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To Trump, Black Protesters Are ‘Thugs,’ But White Gunmen Are ‘Very Good People’

Donald Trump on Friday called protesters in Minneapolis "thugs" as they demanded justice for a black man killed after being manhandled by a police officer, and threatened to shoot the protesters who were rioting in the streets.

"These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!" Trump tweeted in the early hours of Friday morning. Twitter deemed the comment to violate its policy against glorifying violence, and limited access to the tweet.

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Leaked E-Mails Show Links Between Racist Networks And ‘Mainstream’ Conservatives

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Much of the racism that comes from the right-wing media uses dog whistles rather outright slurs. But in a report for Splinter News, journalist Hannah Gais addresses the ways in which white nationalist views have successfully infiltrated some right-wing media outlets — and screenshots of leaked alt-right e-mails published with Gais’ article aren’t the least bit subtle in their racism and anti-Semitism.

“Indeed, there is a burgeoning underground network of group chats, message boards and e-mail chains serving as the breeding ground for incubating white nationalist ideas, and as a forum to strategize around how to launder those ideas through mainstream conservative publications,” Gais reports. “And, judging from a large series of messages from one of those e-mail groups obtained by Splinter, it’s working.”

Gais cites some links between right-wing media and white nationalists, noting that in September 2018, for example, The Atlantic reported that Scott Greer (former editor/columnist for the Daily Caller — which was co-founded by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson) had written for white nationalist Richard Spencer’s Radix Journal under the name Michael McGregor.

Gais reports that Splinter has obtained a “trove of e-mails from a private white nationalist group chat” that Jonah Bennett, a former Daily Caller employee, was a big part of. Bennett, according to Gais, “repeatedly used his perch at the site” to incorporate extremist viewpoints “into an ostensibly mainstream publication.” Those 2015-2018 e-mails, Gais reports, demonstrate that white nationalists “have steadily increased their influence within the conservative media infrastructure.”

On the surface, Gais writes, Bennett’s career seems like that of a “run-of-the-mill” conservative. But the 2015-2018 e-mails came from a private thread called Morning Hate, which according to Gais, was “steered in large part” by an extremist named John Elliott — and where participants “were free to make their racist opinions known, while laying the groundwork for leading their double lives, of sorts, in more mainstream conservative institutions.”

In the thread, Gais reports, participants used code words for racial slurs — for example, “Alaskans” for the n-word when insulting blacks, or “Hawaiians” as a substitute for “Hebes” when insulting Jews. “Our Good Friend” referred to Adolf Hitler, while “Our Good Friend’s Son” referred to Donald Trump. The code names were outlined in an e-mail dated December 17, 2015.

Splinter News published screenshots of some of those e-mails with Gais’ article, and the bigotry was overt. For example, a December 26, 2016 e-mail from Elliott contained the subject heading, “Take a shower, Jew Boy,” and Bennett was among the many recipients.

In a screenshot of a January 7, 2016 e-mail, Morning Hate is seen praising “Our Friend” — that is, Hitler — for being “way ahead of his enemies” in 1932. And in a May 12, 2017 e-mail, Morning Hate discusses friendly interactions with white nationalist Richard Spencer.

Gais describes Elliott as “the most prolific and undoubtedly the most well-connected” Morning Hate participant, noting that he had a history of “helping libertarian and conservative journalists make their way into the media world by placing them at various affiliated media organizations for internships.” But the Morning Hate e-mails, Gais observes, “show that Elliott was leading something of a shadow life.”

Gais wraps up the report by asserting that the alt-right has become an integral part of right-wing media.

“People like Bennett and Elliott have long been aware of the weaknesses of conservative institutions, and it is through this knowledge that the ‘alt-right’ has, far from disappearing, made itself an almost indispensable part of the American conservative movement,” Gais stresses. “It has, in that sense, succeeded well beyond its proponents’ vile, hate-fueled dreams.”

No, Mr. President, Not Both Sides

After the massacres in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, we watched Donald Trump, the president who spends most of his time on social media to divide and polarize America, speak up for national unity and an end to “destructive partisanship.” From the White House he issued a statement condemning white supremacy and bigotry as “evil.” And even if his voice droned as he read the teleprompter, people wanted to believe he meant what he said.

He could hardly wait to tear off that mask. Within two days, he showed us again how unsuited he is in character and temperament to be president.

Nobody should have expected Trump to take responsibility for his own role in encouraging the reactionary terror that is sweeping across the country, leaving behind bullet-riddled bodies and mourning cities. Taking responsibility isn’t what Trump does. Instead, he followed his predictable pattern of defense by distraction. He wants us to focus on anything except the climate of fear and rancor he has conjured for the past four years, first as candidate and now as president.

What ought to trouble Trump or any decent public official is that the El Paso shooter slaughtered almost two dozen innocent people in a Walmart store and justified his crime with an alleged screed that echoed the toxic themes of the Trump presidency and the modern Republican Party. Like the many white supremacist killers who preceded him, this thug made sure that we would know exactly why he perpetrated his atrocity, that he targeted people he believed to be of Hispanic heritage because he hates brown-skinned immigrants. The four-page online rant authorities believe he published expressed his white nationalist and anti-immigrant bigotry and said that he had traveled 10 hours to shoot as many Mexicans as he could.

When reporters asked Trump whether he regrets his unrelenting demonization of immigrants, with so many innocent victims lying dead in Texas, his response was almost comically villainous. “No,” said the president, “I don’t think my rhetoric has at all. I think my rhetoric is very — it brings people together.”

What Trump wants to promote is the right-wing mythology swiftly constructed around the Dayton shooter, a different kind of thug who reportedly displayed symptoms of severe mental illness and talked for years about his violent misogynist fantasies. Posts on his apparent social media accounts show that he identified as a “leftist” and an “atheist” and had retweeted praise for Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and antifa.

Somehow those shreds of political speech are supposed to demonstrate equivalence between one disturbed left-wing gunman and the legion of white supremacist murderers who have perpetrated scores of murders from Poway to Pittsburgh to Charleston to Christchurch. As an infamous man once said, “You had some very fine people on both sides.”

According to the FBI, the motives of the Dayton shooter remain unclear (although the bureau says he was exploring undefined “violent ideologies”). The brief, terrible shooting spree that killed his own sister and several patrons of a local bar, most of whom were black, indicated no political motivation of any kind. He was simply very ill, as a former girlfriend, high school classmates and neighbors recalled, and it is tragic that he got guns and ammunition instead of psychiatric treatment.

We are bereft of a leader who upholds American values at a time when we most desperately need one. So we must see for ourselves what confronts our country and the world: a netherworld of fascist insurrection sustained on the internet, recruiting sick and disaffected men to kill with military-style weapons that are far too easily acquired — and a president who spews the same poison.

It is a nightmare that will never be over until we elect a new leader with the will and courage to extirpate this homegrown terrorism.

Ex-FBI Official Says Bureau Feared Pursuing Extremists Who Support Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The ridiculous notion that Islamist extremists like al-Qaeda, ISIS (Islamic State, Iraq and Syria) and Boko Haram have the market cornered on terrorism and mass shootings was revealed as a farce on Saturday, when a white nationalist in El Paso, Texas carried out a vicious attack that, as of Monday, had claimed 22 lives. This was only the latest in a series of white nationalist attacks, inspiring pleas for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to ramp up its investigations of white nationalist and white supremacist groups. But according to former FBI counterterrorism expert Dave Gomez, the FBI is worried about being seen as targeting President Donald Trump’s base.

Gomez told the Washington Post, “There’s some reluctance among agents to bring forth an investigation that targets what the president perceives as his base. It’s a no-win situation for the FBI agent or supervisor.”

The former FBI agent told the Post that although he believes FBI Director Christopher Wray “is an honorable man,” the FBI is in many ways “hamstrung in trying to investigate the white supremacist movement like the old FBI would.”

Part of the problem, Gomez told the Post, is Trump’s criticisms of the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump has repeatedly described former FBI Director James Comey and former Special Counsel Robert Mueller as tools of Democratic partisans — although Comey was a Republican until 2016, and Mueller is still a Republican.

The FBI is investigating the El Paso attack as an incident of domestic terrorism. According to investigators, the suspect posted a white nationalist manifesto called “The Inconvenient Truth” on the messaging board 8Chan shortly before the attack — ranting about the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and praising the gunman who killed 51 people during his attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year.