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Neo-Nazis, White Nationalists Cheer Trump’s Feud With Black Leaders

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

When President Donald Trump unleashes his racist attacks on public figures of color like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Al Sharpton, it provides direct comfort and support to the most repugnant and dangerous parts of the white supremacist movement.

But while unabashed racism has become ubiquitous in Trump’s rhetoric, a couple of remarks in his recent Twitter tirades jumped out at me as particularly strong dog whistles for darkest corners of the bigoted right-wing.

As part of his recent attacks, Trump said — without explanation — that Cummings is “racist.” Targeting Sharpton, he was even more specific about what he meant, saying the he “Hates Whites & Cops!

There is, of course, blatant hypocrisy in these remarks, because while the president and his defenders say it’s ridiculous to call him racist, Trump feels no compunction about lobbing such accusations at others without explanation. But aside from this obvious hypocrisy, it seemed to me there was something deeper and more nefarious going on in these accusations. It’s a step beyond his accusation that Omar and her allies in the “Squad” supposedly “hate America” — an accusation that is steeped in racism and bigotry but also reflects feeds off a long-running political argument in the United States about political divides over patriotism.

The accusation that Cummings and Sharpton actively hate “Whites” — not America generally, but only “Whites” — stood out. And white supremacist contributors to the hate site “Stormfront” picked up on the wording as well, taking it as a signal that the president is on their side.

“Is this the first time DJT has explicitly stood up for White folks?” one asked. “Or has he apologized yet? More of this, Donnie, and you might win next year!” (The president has not apologized.)

Others on the site agreed, echoing the sentiment that Sharpton hates white people, with some adding that all black people hate white people and that the feeling is “mutual.” One added a hopeful note about what Trump’s comments mean: “For an American President to call a black person racist will hopefully embolden thousands of Whites to do the same against other non-Whites.” Yet another said Trump got “bonus points” for his tweet capitalizing the word “Whites,” as is often a custom in these forums.

As has been repeatedly observed, many white supremacists who contributor to forums like Stormfront are skeptical and critical of the president because of his relationships with Jewish people. Anti-Semitism, Nazism, and Holocaust denial run deep in these circles, and while Trump has sometimes employed anti-Semitic rhetoric, he doesn’t go nearly as far as some of these bigots would like and he has Jewish family members. In the discussion of Trump’s remarks, some of the Stormfront contributors continued to express skepticism about the president for being “close to the jews,” but they welcomed his attack on Sharpton and “blacks in general.”

Jessie Daniels, a sociology professor at the City University of New York and expert on internet manifestations of racism, told me that the president’s comments were “egregious and obviously racist” and that she was “stunned” there was any debate about the question.

“If the white supremacists are giving you thumbs up, then that’s a good sign that what you’re doing is racist,” she said.

With these types of comments, she said, the president is clearly “emboldening” the far right.

“There’s this history and this consistency in this presidency of saying things that signal to white supremacists that he’s on their side,” Daniels said. She pointed to another moment during the 2016 campaign when Trump retweeted a user with the handle “WhiteGenocideTM.” Some white supremacists, she said, took this as a signal that he was on their side, even if they didn’t see him as an anti-Semitic ally.

By accusing prominent black figures of being racist toward white people, Trump feeds into the white supremacist myth that white people are the true victims of racism. This partisan nature of this belief is reflected in polling data, which shows that Republicans are significantly more likely to say whites are subject to “some” or “a lot of” discrimination.

Daniels said this has long been a part of the white supremacist narrative opposing civil rights and equality for African-Americans.

“Whites saw themselves as under attack because of the calls for equality,” she said.

“It goes through til today,” she continued.  “We’re living in a moment of white backlash against the Obama presidency.”

Most people who voted for Trump or plan to vote for him again likely don’t see themselves as allies of the people who contribute to sites like Stormfront. But Trump seems to think his best chance at re-election is by tapping into the fears at the core of the ideology that drives white supremacy, which may be shared by many people who would explicitly reject the label. And by echoing the type of rhetoric and beliefs favored in some of the most bigoted recesses of the far-right movement, Trump is doing his part to give these people a voice on the national stage.

Man Charged With Capital Murder In Kansas Shooting Rampage

By Tony Rizzo, The Kansas City Star

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Johnson County prosecutors on Tuesday filed two types of murder charges against a 73-year-old avowed racist and anti-Semite in the shootings deaths of three people outside Jewish facilities in Overland Park.

Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., better known as F. Glenn Miller, is charged with one count of capital murder in the killings of 69-year-old Overland Park doctor William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the Jewish Community Center where Reat was auditioning for a talent contest.

A capital murder conviction carries a life sentence without parole unless prosecutors seek the death penalty, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said. Under Kansas law, Howe doesn’t have to make a decision on seeking the death penalty until after a preliminary hearing.

Miller is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Terri LaManno, 53, a Kansas City mother of three who was shot outside Village Shalom senior living facility, where she had gone to visit her mother.

A first-degree murder conviction carries a life sentence with no parole possible for at least 25 years.

Miller, who was arrested about 20 minutes after the first shootings, is being held in lieu of a $10 million bond.

Though the killings happened at Jewish facilities, all three victims were Christians.

Howe announced the charges at a Tuesday morning press conference. He was accompanied by Barry Grissom, U.S. attorney for the District of Kansas. who said he does not anticipate any federal charges to be filed within the next week.

“Before I make any decision, I want all the facts,” said Grissom, who said that he is comfortable at this point with moving forward on federal hate crime charges.

A federal conviction could carry a death penalty, depending on what charges are filed and whether the Department of Justice decides to seek the death penalty — a decision that would be made in Washington, Grissom said.

One criteria that makes a case eligible for a federal death penalty is if a convicted felon uses a weapon in a hate crime, Grissom said.

Miller was convicted of a federal felony on weapons charges in the 1980s.

Since Johnson County filed state charges before the filing of any federal charges, Miller will be tried in state court first, Howe said.

The case remains under investigation, Howe said. There is a good possibility of additional state charges being filed, he said.

Capital murder is the most serious charge a person can face in Kansas, which does not have a hate crime charge.

Under Kansas law, the intentional and premeditated killing of more than one person “as a part of the same act or transaction or in two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or course of conduct” is one of the limited circumstances that capital murder applies.

Though two people were killed outside the Jewish Community Center, only one charge was filed in their deaths because the deaths occurred as part of the same act.

Howe said he would consult with members of the victims’ families before deciding whether to see a death sentence.

“I don’t plan to make a knee-jerk decision on that,” he said. “I want all the facts.”

Howe and Grissom declined to talk about evidence in the case. Neither would discuss a possible motive.

Aided by tips from witnesses, two Overland Park police officers spotted Miller inside the car he had driven away from the shooting scenes. The officers ordered Miller to surrender and he did without incident, said Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass. Several weapons were recovered, including a shotgun and handgun, Douglass said.

Miller, of Aurora in southwest Missouri, is scheduled to make his first appearance in Johnson County District Court Tuesday afternoon.

Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City Star/MCT

Kansas Attack Brings Back Painful Memories In Seattle

By Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — Cheryl Stumbo felt like she’d been “hit with a ton of bricks” when she learned of the fatal shootings at two Jewish facilities in suburban Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday, allegedly by a white supremacist.

“A shooting on the eve of Passover, a Jewish community center, a hate crime with guns. It’s so unbelievably bad, it knocked me off my feet,” said Stumbo, who survived a gunman’s attack at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle nearly eight years ago.

Stumbo, who has since become an advocate and activist for changes in gun laws, said she could not stop crying for hours after learning of Sunday’s shootings.

Stumbo and five colleagues were shot on July 28, 2006, when Naveed Afzal Haq walked into the federation and opened fire.

Director Pamela Waechter was hit in chest then tried to flee.

Haq chased her down and shot her in the head, killing her.

Stumbo spent six weeks in the hospital recovering from her injuries.

Haq was given two life sentences and an additional 120 years in 2010 for the shootings.

Jurors said they didn’t accept the defense’s contention that Haq was criminally insane at the time of the shootings.

During the seven-week trial, witnesses testified that Haq, who is of Pakistani heritage, railed against Jews and U.S.-Israeli policies as he opened fire in the Jewish Federation, an umbrella organization for the local Jewish community that raises money for social-welfare organizations, runs youth and adult educational programs, and engages in efforts supporting Israel.

Prosecutors agreed that Haq had a mental illness but contended he was sane when he entered the federation and opened fire.

Since the 2006 shooting, Stumbo, 51, has become an advocate for gun responsibility, working as the outreach associate for Mayors Against Illegal Guns and serving on the board of two gun-responsibility alliances.

“One of the biggest tragedies about (Sunday’s shootings) is that it was preventable. Here is a guy who had a history of violence with firearms and yet he, the last person in the world who should have had access to firearms, had access to firearms,” Stumbo said Monday.

Jim DiPeso, the marketing and communications manager for Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, said Sunday’s shootings served as a reminder.

“Any time an event like this occurs, it is a reminder of what we experienced eight years ago and a reminder that we always have to keep safety and security paramount,” he said.

Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City Star/MCT

Man With History Of Anti-Semitism Jailed In Fatal Shootings At Kansas Jewish Centers

By Laura Bauer, Dave Helling and Brian Burnes, The Kansas City Star

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A 73-year-old southwest Missouri man with a long history of anti-Semitism is suspected of killing two people outside Overland Park’s Jewish Community Center and then a third at a nearby Jewish assisted living facility.

After officers arrested Frazier Glenn Cross — an Aurora, Mo., man better known as F. Glenn Miller — Sunday afternoon, authorities said he went on a rant inside the patrol car. Though Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass wouldn’t say what Cross hollered, a television crew captured him on video while he was handcuffed in the back of the car.

“Heil Hilter,” Miller yelled out, and then he bobbed his head up and down.

Four hours after the shooting rampage was first reported, Douglass said in a news conference that it was too early to know definitively what the shooter’s motives were, but added: “We are investigating this as a hate crime.”

In all, the gunman fired at five people Sunday afternoon, police said, but he missed two of his targets, who were not injured. Police said the man had not only a shotgun but also a handgun and possibly an assault weapon.

Two of the victims who died were shot in a car at the community center, Douglass said. One of them was William Lewis Corporon, a Johnson County doctor. The other, Reat Griffin Underwood, was Corporon’s 14-year-old grandson, who died later at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

The third victim, who was not publicly identified Sunday night, was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Village Shalom senior living facility.

By Sunday evening, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had joined the investigation, as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other agencies. A dispatcher with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department in southwest Missouri where Miller lives said the agency was assisting the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department and FBI in an investigation Sunday night.

Calling the Overland Park shootings “heartbreaking,” President Barack Obama pledged the full support of the federal government. He said he asked his team Sunday to make sure law enforcement has “the necessary resources to support the ongoing investigation.”

Authorities hauled off the suspect’s four-door white car, with Missouri license plates, before 4 p.m. Douglass would not say whether Miller was talking to investigators.

The shootings shook the Kansas City area, especially the local Jewish community, which was preparing for Monday’s Passover holiday.

Matt Davis, who lives near Valley Park Elementary, where police arrested Miller, was shopping with his son for a suit for his upcoming bar mitzvah when he heard about the shooting. Davis was outside the school when Miller was hauled off.

The man was smiling.

“I was wondering, ‘Why is the guy smiling when he’s being arrested,’” said Davis, whose daughter was inside the Jewish Community Center when the shooting occurred in the parking lot. She and the hundreds of other people inside the center were not injured.

Dispatchers got the first call about shots fired at 1:03 p.m. and sent officers to the center’s parking lot.

People inside had been alerted about the shooting outside.

Bailey Wainstock and Rachel Trout were among several young people who for close to two hours Sunday afternoon barricaded themselves inside a meeting room at the Jewish Community Center.

They told those attending Sunday night’s interfaith prayer service at St. Thomas the Apostle church in Overland Park that they first learned of the shootings when the father of one group member called to say that there had been a shooting in the area.

“Then he called back and said it happened right outside, and all of us reacted,” Trout said. “We started taking tables and pushing them against the doors, barricading ourselves in.”

The meeting was for members of a B’nai’B’rith International group. Soon, Trout said, members started receiving texts from members from across the country, offering them prayers and support.

“There were so many people who wanted to know if we were OK,” Trout said.

The two said they hoped to plan a commemorative walk this coming Friday, starting at the Jewish Community Center campus, going to Village Shalom and ending at the elementary school where the alleged shooter was apprehended. The gunfire at the west side of the Jewish Community Center came as hundreds of high school singers from across the metro area were expected to audition for the KC SuperStar contest and actors were rehearsing for a production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“There were tons of kids because this was about to start at 1 o’clock,” said Ruth Bigus, the publicist for KC SuperStar.

Others were at the center to use the workout facilities.

“One of the employees at the center came in and said, ‘We’re on lockdown’” said Steve Stras, who was in the locker room when the shooting occurred. “He didn’t give any more information than that.”

Everyone outside the locker room was brought in and then the doors were locked. Roughly 25 people spent an hour inside the locker room and then moved to the lobby for a while.

“I probably missed the shooter by maybe 10 minutes,” Stras said. “… It scared the hell out of my wife when she found that out.”

When officers arrived in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center, they found Corporon dead and Underwood critically injured.

The teen and his grandfather both attended the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, said church spokeswoman Cathy Bien.

The Rev. Adam Hamilton, the church’s senior pastor, shared the news with church members at the beginning of the evening Palm Sunday service. He said he had been talking to the victims’ family in the hours after the shooting, and they asked him to go through with the Sunday evening service.

The lights dimmed as Hamilton asked worshipers to pray for the family.

“Help us, o Lord, to grieve as people of hope,” Hamilton said.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, (R-KS), who is a member of the Church of the Resurrection, spoke in the hall toward the end of the service: “It’s a very tough moment for our community, a tough moment for our church. It’s a reminder that evil can strike at any time and today it struck here in Overland Park.”

Several minutes after the Jewish Community Center shooting, Overland Park police received a call about shots fired at Village Shalom. When officers arrived, the victim, initially identified only as a white female, was already dead.

Amy Rasmussen of Lee’s Summit was at Village Shalom visiting her grandmother when a staff member alerted people inside.

People “were told by one of the staff that it was a tornado warning … and stay away from the windows,” said Rasmussen. Later everyone realized there was a shooting outside.

Other Jewish-related facilities have been the targets of violence in recent years.

In 2009, a white supremacist shot and fatally wounded a security guard at the crowded U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., in an attack that sent tourists running for cover. The shooter, 88-year-old James W. von Brunn, was wounded in the head during the assault and died the following year. Prosecutors said he had been planning the assault — which they described as a suicide mission — for months and wanted “to send a message to the Jewish community” that the Holocaust was a hoax.

In 1999, avowed white supremacist Buford Furrow Jr., who had been recently released from prison, rushed into a day care at a Jewish community center on the northern edge of Los Angeles. He shot and wounded five people, including three children. Later in the day, Furrow shot and killed a postman. Authorities said Furrow described his attacks as a wake-up call to kill Jews and non-whites.

The Jewish Community Center will be closed Monday.

“Our hearts go out to the families who have suffered loss on this tragic day,” the center said in a statement. “Our heartfelt gratitude as well to all those in Kansas City and around the world who have expressed sympathy, concern and support.”

Davis, who saw police take the suspect into custody, said Sunday’s events were horrifying.

“This is a huge Jewish community over here,” Davis said. “… We’re pretty sheltered. For something like that to happen is pretty shocking.

“It’s just hard for me to comprehend a hate crime.”

Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City Star/MCT