Trump’s Reelection Strategy: Class Warfare

Donald Trump couldn’t make his strategy any clearer: class warfare.

From today:

The rule Trump rescinded required proof of compliance with the Fair Housing Act. Trump has interpreted it as a wedge to keep poor people away from the middle class. Given the intent in 1968 to stop racial discrimination in housing and Trump’s actions blow a racial dogwhistle as well.

Obviously, Trump is only president of people who like him, and among those people, the middle class and the rich. Low income people (too bad poor MAGAs) are considered invaders who make suburban neighborhoods unsafe and bother the white housewives who inhabit them. It has long been clear that Trump has distain for low income people; this just makes it transparent.

I leave this with some Scripture from James 2 –

My brothers,[a] show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

White Privilege is Not a Blessing (Updated with Apology)

In a June 14th videotaped conversation involving music artist Lecrae, pastor Louis Giglio, and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, Louis Giglio said the following

We understand the curse that was slavery, white people do, and we say that was bad, but we miss the blessing of slavery that it actually built up the framework for the world that white people live in and lived in. And so a lot of people call this white privilege and when you say those two words, it just is like a fuse goes off for a lot of white people because they don’t want somebody telling them to check their privilege. And so I know that you and I both have struggled in these days with, hey, if the phrase is the trip up, let’s get over the phrase and let’s get down to the heart and let’s get down to what then do you want to call it and I think that a great thing for me is to call it white blessing, that I’m living in the blessing of the curse generationally that allowed me to grow up in Atlanta…

Watch the clip:

For context, here is the entire conversation. It is important to understand that, in the rest of the talk that I listened to, Giglio seems to understand that he is not superior to black people, nor is he condoning slavery. I believe he is very well intentioned. However, he set off a Twitter storm, rightly so in my view, with his privileged spin on white privilege.

I will lead with my reply last night on Twitter:

It isn’t up to Giglio to decide how his privilege is experienced by black people. He doesn’t get to soften it, haggle over it, or make it palatable for himself. I hope someone close to him can help him see how self-centered his framework is. Because he and some white people are triggered by the term “white privilege,” we have to find a softer, more religious sounding term? Sucks to be you black folk, I’m blessed.

Is there a better way to take away the beauty of the word blessing for everybody? Sure, let’s associate blessing with white people dominating black people first through slavery, then through Jim Crow, and then through social structures and white privilege. Being white blessed sounds like God actively gave white people their status. I don’t believe that is what Giglio believes but that is certainly what it sounds like.

No, never. Not at all. White privilege is not a blessing. Not for blacks and not for whites. I have stuggled to see it. Frankly, the more I am aware of it, the more I want to use my strength to end it.

Dear God in heaven, please save us from these conversations. He later in this conversation said that he was open to suggestion. He is now getting a lot of suggestions via social media. I advise Rev. Giglio to talk less and listen more.

UPDATE: Probably everybody saw this coming. Giglio apologized for his words. Watch:

I expected something like this. My advice is still for this gentleman to listen more and talk less.

More on white privilege:

Jordan Peterson and White Privilege

David Barton and White Privilege

Petition to Remove the White House Press Credentials of Rick Wiles

You might recall the story of antisemitic right wing talking head Rick Wiles who blamed impeachment on a “Jew coup.” His video accusing Jews of plotting the murder of millions of Christians was removed from YouTube but has drawn no condemnation from Republicans who have appeared on his programs in the past. Apparently he has easy access to the White House via press credentials.

Yesterday, I become aware of a White House petition launched by attorney Marc Stanley which asks the Trump administration to restrict Wiles’ access to the White House. I signed it and I ask that you click the link and sign it too.  The petition reads:

On a November 22, 2019 broadcast recording, TruNews founder and host Rick Wiles opined that the House impeachment inquiry is part of a “Jew Coup” to overthrow President Trump and install a Jewish “Cabal” to control the country.

On December 4, 2019, Wiles doubled down, saying, “Jewish socialist Jerry Nadler’s Judiciary Committee escalated the Jew Coup.”

Rick Wiles has a long history of spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, as well as radical Islamophobic and anti-LGBTQ propaganda.

In the past, Rick Wiles has applied for and been granted White House press credentials. His vile racism, bigotry, and appeals to hate and violence have no place in the White House and he should be banned for life.

Add your name to this petition and take a stand against Wiles, anti-Semitism and bigotry.

In any normal administration, this fact and the lack of response to it would have consumed at least one news cycle. However, in the Trump administration, it is just another hour of another day. However, this should not go without response, especially at a time when Trump is cynically courting Jewish voters.  I hope you will sign on.

Why is Rick Wiles on @Apple Podcasts?

Rick Wiles is a far right conspiracy theorist who doesn’t like Jews. He also promotes his own “news” service called TruNews. In a recent podcast, he blamed a “Jew Coup” for Donald Trump’s impeachment problems. Right Wing Watch and various news sites covered it; watch:

‘Jew Coup’: Impeachment Effort Prompts Another Anti-Semitic Tirade from Rick Wiles from Right Wing Watch on Vimeo.

Wiles started by saying Jews were liars and ended by claiming they planned to kill millions of Christian.

That’s the way the Jews work, they are deceivers, they plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda.

According to Wiles the political agenda is impeachment and Jews have plans for those who resist.

This is a coup led by Jews to overthrow the constitutionally elected president of the United States and it’s beyond removing Donald Trump, it’s removing you and me. That’s what’s at the heart of it.

“You have been taken over by a Jewish cabal. The church of Jesus Christ, you’re next. Get it through your head! They’re coming for you. There will be a purge. That’s the next thing that happens when Jews take over a country, they kill millions of Christians.

Wiles at the White House and Apple?

This is crazy talk and racist in the extreme. Although I am sad to learn that Wiles has access to White House press credentials, I am not surprised. I was surprised to find Wiles podcasts easily available on Apple’s podcast service.

Apple has standards for podcasters and one of those includes prohibition of racist content.

Apple can fail, reject, or remove your podcast from Apple Podcasts for a variety of reasons. For example, Apple might fail, reject, or remove your podcast if the podcast or any content linked from the podcast contains any of the following:

There is a list of reasons given and one of them is this:

Content that could be construed as racist, misogynist, or homophobic.

I certify that Wiles content can be construed as antisemitic. There is nothing redeeming about spreading lies and prejudice. Wiles shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House or given interviews with people in the administration. Youtube removed his video of this message, now Apple should do the same. In fact a perusal of the rest of the content will quickly implicate much of it as in violation of Apple’s standards.

Let Justice Roll Down: Thoughts from John M. Perkins

Today a copy of John Perkins’ 1976 autobiography, Let Justice Roll Down, arrived in my mail box as a gift from a friend. I looked for this book as a part of my research into John MacArthur’s claim that he and Perkins traveled to Memphis on the night Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. I reported the results of my research and my interview with John Perkins’ daughter in a prior post.

In this book, Perkins mentions the support he received from John MacArthur’s father but doesn’t mention anything about going with John MacArthur to Memphis on the night of MLK’s death. I think that would be a story I would include if it had happened to me.

Social Justice

What is striking about this book is Perkins’ commitment to social justice. I say it is striking because Perkins has declined to speak on the record about the MacArthur story, choosing instead to allow his daughter to speak for him. Deborah Perkins has supported the story of Charles Evers who said he didn’t go to Memphis with MacArthur and Perkins that night.

Why is it striking to me? John MacArthur has gone on record as criticizing the social justice movement in the evangelical church. He promotes a critical statement on social justice which seems to cast doubt on much of what John Perkins has worked for.

As I read Perkins book, I came across these words:

The contribution of the civil rights movement to the black man’s struggle for justice and equality is one that is undeniably great. And this is so, because those who led the movement were committed men and women. They were committed to the cause. And to the struggle.

But how sad that so few individuals equally committed to Jesus Christ ever became part of that movement. For what all that political activity needed — and lacked — was spiritual input.  Even now, I do not understand why so many evangelicals find a sense of commitment to civil rights and to Jesus Christ an “either-or” proposition. (p. 99).

Perhaps, Rev. Perkins should ask his friend John MacArthur why so many evangelicals can’t walk the gospel and chew social justice gum at the same time. Or maybe John Perkins could help MacArthur understand his point of view.

Later in the book, Perkins wrote about the ostracism his children experienced in the all white schools of Mendenhall, MS. No Christian leaders, parents, or students spoke up to support them. He wrote:

I had to just watch. It hurt. The question kept popping up inside me: Does the gospel  — that is, the gospel as we presently preach it — have within itself the power to deal with racial attitudes? The thing that hit me was that the supposed presence of the gospel was simply not effective in terms of human relations. If evangelism is truly on the side of God and His love, then it should never allow itself to look like it’s on the side of a bigot-producing system. (p. 108).

I know which side I want to be on. To be fair, I believe most people want to be on the right side. However, I invite anti-social justice warriors to ask themselves why Perkins’ question is just as relevant in 2019 as it was in 1976.

Trump Boosts Promotional Video Which Borrows White Nationalist Logo (UPDATED)

UPDATED: Mediaite posted an op-ed from an anonymous meme-maker who claims the logo is innocent. While I think it is good of Mediaite to provide a forum for a possible explanation, I don’t know enough about “Carpe Donktum” to evaluate his/her claims. I also need to add that I originally thought the ad came from the Trump campaign. However, it was produced by a supporter of Trump and retweeted by the president. I have corrected my post to reflect that.

…………………

Somebody supporting the Trump re-election effort is too familiar with white nationalist symbols. Recently, Trump retweeted a video that ended with a lion logo surrounded by red, white, and blue which has been promoted by a white nationalist group. Watch:


As first reported by Mediaite this morning, Snopes managing editor Brooke Binkowski found a tweet from white nativist group VDARE using the logo in 2016 and showed it next to the final shot of the Trump/Pence video.

Note the 2016 date. The logo is the same as the one used in the Trump/Pence ad just this week.

The Lion’s Guard

The logo is also associated with a group called “The Lion’s Guard.” This group (which was promoted and praised on white supremacist site Daily Stormer in 2016) aims to provide security at Trump rallies and was removed from Twitter for awhile. They are back now with the same logo.

Note the slogan on the group’s website:

Better to be a lion for a day, than a lamb for eternity.

The slogan is a simpler version of a quote attributed to Mussolini:

It’s better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.

In 2016, Trump retweeted this quote knowing the attribution was to Mussolini:

Donald Trump and/or his social media team thought it would be a good idea to promote a symbol which communicated nativist themes. They who have eyes to see, let them see.

 

 

 

Who Agrees with Tucker Carlson About White Nationalism?

To me, it seems obvious that white nationalism is a problem in America. However, Tucker Carlson famously said it isn’t. Even after Charlottesville, the church shooting in South Carolina, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the El Paso massacre, Carlson said it ranks low on America’s problems.

I wondered who agrees with him and found, as many people quickly pointed out, that former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke cheered Carlson on.

This is not good company.

Who else?

C-Fam’s Austin Ruse

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway

The Federalist

Talk Show Host Vicki McKenna

Kellyanne Conway defended Carlson. “But what about Antifa?”

The Stream’s John Zmirak and Eric Metaxas

John Zmirak is a Senior Editor at The Stream, a Christian online publication conceptualized by James Robison. I responded to this tweet:

And then Zmirak replied:

After that tweet, Zmirak blocked me. Eric Metaxas retweeted Zmirak’s original tweet.

League of the South is Ready for Battle

This weekend the League of the South is having their annual convention in Florida. According to the League, they are ready for war. The League was one of the groups who did battle at Charlottesville. The League’s leader Michael Hill, wrote this in 2014:

But what about that liberal canard that says that no matter how well armed the citizens are, they will never be able to defeat the modern military in a toe-to-toe confrontation? First, that presumes that the US military would fire on its own people, a question whose answer we do not know. And, second, it presumes that the fight would be a conventional one. More likely, it will be Fourth Generation Warfare, which is just another way of saying guerrilla war.

In 4Gen Warfare the lines between the military and the political, economic, cultural, and social are blurred past the point of recognition. To oversimplify, the primary targets will not be enemy soldiers; instead, they will be political leaders, members of the hostile media, cultural icons, bureaucrats, and other of the managerial elite without whom the engines of tyranny don’t run.

4Gen Warfare doesn’t require that the populace be armed equal to the military and law enforcement. In fact, having such firepower, with few exceptions (such as full-auto “assault weapons,” silencers, and a handful of other esoteric toys), would be a logistical and tactical burden to the common 3- to 5-man group so common in this type of warfare.

Make no mistake about it, the League and groups like it engage in rhetoric unlike any Scientologist or evolutionist. They are dangerous with enough numbers to create terror and motivate criminal activity.

According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, white supremacist groups account for a significant number of criminal investigations. Watch:

While white supremacist* motivated crime isn’t the greatest threat, it isn’t trivial and one should question the motives of anyone who minimizes it.

Additional information: See this report on domestic terrorism 2018. Yes, the numbers are small but the potential damage is great and the threat appears to be growing.

 

*white supremacy and white nationalism have been distinguished by some as the difference between attitude and political objective. Supremacy is an attitude that whites are better than other races; nationalism is a political objective of make America a majority white country or favoring segregation. It is hard for me to make much of a distinction in attitude. To me, it seems to be a rationalization of racial prejudice to claim white nationalist political goals while claiming to have no bias toward people of color. For the purpose of this post, I am considering the terms synonyms.

Fox News Pundit Tucker Carlson Says White Nationalism is a Hoax and Not a Problem

In the wake of the El Paso shooting, Fox News pundit with the ear of the president Tucker Carlson told his audience that white supremacy isn’t a problem. Watch:

Carlson said in his rant said, “the combined membership of every white supremacist organization in this country would be able to fit inside a college football stadium.” This is supposed to comfort his audience by suggesting that groups with small memberships can’t be a problem.

Small But Deadly

I counter by noting the membership of the group behind the 9-11 bombings was never large, numbering in the thousands according to this report.  According to a Center for Strategic Studies report, the core membership in al-Qaeda is currently fewer than 1,000. However, the report suggests that al-Qaeda is in a resurgence and continues to be a threat around the world. The movement is decentralized and numerically small but nonetheless remains a threat to our security.

Small groups can coordinate efforts and create terroristic threats as the Unite the Right rally showed in Charlottesville. This lawsuit filed against various white supremacists outlines actions taken by small groups of white supremacists to plan violence. One of the defendants in this suit is accused of using the web to plan violence at Charlottesville. The suit alleged that:

Daily Stormer established “meet ups” and chat rooms that coconspirators and attendees used throughout the August 11 and 12 weekend to coordinate their violence. The Daily Stormer released its own poster promoting the “rally” that read, “UNITE THE RIGHT/ Join Azzmador and the Daily Stormer to end Jewish influence in America,” accompanied by a Nazi-like figure wielding a hammer, ready to smash a Jewish star. For months before the Unite the Right events on August 11 and 12, Anglin organized his followers to attend and prepared them to commit racially motivated violent acts in Charlottesville. Although Anglin did not attend the rally himself because he is currently in hiding in order to evade service in connection with a separate lawsuit relating to events in Whitefish, Montana, Anglin orchestrated the movements of Daily Stormer followers and incited them to violence on a live feed contemporaneously with the events as they occurred on August 11 and 12 in Charlottesville.

The point is large numbers are not necessary for great harm to occur. Surely Tucker Carlson knows this.

In fact, the parallel to global terror groups should stimulate greater efforts to monitor and intervene in these domestic terror networks. Far from a hoax, white nationalist groups are emboldened in recent years. I have been following these groups for about a decade and I think they are as potent as I have seen them.

Daniel Dale and FBI Director Wray brings the facts on why white supremacy is a problem.

The Charlottesville Rally Wasn’t about Robert E. Lee as a General

President Trump doubled down on his claim that very fine people were in Charlottesville to show support for the statue of Robert E. Lee. When asked about that comment, he said he answered that question “perfectly.” Then he discussed his view of why some of the people were there. Watch:

A review of Trump’s comments from the Charlottesville news conference shows that he condemned neo-Nazis and white supremacists in one breath but in other comments he suggests that there was some other group of Lee statue supporting people who gathered with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists. In this theory, these “very fine people” were there only to support the statue which isn’t a bad thing in his mind. I maintain it is entirely right and proper to question the wisdom and character of anyone showing up to a rally convened by neo-Nazis and and white supremacists. If neo-Nazis show up in my town and rally against drunk driving, I am not going to carry a sign in that march even though I oppose drunk driving.

In my view, it is not noble to support the myth of Lee as a great statesman and General. However, I do know that some people do think that and do so sincerely. Their desire to uphold the Lost Cause blinds them to a complete picture of Lee. What makes me think Lee worship is a smokescreen is that the activities of the weekend were not about Lee. When the tiki torch marchers gathered around Lee’s statue, they didn’t sing tributes to Lee or chant “General Lee is my favorite General.” They chanted, “You will not replace us.” Watch:

The “us” in this chant referred to white people not members of the “Lee is my favorite General” club.

Those people weren’t there because of their love of military history. If they were there for Lee at all, it was because he represents white supremacy. What is very fine about that?

Giving cover to Trump’s distraction, people like Dinesh D’Souza and Matt Walsh want to make Charlottesville about Robert E. Lee as a General. It wasn’t.

 

Image: By Cville dog – Own work, Public Domain

Jackie Robinson Day

April 15 marks the day in 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball. The executive who signed him with the express purpose of combating racism was Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

I share a hometown with Branch Rickey — Portsmouth, Ohio — and was always reminded of his legacy because I played high school baseball in Branch Rickey Park (pictured below).

To me, Branch Rickey’s role in this story is sweet irony. White supremacy was strong in my hometown. For most of my life there, African-Americans were segregated into neighborhoods surrounding a large public housing project. There was strong prejudice and discrimination, even among Christians. And yet, Branch Rickey left that small town to make history in the big city in a way that changed attitudes about race forever.

A 2011 CNN article on Rickey explains the role of faith in his decision (read the entire transcript here) but I will close with this paragraph:

When a well-known journalist of the era told the Dodgers general manager that he thought “all hell would break loose” the next day with Robinson due to take the field for the first time as a Brooklyn Dodger, Rickey disagreed. “My grandfather immediately responded to him, ‘I believe tomorrow all heaven will rejoice,’” the younger Rickey said.