Homeland Security official resigns after comments linking blacks to ‘laziness’ and ‘promiscuity’ come to light

The Washington Post reports: A political appointee in the Department of Homeland Security abruptly resigned after the disclosure Thursday he previously made derogatory remarks about black people and Muslims on conservative talk radio.

Rev. Jamie Johnson, who was appointed the head of the DHS’s Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships in April, appeared on the program in 2008. The comments resurfaced Thursday after CNN published a report about them with audio snippets.

Johnson’s incendiary comments about black people came on the show “The Right Balance,” on Accent Radio Network, CNN reported. An unidentified speaker on the show said “a lot of blacks are anti-Semitic” and asked Johnson why.

Johnson extolled the economic successes of American Jews and said “it’s an indictment of America’s black community that has turned America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity,” according to a recording posted by CNN. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

A lesson from Syria: It’s crucial not to fuel far-right conspiracy theories

George Monbiot writes: What do we believe? This is the crucial democratic question. Without informed choice, democracy is meaningless. This is why dictators and billionaires invest so heavily in fake news. Our only defence is constant vigilance, rigour and scepticism. But when some of the world’s most famous crusaders against propaganda appear to give credence to conspiracy theories, you wonder where to turn.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) last month published its investigation into the chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun, which killed almost 100 people on 4 April and injured around 200. After examining the competing theories and conducting wide-ranging interviews, laboratory tests and forensic analysis of videos and photos, it concluded that the atrocity was caused by a bomb filled with sarin, dropped by the government of Syria.

There is nothing surprising about this. The Syrian government has a long history of chemical weapons use, and the OPCW’s conclusions concur with a wealth of witness testimony. But a major propaganda effort has sought to discredit such testimony, and characterise the atrocity as a “false-flag attack”.

This effort began with an article published on the website Al-Masdar news, run by the Syrian government loyalist Leith Abou Fadel. It suggested that either the attack had been staged by “terrorist forces”, or chemicals stored in a missile factory had inadvertently been released when the Syrian government bombed it.

The story was then embellished on Infowars – the notorious far-right conspiracy forum. The Infowars article claimed that the attack was staged by the Syrian first responder group, the White Helmets. This is a reiteration of a repeatedly discredited conspiracy theory, casting these rescuers in the role of perpetrators. It suggested that the victims were people who had been kidnapped by al-Qaida from a nearby city, brought to Khan Shaykhun and murdered, perhaps with the help of the UK and French governments, “to lay blame on the Syrian government”. The author of this article was Mimi Al-Laham, also known as Maram Susli, PartisanGirl, Syrian Girl and Syrian Sister. She is a loyalist of the Assad government who has appeared on podcasts hosted by David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. She has another role: as an “expert” used by a retired professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called Theodore Postol. He has produced a wide range of claims casting doubt on the Syrian government’s complicity in chemical weapons attacks. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

The making of an American Nazi

Luke O’Brien writes: On December 16, 2016, Tanya Gersh answered her phone and heard gunshots. Startled, she hung up. Gersh, a real-estate agent who lives in Whitefish, Montana, assumed it was a prank call. But the phone rang again. More gunshots. Again, she hung up. Another call. This time, she heard a man’s voice: “This is how we can keep the Holocaust alive,” he said. “We can bury you without touching you.”

When Gersh put down the phone, her hands were shaking. She was one of only about 100 Jews in Whitefish and the surrounding Flathead Valley, and she knew there were white nationalists and “sovereign citizens” in the area. But Gersh had lived in Whitefish for more than 20 years, since just after college, and had always considered the scenic ski town an idyllic place. She didn’t even have a key to her house—she’d never felt the need to lock her door. Now that sense of security was about to be shattered.

The calls marked the start of a months-long campaign of harassment orchestrated by Andrew Anglin, the publisher of the world’s biggest neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer. He claimed that Gersh was trying to “extort” a property sale from Sherry Spencer, whose son, Richard Spencer, was another prominent white nationalist and the face of the so-called alt-right movement.

The Spencers had long-standing ties to Whitefish, and Richard had been based there for years. But he gained international notoriety just after the 2016 election for giving a speech in Washington, D.C., in which he declared “Hail Trump!,” prompting Nazi salutes from his audience. In response, some Whitefish residents considered protesting in front of a commercial building Sherry owned in town. According to Gersh, Sherry sought her advice, and Gersh suggested that she sell the property, make a donation to charity, and denounce her son’s white-nationalist views. But Sherry claimed that Gersh had issued “terrible threats,” and she wrote a post on Medium on December 15 accusing her of an attempted shakedown. (Sherry Spencer did not respond to a request for comment.)

At the time, Richard Spencer and Andrew Anglin barely knew each other. Spencer, who fancies himself white nationalism’s leading intellectual, cloaks his racism in highbrow arguments. Anglin prefers the gutter, reveling in the vile language common on the worst internet message boards. But Spencer and Anglin had appeared together on a podcast the day before Sherry’s Medium post was published and expressed their mutual admiration. Anglin declared it a “historic” occasion, a step toward greater unity on the extreme right.

It was in this spirit that Anglin “doxed” Gersh and her husband, Judah, as well as other Jews in Whitefish, by publishing their contact information and other personal details on his website. He plastered their photographs with yellow stars emblazoned with JUDE and posted a picture of the Gershes’ 12-year-old son superimposed on the gates at Auschwitz. He commanded his readers—his “Stormer Troll Army”—to “hit ’em up.”

“All of you deserve a bullet through your skull,” one Stormer said in an email.

“Put your uppity slut wife Tanya back in her cage, you rat-faced kike,” another wrote to Judah.

“You fucking wicked kike whore,” Andrew Auernheimer, The Daily Stormer’s webmaster, said in a voicemail for Gersh. “This is Trump’s America now.” [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

GOP megadonor Adelson publicly breaks with Bannon

Politico reports: Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, the GOP’s most prominent megadonor, is publicly breaking with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon over his efforts to oust Republican incumbents in 2018.

“The Adelsons will not be supporting Steve Bannon’s efforts,” said Andy Abboud, an Adelson spokesman. “They are supporting Mitch McConnell 100 percent. For anyone to infer anything otherwise is wrong.”

The public pronouncement comes about a month after Adelson met with Bannon in Washington.

Bannon has been huddling with major Republican contributors across the country in hopes of building a war chest to take on party lawmakers. Bannon aides said they were not surprised by the news, given that Adelson has a long track record of generously backing establishment causes. They said they never expected Adelson’s financial support.

The former White House chief strategist appeared before the Zionist Organization of America’s annual dinner on Sunday night. ZOA is heavily funded by Adelson.

During the dinner, Bannon described himself as a “Christian Zionist” and lavished praise on the billionaire. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

‘White Europe’: 60,000 nationalists march on Poland’s independence day

The Guardian reports: Tens of thousands of nationalist demonstrators marched through Warsaw at the weekend to mark Poland’s independence day, throwing red-smoke bombs and carrying banners with slogans such as “white Europe of brotherly nations”.

Police estimated 60,000 people took part in Saturday’s event, in what experts say was one of the biggest gathering of far-right activists in Europe in recent years.

Demonstrators with faces covered chanted “Pure Poland, white Poland!” and “Refugees get out!”. A banner hung over a bridge that read: “Pray for Islamic Holocaust.”

The march organised by far-right groups in Poland is an annual event originally to mark Poland’s independence in 1918. But according to Nick Lowles, from UK anti-extremism group Hope Not Hate, it has become an important rallying point for international far-right groups.

“The numbers attending this year seem to be bigger and, while not everyone on the march is a far-right activist or fascist, it is undoubtedly becoming more significant and is acting as a magnet for far-right groups around the world.”

Some participants marched under the slogan “We Want God!”, words from an old Polish religious song that the US president, Donald Trump, quoted during a visit to Warsaw earlier this year. Speakers encouraged attendants to stand against liberals and defending Christian values. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

We’re sick of racism, literally

Douglas Jacobs writes: Estifanos Zerai-Misgun, a black Brookline, Mass., police officer, pulled up in an unmarked car and greeted his superior, a white lieutenant. He wasn’t prepared for the response by the lieutenant, who said, as he gestured at the vehicle, “Who would put a black man behind one of these?”

“I was shocked,” the officer later told a Boston news station about the experience. It was one of several derogatory racial comments he would hear on the job. It got so bad that he and a black colleague walked away from the force in 2015.

The statements they’d heard were offensive and at times threatening in the moment, but they also made the men fear for their safety at work in a broader sense: The black officers weren’t sure that the white colleagues who were so willing to antagonize them would back them up if they were attacked on patrol.

Even if Mr. Zerai-Misgun and his colleague were never directly physically harmed, the experience probably took a toll on their bodies. Perceptions of discrimination like those the officers experienced, as well as those that are less direct, may make us sick. And in the current political environment, with its high-profile expressions of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia and xenophobia, along with widely covered acts of hate and bigotry, countless Americans are at risk of this type of harm. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Can my children be friends with white people?

Ekow N. Yankah writes: My oldest son, wrestling with a 4-year-old’s happy struggles, is trying to clarify how many people can be his best friend. “My best friends are you and Mama and my brother and …” But even a child’s joy is not immune to this ominous political period. This summer’s images of violence in Charlottesville, Va., prompted an array of questions. “Some people hate others because they are different,” I offer, lamely. A childish but distinct panic enters his voice. “But I’m not different.”

It is impossible to convey the mixture of heartbreak and fear I feel for him. Donald Trump’s election has made it clear that I will teach my boys the lesson generations old, one that I for the most part nearly escaped. I will teach them to be cautious, I will teach them suspicion, and I will teach them distrust. Much sooner than I thought I would, I will have to discuss with my boys whether they can truly be friends with white people.

Meaningful friendship is not just a feeling. It is not simply being able to share a beer. Real friendship is impossible without the ability to trust others, without knowing that your well-being is important to them. The desire to create, maintain or wield power over others destroys the possibility of friendship. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous dream of black and white children holding hands was a dream precisely because he realized that in Alabama, conditions of dominance made real friendship between white and black people impossible. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Poll: Nearly half of white Southerners feel like they’re under attack

The Hill reports: Nearly half of white Americans living in the South feel like they’re under attack, a new Winthrop University poll found.

Forty-six percent of white Southerners said they agree or strongly agree that white people are under attack in the U.S. More than three-fourths of black respondents said they believe racial minorities are under attack.

And 30 percent of all respondents in the poll agreed when asked if America needs to protect and preserve its white European heritage. More than half of respondents disagreed with the statement. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer will step down as CEO of his company following BuzzFeed exposé

BuzzFeed reports: Robert Mercer, the hedge fund billionaire who has come under media scrutiny for his role in helping elect Donald Trump, announced today he would step down from his role as co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies. The decision, announced in a memo to Renaissance employees, followed a BuzzFeed News exposé revealing the connections of Breitbart — partially owned by Mercer — to white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

Sources familiar with Renaissance informed BuzzFeed News in recent days of significant anger within the company about the report, which revealed that former Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos had cultivated white nationalists and used them to generate ideas and help edit stories on the site.

Mercer’s statement specifically denounces Yiannopoulos and states that “I was mistaken to have supported him, and for several weeks have been in the process of severing all ties with him.” He also announced his intention to sell his stake in Breitbart to his daughters. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Slavery thrived on compromise, John Kelly

Kashana Cauley writes: In an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News last night, the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, said “the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War,” a statement that would shock, among others, the founding fathers. After spirited debates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, they included Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 in our Constitution, which said each slave, for legislative representation and taxation purposes, counted as three-fifths of a person. That provision is known as the Three-Fifths Compromise, a term that clearly states that Northerners and Southerners were, in fact, quite able to reach weird compromises on slavery.

But our country’s tortured attempt to find some kind of balance on whether it was right to enslave African-Americans wasn’t limited to the Three-Fifths Compromise. To argue that the Civil War came about because Americans couldn’t compromise on whether black slaves were truly people or not would require us to ignore at least six other major compromises on slavery, from the first fugitive slave law in 1793, which said that escaped slaves in any state could be caught, tried and returned to their masters, to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which allowed residents of the two territories to vote on whether to allow slavery. Slaveowners and abolitionists compromised on slavery over and over again, throwing black people’s rights onto the bargaining table like betting chips in a casino.

The Civil War ended slavery, but the legacy of all the prewar compromising on black people’s rights sparked new fights: the fleeting freedoms of Reconstruction; the punishing hand of Jim Crow; the limited triumphs of the civil rights movement; the quiet indignities of practices like racially restrictive covenants, which allowed homeowners to place terminology in property deeds to restrict ownership by race; and redlining, which reduced the value of homes in black neighborhoods compared with their white counterparts. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Western philosophy is racist

Bryan W Van Norden writes: Mainstream philosophy in the so-called West is narrow-minded, unimaginative, and even xenophobic. I know I am levelling a serious charge. But how else can we explain the fact that the rich philosophical traditions of China, India, Africa, and the Indigenous peoples of the Americas are completely ignored by almost all philosophy departments in both Europe and the English-speaking world?

Western philosophy used to be more open-minded and cosmopolitan. The first major translation into a European language of the Analects, the saying of Confucius (551-479 BCE), was done by Jesuits, who had extensive exposure to the Aristotelian tradition as part of their rigorous training. They titled their translation Confucius Sinarum Philosophus, or Confucius, the Chinese Philosopher (1687).

One of the major Western philosophers who read with fascination Jesuit accounts of Chinese philosophy was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). He was stunned by the apparent correspondence between binary arithmetic (which he invented, and which became the mathematical basis for all computers) and the I Ching, or Book of Changes, the Chinese classic that symbolically represents the structure of the Universe via sets of broken and unbroken lines, essentially 0s and 1s. (In the 20th century, the psychoanalyst Carl Jung was so impressed with the I Ching that he wrote a philosophical foreword to a translation of it.) Leibniz also said that, while the West has the advantage of having received Christian revelation, and is superior to China in the natural sciences, ‘certainly they surpass us (though it is almost shameful to confess this) in practical philosophy, that is, in the precepts of ethics and politics adapted to the present life and the use of mortals’.

The German philosopher Christian Wolff echoed Leibniz in the title of his public lecture Oratio de Sinarum Philosophia Practica, or Discourse on the Practical Philosophy of the Chinese (1721). Wolff argued that Confucius showed that it was possible to have a system of morality without basing it on either divine revelation or natural religion. Because it proposed that ethics can be completely separated from belief in God, the lecture caused a scandal among conservative Christians, who had Wolff relieved of his duties and exiled from Prussia. However, his lecture made him a hero of the German Enlightenment, and he immediately obtained a prestigious position elsewhere. In 1730, he delivered a second public lecture, De Rege Philosophante et Philosopho Regnante, or On the Philosopher King and the Ruling Philosopher, which praised the Chinese for consulting ‘philosophers’ such as Confucius and his later follower Mengzi (fourth century BCE) about important matters of state.

Chinese philosophy was also taken very seriously in France. One of the leading reformers at the court of Louis XV was François Quesnay (1694-1774). He praised Chinese governmental institutions and philosophy so lavishly in his work Despotisme de la China (1767) that he became known as ‘the Confucius of Europe’. Quesnay was one of the originators of the concept of laissez-faire economics, and he saw a model for this in the sage-king Shun, who was known for governing by wúwéi (non-interference in natural processes). The connection between the ideology of laissez-faire economics and wúwéi continues to the present day. In his State of the Union address in 1988, the US president Ronald Reagan quoted a line describing wúwéi from the Daodejing, which he interpreted as a warning against government regulation of business. (Well, I didn’t say that every Chinese philosophical idea was a good idea.)

Leibniz, Wolff and Quesnay are illustrations of what was once a common view in European philosophy. In fact, as Peter K J Park notes in Africa, Asia, and the History of Philosophy: Racism in the Formation of the Philosophical Canon (2014), the only options taken seriously by most scholars in the 18th century were that philosophy began in India, that philosophy began in Africa, or that both India and Africa gave philosophy to Greece.

So why did things change? As Park convincingly argues, Africa and Asia were excluded from the philosophical canon by the confluence of two interrelated factors. On the one hand, defenders of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) consciously rewrote the history of philosophy to make it appear that his critical idealism was the culmination toward which all earlier philosophy was groping, more or less successfully.

On the other hand, European intellectuals increasingly accepted and systematised views of white racial superiority that entailed that no non-Caucasian group could develop philosophy. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Steve Bannon thinks Trump’s legal team is ‘asleep at the wheel’ – and he’s looking for ways to kneecap Mueller

The Daily Beast reports: Robert Mueller is finally bringing down the hammer, and Steve Bannon is nervous.

The former White House chief strategist is increasingly concerned that President Donald Trump’s legal team is falling down on the job. And he’s worried that they’ve left the president vulnerable as former campaign aides are being handed indictments.

“In terms of Steve’s thinking of how the president is handling this, yeah, he thinks the legal team was not prepared for what happened today—they’re not serving the president well,” a source close to Bannon said.

Added another confidant: Bannon believes Ty Cobb and John Dowd, the top two attorneys on the president’s legal team, “are asleep at the wheel.”

Cobb and Dowd have publicly feuded over White House legal strategy after joining the president’s team, arguing in particular over the degree to which that team should cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. They’ve been overheard doing so at a steakhouse in D.C., while Cobb has been fooled by an email prankster and has angrily lashed out at reporters.

Dowd and Cobb did not respond to a request for comment on Bannon’s complaints.

Worried about these missteps, Bannon has increasingly contemplated taking matters into his own hand—all in an attempt, he believes, to spare Trump from having to fire the man investigating his campaign and family’s finances.

Multiple sources close to Bannon told The Daily Beast on Monday that he is “advocating a much more aggressive legal approach short of firing Mueller,” as one source put it, and has been mulling options that would effectively curtail the special counsel’s investigation into 2016 Russian election-meddling and alleged Trump campaign connections to it.

He’s being tight-lipped about the strategy so far—and it is unclear how robust an effort he’ll actually try to mount—but options are available to him. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

White paranoia: Majority of white Americans think they’re discriminated against

NPR reports on a poll in which 55 percent of its white respondents believe there is discrimination against white people in America today. The responses can be broken down into three categories: Ask [68-year-old Tim] Hershman [of Akron, Ohio] whether there is discrimination against whites, and he answered even before this reporter could finish the question — with an emphatic “Absolutely.”

“It’s been going on for decades, and it’s been getting worse for whites,” Hershman contended, despite data showing whites continue to be better off financially and educationally than minority groups.

Even though Hershman believes he has been a victim of anti-white discrimination, he wasn’t able to provide a specific example. He describes losing out on a promotion — and a younger African-American being selected as one of the finalists for the job. But the position eventually went to a white applicant, who was also younger than Hershman.

Representing Category 2 is 50-year-old heavy equipment operator Tim Musick, who lives in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. He says anti-white discrimination is real, but he doesn’t think he has ever really felt it personally.

“I think that you pretty much, because you’re white, you’re automatically thrown into that group as being a bigot and a racist and that somehow you perceive yourself as being more superior to everybody else, which is ridiculous,” Musick said, speaking during his lunch break at a construction site.

“I’m just a man that happens to have been born white,” Musick continued.

He also makes it clear, however, that he is not comparing what happens to whites to the African-American experience.

“I don’t know what it feels like to be a black man walking around in the streets, but I do know what it feels like to be pegged, because of how you look, and what people perceive just on sight,” said Musick, who has the stocky build of a retired NFL lineman and a shaved head under his hard hat.

Now for the third category — those who scoff at the notion that whites face racial discrimination.

That describes retired community college English teacher Betty Holton, of Elkton, Md.

“I don’t see how we can be discriminated against when, when we have all the power,” Holton said, chuckling in disbelief into her cellphone.

“Look at Congress. Look at the Senate. Look at government on every level. Look at the leadership in corporations. Look. Look anywhere.”

Holton asserts: “The notion that whites are discriminated against just seems incredible to me.” [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

One in four American troops sees white nationalism in the ranks

Military Times reports: Nearly one in four troops polled say they have seen examples of white nationalism among their fellow service members, and troops rate it as a larger national security threat than Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new Military Times poll.

The troops were surveyed about one month after white supremacist groups and counter-protesters clashed in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Critics of Trump have accused him of emboldening groups who wish to discriminate against minorities, through both his public comments and policies. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Steve Bannon dropped Milo after white nationalism revelations. Will the Mercers stand by him?

BuzzFeed reports: Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon has told multiple people that he will never work with Milo Yiannopoulos again in the aftermath of a BuzzFeed News exposé linking Breitbart’s former tech editor to white nationalists, BuzzFeed News has learned.

Yiannopoulos, Bannon told at least one acquaintance, is “dead to me.”

But members of the Mercer family, Bannon’s and Yiannopoulos’s key, shared patrons and partners on the new right, have not signaled whether they will continue to bankroll the controversial culture warrior. Their decision may shed light on the extent to which the hedge fund billionaires are motivated by the raw ethnonationalist politics a cache of leaked documents related to Yiannopoulos and Breitbart revealed.

The Mercers did not respond to multiple emails asking them if they intended to continue funding Yiannopoulos, nor did they respond to emails informing them that Bannon had excommunicated him.

BuzzFeed News’s story demonstrated that Breitbart, which the Mercers partly own, ran numerous stories that were conceived and coedited by white nationalists. The central figure in this effort was Yiannopoulos, who, the story revealed, once sang “America the Beautiful” in a karaoke bar as a crowd, including the white nationalist Richard Spencer, gave Nazi salutes. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Neo-Nazi quits movement, opens up about Jewish heritage and comes out as gay

 

Facebooktwittermail

White nationalism is destroying the West

Sasha Polakow-Suransky writes: In recent years, anti-immigration rhetoric and nativist policies have become the new normal in liberal democracies from Europe to the United States. Legitimate debates about immigration policy and preventing extremism have been eclipsed by an obsessive focus on Muslims that paints them as an immutable civilizational enemy that is fundamentally incompatible with Western democratic values.

Yet despite the breathless warnings of impending Islamic conquest sounded by alarmist writers and pandering politicians, the risk of Islamization of the West has been greatly exaggerated. Islamists are not on the verge of seizing power in any advanced Western democracy or even winning significant political influence at the polls.

The same cannot be said of white nationalists, who today are on the march from Charlottesville, Va., to Dresden, Germany. As an ideology, white nationalism poses a significantly greater threat to Western democracies; its proponents and sympathizers have proved, historically and recently, that they can win a sizable share of the vote — as they did this year in France, Germany and the Netherlands — and even win power, as they have in the United States. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail