Monday, October 29, 2018

It's No Secret The Synagogue Shooter Is Another Reich Wing Hater Who Got Marching Orders From Trump

Robert Bowers.

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Robert Bowers, the Alt-Right slime who slaughtered 11 Jews Saturday, and his favored social media mascot, Pepe the Frog.

"This isn’t complicated. It’s not a conspiracy plot hidden in pizza ingredients. It doesn’t need to be interpreted by a mystery character hiding behind a Sesame Street name.  Republicans have spent years building up the idea that immigration is an existential threat to America. Republicans have also spent years alleging that Jews are secretly funding both immigrants and protesters. What Bowers did on Saturday morning is the direct result of that one plus one = 10 dead and counting. Bowers’ finger may have been on the trigger. But a lot of Republicans encouraged him to pull it. Including Donald Trump."  Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, Oct. 27,  Synagogue Shooter Explained Exactly Why He Killed - Republican Conspiracy Theories'

"To hear the Republicans you'd believe all these violent acts are just spontaneous events like some weird meteorological event. All of a sudden strange things happen, sun changes  positions with the Moon, floods appear, tornadoes if there is no coherent explanation for the mass killings, the hate crimes. It's incredible!"  - Julia Ioffe, today on 'Morning Joe'.

"During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly used imagery and tropes known to be associated with anti-Semites and propaganda against Jews. On July 2, 2016, he tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton next to a Star of David against a background of cash. When this was criticized, he deleted the tweet. The image originated on a neo-Nazi forum, according to Mic. (Trump also retweeted other neo-Nazis during the campaign, including an account called @whitegenocideTM" -  Cody Fenwick, 'Is Trump Anti-Semitic? Here's What The Evidence Shows', on

Eleven people were killed and six wounded in the worst ever massacre of Jews in U.S. History. The slaughter  - at a synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on Saturday-   was the work of yet another brain-poisoned crazy of the extreme Right who likely got infected by Trump's own hate rhetoric.  Dotard Trump called the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue “a wicked act of mass murder” and decried "antisemitism in all forms", but once again it was all posturing for the benefit of his acolytes, zombies and especially Right media.  This filth is no more sincere than Devin Nunes and the other traitors that continue to provide him cover.

Indeed, Trump's contribution to anti-Semitic hate memes, and rhetoric was reported last year by the Southern Poverty Law Center in its Spring, 2017 issue, e.g.
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A good summary of Trump's rhetoric, in speeches and ties to Neo-Nazis, appeals to White Nationalists can be found here.

Look not only at what Trump says but what he does, and what he did was stage another  campaign rally in Illinois as scheduled, despite the massacre.. Can't have his Reepo lackeys losing "momentum" just because 11 people were blown away by another hate -driven psycho:  That would be Robert Bowers, a truck driver and Pittsburgh resident who is reportedly 46 years old.

There was no doubt Bowers held far-right views.   After all he was a committed poster on "Gab"  now the haven for Nazis, White Nationalists, Aryans and other extremists - oh, and plenty of Trump supporters too. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the local CBS affiliate KDJA reported that a “white male [with] a beard …walked in yelling ‘All Jews must die’.” Social media accounts in the name of Robert Bowers contained antisemitic rants, and most notably for me - on the NBC newscast of Saturday  evening - when social media posts were displayed, I froze the screen and spotted images of "Pepe the Frog" attached to his Gab posts. 

 Yes, folks, Pepe the Frog - a onetime innocent cartoon creature - had mutated into the realm of venomous racial hate as first reported by the SPLC in September, 2016. This was some 5 months after being adopted  by the vermin of the Alt -Right White Nationalists of Trumpdom. Pepe memes subsequently became ubiquitous across 4chan, Reddit, Imgur, Tumblr, and other social media and image-sharing sites, and most often became adopted by the  Nazis, KKK, generic Alt Right and others.

No surprise then in late September,  2016, Pepe's green visage was designated a hate symbol by the  Jewish Anti-Defamation League.  The ADL's online hate symbol database is designed to help law enforcement, educators, and members of the general public identify potentially hateful images.  Thus explained Oren Segal, the director of the organization's Center on Extremism. He said that in recent years, hate symbols have proliferated online.  To be exact here, ever since 2016 - the year of Trump's  Russkie-assisted win- hate incidents against synagogues have proliferated. According to the ADL they increased by 57 % this year over 2016,  before Trump's election. So it was no surprise vile graffiti like this surfaced all over after the dumpster fire of an election:
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Basically, Trump with his campaign hate speech and other expulsions afterward, had given permission for the crazies to come out of the woodwork.
Now, with things like the co-option of Pepe the Frog by Reich wing lunatics, anti-Semitic images are originating and circulating primarily on social media., Reddit's enclaves and 4chan provide a welcome haven for many of these losers  - like Robert Bowers.  

How did what was once an innocuous cartoon frog go so perverse? The Daily Beast spoke to a white supremacist in May, 2016 to try to find out.  As Dotard's hate campaign was really revving up -  the Daily Beast source said there had been a concerted effort on the site 4chan to "reclaim Pepe" from normal people in late 2015.  The image was clearly considered a useful vehicle to disseminate certain memes.  No surprise it has also been part of  many of the 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets in the past year, many coincidental with one of other Trump words, actions.

"Nazi Pepe" then made its way to Twitter, where people who regularly tweeted messages supporting white nationalism and anti-immigrant views quickly absorbed it into their Internet repertoire. People who identify with those extreme movements (like Bower did) added the frog emoji to their Twitter handles. 

Unnerved by the insidious spread  of this hate meme, by August, 2016, Hillary Clinton gave her now-infamous speech denouncing some of Donald Trump's supporters, particularly the segment known as the alt-right, as a "basket of deplorables. A couple weeks later, Donald Trump Jr. posted a photo on Instagram that depicted him and other supporters as "The Deplorables" -- a play on the poster from the movie "The Expendables." In the lineup? Pepe.

Two weeks after that, the ADL made its official designation. Oren  Segal, the ADL representative, said that while the ADL was researching harassment of journalists on Twitter -- particularly the use of the triple-parenthetical (((echo))) around names to designate Jewish people -- they began to notice Pepe's face coming up more frequently. Segal said people on his staff were aware of Pepe's original, inoffensive incarnation, but it was clear that the frog had since become associated with anti-Semitic opinions online.

As usual Trump has sought to disavow any remote connection of his hate speeches, including calling the Nazi marchers in Charlottesville last year,  "Some very fine people",  e.g.
Far-right activists marched through the University of Virginia campus with torches on Friday night.White Nationalists marched last  August with Tiki torches in Charlottesville, screaming "Jews will not replace us!"  They then gathered the next day where they killed Heather Heyer, and mercilessly beat protesters (below right)
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I mean, good grief, it shouldn't take a Mensa level IQ to grasp that if a guy is pandering to hate symbols like these Neo-Nazis and Alt -Right Trump lovers, and attaching them to his "Gab"  social media refuse, he is one with them - whether in fact he formally belongs. "If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck" etc.

We now also know when Bowers took to Gab, he had shared a stream of anti-Jewish slurs and conspiracy theories, including repeating one long held trope of Right wing loons:

"Jews are the children of Satan"

Basically dehumanizing Jews just like Hitler and the Nazis did, turning them into an alien "Other" and hence fit for attacks.  Bowers didn't invent all this hideous brain poison, but he did imbibe it and it drove his actions like it has millions of others who even now are just waiting for the right words from their Fuhrer Trump to act.

 Bowers also frequently reposted anti-Semitic content that alleged Jews control the nation. On a doctored image of the Auschwitz concentration camp, he altered the words "Arbeit Macht Frei" to  read: “Lies Make Money.” Another post said: “Open you Eyes! It’s the filthy EVIL jews Bringing the Filthy EVIL Muslims into the Country!!”

Bowers was also fixated on the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) which helps immigrants settle in the U.S. In his last post before the shooting, this slime ball wrote: "HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered."

Note this insane jabber was scribbled despite zero evidence of any such "invaders" doing anything of the like. It is evident that by this time, the brain poison had an analogous effect on Bowers' mind to what Jim Jones' cyanide-laced purple kool aid had on his followers.  Note also the analogy of Bowers' words ("invasion", "invaders") to how the Right media depicts the migrant caravan moving north from Mexico. Coincidence? Nope, this is how they - and Trump- roll.  Stoke fear into the denizens. Hope that this fear triggers a mass turnout on Nov. 6th, but also view any chaos or mass violence as perhaps, collateral damage.

For example, we now know (CBS Early Show, today) that Bowers believed the caravan was caused by Jews and supported by HIAS. That's when he then tweeted, "Screw your optics, I'm going in!"   Would he have been that energized if Trump hadn't been pounding the "caravan" as an existential threat at every damned rally he had? I say, doubtful. So it merely took his already virulent anti-Semitism in conjunction to what he interpreted - from Trump's rhetoric - to be an immediate threat, to act.

Interestingly, this nut was disaffected with Trump for not pushing hard enough.  But as Julia Ioffe has noted, it is evident that having worked his unhinged mutts up into a fevered frenzy with his toxic trash talk, many - like Bowers- have been left frothing at the mouth with perceived promises unmet. The slime Bowers actually accused Trump of not going far enough to achieve the political goals Bowers wanted.  Days before the shooting, he wrote: “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation"  he asserted.

Who would ever have believed one of Trump's deplorables would at some point out -Trump Trump? Well, Janice has warned of the possibility for some time. "Just wait", she said two weeks ago, "at some point one of these vermin is going to take Trump's words so much to heart he even wants to do more harm, and go further!"  Yeppers, and we've seen it now in two cases in the past week, his lunatic violent fringe wanting to one up the Donald the Thumper - one by actually dispatching bombs, the other by dispatching Jews.

Lest anyone buy into the notion that Bowers was a lone nut extremist  who simply went too far but unconnected to Trump's vile rhetoric, think again.   From a report in The Guardian Saturday, residual anti-Semitism had been a long standing virus in the Pittsburgh suburb. Locally, the epithet “Squirrel Hill Jew” had long been used to describe people from this tight-knit liberal enclave, blocks away from Carnegie Mellon University.  This according to The Guardian.  That Bowers was one of those who regularly used the term but whose anger bubbled up over the top into murderous action, spurred by Trump's rhetoric is therefore more than credible.
As the above link to the SPLC report noted, with Trump's ascension into power, hate and extremism had found a voice in the White House. White Nationalists, Aryans, Neo -Nazis and KKK finally had their man in control and they were liberated to do whatever they wanted, thus the unthinkable increase in attacks on Jewish synagogues this year and the spread of hate graffiti.

No surprise one resident of the Squirrel Hill community, quoted in The Guardian, said:

I’m sure everybody in the community feels like it’s an attack on them,” adding that he "had feared such an attack for years".  Another woman said she had struggled to understand how the national epidemic of violent hate — so vivid and relentless on the media but in many ways still distant — had arrived at her doorstep.

“I can’t believe it has spread out this far,” she said.

But so long as Trump is rallying his crazies, it will.   The fact this pissant could "condemn the attack on the synagogue' but at the same time turn around and heap attacks on his critics, shows his words are empty as far as any condolences. They're merely a pause before he launches the next hate screed on the media, the caravan, the Dems, you name it.

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