Car culture, racism: Charlottesville makes the link
The "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville—which brought out open neo-Nazis, Klansmen and Confederacy-nostalgists over the city's plan to remove a statue of Robert E Lee—escalated to open terror when one attendee ploughed his car into a throng of anti-racist counter-protesters, leaving one dead and 19 injured. Five are in critical condition. The deceased is identified as Heather Heyer, 32, a Virginia resident and longtime civil rights activist. The motorist, who has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder (why not first-degree?) and leaving the scene of an "accident" (sic!), is identified as James Alex Fields, 20, of Ohio. (Why always three names for these freaks?) He was earlier photographed at the rally by the Daily News bearing a shield with the black-and-white fascist insignia of the Vanguard America hate group (which we discussed here).
Two Virginia state police officers also lost their lives when their helicopter crashed near the scene of the protest and counter-protest. A state of emergency was declared statewide, riot police brought out and armored vehicles deployed.
Widely heard chants at the Aug. 12 rally, as well as the torch-bearing march on the UVA campus the night before, were "You Will Not Replace Us!" (by some accounts occasionally rendered "Jews Will Not Replace Us!") and "Blood and Soil"—a slogan lifted directly from the Third Reich. Among those present was David Duke, who said in an interview that the event "represents a turning point for the people of this country... We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That's what we believed in, that's what we voted for—Donald Trump, because he said he's going to take our country back." A video of the interview shows Duke's cohorts in the background chanting "Heil Trump!" while making the Nazi salute.
Trump is under fire for his statement on the affair, in which he said he condemned "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," repeating the phrase "on many sides" for emphasis. This from the man who relentlessly baited Obama for failing to call out what he dubbed "radical Islamic terrorism," but refused to disavow the support of white supremacists.
Of course, we will once again be treated to endless debate about whether Fields is a "terrorist" or just an angry lone nut—only this time with the roles reversed, and the righties arguing the lone nut thesis and the lefties (who always employ the lone nut thesis in cases of Islamist terrorism) arguing for terrorism. But given that Fields was actually photographed wielding a shield with a fascist symbol at the rally, we're not sure how the righties are going to be able to disavow him. Or perhaps things have deteriorated to the point where they will not feel that they have to.
Andrew Anglin's Daily Stormer runs the charming headline: "Heather Heyer: Woman Killed in Road Rage Incident was a Fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut." A taste of the undisguised Nazi rhetoric: "Despite feigned outrage by the media, most people are glad she is dead, as she is the definition of uselessness. A 32-year-old woman without children is a burden on society and has no value."
An openly triumphalist posture at her slaying, despite the transparent subterfuge of calling it "road rage." As predicted, Trump's election has green-lighted the radical right to the extent that their bogus expressions of remorse when one of their ranks commits murder are no longer deemed necessary.
In any case, both sides will overlook the critical role of car culture in the attack—despite the fact that it is inextricably linked to white supremacy, at least in the United States.
Trump bashes racism? Don't believe the hype
OK, Trump today capitulated to pressure and made a supposedly stronger statement that mentions the Klan and such by name. Well, three points.
One. As the old saw goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. His base will know that he said what he meant to the first time.
Two. That's already happening. Richard Spencer states openly that the second statement was half-hearted. He called it "kumbaya nonsense" and "It sounded so hollow." He aded: "I don't think Donald Trump is a dumb person,” he clarified. "And only a dumb person would take those lines seriously." (Daily Beast)
So yes, the Trump base gets that he is throwing them a wink.
Three. CNN breaks down how this subterfuge is evidenced even in the second statement. Here's what Trump actually said: "Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including KKK, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans." As CNN notes, his addition of "other hate groups" led some white nationalist supporters to believe he was intentionally implicating Black Lives Matter or anti-fascist protesters.
This is basically like the rote "nobody respects women more than Donald Trump" regurgitation after the pussy-grabber flap. (CNN puts the total time he used that phrase at 12. WaPo counts 21..)
Of course, David Duke responded by tweeting to Trump: "I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists." (HuffPo)
Nazis pleased by Trump statements
Both John Oliver and WaPo note that after the press conference where Trump made his "many sides" statement, he walked off, consciously ignoring a flood of questions about whether he wants the support of white nationalist groups, whether he denounced them strongly enough, whether he calls the car attack terrorism, etc. In response, Daily Stormer tweeted: "Trump comments were good... refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him. No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him." Keith Olbermann notes that Richard Spencer tweeted in response: "Did Trump just denounce antifa"?
Nazis pleased by Trump statement —again
Well, even the transparently hypocritical back-pedaling didn't last long....
From the NY Times:
Meanwhile, the Lincoln Memorial was vandalized (WaPo) and a man in Confederate uniform weidling an automatic rifle standing below the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville was confronted by residents, sparking an angry exchange. (CNN)
...especially David Duke
"Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth," David Duke wrote in a Twitter post shortly after Trump's new statement. (NYT)
More Trump code-speak for Nazi base
The Nazis happily got pwned in Boston, where they were outnumbered by a factor of 1,000-to-one and retreated from the Common under police escort. Trump's responses have been predictably maddening. First, he tweeted taunts at the anti-racist counterprotesters, calling them "anti-police agitators."
Then, the day after, he tweeted: "I want to applaud the many protestors in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one!"
The New York Times is encouraged by this, with the hed: "Protesters Flood Streets, and Trump Offers a Measure of Praise."
We think the Times is being incredible naive. Did he diss the Klan or Nazis by name? No, he applauded "the many protestors in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate." His racist supporters read this as applauding the alt-right protesters speaking out against the "bigotry and hate" of antifa and BLM!
This is code, and his racist base knows just how to read it.
Trump unleashes anarchist scare
From Trump's speech at his rally in Phoenix, as police tear-gassed protesters outside, transcribed from the New York Times video link: "I call them anarchists. Cuz believe me, we have plenty of anarchists. They don't want to talk about the anarchists. So, this is me. It has no place in America. I'm talking about hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America." Get it?
He added: "They show up in the helmets and the black masks, and they've got clubs and they've got everything. Antifa!"
Trump bashes antifa —again
Well, a full month after the Charlottesville violence (contrast his premature ejaculation in response to presumed Muslim terror attacks), Trump today signed a Congressional resolution condemning "white nationalism, white supremacy, and neo-Nazism as hateful expressions of intolerance." The White House signing statement said, "As Americans, we...oppose hatred, bigotry and racism in all forms." But this vague statement is once again throwing his supporters a wink—with the implicit assumption that that the "hatred" we are supposed to oppose includes anti-fascist activists. You want to proof? Just one day earlier, Trump defended his "both sides" comment by again invoking antifa: "I think, especially in light of the advent of antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially that’s what I said."
And yet, in defending his reaction to Charlottseville at his rally in Phoenix last month, Trump specifically omitted his "on many sides" ad lib to the prepared statement that he read condemning the violence.
His cynicism knows no bounds.