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Reflections on the Charleston Church Shooting: “Assist, Greenwald, Paul”

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Dylann Roof flies the colors

COMMENT: . . .Beyond that, the Lib­er­tar­ian Party’s polit­i­cal solu­tion to African-American poverty and injus­tice was to abol­ish all wel­fare pro­grams, pub­lic schools, and anti-discrimination laws like the Civil Rights Act. This was the solu­tion pro­moted by an up-and-coming lib­er­tar­ian, Jacob Hornberger—who this week [May of 2015–D.E.] co-hosted an event with RON PAUL and GLENN GREENWALD. Horn­berger believes that 19th cen­tury ante­bel­lum slave-era Amer­ica was “the freest soci­ety in his­tory”. . . “

With the Bay Area still cross-eyed with delirium over the championship of the NBA Golden State Warriors, we might say “Assist, Greenwald, Paul” with regard to the Charleston shootings.

Recent news has offered up a grimly instructive juxtaposition. As Glenn Greenwald and his associates in the Snowden “op” continue to bask in the glow of professional awards granted them, Dylann Roof has put into action the type of behavior advocated by Greenwald’s legal clients.

(A big supporter of George W. Bush in the early part of the last decade, Greenwald became an attorney for, and a fellow-traveler of, some of the most murderous Nazis in the country.)

Ron Paul

As we have seen in FTR #754 and several posts, Greenwald defended Matthew Hale against solicitation of murder charges. Greenwald ran interference for the “leaderless resistance strategy.” In particular, Greenwald provided apposite legal assistance for the National Alliance.

Leaderless resistance is an operational doctrine through which individual Nazis and white supremacists perform acts of violence against their perceived enemies, individually, or in very small groups. Acting in accordance with doctrine espoused by luminaries and leaders in their movement, they avoid infiltration by law enforcement by virtue of their “lone wolf” operational strategy.

What Roof [allegedly] did is pre­cisely the sort of thing advo­cated by the “Lead­er­less Resis­tance” strategy.

The advo­cates of this sort of thing, such as Cit­i­zen Greenwald’s client The National Alliance (pub­lisher of  The Turner Diaries,” which pro­vided the oper­a­tional tem­plate for David Lane’s associates The Order) have been shielded (to an extent) from civil suits hold­ing them to account for their mur­der­ous advo­cacy.  

National Alliance’s books are specifically intended as instructional vehicles. Hunter is dedicated to convicted murderer Joseph Paul Franklin and was specifically designed as a “How To” manual for lone-wolf, white supremacist killers like Roof.

Note, also, that the “fourteen words” of Order member David Lane are the inspiration for “Combat 14,” the paramilitary wing of the Ukrainian fascist group Svoboda, one of the OUN/B heirs that came to power as a result of the Maidan coup of 2014. Lane drove the getaway car when “The Order”–explicitly inspired by “The Turner Diaries”–murdered Denver talk show host Alan Berg.

The “fourteen words” were also an influence on Roof.

We should note that what Greenwald did is NOT a ques­tion of out­law­ing free speech, as he implied. When the ACLU defended the Amer­i­can Nazi Party against an injunc­tion against march­ing in Skokie, Illi­nois (a Chicago sub­urb with a con­sid­er­able Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion), it did so on the grounds of con­sti­tu­tion­ally pro­tected free speech.

Pre-Greenwald, advo­cat­ing vio­lence along the lines of what National Van­guard Books (the NA’s pub­lish­ing arm) does was still legal.

How­ever, IF some­one was advo­cat­ing vio­lence against minori­ties, “racial ene­mies,” etc. and some­one can be demon­strated to have acted on the basis of such exhor­ta­tions, the author of the exhor­ta­tion to vio­lence could be held respon­si­ble for the con­se­quences of their actions.

The con­se­quences were con­sid­er­able legal damages.

This is sound law. It doesn’t say you can’t say such things, how­ever if you do, and that causes harm or death to oth­ers, you ARE RESPONSIBLE.

If some­one leaves a rake on their prop­erty with the teeth fac­ing upward and some­one steps on it and is injured, the prop­erty owner bears civil lia­bil­ity for their actions.

That is the legal prin­ci­ple under which the National Ali­iance, et al were being sued.

In connection with “L’Affaire Snowden,” we noted that in the background of The Peachfuzz Fascist (Snowden), one finds elements that advocate slavery, including the League of the South and other elements of the neo-Confederate movement, which apparently inspired Dylann Roof.

Snowden was an admirer of Ron Paul, to whose campaign he contributed and whose views he parrots. Ron Paul is inextricably linked with the neo-Confederate movement. Jack Hunter–a former head of the League of the South and a current aide to his son Rand Paul–was the chief blogger for Ron Paul’s 2012 Presidential campaign.

Bruce Fein, the top legal counsel for Paul’s 2012 campaign was the first attorney for Eddie the Friendly Spook and is the attorney for the Snowden family.

In a 1992 edition of his newsletter, Snowden’s political idol Ron Paul advocated that whites arm themselves and shoot black men. In so doing, he helped to set the template for George Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin. That killing appears to have been a major influence on Dylan Roof.

The above political elements loom large in the apparent development of Dylann Roof’s motivational ideology.

“Bal­ti­more & The Walk­ing Dead” by Mark Ames; Pando Daily; 5/1/2015.

. . . . So when Rand Paul went on Laura Ingraham’s radio pro­gram to blame Bal­ti­more on black cul­ture and val­ues and “lack of fathers,”the lib­er­tar­ian whom Time called “the most inter­est­ing man in pol­i­tics” was merely rehash­ing 25-year-old main­stream Repub­l­i­crat big­otries, the very same big­oted, wrong assump­tions that led to all the dis­as­trous poli­cies we’re now pay­ing for today.

Which brings me to the Lib­er­tar­i­ans of 1992.

After Fer­gu­son exploded last year, Lib­er­tar­i­ans posi­tioned them­selves as the only polit­i­cal force that had no blood on their hands, the only polit­i­cal force that was “prin­ci­pled” enough through­out the past few decades to offer the right analy­ses — and the right solu­tions — to the prob­lems faced by peo­ple now ris­ing up in Baltimore.

In 1992, the most famous lib­er­tar­ian of all, Ron Paul, was still between Con­gres­sional stints when [the riots in] Los Ange­les erupted, but he did run a prof­itable lib­er­tar­ian newslet­ter, “The Ron Paul Polit­i­cal Report,” to keep his ideas alive. Shortly after the LA riots, Ron Paul put out a “Spe­cial Issue on Racial Ter­ror­ism”offer­ing his lib­er­tar­ian analy­sis of what he termed black “terrorism”:

“The crim­i­nals who ter­ror­ize our cities—in riots and on every non-riot day—are not exclu­sively young black males, but they largely are. As chil­dren, they are trained to hate whites, to believe that white oppres­sion is respon­si­ble for all black ills, to ‘fight the power,’ to steal and loot as much money from the white enemy as pos­si­ble.

“The cause of the riots is plain: bar­barism. If the bar­bar­ians can­not loot suf­fi­ciently through legal chan­nels (i.e., the riots being the welfare-state minus the middle-man), they resort to ille­gal ones, to ter­ror­ism. Trou­ble is, few seem will­ing to stop them. The cops have been handcuffed. . . .

. . . .“We are con­stantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irra­tional. Black men com­mit mur­ders, rapes, rob­beries, mug­gings, and bur­glar­ies all out of pro­por­tion to their num­bers.”

“I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in [major U.S. cities] are semi-criminal or entirely crim­i­nal.” A few months later, in Octo­ber 1992, Dr. Paul explained how he taught his own family—presumably includ­ing his favorite son, Rand Paul—how to defend them­selves and even mur­der what Dr. Paul called “hip-hop” car­jack­ers, “the urban youth who play unsus­pect­ing whites like pianos”:

“What can you do? More and more Amer­i­cans are car­ry­ing a gun in the car. An ex-cop I know advises that if you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene imme­di­ately, dis­pos­ing of the wiped off gun as soon as pos­si­ble. Such a gun can­not, of course, be reg­is­tered to you, but one bought pri­vately (through the clas­si­fieds, for example.).

Beyond that, the Lib­er­tar­ian Party’s polit­i­cal solu­tion to African-American poverty and injus­tice was to abol­ish all wel­fare pro­grams, pub­lic schools, and anti-discrimination laws like the Civil Rights Act. This was the solu­tion pro­moted by an up-and-coming lib­er­tar­ian, Jacob Hornberger—who this week co-hosted an event with Ron Paul and Glenn Green­wald. Horn­berger believes that 19th cen­tury ante­bel­lum slave-era Amer­ica was “the freest soci­ety in his­tory”. . . and after the LA riots, he offered this solu­tion:

“the repeal of: (1) every law that takes money from some peo­ple and gives it to oth­ers; (2) all reg­u­la­tions that inter­fere with peace­ful exchanges between con­sent­ing adults; (3) all drug laws; and (4) all compulsory-attendance laws and school taxes.”

And then there’s lib­er­tar­ian philoso­pher Mur­ray Rothbard’s response to the LA riots. Rand Paul cred­its Roth­bard as “a great influ­ence on my think­ing”; and Roth­bard blamed the LA riots not on racism and black griev­ances, but rather on slow and insuf­fi­cient police response and “the moral and esthetic nihilism cre­ated by many decades of cul­tural liberalism.” . . . .

“Charleston Suspect Dylan Roof’s Manifesto Discovered Online” by Jason Sickles, Liz Goodwin and Michael Walsh; Yahoo News; 6/20/2015.

A website surfaced Saturday featuring a racist and rambling manifesto and dozens of photos of accused Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof posing with white supremacy symbols and the Confederate flag.

Roof, 21, remains jailed on nine counts of murder for allegedly opening fire in the historically African-American Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday.

Who authored the manifesto or posted the images is not officially known. But through online registration records, Yahoo News confirmed the website’s domain, lastrhodesian.com, was started by a Dylann Roof of Eastover, S.C. on Feb. 9. The street address used is the same that Roof has given authorities since he was captured in Shelby, N.C. on Thursday. Of Feb. 10, the registration information was purposely obscured.

The webpage traces its author’s path toward strong beliefs in white supremacy and says the moment of “awakening” was the race debate ignited after the shooting of black teen Trayvon Martin. The rambling text ends with the author’s statement that it’s time to take the beliefs expressed, “to the real world.”

“I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet.
Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me,” it reads.

While they are rare, retired FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole said killer manifestos are all about “the writings of a very narcissistic, arrogant individual.”

“They feel this need to tell the world how they were wronged,” O’Toole said. “It’s like they have to shove our nose into why they are entitled into what it is they are going to do.”

O’Toole, who has seen hundreds of manifestos during her career studying killers, read the document posted to Roof’s website at the request of Yahoo News.

While not vouching for it’s authenticity, O’Toole described it as shallow and likely plagiarized.

“The themes don’t indicate that this person is spending a lot of time to do research,” said O’Toole, who now directs the Forensic Science Program at George Mason University.

The 2,444-word manifesto jumps from topic to topic addressing, among other things, patriotism, blacks, Jews, Hispanics and Asians.

“He’s trying to weave like a quilt of those themes that he went out in search of,” O’Toole said. “Which tells me that whoever the author is had preexisting opinions and ideas … and then you go to the Internet to get a little bit of this and a little bit of that to fuel what you already believe and already think.”

The New York Times, reports that according to web server logs, the manifesto was last modified at 4:44 p.m. ET on Wednesday, about four hours before the Charleston shootings.

“Unfortunately at the time of writing I am in a great hurry and some of my best thoughts, actually many of them have been to be left out and lost forever. But I believe enough great White minds are out there already. Please forgive any typos, I didnt have time to check it.”

Benjamin Crump, attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family and a leading national voice in civil rights issues, said he was troubled to learn the manifesto mentioned Martin case.

“Regardless of how this demented, racist individual attempts to shift the focus of his murderous actions, we will remain steadfast in our defense of the voiceless around this country,” Crump said in a statement. “They need it now more than ever. My thoughts and prayers remain with the victims of this terrible tragedy and the Charleston community.”

Dozens of images posted to the site show Roof in historic locations like a Confederate soldier cemetery and a slave burial ground.

In one image, the suspected gunman is posed on the beach wearing the same clothes he is seen wearing on surveillance footage as he entered the chruch on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if this image was taken the same day as the shooting, but if so, it would show that Roof took time to visit the beach, scratch the racist symbol 1488 in the sand and photograph himself before allegedly traveling to Charleston.

The symbol 1488, shown in Roof’s photos, is a number that has been adopted by white supremacists, according to the SouthernPoverty Law Center’s Racist Skinhead Glossary.

The “88” refers to H, the eighth letter of the alphabet and is a symbol for “Heil Hitler.” The “14” refers to a 14-word slogan popularized by David Lane, a white supremacist serving a 190-year sentence in the murder of a Jewish talk show host. The slogain is: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

The manifesto website was first discovered by two Twitter users – Emma Quangel and Henry Krinkle — who used a Reverse Whois search on domaintools.com to find the site registered under Roof’s name.

Quangel, who identifies as a Communist, tweeted that it is her “solemn duty and obligation to hate and fight racism with every inch of [her] being!”

The site’s title is a reference to an unrecognized state in Africa, in a region that is now Zimbabwe, during the 1960s and ’70s that was controlled by a white minority.

White supremacists have idealized this era and the Rhodesian flag has been used as a racist symbol.

One of the first photos circulated of Roof shows the 21-yare-old suspect wearing a jacket adorned with flag patches for both Apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia.

Also included in the trove of images on the site are photos of a Glock .45-caliber pistol, which has been identified as the same type of gun that was used in the shooting. Roof reportedly purchased the weapon in April for his 21st birthday with money give to him as a gift by his father.

Some of the pictures were taken at the Sankofa Burial Grounds for slaves on the McLeod Plantation in Charleston.

Others appear to have been taken at the Boone Hall plantation in Mt Pleasant, S.C., and the Museum and Library of Confederate History in Greenville, S.C.

The author of the manifesto said that he did not grow up in a racist home or environment. Roof’s family broke their silence Friday by releasing a statement extending their sympathies victims’ families.

“Words cannot express our shock, grief, and disbelief as to what happened that night,” it reads.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed this week. We have all been touched by the moving words from the victims’ families offering God’s forgiveness and love in the face of such horrible suffering.”

“Charleston Shoot­ing Sus­pect Left Racist Man­i­festo on Web site, Author­i­ties Say” by Lenny Bern­stein, Sari Hor­witz and Peter Holley; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 6/20/2015.

. . . . . Pat Hines, the South Car­olina state chair­man of the League of the South, an orga­ni­za­tion that wants South­ern states to secede from the United States, said Roof did not appear to belong to any white suprema­cist groups and could have been indoc­tri­nated on the Internet. . . .

 

Discussion

13 comments for “Reflections on the Charleston Church Shooting: “Assist, Greenwald, Paul””

  1. 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.

    Posted by bassface | June 23, 2015, 9:11 am
  2. In a reflection of just how toxic a symbol the Confederate flag has become in the wake of Dylann Roof’s racist massacre, Jack Hunter, a guy who used to where a Confederate flag mask while inhabiting his “Southern Avenger” persona, just wrote an essay about why he’s changed his mind on the Confederate battle flag and now wants to see the flag in Charleston taken down:

    The Daily Beats
    The ‘Southern Avenger’ Repents: I Was Wrong About the Confederate Flag
    States’ rights? Heritage? I was wrong: The Confederate flag has always been about race.

    Jack Hunter
    06.22.154:40 PM ET

    As a Charleston, South Carolina-based conservative radio personality known as the “Southern Avenger,” I spent a decade defending the Confederate flag that is yet again the center of so much controversy.

    I said the flag was about states’ rights. I said it stood for self-determination. I said it honored heritage.

    I argued the Confederate flag wasn’t about race. I believed it. Millions of well-meaning Southerners believe it too.

    I was wrong. That flag is always about race. Whatever political or historical points the flag’s defenders make, there will never be a time—and never has been a time—in which millions of Americans have looked at that symbol and not seen hatred.

    We can argue for the rest of time whether this is fair or not. And for the rest of time, that symbol will still be seen in an overwhelmingly negative light.

    Those who see hatred have political and historical reasons too.

    This has always been the Confederate flag debate game. One camp’s arguments are supposed to trump the other’s.

    I’m not here to settle those arguments. I tired of them years ago.

    But I am here to say there is something at stake far more important than this symbol.

    Heritage might not be hate. But battling hate is far more important than anyone’s heritage, politics, or just about anything else. We should have different priorities.

    I now have different priorities.

    Dylann Roof is a reminder of what’s at stake.

    ***

    The week before a white supremacist murdered nine black men and women in my hometown of Charleston, I was angry at my fellow conservatives.

    A 14-year-old black girl attending a pool party in McKinney, Texas, had been manhandled and thrown to the ground by a police officer. The girl had done nothing except talk. She was just standing there with other teenagers.

    It was revolting to watch. I asked others to imagine it was their daughter.

    The overwhelming response was that she was a “thug” who was “no saint” and needed to be taught “respect.” The comments were as revolting as the act—an adult mob praising the assault of a 100-pound, half-naked and scared black kid. I pleaded again for people to stop defending this. It got uglier.

    It bothered me greatly, probably because at one time I might have done the same thing.

    In my role as a conservative radio personality, I would’ve likely joined in in calling a group of excited black teenagers, or protesters, “thugs.” I might have called illegal immigrants criminals or worse. Muslims would’ve been slandered as terrorists.

    Ugliness was a stock-in-trade.

    I thought a big part of being conservative meant picking a “side” and attacking the other. I thought not caring what others thought or felt was part of it. Some of my Confederate flag debates certainly reflected that mentality.

    This is something ideologues do and is by no means exclusive to the right, as evidenced by the way some liberals cartoonishly portray conservatives, Christians, and, yes, Southerners.

    Ideologues ridicule and dehumanize people at the expense of their personhood. Ideologues believe some groups must be attacked, and although the groups are comprised of flesh-and-blood human beings, it’s better not to think of them as people too much—it could get you off message.

    It’s crude collectivist thinking. It’s an intentional lack of sympathy. It’s dehumanization. It’s at the heart of everything that’s wrong with our politics and culture.

    In its most extreme form, it’s what’s wrong with Dylann Roof.

    Between the reports of his racist words and manifesto, we know Roof had a mission: to murder black people. Entering the Emmanuel A.M.E. Church Wednesday and sitting with the group for an hour, Roof confessed that he “almost didn’t go through with it because everyone was so nice to him.”

    But instead he chose to “go through with his mission.” He had to shrug off their kindness. These weren’t people. They were just “blacks.” They were on the wrong side.

    Roof’s hateful tunnel vision led him to commit pure evil.

    What is the polar opposite of such hatred? The forgiveness demonstrated by Roof’s victim’s families. Said the daughter of Ethel Lance, “I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you.”

    “And have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people but God forgives you, and I forgive you.”

    This is humanity. It is a rejection of collectivist thinking. It is the epitome of sympathy. It’s grace. It’s love.

    We will have a future that can be so much better than what a lot of Southern and American heritage represents, but only if we stop thinking of each other as separate camps constantly at war. We can only improve to the degree that we begin viewing one another not as enemies to be attacked but brothers to be loved.

    Dylann Roof reminds us how hate destroys. The families of those he murdered remind us of the love we’re capable of.

    The Confederate flag will always be a roadblock to the betterment of our natures. Let’s take it down so that we might all rise up.

    Credit where credit’s due: that was a nice essay on personal growth and bridging the irrational racial divides and appealing to our better angels. A nice essay on healing racial animosity … written by Jack Hunter. Who would have seen that one coming.

    And who knows, perhaps the appalling nature of Roof’s crime and manifesto really has created one of those invaluable moments of reflection and personal growth in people all across the nation. Or perhaps it was, as Hunter pointed out, the amazing juxtaposition of Roof’s violent malice with the heartwrenching displays of grace and forgiveness by the victims’ families that’s prompting epiphanies and calls from conservative officials to take down Confederate emblems all over the nation. Either way, if the sentiments expressed by Hunter and others are genuine, that’s at least progress.

    But, of course, it’s possible that Mr. Hunter’s words are just that: words. After all, if a party like the GOP, which has built itself around “Southern Strategy” dog-whistle politics for decades, can manage to wipe its hands clean by merely taking down the Confederate flag in various places that would basically mean the rest of the “Southern Strategy” remains intact. Decades of endless policy attacks on voting rights and social programs have been just as much a component of the “Southern Strategy” as the dog-whistles and Confederate symbols. And for the GOP’s oligarchs, its those policies, and not the symbols for the rabble, that really matter.

    So good for Jack Hunter. At the same time, taking down the Confederate flag is the easy and obvious call. Taking down the rest of the GOP’s platform that is designed to make the lives of the the poor and minorities harder in a myriad of ways is the other obvious call, but it’s not going to be so easy. Unless, of course, Jack Hunter’s apparent epiphany is indeed genuine and widespread. In that case, changing the Southern Strategy would indeed be extremely easy for the GOP because those Southern Strategy policies would no long have electoral appeal. Once the GOP’s dog-whistle policies starts sounding finger-nails on a chalkboard to almost everyone those policies are going to change.

    So we’ll see just how many other former flag supporters change their views on the flag. And kudos to them if they do. But if the GOP wants to really show the nation how genuine those sentiments are it’s going to have to throw out the rest of GOP’s Southern Strategy “baggage” too.

    Could the GOP really drop its decades old Southern Strategy, including all the that happen? Obviously not immediately, but it will probably happen eventually. Perhaps involuntarily.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 23, 2015, 6:27 pm
  3. Well look at that: It turns out the Ku Klux Klan was planning a nationwide recruitment campaign right around the time of the Charleston Massacre.

    So are they calling off the campaign and denouncing Dylann Roof’s act of terror? Nope. Quite the opposite:

    The Daily Beast
    The Klan’s Vile Post-Charleston Recruiting Spree
    Towns across the country have reported the appearance of KKK fliers with bags of candy on residents’ lawns.

    Kate Briquelet
    06.24.15 5:25 AM ET

    Days after the massacre at a black church in South Carolina, some Americans woke to a vile surprise: KKK fliers with candy on their lawns.

    The propaganda—stuffed into plastic baggies with pieces of peppermint and Tootsie Rolls—included a phone number for the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Planted under the cover of darkness, the fliers were distributed in California, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia.

    It’s not something local police departments are taking lightly, and some have even reached out to the FBI for assistance. The Rockdale County sheriff’s department in Conyers, Georgia, collected more than 80 fliers and is investigating whether anyone can be charged with criminal trespass or littering.

    “Whether it was a joke or from an organization doesn’t matter to me,” Sheriff Eric Levett told The Daily Beast. “The fact that it was done during this time is ignorant and cowardly.”

    A message on the hate-spewing hotline, based in North Carolina, salutes 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who was charged with murder for the killing nine people in Charleston. Roof penned a racist manifesto before the June 17 mass shooting and wanted to start a “race war.”

    “We in the Loyal White Knights of the KKK would like to say hail victory to … Dylan S. Roof who decided to do what the Bible told him,” a man chirps in the recording. “An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. They [black people] have spilled our blood too long. It’s about time someone spilled theirs.”

    “If it ain’t white, it ain’t right,” the message concludes. “White power!”

    Robert Jones, of the Royal White Knights in North Carolina, told The Daily Beast that the Klan is undergoing a national recruitment drive that coincidentally started around the time of the South Carolina murders.

    “We’re doing this from the East Coast to the West Coast, just to let people know the Klan’s in their community,” said Jones, the grand dragon of the hate group based in Pelham, N.C. “Especially with all the stuff that’s in the news—in South Carolina they’re wanting to take the Confederate flag down.”

    Jones told The Daily Beast that he supports Roof’s crime, but preferred that he “shot the correct people,” such as minority drug dealers rather than churchgoers.

    “It’s a racial war against our people,” Jones said. “The more the media pushes multiculturalism down our throat, the more you’re going to see killings like this.”

    In Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, the Klan also recently caught cops’ attention when it got personal—naming and urging a boycott against local Mexican restaurants.

    The fliers from the Northeastern Oklahoma Klavern warned of the same supposed “black on white” violence that spurred Roof’s militancy, and pushed “civil ways to discourage these animals from our community,” the Pryor Daily Times reported.

    “Stop going to Maggie’s Mexican Kitchen … [she] thinks she can talk trash about white people in Spanish, thinking none of us will understand her anti-American, anti-white rhetoric,” read the flier discovered on Father’s Day. “Or, El Humilde Mexican Restaurant, which takes your money while employing illegals and sending our American currency back to their homeland.”

    Captain Rod Howell of the Mayes County sheriff’s department in Pryor told The Daily Beast that “the timing’s not a coincidence.”

    “They’re doing it for a reason,” Howell said. “They’re trying to get as many people as possible to put some fuel in the fire. With the political climate the way it is today, it’s really tough right now.”

    Meanwhile, Alabama residents were horrified by the racially-charged hate bags filled with candy.

    “I didn’t even know the KKK was alive and well,” Shannon Phillips of Lake View told local news station WIAT. “I certainly didn’t know it was in our area. It disturbed me that they put Tootsie Rolls in here trying to appeal to children. I mean that’s just pathetic, sick, disgusting.”

    Cops in nearby Bessemer, Alabama, filled a 30-gallon bag with the bulletins, which officers collected from one church and more than 60 homes.

    “If we find out who has done it, we’ll deal with it,” Police Chief Nathaniel Rutledge Jr. told The Daily Beast. “For right now, it’s criminal littering at the very least.”

    After the fliers were found in Topeka, Kansas, the police chief there called the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI and held a press conference with the city’s Black Ministers Association.

    Other fliers were found as far as Fullerton, California, a city of 135,161 in Orange County. Proclaiming “Save our land, Join the Klan,” some of the baggies—anchored by rocks and candy so they wouldn’t blow awaymisspelled “California.”

    “It’s just wrong. There’s no words,” Fullerton resident Alia Cass told CBS Los Angeles. “Racism isn’t born. It’s taught.”

    So according to Robert Jones, of the Royal White Knights in North Carolina,the Klan is undergoing a national recruitment drive that just coincidentally started around the time of the South Carolina murders. Also, “It’s a racial war against our people…The more the media pushes multiculturalism down our throat, the more you’re going to see killings like this.

    Hmmmm…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 27, 2015, 12:18 pm
  4. The Guardian has an interview of one of Dylann Roof’s inspirations: Harold Covington, a neo-Nazi author of a string of fictional books about violent white supremacist revolutions. Books that Covington’s website characterizes as “not meant to be mere entertainment…They are meant to be self-fulfilling prophecies. The author wishes to inspire the creation of a real Northwest American Republic, and his novels are filled with a great deal of sound practical advice about how to do it.”:

    The Guardian
    White supremacist calls Charleston ‘a preview of coming attractions’

    Dylann Roof refers to Harold Covington’s white separatist group, the Northwest Front, in his alleged manifesto. The rightwing sci-fi writer distances himself from the shooting, but his followers speculate if his work influenced Roof’s actions

    Sam Thielman in New York

    Sunday 28 June 2015 08.30 EDT

    One of the shadowy figures who appears to have influenced alleged Charleston killer Dylann Roof is Harold Covington, the founder of a white separatist movement and, within supremacist circles, an influential sci-fi author. Covington, the latest in a long line of rightwing sci-fi writers, has been linked to racist crimes in the past and this week called the massacre “a preview of coming attractions”.

    The racist manifesto and photos apparently posted by Roof makes mention of the Northwest Front, created by Covington, a former member of the American Nazi party who traveled to South Africa and Rhodesia in order to agitate for white power. In the accompanying photos, Roof wore patches with Rhodesian and apartheid-era South African flags on them.

    Covington, if you believe his website, runs a growing enclave of white supremacists near Seattle called the Northwest Front. The non-profit group is reflected in a series of sci-fi novels, authored by Covington, about a dystopian future in which a white nation is the only answer to US economic and racial woes.

    American science fiction has long had a rightward tilt, from the contemporary strain of small-press sci-fi Tea Party fantasias swarming the Hugo Awards nominations all the way back to libertarian deity Ayn Rand. But Covington’s novels are a breed apart.

    His followers see conspiracy in Covington’s connections to Roof. “And why did this young man have a flight jacket with flag patches from the old White ruled southern African countries, which is where HAC spent part of his early days in the Cause, hmmm,” wrote a commenter called Wingnut under a recent podcast on the Northwest website. “Wonder if they’ll ‘find’ a pile of NF-HAC stuff in this young man’s home? Then they can pull one of those ‘the devil made me do it’ numbers on HAC.”

    Covington doesn’t advocate for randomized violence; he wants revolution, to the extent that he calls his followers “comrades” and lectures them on “the purpose of revolution” among other phrases more characteristic of the left than the right. While it was clear Roof knew about the Northwest Front and seemed familiar with it, Covington condemned Roof’s shooting on his Tuesday podcast because “it doesn’t work.”

    “People, don’t do this shit, this flipping out with a gun lunacy,” he said. “No, this is not just ritual disclaimer, Harold trying to cover is ass, this is what Harold really thinks.”

    The Roof killings are not the first time Covington’s name has come up in connection with an allegedly racist murder. Covington was part of a group of white supremacists in the 1970s who massacred black people at a rally in Greensboro (Covington didn’t kill anyone and wasn’t in attendance on the day of the violence). He was also at one time close with Frazier Glenn Miller, who is charged with killing a woman, a 69-year-old man and that man’s 14-year-old grandson near Jewish institutions last year.

    Elizabeth Wheaton wrote about Covington in her book Codename Greenkil: The 1979 Greensboro Killings. “Covington was pretty much a minor player,” she told The Guardian. “He liked the Nazi image on the white power kinds of things, but he was kind of nerdy. Most of [the others] were country people or ex-military.”

    “For all of his lacks, he does not lack the ability to turn a phrase,” said Wheaton. “He’s very articulate in presenting his message.”

    Covington said he’d never heard of Roof before the massacre and told The Guardian to “try Stormfront. That’s usually where newbies in the Movement end up leaving their first electronic footprint.”

    Much of Covington’s influence on his followers comes from his novels, which are written in a style that reads like someone spilled a 50-gallon barrel of ethnic slurs all over a stack of early-draft Robert Heinlein novels. His choice of cultural icons dates his books considerably, even the recent ones, which are filled with up-to-the-minute references to Jane Fonda and Gilligan’s Island, but the author probably doesn’t care about these criticisms. The books are not primarily novels, anyway.

    The Northwest novels “are not meant to be mere entertainment”, according to Covington’s website Northwest.org. “They are meant to be self-fulfilling prophecies. The author wishes to inspire the creation of a real Northwest American Republic, and his novels are filled with a great deal of sound practical advice about how to do it.”

    There are five Northwest novels are all populated with similarly brave and heroic white men (“domestic terrorist-type dudes” in the words of Shane Ryan, the narrator of Covington’s A Distant Thunder), cruel, DW Griffith-style black people whose speech is written in dialect, and hand-wringing liberals who want nothing more than to stifle the right to free speech of (white) people who just want to secede from the US.

    “As the NVA [Northwest Volunteer Army, Covington’s heroes] vise had slowly clamped down on the Northwest over the past five years, Capitol Hill had lost much of its left-wing cachet, as those artsy-fartsy habitue´s who were dusky of skin or sexually inverted either fled to more hospitable climes or got well and truly wasted, shot dead on the pavement by the NVA gunners,” Covington explains in 2004’s A Mighty Fortress.

    Shane Ryan, hero of the purported oral-history-of-the-revolution volume A Distant Thunder, recalls the heroism of his white brothers and sisters up to and including teams “specialty snipers” who pick off interracial couples and, of course, Conrad Baumgarten, who “came all the way from Germany with his SS officer grandfather’s scoped ’98 Mauser to hunt Jews”.

    Covington’s prophecy

    In an email exchange with the Guardian, Covington said he was urging followers not to talk about Roof until “all the facts were out”.

    What did he mean by that? “I mean that a lot of times these things are not as advertised and people like you have a tendency to try to use us as props and aids to support the Official Version. Oklahoma City being a prime example; there is a compelling case to be made that was a government sting operation gone very wrong, but I long ago gave up any hope of ever getting anybody to listen; anything we say is simply shouted down or kicked aside, we are treated as cranks at best, and facts are never allowed to interfere with the Received Wisdom from on high.

    “For another example, I am well aware of the ideological orientation of the Guardian (I lived in the British Isles for a number of years [Covington spent time among skinheads in the UK – “a lot of them were great guys,” he said on a recent podcast]) and I understand that I have not a snowball’s chance in hell of getting our viewpoint represented honestly and fairly there.”

    A few hours later, a new installment of his radio show went up on the Radio Free Northwest website, in which he did not advocate for violence, but did fantasize for a little while, saying that liberals were afraid of Charleston because it was “a preview of coming attractions”.

    “They’ve been given a vision of a time in some imagined but possibly not too-far distant future when all of a sudden, on the street or in their office, or in some trendy fern bar, or Starbucks, or wine-and-cheese boutique on the Upper East Side or in San Francisco, they will look up, possibly from the laptop, where they are typing up their day’s quota of leftwing, liberal horseshit, and they will see a young white man like Dylann Roof standing in front of them with no steroid-pumped policemen in blue to protect their liberal candy asses from the consequences of years of their own behavior,” he said. “They will see in that young white man’s eyes, that he recognizes them. That he is now beyond deception or bullying or browbeating or Twitter-shaming or intimidation, that he knows them for what they are. And they will look down and see that he has something in his hand.”

    So Covington doesn’t advocate more Charleston Massacres. He merely writes fictional novels that are more or less manuals for white supremacist revolutions conducted by “domestic terrorist-type dudes”, and characterizes Roof’s acts as “a preview of coming attractions”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 29, 2015, 6:41 pm
  5. How a white supremacist tapped into a Jewish fortune

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/how-a-jewish-fortune-ended-up-funding-a-white-supremacist-170317996.html#

    Yahoo Finance Exclusive:
    Earl Holt started giving money to GOP pols after marrying the widow of a Jewish businessman

    Yahoo Finance By Rick Newman
    4 hours ago
    
    Editor’s note:This story contains racially charged language some readers are likely to find offensive.

    As president of a white nationalist group linked with the murders of nine churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. on June 17, Earl P. Holt III is straddling the uneasy boundary between free speech and racial hatred. Once known only to watchdog groups that monitor extremist groups, Holt has suddenly become notorious for racial slurs splattered across the Internet and for writings on his group’s web site that supposedly inspired Dylann Roof, the alleged Charleston shooter, to carry out a massacre. Holt has become so toxic that Republican politicians who accepted campaign donations from him have returned the money or given it to charity.

    But for most of his life, Holt never gave a dime to politicians. His donations didn’t begin until 2010, when he wrote a few $250 checks to one Congressman from Arizona and another from Hawaii. The checks became more frequent and the amounts larger.

    By 2015, Holt, 62, had made more than 150 political donations totaling nearly $70,000. All the money went to Republicans, including ultraconservatives such as Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, and Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa. Holt also donated to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and to at least three 2016 presidential candidates: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

    What made Holt such a generous donor, seemingly overnight? Holt won’t say, and he refused to speak with Yahoo Finance for this story. But a Yahoo Finance investigation has found that one month before his political donations began, Holt married Katherine Ann Cook of Longview, Texas, whose husband Irving Falk had died one year earlier, leaving a sizable estate to his wife and other family members. Falk had been a successful Jewish businessman in Longview who eventually acquired dozens of oil and gas leases, several commercial real estate properties, at least two homes, and other assets. “It’s common knowledge he was extremely wealthy,” says Murray Moore, the former mayor of Longview.

    Earl Holt may now be extremely wealthy, too, courtesy of Irving Falk’s industriousness.

    The Dylann Roof connection

    Holt’s campaign contributions — and the apparent source of his money — are causing consternation now because of hostility he has shown toward blacks and Jews. Holt is president of a nonprofit group called the Council of Conservative Citizens, based in St. Louis. The group says it supports politically conservative causes and doesn’t encourage or condone racism. It does, however, routinely highlight crimes committed by blacks against whites, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, describes the council as “a virulently racist group whose website has referred to blacks as ‘a retrograde species of humanity.’” The Anti-Defamation League also considers the council extremist and says, “although the group claims not to be racist, its leaders traffic with other white supremacist groups.”

    A number of news and interest-group web sites contain incendiary racial remarks under the name Earl P. Holt III. There are several references to blacks as “Africanus Criminalis” (and worse). On The Blaze (which has since taken down his posts), Holt said blacks are “the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world.” Holt attacks Jews less frequently, but no less aggressively. In 2012, on the web site Freedom Outpost, he said of attorney Gloria Allred, “Jewish women (like this kike-bitch) are the greatest enemy of Christianity, America and the West in world history.” The same year, on the web site for CBS New York, he complained about the “corrupt leftist Jews’ media.”

    Holt became news after Roof, the 21-year-old alleged South Carolina shooter, wrote in a screed published on the web site Last Rhodesian that discovering the Council of Conservative Citizens web site alerted him to “brutal black on white murders.” “I was in disbelief,” Roof wrote. “At this moment I realized that something was very wrong.”

    On its own web site, the council said it was “deeply saddened” by the mass murder in Charleston, and it disavowed any connection to Roof. Yet the attention brought renewed scrutiny of Holt and other members of the group. The Guardian discovered that Holt had donated thousands of dollars to dozens of Republican politicians at the state and national level, prompting most of those still in office to return the money or give it to charity.

    Yahoo Finance set out to answer one basic question: Where did Holt get the $70,000 or so he donated? He’s certainly not in the ranks of megadonors who pony up millions to political candidates, but in five years’ time Holt gave more money to politicians than the typical American family earns in a year. Did he earn the money, inherit it, get it from donors to his nonprofit group or raise it from some other source?

    A ‘brainwashed’ widow

    In Longview, there’s growing discomfort over a racial provocateur in town, and the apparent connection between a deceased Jewish businessman, a white supremacist who expresses animosity toward blacks and Jews, and the widow who may have transferred wealth from one to the other.

    “Many people say her deceased husband would be rolling over in his grave if he knew she was spending his money this way,” says Branden Johnson, president of the NAACP’s Longview chapter. “They feel Katherine has been brainwashed.”

    Irving Falk came to Longview in the late 1930s, part of a small wave of Jews who settled in east Texas while looking for opportunities during the Depression. Falk established a scrap metal company and apparently did well, riding the oil boom emanating from nearby Kilgore. In a historical document, the Institute of Southern Jewish Living described Falk’s company as “a very successful scrap metal business [that] worked intimately with the oil companies of east Texas.” Falk contributed to civic life by helping found the only temple in Longview and the local YMCA, plus contributing money to the United Way, the local junior college, the East Texas Oil Museum and other nonprofits.

    While building his business, Falk married, had a son and got divorced. Around 1977 he got married for a second time. The bride was Katherine Ann Cook, who had one son herself. She became Katherine Falk.

    Irving Falk’s business expanded into the distribution of steel products, which was more profitable than scrap. At one point it was “one of the largest steel distribution centers in the southwest,” according to Falk’s nephew, Rusty Milstein, who worked at the company. Falk sold his firm in 1999 to a Kansas company, and retired. Since both companies were privately owned, the price was never disclosed, but locals estimate Falk made millions from the sale. Meanwhile, Falk had accumulated dozens of oil and gas leases that paid royalties. In 2003, Falk established a company called IF Investments, LLC, listing himself as president, according to a filing with the Texas Secretary of State. That company became the listed owner of at least six commercial properties in Longview, according to county records.

    Falk died on Feb. 5, 2009, at the age of 90. The obituary in the local paper described him as a “dignified, gracious gentleman” who “traveled the world in connection with his business and had friends and business associates in many countries.” The value of Falk’s estate wasn’t publicly disclosed, but Katherine Falk, his wife, inherited the properties they owned, and became president of IF Investments, which owned the commercial property. The year before he died, Falk owned interests in at least 54 mineral leases, according to county records. Those were transferred to Katherine Cook and her brother, Phillip Cook, and were then sold to Katherine Cook’s son, Phillip Bayman, of Fort Worth. The sale price was confidential.

    Right-wing radio host, slumlord

    While Irving Falk was building his business and his wealth in Longview, Earl Holt III was living a different type of life 600 miles northeast, in St. Louis. On the forms accompanying several of his political donations, Holt listed his occupation as “slumlord” or “retired slumlord.” That may have been a reference to a run-down 18-unit apartment building he owned in a neighborhood known as north city or north St. Louis, a blighted part of town two-and-a-half miles northwest of the Gateway Arch characterized by white flight, abandoned lots and aborted redevelopment efforts. The ZIP code, 63106, is 96% black, according to Census Bureau data, and the median household income is just $15,126 — half the national poverty level for a family of four.

    In 1984, Holt and a partner bought the 18-unit building at 2618-2634 James “Cool Papa” Bell Ave., a street named after the baseball Hall of Famer who played in the Negro Leagues in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. The price was undisclosed. Over time, Holt bought out his partner and transferred the property to a company he created called Bell Properties. Court records show at least 10 lawsuits Holt brought against tenants for unpaid rent and other infractions.

    Holt got elected to the St. Louis school board, serving from 1989 to 1993, one of several board members opposed to busing for racial integration. Though outspoken on the issue of busing, Holt didn’t generate much additional controversy and was even “known for his jovial demeanor,” according to St. Louis public radio.

    That began to change in 1995, when Holt and a man named Gordon Lee Baum launched a show called “Right at Night” on AM radio station WGNU. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Baum as the founder of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which got its start in 1985. Baum died in March of this year, but tax returns for the group from prior years list him as the group’s treasurer, with Holt as president. Baum and Holt sometimes discussed white rights on their show, but there were other controversial hosts on the station as well. WGNU, which considered itself “Radio Free St. Louis,” had a conservative bent but also gave voice to all manner of iconoclasts, including Onion Horton, whom the Riverfront Times described as a “black supremacist.”

    Holt stepped firmly out of the shadows in November 2003, when he emailed a St. Louis blogger who had labeled him a “racist.” The blogger published Holt’s entire email, which railed against “sanctimonious nigger-lovers” and contained other slurs. After a firestorm erupted, Holt explained on his radio show that he had gotten “liquored up” before sending the email and “probably used the N-word about 20 times too many.” But he didn’t recant anything he had written and concluded by saying, “I guess you could say I called a spade a spade.”

    WGNU didn’t fire Holt, but he went off the air a few years later when new owners bought the station and adopted a Christian broadcasting format. Aside from comments he left on web sites, Holt disappeared from public view. In May 2009, he sold the home he listed as his residence, a four-unit multifamily house in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis. That property was in a more diverse neighborhood than north city, where he owned the apartment building. In Shaw, the population was 53% black and 40% white, according to Census data. Median income was about $38,000, 151% higher than in north city. Holt sold the property for $145,000 to two investors who planned to fix it up and rent it out.

    Holt’s next known residence was at Katherine Falk’s home in Longview—the same home she had shared with her husband, Irving Falk. The house, in one of the wealthiest parts of Longview, is still in her name, though she now goes by Katherine Holt. County records list the appraised value at $570,000, which is 350% higher than the median home value in Longview, according to Zillow.

    It’s not clear how Earl and Katherine Holt met—perhaps through some kind of retreat, if you believe rumors in Longview. When they married, in 2010, the bride was going by her presumed maiden name of Katherine Ann Cook, and at 62, she was five years senior to the 57-year-old Holt. After moving to Longview, Earl Holt mostly kept a low profile, with one exception—he wrote a few letters to the local paper, the News-Journal, that drew attention, such as one in early June, before the Charleston shootings, criticizing newly elected mayor Andy Mack for his support of gay rights.

    Holt’s sudden notoriety has unnerved some people in the area, however, especially those who knew Katherine Holt when she was Katherine Falk. One friend of the family, when asked about Earl Holt, said, “That’s something you need to leave alone,” refusing to comment further. Phillip Bayman, Katherine Holt’s son, said “I have no comment, you have a nice day,” and hung up when asked about his mother’s current husband.

    Yahoo Finance called Earl and Kathleen Holt at home to ask for comment, as well. “I don’t do interviews,” Earl Holt said, “especially with the corrupt leftist media,” and then hung up. A spokesman for the Council of Conservative Citizens, Jared Taylor, confirmed that “Mr. Holt does not want to talk to the media.”

    Campaign donations

    Yahoo Finance can’t prove that Holt’s political donations come directly from Irving Falk’s estate; the evidence is circumstantial. It’s possible that Holt inherited money, or has profitable business interests that aren’t known, or has simply been spending money he had all along. Some have speculated that Holt’s political donations have come from money contributed to the Council of Conservative Citizens, but the group’s tax returns don’t support that. Contributions from 2009 to 2013 totaled about $377,000, with most of that being spent on operating expenses. The tax returns include no mention of political donations. Besides, it would be illegal for an officer of a nonprofit group to use contributions to the group for personal expenditures, whether they be political donations or anything else.

    In 2013, Holt did sell the 18-unit apartment building he owned in north St. Louis, to a Baptist Church next door. But that was three years after his political donations began. Plus, the sale price registered with the county was $0. That suggests Holt gifted the property to the church, perhaps because it was impossible to sell, or it was worth more as a tax write-off than a sale.

    Some residents of Longview wonder if Katherine Holt, now 67 (and not Jewish herself), is willfully complicit in her husband’s activities or has somehow been duped by Earl Holt. “It appears to me he sought out a wealthy widow,” says one local political leader who asked not to be named. “Quite a few of us are trying to get to the bottom of this.”

    It’s possible Katherine Holt became more politically active after meeting her current husband. Federal and state campaign records show no donations from her when she was married to Irving Falk, or during the one-year period when she was his widow. But beginning in July 2010–five months after she married Earl Holt–Katherine Holt began making a few donations to Republicans that eventually totaled $4,500. She donated to Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth of Arizona (who ran for the Senate in 2010 and lost), State Rep. David Simpson and Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Her husband has given money to all the same politicians.

    Tax returns for the Council of Conservative Citizens show something else that’s curious. Returns for 2010 and 2011 list Katherine Holt as one of the organization’s several directors, suggesting she had hands-on involvement with the group. But she wasn’t listed as a director prior to that, when she was still married to Irving Falk, and there’s no known record of her involvement with the group before 2010. Nor was she listed as a director in 2012 or 2013. (The group’s 2014 tax return is not yet available.)

    Murray Moore, the former Longview mayor, faults both Holts for bad publicity visited upon Longview, while lamenting the way Irving Falk’s fortune is seemingly being spent. “It just blows my mind they’re probably spending his money,” he says. “He’s a bigot, and she’s just as culpable as him.” There’s no sign the Holts care what Moore, or anybody, thinks.

    Rick Newman’s latest book is Liberty for All: A Manifesto for Reclaiming Financial and Political Freedom. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.

     View Comments (1018)

    Posted by participo | July 2, 2015, 9:58 am
  6. Yuck. Yahoo Finance has an exclusive piece examining the sudden surge in 2010 in political donations made by Council of Conservative Citizens president Earl Holt. After virtually no donations prior to 2010, Holt suddenly started giving a total of $70,000 over the last five years, exclusively to the GOP. The investgitation wasn’t able to conclude precisely where Holt got that amount of money to donate or what his motivations were for suddenly writing big checks in 2010, but it did point to one very likely source: the heiress of a wealthy jewish business man’s fortune that Holt married in 2010 problem had something to do with his sudden political generosity:

    Yahoo Finance
    How a white supremacist tapped into a Jewish fortune
    Yahoo Finance Exclusive: Earl Holt started giving money to GOP pols after marrying the widow of a Jewish businessman

    By Rick Newman
    July 2, 2015 9:16 AM

    As president of a white nationalist group linked with the murders of nine churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. on June 17, Earl P. Holt III is straddling the uneasy boundary between free speech and racial hatred. Once known only to watchdog groups that monitor extremist groups, Holt has suddenly become notorious for racial slurs splattered across the Internet and for writings on his group’s web site that supposedly inspired Dylann Roof, the alleged Charleston shooter, to carry out a massacre. Holt has become so toxic that Republican politicians who accepted campaign donations from him have returned the money or given it to charity.

    But for most of his life, Holt never gave a dime to politicians. His donations didn’t begin until 2010, when he wrote a few $250 checks to one Congressman from Arizona and another from Hawaii. The checks became more frequent and the amounts larger.

    By 2015, Holt, 62, had made more than 150 political donations totaling nearly $70,000. All the money went to Republicans, including ultraconservatives such as Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, and Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa. Holt also donated to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and to at least three 2016 presidential candidates: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

    What made Holt such a generous donor, seemingly overnight? Holt won’t say, and he refused to speak with Yahoo Finance for this story. But a Yahoo Finance investigation has found that one month before his political donations began, Holt married Katherine Ann Cook of Longview, Texas, whose husband Irving Falk had died one year earlier, leaving a sizable estate to his wife and other family members. Falk had been a successful Jewish businessman in Longview who eventually acquired dozens of oil and gas leases, several commercial real estate properties, at least two homes, and other assets. “It’s common knowledge he was extremely wealthy,” says Murray Moore, the former mayor of Longview.

    Earl Holt may now be extremely wealthy, too, courtesy of Irving Falk’s industriousness.

    The Dylann Roof connection

    Holt’s campaign contributions — and the apparent source of his money — are causing consternation now because of hostility he has shown toward blacks and Jews. Holt is president of a nonprofit group called the Council of Conservative Citizens, based in St. Louis. The group says it supports politically conservative causes and doesn’t encourage or condone racism. It does, however, routinely highlight crimes committed by blacks against whites, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, describes the council as “a virulently racist group whose website has referred to blacks as ‘a retrograde species of humanity.’” The Anti-Defamation League also considers the council extremist and says, “although the group claims not to be racist, its leaders traffic with other white supremacist groups.”

    On its own web site, the council said it was “deeply saddened” by the mass murder in Charleston, and it disavowed any connection to Roof. Yet the attention brought renewed scrutiny of Holt and other members of the group. The Guardian discovered that Holt had donated thousands of dollars to dozens of Republican politicians at the state and national level, prompting most of those still in office to return the money or give it to charity.

    Yahoo Finance set out to answer one basic question: Where did Holt get the $70,000 or so he donated? He’s certainly not in the ranks of megadonors who pony up millions to political candidates, but in five years’ time Holt gave more money to politicians than the typical American family earns in a year. Did he earn the money, inherit it, get it from donors to his nonprofit group or raise it from some other source?

    A ‘brainwashed’ widow

    In Longview, there’s growing discomfort over a racial provocateur in town, and the apparent connection between a deceased Jewish businessman, a white supremacist who expresses animosity toward blacks and Jews, and the widow who may have transferred wealth from one to the other.

    “Many people say her deceased husband would be rolling over in his grave if he knew she was spending his money this way,” says Branden Johnson, president of the NAACP’s Longview chapter. “They feel Katherine has been brainwashed.”

    Irving Falk came to Longview in the late 1930s, part of a small wave of Jews who settled in east Texas while looking for opportunities during the Depression. Falk established a scrap metal company and apparently did well, riding the oil boom emanating from nearby Kilgore. In a historical document, the Institute of Southern Jewish Living described Falk’s company as “a very successful scrap metal business [that] worked intimately with the oil companies of east Texas.” Falk contributed to civic life by helping found the only temple in Longview and the local YMCA, plus contributing money to the United Way, the local junior college, the East Texas Oil Museum and other nonprofits.

    While building his business, Falk married, had a son and got divorced. Around 1977 he got married for a second time. The bride was Katherine Ann Cook, who had one son herself. She became Katherine Falk–and converted to Judaism, according to one person familiar with the family, who asked not to be named.

    Irving Falk’s business expanded into the distribution of steel products, which was more profitable than scrap. At one point it was “one of the largest steel distribution centers in the southwest,” according to Falk’s nephew, Rusty Milstein, who worked at the company. Falk sold his firm in 1999 to a Kansas company, and retired. Since both companies were privately owned, the price was never disclosed, but locals estimate Falk made millions from the sale. Meanwhile, Falk had accumulated dozens of oil and gas leases that paid royalties. In 2003, Falk established a company called IF Investments, LLC, listing himself as president, according to a filing with the Texas Secretary of State. That company became the listed owner of at least six commercial properties in Longview, according to county records.

    Falk died on Feb. 5, 2009, at the age of 90. The obituary in the local paper described him as a “dignified, gracious gentleman” who “traveled the world in connection with his business and had friends and business associates in many countries.” The value of Falk’s estate wasn’t publicly disclosed, but Katherine Falk, his wife, inherited the properties they owned, and became president of IF Investments, which owned the commercial property. The year before he died, Falk owned interests in at least 54 mineral leases, according to county records. Those were transferred to Katherine Cook and her brother, Phillip Cook, and were then sold to Katherine Cook’s son, Phillip Bayman, of Fort Worth. The sale price was confidential.

    Right-wing radio host, slumlord

    While Irving Falk was building his business and his wealth in Longview, Earl Holt III was living a different type of life 600 miles northeast, in St. Louis. On the forms accompanying several of his political donations, Holt listed his occupation as “slumlord” or “retired slumlord.” That may have been a reference to a run-down 18-unit apartment building he owned in a neighborhood known as north city or north St. Louis, a blighted part of town two-and-a-half miles northwest of the Gateway Arch characterized by white flight, abandoned lots and aborted redevelopment efforts. The ZIP code, 63106, is 96% black, according to Census Bureau data, and the median household income is just $15,126 — half the national poverty level for a family of four.

    In 1984, Holt and a partner bought the 18-unit building at 2618-2634 James “Cool Papa” Bell Ave., a street named after the baseball Hall of Famer who played in the Negro Leagues in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. The price was undisclosed. Over time, Holt bought out his partner and transferred the property to a company he created called Bell Properties. Court records show at least 10 lawsuits Holt brought against tenants for unpaid rent and other infractions.

    Holt got elected to the St. Louis school board, serving from 1989 to 1993, one of several board members opposed to busing for racial integration. Though outspoken on the issue of busing, Holt didn’t generate much additional controversy and was even “known for his jovial demeanor,” according to St. Louis public radio.

    That began to change in 1995, when Holt and a man named Gordon Lee Baum launched a show called “Right at Night” on AM radio station WGNU. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Baum as the founder of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which got its start in 1985. Baum died in March of this year, but tax returns for the group from prior years list him as the group’s treasurer, with Holt as president. Baum and Holt sometimes discussed white rights on their show, but there were other controversial hosts on the station as well. WGNU, which considered itself “Radio Free St. Louis,” had a conservative bent but also gave voice to all manner of iconoclasts, including Onion Horton, whom the Riverfront Times described as a “black supremacist.”

    Holt stepped firmly out of the shadows in November 2003, when he emailed a St. Louis blogger who had labeled him a “racist.” The blogger published Holt’s entire email, which railed against “sanctimonious nigger-lovers and contained other slurs. After a firestorm erupted, Holt explained on his radio show that he had gotten “liquored up” before sending the email and “probably used the N-word about 20 times too many.” But he didn’t recant anything he had written and concluded by saying, “I guess you could say I called a spade a spade.”

    WGNU didn’t fire Holt, but he went off the air a few years later when new owners bought the station and adopted a Christian broadcasting format. Aside from comments he left on web sites, Holt disappeared from public view. In May 2009, he sold the home he listed as his residence, a four-unit multifamily house in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis. That property was in a more diverse neighborhood than north city, where he owned the apartment building. In Shaw, the population was 53% black and 40% white, according to Census data. Median income was about $38,000, 151% higher than in north city. Holt sold the property for $145,000 to two investors who planned to fix it up and rent it out.

    Holt’s next known residence was at Katherine Falk’s home in Longview—the same home she had shared with her husband, Irving Falk. The house, in one of the wealthiest parts of Longview, is still in her name, though she now goes by Katherine Holt. County records list the appraised value at $570,000, which is 350% higher than the median home value in Longview, according to Zillow.

    It’s not clear how Earl and Katherine Holt met—perhaps through some kind of retreat, if you believe rumors in Longview. When they married, in 2010, the bride was going by her presumed maiden name of Katherine Ann Cook, and at 62, she was five years senior to the 57-year-old Holt. After moving to Longview, Earl Holt mostly kept a low profile, with one exception—he wrote a few letters to the local paper, the News-Journal, that drew attention, such as one in early June, before the Charleston shootings, criticizing newly elected mayor Andy Mack for his support of gay rights.

    Holt’s sudden notoriety has unnerved some people in the area, however, especially those who knew Katherine Holt when she was Katherine Falk. One friend of the family, when asked about Earl Holt, said, “That’s something you need to leave alone,” refusing to comment further. Phillip Bayman, Katherine Holt’s son, said “I have no comment, you have a nice day,” and hung up when asked about his mother’s current husband.

    Yahoo Finance called Earl and Kathleen Holt at home to ask for comment, as well. “I don’t do interviews,” Earl Holt said, “especially with the corrupt leftist media,” and then hung up. A spokesman for the Council of Conservative Citizens, Jared Taylor, confirmed that “Mr. Holt does not want to talk to the media.”

    Campaign donations

    Yahoo Finance can’t prove that Holt’s political donations come directly from Irving Falk’s estate; the evidence is circumstantial. It’s possible that Holt inherited money, or has profitable business interests that aren’t known, or has simply been spending money he had all along. Some have speculated that Holt’s political donations have come from money contributed to the Council of Conservative Citizens, but the group’s tax returns don’t support that. Contributions from 2009 to 2013 totaled about $377,000, with most of that being spent on operating expenses. The tax returns include no mention of political donations. Besides, it would be illegal for an officer of a nonprofit group to use contributions to the group for personal expenditures, whether they be political donations or anything else.

    In 2013, Holt did sell the 18-unit apartment building he owned in north St. Louis, to a Baptist Church next door. But that was three years after his political donations began. Plus, the sale price registered with the county was $0. That suggests Holt gifted the property to the church, perhaps because it was impossible to sell, or it was worth more as a tax write-off than a sale.

    Some residents of Longview wonder if Katherine Holt, now 67, is willfully complicit in her husband’s activities or has somehow been duped by Earl Holt. “It appears to me he sought out a wealthy widow,” says one local political leader who asked not to be named. “Quite a few of us are trying to get to the bottom of this.”

    It’s possible Katherine Holt became more politically active after meeting her current husband. Federal and state campaign records show no donations from her when she was married to Irving Falk, or during the one-year period when she was his widow. But beginning in July 2010–five months after she married Earl Holt–Katherine Holt began making a few donations to Republicans that eventually totaled $4,500. She donated to Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth of Arizona (who ran for the Senate in 2010 and lost), State Rep. David Simpson and Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Her husband has given money to all the same politicians.

    Tax returns for the Council of Conservative Citizens show something else that’s curious. Returns for 2010 and 2011 list Katherine Holt as one of the organization’s several directors, suggesting she had hands-on involvement with the group. But she wasn’t listed as a director prior to that, when she was still married to Irving Falk, and there’s no known record of her involvement with the group before 2010. Nor was she listed as a director in 2012 or 2013. (The group’s 2014 tax return is not yet available.).
    Murray Moore, the former Longview mayor, faults both Holts for bad publicity visited upon Longview, while lamenting the way Irving Falk’s fortune is seemingly being spent. “It just blows my mind they’re probably spending his money,” he says. “He’s a bigot, and she’s just as culpable as him.” There’s no sign the Holts care what Moore, or anybody, thinks.

    In case you’re curious if Holt has a favorite amongst his many donation recipients, he does indeed. Let’s just say either Earl Holt either has a strong antipathy towards green eggs and ham, or he just really really really likes Ted Cruz for some other reason:

    Longview News-Journal
    Online posts paint picture of Longview white supremacist

    By Phil Latham
    July 5, 2015 at 8:33 a.m.
    Updated July 5, 2015 at 8:33 a.m.

    The well-manicured, generous lawns of Longview’s Clarendon Street where Earl P. Holt III lives today are a world away from the four-plex unit he occupied just six years ago on St. Louis’ Shaw Boulevard, a street packed with houses built a few feet apart.

    As president of the nonprofit Council of Conservative Citizens, Holt has been connected with Dylann Roof, whom authorities say opened fire June 17 in a South Carolina church, killing nine people.

    Before the massacre, Roof wrote he was motivated in part by information on the council’s website, which shocked him with stories of black on white crime.

    For Holt, the world is a landscape of black and white with few, if any, grays — a fact documented in more than 4,300 Internet posts he has written just this year commenting on topics mostly involving race and politics.

    In Longview, he’s kept a low profile, with seemingly few people knowing a white supremacist who expresses deep distrust of Jews and virulent racism against blacks is living in the comfort made possible by a charter member of this city’s Temple Emanu-El.

    Holt does not appear to appreciate Falk’s industriousness.

    Anti-Semitism

    Writing at the beginning of the year on the website American Renaissance, he wrote: “Some of my favorite people are anti-Semites.”

    On another conservative site, Holt commented on a story about the U.S. Treasury, writing, “We’ve GOTTA get the Jews out of the Fed and Treasury.”

    In another comment, he wrote: “Jews cannot be trusted in positions of trust under any circumstances, just as we learned from the VENONA cables.”

    The Venona documents were released by the National Security Agency in 1995 from intercepted Soviet cables and named a number of Americans.

    Other scorn is heaped upon “Jewish leftists,” whom Holt asserts make up about 80 percent of the Jewish population in the United States.

    He wrote on The Washington Times website that, “I have no doubt that the 80 percent of American Jews who voted to re-elect the Bolshevik-in-Chief will blame conservative Republicans, when Israel is eventually reduced to rubble by an Iranian nuclear warhead.”

    On the Breitbart News Network site, he wrote, “I am under no illusion, whatsoever, about the Jewish left in this country: They provided the NKVD and GRU with the vast majority of its spies within the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations. They DEFINE treason and betrayal.”

    Political contributions

    Holt’s distaste of Jews has not stopped him from using funds that could have been left by Falk to support his political favorites. Before his marriage to Katherine, Holt was not a contributor, according to federal campaign finance reports.

    Since that time, however, he has donated about $70,000 to political causes, with GOP presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz clearly his favorite in money given and comments on the Internet. He says in numerous posts that “Cruz is (Ronald) Reagan with a 60-point higher IQ.”

    “There’s a reason that Alan Dershowitz remarked that Ted Cruz was the brightest student he ever had at Harvard Law. Cruz will decimate his rivals in the Republican Primary Debates, and force Republicans to ask themselves: ‘Why haven’t we had a nominee like this since Ronald Reagan?’ ” he wrote on the Human Events’ website.

    After the connection between Roof and Holt was revealed, Cruz donated more than $8,000 in Holt contributions to a fund for the Charleston church, as did some others. The largest number of politicians who had received funds simply returned the contributions to Holt.

    By this year, according to Federal Election Commission data, Holt made more than 150 political donations. The money went to Republicans, including former presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Holt also donated to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and to at least two other 2016 presidential candidates: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

    Local reaction

    Branden Johnson, president of the Longview NAACP, said Holt’s views are so extreme that all people need to be ready to refute them.

    “There are a lot of things that are happening right now really in line with the Constitution that are good, but individuals like him are a retardant to the community,” he said. “To call an entire group of people degenerates is wrong.”

    Holt is not alone in his opinions, Johnson said, and noted that blacks frequently encounter such attitudes.

    “We know that there are bankers, lawyers, even Realtors in Longview who will not do business with us,” he said. “This is no surprise. I have no permanent enemies, though, if he ever comes into the light, I know he will understand.”

    Rusty Milstein, the rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, said he does not know Holt and has met him once at most.

    Katherine Holt, however, continues to have a connection with the temple.

    “About the only thing I can tell you is that Kathy Holt still supports the temple,” he said. “I don’t know a thing about Earl Holt, and I was very surprised to learn what I learned.”

    Others closely connected with the Jewish community here would only say Katherine Holt remains friendly and has not changed over the past six years.

    Attempts to contact Falk’s son were unsuccessful, and most people reached for this story declined to comment.

    The News-Journal also attempted to reach Holt through his email address but did not receive a response. He has declined to be interviewed by the newspaper on previous occasions, including at the door of his home.

    “Katherine Holt, however, continues to have a connection with the temple…Others closely connected with the Jewish community here would only say Katherine Holt remains friendly and has not changed over the past six years.”
    There’s got to be some chutzpah tucked away in there somewhere. Or brainwashing. It’s looking like an either/or situation Katherine Holt.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 6, 2015, 6:11 pm
  7. South Carolina just took down the Confederate Battle flag from the state capital grounds. It’s one of those “better late than never!” national moments. It also would have been part a really fabulous national coming together moment if it hadn’t been for this:

    TPM DC
    House Dems Seize The Advantage After Epic GOP Fail On Confederate Flag

    By Tierney Sneed
    Published July 9, 2015, 5:40 PM EDT

    As Republicans face a withering blowback for embracing the display of Confederate flags on National Parks and federal cemeteries, Democrats are looking to capitalize on the misfire and draw attention to Republican reluctance to let go of the Confederate flag.

    The procedural maneuvering is a little complicated, but the gist is this: Late Wednesday night Republicans introduced an amendment that would have reversed a previously passed Democratic amendment restricting the display of Confederate flags at federal cemeteries.

    Democrats were quick to decry the sneak-attack reversal, carrying with them to the House floor poster boards bearing the Confederate flag. The backlash was so immediate and fierce that by Thursday morning the House GOP leadership was forced to cancel a vote on a major Interior appropriations bill that contained the flag provision.

    GOP leaders said they would hold off on voting on the Interior bill until the Confederate flag question was sorted out.

    “I think it’s time for some adults here in Congress to sit down and have conversation about how to address this issue,” House Speaker Boehner told reporters at his weekly press conference. “I do not want this to become some political football.

    However, Democrats insisted they would wait to address the Confederate flag issue no longer. House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) introduced a resolution to remove from the U.S. Capitol state flags containing the Confederate flag, which a rowdy House by mostly party line voted to refer to committee. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) had introduced a similar measure two weeks ago, which was also referred to committee.

    The controversy began late Wednesday night when Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) introduced an amendment to the Interior bill that would scale back language offered by Democrats that would have prohibited the sale and display of the Confederate flag at National Parks and federal cemeteries. The Democratic amendments had previously passed by voice vote without opposition.

    “Unfortunately, we are unable to speak with one voice on this issue today because of the faction within the Republican caucus that is frankly out of step with the times we live in, with where the country wants us to go on this issue, and with the values that I believe our country holds dear,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), one of the amendment sponsors, said at a press conference Thursday.

    Democrats suggested that the GOP reversal was a last ditch effort to shore up Republican support on the larger Interior bill, which was already facing criticisms from conservative House members for not doing enough to dismantle environmental protections. A statement issued Thursday by the Republican amendment’s sponsor as the measure fell apart seemed to support this account.

    “The amendment offered last night to the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill was brought to me by Leadership at the request of some southern Members of the Republican Caucus,” Calvert said. “Looking back, I regret not conferring with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, especially my Ranking Member Betty McCollum, prior to offering the Leadership’s amendment and fully explaining its intent given the strong feelings Members of the House feel regarding this important and sensitive issue.”

    McCollum, a Minnesota Democrat, immediately reacted to the move Wednesday night on the House floor and was still seething Thursday morning when talking to reporters.

    “I was rather taken back by the amendment being offered and I was deeply disturbed by the action and by the fact that it was done so much at the last minute,” McCollum said.

    According to Pelosi, GOP leadership feared they would lose the votes of 100 Republican members out of opposition to the amendments banning the flag an National Parks, and she noted at Thursday’s press conference that leadership had sought to limit floor debate on the matter.

    “They were afraid of what our colleagues said here. But I tell you, they were more afraid of what those 100 members of Congress might come to the floor and say in defense of the Calvert amendment,” she said.

    Nevertheless, the spotlight is back on Republicans, who have stalled Democrats’ efforts to remove the flag and other Confederate symbols from the U.S. Capitol grounds. Thursday’s ruckus came as the Republican-led South Carolina statehouse removed the Confederate flag from its Capitol grounds. It also marked the anniversary of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted African Americans equal protection under the law after the Civil War.

    Yes, on the anniversary of the 14th Amendment, the House had to call of a vote on the Interior bill due to a last-minute sneaking of an amendment into the bill that would have allowed the Confederate flag to fly in National Parks and federal cemeteries. And not only was the amendment apparently introduced at the request of “of some southern Members of the Republican Caucus” (about 100 members, according to Nancy Pelosi), but one of the apparent motivations for introducing the the pro-Confederate flag amendment was that it would offset GOP opposition to the Interior bill because the bill doesn’t do enough to remove federal environmental protections:


    Democrats suggested that the GOP reversal was a last ditch effort to shore up Republican support on the larger Interior bill, which was already facing criticisms from conservative House members for not doing enough to dismantle environmental protections. A statement issued Thursday by the Republican amendment’s sponsor as the measure fell apart seemed to support this account.

    “The amendment offered last night to the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill was brought to me by Leadership at the request of some southern Members of the Republican Caucus,” Calvert said. “Looking back, I regret not conferring with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, especially my Ranking Member Betty McCollum, prior to offering the Leadership’s amendment and fully explaining its intent given the strong feelings Members of the House feel regarding this important and sensitive issue.”

    So the party of the plutocrats had to introduce an amendment intended to keep in place a symbol designed to poison of the hearts and minds of their fellow Americans (so they keep voting for the party of the plutocrats) in order to shore up support for a bill that wouldn’t poison everyone’s bodies as much as the plutocrats would prefer.

    There’s no shortage of symbolism there! Maybe we could make a new flag to commemorate this moment so we never forget it. There are lots of symbols that could work.

    Also, note that it was apparently the House GOP leadership that requested that the amendment be pushed in the first place on behalf of the Southern members of the GOP Caucus. Hopefully we’ll find out which member of the leadership delivered the message. There could be some additional symbolism tucked away in there too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 10, 2015, 7:52 am
  8. We now have a better idea of which GOP House leadership members pushed the GOP’s failed ‘save the flag’ amendment into the Interior bill. Surprise! It wasn’t House Whip Steve “I’m like David Duke without the baggage” Scalise. It was House Speaker John Boehner. Specifically, one of Boehner’s senior staff, who showed up to the committee meeting and somehow made it clear to Rep. Ken Calvert that the amendment needed to happen:

    CQRoll Call
    Confederate Flag Fiasco: Who Signed Off on the Calvert Amendment? (Updated)

    By Emma Dumain Posted at 9:57 a.m. July 10

    Updated: 10:45 a.m. | They may be referring to it as the “Calvert amendment,” but House Democrats and Republicans agree: Whatever prompted Rep. Ken Calvert to come to the floor late Wednesday night to offer an amendment to reverse an earlier vote to ban Confederate flags at federal cemeteries, it wasn’t the California Republican’s idea.

    In the hours that followed, culminating in GOP leadership pulling its first appropriations bill of the season, lawmakers said it was unfortunate that Calvert, chairman of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, was getting much of blame for the events that transpired.

    “Ken wasn’t defending the amendment,” said Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, the chairman of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. “But now … he’s the bad guy, he’s the racist out there, and that’s sad, because that’s not Ken.”

    “He’s a gentleman,” said Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member Betty McCollum, D-Minn. “He runs his committee in a very open, fair, transparent matter. He’s got great, transparent staff, which is why the fact that this happened is a total shock.”

    There’s still a lot to learn about who made the decision to send Calvert out to undo the amendment prohibiting the Confederate imagery on certain government grounds, which GOP leaders calculated was necessary to win Republican votes on a measure that was already on life support.

    However, members and aides on both sides of the aisle shared versions of events with CQ Roll Call Thursday that suggest the calculation was made at the very top, at the eleventh hour and with little to no coordination or communication with Republican appropriators who would ordinarily have been kept in the loop.

    After nearly 20 hours of debate on various amendments to the Interior-Environment spending bill, it looked like members were finally wrapping things up on Wednesday night. Calvert, McCollum and Democratic appropriator Chellie Pingree of Maine were the only lawmakers paying attention to floor proceedings.

    “I usually stay around for most of the debate on the Interior bill, but I had to go get my dry cleaning so I’d have something to wear today,” Simpson recalled. “I got home and turned on the TV and Ken was using his motions to strike the last word … and I said, ‘What’s going on?’ And all of a sudden somebody hands him this amendment and he does it and I kind of go, ‘Oh, shit.’”

    Back in the chamber, McCollum and Pingree were noticing something strange as well.

    “All of a sudden, there was this slow lag,” McCollum said, “and Calvert starts talking about wildfires and climate change and striking the last word,” the latter a parliamentary maneuver to keep talking beyond the time allotted.

    The real red flag was the sudden appearance of leadership staff, namely senior aides for Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.

    “We’ve had really good communications between Republican staff and the Democratic staff on the Interior committee, but these were new folks who were kind of coming in,” McCollum went on. “And the next we knew there was this amendment being handed to us as the clerk was reading it.”

    “I watched what looked like an unexpected event for Mr. Calvert,” Pingree said. “It didn’t look like this was his idea and it seemed like there was a lot of agitation on the floor.”

    The amendment, written on the fly, didn’t mention the “Confederate flag” once. It sought to codify an Obama administration memo stating the Confederate flag may be flown on very specific ceremonial occasions in federal cemeteries, but what it was really doing was reversing California Democrat Jared Huffman’s amendment, which had already been adopted by voice vote, that barred all such practices. It took time for everyone to figure out what the language actually meant.

    Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, a member of the Appropriations Committee, told CQ Roll Call on Thursday morning he’d been out at dinner the night before, with a cellphone that had just enough battery life to call an Uber to get him home. He didn’t find out about the developments until later, even though one of his dinner companions happened to be House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

    “I was having dinner with Kevin and some other people,” Stewart said. “I think [colleagues] tried to inform me, but as I said my cellphone wasn’t working.”

    Stewart said McCarthy didn’t make mention of what was going on at the Capitol at all during the dinner with some members of the Western Caucus. On Thursday evening, one House Republican, upon hearing this from CQ Roll Call, said it didn’t surprise him: Leadership didn’t anticipate this floor action would have nearly as much consequence as it did.

    Republicans were ultimately unprepared Thursday to face the wrath of House Democrats, who seized on the fact the chamber was set to vote on the “Calvert amendment” the very same day — perhaps the very same hour — that South Carolina was taking down its Confederate flag from the state capitol building.

    In speech after speech on the House floor, Democrats talked about the shooting at the black church in Charleston that spearheaded the national movement to remove Confederate imagery in public places.

    Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi forced two proxy votes on the second privileged resolution in two weeks that would call for the House to take down its display of the Mississippi state flag, which incorporates the Confederate flag into its design.

    “A good message is exploiting bad ideas,” Israel told CQ Roll Call with a wide grin.

    Around the time Republican leaders announced they would no longer be holding a final passage vote on the Interior-Environment appropriations bill, Calvert sent out a statement.

    “The amendment offered last night … was brought to me by Leadership at the request of some southern Members of the Republican Caucus,” he wrote. “To be clear, I wholeheartedly support the Park Service’s prohibitions regarding the Confederate flag and the amendment did nothing to change these prohibitions.”

    “Any one of them could have asked for a roll call vote then, and nobody did,” Simpson said of the Republican opponents to whom Calvert referred. “None of them had the balls … they had Calvert do it, he got sucked into it.”

    Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., the ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee, said this about Calvert: “The chairman of that subcommittee has to fall on his sword. … He’s a decent guy — he knew this wasn’t right. And like a soldier he goes out and falls on his sword for the rest of them.”

    “Any one of them could have asked for a roll call vote then, and nobody did…None of them had the balls … they had Calvert do it, he got sucked into it.”

    No shortage of symbolism there!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 10, 2015, 10:05 am
  9. A black church just burned down in Houston. So we can add one more to the list of suddenly highly flammable black churches:

    International Business Times
    Black Church Burnings: Houston’s Fifth Ward Missionary Baptist Latest To Catch Fire

    By Julia Glum on July 15 2015 12:47 PM EDT

    Authorities responded early Wednesday morning to a fire at Houston’s Fifth Ward Missionary Baptist Church, the latest in a rash of burnings at predominantly black religious institutions. Nobody was injured in Wednesday fire, but the Texas church was “significantly damaged,” KHOU reported. It took firefighters about 30 minutes to extinguish the flames.

    The Houston Chronicle reported that officials were investigating what caused the fire, which was first reported at 7:34 a.m. News of the blaze came as police in other states were looking into similar incidents at other churches across the South over the past month. The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were reportedly working with local agencies to determine whether the fires were connected.

    At least six churches have been burned since a white shooter killed nine black people during a June 17 massacre at the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The fatal shooting set off a nationwide discussion about race relations in the United States.

    Recent church burnings include:
    * On June 21, a person lit hay bales at College Hill Seventh-Day Adventist in Knoxville, Tennessee. The building wasn’t harmed, but a van was destroyed.
    * On June 23, a suspected arsonist burned down God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia. Authorities said they hadn’t found evidence the fire was a hate crime.
    * On June 24, Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, suffered more than $250,000 in damages after a suspected arsonist set fire to the building. It was unclear whether the fire was racially motivated.
    * On June 26, the Greater Miracle Temple in Tallahassee caught fire when a tree fell on electric wires. Fire marshals ruled the incident accidental.
    * On June 26, Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina burned down. State law enforcement were unable to determine what caused the fire.
    * On June 30, Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina, caught fire likely due to lightning strikes.

    Is this sudden surge in black church burnings following the Charleston Massacre part of a wave of racially motivated hate crimes?

    Well, as the ol’ saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire…unless it’s smoke associated with the burning a black church, in which case it’s just a random tragedy. It’s a really unpleasant saying.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 15, 2015, 2:17 pm
  10. America’s Secret Jihad
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRLJotZiSv8

    Stuart Wexler, historian who has spent the last decade researching domestic and religious terrorism, and author of the new book America’s Secret Jihad, joins David to talk about less commonly discussed reality of domestic terrorism in the US

    Posted by John | July 22, 2015, 11:15 am
  11. More details are emerging on the shooter in the Lafayette, LA, theater shooting: Surprise! He’s a neo-Nazi with a history of advocating lone-wolf style attacks:

    Yahoo News
    John Russel Houser: What we know about Louisiana movie theater shooting suspect

    By Michael Walsh
    7/24/2015

    A gunman killed two people and wounded at least nine others during a showing of “Trainwreck” at a movie theater in Louisiana.

    The 59-year-old “lone white male” opened fire about 20 minutes into the film Thursday evening at the Grand 16 theater in Lafayette, roughly 60 miles west of Baton Rouge.

    Authorities identified the shooting suspect as John Russel Houser. It appears that he turned the gun on himself after unsuccessfully trying to flee by blending in with the crowd, according to police.

    Houser is originally from Phenix City, Ala., but had bounced around before ending up at a local Motel 6, authorities said.

    Police searched the room they think he was staying in and found wigs, glasses and other items that could be used as a disguise, they said.

    A Columbus, Ga., woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told Yahoo News that she had purchased a home that Houser once shared with his wife. The suspect eventually lived in the house alone for two years without making any payments, she said.

    “You don’t know crazy. You don’t know what we went through with that house,” she said to Yahoo News over the phone. “He had lots and lots of problems.”

    The woman said Houser came from a “fine family in Columbus” — his mother was a schoolteacher, and his father was tax commissioner for Columbus. He used to attend church services years ago, she said.

    She added that Houser once attended law school but dropped out.

    “We’ve been up all night with the FBI,” she said. “He was dangerous. I’m just so glad that no more people were hurt than was hurt. It’s sad. We’re sad.”

    In 2008, Houser’s wife, Kellie Maddox Houser, and other family members requested a protective order from him.

    According to court documents, obtained by the Associated Press, he “exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements.”

    The filing said Houser had “a history of mental health issues, i.e., manic depression and/or bi-polar disorder.”

    His wife also removed all weapons from their home because she feared his “volatile mental state,” according to the paperwork.

    The protective order was at least temporarily granted. She later filed for divorce.

    Houser had been arrested several times from 10 to 15 years ago on various charges, including arson, selling alcohol to a minor and speeding, according to the AP.

    Jim Mustian, a journalist for the New Orleans Advocate, citing a local sheriff, said that Houser was denied a pistol permit in 2006 in Russell County, Ala.

    The suspect’s Linkedin profile describes him as an entrepreneur in “investment management.” He claimed to have owned two pubs in Georgia and to have tried his hand at real estate development in 2006.

    He pursued a bachelor of business administration at Columbus State University from 1985 until 1988 and a juris doctorate (law degree) at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala., his profile said.

    Houser listed “God’s Business” as one of his skills.

    He appeared on “Calvin Floyd Live,” previously called “Rise and Shine,” on WLTZ NBC 38 in more than 60 episodes, according to the LinkedIn page.

    “Invited political controversy on every one of them, and loved every minute of it,” he said.

    The show’s host, Floyd, told Yahoo News that he invited Houser on his show many times to discuss his radical views because it was entertaining and caused tremendous buzz.

    “He was a guest because he was good TV entertainment, not because it was a respected opinion that he had to say. But he was very entertaining all the time,” Floyd said in a phone interview with Yahoo news. “He had Tea Party-radical Republican views on everything. I’d have a Democratic spokesperson on [for the opposing perspective]. He generated a lot of phone calls.”

    Houser was a member of Tea Party Nation, according to the group’s website.

    The Hatewatch Blog, which is run by the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, uncovered that Houser posted about his fondness for Hitler, neo-Nazis and lone wolves on several online forums.

    “Do not mistake yourselves for one minute, the enemy sees all posted on this website,” he wrote on a site dedicated to the New York chapter of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn, which espouses fascist and neo-Nazi ideologies.

    “I do not want to discourage the last hope for the best, but you must realize the power of the lone wolf, is the power that can come forth in ALL situations.Look within yourselves,” he continued.

    Elsewhere, on the U.S. Message Board, a political discussion forum, he wrote, “Hitler accomplished far more than any other through ‘pragmatically forming.'”

    Authorities identified the young women he murdered as Macy Breaux, 21, and Jillian Johnson, 33, and said another person is in critical condition.

    Houser’s apparent getaway vehicle had switched license plates on it and was parked near a cinema exit door, Craft said.

    “It is apparent that he was intent on shooting and then escaping,” he added.

    The shooting occurred just a week after James Holmes was convicted in the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.

    “I do not want to discourage the last hope for the best, but you must realize the power of the lone wolf, is the power that can come forth in ALL situations. Look within yourselves.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 24, 2015, 8:27 am
  12. Hundreds of Confederate flag enthusiasts gathered recently at a rally dedicated to making the point that the flag was about heritage, not hate. The location for the rally? Stone Mountain, Georgia, the same place that the Klan restarted itself in 1915 following the release of the The Birth of a Nation.
    But that was almost a century ago. The recent gathering at Stone Mountain was about a totally different cause. At least, that was the official theme of the rally. Although, as the speech from the League of the South representative indicated, there were some unofficial themes too:

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Hundreds rally at Stone Mountain for Confederate flag

    Posted: 5:04 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015

    By Chris Joyner – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    L.C. Thornton, a tall black man in a ball cap and sunglasses, trained his camera Saturday across a sea of waving Confederate flags attached to the beds of hundreds of pickup trucks and SUVs.

    “Normally, I’m a birder. I take pictures of birds and wildlife,” said Thornton, a Stone Mountain resident and Vietnam veteran. “I just came up to see who would show up out here and how many people show up out here.”

    A mostly white crowd from across Georgia and surrounding states spent most of Saturday in a parking lot at Stone Mountain Park, protesting what they believe is an attack on their Southern heritage. Police did not offer an estimate of the crowd size, but it appeared to be about 600 to 800 people. The rally drew groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the neo-Confederate League of the South, but for the most part it was just individuals convinced they were under attack.

    “This is about erasing us,” said Jimmy, a representative of the League of the South who refused to give his last name. “This is about our First Amendment rights, our Second Amendment rights — every amendment you’ve got.”

    Civil rights groups have called for the eradication of Confederate symbols on public property since the June 17 mass shooting by an avowed white supremacist in Charleston that claimed the lives of nine African-American churchgoers. After the shooting, politicians in South Carolina moved quickly to take down a Confederate flag that had flown on state Capitol grounds since 2000, when it was removed from atop the Capitol itself.

    In Georgia, attention has focused on Stone Mountain.

    Jimmy’s speech to the crowd through an overmatched PA system drew appreciative whoops from the crowd, especially when he quoted Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America and one of the three figures carved on Stone Mountain. But he never said the word “secede,” even though secession of the Southern states is the central goal of his group.

    “I feel like the people here are smart enough to put two and two together,” he said.

    The Atlanta chapter of the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference have demanded the 90-by-900-foot bas-relief sculpture of Davis and Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson be removed. Two weeks ago, the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution asking the carving be amended to include other historical figures, such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. or President Jimmy Carter.

    Since the Charleston shootings and subsequent complaints about Confederate symbols, there have been 132 Confederate flag rallies across the United States, most in the Southeast. Organizers predicted attendance of 5,000 or more for the Stone Mountain rally, but those predictions fell far short. Still, it was one of the larger rallies so far.

    Park officials put the protesters in a large parking lot across from the park police station and away from where they might interfere with hikers or visitors to the park’s other attractions. Heavily armed members of a militia group calling itself the Georgia Security Force III% walked the rows of parked cars, providing security for the rally, although park police were visible throughout. U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, was among the curious who came by the rally. Johnson did not address the crowd or identify himself.

    John Bankhead, spokesman for the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, said organizers gave the park an early heads up about the rally, but he stressed the park was not involved with the groups.

    “We don’t endorse it,” said. “The park is open to the public. Anybody that can pay the $15 fee can come into the park, and they have a right to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

    The rally was peaceful for most of the morning, largely because few people from the other side of the issue bothered to show up. But tempers frayed as a handful of people began to take the pro-flag group to task.

    Billy Armistead of Covington said he attended the rally to honor the memory of his relative Lewis A. Armistead, who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. For him, the flag stands for heritage.

    “We’re here to support our heritage,” he said. “We’re not racist. We’re doing a peaceful thing.”

    Across the parking lot, Allan Croft, a bearded Dalton resident, debated Southern history with a group of young black men.

    “Yeah, we didn’t want our daughters to marry you and we didn’t want our children to go to school with you,” he said. “But you’ve got to realize something, your parents didn’t want it, either.”

    Croft blamed integration and the civil rights movement on “Communist Jews” and said accused Charleston shooter Dylann Roof “should have went to the synagogue, because that’s the enemy of all of us.”

    Saturday’s rally put Stone Mountain and Atlanta in an unwelcome spotlight amid continued strained race relations around the nation.

    Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center said his group had been monitoring the build-up to Saturday’s rally, noting especially the influence of the League of the South and various militia groups.

    Kenneth Noe, a professor of Southern history at Auburn University, said Stone Mountain is a logical focal point, as it has long been an important place for people in the Southern heritage movement. But the recent calls to alter the mountain’s iconic carving have raised the memorial’s profile, especially among fringe elements within that movement.

    Noe said there are strong historical connections between Stone Mountain and white supremacists, segregationists and neo-Confederates.

    “For 40 years, it had these pretty obvious Klan overtones,” he said.

    The mountain’s former owner, Samuel Venable, took an active role in reviving the Klan, which re-established itself in 1915 with a cross-burning on Stone Mountain’s peak. Within five years, the Klan had an estimated 5 million supporters nationwide and was a formidable terror organization for decades.

    The iconic carving was conceived around the same time, with sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s original design featuring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee leading his troops and KKK members. Borglum was fired from the job and another sculptor hired, but by 1928 only Lee’s head was finished.

    The project remained shelved until the 1950s, when interest picked back up amid the growing civil rights movement and a massive Southern white backlash.

    The state purchased the land for $2 million in 1958 and Gov. Marvin Griffin signed legislation creating the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, which would shepherd the project to completion in 1972.

    Potok said the mountain’s historic connections with the Klan make it a poor choice if the protesters are sincere about their goals.

    “It’s really remarkable that these people go to Stone Mountain to prove that it’s ‘heritage, not hate,’ and this is the birthplace of the second era of the Klan,” he said. Regardless, he said the rallies are “unbelievably counterproductive” if their goal is gain wider acceptance of the flag. It really does the opposite, he said, cementing the notion that it is a flag of white extremists.

    “It’s really remarkable that these people go to Stone Mountain to prove that it’s ‘heritage, not hate,’ and this is the birthplace of the second era of the Klan.”
    Remarkable, yes. Surprising? Eh.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 5, 2015, 5:32 pm
  13. A recent Pew poll found that 57 percent of Americans support the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds, while 34 percent believe it was the wrong move. This is somewhat juxtaposed with a CNN poll from July 2nd that found 57 percent of Americans see the flag as more a symbol of Southern pride than as a symbol of racism. It’s a reflection of how a random object can sort of symbolize anything which is exactly why symbols are such potent social tools: to one group of people a flag really can represent something like ‘heritage’ or ‘pride’; for another it might represent a reminder of state-sanctioned terrorism and oppression; and for yet another group that same flag might represent a celebration of that same state-sanctioned terrorism and oppression. And with something like the Confederate flag, all of those symbolic interpretations are happening side by side. The celebration of the regional pride and the implicit threats towards African Americans of both state-sanctioned and vigilante terrorism (which is also celebrated by some, but reviled by many) are basically inseparable which is part of why the GOP-controlled Congress couldn’t even get itself to remove the Confederate flag from federal cemeteries and gift shops.

    Overcoming such a sharp divide in the interpretation of a symbol obviously isn’t going to be easy. But let’s keep in mind that the subjective nature of these kinds of symbols actually gives us a possible path towards a new consensus that just might make resolving the debate over the flag that much easier.

    For instance, in additional to all the other popular symbolic interpretations of the flag that already exists, there’s no reason we can’t add new interpretations. New interpretations that might actually bridge the divide a bit. New interpretations like how the Confederate flag represents a giant socioeconomic con-job that was perpetrated by the aristocrats and ruined the lives of against not just the slaves but also 99% of the rest of the Southern whites who saw their socioeconomic prospects undermined and destroyed by slavery to such an extent that the damage is still felt to this day:

    Richmond Times-Dispatch
    HYMAN: The Confederacy was a con job on whites – and still is

    Posted: Friday, August 7, 2015 10:30 pm

    BY FRANK HYMAN

    I’ve lived 55 years in the South and I grew up liking the Confederate flag. I haven’t flown one for many decades — but for a reason that might surprise you.

    I know the South well. We lived wherever the Marine Corps stationed my father: Georgia, Virginia, the Carolinas. My favorite uncle wasn’t in the military, but he did pack a .45-caliber Thompson submachine gun in his trunk. He was a leader in the Ku Klux Klan. Despite my role models, I was an inept racist as a kid. I got into trouble once in the first grade for calling a classmate the N-word. But he was Hispanic.

    As I grew up and acquired empathy, I learned that for black folks the flutter of the Confederate flag felt like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. And for the most prideful flag-wavers, clearly that response was the point. I mean, come on. It’s a battle flag.

    What the flag symbolizes for blacks is enough reason to take it down. But there’s another reason white Southerners shouldn’t fly it. Or sport it on our state-issued license plates, as some do here in North Carolina. The Confederacy — and the slavery that spawned it — was also one big con job on the Southern white working class. A con job funded by some of the antebellum one-percenters, and one that continues today in a similar form.

    You don’t have to be an economist to see that forcing blacks — a third of the South’s laborers — to work without pay drove down wages for everyone else. And not just in agriculture. A quarter of enslaved blacks worked in the construction, manufacturing and lumbering trades, cutting wages even for skilled white workers.

    Thanks to the profitability of this no-wage/low-wage combination, a majority of American one-percenters were Southerners. Slavery made Southern states the richest in the country. The South was richer than any other country except England. But that vast wealth was invisible outside the plantation ballrooms. With low wages and few schools, Southern whites suffered a much lower land ownership rate and a far lower literacy rate than Northern whites.

    My ancestor, Canna Hyman, and his two sons did own land and fought under that flag. A note from our family history says: “Someone came for them while they were plowing one day. They put their horses up and all three went away to the War and only one son, William, came back.”

    Like Canna, most Southerners didn’t own slaves. But they were persuaded to risk their lives and limbs for the right of a few to get rich as Croesus from slavery. For their sacrifices and their votes, they earned two things before and after the Civil War. First, a very skinny slice of the immense Southern pie. And second, the thing that made those slim rations palatable then and now: the shallow satisfaction of knowing blacks had no slice at all.

    How did the plantation-owning one-percenters mislead so many Southern whites?

    They managed this con job partly with a propaganda technique that will be familiar to modern Americans. Starting in the 1840s, wealthy Southerners supported more than 30 regional pro-slavery magazines, along with many pamphlets and novels that falsely touted slave ownership as having benefits that would — in today’s lingo — trickle down to benefit non-slave-owning whites and even blacks. The flip side of the coin of this propaganda is the mistaken notion that any gain by blacks comes at the expense of the white working class.

    Today’s version of this con job no longer supports slavery, but still works in the South and thrives in pro-trickle-down think tanks, magazines, newspapers, talk radio and TV news shows such as the Cato Foundation, Reason magazine, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. These sources are often underwritten by pro-trickle-down one-percenters like the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch.

    For example, a map of states that didn’t expand Medicaid — which would actually be a boon mostly to poor whites — resembles a map of the old Confederacy with a few other poor, rural states thrown in. Another indication that this divisive propaganda works on Southern whites came in 2012. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama evenly split the white working class in the West, Midwest and Northeast. But in the South, we went 2-1 for Romney.

    One can love the South without flying the battle flag. But it won’t help to get rid of an old symbol if we can’t also rid ourselves of the self-destructive beliefs that go with it.

    “What the flag symbolizes for blacks is enough reason to take it down. But there’s another reason white Southerners shouldn’t fly it. Or sport it on our state-issued license plates, as some do here in North Carolina. The Confederacy — and the slavery that spawned it — was also one big con job on the Southern white working class. A con job funded by some of the antebellum one-percenters, and one that continues today in a similar form.”

    Could an additional symbolic interpretation actually catch on? Let’s hope so, because if the Confederate flag can become a symbol for not just overt slavery and racism but ALSO a symbol for the crypto-‘slavery-lite’ for the non-slave that came with living in a society run by aristocrats employing a slavery con-job, who knows, maybe the Confederate flag could sort of become a unifying force: a symbol that represents a socioeconomic aristocratic worldview that NO ONE, of any race, should EVER want to live under. Sure, such an interpretation would complicate some aspects of the ‘Southern pride’ dimension of the flag’s symbolism, but really only the parts that involved succumbing to the Southern aristocracy’s head games. And it’s not like racism con-jobs that screwed over the vast majority of people of all races were limited to the South or just the 19th century. So by adding the symbolic interpretation of the flag as a symbol of an elite con-job it’s no longer just a symbol of the South.

    And here’s the best part about the fungible nature of flag symbolism: Let’s say it really happened and the Confederate flag came to represent supply-side aristocratic con-jobs that people of all races and creeds should strive to never repeat. Well, in a strange way, at that point the flag really could represent something positive: it would then become the symbol that helped shake us out of an ongoing ideological mental fog nightmare where the poorest and most vulnerable members of society are systemically exploited and then blamed for society’s ills. Let’s just let the flag act like a mental focus for reflecting on the past, the good and bad, but not repeat the mistakes of the past, mistakes that took place all over the US and not just in the South. And let’s use that mental focus to create a more perfect union. In that kind of world, a flying Confederate flag would actually represent our collective resolve to never forget the collective madness of the past, whether its the 19th or 20th century or whenever, learn from that madness, and become a better, wiser people. Heck, if we lived in that world, the Confederate flag wouldn’t just represent Southern pride when viewed in its most positive light. It would be American pride that we’re a people that learn from the past and just keep getting better. And all the people that really are flying the Confederate flag with racist pride would be forced to know that everyone else views that flag with the complete opposite

    Granted, we have to actually create that nation that isn’t still in the thrall of an aristocratic con-job before we can declare “good job, flag!” But who knows, maybe calling for turning the Confederate flag into a symbol of mass socioeconomic gullibility will help us create get there, in turn, help turn the flag into a symbol of collectively overcoming mass gullibility by learning from the past. At least, it’s an option. Symbolism is like that.

    Of course, trying to turn the Confederate flag into an ironic symbol of overcoming the worst of aspects of American history just might be a really bad idea. Especially at first since since we would probably suddenly see Confederate flags flying everywhere rather insincerely. Still, it could be worse!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 8, 2015, 1:34 pm

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