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“There’s One Big Reason We’re Being Radicalized”: America, Look At What Donald Trump Is Doing To Us

During Saturday night’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton declared that Trump is “becoming ISIS’s best recruiter.” Clinton was wrong to suggest Trump had appeared in any ISIS videos but she was right to note that his words will help ISIS radicalize people.

She also left something out: Trump has already radicalized Americans to commit and plot acts of violence right here on American soil.

The latest example came Sunday after William Celli of Richmond, California, was arrested for building explosive devices that he allegedly planned to use to kill Muslim Americans. What inspired Celli’s actions? Well, we know that Celli’s Facebook page reads like a Trump speech filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Latino and anti-Muslim comments. Celli also repeatedly praises Trump, even adding that he would follow Trump “to the end of the world.” This is not unlike social media posts pledging undying loyalty to ISIS-type groups.

But Celli is far from the only Trump supporter to turn to violence. In August, two Trump supporters in Boston beat up a Latino man while yelling anti-immigrant slurs. The police reported that after being arrested, one of the assailants stated, “Donald Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported.”

Trump’s response to this brutal attack in his name was alarmingly tame: “I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate.” He added, “They love this country, they want this country to be great again.” Trump did later tweet that the incident was horrible and that “I would never condone violence.

But just three months later, Trump changed his tune and did condone violence by his supporters. During a campaign event in Birmingham, Alabama, Black Lives Matter protester Mercurito Southhall Jr. repeatedly interrupted The Donald. Trump responded by imploring the crowd to “Get him out the hell out of here… Throw him out!” Trump supporters then sprung into action and beat up Southhall while reportedly calling him a “nigger” and a “monkey.”

Did Trump condemn the attack and racist words directed at the black man by his white supporters? No, to the contrary. Trump told Fox News the morning after the assault, “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.

Trump was sending a clear message that violence in the name of Trump was acceptable. I know some will disagree with me, but the stakes are too high to be politically correct. Trump has and will continue to radicalize people to commit horrible acts just like ISIS does. True, the scope of the violence commited by ISIS supporters has been far worse but if Celli’s bomb had gone off and he’d slaughtered Americans, it would have been exactly like an ISIS-inspired terror attack.

And apart from these three incidents, Trump’s rhetoric about Muslims is responsible, to some degree, for the massive spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes we have seen in the last few weeks.

In recent years, there has been an average of 12.6 hate crimes against Muslims in America per month, according to FBI data. However, since the Paris terrorist attack on Nov. 13 there have been 38 anti-Islamic attacks.

A few examples include a Muslim cab driver in Pittsburgh being shot by a man who went on an anti-Muslim tirade, shots fired at a Muslim woman’s car while exiting a mosque in Florida, hot coffee thrown at a Muslim praying in a California park, and death threats directed at numerous Muslim leaders including Rep. Andre Carson, one of the two Muslim members in Congress.

And we have also seen a rash of attacks on American mosques in the past two weeks, with windows broken at the Islamic center in Palm Beach, a pig’s head thrown at a mosque in Philadelphia, hate-filled, threatening letters sent to a mosque in New Jersey, and more.

Are all these hate crimes due to Trump’s alarming rhetoric in recent weeks about Muslims, from vowing to close mosques to banning all Muslims from entering America? No. But there’s absolutely no doubt his words play a role in ginning up fears and legitimizing hate. It’s akin to the hateful fear-mongering by Southern Democrats in the 1950s and ’60s directed against blacks that then led to violence against blacks and their white allies.

Keep in mind that after the 2013 Boston marathon bombing that left three dead and over 250 injured, we didn’t see anything like this level of anti-Muslim hate crimes. As the Associated Press noted in a detailed article published a few weeks after the Boston bombing, “Muslim civil rights leaders say the anti-Islam reaction has been more muted this time than after other attacks since Sept. 11.” And Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told the AP reporter then that there had been “no uptick in reports of harassment, assaults or damage to mosques since the April 15 bombings.”

What is the difference between 2013 and now? Simple: Donald J. Trump. After the Boston bombing, leading political figures weren’t actively ratcheting up hate toward Muslims. But that is exactly what Trump has been doing. Trump’s proposals regarding Muslims aren’t about enacting policies, they are about sending the message that all Muslims are a danger to our nation.

Even after nearly 3,000 Americas were killed as a result of the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush did the exact opposite of what we are seeing from Trump. Bush, while addressing Congress two weeks after that horrific terror attack, stated: “I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith… Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.”

What a contrast to what we now hear from Trump. This is truly the first time in my life that I have been fearful for the safety of my Muslim American family members and friends. And I’m far from alone in that feeling within the Muslim American community.

Is this what Trump means when he says he wants to make America great again? I’m not sure, but it appears that many of his supporters alarmingly believe that’s exactly what Trump means.

 

By: Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast, December 22, 2015

December 23, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Islamophobia, Muslim Americans, Radicalization | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Why The Media Is Duty-Bound To Call Donald Trump A Racist”: That Ugly Fantasy Might Just Become Our Ugly Reality

It was easy to label the Missouri murder of Craig Anderson “racist,” as BuzzFeed did in its excellent accounting of the modern-day lynching. In 2011, a group of white teenagers allegedly shouted racial epithets while beating Anderson and celebrating running him over with a truck. No one would accuse BuzzFeed of bias for calling that horrific crime racist; it’s a simple statement of fact, not a judgment call. Indeed, it’s easy to call a group of violent, ignorant teenagers committing an alleged hate crime racist.

But for some reason, when covering the people vying for the most powerful office in the land, the media is hesitant to apply the “R” word, no matter how apt it may be. And that hesitation could have extraordinarily serious consequences for the country.

Donald Trump, who maintains a comfortable lead in national polls, launched his campaign by arguing that Mexico sends rapists over our border illegally. His subsequent rise in the polls came not in spite of this anti-immigrant rhetoric, but because of it.

There has long been a racist undercurrent in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination. And the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris by ISIS-affiliated terrorists have exposed it to sunlight.

When the Paris attacks were initially — and falsely, it appears — blamed on terrorists who had snuck into Europe with Syrian refugees, each of the Republican presidential candidates strived to be the most fiercely opposed to allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush suggested we allow just the Christians in, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz followed up with a bill that would write that policy into law. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he wouldn’t allow 5-year-old Syrian orphans into the country.

But just denying the refugees fleeing terrorism and repression wasn’t enough. The anti-terrorism furor has grown into an anti-Muslim furor. Trump has called for shutting down mosques and refused to rule out a national registry for Muslims. Marco Rubio is trying to out-Trump Trump by calling not just for shutting down mosques, but even cafes or websites where Muslims gather.

Now, to be clear, these ideas would not only fail to combat terrorism — they would probably increase extremist violence. Repressing loyal Muslim-Americans would drive more radicalization and help ISIS and other terrorist organizations with their recruiting drives. Tell 5-year-old orphans they’re too dangerous to seek refuge in America, and you’ll create the next generation of terrorists.

But these proposals aren’t just obviously wrong-headed; they’re racist. And the media — even nominally objective reporters from mainstream outlets — shouldn’t be shy about saying so.

Nazi analogies are usually the worst. People who resort to comparisons to Hitler or concentration camps or the Holocaust are trivializing the 20th century’s greatest horror. They’re invariably overreacting.

But look at where we are today. Leading candidates for presidents are flirting with requiring adherents of a single religion to be registered. To carry identification cards. To be subject to additional surveillance. To be refused entry to the nation even if they’re escaping horrific repression. To have their houses of worship closed down.

Those are racist, fascist policies. To avoid the comparison with early Nazi repression against Jews is to avoid telling the full story. And that’s just what the media is doing by refusing to call these proposals racist.

Calling a candidate for president racist sure sounds biased, doesn’t it? After all, except for a small fringe of extremists, virtually all Americans believe racism is a Very Bad Thing. Tarring a candidate with that label doesn’t sound like objective reporting; it looks like taking sides.

But it isn’t a judgment call to identify the naked racism of Donald Trump for what it is. Several GOP candidates — even the “mainstream” candidates like Christie, Bush, and Rubio — are suggesting ideas that harken back to some of the ugliest stains on American history, like the unjustified internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

It’s not just the racism directed at Muslims. On Sunday, Trump retweeted a graphic filled with made-up statistics about how blacks commit a majority of murders against whites in the United States. It was quickly debunked; the majority of murders of both whites and blacks are committed by people of the same race.

The fake statistics from a fake organization was accompanied by a racist graphic of a black man, face covered in bandanas, holding a gun sideways. The Hill called this “controversial.” BuzzFeed said it was “questionable.”

It was actually racist.

Trump spread a false statistic about black-on-white crime to drive up an unfounded fear of black criminals. He was trying to make white people afraid so they’ll vote for him.

This is racist.

Donald Trump is the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president. He has expressed outright racism against Latinos, Muslims, and African-Americans. His words have already had real-world consequences. Trump supporters kicked and beat a Black Lives Matter protester at a rally Saturday. The next day Trump said “maybe he should have been roughed up.” Two men cited Trump when they beat a homeless Latino Boston man in August. Trump said his supporters were “passionate.”

The America Trump promises to build is ugly: walled off, repressive, and racist. If the media fails to call racism what it is, if they fail to tell the full story, then that ugly fantasy might just become our ugly reality.

 

By: Jesse Berney, The Week, November 25, 2015

November 28, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Fascism, GOP Presidential Candidates, Mainstream Media, Racism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“An Anti-Immigrant Police-State”: The GOP’s Crazy Birthright Citizenship Debate Could Have Real Consequences

A droll Politico headline earlier this week nicely summed up the state of bemusement and incomprehension surrounding the Republican Party’s revived fixation with ending birthright citizenship.

“Trump to O’Reilly: 14th Amendment is unconstitutional.”

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly grilled Trump on Tuesday, based on the widely shared premise that ending birthright citizenship would require changing the Constitution to excise or edit the first sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment. That sentence states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

Republicans are racing to catch up with Trump, creating a fresh consensus among the party’s presidential candidates that birthright citizenship is bad, and a presumption among most critics and reporters that these candidates believe the Constitution is flawed, and should perhaps be changed.

Neither of these presumptions necessarily describes anti-birthright candidates. Many Republican presidential hopefuls share the belief that giving the children of immigrants citizenship automatically is bad. In less abstract terms, they’re affirming an unfounded nativist anxiety that birthright citizenship creates an incentive for child-bearing immigrants to stream across the border and secure all the benefits of citizenship, including welfare, for their offspring—what conservatives derisively refer to as “anchor babies.” But they disagree among themselves over how to address the problem. And because the point of contention is so politically toxic—a dramatic shift to the right relative to the also-toxic Republican primary consensus in 2012—the candidates have little interest in explaining their personal theories of how the imaginary “anchor baby” crisis should be resolved.

All of the possibilities are equally crazy.

Under the status quo, the children of undocumented immigrants are conferred citizenship by the Fourteenth Amendment. If you believe this is bad, and that we should be willing to tolerate a permanent, minority underclass of stateless noncitizens, you can address it in three ways: by changing the Constitution, by stepping up enforcement so dramatically so that all unauthorized immigrants are expelled before they give birth, or by getting courts to reinterpret the Constitution as it is currently written.

In general, the Republicans who want to change the subject from birthright citizenship to literally anything else pay lip service to the issue. But they insist, for better or worse, that citizenship is a constitutional right of the children of immigrants, and that the Constitution is not going to change. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are in this category. Both intimate that they oppose automatic citizenship for the children of people without any documentation who are trying to game the Fourteenth Amendment, but argue that the right is enshrined, and it isn’t going away.

Perhaps intentionally, they are blinding themselves to the other strategies. In a statement to reporters earlier this week, Scott Walker’s spokeswoman explained how he would tackle the issue. “We have to enforce the laws, keep people from coming here illegally, enforce e-verify to stop the jobs magnet and by addressing the root problems we will end the birthright citizenship problem.” If there were no undocumented immigrants in the country, then birthright citizenship would become a mere abstraction. Without touching the Constitution, Walker suggests he would use a draconian enforcement regime to effectively moot the birthright clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This is almost certainly not feasible, but it lays down a marker for immigration enforcement on the rightmost conceptual end of the policy debate—promising to deport immigrants at such an intense clip that vanishingly few will remain in the country long enough to give birth.

Trump’s goal is even more ambitious. He supports a Walker-like anti-immigrant police-state, too, but argues that the Fourteenth Amendment doesn’t say what it appears to say. A popular argument on the fringes of conservative legal thought holds that the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment—and of the term “jurisdiction” in particular—precludes the notion that it should create a right to citizenship for the children of non-citizen immigrants. Trump has bought into it. He’s not a fan of amending the Constitution, as he told O’Reilly, because “It’s a long process, and I think it would take too long. I’d much rather find out whether or not anchor babies are citizens because a lot of people don’t think they are.” This flies in the face of a century and a half of law. It was the source of O’Reilly’s confusion, and of the tongue-in-cheek Politico headline. To test the theory, a conservative state government could pass a law stripping citizenship benefits from children of immigrants, and defend it in court. This would be easy to laugh off in a different milieu, but in a world where scores of federal judges and three or four conservative Supreme Court justices are willing to vouchsafe plainly absurd and self-serving conservative legal arguments, it is alarming. Especially if you consider the possibility that a Republican candidate wins the presidency on an anti-birthright platform, and obtains the power to nominate nativists to the federal bench.

These views are so extreme that they’re often dismissed as harmless campaign trail pandering. Since the Constitution isn’t going to be amended anytime soon, at least not for this purpose, most reporters don’t take the anti-birthright frenzy as much more than a garden variety Republican primary spectacle. That’s a big error. GOP candidates are telling us how they would use levers at their disposal to antagonize immigrants, and we should be listening.

 

By: Brian Beutler, Senior Editor, The New Republic, August 21, 2015

August 22, 2015 Posted by | Birthright Citizenship, GOP Base, Immigrants | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“You Know, The United States Needs More Of This”: In The Race To The Bottom On Immigration, Walker Makes His Move

Over the weekend, Donald Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to unveil an actual immigration plan. It wasn’t quite what reform proponents were hoping for – Trump’s vision includes mass deportations for roughly 11 million people, a Mexican-built wall, ignoring provisions of the 14th Amendment, and quite possibly deporting U.S. citizens.

If there’s a race to the bottom underway among Republicans battling for anti-immigrant voters, it was a fairly bold move. As Bloomberg Politics reported yesterday, it left one of Trump’s top rivals scrambling to tell conservatives how similar his plan is to the leading GOP candidate.

Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker said Monday his immigration plan is “very similar” to the policy blueprint released Sunday by Donald Trump which amounts to a comprehensive attack on legal and illegal immigration.

“I haven’t looked at all the details of his but the things I’ve heard are very similar to the things I’ve mentioned,” the Wisconsin governor said on Fox & Friends.

Yes, we’ve reached the curious stage of the 2016 cycle at which prominent Republicans boast about how in sync they are with Donald Trump. Last week, it was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Yesterday, it was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).

As viewers of last night’s show know, the degree to which Trump is actually influencing the direction of Republican politics is increasingly difficult to ignore. Sure, that’s to be expected by a White House candidate who’s dominating the race, but given Trump’s clownish reputation, it’s nevertheless striking to see the dynamic unfold before our eyes.

As for the far-right governor, as the day progressed, Walker’s approach to immigration came into sharper focus. He still doesn’t have a detailed plan, per se, but he’s offering more than just “I’m like Trump” on this key issue.

For example, Walker is now the latest national Republican candidate to oppose birthright citizenship – more on this point later today – and he’s on board with mass deportations. So how is this different from Trump? BuzzFeed noted that the Wisconsin governor is eyeing a very different model as a source for inspiration.

Walker repeated his call for a border fence between the U.S. and Mexico on Monday similar to the one separating Israel from Palestinian territories in the West Bank. […]

“I was in Israel earlier this year, they built a 500-mile fence and they have it stacked and it’s lowered terrorist attacks in that region by about 90-plus percent. We need to do the same along our border, we’ve obviously got a bigger border, about four times that, but we’re a country that should be able to hold that,” Walker said while speaking on the Des Moines Register soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.

Let’s not brush past Walker’s point of comparison too quickly. Who looks at the barriers separating Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and thinks, “You know, the United States needs more of this”?

As for the broader debate, 2012 exit polls suggest Mitt “Self-Deportation” Romney won about 27% of the Latino vote in the last presidential election. Driven by a rabid GOP base, the current crop of Republican candidates seems determined to fare considerably worse in 2016.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, August 18, 2015

August 19, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Immigration, Scott Walker | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A GOP Cliché”: Politicians Are No Scientists On Climate Change, But They’re Happy To Give Medical Opinions On Ebola

“I’m not a scientist, but …” has become something of a cliché among politicians who want to weigh in on climate science without actually having to say whether they believe it. But when it comes to Ebola, a number of the same not-a-scientist politicians have been more than happy to provide their medical opinions, as Think Progress documented Monday.

Many of these politicians have made false statements about Ebola, from claiming one could catch it at a cocktail party, to arguing that it can be transmitted through the air, to worrying that immigrants will carry it over the Mexican border (where there have been precisely zero cases of Ebola).

As Think Progress notes, many of the Republican politicians spreading medical misinformation about Ebola have attested to their lack of qualifications in other scientific fields like climate change:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says he’s “not qualified” to debate the science of climate change, but insists that President Obama should “absolutely consider” a ban on U.S. travel to West African countries experiencing Ebola outbreaks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he’s “not a scientist” when it comes to climate change, but also says it would be “a good idea to discontinue flights” from Ebola-affected countries. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal — who studied science in college — says he’ll “leave it to the scientists” to talk about climate change, but says it’s “common sense” to institute a flight ban.

Meanwhile, actual doctors and medical professionals have made it clear that Ebola does not spread through the air, it is not “incredibly contagious” and there is little likelihood of a large-scale outbreak in the United States.

Irrational panic over Ebola, however, does appear to be highly communicable.

 

By: Kate Sheppard, The Huffington Post Blog, October 21, 2014

 

 

 

 

October 22, 2014 Posted by | Climate Change, Ebola, GOP | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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