are dead because of these bigoted attacks and fifteen twenty-one twenty-two twenty-three twenty-five thirty-five thirty-seven thirty-nine fifty-eight were severely injured.  

But it’s anti-fascists that people should be worried about, right?

“you should be branded as terrorists just as much as the KKK“ 

Really, now?  Anti-fascists are as much terrorists as the KKK, a terrorist organization which murdered over 3000 people in lynchings, arsons, bombings, etc. over its 150-year history, are we? 
Maybe it’s time you learned about the logical fallacy of false equivalence, Anon!

 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Guardian view on Donald Trump and racism: a moral failure that shames America

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2017/aug/13/the-guardian-view-on-donald-trump-and-racism-a-moral-failure-that-shames-america

No previous US president of modern times would have failed to condemn his country’s white nationalists. This one did

Sunday 13 August 2017

As George W Bush’s speechwriter put it this weekend, it is one of the “difficult but primary duties” of a political leader to speak for a nation in traumatic times. A space shuttle explodes, a school student goes on a shooting spree, a terrorist flies a plane into a building, a hurricane floods a city. When such things happen, Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post, “It falls to the president to express something of the nation’s soul.” Yet if Donald Trump’s words about the violent white extremist mobilisation in Virginia on Saturday – which an under-pressure White House was desperately trying to clarify on Sunday – are an expression of its soul, America may be on the road to perdition.

The original United States of America was built on white supremacy. The US constitution of 1787 treated black slaves as equivalent to three-fifths of a free white and gave no rights at all to Native Americans, who were regarded as belonging to their own nations. After the civil war, Jim Crow laws enforced segregation across the defeated south and comprehensively disfranchised African Americans for nearly a century. Writing Mein Kampf in the 1920s, Adolf Hitler praised America’s institutional racism as a model from which Nazi Germany could learn. Only in the postwar period, and then slowly and incompletely, was meaningful racial equality pursued by the land of the free.

Yet, while American racism has extremely deep and tenacious historical roots, without which the events in Virginia on Saturday cannot be properly understood, some large things have changed for the better over the past 60 or so years. Equal rights have been enforced. Equality has been embraced. America has elected a black president. It would be difficult to imagine any US president of this more recent period, of whatever party, who would not have responded to the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville with anything except explicit condemnation and disgust. Any president, that is, until this one.

There is absolutely no moral equivalence between the fanatical white supremacists who rallied in the Virginia city on Saturday and the equality defenders who demonstrated peacefully against them, one of whom was rammed and killed by a speeding car allegedly driven by a man who had attended the neo-Nazi rally. The supremacists hate black people and Jews, and regard white people as superior. They talk portentously about blood, soil and the right to bear arms. They admire Hitler and give Nazi salutes. They fly the flags of the pro-slavery Confederacy – the ostensible cause of their rallies this summer is Charlottesville’s decision, more than 150 years after the south’s surrender, to remove a statue of Robert E Lee from a park. And one of them committed the sort of act that was rightly called terrorism when it occurred in Nice, Berlin and London.

Yet, in his first response on Saturday, Mr Trump utterly failed in his primary duty to uphold equality and speak the truth about the racist violence that had taken place. Instead of placing the blame where it belonged, on the supremacists and Klansmen who triggered these events, and rather than stand up for the indivisibility of equality and tolerance before the law, Mr Trump’s words were by turns slippery, banal and morally compromised. It was not true that the violence in Charlottesville came from “many sides”, as Mr Trump evasively said, before repeating his evasion. It is the head of state’s duty to stand up, explicitly and unequivocally, against racists and those who promote racial violence. Mr Trump was found wanting.

That would not have happened under Mr Bush, for all his faults. Nor is it true of top Republicans like Cory Gardner, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Orrin Hatch, none of them social liberals, who were all quick to call the supremacists out. Even the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who is few people’s idea of an ideological exemplar, condemned the racists. But Mr Trump did not.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2017/aug/13/the-guardian-view-on-donald-trump-and-racism-a-moral-failure-that-shames-america

"Nasty Man" by Joan Baez


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Who has fanned the flames of fascism? Our politicians and newspapers

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/15/fanned-flames-fascism-politicians-newspapers-charlottesville

We mourn a brave hero like Bernard Kenny, while the right wing racists boldly rise. Blame those marching in Charlottesville, but look to the real perpetrators

Tuesday 15 August 2017

They pour the petrol and then wonder why it burns. Fascism is on the rise in the west, and it is emboldened, legitimised and fuelled by “mainstream” politicians and newspapers. When we mourn a hero like Bernard Kenny – who courageously tried to stop a fascist terrorist murdering Jo Cox – we have to ask ourselves: who are those with power and influence who helped create the conditions in which racists and fascists breed?

“Cannot believe we’re seeing Nazi salutes in 21st century America,” tweets Nigel Farage about Charlottesville, dragging a can of petrol behind him. Perhaps next the chief executive of a fast-food company will express disbelief at levels of obesity; or a tobacco company will issue a press release spluttering about lung cancer deaths. Farage: the man who stood, arms outstretched, in front of a poster featuring dark-skinned refugees and the words “Breaking Point”. Farage: the man who expressed his “concern” at having Romanians move in next door, and made apocalyptic warnings of Romanians and Bulgarians flooding Britain. Farage: the man who cheered on the ascendancy of Donald Trump, a US president whose most fervent supporters are now triumphantly chanting “Heil Trump!” as they menace minorities and progressives.

But Farage is the easy target. Across the western world a media and political elite scapegoats migrants for the crimes of the powerful, portrays Muslims as a homogeneous violent fifth column, and demonises opponents as unpatriotic saboteurs and internal enemies. Trump’s initial refusal to attribute blame to racists and fascists after a far-right terrorist attack – his subsequent coerced denunciation is worthless, and was followed by his retweet of a leading “alt-rightist” – underlines why those marching in Charlottesville see him as their leader.

But Trump’s campaign of bigotry, taken as a licence to hate by every racist and fascist, was no grubby disruption of a tolerant American consensus. “Obama answers to the Qur’an before the constitution,” declared Fox News contributors. The US constitution would be replaced with the Qur’an, they announced. Muslims would be banned from serving in high office, declared Herman Cain, a Republican candidate for the presidential nomination, a few years ago. “Sharia is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States,” was the pronouncement of Newt Gingrich, the Republican ex-speaker of the House of Representatives. Muslims were the only group Barack Obama offered “undying, unfailing support for”, declared fellow Republican Mike Huckabee.

Those goose-stepping marchers in Charlottesville, those racists and fascists, merely represent the undiluted hatred that festers in the US elite.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/15/fanned-flames-fascism-politicians-newspapers-charlottesville