Oct 31, 2005

McCloskey Weasels On Air About Billboards, Blasts Schulz For Being Gay


(Toledo, OH) Embattled Toledo council candidate Bob McCloskey dodged questions about his acceptance of two billboards from a Toledo businessman on WSPD this morning.

Somehow the acceptance of two high-profile billboards, worth somewhere between $800 and $1,500 a month, is not a problem in McCloskey's eyes. He said that he "paid $1,000 for the paper, ink, and screening" used to produced the artwork, and that he intends to disclose the "gift" on his January statement. Brock Rimelin's "gift" was only made because the beleagured billboard owner "couldn't sell the spaces."

Funny, though, how Gannett and Lamar, competing billboard companies in the Toledo market, seem to have no problem selling dozens of billboards in the proximity of the two controversial McCloskey outdoor advertisements.

Interestingly, McCloskey took opponent Dave Schulz to task for being gay, and called a Schulz campaign ad "deceptive" because it featured Dave with Susan Meeks and her infant daughter. This accusation was especially odd considering that the photo is accompanied with text that clearly notes the presence of Meeks. Maybe the barely-literate McCloskey was duped, but anyone with the ability to read at a 4th-grade level should have been able to understand that the ad notes the moment when Meeks witnessed Schulz signing his pledge on term limits.

McCloskey's anti-gay rant is puzzling; was he simply taking a cheap shot at his opponent for political points, or does this represent some latent homophobia in Bob?

Bob made a claim that he has "never faced an ethics charge in 12 years on council;" this statement, of course, ignores the $10 million lawsuit the city faces because McCloskey was stupid enough to leave on voicemail an attempt to extort $100 K from a company doing business with the city. Oh, and the LOF retirement fund that would have been the recipient of McCloskey's extortive largesse just happens to be one that cuts McCloskey a retirement check. Ah, ain't life swell?

Councilman McCloskey, for those who are unaware, shamelessly switched from a district council seat to an at-large seat to get around the term limits law. Dear Bob: when the voters indicated they wanted a 12-year term limit for council persons, we meant 12 years. Not 12 years as a district rep, plus 12 as an at-large rep, or any permutation that your friends in the Law Department could conjure up.

12 years. That's all, Bob. Do the right thing and step aside.

Return Visit By NSM To Toledo?

(Toledo, OH) Multiple reliable sources in the police department and city administration have been telling me in the past 24 hours that the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement will be returning to Toledo this Saturday, November 5.

2:35PM: This still has to be considered in the rumor stage. City Safety Director Joe Walters told me that he, too, had heard this rumor, and attributed it to an "unknown media report."

Mayor Jack Ford's public affairs spokesperson Mary Chris Skeldon also acknowledged that the Mayor is aware of the rumors, but that they "do not have any solid information" on a possible NSM return.

3:35 PM: Bill White, NSM spokesman from Roanoke, issued this statement:
Rumors have been circulating about an NSM return visit
for the past two weeks. I stopped confirming or
denying them about that long ago as well.

5:45 PM: A source close to the ARA (Anti-Racist Action) says that he has also heard the same rumor. The ARA believes that NSM is going to try and "sneak" in, and not announce the time and place of the next Toledo visit. The ARA, possibly with the presence of the ISO (International Socialist Organization), are making contingency plans for "rapid response" to meet what they are calling the "next Nazi invasion."

9:45 PM: Just got an email from a dedicated hate group watcher who has passed on a great deal of information to me in the past few weeks. This writer has also heard the November 5 date, as well as a possible November 15 visit date (which would be a Tuesday). This writer has contacts within NSM and other white supremacist groups, and is one of the most plugged-in people watching this segment of American society.

More as it comes in....

Oct 30, 2005

Fall Back, Summer Back


The extra hour of sleep from the switch back to standard time plus an unseasonably balmy Sunday combined to make Northwest Ohio a restful place to be today. I spent a few hours raking leaves, pulling up the last of my carrots and potatoes, and generally putzing around on what may be the last truly warm day of the year.

Among my companions this afternoon were the rabbits that have taken up residence in my mulch pile. They competed with the squirrels for the remains of my garden; I will likely have a lot of rogue tomatoes sprouting next spring from the fruit that I did not get around to picking.

I also snagged a handful of late-season peppers this afternoon, kind of smallish but very sweet. I brought exactly none of them back into the house, as avarice and hunger overcame any predisposition I might have possessed to share my vegetable bounty. They were juicy, capacin-heavy, and borderline orgasmic.

Also joining me this afternoon in my backyard endeavors was Hershey, my aged but faithful Labrador retriever. Hershey, as some of you know, received a stay of execution in late August, but his days are numbered. Hip dysplasia has set in, and the ensuing spinal distension has begun to cause damage to his nerves; my old friend has little feeling below what would be his waist were he human.

Today, however, even geriatric dogs could enjoy soaking up the summer-like rays, and the usual worldly worries seemed distant. Would that every day could be as peaceful as this one.

YellowCakeWalk: Weekly White House Protest

people Photos by DC photographer Isis

(Washington, DC) The war in Iraq was controversial before US troops first set foot on Iraqi soil, and quite a few groups have formed in the past three years to provide outlets for people who disagree with the policies of the Bush administration.

One of the more unusual of these peace groups is known as YellowCakeWalk, who gather each Saturday from noon until dusk to protest the war. This loosely-organized collection of activists combines street theater, political humor, and serious issues into a form of protest unlike any other in recent memory.

I spoke with Nukular Noodle, the activist around whom the YellowCakeWalk movement has coalesced.

“We have been here since March 2005, and generally have at least a half-dozen people out here in front of this neo-con shrine,” he said in reference to the White House. “There is not a set format for the forms of protest that people develop; we have different small groups of people with all sorts of different forms of protest.”

Nukular, who is by training an engineer, said that the security forces in and around the White House have not been a problem for the protesters.

“The Park Police and the Secret Service have in general been very polite,” he said. “We have also tried to go out of our way to be cordial with them, because they could make our lives very difficult.”

The difference between YellowCakeWalk and other protesters is the emphasis on street-level protest, and weather permitting, they continue their Saturday theater until dusk.

“Some groups spend much more time on the Internet with their websites than on actual street activity,” said Nukular, whose name is an approximation of President Bush's pronounciation of the word 'nuclear.' “We have a website, but we devote most of our time trying to keep the White House as a place of protest.”.

Nukular, who said the an anti-war stance is only a part of YellowCakeWalk’s emphasis, said that the White House is a “low-hanging fruit” that is a natural mecca for protesters.

“There are tourists here from all over the world, and we have placards in 80 languages,” he said. “Most of us speak multiple languages, and we try to engage as many people as possible in conversation. The great part about this is that tourists take their photos back with them, and the message gets disseminated all over the planet.”

Part of the uniqueness of the protest are the wide variety of placards; passersby are encouraged to pick up a sign and take their own photos.

"In this way we encourage participation in the process," said Nukular. "Kids who have never seen a protest before learn that it's OK and normal to express dissent."

Images copyright 2005, Cool Isis

Visit the YellowCakeWalk site at YellowCakeWalk.net

Oct 29, 2005

On Media Bias, Real and Perceived


When people look for bias in a given media source, they will likely find it. It might not occur in every story, but it can be found in almost every organization.

However: does this perception of bias take away from what the writer was trying to communicate? Does the writer get the information across? Is the perceived bias central to the story, or does it provide just provide a sort of editorial shading?

The problem arises - and I know this is a grey area - when people deliberately inject their politics into the news, or - worse - whore themselves out to a party as a journalist-mole. It happens a lot more frequently in places like DC than happy little Toledo, but there are journalists on both sides of the fence whose loyalties lie with political parties instead of truth.

It is unreasonable for people to assume that journalists can be mindless automatons and divorce themselves from their political views. However, journalists have an obligation to be fair, and to present both sides of an argument. They also have an obligation to disclose any connection to the story, or - better yet - pass on a story to which they are too close.

As a writer I have been accused of being everything from a communist to a right-wing shill, sometimes by different critics on the same piece. I pride myself on my objectivity, but there will be times where my politics peek through.

The litmus test is not the politics of the writer, but the ability of the writer to communicate the truth with a minimum of bias. I surf the Web, radio programs, and news shows to get a variety of information; when, for example, FOX or NPR gets blatantly political and irritates me, I change the channel. I know going in that a given media source might cross that line, and I move on when the given media source fails to deliver what I am seeking.

(Uh-oh; I just used the term "move on;" could this be a subtle hint of bias?)

As an example, let's consider the neo Nazi group NSM, which I have spent a lot of time over the last 2 weeks covering on this blog and in several periodicals. I could have had fun and made the members look like idiots (not very hard, given their penchant for wearing retro Nazi clothing), but for the most part on this blog I played it straight; I was especially conscious of keeping my bias against neo-Nazi politics out of articles that I wrote for the Toledo Free Press and Clamor. Now, if you look hard enough, you can probably find a few places on my blog where I let a little anti-Nazi commentary sneak through, but I think that I treated them fairly overall.

That being said, some have criticized me (especially my this blog) for having a bias toward covering the protesters, and this is evidence that I am some kind of closet propagandist (this quote from "Dick" in Toledo yesterday):

Why are you such an apoligetic [sic] for these people whom caused such destruction and mayhem?

I have tried to find things to write about that the mainstream media skipped. Is this, then, evidence of a "liberal" bias, or am I just looking for different angle? Writers who stray away from the mainstream often get accused of having bias simply because they cover unusual stories.

Now, this is not an apology for egregious example of bias, like Condoleeza Rice being photo-edited to look sort of demonic. Bust them for it where you see it, but remember that sometimes people are just lazy. Perhaps in the above case someone was trying to compensate for a crappy photo by enhancing the contrast or coloring.

The media coverage on Cindy Sheehan, in my opinion, has been vicious and quite biased toward the right. Set aside for a moment your feelings and opinions about her and do a Google News search. Do you think there is a "liberal" bias, or are the right-wingers who demonize her winning out?

Here is a sampling of some of the most inflammatory headlines (taken from the first page of listings in the Google News search):

*"Cindy Sheehan Indulges in Happy Fantasies of Perpetual Safety"
*"Military Families 'Disgusted' by Sheehan"
*"Cindy Sheehan's Latest Publicity Stunt at White House Denounced by ... "
*"Ugh! Not Another Cindy Sheehan Article"

Granted, Cindy Sheehan tends to bring out a special kind of anger, but do you think there is a friendly bias in the news toward her?

(Note: I am throwing this out for discussion, and am not endorsing Ms. Sheehan, or offering any opinion on her mission. However, I recently interviewed her, and found her to be much different from the way she is painted in the mainstream media)

By the way - note the fifth paragraph of this post - I put the word "communist" first; now does this mean that I politically lean to the left, that I consciously tried to be objective by ackowledging a bias, or that I am a rightist because I named "communist" first?

That could be interpreted in a lot of ways, but I'll let you in on a little secret - I have an obsession with alphabetization, and "C" just has to come before "R" in my twisted mind.

It comes down to the finished product - if a journalist does sloppy work, or their work is blatantly lopsided in favor of a particular view, then that journalist should face public scrutiny.

I have friends in the media on both sides of the political aisle, and they are dedicated to the one end that really matters: truth.

Sometimes perceived bias can be attributed to laziness; it is easy to repeat the same things that you hear from other media, or to parrot the crap that gets sent out in press releases.

Personally, if I am covering a press conference, I would rather interview the person sweeping up the room afterwards than the talking heads at the microphones. Sometimes you get better information in unlikely places.

Finally, a quote from someone whose prose will always humble me:

The only thing I ever saw that came close to "objective journalism" was a closed-circuit TV setup that watched shoplifters in the General Store at Woody Creek, Colorado. I always admired that machine, but I noticed that nobody paid any attention to it until one of those known, heavy, out-front shoplifters came into the place... but when that happened, everybody got so excited that the thief had to do something quick, like buy a green popsicle or a can of Coors and get out of the place immediately.

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.

This essay is an outgrowth of a conversation on Toledo Talk, the Glass City's most plugged-in and feistiest blog. If you don't regularly visit the site, you miss out on excellent discussions of local, national, and international news, plus great lines like the one that BrianinFlorida dished out toward a local politician recently: "worthless braintard."

Concealed Carry Case Has Racial Overtones

Left: Hi-Point .45 caliber pistol

(Toledo, OH) Labor activist Michael Franklin Green recently received good news, as a felony gun possession charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. However, unlike white defendants charged with similar crimes, Green's weapon was ordered destroyed by Judge Gene Zmuda.

Green was initially ticketed with a pair of misdemeanors on May 28 for possession of alcohol and a handgun in Swan Creek Metropark. When he showed up for his hearing on June 2, however, he found that the charges had been increased to felonies.

Brian Ramsey, Green’s attorney, convinced the court to reduce the charge and for Green to be free without bond.

Green said that, while he was pleased with the court’s decision to lessen his charge, he is still frustrated over what he termed a “racist prosecutorial system.”

“I have been unable to practice my trade as a merchant marine while the felony charge was hanging over my head, because I was not allowed to leave Lucas County,” he said. “I also could not take a job offer helping with the reconstruction efforts in New Orleans.”

Despite being allowed to leave the county for work, however, Green said that assistant prosecutor Anita Mathew successfully convinced Judge Frederick McDonald to prohibit him from attending a September peace rally in Washington, DC.

“I am being denied my constitutional rights,” he said, watching fellow demonstrators prepare to board the DC-bound busses. “How many other people facing simple misdemeanors are barred from freedom of association and freedom of speech?”

Green said that he is filing a civil lawsuit against the county and the Metroparks police for infringement upon his rights.

“I have suffered significant financial loss because of the prosecutor’s ridiculous decision to try and charge me with a felony,” he said, adding that the fear of jail time has been quite stressful. “Why is it that white defendants like Bruce Beatty and Thomas Szych get charged with misdemeanors, while black defendants get charged with felonies?”

Even more galling to Green is the fact that his weapon was ordered destroyed.

"They give back the weapons of white men, but a black man's gun should be destoyed?" Green asked. "It is clear to me that the court has double standards when it comes to race."

This is an updated article of mine that recently appeared in the Toledo Free Press, a terrific weekly paper.

Oct 28, 2005

On Noe's "Conduits"

Left: Tom Noe, courtesy of the Ohio Board of Regents

The announcement yesterday of the grand jury indictments of Thomas W. Noe in the money laundering investigation of President Bush's re-election campaign came as no surprise; this is just the first in what will likely be several criminal cases against the former Maumee coin dealer.

Thursday's indictment involves an October 2003 fundraiser that President Bush held at a downtown Columbus hotel; that fundraiser brought in $1.4 million to the reelection coffers.

A troubling aspect of the case, however, are the 24 alleged "conduits" used by Noe to launder money. These people have been promised immunity in exchange for their testimony in the Noe investigation.

I believe that citizens have a right to know who these people are, and that immunity from prosecution does not equate to immunity from public scrutiny. Tom and Bernadette Noe built a political empire with money earmarked for injured Ohio workers, and these 24 "conduits" - in their own small way - are part of the systemic rot in the widespread corruption that is modern Ohio politics.

Note to any knowledgeable insiders - there are plenty of sources in Toledo who would publish this information. If you share my beliefs about the public's right to know, feel free to contact me.

Addendum: To the anonymous emailer who called me a "Democratic operative," be advised that I belong to no political parties or PACs. In addition, I frequently write about corruption when it occurs in politicians with a "D" after their name, such as the Prince of Sleaze, Bob McCloskey.

Oct 27, 2005

On "Outside" Agitators At The North Toledo Riot

One of the recurrent refrains that echoes across the city of Toledo in the weeks after the October 15 riot in North Toledo involves the supposed influence of "outside agitators" on the anti-Nazi protesters. I have heard city officials, community leaders, and even the neo-Nazi group NSM utter the same sentiment.

The reality is that these "agitators" were, by and large, Toledoans themselves, and quite a few of them live in the North End.

The tendency to write off this group of protesters as outsiders might be due to the fact that we can dismiss these people from future conversations on the North End. If, the reasoning goes, they are outsiders, then we can shut them out from events like the community forum Tuesday night at the Zablocki Center.

Classifying these protesters as "outsiders" also helps some community leaders come to terms with the violence that erupted on October 15. Were it not for these "outside agitators" - as the theory goes - the crowd would not have reacted the way it did.

To follow this line of reasoning is a condescending form of racism in and of itself. What people who believe this theory are really saying is that poor minorities cannot think for themselves, possess no sense of political consciousness, and need white "agitators" to provoke them into action. This is patently absurd; the protesters that I spoke with voiced a great deal of well-reasoned political thoughts to explain why they were out in the streets. I might not agree with their views, but to deny that there was a political element to the protest and riot is the height of patronizing elitism.

Does this excuse the burning of Jim and Lou's Bar, or the looting of stores? Most definitely not, nor does it excuse the attacks on police officers, emergency crews, or passing motorists. The violent criminals in the riot should be punished for their actions.

However, Toledoans need to disabuse themselves of the notion that "outside agitators" stirred up an otherwise clueless mob. The protesters of all colors and backgrounds knew exactly why they were there, and articulated rational political thought in defense of the protest. That some elements within the crowd chose illegal means to convey their message does not take away from the fact that such messages existed.

For those who have not nodded off during this missive, I dissect this issue further in an article in Clamor Magazine this week.

Oct 26, 2005

Two Dozen Protesters Arrested In DC "Die-In"

Left: Protesters at "die-in" moments before being arrested; photo by Isis

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the White House this evening in commemoration of the 2,000th US soldier killed in Iraq.

Officially, the 2000th dead soldier was Staff Sgt. George T. Alexander Jr., 34, of Killeen, Texas, who died Saturday in San Antonio of injuries sustained on October 17.

This blog was one of the first media outlets to report the event, and the images that Isis captured are far superior to the lame pics that I saw on CNN.com.

Left: Isis caught Cindy Sheehan just before the event began

You can read more in Thursday's Clamor Blog, with my coverage and the brilliant photography of DC photographer Isis.

Historymike and Isis, by the way, just inked a multi-million dollar deal with Clamor to provide exclusive guerilla journalism for their blog (OK, it will most likely consist of leftover pizza, some review copies of CDs, and some Clamor t-shirts, but read the article anyways).

More On Zablocki Town Hall Controversy


As reported here last night, activists were prevented by city officials from handing out informational flyers at the town hall meeting held at the Zablocki Center, a city-owned property.

Simultaneously, though, tables inside the Center were staffed by campaign workers of Mayor Jack Ford, who were passing out campaign literature.

My source had this to say about the suppression of free speech.

"Not only were we told that we could not pass out flyers, a goon from the UAW (in the Ford campaign) tried to physically intimidate one of our activists," he said. "Terry Glazer, from Lagrange Development, called our flyers "hate literature".

My source continued in conversation about the literature, which featured information about contributing to a defense fund to free the "political prisoners" arrested after the October 15 riot in North Toledo.

"Then the UAW goon ordered a white police officer to 'arrest those other two guys too' (two other activists passing out flyers)," he said. "The police officer, who was white, did not arrest anyone and said that he was shocked that we were not allowed to pass out the literature, since it was obviously 'not hate literature.'"

Ford's people, according to my sources, aggressively barred other groups, while permitting Ford campaigners a privileged place inside the town hall.

"They locked the front door to Zablocki after our volunteers went out onto the public sidewalk to pass out flyers to those people entering through the front entrance, instead of the back entrance from the parking lot," he said. "Ford campaign people had free reign to pass out literature in the parking lot and they had tables inside the building."

The anti-Nazi activists were not the only ones banned from passing out literature.

"Even the Finkbeiner campaign people were banned from passing out their campaign literature and took several of our flyers," he said. "They were exiled to the sidewalk along with our anti-Nazi coalition people. It's funny - but -sad - that Ford wants to protect the free speech of Nazis, but won't let Toledo citizens have the same right."

Still waiting to get confirmation from the Finkbeiner camp about the incident, but a staffer said "it wouldn't surprise me if that is true." He promised to find some volunteers who were at the event last night.

More to follow....

Oct 25, 2005

Zablocki Center Town Hall: Free Speech Repression?

Left: Zablocki Center

Several callers tonight indicated they were prevented from passing out flyers at the town hall meeting at the Zablocki Center on LaGrange Street.

One group was from the anti-Nazi coalition, and they were passing out flyers protesting the "politcal prisoners" among the 147 people arrested in the October 15 protest-turned-riot.

Another group banned from the premises - and from passing out flyers - was the Toledo chapter of the International Socialist Organization (ISO).

Sources also indicated that some Carty Finkbeiner supporters were asked to leave the Zablocki Center; still trying to confirm this with campaign staffers.

More as it comes in...

Views On The North Toledo Riot

David Neiwert, a West Coast author who has covered the white supremacist movement for many years, has an excellent synthesis of the North Toledo riot on his blog, Orcinus. Featuring more of the riveting photos of Isis, Neiwert adds some particularly thoughtful insights into what happened on October 15, and adds his own research on Bill White and NSM.

Clamor magazine just published a longer essay that I wrote on the events of October 15 in a supplement that is available on their website. I may tick some people off with my analysis, but I think there is a lot more going on below the surface that our leaders and the mainstream media may be missing. The photos on that essay were also by Isis, but the webmaster did not credit her; I will flog the Clamor folks and correct this.

WSPD radio host Bob Frantz makes sure that we do not forget that lawlessness cannot be excused in his Toledo Free Press column last week. He makes some excellent points about the media and the police response.

For those whose politics are much further left, George Windau and Michael Franklin Green penned an article for Worker's World. They helped plan the coalition of protesters that confronted the Nazis, and both are part of the local labor and political activist scene in Toledo. George, incidentally, reported to me several days ago that his home has been under surveillance by not-so-undercover police units.

The mentally disturbed, perenially-acerbic Subcomandante Bob's satirical takes on the Nazis provided a modicum on comic relief in the days before and after the riot on the e-zine Toledo Tales. Subcomandante Bob, who I am told has only a tenuous grip on reality, recently announced that he checked himself into a mental health facility, but will continue to peck out his sardonic missives during his Thorazine-laden stay.

The Toledo Journal's Bob Stiegel, perhaps the Glass City's most in-your-face reporter, places most of the blame for the riot on "white professional counter-protesters" in his coverage/editorial. I disagree with this assessment, but I feel it is typical of the thinking of many in the city's leadership and mainstream media, so I included it in this review of the coverage.

The Blade devoted several editorials and many more stories to the disturbance. Some of the coverage was quite good, in particular the work of Clyde Hughes and Tom Troy , but I will leave you to do your own Google search for this material (historymike is still in "feud" mode vis a vis the Blade).

Oct 24, 2005

OSU Historian To Visit UT


OSU history professor and author Dr. Kevin Boyle will speak at the University of Toledo on Friday, October 28.

Boyle's latest book, Arc of Justice: The Sweet Case and the Course of Civil Rights, examines the ordeal of Dr. Ossian Sweet, who moved to Detroit in the 1920s with his family to an all-white neighborhood. When the local block association incited a mob to drive Sweet from the neighborhood, he asked friends to help him defend his new home. The death of a white man led to a sensational murder trial, and Sweet was defended by legendary attorney Clarence Darrow.

Boyle’s book received the 2004 National Book Award for non-fiction. He is also the author of The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945-1968 (1995), coauthor of Muddy Boots and Ragged Aprons: Images of Working-Class Detroit, 1900-1930 (1997), and editor of Organized Labor and American Politics, 1894-1994: The Labor-Liberal Alliance.

The talk is part of the UT History Department's "Engaged History" series, and will be held in room 1520 in Rocket Hall. It is open to the public.

Bill White, Would-Be Historian


Photo of NSM's Bill White by DC photographer Isis

I read with some amusement (and a bit of sadness) NSM spkesperson Bill White's attempts at historical discourse today on the Overhtrow.com website. I normally avoid linking to Bill's site, primarily out of a belief that I do not want to contribute to his cult of megalomania, but his essay entitled "Protestantism And Puritanism: At The Root Of Moden Decadence" is an exercise in both poor research and specious thinking that deserves critical analysis.

Bill writes that "Muslims [sic] rule in Spain was finally stomped out in 1492;" this is a bit of stretch, since the centuries-old Reconquista had reduced Muslim holdings to the tiny kingdom of Grenada by 1492, and the idea that Muslims "ruled" the Iberian Peninsula in the fifteenth century is absurd.

White argued that "The expulsion of the Jews was, ironically, led by the Jesuits;" this is an outright impossibility, since the founder of the Jesuit Order, St. Ignatius of Loyola, was born in 1491, and Pope Paul III did not officially confirm the order until the issuance of papal bull Regimini militantis on September 27, 1540.

The rhetoric itself is rife with spelling and grammatical errors, and White's writing normally demonstrates a higher level of competence. I suspect that Mr. White has cut-and-pasted this from another source, and not double-checked it for accuracy.

Much of the writing is a rambling attempt to connect such diverse historical events as the French Revolution, the Guelph-Ghibbeline feud between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, and White's preoccupation with a Freemasonry conspiracy. Jews, of course, figure prominently in White's analysis as the big money behind nearly every major figure in European history.

White sees the Protestant Reformation as due to two causes: nationalism and "Jewish desire to wreck [sic] vengeance on the Catholic Church." Nowhere in White's analysis is there room for any theological considerations; Martin Luther, in White's eyes, must then be either a nationalist or the tool of evil Jews.

All of this might seem humorous were it not for the fact that people look to Mr. White for inspiration. Given this fact, White's forays into historical writing only serve to mislead his readers, while underscoring that probability that White likely slept through much of his short-lived undergraduate career.

Oct 23, 2005

NSM Agent Provocateur?

Left: unidentified female NSM supporter who later found her way into the riot scene

Midway through the October 15 riot in Toledo a young woman came up to me and began to engage me in conversation. At the time I found her to be a bit strange, as she claimed to have been the victim of black gang members who threatened to kill her dog because she was a "fag" (a similar person was also quoted by the Toledo Blade with this claim).

She followed me down Bronson to the house of Thomas Szych, which had been vandalized by rioters, and she continued to follow me to the wrecked news vehicle around the corner from Szych's house.

I was recently looking through the 1000s of photos taken by DC photographer Isis when I made an unusual discovery: the odd person pestering me with questions about my life and talking about her struggles at the hands of North End gangs was a member of Bill White's NSM supporters.

There were many inconsistencies in her story; she claimed to have taken courses at a university that I both attend and at which I work, but there have never been such courses offered (one of the courses she mentioned was in "modern architectural history"). I found her use of the word "fag" to be odd; I have heard gay men use this term in a self-effacing manner, but I have never heard lesbians call themselves "fags."

She also referred to the rioters as "sub-human" and "degenerates;" it was at this point that Isis and I made a more concerted effort to get the hell away from this person.

Isis had earlier called this person a "vampire" in the way that she was one of those people who "will suck the time and life right out of you;" we were busy trying to take photos and interview people when this hanger-on arrived, and she continued to make a nuisance out of herself.

In retrospect, however, it seems clear to me that this person recognized me either from my blog or from newspaper clippings. The questions I have are as follows:

1. Who is this person? Is she local, or is she one of the NSM visitors?
2. Why was she seemingly fixated on gleaning personal information about me?
3. Was her purpose simply one of reconnaissance, or was her motive something more sinister?

Any information that readers can provide would be greatly appreciated, as unknown elements in the white supremacist movement have been making direct and indirect threats against me.

Oct 22, 2005

A Community Tries To Move Forward


US House Representative Marcy Kaptur today sponsored a "listening session" for local residents to vent their frustrations in the aftermath of the North Toledo riot. Approxiamtely 150 residents met with most of the area's elected officials in attempt to create better communication and help heal wounds opened by last week's violence.

I arrived a little late, having convinced myself that the meeting was at the Zablocki Center. In typical historymike fashion, I managed to have my cell phone go off, smack my head on a rack of folding chairs, and figure out that my 256K chip was not in my camera. I should be awarded the "most absent-minded media geek" award next year.

Alas, I managed to snap a few pictures with the internal memory.

Paticipants, who merely had to wait in line for 2 minutes to address the gathering, expressed many diverse opinions on the reasons for the riot and what the community needs to do to get past the violence of October 15. I did not see, however, any of the groundswell of support that NSM spokesperson Bill White claims exists in Toledo.

One remarkable feature of the meeting: there was no uniformed police presence in the hall. There were a half-dozen uniformed officers milling about outside, but I think the idea to keep the police outside was brilliant. People seemed to have no reluctance to let loose with their frustrations.

Many in the crowd felt the media shared some responsibility for the negative coverage of the riot. Others were angry that the city allowed the march to be held in a residential neighborhood. Quite a few residents were also angry that the NSM rally was held on the grounds of a public school.

A fiery Marcy Kaptur took aim at what she called "outright racism" of some right-wing radio hosts who belittled her efforts at this session.

"It's all over the racist media of this country," she said. "They called me a Pollyanna politician who was not tough."

A number of speakers discussed the poor economic conditions in North Toledo as a contributing factor, as well as the dearth of positive alternatives to joining gangs for young people that exist in the area.

Mayor Ford spoke last, after politely listening to some blistering criticism.

"Whatever we think of this particular group (NSM), they have a constitutional right to free speech," he said. "The first amendement is pretty clear-cut; what might be hate speech to you and I should probably have the most protection."

Ford reminded the audience that the civil rights struggles in the 1950s and 1960s relied heavily upon the First Amendment.
Left: Joshua Bey with Rep. Marcy Kaptur

The session closed with a stirring rendtition of "America the Beautiful" by Toledoan Joshua Bey. As Bey's resplendent tenor began to echo in the room, the crowd joined in; for a moment, even this oft-cynical correspondent felt hope that the divisiveness of October 15 can be bridged.

Oct 21, 2005

From Hero To Goat: Dr. Jacques Pluss Falls From NSM Grace

Left: Dr. Jacques Pluss, in happier NSM days

I have not wished to spend much time on the internal politics of the National Socialist Movement (NSM), nor on the power struggle that seems to exist among the white supremacist factions in the post-National Alliance world.

However, the story of Dr. Jacques Pluss caught my eye, and I thought readers might gain some insight into our good friend Bill White.

Dr. Pluss was terminated from his post as an adjunct history professor at Farleigh Dickinson University in March 2005. The official reason cited was that Pluss had already "racked up 6 absences" in a 15-week semester, but many on campus suspected that the Nazi affiliation of the professor had something to do with his firing.

At any rate, NSM gained a measure of respectability by bringing an academic presence to its group.

The NSM community showered praise on the Nazi academic. NSM Commander Jeff Schoep said in February that the arrival of Pluss was "a move of Historical Proportions in our struggle, that a man with such credentials is stepping forth with such a sound and resonating message of Truth, beaming forth directly from the National Socialist Movement!"

An April post to the nukeisrael.com site described Pluss as "a newcomer to the NSM, Pluss unleashed a fiery oratory reminiscent of Hitler's speeches." A comparison with Der Führer certainly put Pluss in heady company in the world of neo-Nazis.

How quickly was the descent of Pluss from icon to anathema; after Pluss formally severed ties with NSM this week, Bill White began an intense character assassination campaign against the beleagured ex-professor:
Pluss has been taking psychiatric medicines and was extremely depressed prior to his break with NSM. Friends who new him told LSN he "seemed to be descending into his own world" before the break.

Not happy with merely questioning the sanity of Pluss, White felt that an attack on his personal life was also in order:
His girlfriend was recently refused admission to a very prestigious and hard to qualify for school which she had applied to. She blames the failure to gain admission on the NSM, though, frankly, it was more likely her grades, the fact she lives with one of her professors from her last school, and that the school is very exclusive and hard to get into.

Mr. White seems to be the master of disinformation, and I am amused - and a bit disturbed - by his attempts to engage in similar campaigns against me on Toledo boards. I am taking this opportunity to let him know that I am documenting this behavior, and that I will take every necessary step to protect my family and reputation.

Remember, too, Mr. White - you came to my city. I had not made any acquaintance - virtual or otherwise - with you until October 6. Moreover, I was perfectly content to focus on Toledo until you (or your minions) began a campaign to discredit and threaten me.

In short, Mr. White, I strongly urge you to call off the dogs before you or one of your band of merry men crosses the line into the realm of the illegal.

And A Child Shall Lead Them

One of the most disturbing aspects of the North Toledo riot for me was the age of many of the protesters. In this photo (once again by the mighty Isis) a very young man leads the charge back up Mulberry Street after the first wave of teargas cannisters and flash-bang devices had been fired.

This fearless-looking boy of perhaps 10 years of age was not intimidated by the presence of police in riot gear, nor of the SWAT team in the front of the police forces. I am momentarily setting aside the issue of why this child was present at the riot; I do not know his circumstances, so far be it from me to comment on his family situation.

Why, though, would this young man have such conviction that his path lay in seeking direct conflict with Toledo Police? What events in this child's life could cause such distrust of the police that he would seek this type of confrontation?

There are complex social issues at play here - pervasive poverty, declining economic opportunity, and struggling parents, to name just a few - influencing the life of this child, and simplistic "lock 'em up" responses do nothing to improve the conditions that helped shape the life of our young friend.

Until we stop ignoring neighborhoods like LaGrinka, scenes like this will become all the more common. Perhaps, if nothing else, the North Toledo riot on October 15 will force us to take a hard look at what needs to be done in American cities.

Photo copyright 2005, Isis.

Oct 20, 2005

Countering The White Lies, Part Two

One of the more interesting attempts at spin that Bill White has conjured involves the African American police officers. White claims, alternately, that they "chickened out" or that they refused to show up (some on the left are making this claim as well).

That being said, here are photos of numerous black officers working hard to keep the peace last Saturday. There were several dozen on the scene, but I am limiting this photo analysis to representatives of each category of officer. Click on the photos for a closeup.

There were several of these officers keeping surveillance on protesters early on, as well as on the NSM members. I am told that this officer is part of SEB (Special Enforcement Burueau), commonly known as the "Ninjas" because of their tactical expertise. This photo was taken at 8:48 AM in Manhattan Plaza.

Slightly to the right of center is a black member of the Bike Patrol. This unit is often used for stealth operations because they can quickly approach suspects without being detected until the last moment. This photo was taken at 10:48 AM on Stickney, near the point where NSM members drove their cars into Wilson Park.

Front and center is an African American member of the SWAT team; this photo was taken at 2:54 PM on Mulberry Street just north of Central Avenue.

This black officer and his white partner stopped the ARA protesters on Stickney to remind them of the rules of the protest. This photo was taken at 9:46 AM.

I felt that it was important to counteract this lie because I don't want to see Mr. White's disinformation campaign cause dissension among the ranks of TPD. I think that all officers - black and white - showed remarkable restraint in the face of a hostile crowd.

The photos on this series covering the aborted NSM rally in Toledo were taken by DC photographer Isis; copyright 2005 Isis. You can see more of the work of Isis at Yellowcakewalk.net.

Oct 19, 2005

Caught in the Clash: An Account of the North Toledo Riot

A first-person account of the North Toledo riot on October 15, 2005; this originally ran in the Toledo Free Press

The October sun warmed the first anti-Nazi protesters who assembled in Manhattan Plaza; it might have lulled some into a false sense of complacency.

That was not the case with Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre, who stopped and talked with everyone who gathered to oppose the National Socialist Movement.

Speaking with an anti-racist skinhead, Navarre offered a friendly warning.

"It's a beautiful day out today, isn't it?" he asked. "It's way too nice of a day to be sitting in a jail cell, so let's keep things legal."

He warned the protesters that any deviation from the agreed boundaries of behavior would be dealt with swiftly.

"We will have no tolerance for criminal activity," he said.

The organized protesters, however, would turn out to be the least of Navarre's worries.

I followed the Chief's car to the Cherry Street mini-station, where a media briefing was set to begin at 9 a.m. Navarre described the plans for the day's events, and issued warnings to the media.

"There is a significant danger of violence breaking out today," he said. "We want everyone to be safe out there."

Heating Up

At approximately 10 a.m., the assembled protesters began marching down Manhattan Boulevard to Stickney Avenue. The anarchists, most dressed in black, took the west side of Stickney, while the socialists and communists walked down the east side of the street.

Two Toledo Police officers momentarily stopped the 30 members of an anarchist group, who marched with a banner proclaiming ARA (Anti-Racist Action). They explained the rules once again, and reminded the members they would not tolerate anyone breaking the agreement.

As the groups neared Woodward High School, the police funneled both flanks into one assembled mass of protesters along the east side of the street. The group began a series of anti-racist chants.

I overheard a call over one of the police radios that a large number of gang members had been dispersed near LaGrange Street and Central Avenue.

The organized protesters were almost immediately joined by residents from the neighborhood, some of whom were dressed in gang colors. By 10:30 a.m., the combined protesters numbered about 100 people.

From the large number of people chatting on cell phones in the crowd, it appeared that the growth of the crowd could be attributed, in part, to people being attracted by text messages and video images.

The attention of the crowd began to focus on the unexpected presence of a half-dozen neo-Nazis near Stickney and Woodward Avenue. This did not seem to fit the original plan, in which the Nazis were to stage a short rally within Wilson Park before beginning their march on East Streicher Street.

The first wave of eight NSM members merely stood at attention approximately 50 yards from the crowd. NSM leader Bill White was dressed in civilian clothes at this time, chatting into a cell phone.

Soon, three carloads of Nazis pulled into Wilson Park in full uniform. The crowd, which by now had grown to an estimated 250, became more vocal in its opposition to the group.

White reappeared in full Nazi regalia, joined by Ohio NSM operative Mark Martin. Both began to address the crowd, taunting them with racial epithets.

"Hey! The Toledo Zoo called, and they want their monkeys back," shouted Martin, as the NSM members began making chimpanzee sounds. "Why don't you go cry to your daddy? Oh wait, you're a n*****; you don't know who your daddy is!"

White suggested the protesters "ought to go back to cooking French fries at McDonalds, since that's all you can do," and led the Nazis in a series of chants.

By 11:20 a.m., the situation on Mulberry began to deteriorate, as bottles and rocks were launched from the back of the crowd. Mounted police and police in riot gear made a few arrests, and many in the crowd interpreted these arrests as evidence the police were more interested in protecting the Nazis.

"Why did you take that young man?" demanded an older protester. "He didn't do anything!"

Bill White and his supporters moved back about 20 yards and attempted to continue their taunting.

"Hey Shaniqua, how many ‘baby's daddies' you got?" shouted Martin, creating an African-sounding name for effect. "How many welfare checks do you get every month?"

At 11:40 a.m., the police began to move the Nazis to a planned press conference in a secure area in Woodrow Wilson Park. The crowd, which was prevented from entering the park, ran down Central Avenue, where they hoped to confront the Nazis on their planned march through North Toledo. I was listening to Bill White's opening remarks when police radios nearby began to crackle. Overwhelmed police units on Mulberry were calling for backup. I and a visiting photographer from Washington, D.C., ran with the police to Mulberry and Central, where things were starting to get ugly.

Boiling Point

We reached the intersection of Mulberry and Central just before noon, and a few projectiles had already been thrown. Rocks and bottles continued to be launched from the back of the crowd.

"Why are you protecting the Nazis?" was the most common theme running through the crowd. I was photographing a man being arrested when another volley of debris was launched. In a span of perhaps 10 seconds, a half-dozen chunks of concrete landed in a radius of 20 feet from me.

The crowd forced police to retreat about one-half block up Mulberry, and we were now fully immersed in the angry protesters.

Contrary to published reports, there did not seem to be any racial animosity; I am white, as were the three media people I found myself standing next to. The anger was directed at the police department, who were increasingly seen by the crowd as collaborators with the Nazis.

"They got no right to come into our neighborhood like that," shouted an angry young man with a brick. "We gonna send them right back out."

Three Latino gang members sat against Jim and Lou's Bar and talked to me.

"You've got every gang here," one gang member said, rolling a thick joint of what he called "chronic," a potent brand of marijuana. "We want to kick these motherf*****s out."

The police forced the protesters back to Central Avenue.

"This is your one warning," shouted an officer through a megaphone. "Leave the area, or you will be arrested."

Shortly after noon, the first volley of teargas canisters and flash-bang devices were launched. Throughout the afternoon, I caught more than a few strong whiffs of teargas (the first is the worst; one becomes sort of accustomed to repeated contact).

The police drove the crowd further up Mulberry. Rioters in the alley began launching projectiles over the roofs of houses. I took cover on the porch of an abandoned house with three other media people.

The police pointed the wooden pellet rifles at us and ordered us to "move or be arrested."

A writer for BG News tried to reason with the officer, saying we were going to get hit with concrete if we left the porch.

"That's your problem; you knew that coming here," he said. "Move or be arrested."

We moved.

Smoldering Bronson St.

The crowd regrouped near Bronson Street and drove the officers back well north of Central. An estimated 500 people now filled the intersection at Mulberry.

"Where are all these people coming from?" cried an older woman. "I don't recognize any of these kids!"

Carloads of youths in gang colors careened through the neighborhood, driving at reckless speeds.

A shout suddenly went up over the appearance of a white TPD Jeep traveling north on Mulberry. As many as 30 chunks of concrete and brick were hurled at the vehicle, smashing every window.

For the next 10 minutes, every car going through the intersection was treated to the same barrage of projectiles.

"Stop it! Stop it!" screamed an unidentified woman to the teens. "You are being ignorant!"

The rioters paid no heed to her and continued to stockpile rocks for the inevitable next charge by the police. During the next two hours, this pattern of charge and retreat continued along Mulberry.

One of the weirdest occurrences, and one that happened throughout the ordeal, was the bizarre exchange of common courtesy that continued to show itself in unusual places. A young man hurled a chunk of concrete toward the police, and his arm bumped me after he heaved it.

"I'm sorry, man," he said. "You all right?"

After a volley of teargas and flash-bang devices went off, an elderly man's Cadillac inched through the intersection of Mulberry and Central. No one threw anything at his car, and he had the presence of mind to politely use his turn signals as he rounded the corner. In the midst of chaos, this man was determined to follow all traffic laws.

Of course, could there be anything more unusual than a 41-year-old white writer sitting on a curb and furiously typing a preliminary draft of an account of the riot on his laptop?

Or that he would be able to find a wireless signal 30 feet from the intersection of Mulberry and Central?

A shout went out shortly after 2 p.m.; an EMS vehicle moved east on Central toward Mulberry. Two dozen youths met it head on, launching a flurry of rocks into the front windshield. The windowless emergency vehicle stopped and immediately reversed its direction.

A resident on Central screamed at the youths.

"What the f*** is wrong with you?" she demanded. "What if someone is hurt and needs help?"

The rock-throwers exchanged high-fives in a surreal, twisted show of solidarity.

A young woman came to me and a photographer and offered to show us some things she had seen.

We walked around the block to the house of Thomas Szych, whose dispute earlier in the summer was ostensibly the reason the Nazis wanted to demonstrate and show support.

Most of the house's windows were smashed, as was his glass front door.

"We never called the Nazis," said John White, the father of Thomas. "Why are they attacking our houses? Look — they even broke the windows of an old woman who had nothing to do with this."

The elder Szych said he chased off the rioters with his gun.

"I fired six warning shots in the air, and I said: ‘I've got plenty more if you want some,'" he said. "If I have a heart attack, I am going to sue that Bill White."

One resident, who declined to be named, had a different view.

"The Szychs are the problem; everyone else on this street gets along," he said. "They are the ones who called the Nazis in the first place."

He pointed to Thomas Szych's house: "Look — that man started all this, but he turned tail and ran the day the Nazis arrived," he said. "You'd think he would stick around and meet his buddies."

Our guide took us around the corner to the vandalized truck of a local television crew.

Most of the windows had been smashed, and the vehicle had dents on all sides.

"Some people are mad at the media for giving the Nazis attention," said resident Yolanda Jackson. "I'd hide that press pass if I were you."

Another resident pushed his 1-year old child, Jaelyn, down the street.

"It's a shame the children have to see this," he said. "No one should have to grow up with this bullshit." Throughout the ordeal, a woman in a grey suit kept talking to any rioter who would listen: Oshai Crenshaw.

"Look — it doesn't have to be this way," she told a group of young men. "Why don't we stop and think about what we are doing to our city?"

Another near-constant on the scene was Ramon Perez, a Lagrange Village Council member. Perez also talked to gang members and urged them to cease the violence.

"Listen — this is our neighborhood," he told a group of youths. "When you act out like this, the Nazis win."

A man in a clerical collar walked down Central, just past the area where the EMS truck had been attacked. Rev. Mansour Bey left the alternative "Erase the Hate" rally on Lagrange Street and walked through the fray to act as an intermediary.

One woman challenged him.

"Why aren't all the area pastors out here trying to stop this?" she asked. "Don't they have faith?"

"I can only speak for myself," he replied. "I have faith." He continued walking toward Mulberry, a lone voice in a sea of chaos.

Bey later linked up with Toledo Mayor Jack Ford, Toledo Fire Chief Mike Bell and other City officials in an attempt to defuse the angry crowd.

We walked back from our tour of Dexter and Bronson streets to see the end of the attempt at negotiations with the mob. This effort might have been more successful shortly after noon; another two hours of rage, weed and booze made these efforts much less likely to prove fruitful.

The looting and burning of Jim and Lou's Bar, on the corner of Central and Mulberry, put an end to any civil resolution of the crisis. Reinforced by officers from the surrounding area, authorities quickly dispersed the crowd and gained control of the area by about 4 p.m.

Fire crews were able to put out the blaze in relatively rapid fashion; the smoking ruins of a favorite watering hole for local politicians stood as a symbol of all that had gone wrong on this sunny Saturday.

Watching the final police offensive, a North Toledo man quoted Dr. Seuss.

"To think that I saw it on Mulberry Street," he said.

Big White Lies: NSM Tries To Spin the North Toledo Riot

I feel the need to weigh in on the outright fabrications that Bill White is spreading through the media. I was in North Toledo from 8:00 AM until almost midnight, and I am amazed at the complete doctoring of the truth in which Mr. White engages.

Then again, perhaps I shouldn't be. With that said, let's dissect four of the biggest of the White lies:

Lie #1: "My people held the mob at bay; there were no police around when we got there." In this photo, the earliest NSM members stand at attention, protected by Lucas County sheriff's deputies in riot gear. The idea that they somehow courageously held the crowd at bay is absurd. There were dozens of police protecting the earliest NSM arrivals, and the Nazis were a comfortable 40 yards from the protesters.

Lie #2: "The police prevented my people from coming in."
This photo was taken at 10:49 AM; this is the first of three vehicles carrying NSM members that Toledo Police allowed in to the failed march. It is interesting that the phantom NSM members could not get into the area, but that hundreds of protesters could do so.

Lie #3: "There were only a few dozen protesters; the mob came out for looting later." This photo was taken at 11:02 AM, and there were already about 150 protesters. The number comtinued to grow until the police escorted the Nazis away from Stickney Avenue.

Lie #4: "There were... 20 pudgy, nerdy high school and college kids from ARA and about 36 black juveniles. I probably could have fought them off myself." Mr. White, who himself has something of a bit of a paunch (as does historymike), breaks into a bit of false bravado here. While I have never seen Mr. White in a fight, I am concerned that this statement demonstrates a worldview bordering on the delusional.

Mr. White, if you do not already have the assistance of mental health professionals, I kindly suggest that you consider seeking professional help.

The photos on this series covering the aborted NSM rally in Toledo were taken by DC photographer Isis; copyright 2005 Isis. You can see more of the work of Isis at Yellowcakewalk.net.

Oct 18, 2005

North Toledo Riot: Initial Conflict Between Police And Protesters

Left: Protesters heading for Central Avenue

Shortly before noon on Saturday, October 15 several hundred anti-Nazi protesters ran en masse from Stickney Avenue to Mulberry Street on Toledo's north side, hoping to meet members of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) on the first leg of their planned march.

Left: The arrest of this unidentified man was a catalyst in the riot

The crowd was convincd that the Nazis were still coming, and that the police on Mulberry were between them and the Nazis. Police made a few initial arrests of persons suspected of throwing projectiles.

Left: Bicycle police arriving to bolster Mulberry defenses are greeted with rocks

Diplomacy, if it were to ever be successful, would have made the most sense at this point. I think that if the crowd could be convinced that they had "won," and that the Nazis had left Toledo, they might have dispersed peacefully. The chosen path, however, was one of immediate, forceful dispersal.

Left: Riot officer fires teargas into crowd

From this point forward, it seemed that the attitude of the protesters became decidedly anti-police in nature. The officers began the first of many offensive actions to disperse the crowd and reclaim territory.

Left: Riot police march through thick teargas south on Mulberry

The battle lines were now drawn, and the next few hours would see repeated efforts to control this intersection. Police marched forward, but would be driven back by the regrouping rioters. The later arrival of reinforcements from surrounding communities and off-duty officers proved to be the necessary force needed to quell the unrest, but anger still simmers in the area.

Most of the photos on this series covering the aborted NSM rally in Toledo were taken by Washington, DC photographer Isis. You can see more of the work of Isis at Yellowcakewalk.net ; go to the "Gallery" section.

Oct 17, 2005

Faces In The Midst Of Chaos, Part Two

Left: Toledo Police riot squad leader

The anti-Nazi crowd that wound its way around Woodward High School met up with a riot squad on Central and Mulberry just before noon on Saturday in North Toledo. A tense standoff began that would last for over four hours.

Left: unidentified Toledo teen on the corner of Mulberry and Central

The anger felt by protesters against Bill White and his NSM followers after an hour their race-baiting rhetoric slowly changed direction and became focused upon the Toledo Police, who many in the crowd believed were "protecting" the Nazis. The irony, of course, is that the neo-Nazis had by now driven away from the scene after not being permitted the right to march through North Toledo.

White's claims that his group was denied constitutional rights are ludicrous; his band of two dozen supporters would have been slaughtered by the angry crowd, now numbering some 700 people.
Toledoan Oshai Crenshaw tirelessly walked among the rioters, trying to restore order

One of the day's heroes was most certainly a woman named Oshai Crenshaw. She was at the center of the unrest from noon until the fire was put out at Jim and Lou's Bar. While the networks focused on the helicopter cams showing looters and rioters, I would like to extend a personal thanks to Crenshaw for her bravery and efforts to bring peace.

Left: 1-year old Jaelyn, who watched as a TV news vehicle got vandalized

There were many small children on the fringes of the North Toledo violence. Most were hurriedly shooed back onto porches and in houses, but a few played freely mere yards from a war zone. I see the tiny young faces, and pray for a world where babies never have to see hate and violence.

The photos on this series covering the aborted NSM rally in Toledo were taken by DC photographer Isis; copyright 2005 Isis. Things got crazy, and we were swapping memory cards back and forth, but 90% of this work was hers. You can see more of the work of Isis at Yellowcakewalk.net.

Oct 16, 2005

Faces In The Midst Of Chaos, Part One

Left: An unidentified protester before the riot broke out

The images beamed across the country of Toledo thugs looting a corner bar, while horrifying, provided only a narrow glimpse at the complexity of the riot that followed a cancelled Nazi march through North Toledo. This photo-essay attempts to provide a more comprehensive look at this event.

Left: Toledo Mayor Jack Ford, watching as the Stickney crowd begins to pelt Nazis with rocks and eggs

The original protesters, numbering about 60 people, found their ranks swelled with neighborhood residents after Nazis arrived and began to agitate the crowd with racial slurs.

Left: an unidentified protester demonstrating what he would like to do to a Nazi

Perhaps as many as 700 people faced Bill White and his NSM minions by 11:30, and a few volleys of projectiles by the agitated crowd forced the Nazis to hide in the park behinfd the police.

Left: a protester leads an anti-racism chant

The police, realizing the crowd was getting out of control, are instructed to cover the retreating Nazis as they head to the planned press conference at 11:40 in Woodrow Wilson Park. Bill White had barely begun to speak when the squawking police radios reported that the mob had begun to assemble on Mulberry, and that reinforcements were desperately needed.

Left: the angry mob running for Central Avenue to confront the Nazis on their parade route

Thus began the confrontation between protesters and police on Mulberry. What started as an anti-Nazi protest morphed into an anti-police protest.

The photos on this series covering the aborted NSM rally in Toledo were taken by DC photographer Isis; copyright 2005 Isis. Things got crazy, and we were swapping memory cards back and forth, but 90% of this work was hers. You can see more of the work of Isis at Yellowcakewalk.net.

Faces Of Hate

NSM's Bill WhiteLeft: NSM's Bill White leads his band of merry Nazis in a chant of "Sieg Heil"

The arrival of neo-Nazis on the west side of Stickney about 10:30 AM on Saturday served as a catalyst for future unrest. Almost immediately the group began to taunt the crowd with racial epithets.

NSM's Mark Martin taunts crowdLeft: Mark Martin, an NSM operative from Dayton, tells the crowd that they are escaped apes from the zoo

Perhaps the most ominous moments came when über-racist Mark Martin began a series of hystrionic monologues that served no purpose other than agitation of the crowd, much to the delight of the smirking NSM members.

Left: NSM members line up prior to the rally

The Toledo Police successfully kept the crowd in check while the rhetoric grew ever more strident. By 11:35, however, objects began to be tossed toward the visiting Nazis.
NSM members in ToledoLeft: Nazis beat a hasty retreat from tossed bottles and rocks

Within minutes, Toledo Police chief Mike Navarre ordered Bill White and his followers out of Toledo. The angry crowd, though they did not know it, had successfully prevented the Nazi march, but the collective anger would soon turn inward.

The photos on this series covering the aborted NSM rally in Toledo were taken by DC photographer Isis, copyright 2005 Isis. You can see more of her work at Yellowcakewalk.net