Monday, August 14, 2017

Last Call For Hatred Unleashed

Yeah, I know today's coverage has been all about Charlottesville and the nasty neo-Nazi problem we have in the country and in the White House, but it bears repeating that the FBI and DHS warned the White House of white supremacist attacks back in May and Trump hasn't lifted a finger.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in May warned that white supremacist groups had already carried out more attacks than any other domestic extremist group over the past 16 years and were likely to carry out more attacks over the next year, according to an intelligence bulletin obtained by Foreign Policy. 
Even as President Donald Trump continues to resist calling out white supremacists for violence, federal law enforcement has made clear that it sees these types of domestic extremists as a severe threat. The report, dated May 10, says the FBI and DHS believe that members of the white supremacist movement “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year.” 
The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which attracted hundreds of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other members of the so-called alt-right, sparked violent clashes over the weekend. A woman, Heather Heyer, was killed by a car that drove into a crowd of people protesting the rally. 
James Alex Fields Jr., the driver of the vehicle that struck Heyer, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. 
Since the outbreak of violence over the weekend, President Trump has been heavily criticized for not condemning racist groups. “We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST,” he tweeted
The FBI, on the other hand, has already concluded that white supremacists, including neo-Nazi supporters and members of the Ku Klux Klan, are in fact responsible for the lion’s share of violent attacks among domestic extremist groups. White supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement,” reads the joint intelligence bulletin. 
The report, titled “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence,” was prepared by the FBI and DHS. 
The bulletin’s numbers appear to correspond with outside estimates. An independent database compiled by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute found that between 2008 and 2016, far-right plots and attacks outnumbered Islamist incidents by almost 2 to 1.

I take that back, Trump did lift a finger to do something about the white supremacist threat in America: he directed federal law enforcement to ignore it.

The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters. 
The program, "Countering Violent Extremism," or CVE, would be changed to "Countering Islamic Extremism" or "Countering Radical Islamic Extremism," the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.

Now begins the bloody harvest as America reaps the whirlwind that Trump helped to sow.

The Revenge Of Both Sides

The Wall Street Journal editorial board bravely reminds us that while Nazis are bad, bad people who caused at least one death in Charlottesville....

The particular pathology on display in Virginia was the white nationalist movement led today by the likes of Richard Spencer, David Duke and Brad Griffin. They alone are to blame for the violence that occurred when one of their own drove a car into peaceful protesters, killing a young woman and injuring 19 others.

...maybe those Nazis had a point about the evils of political correctness and diversity!

The politics of white supremacy was a poison on the right for many decades, but the civil-rights movement rose to overcome it, and it finally did so in the mid-1960s with Martin Luther King Jr. ’s language of equal opportunity and color-blind justice.

That principle has since been abandoned, however, in favor of a new identity politics that again seeks to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, gender and even religion. “Diversity” is now the all-purpose justification for these divisions.

Sigh.  Always gotta punch some hippies.  Steve M has more.

Trump set the gold standard on "both sides" over the weekend, and again, what the neo-Nazi assholes really wanted was white America openly questioning whether or not diversity is worth it anymore if it leads to violence from white supremacists.

That's exactly what we're getting, and it's happening on purpose.  It's being driven by Trump, and being driven by a reason. Jeff Sessions and the GOP in Congress will work to enable it.  It's the same story we've seen before: weaken the federal government to the point where efforts fail, then "re-examine whether the effort is worth taxpayer dollars".

"We have to take a serious look at diversity" is code for "We have to end the civil rights era."

Take that to the bank.

Our Little Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

The reaction from the neo-Nazi scumbags to the deadly terrorist violence they carried out in Charlottesville over the weekend?  Hey, it's a win for us thanks to Trump.

It was a deadly weekend of rage-fueled street battles. And after the violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., leaders of white nationalist groups claimed success.

“It was a huge moral victory in terms of the show of force,” said Richard B. Spencer, the far-right figure who had come to Charlottesville to speak at Saturday morning’s “Unite the Right” rally.

The declaration from Mr. Spencer, in an interview late Saturday, was typical of the man who has rhetorically elbowed his way into the national conversation with his use of Nazi language and his unalloyed contention that America belongs to white people.

And indeed, the demonstrations in Charlottesville were perhaps the most visible manifestation to date of the evolution of the American far right, a coalition of old and new white supremacist groups connected by social media and emboldened by the election of Donald J. Trump.

Yet it is by no means clear what the demonstrations mean for the future of this movement and what, if any lasting effect, they will have. Will the overt displays of racism return the extreme right-wing to the margins of politics, or will they serve to normalize the movement, allowing it to weave itself deeper into the national conversation?

I understand the rhetorical question here, but it's one that needs to be directly asked of Donald Trump this morning.  These awful people count the weekend as a win because Trump condemned violence "on many sides" on Saturday.  That's exactly what his allies in the white supremacist movement wanted, and he gave it to them.

We achieved all of our objectives,” Matthew Heimbach, a founder of the Nationalist Front, a neo-Nazi group that bills itself as an umbrella organization for the white nationalist movement, said in an interview Saturday. “We showed that our movement is not just online, but growing physically. We asserted ourselves as the voice of white America. We had zero vehicles damaged, all our people accounted for, and moved a large amount of men and materials in and out of the area. I think we did an incredibly impressive job.”

Jason Kessler, a Charlottesville conservative and the main organizer of Saturday’s rally, has been fighting for months against the City Council’s plan to remove a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park, which once bore Lee’s name.

Although he is a relative newcomer to the white nationalist movement, Mr. Kessler is well known in his hometown. He has attacked the city’s status as a sanctuary for immigrants and has waged a public battle against Wes Bellamy, the black vice-mayor of Charlottesville and one of its city councilmen.

For weeks, a flier for the Unite the Right meeting made its way around the internet. It featured Pepe the Frog-styled soldiers bearing Confederate battle flags, and promised featured speakers like Mr. Spencer and Michael Hill, president of the Southern pro-secession group League of the South.

And why wouldn't they be thrilled?  Actual, literal white supremacists giving Nazi salutes and chanting Nazi slogans being falsely equivocated to Black Lives Matter and the Left is what they've wanted for years, and that's exactly what Trump did Saturday.

Compare that to Charlottesville's mayor, Michael Signer, who called these assholes and Trump out for their roles in the death of Heather Heyer.

Trump has surrounded himself with white supremacists like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka, and as at absolute minimum they need to be fired.  Maybe that will happen soon, but I doubt it.  We've seen Bannon in particular in trouble before, only to be saved by Trump focusing his anger on somebody else who has "failed" him in some way as Bannon's allies outside the White House promise retaliation if Bannon is fired.

Of course the core problem remains Trump and the tens of millions who voted for him knowing full well that he had tied himself to white supremacists, and had no problems supporting him up until this weekend.

Those are the people who are the real problem.


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