Charleston, USA massacre, Confederate flag, animated cartoon

This animated cartoon video by Mark Fiore from the USA says about itself:

Last week’s horrific shooting at the “Mother Emanuel” church in South Carolina underscored America’s terrible racist past, not to mention present. While it’s all well and good the Confederate flags are starting to come down, that is the easiest choice imaginable from the toxic menu of racism, hatred and guns.

If only racism and gun-toting white supremacists would disappear with the removal of the Stars and Bars from government grounds and major retailers. I’m happy to see the bandwagon of politicians who used to support the display of the Confederate flag getting bigger every day.  Some of these guys were using the “heritage” defense of the flag just last week, then calling for its removal this week.

Thanks to the none-too-brave Nikki Haley, Republicans are tripping over themselves to defuse this potentially damaging campaign issue.  (Never mind that the current Majority Whip in the United States House of Representatives has his own history of hanging out with white supremacists and he seems to be doing just fine.)  Unfortunately, the racist past and present of the United States will be haunting us for a long time to come, but at least we won’t be able to buy a Confederate flag at Walmart.  (These are still on sale, however.)  Enjoy the cartoon, feel free to help the victims and the community most impacted by this tragedy.  And, as usual, be sure to check out the news behind the cartoon.

USA: Store owner who says Confederate flag doesn’t represent racism, revealed to have family ties to Ku Klux Klan: here.

This sudden rush to take down symbols of racism and slavery that the American political establishment has kept in place for decades is a defensive response to an outpouring of public horror over the Charleston killings and popular hostility to racism. This powerful reaction has taken the political establishment and both parties by surprise, forcing them to reckon with vast changes in popular consciousness of a broadly democratic character, particularly in the South: here.

ANOTHER BLACK CHURCH CATCHES FIRE South Carolina’s Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church is the seventh predominantly black church to catch fire since the Charleston shooting. Investigators have yet to label the fire an act of arson. [Andrew Hart, HuffPost]

Donald Trump, today’s Benjamin Tillman, Dylann Roof with money?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Dylann Roof’s Burger King Meal Proves A Devastating Point

23 June 2015

“The man accused of gunning down nine people inside a historic black church in South Carolina was “polite” and “quiet” while he was in police custody in North Carolina, according to a police chief who spoke with the Charlotte Observer.

Dylann Roof, 21, was apprehended by Shelby police on Thursday. He has been charged with nine counts of murder in a mass shooting inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, last Wednesday.

Police arrested him without incident.

Shelby Police Chief Jeff Ledford told the Charlotte Observer that when Roof complained he was hungry, cops went to a nearby Burger King and bought the accused mass murderer a meal while he was in custody.”

Read more here.

Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.

Let us stay in Charleston, South Carolina, in the USA, where Roof committed his massacre, for a comparison.

On 4 April 2015, in Charleston, African American Walter Scott was stopped by police. Was Walter Scott a suspect of murdering nine people? No, Mr Scott was ‘suspect’ of a malfunctioning brake light of his car. Did police buy Walter Scott a Burger King meal? No, Police Patrolman 1st Class Michael Thomas Slager murdered Walter Scott.

Weeks later, at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, racist Dylann Roof said: ‘You rape our women and you’re taking over the country. You have to go.’

And then, Dylann Roof proceeded to murder three men and six women; not one of them had ever harmed him. Not one of them had ever committed rape. These nine people were in South Carolina because their ancestors had been kidnaped from Africa and transported in chains on trans-Atlantic slave ships.

Is Dylann Roof an isolated phenomenon? No. Roof stands in a long tradition of racism and violent crime in South Carolina. A racist and violent heritage which is often not rejected, but honoured in South Carolina today, where Dylann Roof grew up.

Benjamin Tillman (1847-1918) played a big role in South Carolina’s political history. He was proud that he had murdered black people. Like his fellow Confederate flag waver Roof today, Tillman ‘justified’ his crimes by saying that black people (‘black fiends’ according to Tillman) were supposedly rapists. And were supposedly ‘taking over the country’, by having the right to vote. As governor of South Carolina, Tillman abolished African Americans’ voting rights in 1895.

This video from South Carolina says about itself:

Clemson Quotes Tillman at Tillman

8 March 2015

“People from Clemson University read quotes from founding trustee and former governor of South Carolina—racist, white supremacist, murderer, Benjamin Tillman—whose name adorns the University’s Main Building.

In 1962, the Main Building on the campus of Winthrop College in South Carolina was renamed Tillman Hall in the late politician and self-confessed murderer’s honour.

Tillman is not only still honoured at Deep South universities. There is a bronze statue honouring the memory of the late Governor and U.S. Senator Benjamin Ryan Tillman in front of the Statehouse in Columbia. Columbia is the capital of South Carolina; and it is also where Dylann Roof was born and lived.

So, now to millionaire and presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Daily Kos blog in the USA wrote:

Thu Jun 18, 2015 at 09:22 AM PDT

Donald Trump Said Much The Same Thing That Dylann Storm Roof Said Before He Pulled The Trigger

This is what happens when you stoke the fires of racism, bigotry, stupidity, hatred and fear.

“I have to do it,” the gunman was quoted as saying. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” Dylann Storm Roof

“They (Mexico) are not our friend, believe me…The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems…When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists.” Donald J Trump

In which way is Trump similar to, and in which way is he different from, Dylann Roof and Benjamin Tillman?

Well, Tillman was a Democrat. Trump is a Republican. In the wake of Barry Goldwater’s and Richard Nixon’s ‘southern strategy‘ for the Republican party, which drove away most southern African Americans (traditionally mainly Republican voters, at least the minority who had any voting rights) and attracted many white southern racists.

Donald Trump has a lot more money than Dylann Roof. And probably also more than Benjamin Tillman, though Tillman was rich.

Donald Trump‘s quote differs from Dylann Roof’s in making Mexicans and other Latin Americans scapegoats of his racism. But Trump’s racist accusations of rape are rather similar to Roof’s and Tillman’s. Tillman supported the 1898 neo-colonial war with Spain; but was against taking over the Spanish colony Puerto Rico because non-white people lived there.

And, of course, contrary to Tillman and Roof, Trump did not kill anyone. However, if Trump would become president of the USA, he would get the power to kill lots of people. Not a comforting idea.

Many political pundits say that is very unlikely that Trump will become president of the USA. However, a recent poll in New Hamphire says that Trump is second of the many Republican candidates. Trump got just three percent less intended votes than Jeb Bush, the vulnerable front runner, who has only 14% of the intended Republican New Hampshire vote.

Also, many political pundits today don’t look whether a candidate is an honest person. Whether a candidate has good ideas. Whether a candidate is racist or not. Not even whether a candidate is good-looking. Or whether his wife is good-looking. They look at how much money a candidate’s campaign has. And Trump does have that money.

From Blue Nation Review in the USA today:

Univision Dumps Trump, Miss USA Pageant Over Remarks On Immigrants

The Donald may largely be considered a joke here in the United States, but across Latin America, especially in Mexico, the sting of Trump’s remarks on Mexican immigrants has left many incensed.

So much so that Univision, a broadcast television network with the largest Spanish-speaking audience in the world, has severed ties with Trump and the Miss USA Pageant, which the Republican presidential candidate partially owns, the Associated Press reports.

Donald Trump to sue Spanish-language TV network for dropping coverage of Miss USA pageant over his comments about Mexicans: here.

Republican candidates split over racist remarks by Donald Trump: here.

United States Republicans’ money from Charleston massacre’s inspirator

This video from the USA says about itself:

How is The Council Of Conservative Citizens Different From ISIS? (1/2)

22 June 2015

Thom Hartmann discusses the right-wing hate group known as The Council of Conservative Citizens which Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof claims radicalized him.

And this video is the sequel.

By David Brown in the USA:

Republican candidates received donations from white supremacist

23 June 2015

Several Republican presidential candidates received significant donations from a leading white supremacist who helped inspire Dylann Roof, the person accused of killing nine people in Charleston, South Carolina, last week.

According to an exposé in the Guardian newspaper, Earl Holt, the president of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), which calls for opposition to “all efforts to mix the races of mankind,” gave $65,000 to Republican campaigns over the past few years, including the current presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum.

Roof cited the CofCC web site in his manifesto as crucial to his own development as a white supremacist. Roof describes his development as a white supremacist after being “truly awakened” by the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin, which he saw as an act of self-defense on the part of the shooter, George Zimmerman.

The manifesto states, “It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right, but more importantly this prompted me to type in the words ‘black on white crime’ into Google, and I have never been the same since that day.” His search took him to the CofCC web site and its hysterical denunciations of “brutal black on white murders.”

In an online statement, Holt responded by saying, “The CofCC is hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website.”

The Cruz campaign announced that it would return the $8,500 that Holt has given to the candidate since 2012. The Paul and Santorum campaigns announced that they would donate to charity the $1,750 and $1,500 Holt had given them, respectively.

The ties between groups like the CofCC and sections of the Republican Party is a dirty secret of American politics.

Other Republican politicians that have received money from Holt over the years include Mitt Romney for his 2012 presidential campaign, Senators Tom Cotton and Jeff Flake, and Representatives Steve King and Michele Bachmann. High-ranking members of the Republican Party have also been speakers at rallies and conferences called by the CofCC since its founding in 1985.

Trent Lott, the former senator and majority leader, spoke at a 1992 conference, declaring that the organization stood “for the right principles and the right philosophy.” According to a 2004 report in Intelligence Report, at least 38 elected officials spoke at meetings of the white supremacist group between 2000 and 2004.

Although the number of politicians publicly attending CofCC rallies has diminished since the 2004 revelations, state and local officials still occasionally attend, including the then-chairman of the Carroll County Democratic Party in Mississippi, Bill Lord, in 2013.

In 2013, the current South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, appointed a member of the CofCC, Roan Quintana, to co-chair her re-election campaign. Connections extend beyond the CofCC. The current House majority whip, Steve Scalise, notably spoke at a white-nationalist and neo-Nazi conference in 2002 that was led by ex-Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.

The ties between sections of the Republican Party and white supremacist groups go back to the Republican strategy of winning the segregationist vote away from the Democrats, who had been the stronghold of the southern elite before and after the Civil War. Following the first steps toward federal desegregation, the Republican Party adopted the long-time political methods of Southern Democrats, and many of the determined segregationists like long-time senator of South Carolina Strom Thurmond switched party affiliation to Republican at the time.

In the decades since desegregation, the continued involvement of white supremacists in the US government has been an open secret. When these ties erupt in a scandal, it is quickly buried by the news media and hushed up by Democrats and Republicans alike.

The author also recommends:

The Republican Party and racism
[24 December 2002]

Networks fail to report Republican ties to racist groups
[1 January 1999]

American militarism and the Charleston killings: here.

I’m still waiting for white people to start apologising for Dylann Roof. When will they finally condemn their own people’s extremist tendencies? Here.

CALLS TO REMOVE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG SPREAD “What began as scattered calls for removing the Confederate battle flag from a single state capitol intensified with striking speed and scope on Tuesday into an emotional, nationwide movement to strip symbols of the Confederacy from public parks and buildings, license plates, Internet shopping sites and retail stores.” Supporters of the flag are suddenly finding themselves in the minority amidst the public outcry. These six companies have publicly declared they will no longer sell items displaying the banner. And looking beyond the flag, here are other tributes to the Confederacy across the South. [NYT]

REASSESSING THE ‘PERCEPTIONS OF TOP TERRORIST THREATS’ “Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists, according to a count by New America, a Washington research center.” [NYT]

Alabama Governor Removes Confederate Flag From State Capitol: here.

Charleston has a long and painful history of racism – which the labour movement must come together to resist, says TIM WHEELER: here.