Amongst the hundreds of Friday afternoon protestors opposing the extension of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order were two with anti-Semitic ones: one sign read, “Heil, Pritzker” with a large swastika next to it, and another read, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” the German phrase for “Work Makes You Free,” which appeared over the entrance to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.
These signs were all the more ominous seeing as Pritzker is Jewish.
Considering the far-right’s interest in white supremacy and nationalism — and President Donald Trump’s tacit approval of both — it’s not really surprising to see far-right protestors embracing Nazi slogans and symbols. Nor is it surprising to hear that yesterday’s protestors outside of the state’s capitol building in Springfield largely disregarded facial masks and social distancing guidelines meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.
That’s all the more troubling when you realize that Illinois is the fourth U.S. state with the highest number of coronavirus cases (56,055) and deaths (2,457). The state had its highest number of new cases (3,137) on Friday, the same day the protest occurred.
Jackie Fletcher, the woman holding the swastika sign, told her local NBC news affiliate that she had “Re-Open Illinois” written on the other side of her sign because “some people get touchy about swastikas.”
“I’m here to protest the loss of our rights,” she continued. “We’re protesting for our First Amendment and other things. Our speech isn’t really being prohibited, but our freedom is. We’re unable to leave the house and have to wear a mask.”
Yes, you know those Nazis and their love of facial masks and making people stay at home for public health reasons: apples to apples.
The Nazi signs are just the latest escalation in right-wing anti-quarantine protests. On Thursday, armed Michigan right-wing extremists carrying firearms took over the Michigan Statehouse in an armed occupation that largely lacked face masks and social distancing as well.
There are many reasons to want to re-open state businesses despite the pandemic. Democratic and Republican governors alike have begun gradual re-openings of their states to stop the epidemic’s ongoing economic devastation. But the protestors are overwhelmingly white, and the Nazi symbols and firearms carry violent overtones meant to warn any “outsiders” who oppose their desire to “go back to normal” as quickly as possible, even if it kills us.
— Election dot Org (@DotElection) May 2, 2020
This is disgusting.
“Arbeit macht frei” (Work will set you free) is the Nazi slogan that appeared over Auschwitz & other concentration camps.
JB Pritzker is Illinois’ Jewish Governor.
It’s not about freedom.
It’s about bigotry. Defying public health. Antisemitism. Terror. https://t.co/6tM3KXTIl2
— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) May 2, 2020
This sign is targeting Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is Jewish. They're not even hiding it. pic.twitter.com/ML1SEquOgu
— Yes, You're Racist (@YesYoureRacist) May 2, 2020
This was one of the signs at the “Re-open Illinois” event today. She assured those that she was not a Nazi, and stated, “I have Jewish friends.” Thank you for representing yourself and your “movement” for what it is. pic.twitter.com/CcIX2SVu6s
— Dennis Kosuth, RN (@Dennis_Kosuth) May 1, 2020
Even if this person was trying to make the point that she thought Pritzker was being a Nazi(?), it doesn’t make sense since she’s the one who wants people to be able to work (to death)
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) May 1, 2020
Seen at the “re-open” protest in Illinois today.
Governor Pritzker is Jewish. pic.twitter.com/I9TCrMApXi
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) May 1, 2020
A few Things about these Illinois Nazi signs, which attack Governor Pritzker for trying to save lives:
#1 This moron is comparing A Jewish American to Hitler
#2 Putting a Swatzika on any sign is incredibly offensive to Jews
#3 Notice how these idiots are always near Trump flags pic.twitter.com/ltVtEkCQsL
— Ms. Krassenstein (@HKrassenstein) May 2, 2020
J.B. Pritzker may not be the best governor but this is fucking DISGUSTING. Comparing a Jewish man to Hitler is about ten thousand steps past too far. Fuck this woman. Fuck anyone who supports this. Springfield, I’m disappointed to be from here. pic.twitter.com/Kum2Qh9CUx
— samantha (@samantha_macke_) May 2, 2020
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Trump Literally Hired a Random Sandwich Delivery Boy to Become His Vindictive Federal Personnel Director
Having lost his re-election bid, President Donald Trump has been busy hiding out, not taking questions from reporters, spreading lies about election fraud on Twitter, and firing key federal positions and restaffing them with loyalists.
The firing and restaffing have been helped along by Johnny McEntee, Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office, a 30-year-old former football player who was denied security clearance back in March 2018 because of his gambling addiction and alleged financial crimes.
He became Trump’s Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel in February 2020, and has worked as Trump’s hatchet man ever since, firing people deemed insufficiently loyal to the president, including Trump’s “defense secretary and other top Pentagon aides, his second-in-command at the U.S. Agency for International Development, two top Homeland Security officials, a senior climate scientist and the leader of the agency that safeguards nuclear weapons,” according to The Washington Post.
What made McEntee so qualified for the position, you ask? “According to a tell-all book by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former aide to the first lady, ” the Post reports, “McEntee happened to be delivering a turkey sandwich when Winston Wolkoff informed Trump that his inaugural committee was a “s— show.”
“Donald grabbed the [sandwich] bag and told the kid to sit down. ‘You’re in charge of the inauguration now,’ he said.”
McEntee has since conducted heavy-handed loyalty tests, asking people in completely unrelated agencies their opinions of the president’s various policies, where they get their news, and who seems unsupportive of Trump in general…. all because he happened to deliver a turkey sandwich to the president at the right time.
‘Vets for Trump’ Founder Arrested for Bringing Weapons to Philly Vote Count Center
On Thursday, 42-year-old “Vets for Trump” co-founder Joshua Macias was arrested alongside a 61-year-old QAnon and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist Antonio Lamotta while the two men were headed to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the site of the city’s ballot count, to “straighten things out,” according to the Daily Beast.
Police said the men drove from Virginia to Philadelphia, and that at the time of their arrest the men had pistols, an AR-15 rifle, and nearly 160 rounds of ammunition.
“They lacked valid Pennsylvania firearms permits to carry, and were charged with carrying a concealed firearm without a license, a third-degree felony, and carrying a firearm on public streets or public property, the District Attorney’s office said Friday.,” reporters Will Sommer and Pilar Melendez wrote.
While a friend of Macias claims he had just driven to Philadelphia to observe the vote count, Macias had spoken at a Trump rally in 2015 and posted images stating that Democrats were trying to steal the 2020 presidential election from President Donald Trump, something Trump himself and his campaign surrogates have repeatedly stated for months.
The District Attorney has suggested both men be denied bail and is considering other charges against Macias and Lamotta.
Trump Supporters Cheer as Protestor Calls for Assassinating Pro-LGBTQ Democrats
At a recent gathering of Trump supporters in the Oregon capital of Salem, one man with a megaphone accused LGBTQ people of normalizing child rape and suggested that politicians who support LGBTQ rights should be assassinated. People cheered and clapped after he said this.
“We have said all this LGBT agenda has set us back… They told us we were crazy. They told us we were homophobic. But the God’s honest truth is their pedophile agenda has been normalized. It is being pushed forward. I’m a goddamn man, but I think these Democratic leaders who allowed this to happen need to be shot dead in the streets.”
"Democrats need to be shot dead" and other Q crap demonizing LGBTQ.
SALEM, OREGON pic.twitter.com/8WVhPtMXnG
— Cozca Itzpapalotl (@KohzKah) September 7, 2020
While his rantings might sound the ravings of a paranoiac, he’s merely echoing beliefs of the ever-growing QAnon conspiracy theory. QAnon believes that Republican President Donald Trump is working to uncover an international pedophilia ring run by Democratic political leaders, “Deep State” operatives, liberal celebrities and other powerful people.
QAnon has also compelled at least one believer to shoot up a gay-owned business. In December 2016, Washington D.C. police arrested 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch after he entered the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria — a business owned by gay owner James Alefantis — with an assault rifle and fired at least one shot.
Welch went to “self-investigate” unfounded rumors that the non-existent basement of Comet Ping Pong was a venue in a child molestation ring involving Hillary Clinton. As such, Welch’s actions were just the modern iteration of a long, hateful history of anti-gay bigots linking homosexuality with child molestation.
Now that history has linked up with a modern-day conspiracy theory, and the Republican party is increasingly inviting QAnon believers into their ranks as they court voters and support political candidates who openly equate progressive rights with child rape.
Curiously, QAnon supporters don’t seem to speak much about the Catholic Church’s long history of child sex abuse.
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