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OPINION

Signorile: The Trumpian Attacks on Pride Flags

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Anti-LGBTQ haters, mounting a resistance in Biden’s America, are targeting the rainbow symbol

This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.

I wrote a few weeks ago about several jarring incidents in which rainbow flags symbolizing queer Pride were vandalized or had triggered acts of violence against people, in addition to demands of removal from property.

Now comes this story this week out of Eastland Cove, a condo development just north of gay-friendly Fort Lauderdale, in Broward County, Florida. A gay couple, Mike Ferrari and Bob Plominski, have lived there for over 10 years, and have hung Pride flags in the past. But this year they received a letter from the Eastland Cove Homeowners Association that they must remove their flag from their mailbox or be fined $50 and $10 additionally for each day they refuse to remove it. They’re standing firm, and have taken their story nationally.

Sure, homeowners associations have wide discretion on decorations, including flags, and some are quite strict. But the key issue here is that Ferrari and Plominki have flown a rainbow flag for years. The association’s rules state that only American flags, state flags or military flags may be flown, but no one complained in the past. Now, however, one or more people lodged a complaint and the board says it was compelled to demand the couple remove the flag.

Why didn’t anyone care enough in the past to file a complaint, but now they have? It could be any of a number of reasons — including someone new moving in — but I’m betting, looking at what’s happening all over the country, that it’s more of an assertion of backlash by people who were emboldened by Donald Trump’s expressions of hate. That included his administration’s stripping LGBTQ rights and removing rainbow decorations and Pride flags from embassies around the world. The Trump White House had reversed course from the Obama White House, not marking Pride month with a proclamation, nor flying a rainbow flag or lighting the White House in rainbow colors.

But President Joe Biden, in rapid pace, reversed Trump’s horrific executive orders that harmed LGBTQ people. And now the embrace of Pride by the White House is back — and the flags are flying at embassies around the world, including at the Vatican — while the haters are lashing out now in an act of resistance in Biden’s America.

Certainly there have been hateful attacks on Pride flags since the time it was created by activist Gilbert Baker in 1978, through some of the most overtly homophobic times this country has seen, including during the escalation of the AIDS crisis. But in 2021 the attacks seem to have escalated in a way that shouldn’t be happening at this point in time. It’s like we’re gong backwards — or there is a backlash by people who feel very threatened by the current reality, in which Trump lost the election but they believe it was stolen and their rightful place was taken away. As I wrote a few weeks ago:

Sacramento church had its Pride flag burned last week. A student in Florida was brutally stomped on for bringing a Pride flag to a picnic. Boaters terrorized people in another boat on a lake in Washington state two weeks ago because they flew Pride flags on their boat (Ironically, the only harm came to the harassers, whose boat exploded, ignited by an engine fire during the altercation). Wisconsin homeowners were told by their association to remove Pride flags; they got creative and doused their home in rainbow floodlights.

Since then, a Pride flag was vandalized at a vintage shop in a town in Maine. A church outside of Cleveland reported its Pride flags were stolen two dozen times. Pride flags were stolen from the streets of Boise, Idaho. A teen at a Washington state university allegedly burned a Pride flag. A California city even refused to fly the flag at the request of residents.

 

Read the entire article and subscribe at The Signorile Report.

 

Image by Gallant’s Photography via Flickr and a CC license

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OPINION

Trumpist Terrorism Is Becoming Normalized: Signorile

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In the past three weeks we learned of two violent domestic terror plots by Trump supporters to overthrow the government

This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.

A very particular, cultish and dangerous brand of domestic terrorism has been honed, and we should call it what it is: Trumpist terrorism.

We’ve rarely if ever experienced domestic terrorism organized not only in the service an ideology — white supremacy — but in the name of one person, a cult figure for whom people will kill and die, devoted to his cause and taking perceived orders from him.

But that is what is happening now.

Last week the news broke that two California men were arrested for plotting to bomb Sacramento’s Democratic headquarters in the name of Donald Trump, inspired by the Big Lie that the election was stolen by Joe Biden. One of the men is alleged to have had five live pipe bombs in his home and “between 45 and 50 firearms, including at least three fully automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.”

That man, Ian Rogers, also wrote in text messages, before the January 20th inauguration of President Biden, which one agent said showed an attempt to try to stop the inauguration from proceeding:

I hope 45 goes to war if he doesn’t I will…

…I want to blow up a Democrat building bad…

…Sad it’s come to this but I’m not going down without a fight…

…These commies need to be told what’s up…

The men were organizing both before and after the January 6th Capitol assault, and discussed other targets including California’s governors mansion, the corporate offices of Facebook and Twitter and Democratic donor George Soros.

In a different time this would be wall to wall media coverage, with strong condemnations coming from the former president himself, and from the leaders of his party. But for much of the media, though they covered it, this was just another story in the blur of insurrection-related stories — including the story of a Virginia insurrectionist group exposed the week before, planning for a “revolution”and led by a man who stormed the Capitol on January 6th and now had the components for 50 homemade bombs.

Needless to say, there was no condemnation statement by the former president — who likely revels in these stories — nor from any Republican Party leader. Even Democratic leaders seemed too busy dealing with all the other assaults on democracy by Republicans to speak out forcefully about these cases.

Trumpist terrorism is becoming normalized.

It’s now expected that people will engage in violence in the name of a former president of the United States. That’s a blood-curdling reality, but in America right now it’s not very shocking, nor surprising. And the greater danger is that if the outcry isn’t loud enough — if we don’t express outrage no matter how commonplace it now may appear — then it will not only be expected; it will be accepted. More and more extremists will be inspired to take up arms, to organize plots to cause massive violence in the name of Trump, hoping for bigger, more disruptive events to break through.

 

Read the entire article and subscribe at The Signorile Report.

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OPINION

Accused White Supremacist Tucker Carlson: ‘I’ve Never Met a White Supremacist in My Entire Life’

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When he’s not promoting anti-vaccine disinformation and fear-mongering about the life-saving coronavirus shot Fox News’ premier personality Tucker Carlson is often promoting white supremacist rhetoric, according to numerous sources, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which called for his firing back in April.

Racists never think they’re racist, as the saying goes, so it should surprise no one that Fox News’ resident white nationalist (as some say,) or white supremacist, (as others say,) actually told TIME magazine’s Charlotte Alter in a just-published interview, “I’ve never met a white supremacist in my entire life.

TIME’s Alter says Carlson “may be the most powerful conservative in America.”

Which has allowed him to get away with this:

“Carlson has referenced the white-supremacist ‘replacement’ conspiracy theory—which claims elites are planning to replace white Christian voters with nonwhite immigrants—by name on his show, making him a hero to many white nationalists,” she reports. “He suggested that American ‘antiwhite mania’ could lead to a situation comparable to the Rwandan genocide. He repeatedly argued—contrary to official findings—that George Floyd died of a drug overdose, then questioned Derek Chauvin’s conviction for Floyd’s murder.”

Of course, there’s more.

“After he name-checked the ‘replacement’ conspiracy theory on his show, the anti-immigration website VDare called it ‘one of the best things Fox News has ever aired,'” TIME says. (It’s important to note that, although TIME does not mention it, the Southern Poverty Law Center lists VDare as a white nationalist hate group.) “Andrew Anglin, founder of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, has called Carlson ‘literally our greatest ally.'”

Alter writes, “I asked Carlson if it bothered him that white supremacists seemed to love him so much.” That’s when de declared, “I’ve never met a white supremacist in my entire life.”

“According to Joe Biden they’re everywhere,” Carlson “joked.” “Maybe I’m surrounded by them and don’t know about it.”

Maybe.

On social media Alter adds:

TIME’s Vera Bergengruen adds:

Tucker Carlson may claim to not know any white supremacists, and who knows, maybe that’s true, but these headlines offer a bit of a different take:

Tucker Carlson Is A White Supremacist. And He’s Giving Fox Viewers Exactly What They Want.

The Daily Show Demonstrates How Tucker Carlson Uses the Language of White Supremacist Murderers

White supremacist Tucker Carlson got something right — and that’s literally terrifying

Tucker Carlson’s latest white supremacist tirade might be his most dangerous yet

Tucker Carlson is repeatedly using his platform to downplay white supremacist violence, critics say

The issue isn’t really whether or not Tucker Carlson knows any white supremacists, the issue is why does the country’s most-watched cable news channel allow a person credibly accused of being one to be the face of their network?

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OPINION

Republicans Increasingly Are Attacking People Trying to Stop the Pandemic by Invoking the Holocaust or Calling Them ‘Nazis’

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Republicans seem to keep calling people who are trying to end the deadly coronavirus pandemic by getting vaccinated, vaccinating others, wearing a mask, or enforcing requirements to do so “Nazis.”

Many are commenting just how disturbing it is to hear Hitler, Holocaust, and Nazi references in our every day consumption of news, and many are wondering why there’s an explosion of offensive Nazi-linked rhetoric from the right.

For some, especially perhaps those who lost family members or know of people slaughtered by Hitler in the Holocaust, it can be exceptionally painful to hear an elected official or TV personality on a conservative cable network comparing Americans refusing to get vaccinated to Jews, or co-opting and wearing the Star of David – which Hitler forced Jews to wear before murdering them.

It’s disturbing to hear terms like “Needle Nazis,” “Nazis of the air,” or hear that Speaker Pelosi’s policy on mask wearing in the halls of Congress is “exactly” like what Jews endured during the Holocaust.

On Thursday U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) called federal workers being sent to Colorado to assist in vaccinating local residents “Needle Nazis.”

Fox News personality Tomi Lahren, also on Thursday, referred to airline flight attendants enforcing TSA rules that require masks on all commercial flights “Nazis of the air.”

On Tuesday Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) viciously attacked President Joe Biden after he mentioned the possibility of sending federal workers door-to-door to share information on the vaccine with people who may not have been vaccinated, in areas of low vaccination rates.

“People have a choice,” Greene declared, “they don’t need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations. You can’t force people to be part of the human experiment.”

Brownshirts were Hitler’s Nazi stormtroopers who helped in his rise to power, and the Nazis infamously conducted horrific human experiments on unwilling victims of their war crimes.

Greene just 22 days earlier had apologized for her attack on Speaker Pelosi. And yes, Greene is the one who claimed the policy of requiring a face mask be worn in Congress – specifically because Republicans refuse to get vaccinated – was “exactly” like the Holocaust.

While Greene’s apology lasted just a few short weeks, she never has apologized for comparing the Democratic Party to Hitler’s Party.

Many seem to have already forgotten that before her attack on the Speaker of the House, Greene invoked “Nazis” and made another disturbing comparison to the Star of David and vaccine passports, which do not exist.

Let’s not forget Washington state Republican Rep. Jim Walsh, who last week declared on Facebook “we’re all Jews” to defend his wearing of a gold Star of David. He claimed it was to protest vaccine mandates. There are no vaccine mandates in Washington.

There of course was the hat store owner who thought it was a good idea to sell wearable gold colored Stars of David imprinted with the words “not vaccinated,” because she apparently thought selfishly choosing to not protect yourself and others from contracting a deadly virus that continues to mutate and become more contagious and more deadly is like being a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. (Her political affiliation is unknown, but her Instagram page makes clear she’s no fan of President Biden.)

It’s of course not just pandemic related.

According to a new book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender, then-President Donald Trump praised Hitler, stunning White House chief of staff John Kelly.

Late last month a U.S. Congressman, Republican Rep. Scott Perry, compared Democrats to Nazis.

“They are not the loyal opposition,” he said of Democrats. “They are the opposition to everything you love and believe in.”

“Go fight them,” he added. Vice reported on Perry’s “extended tirade that argued Democrats are disloyal, unpatriotic, dangerous traitors to America—and twice invoked Nazis to make his point.”

The Hitler references started early this year, when one Republican lawmaker was caught praising the fascist Nazi dictator.

Republican Illinois Congresswoman Mary Miller told attendees at the Save the Republic Rally that “Hitler was right.”

She was wrong, and the Hitler, Nazi, and Holocaust references need to stop.

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