Posts Tagged ‘KKK’

Gary Cohn: Trump Team ‘Must Do Better’ to Condemn Hate Groups

August 25, 2017

JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Gary Cohn, the top economic adviser in the Trump White House, is now on-the-record criticizing the president’s botched response to the deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville this month. “This administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities,” he told the Financial Times in an interview published Friday. Cohn, who is Jewish, additionally revealed he faced “enormous pressure” to resign after the president blamed “hatred on many sides” for the deadly violence and later claimed there were “very fine people” among the neo-Nazi groups protesting to protect Confederate-era statues. “As a patriotic American, I am reluctant to leave my post,” he said, “because I feel a duty to fulfill my commitment to work on behalf of the American people. But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks.” Cohn took a not-so-veiled dig at his boss’ equivocating on hate groups, saying, “Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.”

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Trump ‘must do better’ in condemning hate groups after Charlottesville, Gary Cohn says

August 25, 2017

By Peter Jacobs

Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, criticized the White House’s response to Charlottesville, Virginia in his first public remarks after the deadly violence earlier this month.

“This administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities,” Cohn told the Financial Times.

Cohn said he feels compelled “to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks.”

Cohn, who is Jewish, was reportedly “disgusted” and “appalled” with Trump’s response to white nationalists’ role in the violence in Charlottesville. The president blamed “both sides” for the violence that left one counter-protester dead.

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“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK,” Cohn told the FT.

After Trump’s remarks, Cohn said, he felt “enormous pressure” both to resign and stay in the administration. However, he told the FT he is “reluctant” to leave based on a “commitment” to the American people.

False rumors that Cohn was leaving the White House after Trump’s remarks spooked Wall Street, causing a sharp dip in the S&P 500.

As Business Insider’s Bob Bryan notes:

Finance-focused political analysts warned after the rumors that there could be a serious loss of investor confidence if Cohn were to depart Trump’s administration. Some observers doubt the business-friendly and economically stimulative policies on taxes and infrastructure promised by Trump can actually materialize without Cohn in the White House.

Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who is Jewish, also faced pressure to resign following the president’s remarks.

Nearly 400 of Mnuchin’s Yale University classmates signed a letter strongly urging him to resign.

Unlike Cohn, Mnuchin put out a statement actively defending his boss.

“While I find it hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this, or the president, I feel compelled to let you know that the president in no way, shape or form, believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways,” Mnuchin wrote.

Cohn and Mnuchin both worked at Goldman Sachs and are now charged with leading the Trump administration’s tax reform efforts. Cohn is also Trump’s preferred pick to lead the Federal Reserve after Janet Yellen’s term expires in February.

http://www.businessinsider.com/gary-cohn-trump-must-do-better-after-charlottesville-2017-8

Afghanistan and Economic Growth — We Can Get It Done: The most important difference is President Donald J. Trump is the Commander in Chief

August 24, 2017

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PHOTO: RALPH FRESO/GETTY IMAGES

By LT. GEN. (RET.) KEITH KELLOGG

23 Aug 2017

I have seen the devastation of war. I have witnessed the final moments of young men in distant lands, far from all they love and hold dear. I have watched my daughter deploy to combat in Afghanistan and soon might my son. I recognize the personal courage required to make difficult decisions. I know the cost of war. More importantly, I know the price of freedom.

Monday night President Trump announced to the Nation the recommitment of America’s will, military, and diplomatic might to the fight in Afghanistan. He signaled to all that this Nation will not back away from hard sacrifice to ensure our safety. Undoubtedly, you will hear the hue and cry from the President’s detractors recalling a need to withdraw from Afghanistan and their rallying cries of failed campaign promises and abandonment of America First. Do not listen to them.

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Make no mistake, I have been with the President since nearly the beginning, well before he was the Republican Presidential nominee. I wrote on the campaign trail that he was the leader who will take us forward and I still deeply believe that today. In the less than 24 hours since President’s Trump speech, there have been dozens of articles and opinion pieces touting that this is more of the same. They could not be more mistaken. They are overlooking the most important difference: President Donald J. Trump is the Commander in Chief.

Our President’s decision reflects an understanding that the promise to Make America Great Again must include cleaning up the mess left behind in Afghanistan from the fits and starts of the past 15 years. The President does not have the luxury of starting from nothing, of beginning from scratch. There is no such thing as a clean slate. However, there is now the opportunity for fresh perspectives, new ideas and the outsider advantage.

Over the past several months, I have been privileged to see and listen as the President has taken the time for counsel and to weigh different options for Afghanistan and the region. He has heard from his commanders in the field and, yes, he has listened to his Generals. I have heard him ask the tough questions and demand accountability from those responsible for leading our men and women in harm’s way. He has listened to strong recommendations from his National Security team and has engaged them in deep and thoughtful discussions. He has demanded a way forward placing primacy on the safety of America and her citizens.

From the beginning, President Trump has sworn to put America First. Monday, he outlined a course that places us closer to that vision than ever before. The path forward is not more of the same. Through strength we seek a negotiated political settlement that protects our interests. We do not seek territorial conquest or occupation. We do not intend to create a government after our own image. We will not set arbitrary timelines. We will use our integrated military, political, and economic efforts to promote stability in the region. We will demand that nations ultimately provide for their own security. Those that harbor terrorist networks must eliminate them.

We will fight those that threaten us wherever they may be. We will fight them at night, in the day, in their supposed sanctuaries. We will give them no rest nor will we grow weary. While our brave men and women in uniform are waging battle on the ground and from the air, President Trump will be using every diplomatic and economic tool at his disposal to bring about an end state that does not allow another country to become a breeding ground for radical Islamic terrorism.

The President has made the necessary hard decision. It is what all of us, as Americans, expect from our Commander in Chief. President Trump has demonstrated the courage to lead, the confidence in our military to deliver results, the trust in our diplomats to bring peace, and faith in our citizens’ patience to see our Nation to victory.

LTG (Ret) Keith Kellogg is Assistant to the President, Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff of the National Security Council. A highly decorated Vietnam War Veteran, he served over 30 years in the United States Army to include serving as Commanding General of the U.S. Army’s elite 82d Airborne Division and as the Director for Command, Control and Communications on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. He joined the Trump Campaign as a National Security advisor in February of 2016.

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Trump’s neo-Nazi rally comments thrust GOP doubts into open — “A current feeling of deep frustration and despair.”

August 21, 2017

Donald Trump

By JULIE PACE and BILL BARROW
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s racially fraught comments about a deadly neo-Nazi rally have thrust into the open some Republicans’ deeply held doubts about his competency and temperament, in an extraordinary public airing of worries and grievances about a sitting president by his own party.

Behind the high-profile denunciations voiced this week by GOP senators once considered Trump allies, scores of other, influential Republicans began to express grave concerns about the state of the Trump presidency. In interviews with Associated Press reporters across nine states, 25 Republican politicians, party officials, advisers and donors expressed worries about whether Trump has the self-discipline and capability to govern successfully.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the “alt-right” clash with counter-protesters as they enter Lee Park during the “Unite the Right” rally, Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Eric Cantor, the former House majority leader from Virginia, said Republicans signaled this week that Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville protests was “beyond just a distraction.”

“It was a turning point in terms of Republicans being able to say, we’re not even going to get close to that,” Cantor said.

A car slammed into a group of counterprotesters after a rally by white nationalists on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. killing at least one and injuring at least 19. Credit Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress, via Associated Press

Chip Lake, a Georgia-based GOP operative who did not vote for Trump in the general election, raised the prospect of the president leaving office before his term is up.

“It’s impossible to see a scenario under which this is sustainable under a four-year period,” Lake said.

Trump’s handling of the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, has shaken his presidency unlike any of the other self-created crises that have rattled the White House during his seven months in office. Business leaders have bolted from White House councils, wary of being associated with the president. Military leaders distanced themselves from Trump’s assertion that “both sides” — the white supremacists and the counter-protesters — were to blame for the violence that left one protester dead. And some members of Trump’s own staff were outraged by his combative assertion that there were “very fine people” among those marching with the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and KKK members.

Importantly, the Republicans interviewed did not line up behind some course of action or an organized break with the president. Some expressed hope the recent shakeup of White House advisers might help Trump get back in control of his message and the GOP agenda.

Still, the blistering and blunt statements from some Republicans have marked a new phase. Until now, the party has largely kept its most troubling doubts about Trump to whispered, private conversations, fearful of alienating the president’s loyal supporters and upending long-sought GOP policy goals.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and a foreign policy ally of the Trump White House, delivered the sharpest criticism of Trump, declaring that the president “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to” in dealing with crises.

Bob Corker

Corker’s comments were echoed in the interviews with two dozen Republican officials after Trump expressed his views in Tuesday’s press conference. More than half spoke on the record, while the others insisted on anonymity in order to speak candidly about the man who leads their party and remains popular with the majority of GOP voters.

A handful defended Trump without reservation. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, an early supporter of the president, said he “proudly” stands with Trump and said he was succeeding despite a “constant barrage of negative attacks from the left.”

But others said recent events had shifted the dynamic between the president and his party.

“I was never one that was convinced that the president had the character to lead this nation, but I was certainly willing to stand by the president on critical issues once he was elected,” said Clarence Mingo, a Republican state treasurer candidate in Ohio. “Now, even where good conservative policies are concerned, that progress is all negated because of his inability to say and do the right things on fundamental issues.”

In Kentucky, Republican state senator Whitney Westerfield called Trump’s comments after the Charlottesville protests “more than a gaffe.”

“I’m concerned he seems to firmly believe in what he’s saying about it,” Westerfield said.

 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (pictured) has avoided criticizing Trump publicly, but aides say the Kentucky lawmaker is privately furious with the President

 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured) has avoided criticizing Trump publicly, but aides say the Kentucky lawmaker is privately furious with the President

Trump has survived criticism from establishment Republicans before, most notably when GOP lawmakers across the country distanced themselves from him in the final weeks of the campaign following the release of a video in which the former reality television star is heard making predatory sexual comments about women. Many of those same lawmakers ultimately voted for Trump and rallied around his presidency after his stunning victory.

GOP efforts to align with Trump have largely been driven by political realities. The president still commands loyalty among his core supporters, though some recent polls have suggested a slight weakening there. And while his style is often controversial, many of his statements are often in line with those voters’ beliefs, including his support after Charlottesville for protecting Confederate monuments.

Brian Westrate, a small business owner in western Wisconsin who is also chairman of the 3rd Congressional District Republican Party, said Trump supporters long ago decided to embrace the unconventional nature of his presidency.

“I don’t think that anything has fundamentally changed between now and when the election was,” he said. “The president remains an ill-artful, ill-timed speaker who uses Twitter too often. That’s not new. … The president is still the same guy and the left is still the same left.”

Some White House officials do privately worry about slippage in Trump’s support from congressional Republicans, particularly in the Senate. GOP senators couldn’t cobble together the 50 votes needed to pass a health care overhaul and that same math could continue to be a problem in the fall, as Republicans work on reforming the tax code, which is realistically the party’s last opportunity to pass major legislation in 2017.

Tom Davis, a Republican state senator representing a coastal South Carolina district, said that when Trump can move beyond the crisis of the moment, he articulates policies that could help the country’s economic situation. But Davis said Trump is also part of the reason not much progress has been made.

“To his discredit, he’s been maddeningly inconsistent in advancing those policies, which is part of the reason so little has been accomplished in our nation’s capital these past six months,” Davis said.

Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican strategist who most recently tried to help Jeb Bush win the 2016 GOP presidential primary, said the early optimism some Republicans felt about their ability to leverage Trump’s presidency has all but evaporated in the days following the Charlottesville protests.

“Most party regulars have gone from an initial feeling of guarded optimism that Trump would be able to stumble along while Mitch (McConnell) and (Paul) Ryan do the big lifting and pass our Republican agenda to a current feeling of deep frustration and despair,” Murphy said.

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Barrow reported from Atlanta. AP writers Julie Bykowicz in Washington, Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio, Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, and Adam Beam in Frankfort, Kentucky, contributed to this report.

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Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC and Bill Barrow at http://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP

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Petition Calls on Trump to Officially Recognize ‘Antifa’ as a Terrorist Organization

August 20, 2017

A White House petition created Thursday is calling on President Trump to officially recognize the radical left-wing Antifa movement as a terrorist organization.

“Antifa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States,” the petition reads.

Antifa has been known to provoke right-wing activists, and has made appearances in Berkeley, California, in March and Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.

In the most recent incident in Charlottesville, the violent protesters clashed with right-wing activists protesting the city’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee.

Although Trump has not called out “Antifa” by name, he did condemn white supremacists and violent “alt-left” protesters.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump told reporters at Trump Tower on Tuesday. “What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. That was a horrible, horrible day.”

The petition had 29,169 signatures as of Saturday evening – still shy of just over 70,000 signatures before it is eligible for an official response from the White House.

Other petitions demanding that Trump take action against similar advocacy groups have circulated through the White House’s petition site, like one attempting to get Trump to recognize Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization, but none have gotten an official response from the White House.

The Rise of the Violent Left — After Charlottesville, People Want To Know About Antifa

August 20, 2017

Antifa’s activists say they’re battling burgeoning authoritarianism on the American right. Are they fueling it instead?

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Antifa is a far-left militant political movement of autonomous, self-described anti-fascist groups in the United States. The term is loosely used to refer to anti-racistanti-sexistanti-homophobia, as well as anarchist and anti-capitalist groups.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antifa_(United_States)

By PETER BEINART

September 2017
The Atlantic

Since 1907, portland, oregon, has hosted an annual Rose Festival. Since 2007, the festival had included a parade down 82nd Avenue. Since 2013, the Republican Party of Multnomah County, which includes Portland, had taken part. This April, all of that changed.

In the days leading up to the planned parade, a group called the Direct Action Alliance declared, “Fascists plan to march through the streets,” and warned, “Nazis will not march through Portland unopposed.” The alliance said it didn’t object to the Multnomah GOP itself, but to “fascists” who planned to infiltrate its ranks. Yet it also denounced marchers with “Trump flags” and “red maga hats” who could “normalize support for an orange man who bragged about sexually harassing women and who is waging a war of hate, racism and prejudice.” A second group, Oregon Students Empowered, created a Facebook page called “Shut down fascism! No nazis in Portland!”

Next, the parade’s organizers received an anonymous email warning that if “Trump supporters” and others who promote “hateful rhetoric” marched, “we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade … and drag and push those people out.” When Portland police said they lacked the resources to provide adequate security, the organizers canceled the parade. It was a sign of things to come.

For progressives, Donald Trump is not just another Republican president. Seventy-six percent of Democrats, according to a Suffolk poll from last September, consider him a racist. Last March, according to a YouGov survey, 71 percent of Democrats agreed that his campaign contained “fascist undertones.” All of which raises a question that is likely to bedevil progressives for years to come: If you believe the president of the United States is leading a racist, fascist movement that threatens the rights, if not the lives, of vulnerable minorities, how far are you willing to go to stop it?

In Washington, D.C., the response to that question centers on how members of Congress can oppose Trump’s agenda, on how Democrats can retake the House of Representatives, and on how and when to push for impeachment. But in the country at large, some militant leftists are offering a very different answer. On Inauguration Day, a masked activist punched the white-supremacist leader Richard Spencer. In February, protesters violently disrupted UC Berkeley’s plans to host a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart.com editor. In March, protesters pushed and shoved the controversial conservative political scientist Charles Murray when he spoke at Middlebury College, in Vermont.

As far-flung as these incidents were, they have something crucial in common. Like the organizations that opposed the Multnomah County Republican Party’s participation in the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, these activists appear to be linked to a movement called “antifa,” which is short for antifascist or Anti-Fascist Action. The movement’s secrecy makes definitively cataloging its activities difficult, but this much is certain: Antifa’s power is growing. And how the rest of the activist left responds will help define its moral character in the Trump age.

Antifa traces its roots to the 1920s and ’30s, when militant leftists battled fascists in the streets of Germany, Italy, and Spain. When fascism withered after World War II, antifa did too. But in the ’70s and ’80s, neo-Nazi skinheads began to infiltrate Britain’s punk scene. After the Berlin Wall fell, neo-Nazism also gained prominence in Germany. In response, a cadre of young leftists, including many anarchists and punk fans, revived the tradition of street-level antifascism.

In the late ’80s, left-wing punk fans in the United States began following suit, though they initially called their groups Anti-Racist Action, on the theory that Americans would be more familiar with fighting racism than fascism. According to Mark Bray, the author of the forthcoming Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, these activists toured with popular alternative bands in the ’90s, trying to ensure that neo-Nazis did not recruit their fans. In 2002, they disrupted a speech by the head of the World Church of the Creator, a white-supremacist group in Pennsylvania; 25 people were arrested in the resulting brawl.

By the 2000s, as the internet facilitated more transatlantic dialogue, some American activists had adopted the name antifa. But even on the militant left, the movement didn’t occupy the spotlight. To most left-wing activists during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama years, deregulated global capitalism seemed like a greater threat than fascism.

Trump has changed that. For antifa, the result has been explosive growth. According to NYC Antifa, the group’s Twitter following nearly quadrupled in the first three weeks of January alone. (By summer, it exceeded 15,000.) Trump’s rise has also bred a new sympathy for antifa among some on the mainstream left. “Suddenly,” noted the antifa-aligned journal It’s Going Down, “anarchists and antifa, who have been demonized and sidelined by the wider Left have been hearing from liberals and Leftists, ‘you’ve been right all along.’ ” An article in The Nation argued that “to call Trumpism fascist” is to realize that it is “not well combated or contained by standard liberal appeals to reason.” The radical left, it said, offers “practical and serious responses in this political moment.”

Those responses sometimes spill blood. Since antifa is heavily composed of anarchists, its activists place little faith in the state, which they consider complicit in fascism and racism. They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force.

Such tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left. When the masked antifa activist was filmed assaulting Spencer on Inauguration Day, another piece in The Nation described his punch as an act of “kinetic beauty.” Slate ran an approving article about a humorous piano ballad that glorified the assault. Twitter was inundated with viral versions of the video set to different songs, prompting the former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau to tweet, “I don’t care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I’ll laugh at every one.”

The violence is not directed only at avowed racists like Spencer: In June of last year, demonstrators—at least some of whom were associated with antifa—punched and threw eggs at people exiting a Trump rally in San Jose, California. An article in It’s Going Down celebrated the “righteous beatings.”

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An antifascist demonstrator burns a Blue Lives Matter flag during a protest in Portland, Oregon, in June. (Scott Olson / Getty)

Antifascists call such actions defensive. Hate speech against vulnerable minorities, they argue, leads to violence against vulnerable minorities. But Trump supporters and white nationalists see antifa’s attacks as an assault on their right to freely assemble, which they in turn seek to reassert. The result is a level of sustained political street warfare not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s. A few weeks after the attacks in San Jose, for instance, a white-supremacist leader announced that he would host a march in Sacramento to protest the attacks at Trump rallies. Anti-Fascist Action Sacramento called for a counterdemonstration; in the end, at least 10 people were stabbed.

A similar cycle has played out at UC Berkeley. In February, masked antifascists broke store windows and hurled Molotov cocktails and rocks at police during a rally against the planned speech by Yiannopoulos. After the university canceled the speech out of what it called “concern for public safety,” white nationalists announced a “March on Berkeley” in support of “free speech.” At that rally, a 41-year-old man named Kyle Chapman, who was wearing a baseball helmet, ski goggles, shin guards, and a mask, smashed an antifa activist over the head with a wooden post. Suddenly, Trump supporters had a viral video of their own. A far-right crowdfunding site soon raised more than $80,000 for Chapman’s legal defense. (In January, the same site had offered a substantial reward for the identity of the antifascist who had punched Spencer.) A politicized fight culture is emerging, fueled by cheerleaders on both sides. As James Anderson, an editor at It’s Going Down, told Vice, “This shit is fun.”

Portland offers perhaps the clearest glimpse of where all of this can lead. The Pacific Northwest has long attracted white supremacists, who have seen it as a haven from America’s multiracial East and South. In 1857, Oregon (then a federal territory) banned African Americans from living there. By the 1920s, it boasted the highest Ku Klux Klan membership rate of any state.

In 1988, neo-Nazis in Portland killed an Ethiopian immigrant with a baseball bat. Shortly thereafter, notes Alex Reid Ross, a lecturer at Portland State University and the author of Against the Fascist Creep, anti-Nazi skinheads formed a chapter of Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice. Before long, the city also had an Anti-Racist Action group.

Now, in the Trump era, Portland has become a bastion of antifascist militancy. Masked protesters smashed store windows during multiday demonstrations following Trump’s election. In early April, antifa activists threw smoke bombs into a “Rally for Trump and Freedom” in the Portland suburb of Vancouver, Washington. A local paper said the ensuing melee resembled a mosh pit.

When antifascists forced the cancellation of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, Trump supporters responded with a “March for Free Speech.” Among those who attended was Jeremy Christian, a burly ex-con draped in an American flag, who uttered racial slurs and made Nazi salutes. A few weeks later, on May 25, a man believed to be Christian was filmed calling antifa “a bunch of punk bitches.”

The next day, Christian boarded a light-rail train and began yelling that “colored people” were ruining the city. He fixed his attention on two teenage girls, one African American and the other wearing a hijab, and told them “to go back to Saudi Arabia” or “kill themselves.” As the girls retreated to the back of the train, three men interposed themselves between Christian and his targets. “Please,” one said, “get off this train.” Christian stabbed all three. One bled to death on the train. One was declared dead at a local hospital. One survived.

The cycle continued. Nine days after the attack, on June 4, Trump supporters hosted another Portland rally, this one featuring Chapman, who had gained fame with his assault on the antifascist in Berkeley. Antifa activists threw bricks until the police dispersed them with stun grenades and tear gas.

What’s eroding in Portland is the quality Max Weber considered essential to a functioning state: a monopoly on legitimate violence. As members of a largely anarchist movement, antifascists don’t want the government to stop white supremacists from gathering. They want to do so themselves, rendering the government impotent. With help from other left-wing activists, they’re already having some success at disrupting government. Demonstrators have interrupted so many city-council meetings that in February, the council met behind locked doors. In February and March, activists protesting police violence and the city’s investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline hounded Mayor Ted Wheeler so persistently at his home that he took refuge in a hotel. The fateful email to parade organizers warned, “The police cannot stop us from shutting down roads.”

All of this fuels the fears of Trump supporters, who suspect that liberal bastions are refusing to protect their right to free speech. Joey Gibson, a Trump supporter who organized the June 4 Portland rally, told me that his “biggest pet peeve is when mayors have police stand down … They don’t want conservatives to be coming together and speaking.” To provide security at the rally, Gibson brought in a far-right militia called the Oath Keepers. In late June, James Buchal, the chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party, announced that it too would use militia members for security, because “volunteers don’t feel safe on the streets of Portland.”

Antifa believes it is pursuing the opposite of authoritarianism. Many of its activists oppose the very notion of a centralized state. But in the name of protecting the vulnerable, antifascists have granted themselves the authority to decide which Americans may publicly assemble and which may not. That authority rests on no democratic foundation. Unlike the politicians they revile, the men and women of antifa cannot be voted out of office. Generally, they don’t even disclose their names.

Antifa’s perceived legitimacy is inversely correlated with the government’s. Which is why, in the Trump era, the movement is growing like never before. As the president derides and subverts liberal-democratic norms, progressives face a choice. They can recommit to the rules of fair play, and try to limit the president’s corrosive effect, though they will often fail. Or they can, in revulsion or fear or righteous rage, try to deny racists and Trump supporters their political rights. From Middlebury to Berkeley to Portland, the latter approach is on the rise, especially among young people.

Revulsion, fear, and rage are understandable. But one thing is clear. The people preventing Republicans from safely assembling on the streets of Portland may consider themselves fierce opponents of the authoritarianism growing on the American right. In truth, however, they are its unlikeliest allies.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/the-rise-of-the-violent-left/534192/

Charlottesville: A Made In America Crisis — “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected?”

August 19, 2017

By Michael Wilner
The Jerusalem Post
August 19, 2017

History is our guide to what Charlottesville means to racism in the US.

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Members of the Ku Klux Klan face counter-protesters as they rally in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS – JONATHAN ERNST

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia – Many statues dot the Jeffersonian city of Charlottesville, a quaint, red-bricked and well-manicured college town host to the University of Virginia and, this past weekend, a neofascist rally the likes of which Americans have not seen in modern times.

On the campus itself, Homer, the ancient Greek author of the Iliad, takes center stage, while Thomas Jefferson and George Washington look upon each other across the quad. Enter town and you will pass Revolutionary War hero George Clark astride a horse, and then Sacagawea, a native American woman who guided Lewis and Clarke into the West and, according to the plaque beside her rusted base, represents “a symbol of unity and peace for all people.”

Only further in town do you reach the Confederate statues – of which there are many, as well.

An unknown infantryman stands above the stars and bars of the 1860s secessionist rebellion and Civil War, exemplifying the “defenders of the rights of the states.” Nearby, a horse-mounted Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson – one of the most revered Southern generals of the war – rides above a winged man and woman, sculpted like Soviet icons of strength and camaraderie.

But it is the statue of one particular man, with a singular grip on the Southern imagination, that is causing so much controversy here in Virginia that locals threaten to pull it down – a prospect egregious enough for white power activists to gather and march in its defense.

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That man is Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate armed forces and the central icon of what is known as the “Lost Cause” of the South. It is, in short, a myth that the American Civil War was not primarily about slavery, and that Lee actually lamented the peculiar institution which brought Africans to the American colonies in chains.

As state assemblies voted to secede from the Union one by one, each explicitly wrote that their right to enslave others was their cause. Lee chose to lead this effort. But admitting this fact in light of defeat is to admit that Southern history is defined – from its origins to its crucible moment– by the inequality of its culture and people.

Thus a campaign began in the early 1900s to change this history, in the interest of moving on and in healing national wounds from a war that remains the nation’s deadliest.

Statues were erected and the Confederacy became a symbol to many – not of states’ rights to shatter the Union or proceed with the slave trade, but simply of states rights writ large. It has remained a consistent conservative principle in the South ever since, as its representatives advocate for local control and limitations on the federal government.

And so, in Emancipation Square here in Charlottesville, Lee still stands tall. A veiled woman has brought her children to play here less than a week after neo-Nazis declared this soil their own by blood. A homeless person idles. Three black residents sit under a tree, their backs toward Lee, in peace.

“Thank you, general!” two white men yell toward Lee from a passing car.

“They descended on us – it felt like bum-rush Charlottesville,” said Hope Jackson, a longtime resident of the city who works with small children. Hope chose not to attend Saturday’s events in order to avoid stress and fear. She now sits reflectively on a bench across from a painted memorial to Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was murdered by a rally participant, and a second painting of Lady Liberty stomping out a Nazi Schutzstaffel.

“We were warned ahead of time, but we didn’t know the magnitude,” Hope added. She is black. “It’s the South – it’s part of life.”

Some 100 public schools and roughly 700 statues across the nation are named after Confederate icons, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. This is a consequence of the unfinished 19th-century history that has now become a flashpoint between those who believe America needs to move on and those who have adopted the Lost Cause as fact.

Many Americans have given little thought to the details or meaning of the Civil War, and rather identify Lee, Jackson and Confederate president Jefferson Davis as the most famous and successful men ever to emerge from the South. To them it is pride of place and little more.

But these are not the individuals who marched on Charlottesville on Saturday, as President Donald Trump asserted in his extraordinary remarks from Trump Tower on Tuesday.

Those who organized the Virginia march fit by their own definition into three camps that have aligned themselves with the Lost Cause: White nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. And this is why understanding the meaning of a statue to Robert E. Lee is critical to understanding this modern surge in American antisemitism.

White nationalists believe the United States was founded by white Christians and is therefore, in every meaningful way, their birthright. They assert that– just like African- Americans, Muslims, Jews, and other minorities– they are entitled to their cultural heritage and to its preservation. They claim the Confederacy is a part of this heritage, and thus statues to the cause are a part of their history.

White supremacists take this cause one step further by stripping away any pretense of concern over discriminating on the basis of race. They believe that whites are not only entitled to the nation by birthright – “blood and soil,” they say – but that laws allowing for the diversification of America, such as the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Voting Rights Act and more recent immigration and civil rights efforts, have all been part of a concerted effort to minimize the power of the white majority.

Neo-Nazis march for Robert E. Lee because they believe this concerted effort to thwart white power has been organized by a conspiracy of Jews. Their lexicon is similar to that of white nationalists who refer to a cabal of globalists, bankers and liberal media working against them – except that these fascists are more explicit, using terms such as Jewish globalists, Jewish money, Jewish media.

Material that promoted the Charlottesville event was evocatively antisemitic: “Unite the Right to End Jewish Influence in America,” read one advertisement for the August 12 rally on The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, depicting a man taking a hammer to the Star of David.

Another promotional poster featuring the names of prominent racist participants highlighted the statues under threat, complete with marching Confederate soldiers and Nazi-era Reichsadler eagles.

In his Tuesday press conference, Trump – the president of the Union and leader of the party of Abraham Lincoln – said that “very fine people” were among those marching here. This was despite the organizers of the event and the failure of any group – conservative or otherwise – to identify participants who have dissociated themselves from its stated original purpose.

Trump defended the Confederate statues that have become the frontline standards of America’s most undemocratic of movements. He compared Confederate icons to the nation’s founding fathers, Washington and Jefferson, as mere slave owners who happened to devise the Union, not secede from it.

Early in his career as a young man, Lincoln issued some of his first remarks on his fears over slavery’s effects on the American experiment.

“Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the Earth – our own excepted – in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years,” Lincoln said at Lyceum, Illinois, in 1838.

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected?” he continued. “If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.”

http://www.jpost.com/International/A-made-in-America-crisis-502752

Steve Bannon, Back At Breitbart: “Now I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency.”

August 19, 2017

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By Harriet Alexander, David Millward Barney Henderson

defiant Steve Bannon declared the Trump presidency he had campaigned for was over as he vowed to carry on the fight after being ousted as the White House chief strategist.

Within hours of leaving his office,  Mr Bannon was back at Breitbart, the right wing website he ran, presiding over the evening news conference.

In interviews he made it clear he was not going quietly as he rounded on those he held responsible for his departure.

 Image result for Gary Cohn, shirt too tight, photos

“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” he told the Weekly Standard, a right-wing newspaper   “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency,” he continued.

“But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”

He added: “I feel jacked up. Now I’ve got my hands back on my weapons,” he added as he vowed “Bannon the barbarian” would crush the opposition.

“There’s no doubt. I built a —–ng machine at Breitbart.  And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.”

His loyalty to Donald Trump remained undimmed.

“If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,”  he told Bloomberg.

Earlier Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary said Mr Bannon, 63,  had departed “by mutual agreement.”

The White House then issued a statement, saying that the decision was agreed by Mr Bannon and John Kelly, the chief of staff – a sign of Mr Kelly’s grappling to control the chaos, or perhaps simply to avoid Mr Trump having to put his name to the firing of the man who most connects him to his diehard supporters.

Joel Pollack, Breitbart’s  editor at large, tweeted a one-word response to Mr Bannon’s departure: “War”.

Mr Bannon was controversial from the start.

Combative and unapologetic, the former Goldman Sachs financier was employed by Mr Trump as his campaign manager in August 2016, and described at the time as “the most dangerous political operative in America”.

He urged Mr Trump to pursue a populist path, and pressed him to hammer Hillary Clinton as corrupt – reportedly coming up with the “lock her up” chant that reverberated around his rallies.

It was Mr Bannon, with fellow hardliner Stephen Miller, who wrote Mr Trump’s inauguration speech – a dark and foreboding depiction of the “American carnage” that Mr Trump believed he had been elected to stop.

He was often at odds with the “globalist” wing of the White House – Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s son-in-law; his wife Ivanka Trump; H.R. McMaster, the head of the national security council; and Gary Cohn, director of the national economic council.

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Mr Bannon reportedly referred to them in private as “the New Yorkers” and “the Democrats”, among more printable nicknames, and tried to steer his boss away from them and towards his own nationalist sympathisers.

At first the president thought fondly of his flame-throwing ideologue, who was seen to wield immense behind-the-scenes power inside the White House.

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Gary Cohn

Saturday Night Live depicted him as the grim reaper, playing Mr Trump like a puppet – something that reportedly amused Mr Bannon, but enraged his boss.

His departure had been described as imminent before, but since Charlottesville the drum beat of demise rose to a frenzy.

Mr Trump was reported earlier this week to have not spoken face-to-face with Mr Bannon in over a week, and on Tuesday, at the now infamous press conference in which he defended white supremacists, Mr Trump could only offer a lukewarm endorsement, responding to a question about Mr Bannon’s future with: “We’ll see.”

That press conference sparked condemnation of a president never before seen in the United States – the heads of the military spoke out against their commander-in-chief, and the UN secretary-general voiced concern. Titans of industry who Mr Trump had so assiduously courted on the campaign trail deserted him in droves, leading to the folding of both his business advisory panels.

On Friday the arts council resigned en masse – the first White House agency to do so.

Political condemnation was also snowballing, leading astonished Americans to ask where this could all end.

Bob Corker, a senior Republican loyalist and chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, who was considered for secretary of state, declared that “the president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to” in dealing with crises.

And, while Mr Trump sought to shift Thursday from the white supremacists to the future of statues, he was criticised by Rupert Murdoch’s son James, in an email widely circulated.

“I can’t believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists,” he wrote.

Rumblings of discontent from Mr Trump’s staff grew so loud that the White House was forced to release a statement saying that Gary Cohn, Mr Trump’s chief economic adviser, was not quitting.

The Dow Jones suffered its worst day since May on Thursday, but rebounded slightly on the news that Mr Cohn, a former president of Goldman Sachs, was staying put.

Mr Cohn will certainly not be crying over the departure of Mr Bannon. Mr Bannon perhaps sealed his own fate this week by telephoning a reporter with The American Prospect, a Left-wing publication, to contradict his boss – and suggest that he was deciding who was in and who was out in the state department.

“There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it,” said Mr Bannon, directly undermining Mr Trump’s vow to respond if attacked.

Asked about his rivals at the departments of state, defence and treasury, who wanted to keep China on side by avoiding trade wars, Mr Bannon was unrepentant.

“They’re wetting themselves,” he said. “I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense; I’m getting hawks in.”

But Mr Bannon may not go quietly.

One of the reasons Mr Trump was said to have delayed dismissing him was fear of “weaponising” Mr Bannon, if he was unleashed from the White House.

A friend of Mr Bannon said he intended to return to Breitbart, adding: “This is now a Democrat White House”.

Bannon ‘in good spirits’

Quoting  a “friend”,  the Wall Street Journal, said Mr Bannon seemed to be in good spirits, following his departure from the White House.

“Steve has always been a gunslinger. This allows him to be a gunslinger again.”

Trump ‘ceding dangerous ground to the media and establishment’

Kristin Tate, a conservative columnist, warns that Donald Trump has ceded dangerous ground to the establishment.

“There is no compromise with the Never-Trumpers and Democrats over the role of chief strategist,” she writes in The Hill, a political website.

” Personnel is policy, and Trump is ceding his ace for a player to be named later. That’s not good enough for the people who made his movement happen.

Bernie: The problem wasn’t Bannon, it was Trump

2:21am

Steve Bannon ‘said he resigned from White House two weeks ago’

1:55am

CNN says ‘Gorka could go’

Citing unnamed “sources”, CNN is saying that Sebastian Gorka, Donald Trump’s deputy assistant, could be the next to go.

Born in the UK to Hungarian parents, British educated Mr Gorka, has also been a controversial figure in the White House.

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Seen as a hardliner, he was openly critical of Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, when he suggested the US could negotiate with North Korea over nuclear weapons.

But Mr Trump is reported to be a fan of Mr Gorka’s combative style and his forthright defence of the administration in his media appearances.

1:15am

Another White House departure

Steve Bannon is not the only senior figure leaving the White House,according to Politico.

George Sifakis, director of the Office of Public Liaison since March, is reportedly on his way out.

A close friend and ally of Reince Preibus, the former White House chief of staff,   Mr Sifakis was an aide to George W Bush.

8:51pm

Nigel Farage says Bannon will be missed

8:22pm

Bannon meets billionaire donor to plot next steps

Axios, the authoritative Washington website, reports that Mr Bannon met with billionaire Republican donor Bob Mercer to plan their next moves.

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They write:

Bob Mercer and Steve Bannon had a five hour meeting Wednesday to plot out next steps, said a source withknowledge of the meeting.

They plotted strategy going forward — both political and media strategy. The meeting was at Mercer’s estate on Long Island. Mercer had dinner the next night at Bedminster with President Trump and a small group of donors. The source said Mercer and Bannon “remain strong supporters of President Trump’s and his agenda.”

 

8:19pm

Democrat leader responds

Steve Bannon’s exit does not erase @realDonaldTrump’s long record of lifting up racist viewpoints & advancing repulsive policies. 

8:03pm

Four down…

Bannon
This January 28 photo shows Donald Trump and his advisers inside the Oval Office. Of the six in the picture, only the president and vice president remain – Reince Priebus, Michael Flynn, Sean Spicer and Steve Bannon have all left.

7:48pm

Breitbart’s editor-at-large responds to Steve Bannon’s ouster

Boston braces for protests in wake of Charlottesville violence

August 19, 2017

AFP and The Associated Press

© CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP | White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the KKK and members of the “alt-right” attack each other during the melee outside Emancipation Park during the Unite the Right rally August 12, 2017

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-08-19

Conservative activists and leftist counterprotesters prepared for a confrontation on Boston Common that could draw thousands a week after a demonstration in Virginia turned deadly.

Police Commissioner William Evans said Friday that 500 officers – some in uniform, others undercover – would be deployed to keep the two groups apart on Saturday. Boston’s Democratic mayor, Marty Walsh, and Massachusetts’ Republican governor, Charlie Baker, both warned that extremist unrest wouldn’t be tolerated in this city famed as the cradle of American liberty.

Organizers of the midday event, billed as a “Free Speech Rally,” have publicly distanced themselves from the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and others who fomented violence in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. A woman was killed at that Unite the Right rally, and scores of others were injured, when a car plowed into counterdemonstrators.

Opponents feared that white nationalists might show up in Boston anyway, raising the specter of ugly confrontations in the first potentially large and racially charged gathering in a major U.S. city since Charlottesville.

Events also were planned Saturday for Atlanta and Dallas.

Counterprotesters from Black Lives Matter and other groups denouncing racism and anti-Semitism planned to march from the city’s Roxbury neighborhood to the Common, and another group planned to rally on the steps of the Statehouse overlooking the sprawling park.

The permit issued for Saturday’s noon-2 p.m. event on Boston Common came with severe restrictions, including a ban on backpacks, sticks and anything that could be used as a weapon.

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© SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP | A small group attends a vigil and march at the New England Holocaust Memorial to denounce hate groups before a controversial rally on August 18, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Free Speech Coalition, which organized the event, said on Facebook that it’s not affiliated with the Charlottesville rally organizers in any way.

“We are not associated with any alt-right or white supremacist groups,” it said this week, insisting: “We are strictly about free speech.”

Black Lives Matter said Friday that members from around the U.S. planned to march Saturday in Boston.

Walsh said the city would do whatever is necessary to head off violence initiated by either side. “If anyone gets out of control – at all – it will be shut down,” he said.

“We will not tolerate any misbehavior, violence or vandalism whatsoever,” said Evans, Boston’s top cop.

Dating to 1634, Boston Common is the nation’s oldest city park. The leafy downtown park is popular with locals and tourists and has been the scene of numerous rallies and protests for centuries.

(AP)

Jesse Jackson slams US president over white supremacist rally

August 18, 2017

AFP

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson slammed President Donald Trump for insisting anti-racism protester shared equal blame with white supremacists for weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia

CHICAGO (AFP) – American civil rights pioneer Jesse Jackson on Friday slammed President Donald Trump for insisting anti-racism protesters were equally to blame for the violence at a white supremacist rally last weekend.Jackson also endorsed removals of Confederate statues and flags, as efforts to shed such symbols accelerated around the country. A Civil War-era monument was at the center of the Virginia rally.

“There is a sense of humiliation, insult by the president equating violent white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK with civil rights demonstrators,” Jackson said at a Chicago news conference.

“One marching to tear the country up. One marching to heal.”

Trump has come under fire from Republicans and Democrats alike for his much-criticized response to the rally in the city of Charlottesville.

In the aftermath, the president lost the support of numerous CEOs and cities across the country decided to remove Confederate symbols from public spaces.

America’s most populous city, New York, announced Thursday that it would remove two busts of Confederate army commanders from the “Hall of Fame for Great Americans” landmark.

Jackson — who marched with Martin Luther King Jr in the 1960s — called such steps “long overdue.”

“The statues must go. The (Confederate) flag must go. One American flag is enough,” Jackson said.

“There are no swastikas flying in Germany today. There are no statues of Hitler in Germany today.”