Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Nondiscrimination

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Donald Trump is the face of modern fascism

“Nationalism, condescension towards human rights, use of scapegoats for a unifying cause, sexism, threats to free journalism, subordinating all other concerns for national security, fetish for police power, are some of the common traits of fascism. Trump check marks on all of them, albeit in a modern American context,” writes University of North Florida President Parvez Ahmed.

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Trump’s message resonating with — and mobilizing — white supremacists

“Intentionally or not, Donald Trump’s remarks are resonating with — and mobilizing — white supremacists, many of whom have traditionally refrained from participating in the political process. He has their support, whether he wants it or not,” writes Jonathan Mahler.

Quotation

A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian… I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”

Pope Francis, speaking to reporters on his return flight from Mexico. His Holiness asserted that Donald Trump is “not Christian” if he really wants to wall off Mexico from United States and deport millions of immigrants.

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President Obama at Maryland mosque: ‘You fit in here’

The Baltimore Sun reports: “President Barack Obama, speaking in Baltimore County during his first visit to a U.S. mosque, urged voters to reject the ‘inexcusable political rhetoric’ he said is emanating from the presidential campaign trail as he called on Americans to embrace a common humanity.”

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On Wednesday, February 3rd, President Barack Obama delivered a landmark speech on religious freedom and tolerance to the Islamic Society of Baltimore.

Watch his speech above in high definition. Read the transcript here.

Quotation

Now is not the time to shun our fellow citizens. America also needs its Muslim citizens to serve in the military. As with African-Americans in the Civil War and Asian- and German-Americans in World War II, we need their cultural, linguistic, religious and geopolitical expertise to help us defeat the Islamic State and its propaganda.

Haider Ali Hussein Mullick, a United States Naval Reserve officer with the Fifth Fleet, writing for the New York Times. Mullick teaches graduate seminars on combating terrorism at the Naval War College. His column, Don’t Make San Bernardino a Victory for Islamic State, is a must-read.

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Right wing podcast pulled after host laughs at state Democratic communications director’s surname

The Seattle Times’ Jim Brunner reports on the latest disgusting display of bigotry from militant Republican Jay Rodne and his cohorts at the so-called “Freedom” Foundation.

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A tale of two former Congressional bosses: A fighter & a lost soul

Former Capitol Hill staffer Murshed Zaheed praises Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid for defending America’s legacy of opening its doors to refugees while lamenting Congresswoman Louise Slaughter’s vote for a Republican-backed bill to slam those doors shut.

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Jay Inslee: Why Washington won’t close its doors to Syrian refugees

“The American character is being tested. Will we hew to our long tradition of being a beacon of hope for those chased from their homelands?” asks Governor Jay Inslee in today’s New York Times.

Quotation

I think that our nation is tested from time to time. And I think this is one of those times to really dig deep and see what kind of character our nation and my state has. And I’ve always believed in my state, and the country has always been a place of refuge from those who are persecuted. Right on the Statute of Liberty they talk about the wretched refuge of your teeming shore. And I don’t know where we’ve had more people who fit this classification of victims.

— Governor Jay Inslee, explaining to National Public Radio, why he is welcoming Syrian refugees to settle in Washington State.

Quotation

For instance, if there’s a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog, and you’re probably going to put your children out of the way… It doesn’t mean that you hate all dogs by any stretch of the imagination, but you’re putting your intellect into motion.

The fearmongering continues: Ben Carson likens some refugees to ‘mad dogs’ (via The Washington Post).

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A Syrian refugee family’s first hours in Seattle

KUOW’s Liz Jones tells the story of a Syrian refugee family’s arrival in Seattle, after a long journey that included stops in Cairo and New York.

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Three lessons from University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe’s resignation

“The administrators created a world in which universities revolve socially, politically, and economically around the exploited labor of football. Now let them reap what they sow,” writes The Nation’s Dave Zirin.

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IT’S GONE! Confederate battle flag, pole removed from South Carolina statehouse

It is a historic day in South Carolina, where a contingent of troopers from the South Carolina Highway Patrol lowered the Confederate battle flag that has shamefully flown on the grounds of the statehouse for decades for the last day. The flag was presented to the head of the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, which is where it will be displayed in the future. The flag’s flagpole was then removed.

Quotation

You couldn’t repeat it today, what was being said then about the fact that we were going to be going to school with black children… The heritage the flag stands for in my view is about the 1960s, rather than the 1860s.

— Republican State Senator Larry A. Martin, a former Confederate flag supporter, who now believes that the flag needs to come down (South Carolina lawmakers begin debate on Confederate battle flag).

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President Obama traveled to the College of Charleston in South Carolina today to deliver a eulogy for Reverend Clement Pinckney and eight other congregation members of Emanuel AME who were killed on June 17th, 2015.

Quotation

If you want to credit anybody here, credit the families of the victims and the church members who displayed Christianity and love… The politicians followed their moral authority.

— Republican Lindsey Graham, the senior United States Senator from South Carolina, acknowledging that his progressive constituents are the ones who showed leadership in demanding the removal of the Confederate battle flag that flies in front of the state’s capital (via The New York Times).

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Jon Stewart opened last night’s episode of The Daily Show with commentary in place of comedy following a white supremacist’s terrorist attack on a black church in Charleston. Explaining that he had been unable to come up with any jokes, the longtime Comedy Central host delivered a short, off-the-cuff monologue before cutting to commercial and returning to begin a conversation with that night’s guest, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai (ملاله یوسفزۍ in Pashto).

Aside

Despite mourning, South Carolina’s Confederate battle flag remains at full staff

Charleston’s newspaper of record reported earlier today that the government of South Carolina has kept its Confederate battle flag – a symbol of the state’s dark, racist history – flying above the statehouse, even in the wake of the mass murder of nine South Carolinians at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes asked disgraced ex-Republican governor Mark Sanford (now serving in the U.S. House of Representatives) how he can defend the flag’s presence atop the state’s seat of government. Sanford promptly trotted out the predictable nonsense about it being part of the state’s heritage.

This is a fabrication. As political scientists James Michael Martinez, William Donald Richardson, Ron McNinch-Su note in their well-researched book Confederate Symbols in the Contemporary South, published by the University Press of Florida:

The battle flag was never adopted by the Confederate Congress, never flew over any state capitols during the Confederacy, and was never officially used by Confederate veterans’ groups. The flag probably would have been relegated to Civil War museums if it had not been resurrected by the resurgent KKK and used by Southern Dixiecrats during the 1948 presidential election.

Historian Gordon Rhea, an expert on the history of the Deep South, made the same point more recently in an address to the Charleston Library Society:

It is no accident that Confederate symbols have been the mainstay of white supremacist organizations, from the Ku Klux Klan to the skinheads. They did not appropriate the Confederate battle flag simply because it was pretty. They picked it because it was the flag of a nation dedicated to their ideals: ‘that the negro is not equal to the white man’. The Confederate flag, we are told, represents heritage, not hate. But why should we celebrate a heritage grounded in hate, a heritage whose self-avowed reason for existence was the exploitation and debasement of a sizeable segment of its population?

It’s time for the people and elected representatives of South Carolina to decide which century they belong. Is it the nineteenth century or the twenty-first century? If it’s the latter, they should take the Confederate battle flag down.

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Before mass murder at Mother Emanuel, a long history of attacks in Charleston

South Carolina’s capital city has an ugly history of racially-motivated violence, writes New York Times Magazine contributor Douglas Egerton.

Quotation

A white person identifying strongly with African Americans and African American culture is not a problem at all. The more the merrier in understanding who we are and our place in this nation’s history. A white person running a chapter of the NAACP is not a problem, either. That’s someone so down with the cause that they are putting their time, energy and clout into public activism on behalf of fellow Americans. But a white person pretending to be black and running a chapter of the NAACP is a big problem.

— Jonathan Capehart: The damage Rachel Dolezal has done