Tag Archives: neo-Nazis

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.

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?

Why is ‘white nationalist’ a negative term?

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, apparently wants to know how the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” became negative terms.

As The Hill reported: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King asked in an interview with the New York Times published on Thursday. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization.”

OK, I think I have an answer for the congressman, who has aligned himself with those groups on occasion during his, um, rather checkered career in national politics.

They became “offensive” when groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, the Aryan Brotherhood and other similar organizations terrorized fellow American citizens.

Non-white, non-Christian citizens got lynched. Their homes were firebombed. Perhaps Rep. King recalls the time four little girls were killed in 1963 when a bomb exploded in a Birmingham, Ala., church. The girls were black. The man who murdered them was a KKK member. He was connected with those who called themselves “white nationalists,” and “white supremacists.”

Does that explain it? I hope so.

King is a hardliner on immigration, along with Donald Trump. He wants to build The Wall. He wants, apparently, to seriously reduce the number of “legal immigrants” along with stopping altogether those who come here illegally.

This is just a hunch, but I’d bet real American money that Rep. King especially wants to curb immigration of those from “sh**hole countries” in, say, Africa, Haiti and other countries in Latin America.

Yes, the terms “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” are offensive in the extreme to many of us, Rep. King.

Dad would be appalled in the extreme

My late father wasn’t a particularly political individual. He didn’t have a lot of deep-seated political views that he shared regularly.

Dad, though, was a proud veteran of World War II. He served in the Navy, seeing combat in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.

Thus, when I see pictures such as the one above — taken at an April 2018 neo-Nazi rally — I wonder: What would Dad think? How would he react?

He’s been gone for more than 38 years. To this day I have no particular memory about a discussion between us about neo-Nazis or those who sympathize with the monsters who in the 1940s tried to kill Dad and those who fought alongside him.

There has been a significant increase in the open demonstrations of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and others of their ilk during the past few years. Some of it was a response to the 2008 election of our first African-American president, Barack H. Obama. More of it came with the election of his successor, Donald J. Trump.

Indeed, such KKK luminaries as David Duke, the former Klan grand lizard, er … wizard, have commented openly about the joy they felt when Trump was elected in 2016.

So, I am able to some dots. Duke and other KKK members praise Trump’s election and we see a rise in Klan and Nazi activity across the land. Coincidence? I, um, don’t believe so.

The sight of this political idiocy makes my blood boil. I realize that our Constitution grants all citizens — no matter how disgusting their political views — the right to carry on as these idiots are doing.

I only can ask: How in the name of human decency can they burn a swastika and believe it will persuade anyone to join their perverted cause?

Dad and all those members of the Greatest Generation would be appalled.

Do we need tape recordings to prove racist view?

Omarosa Manigault Newman has dropped a few stools in the punch bowl regarding her former boss and (apparently) former friend, Donald John Trump.

She says she has heard tape recordings of the future president using the n-word to describe “Celebrity Apprentice” contestants. He account has been backed up by illusionist Penn Gillette, who says he heard Trump say it in the moment.

She’s written a book about her time as a special White House assistant, a post she left when chief of staff John Kelly fired her. Newman recorded the termination that occurred in the Situation Room, which is a serious breach of national security protocol. That, however, is a whole other story.

But I have to ask: Do we really need to hear these recordings to verify what has been virtually obvious? I mean, consider the following.

  • Trump fomented the lie about our first African American president’s place of birth.
  • He also challenged Barack Obama’s academic credentials that admitted him to Harvard Law.
  • Trump denigrates the intelligence of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, CNN News anchor Don Lemon and pro basketball superstar LeBron James … all prominent African American public figures.
  • The president calls NFL football players protesting police brutality — the players are virtually all black — “sons of bitches.”
  • And all the while, he declines to issue a categorical condemnation of white supremacists, Klansmen and neo-Nazis.

Does the president refer to white critics as being less than intelligent? Why in the world did he continue to promote the defamatory lie that questioned President Obama’s constitutional right to seek the presidency? And why can’t the president bring himself to condemn hate groups such as the Klan exclusively? He recently watered down such “condemnation” with that sterile “all types of racism” qualifier.

Again, I ask: Do we really need to hear these recordings to validate what many millions of Americans — including me — believe about the man who’s been elected president of the United States of America?

This individual is a racist.

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!

Is Donald Trump a racist? Examine the ‘evidence’

A reader of High Plains Blogger questioned an assertion I made about what I perceive to be Donald J. Trump’s racist tendencies.

This reader said there is “no evidence” of racist intent by the president of the United States.

Hmm. Let’s look at what I consider to be “evidence” of such malevolence from Trump.

  • Starting in 2011, Trump began questioning the birth of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States. He continued the lie even after saying that the president “was born in the United States.”
  • Earlier, he actually questioned whether Obama, then a U.S. senator, qualified academically for entrance into Columbia University and Harvard Law. Obama, of course, is the first African-American ever elected to the presidency.
  • Trump’s real estate properties have been subject to lawsuits from residents who have contended racial bias against them.
  • In 2017, Trump attached moral equivalence between the white supremacists/Nazis/Klansmen and those who protested against them in Charlottesville, Va. He said there were “fine people … on both sides” of the dispute.
  • He has called U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a black member of Congress from California, a “low IQ person.”
  • He has called African-American football players “sons of bit****” because they kneel during the playing of the National Anthem at football games. He accuses them of disrespecting the military and the flag while they are protesting police policies against black citizens.
  • He calls Don Lemon, the CNN news anchor, “the dumbest man on television.” Lemon also is black.
  • He disparages pro basketball superstar LeBron James’s intelligence as well — after James announces the opening of a school in his hometown for at-risk children. LeBron James also is African-American.

There is “evidence,” therefore, of the president’s racist motivations.

It is disgusting and disgraceful on its face. Does he question the intelligence of white opponents? Why would he question the academic credentials of a future black politician who, by the way, was elected president of the Harvard Law Review while he was studying for his law degree?

And how does Donald Trump earn such full-throated praise in the aftermath of his hideous Charlottesville comments from the likes of Ku Klux Klan grand dragon David Duke?

All of this also provides ample evidence that the president is a racist. Pure and simple.

‘Obligation,’ no; prerogative, yes!

CNN anchor Don Lemon is not among my favorite TV journalists/talking heads.

He is the one who once asked — reportedly in all seriousness — whether the Malaysian Airlines jetliner that disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing had been swallowed up by a “black hole,” apparently not realizing that such an event would have consumed the entire solar system.

I got that out of the way.

Now we hear that Lemon says it is his “obligation” to refer to Donald J. Trump as a “racist.”

According to The Hill: “Critical thinking is important as a journalist. If you cannot surmise that this president — if he’s not racist, he’s certainly racist-adjacent,” Lemon told an audience as the keynote speaker at Variety’s Entertainment & Technology NYC Summit. “We have come to a consensus in our society that facts matter. I feel like it’s my obligation to say that.”

I beg to differ, young man.

It’s not your “obligation,” although it is your “prerogative” to say what you want about how you perceive the president’s point of view. His obligation as a journalist requires fairness and accuracy.

I am quick to agree that Donald Trump has provided plenty of evidence of racist tendencies. I keep turning to the lie he fomented about Barack Obama place of birth, as he kept alive the slanderous accusation that the first African-American president was born in Africa and was constitutionally ineligible to serve in the office to which he was elected twice.

And, yes, there was that hideous assertion that there were good people “on both sides” of the riot that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., between counterprotesters and Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Lemon’s “obligation” only is to report what Trump has said; he should let his viewers make the determination as to whether the president is a racist.

The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, of course, doesn’t prevent him from hanging the “racist” label on Trump. Indeed, it allows Lemon to say it, but it damn sure doesn’t require it.