Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

News & Supplemental  

Fox News and the Violent, Seditious Right

Okla­homa City Bomb­ing: McVeigh and asso­ciates inspired by “The Turn­er Diaries”

COMMENT: After Glenn Beck­’s exhor­ta­tion to his audi­ence to “shoot them [lib­er­als and Democ­rats] in the head,” the tan­gi­ble con­nec­tion between the sup­pos­ed­ly “respectable” Fox News oper­a­tion and the mur­der­ous, para­mil­i­tary fas­cists blem­ish­ing the face of the coun­try  should be evi­dent.

From the vig­i­lant ‘Pter­rafractyl’ comes a sto­ry that bears under­scor­ing.

A recent­ly arrest­ed mili­tia con­tin­gent were inspired by a book lay­ing out a vio­lent agen­da for the over­throw of the the gov­ern­ment and the mur­der of count­less cit­i­zens. It turns  out that the author of the book was a com­men­ta­tor on Fox News!

The book “Absolved” appears to be in the same cat­e­go­ry as “The Turn­er Diaries” and “Ser­pen­t’s Walk”–manifestos and blue­prints for action.

“Feds: Men Got Ter­ror Ideas from Under­ground Nov­el” by Greg Bluestein [AP]; Yahoo News; 11/2/2011.

In the vio­lent under­ground nov­el “Absolved,” right-wing mili­tia mem­bers upset about gun con­trol make war against the U.S. gov­ern­ment. This week, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors accused four elder­ly Geor­gia men of plot­ting to use the book as a script for a real-life wave of ter­ror and assas­si­na­tion involv­ing explo­sives and the high­ly lethal poi­son ricin.

The four sus­pect­ed mili­tia mem­bers alleged­ly boast­ed of a “buck­et list” of gov­ern­ment offi­cials who need­ed to be “tak­en out”; talked about scat­ter­ing ricin from a plane or a car speed­ing down a high­way past major U.S. cities; and scout­ed IRS and ATF offices, with one man say­ing, “We’d have to blow the whole build­ing like Tim­o­thy McVeigh.”

Fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors said they had them under sur­veil­lance for at least sev­en months, infil­trat­ing their meet­ings at a Waf­fle House, homes and oth­er places, before final­ly arrest­ing them Tues­day, just days after dis­cov­er­ing evi­dence they were try­ing to extract ricin from cas­tor beans.

“While many are focused on the threat posed by inter­na­tion­al vio­lent extrem­ists, this case demon­strates that we must also remain vig­i­lant in pro­tect­ing our coun­try from cit­i­zens with­in our own bor­ders who threat­en our safe­ty and secu­ri­ty,” said U.S. Attor­ney Sal­ly Quil­lian Yates.

The four gray-haired men — Fred­er­ick Thomas, 73; Dan Roberts, 67; Ray Adams, 65; and Samuel Crump, 68 — appeared in fed­er­al court Wednes­day with­out enter­ing a plea and were jailed for a bail hear­ing next week. They appar­ent­ly had trou­ble hear­ing the judge, some of them cup­ping their ears.

Thomas and Roberts were charged with con­spir­ing to buy an explo­sive device and an ille­gal silencer. Pros­e­cu­tors would not say whether the men actu­al­ly obtained the items. Adams and Crump were charged with con­spir­ing to make a bio­log­i­cal tox­in.

Rel­a­tives of two of the men said the charges were base­less. The pub­lic defend­er assigned to the case had no com­ment.

Pros­e­cu­tors said that Thomas was the ring­leader and that he talked of car­ry­ing out the sort of actions described in “Absolved,” an online nov­el writ­ten by for­mer Alaba­ma mili­tia leader Mike Van­der­boegh. In the book, the mili­tia mem­bers build rifle grenades and drop explo­sives from crop dusters.

In the book’s intro­duc­tion, Van­der­boegh calls it a “cau­tion­ary tale for the out-of-con­trol gun cops of the ATF.”

“For that warn­ing to be cred­i­ble, I must also present what amounts to a com­bi­na­tion field man­u­al, tech­ni­cal man­u­al and call to arms for my beloved gun­nies of the armed cit­i­zen­ry,” he writes. “They need to know how pow­er­ful they could tru­ly be if they were pushed into a cor­ner.”

In an inter­view, Van­der­boegh said he did­n’t know the four men and bears no respon­si­bil­i­ty for the alleged plot.

“I’m glad that the FBI has appar­ent­ly short-cir­cuit­ed some weak-mind­ed indi­vid­u­als from mis­in­ter­pret­ing my nov­el,” he said.

Last year, Van­der­boegh was denounced for call­ing on cit­i­zens to throw bricks through the win­dows of local Demo­c­ra­t­ic head­quar­ters across the coun­try to protest Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma’s health care plan. Sev­er­al such inci­dents occurred. Van­der­boegh has also appeared as a com­men­ta­tor on Fox News Chan­nel. . . .

Discussion

12 comments for “Fox News and the Violent, Seditious Right”

  1. Assum­ing this was a joke (because oth­er­wise, umm­m­mm....), I’m not sure what’s worse, the joke itself or the tim­ing:

    Wash­ing­ton Post
    D.C. offi­cer alleged­ly made threat­en­ing com­ments about first lady

    By Clarence Williams and Mary Pat Fla­her­ty, Pub­lished: July 12

    A D.C. police offi­cer who worked as a motor­cy­cle escort for White House offi­cials and oth­er dig­ni­taries was moved to admin­is­tra­tive duty Wednes­day after he alleged­ly was over­heard mak­ing threat­en­ing com­ments toward Michelle Oba­ma, accord­ing to sev­er­al police offi­cials.

    The police department’s Inter­nal Affairs Divi­sion is inves­ti­gat­ing the alleged com­ments and noti­fied the U.S. Secret Ser­vice Wednes­day, said the offi­cials, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because they were not autho­rized to give details of the inves­ti­ga­tion.

    The motor­man alleged­ly made the com­ments Wednes­day morn­ing as sev­er­al offi­cers from the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Divi­sion dis­cussed threats against the Oba­mas. It was not imme­di­ate­ly clear where the alleged con­ver­sa­tion took place or exact­ly how many offi­cers took part in the con­ver­sa­tion.

    Dur­ing that con­ver­sa­tion, the offi­cials said, the offi­cer alleged­ly said he would shoot the First Lady and then used his phone to retrieve a pic­ture of the firearm he said he would use. It was not imme­di­ate­ly clear what type of firearm was alleged­ly shown.

    An offi­cer over­heard the alleged threat and report­ed it to a police lieu­tenant at the Divi­sion, who imme­di­ate­ly noti­fied supe­ri­ors, the offi­cials said.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 12, 2012, 9:48 pm
  2. Pter­rafractyl: Since I’m unable to find just where you post­ed the Rob Ford fias­co arti­cle I thought I’d use this space to refer read­ers to today’s Globe and Mail arti­cle on the Ford’s con­nec­tions to drugs and (guess who?) Wolf­gang Droege! This is a rare piece of pen­e­trat­ing inves­ti­ga­tion jour­nal­ism and should be of inter­est to most of your read­ers. It does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly direct­ly impli­cate Rob Ford but the milieu in which he has been oper­at­ing is cer­tain­ly inter­est­ing. Go to their news page and you’ll find it.

    Posted by brad | May 25, 2013, 8:37 am
  3. @brad: Thanks for the heads up. You weren’t kid­ding. That is a great arti­cle:

    Globe inves­ti­ga­tion: The Ford family’s his­to­ry with drug deal­ing

    Greg McArthur and Shan­non Kari

    The Globe and Mail

    Last updat­ed Sat­ur­day, May. 25 2013, 6:35 PM EDT

    This inves­tiga­tive report reveals that:

    Doug Ford, Toron­to May­or Rob Ford’s broth­er, sold hashish for sev­er­al years in the 1980s.
    Anoth­er broth­er, Randy, was also involved in the drug trade and was once charged in rela­tion to a drug-relat­ed kid­nap­ping.
    Their sis­ter, Kathy, has been the vic­tim of drug-relat­ed gun vio­lence.

    In the 1980s, any­one want­i­ng to buy hashish had to know where to go. And in cen­tral Eto­bi­coke, the wealthy Toron­to sub­urb where May­or Rob Ford grew up, one of those places was James Gar­dens. In the evening, the sports cars often wound along Eden­bridge Dri­ve, past the gat­ed homes and the lawn-bowl­ing pitch­es, until they reached the U‑shaped park­ing lot. By night­fall, the pub­lic park was a hash dri­ve-thru. One for­mer street deal­er, whom we will call “Justin,” described the scene as “an assem­bly line.”

    There were usu­al­ly a num­ber of deal­ers to choose from, some of them sup­plied by a main­stay at James Gar­dens – a young man with the hulk-like frame and mop of bright blond hair: Doug Ford. “Most peo­ple didn’t approach Doug look­ing for prod­uct. You went to the guys that he sup­plied. Because if Doug didn’t know you and trust you, he wouldn’t even roll down his win­dow,” Justin said.

    Today, Mr. Ford is a mem­ber of Toronto’s city coun­cil – and no ordi­nary coun­cil­lor. First elect­ed in 2010 as his broth­er was swept into the mayor’s office, he has emerged as a tru­ly pow­er­ful fig­ure at City Hall –– try­ing to over­haul plans for Toronto’s water­front less than a year after arriv­ing. He also has high­er aspi­ra­tions, and has said he wants to fol­low in the foot­steps of his father, Doug Ford Sr., by run­ning in the next provin­cial elec­tion as a Con­ser­v­a­tive.

    Mean­while, he serves as his brother’s de fac­to spokesman. As Toron­to is gripped by alle­ga­tions that its may­or was cap­tured on a home­made video smok­ing what appears to be crack cocaine and his office descends into dis­ar­ray – his chief of staff was fired on Thurs­day – Doug Ford has been the only per­son to mount a spir­it­ed pub­lic defence of his large­ly silent sib­ling. On Fri­day, after the May­or final­ly made a state­ment about the accu­sa­tion, he was the one who field­ed ques­tions from the press.

    Well before the events of the past week, The Globe and Mail began to research the Ford broth­ers in an effort to chron­i­cle their lives before ris­ing to promi­nence in Canada’s largest city. Over the past 18 months, it has sought out and inter­viewed dozens of peo­ple who knew them in their for­ma­tive years.

    What has emerged is a por­trait of a fam­i­ly once deeply immersed in the ille­gal drug scene. All three of the mayor’s old­er sib­lings – broth­er Randy, 51, and sis­ter Kathy, 52, as well as Doug, 48 – have had ties to drug traf­fick­ers.

    Ten peo­ple who grew up with Doug Ford – a group that includes two for­mer hashish sup­pli­ers, three street-lev­el drug deal­ers and a num­ber of casu­al users of hash – have described in a series of inter­views how for sev­er­al years Mr. Ford was a go-to deal­er of hash. These sources had vary­ing degrees of knowl­edge of his activ­i­ties: Some said they pur­chased hash direct­ly from him, some said they sup­plied him, while oth­ers said they observed him han­dling large quan­ti­ties of the drug.

    The events they described took place years ago, but as may­or, Rob Ford has sur­round­ed him­self with peo­ple from his past. Most recent­ly he hired some­one for his office whose long his­to­ry with the Fords, the sources said, includes sell­ing hashish with the mayor’s broth­er.

    The Globe wrote to Doug Ford out­lin­ing what the sources said about him, and received a response from Gavin Tighe, his lawyer, who said the alle­ga­tions were false. “Your ref­er­ences to unnamed alleged sources of infor­ma­tion rep­re­sent the height of irre­spon­si­ble and unpro­fes­sion­al jour­nal­ism giv­en the grave­ly seri­ous and spe­cious alle­ga­tions of sub­stan­tial crim­i­nal con­duct.”

    There’s noth­ing on the pub­lic record that The Globe has accessed that shows Doug Ford has ever been crim­i­nal­ly charged for ille­gal drug pos­ses­sion or traf­fick­ing. But some of the sources said that, in the afflu­ent pock­et of Eto­bi­coke where the Fords grew up, he was some­one who sold not only to users and street-lev­el deal­ers, but to deal­ers one rung high­er than those on the street. His tenure as a deal­er, many of the sources say, last­ed about sev­en years until 1986, the year he turned 22. “That was his hey­day,” said “Robert,” one of the for­mer drug deal­ers who agreed to an inter­view on the con­di­tion he not be iden­ti­fied by name.

    Upon being approached, the sources declined to speak if iden­ti­fied, say­ing they feared the con­se­quences of out­ing them­selves as for­mer users and sell­ers of ille­gal drugs.

    The Globe also tried to con­tact retired police offi­cers who inves­ti­gat­ed drugs in the area at the time. One said he had no rec­ol­lec­tion of encoun­ter­ing the Fords.

    Anoth­er, whose name appeared on court doc­u­ments in rela­tion to alle­ga­tions of assault and forcible con­fine­ment com­mit­ted by Randy Ford, said he could not recall the inci­dent. Sev­er­al did not respond.

    Since enter­ing pub­lic life, both Fords have been ardent sup­port­ers of Toron­to police and have cam­paigned, over the years, on increas­ing the police pres­ence on Etobicoke’s streets. In Decem­ber, 2011, Doug Ford showed up, unan­nounced, at a police press con­fer­ence to trum­pet the force’s crack­down on a net­work of drug deal­ers who were sell­ing, among oth­er things, mar­i­jua­na.

    Doug, like Rob, fre­quent­ly pro­motes the Ford fam­i­ly as a type of brand – one that start­ed with their late father’s four-year tenure as an MPP in the gov­ern­ment of for­mer Ontario pre­mier Mike Har­ris. Doug Ford is fond of invok­ing his family’s con­tri­bu­tions to the com­mu­ni­ty. Through his involve­ment with the Rotary Club of Eto­bi­coke, he has helped to orga­nize events like the Eto­bi­coke Fall Fair. He fre­quent­ly men­tions the many sports teams that the Ford fam­i­ly busi­ness, Deco Labels and Tags, has spon­sored over the years. He also cites the many foot­ball teams his younger broth­er has coached, and the hordes of peo­ple – he puts the fig­ure at 25,000 – the Fords have enter­tained at their annu­al back­yard bar­be­cue.

    But long before he took over the fam­i­ly busi­ness and pur­sued pub­lic office, Doug Ford’s cir­cle of friends was a group of young peo­ple who called them­selves the RY Drifters, after the Roy­al York Plaza, a strip mall many of them fre­quent­ed.

    The Fords’ neigh­bour­hood was para­dox­i­cal in some respects. It teemed with wealth; fam­i­lies who set­tled there after the Sec­ond World War, such as the Fida­nis and the Brat­tys, would become known as the biggest play­ers in Toron­to-area land devel­op­ment. As his stick­er and label busi­ness flour­ished, Doug Ford Sr. was fea­tured in the soci­ety pages of The Globe, rub­bing elbows with cab­i­net min­is­ters, sen­a­tors and mem­bers of the Eaton fam­i­ly.

    But the pros­per­i­ty dis­guised a dis­turb­ing trend among many of the area’s young adults – an attrac­tion to crime that went beyond typ­i­cal teenage rebel­lion. For­mer Ford asso­ciates inter­viewed for this sto­ry iden­ti­fied at least 10 RY Drifters who became hero­in addicts, some of whom turned to break-ins and rob­beries to sup­port their habits.

    In recent years, the Ford fam­i­ly home has become known for the annu­al bar­be­cue, attend­ed by hun­dreds of neigh­bours and a Who’s Who of Con­ser­v­a­tive lumi­nar­ies – includ­ing Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harp­er and fed­er­al Finance Min­is­ter Jim Fla­her­ty. But in the 1980s, the fin­ished base­ment at 15 West­on Wood Rd. was one of the many places Doug Ford did busi­ness, the sources said.

    “Justin” recalled descend­ing to the base­ment on one occa­sion to buy hash from Mr. Ford, and on numer­ous oth­er occa­sions watch­ing as it was sold.

    ...

    Like many of the street-lev­el deal­ers inter­viewed, he said he sold hash in order to sup­port his own smok­ing habits. When asked where Mr. Ford fit in the hier­ar­chy of deal­ers in their neigh­bour­hood, he replied: “He’d be at the top.”

    ...

    The eldest Ford sib­ling, Kathy, has been sub­ject­ed to media scruti­ny over the years, pri­mar­i­ly because she has been linked to a num­ber of bizarre, vio­lent and sen­sa­tion­al inci­dents.

    Most recent­ly, in Jan­u­ary, 2012, her long-time boyfriend, a con­vict­ed cocaine and hash deal­er named Scott Mac­In­tyre, was charged with threat­en­ing to mur­der the may­or at his Eto­bi­coke home. He even­tu­al­ly plead­ed guilty to a less­er offence and was giv­en cred­it for time served.

    (In a brief inter­view with CBC after the alleged death threat, Doug Ford said: “To be hon­est with you, I real­ly don’t know Scott Mac­In­tyre.” Pho­tographs and video tak­en on the night of the 2010 elec­tion show that Mr. Mac­In­tyre was part of the small group of fam­i­ly mem­bers cel­e­brat­ing with the new may­or, his wife, Rena­ta, and Doug.)

    Ms. Ford’s rela­tion­ship with Mr. Mac­In­tyre is even more per­plex­ing because of an ear­li­er inci­dent: In 2005, he and anoth­er man were accused of shoot­ing her in the face dur­ing an alter­ca­tion in her par­ents’ base­ment. She sur­vived the blast and was rushed to hos­pi­tal, while Mr. Mac­In­tyre fled in her mother’s Jaguar. Crown pros­e­cu­tors lat­er dropped numer­ous charges against him, while his co-accused, Michael Pata­nia, plead­ed guilty to one count of pos­ses­sion of a hand­gun.

    But even before that, there was gun­play – and it was fatal. Sev­en years ear­li­er, Ms. Ford’s lover was fatal­ly shot by her ex-hus­band, a drug addict named Ennio Stirpe. At his tri­al, Mr. Stirpe tes­ti­fied that his vic­tim, Michael Kik­las, was a mar­tial artist, which forced him to bring along the shot­gun as “an equal­iz­er.”

    Not men­tioned in the press at the time was the fact that Mr. Kik­las was a white suprema­cist – a group with which Ms. Ford asso­ci­at­ed in the 1980s.

    Her friends includ­ed Gary Mac­Far­lane, a found­ing mem­ber of the short-lived Cana­di­an chap­ter of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as the late Wolf­gang Droege, per­haps the most noto­ri­ous white suprema­cist in Cana­di­an his­to­ry, a for­mer Klans­man told The Globe in an inter­view. Two oth­er for­mer asso­ciates of Ms. Ford con­firmed her asso­ci­a­tion with known white suprema­cists.

    Among Mr. Droege’s numer­ous crim­i­nal endeav­ours, he also sold cocaine and mar­i­jua­na, which led to his death in 2005 when he was killed by a cus­tomer. Mr. Droege was incar­cer­at­ed for much of the 1980s in U.S. pris­ons – both for drug traf­fick­ing and for his role in a bizarre plot to over­throw the gov­ern­ment of Domini­ca in the Caribbean.

    The for­mer Klans­man, who agreed to answer ques­tions by e‑mail on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, con­firmed that Kathy Ford was close to the move­ment, but he said he couldn’t recall meet­ing any of the Ford broth­ers. He described hang­ing out in the Fords’ base­ment and being snubbed by Doug Sr. when Ms. Ford invit­ed him to a par­ty on the fam­i­ly boat. Her father, the for­mer Klans­man said, clear­ly did not approve of his beliefs, while she was engag­ing and fun but hard­ly a com­mit­ted sol­dier in the race war.

    “Some peo­ple are real ‘believ­ers’ and know all the his­to­ry, dates, facts etc… Oth­ers just join to piss off their par­ents, or car­ry out some oth­er act of per­son­al rebel­lion,” he wrote. “Clear­ly [Kathy] was the lat­ter camp.”

    It remains unclear how much May­or Ford was exposed to his sib­lings’ escapades and their issues with ille­gal drugs. He is con­sid­er­ably younger – Doug, the clos­est, is five years old­er. But at least one of Doug’s clos­est and old­est friends has become an offi­cial advis­er to the mayor’s office. Sev­er­al sources have iden­ti­fied David Price as a for­mer par­tic­i­pant in Doug Ford’s hashish enter­prise.

    ...

    Rob Ford was not a play­er in the Eto­bi­coke drug trade. Sev­er­al sources said they saw him around his broth­ers as they were doing busi­ness, but they said he didn’t seem to be involved in a sig­nif­i­cant way.

    It is dif­fi­cult to deter­mine what it was like for him grow­ing up in this envi­ron­ment. His spokesman did not respond to requests for inter­views. His clos­est friends from high school declined inter­view requests. Gen­er­al­ly, it was only peo­ple who were on his periph­ery who agreed to speak.

    ...

    His first run for pub­lic office came when he was 27, a coun­cil elec­tion that he lost. Unde­terred, he became involved in sev­er­al civic-mind­ed cam­paigns – includ­ing one that tar­get­ed drug deal­ers and buy­ers.

    In 1998, he teamed with his father and Toron­to police for an unortho­dox project, he lat­er told The Eto­bi­coke Guardian. In what would be the start of his unwa­ver­ing tough-on-crime plat­form, he – at the time, 29 and unelect­ed – and Doug Sr. – a back­bencher at Queen’s Park – trav­elled to Scar­lettwood Courts, an Eto­bi­coke pub­lic-hous­ing com­plex, to rid it of ille­gal drugs.

    “When peo­ple would dri­ve through to buy drugs, we’d send the own­er of the car a let­ter. It would tell them not come back to the area,” Mr. Ford told the Guardian after he was elect­ed to City Coun­cil in 2000. He said his crime-fight­ing cam­paign had helped him win the elec­tion and promised to take the bat­tle to oth­er low-income neigh­bour­hoods.

    But his per­son­al war on drugs was short-lived. The year after their let­ter-writ­ing cam­paign, he was arrest­ed in Flori­da after being pulled over for impaired dri­ving. Police also found a joint in his pock­et – an offence not revealed until his 2010 may­oral cam­paign.

    Through­out the report­ing of this sto­ry, Doug Ford made sev­er­al phone calls to Globe man­agers and reporters to com­plain about the ques­tions being asked.

    In Novem­ber, 2011, he called a reporter in the evening to com­plain about the newspaper’s “yel­low” and “gut­ter” jour­nal­ism.

    ...

    Part of what’s so sad about this scan­dal is the same thing that’s sad about near­ly any scan­dal involv­ing elect­ed offi­cials and pot: at the end of the day, the fact that the may­or’s broth­ers were local pot deal­ers in their youth in prob­a­bly the least scan­dalous or mean­ing­ful aspect of this entire sto­ry. Doug Ford was a pot deal­er from the age of 15–22 accord­ing to the report. WHO CARES. Heck, if they were sell­ing to can­cer patients they should have prob­a­bly been giv­en an award. The sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence is increas­ing­ly in: Pot is a frig­gin’ mir­a­cle plant. If any­thing, sto­ries like this should be a reminder of just how much sense­less dam­age mod­ern civ­i­liza­tion has inflict­ed upon itself by crim­i­nal­iz­ing the stuff. In an age of increas­ing rates of can­cer, demen­tia, all sorts of autoim­mune dis­or­ders, and grow­ing rates of addic­tion to dan­ger­ous pain-reliev­ers we’ve col­lec­tive­ly decid­ed to ban one of the safest sub­stances on the plan­et that can benign­ly help treat every one of those major class­es of dis­ease. That’s not just stu­pid, it’s kind of evil. Cana­da has led the way with baby-steps like med­ical decrim­i­nal­iza­tion so good on them for that but it’s still just a baby-step. The past pot ped­dling is just a giant non-scan­dal.

    Now, the fact that Wol­gang Droege, one of the most noto­ri­ous neo-nazis in Canada’s his­to­ry, appar­ent­ly dat­ed Ford’s sis­ter and hung out with them in their base­ment? Now THAT’s inter­est­ing. And the fact that Ford was caught being all chum­my with a neo-nazi musi­cian last year? Now THAT makes the his­to­ry with Wol­gang Droege even more inter­est­ing. And the large fact that the crim­i­nal­iza­tion of drugs has basi­cal­ly giv­en any extrem­ist group out there a rel­a­tive­ly ease path to sig­nif­i­cant untrace­able cash? Now THAT’s REALLY inter­est­ing and we did­n’t need the sto­ry of Toron­to’s crack­head may­or to remind our­selves about it.

    While the media fren­zy quite right­ly brings up aspects of this sto­ry like the abhor­rent hypocrisy of Rob Ford wag­ing a “tough on drug crime” cam­paign at the same time he’s tok­ing, it’s just sad to see the focus on decades old there’s almost no recog­ni­tion of cru­el atti­tude most of soci­ety has his­tor­i­cal­ly shown towards ille­gal drug users in gen­er­al and pot users in par­tic­u­lar. Crack­heads need help and we choose to lock them up and cre­ate a high­ly lucra­tive black mar­ket in the process. Pot­heads need to be left alone and we choose to lock them up and cre­ate a high­ly lucra­tive black mar­ket. And the abil­i­ty of cit­i­zens to sim­ply grow in their gar­dens one of the most effec­tive pain-killers on the plan­et is elim­i­nat­ed as an option. Is there any moral excuse at all for that? Even one? The com­plex­i­ty of life’s prob­lems is no excuse for the blind accep­tance of bla­tant­ly bad poli­cies.

    So it will be grim­ly fas­ci­nat­ing to see if the media ends up fix­at­ing on the Ford’s youth drug ped­dling or whether or not they explore the much more rel­e­vant aspect of this sto­ry: the his­to­ry of pow­er­ful indi­vid­u­als push­ing for an increase in the “Drug War” that they don’t even believe in and while pos­si­bly prof­it­ing from pro­tect­ed traf­fick­ing on the side. THAT’s the BIG SCANDAL here regard­less of whether or not we the Ford fam­i­ly has any ongo­ing finan­cial ties to the drug trade (and so far it does­n’t sound like they were tak­ing a “cut” of the prof­its or anthing...he was just buy­ing some crack). Iran Con­tra, BCCI, the 9/11-relat­ed ter­ror-financ­ing inves­ti­ga­tions and Daniel Hop­sick­er entire body of work all point towards the vital role the drug-trade plays in financ­ing a large num­ber of very neg­a­tive oper­a­tions around that globe that have noth­ing inher­ent­ly to do with drugs. In oth­er words, in choos­ing to crim­i­nal­ize drugs (because that was always just one options amongst many) we also chose to cre­ate a giant glob­al infra­struc­ture that could help finance and facil­i­tate so many of the crim­i­nal enter­pris­es and extrem­ist move­ments around the globe. And we there­fore also chose to cre­ate an entire new source of polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion to throw at our gov­ern­ments. This was all high­ly pre­dictable and vol­un­tary AND SCANDALOUS. Being bags of bio­chem­i­cal stew, humans are des­tined to have a weird rela­tion­ship with drugs and some sort of neg­a­tive con­se­quences are inevitable. We just did­n’t need to add the neg­a­tive con­se­quences of cre­at­ing a high­ly lucra­tive black mar­ket into the mix. Drug abuse could have been han­dled as a med­ical issue with­out turn­ing it into one of the finan­cial spig­ots for the rest of the glob­al crim­i­nal under­ground. But that’s the route we chose because the embrace of destruc­tive stu­pid­i­ty is just how we roll.

    Drug War blow­back was always an inevitabil­i­ty even if the form of the blow­back can be dif­fi­cult to pre­dict. Some eas­i­ly pre­dictable blow­back time­bombs are still tick­ing away with lit­tle being done about it, like turn­ing our pris­ons into extrem­ist fac­to­ries that will be impact­ing soci­ety for decades to come. But the sto­ry of Rob Ford is also look­ing more and more like a bizarre exam­ple of blow­back. Because any civ­i­liza­tion stu­pid enough to crim­i­nal­ize pot is also stu­pid enough to cre­ate the kind of crim­i­nal net­works that need­less­ly throws bil­lions of dol­lars at poten­tial­ly unsa­vory char­ac­ters like Rob Ford. And that sounds like a soci­ety stu­pid enough to elect a crack­head may­or that pals around with neo-nazis. After all, putting aside the guy’s alleged crack-deal­er/­far-right ties, he advo­cat­ed stu­pid poli­cies and he was appar­ent­ly elect­ed in a polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment that’s seem­ing­ly rigged to elect right-wing may­ors in big cities. Is a far-right crack­head may­or real­ly all that sur­pris­ing in this con­text:

    How Rob Ford’s Melt­down Could Save Toron­to

    May­or’s lat­est out­ra­geous behav­ior may be cat­a­lyst city needs to open de-amal­ga­ma­tion debate.

    By Mitchell Ander­son, 23 May 2013, TheTyee.ca

    Rob Ford may be the best thing to hap­pen to Toron­to in a long time. Alleged crack-smok­ing and ass-grab­bing aside, the polit­i­cal melt­down of the embat­tled may­or of Canada’s largest city may inad­ver­tent­ly help undo one of the most dis­as­trous pub­lic pol­i­cy deci­sions in Cana­di­an his­to­ry: the amal­ga­ma­tion of Toron­to by for­mer pre­mier Mike Har­ris.

    In 1998, the Har­ris gov­ern­ment forced a shot­gun wed­ding on Toron­to and five sur­round­ing sub­urbs, in spite of local ref­er­en­dum results oppos­ing the move more than three to one.

    Not a sin­gle munic­i­pal­i­ty affect­ed was in favour of the merg­er, and all but one joined a legal chal­lenge oppos­ing it. The amal­ga­ma­tion bill was rammed through the Ontario leg­is­la­ture in one of the most bit­ter­ly con­test­ed bat­tles in provin­cial his­to­ry with oppo­si­tion par­ties tabling 13,000 amend­ments over a two-week peri­od in an ulti­mate­ly futile fil­i­buster.

    Machi­avel­lian motives

    Har­ris did not need to wor­ry. Under our anti­quat­ed elec­toral sys­tem his gov­ern­ment enjoyed vir­tu­al dic­ta­to­r­i­al pow­ers win­ning 64 per cent of the seats in the leg­is­la­ture with only 45 per cent of the pop­u­lar vote — most of this sup­port con­cen­trat­ed in the right-lean­ing sub­urbs. He did­n’t need to rep­re­sent the province, just his polit­i­cal base.

    The stat­ed rea­son for forc­ing the merg­er was to save mon­ey, which has proven to be an abject fail­ure. Har­ris pre­dict­ed the new mega-city would save $300 mil­lion annu­al­ly. The city’s oper­at­ing bud­get has instead bal­looned from $5.6 bil­lion in 1998 to $10.8 bil­lion in 2013 — an increase of 93 per cent.

    In 2010, the C.D. Howe Insti­tute released a damn­ing report “Local Gov­ern­ment Amal­ga­ma­tions: Dis­cred­it­ed Nine­teenth-Cen­tu­ry Ideals Alive in the Twen­ty-First”. The study blunt­ly stat­ed: “Amal­ga­ma­tions forced on munic­i­pal­i­ties by provin­cial gov­ern­ments are the prod­uct of flawed think­ing and a bureau­crat­ic urge for cen­tral­ized con­trol... Small­er and more flex­i­ble juris­dic­tions can often deliv­er ser­vices to res­i­dents at low­er cost, throw­ing in doubt the finan­cial assump­tions typ­i­cal­ly used to defend amal­ga­ma­tions.”

    The real rea­son for Har­ris’s unan­nounced inter­ven­tion into Canada’s largest city was like­ly more Machi­avel­lian than mon­e­tary. Har­ris was no friend of then Toron­to may­or Bar­bara Hall, who had strong con­nec­tions to the NDP and had led a protest at Queens Park against the Har­ris “Com­mon Sense Rev­o­lu­tion”. Amal­ga­mat­ing Toron­to would not only throw Hall out of office, Har­ris also cor­rect­ly cal­cu­lat­ed that the new mega-city would like­ly elect right wing sub­ur­ban may­ors in per­pe­tu­ity based on sim­ple demo­graph­ics.

    This is exact­ly what has hap­pened. Assum­ing His Wor­ship May­or Ford lasts until the end of his man­date with­out being thrown in jail on a nar­cotics felony, Toron­to will have been gov­erned by sub­ur­ban right-wing may­ors for 10 out of 17 years. A map of vot­ing pat­terns in the last elec­tion shows that the bound­aries of for­mer City of Toron­to almost exact­ly match the wards that vot­ed for Ford’s main rival, George Smither­man, while the sur­round­ing sub­urbs were the sol­id Tory blue of so-called “Ford Nation”.

    A beam­ing Mike Har­ris attend­ed Ford’s vic­to­ry cel­e­bra­tion along with mem­bers of Stephen Harper’s cab­i­net. The polit­i­cal hob­bling of pro­gres­sive Toron­to seems an impor­tant neo-con­ser­v­a­tive project, giv­en the GDP of the city exceeds that of six Cana­di­an provinces, and the alleged ascen­dan­cy of Cal­gary as the new nation­al seat of pow­er.

    An era of anti-urban may­ors

    What was unleashed on Toron­to in 1998 was a dia­bol­i­cal mas­ter­stroke: a per­pet­u­al cul­ture war between the sub­urbs and the city, where the lat­er will almost always be out­vot­ed by sub­ur­ban­ites with dif­fer­ent val­ues, pri­or­i­ties and moti­va­tions.

    Tran­sit is a preg­nant exam­ple. If the TTC only had to serve the for­mer City of Toron­to, it would actu­al­ly turn a prof­it. Instead the belea­guered tran­sit author­i­ty is whip­sawed by pop­ulist pol­i­tics and asked to deliv­er astro­nom­i­cal­ly expen­sive sub­way ser­vice to the sur­round­ing low-den­si­ty sprawl. One of the first actions of May­or Ford was to rip up Tran­sit City, the guid­ing plan­ning doc­u­ment for pub­lic trans­port even though it had been devel­oped through years of con­sul­ta­tion and had $1.3 bil­lion in signed con­tracts.

    The pro­posed mega-casi­no is anoth­er exam­ple of a clash of val­ues and pri­or­i­ties. The sub­ur­ban may­or touts the “gold­en oppor­tu­ni­ty” of jobs and tax rev­enue, know­ing the exter­nal­ized social costs will hap­pen far from his Eto­bi­coke home. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the res­i­dents of down­town Toron­to were not enthused with the prospect of orga­nized crime and com­pul­sive gam­bling infus­ing their neigh­bor­hoods and suc­cess­ful­ly killed the project after a long, hard fight against their own may­or.

    ...

    De-amal­ga­mate, or self-destruct

    Rather than sub­ways to sprawl or mega-casi­nos, there is anoth­er “gold­en oppor­tu­ni­ty” that should instead be seized on: de-amal­ga­mat­ing Toron­to. May­or Ford has so thor­ough­ly dis­cred­it­ed him­self, the time may nev­er be bet­ter to revis­it the cre­ation of the polit­i­cal Chimera that is Toron­to. His melt­down and those of Mel Last­man are not mere polit­i­cal gaffes, they are symp­toms of a deep seat­ed malaise of gov­er­nance cre­at­ed by Har­ris 15 years ago.

    One urban aca­d­e­m­ic recent­ly referred to Ford as the “worst may­or in the mod­ern his­to­ry of cities, an avatar for all that is small-bore and destruc­tive of the urban fab­ric, and the most anti-urban may­or ever to pre­side over a big city.”

    The polit­i­cal Left would be mis­tak­en if they believe this presents a prob­lem for “Ford Nation.” Exact­ly the oppo­site is true. Ford was sent down­town by sub­ur­ban vot­ers to bring home the bacon while cut­ting their tax­es — essen­tial­ly sab­o­tag­ing the city. Mis­sion accom­plished. And if he thumbs his nose at Toron­to elites along the way, so much the bet­ter. Ford him­self may self-destruct, but the city will large­ly be ruled by sub­ur­ban pop­ulists for the fore­see­able future.

    ...

    The above arti­cle is right: A scan­dal like this real­ly is a kind of oppor­tu­ni­ty too. When a sto­ry this zany comes along it can some­times force a pop­u­lace to reflect a bit. And Canada’s vot­ers have a his­to­ry of demon­strat­ing some sem­blance of san­i­ty on drug-relat­ed issues. So let’s hope they don’t become too fix­at­ed on the fact that the may­or’s broth­er appar­ent­ly sold pot decades ago or even that the may­or was smok­ing crack (although that is a big deal...you real­ly don’t want coke-heads in lead­er­ship posi­tions). Instead, let’s keep our fin­gers crossed that the Toron­to vot­ers take this moment to rec­og­nize that the fun­da­men­tal prob­lem in this Rob Ford “sit­u­a­tion” is a prob­lem with vot­ers elect­ing politi­cians that appear to be embrac­ing the kinds of polit­i­cal plat­forms that could only make sense to a far-right crack­head. The his­tor­i­cal pub­lic embrace of the War on Drugs is only one exam­ple of that fun­da­men­tal prob­lem.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 25, 2013, 7:21 pm
  4. @Pterrafractyl, Brad & Corn­dog­ger;

    Def­i­nite­ly glad I don’t live in Toron­to. I think Rob Ford is in the wrong coun­try.

    He’d fit right in with the Amer­i­can GOP.

    Some points about Ford’s sis­ter’s erst­while com­pan­ion Wolf­gang Droege:

    He was among the neo-Nazis to sing the prais­es of Osama bin Laden after 9/11 (http://spitfirelist.com/news/the-swastika-and-the-crescent/)

    “. . . . The Philadel­phia-based Amer­i­can Front thinks high­ly of Osama bin Laden, too, describ­ing him as “one of ZOG [Zion­ist Occu­pa­tion Gov­ern­ment, the name many extrem­ists give to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, which they believe is run by Jews] and the New World Order’s biggest ene­mies.”

    And it is not alone. Wolf­gang Droege, one of 17 Cana­dian racists who trav­eled on a “fact-find­ing mis­sion” to Libya in 1989, is sim­i­larly enam­ored of bin Laden, see­ing par­al­lels between bin Laden’s strug­gle and oth­ers sup­port­ing “racial nation­al­ism” in North Amer­i­ca.

    “I’ve had deal­ings with Black Mus­lims, I’ve had deal­ings with Arabs, I’ve had deal­ings with peo­ple of var­i­ous races, and I real­ize that some of these peo­ple are as moti­vated as I am in work­ing for the inter­est of their race,” Droege told MacLean’s mag­a­zine. . . .

    As dis­cussed in AFA #13, Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M52, the white suprema­cist coup attempt aimed at Domini­ca spurred that coun­try’s chief exec­u­tive Euge­nia Charles to beef up her mil­i­tary. (Droege was one of the par­tic­i­pants in the coup.)

    That beefed-up mil­i­tary then had per­func­to­ry par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Amer­i­can inva­sion of Grena­da. The par­tic­i­pa­tion of Domini­ca and oth­er small Caribbean prin­ci­pal­i­ties served as a “coali­tion of the will­ing” facade for the Amer­i­can cam­paign.

    Despite being a con­spir­a­tor in the coup, David Duke was nev­er indict­ed, fur­ther fuel­ing sus­pi­cions that he was an intel­li­gence offi­cer of some kind.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | May 26, 2013, 9:27 pm
  5. Neo-Nazi psy­chopath work­ing on Con­ser­v­a­tive cam­paign?

    http://drdawgsblawg.ca/2011/04/neo-nazi-psychopath-working-on-tory-campaign.shtml

    The only thing that shocks me is…the shock.

    After all, this sort of thing goes right back to the Pre­ston Man­ning days:

    The next month, on June 12, 1991, the Reform Par­ty of Cana­da held a mas­sive ral­ly in Mis­sis­sauga, Ontario. The event, which drew some 6,000 peo­ple to hear Pre­ston Man­ning, marked the first high pro­file event for the secu­ri­ty group direct­ed by Droege’s employ­er, Alan Over­field. Dur­ing the June Mis­sis­sauga ral­ly, Grant Bris­tow served as an escort/bodyguard for Pre­ston Man­ning, at the direc­tion of Al Over­field and Wolf­gang Droege.

    The secu­ri­ty group impressed some local Reform orga­niz­ers who attend­ed the event and they drew upon the group’s free ser­vices to pro­tect oth­er meet­ings until Jan­u­ary 1992. Details about the secu­ri­ty group and the Reform Par­ty of Cana­da are pro­vid­ed in chap­ter VII (7.5).

    On June 13, 1991, sev­er­al Her­itage Front mem­bers attend­ed a meet­ing of Paul Fromm’s Cana­di­ans for For­eign Aid Reform (C‑FAR) where Over­field from the Reform Par­ty set up a table to sign peo­ple up for the Par­ty. The dates on the mem­ber­ship forms for Droege, Polinuk, Daw­son and Mitrevs­ki, how­ev­er, show that they had joined the Par­ty before that meet­ing.

    On June 19, 1991, Droege’s racist agen­da was pro­filed in a “Toron­to Star” arti­cle. He stat­ed then that “Pre­ston Man­ning has giv­en us some hope.”

    Strange bed­fel­lows? Or just bed­fel­lows?

    UPDATE: Anti-Racist Cana­da has a revised take on the indi­vid­ual in ques­tion. I’m scep­ti­cal, but they’re good folks, and you should read what they have to say.

    UPDATE: (April 27) And our Con­ser­v­a­tive vol­un­teer, out­ed by the good peo­ple at Anti-Racist Action, is giv­en the boot.

    Posted by participo | May 27, 2013, 8:28 am
  6. And now the sto­ry of Toron­to’s crack smok­ing may­or just took a twist rem­i­nis­cent of The Ring: it’s look­ing like a man mur­dered in Toron­to back in March could have been the orig­i­nal own­er and cre­ator of the now-noto­ri­ous mys­te­ri­ous may­oral crack­head video. You don’t want to mess with a crack­head. Espe­cial­ly when he’s the may­or:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    May­or Crack Scan­dal Now Pos­si­bly Tied to Mur­der

    Josh Mar­shall May 27, 2013, 9:47 AM

    Up until now every day seems to bring a new rev­e­la­tion of Toronto’s fun-lov­ing pol­i­tics and drug under­world fam­i­ly, the Fords. Yes­ter­day, after call­ing the Toron­to media a “bunch of mag­gots”, May­or Rob Ford denied the very exis­tence of the pur­port­ed video at the cen­ter of the evolv­ing scan­dal. But today, the Globe and Mail reports the sto­ry is mov­ing to a whole new and poten­tial­ly ter­ri­fy­ing lev­el — much more seri­ous but no less bizarre.

    Two sources have con­firmed to the paper that Toron­to police last week inter­viewed a senior mem­ber of May­or Ford’s staff in regards to a mur­der that may be relat­ed to the video of May­or Ford smok­ing crack.

    The details are a lit­tle com­pli­cat­ed here so bear with me.

    From the begin­ning of the scan­dal, claims about the exis­tence of the video have been tied to a pho­to of Ford with a man named Antho­ny Smith, a 21 one year old Toron­ton­ian who was gunned down back in March. The new the­o­ry is that Smith was orig­i­nal­ly the own­er of the video (per­haps the one who made it?) and that his mur­der was tied to his pos­ses­sion of it.

    Smith’s mur­der itself isn’t news. As not­ed, it hap­pened back in March. And pho­tos of Smith and the May­or sur­faced with the first news of the crack smok­ing scan­dal. In fact, the alleged cur­rent own­ers of the video (Toron­to-based Soma­li drug deal­ers, accord­ing to Gawk­er and The Toron­to Star) appar­ent­ly used the pho­tos to estab­lish the bona fides of the video, or at least to con­firm that Ford was spend­ing time with crack deal­ers.

    Now here’s one part of the Star sto­ry which rais­es even more ques­tions about what’s going on here …

    A senior mem­ber of Rob Ford’s office was inter­viewed by police last week about a tip link­ing a video alleged­ly show­ing the may­or smok­ing illic­it drugs to a recent Toron­to homi­cide, two sep­a­rate sources have con­firmed.

    The staffer felt com­pelled to share the tip, which came to him from some­one else in the mayor’s office, with police because it could con­sti­tute evi­dence in a homi­cide inves­ti­ga­tion.

    If you pick these two paragraph’s apart — the lede of the piece — this infor­ma­tion seems to have been cir­cu­lat­ing with­in the Mayor’s senior staff. The staffer who went to the police got it from anoth­er mem­ber of the Mayor’s staff, who it seems did not choose to share the infor­ma­tion with the police.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 27, 2013, 7:41 pm
  7. Crack is back!

    Police have alleged crack video; Ford friend re-arrest­ed in con­nec­tion

    Patrick White

    The Globe and Mail

    Pub­lished Thurs­day, Oct. 31 2013, 10:59 AM EDT
    Last updat­ed Thurs­day, Oct. 31 2013, 1:36 PM EDT

    Toron­to Police Chief Bill Blair said today that police are in pos­ses­sion of the video alleged­ly show­ing May­or Rob Ford smok­ing crack cocaine.

    The Chief’s com­ments come on the same day it was revealed that the may­or was one of the tar­gets of a months-long inves­ti­ga­tion known as Project Brazen 2, which result­ed in charges against Alessan­dro Lisi, the may­or’s friend and occa­sion­al dri­ver. The infor­ma­tion comes from a 480-page police doc­u­ment released Thurs­d­say that out­lines police evi­dence against Mr. Lisi.

    1. Police have alleged crack cocaine video

    Police have recov­ered a video that appears to show May­or Rob Ford smok­ing crack cocaine, Chief Bill Blair told reporters.

    “The TPS is now in pos­ses­sion of a dig­i­tal video file and that evi­dence will be pre­sent­ed in court” relat­ing to the extor­tion charge, Chief Blair said.

    The Chief said the may­or does appear in the video, “but I’m not going to get into detail.”

    Chief Bill Blair said the video was recov­ered “in the exam­i­na­tion of a hard dri­ve” that was seized June 13 as a result of the Project Trav­eller inves­ti­ga­tion. Police com­put­er tech­ni­cians recov­ered the delet­ed file on Tues­day, Chief Blair said.

    2. Lisi charged

    Toron­to Police have charged Ford’s friend and occa­sion­al dri­ver Alessan­dro Lisi with extor­tion, Chief Bill Blair told reporters.

    Mr. Lisi com­mit­ted extor­tion relat­ed to the video, Chief Blair said.

    “The evi­dence will be pre­sent­ed in court where it belongs” he said.

    3. Rea­son for inves­ti­ga­tion

    The Toron­to Police inves­ti­ga­tion, code-named Project Brazen 2, was launched under Detec­tive Sergeant Gary Giroux fol­low­ing news reports of alleged video show­ing Rob Ford smok­ing what appeared to be crack cocaine. On page 186 of the doc­u­ment, May­or Ford was list­ed among 17 oth­er tar­gets in the inves­ti­ga­tion.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 31, 2013, 9:51 am
  8. Today’s Toron­to Star also has exten­sive cov­er­age of the lat­est devel­op­ments.

    Posted by Brad | November 1, 2013, 8:53 am
  9. Here’s a reminder that politi­cians push­ing an “anti-urban” agen­da tend to be allied with a larg­er anti-almost-every­one agen­da:

    rabble.ca
    The mid­dle class could soon be up for sale in Ontario
    By
    Trish Hen­nessy
    | Novem­ber 12, 2013

    A leaked Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­v­a­tive doc­u­ment reveals a deep dis­con­nect between ide­o­log­i­cal­ly dri­ven wedge pol­i­tics and the realpoli­tik of Ontar­i­o’s strug­gling mid­dle class.

    The doc­u­ment lays out a provin­cial elec­tion plan for the par­ty that is premised on an explic­it attack on work­ers and a promise to bring in Amer­i­can-style low-wage poli­cies.

    In oth­er words, the mid­dle class could soon be up for sale in Ontario — at bar­gain base­ment rates.

    It’s a path Ontario would be wise to avoid.

    In the U.S., where the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­v­a­tive par­ty is get­ting its pol­i­cy ideas these days, there has been a con­cert­ed effort to dri­ve down work­ers’ wages.

    As the Eco­nom­ic Pol­i­cy Insti­tute has doc­u­ment­ed, between 2011 and 2013, nine Amer­i­can states passed laws that pro­hib­it gov­ern­ment from imple­ment­ing paid sick leave rights. More than 40 mil­lion Amer­i­cans don’t even have the legal right to take a sin­gle paid sick day.

    In 2011 and 2012, four Amer­i­can states passed laws lift­ing child labour restric­tions. Sev­er­al states stripped work­ers of over­time rights. And sev­er­al states made it hard­er for work­ers to recov­er unpaid wages.

    Fif­teen states passed laws restrict­ing pub­lic employ­ees’ right to bar­gain col­lec­tive­ly and to col­lect fair share dues from mem­bers.

    Essen­tial­ly, all these laws make it hard­er for house­holds to stay in the ranks of the mid­dle class in Amer­i­ca.

    In Ontario, Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­v­a­tive leader Tim Hudak seems com­mit­ted to cam­paign­ing in the next elec­tion on sim­i­lar attacks on work­ers, unions, and the mid­dle class At the cen­tre­piece of this strat­e­gy, copied direct­ly from the U.S., is his pledge to pro­hib­it the Rand For­mu­la.

    The Rand For­mu­la was intro­duced by Supreme Court of Cana­da Jus­tice Ivan Rand in 1946. It ensures that once a demo­c­ra­t­ic deci­sion has been tak­en by work­ers to form a bar­gain­ing unit, then every­one who ben­e­fits from the result­ing con­tract will pay their fair share toward main­tain­ing that con­tract and the union that nego­ti­at­ed it. It’s a demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty choice — but Mr. Hudak’s par­ty wants to pre­vent work­ers from being able to come togeth­er in that way.

    They would pro­hib­it the Rand For­mu­la, and replace it with pro­vi­sions of the U.S. Taft-Hart­ley Act — passed in 1947 in a cli­mate dom­i­nat­ed by Cold War McCarthy­ism and racism. Incred­i­bly, Mr. Hudak calls this “mod­ern­iz­ing” Ontar­i­o’s labour laws.

    In Amer­i­ca, there are now 24 states that have passed laws that pro­hib­it any form of dues check-off. It’s cer­tain­ly not a gift to work­ers. In those states, work­ers make less mon­ey: medi­an house­hold incomes are $6,437 less than in oth­er states. And 26.7 per cent of jobs in states which banned union dues check-off are low pay­ing, com­pared to 19.5 per cent of jobs in oth­er states. Pover­ty rates are high­er in these states. And the num­ber of work­place deaths is 36 per cent high­er.

    And this down­ward pres­sure on wages does­n’t sim­ply stop at the bor­der. A recent CIBC report by Avery Shen­feld and Emanuel­la Enan­jor say U.S. prac­tices may already be reduc­ing Cana­di­an work­ers’ bar­gain­ing pow­er, in turn sup­press­ing wage growth.

    This is sim­ply part of a long-term, con­cert­ed polit­i­cal agen­da to weak­en work­ers’ right to bar­gain for a fair and decent wage as well as to reduce gov­ern­men­t’s pow­er to pro­tect work­ers’ health and safe­ty on the job.

    And as a polit­i­cal agen­da, its promise rings hol­low: numer­ous inde­pen­dent research reports have shown that restric­tions on union rights have not, in fact, helped these U.S. states to retain man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs.

    These attacks on work­ers and their unions are not the answer to Ontar­i­o’s eco­nom­ic woes. In fact, the polit­i­cal agen­da Mr. Hudak is espous­ing would dri­ve down work­ers’ wages and fam­i­ly incomes.

    It would fos­ter a divi­sive nar­ra­tive that pits work­ers against work­ers in a mad scram­ble to fight for crumbs from a shrink­ing income pie.

    It would con­demn the next gen­er­a­tion of work­ers to a future of low wages.

    And it would strip work­ers of rights long ago secured through the courts.

    Ontario has come too far to turn back the clock to pre-1950s work­ing con­di­tions.

    Before the 1950s, Ontario did­n’t have a strong mid­dle class. Income inequal­i­ty was high­er. The qual­i­ty of life was not what it is today.

    With the rise of the mid­dle class came the abil­i­ty for peo­ple to col­lec­tive­ly pool their tax con­tri­bu­tion to pay for pub­lic ser­vices that ben­e­fit every­one: uni­ver­sal health care and edu­ca­tion, to name just two.

    Those pub­lic ser­vices would become anoth­er casu­al­ty of Amer­i­can-style low-wage laws in Ontario — part­ly because pub­lic sec­tor work­ers would be among those forced into the race to the bot­tom, and part­ly because gov­ern­ment tax rev­enues (essen­tial to pay­ing for those ser­vices) would also shrink in line with work­ers’ incomes.

    ...

    Just FYI peo­ple in Torn­to: If your elect­ed offi­cials sud­den­ly show up cov­ered in scales, don’t be too alarmed. Yes, it could be some sort of alien inva­sion but it also might just be a med­ical issue. It’ll still suck either way.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 14, 2013, 9:52 pm
  10. Here’s a quick reminder that if it seems like there’s a giant con­tem­po­rary psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tion designed to intel­lec­tu­al­ly crip­ple the Amer­i­can pub­lic’s abil­i­ty to rea­son its way through our col­lec­tive chal­lenges and push peo­ple towards Ser­pen­t’s Walk-style vio­lent melt­downs, that might be because there real­ly are forces apply­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare tech­niques designed to intel­lec­tu­al­ly crip­ple the Amer­i­can pub­lic’s abil­i­ty to rea­son its way through our col­lec­tive chal­lenges and they’ve been oper­at­ing for a long time:

    Salon

    How “4th Gen­er­a­tion War­fare” helps to explain the rise of Don­ald Trump
    Soci­ol­o­gist Dr. James Scam­i­naci III talks to Salon about Trump’s con­nec­tion to extreme ele­ments in the right wing

    Chauncey DeVe­ga
    Tues­day, Jul 5, 2016 07:00 AM CST

    The main­stream news media and the pun­dit class­es have framed Don­ald Trump’s rise to pow­er in the Repub­li­can Par­ty as some­thing unpre­dictable and incom­pre­hen­si­ble. In real­i­ty, Trump’s dom­i­na­tion of the 2016 GOP pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry field is a func­tion of larg­er trends in Right-wing Amer­i­can pol­i­tics.

    One of the most important—and lit­tle discussed—aspects of Don­ald Trump’s polit­i­cal ascen­dance is his bor­row­ing from the mil­i­tary con­cept known as “4th Gen­er­a­tion War­fare.”

    I recent­ly spoke with soci­ol­o­gist and for­mer Unit­ed States Army civil­ian senior intel­li­gence ana­lyst Dr. James Scam­i­naci III about this strat­e­gy and what it reveals about Don­ald Trump’s con­nec­tions to the most extreme ele­ments of the Amer­i­can right-wing.

    ...

    One of the dom­i­nant frames in the main­stream news media is that Don­ald Trump is some type of sur­prise, an aber­ra­tion of sorts, that has come out of nowhere to bull­doze the 2016 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial field. Is this nar­ra­tive accu­rate?

    Trump is the log­i­cal out­come and expres­sion of what has always been present in the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

    White suprema­cy is the oper­at­ing sys­tem of Amer­i­ca and it is strongest in the Repub­li­can Par­ty. Marc Het­her­ing­ton and Jonathan Weil­er in their book Author­i­tar­i­an­ism & Polar­iza­tion in Amer­i­can Pol­i­tics demon­strate that the two major polit­i­cal par­ties have sort­ed their sup­port­ers out along the author­i­tar­i­an­ism dimen­sion, with the Repub­li­can Par­ty stronger on author­i­tar­i­an­ism and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty weak­er. That is not to say that every Repub­li­can is an author­i­tar­i­an or vice ver­sa. But, author­i­tar­i­an­ism is cor­re­lat­ed with being anti-black, racial resent­ment, anti-immi­grant, against repro­duc­tive rights, and against gay rights, for exam­ple.

    We also know from George Lakoff that the fam­i­ly mod­el of the right-wing is the strict father mod­el which is based on author­i­ty, obe­di­ence, dis­ci­pline, and pun­ish­ment. This is con­sis­tent with the extreme right­ward turn of the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

    Trump’s right-wing pop­ulism is also con­sis­tent with aca­d­e­m­ic stud­ies of the Tea Par­ty move­ment in which sup­port­ers favored Social Secu­ri­ty, Medicare, and Med­ic­aid for peo­ple like them­selves and opposed all types of social wel­fare pro­grams for non-whites, peo­ple they thought were unde­serv­ing.

    If you look at these deep, swirling under­cur­rents, why should it be a sur­prise that Don­ald Trump has tri­umphed?

    ...

    In your writ­ing and research, you have sug­gest­ed that Trump’s pol­i­cy goals are not some­thing cob­bled togeth­er, ran­dom, or a prod­uct of his polit­i­cal naïveté and pan­der­ing to the GOP base, but rather, an exam­ple of what has been described as “4th gen­er­a­tion war­fare” (4GW) applied to Amer­i­can domes­tic pol­i­tics. Can you explain this con­cept and how it helps us to under­stand con­tem­po­rary move­ment con­ser­vatism, more gen­er­al­ly, and Trump’s rise, specif­i­cal­ly?

    Fourth Gen­er­a­tion War­fare is a con­flict between a state actor and a non-state 4GW actor. The 4GW actor can be dri­ven by ideas, reli­gion, or the defense of the “puri­ty of its race.” The cen­tral objec­tive is to under­mine and destroy the legit­i­ma­cy of the state actor, to deny the state actor a monop­oly on the legit­i­mate use of force, and to use manip­u­la­tions of mov­ing images and oth­er psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare tech­niques to remove affec­tive sup­port from the state actor. Psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare would be more impor­tant than mil­i­tary oper­a­tions.

    A sub-com­po­nent of 4GW is William Lind’s con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry of the inter­nal war for suprema­cy between what he called “cul­tur­al Marx­ists” and their ide­ol­o­gy of “Polit­i­cal Cor­rect­ness” or “mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism” and the “tra­di­tion­al Amer­i­can cul­ture” or “Judeo-Chris­t­ian cul­ture.” Lind argued that “cul­tur­al Marx­ists” hate America’s “Judeo-Chris­t­ian cul­ture” and were seek­ing to destroy it. The losers were to be rich, white, con­ser­v­a­tive, Chris­t­ian, het­ero­sex­u­al men.

    This is where reli­gious suprema­cy and white suprema­cy link up, and where Trump is attempt­ing to fuse in his own per­son.

    Inter­nal­ly, this clash of cul­tures is weaponized as pro­pa­gan­da cam­paigns designed to dele­git­imize whole class­es of peo­ples: Blacks and civ­il rights and vot­ing rights; women and repro­duc­tive rights; the LGBTQ and gay rights; work­ers and labor rights; envi­ron­men­tal­ists and envi­ron­men­tal laws and sci­ence.

    Out­side the coun­try, the clash of civ­i­liza­tions is between Chris­tian­i­ty and Islam. In fact, Weyrich and Lind began in the ear­ly 1990s to tar­get Islam as a vio­lent, ille­git­i­mate reli­gion. One can draw a straight line from the anti-Mus­lim views of Weyrich and Lind in the ear­ly 1990s to the Islam­o­pho­bia of today.

    Trump’s core poli­cies are all con­sis­tent with Lind’s writ­ings since 2005. Lind called for a Berlin-style wall on the U.S.-Mexican bor­der, sup­port­ed the Min­ute­men mili­tia on the bor­der, likened Lati­no and Mus­lim immi­grants to invaders that had to be stopped, con­sid­ered Mus­lim immi­grants an import­ed cul­tur­al dis­ease, and, if good immi­grants came in, it was the destruc­tive Black cul­ture that turned them bad, and opposed Wall Street con­ser­v­a­tives.

    Lind’s ideas have cir­cu­lat­ed through­out the right-wing for just over a decade. Trump is just telling the Repub­li­can base what they have already heard or read.

    Can you pro­vide some more details about William Lind and Paul Weyrich? How influ­en­tial are they for con­ser­v­a­tive elites?

    The late Paul Weyrich was one of the four horse­men of the Chris­t­ian Right who cre­at­ed that move­ment with the help of mon­ey from Coors and oth­er bil­lion­aires. Lind is an acknowl­edged expert on mil­i­tary strat­e­gy and is a for­mi­da­ble oppo­nent. Lind was his direc­tor of cul­tur­al con­ser­vatism at the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion.

    Weyrich was the strate­gic genius of the Chris­t­ian Right. His first mas­ter stroke was to con­vince the main­stream media that he and oth­ers had cre­at­ed a sec­u­lar “New Right.” Weyrich cre­at­ed the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion, the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, the Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil, the Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy, and the Moral Major­i­ty. The secre­tive Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy brought togeth­er con­ser­v­a­tive fund­ing sources, polit­i­cal oper­a­tors and strate­gists, and Chris­tians to put finan­cial resources into cul­ture war cam­paigns. Weyrich cre­at­ed the ad hoc Arling­ton Group to bring togeth­er polit­i­cal oper­a­tors from inside and out­side D.C. in order to have a cen­tral­ized strat­e­gy with decen­tral­ized oper­a­tions.

    Weyrich and Lind allowed the racist Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens to take their video on “Polit­i­cal Cor­rect­ness”, i.e. “mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism,” and spread that into the white nation­al­ist and white suprema­cist seg­ments of the right-wing.

    Mike Van­der­boegh, the mili­tia strate­gist and founder of the Three Per­centers, is an avid pro­mot­er of Fourth Gen­er­a­tion War­fare.

    Of note, in 2001, Karen Yuri­ca uncov­ered a Paul Weyrich-com­mis­sioned strat­e­gy doc­u­ment on the “New Tra­di­tion­al­ist Move­ment.” Weyrich and Lind endorsed the fol­low­ing 4GW oper­a­tional strat­e­gy: “Our strat­e­gy will be to bleed this cor­rupt cul­ture dry. We will pick off the most intel­li­gent and cre­ative indi­vid­u­als in our soci­ety, the indi­vid­u­als who help give cred­i­bil­i­ty to the cur­rent regime…. Our move­ment will be entire­ly destruc­tive, and entire­ly con­struc­tive. We will not try to reform the exist­ing insti­tu­tions. We only intend to weak­en them, and even­tu­al­ly destroy them…. We will main­tain a con­stant bar­rage of crit­i­cism against the Left. We will attack the very legit­i­ma­cy of the Left…. We will use guer­ril­la tac­tics to under­mine the legit­i­ma­cy of the dom­i­nant regime….Sympathy from the Amer­i­can peo­ple will increase as our oppo­nents try to per­se­cute us, which means our strength will increase at an accel­er­at­ing rate due to more defections—and the ene­my will col­lapse as a result.”

    Lind’s and Weyrich’s strate­gic doc­u­ments are the writ­ings of rad­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies out to destroy an entire soci­ety and an entire belief sys­tem. This strat­e­gy, how­ev­er flawed the exe­cu­tion and the can­di­date, is now in the hands of Don­ald Trump.

    Why hasn’t the main­stream media spent more time dis­cussing the hold that Lind’s strate­gies have over the GOP?

    Well, the main­stream media is not inter­est­ed in ideas or poli­cies or any­thing oth­er than he-said, she-said jour­nal­ism, horse race jour­nal­ism, or stenog­ra­phy.

    We need to move beyond the pre­vail­ing pro­gres­sive mod­el of pre­vent­ing “hate speech” cross­ing the imag­i­nary Mag­inot Line between the fringe and the main­stream. As David Nei­w­ert so per­sua­sive­ly argued in his bril­liant book The Elim­i­na­tion­ists, there is a con­vey­er belt that takes the most nox­ious, tox­ic ideas from the fringe, san­i­tizes them, and then spreads them into the main­stream media and the right-wing blo­gos­phere. The imag­i­nary Mag­inot Line has already been breached and is hem­or­rhag­ing hate and bile. There is a real need for pro­gres­sive ana­lysts to come togeth­er and under­stand the strat­e­gy, orga­ni­za­tion, net­works, cam­paigns, and tac­tics of this right-wing move­ment. We can­not con­tin­ue to do busi­ness as usu­al.

    Appar­ent­ly, a pho­to of Don­ald Trump with William Lind was post­ed on the latter’s offi­cial web­site. Lind also wrote a white suprema­cist nov­el that is con­sid­ered by many to be the spir­i­tu­al suc­ces­sor to the infa­mous Turn­er Diaries. This is not the first time that Don­ald Trump has been linked to white suprema­cists. Is this just one more sign of how today’s Repub­li­can Par­ty is the country’s largest white iden­ti­ty orga­ni­za­tion? Alter­na­tive­ly, even by those low stan­dards, does Don­ald Trump’s asso­ci­a­tion with Lind rep­re­sent some­thing even more prob­lem­at­ic and sin­is­ter?

    I think the link­age between Don­ald Trump and William S. Lind should alert pro­gres­sives and Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty oper­a­tives that we are no longer in an era of nor­mal pol­i­tics.

    Every­thing the Chris­t­ian Right has been doing since 1980 was designed to dele­git­imize an entire society—its gov­ern­ing phi­los­o­phy (lib­er­al­ism), its main­stream polit­i­cal par­ties, its main insti­tu­tions, the sec­u­lar ver­sion of the Con­sti­tu­tion, sci­ence (cre­ation­ism, cli­mate change hoax), and broad class­es of peo­ple. The Chris­t­ian Right incor­po­rat­ed white suprema­cy and reli­gious suprema­cy. We did not appre­ci­ate the 4GW “cos­mic war” com­ing with a grow­ing gale force into our pol­i­tics.

    Trump is reap­ing what the Chris­t­ian Right, Fox News, con­ser­v­a­tive talk radio, Chris­t­ian radio and tele­vi­sion, and the blo­gos­phere has sown.

    There has been much dis­cus­sion of the “horse race” aspect of the 2016 elec­tion and how Trump was able to win the GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion. I do not think that he will win the gen­er­al elec­tion. I am actu­al­ly more con­cerned about what hap­pens when Trump los­es and where his racist, author­i­tar­i­an sup­port­ers go next. Giv­en the rise of the White Right in the Age of Oba­ma, and Trump’s fas­cist lean­ings, how do you think the mili­tia move­ment and oth­er vio­lent Right-wing extrem­ists will exploit Trump’s defeat? In short, what hap­pens next?

    I think there is a need to wor­ry about what hap­pens when Trump los­es. The base may con­clude that the estab­lish­ment and/or the main­stream media defeat­ed him. There will still be hard core believ­ers in his mes­sage. There will be anoth­er Trump. I do not know how some­one could not see how rel­a­tive­ly eas­i­ly Trump destroyed his polit­i­cal rivals with a mix­ture of eco­nom­ic populism—saving Social Secu­ri­ty, Medicare, and Med­ic­aid, and maybe even sup­port­ing uni­ver­sal health care—with racism, nativism, xeno­pho­bia, reli­gious intol­er­ance, and author­i­tar­i­an­ism.

    As neolib­er­al­ism fails and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty does not address its destruc­tive con­se­quences for ordi­nary peo­ple, the more like­ly the next Trump will be more suc­cess­ful.

    The key strate­gists of the Chris­t­ian Right—William S. Lind, Gary North, and Edwin Vieira—have writ­ten strate­gic assess­ments that the finan­cial sys­tem will col­lapse.

    The Patri­ot mili­tia and oth­er para­mil­i­tary groups are sim­ply wait­ing for their turn to have fun.

    “Of note, in 2001, Karen Yuri­ca uncov­ered a Paul Weyrich-com­mis­sioned strat­e­gy doc­u­ment on the “New Tra­di­tion­al­ist Move­ment.” Weyrich and Lind endorsed the fol­low­ing 4GW oper­a­tional strat­e­gy: “Our strat­e­gy will be to bleed this cor­rupt cul­ture dry. We will pick off the most intel­li­gent and cre­ative indi­vid­u­als in our soci­ety, the indi­vid­u­als who help give cred­i­bil­i­ty to the cur­rent regime…. Our move­ment will be entire­ly destruc­tive, and entire­ly con­struc­tive. We will not try to reform the exist­ing insti­tu­tions. We only intend to weak­en them, and even­tu­al­ly destroy them…. We will main­tain a con­stant bar­rage of crit­i­cism against the Left. We will attack the very legit­i­ma­cy of the Left…. We will use guer­ril­la tac­tics to under­mine the legit­i­ma­cy of the dom­i­nant regime….Sympathy from the Amer­i­can peo­ple will increase as our oppo­nents try to per­se­cute us, which means our strength will increase at an accel­er­at­ing rate due to more defections—and the ene­my will col­lapse as a result.””

    So, has Trump read any of Lind’s work yet? They’ve def­i­nite­ly met and seem like a nat­ur­al fit:

    ...
    Trump’s core poli­cies are all con­sis­tent with Lind’s writ­ings since 2005. Lind called for a Berlin-style wall on the U.S.-Mexican bor­der, sup­port­ed the Min­ute­men mili­tia on the bor­der, likened Lati­no and Mus­lim immi­grants to invaders that had to be stopped, con­sid­ered Mus­lim immi­grants an import­ed cul­tur­al dis­ease, and, if good immi­grants came in, it was the destruc­tive Black cul­ture that turned them bad, and opposed Wall Street con­ser­v­a­tives.
    ...

    Keep in mind that William Lind is the same guy who that wrote the Domin­ion­ist snuff piece pub­lished in the Wash­ing­ton Post that fan­ta­sized about a future sec­ond Amer­i­can Civ­il War won by short­ly after the Okla­homa City bomb­ing in 1995. So at least Trump is fol­low­ing Lind’s post-2005 writ­ings and not the ear­li­er ones. Although that col­umn did inspired to write an entire white suprema­cist nov­el (under the Thomas Hobbes pen name) cel­e­brat­ing a future Amer­i­can eth­nic cleans­ing enti­tled “Vic­to­ria: A nov­el of 4th Gen­er­a­tion War” pub­lished in 2014. And this is one of the guys who helped devel­op the con­cept of “Fourth Gen­er­a­tion War­fare” for the US mil­i­tary.

    Con­sid­er­ing all of the oth­er ques­tions Trump keeps rais­ing about his white suprema­cist ties, learn­ing more about Trump’s ties to the far-right strate­gic polit­i­cal think who just pub­lished a white suprema­cist rev­o­lu­tion nov­el kind of seems extra impor­tant. Hope­ful­ly some intre­pid reporter can get an answer from Trump about his Lind influ­ences. Good luck with that!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 6, 2016, 1:40 pm
  11. Beyond the lives lost and fam­i­lies destroyed by the mass mur­der of Dal­las police offi­cers that just took place dur­ing a police-bru­tal­i­ty protest, part of what an inci­dent like this so trag­ic is that when some­one com­mits an act that is obvi­ous­ly intend­ed to divide and vio­lent­ly polar­ize a soci­ety, there’s rarely a short­age of peo­ple more than hap­py to facil­i­tate the mass mur­der­er’s divide and con­quer strat­e­gy. Chaos and despair are two of the best allies for all sorts of extrem­ists. And, sure enough, less than a day lat­er we’re see­ing the usu­al sus­pects excit­ed­ly declar­ing war:

    Moth­er Jones

    High-Pro­file Right Wingers Declare “War” in Wake of Dal­las Police Shoot­ings
    And the New York Post goes with a cov­er that pro­vokes a fierce back­lash.

    Han­nah Lev­in­to­va
    Jul. 8, 2016 12:08 PM

    On Thurs­day night, at least one sniper in Dal­las opened fire near a peace­ful Black Lives Mat­ter protest, killing five police offi­cers and injur­ing sev­en oth­ers. The shoot­ing marks the dead­liest attack on law enforce­ment in the Unit­ed States since 9/11. While there has been an out­pour­ing of grief and anger on social media, some high-pro­file individuals—including a for­mer con­gress­man and a vet­er­an pol­i­cy advis­er to Repub­li­can lead­ers—stirred threats of vio­lence and impend­ing “war” against the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment.

    From for­mer Illi­nois Rep. Joe Walsh, in a post that has since been delet­ed:
    [see pic of delet­ed tweet]

    More from Walsh:

    10 Cops shot. You did this Obama.You did this lib­er­als. You did this #BLM.Time to defend our Cops. Wake up. https://t.co/Zoc3x2xlMk— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 8, 2016

    From Alex Jones, con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist and radio show host:

    This is the start of Obama/Soros desta­bi­liza­tion race war. #Dal­las— Alex Jones (@RealAlexJones) July 8, 2016

    ...

    The New York Post’s front page declared “Civ­il War”—which quick­ly drew a fierce back­lash.

    [see pic of NT Post “Civ­il War” cov­er]

    On his radio show today, right-wing host Rush Lim­baugh called Black Lives Mat­ter “a ter­ror­ist group com­mit­ting hate crimes”:
    [click for Lim­baugh audio]
    The full tran­script of Lim­baugh­’s remarks: “I found a sto­ry from March, I think, of 2015, in which Pres­i­dent Oba­ma wel­comed two founders of Black Lives Mat­ter to the White House and com­mem­o­rat­ed them and their efforts and praised them as being bet­ter orga­niz­ers than he is. And... Black Lives Mat­ter was just exact­ly who they are then as who they are today. They’re a ter­ror­ist group. They’re quick­ly becom­ing a ter­ror­ist group com­mit­ting hate crimes.”

    “The New York Post’s front page declared “Civ­il War”—which quick­ly drew a fierce back­lash.”

    Be sure to check out the front page declar­ing “Civ­il War” of the Rupert Mur­doch owned New York Post. And then take a moment to ask your­self if a front page image that declared civ­il war in the wake of a tragedy like this is the type of response that makes future acts of vio­lence against police more or less like­ly? Because it sure seems like the edi­tors of the New York Post, along with folks like Rush Lim­baugh and Joe Walsh, would love to esca­late the ten­sions and see even more vio­lence. And that would obvi­ous­ly include more police mass mur­ders. Stok­ing that kind of con­flict sure seems like the kind of behav­ior that some­one who either hates the police or does­n’t care about them at all would engage in. Are the police just more fod­der for the cul­ture wars? that would appear to be the case. Trag­i­cal­ly.

    It’s also worth not­ing in that the Dal­las Police Depart­ment is one of the depart­ments blaz­ing the trail in police sen­si­tiv­i­ty train­ing specif­i­cal­ly designed to address con­scious or sub­con­scious bias­es. So the depart­ment that was tar­get­ed in this attack is one of the depart­ments around the nation that’s been tak­ing one of the most mean­ing­ful steps that any police depart­ment can take in address­ing issues that led to the Dal­las protest in the first place.

    That’s some­thing that real­ly needs to be rec­og­nized. In part because it’s adds to the sense­less nature of the tragedy but also because that’s the kind of con­text to this slaugh­ter that points towards a pro­duc­tive path for­ward. Why? Because there’s no rea­son sen­si­tiv­i­ty train­ing needs to be lim­it­ed to the police. Isn’t the Amer­i­can soci­ety in gen­er­al in dire need of more sen­si­tiv­i­ty towards each oth­er? Or at least aware­ness? Isn’t a gen­er­al lack of aware­ness among Amer­i­cans about what’s going on in the lives of peo­ple very dif­fer­ent from them a huge fac­tor dri­ving the kind of sociopo­lit­i­cal dys­func­tion today? What about all the out­right dis­in­for­ma­tion that’s been spread and con­sumed in the mod­ern media envi­ron­ment by peo­ple like Rush Lim­baugh? It’s a lot hard­er to get the con­sen­sus need­ed to address deep, sys­temic prob­lems in a sea of igno­rance and dis­in­for­ma­tion.

    And while we obvi­ous­ly would­n’t want to dis­tract from the nec­es­sary nation­al con­ver­sa­tions around polic­ing and the chal­lenges of poor minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties, there’s no rea­son we can’t also use this brew­ing ten­sion between police and minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties to start a long-over­due nation­al con­ver­sa­tion about how Amer­i­cans are gen­er­al­ly clue­less about the major chal­lenges fac­ing their fel­low Amer­i­cans, whether its inner city pover­ty, rur­al pover­ty, or just peo­ple with tough, dan­ger­ous jobs...like police offi­cers. Who knows, by fram­ing the cur­rent debates over polic­ing with­in the con­text of a soci­ety that is increas­ing­ly unaware of the real­i­ties of itself, that might be an effec­tive way to indi­rect­ly address some of the issues around minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties and polic­ing. One of the com­mon retorts to the “Black Lives Mat­ter” slo­gan is that “All Lives Mat­ter”. Well, ok, does­n’t the “All Lives Mat­ter” slo­gan come with the expec­ta­tion that peo­ple at least try to be much more aware and empa­thet­ic about the chal­lenges fac­ing all their fel­low Amer­i­cans? And is that hap­pen­ing? Are Amer­i­cans even try­ing to under­stand their fel­low Amer­i­cans these days? The peo­ple fol­low­ing the above right-wing trolls cer­tain­ly don’t appear to be try­ing very hard.

    So how about we start a nation­al ‘aware­ness’ cam­paign that’s based on a sim­ple con­cept: If, at the age of, let’s say, 30, you aren’t per­son­al­ly much more aware of chal­lenges fac­ing peo­ple that aren’t your same race, reli­gion, gen­der, or what­ev­er than you were at the age of 20, you basi­cal­ly failed your 20’s in terms of being a more aware indi­vid­ual. And if at age 40 you aren’t sub­stan­tial­ly more aware of these issues than you were at 30, you failed your 30’s. And if age 50,....etc. Let’s cre­ate the social expec­ta­tion that indi­vid­u­als aren’t sim­ply expect­ed to grow a lit­tle wis­er with age. They’re expect­ed to grow­ing sub­stan­tial­ly wis­er with age, espe­cial­ly when it comes to under­stand­ing the lives of peo­ple very dif­fer­ent from them.

    Of course, if you think about it, a nation­al ‘aware­ness’ cam­paign is just a fan­cy phrase for a soci­ety that gen­er­ates high qual­i­ty jour­nal­ism that most peo­ple actu­al­ly con­sume over the course of their lives. And while we already have a mass media, it’s pret­ty clear that much of it is more inter­est­ed in stok­ing a race war and see­ing more cop killings than actu­al­ly solv­ing any­thing. Chang­ing that will also have to be part of the aware­ness cam­paign.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 8, 2016, 3:57 pm
  12. Oh look at that: Fox News just reject­ed a nation­al ad buy for an ad that was to run dur­ing Sean Han­ni­ty’s show pro­mot­ing the Oscar-nom­i­na­tion doc­u­men­tary A Night at the Gar­den, which is about a 1939 Nazi ral­ly in New York City. The ad includes the warn­ing “It Can Hap­pen Here” about the poten­tial dan­gers of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s brand of pop­ulism, which is obvi­ous­ly a mes­sage that the Han­ni­ty audi­ence des­per­ate­ly needs to hear, espe­cial­ly giv­en the fact that Han­ni­ty just might be the most ‘Alt-Right’ of all the Fox News per­son­al­i­ties (although he has com­pe­ti­tion).

    The ad was ini­tial­ly sup­posed to air just in Los Ange­les on Mon­day, which Fox News could­n’t have stopped because the chan­nel does­n’t over­see local­ly bought ads, only nation­al­ly run ads. But the ad nev­er got to run when it was pre­clud­ed by break­ing news cov­er­age of Trump’s ral­ly in Texas. This, of course, is the same ral­ly where Trump riled up the audi­ence so much against ‘the media’ that a BBC cam­era­man was vio­lent­ly attacked by some­one in the crowd where a MAGA hat. So the ad warn­ing about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of fas­cist dem­a­gogues in Amer­i­ca was lit­er­al­ly bumped by cov­er­age of an actu­al pro­to-fas­cist ral­ly.

    The film’s dis­trib­u­tor, Field of Vision, then decid­ed to go with a nation­al ad buy next. That’s when Fox News inter­vened, declar­ing that that the ad was “not appro­pri­ate for our air”. So Han­ni­ty’s nation­al audi­ence was spared from the mes­sage warn­ing them about the real pos­si­bil­i­ty of Amer­i­can fas­cism:

    The Hol­ly­wood Report­ed

    Fox News Rejects Nation­al Ad for Oscar-Nom­i­nat­ed Anti-Nazi Doc­u­men­tary (Exclu­sive)

    The 30-sec­ond ad is called “It Can Hap­pen Here,” and was to be tar­get­ed at Sean Han­ni­ty’s view­ers.

    3:05 PM PST 2/13/2019 by Jere­my Barr

    Fox News has reject­ed a nation­al adver­tis­ing buy for a 30-sec­ond spot that warns view­ers about the poten­tial dan­gers of Amer­i­can fas­cism after an ad sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive said net­work lead­er­ship deemed it inap­pro­pri­ate, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter has learned.

    The spot was to dou­ble as a pro­mo­tion of this year’s Oscar-nom­i­nat­ed doc­u­men­tary short A Night at the Gar­den, which recounts a 1939 Nazi ral­ly in New York City, and a warn­ing — “It Can Hap­pen Here” — to Sean Han­ni­ty’s large­ly con­ser­v­a­tive view­ers about the poten­tial dan­gers of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s brand of pop­ulism.

    An ad was bought to air local­ly dur­ing Mon­day night’s edi­tion of Han­ni­ty’s prime­time show through a region­al adver­tis­ing buy on Char­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions’ Spec­trum ser­vice in Los Ange­les, but was pre­clud­ed by break­ing news — cov­er­age of Pres­i­dent Trump’s ral­ly in Texas.

    The film’s dis­trib­u­tor, Field of Vision, then decid­ed to pur­chase a nation­al spot on Han­ni­ty’s show, but was rebuffed by the net­work, which con­trols nation­al adver­tis­ing.

    A Fox News nation­al ad sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive told the dis­trib­u­tor’s media-buy­ing agency on Wednes­day that CEO Suzanne Scott (“our CEO”) said the ad was “not appro­pri­ate for our air,” accord­ing to email cor­re­spon­dence viewed by THR.

    Cable net­works like Fox News do not over­see local­ly bought ads but can reject nation­al adver­tis­ing spots. In August 2017, CNN declined to run a paid adver­tise­ment from the Trump re-elec­tion cam­paign because it por­trayed some of the net­work’s news per­son­al­i­ties as “ene­mies” of the pres­i­dent, a deci­sion the cam­paign decried as cen­sor­ship.

    “The film shines a light on a time when thou­sands of Amer­i­cans fell under the spell of a dem­a­gogue who attacked the press and scape­goat­ed minori­ties using the sym­bols of Amer­i­can patri­o­tism,” Night at the Gar­den direc­tor Mar­shall Cur­ry said in a state­ment to THR.

    He added, “It’s amaz­ing to me that the CEO of Fox News would per­son­al­ly inject her­self into a small ad buy just to make sure that Han­ni­ty view­ers weren’t exposed to this chap­ter of Amer­i­can his­to­ry.”

    To ful­fill Mon­day’s abort­ed local ad buy, the doc­u­men­tary’s ad will run dur­ing Thurs­day night’s episode of Han­ni­ty in Los Ange­les, through Char­ter. The film’s back­ers also plan to adver­tise on oth­er nation­al cable news net­works.

    Night at the Gar­den marks Cur­ry’s third Oscar nom­i­na­tion, fol­low­ing nods for his 2005 doc­u­men­tary on now-Sen. Cory Book­er (Street Fight) and the 2011 film .If a Tree Falls: A Sto­ry of the Earth Lib­er­a­tion Front

    ...

    ———-

    “Fox News Rejects Nation­al Ad for Oscar-Nom­i­nat­ed Anti-Nazi Doc­u­men­tary (Exclu­sive)” by Jere­my Barr; The Hol­ly­wood Report­ed; 02/13/2019

    The spot was to dou­ble as a pro­mo­tion of this year’s Oscar-nom­i­nat­ed doc­u­men­tary short A Night at the Gar­den, which recounts a 1939 Nazi ral­ly in New York City, and a warn­ing — “It Can Hap­pen Here” — to Sean Han­ni­ty’s large­ly con­ser­v­a­tive view­ers about the poten­tial dan­gers of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s brand of pop­ulism.”

    Fas­cist pop­ulism can hap­pen here. The film warns the view­ers about the dan­ger of Amer­i­cans falling under the spell of a dem­a­gogue who attacked the press and scape­goat­ed minori­ties using the sym­bols of Amer­i­can patri­o­tism. That’s the mes­sage Fox News decid­ed to pro­tect Sean Han­ni­ty’s audi­ence from:

    ...
    “The film shines a light on a time when thou­sands of Amer­i­cans fell under the spell of a dem­a­gogue who attacked the press and scape­goat­ed minori­ties using the sym­bols of Amer­i­can patri­o­tism,” Night at the Gar­den direc­tor Mar­shall Cur­ry said in a state­ment to THR.
    ...

    But Fox only got the abil­i­ty to make this call after the film’s dis­trib­u­tor decid­ed to make a nation­al ad buy after its local ad buy for Los Ange­les was pre­empt­ed by Trump’s pro­to-fas­cist ral­ly in Texas. Accord­ing to Fox, the ad was “not appro­pri­ate for our air”:

    ...
    An ad was bought to air local­ly dur­ing Mon­day night’s edi­tion of Han­ni­ty’s prime­time show through a region­al adver­tis­ing buy on Char­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions’ Spec­trum ser­vice in Los Ange­les, but was pre­clud­ed by break­ing news — cov­er­age of Pres­i­dent Trump’s ral­ly in Texas.

    The film’s dis­trib­u­tor, Field of Vision, then decid­ed to pur­chase a nation­al spot on Han­ni­ty’s show, but was rebuffed by the net­work, which con­trols nation­al adver­tis­ing.

    A Fox News nation­al ad sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive told the dis­trib­u­tor’s media-buy­ing agency on Wednes­day that CEO Suzanne Scott (“our CEO”) said the ad was “not appro­pri­ate for our air,” accord­ing to email cor­re­spon­dence viewed by THR.

    Cable net­works like Fox News do not over­see local­ly bought ads but can reject nation­al adver­tis­ing spots. In August 2017, CNN declined to run a paid adver­tise­ment from the Trump re-elec­tion cam­paign because it por­trayed some of the net­work’s news per­son­al­i­ties as “ene­mies” of the pres­i­dent, a deci­sion the cam­paign decried as cen­sor­ship.
    ...

    But at least it sounds like the Los Ange­les Han­ni­ty audi­ence even­tu­al­ly got to see the banned ad after it was rerun lat­er in the week. Let’s hope the dis­trib­u­tor makes lots of oth­er local ad buys. Espe­cial­ly in El Paso. Because as the fol­low­ing arti­cle about the Trump ral­ly in El Paso that got the local ad bumped in the first place makes painful­ly clear, the El Paso-area Fox News audi­ences who attend­ed that ral­ly real­ly, real­ly, real­ly need to see Night at the Gar­den:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Trump’s 2020 Cam­paign Kicks Off With A Car­ni­val Of Lies In El Paso
    The Texas ral­ly includ­ed cameos from QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists, a Pewdiepie fan and the leader of a far-right mili­tia group.

    By Christo­pher Math­ias
    02/12/2019 11:59 am ET Updat­ed 2 days ago

    EL PASO, Texas — As thou­sands of Don­ald Trump sup­port­ers lined up out­side the El Paso Coun­ty Col­i­se­um Mon­day after­noon, wait­ing to see the pres­i­dent hold his first offi­cial re-elec­tion cam­paign ral­ly near the U.S.-Mexico bor­der, the MAGA mer­chants were in a fren­zy.

    Some ven­dors pulled carts full of red or cam­ou­flage “Make Amer­i­ca Great Again” hats, yelling, “Ten dol­lars, cash or cred­it!” Oth­ers made elab­o­rate dis­plays of flags for sale. The new Trump 2020 flag was pop­u­lar. So was the flag with an illus­tra­tion of Trump hold­ing a gun, stand­ing atop a tank, in front of an Amer­i­can flag, next to a fly­ing bald eagle.

    Then there were the T‑shirts: the new Trump/Pence 2020 shirt, the old “Hillary sucks but not like Mon­i­ca” shirt, and a “We are Q” shirt, a ref­er­ence to QAnon, the absurd and ever-evolv­ing pro-Trump con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that holds that the pres­i­dent is on the verge of destroy­ing a pedophile ring that has been secret­ly run­ning the U.S. gov­ern­ment for years.

    As Trump sup­port­ers poured into the gat­ed area out­side the col­i­se­um, music blared from the loud­speak­ers, a playlist that includ­ed Elton John’s “Can­dle in the Wind,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” and “Mem­o­ry” from the Broad­way musi­cal “Cats.” The music was inter­rupt­ed inter­mit­tent­ly by announce­ments, includ­ing one plead­ing with Trump sup­port­ers to “not hurt any pro­test­ers” who might show up to ruin the night’s fun.

    On the giant screen out­side the venue, a Trump cam­paign mes­sage implored fans to fol­low the pres­i­dent on Twit­ter, Insta­gram and Face­book. “Your source for Real News,” the mes­sage screamed.

    Huff­Post was not grant­ed press cre­den­tials to report from inside the col­i­se­um. Out­side, an over­flow crowd of some 6,000 peo­ple stood in the cold desert night to watch the screen and cheer on Trump.

    Trump’s ral­ly in El Paso was in sup­port of his bor­der wall. In his State of the Union address last week he claimed, false­ly, that bor­der fenc­ing that was built south of the city in 2010 trans­formed El Paso from a dan­ger­ous place into a safe one.

    Its Repub­li­can may­or lashed out at the pres­i­dent last week for his false­hood. El Paso’s declin­ing crime rate start­ed well before the bor­der fenc­ing was built.

    But Trump repeat­ed the lie Mon­day night. And for his audi­ence, the lie was now the truth.

    “Once they built that wall, it was amaz­ing how sta­tis­ti­cal­ly the vio­lence start­ed going down,” 39-year-old El Paso res­i­dent Michael Blan­co, who owns an account­ing busi­ness, told Huff­Post out­side the col­i­se­um. “I’m a com­plete wit­ness of it. Seen it grow­ing up.”

    Hen­ri Rafael, a 58-year-old El Pasoan wear­ing a black Trump 2020 hat, said that even though the may­or cor­rect­ed Trump, “I know for a fact that the crime was high back in the ’70s and ’80s, and when they built those walls, [crime] has dropped.”

    In fact, vio­lent crime increased in El Paso in the two years after the wall was built, accord­ing to a study from the El Paso Times.

    Trump peri­od­i­cal­ly paused his speech Mon­day for chants of “Build the wall!” and “USA!”

    When he talked of the “fake news” media, the crowd jeered. At one point, a par­tic­u­lar­ly inspired Trump sup­port­er attacked a BBC jour­nal­ist:

    Just attend­ed my first ?@realDonaldTrump? ral­ly where my col­league BBC cam­era­man Rob Skeans was attacked by a Trump sup­port­er. The crowd had been whipped up into a fren­zy against the media by Trump and oth­er speak­ers all night #TrumpEl­Pa­so pic.twitter.com/Oiw8osPms3— Eleanor Mon­tague (@EleanorMontague) Feb­ru­ary 12, 2019

    The crowd also jeered Beto O’Rourke, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic El Paso native and for­mer con­gress­man who near­ly defeat­ed Sen. Ted Cruz in last year’s Sen­ate race. O’Rourke, a poten­tial pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, held a protest a few blocks from Trump’s ral­ly Mon­day night.

    The pres­i­dent taunt­ed O’Rourke from the stage, claim­ing that the O’Rourke ral­ly attract­ed a pal­try few hun­dred atten­dees. El Paso police lat­er esti­mat­ed that well over 10,000 peo­ple attend­ed.

    Trump spoke for over an hour — about spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tion, about Hillary Clin­ton, about the Green New Deal and about how “Amer­i­ca will nev­er be a social­ist coun­try.”

    Nick Mar­tin, an inves­tiga­tive reporter at the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, watched the speech and noticed some­one he rec­og­nized sit­ting in the front row, wear­ing a base­ball hat and an eye patch: Elmer Stew­art Rhodes.

    Rhodes is the founder of the far-right mili­tia group the Oath Keep­ers. The SPLC lists the Oath Keep­ers as an anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ist group because of the wild con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries its mem­bers pro­mote. Rhodes recent­ly claimed he was set­ting up para­mil­i­tary train­ing camps across the U.S. to pre­pare to fight antifa, or anti-fas­cist, groups.

    Stew­art Rhodes, leader of the antigov­ern­ment group the Oath Keep­ers, is in the front row for Trump’s ral­ly tonight in El Paso. (Rhodes is the one with the eye patch and ball cap.) pic.twitter.com/MO0cRcOz24— Nick Mar­tin (@nickmartin) Feb­ru­ary 12, 2019

    (Also report­ed­ly stand­ing in the front row at the Trump ral­ly: a woman wear­ing a QAnon sym­bol over her shirt.)

    Even­tu­al­ly, Trump fin­ished his speech and left the stage to cheers on his way to a sit-down inter­view with Lau­ra Ingra­ham of Fox News, who had trav­eled to Texas for the ral­ly.

    The crowd fil­tered out through the gates of the col­i­se­um. There they were met by a small group of teenage pro­test­ers car­ry­ing signs read­ing “Trump is a lying cor­rupt racist” and “Abol­ish I.C.E.”

    Many Trump sup­port­ers cursed at the teens, yelling, “Fu ck you,” and start­ed a loud chant of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” At least one Trump sup­port­er yelled, “Go back to Mex­i­co!” at the teens, most of whom were His­pan­ic.

    Anoth­er Trump sup­port­er ripped the “Abol­ish I.C.E.” sign from a teen’s hands and ran off with it. Then anoth­er threw water at the teens’ faces.

    Last night after the Trump ral­ly in #ElPa­so, a few teens stood out­side with protest signs and chant­ed abt Trump being racist. Grow­nass MAGA men yelled at them. Some Trump sup­port­ers yelled “fu ck you!” One yelled “Go back to Mex­i­co!” And then one stole a teen’s “ABOLISH ICE” sign pic.twitter.com/tF7hvhmRfW— Christo­pher Math­ias (@letsgomathias) Feb­ru­ary 12, 2019

    ...

    A few hun­dred yards away, riot police announced over a mega­phone that a sep­a­rate group of 50 or so Trump pro­test­ers stand­ing on a street­corner need­ed to dis­perse. They refused. Trump sup­port­ers dipped in and out of the protest, taunt­ing them. One shout­ed to the crowd that they all need­ed to sub­scribe to Pewdiepie, refer­ring to the world’s most pop­u­lar YouTu­ber, who has pro­mot­ed white suprema­cist con­tent to his mil­lions of sub­scribers.

    Antoine Williams, a 36-year-old MAGA ven­dor from South Car­oli­na, stood on the side­walk and packed up his mer­chan­dise, look­ing on at the may­hem. “They’re askin’ for it,” he said of the pro­test­ers, who even­tu­al­ly dis­persed.

    He said he goes to every Trump ral­ly to sell his goods. Asked if he’s also a Trump sup­port­er, Williams respond­ed, “Till the death of me, bro.”

    ———-

    “Trump’s 2020 Cam­paign Kicks Off With A Car­ni­val Of Lies In El Paso” by Christo­pher Math­ias; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 02/12/2019

    “On the giant screen out­side the venue, a Trump cam­paign mes­sage implored fans to fol­low the pres­i­dent on Twit­ter, Insta­gram and Face­book. “Your source for Real News,” the mes­sage screamed. ”

    A giant mes­sage implor­ing Trump fans to fol­low Trump direct­ly on social media because that’s “Your source for Real News.” It’s just one of the pro­to-fas­cist memes that are now rou­tine for the Trump era.

    Then there’s the Trump-inspired attacks on the press:

    ...
    Trump peri­od­i­cal­ly paused his speech Mon­day for chants of “Build the wall!” and “USA!”

    When he talked of the “fake news” media, the crowd jeered. At one point, a par­tic­u­lar­ly inspired Trump sup­port­er attacked a BBC jour­nal­ist:

    Just attend­ed my first ?@realDonaldTrump? ral­ly where my col­league BBC cam­era­man Rob Skeans was attacked by a Trump sup­port­er. The crowd had been whipped up into a fren­zy against the media by Trump and oth­er speak­ers all night #TrumpEl­Pa­so pic.twitter.com/Oiw8osPms3— Eleanor Mon­tague (@EleanorMontague) Feb­ru­ary 12, 2019

    ...

    And the end­less lies. Lies designed to demo­nize minori­ties:

    ...
    Huff­Post was not grant­ed press cre­den­tials to report from inside the col­i­se­um. Out­side, an over­flow crowd of some 6,000 peo­ple stood in the cold desert night to watch the screen and cheer on Trump.

    Trump’s ral­ly in El Paso was in sup­port of his bor­der wall. In his State of the Union address last week he claimed, false­ly, that bor­der fenc­ing that was built south of the city in 2010 trans­formed El Paso from a dan­ger­ous place into a safe one.

    Its Repub­li­can may­or lashed out at the pres­i­dent last week for his false­hood. El Paso’s declin­ing crime rate start­ed well before the bor­der fenc­ing was built.

    But Trump repeat­ed the lie Mon­day night. And for his audi­ence, the lie was now the truth.

    “Once they built that wall, it was amaz­ing how sta­tis­ti­cal­ly the vio­lence start­ed going down,” 39-year-old El Paso res­i­dent Michael Blan­co, who owns an account­ing busi­ness, told Huff­Post out­side the col­i­se­um. “I’m a com­plete wit­ness of it. Seen it grow­ing up.”

    Hen­ri Rafael, a 58-year-old El Pasoan wear­ing a black Trump 2020 hat, said that even though the may­or cor­rect­ed Trump, “I know for a fact that the crime was high back in the ’70s and ’80s, and when they built those walls, [crime] has dropped.”

    In fact, vio­lent crime increased in El Paso in the two years after the wall was built, accord­ing to a study from the El Paso Times.
    ...

    And the embrace of fas­cist groups like the Oath Keep­ers, who’s leader man­aged to get a front row seat:

    ...
    Nick Mar­tin, an inves­tiga­tive reporter at the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, watched the speech and noticed some­one he rec­og­nized sit­ting in the front row, wear­ing a base­ball hat and an eye patch: Elmer Stew­art Rhodes.

    Rhodes is the founder of the far-right mili­tia group the Oath Keep­ers. The SPLC lists the Oath Keep­ers as an anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ist group because of the wild con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries its mem­bers pro­mote. Rhodes recent­ly claimed he was set­ting up para­mil­i­tary train­ing camps across the U.S. to pre­pare to fight antifa, or anti-fas­cist, groups.

    Stew­art Rhodes, leader of the antigov­ern­ment group the Oath Keep­ers, is in the front row for Trump’s ral­ly tonight in El Paso. (Rhodes is the one with the eye patch and ball cap.) pic.twitter.com/MO0cRcOz24— Nick Mar­tin (@nickmartin) Feb­ru­ary 12, 2019

    ...

    And that’s all just a sam­pling of the far right memes and per­son­al­i­ties get­ting open­ly and rou­tine­ly pro­mot­ed at these ral­lies. Which, again, is why an El Paso local ad buy for Night at the Gar­den on Fox News would be a real­ly appro­pri­ate right now. Although a nation­al ad cam­paign for the movie is still obvi­ous­ly nec­es­sary.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 15, 2019, 12:30 pm

Post a comment