Friday, June 1, 2012

White Supremacy in the GOP

I’ve always liked the name Wilkes-Barre.  Sounds like an English gentleman.  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a city in Eastern Pennsylvania, about two and a half hours northwest of Philadelphia, close enough to Scranton to make a metropolitan area with it of about half a million people.  It’s the home of Planter’s Peanuts.  Joe Palooka was from Wilkes-Barre.  Babe Ruth hit the longest home run in baseball history here.

Wilkes-Barre is the county seat of Luzerne County.  It has seen some hard times since it was founded as a coal-mining town in the 19th Century.  Tropical Storm Agnes flooded the town and caused a billion dollars in damage.  Good news is they then built levees, which saved them next time Mother Nature had at them with an even bigger storm in 2006, when they were spared, even though the flood waters were actually higher than with Agnes., the Luzerne County online newspaper carried the news this morning that the Democrats opened their campaign headquarters today and a hundred people showed up to hear their leaders say nasty things about Mitt Romney.

No mention of the Republican campaign headquarters, for some reason.  The only news having to do with Republicans today is an article about Charles D. Lemmond, of “gentlemanly demeanor,” a Luzerne County judge who died Wednesday night at age 83.  A man known for bipartisanship, he is described by a local university president as “the epitome of a statesman.”

So much for the old Republican Party.

If you dig a little bit, you will find there is, in fact, news to be had on goings-on in the Republican Party of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, most notably its decision to take on the services of one Steve Smith, white supremacist.  You can see the certificate of his election on the website of White News Now

As one of the readers of White News Now writes,
 “Yes, this is one of the best things we can do - get involved in the political process. If we don't participate, we don't have a say!
Well done, Steve!”
Smith was recruited into the neo-Nazi movement in 1990 and has been active since then in various skinhead and neo-Nazi groups.  He is a former Aryan Nations member and head of David Duke’s Advancement of White People organization in Philadelphia.

He has declared “catastrophic” the possibility that whites will be a minority in America by 2050 and was arrested in 2003 for beating up a black man in Scranton with stones and chunks of pavement, a crime for which he received a 60-day sentence and probation.  In 2010 he led a group of white supremacist activists to a Scranton Tea Party group, a group he once described as “fertile grounds for our activists.”  Since then he's gone "straight" and entered local politics as a Republican.

Republicans at the state and national level may come to disown this sad sack.  If they don’t, we’d better sit up and take notice because we’re at a point here where the proto-fascism of the Tea Party right begins to take on the appearance of the real thing.

Don’t want to lay this case on all the good folks of Eastern Pennsylvania, and I don’t want to suggest it’s time to push any panic buttons.  But given the success the right wing has had in taking over so many school boards around the country, I think it’s not a bad idea to at least keep an eye on these guys.

photo source:  here

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