Nel's New Day

February 11, 2017

DDT: Week Three – Part 2

trump-signature-photoMost of Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) publicity during his first three weeks was vigorously signing Steve Bannon’s executive orders, actions, and directives and then proudly holding up leather-bound documents like a toddler being potty trained. Some of these, such as the recently overturned Muslim ban, had teeth, but many of them are just—publicity. For example, the three on “strengthening” police. They were supposedly “designed to restore safety in America,” to “break the back” of cartels, and “stop as of today” violence against the police. Yet the text reveals that policy steps were missing. Instead they showed DDT’s displeasure with the cartels and order task forces that will actually stop investigations into the spike in killings of black people, many of them by law enforcement officials.

An earlier order about ISIS asked for a plan—not really a news breaking concept. The one on killing the Trans-Pacific Partnership merely fired another shot into the TTP’s decaying carcass. An examination of his 26 “executive actions” disclose most of them to lack substantive value, according to Mark Rozell, the dean of the government school at George Mason University. Yet he presents them as if “he’s doing something very dramatic, very significant.” That’s DDT—a theatrical showman signifying nothing. [DDT’s signature with his inauguration photograph.]

Yet pieces of what he has done are extremely destructive:

Return of Dakota Pipeline: The Army Corps of Engineers will approve the final easement allowing the pipeline to cross underneath Lake Oahe, the primary source of drinking water for the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. DDT said he didn’t get a single phone call opposing his pipeline approvals. Maybe because the White House has removed the availability for calling and people can’t call the White House anymore? And the fact that DDT still has money invested in the company building the pipeline.

Disappearance of Fair Internet Use: After the election, Breitbart.com bragged that net neutrality would be “dead” under Trump. DDT’s appointment for the Federal Communications Commission, former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai, is achieving that goal by cutting the federal assistance program for low-income broadband users and refusing to defend existing FCC rules that cap inmate intrastate calling rates. He also stopped an investigation into Verizon and AT&T that offer free data for preferred apps.

USDA Purge of Animal Welfare Information: All inspection reports about monitoring of animal treatment at thousands of research laboratories, zoos, dog breeding operations and other facilities have been removed from the federal website and now accessible only through FOIA requests, requiring years for approval. That means that puppy mills and other animals abuse are back with impunity.

CNN’s Refusal to Interview Kellyanne Conway—and Its Backtracking: Last week, the White House declared a boycott on CNN, and DDT accused the news network of being “fake news” at his speech about Black History Month. The position was briefly reversed: CNN turned down the White House for a number of guests, including Kellyane Conway, to be on CNN’s State of the Union. The network declined. Conway wanted to appear to discuss her MSNBC complaint about the media not covering the fictitious “Bowling Green massacre” caused by refugees. There has never been a terrorist attack in Bowling Green (KY), but two Iraqis were arrested for donating to Al Qaeda. The situation was covered in at least 90 major newspaper articles as well as on television news. If the term “massacre” was a slip of the tongue, as Conway declared, she has had other slips about the situation in Bowling Green, including false details for an interview with Cosmopolitan. CNN told a reporter that Conway was turned down because the network has “serious questions about her credibility.” Within two days of its bravery, CNN caved, and Conway was back on the network peddling her lies—like how DDT deserved credit for not lying some of the time.

hitlerWhite Supremacists Rejoicing at White House Direction: Last week we reported on DDT’s removal of white supremacist groups from the government’s attempts to stop “homegrown” terrorism within the United States so that they are no longer targeted. The Daily Stormer, named after a Nazi propaganda publication, wrote:

“Yes, this is real life. Our memes are all real life. Donald Trump is setting us free.”

The publication sees DDT’s action as the same as their own writing and their reward for helping elect him, and their colleague, Steve Bannon, is running the White House. Bannon called himself “the platform for the Alt-Right [aka white nationalism]” when he published Breitbart.com. Just one example of joy from the white supremacists is a post on another neo-Nazi site, Infostormer:

 “We may truly have underestimated President Trump’s covert support of our Cause (at least in some form), but after this proposal, I am fully ready to offer myself in service of this glorious regime.”

Deportations: For the party supposedly supporting “family values,” the saddest piece of the new DDT regime is the massive ICE roundups of parents to separate them from their children. These sweeps, primarily in California which voted against DDT, do not target dangerous criminals. Other deportations were of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos in Arizona which she reported into ICE as she always did after being caught in a workplace raid ten years ago and Francisco Alvarado who was taken from his three children and wife. Garcia de Rayos came to the U.S. when she was 14 years old, and Alvarado fled Honduras because the “Maras” gang begun in the U.S. killed several of his wife’s family members. ICE agents find their prey by following children home from school.

Among those detained are two U.S.-born children with no criminal background and another youth considered a “gang member” simply because of old speeding tickets and tattoos. Lawyers cannot find their clients because ICE refuses to reveal information about whether they have been deported. These people are not the “killers and rapists” who DDT said he would deport.

Super Bowl ads were a highlight of last Sunday. The ads—costing $10 million a minute—were remarkable. During more progressive times, many of these ads bashed women, but DDT’s ascendancy changed that focus. Check this out for a great piece on the television commercials shown last Sunday.

ryan

It’s been only three weeks, and the victorious Republicans are “moving the goal posts” of their dreams. Promises of dumping Obamacare, overhauling the tax code to benefit the rich, and funding a wall to separate Mexico are being stalemated by budget deadlines. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) bravely says that things are better between the GOP Congress and DDT, but conservatives are upset by their slow pace. The House Freedom Caucus, worried that the entire agenda will be halted until a repeal of Obamacare, doesn’t see any urgency for the task. They’re also amazed by the virulent attacks from constituents highly disturbed by the loss of the Affordable Care Act although they maintain that the protests are from big money.

Just the wall that DDT promises will run $21.6 billion, according to the Department of Homeland Security, and take almost four years. That’s $157.31 per person for everyone who paid income taxes last year–even the 63 percent of the people who don’t want the wall. And Mexico won’t be paying for the wall. Raise the tariff as DDT said? People will have to buy 36 billion avocados to pay for a wall. Then consider the problems of terrain, Native American treaties, and problems with eminent domain in Hillary Clinton territory. And maybe the fact that DDT doesn’t have an investment in construction companies for the wall. And that entire issue just one facing the Republicans in 2017.

[Correction: Although Adolf Hitler made a comment similar to the one above, he actually wrote in Mein Kampf that “they will more easily fall victim to a large lie than a small lie … the most bold and brazen lie is sure to stick.” Joseph Goebbels stated, ““If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” He also stated, “The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” ]

January 15, 2017

U.S. Moving toward Nazism?

During his press conference last week, Donald Trump (DT) referred to himself as a victim, like six million murdered Jews, of Nazi-like tactics. His whining came from a leak describing about his alleged compromising behavior that may have given the Russians control over his actions. DT said:

“I think [the leak is] a disgrace…, and that’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.”

That was before Marine Le Pen, France’s far-right National Front leader and advocate of ethnically cleansing France of Muslim immigrants, visited Trump Tower. DT’s team said that they didn’t meet with her, but they have also said that people should pay attention to “comes out of his mouth.”

DT is right about a similarity to the Nazi movement, but the behavior is coming from himself and the other Republicans as they oppose everyone except white male Christians. An example is their opposition to Planned Parenthood. For example, the GOP Congress has a prime goal to remove the $500 in federal funds from payments and grants, about 40 percent of PP’s budget in providing annual health checkups, screenings for diseases, and contraceptives for about 2.5 million people.

Alfred Rosenberg, a chief Nazi ideologue, said:

“The emancipation of women from the women’s emancipation movement is the first demand of a female generation trying to rescue nation and race, the eternally unconscious, the foundation of all civilization, from decline…. [O]ne thing must be made clear: Only a man must be and remain judge, soldier, and politician.”

Concerning same-gender rights, the Nazis extended Paragraph 175 of the German Penal Code:

“Unnatural vice committed by two persons of the male sex or by people with animals is to be punished by imprisonment; the verdict may also include the loss of civil rights.”

Nazi ideology was based on their belief that gay men lowered the German birth rate; endangered, recruited, enticed, and corrupted youth; are “potential oppositionists” and enemies of respectable society; and bring the “decline of social community.” Nazis complained that gay men couldn’t fight in the war because, according to Gestapo head Heinrich Himmler, they were “like women.”

Lesbians weren’t rejected in Nazi Germany because Nazis expected that “Aryan” lesbians could produce children for them. A Nazi focus was on procreation of the “white race,” perhaps a reason that the GOP wants to prevent contraception for women.

Himmler ran surveillance operations on 90,000 men he suspected to being homosexual, arrested 50,000 of them, and sent 15,000 to concentration camps where most of them didn’t survive. His national file included not only gay men but also transgender people and “wage abortionists” (women who had abortions and the doctors who performed them). In 1938 alone, the Nazis arrested 28,366 people for abortions and 28,882 for homosexuality.

Hitler also wanted to eliminate all sex education in public schools. The goal of all this control was to control minds through controlling people’s bodies. In the world of male domination, “othered” bodies such as female, LGBT, and disabled people matter less in reproducing and maintaining the dominant patriarchal system. Non-European-heritage people also fit into the “othered” classification because they are inferior to “white” bodies.

DT has promised to sign proposed religious exemption laws to discriminate against LGBT people, including allowing federal employees to refuse the processing of benefits and claims if they object. The danger is exacerbated by potential power of VP-elect Mike Pence who declares himself “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” While governor of Indiana, Pence signed a law, similar to the one proposed for the entire nation, that legalized discrimination against same-gender couples. He did so in the company of the state’s Christian Right leadership, showing himself as one of the movement’s leaders.

A co-sponsor of the “religious” discrimination law, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), is also the nominee for U.S. Attorney General and would be in charge of the nation’s maintenance of law if he were confirmed. A headline for HuffPo read, “Pick Any LGBTQ Rights Issue. Jeff Sessions Has Voted Against It.”

Another supporter of the “religious” law against LGBT people as well as co-sponsor of a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-gender marriage is Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), nominee for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Members of DT’s hand-picked transition team such as Ken Blackwell, Ken Klukowski, and Ed Meese agree with this position.

In his Senate hearing as nominee for Secretary of HUD, Ben Carson, also a Christian Right leader, opposed “special rights” for LGBT people who he identified with polygamy, pedophilia, and bestiality. Betsy DeVos, nominee for Secretary of Education who wants to eliminate public education, is a wealthy contributor to Christian Right projects.

Another Nazi position was to control the press. This restriction on the “fourth estate” in the United States was evident at DT’s recent press conference when he shouted down a reporter asking a question before his press secretary told the reporter that he could be banned if he dared ask a question.

A strong supporter for DT following his treatment of the journalist is Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said, “Mr. Trump put the reporter of that media group in his place there.” Turkey is 149th out of 180 countries in press freedom, and the country, where journalists face violence, intimidation, and harassment, has controlled journalism through strict laws.

The only people not targeted for extreme hate in DT’s regime are white Christians, and his campaign was anti-Semitic. DT’s senior advisor for the White House is a white supremacist who has been compared by Europeans to Hitler’s senior advisor and propaganda chief Josef Goebbels. Jewish people are being targeted throughout the United States with swastikas painted on their property.

trump-brownshirts

Trump supporters planned an armed protest against “Jews, Jewish businesses, and anyone who supports them” in Whitefish (MT) tomorrow, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Their “news site” of the Daily Stormer was the first to endorse Trump; the official KKK was the second. Both want to make American white and Christian. The march has been postponed because of an “incomplete permit,” but they haven’t given up their plans.

DT may also model his policies after Russia that has identified an “othered” class by its vote last week to decriminalize domestic violence. Abusers wouldn’t face criminal charges although they might have to pay a fine or do some community service. If the victim is not hospitalized or forced to take a leave of absence from work, the Russian punishment for assault would be determined “administrative.”  The vote was 368 in favor, one opposed, and one abstaining. Yelena Mizulina, known for her anti-LGBT propaganda law, crafted the domestic abuse bill.

Domestic violence laws have not existed in Russia, and Russian law doesn’t permit restraining orders from domestic abuse victims. The Russian Supreme Court has declared that people causing intrafamily violence can be criminally charged, but this bill becoming law would change that ruling. Another problem with the bill is that corporal punishment for children is popular in Russia.  Mizulina said that “the law should support that family tradition” of “the authority of the parents’ power.” Women, covered under the proposed law, are victims in three-fourths of the domestic violence, and almost 40 Russian women die from their husbands’ attacks every day—frequently from alcoholism.

DT has committed domestic abuse as has at least one of his Cabinet nominees.

Nobel Prize winner Edmund Phelps said:

“There is the assumption that by bullying corporations, such as Ford, and stepping into aid other corporations, such as Google, the Trump administration can achieve various objectives that will widely boost output and employment. But this is an expansion of corporatist policy of a kind not previously seen since the German and Italian economies of the 1930s.”

Although progressives have struggled to keep away from comparisons between the GOP and the Nazi government, the far-right movement of Republicans has gone close to the edge in their opposition to legalization of abortion, equal pay for equal work, marriage equality, transgender people’s access to public facilities, LGBT military inclusion, other LGBT rights, and many other restrictions on the people in the United States.

Looking at the Nazi government leading up to World War II has lessons for the future on the results of anti-feminist, anti-women’s equality, anti-women’s reproductive freedoms (anti-family planning, anti-contraception, anti-abortion), anti-lesbian, anti-gay, anti-bisexual, anti-transgender, anti-gender nonconforming, anti-sexuality education in schools. As DT’s childish tantrums continue, it becomes more and more difficult to avoid the comparisons, especially when he compares his own intelligence agencies to Nazis.

July 5, 2016

Repetition Builds Trump, Tears Down Clinton

“The system is rigged,” cried Donald Trump, GOP presumptive presidential candidate, after FBI Director James Comey announced that prosecutors have no case to take Hillary Clinton’s infamous email problems to court. Trump tweeted, “General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair!” Petraeus’ “trouble” came from his deliberately sharing classified information with his mistress; Clinton’s problems came from her using that a private server  that never sent out classified information. The emails that keep showing “classified” came from reclassifications after Clinton sent them to others.

Trum followed that claim by accusing Hillary Clinton of bribing Attorney General Loretta Lynch following a report that said Clinton would consider keeping Lynch if she’s elected president. Today Trump called the FBI decision a bribe for Loretta Lynch because Clinton would keep her in the attorney general position for another four years.

FBI Director Comey’s personal criticism of Clinton, calling her “extremely careless,” has been fodder for the Republicans. He broke standard custom of law enforcement in his announcement that the investigation is ended without filing any charges when he took an extra step of verbally censuring the exonerated person. Comey’s accusations of the Clinton’s server also being possibly hacked was also unsubstantiated.His behavior is not exactly shocking: the FBI director is a Republican who served as a top official in the Bush/Cheney Justice Department.

Trump has company—of course—among other Republicans in crying foul. House Speaker Paul Ryan wants Clinton to be prosecuted, showing that FBI facts don’t hold any weight with him. Sen. Ted Cruz questioned Comey’s integrity. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Judiciary Committee chair, has written Comey, demanding the answers to eight questions by July 11. Among them is whether Clinton was treated differently than others regarding mishandling classified information. Actually she was treated differently because she was investigated; no other official has been investigated for using private email accounts including former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, both of whom served GOP presidents or Vice-President Dick Cheney for using destroying emails.

For over 30 years, Clinton has suffered from bad press and the belief that she could be dishonest, based on the media repetition combined with an emotional charge. As Todd Gitlin wrote on Moyers & Company, “Repetition and charge. Repetition and charge.” A term connected with an emotion triggers that emotion with specific thoughts. Benghazi. Clinton’s emails. Both those immediately bring an emotion that’s completely disconnected with facts. They are a one- or two-word soundbite with no explanation.

The House could find no blame in Clinton’s treatment of the attack on Benghazi. The FBI could not find anything in Clinton’s emails for prosecution.  Whitewater, Gennifer Flowers, Monica Lewinsky, Vance Foster—all these bring up negative emotions although the facts don’t support this response.  They’re like the false accusations of President Obama’s not being born in the United States and being a Muslim. Among Republicans, 53 percent think that the president was born in Kenya, and another 43 percent think that he is a Muslim.

The media focused so intently on the FBI decision about Clinton’s emails that it initially ignored the story of Donald Trump tweeting an image of Clinton’s photo atop hundred-dollar bills beside a red Star of David superimposed with the caption “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever.”  After social media respondents condemned Trump’s image, it was replaced within a few hours by a circle placed over the Star of David.

Trump star 2

At first, the media tried to ignore the story. Nine hours after the story of the tweet broke, ABC, NBC, CNN, and NBC were all low-key on their websites, and Fox didn’t mention it at all while focusing on the FBI’s investigation of Clinton. The buzz within the independent media forced a sanitized version of the story in more mainstream media. Trump claimed it was no big deal and tweeted about the indifferent media, “Dishonest media is trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as the Star of David rather than a Sheriff’s Star, or plain star!” As for calling the image a “sheriff’s star,” these law enforcement symbols have circles at the end of the points and a large circle around the outside.

The mainstream media decided to pursue the program of the star with surrogates to explain (aka defend) the problem. Appearing on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, RNC Chair Reince Priebus claimed that the image was pulled randomly from Microsoft Paint by the campaign staff. Trump’s former and fired campaign manager, followed the same party line on CNN when Brianna Keilar asked him why Trump keeps making mistakes. Finally pressured into explaining after repeated questions, Lewandowski spouted:

“The bottom line is this is political correctness run amuck. If this was a star next to Hillary Clinton that didn’t have the cash behind it, no one would be questioning this. This is the mainstream media trying to read into something.”

So if there were no money and the star didn’t have six points instead of five and the message wasn’t about corruption, it would have been okay? House Speaker Paul Ryan did admit that the tweet was anti-Semitic. “Candidates should know that,” Ryan said and added that Trump has “got to clean up the way his new media works.” By blaming Trump’s “new media,” Ryan can continue his position that he’ll vote for Donald Trump for president.

The attempt to claim the innocence of the star design dissipated somewhat after it was revealed that white supremacist groups have been circulating and promoting the image. The image follows a well-known anti-Semitic trope of Jews as corrupt money-grubbers out to secretly control the government. Even after that discovery, however, Trump refused to speak out against the hate groups that he hopes will support him. Trump has had a pattern of retweeting messages from neo-Nazis and white supremacists with the goal of “white genocide” from “at least 75 users who follow at least three of the top 50 [most influential] #WhiteGenocide influencers,” according to Ben Kharakh and Dan Primack at Fortune.com. One neo-Nazi said, Trump is “giving us the old wink-wink.” The mainstream media has frequently supported Trump’s racist and bigoted campaign.

This U.S. media soft-pedaling may be comparable to the coverage of Adolf Hitler when he campaigned in the early 1930s and the approval of Hitler in the United States at the same time because he opposed President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Christian Science Monitor praised Nazism at that time because of its unequaled “capacity for organization.”

Trump already follows the Nazi pattern of media treatment. The presumptive GOP presidential candidate has removed press credentials from over a dozen news organizations, starting with the prestigious and conservative Washington Post, and accusing them of “inaccuracy.” Trump said that “journalists are among the worst people I know” and calls specific journalists “sleaze.” Journalists who challenge him are isolated for criticism.

Meanwhile reluctant supporters of Donald Trump are waiting for him to become, as he promises, “presidential.” A January 30, 1933 editorial in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin stated that “there have been indications of moderation” on Hitler’s part; on January 31, 1933, the Cleveland Press said, “Appointment of Hitler as German chancellor may not be such a threat to world peace as it appears at first blush.”

Trump repeatedly shows his admiration for murdering dictators. He has used Saddam Hussein, “the Butcher of Baghdad,” as a model for fighting terrorism. In talking about killing terrorists, he said, “[Hussein] did that so good.” [Trump skipped that part about Hussein killing tens of thousands of innocent people under his rule.] Earlier in his campaign, Trump lauded North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un for taking out his rivals and said the world would be “100 percent better” if dictators like Hussein and Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi were still in power. The candidate also used the recent murder of 49 people in Orlando to call for the exclusion of Syrian refugees although the shooter was a natural-born U.S. citizen of Afghani descent.

Almost four years ago, the RNC autopsy after Mitt Romney’s loss for the presidency included the strong recommendation that the party become inclusive in order to survive. Donald Trump has thus far alienated people of color, indigenous people, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and Muslims. The weekend before Independence Day, he added Jewish voters to the list.

Trump gathers his followers in the same way that Hillary-haters work against Clinton—repetition. He retweets authoritarian racism because he’s an authoritarian racist. Constant retweets of white supremacist memes and twitter accounts win over his racist supporters. The more he repeats these hateful, bigoted statements, the more the crowds cheer him. These are the people going with their guns to Cleveland in less than two weeks to make sure that he becomes the GOP presidential candidate at the Republican convention. Just like in Germany.

June 18, 2015

Victories Accompanied by Another Tragic Shooting

A three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled 2-1 in Turkmen v. Ashcroft that George W. Bush officials can be sued for roundups and illegal detentions. Plaintiffs of Arab and Middle Eastern descent were held for three to eight months in New York for being “suspected terrorists” and claim that they were abused and profiled by guards and other authority figures. That decision was presented the day after 78 senators voted against torture. Twenty-one senators favor torture, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was out of town, presumably campaigning.

In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Sons of Confederate Veterans cannot force Texas to allow the Confederate flag on car license plates. The astonishing part of the ruling is the fifth justice who voted with the four liberal judges—Clarence Thomas. He also dissented with a majority in Virginia v. Black (2003), writing that cross-burning violates the First Amendment right to free speech because it “has almost invariably meant lawlessness and understandably instills in its victims well-grounded fear of physical violence.” Not all Southern states have the same concern about the state’s endorsement of racism: South Carolina still flies the Confederate flag on state capitol grounds and allows Confederate vanity license plates.

One person with South Carolina Confederate plates is the white man in a hoodie who went to a Bible study class last night in an historic Charleston (SC) church where he killed nine people with a gun he bought from the money that his father gave him for his 21st birthday. The killing was on the same date that Denmark Vesey, a former slave, was targeted for what white Charlestonians believed was a revolt. Vesey was captured on June 22 and executed on July 2.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that the people, all Black, were murdered because they were Christians, and another presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, agreed with Graham. The Fox network and other conservative media are spreading the same word. To them, the location of killings in a church identifies the murder of a “war on Christians.” Fox & Friends also claimed that the deaths could have been prevented if the congregation had been armed, and they pulled in Virginia’s former lieutenant governor candidate to back them up. Known for calling the LGBT rights movement a “cancer” and President Obama as a “radical anti-American” and “anti-Christian,” E. W. Jackson urged “pastors and men in these churches to prepare to defend themselves,” and host Brian Kilmeade wondered if giving pastors a gun could help with “security.” Later in the show, Steve Doocy and Elisabeth Hasselbeck agreed.

Once again Fox spreads the insanity. An analysis of 62 mass public shootings over a 30-year period by Mother Jones found no cases in which an ordinary civilian with a gun stopped an attack although some instances showed that a gun caused the death or injury of that person.

Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told an audience of social conservatives:

“There’s a sickness in our country. There’s something terribly wrong. But it isn’t going to be fixed by your government. It’s people straying away, it’s people not understanding where salvation comes from. I think if we understand that, we’ll have better expectations of what to expect from government.”

Paul did not give any solutions about curing the “sickness.”

confederate flagThe day after this tragedy, flags at the South Carolina capitol are at half mast—except for the Confederate flag. Gov. Nikki Haley cried at the news conference about the killings but earlier said that she didn’t think that the Confederate flag presented an image problem. Today Haley’s press secretary said that only the General Assembly had the legal authority to do something about the flag. No one from that body has responded to any requests about it. South Carolina is one of five states without a state hate crime law and celebrated “Confederate Memorial Day” last month.

South Carolina has 19 known hate groups, including two Ku Klux Klans and four “white nationalist” organizations. Of course, they aren’t “terrorist groups” because they aren’t Muslims. Six neo-Confederate groups listed include two branches of the League of the South, which advocates for Southern secession and “the advancement of Anglo-Celtic culture.” The Council of Conservative Citizens is opposed to racial integration and affirmative action “and similar measures to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people.” One of its key figures, Kyle Rogers, said, “I don’t see a legacy of oppression. Blacks have always benefited from being in the United States.” Other hate groups include three neo-Nazi cells, a chapter of the racist skinhead movement Confederate Hammerskins, a branch of black separatist organization Nation of Islam, an “anti-gay” church and an anti-immigration protest group called Americans Have Had Enough.

Graham and other conservatives have been spreading the fear about foreign terrorists and claiming that the U.S. needs to go to war in order to be safe. At the same time, these people ignore heavily armed, violent domestic terrorists, many of them supported by the law. How many of these groups exist in the country is unknown because the Department of Homeland Security stopped an investigation into homeland terrorism six years ago.

Daryl Johnson, a top government counterterrorism analyst, spent six years working at Homeland Security, collecting extensive data on far-right extremist groups posing threats to people in the United States. After the first election of President Obama, these groups went farther right, and Johnson reported that radical Islam is just a small portion of the terrorism groups within the nation. He noted that five totally domestic groups considered using weapons of mass destruction during his investigation, and the same warnings were expressed by the two principal non-government groups that track domestic terrorism: the New York-based Anti-Defamation League and the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Last year the SPLC listed 13 major incidents and arrests last year, almost double the annual number in previous years. In 2010, the number of hate groups topped 1,000 in 2010, for the first time in at least two decades.

After Johnson was forced out of his position, President Obama has received an unprecedented number of death threats, hate groups have gained ground, and white supremacist attacks are regularly occurring. In places such as Nevada’s Bundy ranch, terrorists successfully faced down the federal government. Congress holds hearings about Muslim extremism but says nothing about domestic terrorism. Their silence allows the extremist movement to grow as the common statement after tragedies such as the one at the South Carolina church is that the event shouldn’t be politicized and people need to have time to mourn before taking action. The only action that occurs after mass shootings at this time is an increasing laxness of gun laws.

The killer’s license plate had three Confederate flags, and the patches on his jacket were flags of Rhodesia and apartheid-era South Africa with brutal segregation policies. He also shouted, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” That’s racism, not an attack on Christianity. And people with these beliefs aren’t going to change them just because Rand Paul thinks that it’s a good idea.

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