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Tag: george takei

GOP Rep. Roy Glorifies Lynching At Hearing On Anti-Asian Violence

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Actor and activist George Takei is criticizing Rep. Chip Roy after the Texas Republican congressman glorified lynchings as a form of "justice" during a House hearing on anti-Asian American violence.

Rep. Roy's remarks come just two days after a Georgia gunman shot to death eight people – seven women, six of whom were Asian American, and just one day after he voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act.

Congressman Roy insisted on trying to divert Thursday's hearing's focus away from attacks on Asian Americans. He made clear he opposes what he called "policing" derogatory rhetoric, and wants the focus to be on "taking out bad guys," while not understanding that derogatory rhetoric, like that promoted by former President Donald Trump about AAPI people can easily lead to increased violence.

"There's old sayings in Texas about, you know, find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. You know, we take justice very seriously, and we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys," Roy suggested. "That's what we believe."

Takei slammed Rep. Roy, retweeting the above video and saying, "One of the worst lynching incidents in our history was perpetrated against the Chinese community of Los Angeles when some 20 people were killed and hanged by an angry white mob. This language is unacceptable, and Chip Roy is an ignorant inciter."

Roy beat Democrat Wendy Davis last year by seven points in his re-election battle.

UPDATE: Roy later issued a statement doubling down on his endorsement of lynching. "I meant it," he said.


Actor-Activist George Takei Will Urge 10M Followers to Join Lincoln Project’s Facebook Organizing

Progressive activist and actor George Takei has informally offered his support for a new organization being started by The Lincoln Project, the growing group of never-Trump Republicans who have unleashed devastating ads attacking President Donald Trump. The group is unveiling a "grassroots Facebook Army" called The Lincoln Project Digital Coalition.

Citing Lincoln Project spokesperson Keith Edwards, CNBC reports the group's plan for the new get out the vote project "is to have thousands of Lincoln Project Facebook members reach out to Republican voters who have previously backed Trump to try to convince them to vote for Democratic nominee, Joe Biden. They have over 50,000 members on Facebook, he added."

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Internment Camp Survivor George Takei Warns Muslim Registry Is ‘A Prelude To Internment’

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters. 

From the November 17 edition of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell:

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL (HOST): Joining us now, George Takei, he’s an actor, director, and human rights activist. He and his family were held in Japanese-American internment camps. George, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We wanted to hear your reaction to this as soon as this happened.

GEORGE TAKEI: It was shocking, but it was not unexpected from a Trump surrogate. Mr. Higbie used the imprisonment of innocent Japanese-Americans as a precedent. Yes, it happened, but it is not a precedent. It is the most disgraceful chapter of American history.

This is a country that believes in order, law. It’s a nation of law. We believe in due process, and all of that disappeared. As a matter of fact, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan had to apologize for the imprisonment of innocent Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. We were totally innocent, and yet we were imprisoned, because of racist — race, bigotry, war hysteria, and the failure of political leadership.

That is what happened that made this happen. And here again, they’re talking about the political leadership that’s about to be, is talking about the very same thing, and using us as a precedent. It was a disgrace and a shameful chapter of American history.

[…]

O’DONNELL: George, obviously he has no idea what he’s talking about, “you sign them up at different places.” He wasn’t asked how he would be able to tell what someone’s religion is.

TAKEI: Yes, he’s going to go by a faith of a people, and register them. Registration of any group of people, and certainly registration of Muslims, is a prelude to internment.

This is something that we cannot have happen again. It is dangerous and it is a moral bankruptcy. We’ve got to stand up and resist this, and I would urge all good Americans to write to your congressional representatives and the president-elect and tell them that this is not what we stand for as a nation.

We are — we go by the rule of law, and a registry is this simple categorization of a people of one faith. In our case, it was people of one ancestry. We were American citizens, and yet we were — because we looked like the enemy, we were treated like the enemy, and imprisoned. And this is what’s going to happen with a Muslim registry, and we as Americans will not tolerate that again, and we en-masse will oppose that.

[…]

O’DONNELL: Prior to this presidential campaign, did you ever dream that you would be publicly discussing something like this, a registry, something like this, in this country? That this country hadn’t learned its lesson in World War II?

TAKEI: I just spoke here at Penn State, on the internment of Japanese Americans. I’ve been doing this all my life, in order to prevent that from recurring again. And yet, you know, deep down inside, I thought I was doing this, planting seeds, so that we won’t have this happen again, but now they’re saying that this is a precedent.

It is not a precedent. It was when our nation was disgraced. Our good democracy was smeared, and we will not allow that to happen again. This must not happen again, and we should all let Donald Trump know, in no uncertain ways.

Sanders’ Celebrity Cohort Split Over “Bernie or Bust!”

After Hillary Clinton’s near-sweep of five states on Tuesday, the Bernie Sanders campaign is in dire straits. While Sanders is still fighting for the nomination, he now trails Clinton in the pledged delegate count by a convincing 327 votes. Still, even if the rest of the primary season goes according to plan for Clinton — as it most likely will — there’s no guarantee that Bernie’s impassioned fans will turn their support to the Democratic nominee.

Enter the “Bernie or Bust” movement, in which the most diehard Sanders fans have announced their intention to stay home on Election Day, or vote for someone else, rather than supporting Hillary Clinton. This crusade is picking up steam, especially among Sanders’ celebrity devotees.

Susan Sarandon was among the first of Sanders’ Hollywood spokespeople to push for this ultimatum. Back in March, she made headlines with a controversial MSNBC interview in which she hinted — though she disputed such accusations later — that Donald Trump might “bring the revolution” if Sanders failed to attain the nomination. Then, during an appearance last Wednesday on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she said “I’m more afraid of, actually, Hillary Clinton’s war record and her hawkishness than I am of building a wall.” Though she also added, “but that doesn’t mean I would vote for Trump.”

Actress Rosario Dawson has been one of Sander’s leading advocates throughout this cycle. While she hasn’t aligned herself with the #BernieOrBust hashtag movement on Twitter, many recent posts criticize Clinton’s political record while boldly reaffirming Sander’s slogan #NotMeUs. Should Dawson throw a vote Clinton’s way come November, expect it to be cast with far less social media fanfare than we’re used to seeing from her, or maybe just a frowning emoji.

Still, not all of Sanders’ famous friends have pledged their undying loyalty to him. Last week on Real Time with Bill Maher, the brazenly liberal host tore into Sanders supporters who claim they’d rather vote for Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton. After outlining key differences between a Trump and Clinton presidency, Maher proclaimed, “That’s your choice. Don’t be assholes about it.”

The original Star Trek’s George Takei, a self-proclaimed “fan of Bernie Sanders” posted a video on Wednesday to promote a new slogan, #VoteBlueNoMatterWho. Calling upon his fellow Democrats to be realists, Takei argued that Sanders had still won through his invigoration of the progressive left, and reminded viewers that the Vermont Senator himself had said that Clinton would be a far superior choice to any Republican candidate.

Author Anne Rice withstood a flurry of online attacks and insults Tuesday night after posting an anti-Sanders status on her Facebook page. Rice, who months ago touted Sanders as the superior Democratic candidate, wrote, “I’m very sorry I ever contributed a nickel to Bernie’s campaign. I had no idea his followers would become obstructionist and go to the depths they have with the politics of personal destruction. They’re worse than Republicans.” The post has since been removed.

Endorse This: George Takei Bears Witness Against The Hate

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With all the paranoia against immigrants and Syrian refugees, and after one local mayor even praised the Japanese-American internment of the 1940s, here’s a celebrity who is speaking out: legendary actor George Takei, who as a child was imprisoned with his family in the camps.

Watch as the Star Trek actor who is now starring in the Broadway show Allegiance, which depicts the ordeal, describes one of the most insidious ramifications of the internment — that at such a young age, it all seemed so normal to him.

“It became routine to go with my father to bathe in a mass shover, and begin the school day — ironically, now, — with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag,” Takei says. “I can see the barbed wire fence and the sentry tower right outside my schoolhouse window, ‘with liberty and justice for all.'”

And as the presidential campaign descends into such a virulent dialogue, Takei warns the country to think of the consequences: “We were 120,000, and the effect on not only Japanese-Americans who were interned — it was disastrous, obviously — but what it did to America.”

Video via CNN.

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Seahawk Wilson, Intel’s Krzanich Among Guests At Abe State Dinner

By Toluse Olorunnipa and Mike Dorning, Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, “Star Trek” actor George Takei, and Intel Corp. Chief Executive Brian Krzanich were among guests from business, entertainment, sports, and government invited to join Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a White House state dinner.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted Abe and his wife, Akie Abe, for the formal event Tuesday evening, the eighth state dinner of Obama’s presidency and the first for a Japanese head of government in about ten years. One hundred ninety-one people were invited to attend.

“Guests are selected with great care for such events, to symbolize ties between countries,” Erik Goldstein, who teaches international relations at Boston University and has studied state dinners, said in an email. “Invitations can also be much sought after prizes by supporters of the president, and provide a useful form of recognition to them as well.”

Takei said this was his second state dinner. Known for his frequent use of social media, Takei said he wouldn’t be whipping out his phone to give followers regular updates on the dinner. “After, not during,” he told reporters upon arriving at the White House. “It’s not the politest thing to do.”

Wilson, who attended the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner on Saturday with his grandmother, said he left her at home in Virginia Tuesday night. His date for the evening was pop singer Ciara Harris.

The guest list, released by the White House, is heavy on elected and appointed government officials from both nations, along with corporate executives, Obama’s political supporters, and prominent Americans of Japanese descent.

The youngest self-made female billionaire in the U.S., health technology entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, was expected to attend. Holmes, 31, is founder and CEO of Theranos, which sells low-cost diagnostic blood tests. She has an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion and is the 117th richest person in the U.S., according to the Bloomberg Billionaires index.

Other corporate leaders on the guest list included James Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International; Greg Page, executive chairman of closely held Cargill Inc.; and Charles Scharf, CEO of Visa Inc.

Some of the guests fit multiple categories, such as John V. Roos, who was Obama’s first-term ambassador to Japan, a key fundraiser for his 2008 presidential campaign and a longtime Silicon Valley attorney.

The dinner was to be one of the highlights of Abe’s visit to Washington, where he held a series of meetings with Obama and other government officials on Tuesday. In meetings and a news conference, Obama and Abe discussed a Pacific region trade pact, disputed land claims in the South China Sea and the U.S. strategic pivot toward Asia.

In his dinner toast, Obama recounted that Japanese culture was woven into his upbringing in Hawaii. He paid tribute to “our magnificent alliance.” Abe reciprocated, saying, “The partnership between Japan and the United States is simply unparalleled in building the future of Asia and the world.”

Japanese-American Masaharu Morimoto served as the guest chef at the five-course dinner, which featured a fusion of Japanese and American dishes such as Wagyu beef tenderloin and Caesar sashimi salad. Some of the ingredients for the dinner were grown in the White House garden.

The White House unveiled a new set of state china this month that was to be used at the dinner.

“The first lady chose a blue inspired by the waters off the President’s home state of Hawaii, calling it ‘Kailua Blue,’ ” the White House said in a blog post.

Photo: Prime Minister’s Office of Japan via Flickr

Top Reads For News Junkies: ‘To The Stars’

The “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” recently signed into law in Indiana has been correctly called out as a nasty piece of anti-gay legislation. Social media responded loudly and proudly with the #BoycottIndiana hashtag, enjoining companies and consumers alike to take their business out of Hoosierland in protest against a state government that would discriminate in the name of religion. Among those who got the ball rolling was George Takei, the former Star Trek cast member who has been a forceful and charismatic presence at the intersection of social media activism and LGBT advocacy for years. In his new book, To the Stars: Autobiography of George Takei, he tells his remarkable story.

You can purchase the book here.