Tag Archives: Charlottesville riot

Study shows hate crime spike

How are we supposed to interpret this study?

Get a load of this: A University of North Texas analysis has disclosed that hate crimes increased 226 percent in those counties where Donald Trump staged political rallies during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Huh? But . . . wait! Don’t the Trump allies say there’s no relationship between the president and the reported resurgence of white supremacist hate groups?

Hmm. Well, I don’t know about that.

The study was done by Ayal Feinberg, a political science doctoral student at UNT, along with Regina Branton and Valerie Martinez-Ebers, two UNT political science professors.

They contend that the study reveals that the spike occurred in the months immediately after Trump held those rallies while he was campaigning for president of the United States.

According to The Hill newspaper: “They said their research sought to explain how some of Trump’s rhetoric ‘may encourage hate crimes.'”

How do you dismiss the findings, that such hate crimes spiked 226 percent in those counties were Trump fired ’em up with his red-hot rhetoric?

It’s difficult to separate the findings from the president’s speech.

The Hill’s story explains how the researchers collected their data. Read it here.

I have resisted suggesting that Trump’s rhetoric was directly responsible for horrific acts, such as — for example — the Christchurch, New Zealand, massacre of 50 people at two mosques the other day. The white supremacist/moron arrested, though, reportedly had been inspired by something Trump had said.

And, yes, the president did equate neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists with counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 by referring to “very fine people on both sides” participating in that deadly riot.

This is the individual who serves as president of the Land of Opportunity.

Oh . . . my.

Virginia story becomes a national story

Under normal circumstances, a story about a statewide politician getting caught posing — allegedly — in a hideously racist picture would matter only to the voters of that state.

Except these aren’t “normal” times. Social media have this way of elevating every ostensibly local issue into something far larger.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has made a dramatic U-turn in light of a growing controversy in his home state.

A picture surfaced in Northam’s medical school yearbook — on a page with his name on it! — that shows two men, one in black face and the other in a Ku Klux Klan get-up. Northam at first admitted he was one of the young men in the picture. Then he denied it. Calls for his resignation have bombarded his office. He had a press conference today and said he wouldn’t quit.

Why is this a national story? Because (a) it happened in Virginia, which is a “swing state” in presidential elections, (b) we watched a race riot erupt in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 and (c) Americans always are interested in race-related issues.

Northam needs to quit. He won’t, for now.

That this happened while he was in medical school makes this issue a disqualifier for Gov. Northam. He wasn’t some dumba** eighth-grader doing something typically stupid, as eighth-grade boys are prone to do. The 1984 yearbook pegs Northam at 25 years of age; moreover, he was a medical school student, a grown man.

He said today he didn’t see the picture until Friday, which to my ears stretches credulity. Northam said he never bought a copy of the yearbook. Yet he wants us to believe that for 35 years no one — not a classmate, friend or family member — ever brought it to his attention?

This story isn’t going to evaporate any time soon, it appears to me. Many of us still have Charlottesville so fresh in our minds. The KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists clashed with counter protesters; one young woman was killed in the melee.

Now comes this latest matter involving the state’s governor, for criminy sakes!

It isn’t just a Virginia story. The nation has a stake in it, too.

Now, what about a POTUS who said some nasty things?

Virginia Republicans need to tread carefully.

The state’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, has apologized for appearing in a racist photograph showing two men — one in blackface and the other in a KKK-style costume. The Virginia GOP has called for his immediate resignation.

I agree that Northam should resign.

However . . .

Just a word of advice to the state Republican Party is in order. The nation’s Top Republican, Donald Trump, said in 2017 that there were “good people” who belonged to white supremacist groups, Nazis and Klansmen who protested the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Va.

Will they hold the president to account for that hideous assertion?

Ever?

King gets GOP reprimand; why not the same for POTUS?

U.S. Rep. Steve King has gotten slapped down hard by his fellow congressional Republicans, who have voted to strip him of all his committee assignments, essentially rendering the Iowa lawmaker a useless member of Congress.

That’s a good thing, yes? Yes, of course it is! King said he couldn’t understand why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” have become offensive to Americans.

The House GOP caucus did the right thing.

But . . . wait a second! Another Republican politician has equated white supremacists and neo-Nazis with groups that demonstrated against them in Charlottesville, Va.; he said he didn’t anything about a widely known former Klan leader who had endorsed him for public office; he has continually refused to condemn in suitably stark language the actions and rhetoric that come from these groups.

The GOP congressional caucus has remained stone-cold silent about Donald John Trump!

It forces many Trump critics to question why the House Republican caucus that showed good sense in slapping down one of its members is so reluctant to do the same thing to the nation’s top Republican.

It could be argued that what the president said about the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville was worse than what King told The New York Times. Remember how Trump declared there was blame to go around for the violence “on both sides” and how there were “fine people on both sides” of the riot that left a counter-protester dead after one of the neo-Nazis ran over her with his motor vehicle?

Trump has derided the intelligence of some of his African-American critics. He referred to African nations as “sh**hole countries” and said we should encourage more immigration from places such as Norway.

The GOP congressional caucus has been silent. How come?

Jewish leaders make remarkable demand of POTUS

It appears that any presidential outreach to the stricken Jewish community in Pittsburgh, Pa., is going to carry some provisions that I hope the president will honor.

Jewish leaders have told Donald Trump that he isn’t welcome in their city until he renounces white supremacists specifically and categorically. The demand came in the form of a letter written by members of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice.

Members have demanded also that the president stop targeting minorities, such as those who are fleeing repression in Central America and have formed the so-called “caravan” en route north.

According to The Hill: “The Torah teaches that every human being is made … in the image of God. This means all of us,” the leaders wrote. “In our neighbors, Americans, and people worldwide who have reached out to give our community strength, there we find the image of God.”

Pittsburgh is mourning the deaths of 11 congregants of Tree of Life synagogue. A man known for his anti-Semitic views is under arrest for the slaughter of worshipers on Saturday, the Jewish Shabbat, or sabbath.

Donald Trump should go to the city. He should extend his hand. He should lend his full support. He already has condemned the massacre as an “assault on humanity.”

The Jewish leaders want more. They are demanding the president say something vastly different from what he declared in 2017 after the Charlottesville, Va., riot that left a young woman dead. He tossed blame at “both sides,” the Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists, along with those who protested against them. He then declared there were “very fine people … on both sides.”

He needs to retract that hideous attempt at moral equivalence.

That’s what the Pittsburgh Jewish leaders are demanding.

Are you listening, Mr. President?

White supremacists get outshouted in D.C.

If you can’t stand what someone has to say, well, then just outshout ’em.

How’s that for a remedy? It showed itself this weekend in Washington, D.C., where white supremacists and other goons wanted to commemorate the Charlottesville, Va., riot a year ago that resulted in the death of a counter protester.

Given that the president of the United States would offer only sterile, tepid remarks condemning “all types of racism,” those opposed to the haters decided to show up in massive numbers. They outshouted the haters.

Hey, I believe in the First Amendment guarantee of free speech and expression. It was on full display as the counter protesters were heard over the white supremacists.

It reminds me of an event I witnessed in 2006 in Amarillo. The Ku Klux Klan wanted to launch a protest. Just as the KKK was getting ready to speak its peace, some counter protesters marched onto the City Hall parking lot banging cymbals, blowing on horns, shouting at the top of their lungs.

Leading the “charge” was the late Stanley Marsh 3, Amarillo’s most notable “eccentric.”

Ah, yes, the First Amendment. Ain’t it just grand?

Trump condemns ‘all types of racism’?

Donald John “Equivocator in Chief” Trump this morning issued a statement that condemned racism.

Not only that, the president chose to condemn “all types of racism.” I have been stewing over that qualifier for a good bit of the day and I have decided that Trump chose that language in his tweet for the same reason he chooses to suggest that nations other than Russia are attacking our electoral system.

Do you remember when he said in the wake of the Charlottesville, Va., riot how there was blame to go around to “all sides”? Do you also recall him saying after the riot between white supremacists and those who oppose them that there were “very fine people … on both sides”?

You see, the president who portrays himself as the toughest guy on the block cannot deal forthrightly with those we all know are evil. He chooses to spread the blame around and, thus, lessen the impact of his remarks.

After that hideous press conference in Helsinki in June when he had the chance to confront Vladimir Putin over the Russian attack on our 2016 election, he had to issue a “clarification” of what he said. He stated initially that he didn’t know why Russia “would” interfere. Then the next day he changed the word “would” to “wouldn’t,” but then waffled by suggesting that other nations were doing it, too.

Now he condemns “all types of racism” on this weekend where the nation will commemorate the tragic riot that exploded in Charlottesville one year ago.

I’ll be candid. The only form of racism worthy of condemnation in this context is the type of the hatred against African Americans and other ethnic and religious minorities by groups such as the KKK, the neo-Nazis and assorted white supremacists. This discussion doesn’t include other “types of racism.”

So, when the president waters down his condemnation first by offering it in a sterile Twitter message and then adding “all types of racism” suggests to me that he doesn’t really condemn the kind of racism that is under discussion.

We are referring, Mr. President, only to Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

POTUS condemns ‘all types of racism’

The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!

There it is. Right there is Donald J. Trump’s statement condemning racism in the United States.

OK. What do we make of this? Is the statement going to be the president’s final word on the subject? It came, of course, via Twitter. He flashed it out there from his vacation home in New Jersey.

I so want to believe this is enough. I want to feel assured that Donald Trump won’t ever utter another insensitive statement, such as ridiculing foes who happen to be African-American by denigrating their intelligence. To black Americans, that represents the “mother of all dog whistles,” given that racists too often question the intelligence of African-Americans.

There, of course, is so much more the president can say about racism. He can fill in many blanks, telling us how we should deal with hate groups, those who commit hate crimes, those who afflict victims solely because of their race.

Moreover, he could say these things on live television. He could speak to us from the Oval Office. He could look us in the eye, enabling us to judge the sincerity by watching how he spells out he intends to “condemn all types of racism.”

This weekend we’re going to commemorate the year since the Charlottesville, Va., riot that killed a young counter protester. Klansmen, Nazis and other white supremacists marched to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

He spoke of “very fine people … on both sides” of that tragic disturbance.

Just maybe the president could find it within himself to acknowledge that he made a grievous error by lifting the hate groups to the same moral standing of those who protested against them.

That would tell me a great deal more about his commitment to battling racism than a sterile tweet.

Swastika: most offensive symbol of all

America is going to look back a year ago this weekend as it marks the time a riot broke out in Charlottesville, Va. It started when neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists marched to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

It got real ugly when counter protesters showed up. One of the counter protesters died. One of the neo-Nazis is accused of murder.

I want to call specific attention to one of the hate groups’ symbols: the swastika.

The Confederate Stars and Bars offends me, too. The swastika, though, takes me to another level of disgust and revulsion. It symbolizes a European regime that started World War II with the aim of conquering the world.

Adolf Hitler’s tyrannical regime flew flags with that symbol while it eradicated 6 million Jews during the Holocaust. It sought to subjugate nations under that tyranny.

More to the personal point about why the swastika is so revolting. Men who fought for the Nazi regime in Europe while wearing that emblem sought to kill my favorite U.S. veteran: my father.

Dad served in the U.S. Navy from early 1942 until late 1945. He saw the bulk of his combat in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. He endured more than three consecutive months of daily aerial bombardment by German and Italian warplanes.

He damn near was killed by men flying with that swastika painted on the wings of their aircraft.

The swastika has become the symbol to this day, along with that Confederate flag, of the Ku Klux Klan; the neo-Nazis, of course, salute the swastika in the manner that it was saluted during those dark days of World War II.

How any American to this day can swear fealty to such an ideology to my mind surrenders his right to be called an American.

But … I know we live in a society that protects political speech no matter how vile it is. The swastika is as vile as it gets.

Here’s your chance to step up, Mr. POTUS

It’s been a year since an event produced one of the many dark moments that have shrouded the presidency of Donald John Trump.

Some white supremacists/Klansmen/Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Va., to protest the taking down of a Confederate general’s statue from a public park. A riot ensued. A young female counterprotester was run down and killed.

Then the president said there were “good people — on both sides!” of the dispute. Yep, he elevated the haters to a level of moral equivalence to those who protested against them.

There’s going to be a white supremacist rally this weekend in front of the White House to commemorate the one year that passed since the Charlottesville tragedy. There well might be counterprotesters present to speak against them. The first family won’t be there; they’re vacationing in New Jersey.

Hmm. Let me think. What can possibly go wrong?

Here’s the chance for the president of the United States to say something he has continually declined to do during his still-brief career in politics: denounce and condemn the hatred espoused by race-baiters and the hate groups that have compiled an unmistakable history of killing Americans only because they were born with different skin color.

Donald J. Trump needs to step up. He needs to express himself in terms that we all can understand. He needs to speak to those of us who do not comprise his “base.”

Has he been totally silent? No, but when the president has spoken to this issue, he looks for all the world — at least to many Americans — as if he’s doing so under some measure of duress. The criticism of these groups does not come naturally to this individual.

He now is faced with the chance to say what he has needed to say all along. The president needs to show leadership that demonstrates that the elected leader of this great nation will not tolerate hatred … period!

Do I expect it from him? Hah!