Things That Matter

President Trump Furthers Speculation Of Ties To White Supremacy After Sharing Video With White Supremacist Symbol

Once again, Americans are left questioning whether Trump’s campaign simply needs more competent researchers and video editors or if its legitimately using imagery that invokes an adoration for white supremacy. President Donald Trump posted a new campaign video to his Twitter account on August 28 that included the regular content we’ve come to expect: his high approval rating among Republicans, low unemployment rates and stock market growth. Sure. Then, it ended with a symbol of lion’s head, wearing a star-spangled collar and red stripes for a mane. 

Various white supremacist groups have clung to the exact same symbol as a “Lion Guard” for Trump supporters.

“Thank you for the support as we MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” Trump tweeted alongside the video.

Credit: @realdonaldtrump / Twitter

“Record low employment” the video claims, with the words “Blacks, Latinos, Veterans” fading into view. It boasts that zero federal dollars have gone to Planned Parenthood in a claim to protect life and liberty. Then, an “I stand with Trump in 2020. DO YOU?” scene fades in, followed by the sound of a lion’s roar and the above image.

White supremacist outlet, VDARE, self-describes as “America’s Immigration Voice,” and has been using this exact symbol since before Trump’s election.

Credit: @vdare / Twitter

The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated VDARE as a white nationalist hate group, calling it an “anti-immigrant hate website,” which describes its mission as “dedicated to preserving our historical unity as Americans into the 21st Century.” White nationalist Peter Brimelow founded VDARE and has given a platform to white supremacists around the country, including Jason Kessler, the organizer of 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

VDARE’s own founder, Peter Brimelow, has posited that Latinos “specialize in rape, particularly of children.”

Credit: @letsgomathias / Twitter

Not only has he suggested this, but he’s lauded Trump for reflecting that sentiment in his immigration policies. In a 2017 American Renaissance conference, he said, “But there’s no doubt that something in that book got to [President Donald Trump] because the way his speech was set up. His announcement speech went to the question of Hispanic crime, specifically rape. And [Ann Coulter]’s book is a very powerful statement of the fact that crime in this country is ethnically variegated. There’s ethnic specialization in crime. And Hispanics do specialize in rape, particularly of children. They’re very prone to it, compared to other groups.”

Then, there’s the dedicated Fascist militia, called the “Lion Guard.”

Credit: @DustinGiebel / Twitter

The “Lion Guard” was born on March 15, 2016, and describes itself as an “informal civilian group dedicated to the safety and security of #Trump supports by exposing Far-Left infiltrators and saboteurs.” Its website homepage commemorates the controversial moment that Trump retweeted a quote from Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini: “Better to be a lion for a day, than a lamb for eternity.” The “Lion Guard” is essentially a right-leaning Internet troll group, which aims to monitor Trump protesters by posting images of citizens who plan to protest Trump rallies. The “Lion Guard” has also idolized Communist Mao Zedong, tweeting “Mao had the Red guard, Bernie has the #BernOut Guard.”

That said, those white nationalist groups didn’t design the symbol, but have taken it to new depths of meaning.

Credit: @thewooga / Twitter

“For normies, like a kids soccer jersey logo etc, nah, probably not,” writer Dustin Giebel replied. “Politics? Duh! Especially if it connects to extremists groups. This is elementary stuff. They—being the campaign—should understand all the logos and emblems they’re sharing. Only took you two mins, right?” So, again, we ask the question. Is the Trump campaign that deft or do they know they’re dog-whistling the “Lion Guard,” and the white nationalists to come out to the polls?

One lawyer did some digging and found that the symbol was first used by a Dutch white supremacist that Trump retweeted in 2015.

Credit: @puckthecat1 / Twitter

Trump retweeted Twitter user @keksec_org’s message, “I truly believe you are the best #MakeAmericaGreatAgain” with a “Thank you so much!” Meanwhile, @keksec_org’s own Twitter bio read “#KekSec/Stop #WhiteGenocide/White Preservist/Programmer/Dutch Patriot/Race War when?” Talking Points Memo also noted that the user defended slavery and colonialism, and fears for white genocide. When Black folks called out his racism, he called them “melanin enhanced” or condescended to the “feeble mind of the African American negro.”

The account has since been suspended. According to the Daily Beast, Trump has retweeted 178 unverified users, 10 percent of whom have been suspended.

You can watch the full video below.

READ: Trump Campaign Posts ‘Summer Of Winning’ Video In Response To Criticism

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Trump Labels Cuba A State Sponsor Of Terrorism As His Own Supporters Face Similar Allegations

Things That Matter

Trump Labels Cuba A State Sponsor Of Terrorism As His Own Supporters Face Similar Allegations

Yander Zamora/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration, Trump has moved to put Cuba back on the list of nations that allegedly sponsor terrorism.

Obama had taken Cuba off of that list in 2015 and with four years to Cuba back on the list, many agree that Trump has simply put Cuba back on the list to make life difficult for President Biden.

The Trump administration has put Cuba back on the list of countries that “sponsor terrorism.”

With just days left in office, Trump has moved to label Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in a last-minute move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo justified the controversial move which reverses Barack Obama’s 2015 decision to remove Cuba from the list after more than three decades – by accusing Havana of “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists”.

Pompeo also alleged Cuba was engaging “in a range of malign behavior across the region”, highlighting its support for Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro who Trump has unsuccessfully tried to overthrow.

The controversial step places Cuba alongside Iran, North Korea and Syria as state sponsors of terror.

However, most officials agree that Trump’s claims about Cuba are bogus.

Many international observers – including U.S. allies – aren’t impressed by the administration’s claims that Cuba is sponsoring terrorism.

In an interview with The Guardian, Christopher Sabatini, a senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House, said “These are trumped up charges. Terrorism as an international definition is committing acts of violence against unarmed civilians intended to frighten the population. Cuba doesn’t do that. Yes, it represses its own people – but so does Saudi Arabia.”

Groups that favor greater U.S. engagement with Cuba criticized the announcement.

“There is no compelling, factual basis to merit the designation,” according to Ric Herrero, executive director of the Cuba Study Group, a Washington DC-based organization that supports engagement with the island. “Instead it appears to be another shameless, last-ditch effort to hamstring the foreign policy of the incoming Biden administration and set the stage for the next election in Florida, all at the expense of the Cuban people and relations between our countries.”

Many observers agree that Trump’s move is simply a gift to party hardliners in Florida, and likely a deliberate attempt to make life difficult for the incoming Biden administration who may wish to end deténte with Cuba.

Of course, Cuban officials reacted angrily to the announcement.

After the announcement, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez tweeted: “We condemn the US announced hypocritical and cynical designation of #Cuba as a State sponsoring terrorism. The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims.”

Reversing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s action would require the Biden administration to certify to Congress that there has been a fundamental change in leadership in Cuba and that the government is not supporting acts of international terrorism, has not for the previous six months and will not do so in the future.

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Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

Things That Matter

Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

Michael Wood/Stocktrek Images

Just when we thought Trump supporters couldn’t disgust us more, one disfigured a manatee by etching “Trump” into its back.

Sadly, over the weekend, a manatee was found in Florida’s Homosassa River with the name “Trump” scratched into its back. The discovery has prompted federal officials to open an investigation into the disfigurement of the threatened species.

A mutilated manatee was found over the weekend with the name Trump scratched into its back.

According to a report published by the Citrus County Chronicle, it is unclear when and how the manatee was mutilated. It is also unknown whether the current investigation has made any leads in regards to the perpetrators. Still, footage of the abused animal has sparked outrage online.

Douglas Nowacek, a professor of Conservation Technology at Duke University told Vice that the incident is “one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen done to a wild animal.” In a separate email, Ruth Carmichael, a Senior Marine Scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and a Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama described the act a “horrific” to VICE saying “I have no words to express how deeply troubling, thoughtless, and potentially cruel this is.” 

Marine biologists say that it is unclear just how much harm the mammal endured.

“It’s a little hard to see the extent of damage from the video,” Carmichael explained. “It is harassment regardless. If the scrape penetrates the skin, then it likely caused some pain and stress. The animals have nerves and sensory hairs in the skin. Additionally, open wounds could become infected.” 

According to Graham Worthy, Department Chair and Pegasus Professor at the University of Central Florida who spoke to VICE the letters could mostly be shallow, and may mostly be algae scraped off the animal’s back making“ injury would be virtually non-existent.”

Still, physically hurt or not, the manatee in question was clearly harassed by a person. As such the perpetrator could face severe penalties if found. 

“Violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act may result in fines of up to $100,000 and one year’s imprisonment for individuals and up to $200,000 for organizations,” Worthy told Vice. “It is illegal to approach and make contact with these animals let alone deface or injure them. It is illegal to feed or harass wild marine mammals including dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, sea lions, and manatees. You are not allowed to feed, swim with, or harass these marine animals… They should be observed from a distance of at least 50 yards.”

The mutilated manatee is a West Indian manatee and is a herbivorous mammal found in coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Up until 2017, the species was considered endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Today, conservation status is listed as “threatened.”  

As many users of social media have noted, perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of the images that humans already cause so much pain and suffering to innocent animals. When does it stop?

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