Sunday, December 29, 2019

Holidaze: Them's Fightin' Words

As I keep saying, Trump is the symptom.  The disease is the people who vote for Trump, especially those that see his election as an open call to intimidation and violence against those who don't agree with them.  

We call them white nationalists, white supremacists, racists.  That gives them the right to threaten our lives, apparently.  The openly congregate at events like "Trumpstock" in Arizona, with sitting members of Congress like GOP Rep. Paul Gosar joining them, so they can swear allegiance to start shooting if Trump loses.

Arizona will be a key battleground state in 2020: Democrats already flipped a Senate seat and a Tucson-based congressional district from red to blue in 2018. For Mr. Trump, big turnout from white voters in areas like Mohave County — and in rural parts of other battlegrounds like Florida, Michigan, Minnesota and Georgia — could be a lifeline in a tight election.

“We like to call this the ‘Red Wall of Arizona,’” said Laurence Schiff, a psychiatrist and Republican campaign official in Mohave County who organizes in support of Mr. Trump’s campaign. “Winning the state starts here, with us.”

Grass-roots gatherings play a critical role in the modern culture of political organizing, firing up ardent supporters and cementing new ones. Small circles of Trump-supporting conservatives, often organized online and outside the traditional Republican Party apparatus, engage in more decentralized — and explicit — versions of the chest-beating that happens at Mr. Trump’s closely watched political rallies.

In interviews, people in the crowd described a white America under threat as racial minorities typified by Mr. Obama, the country’s first black president, gain political power. They described Mr. Trump as an inspirational figure who is undoing Mr. Obama’s legacy and beating back the perceived threat of Muslim and Latino immigrants, whom they denounced in prejudiced terms.

“I don’t have a problem with Muslims,” said Angus Smith, an Arizona resident who attended the festival, “but can they take the rag off their head out of respect for our country?”

At Mr. Trump’s official rallies, including a recent one in Florida, the president has referred to Mr. Obama by stressing his middle name, Hussein, and said Democrats were “trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you.”

The Trumpstock speakers pushed even further, tying Mr. Obama’s middle name to a false belief that he is a foreign-born Muslim.

And Democrats were portrayed as not just political opponents, but avatars of doom for Mr. Trump’s predominantly white voter base and for the country.

“There is no difference between the democratic socialists and the National Socialists,” said Evan Sayet, a conservative writer who spoke at the event, referencing Nazi Germany. Democrats, he said, “are the heirs to Adolf Hitler.”

The difference is of course these are the guys willing to start the next civil war.

Events like Trumpstock are not limited to Arizona. Its organizer, Laurie Bezick, recruited speakers from around the country through social media, tapping into a network of pro-Trump voices only a click away.

Long-shot congressional candidates touting an “America First” agenda came from places like Iowa and Maryland. Leaders of fledgling political groups with names like JEXIT: Jews Exit The Democratic Party, Latinos for Trump and Deplorable Pride, a right-wing L.G.B.T. organization, told the overwhelmingly white audience they were not anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, homophobic or racist. In fact, the speakers insisted, people who used those terms were more guilty of bigotry than the people they accused.

To applause, the co-founder of Latinos for Trump, Marco Gutierrez, read the pledge he took when he became a naturalized citizen and renounced his Mexican homeland. Nitemare, a pro-Trump rapper who refused to give his legal name, invoked QAnon and called Mr. Obama a racist slur in his set.

Brian Talbert, the founder of Deplorable Pride, was contacted by the White House after he was barred from the L.G.B.T. pride parade in Charlotte, N.C. At Trumpstock, Mr. Talbert, who has a history of expressing anti-Muslim beliefs on social media, gave voice to hatred of Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and Mr. Trump’s 2016 opponent.

“I think she should be hanging at the end of a rope for treason,” he said of Mrs. Clinton.

Members of groups like these at once make up a critical portion of Arizona’s conservative base, and espouse derogatory rhetoric that must repeatedly be repudiated, creating political difficulties for the state’s Republican lawmakers. After a photograph emerged last April of members of Patriot Movement AZ posing with Gov. Doug Ducey, he said he had never heard of the group. “I absolutely denounce their behavior,” he added.

Trumpstock attendees say they are used to being denounced, another quality they feel they share with the president. It’s part of why they are protective of him, to the point that they refuse to acknowledge the possibility of a Trump loss in 2020.

Mark Villalta said he had been stockpiling firearms, in case Mr. Trump’s re-election is not successful.

“Nothing less than a civil war would happen,” Mr. Villalta said, his right hand reaching for a holstered handgun. “I don’t believe in violence, but I’ll do what I got to do

We live in a country where people regularly open fire into crowds of people with the intent to kill.  How many times will that happen if Donald Trump is defeated?  These are people only warning us that they will pull the trigger, folks.  And our government cannot be counted on to protect us from them.

Not one bit.

Sunday Long Read: The Most Dangerous Game

In 2017, a white man named James Harris Jackson stabbed Timothy Caughman, an unarmed random black man, to death in the middle of Times Square in NYC.  Jackson walked up to police searching for Caughman's assailant and confessed to the crime.  He absolutely confessed to killing Caughman for the sole reason that Caughman was black.

The man stumbled into the police precinct in Hell’s Kitchen late one night, staggering toward a tall reception desk painted black and blue. Before the desk officer could ask the man his business, he collapsed on a bench, dripping blood.

When officers pulled up his shirt, they found a series of deep stab wounds in his dark skin. As they struggled to stem the bleeding, they asked the man who had attacked him, but he could only groan. He died minutes later at a Manhattan hospital without saying a word.
Police scrambled to make sense of the March 20, 2017, slaying. A witness had seen the victim tussling with someone on the street half a block away. Surveillance footage showed a young white man with a black coat and neatly parted blond hair fleeing the scene.

But the motive was a mystery. And by the following evening, police still had no leads on the suspect — not even a name.

As two dozen officers gathered in Times Square — nine blocks from the crime scene — at midnight to continue the search, a solitary figure suddenly emerged from the stream of tourists. His flaxen hair was carefully combed.

“I’m the guy you’re looking for,” James Harris Jackson said, calmly slipping off his black jacket and setting it down in front of an officer. “There are knives in that coat.”
For the next five hours, in a videotaped interview that would later be entered into the court record, Jackson proudly told detectives how he had stabbed Timothy Caughman in the back with a Roman-style short sword simply because he was black.

Caughman, the 28-year-old Army veteran explained, was “practice” for a bigger attack in which Jackson aimed to kill as many black men with white women as he could.

“I was looking to get black men scared and have them do reciprocal attacks,” he said, “and inspire white men to do similar things.”

If the detectives really wanted to understand him, Jackson said, they should read the manifesto he had planned on sending to the media.

“The Racial World War starts today,” it began. “God has ordered us to eliminate the Negro races from the face of the earth for the good of all mankind.”

There's no doubt that both the number of and the casualties caused by hate crimes in the US have only skyrocketed under the Trump regime.  But now we're seeing these crimes being linked to a much nastier movement, with a distinct goal in mind.

And this regime is helping them.
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