Monday, August 21, 2017

How the Republican party quietly does the bidding of white supremacists

Let us finally rip off the veneer that Trump’s affinity for white supremacy is distinct from the Republican agenda. It isn’t

Russ Feingold [former Senator for Wisconsin] is right. It's not enough for Republican leaders to send out tweets denouncing neo-Nazism and white supremacy. If Republicans are genuinely concerned about combatting racism they must end their ugly efforts at voter suppression, extreme gerrymandering and felon disenfranchisement,” -- Senator Bernie Sanders

From the Guardian:

It takes approximately 30 seconds to send a tweet. A half hour to draft and release a statement. And the shelf life of both is only marginally longer. We should not commend Republican party elected officials who claim outrage on social media at Trump’s remarks, often without daring to mention his name. The phony claimed outrage becomes dangerous if it convinces anyone that there is a distinction between Trump’s abhorrent comments and the Republican Party agenda.

The lesson from Charlottesville is not how dangerous the neo-Nazis are. It is the unmasking of the Republican party leadership. In the wake of last weekend’s horror and tragedy, let us finally, finally rip off the veneer that Trump’s affinity for white supremacy is distinct from the Republican agenda of voter suppression, renewed mass incarceration and the expulsion of immigrants.

There is a direct link between Trump’s comments this week and those policies, so where is the outrage about the latter? Where are the Republican leaders denouncing voter suppression as racist, un-American and dangerous? Where are the Republican leaders who are willing to call out the wink (and the direct endorsement) from President Trump to the white supremacists and acknowledge their own party’s record and stance on issues important to people of color as the real problem for our country?

By Russ Feingold

Sunday, August 20, 2017

White House officials absent from Sunday shows

After delivering a statement condemning white supremacist and Nazi groups by name on Monday, the president reignited public furor on Tuesday when he blamed both white nationalists and counter-protesters for the mayhem in Charlottesville, saying that there were good people on both sides.

So it’s no wonder White House officials were notably absent from the morning news show lineups on Sunday.
From the Hill:

"To give you a sense of how reluctant Republicans are to talk about President Trump this week, not one member of the current Republican leadership in Congress agreed to come on the broadcast this morning," Chuck Todd, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," said.

"In fact, even the White House was unable, or perhaps unwilling, to provide a guest, right down to the White House press secretary."

ABC's Martha Raddatz, who filled in for George Stephanopoulos on "This Week," said that the White House had similarly declined to provide an official to appear on the show.

Instead, she said, the White House referred the show to Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University and an ardent Trump ally outside the White House.

"When we asked the White House for an official who could appear on this program today to speak on behalf of the president, they pointed us to our next guest," Raddatz said, introducing Falwell.

It was not clear if White House officials turned down offers to appear on the shows.

By Max Greenwood

NBC -- Trump’s Approval Rating Stands Below 40 Percent in Three Key Midwest States

Respect is earned. Trump has not earned my respect. I don't respect bullies, I don't respect racism, I don't respect bigots, I don't respect fascists, I don't respect dictators, I don't respect pathological liars, I don't respect anyone that trashes our Constitution, I don't respect anyone who is disrespectful to others and finally anyone that would say "I could shoot someone in Time Square and no one would care" is never to be respected,” -- Steve Silverman

With sixty percent of voters saying they are embarrassed by Trump’s presidency, I would assume voters wholeheartedly agree.

More bad news for Trump in the aftermath of his comments on Charlottesville, according to a new News/Marist poll. His approval ratings have fallen below 40 percent in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin -- three states that were key to his election.

Sixty percent of voters also said that they are embarrassed by his presidency. The results are notable because Trump won these states by a narrow margin in November. Nationally, Trump's approval also hit an all-time low of 34 percent last week.

Americans don't believe in hateful violence, and they want a president who doesn't, either. More people see Trump for what he is: a bigoted opportunist who stokes hatred for political gain.

By Mark Murray

Serpico, others from NYPD, rally in support of Kaepernick

Current and former New York City police officers rallied on Saturday in support of getting quarterback Colin Kaepernick a job in the National Football League.

From AP News:

A former New York City police officer, whose claims of police corruption in the 1970s were chronicled in an Al Pacino movie, joined dozens of current and former officers Saturday at a rally in support of getting quarterback Colin Kaepernick a job in the National Football League.

The former San Francisco 49ers player became a controversial figure last year after he refused to stand for the national anthem in what he called a protest against oppression of people of color.

He opted out of his contract in March and became a free agent, but so far, no NFL teams have signed him for the upcoming season.

The gathering in Brooklyn featured about 75 mostly minority officers wearing black T-shirts reading ''#imwithkap.''

One exception was retired officer Frank Serpico, whose exploits were featured in the 1973 film, ''Serpico.''

He admitted not being a football fan but said he felt it was important to support Kaepernick for his stance.

''He's trying to hold up this government up to our founding fathers,'' said the now 81-year-old Serpico.
By Julie Walker

NAACP calls for boycott if Kaepernick remains unsigned

Current and former New York City police officers rallied on Saturday in support of getting quarterback Colin Kaepernick a job in the National Football League, according to AP News. The NAACP demands it.

From the Sports Xchange:

Two prominent organizations showed support for quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his inability to catch on with an NFL team.

The NAACP chapter in Atlanta is calling for all football fans to boycott NFL games by not watching those contests until a team signs Kaepernick.

Meanwhile, a number of current and former New York City police officers, including Frank Serpico, gathered in Brooklyn in support of Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, 29, brought controversy when he decided to kneel during the national anthem prior to NFL games in protest of racism in America. He became a free agent after playing for the San Francisco 49ers last season, but no team has signed him for the coming season.

Gerald Griggs, the vice president of the NAACP's Atlanta chapter, said this week that his chapter will boycott all things related to the NFL as long as Kaepernick remains unsigned.

"There will be no football in the state of Georgia if Colin Kaepernick is not on a training camp roster and given an opportunity to pursue his career," Griggs told Fox 5 in Atlanta. "This is not a simple request. This is a statement. This is a demand."

Raiders’ Derek Carr, Khalil Mack promote racial solidarity during anthem

From the Las Vegas Review Journal:

Derek Carr is a budding star NFL quarterback. Khalil Mack is the reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year. Together, their statures afford them a large following.
On Saturday, they hoped to lead.

Carr placed his right hand atop the back-neck area of Mack’s jersey throughout the national anthem before the Raiders’ 24-21 exhibition loss to the Los Angeles Rams. This was no accident, Carr said afterward. The gesture was intended as a message of solidarity amid racial tension in the United States.

“Any kid, any family, any adult that follows us or looks up to us, we knew their eyes would be on us,” Carr said. “We wanted to show them that it’s OK for a white kid and a black kid who come from two different neighborhoods to grow up and love one another and be best friends.”

Carr, 26, said the two are “not protesting” the anthem.

“We’re not doing anything like that,” he said. “What we wanted to do is show all the kids that look up to me, that look up to him that white kids, black kids, brown kids — blue, green; it doesn’t matter — can all be loving to each other. That’s what me and Khalil are. We’re best friends, and we love one another. The only reason we did that was to unify people and unify the people that look up to us.

By Michael Gehlken

AP News -- Massive counter-protest upstages Boston free speech rally

Free speech rally in Boston on Saturday was very successful. Some confrontations and skirmishes but otherwise a great day, and a great example of “Boston Strong.”

From AP News:

Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans in a public rejection of white nationalism upstaged a small group in Boston that planned a “free speech rally” a week after a violent clash rocked Virginia and reverberated across the U.S.

Counterprotesters marched through the city on Saturday to historic Boston Common, where conservatives had planned to deliver a series of speeches but soon left. Police vans later escorted the conservatives out of the area, as boisterous counter-protesters scuffled with police.

Organizers of the event, the Boston Free Speech Coalition, had publicly distanced themselves from the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and others who fomented violence in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. A woman was killed at that Unite the Right rally, and many others were injured, when a car plowed into counterdemonstrators.

Opponents feared that white nationalists might show up in Boston anyway, and turned out in force, some dressed entirely in black with bandannas over their faces. Officials said the rallies — the largest of about a half-dozen around the country on Saturday — drew about 40,000 people.

Counterprotesters chanted slogans, and waved signs that said: “Make Nazis Afraid Again,” ″Love your neighbor,” ″Resist fascism” and “Hate never made U.S. great.” Others carried a large banner that read: “SMASH WHITE SUPREMACY.”

Chris Hood, a free speech rally attendee from Dorchester, said people were unfairly making it seem like the rally was going to be “a white supremacist Klan rally.”

“That was never the intention,” he said. “We’ve only come here to promote free speech on college campuses, free speech on social media for conservative, right-wing speakers. And we have no intention of violence.”

One of the planned speakers of the conservative activist rally said the event “fell apart.”

NY Times -- The Benefits of Standing by the President

Blind loyalty to Trump helped Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the private equity giant Blackstone, nail down one of the biggest deals on Wall Street this year — its selection by Saudi Arabia to manage a new $20 billion fund, the largest in the world to invest in infrastructure projects.

The Saudi’s decided on Schwarzman because he's a close adviser of Trump. The announcement of the deal was even made at the royal palace in Riyadh as Trump and Jared Kushner looked on.

Nothing illegal occurred, as far as we know. But the deal makes clear how much corporate leaders stand to gain by sticking by Trump, and how much they risk by standing up to him -- as several did this past week. Even more kudos to them.

By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Ben Protess, Michael Corkery

Remembering Dick Gregory, legendary comic and civil rights activist

From politicians and actors to activists and comedians, to fans and friends — people have been taking to Twitter in droves to pay homage to Dick Gregory, the iconic satirist and civil rights activist who died on Saturday at the age of 84.

“He taught us how to laugh. He taught us how to fight. He taught us how to live,” wrote activist Rev. Jesse Jackson. “Dick Gregory was committed to justice. I miss him already.”

Dick Gregory was jailed and beaten by Birmingham police for parading without a permit in 1963. He took a bullet in the knee while trying to calm a crowd during the Watts riots in 1965. Two years later, he ran for mayor of Chicago against the infamous Richard Daley.

He was a close friend of Martin Luther King Jr. and in 1968 he ran for president against Richard Nixon. He pulled an astonishing 1.5 million votes—as a write-in candidate. During that campaign, he was arrested by U.S. Treasury agents for printing and distributing fake American currency with his picture on the bills as campaign literature.

He was an activist and a comedian, well known for his hunger strikes for justice. In 1967, he weighed more than 280 pounds and smoked and drank heavily. Then he began a public fast starting Thanksgiving Day to protest the war in Vietnam. 40 days later, he broke his fast with a hearty glass of fruit juice. He weighed 97 pounds.

In the summer of 1968, he fasted for 45 days as a show of solidarity with Native Americans. The following summer he did another 45 days in protest of de-facto segregation in the Chicago public schools. In 1970 he went 81 days to bring attention to the narcotics problem in America. Beginning in 1971 he went nearly three years without solid foods, again to protest the war. During that stretch he ran 900 miles from Chicago to D.C.

During the Iran hostage crisis, he traveled to Tehran in an effort to free the hostages and he traveled to the north of Ireland to advise hunger-striking IRA prisoners. In his campaign against hunger he traveled to Ethiopia more than ten times.

Throughout his life, Dick Gregory was a target of FBI and police surveillance, and he was virtually banned from the entertainment arena for his political activism.

He died today at the age of 84. We spoke with him many times on Democracy Now!, about racial profiling, the death penalty & more. Hear him tell his life story, in his own words:

February 26, 2002

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Boston Globe -- In a city with fraught racial past, a day of protest against hatred and bigotry (VIDEO)

By Mark Arsenault

Today, Boston set the example of how political rallies and counter-protest should be managed. Everything the Mayor and Boston Police Department said in news conferences prior to Saturday’s rally they executed without a hitch. There were some skirmishes and confrontations but very few. We are all proud of the people of Boston and what Massachusetts and Boston stand for: “peace and love not bigotry and hate.”

A city with a fraught racial past turned out tens of thousands of protesters Saturday for an overwhelming denunciation of racism, anti-Semitism, and religious bigotry, in a demonstration that was largely peaceful though punctuated with scuffles and some edgy nose-to-nose encounters among demonstrators.

On a hot, humid day, sweaty throngs on Boston Common chanted — sometimes angrily, often profanely — against Nazis, against racism, the KKK and fascists. They held signs calling for peace, waved the rainbow flag of the gay rights movement and held placards honoring Heather Heyer, a woman killed last weekend opposing white nationalists at a rally in Charlottesville.

My co-workers thought I was crazy to come here because a woman was killed last week,” said Ny Martin, 40, of Medford. “But that’s why I had to be here.

The local impetus for the massive demonstration on Boston Common was a rally planned before Charlottesville by the Boston Free Speech Coalition, a group that claims to promote open dialogue but that civil rights advocates say is linked to people who espouse racial hatred and violence. Coming a week after the Virginia violence, the Boston “free speech” event generated a massive response by residents and law enforcement.

I think it’s clear today that Boston stood for peace and love not bigotry and hate, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said.

Police Commissioner William B. Evans said in a press conference after the event, We probably had 40,000 people out here standing our city and that’s a good feeling.

Nearly all the demonstrators were here for the right reason, Evans said, though we did have people who came here to cause problems.