Anti-Defamation League head says violent ‘alt-left’ is a right-wing media lie: ‘It’s not comparable’

From Raw Story:

David Ferguson
20 Aug 2017

Jonathan Greenblatt — CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — told MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts on Sunday that the idea of a violent “alt-left” is a right-wing myth and that there is no equivalency between the violent hate groups of the right and the people who resist them.

In response to President Donald Trump’s assertion that there are “fine people” on both sides of the neo-Nazi question, Greenblatt said, “There are no fine people among the ranks of Nazis. Then they tried to divert the conversation to the quote-unquote ‘alt-left,’ but look, there is no comparable side on the left to the ‘alt-right.’”

The alt-right, he said, “are white supremacists who amass with an idea of pushing a nationalist agenda that pushes out minorities based on how you pray, who you love or where you’re from. So, it’s really not comparable.”

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How Trump’s Homophobic USDA Chief Scientist Pick Directly Threatens LGBTQ People

From Huffington Post:

Sam Clovis’ bigotry is dangerous to LGBTQ workers in agriculture.

By Michelangelo Signorile

Donald Trump’s grotesquely homophobic choice for chief scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s in business and a PhD in public administration. In other words, he has no qualifications to serve in a scientific capacity at the USDA. He also is a climate change denier, and he helped stoke the racist birther lie about President Obama. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer yesterday called on Trump to immediately withdraw the nomination, calling Clovis “wildly unqualified.”

As reported this week by CNN’s KFile, Clovis peddles junk science about LGBTQ people: Specifically that homosexuality is a “choice” and that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to pedophilia. His views are not just an insult to queer Americans: They are a direct threat to those who benefit from USDA efforts aimed at aiding LGBTQ farmers and others in the industry who’ve struggled with discrimination for many years, and who will likely be harmed if Clovis is put in such a prominent position.

As a radio host and blogger, Clovis, who was a co-chair of the Trump-Pence 2016 election campaign and is currently a temporary advisor to the USDA, has argued that LGBTQ people should not be protected under civil rights laws. At one campaign stop during his failed 2014 run for the U.S Senate in Iowa he stated:

“There’s no equivalency there between the civil rights issue associated between those protected classes and the civil rights of someone who engages in a particular behavior Follow the logic, if you engage in a particular behavior, what also becomes protected? If we protect LGBT behavior, what other behaviors are we going to protect? Are we going to protect pedophilia? Are we going to protect polyamorous marriage relationships? Are we going to protect people who have fetishes? What’s the logical extension of this? It can’t be that we’re going to protect LGBT and then we’ll pull up the ladder. That’s not going to happen, it defies logic. We’re not thinking the consequences of these decisions through.

Some people might believe that even though no one with such beliefs has any place in government, Clovis couldn’t do much harm to LGBTQ people at the USDA, a department of the government that one doesn’t associate with civil rights. But in fact, under President Obama, discrimination in all aspects of society and governmental agencies was addressed over time, including at the USDA. The USDA’s non-discrimination statement includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Those protections extend to some (though not all) USDA-funded private programs.

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The Real American Heritage

From The New York Times:

Aug. 18, 2017

Before they die, before they disappear into the opaque mist of history, the last Americans to fight Nazi Germany have to face one more blast of something they thought they’d eliminated in the bloodiest war of all time.

Every day we lose an average of 362 World War II veterans — the boys from the Bronx, the farmers from Nebraska, the kids yanked from late-adolescent languor to fight a monster. I asked one of them, Caesar Civitella, Nazi-killer and son of an Italian immigrant, how it felt to see Hitler’s flags paraded over our soil last weekend.

And make no mistake, those were the flags of a genocidal force at the Charlottesville, Va., rally last weekend, the one in which some “very fine people,” in President Trump’s infamous words, participated. The polo-shirt fascists were brandishing Othala rune and Black Sun symbols — both used by the SS, the paramilitary muscle behind the slaughter of six million Jews.

“These neo-Nazis, whatever you call them — I thought we’d ended all that,” Civitella said, sounding both mournful and feisty. “These people have nothing to do with American values.”

I found this soldier of World War II at his home in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he is a local hero for living a life that deserves a movie. He will be 94 on Aug. 21, the day of the total solar eclipse — “Jesus Christ’s way of saying happy birthday,” he said.

Within a generation’s time, nearly all of the 16 million American veterans who served in World War II will be gone. And the biggest insult, the gravest disservice of Trump’s giving comfort to Hitler sympathizers, is to those who fought to save the world from evil more than 70 years ago.

“Because I’m old, now 94, I recognize these omens of doom,” wrote Harry Leslie Smith, a Royal Air Force veteran, in an essay this week in The Guardian. “Chilling signs are everywhere, perhaps the biggest being that the U.S. allows itself to be led by Donald Trump, a man deficient in honor, wisdom and just simple human kindness.”

To those grave deficiencies, you can add one more: historical illiteracy. In his grievance-burst of a news conference this week, Trump had this to say about those who showed up to protest the neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates: “You are changing history, you’re changing culture.”

In truth, it was the raising of statues in the early 20th century — when the Lost Cause whitewash of the confederacy of slaveholders was in full swing — that was an attempt to change both culture and history. George Washington will be next, Trump said, using a line that neo-Nazis throw around at their hatefests.

The founders, flawed but brilliant men, put their lives at risk to create a nation built on principles that took a long time to realize. Robert E. Lee was a traitor, the best general of a war that killed more Americans than any other. His statue no more belongs on a pedestal than does that of Hitler’s most proficient military man.

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Before you get too worked up, keep this in mind about today’s trans military ban rumor

From LGBTQ Nation:

Thursday, August 24, 2017

LGBT media has exploded after a Wall Street Journal report that the White House may be ready to send the Pentagon guidance on how to implement Donald Trump‘s nonsensical ban on transgender people in the military. But before we hit peak outrage, it’s important to remember something.

Issuing a guidance memo is not the same as setting official policy. The memo gives Defense Secretary Jim Mattis six months to come up with a formal policy. After that policy is actually written, it could still take months to implement. By that time, Trump might not even be president (although Mike Pence would surely continue the ban).

The newspaper also notes that Trump’s guidance would give Mattis the decision on whether or not to discharge currently serving service members based on “deployability.” As the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was winding down, a similar measure was implemented and discharges more or less stopped. With Mattis in opposition to the policy and already on record saying that trans soldiers do not affect military readiness, chances are high that he won’t discharge anyone. This could change under a new Defense Secretary, of course, but if the guidance actually says that, it’s (somewhat) good news for trans service members.

And finally, keep in mind that a “religious freedom” executive order has been rumored to be released “soon” twice now. It has never actually been realized. While the Wall Street Journal reports that they’ve seen the guidance, until it’s actually delivered to the Pentagon, nothing has changed since Trump announced his ban on Twitter. Earlier this month, after all, the same story (a guidance policy has been written and will be sent to the Pentagon soon!) circulated based on anonymous sources, but nothing happened.

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The Nazis This Time

From The Tablet:

“I grew up in America in late forties, and if we said the word Jew, we whispered it. This will not save us in the 21st century.”

By Anne Roiphe
August 17, 2017

This is not social anti-Semitism. I don’t want you in my club. I don’t want you dating my daughter. I don’t want you in my hotel. This is the more murderous kind. I don’t want you to breathe. I don’t want your children to eat. I want you gone. “Jews will not replace us.” Is the call of the rabid wolf in the forest. We have heard it before. The angry faces, the Nazi symbols, intended to frighten, intended to warn away the faint of heart, these we saw a few days ago in Charlottesville. How many of those young men had actually ever met a Jewish person I don’t know, but it seems unlikely that their schools, neighborhoods, and jobs were being overrun by hungry Jews. The Jew is then a symbol of a different America, a tolerant and educated America, an America that still dreams of better lives for all. These white polo shirted torch bearers are the people whose right to bear arms is protected by our government and they want us dead which is the most efficient way to have us gone. I am certainly not the only Jew who has nightmares that cannot be put to rest.

There has been a backlash against Donald Trump’s support of Nazi groups. But in all the talk I have hardly heard the word Jew. And it is important that we say it aloud. It is African Americans they despise. It is Jews they fear. We all know where this talk can lead. We saw it in Germany 1940-1945. We saw it the lynchings and the grim faces of those who tried to prevent small black children from attending decent schools.

As I watched on television the stream of torches and shouts of hatred pass by I thought of the Thanksgiving Day parade with balloons of beloved animals. I thought of the churches and synagogues across America where the services end in a prayer for America, not an America that belonged to one group or another but all of our Americas, bagels and borscht, pork chops and brisket, turkey and yogurt, petit fours and birthday cake. I thought of all the Jewish soldiers fighting in France, in Okinawa, in Kabul. Can it be that we are replacing anyone?

We need Jewish leadership to speak out now. We shouldn’t assume this will pass. It won’t pass because it is buried in the bone of the country. It is not a majority view and no Jew should be packing up just yet, but it is a very unsettling echo of other places and times. We need politicians to say the word Jew, my Jewish friend, my Jewish colleague, my son’s Jewish college roommate. We need to assert our own American presence and not be silent, hoping for the cloud to pass.

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Bannon, Mattis and the fate of the trans military ban

From The Los Angeles Blade:

by Karen Ocamb
August 18, 2017

Former White House strategist and Presidential advisor Steve Bannon is out. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement Friday saying: “White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

Pressure from human rights organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, had been mounting on the administration to fire populist Bannon after Trump’s full-throated defense of white supremacy in the aftermath of violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“The president, who continues to sow hate and division, clearly did not fire [Steve] Bannon because of his white supremacist views and ties to the so-called ‘alt-right,’” Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said in a statement. “Unless and until the president calls out evil; disavows neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and white supremacists; fires these staffers; and abandons his administration’s anti-civil rights agenda, he will continue to have no moral credibility.”

What Bannon will do next is fodder for rampant speculation.  Several media outlets have reported that he will return to Breitbart News or he may launch his own media outlet with backing from billionaire Robert Mercer.

Jonathan Swan from Axios reports: “A source familiar with Breitbart’s operations told me they would go ‘thermonuclear’ against ‘globalists’ that Bannon and his friends believe are ruining the Trump administration, and by extension, America. Watch for Breitbart’s Washington Editor Matt Boyle to be a central figure in this war — which has already begun — against White House officials like HR McMaster, Dina Powell, Gary Cohn, and Jared and Ivanka.”

Others think Bannon will side-step a war on Trump and only go after the “globalists,” which includes the generals: retired four-star Marine Corps general Sec. John F. Kelly, now Trump’s chief of staff, who fired him and National Security Advisor Army Lt. General H.R. McMaster, who pushed Bannon off the national security council and the subject of a relentless Breitbart attack.

The tension between McMaster and Bannon got so bad at one point that Sec. of Defense James Mattis had to intervene. Mattis, a retired four star Marine general, has also not escaped Bannon’s ire, albeit more subtly, as noted in a surprising interview with the liberal American Prospect magazine.

Bannon, the co-founder and co-editor Robert Kuttner wrote, was in “high spirits” during the interview, asserting that he knew better about trade and military policy in Asia than the professionals. “But what about his internal adversaries, at the departments of State and Defense, who think the United States can enlist Beijing’s aid on the North Korean standoff, and at Treasury and the National Economic Council who don’t want to mess with the trading system?” Kuttner asked.

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‘We’re Not Non-violent, We’ll F***ing Kill These People’: Alt-right Leader Issues Terrorist Threat

From Political Dig:

Aug 16, 2017

Shocking footage has been released by Vice News, offering a chilling look at the white supremacists involved in the violent Charlottesville rally – and a disturbing prediction that more people will die.

A Vice News camera crew followed a racist alt-right leader Christopher Cantwell and fellow bigots as violence erupted in the streets, leaving an anti-racism activist dead.

As clashes broke out between counter-protesters, Cantwell declares: “We’re not non-violent, we’ll f***ing kill these people if we have to.”

Cantwell anticipated more violence at the white supremacists’ next rally, saying: “I think a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here.”

The 22-minute documentary is filled with chilling declarations and warnings from white supremacists, including Robert Ray, who says: “We’re starting to slowly unveil a little bit of our power level, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The video offers an insight into the racist minds of the rally’s organizers and supporters, who were flanked by a heavily-armed militia.

Cantwell, smirking, predicted further protests and more violence, adding: “I’d say [Charlottesville is] going to be really tough to top but we’re up to the challenge.

“I think a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here, frankly. Why? Because people die every day.

“People die violent deaths all of the time, this is part of the reason we want an etho state.”

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The far right has declared cultural war – we have to stop them now

From The Guardian UK:

For some in the US, the civil war never really ended. The violence seen in Virginia this weekend must serve as a wake-up call to progressives the world over

Monday 14 August 2017

The memoirs of Union general William Tecumseh Sherman make uncomfortable reading. In among the battle orders and the racist depiction of freed slaves, he switches occasionally to reminiscences of the post-war era, and amicable meetings with former Confederate enemies. Over cards and supper, he accepts their assurance that, if anybody ordered the massacre of all-black units during the fighting, it wasn’t them.

Sherman opposed the emancipation of the slaves, sabotaged his own troops efforts to free them and used slave labour on his fortifications. Yet he did one thing that, in light of the fascist march in Charlottesville, we can learn from today. He waged total war on his enemies. He ordered his troops to rip up miles of rail track, torch the farms of slave-owners who resisted and burn Atlanta. Then he set off for the sea, pledging famously, that since war was the remedy the south had chosen, “I say let us give them all they want.”

Nobody, seeing the militias parading with assault rifles and Kevlar this weekend, wants the US to descend into conflict. But the low-level political violence and severe cultural dislocations of the US today contain obvious parallels with the years before the American civil war.

As the historian Allan Nevins observed, by the late 1850s white America had become “two peoples”, whose radically different cultural identities could no longer be contained in one polity.

Then, the “two peoples” were shaped by rival economic models: industry and the free market versus sharecropping and slavery. But the concepts the Confederates took into battle with them have survived: states’ rights versus the federal government; white supremacy; the concept of an ethnically defined nation with a destiny nominated by God.

And they have not survived by accident. The statue of Confederate commander Robert E Lee, which Charlottesville’s city council voted to remove, is one of a string of monuments that have become icons of resistance for the rightwing cultural movement now energised by Donald Trump’s victory.

Nathan Bedford Forrest, the southern cavalry commander who massacred black soldiers and went on to found the Ku Klux Klan, is celebrated not only by an official statue in Memphis, but an unofficial gold one on private land in Nashville, surrounded by Confederate flags. Forrest was a military genius whose guerilla tactics are studied in US military academies to this day. But so was Wehrmacht Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. They were both fighting for genocide and racial supremacy.

So with Confederate flags mixed with swastikas on the streets of Charlottesville, it is not just the US but progressive people across the world who have to ask a tough question: what are we prepared to do to defeat the racist right?

They have declared cultural war on us. “This entire community is a very far-left community,” Jason Kessler, the organiser of the Unite the Right march, told the media, adding that Charlottesville’s residents had “absorbed these cultural Marxist principles advocated in college towns across the country, about blaming white people for everything.”

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For Whom Has Trump Made America Great? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

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