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So You’ve Got a Hate Cult Problem: Living With the Kingston Klan and its ‘Alt-Right’ Cousins

Now that the neo-Nazi car attack on a group of anti-racist pro­tes­tors in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, has once again remind­ed Amer­i­ca that hate groups rep­re­sent a and sig­nif­i­cant threat to the coun­try (and world, if you look around), it’s prob­a­bly worth keep­ing in mind that these groups are in many ways cults. Cults rein­forced by far-right media ecosys­tems that have been steadi­ly rad­i­cal­iz­ing Amer­i­cans as Amer­i­can con­ser­vatism has veered fur­ther and fur­ther to the right. A media ecosys­tem that includes Steve Ban­non’s Bre­it­bart along with sites like Dai­ly Stormer and InfoWars and tells its audi­ence that a cabal that includes every­one from lib­er­als to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood are all work­ing togeth­er to under­mine white Chris­tians and The West in gen­er­al. It’s the kind of hate land­scape that might make a vio­lent lunatic run over a bunch of anti-neo-Nazi pro­tes­tors. But this is where we are and now a sig­nif­i­cant con­tem­po­rary chal­lenge for Amer­i­can is fig­ur­ing out how to get fel­low Amer­i­cans trapped in such hate cults to rec­og­nize they got sucked into some­thing awful and need to leave it and join Team Nice. Sure, that might be fruit­less in many cas­es, but it’s still impor­tant to try. And nice. And as we’re going to see as we look at a recent report from the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter on the Kingston clan, a ~6,000 mem­ber strong polyg­a­mous inces­tu­ous super-racist apoc­a­lyp­tic cult that runs its own busi­ness empire, it’s pret­ty clear that fig­ur­ing out how to encour­age hate cult mem­bers to join their fel­low humans and just mel­low out is a chal­lenge we can’t ignore. Because they might be apoc­a­lyp­tic death cults plan­ning on win­ning a race war and becom­ing div­ing kings. With their own high-end firearms man­u­fac­tur­er. Hate cult recov­ery ser­vices are some­thing soci­ety is going to have to get real­ly good at if its going to sur­vive so we should prob­a­bly work on that.

And adding to the chal­lenge is, of course, Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump. It’s been quite a week for Pres­i­dent Trump’s style of diplo­ma­cy and lead­er­ship. First we have the ongo­ing esca­lat­ing blus­ter talk con­test between Pres­i­dent Trump and Kim Jong-un that includes Trump’s threats to pre-emp­tive­ly nuke North Korea if North Korea con­tin­ues its own threats of nuclear black­mail. And of course Trump sud­den­ly threat­en­ing mil­i­tary action in Venezuela. And then there was Trump’s response to the neo-Nazi car attack on a group of pro­test­ers at a “Unite The Right” ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia. A response that could large­ly be sum­ma­rized as “many sides (and not just the neo-Nazis) need to be con­demned for their hatred, big­otry, and vio­lence.” It was that kind of week: when he was­n’t talk­ing the US into a pre-emp­tive nuclear strike, Pres­i­dent Trump was run­ning rhetor­i­cal cov­er for the ‘Alt-Right’ neo-Nazis:

The Huff­in­g­ton Post

Don­ald Trump Blames ‘Many Sides’ For White Suprema­cist Clash­es In Char­lottesville
Trump did not specif­i­cal­ly crit­i­cize the white suprema­cist groups who had orga­nized Saturday’s ral­ly.

By Paige Laven­der , Daniel Marans
08/12/2017 01:21 pm ET | Updat­ed 2 hours ago

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump respond­ed to vio­lence that erupt­ed this week­end as white suprema­cists and a fringe group clashed in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia.

He refused to sin­gle out the activ­i­ty of white suprema­cists, how­ev­er, argu­ing that there was blame to go around on “many sides.”

“We con­demn in the strongest pos­si­ble terms this egre­gious dis­play of hatred, big­otry and vio­lence on many sides — on many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our coun­try, not Don­ald Trump, not Barack Oba­ma, it’s been going on for a long, long time,” Trump said at a cer­e­mo­ny for the sign­ing of a bill to reform the Vet­er­ans Affairs health care sys­tem.

“It has no place in Amer­i­ca,” he added. “What is vital now is a swift restora­tion of law and order and the pro­tec­tion of inno­cent lives.”

Trump went on to empha­size that he loves “all the peo­ple of our coun­try,” and called for Amer­i­cans of dif­fer­ent races and back­grounds to remem­ber their shared Amer­i­can­ness.

“We wan­na get the sit­u­a­tion straight­ened out in Char­lottesville and we want to study it,” he said. “We want to see what we’re doing wrong as a coun­try where things like this can hap­pen.”

Trump’s com­ments were his third attempt at address­ing the unrest in Vir­ginia. First, ear­li­er on Sat­ur­day, he con­demned “hate” and “vio­lence,” but didn’t men­tion Char­lottesville by name or direct­ly address any of the groups demon­strat­ing there.

He then fol­lowed up that tweet with anoth­er one 41 min­utes lat­er, final­ly men­tion­ing Char­lottesville by name but not ref­er­enc­ing the white suprema­cists whose ral­ly trig­gered the chaos.

Civ­il rights lead­ers crit­i­cized Trump for fail­ing to square­ly denounce the white suprema­cists who orga­nized the ral­ly.

“The president’s remarks were moral­ly frus­trat­ing and dis­ap­point­ing,” for­mer NAACP pres­i­dent Cor­nell Brooks told CNN. “Because while it is good that he says he wants to be a pres­i­dent for all the peo­ple and he wants to make Amer­i­ca great for all of the peo­ple. Let us know this: Through­out his remarks he refused to” call out white suprema­cists by name.

In a state­ment to the Guardian’s Ben Jacobs, a White House spokesper­son defend­ed the president’s reac­tion as, “con­demn­ing hatred, big­otry and vio­lence from all sources and all sides.”

“There was vio­lence between pro­test­ers and counter pro­test­ers today,” the spokesper­son added.

David Duke, a white nation­al­ist and sup­port­er of Trump, crit­i­cized the president’s ini­tial state­ment, argu­ing that, “it was White Amer­i­cans who put you in the pres­i­den­cy.”

Duke said Sat­ur­day the white suprema­cist ral­ly in Char­lottesville is in line with Trump’s “promis­es.”

“We are going to ful­fill the promis­es of Don­ald Trump,” Duke said. “That’s what we believed in. That’s why we vot­ed for Don­ald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our coun­try back.”

Char­lottesville May­or Mike Sign­er thanked Trump for his state­ment:

Vir­ginia Gov. Ter­ry McAu­li­ffe (D) declared a state of emer­gency Sat­ur­day as fist fights broke out in streets, objects were thrown and reporters were cov­ered in raw sewage. The White House said it has been in con­tact with McAuliffe’s office, and Tom Bossert, Trump’s home­land secu­ri­ty advis­er, has had con­tact with local author­i­ties.

...

Trump’s respons­es to inci­dents of vio­lence have var­ied since he took office.

He imme­di­ate­ly con­demned a June attack in Lon­don, call­ing it “hor­rif­ic” while crit­i­ciz­ing Lon­don May­or Sadiq Khan and call­ing for imple­men­ta­tion of his pro­posed trav­el ban against cit­i­zens from sev­er­al major­i­ty-Mus­lim coun­tries. In Feb­ru­ary, he called anti-Semit­ic inci­dents in the Unit­ed States “hor­ri­ble” and “painful.”

But his response to oth­er attacks has been delayed or non-exis­tent.

After sev­er­al days, Trump tweet­ed from the @POTUS account — an offi­cial White House account, not the per­son­al one he most often uses — to rec­og­nize vic­tims of a knife attack in Port­land for “stand­ing up to hate and intol­er­ance” for stand­ing up to a man yelling slurs and hate speech. Trump nev­er issued a response to an attack on a mosque in Min­neso­ta ear­li­er this month.

The vio­lence in Char­lottesville erupt­ed in the mid­dle of Trump’s 17-day “work­ing vaca­tion” at the Trump Nation­al Golf Club in Bed­min­ster, New Jer­sey. Trump has remained active on Twit­ter through­out his vaca­tion, tweet­ing crit­i­cisms at sev­er­al law­mak­ers, mak­ing com­ments on the sit­u­a­tion with North Korea and retweet­ing sto­ries from Fox News.

———-

“Don­ald Trump Blames ‘Many Sides’ For White Suprema­cist Clash­es In Char­lottesville” by Paige Laven­der, Daniel Marans; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 08/12/2017

““We con­demn in the strongest pos­si­ble terms this egre­gious dis­play of hatred, big­otry and vio­lence on many sides — on many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our coun­try, not Don­ald Trump, not Barack Oba­ma, it’s been going on for a long, long time,” Trump said at a cer­e­mo­ny for the sign­ing of a bill to reform the Vet­er­ans Affairs health care sys­tem.”

Yes, shame on those anti-racist pro­tes­tors for their dis­plays of big­otry for towards open proud big­ots. That was a cen­tral ele­ment of Pres­i­dent Trump’s address to the nation fol­low­ing the attack. And that was his third attempt at address­ing the vio­lence at the ral­ly:

...
Trump’s com­ments were his third attempt at address­ing the unrest in Vir­ginia. First, ear­li­er on Sat­ur­day, he con­demned “hate” and “vio­lence,” but didn’t men­tion Char­lottesville by name or direct­ly address any of the groups demon­strat­ing there.

He then fol­lowed up that tweet with anoth­er one 41 min­utes lat­er, final­ly men­tion­ing Char­lottesville by name but not ref­er­enc­ing the white suprema­cists whose ral­ly trig­gered the chaos.
...

So that was three attempts, and three fail­ures at any sort of direct con­dem­na­tion of the white pow­er groups and what they were ral­ly­ing for. The third time was def­i­nite­ly not a charm.

But there is one line in Trump’s response that it worth tak­ing to heart, albeit prob­a­bly not in the way Trump intend­ed: what can be learn from study­ing this sit­u­a­tion about how to pre­vent the grow­ing of such move­ments so we can move past this and maybe actu­al­ly heal Amer­i­can soci­ety:

...
Trump went on to empha­size that he loves “all the peo­ple of our coun­try,” and called for Amer­i­cans of dif­fer­ent races and back­grounds to remem­ber their shared Amer­i­can­ness.

“We wan­na get the sit­u­a­tion straight­ened out in Char­lottesville and we want to study it,” he said. “We want to see what we’re doing wrong as a coun­try where things like this can hap­pen.”
...

“We wan­na get the sit­u­a­tion straight­ened out in Char­lottesville and we want to study it...We want to see what we’re doing wrong as a coun­try where things like this can hap­pen.”

Well, ok, that’s decent advice. What types of insights can we obtain by tak­ing a step back and study the sit­u­a­tion? Well, for starters, it seems like hav­ing a Pres­i­dent that actu­al­ly open­ly con­demns white nation­al­ist groups would be a good exam­ple of “what we’re doing wrong as a coun­try”. Although that’s more Trump’s fault than the entire coun­try’s. But it’s still quite obvi­ous that there’s quite a few Amer­i­cans that sym­pa­thize with the gen­er­al world­view put on dis­play by the “Unite the Right” marchers.

So in the inter­est of “study­ing our sit­u­a­tion”, per­haps there’s val­ue in tak­ing a clos­er look at a report just put out by the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter’s August 2017 Intel­li­gence Report. It’s an arti­cle about the kind of group that has a world­view that’s what you might get if you take the neo-Nazi ‘whites are pure and all oth­ers are ene­mies who must be sup­pressed and even­tu­al­ly extin­guished’ total­i­tar­i­an iden­ti­tar­i­an world­view and took it to the extreme. So extreme that they don’t sim­ply fetishize their own race but actu­al­ly their own blood­line, view­ing them­selves as a divine­ly ordained line of the ‘purest’ white peo­ple in his­to­ry with a direct line back to Jesus Christ. So extreme that if they think you have one drop of non-white blood in your ances­try you will be excom­mu­ni­cat­ed. So extreme that they prac­tice incest as a way to not just stay pure but achieve some sort of Aryan super-per­son. So extreme that the rest of the world must be even­tu­al­ly con­quered fol­low­ing a giant race war. And yes, they are Mor­mons. But still not that much more extreme that your stan­dard extrem­ist. That’s the scari­est part.

And since this clan of polyg­a­mists cultists, the Kingston clan, rep­re­sent basi­cal­ly a dis­tilled form of the kind of “us vs them” white suprema­cists mind-virus — a virus that views “oth­ers” as a dehu­man­ized exis­ten­tial threat and the end of the word if white suprema­cy isn’t dom­i­nant — per­haps we can learn some­thing about what moti­vates the kinds of ‘Alt Right’ world­view? Like, is there any sort of mes­sage the broad­er pub­lic can send to peo­ple trapped in such cults that would facil­i­tate them ‘snap­ping out it’? Some way of effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ing, “hey, it’s not the end of the world if you leave the cult and join a mul­ti-eth­nic cul­ture that val­ues diver­si­ty + nice­ness (i.e. cel­e­brat­ing diver­si­ty except for the big­otry), and you’ll be wel­comed and MUCH hap­pi­er and ful­filled when you do”. Is there some­thing soci­ety at large can do to facil­i­tate that process that is essen­tial­ly inter­nal dis­cov­ery and epiphany in the hearts and minds of peo­ple trapped in hate cults? If so, that mes­sage would prob­a­bly be quite use­ful on free­ing peo­ple trapped by the Alt-Right hate ide­olo­gies too.

The Kingston Klan’s Extra-Extreme Extrem­ism Keeps it All in the Fam­i­ly

So in the spir­it of Pres­i­dent Trump’s advice, let’s briefly study the Kingston clan, one of the have extreme total­i­tar­i­an iden­ti­tar­i­an move­ments you’ll even come across. First, let’s take a look at this arti­cle about them from 2004 when the incest and abuse with­in the the clan start­ed mak­ing nation­al news.

It’s a notable arti­cle in con­text of ‘Alt-Right’ white pow­er groups ral­ly­ing to “pre­serve our his­to­ry and cul­ture, etc” because, of course, when you’re try­ing to pre­serve a his­to­ry of white suprema­cy and cul­ture you’re obvi­ous­ly try­ing to pre­serve the free­dom to cre­ate a soci­ety dom­i­nat­ed by white suprema­cists and not sim­ply “pre­serve his­to­ry”. As should be clear, when groups like those behind “Unite the Right” cry out about how they’re just fight­ing for their free­dom of speech and expres­sion, or greater tol­er­ance of their views, that’s a pre­pos­ter­ous lie. They’re fight­ing for the hearts and minds of a large enough swath of White Amer­i­ca that would allow them to stage what amounts to a white suprema­cist polit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion that will allow them to impose a far-right neo-Nazi-style regime of sub­ju­ga­tion of every­one who isn’t a white suprema­cist. The ‘Alt-Right’ far-right move­ments are fight­ing for the free­dom to build up enough sup­port for an even­tu­al white suprema­cist takeover of soci­ety fol­lowed by the dehu­man­iza­tion and sub­ju­ga­tion of all “oth­ers”. That’s part of why it’s so impor­tant to under­stand how such world­views sus­tain their appeal and how to make it clear to sus­cep­ti­ble audi­ences that their lives will be much, much bet­ter in a world that embraces gen­uine nice­ness.

Along those lines, here’s the pub­lic face of the Kingston clan. A group with thou­sands of mem­bers and a bil­lion dol­lar busi­ness empire. A super-racist clan so deeply cor­rupt­ed by a “we’re good, every­one else is evil” mind­set that they teach about an apoc­a­lyp­tic end-times race war where blood will run in the streets. And when this group received a bunch of neg­a­tive press back in 2004, their mes­sage was “we want to live our life and let every­body else live their life” (and even­tu­al­ly wipe every­one else out, but let’s not men­tion that in pub­lic):

Newsweek

A FAMILY’S TANGLED TIES

By Andrew Murr
On 2/8/04 at 7:00 PM

Lu Ann Kingston was 15 when she mar­ried her first cousin Jere­my Kingston in a hush-hush 1995 wed­ding in Boun­ti­ful, Utah. As mem­bers of a secre­tive soci­ety of “fun­da­men­tal­ist Mor­mons” whose lead­ers prac­ticed polygamy, Lu Ann’s fam­i­ly thought noth­ing of the fact that Jere­my, then 24, was such a close relative–or that he had three oth­er wives. So entwined were the branch­es of the fam­i­ly tree that Lu Ann’s cousin-hus­band was also her nephew.

But the Kingstons’ tan­gled fam­i­ly ties are threat­en­ing to unrav­el, thanks large­ly to the efforts of Lu Ann and anoth­er for­mer Kingston wife, her niece Mary Ann. In 2000, Lu Ann and her two chil­dren fled the 1,000-person soci­ety that mem­bers call The Order, and she lat­er coop­er­at­ed with state pros­e­cu­tors crack­ing down on sex­u­al abuse of teen girls by polyg­a­mists. Last week Jere­my Kingston was sen­tenced to one year in jail after plead­ing guilty to felony incest. Mean­while, Mary Ann Kingston, 22, has brought a $110 mil­lion civ­il suit against 242 Order mem­bers and 97 com­pa­nies they oper­ate, claim­ing that they share col­lec­tive respon­si­bil­i­ty for abuse she suf­fered at the hands of her father and the uncle she mar­ried to become his 15th wife. The two men went to prison in 1999 on charges rang­ing from child abuse to incest.

Mary Ann’s suit argues that Order mem­bers are “joint­ly liable” because her mis­treat­ment grew direct­ly out of the group’s beliefs. (The watch­dog South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter used a sim­i­lar strat­e­gy of group respon­si­bil­i­ty to bank­rupt the white-suprema­cist Aryan Nations in 2000 after its secu­ri­ty guards assault­ed a pair of black motorists.) Mary Ann claims that the Order’s prac­tice of polygamy led her uncle David Kingston, 33, to mar­ry the 16-year-old and sleep with her. When she fled the mar­riage, her father, John Daniel Kingston, drove her to a fam­i­ly ranch near the Ida­ho bor­der and whipped her with a leather belt until she passed out. Kingston spokesman Elden Kingston, 65, calls the suit an effort to “extort mon­ey” (the Order now con­trols a finan­cial empire esti­mat­ed at $100 mil­lion). He hints the fam­i­ly’s lawyers would use hard­ball tac­tics, claim­ing Mary Ann exper­i­ment­ed with sex and drugs, and that mar­ry­ing her to her uncle was an attempt to “help that girl.”

In anoth­er legal threat to the clan, Utah Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mark Shurtl­eff is launch­ing a finan­cial probe of the Kingstons (as well as a sec­ond polyg­a­mous clan). He hopes to bring an orga­nized-crime-style pros­e­cu­tion against the Kingstons, whose high-rank­ing mem­bers run ranch­es, shop­ping cen­ters, a real-estate firm and a coal mine. Elden Kingston denies wrong­do­ing and dis­miss­es the inves­ti­ga­tion as “just anoth­er exam­ple of the state’s long his­to­ry of per­se­cu­tion” of the Kingstons. But for decades after a dis­as­trous 1953 raid wrenched hun­dreds of chil­dren from their par­ents, Utah offi­cials vir­tu­al­ly ignored the sect and oth­er so-called fun­da­men­tal­ists who prac­tice polygamy in defi­ance of the law and the Mor­mon Church’s 1890 ban on plur­al mar­riage. The con­vic­tions of Mary Ann’s father and uncle end­ed the lais­sez-faire peri­od, and pub­lic oppo­si­tion grew last year with the news that polygamy was behind the alleged kid­nap­ping and sex­u­al assault of 14-year-old Eliz­a­beth Smart.

Incest is a Kingston tra­di­tion. The clan’s lead­ers have mar­ried dozens of first cousins, half sis­ters and nieces. The Order’s top man, Paul Kingston, counts a half-dozen such rel­a­tives among his 20-plus wives, accord­ing to ex-mem­bers and Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s inves­ti­ga­tor Ron Bar­ton. Inter­mar­riage of close rel­a­tives dates to Paul’s late father, for­mer leader John Ortell Kingston (who was also Jere­my’s grand­fa­ther and Lu Ann’s father). He taught his fam­i­ly that the Kingstons descend­ed from Jesus Christ through a pair of “Jew­ish princess­es,” recalls for­mer mem­ber Ron Tuck­er, 45, anoth­er of John Ortel­l’s sons.

...

The ongo­ing atten­tion is hav­ing an effect. For­mer mem­bers say Paul Kingston recent­ly had to calm anx­ious mem­bers who feared that Mary Ann’s suit will take away their busi­ness­es and sav­ings. Elden Kingston says the crack­down on under­age mar­riages has “changed a lot of indi­vid­u­als’ feel­ings about young mar­riages.” But they insist on liv­ing their own way. “We pay mil­lions of dol­lars in tax­es,” Elden Kingston com­plains. “We want to live our life and let every­body else live their life.” For the Order, the days of live and let live may be gone.

———-

“A FAMILY’S TANGLED TIES” by Andrew Murr; Newsweek; 02/08/2004.

“The ongo­ing atten­tion is hav­ing an effect. For­mer mem­bers say Paul Kingston recent­ly had to calm anx­ious mem­bers who feared that Mary Ann’s suit will take away their busi­ness­es and sav­ings. Elden Kingston says the crack­down on under­age mar­riages has “changed a lot of indi­vid­u­als’ feel­ings about young mar­riages.” But they insist on liv­ing their own way. “We pay mil­lions of dol­lars in tax­es,” Elden Kingston com­plains. “We want to live our life and let every­body else live their life.” For the Order, the days of live and let live may be gone.”

That was how a clan that views all non-Whites as divine­ly cor­rupt­ed pre­sent­ed itself to the world: we just want to live our own lives. A mes­sage that sounds about as disin­gen­u­ous as the the “Unite the Right” ral­ly of neo-Nazis that claim to mere­ly want to defend their “free speech” and “pre­serv­ing her­itage” (a Robert E. Lee stat­ue) and they are clear­ly ral­ly­ing to pop­u­lar­ize a move­ment with the end goal of a white suprema­cist rev­o­lu­tion and sub­ju­ga­tion of non-whites.

At the same time, as the abu­sive iso­lat­ing nature of the Kingston clans cult lifestyle makes clear, the vast major­i­ty of the peo­ple involved are large­ly vic­tims of cult abuse/brainwashing and indoc­tri­na­tion. They’re real­ly sym­pa­thet­ic fig­ures. As are many peo­ple in hate groups. Every­one has their own path into a hate cult and a lot of those paths are pret­ty hor­rif­ic. That’s impor­tant to keep in mind because the fact that the Alt-Right includes a lot of dam­aged peo­ple in need of heal­ing is all the more rea­son for them to leave and join Team Nice. Because if Team Nice is nice it should be pret­ty good at giv­ing that heal­ing.

So with all that in mind, if we’re going to “study our sit­u­a­tion” as Pres­i­dent Trump rec­om­mends, behold the Kingston clan, future divine kings if things go hor­ri­bly awry:

South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter
Intel­li­gence Report

Blood Cult

Stephen Lemons

August 08, 2017
2017 Fall Issue

Utah’s polyg­a­mous Kingston clan mix­es incest and white suprema­cy with old-fash­ioned cap­i­tal­ism

When it comes to racist Sun­day school lessons, the polyg­a­mous Kingston clan could teach the Ku Klux Klan a thing or two.

Dur­ing a recent inter­view with the Intel­li­gence Report, Jes­si­ca Kingston, a for­mer mem­ber of the secre­tive, Salt Lake City-based cult and a star of the A&E real­i­ty series “Escap­ing Polygamy,” remem­bered, when she was 12, her Sun­day school teacher com­ing into class with a buck­et of water and a vial of black food col­or­ing.

The teacher added a drop of dye to the water, and the chil­dren watched as the black­ness slow­ly spread.

“The teacher was like, ‘You can nev­er get that out, that is always there now,’” recalled Jes­si­ca, now 29. “She talked about how you can’t asso­ciate with black peo­ple or any­body of a dif­fer­ent race.”

This racist dis­play was no one-off. Jes­si­ca said she and oth­er chil­dren of the Kingston clan — a group also known as The Order, the Davis Coun­ty Coop­er­a­tive Soci­ety, and the Lat­ter-Day Church of Christ — dropped the N‑bomb all the time, as did their par­ents.

Black peo­ple sup­pos­ed­ly suf­fered from mul­ti­ple scrip­tur­al curs­es, from the mark of Cain and Noah’s curse on Ham in the Old Tes­ta­ment to the racist tenets of ear­ly Mor­monism that have since been renounced or aban­doned by the main­stream Church of Jesus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints, also known as the LDS or Mor­mon church.

Black blood was “the worst thing you can have,” Jes­si­ca said, par­tic­u­lar­ly since the Kingstons con­sid­er them­selves to be the whitest of the white, descend­ed direct­ly from Jesus Christ and King David, the Mid­dle East­ern ori­gins of both men notwith­stand­ing.

Obsessed with the puri­ty of their blood­line and empow­ered by a sense of enti­tle­ment on par with the divine right of kings, the Kingstons have made incest the cor­ner­stone of a self-serv­ing the­ol­o­gy that loathes non whites, fos­ters homo­pho­bia and abhors gov­ern­ment author­i­ty.

Addi­tion­al­ly, ex-Order mem­bers tell of a reput­ed church prophe­cy of an “End of the World War,” an apoc­a­lyp­tic vision that fore­sees a bloody race war with the Kingstons as the ulti­mate vic­tors, cho­sen by their Heav­en­ly Father to rule the world for a mil­len­ni­um.

But giv­en that the Kingstons com­mand an esti­mat­ed 6,000 adher­ents, boast a busi­ness empire report­ed­ly worth as much as $1 bil­lion and have out­last­ed myr­i­ad bouts with law enforce­ment and the press, these dreams of world dom­i­na­tion may be less delu­sion­al than they first seem.

All Along the Watch­tow­er

The Order denies that it encour­ages racism and homo­pho­bia with­in its ranks.

In a let­ter to the Intel­li­gence Report respond­ing to alle­ga­tions made by for­mer mem­bers, Kent John­son, a spokesman for the Davis Coun­ty Coop­er­a­tive Soci­ety, claimed that The Order’s “foun­da­tion­al prin­ci­ples” include the Gold­en Rule, and that the church rejects any form of racism or big­otry.

“[W]e direct­ly con­demn in action and in words, racist, homo­pho­bic or hate­ful actions against any group or indi­vid­ual,” John­son wrote.

John­son main­tained that The Order’s vast array of busi­ness­es — which includes a gro­cery store, pawn shops, a garbage dis­pos­al busi­ness, an insur­ance com­pa­ny, a polit­i­cal­ly-influ­en­tial bio­fu­els plant, and a high-end firearms man­u­fac­tur­er — employs indi­vid­u­als of var­i­ous racial and eth­nic minori­ties.

The let­ter asserts that one of the ear­li­est mem­bers of the church was a Native Amer­i­can man and that the “Co-op,” as it is some­times called, has been the vic­tim of prej­u­dice and harass­ment by Utah’s “major­i­ty reli­gion” (i.e., the LDS church) because of the former’s “pro­gres­sive” ideas.

Indeed, the group was found­ed dur­ing the Great Depres­sion as a com­mu­nal reli­gious orga­ni­za­tion where mem­bers ded­i­cat­ed their earn­ings and pos­ses­sions to build­ing “the King­dom of God on Earth,” as one church doc­u­ment attests.

Its omi­nous-sound­ing moniker, “The Order,” is a ref­er­ence to the Unit­ed Order, a qua­si-utopi­an soci­ety pro­posed by LDS-founder Joseph Smith, and prac­ticed in some Mor­mon com­mu­ni­ties under the lead­er­ship of ear­ly church pres­i­dent Brigham Young.

The Order can right­ly claim dis­crim­i­na­tion by main­stream Mor­monism, but this is due to its embrace of polygamy, which the LDS church offi­cial­ly aban­doned in 1890 in order for Utah to become a state. The renun­ci­a­tion of polygamy is now church doc­trine, and the Mor­mon church has a pol­i­cy of excom­mu­ni­cat­ing polyg­a­mists. Kingston fore­bears were among those who suf­fered this fate.

Polygamy is out­lawed in Utah, both by the state’s con­sti­tu­tion, and in statute, where it is a third-degree felony, with a pos­si­ble pun­ish­ment of five years in prison. But for their part, The Order and oth­er fun­da­men­tal­ist sects believe the LDS church exists in a state of apos­ta­sy for aban­don­ing what they see as a bedrock prin­ci­ple of their faith.

Accord­ing to church lore, The Order came into exis­tence when founder Charles “Elden” Kingston saw Jesus in the moun­tains above the family’s set­tle­ment in Boun­ti­ful, Utah, inspir­ing him to cre­ate the DCCS in 1935.

The family’s ded­i­ca­tion to “the prin­ci­ple” of polygamy already had been estab­lished by Kingston’s father, who had three wives. Elden con­tin­ued the tra­di­tion. Accord­ing to his­to­ri­an Bri­an Hales’ Mod­ern Polygamy and Mor­mon Fun­da­men­tal­ism: The Gen­er­a­tions After the Man­i­festo, Broth­er Elden, as he was also known, had five wives and 17 chil­dren.

Elden also insti­tut­ed the church law of “one above the oth­er,” requir­ing mem­bers’ blind obe­di­ence to the church’s hier­ar­chy of “num­bered men,” with Elden being Broth­er Num­ber One.

Broth­er Elden died of penile can­cer in 1948, despite the best efforts of some fam­i­ly mem­bers to burn away the can­cer using acid. Elden had pre­dict­ed that he would be res­ur­rect­ed from the dead, so clan mem­bers kept his body on ice for three days, to no avail.

His broth­er, John “Ortell” Kingston, took over the lead­er­ship of The Order — incor­po­rat­ed in the 1970s as the Lat­ter Day Church of Christ. Ortell is cred­it­ed with expand­ing The Order’s busi­ness empire and mak­ing the fam­i­ly immense­ly wealthy. His sev­en sons and two daugh­ters by LaDon­na Peter­son, the sec­ond of his 13 wives, are reput­ed to be the inner cir­cle that runs the cult.

A stern dis­ci­pli­nar­i­an, who in lat­er years looked and dressed like a mor­ti­cian, Ortell made incest a tenet of the clan’s faith, informed by his work breed­ing Hol­stein cows on the Kingstons’ dairy farm.

A 1999 Salt Lake Tri­bune arti­cle mapped the Kingstons’ inces­tu­ous fam­i­ly tree, quot­ing one of Ortell’s 65 kids, ex-Order mem­ber Con­nie Rugg as say­ing, “My father exper­i­ment­ed [with] inbreed­ing with his cat­tle and then he turned to his chil­dren.”

In order to main­tain his family’s “supe­ri­or blood­lines,” Ortell mar­ried and had chil­dren with two of his half-sis­ters and two nieces. He orches­trat­ed all unions with­in the cult, which was main­tained with clas­sic mind con­trol tech­niques, cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment, fast­ing and bizarre dietary prac­tices. Ortell died in 1987, but his prog­e­ny con­tin­ued the polygamy, the inbreed­ing and the mar­riages to young female teens that he insti­tut­ed.

Con­trol of The Order then passed to Ortell’s well-edu­cat­ed son Paul Kingston, one of sev­er­al lawyers in a cult whose mem­bers dress nor­mal­ly and try not to draw atten­tion to them­selves.

Known var­i­ous­ly as “Broth­er Paul,” “the leader,” and “the man on the watch­tow­er” by Order mem­bers, this unre­mark­able, bald­ing mid­dle-aged man report­ed­ly has 27 wives and over 300 chil­dren. Three of his wives are his half-sis­ters. One is a first cousin. Two are nieces.

John Daniel Kingston seen here in 1999, plead­ing no con­test to beat­ing his 16-year-old daugh­ter after she attempt­ed to flee an arranged mar­riage with her uncle David, Kingston’s broth­er.

Sim­i­lar­ly, his old­er broth­er John Daniel Kingston has had 14 wives, four of them his half-sis­ters. Anoth­er is a first cousin.

Like polygamy, incest is a third-degree felony in Utah, and as with polygamy, con­vic­tions are rare. Over the years, state law enforce­ment and the courts have spo­rad­i­cal­ly addressed the incest in the Kingston ranks.

In 1999, Paul’s younger broth­er David Ortell Kingston was con­vict­ed of tak­ing his 16-year-old niece as wife num­ber 15. The incest came to light after the girl tried to escape the arranged “celes­tial” mar­riage — an ille­gal mar­riage, sans license.

Her dis­obe­di­ence incurred the wrath of her father Daniel, who took her to a fam­i­ly ranch near the Ida­ho bor­der and sav­age­ly beat her. The girl, who as an adult would unsuc­cess­ful­ly sue the clan, then walked miles to the near­est gas sta­tion, where she called the police.

Daniel was arrest­ed and even­tu­al­ly spent 28 weeks in a coun­ty jail for felony child abuse. David was sen­tenced to 10 years in prison for the incest, but served only four before being paroled.

In 2003, anoth­er clan mem­ber, Jere­my Kingston plead­ed guilty to incest for tak­ing 15-year-old Lu Ann Kingston as his fourth wife. Jere­my was near­ly 10 years her senior at the time. Due to the Kingstons’ con­vo­lut­ed geneal­o­gy, Lu Ann was both his first cousin and his aunt. As part of a plea bar­gain, Jere­my spent just one year in prison.

The ‘Curse’ of Black­ness

In secret video­tapes of Order church meet­ings aired on Escap­ing Polygamy, Paul’s nephew Nick Young, speak­ing from a church lectern, iden­ti­fies him­self as a num­bered man, num­ber 72, to be pre­cise.

The son of Paul’s sis­ter Rachel — her­self a daugh­ter of Ortell and LaDon­na Kingston — Young was the only cur­rent mem­ber of the Kingston clan, out of the many con­tact­ed for this sto­ry, who con­sent­ed to a live, on-the-record inter­view.

Young is the own­er of Desert Tech, a Utah gun man­u­fac­tur­er, which pro­duces sniper rifles and so-called “bullpup” rifles, The lat­ter, unlike con­ven­tion­al mag­a­zine-fed rifles, have short­er bar­rels, with the gun’s action locat­ed behind the trig­ger. These spe­cial­ty firearms can cost any­where from $2,500 to $8,000 each.

Desert Tech and its rifles have been fea­tured on Fox News, Myth­busters, Dare­dev­il and The Black­list, among oth­er TV shows. Young told Intel­li­gence Report that his com­pa­ny has sold weapons, with the approval of the U.S. State Depart­ment, to gov­ern­ments in Europe and the Mid­dle East, Sau­di Ara­bia being one.

Young also claimed Desert Tech had sold guns to Picatin­ny Arse­nal, the research divi­sion of the U.S. mil­i­tary.

“We haven’t got­ten any big U.S. con­tracts,” Young explained. “Obvi­ous­ly, we would love to.”

Spokes­men for both the U.S. State Depart­ment and for Picatin­ny Arse­nal could nei­ther ver­i­fy nor deny Young’s claims.

The com­pa­ny was found­ed in 2007 with an invest­ment from fam­i­ly mem­bers. Young denied that The Order was racist or taught any form of big­otry, and said he had peo­ple of all races work­ing for him.

“What we’re taught is to love our neigh­bor, that all peo­ple, all races no mat­ter who they are … deserve to be loved,” he explained.

Still, he con­ced­ed that some Order mem­bers may have prej­u­diced beliefs because “in our orga­ni­za­tion peo­ple have free­dom of choice.”

So what about polygamy? Is it a require­ment to gain the high­est lev­els of heav­en?

“Yeah, I believe in it,” he said. “As far as how you end up in heav­en, that’s up to God.”

Young declined to com­ment when asked if he prac­tices polygamy. Intel­li­gence Report then read the names of women believed to be his wives — four in all.

“Okay, I have one legal wife,” he said. “But I do have chil­dren with oth­er women.”

Asked if two women named were in fact his first cousins, Young paused, final­ly reply­ing, “I guess I’m curi­ous as to what you’re try­ing to get at here.”

Before the call end­ed, Young insist­ed that he “didn’t admit to any kind of incest or any­thing.” When Intel­li­gence Report inquired if Young thought there was any­thing wrong with first cousins get­ting mar­ried, Young opined that such issues were between the indi­vid­u­als involved and God.

Nev­er­the­less, for­mer mem­bers of The Order say that incest and racism are inex­tri­ca­bly linked in The Order’s teach­ings.

Dur­ing an inter­view with this reporter, Lu Ann Kingston, whose defi­ance of the cult led to the con­vic­tion of her for­mer “spir­i­tu­al” hus­band Jere­my, recalled that Order mem­bers saw inter­mar­riage as a way to “keep the blood­line pure.”

And by pure, they meant pure white.

All out­siders are con­sid­ered to be beneath Order mem­bers, she explained. But The Order saves most of its bile for blacks and oth­er non whites. Eth­nic jokes and stereo­types were com­mon­ly repeat­ed. Chi­nese peo­ple were called “stu­pid,” and Mex­i­cans were “dirty,” said Lu Ann, adding, “because of their skin.”

Alli­son, a 17 year-old ex-Kingston mem­ber says not much has changed since Lu Ann’s day.

“I didn’t even know the n‑word was bad until I was like 15 or 16,” she told Intel­li­gence Report.

Once free of the cult, Lu Ann, Alli­son and oth­er ex-Order mem­bers have had to unlearn the hatred that was drilled into their heads. The mere rumor of black blood could con­demn some­one in the eyes of Order mem­bers.

That’s what hap­pened with Ron Tucker’s fam­i­ly. Tuck­er is anoth­er of Ortell’s many sons, though not from the favored wife, LaDon­na.

Seat­ed on a couch, sip­ping lemon­ade in his home in a Salt Lake City sub­urb, he resem­bles Paul Kingston quite a bit. The two were play­mates when they were boys.

A loy­al Order mem­ber for years, he lost his faith and end­ed up leav­ing the Order over a curse of sorts, lev­eled at his fam­i­ly by LaDon­na. Sup­pos­ed­ly, LaDon­na had a dream where­in it was revealed that any­one who left The Order would be taint­ed by black blood.

Some­how LaDonna’s curse was trans­ferred to the Tuck­ers via Christy, Ron’s wife, because, Christy’s mom left The Order and mar­ried an Irish­man, before leav­ing him and return­ing to the fold.

“I could see that the lead­ers of The Order real­ly did believe we had black ances­tors,” Ron explained, with Christy next to him, and his adult daugh­ters Emi­ly and Julie near­by.

Boys began to show inter­est in Julie as she matured, but Paul, as the clan’s leader, warned them away, because of Julie’s black blood.

Up to this point, Julie had treat­ed the rumor like a joke. Her younger sis­ter Emi­ly thought it was a joke, too, until one day anoth­er Order kid told her, “We can’t play with you because the Tuck­ers are nig­gers.”

Julie left the cult at age 19. Her par­ents and sib­lings even­tu­al­ly left as well.

Ron says the cult’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for its racism goes back to ear­ly Mor­mon teach­ings about a war in heav­en between the forces of Satan and those of Jesus. The bat­tle took place in the spir­i­tu­al pre-exis­tence that Mor­mons believe all souls come from. Blacks were “the less valiant peo­ple in heav­en” who sat on the side­lines while oth­ers took sides, accord­ing to The Order.

Their pun­ish­ment? Dark skin, of course.

Anoth­er of Ortell’s teach­ings: Adolf Hitler had the right idea about cre­at­ing a mas­ter race, but didn’t have the Lord’s help, so he failed.

Tuck­er recount­ed the clan’s ver­sion of the apoc­a­lypse, the “End of the World War,” a riff on a prophe­cy some ascribe to Joseph Smith, called The White Horse Prophe­cy. In it, black peo­ple come close to killing off the white race until they are coun­tered by Native Amer­i­cans, sym­bol­ized by a Red Horse, which gal­lops to the White Horse’s res­cue.

“That will open up for The Order to rise up and take over the world,” Ron said.

The Tuck­ers think this is all hog­wash now, though they were pro­grammed to believe it at the time.

Record­ings of church tes­ti­mo­ny giv­en by var­i­ous Kingstons serve as fur­ther evi­dence of the cult’s big­ot­ed teach­ings.

In one, Ortell warns that there is a move­ment afoot that wants to “homog­e­nize the peo­ple” and “make one race,” by mix­ing all the races up.

In anoth­er, Order attor­ney Carl Kingston warns lis­ten­ers about mar­ry­ing up with “Ham’s kids,” a ref­er­ence to the afore­men­tioned Bib­li­cal curse. “If you have as much as one drop of that blood in your veins,” says Carl, “you’re cursed from hold­ing the priest­hood.”

The lawyer’s words call to mind anoth­er heav­en­ly curse, described in 2 Nephi, Chap­ter 5 of the Book of Mor­mon, where God caused a “skin of black­ness” to come upon a group called the Laman­ites, sup­pos­ed­ly ances­tors of Native Amer­i­cans.

Mod­ern inter­pre­ta­tions of this pas­sage vary, but The Order appar­ent­ly takes quite lit­er­al­ly this idea of “black­ness” being a sign of iniq­ui­ty.

Soy Makes You Gay

LGBT peo­ple fare lit­tle bet­ter in the Kingston clan.

One ex-Order mem­ber, who asked to be referred to as “Scott,” instead of his real name for fear of ret­ri­bu­tion by clan mem­bers, said hatred of gays was big in the Kingston clan, with the word “fag­got” in fre­quent use.

For fun he and oth­er Order men would go to a park fre­quent­ed by gay males, look­ing for vic­tims.

“We would cause harm,” he con­fessed. “Bad harm. Hos­pi­tal harm.”

While part of The Order, Val Snow, a twen­ty-some­thing gay man with a wry sense of humor, believed being gay was like “spit­ting in the eye of God.” Snow is the son of Daniel Kingston, whom he paints as “a lit­tle man with a lot of pow­er.”

From a young age, Snow worked for Order com­pa­nies to help feed his sib­lings, a respon­si­bil­i­ty some Kingston men are known to shirk.

Snow began dat­ing men when he was 22. When this got around to his dad, his father packed up Snow’s belong­ings and left them in the room of a hotel owned by The Order. Daniel’s ulti­ma­tum: Stay in The Order, date no one, and have no con­tact with fam­i­ly. Or leave.

Snow left.

He says The Order regards homo­sex­u­al­i­ty as a choice. If gay men stay in the clos­et, they are allowed to remain in the cult as “work­er bees.”

Snow also remem­bered being taught end-time prophe­cies, with a “cleans­ing” where­in the streets of Salt Lake City would run red with blood.

“All of the gay peo­ple would def­i­nite­ly be the first to go,” he said.

Anoth­er of the cult’s teach­ings was that soy can make you gay, an anti-gov­ern­ment con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry pop­u­lar in some right-wing cir­cles.

“I guess I just had too much soy,” Snow smiled.

Ex-order mem­bers inter­viewed by the Intel­li­gence Report gen­er­al­ly agreed with the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the Kingston clan as a “hate group.”

Ron Tuck­er went so far as to call his for­mer brethren “white suprema­cists,” and “ten times more racist” than your run-of-the-mill skin­head.

As for its anti-gov­ern­ment views, alle­ga­tions of fraud against gov­ern­ment enti­ties have long dogged the Kingstons.

In the 1980s, the state of Utah sued John Ortell Kingston over wel­fare fraud relat­ed to his many wives. Rather than sub­mit to DNA tests, which could have revealed the incest in his brood, he coughed up a more than $200,000 set­tle­ment.

More recent­ly, the Kingston-owned Washakie Renew­able Ener­gy (WRE) agreed to pay a $3 mil­lion fine after it was sued by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment for rak­ing in tax cred­its for bio­fu­els it nev­er pro­duced.

WRE’s influ­ence earned spe­cial scruti­ny in Feb­ru­ary 2016 after the IRS, the EPA and oth­er gov­ern­ment agen­cies raid­ed own­er Jacob Kingston’s house as well as The Order’s bank and oth­er loca­tions, cart­ing away banker’s box after banker’s box of records. Noth­ing has come of the raids yet, and the IRS refused com­ment on the mat­ter when con­tact­ed by this pub­li­ca­tion.

But The Order’s crit­ics say that cult mem­bers see noth­ing wrong with bilk­ing the gov­ern­ment, a time-hon­ored tra­di­tion among FLDS sects, glee­ful­ly referred to as “bleed­ing the beast.”

More trou­bling, dur­ing a con­tentious 2004 cus­tody case that ensued when Jes­si­ca and her sis­ter Andrea fled Daniel Kingston’s house­hold, a judge in the case report­ed­ly was the sub­ject of a death threat, alleged­ly from Kingston clan mem­bers. There was also tes­ti­mo­ny, dur­ing one hear­ing, that some­one in the Kingston clan want­ed to blow up the cour­t­house.

Giv­en such inci­dents, could Order mem­bers be a threat to law enforce­ment?

Ron Kingston says The Order’s lead­er­ship has too much to lose for some­thing like that to hap­pen.

“Paul would rather have the wealth and the mon­ey than the iso­la­tion and the con­flict,” he said.

Matt Brown­ing seems less sure. A retired Ari­zona law enforce­ment offi­cer, Brown­ing is the pres­i­dent and founder of the Skin­head Intel­li­gence Net­work and is in charge of secu­ri­ty for the A&E show, where his wife Tawni works as the cast­ing pro­duc­er.

Brown­ing sees sim­i­lar­i­ties between The Order and the reli­gion-mind­ed racists of the World Church of the Cre­ator and the Chris­t­ian Iden­ti­ty move­ment. There is also some over­lap with Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, he con­tends.

“They’re basi­cal­ly the Utah Mafioso of the white pow­er world,” Brown­ing told Intel­li­gence Report.

And they are grow­ing. For­mer Order mem­bers tell of babies being born near­ly every week in the church. And dur­ing a recent pic­nic to hon­or the birth­day of patri­arch John Ortell Kingston, Order fam­i­lies descend­ed on a Salt Lake Val­ley park, where hun­dreds of chil­dren of all ages blan­ket­ed the park’s green expanse.

Accounts of clan babies being born with con­gen­i­tal defects and oth­er prob­lems abound, includ­ing dwarfism, albinism and chil­dren born minus fin­ger­nails or with­out gen­i­tals.

...

Don’t the infant deaths and tales of hor­rif­ic defor­mi­ties belie Ortell’s home­spun eugen­ics?

Scott remem­bered that Ortell had an answer for that ques­tion.

“Some­thing along the lines of, to build a super­hu­man, if you have four or five defects to get the one good one, it’s worth it,” he recalled.

“Because that one is going to be genius-lev­el puri­ty, and that’s what The Order is look­ing for.”

———-

“Blood Cult” by Stephen Lemons; South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter Intel­li­gence Report; August 08, 2017

“Dur­ing a recent inter­view with the Intel­li­gence Report, Jes­si­ca Kingston, a for­mer mem­ber of the secre­tive, Salt Lake City-based cult and a star of the A&E real­i­ty series “Escap­ing Polygamy,” remem­bered, when she was 12, her Sun­day school teacher com­ing into class with a buck­et of water and a vial of black food col­or­ing.”

As Jes­si­ca Kingston recounts, being non-white was basi­cal­ly seen as “the worst thing you can have” and cor­rup­tion of the divine white­ness lin­eage of the Kingstons that went back to direct­ly to Jesus and King David:

...
The teacher added a drop of dye to the water, and the chil­dren watched as the black­ness slow­ly spread.

“The teacher was like, ‘You can nev­er get that out, that is always there now,’” recalled Jes­si­ca, now 29. “She talked about how you can’t asso­ciate with black peo­ple or any­body of a dif­fer­ent race.”

This racist dis­play was no one-off. Jes­si­ca said she and oth­er chil­dren of the Kingston clan — a group also known as The Order, the Davis Coun­ty Coop­er­a­tive Soci­ety, and the Lat­ter-Day Church of Christ — dropped the N‑bomb all the time, as did their par­ents.

Black peo­ple sup­pos­ed­ly suf­fered from mul­ti­ple scrip­tur­al curs­es, from the mark of Cain and Noah’s curse on Ham in the Old Tes­ta­ment to the racist tenets of ear­ly Mor­monism that have since been renounced or aban­doned by the main­stream Church of Jesus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints, also known as the LDS or Mor­mon church.

Black blood was “the worst thing you can have,” Jes­si­ca said, par­tic­u­lar­ly since the Kingstons con­sid­er them­selves to be the whitest of the white, descend­ed direct­ly from Jesus Christ and King David, the Mid­dle East­ern ori­gins of both men notwith­stand­ing.
...

But they aren’t just try­ing to cre­ate a white suprema­cists cult enclave. The cult’s lead­ers appar­ent­ly also view them­selves as hav­ing a divine right to be kings of the world and prac­tice selec­tive inces­tu­ous breed­ing with­in the clan to achieve some sort of divine super-white­ness. And this is all part of a prophe­cy that involves an even­tu­al race war where the streets will run with blood and that will enable them to emerge vic­to­ri­ous over all. As they see it, Hitler was right in try­ing to cre­ate a Mas­ter Race, but he did­n’t have God’s back­ing and that’s why he failed:

Obsessed with the puri­ty of their blood­line and empow­ered by a sense of enti­tle­ment on par with the divine right of kings, the Kingstons have made incest the cor­ner­stone of a self-serv­ing the­ol­o­gy that loathes non whites, fos­ters homo­pho­bia and abhors gov­ern­ment author­i­ty.

Addi­tion­al­ly, ex-Order mem­bers tell of a reput­ed church prophe­cy of an “End of the World War,” an apoc­a­lyp­tic vision that fore­sees a bloody race war with the Kingstons as the ulti­mate vic­tors, cho­sen by their Heav­en­ly Father to rule the world for a mil­len­ni­um.

...

A 1999 Salt Lake Tri­bune arti­cle mapped the Kingstons’ inces­tu­ous fam­i­ly tree, quot­ing one of Ortell’s 65 kids, ex-Order mem­ber Con­nie Rugg as say­ing, “My father exper­i­ment­ed [with] inbreed­ing with his cat­tle and then he turned to his chil­dren.”

In order to main­tain his family’s “supe­ri­or blood­lines,” Ortell mar­ried and had chil­dren with two of his half-sis­ters and two nieces. He orches­trat­ed all unions with­in the cult, which was main­tained with clas­sic mind con­trol tech­niques, cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment, fast­ing and bizarre dietary prac­tices. Ortell died in 1987, but his prog­e­ny con­tin­ued the polygamy, the inbreed­ing and the mar­riages to young female teens that he insti­tut­ed.

...

Dur­ing an inter­view with this reporter, Lu Ann Kingston, whose defi­ance of the cult led to the con­vic­tion of her for­mer “spir­i­tu­al” hus­band Jere­my, recalled that Order mem­bers saw inter­mar­riage as a way to “keep the blood­line pure.”

And by pure, they meant pure white.

All out­siders are con­sid­ered to be beneath Order mem­bers, she explained. But The Order saves most of its bile for blacks and oth­er non whites. Eth­nic jokes and stereo­types were com­mon­ly repeat­ed. Chi­nese peo­ple were called “stu­pid,” and Mex­i­cans were “dirty,” said Lu Ann, adding, “because of their skin.”

...

Ron says the cult’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for its racism goes back to ear­ly Mor­mon teach­ings about a war in heav­en between the forces of Satan and those of Jesus. The bat­tle took place in the spir­i­tu­al pre-exis­tence that Mor­mons believe all souls come from. Blacks were “the less valiant peo­ple in heav­en” who sat on the side­lines while oth­ers took sides, accord­ing to The Order.

Their pun­ish­ment? Dark skin, of course.

Anoth­er of Ortell’s teach­ings: Adolf Hitler had the right idea about cre­at­ing a mas­ter race, but didn’t have the Lord’s help, so he failed.

Tuck­er recount­ed the clan’s ver­sion of the apoc­a­lypse, the “End of the World War,” a riff on a prophe­cy some ascribe to Joseph Smith, called The White Horse Prophe­cy. In it, black peo­ple come close to killing off the white race until they are coun­tered by Native Amer­i­cans, sym­bol­ized by a Red Horse, which gal­lops to the White Horse’s res­cue.

“That will open up for The Order to rise up and take over the world,” Ron said.
...

And this group owns a bil­lion dol­lar busi­ness empire, includ­ing a high-end weapons man­u­fac­tur­er. But don’t wor­ry because, as one of the group lead­ers pro­claims, they’re real­ly all about lov­ing thy neigh­bor and there’s only a few racists in the group:

...
Young is the own­er of Desert Tech, a Utah gun man­u­fac­tur­er, which pro­duces sniper rifles and so-called “bullpup” rifles, The lat­ter, unlike con­ven­tion­al mag­a­zine-fed rifles, have short­er bar­rels, with the gun’s action locat­ed behind the trig­ger. These spe­cial­ty firearms can cost any­where from $2,500 to $8,000 each.

Desert Tech and its rifles have been fea­tured on Fox News, Myth­busters, Dare­dev­il and The Black­list, among oth­er TV shows. Young told Intel­li­gence Report that his com­pa­ny has sold weapons, with the approval of the U.S. State Depart­ment, to gov­ern­ments in Europe and the Mid­dle East, Sau­di Ara­bia being one.

Young also claimed Desert Tech had sold guns to Picatin­ny Arse­nal, the research divi­sion of the U.S. mil­i­tary.

“We haven’t got­ten any big U.S. con­tracts,” Young explained. “Obvi­ous­ly, we would love to.”

Spokes­men for both the U.S. State Depart­ment and for Picatin­ny Arse­nal could nei­ther ver­i­fy nor deny Young’s claims.

The com­pa­ny was found­ed in 2007 with an invest­ment from fam­i­ly mem­bers. Young denied that The Order was racist or taught any form of big­otry, and said he had peo­ple of all races work­ing for him.

“What we’re taught is to love our neigh­bor, that all peo­ple, all races no mat­ter who they are … deserve to be loved,” he explained.

Still, he con­ced­ed that some Order mem­bers may have prej­u­diced beliefs because “in our orga­ni­za­tion peo­ple have free­dom of choice.”
...

“What we’re taught is to love our neigh­bor, that all peo­ple, all races no mat­ter who they are … deserve to be loved,” he explained.

We just want to “love thy neigh­bor”. That was the mes­sage from the guy who found­ed the race war cult’s high-end weapons man­u­fac­tur­ing firm. And it’s worth note that apoc­a­lyp­tic wealthy cults that own their own high-end weapons man­u­fac­tur­er aren’t as uncom­mon as one might hope.

The Hate Cult in the White House

Now after look­ing at that pro­file of the Kingston clan, the ques­tion is raised in rela­tion to the larg­er Alt-Right white suprema­cist move­ment that con­tin­ues to use the Trump White House­’s qui­et approval to main­stream itself and present its mem­bers as some sort of aggriev­ed seg­ment of Amer­i­can soci­ety: So what exact­ly is the key dif­fer­ence between the Kingstons’ world­view and that or your typ­i­cal neo-Nazi? Sure, there are undoubt­ed­ly some dif­fer­ences in terms of the religious/incest stuff maybe. But in terms of the mind­less fetishiza­tion of ‘white­ness’ cou­pled with a need for a rigid author­i­tar­i­an hier­ar­chi­cal soci­ety, is there real­ly all that big a dif­fer­ence between an apoc­a­lyp­tic racist theo­crat­ic polyg­a­mist cult that views all non-whites as an exis­ten­tial threat and the gen­er­al ‘Alt-Right’ neo-Nazi world­view that por­trays non-whites, women, gays, and any­one who isn’t a far-right white male as an exis­ten­tial threat to far-right white males? If there are sub­stan­tial fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ences, it’s unclear what they are because both groups fun­da­men­tal­ly view non-white con­ser­v­a­tives as a dehu­man­ized “oth­er” unwor­thy of “thy neigh­bors” love or an inter­est­ing group of peo­ple worth get­ting to know, but instead an inevitable rival group that rep­re­sents an exis­ten­tial threat that must be extin­guished. And it’s that world­view that Pres­i­dent Trump refus­es to denounce. Because the ‘Alt-Right’ and its sym­pa­thiz­ers are far too impor­tant a polit­i­cal con­stituen­cy (and Trump is kind of of Nazi him­self).

But while we might be tempt­ed to pre­sume that it’s pure­ly crass polit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions that have led to the Pres­i­den­t’s silence on this mat­ter, as the fol­low­ing piece by Josh Mar­shall points out, that same world­view that sees the every­one who oppos­es Alt-Right as part of some sort of exis­ten­tial threat to con­ser­v­a­tive whites is not sur­pris­ing­ly pop­u­lar in the the upper-ech­e­lons of the White House. As the recent reports of an intra-White House bat­tle in the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil trag­i­cal­ly demon­strates — where Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor H.R. McMas­ter recent­ly fired an NSC staffer with close ties to an ‘Alt-Right’ per­son­al­i­ty as part of a larg­er Alt-Right vs non-Alt-Right pow­er strug­gle in the White House — that ‘Alt-Right’ world­view that por­trays all non-Alt-Rights as being part of some grand cabal out to destroy white con­ser­v­a­tives (as opposed to mak­ing a bet­ter world for the con­ser­v­a­tives to enjoy liv­ing in too, just not exclu­sive­ly enjoy) has been turned into a mes­sage where all non-Alt-Rights are all in a grand cabal to destroy Don­ald Trump. And only the Alt-Right is on his side. Every­one from pro­gres­sives, to ‘estab­lish­ment’ Repub­li­cans, the ‘deep state’, and even the the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood are all in a ca bal against Trump. That’s the Team Alt-Right mes­sage in the White House and Trump is report­ed­ly quite recep­tive to it:

Talk­ing Points Memo
Edi­tor’s Blog

The Fringe At The Wheel: Inside The Cernovich/McMaster Derp War

By Josh Mar­shall
Pub­lished August 11, 2017 2:59 pm

Ear­li­er this month, The Atlantic report­ed on a memo writ­ten by a since-fired NSC staffer named Rich Hig­gins. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor H.R. McMas­ter fired Hig­gins in July over the memo. But Hig­gins’ dis­missal was part of McMaster’s broad­er effort to assert con­trol over an NSC which still has or had numer­ous staffers brought in by Mike Fly­nn. Yes­ter­day For­eign Pol­i­cy pub­lished the memo in its entire­ty along with new report­ing about the con­text of the memo, its dis­cov­ery and Hig­gins’ dis­missal.

The memo itself is fair­ly described as nuts. But I want to get into more detail about just what it con­tains because the details are impor­tant on sev­er­al fronts. But before that I want to men­tion a key ele­ment of FP’s report­ing, which I at least think is new in its specifics. If you don’t waste your time on Twit­ter or haven’t close­ly fol­lowed the so-called alt-right, you may not know the name Mike Cer­novich. His Wikipedia page describes him as “an Amer­i­can alt-right social media per­son­al­i­ty, writer, and con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist”, which is not a bad descrip­tion. He was a big pro­mot­er of the ‘piz­za­gate’ con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry which end­ed up almost get­ting peo­ple killed in DC last year. Before that he was a ‘men’s empow­er­ment’ activist who took a more clear­ly polit­i­cal turn in 2016 race. He’s provoca­tive and goofy in as much as a white suprema­cist and Nazi-sym­pa­thiz­er can be goofy.

In any case, since Trump’s inau­gu­ra­tion Cer­novich has been car­ry­ing on a sort of rear­guard action against the Trump White House, notion­al­ly sup­port­ing ‘Trump’ while wag­ing online bat­tles against the mix of ‘glob­al­ists’, sell-outs and ‘deep state’ forces try­ing to undo the Trump rev­o­lu­tion. Through all this Cer­novich has claimed he has sources deep and high up in the Trump White House and that he’s sit­ting on all man­ner of sto­ries that could change every­thing. It has always been clear that Cer­novich does have some ‘sources’ or at least peo­ple leak­ing him stuff or access to some infor­ma­tion ahead of the con­ven­tion­al media because more than once he’s report­ed things on his web­site or Twit­ter which did turn out to be true. But one of my biggest take­aways from the FP piece is that this is appar­ent­ly far more true than at least I real­ized. Indeed, H.R. McMas­ter, in this telling at least, is obsessed with root­ing out the NSC staffers who are leak­ing to Cer­novich and it was that leak hunt that led to the dis­cov­ery of the memo we were dis­cussing above.

...

Here’s a key pas­sage

The con­tro­ver­sy over the memo has its ori­gins in a hunt for staffers believed to be pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion to right-wing blog­ger Mike Cer­novich, who seemed to have uncan­ny insight into the inner work­ings of the NSC. Cer­novich in the past few months has been con­duct­ing a wide-rang­ing cam­paign against the nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor.

“McMas­ter was just very, very obsessed with this, with Cer­novich,” a senior admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial told FP. “He had become this incred­i­ble specter.”

In July, the memo was dis­cov­ered in Higgins’s email dur­ing what two sources described to For­eign Pol­i­cy as a “rou­tine secu­ri­ty” audit of NSC staffers’ com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Anoth­er source, how­ev­er, char­ac­ter­ized it as a McCarthy-type leak inves­ti­ga­tion tar­get­ing staffers sus­pect­ed of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Cer­novich.

Hig­gins, who had worked on the Trump cam­paign and tran­si­tion before com­ing to the NSC, draft­ed the memo in late May and then cir­cu­lat­ed the memo to friends from the tran­si­tion, a num­ber of whom are now in the White House.

After the memo was dis­cov­ered, McMaster’s deputy, Ricky Wad­dell, sum­moned Hig­gins, who was told he could resign — or be fired, and risk los­ing his secu­ri­ty clear­ance, accord­ing to two sources.

Hig­gins, who agreed to resign, was escort­ed out of the build­ing. He lat­er learned from his col­leagues still at the NSC that his asso­ci­a­tion to this now-infa­mous memo was the rea­son he was removed.

Need­less to say, if McMas­ter is sur­veilling his own staff to find out who is talk­ing to Cer­novich, then Cer­novich is play­ing a big, big role in the unfold­ing Trump admin­is­tra­tion dra­ma. That’s a big deal and a high­ly dis­turb­ing one, which we will come back to.

Now let’s dis­cuss the memo itself. As I said, it’s nuts on many lev­els. But the details of what it con­tains are impor­tant. I have a series of obser­va­tions. Let me lay them out seri­atim.

1: First, an overview. The gist of Hig­gins memo is that Pres­i­dent Trump is under a sus­tained, ille­git­i­mate and con­spir­a­cy dri­ven attack by the forces of “cul­tur­al Marx­ism” which aims to dri­ve him from office. These forces include basi­cal­ly every­one from the far left to estab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans, either as con­spir­a­tors or dupes and fel­low trav­el­ers. Key ele­ments of the dra­ma are that the Amer­i­can left is in league with ‘rad­i­cal Islam’, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, to destroy Amer­i­ca from the with­in. Both sides – the forces of the ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ism’ and the sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Trump – are in what amounts to a final, all-or-noth­ing bat­tle. Indeed, Hig­gins argues that the coun­try is now in the midst of a pitched bat­tle for the future exis­tence of Amer­i­ca in which the per­son of Pres­i­dent Trump is a proxy for the future of Amer­i­ca itself. It is a Manichean, verg­ing on polit­i­cal escha­to­log­i­cal vision of con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­ca. This is the con­clud­ing para­graph of the memo, empha­sis added …

The recent turn of events give rise to the obser­va­tion that the defense of Pres­i­dent Trump is the defense of Amer­i­ca. In the same way Pres­i­dent Lin­coln was sur­round­ed by polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion both inside and out­side of his wire, in both overt and covert forms, so too is Pres­i­dent Trump. Had Lin­coln failed, so too would have the Repub­lic. The admin­is­tra­tion has been maneu­vered into a con­stant backpedal by relent­less polit­i­cal war­fare attacks struc­tured to force him to assume a reac­tive pos­ture that assures inad­e­quate respons­es. The pres­i­dent can either dri­ve or be dri­ven by events; it’s time for him to dri­ve them.

2: Trump Era Pol­i­tics is Real­ly War. It is far down the list of prob­lems with this memo and this sit­u­a­tion. But it is to put it mild­ly high­ly irreg­u­lar and prob­lem­at­ic for a for­mer Pen­ta­gon offi­cial who is now an NSC staffer to be cir­cu­lat­ing mem­os on domes­tic ‘polit­i­cal war­fare’. But the memo is replete with the imagery, ter­mi­nol­o­gy and con­cep­tu­al frame­work of war, even down to high-dra­ma, often man­ic descrip­tions of the ‘bat­tle­space’ on which Pres­i­dent Trump is fight­ing the forces of ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ism’. The memo views oppo­si­tion pol­i­tics in the Trump era as ille­git­i­mate and a form of vio­lent resis­tance against the state.

Again from the memo …

This is not pol­i­tics as usu­al but rather polit­i­cal war­fare at an unprece­dent­ed lev­el that is open­ly engaged in the direct tar­get­ing of a seat­ed pres­i­dent through manip­u­la­tion of the news cycle. It must be rec­og­nized on its own terms so that imme­di­ate action can be tak­en. At its core, these cam­paigns run on mul­ti­ple lines of effort, serve as the non-vio­lent line of effort of a wider move­ment, and exe­cute polit­i­cal war­fare agen­das that reflect cul­tur­al Marx­ist out­comes. The cam­paigns oper­ate through nar­ra­tives. Because the hard left is aligned with lslamist orga­ni­za­tions at local (ANTI FA work­ing with Mus­lim Broth­er­hood doing busi­ness as MSA and CAIR), nation­al (ACLU and BLM work­ing with CAIR and MPAC) and inter­na­tion­al lev­els (OIC work­ing with OSCE­and the UN), recog­ni­tion must giv­en to the fact that they seam­less­ly inter­op­er­ate at the nar­ra­tive lev­el as well. In can­di­date Trump, the oppo­si­tion saw a threat to the “polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect” enforce­ment nar­ra­tives they’ve metic­u­lous­ly laid in over the past few decades. In Pres­i­dent Trump, they see a latent threat to con­tin­ue that effort to ruinous effect and their retal­ia­to­ry response reflects this fear.

As you can see, a per­sis­tent theme of the memo is that what most of us would rec­og­nize as an embat­tled and unpop­u­lar Pres­i­dent fight­ing wide­spread oppo­si­tion is actu­al­ly more like a domes­tic rebel­lion and needs to be addressed as such.

Again from the memo …

Cul­tur­al­ly con­di­tioned to lim­it respons­es to such attacks as yet anoth­er round in the on-going drone from diver­si­ty and mul­ti­cul­tur­al mal­con­tents, these broad­sides are dis­count­ed as polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness run amuck. How­ev­er, polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is a weapon against rea­son and crit­i­cal think­ing. This weapon func­tions as the enforce­ment mech­a­nism of diver­si­ty nar­ra­tives that seek to imple­ment cul­tur­al Marx­ism. Can­di­date Trump’s rhetoric in the cam­paign not only cut through the Marx­ist nar­ra­tive, he did so in ways that were vis­cer­al­ly com­pre­hen­si­ble to a vot­ing bloc that then made can­di­date Trump the pres­i­dent; mak­ing that bloc self-aware in the process. Pres­i­dent Trump is either the can­di­date he ran as, or he is noth­ing.

Rec­og­niz­ing in can­di­date Trump an exis­ten­tial threat to cul­tur­al Marx­ist memes that dom­i­nate the pre­vail­ing cul­tur­al nar­ra­tive, those that ben­e­fit rec­og­nize the threat he pos­es and seek his destruc­tion. For this cabal, Trump must be destroyed. Far from pol­i­tics as usu­al, this is a polit­i­cal war­fare effort that seeks the destruc­tion of a sit­ting pres­i­dent. Since Trump took office, the sit­u­a­tion has inten­si­fied to cri­sis lev­el pro­por­tions. For those engaged in the effort, espe­cial­ly those from with­in the “deep state” or per­ma­nent gov­ern­ment appa­ra­tus, this rais­es clear Title 18 (legal) con­cerns.

Con­sid­er this pas­sage about the “bat­tle­space”.

Bat­tle­space. These attack nar­ra­tives are per­va­sive, full spec­trum and insti­tu­tion­al­ized at all lev­els. They oper­ate in social media, tele­vi­sion, the 24-hour news cycle in all media, and are entrenched at the upper lev­els of the bureau­cra­cies and with­in the for­eign pol­i­cy estab­lish­ment. They inform the enter­tain­ment indus­try from late night mono­logues, to sit­u­a­tion come­dies, to tele­vi­sion series memes, to movie themes. The effort required to direct this capac­i­ty at Pres­i­dent Trump is lit­tle more than a pro­gram­ming deci­sion to do so. The cul­tur­al Marx­ist nar­ra­tive is ful­ly deployed, per­va­sive, full spec­trum and ongo­ing. Regard­ing the pres­i­dent, attacks have become a relent­less 24/7 effort.

This mix of obser­va­tions and feel­ings might be more sim­ply summed up as “Wow, we seem to be super unpop­u­lar. And we’re being attacked con­stant­ly!”

Many White Hous­es have had this feel­ing. It’s a tough job. But Hig­gins sees it quite dif­fer­ent­ly, as an inte­grat­ed, con­spir­a­to­r­i­al effort to dri­ve the Pres­i­dent from office and destroy the Amer­i­ca he rep­re­sents. Indeed, Hig­gins explic­it­ly cites the doctrine’s of Maoist ‘people’s war’ as the con­cep­tu­al frame­work and the plan Trump’s ene­mies are fol­low­ing. I’m not kid­ding about this. From the memo: “As used here, ‘polit­i­cal war­fare’ does not con­cern activ­i­ties asso­ci­at­ed with the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal process but rather exclu­sive­ly refers to polit­i­cal war­fare as under­stood by the Maoist Insur­gency mod­el. Polit­i­cal war­fare is one of the five com­po­nents of a Maoist insur­gency. Maoist method­olo­gies employ syn­chro­nized vio­lent and non-vio­lent actions that focus on mobi­liza­tion of indi­vid­u­als and groups to action. This approach envi­sions the direct use of non-vio­lent oper­a­tional arts and tac­tics as ele­ments of com­bat pow­er.”

Again, my descrip­tion isn’t seman­tic or hyper­bol­ic. Hig­gins views a vast array of dis­parate domes­tic polit­i­cal move­ments, insti­tu­tions and cul­tur­al voic­es as togeth­er exe­cut­ing an orga­nized plan to dri­ve Trump from office and that the insti­ga­tors of this effort are the far left and Islam­ic rad­i­cals try­ing to per­pet­u­ate ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ism’.

3: The Domes­tic War is a Meme War: A week ago, the above-men­tioned Cer­novich tweet­ed this much-derid­ed mes­sage.

What is “memet­ic war­fare”? It is essen­tial­ly fight­ing peo­ple on social media with pho­to­shopped images, prop­a­gat­ing ‘memes’ – nugget sized images or blocks of text which inject mes­sages and ideas into the con­ver­sa­tions of a broad­er pub­lic. It also involves dig­i­tal vig­i­lan­tism, orga­nized intim­i­da­tion cam­paigns, threats and a lot more. There’s some­thing to this. And Cer­novich is demon­stra­bly an able prac­ti­tion­er of it. He’s built up a huge fol­low­ing based on pret­ty much just that. At the end of the day though, McMas­ter is a mas­ter of war wars. And ‘memet­ic war­fare’ is real­ly just spend­ing the day mouthing off on Twit­ter. So it’s a bit of a com­i­cal boast. But if you read the Hig­gins memo it is replete with the vocab­u­lary and men­tal world of ‘memet­ic war­fare’. These two men are in con­tact with each oth­er and share the same men­tal and ideation­al world. Which seems to be why McMas­ter fired Hig­gins. To a degree, it’s a slight­ly high­er-brow ver­sion of what you can lis­ten to on Han­ni­ty every night. That’s not sur­pris­ing since – unlike­ly the imag­ined con­spir­a­cies of Hig­gins memo – Han­ni­ty, the Cer­novich crew at the NSC, Trump, Don Jr. and the rest do seem to be in reg­u­lar con­tact with each oth­er.

4: What is ‘Cul­tur­al Marx­ism’? Hig­gins is not the only per­son to use this phrase. But as he uses it ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ism’ is essen­tial­ly the entire­ty of social move­ments, cul­tur­al change, grow­ing inter­na­tion­al­iza­tion of pub­lic life in Amer­i­ca that dis­tin­guish­es the Amer­i­can of the ear­ly 21st cen­tu­ry from the ide­al­ized pub­lic ver­sion of Amer­i­ca as pre­sent­ed in media and main­stream TV and cin­e­ma in the 1950s. There is arguably such a thing as ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ism’ – rad­i­cal cri­tiques of Amer­i­can soci­ety, and its cul­ture and eco­nom­ic under­pin­nings, which exist but don’t have a great deal of trac­tion out­side the acad­e­my and some rad­i­cal polit­i­cal cir­cles. There is also the range of cri­tiques of Amer­i­can gen­der and racial norms and pow­er struc­tures that cri­tique ‘patri­archy’ and ‘white suprema­cy’. These are obvi­ous­ly much more per­va­sive debates with­in con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can soci­ety, ones which are dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly (though by no means exclu­sive­ly) root­ed in the ideas of the younger gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­cans. They are real, deeply con­test­ed and gen­uine­ly threat­en­ing to a large seg­ment of the US pop­u­la­tion. They’re not ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ism’ in any sense oth­er than as swear words and trash talk in domes­tic polit­i­cal debates. But even this isn’t real­ly what Hig­gins is talk­ing about. It is a far more expan­sive and watered-down def­i­n­i­tion and set of ideas which are tak­en more or less as givens in cor­po­rate Amer­i­ca under the blan­di­fied catch­words of ‘diver­si­ty’ and ‘inclu­sion’. That’s all ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ism’ for Hig­gins and all dri­ven by an alliance of ‘the left’ and Islamist rad­i­cals.

5: The Trumpite Milieu: Where does this stuff come from? Hig­gins is a for­mer sol­dier and lat­er a Pen­ta­gon staffer. Some of his writ­ing is sim­ply tak­ing fair­ly con­ven­tion­al mil­i­tary plan­ning jar­gon and apply­ing it to domes­tic pol­i­tics. But read­ing Hig­gins I hear the voic­es of two oth­er men loud and clear: Frank Gaffney and David Horowitz.

Gaffney was a mid-tier Rea­gan Pen­ta­gon appointee who has been a con­stant pres­ence in Wash­ing­ton for the last three decades and has in the years since 9/11 become the pre­em­i­nent author and prop­a­ga­tor of var­i­ous Islam­o­pho­bic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. To set expec­ta­tions prop­er­ly, I’m not talk­ing about counter-ter­ror­ism hawks who say the US needs to sur­veil Mus­lim immi­grant pop­u­la­tions or lim­it immi­gra­tion by Mus­lims. Gaffney says the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood has infil­trat­ed the US gov­ern­ment at all lev­els with sleep­er agents and fel­low trav­el­ers. There’s crazy and there’s crazy. Gaffney is in the lat­ter cat­e­go­ry.

As Peter Beinart not­ed ear­li­er this year, most main­stream Repub­li­cans have treat­ed Gaffney like a crank for years. (Indeed, he’s for years fought a nitwit bat­tle to expel Grover Norquist from the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment because Gaffney claims Norquist is a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood agent or fel­low trav­el­er.) But he’s viewed as a major thinker and advis­er in the Trump White House. And Mike Fly­nn was deeply under his influ­ence. Indeed, in 2016 Fly­nn co-authored a book with Michael Ledeen, a com­pa­ra­ble though some­what more obscure fig­ure. Ledeen is a dif­fer­ent, with his own dis­tinct though no less crazy con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries large­ly tied to rad­i­cal Islamist, ter­ror­ist and sim­ply anti-Amer­i­can groups. The upshot is that Fly­nn was total­ly down with and in the Frank Gaffney nut­bag and he staffed the Trump world with peo­ple of the same mind­set. A lot of them are still there.

David Horowitz is a one-time mem­ber of the New Left who’s made his liv­ing for decades as a self-styled Whit­tak­er Cham­bers of the nut­ball right. I can tell you from per­son­al expe­ri­ence that he is sim­ply one of the worst peo­ple in Amer­i­can pub­lic life. Think Roger Stone is ter­ri­ble? Me too. But I’ve met Roger and he’s kind of a blast to spend a bit of time with if you can brack­et out the pol­i­tics. I’ve met Horowitz too. He’s an awful per­son. Hig­gins obses­sion with ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ism’, ‘polit­i­cal war­fare’, Maoist insur­gency tac­tics and all man­ner of oth­er sub-Marx­ist clap­trap is pure Horowitz. It is both how he thinks and also his schtick with­in the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment: the guy who knows all the dark truths about ‘the left’ and is shar­ing them with the embat­tled right. Horowitz too is tight with the Trump world and the var­i­ous extrem­ists and con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists who clus­ter around it. I don’t know whether Hig­gins got this stuff direct­ly from Horowitz or just atmos­pher­i­cal­ly because his influ­ence is so per­va­sive in today’s right. But the influ­ence is unmis­tak­able.

For our present pur­pos­es, the impor­tant point is that even though main­stream con­ser­v­a­tives – not to men­tion every­one to their left – have long regard­ed both men as no more than activist bilge water, they are both high­ly influ­en­tial in the Trump White House. Just as impor­tant­ly, while they’ve gen­er­al­ly been regard­ed as jokes by main­stream polit­i­cal reporters, they’ve actu­al­ly spent years prop­a­gat­ing their ideas among the peo­ple we now call the Trump base. So their ideas are as impor­tant as they are non­sen­si­cal and hyper­bol­ic because they are at the cen­ter of pow­er and draw on a mass base of sup­port.

Hig­gins him­self may be out. But the FP piece reports that Don Jr. got hold of his memo dur­ing the firestorm of con­tro­ver­sy over his June 2016 Trump Tow­er meet­ing and loved it. He shared it with his father, Pres­i­dent Trump, who loved it too. He got angry when Sean Han­ni­ty told him that Hig­gins had been fired over it. So even though Hig­gins is out, these ideas are still per­va­sive in the Trump White House and get an enthu­si­as­tic thumbs up from Trump him­self. Even though McMas­ter won the bat­tle, to put it in Hig­gin­sian terms, the war con­tin­ues. And it seems as like­ly as not, on the FP’s report­ing, that McMas­ter will even­tu­al­ly lose.

———-

“The Fringe At The Wheel: Inside The Cernovich/McMaster Derp War” by Josh Mar­shall; Talk­ing Points Memo; 08/11/2017

“First, an overview. The gist of Hig­gins memo is that Pres­i­dent Trump is under a sus­tained, ille­git­i­mate and con­spir­a­cy dri­ven attack by the forces of “cul­tur­al Marx­ism” which aims to dri­ve him from office. These forces include basi­cal­ly every­one from the far left to estab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans, either as con­spir­a­tors or dupes and fel­low trav­el­ers. Key ele­ments of the dra­ma are that the Amer­i­can left is in league with ‘rad­i­cal Islam’, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, to destroy Amer­i­ca from the with­in. Both sides – the forces of the ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ism’ and the sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Trump – are in what amounts to a final, all-or-noth­ing bat­tle. Indeed, Hig­gins argues that the coun­try is now in the midst of a pitched bat­tle for the future exis­tence of Amer­i­ca in which the per­son of Pres­i­dent Trump is a proxy for the future of Amer­i­ca itself. It is a Manichean, verg­ing on polit­i­cal escha­to­log­i­cal vision of con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­ca...”

And as Josh Mar­shall ends with, while Rich Hig­gins, the Alt-Right NSC staffer, may have been suc­cess­ful­ly removed by H.R. McMas­ter, his over­all mes­sage of the world being against Trump and the Alt-Right being his only real ally in this is a mes­sage that con­tin­ues to res­onate with­in the White House and Trump him­self:

...
Hig­gins him­self may be out. But the FP piece reports that Don Jr. got hold of his memo dur­ing the firestorm of con­tro­ver­sy over his June 2016 Trump Tow­er meet­ing and loved it. He shared it with his father, Pres­i­dent Trump, who loved it too. He got angry when Sean Han­ni­ty told him that Hig­gins had been fired over it. So even though Hig­gins is out, these ideas are still per­va­sive in the Trump White House and get an enthu­si­as­tic thumbs up from Trump him­self. Even though McMas­ter won the bat­tle, to put it in Hig­gin­sian terms, the war con­tin­ues. And it seems as like­ly as not, on the FP’s report­ing, that McMas­ter will even­tu­al­ly lose.

So as we scratch our heads ask­ing why Pres­i­dent Trump refus­es to denounce white suprma­cists, let’s not for­get that this is an embat­tled White House that appears to view the ‘Alt-Right’ as his only real allies. Might that have some­thing to do with his refusal to denounce them despite the polit­i­cal costs he’s incur­ring for not doing so? They’re his only friends.

And one quick quib­ble with Mar­shal­l’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of mil­lieu of fig­ures that have been pro­mot­ing this “lib­er­als and Islamists unit­ed in Cul­tur­al Marx­ism” world­view. Specif­i­cal­ly this sec­tion regard­ing Frank Gaffney:

...
As Peter Beinart not­ed ear­li­er this year, most main­stream Repub­li­cans have treat­ed Gaffney like a crank for years. (Indeed, he’s for years fought a nitwit bat­tle to expel Grover Norquist from the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment because Gaffney claims Norquist is a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood agent or fel­low trav­el­er.) But he’s viewed as a major thinker and advis­er in the Trump White House. And Mike Fly­nn was deeply under his influ­ence. Indeed, in 2016 Fly­nn co-authored a book with Michael Ledeen, a com­pa­ra­ble though some­what more obscure fig­ure. Ledeen is a dif­fer­ent, with his own dis­tinct though no less crazy con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries large­ly tied to rad­i­cal Islamist, ter­ror­ist and sim­ply anti-Amer­i­can groups. The upshot is that Fly­nn was total­ly down with and in the Frank Gaffney nut­bag and he staffed the Trump world with peo­ple of the same mind­set. A lot of them are still there.
...

While it’s true that Frank Gaffney is indeed a crank who focus­es almost exclu­sive­ly on the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood to the point where his analy­sis is non­sense, the work he’s done high­light­ing con­ser­v­a­tive anti-tax extrem­ist Grover Norquists ties to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood is prob­a­bly one of the few use­ful things Gaffney has ever done. Why? Because the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood is effec­tive­ly the KKK of the Sun­ni world — an elit­ist cor­po­ratist hyper-sec­tar­i­an far-right theo­crat­ic orga­ni­za­tion hell-bent on total dom­i­na­tion of soci­ety and the dehu­man­iza­tion of “oth­ers”. And an under­stand­ing of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s his­to­ry of coor­di­nat­ing with far-right groups, includ­ing exten­sive his­to­ry of coor­di­nat­ing with ex-Nazis and fas­cists, is crit­i­cal for under­stand­ing both the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and the larg­er glob­al move­ment of reac­tionary far-right move­ments oper­at­ing through­out the 20th and 21st cen­tu­ry. These move­ments work with each oth­er and the sto­ry of the Amer­i­can right-wing’s work rela­tion­ship with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood is impor­tant and Grover Norquist played an impor­tant role in that sto­ry. Espe­cial­ly if peo­ple like Mike Cer­novich are going to push memes that pro­gres­sives are team­ing up with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in some sort of grand. Plus, you can’t ful­ly under­stand the post‑9/11 inves­ti­ga­tion into ter­ror financ­ing with­out under­stand­ing that rela­tion­ship and that specif­i­cal­ly includes the role Grover Norquist played in inter­ven­ing on behalf of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood net­works to thwart Oper­a­tion Green­quest. Oth­er than all that, yes, Gaffney is a crank and man­ages to com­plete­ly man­gle any mean­ing­ful under­stand­ing of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. While ter­ror attacks or some oth­er nefar­i­ous activ­i­ty by far-right Islamist mil­i­tant groups is cer­tain­ly a con­cern for Amer­i­ca as is the case for all far-right groups, Amer­i­ca isn’t being over­run by Islam­o­fas­cists like Gaffney sug­gests because it’s already over­run by Christo­fas­cists. That ‘space’ is sort of tak­en up already.

But this is where we are: when we step back and “study the sit­u­a­tion”, the sit­u­a­tion appears to be one where a world­view best left to a racist cult is guid­ing the White House. And that White House is, in turn, effec­tive­ly defend­ing via omis­sion a group of neo-Nazis the day after one of them ran down a crowd of anti-racist pro­tes­tors. And if we step back fur­ther we find that same kind of world­view cap­tur­ing the imag­i­na­tion of a sig­nif­i­cant seg­ment of white Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives. And Europe too when you look at the rise of white nation­al­ism there. And of course the Mus­lim world when you look at ongo­ing dom­i­na­tion of hyper-con­ser­v­a­tive strains of Islam and groups like the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and theo­crat­ic monar­chies. And don’t for­get North Korea. It’s an entire nation run by an insu­lar cult that views the rest of the world as an exis­ten­tial threat. In oth­er worlds, pret­ty much wher­ev­er you look around the globe you’re going to find reac­tionary total­i­tar­i­an iden­ti­tar­i­an groups that view the rest of the world as an exis­ten­tial “oth­ers” threat. And if we’re going to find a real exis­ten­tial threat any­where that’s where it is: groups that can’t live peace­ful­ly with oth­ers and refuse to human­ize oth­ers.

But what do we do about this? Vir­ginia gov­er­nor Ter­ry McCoul­lough made an impor­tant point dur­ing his address to the pub­lic after the neo-Nazi car attack on a crowd of anti-fas­cist pro­tes­tors and hte ‘Uni­fy the Right’ torch­light march. He called for them to “go home”, and said Vir­ginia isn’t a com­mon­wealth that wel­comes them. And the Unit­ed States isn’t does­n’t have space for them. It was an impor­tant rebuke made all the more impor­tant bye the Pres­i­den­t’s silence. But it still rais­es the ques­tion: where do they go? And the answer is the same answer to the ques­tion of “what do we do with [insert total­i­tar­i­an iden­ti­tar­i­an group here]?” And that answer is to be super wel­com­ing when they snap out of it and become non-total­i­tar­i­an iden­ti­tar­i­ans and oth­er­wise con­tin­ue to be unwel­com­ing. They won’t be deport­ed or any­thing. Just unwel­come when they express hate­ful views.

But that’s prob­a­bly not going to be ade­quate. So how about we counter the sys­tem­at­ic dehu­man­iza­tion of “oth­ers” by pub­lic rec­og­niz­ing that the dehu­man­iza­tion of “oth­ers” is an extreme­ly “human” thing to do. Trag­i­cal­ly, but that’s how it is. Through­out his­to­ry it’s been per­va­sive and endur­ing. Across time and cul­tures. Mon­strous acts and ide­olo­gies are all too human. And those help cap­tive by such views aren’t mon­sters. They’re human cap­tives of mon­strous ide­olo­gies. It’s sad­ly human to get caught up in such ide­olo­gies, but also human to expe­ri­ence an epiphany, snap out of it, and move past it. Think of the for­mer mem­bers of the Kingston clan. They were die-hard believ­ers who man­aged to escape. It was­n’t easy, but they did it. And that whole arc of expe­ri­ence, believ­ing in a hate cult and learn­ing to move past it, is a very human expe­ri­ence. On top of that, it’s not just a relief when some­one escapes from a hate cult but it’s actu­al­ly real­ly quite remark­able. Way to go! For real, it’s an amaz­ing and impres­sive achieve­ment. So how about we cel­e­brate that and make it very clear that we rec­og­nize that those trapped in hate cults can be just a hand­ful of per­son­al epipha­nies away from becom­ing great peo­ple who will be wel­come any­where. At least any­where that isn’t a hate cult. Would rec­og­niz­ing the awe­some­ness of escap­ing from a hate cult help our over­all sit­u­a­tion?

Sure, it’s not fair that the side that pro­motes peace and equal­i­ty and diver­si­ty and try­ing to empathize and human­ize oth­ers should be forced to repeat­ed­ly ‘turn the oth­er cheek’ when it comes to find­ing a com­mon path for­ward with groups ded­i­cat­ed to dehu­man­iza­tion of oth­ers and, in many cas­es, their even­tu­al exter­mi­na­tion. But that’s how it is when you’re forced to fight for a more empa­thet­ic soci­ety and an end to thought­less heart­less­ness. It comes with the ter­ri­to­ry. And it’s impor­tant to note that it’s rel­a­tive­ly new ter­ri­to­ry when it comes to try­ing to cre­ate a soci­ety that isn’t sim­ply dom­i­nat­ed by some group but is instead thought­ful­ly based on a real ‘Gold­en rule’ par­a­digm. We know soci­eties like North Korea or Nazi Ger­many can exist and have always exist­ed. Humans are clear­ly capa­ble of that. But this whole tol­er­ance thing, a soci­ety that looks past super­fi­cial­i­ties and tru­ly embraces The Gold­en Rule and pri­or­i­ties the human­iza­tion of “oth­ers”, this is new. And large­ly untest­ed because there’s always been a large swath of soci­ety that nev­er agreed with that vision. So how about we cre­ate a nation­al project that actu­al­ly cel­e­brates the human­iza­tion of “oth­ers” and mov­ing past hat­ing, includ­ing hat­ing the haters. Human­iz­ing the haters. Not as mod­els to fol­low but as real peo­ple trapped in hate cults they did­n’t cre­ate but some­one fell into or were born into. A cel­e­bra­tion of the act of shed­ding pre­vi­ous­ly held big­otries, in effect being “born again”. Could a move­ment of born again ex-haters have any impact?

Sim­i­lar­ly, how about devel­op­ing a a sense of “White Pride” that’s pride in white soci­ety over­com­ing white suprema­cy. And mysog­y­ny. And homo­pho­bia. And all the oth­er unjus­ti­fied hor­ri­ble habits that have infest­ed soci­eties through­out his­to­ry. And add it to “[insert group’s label here] Pride” that cel­e­brates that group’s var­i­ous obsta­cles that they’ve over­come to also achieve a real “Gold­en Rule” cul­ture. The kind of cul­ture one might asso­ciate with a super nice paci­fist hip­pie who loves every­one, as long as they’re not mean. And if they are mean the super nice paci­fist hip­pie loves them in a ‘love the sin­ner, hate the sin’ way and human­izes them. Total­i­tar­i­an iden­ti­tar­i­an move­ments like the ‘Alt-Right’ neo-Nazis explic­it­ly don’t have a space for non-whites. They can’t pos­si­bly be a viable world­view for the real world unless it involves real world mass geno­cide. Which is part of their long-term vision. And the rest of the total­i­tar­i­an iden­ti­tar­i­an world­views of the world are the same way. It’s like extra-psy­cho High­lander sce­nario played out on a trib­al lev­el, where it’s either one total­i­tar­i­an iden­ti­tar­i­an move­ment wins or human­i­ty oblit­er­ates itself. In which case the rest of life on Earth wins. And that leaves and glob­al com­mu­ni­ty of tol­er­ant pro­gres­sive mul­ti-cul­tur­al soci­eties where all the par­tic­i­pat­ing cul­tures are nice and gen­er­al­ly tol­er­ant and Gold­en-rule-ish as the only viable vision for a future that does­n’t destroy itself. Being nice isn’t just nice. It’s logis­ti­cal­ly the only viable modal­i­ty in a glob­al­ized world filled with advanced tech­nol­o­gy and a capac­i­ty for groups to destroy each oth­er.

So if peo­ple like Mike Cer­novich are going wage meme war­fare prop­a­gat­ing hate cult ide­ol­o­gy, how about a counter meme cam­paign cel­e­brat­ing the awe­some logis­ti­cal util­i­ty of empa­thy and gen­er­al nice­ness and how much stronger it makes any soci­ety. And how much nicer it is. Because many peo­ple appear to have for­got­ten or nev­er fig­ured out that life would be much bet­ter for every­one if we dropped the hate cult ideas. So a pro-nice­ness meme cam­paign is sad­ly nec­es­sary.

And make it very clear to to Pres­i­dent Trump that he will be legit­i­mate­ly cel­e­brat­ed if he sheds his ‘Alt-Right’ neo-Nazi sym­pa­thies and uses his lead­er­ship posi­tion to cre­ate a real cul­ture of nice­ness. The best moments in his­to­ry involve over­com­ing the worst moments in his­to­ry and the US is hav­ing a pret­ty bad moment. Trump has a real oppor­tu­ni­ty here after lead­ing us to this hor­ri­ble place. He said he loves “all the peo­ple of our coun­try,” and called for Amer­i­cans of dif­fer­ent races and back­grounds to remem­ber their shared Amer­i­can­ness in his remarks after the attack. If he actu­al­ly demon­strat­ed that by jet­ti­son­ing all the Nazi-sympthiz­ers like Steve Ban­non or Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka from the White House and them lead a Pres­i­den­tial com­mis­sion on Hate or that had an empha­sis on white suprema­cy (since that’s the dom­i­nant hate move­ment in terms of raw num­bers), he could end up being a wild­ly suc­cess­ful pres­i­dent. At least suc­cess­ful on race rela­tions. He still might blow up the world in oth­er ways but at least he would have a ‘heal­ing the racial divide’ feath­er in his pres­i­den­tial cap. And sure, the odds of this hap­pen­ing are extreme­ly low, but that’s the point: mak­ing a for­mal offer to avowed racists who will prob­a­bly go to their graves avowed racists that, hey, the grass real­ly is green­er on the nice side and you’re more than wel­come to come on over. No hard feel­ings. Hugs? It’ll be a “born again” thing and all will be for­giv­en basi­cal­ly. Even Ban­non and Gor­ka could join in as long as they denounce their hate cult-ish ways. Would­n’t it be so much more fun if we all just kind of got along? A “born again” nice Trump could save his pres­i­den­cy and help us all get along by by ditch­ing the neo-Nazis and sav­ing Amer­i­ca from polar­iz­ing per­il. His silence does­n’t bode well but it’s ulti­mate­ly up to him. But it’s up to the rest of us to let him and the rest of the Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers in high and low places that if they have what­ev­er per­son­al epiphany expe­ri­ence that’s required to snap out of their hate cult world­views, they will be total­ly wel­come on Team Nice. Heal­ing hugs any­one? Espe­cial­ly for Trump if he joinst Team Nice soon. It would be quite a twist for his pres­i­den­cy.

But as is, it appears that much like how the Elders in the Kingston clan paint a pic­ture of a cor­rupt world besieg­ing their com­mu­ni­ty, the ‘Alt-Right’ and the rest of the far-right media uni­verse has been busy sell­ing its audi­ence of pri­mar­i­ly con­ser­v­a­tive white Chris­tians prone to anti-gov­ern­ment sen­ti­ments that liberals/progressives and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and pre­sum­ably George Soros and the Illu­mi­nati and etc are all team­ing up against them. So mak­ing it clear that they are trapped in a hate cult dynam­ic and that every­one will be very under­stand­ing when they snap out of it could be a use­ful path for­ward. Or per­haps total­ly use­less but at least we tried. And should pre­sum­ably keep try­ing as is required of Team Nice. More hugs are clear­ly in order.

And who knows, if we even found an effec­tive ‘nice cul­ture’ that actu­al­ly act­ed as an epiphany cat­a­lyst for mem­bers of hate cults and encour­aged them join in on the wel­com­ing nice­ness, it might work for all sorts of oth­er hate cults, like the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. Jew­ish extrem­ists, or any oth­er hate group that’s clear­ly ter­ri­fied of the rest of the world. Maybe we’ll final­ly find a way out of the North Kore­an mass cult nuclear black­mail sit­u­a­tion. Or at least a sig­nif­i­cant part of a much larg­er solu­tion.

Discussion

39 comments for “So You’ve Got a Hate Cult Problem: Living With the Kingston Klan and its ‘Alt-Right’ Cousins”

  1. Giv­en that the pur­port­ed pur­pose for the “Unite the Right” ral­ly was to pro­tect ‘White her­itage’ by pre­vent­ing the removal of a stat­ue or Robert E. Lee, it’s worth recall that the kinds of fig­ures that groups like this revere aren’t lim­it­ed to Civ­il War fig­ures. For instance, Andrew “the weev” Auern­heimer has been call­ing for a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign to cre­ate a a per­ma­nent stat­ue for a grave memo­ri­al­iz­ing Tim­o­thy McVeigh.

    So will the McVeigh mon­u­ment become part of the ‘Alt-Right’ neo-Nazis’ white her­itage that future ‘Alt-Right’ torch­light mobs ral­ly around and pro­tect from removal? We’ll sad­ly prob­a­bly find out:

    The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter
    Hate­watch

    McVeigh Wor­ship: The New Extrem­ist Trend

    June 27, 2017
    Bill Mor­lin

    In extrem­ist cir­cles, there appears to be a bump of inter­est in Tim­o­thy James McVeigh.

    Yes, that Tim­o­thy McVeigh. The guy who used a Ryder truck to bomb the Alfred P. Mur­rah Fed­er­al Build­ing in Okla­homa City on April 19, 1995, killing 168 inno­cent chil­dren and adults and wound­ing more than 600 oth­ers.

    His act 22 years ago, for those who may have for­got­ten, was the dead­liest ter­ror­ist attack in the Unit­ed States before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    McVeigh was con­vict­ed of ter­ror­ism and exe­cut­ed just three months before those attacks.

    His name and heinous crime are not for­got­ten, nor should they be, while there seems to be a grow­ing admi­ra­tion for McVeigh in some extrem­ist cir­cles. One mili­tia hon­cho even likened McVeigh to Jesus Christ.

    Check out these recent men­tions of McVeigh:

    In mid-May, police in Tam­pa, Flori­da, respond­ed to the scene of a dou­ble-mur­der involv­ing young, self-described neo-Nazis.

    Bran­don Rus­sell, who shared the apart­ment with the mur­der sus­pect, was charged with pos­ses­sion of bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als and chem­i­cals, includ­ing ammo­ni­um nitrate – the same kind of mate­r­i­al used by McVeigh.

    In Russell’s bed­room at the apart­ment he shared with the mur­der sus­pect and the two slain neo-Nazis, police found a framed pho­to­graph of Tim­o­thy McVeigh. Rus­sell, who’s in cus­tody, hasn’t pub­licly explained that fas­ci­na­tion.

    ...

    Then on May 26, Jere­my Chris­t­ian, who held extrem­ist views, went on a ram­page in Port­land, Ore­gon, slash­ing the throats and killing two men who attempt­ed to come to the aid of two women Chris­t­ian was harass­ing.

    Just a month ear­li­er, on the anniver­sary­of McVeigh’s dead­ly act of ter­ror­ism, Chris­t­ian praised the Okla­homa City bomber in a Face­book post. “May all the Gods Bless Tim­o­thy McVeigh — a TRUE PATRIOT!!!” Chris­t­ian wrote.

    More recent­ly, neo-Nazi Andrew ‘Weev’ Auern­heimer, who writes for the racist web site “Dai­ly Stormer,” said he was seri­ous in propos­ing a crowd-fund­ing account to raise mon­ey to build a “per­ma­nent mon­u­ment” in a memo­r­i­al grove hon­or­ing McVeigh.

    “Think of it, a gigan­tic bronze stat­ue of Tim­o­thy McVeigh poised tri­umphant­ly atop a Ryder truck, arms raised as if to form an Algiz rune from his body, with a plaque that states the hon­est truth,” Auern­heimer wrote. “Noth­ing would be a greater insult to these piz­za-par­ty guard­ing fed­er­al swine than a per­ma­nent mon­u­ment hon­or­ing [McVeigh’s] jour­ney to Val­hal­la or Fólk­van­gr atop the piles of their corpses.”

    “I am not jok­ing,” Auern­heimer wrote. “This should be done. Imag­ine how angry it would make peo­ple.”

    Last year, dur­ing the ille­gal occu­pa­tion of a fed­er­al wildlife refuge in Ore­gon by antigov­ern­ment fig­ure­head Ammon Bundy and his mili­tia fol­low­ers, Norm Olson, anoth­er long-time mili­tia activist and leader, made omi­nous pub­lic com­ments about McVeigh.

    “The bat­tle for the rights of the peo­ple rages on and it should be assumed that lone wolf patri­ots may be plan­ning anoth­er response to the cen­tral gov­ern­men­t’s abus­es,” Olson wrote. He claimed fed­er­al agents “mur­dered” Bundy asso­ciate LaVoy Finicum, incit­ing Patri­ots, dur­ing the 2016 refuge occu­pa­tion.

    “Once the fuse is lit, it will be hard to extin­guish,” Olson said. “There’s a place that we all should think about: Okla­homa City.”

    Two days lat­er, Olson, who has been active in mili­tia groups in Michi­gan and Alas­ka, said he was ready to tell mem­bers of Con­gress that “Tim­o­thy McVeigh DIED FOR YOUR SINS!!!!!!!!!”

    It’s worth remem­ber­ing that Olson had a unique glimpse of McVeigh. He and Okla­homa bomb­ing co-con­spir­a­tor, Ter­ry Nichols, attend­ed a meet­ing of the Michi­gan Mili­tia, which Olson found­ed in 1994, a year before the Okla­homa City bomb­ing.

    “Anger and frus­tra­tion cre­ate a per­son­al vendet­ta,” Olson wrote last year, claim­ing that the U.S. government’s “case against Tim McVeigh was based on his motive.”

    “His motive was VENDETTA, retal­i­a­tion, ret­ri­bu­tion, eye-for-eye ..f. call it what you want, but there will be blood ... maybe not right away, but soon,” Olson’s said in his omi­nous pub­lic warn­ing.

    Appar­ent­ly refer­ring to McVeigh, Olson said there are oth­er “Patri­ots out there who “want to be remem­bered” and are com­ing to the real­iza­tion that THERE IS NO JUSTICE ... IT IS JUST US!

    Of course, McVeigh may nev­er be as pop­u­lar as oth­er extrem­ist and far-right heroes and memes — - the swasti­ka, the burn­ing cross, Adolf Hitler, Pepe the Frog, George Lin­coln Rock­well, the num­bers 88 and 14 words, the KKK blood-drop cross, William Pierce.

    But the ques­tion remains, why would any­one roman­ti­cize a mod­ern-day, extrem­ist ser­i­al killer and ter­ror­ist?

    Tom Pyszczyn­s­ki, a pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­o­gy at Uni­ver­si­ty of Col­orado who has writ­ten about the psy­cho­log­i­cal make­up of extrem­ists, said he believes only a “rel­a­tive­ly small num­ber of peo­ple” are enthralled with McVeigh.

    “The psy­cho­log­i­cal, social, eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal forces that lead some Amer­i­cans to idol­ize McVeigh are the same as those that lead dis­en­fran­chised or dis­il­lu­sioned young peo­ple in oth­er parts of the world to idol­ize Osama bin Laden or ISIS,” Pyszczyn­s­ki told Hate­watch.

    “They see them [McVeigh, et al] as heroes who stand up for peo­ple like them,” said Pyszczyn­s­ki, who co-devel­oped and test­ed a “ter­ror man­age­ment the­o­ry,” deal­ing with the role of death in life and the role that mean­ing and self-esteem play in man­ag­ing the fear of death.

    “Of course, the specifics of the issues and lives of the peo­ple who fol­low ISIS and those who idol­ize McVeigh are dif­fer­ent, but beneath the sur­face it usu­al­ly boils down to a feel­ing that one’s peo­ple are dis­re­spect­ed and mis­treat­ed, that one’s way of life is under siege from pow­er­ful forces, and that the world as they know it has got­ten out of con­trol,” the uni­ver­si­ty psy­chol­o­gist said.

    “All peo­ple crave mean­ing in life and a sense of per­son­al or group hero­ism to pro­tect them from their deep­est fears,” he said, explain­ing that ulti­mate­ly boils down to the “facts of life, involv­ing death and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty.”

    But some peo­ple, he said, aren’t able to find this in their worlds. So they look else­where, to rad­i­cal fringe groups, like ISIS for some, or white nation­al­ist groups for oth­ers.

    “These groups typ­i­cal­ly have heroes who are idol­ized as stand­ing up to pow­er­ful forces and if they die in that fight, they are con­sid­ered mar­tyrs,” Pyszczyn­s­ki said.

    Clark McCauley, a research pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­o­gy at Bryn Mawr Col­lege in Penn­syl­va­nia, offered sim­i­lar brief views about those indi­vid­u­als enchant­ed with McVeigh.

    “McVeigh is ... a sym­bol of resis­tance and a hero for those who hate and fear the U.S. Gov­ern­ment,” McCauley told Hate­watch. “This includes a wide range of peo­ple, some who see them­selves as neo-Nazis and some who do not.”

    McVeigh’s bomb­ing plan gen­er­al­ly fol­lowed a fic­tion­al account of a race war depict­ed in the “Turn­er Diaries,” a nov­el writ­ten by William Pierce, a one-time col­lege pro­fes­sor who went on to lead the Nation­al Alliance, a neo-Nazi hate group.

    McCauley said he doesn’t per­son­al­ly believe McVeigh was a neo-Nazi, so “he can there­fore be a hero for many dif­fer­ent anti-gov­ern­ment groups.”

    Pyszczyn­s­ki, who teach­es at the Col­orado Springs uni­ver­si­ty, said peo­ple “who feel their way of life is under siege” iden­ti­fy with “heroes” like McVeigh.

    “So rad­i­cal ide­olo­gies, whether they be Islamist or white nation­al­ist, are appeal­ing to peo­ple who strug­gle to find mean­ing and a sense of per­son­al val­ue in their own lives and view anoth­er group as the repos­i­to­ry of evil against which they must fight to reclaim that mean­ing and val­ue,” he said.

    ———-

    “McVeigh Wor­ship: The New Extrem­ist Trend” by Bill Mor­lin; The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter Hate­watch; 06/27/2017

    ““Think of it, a gigan­tic bronze stat­ue of Tim­o­thy McVeigh poised tri­umphant­ly atop a Ryder truck, arms raised as if to form an Algiz rune from his body, with a plaque that states the hon­est truth,” Auern­heimer wrote. “Noth­ing would be a greater insult to these piz­za-par­ty guard­ing fed­er­al swine than a per­ma­nent mon­u­ment hon­or­ing [McVeigh’s] jour­ney to Val­hal­la or Fólk­van­gr atop the piles of their corpses.””

    That’s right, for the far-right some­one like Tim­o­thy McVeigh is a hero­ic fig­ure wor­thy of a giant bronze stat­ue. Would that stat­ue be con­sid­ered pro­tect­ed ‘white her­itage’ by the “Unite the Right” folks once it gets built? It seems like its just a mat­ter of time before some­one builds a stat­ue of the guy Well giv­en the cult-like sta­tus McVeigh has on the far-right. So that’s an unpleas­ant future con­flict over Amer­i­can ‘white her­itage’ that we’re going to have to deal with. Although not as unpleas­ant as the oth­er forms for endur­ing McVeigh wor­ship:

    KFOR.com

    Man arrest­ed by FBI agents after alleged­ly plan­ning to bomb build­ing in down­town Okla­homa City

    KFOR-TV & K. Quer­ry
    08/14/2017

    OKLAHOMA CITY – Fed­er­al offi­cials say that a 23-year-old Okla­homa man has been arrest­ed after alleged­ly plan­ning to blow up a bomb in down­town Okla­homa City.

    Accord­ing to a crim­i­nal com­plaint, the FBI arrest­ed 23-year-old Jer­ry Drake Var­nell at 1 a.m. on Aug. 12 after he alleged­ly attempt­ed to det­o­nate what he believed to be an explo­sives-laden van he had parked in an alley next to Banc­First in down­town Okla­homa City.

    The com­plaint alleges that Var­nell ini­tial­ly want­ed to blow up the Fed­er­al Reserve Build­ing in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. with a device that was sim­i­lar to the one used in the 1995 bomb­ing of the Alfred P. Mur­rah Fed­er­al Build­ing in Okla­homa City.

    Court doc­u­ments claim that Var­nell was upset with the gov­ern­ment, and his plans got the atten­tion of law enforce­ment.

    An under­cov­er FBI agent posed as a per­son who could help him with the bomb­ing.

    Accord­ing to the com­plaint, Var­nell iden­ti­fied Banc­First as the tar­get, helped assem­ble the device, loaded it into a van and drove it to the alley by the bank.

    In fact, offi­cials say that Var­nell even dialed a num­ber on a cell phone that he believed would trig­ger the explo­sion. Author­i­ties say they also found a state­ment that he planned to post to social media after the explo­sion.

    How­ev­er, offi­cials say that the device was actu­al­ly inert and the pub­lic was not in any dan­ger.

    “There was nev­er a con­cern that our community’s safe­ty or secu­ri­ty was at risk dur­ing this inves­ti­ga­tion,” said Kathryn Peter­son, Spe­cial Agent in Charge of the FBI in Okla­homa. “I can assure the pub­lic, with­out hes­i­ta­tion, that we had Varnell’s actions mon­i­tored every step of the way.”

    Var­nell is charged with attempt­ing to use explo­sives to destroy a build­ing in inter­state com­merce.

    “I com­mend the devot­ed work of the FBI and our state law enforce­ment part­ners in ensur­ing that vio­lent plots of this kind nev­er suc­ceed,” said Mark A. Yancey, Unit­ed States Attor­ney for the West­ern Dis­trict of Okla­homa.

    If con­vict­ed, he would face a max­i­mum sen­tence of 20 years in prison and a manda­to­ry min­i­mum sen­tence of five years in prison.

    ...

    ———-

    “Man arrest­ed by FBI agents after alleged­ly plan­ning to bomb build­ing in down­town Okla­homa City” by KFOR-TV & K. Quer­ry; KFOR.com; 08/14/2017

    “The com­plaint alleges that Var­nell ini­tial­ly want­ed to blow up the Fed­er­al Reserve Build­ing in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. with a device that was sim­i­lar to the one used in the 1995 bomb­ing of the Alfred P. Mur­rah Fed­er­al Build­ing in Okla­homa City.”

    And this planned domes­tic ter­ror attack in Okla­homa City was sup­posed to hap­pen at 1 am on Sat­ur­day, the evening the “Unite the Right” torch­light march­es start­ed. On top of be real­ly hor­ri­ble, it’s just the lat­est sign that the far-right real­ly, real­ly, real­ly loves Tim­o­thy McVeigh and thinks he was just a great, hero­ic fig­ure in Amer­i­can his­to­ry.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 14, 2017, 8:11 pm
  2. When you’re liv­ing with a not-very-cryp­to-fas­cist Pres­i­dent in the White House, there are good days and there are those days. And as is evi­dent from the effu­sive praise Pres­i­dent Trump received today over his ongo­ing remarks on the car attack at a neo-Nazi ral­ly in Char­lottesville, VA, this was one of those days:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Livewire

    David Duke Prais­es Trump For Remarks Defend­ing Pro-Con­fed­er­ate Pro­test­ers

    By Matt Shuham Pub­lished August 15, 2017 5:13 pm

    For­mer top Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke praised Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Tues­day for his lat­est remarks regard­ing the white suprema­cist ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia over the week­end, which was orga­nized osten­si­bly as a protest of the removal of a stat­ue of Con­fed­er­ate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

    Thank you Pres­i­dent Trump for your hon­esty & courage to tell the truth about #Char­lottesville & con­demn the left­ist ter­ror­ists in BLM/Antifa https://t.co/tTESdV4LP0— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) August 15, 2017

    Duke, in his praise of Trump, re-post­ed a video of the Pres­i­dent won­der­ing aloud if the removal of mon­u­ments to Con­fed­er­ate fig­ures would end up with the removal of mon­u­ments ded­i­cat­ed to ear­ly Amer­i­can slave­hold­ers, includ­ing Pres­i­dents George Wash­ing­ton and Thomas Jef­fer­son.

    The video also includ­ed Trump say­ing not every­one at the ral­ly on the side of white suprema­cists was a neo-Nazi or a white nation­al­ist.

    Pres­i­dent Trump: “George Wash­ing­ton was a slave own­er... Are we gonna take down stat­ues to George Wash­ing­ton? How about Thomas Jef­fer­son?” pic.twitter.com/bUJnbaniwL— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 15, 2017

    “You had peo­ple — and I’m not talk­ing about the neo-Nazis and the white nation­al­ists, because they should be con­demned, total­ly — but you had many peo­ple in that group oth­er than neo-Nazis and white nation­al­ists, okay?” Trump said in the video re-post­ed by Duke. “And the press has treat­ed them absolute­ly unfair­ly.”

    “Now, in the oth­er group also, you had some fine peo­ple, but you also had trou­ble-mak­ers, and you see them come with the black out­fits, and with the hel­mets, and with the base­ball bats,” Trump added. “You had a lot of bad peo­ple in the oth­er group, too.”

    ———-

    “David Duke Prais­es Trump For Remarks Defend­ing Pro-Con­fed­er­ate Pro­test­ers” by Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points Memo; 08/15/2017

    “Thank you Pres­i­dent Trump for your hon­esty & courage to tell the truth about #Char­lottesville & con­demn the left­ist ter­ror­ists in BLM/Antifa”

    That was the high praise Pres­i­dent Trump received today...from David Duke. And Richard Spencer. And the Dai­ly Stormer. And...

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Livewire

    White Suprema­cists Praise Trump’s Return To Rhetoric Blam­ing ‘Both Sides’

    By Esme Cribb
    Pub­lished August 15, 2017 6:58 pm

    White suprema­cists on Tues­day praised Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for his return to equiv­o­cal rhetoric blam­ing “both sides” for vio­lence that erupt­ed over the week­end at a white nation­al­ist ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia.

    White suprema­cist leader Richard Spencer praised Trump’s state­ment, made dur­ing an off-the-rails press con­fer­ence at Trump Tow­er in Man­hat­tan, as “fair and down to earth.”

    After Trump read a curt state­ment Mon­day denounc­ing white suprema­cists and hate groups by name, Spencer insist­ed he wasn’t being “seri­ous,” and cel­e­brat­ed his rever­sal on Tues­day.

    “Trump cares about the truth,” he tweet­ed.

    Trump cares about the truth. https://t.co/Dv0gGmysPc— Richard ???Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) August 15, 2017

    Trump’s state­ment was fair and down to earth. #Char­lottesville could have been peace­ful, if police did its job. https://t.co/3FUgmWoiWi— Richard ???Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) August 15, 2017

    Bradley Dean Grif­fin, a white nation­al­ist who blogs under the pen name “Hunter Wal­lace” at Occi­den­tal Dis­sent, said Trump’s amend­ed rhetoric was “bet­ter.”

    “The facts about must be fil­ter­ing out now,” he tweet­ed. “He is all over the place but this is much bet­ter.”
    ...

    Neo-Nazi web­site The Dai­ly Stormer was not avail­able on Tues­day after it was boot­ed off sev­er­al web host­ing ser­vices and moved to the so-called Dark Web, part of the inter­net that is not indexed by search engines.

    Accord­ing to the Chica­go Tri­bune, it nev­er­the­less weighed in with an arti­cle titled, “Trump Defends Char­lottesville Nazis Against Jew Media Lies, Con­demns Antifa Ter­ror­ists.”

    ———-

    “White Suprema­cists Praise Trump’s Return To Rhetoric Blam­ing ‘Both Sides’” by Esme Cribb; Talk­ing Points Memo; 08/15/2017

    “After Trump read a curt state­ment Mon­day denounc­ing white suprema­cists and hate groups by name, Spencer insist­ed he wasn’t being “seri­ous,” and cel­e­brat­ed his rever­sal on Tues­day.

    Yep, there was a lot of cel­e­brate today...if you hap­pened to be a neo-Nazi. After all, thanks to Trump’s press con­fer­ence that the white suprema­cists are all rav­ing about, the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States has now put the neo-Nazis and those who show up to protest them large­ly on the same moral ground. They’re both ‘bad’ groups, that he con­demns. He also fret­ting about the removal of Robert E. Lee’s stat­ue, ask­ing if George Wash­ing­ton and Thomas Jef­fer­son stat­ues were next. So, yes Robert E. Lee is appar­ent­ly on the same his­to­ry foot­ing as George Wash­ing­ton and Thomas Jef­fer­son accord­ing to the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. It was that kind of day:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Livewire

    ‘What About The Alt-Left?’ Trump Lash­es Out In Impromp­tu Press Con­fer­ence

    By Matt Shuham
    Pub­lished August 15, 2017 6:21 pm

    Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Tues­day erased any ground he had gained in denounc­ing white suprema­cist groups by revert­ing to his old habits: False equiv­a­len­cies and equiv­o­ca­tion that left white suprema­cists cheer­ing.

    In an angry press con­fer­ence at Trump Tow­er, the Pres­i­dent said that not every­one who ral­lied on the side of white suprema­cists was wor­thy of con­dem­na­tion, and said that he need­ed the two full days before denounc­ing­white white suprema­cist groups in order to “get the facts.”

    These were Trump’s main claims dur­ing the impromp­tu press con­fer­ence:

    Not every­one at the ral­ly was a white suprema­cist

    Though the ral­ly was orga­nized by white suprema­cist groups and osten­si­bly meant to protest the removal of Con­fed­er­ate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Trump claimed some pro­test­ers on the side of the white suprema­cists were inno­cent­ly and jus­ti­fi­ably exer­cis­ing their rights.

    “I have con­demned many dif­fer­ent groups,” he said. “But not all of those peo­ple were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those peo­ple were white suprema­cists, by any stretch. Those peo­ple were also there because they want­ed to protest the tak­ing down of a stat­ue, Robert E. Lee.”

    “I’m not talk­ing about the neo-Nazis and the white nation­al­ists, because they should be con­demned, total­ly,” he added. “But you had many peo­ple in that group oth­er than neo-Nazis and white nation­al­ists, OK? And the press has treat­ed them absolute­ly unfair­ly.”

    Trump said some pro-Con­fed­er­ate pro­test­ers were “protest­ing, very qui­et­ly, the tak­ing down of the stat­ue of Robert E. Lee” on Fri­day night. “You had a lot of peo­ple in that group who were there to inno­cent­ly protest — and very legal­ly protest. I don’t know if you know, they had a per­mit, the oth­er group didn’t have a per­mit. So I only tell you this, there are two sides to a sto­ry.”

    Trump also crit­i­cized what he called the “alt-left.”

    “What about the alt-left that came charg­ing at them?” he asked sep­a­rate­ly. “What about the alt-left that came charg­ing at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any sem­blance of guilt? What about this? What about the fact that they came charg­ing – they came charg­ing with clubs in their hands swing­ing clubs? Do they have any prob­lem? I think they do.”

    He added: “You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the oth­er side that was also very vio­lent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now.”

    I was wait­ing to ‘get the facts’ before con­demn­ing white suprema­cist groups

    On Sat­ur­day, Trump con­demned “many sides” for stir­ring the vio­lence that had left one counter-pro­test­er dead at the time of his state­ment. A man who had ear­li­er been pho­tographed with white suprema­cists had alleged­ly rammed his car into a crowd.

    “I didn’t wait long, I didn’t wait long, I didn’t wait long,” Trump said Tues­day, refer­ring to his spe­cif­ic con­dem­na­tion a day ear­li­er of white suprema­cist groups. “I want­ed to make sure, unlike most politi­cians, that what I said was cor­rect, not make a quick state­ment. The state­ment I made on Sat­ur­day, the first state­ment, was a fine state­ment, but you don’t make state­ments that direct unless you know the fact.”

    “It takes a lit­tle while to get the facts,” he con­tin­ued. “You still don’t know the facts. And it’s a very, very impor­tant process to me. And it’s a very impor­tant state­ment. So I don’t want to go quick­ly and just make a state­ment for the sake of mak­ing a polit­i­cal state­ment. I want to know the facts.”

    The moth­er of the car attack vic­tim praised my state­ment

    Though the moth­er of Heather Hey­er, the woman who died in the car attack, only praised Trump after his Mon­day state­ment explic­it­ly con­demn­ing white suprema­cists, the Pres­i­dent appeared Tues­day to use it to bol­ster his argu­ment for wait­ing two full days to make that con­dem­na­tion.

    “In fact, the young woman who I hear is a fan­tas­tic young woman … her moth­er wrote me and said, through, I guess, Twit­ter, social media, the nicest things,” Trump said. “And I very much appre­ci­at­ed that. I hear she was a fine, real­ly, actu­al­ly, an incred­i­ble young woman. But her moth­er, on Twit­ter, thanked me for what I said. And hon­est­ly, if the press were not fake and if it was hon­est, the press would have said what I said was very nice. But unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a state­ment, I like to know the facts.”

    Tak­ing down Con­fed­er­ate stat­ues is a slip­pery slope

    Cop­ping a com­mon talk­ing point from the far-right, Trump argued that tear­ing down mon­u­ments to Con­fed­er­ate lead­ers could lead to the removal of stat­ues of America’s Found­ing Fathers.

    “George Wash­ing­ton was a slave own­er,” Trump said. “Was George Wash­ing­ton a slave own­er? So will George Wash­ing­ton now lose his sta­tus? Are we going to take down — excuse me. Are we going to take down stat­ues to George Wash­ing­ton? How about Thomas Jef­fer­son?”

    He added: “It’s fine. You’re chang­ing his­to­ry, you’re chang­ing cul­ture.”

    Return­ing to the point lat­er, Trump made the con­nec­tion explic­it: “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jack­son is com­ing down. I won­der, is it George Wash­ing­ton next week, and is it Thomas Jef­fer­son the week after? You real­ly do have to ask your­self, where does it stop?”

    ...

    ———-

    “‘What About The Alt-Left?’ Trump Lash­es Out In Impromp­tu Press Con­fer­ence” by Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points Memo; 08/15/2017

    “Return­ing to the point lat­er, Trump made the con­nec­tion explic­it: “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jack­son is com­ing down. I won­der, is it George Wash­ing­ton next week, and is it Thomas Jef­fer­son the week after? You real­ly do have to ask your­self, where does it stop?””

    So that was what got the white suprema­cists all excit­ed this after­noon. After a neo-Nazi runs down a crown of anti-Nazi pro­tes­tors, the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States spends the next three days have the con­dem­na­tions of the neo-Nazis grudg­ing­ly dragged out of him while try­ing to find equiv­a­lences between Nazis and the anti-Nazis pro­tes­tors. You can see what they’re so gid­dy. Although a lot of that gid­di­ness was prob­a­bly left over from this morn­ing’s twit­ter train­wreck when he tweet­ed an image of a train run­ning over “CNN” and the ‘Alt-Right’ retweet from Mon­day night:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    After Char­lottesville, Trump retweets — then deletes — image of train run­ning over CNN reporter

    By David Naka­mu­ra and Aaron C. Davis
    August 15, 2017 at 8:33 AM

    Pres­i­dent Trump’s war with CNN went off the rails Tues­day morn­ing after he retweet­ed an image of a Trump train run­ning over a CNN reporter, then quick­ly delet­ed it after the meme sparked crit­i­cism as inap­pro­pri­ate just days after the Char­lottesville vio­lence.

    Trump was in the mid­dle of his usu­al morn­ing tweet­storm when he sent the car­toon image — post­ed by a sup­port­er who added, “Noth­ing can stop the #TrumpTrain!!” — to his near­ly 36 mil­lion fol­low­ers.

    Trump RT’d this pic show­ing a CNN jour­nal­ist hit by a train days after a white nation­al­ist ran his car into activists, killed Heather Hey­er. pic.twitter.com/tWjdoE70AS— Kyle Grif­fin (@kylegriffin1) August 15, 2017

    The pres­i­dent quick­ly delet­ed his hand­i­work but not before the orig­i­nal tweet had been retweet­ed hun­dreds of times and was cap­tured on screen shots by jour­nal­ists and activists.

    Trump’s pro­mo­tion of the image came three days after a white suprema­cist ral­ly in Char­lottesville turned into a vio­lent clash between the suprema­cists and coun­ter­pro­test­ers. Heather Hey­er, 32, was killed and 19 oth­ers injured when a dri­ver slammed his car into a crowd of coun­ter­pro­test­ers. A 20-year old man, who has report­ed­ly espoused neo-Nazi views, has been charged with sec­ond-degree mur­der in the case. Two police offi­cers also died when their heli­copter crashed.

    Trump did not imme­di­ate­ly con­demn the hate groups behind the “Unite the Right” ral­ly, draw­ing crit­i­cism from Democ­rats and some Repub­li­cans. On Mon­day, the pres­i­dent attempt­ed to make amends and denounced the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis by name, while call­ing white suprema­cists “repug­nant to all that we hold dear as Amer­i­cans.”

    But even as he attempt­ed to clar­i­fy his views, Trump seemed eager to blame the back­lash on reporters, in par­tic­u­lar CNN. As the pres­i­dent was wrap­ping up a pho­to op relat­ed to inter­na­tion­al trade Mon­day, CNN cor­re­spon­dent Jim Acos­ta asked him why he had wait­ed so long to con­demn the hate groups by name and why he had not answered ques­tions from reporters.

    “I like real news, not fake news,” Trump said. Point­ing a fin­ger toward Acos­ta, Trump added: “You are fake news.”

    If the pres­i­dent awoke Tues­day think­ing his Twit­ter account would help him regain con­trol of his polit­i­cal nar­ra­tive, he was mis­tak­en, how­ev­er, as he also mis­fired in retweet­ing a man call­ing him a “fas­cist.”

    A user named Mike Hold­en was reply­ing to a Fox News sto­ry that said Trump had told the net­work in an inter­view that he was con­sid­er­ing issu­ing a a pres­i­den­tial par­don for for­mer Ari­zona sher­iff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of defy­ing a judge’s order to halt traf­fic patrols on sus­pect­ed undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants. “He’s a fas­cist, so not unusu­al,” Hold­en wrote, only to find him­self retweet­ed by the 45th pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States.

    I’m announc­ing my retire­ment from Twit­ter. I’ll nev­er top this RT. pic.twitter.com/HuGHkiPoyR— Mike Hold­en (@MikeHolden42) August 15, 2017

    Hold­en has post­ed a rapid-fire series of tweets and retweets over the past days on British pol­i­tics and the fall­out from the vio­lence in Char­lottesville, includ­ing a retweet of a car­toon in the Guardian news­pa­per depict­ing the White House topped by a KKK-style point­ed hood. His Twit­ter page also has var­i­ous trib­utes to Bernard Ken­ney, a British man who attempt­ed to sub­due a far-right gun­man who fatal­ly shot British par­lia­ment mem­ber Jo Cox last year. Ken­ney, who was stabbed by the attack­er Thomas Mair, died Mon­day.

    ...

    Hold­en called the Char­lottesville ral­ly a “fas­cist march.”

    “For a pres­i­dent to still be at Bed­min­ster play­ing golf and not come out and say more? From a large cat­a­logue of things he’s done, it seemed among the worst,” he said.

    Hold­en quick­ly set a screen shot of Trump’s retweet as his Twit­ter back­ground image and boast­ed about the endorse­ment — kind of — in his bio on the social media site.

    “Offi­cial­ly Endorsed by the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States,” he wrote. “I wish that were a good thing.”

    Late Mon­day, Trump also retweet­ed a post from the Twit­ter account linked to right-wing provo­ca­teur Jack Poso­biec, a Trump sup­port­er known for fan­ning con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, includ­ing the infa­mous “Piz­za­gate” rumors of child traf­fick­ing. Posobiec’s tweet — retweet­ed by Trump and not tak­en down — linked to a sto­ry from an ABC affil­i­ate and read: “Mean­while: 39 shoot­ings in Chica­go this week­end, 9 deaths. No nation­al media out­rage. Why is that?”

    Poso­biec, a for­mer Navy Reserve intel­li­gence offi­cer, had worked for right-wing web­site the Rebel. Poso­biec gained nation­al atten­tion dur­ing “Piz­za­gate,” a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that claimed Hillary Clin­ton and her cam­paign chief har­bored a child sex ring in a piz­za restau­rant in Wash­ing­ton. The Inter­net-fueled false­hood led a gun­man in Decem­ber to fire an assault-style rifle as he searched the pizze­ria, Comet Ping Pong.

    ———-

    “After Char­lottesville, Trump retweets — then deletes — image of train run­ning over CNN reporter” by David Naka­mu­ra and Aaron C. Davis; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 08/15/2017

    “Pres­i­dent Trump’s war with CNN went off the rails Tues­day morn­ing after he retweet­ed an image of a Trump train run­ning over a CNN reporter, then quick­ly delet­ed it after the meme sparked crit­i­cism as inap­pro­pri­ate just days after the Char­lottesville vio­lence.

    Classy. And rather rem­i­nis­cent of the pre­vi­ous “CNN Fak­e­news” image Trump retweet­ed a while back that result­ed in Andrew Auern­heimer at the Dai­ly Stormer plot­ting a ter­ror against the fam­i­lies of CNN employ­ees. So, yeah, real classy.

    And then there was the retweet os an Alt-Right per­son­al­i­ty about crime in Chica­go over the week­end by that was clear­ly intend­ed to deflect atten­tion from the neo-Nazi ral­ly by direct­ing atten­tion to crime in pre­dom­i­nant­ly African Amer­i­can neigh­bor­hoods and sug­gest a par­al­lel with a neo-Nazi hate ral­ly that result­ed in a domes­tic ter­ror attack:

    ...
    Late Mon­day, Trump also retweet­ed a post from the Twit­ter account linked to right-wing provo­ca­teur Jack Poso­biec, a Trump sup­port­er known for fan­ning con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, includ­ing the infa­mous “Piz­za­gate” rumors of child traf­fick­ing. Posobiec’s tweet — retweet­ed by Trump and not tak­en down — linked to a sto­ry from an ABC affil­i­ate and read: “Mean­while: 39 shoot­ings in Chica­go this week­end, 9 deaths. No nation­al media out­rage. Why is that?”

    Poso­biec, a for­mer Navy Reserve intel­li­gence offi­cer, had worked for right-wing web­site the Rebel. Poso­biec gained nation­al atten­tion dur­ing “Piz­za­gate,” a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that claimed Hillary Clin­ton and her cam­paign chief har­bored a child sex ring in a piz­za restau­rant in Wash­ing­ton. The Inter­net-fueled false­hood led a gun­man in Decem­ber to fire an assault-style rifle as he searched the pizze­ria, Comet Ping Pong.

    Oh so classy.

    As we can see, today was one of those days. The kind of day that has neo-Nazis tweet­ing with glee. And yeah, pret­ty much every day in the Trump era is one of those days, but this one was extra bad sim­ply because it was the day after Trump belat­ed issued the open con­dem­na­tion of white suprema­cy and racism that the pub­lic was clam­or­ing for fol­low­ing the neo-Nazi attack. So today was­n’t just a sign of a lack of progress. It was Trump regress­ing. In real time. It was that kind of day. One step for­ward, two goose-steps back. Sad!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 15, 2017, 8:18 pm
  3. Amidst all the reports about the White House staff being “stunned” by Pres­i­dent Trump’s deci­sion to ‘go rogue’ and go on a press con­fer­ence tirade defend­ing his ‘both sides had good and bad peo­ple’ response to the Char­lottesville, Vir­gina neo-Nazi car attack on a group of anti-Nazi pro­tes­tors, it’s worth not­ing that those dis­com­fort­ed sen­ti­ments don’t apply to Steve Ban­non. Or course:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Livewire

    Reports: Ban­non Was ‘Thrilled,’ ‘Proud’ After Trump’s Char­lottesville Press­er

    By Matt Shuham Pub­lished
    August 16, 2017 2:47 pm

    White House chief strate­gist Steve Ban­non was report­ed­ly “thrilled” and “proud” after Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s com­ments Tues­day that not every­one who attend­ed a white suprema­cist ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia over the week­end was wor­thy of con­dem­na­tion.

    Dur­ing an impromp­tu press con­fer­ence in the lob­by of Trump Tow­er Tues­day, Trump said “I think there’s blame on both sides” — both the white suprema­cists’ and counter-pro­test­ers’ — for the weekend’s tur­moil, and that not every­one who protest­ed the statue’s removal deserved crit­i­cism.

    “You had peo­ple — and I’m not talk­ing about the neo-Nazis and the white nation­al­ists, because they should be con­demned, total­ly — but you had many peo­ple in that group oth­er than neo-Nazis and white nation­al­ists, OK?” he said. “And the press has treat­ed them absolute­ly unfair­ly.”

    Many in the White House have com­mu­ni­cat­ed to reporters — off the record — that Trump’s state­ments made them uncom­fort­able. For Ban­non, at least accord­ing to unnamed sources famil­iar with his opin­ion, the oppo­site is true.

    An unnamed “friend” of Bannon’s told Politi­co the advis­er was “thrilled” with the remarks.

    And an unnamed source “close” to Ban­non told Bloomberg he was “proud” of Trump’s per­for­mance.

    Ban­non has a his­to­ry with many of the groups and ide­olo­gies present at Saturday’s ral­ly, which descend­ed into may­hem and vio­lence and result­ed in the death of one counter-pro­test­er after a man who had ear­li­er been pho­tographed with white suprema­cists alleged­ly rammed his car into a crowd.

    “We’re the plat­form for the alt-right,” Ban­non boast­ed to Moth­er Jones in July 2016, refer­ring to Bre­it­bart News, the con­ser­v­a­tive plat­form he used to run before join­ing Trump’s cam­paign for Pres­i­dent, and even­tu­al­ly, Trump’s White House.

    ...

    ———-

    “Reports: Ban­non Was ‘Thrilled,’ ‘Proud’ After Trump’s Char­lottesville Press­er” by Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points Memo; 08/16/2017

    “Many in the White House have com­mu­ni­cat­ed to reporters — off the record — that Trump’s state­ments made them uncom­fort­able. For Ban­non, at least accord­ing to unnamed sources famil­iar with his opin­ion, the oppo­site is true.

    Yep, Ban­non was­n’t just “thrilled”. He was “proud”:

    ...
    An unnamed “friend” of Bannon’s told Politi­co the advis­er was “thrilled” with the remarks.

    And an unnamed source “close” to Ban­non told Bloomberg he was “proud” of Trump’s per­for­mance.
    ...

    Pre­sum­ably that was ‘White pride’ fill­ing Ban­non’s heart, although maybe it was some sort of ‘Machi­avel­li divide-and-con­quer cam­paign strate­gist pride’. Or maybe a bit of both. We don’t get to know. It’s one of life’s mys­ter­ies.

    But as Josh Mar­shall not­ed after yes­ter­day’s Trump tirade, what is becom­ing increas­ing­ly non-mys­te­ri­ous is the answer to why it is that Don­ald Trump insists on defend­ing and asso­ci­at­ing him­self with the ‘Alt-Right’ and oth­er far-right racists. And it does­n’t require the appli­ca­tion of “Trump’s Razor”. Nope, good ol’ Occam’s razor should suf­fice in the this instance: He asso­ciates him­self with and defends the ‘Alt-Right’ neo-Nazi move­ment because he is a part of it:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Edi­tor’s Blog

    The House Is On Fire – Accept­ing the Truth of the Trump Rev­o­lu­tion

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished August 16, 2017 12:15 am

    For those who’ve rec­og­nized what should real­ly be obvi­ous, this is quite a para­graph in the Times’ account of today’s Trump press con­fer­ence

    No word in the Trump lex­i­con is as tread-worn as “unprece­dent­ed.” But mem­bers of the president’s staff, stunned and dis­heart­ened, said they nev­er expect­ed to hear such a vol­u­ble artic­u­la­tion of opin­ions that the pres­i­dent had long expressed in pri­vate. Nation­al Eco­nom­ic Coun­cil Chair­man Gary Cohn and Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven T. Mnuchin, who are Jew­ish, stood by uncom­fort­ably as the pres­i­dent exac­er­bat­ed a con­tro­ver­sy that has once again engulfed a White House in dis­ar­ray.

    There you have it. This is Trump, a man whose deep­est polit­i­cal impuls­es are tied to racial griev­ance and a desire for revenge, a desire to place the deserv­ing and white back at the top of the racial hier­ar­chy. Peo­ple get caught up on whether or not peo­ple are will­ing to call Trump a ‘racist’. Of course, he’s a racist. But that doesn’t tell us enough. Lots of peo­ple dis­like blacks or Jews, don’t want to live near them, etc. But many, like­ly most with racist atti­tudes, do not embrace a pol­i­tics dri­ven by racial griev­ance. Trump’s pol­i­tics are about racial griev­ance. It’s not latent or periph­er­al but rather cen­tral. That’s dif­fer­ent and it’s worse. It is one of the few con­sis­tent themes in his pol­i­tics going back many, many years.

    It is worth not­ing this oth­er pas­sage in the piece: “Mr. Trump prides him­self on an unapolo­getic style he learned from his father, Fred Trump, a New York City hous­ing devel­op­er, and Roy Cohn, a com­bat­ive lawyer who served as an aide to Sen­a­tor Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.” Quite true. One might also add though that both men, from pro­found­ly dif­fer­ent back­grounds and life expe­ri­ences, were dyed-in-the-wool racists.

    The ear­li­er pas­sage from the Times tells us explic­it­ly what should be clear from watch­ing the con­sis­ten­cy of Trump’s pub­lic actions. What we saw today is the real Trump. Most of White House ‘comms’ appears to be a mat­ter of keep­ing this real Trump in check or at least served up in palat­able morsels rather than all at once.

    “A vol­u­ble artic­u­la­tion of opin­ions that the pres­i­dent had long expressed in pri­vate.”

    We can infer what stands behind a person’s pub­lic state­ments if we’ve seen them enough, under dif­fer­ent pres­sures and in dif­fer­ent con­texts. Trump’s repeat­ed expres­sions of sym­pa­thy for racist activists, refusals to denounce racist activists, cod­dling and appoint­ments of racist activists can only real­ly mean one thing: that he instinc­tive­ly sym­pa­thizes with them and indeed is one. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me 80 mil­lion times, I need to seri­ous­ly con­sid­er what the fuck is wrong with me.

    Again, there’s no rea­son­able, alter­na­tive expla­na­tion.

    I’m remind­ed of Ptolemy’s ancient, geo­cen­tric mod­el of the solar sys­tem, which was only super­seded by the Coper­ni­can, helio­cen­tric mod­el in the 16th cen­tu­ry. If we knew noth­ing more than what we see when we looked in the sky, it makes per­fect sense to think the sun revolves around the Earth. We see it hap­pen every day! But when you begin to make detailed obser­va­tions of the motions of the plan­ets, the sun and the stars, you are forced to posit a series of increas­ing­ly intri­cate and hero­ic assump­tions to make every­thing fit togeth­er: there are orbits with­in orbits, lit­tle side wan­der­ings and detours to make every­thing fit togeth­er.

    Once you put the sun at the cen­ter of the solar sys­tem, every­thing gets much, much sim­pler. The data all falls into place with­out any big hero­ic or far-fetched assump­tions.

    The sim­pler expla­na­tion that accounts for all the avail­able facts is not always right. But as Occam not­ed, it is always to be pre­ferred. What we need is a Coper­ni­can rev­o­lu­tion in our under­stand­ing of Trump­ism, or at least some of us need it. The break­through for Coper­ni­cus was in posit­ing the unimag­in­able, indeed the ter­ri­fy­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty that the Earth is not the cen­ter of the uni­verse but rather a periph­er­al, sec­ondary celes­tial body. Once you accept that, a lot falls into place.

    With Trump, he has a revan­chist racist pol­i­tics because he is a revan­chist racist. Once you accept that, a lot falls into place. All the hero­ic and increas­ing­ly non­sen­si­cal per­am­bu­la­tions of mis­un­der­stand­ings, inex­pe­ri­ence, missed oppor­tu­ni­ties, stub­born­ness and all the rest are not need­ed. It all falls into place.

    ...

    I con­fess I had a small degree of sur­prise that the events of the week­end – as hor­ri­fy­ing and trag­ic as they are – have had quite the effect on peo­ple they seem to have had. This is not to dimin­ish them. It is only to say that I do not think they should be so sur­pris­ing. I don’t think they should amount to a rev­e­la­tion that shifts our basic under­stand­ing of things. We have if not a grow­ing white suprema­cist move­ment in the US at least an increas­ing­ly vocal and embold­ened one. They both made Trump pos­si­ble and have in turn been ener­gized and embold­ened by his suc­cess. He reacts this way because he is one of them. He is dri­ven by the same view of the world, the same ani­mus and griev­ances. What we’ve seen over the last five days is sick­en­ing and awful. The house is on fire. But it was on fire a week ago. It’s been on fire since Novem­ber. The truth is indeed unimag­in­able and ter­ri­fy­ing. But we need to accept the full truth of it if we are going to be able to save our coun­try.

    ———-

    “The House Is On Fire – Accept­ing the Truth of the Trump Rev­o­lu­tion” by Josh Mar­shall; Talk­ing Points Memo; 08/16/2017

    “With Trump, he has a revan­chist racist pol­i­tics because he is a revan­chist racist. Once you accept that, a lot falls into place. All the hero­ic and increas­ing­ly non­sen­si­cal per­am­bu­la­tions of mis­un­der­stand­ings, inex­pe­ri­ence, missed oppor­tu­ni­ties, stub­born­ness and all the rest are not need­ed. It all falls into place.”

    Yep, while it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble for a politi­cians to cater to and fuel racists pol­i­tics for pure­ly self-serv­ing cyn­i­cal rea­sons, when you exam­ine Trump’s long pub­licly avail­able track record that long-pre­dates his polit­i­cal life we see one indi­ca­tion after anoth­er that Trump him­self real­ly is racist. And brought up to be that way:

    ...
    There you have it. This is Trump, a man whose deep­est polit­i­cal impuls­es are tied to racial griev­ance and a desire for revenge, a desire to place the deserv­ing and white back at the top of the racial hier­ar­chy. Peo­ple get caught up on whether or not peo­ple are will­ing to call Trump a ‘racist’. Of course, he’s a racist. But that doesn’t tell us enough. Lots of peo­ple dis­like blacks or Jews, don’t want to live near them, etc. But many, like­ly most with racist atti­tudes, do not embrace a pol­i­tics dri­ven by racial griev­ance. Trump’s pol­i­tics are about racial griev­ance. It’s not latent or periph­er­al but rather cen­tral. That’s dif­fer­ent and it’s worse. It is one of the few con­sis­tent themes in his pol­i­tics going back many, many years.

    It is worth not­ing this oth­er pas­sage in the piece: “Mr. Trump prides him­self on an unapolo­getic style he learned from his father, Fred Trump, a New York City hous­ing devel­op­er, and Roy Cohn, a com­bat­ive lawyer who served as an aide to Sen­a­tor Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.” Quite true. One might also add though that both men, from pro­found­ly dif­fer­ent back­grounds and life expe­ri­ences, were dyed-in-the-wool racists.
    ...

    ““Mr. Trump prides him­self on an unapolo­getic style he learned from his father, Fred Trump, a New York City hous­ing devel­op­er, and Roy Cohn, a com­bat­ive lawyer who served as an aide to Sen­a­tor Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.” Quite true. One might also add though that both men, from pro­found­ly dif­fer­ent back­grounds and life expe­ri­ences, were dyed-in-the-wool racists.”

    It’s also worth not­ing that if Steven Ban­non was “thrilled” by Trump’s tirade that sug­gests that Ban­non not only liked the sen­ti­ment behind it but also the pol­i­tics. Don’t for­get, he’s Trump’s chief polit­i­cal strate­gist. And he was “thrilled” by that dis­play that’s sparked out­rage across the coun­try. In oth­er words, Ban­non appar­ent­ly approves of the polit­i­cal game of cre­at­ing a nation­al polit­i­cal lit­mus test over the ques­tion of whether or not Nazis and anti-Nazis are moral­ly equiv­a­lent. That’s what Trump was doing, inten­tion­al­ly or unin­ten­tion­al­ly, and it appears to be a Ban­non-approved tac­tic.

    So that’s where we are: a nation a Pres­i­dent who appar­ent­ly can’t help but wear his heart on his sleave. And that heart is filled with racist thought, con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, and griev­ances. Love­ly.

    It all rais­es a rather inter­est­ing ques­tion: While it’s extreme­ly like­ly that what­ev­er is in Trump’s heart will be tak­en to the grave. Sad­ly. But in the spir­it of heal­ing it’s prob­a­bly worth ask­ing if are there any sort of de-rad­i­cal­iza­tion tech­niques that could be bor­rowed from the var­i­ous groups that work on de-progam­ming die-hard racists and extrem­ists that could some­how be applied remote­ly that might have a pos­i­tive impact? And not just on Trump. There’s no doubt plen­ty of folks in the White House in need of depro­gram­ming: Steve Ban­non, Stephen Miller and Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka, etc. With all the mon­ey the US gov­ern­ment has invest­ed in anti-extrem­ism pro­grams, is there any­thing with a record of suc­cess that might work, even if it’s just a tiny chance of suc­cess? If so, they’re prob­a­bly worth try­ing. And who knows, if it works, we might be able to con­vince the Trump admin­is­tra­tion to give back the mon­ey it cut for the only group the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment funds focused on de-rad­i­cal­iz­ing neo-Nazis:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Con­tro­ver­sial Trump Aide Katharine Gor­ka Helped End Fund­ing For Group That Fights White Suprema­cy
    Life After Hate works to de-rad­i­cal­ize neo-Nazis. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion decid­ed it wasn’t a pri­or­i­ty.

    By Jes­si­ca Schul­berg
    08/15/2017 08:34 am ET Updat­ed

    WASHINGTON — Weeks before a vio­lent white suprema­cist ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, led to three deaths and 19 injuries, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion revoked a grant to Life After Hate, a group that works to de-rad­i­cal­ize neo-Nazis.

    The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty had award­ed the group $400,000 as part of its Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism pro­gram pro­gram in Jan­u­ary, just days before for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma left office. It was the only group select­ed for a grant that focused exclu­sive­ly on fight­ing white suprema­cy. But the grant mon­ey was not imme­di­ate­ly dis­bursed.

    Trump aides, includ­ing Katharine Gor­ka, a con­tro­ver­sial nation­al secu­ri­ty ana­lyst known for her anti-Mus­lim rhetoric, were already work­ing toward elim­i­nat­ing Life After Hate’s grant and to direct all fund­ing toward fight­ing what the pres­i­dent has described as “rad­i­cal Islam­ic ter­ror­ism.”

    In Decem­ber, Gor­ka, then a mem­ber of Trump’s tran­si­tion team, met with George Selim, the DHS offi­cial who head­ed the Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism pro­gram until he resigned last month, and his then-deputy, David Ger­sten.

    Gor­ka told Selim and Ger­sten she didn’t agree with the Oba­ma administration’s approach to coun­ter­ing vio­lent extrem­ism — par­tic­u­lar­ly the way the admin­is­tra­tion had described the threat of extrem­ism, accord­ing to Nate Sny­der, an Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion DHS coun­tert­er­ror­ism offi­cial who was an advis­er on Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism efforts and was giv­en a read­out of the meet­ing. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion has repeat­ed­ly crit­i­cized the pre­vi­ous admin­is­tra­tion for avoid­ing terms like “rad­i­cal Islam” out of con­cern that it could alien­ate Mus­lims in the U.S. and abroad.

    “That was sort of fore­shad­ow­ing what was going to come,” Sny­der said of the Decem­ber meet­ing.

    ...

    Gor­ka and her hus­band, Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka, also a Trump White House offi­cial, have col­lab­o­rat­ed on numer­ous writ­ings about the threat of rad­i­cal Islam. Though they have a large fol­low­ing with­in far-right cir­cles — they both have bylines at Bre­it­bart News — main­stream nation­al secu­ri­ty experts are either unfa­mil­iar with or crit­i­cal of their work.

    The day after Trump won the elec­tion, Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka said, “I pre­dict with absolute cer­ti­tude, the jet­ti­son­ing of con­cepts such as CVE.”

    Once Trump entered the White House in Jan­u­ary, the office of then-DHS Sec­re­tary John Kel­ly ordered a full review of the Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism pro­gram. Kelly’s office want­ed to re-vet the groups receiv­ing a por­tion of the $10 mil­lion Con­gress had appro­pri­at­ed for the pro­gram — even though DHS had already pub­licly announced the grant recip­i­ents.

    While that review was under­way, DHS and the FBI warned in an inter­nal intel­li­gence bul­letin of the threat posed by white suprema­cy. White suprema­cists “were respon­si­ble for 49 homi­cides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any oth­er domes­tic extrem­ist move­ment,” the two agen­cies wrote in a May 10 doc­u­ment obtained by For­eign Pol­i­cy. Mem­bers of the white suprema­cist move­ment “like­ly will con­tin­ue to pose a threat of lethal vio­lence over the next year,” they con­clud­ed.

    Staffers in the Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism pro­gram have long pushed for it to address threats from domes­tic ter­ror­ists, includ­ing white suprema­cists.

    But when DHS pub­lished a new list of award recip­i­ents on June 23, there was no men­tion of Life After Hate.

    DHS also revoked fund­ing from the Mus­lim Pub­lic Affairs Coun­cil, an Amer­i­can Mus­lim advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion that was told in Jan­u­ary it would receive a $393,800 grant to cre­ate com­mu­ni­ty resource cen­ters through­out the coun­try.

    After pub­lish­ing its new list of grantees, DHS told Mus­lim Pub­lic Affairs Coun­cil that it was now pri­or­i­tiz­ing orga­ni­za­tions that worked with law enforce­ment. The mon­ey that was ini­tial­ly set aside for com­mu­ni­ty-based groups like Mus­lim Pub­lic Affairs Coun­cil and Life After Hate will now go to sev­er­al law enforce­ment agen­cies.

    “Is this real­ly just a front for tar­get­ing the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty?” asked Omar Noureldin, Mus­lim Pub­lic Affairs Council’s vice pres­i­dent. Noureldin is now look­ing into whether the Trump administration’s use of the Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism program’s funds vio­lates con­gres­sion­al appro­pri­a­tion intent.

    Less than two months after DHS announced it was pulling fund­ing from Life After Hate, Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year old Ohioan, trav­eled to Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, to join white suprema­cists armed with long guns, wav­ing Nazi and Con­fed­er­ate flags and protest­ing the removal of a stat­ue of Con­fed­er­ate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a local park.

    Fields is now accused of ram­ming a Dodge Chal­lenger into a crowd of pedes­tri­ans on Sat­ur­day, and has since been charged with sec­ond-degree mur­der for the death of 32-year-old coun­ter­pro­test­er Heather Hey­er. Dozens of oth­ers were injured, and two Vir­ginia state troop­ers died in a heli­copter crash while mon­i­tor­ing the vio­lent demon­stra­tion.

    Life After Hate was found­ed by for­mer white suprema­cists who have renounced the racist ide­ol­o­gy and who now help oth­ers tran­si­tion out of hate groups and re-assim­i­late into soci­ety. Chris­t­ian Pic­col­i­ni, a for­mer neo-Nazi and a co-founder of the group, told NPR on Sun­day he was not sur­prised by the dev­as­ta­tion in Char­lottesville.

    The white suprema­cy move­ment “has been grow­ing, but it’s also been shape-shift­ing,” Pic­col­i­ni said. “It’s gone from what we would have con­sid­ered very open neo-Nazis and skin­heads and KKK march­ing, to now peo­ple that look like our neigh­bors, our doc­tors, our teach­ers, our mechan­ics.”

    “And it’s cer­tain­ly start­ing to embold­en them, because a lot of the rhetoric that’s com­ing out of the White House today is so sim­i­lar to what we preached ... but in a slight­ly more palat­able way,” he added.

    As the vio­lence in Char­lottesville unfold­ed on Sat­ur­day, Trump con­demned “this egre­gious dis­play of hatred, big­otry and vio­lence, on many sides,” adding that the prob­lem exist­ed dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. The pres­i­dent ignored sev­er­al calls to specif­i­cal­ly denounce white suprema­cists and neo-Nazis who said they were work­ing to ful­fill Trump’s cam­paign promis­es.

    It wasn’t until Mon­day, two days after the vio­lent ral­ly, that Trump specif­i­cal­ly denounced “the [Ku Klux Klan], neo-Nazis, white suprema­cists and oth­er hate groups.”

    Trump’s hes­i­tan­cy to dis­avow white suprema­cists echoes his prac­tice of repeat­ed­ly dodg­ing ques­tions about David Duke, a for­mer KKK grand wiz­ard who sup­port­ed Trump, dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Fac­ing pub­lic pres­sure, Trump even­tu­al­ly dis­tanced him­self from the infa­mous white suprema­cist.

    Now in the White House, Trump has sur­round­ed him­self with an array of peo­ple tied to white suprema­cist, anti-Semit­ic, anti-Mus­lim and anti-immi­grant groups.

    Katharine Gor­ka, now an advis­er in the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s pol­i­cy office, has pushed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood infil­trat­ing the gov­ern­ment and media. Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka is a deputy assis­tant to the pres­i­dent and has described Islam as an inher­ent­ly vio­lent reli­gion. He argued days before the Char­lottesville attack that white suprema­cy is not “the prob­lem” fac­ing the coun­try.

    Stephen Miller, Trump’s speech­writer and pol­i­cy advis­er, has blamed the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror attacks on poor immi­gra­tion enforce­ment, and accused black stu­dents of racial “para­noia.” Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil spokesman Michael Anton wrote under a pseu­do­nym that Islam is “incom­pat­i­ble with the mod­ern West,” and that diver­si­ty is “a source of weak­ness, ten­sion, and dis­union.”

    And Trump him­self cam­paigned for pres­i­dent on the plat­form of ban­ning Mus­lims from trav­el­ing to the U.S. and build­ing a wall to keep Mex­i­cans out — pro­pos­als that won him enthu­si­as­tic sup­port from white suprema­cists.

    DHS did not direct­ly respond to a ques­tions about why it cut fund­ing for de-rad­i­cal­iz­ing neo-Nazis, and whether it views white suprema­cy as an extrem­ist threat.

    Six­teen of the 26 groups that received DHS fund­ing “have applic­a­bil­i­ty to all forms of vio­lent extrem­ism and as such will address the threat of domes­tic ter­ror­ism,” Anna Franko, a DHS spokes­woman, wrote in an email.

    ———-

    “Con­tro­ver­sial Trump Aide Katharine Gor­ka Helped End Fund­ing For Group That Fights White Suprema­cy” by Jes­si­ca Schul­berg; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 08/15/2017

    “Life After Hate was found­ed by for­mer white suprema­cists who have renounced the racist ide­ol­o­gy and who now help oth­ers tran­si­tion out of hate groups and re-assim­i­late into soci­ety. Chris­t­ian Pic­col­i­ni, a for­mer neo-Nazi and a co-founder of the group, told NPR on Sun­day he was not sur­prised by the dev­as­ta­tion in Char­lottesville.”

    That’s the group that just had its fed­er­al fund­ing elim­i­nat­ed: a white suprema­cist de-pro­gram­ming orga­ni­za­tion run by ex-white suprema­cists. And it was­n’t due to elim­i­nat­ing waste or gov­ern­ment redun­dan­cy since it was the only orga­ni­za­tion focused exclu­sive­ly on white suprema­cists in the entire fed­er­al coun­ter­ing vio­lent extrem­ism (CVE) pro­gram.

    So if there’s any thing we can learn from Life After Hate that might work on per­suad­ing the white nation­al­ists in the White House to begin their per­son­al jour­ney of heal­ing we should prob­a­bly apply those lessons soon. Very soon. Ide­al­ly yes­ter­day.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 16, 2017, 2:22 pm
  4. Roger Stone recent­ly pre­dict­ed a “spasm of vio­lence” and insur­rec­tion should Don­ald Trump be impeached, say­ing “Both sides are heav­i­ly armed, my friend, This is not 1974. Peo­ple will not stand for impeach­ment.”. On one lev­el it was just more typ­i­cal­ly dis­turb­ing talk from some­one like Roger Stone. But on the oth­er hand, it’s also kind of hard to ignore the fact that much of the right-wing media nar­ra­tive in the US is basi­cal­ly ded­i­cat­ed to depict­ing “the Left” as being the per­pe­tra­tors of a John Birch Soci­ety-esque grand sec­u­lar athe­ist com­mu­nist con­spir­a­cy to sub­vert cap­i­tal­ism and all that is decent. This is where we are. So who knows what the response would be to a Trump impeach­ment for the audi­ence of the right-wing ‘dis­in­fo­tain­ment’ com­plex. It sort of depends on what that dis­in­fo­tain­ment com­plex tells them to do.

    But Stone’s com­ment also high­lights some­thing regard­ing the con­tro­ver­sy that enveloped Don­ald Trump’s com­ments on the Nazi car attack in Char­lottesvilles and Trump’s repeat­ed attempts to pro­mote a nar­ra­tive that there’s a big “vio­lent Left”, as opposed to a rel­a­tive­ly small net­work of Antifa and Black Bloc groups that focus their vio­lence on fas­cists and Nazis: giv­en that the ‘Alt-Right’ and neo-Nazis are open­ly intent on cre­at­ing a spi­ral of vio­lence between Left and Right and want push a nar­ra­tive of a “vio­lent Left” as part of those efforts to recruit peo­ple for an actu­al neo-Nazi white nation­al­ist insur­rec­tion, it’s going to be impor­tant for the broad­er Left to fig­ure out how to address far-left net­works like Antifa that are will­ing to embrace mil­i­tant tac­tics direct­ed at Nazis and fas­cists. There’s sort of a Gand­hi ques­tion at work. How much should you pre­pare to defend your­self when the far-right is active­ly out to pick a fight with left-wing pro­tes­tors as part of a cam­paign to cre­ate a cycle of vio­lence and depict the Left as vio­lent?

    And what should the left do about a move­ment like Antifa that active­ly shows up to fight the far-right groups out to pick fights? On the one hand, it’s obvi­ous that Antifa’s antics are suc­cess­ful­ly play­ing into the “vio­lent Left” meme being pushed by both neo-Nazis and the broad­er main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive media. But it’s not like the ‘Alt Right’ neo-Nazis haven’t demon­strat­ed a will­ing­ness to attack non-Antifa pro­tes­tors. Or run them over in a car. And it’s very pos­si­ble the events in Char­lottesville would have gone much worse if the Antifa peo­ple had­n’t been there if the neo-Nazis sim­ply attacked the rest of the pro­tes­tors who weren’t pre­pared for a crowd of armed Nazis. Guardian Reporter Jason Wil­son was recent­ly inter­viewed by Gary Brech­er and Mark Ames on the War Nerd Pod­cast about his expe­ri­ences in Char­lottesville and if you lis­ten start­ing at to ~5:30 to the pre­view (the first 20 min­utes of the show) you’ll hear Wil­son describe a scene in Char­lottesville on the first night of the “Unite the Right” ral­ly that took place on the Fri­day evening before the Sat­ur­day march/car attack. The way Wil­son depicts it, the “Unite the Right” marchers swarmed and beat the crap out of a much small­er group of counter-pro­tes­tors sur­round­ing a stat­ue and it was­n’t clear that they were Antifa counter-pro­tes­tors. Wil­son depects “Unite the Right” marchers as extreme­ly aggres­sive and start­ing the vio­lence. Addi­tion­al­ly, there are already reports doc­u­ment­ing the online chats by the “Unite the Right” orga­niz­ers where peo­ple prepar­ing for the march active­ly talk about get­ting ready for major brawls and even joked about run­ning over pro­tes­tors.

    So what on earth is the appro­pri­ate response to Nazi attempts to start a cycle of vio­lence giv­en the right-wing media land­scape where paint­ing “the Left” as vio­lent is emerg­ing as a per­ma­nent nar­ra­tive in the Trump era? The Nazis are not just a group of hor­ri­bly big­ot­ed peo­ple but also a move­ment that pro­mot­ed both orga­nized and lead­er­less insur­rec­tionary tac­tics for the pur­pose of installing a neo-Nazi regime that will enslave or exter­mi­nate entire peo­ples. How do you fight a move­ment where both their means and ends revolve around start­ing fights and val­i­dat­ing vio­lence as a means of con­flict res­o­lu­tion with­out tak­ing an Antifa approach of say­ing, “Ok, we’ll use vio­lence against Nazis because they are that awful” and what do you do about groups like Antifa that are play­ing into that cycle of vio­lence strat­e­gy?

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Edi­tor’s Blog

    Should We Be Punch­ing Nazis?

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished August 28, 2017 1:09 pm

    As we’ve seen the alt-right and var­i­ous white suprema­cist and fascis­tic groups grow in promi­nence if not nec­es­sar­i­ly num­bers in recent years and now be grant­ed renewed promi­nence and val­i­da­tion from the Pres­i­dent, we see a renewed debate about the role of vio­lence in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. Specif­i­cal­ly, what is the best way and the appro­pri­ate way to react to and com­bat the always men­ac­ing and often vio­lent actions of the kind of peo­ple we saw protest­ing in Char­lottesville?

    A lot of this debate has gone under the rubric of “nazi-punch­ing” after alt-right leader Richard Spencer was cold-cocked at a demon­stra­tion on the fringes of the President’s inau­gu­ra­tion. It’s also got­ten renewed atten­tion because of the grow­ing promi­nence of small but high-pro­file groups going under the name of “antifa”. There are a lot of details here. But I want to focus nar­row­ly on what we should think of groups that not only protest racist groups or come pre­pared to defend them­selves against vio­lence from racist groups but see it as their goal to con­front these groups on equal terms in street con­fronta­tions. In oth­er words, groups that go look­ing for con­fronta­tions and want to get into street brawls.

    Before pro­ceed­ing fur­ther, I want to address what I think are some impor­tant caveats. As we saw in the days after Char­lottesville, Pres­i­dent Trump went to great lengths to equate the two groups which met in Char­lottesville – his var­i­ous ref­er­ences to “many sides” and so forth. The most impor­tant point to keep in mind here is that the vast major­i­ty of the peo­ple protest­ing the white suprema­cists and Nazis were not vio­lent – either in phi­los­o­phy or prac­tice. They were there protest­ing defi­ant­ly but peace­ful­ly against marchers whose very mes­sage was one of men­ace and threat­ened vio­lence. Oth­ers were pre­pared for con­fronta­tions if the oth­er side became vio­lent but weren’t look­ing to ini­ti­ate vio­lence.

    On a basic philo­soph­i­cal lev­el, embrac­ing vio­lence to com­bat polit­i­cal and moral evils like racism and fas­cism is sim­ply not equiv­a­lent to embrac­ing vio­lence to advance these evils. Any lib­er­al­ism or con­sti­tu­tion­al­ism that is so blood­less that it can’t make these dis­tinc­tions is too ornate and the­o­ret­i­cal to exist in the wild. So the entire­ty of Trump’s equiv­a­lence is false. But again, what should our atti­tude be towards even small groups who embrace phys­i­cal con­fronta­tions and vio­lence as the way to con­front these groups?

    I believe that if you look both his­tor­i­cal­ly and in prac­tice, when you have wide­spread street brawl­ing between “good” groups and “bad” groups it almost always ends up being a vic­to­ry for the fas­cist groups. This is for a num­ber of rea­sons. First is that these groups have his­tor­i­cal­ly used the pres­ence of civ­il vio­lence to jus­ti­fy “law and order” crack­downs which usu­al­ly empow­er and prop­a­gate author­i­tar­i­an pol­i­tics. You can already see this, ten­den­tious­ly, in those hideous NRA video hate screeds. Again, his­to­ry tells us this and I think it’s close to intu­itive: break­downs of civ­il peace lead to author­i­tar­i­an crack­downs, which almost always have a right-wing and often racist valence.

    In a relat­ed but more gen­er­al sense, it is pre­cise­ly the aim of fascis­tic groups to shift the basis of civic dia­log, space and pol­i­tics from law to vio­lence. To put it anoth­er way, they are try­ing to shift the basis of soci­ety and pow­er from law, vot­ing, equal­i­ty to force, vio­lence and the dom­i­na­tion of the most pow­er­ful. And in this case we mean pow­er as expressed by the supe­ri­or abil­i­ty to wield vio­lence. Once we’ve moved from one to the oth­er, fas­cists have to a sig­nif­i­cant degree already won. The Nazis and white suprema­cists are lit­er­al­ly try­ing to cre­ate a “both sides” sit­u­a­tion. We should not help them.

    Now, a fre­quent counter this is the argu­ment about the Nazis and how non-vio­lent resis­tance didn’t save Ger­many or even­tu­al­ly the Jews or even­tu­al­ly much of the globe which was engulfed in wars trig­gered by the Nazi par­ty. This argu­ment is both bet­ter and worse than it may seem on the sur­face. Let’s dis­cuss it for a moment.

    There’s a volu­mi­nous lit­er­a­ture, not sur­pris­ing­ly, about what is called the Nazi ‘seizure of pow­er’. A key sec­tion of that debate cen­ters on the fact that there was, by and large, no resis­tance when the Nazis took the for­mal pow­ers they had gained through the machin­ery of the Weimar state and used it to cre­ate a dic­ta­tor­ship. This wasn’t a drawn out or vague process. It occurred over a mat­ter of months in 1933. It hap­pened fast.

    One of the key cri­tiques of what we might call the oppo­si­tion to Hitler has to do with the Ger­man Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, the main par­ty of the non-Com­mu­nist left. By and large the SPD, still a mass par­ty in Ger­many, did not resort to extra-con­sti­tu­tion­al or vio­lent means to resist Hitler’s coup from above. Indeed, there’s at least an argu­ment that the par­ties of the left and cen­ter still con­sti­tut­ed the major­i­ty. The argu­ment has always been that the SPD, though nom­i­nal­ly a Marx­ist par­ty, was so wed­ded to con­sti­tu­tion­al­ism and democ­ra­cy that it was either unable or unwill­ing to resist the destruc­tion of the Weimar state by extra-con­sti­tu­tion­al or vio­lent means.

    This very sim­ple review leaves out a world of com­plex­i­ty. Again, there’s a vast lit­er­a­ture on the Nazi seizure of pow­er, which you can read. I put it out there to note that there is a time when vio­lence and extra-con­sti­tu­tion­al action is like­ly the only way to pre­vent fas­cism and dic­ta­tor­ship. But, para­dox­i­cal­ly, the resort to street vio­lence, polit­i­cal para­mil­i­taries and empow­ered vio­lence over law is also the surest route to the destruc­tion of democ­ra­cy and dic­ta­tor­ship. Quite sim­ply, as dire a sit­u­a­tion as I think the country’s in, we are not remote­ly in a posi­tion com­pa­ra­ble to the Spring of 1933 in Ger­many. Sug­gest­ing oth­er­wise amounts to a grandiose and self-flat­ter­ing con­ceit.

    Now, hear­ing this argu­ment you might think I’m argu­ing for a blood­less “I may dis­agree with what you say but I’ll fight for your right to say it” argu­ment. It’s not. I actu­al­ly like see­ing Nazis get punched. Nor do I think all views deserve a right of equal hear­ing in a demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­ety. Philoso­phies that seek to destroy democ­ra­cy and the rule of law don’t mer­it equal val­i­da­tion by a democ­ra­cy. We grant them cer­tain rights because doing so is con­sis­tent with a larg­er sys­tem of laws and rights that guar­an­tees a civ­il soci­ety that is the antithe­sis of what they believe in. Put anoth­er way, Nazis deserve to get punched. A few suck­er punch­es here and there prob­a­bly send a salu­tary mes­sage. But it’s not always wise to give peo­ple what they deserve.

    I also think that in cas­es where the police either refuse to pro­tect or are unable to pro­tect the vic­tims of fas­cist intim­i­da­tion and vio­lence that there should be defense groups that do so. That is defen­sive vio­lence in spe­cif­ic sit­u­a­tions. And more gen­er­al­ly that only pre­sup­pos­es the break­down of the state and its basic respon­si­bil­i­ties which it should be our main goal to avoid.

    The entire­ty of this seems still a large­ly mar­gin­al issue – a few street brawls in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try in which Nazis come out to march and intim­i­date and left-wing groups go out to meet them also look­ing for a fight. This is a tiny, tiny per­cent­age of those counter-protest­ing these peo­ple. And I don’t include here peo­ple who sim­ply defend them­selves when attacked. But it’s still worth think­ing this ques­tion through – even at a dis­tance – since we live in trou­bled times.

    Push­ing civ­il soci­ety from talk and vot­ing to vio­lence and para­mil­i­taries is what the fas­cists are try­ing to accom­plish – mov­ing from the rule of law to the rule of force. By every his­tor­i­cal stan­dard and also by almost every philo­soph­i­cal one, this is a vic­to­ry for, if not fas­cism, then cer­tain­ly author­i­tar­i­an­ism. The answer to Nazis and white suprema­cists isn’t flow­ery talk or left-wing para­mil­i­taries. It’s a stronger rule of law and an empow­ered state behind it. We have our work cut out for us.

    ———-

    “Should We Be Punch­ing Nazis?” by Josh Mar­shall; Talk­ing Points Memo; 08/28/2017

    In a relat­ed but more gen­er­al sense, it is pre­cise­ly the aim of fascis­tic groups to shift the basis of civic dia­log, space and pol­i­tics from law to vio­lence. To put it anoth­er way, they are try­ing to shift the basis of soci­ety and pow­er from law, vot­ing, equal­i­ty to force, vio­lence and the dom­i­na­tion of the most pow­er­ful. And in this case we mean pow­er as expressed by the supe­ri­or abil­i­ty to wield vio­lence. Once we’ve moved from one to the oth­er, fas­cists have to a sig­nif­i­cant degree already won. The Nazis and white suprema­cists are lit­er­al­ly try­ing to cre­ate a “both sides” sit­u­a­tion. We should not help them.”

    Yep, it is pre­cise­ly the aim of fascis­tic groups to shift the basis of civic dia­log, space and pol­i­tics from law to vio­lence. The ends and the means are the same. Although the full “ends” include things like slav­ery and geno­cide. Don’t for­get, we’re deal­ing with actu­al Nazis here. This is the real deal. And that points us towards a pos­si­ble gen­er­al stance towards groups like Antifa: It’s accept­able if they engage in vio­lence pure­ly as an act of self-defense when law enforce­ment is unable or unwill­ing to inter­vene. But if they’re show­ing up for the expressed pur­pose of street fight­ing with the Nazis that should be ful­ly con­demned. Not because Nazis don’t deserve to get punched, but because get­ting punched fur­thers their plans. Vio­lence real­ly needs to be seen as a last resort, and if Antifa or sim­i­lar groups refuse to rec­og­nize that they are being used to fur­ther the Nazis’ ambi­tions they should be ful­ly con­demned for play­ing dumb and play­ing along with those ambi­tions. Could that work as an approach to Antifa?

    But if there’s some sort of dri­ve to send of a mes­sage of, “Ok, Antifa, don’t play into this cycle of vio­lence,” there would have to be a simul­ta­ne­ous­ly empha­sis on ensur­ing law enforce­ment is ready and will­ing to inter­vene when vio­lence breaks out at these types of events and mak­ing it clear that that is how soci­ety is going to deal with vio­lent extrem­ists: with law enforce­ment and not street brawls:

    ...
    I also think that in cas­es where the police either refuse to pro­tect or are unable to pro­tect the vic­tims of fas­cist intim­i­da­tion and vio­lence that there should be defense groups that do so. That is defen­sive vio­lence in spe­cif­ic sit­u­a­tions. And more gen­er­al­ly that only pre­sup­pos­es the break­down of the state and its basic respon­si­bil­i­ties which it should be our main goal to avoid.

    ...

    Push­ing civ­il soci­ety from talk and vot­ing to vio­lence and para­mil­i­taries is what the fas­cists are try­ing to accom­plish – mov­ing from the rule of law to the rule of force. By every his­tor­i­cal stan­dard and also by almost every philo­soph­i­cal one, this is a vic­to­ry for, if not fas­cism, then cer­tain­ly author­i­tar­i­an­ism. The answer to Nazis and white suprema­cists isn’t flow­ery talk or left-wing para­mil­i­taries. It’s a stronger rule of law and an empow­ered state behind it. We have our work cut out for us.”

    But in addi­tion to stronger rule of law, what about a cam­paign to explic­it­ly point out that the ‘Alt Right’ and neo-Nazis behind are active­ly try­ing to pro­voke a vio­lent con­flict? Because that’s a pret­ty good rea­son for a stronger rule of law...making it specif­i­cal­ly stronger for the pur­pose of address­ing a move­ment plan­ning on weak­en­ing rule of law for the pur­pose of replac­ing civic dia­log with vio­lence as the new nor­mal.

    But there’s anoth­er key issue that needs to be addressed regard­ing move­ments like Antifa, and that’s the fact that peo­ple like Jere­my Chris­t­ian exist. Chris­t­ian is, of course, the Alt Right lunatic who stabbed two men to death in Port­land after they inter­vened when he began ver­bal­ly assault­ing a Mus­lim woman on the bus. And who also hap­pened to be a big vocal sup­port­er of Bernie Sanders while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly exhibit­ing a large num­ber of white suprema­cist far-right ten­den­cies. Whether or not he was a neo-Nazi infil­tra­tor who con­scious­ly decid­ed to give him­self a ‘Bernie Bro’ per­sona for the pur­pose of fur­ther­ing a “vio­lent Left” nar­ra­tive, or if he was a gen­uine­ly con­fused neo-Nazi/‘Bernie Bro’ hybrid, he exists and there’s no rea­son to believe there aren’t plen­ty of oth­er Jere­my Chris­tians out there who are infil­trat­ing groups like Antifa for the expressed pur­pose of smear­ing the Left as ‘vio­lent’. And as long as such peo­ple exist any group that wants to take a “we will only use vio­lence to fight the vio­lent” approach is going to be extreme­ly vul­ner­a­ble to becom­ing a dupe group in a larg­er nar­ra­tive. And peo­ple like Jere­my Chris­t­ian will always exist. It’s one of the many rea­sons the “we will only use vio­lence to fight the vio­lent” approach pol­i­tics is so very prob­lem­at­ic:

    The Oregonian/OregonLive

    Who is Jere­my Chris­t­ian? Face­book shows a man with neb­u­lous polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tions who hat­ed cir­cum­ci­sion and Hillary Clin­ton

    By Lizzy Ack­er
    Updat­ed on June 2, 2017 at 6:44 PM Post­ed on May 30, 2017 at 4:33 PM

    A deep look at the Face­book page of the man who alleged­ly killed two at the Hol­ly­wood MAX stop on Fri­day reveals shift­ing polit­i­cal views that often con­tra­dict­ed them­selves, though they main­tained cer­tain themes through­out, like hat­ing cir­cum­ci­sion and Hillary Clin­ton.

    Accord­ing to Shane Bur­ley, Port­land author of the upcom­ing book “Fas­cism Today,” that fuzzi­ness is a hall­mark of extrem­ism.

    “Defined ide­o­log­i­cal con­tra­dic­tions are pret­ty nor­mal with white nation­al­ists,” Bur­ley said over the phone Tues­day.

    On Tues­day after­noon, Jere­my Joseph Chris­t­ian, 35, was arraigned on charges of aggra­vat­ed mur­der and attempt­ed mur­der. He is accused of killing Ricky John Best, 53, of Hap­py Val­ley, and Tal­iesin Myrd­din Namkai-Meche, 23, of South­east Port­land..

    Both men were stabbed in the throat on a MAX train while they attempt­ed to defend two young women from Chris­tian’s racist rant. A third man, Mic­ah Fletch­er, 21, was also stabbed in the neck but sur­vived the attack.

    Fed­er­al author­i­ties are still work­ing with Port­land police and the Dis­trict Attor­ney’s Office to decide whether to pur­sue fed­er­al hate crime or civ­il rights charges against Chris­t­ian.

    Bur­ley believes that Chris­tian’s jour­ney as played out on Face­book — from Bernie Sanders and Stand­ing Rock to Don­ald Trump and white nation­al­ism and ulti­mate­ly vio­lence — is not uncom­mon.

    “I think the most impor­tant thing is when it comes to extrem­ist right-wing pol­i­tics is that they are murky,” Bur­ley said.

    In April, Chris­t­ian was filmed and pho­tographed doing a Nazi salute while shout­ing: “Die Mus­lims!” at an alt-right “free speech” ral­ly.

    In response to the attack, Port­land May­or Ted Wheel­er said the city would­n’t issue per­mits for two planned events he char­ac­ter­ized as “alt-right,” in June and asked the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to revoke an exist­ing per­mit for one of the events, anger­ing alt-right sup­port­ers and bring­ing the Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union into the dis­cus­sion of free speech in Port­land.

    On Twit­ter and oth­er social media, how­ev­er, peo­ple who iden­ti­fy as alt-right are dis­tanc­ing them­selves from Chris­t­ian, call­ing him a Bernie Sanders sup­port­er. Lib­er­als also refuse to claim him, point­ing out that he was also a Don­ald Trump sup­port­er.

    His Face­book page shows a com­pli­cat­ed pic­ture. His posts reveal a com­ic book col­lec­tor with neb­u­lous polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tions who above all else seemed to hate cir­cum­ci­sion and Hillary Clin­ton.

    In his milder posts, Chris­t­ian wrote about buy­ing and sell­ing com­ic books. But many of his oth­er posts had angry and vio­lent themes.

    “I want a job in Nor­way cut­ting off the heads of peo­ple that Cir­cum­cize Babies....Like if you agree!!!” Chris­t­ian post­ed on May 9. That post got 14 shares, and 34 reac­tions, some of which were laugh­ing and “wow.”

    “If you sup­port the cut­ting of babies gen­i­tals in sick trib­al rit­u­als in Amer­i­ca get off my page,” he wrote in anoth­er post. “I don’t care if you are friend of fam­i­ly.”

    He went on to sug­gest that a law ban­ning cir­cum­ci­sion would “stop True Patri­ots from hav­ing to kill oth­er­wise good doc­tors inside hos­pi­tals.”

    “F– You if you say my body my choice but sup­port cir­cum­ci­sion,” reads anoth­er post.

    “Stop the WAR on babies’ Fore­skins!!!” says anoth­er.

    The ques­tion of whether Chris­t­ian was a Trump sup­port­er or a Sanders sup­port­er, does­n’t have an either/or answer, except: he def­i­nite­ly was not a Clin­ton sup­port­er.

    “Bernie Sanders was the Pres­i­dent I want­ed,” wrote Chris­t­ian in Decem­ber. “He voiced my heart and mind. The one who spoke about the way Amer­i­ca should gone. Away from the Mil­i­tary and Prison Indus­tri­al Com­plex­es. The Trump is who Amer­i­ca needs now that Bernie got ripped off.”

    But on Nov. 11, he post­ed that he was unable to bring him­self to vote for Trump.

    “I’ve had it!!! I gonna kill every­body who vot­ed for Trump or Hillary!!!” he said in anoth­er post in ear­ly Jan­u­ary. “It’s all your fault!!! You’re what’s wrong with this coun­try!!! Reveal your­selves imme­di­ate­ly and face your DOOM!!!”

    Bur­ley said that he believes Chris­t­ian could have sup­port­ed Sanders because he was against glob­al­iza­tion and then, when Sanders lost, he “could have sup­port­ed the kind of Amer­i­ca first pro­tec­tion espoused by Trump.”

    “What it looks like with him is a per­son going through an ide­o­log­i­cal process,” Bur­ley said.

    In Feb­ru­ary 2016, Chris­t­ian wrote, “Just to clar­i­fy a few things: ‘I Here­by Solemn­ly swear to Die try­ing to Kill Hillary (Her­self a filthy Mur­der­ess) Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump should they be elect­ed to the post of Pres­i­dent in my faire coun­try on Vin­land. This I swear to Odin, Kali, Bastet and all oth­er Pagan Gods and God­dess­es in my Aryan Theo­soph­i­cal Nucle­us. This is my duty as a Viking and Patri­ot. In Jesus name....I Feel The Bern!!!!”

    Bur­ley said that “Vin­land” is far right lin­go that alludes to the part of east­ern Cana­da sup­pos­ed­ly set­tled by Leif Erik­son in the 11th cen­tu­ry. Bur­ley said white nation­al­ists use “Vineland” to assert them­selves as “dis­tinct peo­ple with a spir­i­tu­al lin­eage.”

    In late Jan­u­ary, how­ev­er, Chris­t­ian wrote, “If Don­ald Trump is the Next Hitler then I am join­ing his SS to put an end to Monothe­ist Ques­tion. All Zion­ist Jews, All Chris­tians who do not fol­low Christ’s teach­ing of Love, Char­i­ty, and For­give­ness And All Jiha­di Mus­lims are going to Mada­gas­car or the Ovens/FEMA Camps!!! Does this make me a fas­cist!!!”

    Then a few days lat­er he post­ed, “Sanders/Stein 2017!!! Let’s stop these pipelines and reign in the Prison/Military Indus­tri­al Com­plex­es!!!”

    More than any­thing, he seemed to hate Hillary Clin­ton sup­port­ers.

    “The only form of abor­tion I sup­port is the old fash­ioned method that does­n’t cost the tax­pay­ers mon­ey: Dad­dy Kicks Mom­my In The Stom­ach!!!” he wrote in Jan­u­ary. “Also, lead poi­son­ing via a 9MM injec­tion for Hillary Sup­port­ers....”

    “Death to Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton and all her sup­port­ers!!!” he post­ed, also in Jan­u­ary. “To be car­ried out by Bernie Sup­port­ers who did­n’t turn trai­tor and vote Hillary....”

    Besides his hate for Clin­ton and cir­cum­ci­sion, most of his oth­er posi­tions seem dif­fi­cult to pin down.

    On Face­book, Chris­t­ian cer­tain­ly espoused far-right beliefs. One meme he post­ed reads, “If we’re remov­ing stat­ues because of the Civ­il War, we should be remov­ing mosques because of 9/11.”

    In one post, Chris­t­ian called Tim­o­thy McVeigh, the Okla­homa City bomber who killed 168 peo­ple, includ­ing 19 chil­dren in 1995, “a TRUE PATRIOT!!!”

    He also sup­port­ed Stand­ing Rock and fre­quent­ly railed against the mil­i­tary indus­tri­al com­plex.

    He post­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry memes from the right-wing Alex Jones Chan­nel along­side pro-legal cannabis sto­ries about Bill Maher, who is decid­ed­ly left wing.

    He wrote about and ref­er­enced a “white home­land” in both pos­i­tive and neu­tral or neg­a­tive terms.

    “So, its like this. If you sup­port Israel for Zion­ist home­land for Jews then you should also sup­port Cas­ca­dia as a White home­land for whites only racists, Alaba­ma and Mis­sis­sip­pi for Nation of Islam and racist Black Pow­er groups and give back at least so cal to Mex­i­cans for all the ille­gal Lati­nos and any Brown racist peeps,” he wrote. “Their can be a cen­tral area ran by feds were all the nor­mal peo­ple who don’t real­ly care about race and gay mar­riage is legal. Prob­lem solved.”

    But he also shared a pic­ture of a black San­ta Claus in Decem­ber that said, “Share this pic­ture of black San­ta because it will piss off a racist a–hole.”

    He fre­quent­ly referred to him­self as a nihilist and appeared to dis­like monothe­is­tic reli­gions uni­ver­sal­ly, shar­ing memes with sen­ti­ments like “Damn girl, are you a reli­gious scrip­ture? Because I want to con­stant­ly mis­in­ter­pret you for my own ben­e­fit.”

    “Ear­ly fas­cists talk about nihilism,” Bur­ley told us. “Hat­ing human­i­ty on the one hand and then hat­ing par­tic­u­lar parts of human­i­ty espe­cial­ly.”

    But, while some­times he called him­self a fas­cist, accord­ing to var­i­ous posts, he con­sid­ered the Antifa, which he hat­ed, to be a fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion.

    On April 28, the day before the alt-right protest where he was filmed, Chris­t­ian wrote: “A note too [sic] all my Port­land Peeps. You should all attend the Free Speech Ral­ly at Mon­tavil­la if you val­ue your rights. ALL RIGHTS.”

    “I will attend in Lizard King Regalia as a Polit­i­cal Nihilist to Pro­voke both Sides and attempt to engage any­one in a true Phi­los­o­phy and Polit­i­cal Dis­cus­sion,” he con­tin­ued.

    “I take the Role of Inter­na­tion­al Patri­ot and Rev­o­lu­tion­ary VERY SERIOUS BUT YOU ALL KNOW I AM THE MOST LAID BACK DUDE IN THE WORLD- Until you cross that line then noth­ing will stop our COME TO JESUS TALK FRIEND OR FOE.”

    He ends the post by say­ing, “FREE SPEECH OR DIE!!! THIS IS MY LAND!!! VINLAND RIP CITY!!!”

    Main­ly though, Chris­t­ian appeared to be angry. In August of 2016, he wrote on Face­book, “Sur­vival Tip #1: Kill Every Oth­er Per­son.”

    When asked about how they deal with posts call­ing for the death of groups of peo­ple or indi­vid­u­als, a Face­book spokesper­son direct­ed us to their Com­mu­ni­ty Stan­dards, which says, “We care­ful­ly review reports of threat­en­ing lan­guage to iden­ti­fy seri­ous threats of harm to pub­lic and per­son­al safe­ty. We remove cred­i­ble threats of phys­i­cal harm to indi­vid­u­als. We may con­sid­er things like a per­son­’s phys­i­cal loca­tion or pub­lic vis­i­bil­i­ty in deter­min­ing whether a threat is cred­i­ble.”

    As far as Chris­t­ian, the spokesper­son said they don’t have a spe­cif­ic com­ment on his posts.

    In the era of social media, it’s easy for mes­sages like those that Chris­t­ian read and those that he shared, to be passed around with not much inter­ven­tion.

    Dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Sat­ur­day after the attack, Port­land Police Sgt. Pete Simp­son said police do not mon­i­tor social media unless there is “a crim­i­nal nexus.”

    “There’s not a wide­spread mon­i­tor­ing because some­thing is unpop­u­lar or scary,” Simp­son said. “You have to have that crime there.”

    Loren Can­non, the spe­cial agent in charge of the Port­land Divi­sion of the FBI, echoed Simp­son, adding that he could­n’t com­ment on the specifics of Chris­tian’s posts with­out see­ing them.

    Bur­ley believes that Chris­tian’s “lone wolf” act of vio­lence, and the appar­ent con­tra­dic­tions in his belief sys­tem bely a deep­er prob­lem.

    “These are polit­i­cal acts of vio­lence that are the respon­si­bil­i­ty of white nation­al­ists,” he told us.

    Bur­ley said that his­tor­i­cal­ly, it has been the case that high­er lev­el peo­ple in far-right extrem­ist move­ments rile up peo­ple down the line and it is those peo­ple, who are often mar­gin­al­ized, that com­mit the vio­lence.

    ...

    ———-

    “Who is Jere­my Chris­t­ian? Face­book shows a man with neb­u­lous polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tions who hat­ed cir­cum­ci­sion and Hillary Clin­ton” by Lizzy Ack­er; The Oregonian/OregonLive; 05/30/2017

    “In Feb­ru­ary 2016, Chris­t­ian wrote, “Just to clar­i­fy a few things: ‘I Here­by Solemn­ly swear to Die try­ing to Kill Hillary (Her­self a filthy Mur­der­ess) Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump should they be elect­ed to the post of Pres­i­dent in my faire coun­try on Vin­land. This I swear to Odin, Kali, Bastet and all oth­er Pagan Gods and God­dess­es in my Aryan Theo­soph­i­cal Nucle­us. This is my duty as a Viking and Patri­ot. In Jesus name....I Feel The Bern!!!!””

    And that right there is why the Antifa approach to things is so dan­ger­ous: Some dude with an “Aryan Theo­soph­i­cal Nucle­us” when he’s not spout­ing white suprema­cist memes might declare his desires for polit­i­cal vio­lence. And then declare his love of Bernie Sanders. And while Jere­my Chris­t­ian hap­pened to be very anti-Antifa, call­ing them fas­cists, there’s noth­ing stop­ping some­one like him join­ing one of the Antifa groups. Or an under­cov­er gov­ern­ment agent who also has orders to make them look like a mas­sive nation­al secu­ri­ty threat. It’s pret­ty much guar­an­teed that some per­cent­age of their ranks include infil­tra­tors since these are move­ments basi­cal­ly any­one can join. And anoth­er per­cent just might include kind of crazy peo­ple drawn to extreme pol­i­tics. That’s just the nature of rad­i­cal move­ments that any­one can join. And these extreme risks present by and to Antifa exists in a volatile polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment where an orga­nized white suprema­cist move­ment bol­stered by a Trump pres­i­den­cy is try­ing to strate­gi­cal­ly cre­ate a cycle of vio­lence intend­ed to cre­ate a divide-and-con­quer wedge meme ask­ing peo­ple “who do you sup­port, white nation­al­ists defend­ing your her­itage or vio­lent Antifa rad­i­cals?”. And the broad­er right-wing media and GOP is more than hap­py to play along and pro­mote that “vio­lent Left” meme. It’s a bad sit­u­a­tion. And that was before Roger Stone start­ed talk­ing about vio­lent insur­rec­tion in the face of a Trump impeach­ment.

    So giv­en that Pres­i­dent Trump has decid­ed to make the acknowl­edge­ment of “bad peo­ple” on “all sides” in the Char­lottesville tragedy one of his key polit­i­cal talk­ing points, per­haps there would be some val­ue in meet­ing him half-way, and not­ing that the inevitable neo-Nazi infil­tra­tors like Jere­my Chris­t­ian on the side of the counter-pro­tes­tors were indeed just as bad as the neo-Nazi marchers. And maybe even agree that Antifa groups can some­times include some bad actors who aren’t cryp­to-Nazis or COINTELPRO trou­ble­mak­ers but just bad news. But also ask that Pres­i­dent Trump agree that Nazis are way, way, way worse in terms of being “bad peo­ple” than even the bad Antifa folks. Racial suprema­cists who plot vio­lent over­throws with dreams of geno­cide are much, much, much worse than a bunch of qua­si-mil­i­tant extreme left-wingers, right? Can every­one but the Nazis agree with the notion that Nazis are far worse than even bad Antifa peo­ple who maybe should­n’t be so will­ing to embrace vio­lence? If so, great, because that would mean we may have found some sort of com­mon ground, and if there’s one thing that’s going to be need­ed in abun­dance to ulti­mate­ly defeat today’s Nazis it’s com­mon ground. Lots of com­mon ground and a recog­ni­tion that destroy­ing com­mon ground is anoth­er one of things that’s simul­ta­ne­ous­ly an ends and a means for the far-right:

    Won­kette

    Antifa Loves Beat­ing Women! Say Idiot 4Chan Nazis Who Made It All Up

    By Robyn Pen­nac­chia -
    August 24, 2017 — 3:30pm

    As you may be aware (SIGH), idiots on 4chan have tak­en to mak­ing up fake Twit­ter pro­files for Antifa and Antifa “mem­bers.” This is some­thing they do with stun­ning reg­u­lar­i­ty in order to push their own far Right posi­tions. Often it’s women reject­ing fem­i­nism, black peo­ple reject­ing anti-racism, or peo­ple embrac­ing those things in the most absurd way they can imag­ine, in hopes of get­ting rea­son­able peo­ple to think that they sup­port absurd things.

    On Wednes­day, trolls on 4chan’s /pol/ board attempt­ed to launch a new #PunchANazi/#PunchNazis cam­paign on social media in which their fake Antifa pro­files would sup­port domes­tic vio­lence, in hopes of con­vinc­ing peo­ple that the Left LOVES domes­tic vio­lence and thinks it is super great.

    The goal, as usu­al, was to get actu­al Antifa and sup­port­ers to retweet the memes, which of course did not actu­al­ly hap­pen.

    [see exam­ple of hoax #Pun­chANazi meme]
    [see sec­ond exam­ple of hoax #Pun­chANazi meme]

    The memes includ­ed clever jar­gon like “She said she was right-wing, so I gave her a left hook,” and “It’s all right, she’s alt-right,” next to pic­tures of women with black eyes. There were also sev­er­al with pic­tures of abused chil­dren with text sug­gest­ing they be mur­dered because they might be the next Hitler.

    How­ev­er, giv­en that they post­ed their nefar­i­ous plans on a pub­lic mes­sage board, and that this cam­paign was both incred­i­bly obvi­ous and stu­pid, said plans were quick­ly dis­cov­ered by sev­er­al peo­ple online, includ­ing David Futrelle of We Hunt­ed The Mam­moth, and British cit­i­zen jour­nal­ist Elliot Hig­gins, best known for iden­ti­fy­ing the weapons seen in uploaded videos from the Syr­i­an Civ­il War. It was then report­ed on by the BBC.

    [see tweet out­ing 4Chan as source of hoax #Pun­chANazi meme]

    AND NOW THEY ARE SAD!

    [see post from 4Chan express­ing dis­may over the hoax cam­paign get­ting exposed]

    [see anoth­er post from 4Chan express­ing dis­may over the hoax cam­paign get­ting exposed]

    Because who would have thought that plan­ning some­thing this ridicu­lous on a pub­lic mes­sage board could have gone awry! Weird!

    Of course, some were pret­ty sure that it def­i­nite­ly still worked, because even if they got found out, they total­ly point­ed out… some­thing.

    [See 4Chan post sup­port­ing the hoax cam­paign because they say it points to a larg­er truth]

    [See sec­ond 4Chan post sup­porint the hoax cam­paign]

    The thing with these mes­sage boards — which I main­tain are a thou­sand times more tox­ic than any alt-right spokesper­son could ever dream of being — is that those who use them become so deeply enmeshed in their own views that they actu­al­ly do legit­i­mate­ly believe they are mak­ing sense, and that this is a thing they can “trick” the left into being on board with. They are essen­tial­ly brain­washed.

    Part of their agen­da as of late has been to try to dri­ve a wedge between white women and peo­ple of col­or. Not because they par­tic­u­lar­ly like women — they don’t, and many appear to be very upset about the 19th Amend­ment — but because feel that this is the eas­i­est way to split the Left, and because they have recent­ly decid­ed that in order to achieve their aims, they need white women to join them, for breed­ing pur­pos­es only.

    ...

    Over on anoth­er thread, sev­er­al /pol/ denizens were also whin­ing about how they have been infil­trat­ed by out­siders and “normies” post­ing threads and “mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for /pol/ users who could poten­tial­ly ben­e­fit from know­ing cer­tain infor­ma­tion, and poten­tial­ly coher­ent­ly gath­er and dis­cuss cer­tain things, from doing so.”

    [see image of 4Chan post whin­ing about “normie” posts clog­ging up the place]

    Which I think means they def­i­nite­ly want us to go over there and start post­ing con­stant­ly about flower arrang­ing, right?

    [We Hunt­ed The Mam­moth]

    ———-

    “Antifa Loves Beat­ing Women! Say Idiot 4Chan Nazis Who Made It All Up” by Robyn Pen­nac­chia; Won­kette; 08/24/2017

    “The thing with these mes­sage boards — which I main­tain are a thou­sand times more tox­ic than any alt-right spokesper­son could ever dream of being — is that those who use them become so deeply enmeshed in their own views that they actu­al­ly do legit­i­mate­ly believe they are mak­ing sense, and that this is a thing they can “trick” the left into being on board with. They are essen­tial­ly brain­washed.”

    And thanks to that essen­tial­ly brain­washed men­tal­i­ty, the hyper-misog­y­nis­tic 4Chan folks decid­ed to open­ly plot a fake cam­paign intend­ed to smear Antifa as pro-vio­lence against white women as part of some sort of Alt-Right divide and con­quer cam­paign intend­ed to cre­ate a rift between white women and the Left. Because white suprema­cist misog­y­nists still need white women for breed­ing pur­pos­es:

    ...
    Part of their agen­da as of late has been to try to dri­ve a wedge between white women and peo­ple of col­or. Not because they par­tic­u­lar­ly like women — they don’t, and many appear to be very upset about the 19th Amend­ment — but because feel that this is the eas­i­est way to split the Left, and because they have recent­ly decid­ed that in order to achieve their aims, they need white women to join them, for breed­ing pur­pos­es only.
    ...

    And that’s who we’re deal­ing with: peo­ple who des­per­ate­ly want to cre­ate a “vio­lent Left” cul­tur­al zeit­geist with Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives as part of the white suprema­cists end­less efforts to win over a broad­er audi­ence. And yes, they failed spec­tac­u­lar­ly this time. Not only did they get caught, but the peo­ple that were argu­ing that the hoax worked any­way because it remind­ed peo­ple that Antifa backs vio­lence of course for­get that smear­ing Antifa with domes­tic vio­lence mere­ly reminds peo­ple that the Antifa groups focus their vio­lence on what they view as sources of oppres­sion, as opposed to white suprema­cists who focus their vio­lence on every­one who isn’t a white suprema­cist. Even the white women who they need for breed­ing will prob­a­bly get a lot of vio­lence inflict­ed on them too since white suprema­cists tend to be misog­y­nists. That’s what the 4Chan cam­paign effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ed. It was­n’t the best 4Chan cam­paign.

    But that does­n’t mean the far-right won’t suc­ceed in pulling off a “vio­lent Left” divide and con­quer psy­op on US con­ser­v­a­tives some day and it’s going to be a lot eas­i­er to suc­ceed with Antifa pre­dictably show­ing up to brawl and pre­dictably being open to infil­tra­tion. Espe­cial­ly with so much of the right-wing media ful­ly on board with push­ing the “vio­lent Left” meme. And Pres­i­dent Trump.

    And the gun man­u­fac­tur­ers. That’s right, trag­i­cal­ly but not sur­pris­ing­ly, the NRA is ful­ly on board pro­mot­ing the “vio­lent Left” meme to is mem­ber­ship and broad­er audi­ence:

    Salon

    NRA seeks to main­stream — and mon­e­tize — the “alt-right’s” para­noid, racist talk­ing points
    The “alt-right” wants Amer­i­ca to believe vio­lent rad­i­cals are on the attack; the NRA knows para­noia can sell guns

    Aman­da Mar­cotte
    Thurs­day, Aug 24, 2017 03:59 AM CST

    When­ev­er Don­ald Trump feels like he’s on the ropes, he throws him­self a ral­ly in a red state that would make Mus­soli­ni feel envi­ous. So it was on Tues­day night in Phoenix, when Trump — furi­ous that the media took issue with his claim that a torch-wield­ing mob of white suprema­cists was replete with “fine peo­ple” — unleashed a 75-minute rant about his own vic­tim­iza­tion to a crowd who, despite their immense love for the Big­ot-in-Chief, start­ed get­ting bored and drift­ed away.

    (To be fair, Bar­ry Gold­wa­ter had the same prob­lem in the ear­ly ’60s: Crowds would show up, pumped about ral­ly­ing with their fel­low racists and then lose inter­est dur­ing his actu­al speech­es.)

    The high­light reel of Trump’s fea­ture-film-length whine demon­strates, yet again, that the pres­i­dent is echo­ing talk­ing points from the same white suprema­cist and “alt-right” cir­cles that he strug­gles to half-heart­ed­ly denounce: Mon­u­ments to the white suprema­cist Con­fed­er­ate regime are “our his­to­ry and her­itage,” that white com­mu­ni­ties need to be “lib­er­at­ed” from vio­lent immi­grants, and politi­cized vio­lence in the streets is being caused not by fas­cists, but by antifa activists who show up to resist them.

    Trump’s con­ser­v­a­tive audi­ences are dis­turbing­ly com­fort­able with these talk­ing points, and that’s due to a larg­er right-wing media infra­struc­ture that has been push­ing these notions into more main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive spaces. Ear­li­er this week, I report­ed on the role that Tuck­er Carl­son and the Dai­ly Caller are play­ing in inject­ing more rad­i­cal rhetoric into con­ser­v­a­tive dis­course. But the NRA — a gun lob­by that in recent years has built its own lit­tle media empire through blogs and NRATV — has also played a major role in pro­mot­ing ideas that used to dwell on the fringes.

    “For years, the gun lob­by qui­et­ly dog-whis­tled to white suprema­cists,” said Shan­non Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In Amer­i­ca, which is part of Every­town for Gun Safe­ty. “But as gun sales plum­met under this admin­is­tra­tion, they are now open­ly traf­fick­ing in para­noia and fear, and incit­ing vio­lence in order to advance an increas­ing­ly rad­i­cal ‘more guns for any­one, any­where’ agen­da to sell more guns.”

    Ear­li­er this sum­mer, an NRA recruit­ment video made by spokes­woman Dana Loesch attract­ed con­sid­er­able media atten­tion. Loesch argued, over a back­drop of dra­mat­ic music and images of street vio­lence, that the sup­pos­ed­ly lib­er­al media was whip­ping up mobs that “smash win­dows, burn cars, shut down inter­states and air­ports, bul­ly and ter­ror­ize the law-abid­ing? — ?until the only option left is for police to do their jobs and stop the mad­ness.”

    She went on to rec­om­mend that well-armed NRA mem­bers meet this sup­posed upsurge of rad­i­cal vio­lence with “the clenched fist of truth.”

    Loesch’s video echoed the argu­ments of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, who gave a speech in Feb­ru­ary at the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence warn­ing about the rise of the “vio­lent left.”

    “Right now, we face a gath­er­ing of forces that are will­ing to use vio­lence against us,” LaPierre said. “If the vio­lent left brings their ter­ror to our com­mu­ni­ties, our neigh­bor­hoods or into our homes, they will be met with the resolve and the strength and the full force of Amer­i­can free­dom in the hands of the Amer­i­can peo­ple. Among them and behind them are some of the most rad­i­cal polit­i­cal ele­ments there are. Anar­chists, Marx­ists, com­mu­nists and the whole rest of the left-wing social­ist brigade.”

    ...

    These claims that there’s some surge of left-wing vio­lence that needs to be shut down by the armed vig­i­lance of the right should be famil­iar to any­one who has fol­lowed the rise of the “alt-right” and the youth-ori­ent­ed white suprema­cist move­ment. For months now, “alt-right” fig­ures like Kyle “Based Stick­man” Chap­man have argued that vio­lent left­ists present a phys­i­cal threat to “free speech” and must be met with vio­lence. “Alt-right” social media feeds are replete with young men brag­ging about how they can’t wait to assault left-wing pro­test­ers — or run them down with cars — all in the thin­ly veiled dis­guise of “self-defense.”

    This was the excuse that the neo-Nazis and oth­er assort­ed racists used to jus­ti­fy show­ing up in Char­lottesville with guns, shields and hel­mets, even though it was obvi­ous to most of the pub­lic that they weren’t act­ing in self-defense so much as delib­er­ate­ly try­ing to pro­voke street fights. It’s true that these goons are some­times met by antifa demon­stra­tors who are ready to rum­ble, but as counter-protests in both Boston and Char­lottesville demon­strat­ed, vio­lent left­ists are a tiny major­i­ty and not actu­al­ly a threat that can serve to jus­ti­fy right-wing vio­lence.

    On Mon­day night the pres­i­dent echoed these claims, call­ing out “antifa” by name and say­ing they “show up in the hel­mets and the black masks and they have clubs and every­thing.” Again, this con­tains a grain of truth — a small num­ber of armed, masked left­ists some­times show up at counter-protests — but the larg­er truth is that most pro­gres­sive pro­test­ers are armed with noth­ing but card­board signs. It’s real­ly the white suprema­cists and fas­cists that are show­ing up in large num­bers with weapons, guns, shields and hel­mets. As the failed “alt-right” ral­ly in Boston showed, if the far right isn’t allowed to arm itself, its forces fre­quent­ly won’t both­er to show up at all.

    As Watts argued, it’s not sur­pris­ing to see the NRA tap into white-suprema­cist talk­ing points, and not just because LaPierre and oth­er NRA spokes­peo­ple have a long his­to­ry of push­ing racist fan­tasies in order to scare heart­land white folks into buy­ing guns. The truth of the mat­ter is that Trump’s pres­i­den­cy, while ide­o­log­i­cal­ly con­ge­nial for the gun lob­by, is bad for busi­ness. In the spring, a “Trump slump” in gun sales was wide­ly report­ed. The firearms industry’s mar­ket­ing is large­ly based around appeal­ing to con­ser­v­a­tive inse­cu­ri­ties. When Democ­rats are in office — espe­cial­ly, say, a black pres­i­dent — anx­ious con­ser­v­a­tives buy more guns to feel pow­er­ful. If a Repub­li­can is in charge, con­ser­v­a­tives feel less need to shore up their self-esteem with high-pow­ered weapon­ry.

    In recent months, though, gun sales start­ed to rise again, and it’s not hard to see why: Con­ser­v­a­tives are respond­ing to a steady drum­beat of warn­ings — from Trump, from right-wing media, from the NRA — that the coun­try is under assault from crim­i­nal gangs and vio­lent left­ists, and they need to be ready.

    The results of this were all too chill­ing­ly on dis­play in Char­lottesville as hun­dreds of white suprema­cists descend­ed on the city, many of them laden down with expen­sive weapons. Images like this also pro­vide effec­tive adver­tis­ing for the gun indus­try, as the images of gun-wield­ing wannabe-fas­cists con­vince oth­er embit­tered right-wingers that there’s an excit­ing move­ment to join, and all they need to do is lay down a cred­it card at the near­est gun shop.

    ———-

    “NRA seeks to main­stream — and mon­e­tize — the “alt-right’s” para­noid, racist talk­ing points” Aman­da Mar­cotte; Salon; 08/24/2017

    The high­light reel of Trump’s fea­ture-film-length whine demon­strates, yet again, that the pres­i­dent is echo­ing talk­ing points from the same white suprema­cist and “alt-right” cir­cles that he strug­gles to half-heart­ed­ly denounce: Mon­u­ments to the white suprema­cist Con­fed­er­ate regime are “our his­to­ry and her­itage,” that white com­mu­ni­ties need to be “lib­er­at­ed” from vio­lent immi­grants, and politi­cized vio­lence in the streets is being caused not by fas­cists, but by antifa activists who show up to resist them.”

    Yep, when Trump makes Antifa the focus of a cyn­i­cal polit­i­cal strat­e­gy to con­coct a “vio­lent Left” threat mythol­o­gy while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly down­play­ing his ties to a very real “vio­lent far-Right” threat, Trum­np is basi­cal­ly echo­ing the same thing Trump’s core base of sup­port­ers get from right-wing radio, Bre­it­bart, and Fox News every day. And the gun lob­by’s own media empire its built in recent years, which is appar­ent­ly spe­cial­iz­ing in main­stream­ing fringe far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry and thought. That’s not a super dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion or any­thing:

    ...
    Trump’s con­ser­v­a­tive audi­ences are dis­turbing­ly com­fort­able with these talk­ing points, and that’s due to a larg­er right-wing media infra­struc­ture that has been push­ing these notions into more main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive spaces. Ear­li­er this week, I report­ed on the role that Tuck­er Carl­son and the Dai­ly Caller are play­ing in inject­ing more rad­i­cal rhetoric into con­ser­v­a­tive dis­course. But the NRA — a gun lob­by that in recent years has built its own lit­tle media empire through blogs and NRATV — has also played a major role in pro­mot­ing ideas that used to dwell on the fringes.

    “For years, the gun lob­by qui­et­ly dog-whis­tled to white suprema­cists,” said Shan­non Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In Amer­i­ca, which is part of Every­town for Gun Safe­ty. “But as gun sales plum­met under this admin­is­tra­tion, they are now open­ly traf­fick­ing in para­noia and fear, and incit­ing vio­lence in order to advance an increas­ing­ly rad­i­cal ‘more guns for any­one, any­where’ agen­da to sell more guns.”
    ...

    And right-wing talk­er Dana Loesch is mak­ing NRA recruit­ment videos warn­ing peo­ple of lib­er­al vio­lence, echo­ing the words of NRA pres­i­dent Wayne LaPierre:

    ...
    Ear­li­er this sum­mer, an NRA recruit­ment video made by spokes­woman Dana Loesch attract­ed con­sid­er­able media atten­tion. Loesch argued, over a back­drop of dra­mat­ic music and images of street vio­lence, that the sup­pos­ed­ly lib­er­al media was whip­ping up mobs that “smash win­dows, burn cars, shut down inter­states and air­ports, bul­ly and ter­ror­ize the law-abid­ing? — ?until the only option left is for police to do their jobs and stop the mad­ness.”

    She went on to rec­om­mend that well-armed NRA mem­bers meet this sup­posed upsurge of rad­i­cal vio­lence with “the clenched fist of truth.”

    Loesch’s video echoed the argu­ments of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, who gave a speech in Feb­ru­ary at the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence warn­ing about the rise of the “vio­lent left.”

    “Right now, we face a gath­er­ing of forces that are will­ing to use vio­lence against us,” LaPierre said. “If the vio­lent left brings their ter­ror to our com­mu­ni­ties, our neigh­bor­hoods or into our homes, they will be met with the resolve and the strength and the full force of Amer­i­can free­dom in the hands of the Amer­i­can peo­ple. Among them and behind them are some of the most rad­i­cal polit­i­cal ele­ments there are. Anar­chists, Marx­ists, com­mu­nists and the whole rest of the left-wing social­ist brigade.”
    ...

    So who’s a big­ger threat, Wayne LaPierre or Antifa? Obvi­ous LaPierre. He’s lit­er­al­ly run­ning an empire that ped­dles guns and ‘rea­sons’ to use them against polit­i­cal oppo­nents. Still, we can’t ignore that the vio­lent seg­ments of Antifa are play­ing into La Pier­re’s sick attempt to paint the Left by tak­ing an overt ‘fight the fas­cists with your fists in the streets’ pre­sent­ing some sort of vio­lent threat. While Antifa is admit­ted­ly quite help­ful in the face of far-right mil­i­tant pro­tes­tors like the “Unite the Right” marchers who would have attacked all the counter-pro­test­ers there’s a sig­nif­i­cant cost if it means play­ing into neo-Nazi vio­lence cycle schemes. Now is def­i­nite­ly not the time for casu­al­ly play­ing into neo-Nazi vio­lence cycle schemes:

    The New York­er

    Is Amer­i­ca Head­ed for a New Kind of Civ­il War?

    By Robin Wright

    August 14, 2017

    A day after the brawl­ing and racist bru­tal­i­ty and deaths in Vir­ginia, Gov­er­nor Ter­ry McAu­li­ffe asked, “How did we get to this place?” The more rel­e­vant ques­tion after Charlottesville—and oth­er dead­ly episodes in Fer­gu­son, Charleston, Dal­las, St. Paul, Bal­ti­more, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria—is where the Unit­ed States is head­ed. How frag­ile is the Union, our repub­lic, and a coun­try that has long been con­sid­ered the world’s most sta­ble democ­ra­cy? The dan­gers are now big­ger than the col­lec­tive episodes of vio­lence. “The rad­i­cal right was more suc­cess­ful in enter­ing the polit­i­cal main­stream last year than in half a cen­tu­ry,” the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter report­ed in Feb­ru­ary. The orga­ni­za­tion doc­u­ments more than nine hun­dred active (and grow­ing) hate groups in the Unit­ed States.

    America’s sta­bil­i­ty is increas­ing­ly an under­cur­rent in polit­i­cal dis­course. Ear­li­er this year, I began a con­ver­sa­tion with Kei­th Mines about America’s tur­moil. Mines has spent his career—in the U.S. Army Spe­cial Forces, the Unit­ed Nations, and now the State Department—navigating civ­il wars in oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing Afghanistan, Colom­bia, El Sal­vador, Iraq, Soma­lia, and Sudan. He returned to Wash­ing­ton after six­teen years to find con­di­tions that he had seen nur­ture con­flict abroad now vis­i­ble at home. It haunts him. In March, Mines was one of sev­er­al nation­al-secu­ri­ty experts whom For­eign Pol­i­cy asked to eval­u­ate the risks of a sec­ond civ­il war—with per­cent­ages. Mines con­clud­ed that the Unit­ed States faces a six­ty-per-cent chance of civ­il war over the next ten to fif­teen years. Oth­er experts’ pre­dic­tions ranged from five per cent to nine­ty-five per cent. The sober­ing con­sen­sus was thir­ty-five per cent. And that was five months before Char­lottesville.

    “We keep say­ing, ‘It can’t hap­pen here,’ but then, holy smokes, it can,” Mines told me after we talked, on Sun­day, about Char­lottesville. The pat­tern of civ­il strife has evolved world­wide over the past six­ty years. Today, few civ­il wars involve pitched bat­tles from trench­es along neat geo­graph­ic front lines. Many are low-inten­si­ty con­flicts with episod­ic vio­lence in con­stant­ly mov­ing locales. Mines’s def­i­n­i­tion of a civ­il war is large-scale vio­lence that includes a rejec­tion of tra­di­tion­al polit­i­cal author­i­ty and requires the Nation­al Guard to deal with it. On Sat­ur­day, McAu­li­ffe put the Nation­al Guard on alert and declared a state of emer­gency.

    Based on his expe­ri­ence in civ­il wars on three con­ti­nents, Mines cit­ed five con­di­tions that sup­port his pre­dic­tion: entrenched nation­al polar­iza­tion, with no obvi­ous meet­ing place for res­o­lu­tion; increas­ing­ly divi­sive press cov­er­age and infor­ma­tion flows; weak­ened insti­tu­tions, notably Con­gress and the judi­cia­ry; a sell­out or aban­don­ment of respon­si­bil­i­ty by polit­i­cal lead­er­ship; and the legit­imiza­tion of vio­lence as the “in” way to either con­duct dis­course or solve dis­putes.

    Pres­i­dent Trump “mod­eled vio­lence as a way to advance polit­i­cal­ly and val­i­dat­ed bul­ly­ing dur­ing and after the cam­paign,” Mines wrote in For­eign Pol­i­cy. “Judg­ing from recent events the left is now ful­ly on board with this,” he con­tin­ued, cit­ing anar­chists in anti-glob­al­iza­tion riots as one of sev­er­al flash­points. “It is like 1859, every­one is mad about some­thing and every­one has a gun.”

    To test Mines’s con­jec­ture, I reached out to five promi­nent Civ­il War his­to­ri­ans this week­end. “When you look at the map of red and blue states and over­lap on top of it the map of the Civ­il War—and who was allied with who in the Civ­il War—not much has changed,” Judith Gies­berg, the edi­tor of the Jour­nal of the Civ­il War Era and a his­to­ri­an at Vil­lano­va Uni­ver­si­ty, told me. “We nev­er agreed on the out­come of the Civ­il War and the direc­tion the coun­try should go in. The post­war amend­ments were high­ly contentious—especially the Four­teenth Amend­ment, which pro­vides equal pro­tec­tion under the law—and they still are today. What does it mean to deliv­er vot­ing rights to peo­ple of col­or? We still don’t know.”

    She added, “Does that make us vul­ner­a­ble to a repeat of the past? I don’t see a repeat of those spe­cif­ic cir­cum­stances. But that doesn’t mean we are not enter­ing some­thing sim­i­lar in the way of a cul­ture war. We are vul­ner­a­ble to racism, trib­al­ism, and con­flict­ing visions of the way for­ward for our nation.”

    Anx­i­ety over deep­en­ing schisms and new con­flict has an out­let in pop­u­lar cul­ture: in April, Ama­zon select­ed the dystopi­an nov­el Amer­i­can War—which cen­ters on a sec­ond U.S. civ­il war—as one of its best books of the month. In a review in the Wash­ing­ton Post, Ron Charles wrote, “Across these scarred pages rages the clash that many of us are anx­ious­ly spec­u­lat­ing about in the Trump era: a nation riv­en by irrec­on­cil­able ide­olo­gies, alien­at­ed by entrenched sus­pi­cions . . . both poignant and hor­ri­fy­ing.” The Times book review­er not­ed, “It’s a work of fic­tion. For the time being, any­way.” The book’s author, Omar El Akkad, was born in Egypt and cov­ered the war in Afghanistan, the Arab Spring, and the Fer­gu­son protest as a jour­nal­ist for Canada’s Globe and Mail.

    Before Char­lottesville, David Blight, a Yale his­to­ri­an, was already plan­ning a con­fer­ence in Novem­ber on “Amer­i­can Dis­union, Then and Now.” “Par­al­lels and analo­gies are always risky, but we do have weak­ened insti­tu­tions and not just polar­ized par­ties but par­ties that are risk­ing dis­in­te­gra­tion, which is what hap­pened in the eigh­teen-fifties,” he told me. “Slav­ery tore apart, over fif­teen years, both major polit­i­cal par­ties. It destroyed the Whig Par­ty, which was replaced by the Repub­li­can Par­ty, and divid­ed the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty into north­ern and south­ern parts.”

    “So,” he said, “watch the par­ties” as an indi­ca­tor of America’s health.

    In the eigh­teen-fifties, Blight told me, Amer­i­cans were not good at fore­see­ing or absorb­ing the “shock of events,” includ­ing the Fugi­tive Slave Act, the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott deci­sion, the John Brown raid, and even the Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can War. “No one pre­dict­ed them. They forced peo­ple to repo­si­tion them­selves,” Blight said. “We’re going through one of those repo­si­tion­ings now. Trump’s elec­tion is one of them, and we’re still try­ing to fig­ure it out. But it’s not new. It dates to Obama’s elec­tion. We thought that would lead cul­ture in the oth­er direc­tion, but it didn’t,” he said. “There was a tremen­dous resis­tance from the right, then these episodes of police vio­lence, and all these things [from the past] explod­ed again. It’s not only a racial polar­iza­tion but a seizure about iden­ti­ty.”

    Gen­er­al­ly, Blight added, “We know we are at risk of civ­il war, or some­thing like it, when an elec­tion, an enact­ment, an event, an action by gov­ern­ment or peo­ple in high places, becomes utter­ly unac­cept­able to a par­ty, a large group, a sig­nif­i­cant con­stituen­cy.” The nation wit­nessed tec­ton­ic shifts on the eve of the Civ­il War, and dur­ing the civ­il-rights era, the unrest of the late nine­teen-six­ties and the Viet­nam War, he said. “It did not hap­pen with Bush v. Gore, in 2000, but per­haps we were close. It is not incon­ceiv­able that it could hap­pen now.”

    In a rever­sal of pub­lic opin­ion from the nine­teen-six­ties, Blight said, the weak­en­ing of polit­i­cal insti­tu­tions today has led Amer­i­cans to shift their views on which insti­tu­tions are cred­i­ble. “Who do we put our faith in today? Maybe, iron­i­cal­ly, the F.B.I.,” he said. “With all these mil­i­tary men in the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion, that’s where we’re putting our hope for the use of rea­son. It’s not the Pres­i­dent. It’s not Con­gress, which is utter­ly dys­func­tion­al and run by men who spent decades divid­ing us in order to keep con­trol, and not even the Supreme Court, because it’s been so politi­cized.”

    In the wake of Char­lottesville, the cho­rus of con­dem­na­tion from politi­cians across the polit­i­cal spec­trum has been encour­ag­ing, but it is not nec­es­sar­i­ly reas­sur­ing or an indi­ca­tor about the future, Gre­go­ry Downs, a his­to­ri­an at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Davis, told me. Dur­ing the Civ­il War, even South­ern politi­cians who denounced or were wary of seces­sion for years—including Jef­fer­son Davis—ended up as lead­ers of the Con­fed­er­a­cy. “If the source of con­flict is deeply embed­ded in cul­tur­al or social forces, then politi­cians are not inher­ent­ly able to restrain them with calls for rea­son,” Downs said. He called the nox­ious white suprema­cists and neo-Nazis the “mes­sen­gers,” rather than the “archi­tects,” of the Republic’s poten­tial col­lapse. But, he warned, “We take our sta­bil­i­ty for grant­ed.”

    ...

    Eric Fon­er, the Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty his­to­ri­an, won the Pulitzer Prize, in 2011, for his book “The Fiery Tri­al: Abra­ham Lin­coln and Amer­i­can Slav­ery.” Like the oth­er schol­ars I spoke to, Fon­er is skep­ti­cal that any future con­flict will resem­ble America’s last civ­il war. “Obvi­ous­ly, we have some pret­ty deep divi­sions along mul­ti­ple lines—racial, ide­o­log­i­cal, rur­al ver­sus urban,” he told me. “Whether they will lead to civ­il war, I doubt. We have strong grav­i­ta­tion­al forces that coun­ter­act what we’re see­ing today.” He point­ed out that “the spark in Charlottesville—taking down a stat­ue of Robert E. Lee—doesn’t have to do with civ­il war. Peo­ple are not debat­ing the Civ­il War. They’re debat­ing Amer­i­can soci­ety and race today.”

    Char­lottesville was not the first protest by the so-called alt-right, nor will it be the last. Nine more ral­lies are planned for next week­end and oth­ers in Sep­tem­ber.

    ———-

    “Is Amer­i­ca Head­ed for a New Kind of Civ­il War?” by Robin Wright; The New York­er; 08/14/2017

    “America’s sta­bil­i­ty is increas­ing­ly an under­cur­rent in polit­i­cal dis­course. Ear­li­er this year, I began a con­ver­sa­tion with Kei­th Mines about America’s tur­moil. Mines has spent his career—in the U.S. Army Spe­cial Forces, the Unit­ed Nations, and now the State Department—navigating civ­il wars in oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing Afghanistan, Colom­bia, El Sal­vador, Iraq, Soma­lia, and Sudan. He returned to Wash­ing­ton after six­teen years to find con­di­tions that he had seen nur­ture con­flict abroad now vis­i­ble at home. It haunts him. In March, Mines was one of sev­er­al nation­al-secu­ri­ty experts whom For­eign Pol­i­cy asked to eval­u­ate the risks of a sec­ond civ­il war—with per­cent­ages. Mines con­clud­ed that the Unit­ed States faces a six­ty-per-cent chance of civ­il war over the next ten to fif­teen years. Oth­er experts’ pre­dic­tions ranged from five per cent to nine­ty-five per cent. The sober­ing con­sen­sus was thir­ty-five per cent. And that was five months before Char­lottesville.”

    Talk about Dr. Doom: Mines con­clud­ed that the Unit­ed States faces a six­ty-per-cent chance of civ­il war over the next ten to fif­teen years. But at least he’s an out­lier in that pre­dic­tion among the experts polls and when he spoke of “civ­il war” it appears he means some­thing very dif­fer­ent from the Civ­il War, where states went to war with each oth­er, and instead a war of vig­i­lante vio­lence polit­i­cal vio­lence that at some point requires the Nation­al Guard. Exact­ly the thing the far-right wants to hap­pen (pre­sum­ably with Trump call­ing in the Nation­al Guard on their side):

    ...
    “We keep say­ing, ‘It can’t hap­pen here,’ but then, holy smokes, it can,” Mines told me after we talked, on Sun­day, about Char­lottesville. The pat­tern of civ­il strife has evolved world­wide over the past six­ty years. Today, few civ­il wars involve pitched bat­tles from trench­es along neat geo­graph­ic front lines. Many are low-inten­si­ty con­flicts with episod­ic vio­lence in con­stant­ly mov­ing locales. Mines’s def­i­n­i­tion of a civ­il war is large-scale vio­lence that includes a rejec­tion of tra­di­tion­al polit­i­cal author­i­ty and requires the Nation­al Guard to deal with it. On Sat­ur­day, McAu­li­ffe put the Nation­al Guard on alert and declared a state of emer­gency.

    Based on his expe­ri­ence in civ­il wars on three con­ti­nents, Mines cit­ed five con­di­tions that sup­port his pre­dic­tion: entrenched nation­al polar­iza­tion, with no obvi­ous meet­ing place for res­o­lu­tion; increas­ing­ly divi­sive press cov­er­age and infor­ma­tion flows; weak­ened insti­tu­tions, notably Con­gress and the judi­cia­ry; a sell­out or aban­don­ment of respon­si­bil­i­ty by polit­i­cal lead­er­ship; and the legit­imiza­tion of vio­lence as the “in” way to either con­duct dis­course or solve dis­putes.

    Pres­i­dent Trump “mod­eled vio­lence as a way to advance polit­i­cal­ly and val­i­dat­ed bul­ly­ing dur­ing and after the cam­paign,” Mines wrote in For­eign Pol­i­cy. “Judg­ing from recent events the left is now ful­ly on board with this,” he con­tin­ued, cit­ing anar­chists in anti-glob­al­iza­tion riots as one of sev­er­al flash­points. “It is like 1859, every­one is mad about some­thing and every­one has a gun.”
    ...

    “Pres­i­dent Trump “mod­eled vio­lence as a way to advance polit­i­cal­ly and val­i­dat­ed bul­ly­ing dur­ing and after the cam­paign,” Mines wrote in For­eign Pol­i­cy. “Judg­ing from recent events the left is now ful­ly on board with this,” he con­tin­ued, cit­ing anar­chists in anti-glob­al­iza­tion riots as one of sev­er­al flash­points. “It is like 1859, every­one is mad about some­thing and every­one has a gun.””

    Yep, Pres­i­dent Trump, has indeed “mod­eled vio­lence as a way to advance polit­i­cal­ly and val­i­dat­ed bul­ly­ing dur­ing and after the cam­paign”, as Kei­th Mines, the ex-Spe­cial Forces civ­il war expert in the US State Depart­ment, describes it. And that’s one of the rea­son he sees a 65 per­cent chance of a con­flict of mass vio­lence that requires the Nation­al Guard, or ‘civ­il war’ as he puts it. And thank­ful­ly he’s not talk­ing about some­thing as destruc­tive as anoth­er state on state civ­il war. Mines’s civ­il war sce­nario is some­thing far less severe. But Mines’s civ­il war sce­nario of out­right vio­lent con­flict between duel­ing sides of soci­ety that requires the Nation­al Guard to address still rep­re­sents a very real exis­ten­tial threat to the US since we’re talk­ing about Nazi move­ments uti­liz­ing mass orga­nized vio­lence as a tool for com­ing to pow­er at any cost. The bat­tles are part of a broad­er psy­op. One of the goals is the nor­mal­iza­tion of polit­i­cal vio­lence and that’s also the means. And all this is for the ulti­mate pur­pose of racial sub­ju­ga­tion and geno­cide. Again, these are real Nazis we’re talk­ing about.

    So giv­en that a bunch of Nazis are active­ly try­ing to pro­voke a civ­il-war in the Unit­ed States and giv­en that the will­ing­ness to engage in anti-Nazi vio­lence by Antifa is one of the wedge issues the Nazis are cre­at­ing as part of an “pick your side, us or them” divide and con­quer tac­tic, per­haps it’s worth declar­ing an explic­it­ly non-vio­lent ‘civ­il war’ of sorts: a ‘war’ on our inabil­i­ty to talk about dif­fer­ences and con­flict. Amer­i­cans use the term ‘war’ for all sorts of things. A ‘war’ on can­cer, pover­ty, drugs, ter­ror, etc. So how about a ‘war’ on the non-vio­lent res­o­lu­tion of endur­ing con­flicts. Tricky, tough con­flicts that have been sim­mer­ing for so long that we’ve also col­lec­tive­ly lost the abil­i­ty to have a mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion about them. Let’s declare a ‘war’ on that. And con­ve­nient­ly we already have the per­fect orga­ni­za­tion for facil­i­tat­ing such a ‘war’: Life After Hate, a group that effec­tive­ly treats the dis­ease of extrem­ist hate by sit­ting extrem­ists down with mem­bers of the groups they fear and despise.

    And since we have a Real­i­ty TV US Pres­i­dent, how about a real­i­ty TV show that sits down a group of neo-Nazis and alt-right­ists with a bunch of Antifa peo­ple and forces them to dis­cuss their dif­fer­ences. And since Nazis obvi­ous­ly embrace the use of lies, dis­in­for­ma­tion, and gen­er­al rhetor­i­cal trick­ery there could be var­i­ous out­side experts and Life After Hate mem­bers also par­tic­i­pat­ing in the group ther­a­py ses­sion so some­one can step in when the Nazis’ his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism gets too egre­gious. The show ends when they fig­ure out how to hug it out and we declare a war on vio­lence. Maybe Pres­i­dent Trump could sit in on a few ses­sions. Think of the rat­ings!

    Bar­ring that, could we at least agree to find the fol­low­ing com­mon ground:

    1. The vio­lent Antifa mem­bers present a real dilem­ma and poten­tial­ly a sub­ver­sive force that could end up play­ing right into the hands of an orga­nized far-right move­ment intent on cre­at­ing a “vio­lent Left” mythol­o­gy. Antifa mem­bers maybe have picked the right tar­get, but the wrong tac­tic when they engage in pre­emp­tive vio­lence. Polit­i­cal vio­lence, even just street brawls where no one dies, is a taboo tac­tic because it real­ly does threat­en soci­ety. There are rea­sons we don’t punch Nazis even if they deserve it. There’s val­ue in that. So if it’s in self-defense that’s one valid use of vio­lence, but play­ing into Nazi schemes to cre­ate esca­lat­ing cycles of vio­lence is not at all ok.

    2. While there are undoubt­ed­ly some “bad peo­ple” in Antifa, as Don­ald Trump would put it, and peo­ple with real­ly messed up polit­i­cal views (like anar­chists who want to see soci­ety col­lapse so they can build an anar­cho-what­ev­er utopia) we should all be able to agree that even the bad Antifa mem­bers are high­ly unlike­ly to be as bad as Nazis. Ok, it’s inevitable there’s few Antifa mem­ber who are as bad as a Nazi who aren’t cryp­to-Nazi infil­tra­tors. That’s going to hap­pen in a big enough group. And then there’s the actu­al cryp­to-Nazi infil­tra­tors who real­ly are as bad as the Nazis. But in gen­er­al can we all agree that even groups with pol­i­tics and eco­nom­ic par­a­digms that we may not per­son­al­ly like and who are will­ing to be mil­i­tant towards Nazis, and pret­ty much just towards Nazis or Nazi-like groups, are far bet­ter than Nazis who want to sub­ju­gate and exter­mi­nate entire races?

    3. Mak­ing the dis­tinc­tion of how much worse Nazism is than what­ev­er par­tic­u­lar far-left vision Antifa mem­bers might hold is an impor­tant dis­tinc­tion to make in this con­text because even if you’re an uber-cap­i­tal­ist who hates Com­mu­nists there’s a wide­ly held recog­ni­tion that race-based suprema­cy ide­olo­gies are hor­rif­ic and col­lec­tive doom and reject­ing that is a foun­da­tion of decent and durable soci­eties and indi­vid­u­als. Get­ting the eco­nom­ics right is impor­tant. Rec­og­niz­ing the evil and ter­ror caused by of racial-suprema­cy ide­olo­gies is more impor­tant because it’s even more foun­da­tion­al for build­ing a decent and durable soci­ety pop­u­lat­ed by decent peo­ple.

    Is that avail­able as com­mon ground? A sim­ple recog­ni­tion that Antifa’s will­ing­ness to engage pre­emp­tive vio­lence is bad when it occurs but Nazis are much worse because they want to sub­ju­gate entire groups and races? Can we at least agree to all that? Because if the pre­dic­tions of sleaze bags like Roger Stone or aca­d­e­mics like Kei­th Mines that the Unites States could expe­ri­ence a ‘civ­il war’-ish sce­nario in the near future comes to to fruition it seems pret­ty like­ly that it will only hap­pen when the ‘Alt-Right’ and neo-Nazis suc­cess­ful­ly sell them­selves as “the less­er of two evils” with the “vio­lent Left” get­ting framed as the greater evil. And these street brawls are undoubt­ed­ly play­ing a huge role in the suc­cess­ful prop­a­ga­tion of that meme.

    So per­haps it’s worth mak­ing it clear that Antifa undoubt­ed­ly has some “bad peo­ple”, because all move­ments have that ele­ment, but also that Antifa is stu­pid­ly falling for a trap laid by the ‘Alt-Right’ neo-Nazis. A trap intend­ed to cre­ate a cycle of vio­lence as part of a larg­er divide and con­quer strat­e­gy designed to pose a ques­tion to the gen­er­al pub­lic “do you stand with the white nation­al­ists or do you stand with those Antifa com­mies?” That’s the trap and it’s a real­ly stu­pid trap to fall into. And you know who else is stu­pid­ly falling for that trap? Any­one who thinks the Nazis in Char­lottesville were the less­er of two evils or even equal­ly bad as Antifa. Antifa inevitably has to bad or mis­guid­ed ele­ments. Nazis are unam­bigu­ous­ly much, much worse. Can Amer­i­can soci­ety arrive at that com­mon ground? Or are we already caught in a stu­pid­i­ty trap? Hope­ful­ly we’re not trapped by stu­pid­i­ty yet. We’ll see.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 29, 2017, 7:42 pm
  5. The state of Vir­ginia has a guber­na­to­r­i­al race com­ing up that’s does­n’t bode well for the future of the US: In late August, the GOP can­di­date, Ed Gille­spie, hired Jack Mor­gan, the South­west Vir­ginia field direc­tor for Don­ald Trump’s 2016 cam­paign in an attempt to appeal to rur­al vot­ers who Gille­spie had been strug­gling with. Mor­gan pre­dicts a sec­ond Civ­il War and claims the push to remove Con­fed­er­ate stat­ues is a com­mu­nist insur­gency. Gille­spie’s cam­paign then pro­ceed­ed to focus on pro­tect­ing Con­fed­er­ate stat­ues, issued one race-bait­ing/fear mon­ger­ing ad after anoth­er and from the Trump/Bannon/Lee Atwa­ter play­book, immi­grants, and fears of Mus­lims, sanc­tu­ary cities (which don’t exist in Vir­ginia), and the race for the gov­er­nor that was look­ing like a like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic win a month ago is now a dead heat.

    As depress­ing as this turn of events is for the state of Amer­i­ca, it’s also worth not­ing one poten­tial insight we can take from the Democ­rats’ inabil­i­ty to appeal to rur­al vot­ers that ties into the debate over whether or not the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty should be focus­ing more on “iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics” and issue impor­tant to con­tem­po­rary Demo­c­ra­t­ic coali­tion of minori­ties groups (reli­gious, eth­nic, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, etc) and labor unions or instead focus on appeal­ing to work­ing class white males and rur­al vot­ers: If there are two groups that that should be a core ele­ments of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty from an eco­nom­ic self-inter­est stand­point it’s white work­ing class vot­ers (rur­al and urban) and rur­al vot­ers in gen­er­al who tend to gain the most from robust gov­ern­ment ser­vices and invest­ments. But those two groups have been increas­ing­ly won over by the far-right ‘pop­ulist’ media and rhetoric that por­trays the world as a glob­al com­mu­nist Mus­lim athe­ist social­ist con­spir­a­cy out to get white peo­ple. That’s basi­cal­ly meta-mes­sage of the Trump/Bannon polit­i­cal play­book and much of right-wing media and it clear­ly has a deep res­o­nance with a lot of white vot­ers who are either true con­ser­v­a­tives or large­ly unin­formed peo­ple under­stand­ably pissed off about the state of affairs and high­ly vul­ner­a­ble to the mes­sag­ing of the right-wing Big Lie dis­in­fo­tain­ment com­plex.

    And since part of the com­plaints often heard from white vot­ers who left the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty in recent years is the feel­ing that Democ­rats are only inter­est­ed in issues affect­ing minor­i­ty groups, it’s worth not­ing how the dam­age GOP poli­cies are doing to rur­al com­mu­ni­ties present an enor­mous oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty to make a key argu­ment that can break the GOP’s spell over white vot­ers while unit­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty: The US sys­tem can’t func­tion unless every­one wins. Even the sys­tem’s ‘losers’ to need win by being in a sys­tem that does­n’t abuse the losers or allow them to fall into traps. That’s how every­one wins, and when you make build­ing that kind of a sys­tem a key polit­i­cal goal — the real Shin­ing City on a Hill — it’s a goal that inher­ent­ly includes all sorts of minor­i­ty groups and white work­ing class vot­ers and small farm­ers and rur­al vot­ers and urban vot­ers and every else in between not because the par­ty is inter­est­ed in pan­der­ing to every­one but because a soci­ety that does­n’t look out for every­one is a dys­func­tion­al soci­ety. We’re all sup­posed to look out for each oth­er’s inter­ests. If that’s not already part of the social con­tract it should be.

    So you have to won­der if the Democ­rats could get some of these alien­at­ed white vot­ers to give the par­ty a sec­ond look by fram­ing the par­ty’s gov­ern­ing phi­los­o­phy along the fol­low­ing lines:

    1. A recog­ni­tion that, in a democ­ra­cy, the most effec­tive way to ensure your own self-inter­ests are going to be pro­tect­ed in by being in a broad based coali­tion of peo­ple with a wide vari­ety of inter­ests all unit­ed by a com­mon recog­ni­tion that we’re all in this togeth­er and we all need to care about each oth­er’s inter­ests.

    2. When we are look­ing after a diverse group of inter­ests togeth­er we tend to cre­ate a more just soci­ety because we’re forced to search for solu­tions that work for every­one. It’s a key ele­ment of the con­tem­po­rary social con­tract and one of the most impor­tant prin­ci­ples the US can export to the rest of the world.

    3. When devel­op­ing pol­i­cy solu­tions that address “iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics” issues and issues fac­ing minor­i­ty groups, unions, the poor, and the envi­ron­ment (tra­di­tion­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic bases) in mind while also keep­ing eco­nom­ic and busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty issues (like small farmer con­cerns) simul­ta­ne­ous­ly in mind we will devel­op bet­ter bet­ter over­all poli­cies solu­tions that work for as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble. Minor­i­ty groups and white work­ing class folks and farms all look­ing out for each oth­er’s inter­ests (inter­ests that are heav­i­ly over­lap­ping if we stopped to think about it) is the goal. The only losers with that approach are out­right big­ots, xeno­phobes, and pow­er mon­ger­ing bil­lion­aires.

    4. This is how we imple­ment the Gold­en Rule through democ­ra­cy: using gov­ern­ment to mutu­al­ly look out for each oth­er’s self-inter­ests. Every­one look­ing out for every­one makes us stronger and unites us and qual­i­ty, well-thought out gov­ern­ment pro­grams are a key way of how we do that. The GOP won’t allow this because it gov­erns under a phi­los­o­phy of exalt­ing self-inter­est and demo­niz­ing gov­ern­ment.

    5. If the con­cerns of the white work­ing-class, rur­al vot­ers and small­er farm­ers haven’t been addressed that’s large­ly, though not entire­ly, the fault of the GOP. See Point 4.

    6. When dif­fer­ent groups’ inter­ests are in con­flicts with each oth­er, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty sides with the lit­tle guy because it is the par­ty of the lit­tle guy and big guys who want a decent soci­ety. And since most issues are lit­tle guy vs big guy and not rur­al vs urban in con­tem­po­rary affairs there’s a huge over­lap in inter­ests between most of the GOP base and most of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic base since almost every­one is one of the ‘lit­tle guy’. If the var­i­ous “iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics” issues (which are typ­i­cal­ly ‘lit­tle guy vs big guy’ issues) and the issues white work­ing class and rur­al vot­ers and small farm­ers (which are also typ­i­cal­ly ‘lit­tle guy vs big guy’ issues) and every oth­er group out there aren’t being addressed simul­ta­ne­ous­ly that means gov­ern­ment is fail­ing. Because it’s not like gov­ern­ment can’t address mul­ti­ple issues simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. That’s gov­ern­men­t’s job. Being respon­sive to the lit­tle guy’s inter­ests and big guy’s inter­est in har­mo­ny, regard­less of who they are. And that includes all the issues that only affects rur­al vot­ers. But the GOP won’t let us have that because it hates gov­ern­ment.

    Some­how rur­al white Amer­i­ca became con­vinced that the par­ty of the plu­to­crats is going to look out for their best inter­est. While that’s a trou­bling phe­nom­e­na it’s also heav­i­ly a result of the suc­cess of the right-wing Big Lie media dis­in­fo­tain­ment com­plex over the decades and that means a lot a of the rea­sons rur­al vot­ers hate Democ­rats has to do with right-wing media brain­wash­ing and that means the GOP base’s dis­like of the Democ­rats is going to be heav­i­ly depen­dent on sea of right-wing media lies. That presents a real open­ing for Democ­rats, because the GOP is unam­bigu­ous­ly the pro-big guy par­ty at almost every oppor­tu­ni­ty. Mutu­al­ly look­ing out every­one’s inter­est can and should be a pack­age deal The Democ­rats offer rur­al vot­ers. It’s a deal the GOP is inca­pable of deliv­er­ing on. All they know is divide and con­quer. But in real­i­ty the Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers right-wing media teach­es its audi­ence to hate and fear real­ly should be seen as part­ners for that right-wing audi­ence in mutu­al­ly look­ing out for each oth­ers’ best inter­ests togeth­er from a lit­tle guy vs big guy per­spec­tive (which real­ly should be the ‘Amer­i­can spirit’...the lit­tle guy look­ing out for itself demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly).

    Could the Democ­rats suc­cess­ful­ly make that sales pitch? Who knows, but even if it’s a long shot it might be worth a try, because what­ev­er the Democ­rats are doing right now to reach out to rur­al Amer­i­ca clear­ly isn’t work­ing:

    Politi­co

    Democ­rats still tox­ic in rur­al Amer­i­ca

    The party’s can­di­date for Vir­ginia gov­er­nor grew up in the rur­al reach­es and boasts a mil­i­tary back­ground. But he’s doing no bet­ter than Clin­ton.

    By KEVIN ROBILLARD

    11/03/2017 03:11 PM EDT
    Updat­ed 11/03/2017 02:59 PM EDT

    BLACKSBURG, Va. — Vir­ginia guber­na­to­r­i­al hope­ful Ralph Northam looked like the per­fect can­di­date to help Democ­rats regain trac­tion with rur­al vot­ers after a dis­as­trous 2016, with his South­ern drawl, upbring­ing in the state’s rur­al East­ern Shore and mil­i­tary back­ground.

    But despite sub­stan­tial efforts in the far reach­es of the com­mon­wealth increas­ing­ly ignored by Democ­rats, Northam appears to be com­ing up short of a big improve­ment, accord­ing to his own inter­nal polling.

    Crit­ics point to Northam’s stances on sanc­tu­ary cities and nat­ur­al gas pipelines as pos­si­ble rea­sons for the strug­gles. But the pre­dom­i­nant issue may be that no Demo­c­rat, no mat­ter their rur­al cre­den­tials, appeals to rur­al vot­ers who have been turn­ing away from the par­ty for years — a big warn­ing sign for Democ­rats hop­ing to com­pete in dozens of rur­al-root­ed Sen­ate, House and guber­na­to­r­i­al elec­tions around the coun­try next year.

    It’s one rea­son why Repub­li­cans still believe that they can pull an upset in the Nov. 7 Vir­ginia elec­tion, despite Northam lead­ing in most pub­lic polling. Northam’s cam­paign believes he is doing well enough in the state’s rur­al cor­ners to win, giv­en Democ­rats’ strength in fast-grow­ing North­ern Vir­ginia. Northam’s own inter­nal polling in Octo­ber showed Repub­li­can Ed Gille­spie get­ting 49 per­cent to Northam’s 36 per­cent in the rur­al Bris­tol, Roanoke and Har­rison­burg tele­vi­sion mar­kets — which Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump won 62 per­cent to 34 per­cent in 2016 (while los­ing Vir­ginia to Hillary Clin­ton).

    While Gille­spie wasn’t hit­ting Trump’s heights, a poten­tial warn­ing sign of his own, Northam’s rur­al polling was lit­tle bet­ter than Clin­ton’s final result in last year’s pres­i­den­tial race — and below the lev­els Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma, John Ker­ry and Al Gore reached in the pre­vi­ous four pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, when they lost the region but still squeezed more votes out of it. The trend has left Democ­rats more reliant on high urban and sub­ur­ban turnout, and not every state has the same boom­ing sub­urbs to coun­ter­bal­ance Democ­rats’ rur­al loss­es. Rur­al Democ­rats wor­ry the par­ty still sees them as an unnec­es­sary after­thought.

    “We’re plain Jane,” said Jay Clarke, a retired his­to­ry pro­fes­sor who briefly resigned from his post as Rock­bridge Coun­ty Demo­c­ra­t­ic Chair­man ear­li­er this fall in order to protest what he saw as the state par­ty’s neglect of rur­al areas. “And the temptress is North­ern Vir­ginia down to Rich­mond and Tide­wa­ter. And politi­cians are eas­i­ly seduced.”

    Matt Mor­ri­son, the co-exec­u­tive direc­tor of the AFL-CIO-backed group Work­ing Amer­i­ca, has helped lead Demo­c­ra­t­ic turnout efforts in Virginia’s south­west, tar­get­ing about 100,000 vot­ers — includ­ing white mod­er­ates as well as siz­able black and Lati­no pop­u­la­tions in cities like Danville and Mar­tinsville.

    Mor­ri­son said can­vassers in the region haven’t detect­ed enthu­si­asm for Gille­spie or Northam, who both lost rur­al areas to their pri­ma­ry oppo­nents in June.

    “Enthu­si­asm on both sides is low,” he said.

    Democ­rats say that’s not for lack of try­ing on Northam’s part. For­mer Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep. Rick Bouch­er, who held a dis­trict in South­west Vir­ginia for 28 years before los­ing in the 2010 wave, said Northam is “doing a lot of what I rec­om­mend­ed” in an essay in the jour­nal “Democ­ra­cy” out­lin­ing how his par­ty could do bet­ter in rur­al areas. Boucher’s key lessons: Allow some flex­i­bil­i­ty on gun pol­i­cy, focus on the econ­o­my and show up.

    “ ‘Show­ing up’ means return­ing repeat­ed­ly and lis­ten­ing more than talk­ing,” he writes.

    Northam and his chief of staff pushed for the recre­ation of the par­ty’s rur­al cau­cus, and he held over 100 events in rur­al parts of the state as lieu­tenant gov­er­nor. He asked for rur­al Wise as the loca­tion of the third debate of the gov­er­nor’s race.

    “He’s sin­cere. He’s not slick,” said Toni Radler, chair of the Hanover Coun­ty Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, which includes sub­ur­ban and rur­al areas out­side of Rich­mond. “And we kin­da like that.”

    The Northam cam­paign released a tele­vi­sion ad ear­li­er this month designed to appeal to rur­al vot­ers, fea­tur­ing Northam work­ing to restore a 1953 Oldsmo­bile and explain­ing that clas­sic car restora­tion has been a hob­by of his since high school.

    “I’m from rur­al Vir­ginia, and when I’m gov­er­nor, you won’t be for­got­ten,” Northam says in the 30-sec­ond spot.

    Last month at a Blacks­burg fundrais­er for Chris Hurst, a local tele­vi­sion anchor-turned-House of Del­e­gates can­di­date, Northam attacked the “clown show in Wash­ing­ton” and said Gille­spie need­ed to do more to con­demn Trump’s flir­ta­tion with white nation­al­ists in Char­lottesville before he laid out his plans for the state’s rur­al areas. He wants to expand a Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia branch in rur­al Wise Coun­ty, make com­mu­ni­ty col­lege free for stu­dents in high-demand fields who com­mit to a year of pub­lic ser­vice and con­tin­u­ing increas­ing voca­tion­al train­ing in high schools.

    But there was one hot-but­ton issue here Northam did­n’t men­tion: the con­struc­tion of two nat­ur­al gas pipelines, oppo­si­tion to which has unit­ed envi­ron­men­tal­ists and rur­al landown­ers.

    In the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry, for­mer Rep. Tom Per­riel­lo cam­paigned heav­i­ly against the pipelines, while Northam said a gov­er­nor would have lit­tle pow­er to stop their con­struc­tion and avoid­ed tak­ing a firm stance for or against.

    Asked whether Northam had missed an oppor­tu­ni­ty by not com­ing out against the pipelines, Clarke had a sim­ple response: “Yes.” He said vol­un­teers in Rock­bridge Coun­ty had asked for guid­ance from the Northam cam­paign on what to say if asked about the pipelines and had­n’t received a response. “That’s polit­i­cal malfea­sance,” Clarke said.

    Vee Frye, chair of the state par­ty’s rur­al cau­cus, down­played the pipeline issue.

    “Ralph did what he thought was right,” she said, not­ing Gillespie’s sup­port for both pipelines and Northam’s strong envi­ron­men­tal record. “I think it’s a non-issue, I real­ly do.”

    Northam’s cam­paign cau­tions that the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, which has lost rur­al vot­ers over the course of decades, can’t expect to win them back in a sin­gle elec­tion cycle. They also expect Gille­spie to under­per­form in rur­al areas, many of which he lost in the GOP pri­ma­ry, and think attacks on the Repub­li­can’s record as a lob­by­ist will not inspire high turnout there.

    But Repub­li­cans, who hope Gille­spie’s empha­sis on bar­ring sanc­tu­ary cities and pro­tect­ing Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments can excite Repub­li­can vot­ers in rur­al areas where he strug­gled dur­ing the pri­ma­ry, slammed Northam for ignor­ing the less-pop­u­lat­ed parts of the state.

    “Ralph Northam has yet to offer any sub­stan­tive vision to address the chal­lenges fac­ing rur­al Vir­ginia,” Gille­spie spokesman David Abrams said, not­ing Northam missed meet­ings of a rur­al eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment pan­el. “Northam’s inat­ten­tion and bad poli­cies will make things worse in some of the most eco­nom­i­cal­ly chal­lenged areas of the com­mon­wealth.”

    ...

    ———-

    “Democ­rats still tox­ic in rur­al Amer­i­ca” By KEVIN ROBILLARD; Politi­co; 11/03/2017

    “Crit­ics point to Northam’s stances on sanc­tu­ary cities and nat­ur­al gas pipelines as pos­si­ble rea­sons for the strug­gles. But the pre­dom­i­nant issue may be that no Demo­c­rat, no mat­ter their rur­al cre­den­tials, appeals to rur­al vot­ers who have been turn­ing away from the par­ty for years — a big warn­ing sign for Democ­rats hop­ing to com­pete in dozens of rur­al-root­ed Sen­ate, House and guber­na­to­r­i­al elec­tions around the coun­try next year.”

    No mat­ter what the Democ­rats try they can’t find a way to lure white rur­al vot­ers away from the GOP, a par­ty that wants to evis­cer­ate the fed­er­al spend­ing in rur­al areas while unleash­ing the pol­lu­tion flood­gates.

    And don’t for­get that when Gille­spie hired Jack Mor­gan, Trump’s cam­paign oper­a­tive spe­cial­iz­ing in South West Vir­ginia pol­i­tics, the divi­sive race-bait­ing began in earnest. And this was done to tar­get rur­al Vir­gini­a’s vot­ers:

    ...
    But Repub­li­cans, who hope Gille­spie’s empha­sis on bar­ring sanc­tu­ary cities and pro­tect­ing Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments can excite Repub­li­can vot­ers in rur­al areas where he strug­gled dur­ing the pri­ma­ry, slammed Northam for ignor­ing the less-pop­u­lat­ed parts of the state.
    ...

    By scar­ing the crap out of rur­al vot­ers about all the minori­ties and lib­er­als the OGP has man­aged to ‘excite’ the par­ty’s base. To the point where Ed Gille­spie might win due large­ly to his egre­gious Trumpian race-bat­ing.

    And note how the one area where Northam was legit­i­mate­ly act­ing like a Repub­li­can — the issue if the pipeline — it’s an issue that unites rur­al vot­ers with envi­ron­men­tal­ists:

    ...
    Last month at a Blacks­burg fundrais­er for Chris Hurst, a local tele­vi­sion anchor-turned-House of Del­e­gates can­di­date, Northam attacked the “clown show in Wash­ing­ton” and said Gille­spie need­ed to do more to con­demn Trump’s flir­ta­tion with white nation­al­ists in Char­lottesville before he laid out his plans for the state’s rur­al areas. He wants to expand a Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia branch in rur­al Wise Coun­ty, make com­mu­ni­ty col­lege free for stu­dents in high-demand fields who com­mit to a year of pub­lic ser­vice and con­tin­u­ing increas­ing voca­tion­al train­ing in high schools.

    But there was one hot-but­ton issue here Northam did­n’t men­tion: the con­struc­tion of two nat­ur­al gas pipelines, oppo­si­tion to which has unit­ed envi­ron­men­tal­ists and rur­al landown­ers.

    In the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry, for­mer Rep. Tom Per­riel­lo cam­paigned heav­i­ly against the pipelines, while Northam said a gov­er­nor would have lit­tle pow­er to stop their con­struc­tion and avoid­ed tak­ing a firm stance for or against.

    Asked whether Northam had missed an oppor­tu­ni­ty by not com­ing out against the pipelines, Clarke had a sim­ple response: “Yes.” He said vol­un­teers in Rock­bridge Coun­ty had asked for guid­ance from the Northam cam­paign on what to say if asked about the pipelines and had­n’t received a response. “That’s polit­i­cal malfea­sance,” Clarke said.
    ...

    The area where Northam is act­ing like a GOP­er is an area that could have unit­ed envi­ron­men­tal­ists and rur­al land own­ers. Ouch. That’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty it hurts to lose. But it’s all the more rea­son for real reforms that will “drain the swamp” like over­turn­ing Cit­i­zen’s Unit­ed and get­ting the influ­ence of big busi­ness out of pol­i­tics. The kind of cor­rup­tion vot­ers from both par­ties hate is the kind of cor­rup­tion that makes Democ­rats behave like Repub­li­cans. It’s crit­i­cal GOP vot­ers under­stand this.

    Might such an ‘urban and rur­al lit­tle guys unit­ed to help each oth­er’ approach work in a state like Vir­ginia or else­where? AT least there won’t be a short­age of exam­ples of how the GOP is total­ly screw­ing rur­al vot­ers (remem­ber Trump­care?) For instance, any­one involved with the meat pack­ing indus­try might be recep­tive to a ‘unit­ed lit­tle guys’ mes­sage:

    Bloomberg

    Trump Choos­es Big Meat Over Lit­tle Farm­ers
    Rur­al Amer­i­cans vot­ed for him, but he didn’t return the favor when it came to an Oba­ma rule meant to lev­el the play­ing field.

    By Deena Shanker
    Octo­ber 25, 2017, 3:00 AM CDT Octo­ber 25, 2017, 3:29 PM CDT

    After years of fight­ing for an Oba­ma-era rule that would help farm­ers sue the mam­moth com­pa­nies they work for, advo­ca­cy groups for America’s small poul­try, pork and beef grow­ers may have been dealt a final blow by the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

    The fight was about whether small farm­ers can sue if they feel they’ve been mis­treat­ed by big com­pa­nies. Poul­try farm­ers, for exam­ple, often get their chicks and feed from big meat pro­duc­ers, which in turn pay the farmer for the full-grown prod­uct. If a farmer wants to sue a com­pa­ny for retal­i­at­ing against him because he com­plained about his contract—say, by send­ing him sick chicks or bad feed—the farmer needs to show the company’s actions hurt not only him, but the entire indus­try.

    Under Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, that high bar would have been low­ered. Under the inter­im final rule, a show­ing of harm to only one farmer would suf­fice to sup­port a claim. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion last week threw out the Oba­ma-era rule in a move hailed by lob­by­ists for the big agri­cul­ture com­pa­nies.

    “I can’t tell you how dis­ap­point­ed I am,” said Mike Weaver, a West Vir­ginia poul­try farmer and pres­i­dent of the Orga­ni­za­tion for Com­pet­i­tive Mar­kets, who vot­ed for Don­ald Trump. “Rur­al Amer­i­ca came out and sup­port­ed the pres­i­dent, and if it weren’t for us, he wouldn’t be where he is now. What they did was wrong, and it shouldn’t have hap­pened that way.”

    Farmer groups—including the Nation­al Farm­ers Union, Rur­al Advance­ment Foun­da­tion Inter­na­tion­al-USA, Farm Aid, R‑CALF USA, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Asso­ci­a­tion, and the Orga­ni­za­tion for Com­pet­i­tive Markets—supported the Oba­ma-era rule. Many farm­ers and ranch­ers thought Trump would allow it to take effect, cit­ing his sup­port for small busi­ness and rur­al Amer­i­cans. Indus­try lob­by­ists, such as the Nation­al Cattlemen’s Beef Asso­ci­a­tion, the Nation­al Pork Pro­duc­ers Coun­cil and the North Amer­i­can Meat Insti­tute, hoped the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent would undo the rule, cit­ing fears over increased lit­i­ga­tion from farm­ers. They also thought they’d found a cham­pi­on for their cause in Trump, who had vowed to cut fed­er­al reg­u­la­tion.

    “When Trump was com­ing in with the mantra of reduced reg­u­la­tion,” said Jere­my Scott, a pro­tein research ana­lyst at Mizuho Secu­ri­ties USA LLC, “there was relief.” In the end it was indus­try, not farm­ers, that guessed cor­rect­ly. Nation­al Chick­en Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Mike Brown pub­licly praised the USDA deci­sion.

    Mean­while, farm­ers and ranch­ers are left with few options to chal­lenge huge com­pa­nies over alleged­ly anti-com­pet­i­tive behav­ior. “This gives the meat­pack­ing indus­try the abil­i­ty to do what­ev­er they wish, in terms of retal­i­a­tion against an indi­vid­ual,” said Jay Platt, a cow-calf ranch­er in Ari­zona, who also vot­ed for Trump. “It leaves the cat­tle pro­duc­er absolute­ly punch-less.”

    “These guide­lines would pro­tect farm­ers and ranch­ers against bad faith, retal­i­a­tion, denial of due process and fraud,” said J. Dud­ley But­ler, for­mer admin­is­tra­tor of the Grain Inspec­tion, Pack­ers and Stock­yards Admin­is­tra­tion under Oba­ma. “Farm­ers and ranch­ers are the back­bone of Amer­i­ca, and they paved the way for Trump to be pres­i­dent. They thought he was their pres­i­dent, but he and his min­ions have now sold these very farm­ers and ranch­ers down the riv­er.”

    In addi­tion to Democ­rats on Capi­tol Hill, at least one mem­ber of Trump’s own par­ty sees it that way, too. “They’re just pan­der­ing to big cor­po­ra­tions. They don’t care about fam­i­ly farms,” Sen­a­tor Chuck Grass­ley, an Iowa Repub­li­can, told reporters upon hear­ing the news of the USDA deci­sion. “This is an exam­ple of a swamp being refilled.”

    The Nation­al Pork Pro­duc­ers Coun­cil dis­agreed, say­ing in an emailed state­ment Wednes­day that the pro­posed rule would have “sti­fled com­pe­ti­tion and inno­va­tion and, ulti­mate­ly, raised meat and poul­try prices for con­sumers.” While the NPPC says farm­ers could still sue in state courts, alle­ga­tions gen­er­al­ly raised in such cas­es, includ­ing antitrust, are large­ly fed­er­al in nature.

    Although the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has faced lit­i­ga­tion oppos­ing oth­er attempts to undo Oba­ma-era reg­u­la­tions, law­suits are unlike­ly to suc­ceed in upend­ing this lat­est deci­sion. That’s because the USDA took pub­lic com­ment on the pos­si­bil­i­ty of with­draw­ing the rule, which itself was based on an inter­pre­ta­tion of exist­ing fed­er­al law, before doing so.

    ...

    For now, farmer groups are look­ing at oth­er avenues. Weaver has sent a let­ter ask­ing Trump to issue an exec­u­tive order revers­ing the USDA’s deci­sion. He still lays part of the blame, how­ev­er, with the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, whose rur­al agen­da was large­ly stymied by Con­gress.

    “Oba­ma had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do the right thing, and he didn’t,” said Weaver. “He made a lot of promis­es to the farm­ers about the things he was gonna do and nev­er fol­lowed through on them.”

    ———-

    “Trump Choos­es Big Meat Over Lit­tle Farm­ers” by Deena Shanker; Bloomberg; 10/25/2017

    “The fight was about whether small farm­ers can sue if they feel they’ve been mis­treat­ed by big com­pa­nies. Poul­try farm­ers, for exam­ple, often get their chicks and feed from big meat pro­duc­ers, which in turn pay the farmer for the full-grown prod­uct. If a farmer wants to sue a com­pa­ny for retal­i­at­ing against him because he com­plained about his contract—say, by send­ing him sick chicks or bad feed—the farmer needs to show the company’s actions hurt not only him, but the entire indus­try.

    Small farm­ers basi­cal­ly can’t sue the meat pro­cess­ing giants they con­tract with. And this was all changed at the end of the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. Until the GOP came along and did what it always does in big guy vs lit­tle guy sit­u­a­tions and sided with the big guy:

    ...
    Under Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, that high bar would have been low­ered. Under the inter­im final rule, a show­ing of harm to only one farmer would suf­fice to sup­port a claim. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion last week threw out the Oba­ma-era rule in a move hailed by lob­by­ists for the big agri­cul­ture com­pa­nies.

    “I can’t tell you how dis­ap­point­ed I am,” said Mike Weaver, a West Vir­ginia poul­try farmer and pres­i­dent of the Orga­ni­za­tion for Com­pet­i­tive Mar­kets, who vot­ed for Don­ald Trump. “Rur­al Amer­i­ca came out and sup­port­ed the pres­i­dent, and if it weren’t for us, he wouldn’t be where he is now. What they did was wrong, and it shouldn’t have hap­pened that way.”
    ...

    Small farm­ers get screwed by the GOP. Again. Because that’s just what the GOP does. Under the guise of “reduc­ing reg­u­la­tion”:

    ...
    “When Trump was com­ing in with the mantra of reduced reg­u­la­tion,” said Jere­my Scott, a pro­tein research ana­lyst at Mizuho Secu­ri­ties USA LLC, “there was relief.” In the end it was indus­try, not farm­ers, that guessed cor­rect­ly. Nation­al Chick­en Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Mike Brown pub­licly praised the USDA deci­sion.

    Mean­while, farm­ers and ranch­ers are left with few options to chal­lenge huge com­pa­nies over alleged­ly anti-com­pet­i­tive behav­ior. “This gives the meat­pack­ing indus­try the abil­i­ty to do what­ev­er they wish, in terms of retal­i­a­tion against an indi­vid­ual,” said Jay Platt, a cow-calf ranch­er in Ari­zona, who also vot­ed for Trump. “It leaves the cat­tle pro­duc­er absolute­ly punch-less.”

    “These guide­lines would pro­tect farm­ers and ranch­ers against bad faith, retal­i­a­tion, denial of due process and fraud,” said J. Dud­ley But­ler, for­mer admin­is­tra­tor of the Grain Inspec­tion, Pack­ers and Stock­yards Admin­is­tra­tion under Oba­ma. “Farm­ers and ranch­ers are the back­bone of Amer­i­ca, and they paved the way for Trump to be pres­i­dent. They thought he was their pres­i­dent, but he and his min­ions have now sold these very farm­ers and ranch­ers down the riv­er.”
    ...

    There’s no good rea­son urban Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers should want small farm­ers to get locked out of the abil­i­ty to sue their behe­moth clients just as there’s no valid rea­son small farm­ers should actu­al­ly have a prob­lem with the vast major­i­ty of issues impor­tant to cur­rent Demo­c­ra­t­ic coali­tion vot­ers. Lit­tle guys unite. That should be the Democ­rats’ out­reach of the GOP base. And sure enough, it’s the Democ­rats oppos­ing this anti-small farmer rul­ing:

    ...
    In addi­tion to Democ­rats on Capi­tol Hill, at least one mem­ber of Trump’s own par­ty sees it that way, too. “They’re just pan­der­ing to big cor­po­ra­tions. They don’t care about fam­i­ly farms,” Sen­a­tor Chuck Grass­ley, an Iowa Repub­li­can, told reporters upon hear­ing the news of the USDA deci­sion. “This is an exam­ple of a swamp being refilled.”
    ...

    What the right-wing media big Lie machine has long derid­ed as “social­ism” is real­ly just democ­ra­cy in action. Gov­ern­ment address­ing its cit­i­zens’ needs and griev­ances. That’s ‘Big Gov­ern­ment’ in action and it’s what rur­al vot­ers actu­al­ly want. Reg­u­lat­ing the mar­ket so the lit­tle guy isn’t screwed. And that’s basi­cal­ly what most of the rest of groups that make of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic coali­tion want: the abil­i­ty to use gov­ern­ment to pro­tect them­selves from some sort of sys­temic abuse par­tic­u­lar to their lives. That’s the real­i­ty behind what Gille­spie’s strate­gist Jack Mor­gan would have called a com­mu­nist con­spir­a­cy. A gov­ern­ment that address­es the lit­tle guy’s griev­ances.

    So rur­al vot­ers dis­ap­point­ed with a GOP that does­n’t real­ly do any­thing to ‘help’ rur­al com­mu­ni­ties — oth­er than dereg­u­late things and cut tax­es which typ­i­cal­ly only helps the big guy ‑are more than wel­come to join the Democ­rats and join the joint effort to help every­one solve the var­i­ous and diverse prob­lems fac­ing every­one’s lives. Per­haps that could be a would way of respond­ing to the chill­ing suc­cess of Ed Gille­spie’s Trumpian divide and con­quer cam­paign.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 6, 2017, 12:12 am
  6. It’s trag­i­cal­ly no longer sur­pris­ing to see Fox News hosts try to scare their audi­ences into think­ing there’s a wave of left-wing vio­lence threat­en­ing con­ser­v­a­tives because this has been a meme pushed by the right-wing aggres­sive­ly since Trump won the elec­tion. An elec­tion that fol­lowed a cam­paign where Trump turned vio­lence at his ral­lies into a reg­u­lar fea­ture. But Sat­ur­day night’s prime-time show “Jus­tice with Judge Jea­nine” include an open­ing 15 min­utes that was tru­ly chill­ing and should be rec­og­nized as a pub­lic and civ­il health haz­ard: ‘Judge’ Jea­nine Pir­ro start­ed her show with an open­ing ~7 minute rant that took the one instance of real left-wing vio­lence this year (the shoot­ing of Steve Scalise by a whack job), and took that inci­dent along with some antifa sto­ries and used that to repeat­ed­ly tell her audi­ence that the left con­dones vio­lence against con­ser­v­a­tives and any­one else they dis­agree with. And then, to make mat­ters much worse, she invit­ed on Ann Coul­ter and they con­tin­ued talk­ing about how the left sup­posed rep­re­sents this mas­sive vio­lent threat.

    And what made it so awful was how Pir­ro and Coul­ter would repeat­ed­ly first mis­char­ac­ter­ize some sort of sit­u­a­tion involv­ing antifa to por­tray antifa as some sort of domes­tic ter­ror group threat­en­ing all con­ser­v­a­tives for being con­ser­v­a­tive and then act­ing like antifa rep­re­sents ‘the Left’ in gen­er­al. It was bad even by Fox News stan­dards:

    Fox News Insid­er

    Judge Jea­nine: Antifa’s Vio­lence Is ‘Out­right Attempt at Anar­chy’

    As seen on Jus­tice With Judge Jea­nine
    Nov12,2017 9:13 am

    Judge Jea­nine Pir­ro said it is not only con­tro­ver­sial to be a Trump sup­port­er but can also be dan­ger­ous.

    Anti-Trump pro­test­ers across the coun­try have nor­mal­ized vio­lence against the right in an “out­right attempt at anar­chy,” the judge said on Sat­ur­day.

    “With con­vic­tion and an air of con­de­scen­sion the Left so hates Don­ald Trump and those who sup­port him that they’ve sanc­tioned the use of vio­lence against them,”. she explained. “The goal of these haters is to nor­mal­ize, incite, and mobi­lize hatred and turn it into vio­lence.”

    Judge Jea­nine dis­agreed with those who said the shoot­er who shot up Repub­li­cans at a con­gres­sion­al base­ball prac­tice was just a crazy per­son. The gun­man was “focused, lucid, and clear” in his attempt to com­mit vio­lence against the right, the judge opined, point­ing out that he asked a con­gress­man before­hand whether it was Democ­rats or Repub­li­cans play­ing.

    Antifa is try­ing to “recast our legal sys­tem” with­out author­i­ty so that vio­lence is accept­able against those they dis­agree with polit­i­cal­ly, Pir­ro con­tin­ued.

    ...

    ———-

    “Judge Jea­nine: Antifa’s Vio­lence Is ‘Out­right Attempt at Anar­chy’ ” As seen on Jus­tice With Judge Jea­nine; Fox News Insid­er; 11/12/2017

    “With con­vic­tion and an air of con­de­scen­sion the Left so hates Don­ald Trump and those who sup­port him that they’ve sanc­tioned the use of vio­lence against them,”. she explained. “The goal of these haters is to nor­mal­ize, incite, and mobi­lize hatred and turn it into vio­lence.””

    “With con­vic­tion and an air of con­de­scen­sion the Left so hates Don­ald Trump and those who sup­port him that they’ve sanc­tioned the use of vio­lence against them.” And that more or less sum­ma­rizes her 7 minute rant that was ded­i­cat­ed to tak­ing antifa inci­dents and the shoot­ing of Scalise and con­vinc­ing her audi­ence that “the Left” is sanc­tion­ing vio­lence against con­ser­v­a­tives.

    And as bad as that open­ing state­ment was, it was fol­lowed up by a seg­ment with Ann Coul­ter where they both talked about all the ‘left­ist vio­lence’ they’ve been sub­ject­ed to over the years. Ann Coul­ter seri­ous­ly tells the audi­ence that if you look at his­to­ry every sin­gle act of polit­i­cal vio­lence was from a left-winger and that ‘the Left’ is con­stant­ly gin­ning their side up to be vio­lent. Ann Coul­ter said that. Because of course she did. She’s Ann Coul­ter and she needs help.

    So giv­en the real­i­ty that major media out­lets like Fox News and right-wing talk radio out­lets are allow­ing peo­ple like Pir­ro to the kind of dan­ger­ous fan­ta­sy world­views that one should expect to hear from Storm­front, it’s prob­a­bly worth mak­ing the point that antifa is specif­i­cal­ly sanc­tion­ing punch­ing fas­cists only in self defense and only neo-Nazis and fas­cists and oth­er peo­ple that hang around places like Storm­front. Not ran­dom Trump sup­port­ers. Whether or not you think ‘punch­ing a Nazi’ in ok, Nazis are the only peo­ple antifa is inter­est­ing in punch­ing. So when Judge Jea­nine points to antifa scuf­fles with neo-Nazis as an exam­ple of left-wing vio­lence against Trump sup­port­ers she’s basi­cal­ly equat­ing Trump sup­port­ers to neo-Nazis and fas­cists in her open­ing state­ment. Her audi­ence should prob­a­bly be informed of this.

    But, of course, it’s also worth mak­ing the point that antifa’s will­ing­ness to embrace the punch­ing of Nazis in self-defense and meet vio­lent neo-Nazi groups to protest even when they know vio­lence could eas­i­ly erupt as a result is an incred­i­bly dan­ger­ous behav­ior pre­cise­ly because of mali­cious media fig­ures like Jea­nine Pir­ro. The ‘Is it ok to punch a Nazi (or oth­ers who embrace polit­i­cal vio­lence)?’ debate is dif­fi­cult enough in a democ­ra­cy. But ‘punch­ing a Nazi’ is wild­ly dan­ger­ous now specif­i­cal­ly because of the unfor­tu­nate real­i­ty that the those Nazis have a lot of allies in the media these days. Don’t for­get, Pir­ro equates her audi­ence with Alt Right and neo-Nazi hate group mem­bers. She’s not help­ing her audi­ence or con­ser­v­a­tives in gen­er­al when she does that, but she’s def­i­nite­ly help­ing the Alt Right neo-Nazis. And that’s why the dan­ger of antifa being used as a far-right foil has grown so sig­nif­i­cant­ly. There’s an army of peo­ple like Pir­ro wait­ing to use it to pro­mote their ‘the Left sanc­tions vio­lence against con­ser­v­a­tives’ meme at every oppor­tu­ni­ty.

    The real­i­ty is that, as a con­se­quence of the a polit­i­cal media ecosys­tem dom­i­nat­ed by increas­ing­ly right-wing voic­es on TV and radio, bor­der­line hate-speech against lib­er­als from media fig­ures like Pir­ro is now the norm across right-wing radio and cable ‘news’. While it might seem like Trump took over the GOP, it’s impor­tant to rec­og­nize that Ann Coul­ter’s style of thought and speech took over right-wing pun­dit­ry a while ago and that prob­a­bly has a lot to do with the rise of Trump. That’s just where we are in terms of the US’s nation­al dis­course which is why antifa is a dream come true for peo­ple like Pir­ro. Or Michael Sav­age. Or Sean Han­ni­ty. Or Ann Coul­ter. Major fig­ures with mas­sive audi­ences rou­tine­ly push the same memes Pir­ro is push­ing: that ‘the Left’ has an active phys­i­cal threat to peo­ple with dif­fer­ent polit­i­cal views. That’s seri­ous­ly the meme Pir­ro was just push­ing in that rant and it was­n’t the first time she’s done it. When­ev­er there’s a brawl between antifa and some neo-Nazis, Pir­ro and oth­ers use it to feed a Big Lie that tells the audi­ence over and over that there’s a left-wing vio­lent plot against them that they need to pre­pare for and freak out about.

    And if you think about what Pir­ro is doing — try­ing to stoke civ­il con­flict using Big Lie meth­ods on a major broad­cast­ing plat­form like Fox News — it rais­es a ques­tion that might help pro­vide us with an answer to this hor­rif­ic sit­u­a­tion the right-wing Big Lie machine has cre­at­ed: What kind of dam­age hap­pened to Jea­nine that brought her to this point in life where she’s con­scious­ly stok­ing civ­il vio­lence on TV? Because she pre­sum­ably did­n’t grow up plan­ning on this sort of Goebbels-esque career at this point in her life. At least hope­ful­ly she was­n’t always plan­ning on this. So what has to hap­pen to some­one to bring them to this point?

    It’s a ques­tion worth loud­ly ask­ing, because when you have Pir­ro and oth­ers basi­cal­ly try­ing to spark vio­lence between lib­er­als and con­ser­v­a­tives by repeat­ed­ly telling their audi­ence that ‘the Left’ hate them and is con­don­ing vio­lence against con­ser­v­a­tives (and this is the mes­sages these hosts real­ly are telling their audi­ences rou­tine­ly these days), the response should prob­a­bly involve mak­ing it clear that that left would actu­al­ly much pre­fer heal­ing the nation­al divide and are most­ly just upset with and pissed off at media fig­ures like Jea­nine Pir­ro who sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly lie to their audi­ence in an attempt to make con­ser­v­a­tives hate and fear lib­er­als. Jea­nine Pir­ro’s hate speech cam­paign isn’t a rea­son for lib­er­al anger towards ‘con­ser­v­a­tives.’ It’s a rea­son for lib­er­al anger towards Jea­nine Pir­ro and oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive media fig­ures like her who have decid­ed to divide the coun­try by ter­ror­iz­ing their audi­ences with far-right fan­tasies about a left-wing vio­lence.

    So what’s a bet­ter response to Pir­ro’s far-right fan­tasies about left-wing vio­lence designed to pro­voke vio­lence against lib­er­als than to loud­ly ask the ques­tion, “what hap­pened to Jea­nine Pir­ro to make sink low enough to active­ly ped­dle this kind of dan­ger­ous tripe and how can we help heal her?” Not harm her. Help her heal. And heal Sean Han­ni­ty. And Michael Sav­age. And of course Ann Coul­ter who needs en immense amount of heal­ing. What hap­pened to them all? Were they black­mailed? Do they gen­uine­ly hate lib­er­als as much as they appear to or is this just cold-heart­ed shtick they cal­lous­ly use to push their audi­ences’ but­tons? Were they always super cyn­i­cal and just decid­ed noth­ing mat­ters or did some­thing break them? Judge Jea­nine is clear­ly not well. What hap­pened and how can we help Jea­nine and the oth­er right-wing pun­dits push­ing this same kind of poi­son?

    But this kind of dan­ger­ous behav­ior also rep­re­sents a poten­tial sig­nif­i­cant oppor­tu­ni­ty. Because a key ele­ment of what makes this behav­ior so dan­ger­ous is the fact Pir­ro and her pun­dit peers sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly deprive their audi­ence of rel­e­vant facts. And in this case one of the most rel­e­vant facts is the fact that lib­er­als don’t hate and want harm con­ser­v­a­tives. That would be hor­ri­ble and insane. Con­ser­v­a­tives are our fam­i­ly mem­bers and friends and col­leagues and vice ver­sa. The notion that lib­er­als con­done vio­lence against peo­ple for being con­ser­v­a­tive is a mali­cious smear. But that’s exact­ly what Judge Jea­nine and Ann smeared by tak­ing a hand­ful of cas­es of peo­ple involved with antifa groups talk­ing about self-defense against fas­cists and con­flat­ing into the wide­spread lib­er­al con­don­ing of vio­lence against con­ser­v­a­tives. And this was like the open­ing 15 min­utes of the prime time Sat­ur­day night Fox News show. Con­fu­sion and omis­sion put to dan­ger­ous effect.

    So the need to call out Pir­ro and Coul­ter as dan­ger­ous sources of dis­in­for­ma­tion who are actu­al­ly endan­ger­ing Amer­i­ca also rep­re­sents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to loud­ly make it clear that the audi­ences of Fox News and right-wing talk radio have been giv­en a wild­ly lied to about not just lib­er­als but A LOT of oth­er things for years. Fox News hosts pro­mote a wild­ly irre­spon­si­ble lie that lib­er­als con­done vio­lence against con­ser­v­a­tives. This is how far they have fall­en. If ever there was a time where there deserved to be a nation­al Fox News ‘inter­ven­tion’ of some sort is is that time. Per­haps in the form of nation­al adver­tis­ing cam­paign to adver­tise how gross­ly Fox News dis­torts real­i­ty or some­thing. Who knows if that could suc­cess­ful­ly punc­ture the Fox News bub­ble but now seems like a good time to try con­sid­er­ing that Fox News is increas­ing­ly try­ing to stoke a civ­il con­flict.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 12, 2017, 11:36 pm
  7. Here’s the lat­est ‘who could have seen this com­ing (any­one pay­ing atten­tion’ sto­ry com­ing out of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion: the Trump-appoint­ed head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, just announced his plans to com­plete­ly elim­i­nate the US’s net neu­tral­i­ty rules for the inter­net. And he’ll be able to do exact­ly that on Decem­ber 14th, when the FCC is expect­ed to put it to a vote and it’s expect­ed to pass. And that will be it, allow­ing inter­net ser­vice providers (ISPs) the pow­er to slow down or speed up access to web­sites at their whim. Or block access to sites they don’t like alto­geth­er for any rea­son they see fit as long as the ISPs are trans­par­ent about it:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    FCC plan would give Inter­net providers pow­er to choose the sites cus­tomers see and use

    By Bri­an Fung
    Novem­ber 21 at 12:32 PM

    Fed­er­al reg­u­la­tors unveiled a plan Tues­day that would give Inter­net providers broad pow­ers to deter­mine what web­sites and online ser­vices their cus­tomers can see and use, and at what cost.

    The move sets the stage for a cru­cial vote next month at the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion that could reshape the entire dig­i­tal ecosys­tem. The FCC’s Repub­li­can chair­man, Ajit Pai, has made undo­ing the gov­ern­men­t’s net neu­tral­i­ty rules one of his top pri­or­i­ties, and Tues­day’s move hands a win to broad­band com­pa­nies such as AT&T, Ver­i­zon and Com­cast.

    Pai is tak­ing aim at reg­u­la­tions that were approved two years ago under a Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­cy and that sought to make sure all Inter­net con­tent, whether from big or small com­pa­nies, would be treat­ed equal­ly by Inter­net providers.

    The deci­sion will be put to a vote at the agen­cy’s Dec. 14 meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton. It is expect­ed to pass, with Repub­li­cans con­trol­ling three of the com­mis­sion’s five seats.

    In a release, Pai said his pro­pos­al would pre­vent the gov­ern­ment from “micro­manag­ing the Inter­net.” Under the new rules, he said, the FCC would “sim­ply require Inter­net ser­vice providers to be trans­par­ent about their prac­tices.”

    Today is a great day for con­sumers, inno­va­tion, & Inter­net free­dom. I look for­ward to cast­ing my vote in favor of restor­ing the 20-year, bipar­ti­san approach under which the free & open Inter­net flour­ished. My state­ment –>https://t.co/uAk8ltGB2u pic.twitter.com/KYXFD9LCga— Bren­dan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) Novem­ber 21, 2017

    The pro­pos­al would also shift some enforce­ment respon­si­bil­i­ty to the Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion, which can sue com­pa­nies for vio­lat­ing the com­mit­ments or state­ments they have made to the pub­lic.

    Rely­ing more heav­i­ly on Inter­net providers’ own promis­es on net neu­tral­i­ty is a depar­ture from the cur­rent rules, which lay out clear, fed­er­al bans against selec­tive­ly block­ing or slow­ing web­sites, as well as speed­ing up web­sites that agree to pay the providers a fee.

    Inter­net providers wel­comed the FCC announce­ment. “We’re very encour­aged by Chair­man Pai’s announce­ment today that the FCC will move for­ward next month to restore the suc­cess­ful light-touch reg­u­la­to­ry frame­work for Inter­net ser­vices,” Ver­i­zon said in a state­ment.

    But the FCC pro­pos­al is large­ly opposed by Inter­net com­pa­nies such as Google, which said Tues­day that the rules help pro­tect an open Inter­net.

    ...

    For­mer Demo­c­ra­t­ic FCC chair­man Tom Wheel­er, who draft­ed the 2015 net neu­tral­i­ty rules and rammed them through in spite of Repub­li­can oppo­si­tion, called Tues­day’s move “trag­ic.”

    “The job of the FCC is to rep­re­sent the con­sumer,” he said in an inter­view. “Trag­i­cal­ly, this deci­sion is only for the ben­e­fit of the large­ly monop­oly ser­vices that deliv­er the Inter­net to the con­sumer.”

    ———-

    “FCC plan would give Inter­net providers pow­er to choose the sites cus­tomers see and use” by Bri­an Fung; The Washin­gont Post; 11/21/2017

    “Fed­er­al reg­u­la­tors unveiled a plan Tues­day that would give Inter­net providers broad pow­ers to deter­mine what web­sites and online ser­vices their cus­tomers can see and use, and at what cost

    Broads pow­ers for ISPs to deter­mine what web­sites and online ser­vices their cus­tomers can see and use and the costs to use them. And the only appar­ent require­ment is that they are trans­par­ent about this. So if, for instance, AT&T merges with Time Warn­er and then decides to pro­vide extra fast access to Time Warn­er con­tent online (like HBO) and extra slow access to HBO’s com­peti­tors and no access to web­sites that crit­i­cize this prac­tice, that will the­o­ret­i­cal­ly be fine:

    ...
    In a release, Pai said his pro­pos­al would pre­vent the gov­ern­ment from “micro­manag­ing the Inter­net.” Under the new rules, he said, the FCC would “sim­ply require Inter­net ser­vice providers to be trans­par­ent about their prac­tices.”

    Today is a great day for con­sumers, inno­va­tion, & Inter­net free­dom. I look for­ward to cast­ing my vote in favor of restor­ing the 20-year, bipar­ti­san approach under which the free & open Inter­net flour­ished. My state­ment –>https://t.co/uAk8ltGB2u pic.twitter.com/KYXFD9LCga— Bren­dan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) Novem­ber 21, 2017

    The pro­pos­al would also shift some enforce­ment respon­si­bil­i­ty to the Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion, which can sue com­pa­nies for vio­lat­ing the com­mit­ments or state­ments they have made to the pub­lic.

    Rely­ing more heav­i­ly on Inter­net providers’ own promis­es on net neu­tral­i­ty is a depar­ture from the cur­rent rules, which lay out clear, fed­er­al bans against selec­tive­ly block­ing or slow­ing web­sites, as well as speed­ing up web­sites that agree to pay the providers a fee.
    ...

    It’s the kind of move that, per­haps inten­tion­al­ly, makes the AT&T/Time Warn­er merg­er look that much worse from an antitrust stand­point because merg­er media con­tent com­pa­nies like Time Warn­er with Inter­net Ser­vice Providers like AT&T is exact­ly the kind of con­flict of inter­est that net neu­tral­i­ty is sup­posed to pro­tect against.

    Giv­en how unpop­u­lar this kind of move is it will be inter­est­ing to see what sort of pub­lic back­lash it elic­its. In par­tic­u­lar, it’s going to be real­ly inter­est­ing to see what sort of back­lash this move trig­gers in one of the most hard core seg­ments of Don­ald Trump’s sup­port base: online Alt Right neo-Nazi trolls. Don’t for­get, if cor­po­ra­tions start out­right ban­ning access to web­sites, they’re prob­a­bly going to start with places like Storm­front or 4Chan. Places that almost every­one agrees pro­vide noth­ing of val­ue oth­er than hate and vicious trolling cam­paigns designed to scare and harm peo­ple. Places that are pro­tect­ed from gov­ern­ment cen­sor­ship under the 1st Amend­ment in the US con­sti­tu­tion pro­tect­ing free speech, but are not pro­tect­ed from cor­po­rate cen­sor­ship.

    ‘Inter­net free­dom’ is a ral­ly­ing cry for much of the dig­i­tal lib­er­tar­i­an move­ment so this move by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion real­ly is a giant slap in the face to one of his loud­est groups of sup­port­ers. Isn’t Trump’s troll army con­cerned about their online hubs get­ting cen­sored away by cor­po­ra­tions that will soon have the free­dom to cen­sor hate­ful con­tent? It seems like they should be. And based on this arti­cle from Jan­u­ary of this year, Trump’s troll army is indeed quite con­cerned about this:

    New York Mag­a­zine

    Will Trump’s Trolls Allow His FCC Pick to End the Open Inter­net?

    By Bri­an Feld­man
    Jan­u­ary 27, 2017 1:12 pm

    It seems unlike­ly that Pres­i­dent Trump’s inter­net base — the trolls and activists from 4chan, Red­dit, Twit­ter, and else­where, whose “meme mag­ic” (most­ly car­toon frogs in red hats) helped the pres­i­dent dom­i­nate social media dur­ing the elec­tion — would be able to find much com­mon ground with oppo­nents of the new admin­is­tra­tion. The online “Trump Train” has a vitu­per­a­tive hatred for the snowflakes and SJWs of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, and there are no issues on which the meme magi­cians wouldn’t fall into lock­step behind the man they call “god-emper­or.” Except, maybe, on one par­tic­u­lar issue that falls close to home — the inter­net itself.

    Last week, Don­ald Trump named the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions lawyer Ajit Pai to run the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion, the reg­u­la­to­ry body that over­sees tele­com com­pa­nies and com­mon car­ri­ers. Pai was the rank­ing Repub­li­can com­mis­sion­er under Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, so his rise is not par­tic­u­lar­ly shock­ing — but Pai has stat­ed many times over the years that he does not believe in the prin­ci­ple of net neu­tral­i­ty: the idea, essen­tial­ly, that all traf­fic on the inter­net must be treat­ed equal­ly. If net neu­tral­i­ty isn’t man­dat­ed, inter­net-ser­vice providers could the­o­ret­i­cal­ly deter­mine their cus­tomers’ abil­i­ty to access cer­tain web­sites or ser­vices — either by direct­ly pre­vent­ing access, or, more like­ly, by severe­ly lim­it­ing or throt­tling speeds.

    Net neu­tral­i­ty is baked into the free, open cul­ture of the inter­net, and it’s long been pop­u­lar a ral­ly­ing point both for the tech com­pa­nies, like Net­flix and Red­dit, that would have the most to lose with­out it, and for the many users that believe strong­ly in the prin­ci­ple of an open inter­net. Over the years, at moments when net neu­tral­i­ty has been threat­ened, hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple have been mobi­lized to pro­tect it, by lob­by­ing the FCC and elect­ed offi­cials. It’s the rare issue that heavy inter­net users on the left and right can agree on.

    And even if you wouldn’t expect the Red­di­tors and chan­ners who make up the Trump Train to sup­port net neu­tral­i­ty by virtue of their heavy inter­net use, Trump’s most vocal online sup­port­ers have a clear inter­est in main­tain­ing net neu­tral­i­ty — it’s a pol­i­cy that helps guar­an­tee that sites like Red­dit, 4chan, and their even seed­i­er cousins can be accessed by any­one. But stand­ing up for net neu­tral­i­ty would also require them to crit­i­cize the god-emper­or. There is no evi­dence that Trump real­ly under­stands the issue, save for an ill-informed 2014 tweet.

    Obama’s attack on the inter­net is anoth­er top down pow­er grab. Net neu­tral­i­ty is the Fair­ness Doc­trine. Will tar­get con­ser­v­a­tive media.— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Novem­ber 12, 2014

    To find out more about how inter­net advo­cates on the right feel about Pai, I spoke to Utsav San­du­ja, the com­mu­ni­ca­tions offi­cer at Gab.ai, a Twitter/Reddit hybrid pre­ferred by mem­bers of the alt-right fol­low­ing Twitter’s post­elec­tion crack­down. San­du­ja was quick to assert that Gab’s 140,000 users fall across the polit­i­cal spec­trum, but he did tell me that “we have a very pro-free­dom stance” when it comes to indi­vid­ual inter­net users.

    Gab users are unit­ed behind “four crit­i­cal inter­net free­doms,” San­du­ja told me. “The free­dom to to access law­ful con­tent, the free­dom to use appli­ca­tions, the free­dom to attach per­son­al devices to the net­work, and the free­dom to obtain ser­vice-plan infor­ma­tion.” These are, word for word, the four so-called “inter­net free­doms” that for­mer FCC chair Michael Pow­ell out­lined in 2004, dur­ing the Bush admin­is­tra­tion. (For what it’s worth, Pow­ell has char­ac­ter­ized the FCC’s 2015 net-neu­tral­i­ty mea­sures as too expan­sive.)

    ...

    Ear­li­er this month, Gab’s iOS app was reject­ed from the app store, after sit­ting in review for rough­ly a month. The future of the inter­net that net neu­tral­i­ty seeks to avoid is Apple’s walled gar­den on a larg­er scale: ISPs restrict­ing con­tent from users. If Trump-sup­port­ing Gab users believe that Apple is over­step­ping its bounds by mod­er­at­ing its app store too heav­i­ly, it’s not much of a leap to assume that they feel sim­i­lar­ly about inter­net-ser­vice providers. Both are large, monop­o­lis­tic plat­form hold­ers that could poten­tial­ly wield out­size pow­er regard­ing what trav­els over their net­work. If Trump’s sup­port­ers val­ue their per­son­al lib­er­ties, then it would ben­e­fit them to be in favor of net neu­tral­i­ty, and to oppose Ajit Pai — even if they are hes­i­tant to come out and actu­al­ly admit as much.

    Voat, the anti-polit­i­cal-cor­rect­ness Red­dit clone that popped up after Red­dit start­ed clean­ing house, has numer­ous threads about Pai’s appoint­ment. Most of them lie dor­mant, though occa­sion­al­ly users with names like Ghetto_Shitlord will show up to act as a voice of rea­son. A pro-Pai arti­cle sub­mit­ted to Voat yes­ter­day has two com­ments, one of which reads, “Uncon­vinc­ing BS. This guy uses legalese to coverup his sup­port for ISPs doing what­ev­er they want.”

    The clear silence sur­round­ing Pai on Voat con­trasts stark­ly with posts on net neu­tral­i­ty from a year and a half ago, when users were con­cerned about Con­gress and lob­by­ists launch­ing a sneak attack.

    Maybe the most sophis­ti­cat­ed and dis­sent­ing opin­ions on net neu­tral­i­ty can be found on r/The_Donald, the main sub­red­dit for dis­cus­sion of Don­ald Trump and his poli­cies, and where much of the “meme mag­ic” was gen­er­at­ed. For the most part, where an r/The_Donald mem­ber seems to fall on net neu­tral­i­ty has a lot to do with how well they under­stand the issue. To some, net neu­tral­i­ty rep­re­sents gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion of the pri­vate sec­tor. That’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly incor­rect, but even under­stood as reg­u­la­tion, net neu­tral­i­ty has clear ben­e­fits for the end user. This can be dif­fi­cult to sort out and rec­on­cile.

    One r/The_Donald poster, DRRid­er, summed it up thus­ly:

    If we do not allow “net neu­tral­i­ty”, we give con­trol of the inter­net to the gate­keep­ing cor­po­ra­tions such as Time Warn­er, AT&T and Com­cast.

    If we allow “net neu­tral­i­ty”, we hand over con­trol of the inter­net to the gov­ern­ment.

    “Pick your poi­son,” they wrote. “Per­son­al­ly, I’d pre­fer the for­mer since it’s more decen­tral­ized.” Except that, in this case, “decen­tral­ized” ISPs are still high­ly cen­tral­ized geo­graph­i­cal­ly, and tend to hold near-monop­o­lies in the areas they serve. Expect­ing uncon­test­ed ISPs to start inno­vat­ing and improv­ing their prod­ucts, rather than hold­ing users hostage, would be to ignore the entire his­to­ry of com­mer­cial ISPs.

    But for the most part, r/The_Donald users do seem to have a decent grasp on the ques­tion of net neu­tral­i­ty, and do rec­og­nize its impor­tance. The hypo­thet­i­cal exam­ples are like a mir­ror image of the lib­er­al side of the inter­net. Mul­ti­ple users fear that ISPs, which own main­stream news out­lets (Com­cast owns NBC, Time Warn­er owns CNN), will use a lack of net neu­tral­i­ty to push a lib­er­al agen­da onto inter­net cus­tomers. And while unlike­ly, there is a nonze­ro pos­si­bil­i­ty of this hap­pen­ing if net neu­tral­i­ty is rolled back. That’s why pre­emp­tive net-neu­tral­i­ty reg­u­la­tions are impor­tant.

    Or, in the words of NimbleNavigator931, “Pri­va­cy and net neu­tral­i­ty is a pri­or­i­ty if we’re going to win the meme war in the long game.”

    ———-

    “Will Trump’s Trolls Allow His FCC Pick to End the Open Inter­net?” by Bri­an Feld­man; New York Mag­a­zine; 01/27/2017

    “And even if you wouldn’t expect the Red­di­tors and chan­ners who make up the Trump Train to sup­port net neu­tral­i­ty by virtue of their heavy inter­net use, Trump’s most vocal online sup­port­ers have a clear inter­est in main­tain­ing net neu­tral­i­ty — it’s a pol­i­cy that helps guar­an­tee that sites like Red­dit, 4chan, and their even seed­i­er cousins can be accessed by any­one. But stand­ing up for net neu­tral­i­ty would also require them to crit­i­cize the god-emper­or. There is no evi­dence that Trump real­ly under­stands the issue, save for an ill-informed 2014 tweet.”

    Yep, net neu­tral­i­ty helps guar­an­tee that sites like Red­dit and 4chan are acces­si­ble by any­one. But Trump is the Alt Rigth­’s god-emper­or. So what is the Alt Right to do? Well, some might end up embrac­ing the end of net neu­tral­i­ty under the pre­tense that cor­po­rate con­trol is bet­ter that gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion. But over­all all indi­ca­tions are that the Trump’s Troll Army isn’t going to be very hap­py about this:

    ...
    Maybe the most sophis­ti­cat­ed and dis­sent­ing opin­ions on net neu­tral­i­ty can be found on r/The_Donald, the main sub­red­dit for dis­cus­sion of Don­ald Trump and his poli­cies, and where much of the “meme mag­ic” was gen­er­at­ed. For the most part, where an r/The_Donald mem­ber seems to fall on net neu­tral­i­ty has a lot to do with how well they under­stand the issue. To some, net neu­tral­i­ty rep­re­sents gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion of the pri­vate sec­tor. That’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly incor­rect, but even under­stood as reg­u­la­tion, net neu­tral­i­ty has clear ben­e­fits for the end user. This can be dif­fi­cult to sort out and rec­on­cile.

    One r/The_Donald poster, DRRid­er, summed it up thus­ly:

    If we do not allow “net neu­tral­i­ty”, we give con­trol of the inter­net to the gate­keep­ing cor­po­ra­tions such as Time Warn­er, AT&T and Com­cast.

    If we allow “net neu­tral­i­ty”, we hand over con­trol of the inter­net to the gov­ern­ment.

    “Pick your poi­son,” they wrote. “Per­son­al­ly, I’d pre­fer the for­mer since it’s more decen­tral­ized.” Except that, in this case, “decen­tral­ized” ISPs are still high­ly cen­tral­ized geo­graph­i­cal­ly, and tend to hold near-monop­o­lies in the areas they serve. Expect­ing uncon­test­ed ISPs to start inno­vat­ing and improv­ing their prod­ucts, rather than hold­ing users hostage, would be to ignore the entire his­to­ry of com­mer­cial ISPs.

    But for the most part, r/The_Donald users do seem to have a decent grasp on the ques­tion of net neu­tral­i­ty, and do rec­og­nize its impor­tance. The hypo­thet­i­cal exam­ples are like a mir­ror image of the lib­er­al side of the inter­net. Mul­ti­ple users fear that ISPs, which own main­stream news out­lets (Com­cast owns NBC, Time Warn­er owns CNN), will use a lack of net neu­tral­i­ty to push a lib­er­al agen­da onto inter­net cus­tomers. And while unlike­ly, there is a nonze­ro pos­si­bil­i­ty of this hap­pen­ing if net neu­tral­i­ty is rolled back. That’s why pre­emp­tive net-neu­tral­i­ty reg­u­la­tions are impor­tant.

    Or, in the words of NimbleNavigator931, “Pri­va­cy and net neu­tral­i­ty is a pri­or­i­ty if we’re going to win the meme war in the long game.”

    “Mul­ti­ple users fear that ISPs, which own main­stream news out­lets (Com­cast owns NBC, Time Warn­er owns CNN), will use a lack of net neu­tral­i­ty to push a lib­er­al agen­da onto inter­net cus­tomers.”

    Fear of the media oli­gop­oly push­ing a lib­er­al agen­da. While that’s not some­thing the Alt Right should actu­al­ly fear — since a lib­er­al agen­da would include an anti-cor­po­ratist agen­da and there’s no way the media oli­gop­oly is going to be push­ing an anti-cor­po­ratist agen­da — it’s not at all unimag­in­able that ISPs could end up specif­i­cal­ly ban­ning the worst, most hate­ful sites on the web and sell that as a fam­i­ly-friend­ly fea­ture. And such a move is prob­a­bly more like­ly in the age of Trump than pre­vi­ous­ly sim­ply because neo-Nazi trolling is so top­i­cal these days. If Com­cast and AT&T had the right to ban Storm­front after the neo-Nazi brawls in Char­lottesville would that even be sur­pris­ing at this point?

    And that’s all part of why it’s going to be real­ly inter­est­ing to see what this core ele­ment of Trump’s base does in response to a move that will sure­ly be seen as a mas­sive betray­al. When “NimbleNavigator931” writes that “Pri­va­cy and net neu­tral­i­ty is a pri­or­i­ty if we’re going to win the meme war in the long game,” on the r/The_Donald Red­dit forum, there is a lot of truth to that.

    At the same time, if there is ever a wave of cor­po­rate-backed cen­sor­ship hit­ting places like 4chan that prob­a­bly just means those users will migrate onto more main­stream sites.

    So what’s the Alt Right going to do in response to this? We’ll find out. Soon, because that FCC meet­ing is next month. But it’s worth not­ing that we’ve already got­ten a hint as to how Alt Right per­son­al­i­ty Jack Poso­biec — who rose to promi­nence last year by ped­dling the ‘Piz­za­gate’ smear — might respond to the net neu­tral­i­ty debate: Back in July of this year Poso­biec decid­ed to troll a pro-net-neu­tral­i­ty ral­ly by show­ing up with fly­ers claim­ing net neu­tral­i­ty pro­motes pornog­ra­phy and oth­er unde­sir­able online con­tent:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Alt-Right Claims Net Neu­tral­i­ty Pro­motes ‘Satan­ic Porn’ in Plant­ed Fly­ers
    Jack Poso­biec has made a name for him­self by plant­i­ng a “Rape Mela­nia” sign at an anti-Trump protest and inter­rupt­ing a per­for­mance of Julius Cae­sar in Cen­tral Park last month.

    Ben Collins
    07.12.17 3:00 PM ET

    An alt-right troll and Piz­za­gate con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist was caught Wednes­day hand­ing out fly­ers thank­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors for “pro­tect­ing our qual­i­ty vio­lent porn con­tent,” includ­ing “rit­u­al Satan­ic porn videos.”

    Jack Poso­biec, who made nation­al head­lines last month for inter­rupt­ing a per­for­mance of Julius Cae­sar in Cen­tral Park because he believed the 418-year-old play had anti-Trump under­tones, dis­trib­uted the fly­ers at a Net Neu­tral­i­ty Day of Action demon­stra­tion out­side the U.S. Sen­ate, accord­ing to atten­dees.

    This isn’t the first time Poso­biec has been caught hand­ing out fake fliers: he plant­ed a sign read­ing “Rape Mela­nia” to frame anti-Trump pro­test­ers in Novem­ber. His involve­ment with the sign wasn’t revealed until Jan­u­ary.

    The fly­er claims to be writ­ten on behalf of the orga­niz­ers of the Women’s March, open inter­net non­prof­it Fight for the Future, along with the porn sites Red­Tube and Porn­Hub. All of these orga­ni­za­tions and com­pa­nies sup­port­ed Wednesday’s Net Neu­tral­i­ty Day of Action, which spawned ral­lies across the U.S.

    “We can con­firm that nei­ther this fly­er nor this cam­paign has any asso­ci­a­tion what­so­ev­er with the Women’s March,” said a spokesper­son for the Women’s March

    Trump admin­is­tra­tion-appoint­ed FCC Com­mis­sion­er Ajit Pai has recent­ly tak­en steps to roll back net neu­tral­i­ty pro­tec­tions, which would allow inter­net ser­vice providers like Ver­i­zon and Com­cast to arti­fi­cial­ly slow access to some web­sites in favor of their own.

    Bri­an Tash­man, a researcher at the ACLU who was work­ing at the ral­ly, first tracked down Poso­biec under a tree after see­ing sev­er­al pro­test­ers dis­card­ing his fly­ers imme­di­ate­ly after hand­ing them out.

    Haha @JackPosobiec blocked me after I exposed him for giv­ing out fly­ers to smear #Net­Neu­tral­i­ty sup­port­ers. pic.twitter.com/PPh5DElxIn— Bri­an Tash­man (@briantashman) July 12, 2017

    The same @JackPosobiec who plant­ed the “Rape Mela­nia” sign and dis­rupt­ed Julius Cae­sar today tried to smear #Net­Neu­tral­i­ty sup­port­ers. pic.twitter.com/um7mTPrzP1— Bri­an Tash­man (@briantashman) July 12, 2017

    “Some­one, a tall guy with sun­glass­es and jack­et, was pass­ing out fly­ers,” Tash­man told The Dai­ly Beast. “Then I saw him there under a tree and I took a pho­to of him. I thought, ‘This looks just like Jack Poso­biec.’”

    After Tash­man con­firmed with oth­ers that the per­son in his pho­to was the same man pass­ing out fly­ers, he saw Poso­biec trail­ing sen­a­tors as they left the Sen­ate.

    “He was fol­low­ing Sen­a­tors and ask­ing them, ‘Why do you sup­port this ral­ly of Satan­ic porn?’” he said. Poso­biec took a video of the encoun­ters for his Twit­ter page.

    Tash­man then tweet­ed the pic­ture of Poso­biec, along with the sen­tence “The same @JackPosobiec who plant­ed the ‘Rape Mela­nia’ sign and dis­rupt­ed Julius Cae­sar today tried to smear #Net­Neu­tral­i­ty sup­port­ers.” He was quick­ly blocked by Poso­biec.

    Poso­biec denied that he was try­ing to rep­re­sent Net Neu­tral­i­ty sup­port­ers to The Dai­ly Beast, say­ing “I nev­er once claimed any­one else made the fly­ers.”

    “No dirty tricks here,” said Poso­biec. “I in no way attempt­ed to say that these fly­ers were made by any­one but myself.”

    When asked what the head­ers from the activist groups and inter­net porn com­pa­nies were intend­ed to com­mu­ni­cate, Poso­biec said it was “tongue-in-cheek” and that he want­ed to “let the gath­ered media aware of the fact that Fight For The Future is stand­ing with Porn­Hub and Red Tube today.”

    “I also intend­ed to raise aware­ness about the exis­tence of this appalling mate­r­i­al on these web­sites, such as videos of US Bor­der Agents rap­ing ille­gal Mex­i­can immi­grant women. As well as Satan­ic porn and snuff videos,” he said.

    My only intent was to show peo­ple who Fight For the Future was stand­ing with — not attempt to say I was rep­re­sent­ing them

    Poso­biec came to promi­nence in part by ped­dling the Piz­za­gate con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry, which false­ly claimed a child sex ring run by Hillary Clin­ton and her cam­paign man­ag­er was oper­at­ing in the base­ment of a piz­za shop that has no base­ment. Poso­biec and a friend video­taped them­selves inside the pizze­ria, where he video­taped a birth­day par­ty and was asked to leave.

    In May, Poso­biec received a one-day White House press cre­den­tial for The Rebel Media, a Cana­di­an far-right and pro-Trump out­let.

    ...

    ———-

    “Alt-Right Claims Net Neu­tral­i­ty Pro­motes ‘Satan­ic Porn’ in Plant­ed Fly­ers” by Ben Collins; The Dai­ly Beast; 07/12/2017

    The fly­er claims to be writ­ten on behalf of the orga­niz­ers of the Women’s March, open inter­net non­prof­it Fight for the Future, along with the porn sites Red­Tube and Porn­Hub. All of these orga­ni­za­tions and com­pa­nies sup­port­ed Wednesday’s Net Neu­tral­i­ty Day of Action, which spawned ral­lies across the U.S.”

    So Poso­biec shows up at a ral­ly for net neu­tral­i­ty and hands out fly­ers try­ing to pro­mote the idea that net neu­tral­i­ty is about pro­tect­ing pornog­ra­phy and oth­er appalling mate­r­i­al:

    ...
    Poso­biec denied that he was try­ing to rep­re­sent Net Neu­tral­i­ty sup­port­ers to The Dai­ly Beast, say­ing “I nev­er once claimed any­one else made the fly­ers.”

    “No dirty tricks here,” said Poso­biec. “I in no way attempt­ed to say that these fly­ers were made by any­one but myself.”

    When asked what the head­ers from the activist groups and inter­net porn com­pa­nies were intend­ed to com­mu­ni­cate, Poso­biec said it was “tongue-in-cheek” and that he want­ed to “let the gath­ered media aware of the fact that Fight For The Future is stand­ing with Porn­Hub and Red Tube today.”

    “I also intend­ed to raise aware­ness about the exis­tence of this appalling mate­r­i­al on these web­sites, such as videos of US Bor­der Agents rap­ing ille­gal Mex­i­can immi­grant women. As well as Satan­ic porn and snuff videos,” he said.

    My only intent was to show peo­ple who Fight For the Future was stand­ing with — not attempt to say I was rep­re­sent­ing them.
    ...

    Poso­biec is not just anti-net neu­tral­i­ty. He appears to be anti-inter­net porn too, which pre­sum­ably isn’t going to go down too well with his large­ly young, male Alt Right audi­ence.

    But his point about net neu­tral­i­ty mak­ing it hard­er for ISPs to block “appalling mate­r­i­al” like snuff videos is a valid point. It pre­sum­ably will be a lot eas­i­er for that con­tent to be cen­sored out by ISPs if the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment tells the indus­try these kinds of deci­sions are entire­ly up to them. It’s just rather remark­able that Poso­biec does­n’t seem to real­ize that the Alt Right spe­cial­izes in appalling mate­r­i­al. Maybe not snuff video-lev­els of appalling typ­i­cal­ly, but still appalling. That’s their thing. That’s what being a neo-Nazi troll is all about. Putting out appalling neo-Nazi memes in order to nor­mal­ize hate-based far-right world­views.

    And that’s all part of what’s going to make the Alt Right’s response to this FCC move so fas­ci­nat­ing: The Alt Right is clear­ly dri­ven by an almost com­pul­sive sadis­tic desire to troll lib­er­als. And yet with net neu­tral­i­ty we find one issue where the Alt Right is large­ly going to be in agree­ment with the left and the pub­lic at large. So will it be able to resist that trol­ing urge when it comes to this issue? That remains to be seen, but if Poso­biec is an indi­ca­tion of what to expect things could get wierd.

    It’s also worth recall­ing that the Alt Right troll army thor­ough­ly freaked out back in March, when the GOP decid­ed to give ISPs the right to sell almost all the infor­ma­tion that col­lect on users to who­ev­er they want and many were act­ing like this was a mas­sive betray­al. But that was also a move by the GOP Con­gress, not Trump. So the Alt Right’s loy­al­ty to their god-emper­or was­n’t real­ly test­ed the same way it’s test­ed by this lat­est move by the FCC.

    One of the defin­ing fea­tures of about the nihilis­tic nature of the Alt Right is how lit­tle they hold dear. It’s most­ly peo­ple who want to laugh while soci­ety burns down. Oth­er than white suprema­cy, misog­y­ny, and self-inter­est, there aren’t real­ly a lot of oth­er ideals that the Alt Right appears to tru­ly hold dear...except inter­net open access and inter­net anonymi­ty with no cen­sor­ship. It’s basi­cal­ly the only non-hate based ide­al they hold dear and their god-emper­or is the one threat­en­ing to take it away. It’s pret­ty remark­able.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 21, 2017, 3:35 pm
  8. As the US soci­ety expe­ri­ences the waves of sex­u­al harass­ment alle­ga­tions hit­ting one promi­nent fig­ure after anoth­er, one of the biggest chal­lenges fac­ing this nation­al ‘moment’ is how to ensure it’s not just a moment and instead yields some real last­ing pos­i­tive changes to Amer­i­can cul­ture. It’s a chal­lenge for a myr­i­ad of rea­sons. But per­haps the biggest rea­son is the real­i­ty that human soci­eties have a long track-record of fail­ing at exact­ly these kinds of chal­lenges. Specif­i­cal­ly, the chal­lenge of a group rec­og­niz­ing some­thing that it has been col­lec­tive­ly blind to all along. Sud­den­ly ‘see­ing the light’ clear­ly isn’t easy for humans, even when the need to do so is blind­ing­ly obvi­ous. Humans aren’t good at this stuff. If we were we would­n’t be where we are.

    Part of what com­pli­cates the cur­rent moment is the obvi­ous fact that so many of pow­er­ful men accused of mis­treat­ing women (or worse) are politi­cians. Most notably Pres­i­dent Trump, who arguably cat­alyzed the cur­rent moment by get­ting elect­ed Pres­i­dent despite a life­time of sex­u­al­ly demean­ing women and the ‘Access Hol­ly­wood’ tape of him brag­ging about it. And when a sit­u­a­tion involves Trump it’s unavoid­able that the sit­u­a­tion will get cloud­ed in a mix of hoax and decep­tion real­ly fast. Espe­cial­ly when that sit­u­a­tion involves a Trump scan­dal. And sure enough, that’s exact­ly what’s hap­pened. We’ve seen....

    1. Roger Stone tweet­ing about Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Al Franken get­ting his “time in the bar­rel” before the ini­tial accu­sa­tions by Leeann Twee­den were made pub­lic. Thus ensur­ing that Roger Stone’s his­to­ry of polit­i­cal dirty tricks becomes asso­ci­at­ed with result­ing fall out.

    2. Mike Cer­novich, the ‘Alt Right’ uber-misog­y­nist and rape apol­o­gist who played a key role in pro­mot­ing the ‘Piz­za­gate’ hoax — that’s lit­er­al­ly his specialty...writing about hat­ing women, pro­mot­ing the idea that there’s an epi­dem­ic of fake rape and sex­u­al harass­ment alle­ga­tions, and pro­mot­ing far-right hoax­es — is per­verse­ly the source for mul­ti­ple sto­ries of sex­u­al harass­ment accu­sa­tions against promi­nent lib­er­als. He was the source of the sto­ry about accu­sa­tions against Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gress­man John Cony­ers, who as since announced his retire­ment as a result. And Cer­novich was also the dri­ving force behind a suc­cess­ful cam­paign to get lib­er­al pun­dit Sam Seder kicked off of MSNBC over a sar­cas­tic rape joke about Roman Polan­s­ki from a 2009.

    3. James O’Keefe’s “Project Ver­i­tas” send­ing in an under­cov­er oper­a­tive to the Wash­ing­ton Post with claims that she was raped by Alaba­ma far-right GOP Sen­ate can­di­date Roy Moore when she was 15 in a clear attempt to dis­cred­it the numer­ous oth­er alle­ga­tions against Moore who has been fac­ing his own waves of alle­ga­tions by women claim­ing he was rou­tine­ly try­ing to date high-school girls while he was a 32 year old dis­trict attor­ney.

    So we clear­ly have a GOP oper­a­tion in place designed to pro­tect both Pres­i­dent Trump and Roy Moore from the seri­ous alle­ga­tions against them by find­ing accusers against Democ­rats and lib­er­als in an attempt to cre­ate a “both sides do it” zeit­geist to min­i­mize the polit­i­cal fall­out. And using overt misog­y­nists like Mike Cer­novich or estab­lished dirty tricks oper­a­tives like Stone and O’Keefe and direct­ly, and con­spic­u­ous­ly, asso­ci­at­ing them with these sto­ries almost seems like an attempt to use the dis­rep­utable nature of these indi­vid­u­als to smear this entire nation­al moment.

    And this is hap­pen­ing at this same time Democ­rats are wrestling with whether or not Sen­a­tor Al Franken should resign in response to the mul­ti­ple alle­ga­tions of dri­ve-by grop­ing at the same time the GOP demands Franken resigns while the par­ty simul­ta­ne­ous­ly wages a cam­paign to dis­cred­it all accusers of Roy Moore and Don­ald Trump. Accu­sa­tions that include those made by Trump him­self in the noto­ri­ous ‘Hol­ly­wood Access’ tape. And that’s all on top of the reports of Don­ald Trump ques­tion­ing whether or not the ‘Hol­ly­wood Access’ is actu­al­ly real (it’s real). Alt Right proud misog­y­nists and right-wing dirty tricks oper­a­tives weaponiz­ing sex­u­al harass­ment alle­ga­tions for the ben­e­fit of the GOP. It’s just a sick sit­u­a­tion.

    So giv­en the fact that the right-wing is clear­ly try­ing to cre­ate a “both sides do it (so every­one ignore Trump and Moore)” dynam­ic to this, it’s prob­a­bly worth mak­ing a point that Roy Moore’s asso­ci­at­ed with hyper-con­ser­v­a­tive patri­ar­chal reli­gious move­ments makes very easy to make: whether or not lib­er­als or con­ser­v­a­tives are caught sex­u­al­ly harass­ing women, the unam­bigu­ous real­i­ty is that sex­u­al harass­ment is a behav­ior con­doned by tra­di­tion­al con­ser­v­a­tive world­views. It’s right-wing behav­ior. That’s why ‘Alt Right’ fig­ures like Mike Cer­novich cel­e­brate it. So when lib­er­als or con­ser­v­a­tives are caught sex­u­al­ly harass­ing women, they are all, in that moment, behav­ing like a patri­ar­chal right-wing con­ser­v­a­tive. In oth­er words, the “both sides do it” argu­ment should real­ly be “both side have peo­ple who act like far-right patri­ar­chal jerks like Mike Cer­novich at times, but only one side open­ly embraces Mike Cer­novich” argu­ment.

    Because the under­ly­ing issue here isn’t “which side has the sex­u­al harassers and which does­n’t.” Of course you’re going to find sex­u­al harassers in in polit­i­cal move­ments. The under­ly­ing issue is that Mike Cer­novich’s far-right misog­y­nis­tic world­view is accept­ed by a large num­ber of men with pow­er over women and open­ly accept­ed by the con­tem­po­rary GOP and its embrace of the ‘Alt Right’. Yes, you’ll find lib­er­al men also sex­u­al­ly harass­ing women because the ‘boys will be boys’ atti­tude is clear­ly a trag­i­cal­ly dif­fi­cult cul­tur­al habit to break. But when lib­er­al men do they are clear­ly fail­ing to live up to the val­ues they pro­fess to uphold, where­as for the right-wing this large­ly fine. Don’t for­get, one of the defin­ing traits of con­tem­po­rary con­ser­vatism is a direct rejec­tion of fem­i­nism.

    In oth­er words, while both lib­er­al and con­ser­v­a­tive indi­vid­u­als engage in this kind of behav­ior, it is unam­bigu­ous­ly con­ser­v­a­tive patri­ar­chal behav­ior at its core and this issue can’t real­ly be con­front with­out con­fronting that con­ser­v­a­tive patri­ar­chal atti­tude that views women as essen­tial­ly resources to be enjoyed and con­sumed by men. Because that’s what’s going to per­pet­u­ate these misog­y­nis­tic atti­tudes for gen­er­a­tion after gen­er­a­tion: The tra­di­tion­al sec­ond-class sta­tus of women. A sta­tus that made sex­u­al harass­ment and far worse the norm across his­to­ry and cul­tures. It’s is one of the old­est sto­ries of human­i­ty and it is those old atti­tudes and norms that the ‘Alt Right’ want to hold on to and once again see reign­ing supreme some­day.

    So giv­en all this, it’s worth keep­ing in mind that you almost could­n’t come up with a bet­ter poster boy for high­light­ing the impor­tance of address­ing the insti­tu­tion­al per­pet­u­a­tion of misog­y­nis­tic patri­archy than Roy Moore:

    Think Progress

    Text­book co-authored by Roy Moore in 2011 says women shouldn’t run for office
    The course is also crit­i­cal of the wom­en’s suf­frage move­ment.

    Addy Baird, Zack Ford, Jack Jenk­ins, Judd Legum
    Nov 29, 2017, 6:02 pm

    Alaba­ma Repub­li­can Sen­ate Can­di­date Roy Moore co-authored a study course, pub­lished in 2011 and recent­ly obtained by ThinkProgress, that instructs stu­dents that women should not be per­mit­ted to run for elect­ed office. If women do run for office, the course argues, peo­ple have a moral oblig­a­tion not to vote for them. The course is also crit­i­cal of the women’s suf­frage move­ment, which in 1920 secured some Amer­i­can women the right to vote.

    The course, called “Law and Gov­ern­ment: An Intro­duc­to­ry Study Course,” includes 28 hours of audio and visu­al lec­tures giv­en by Moore and oth­ers, as well as a study guide. The course is avail­able for pur­chase on Ama­zon, where “Chief Jus­tice Roy Moore” is list­ed as a co-author along­side Doug Phillips, Dr. Joseph C. More­craft, and Dr. Paul Jehle.

    On the back of the pack­ag­ing con­tain­ing all the study course mate­ri­als, Moore’s name and pho­to are list­ed under the words “Fea­tured Speak­ers.”

    The study guide also rec­om­mends Moore’s 2009 book “So Help Me God: The Ten Com­mand­ments, Judi­cial Tyran­ny, and the Bat­tle for Reli­gious Free­dom.”

    The cur­ricu­lum was a prod­uct of Vision Forum, a now-defunct Texas-based evan­gel­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion head­ed by Doug Phillips, which taught “Bib­li­cal patri­archy”, a the­ol­o­gy that pre­scribes strict, unequal gen­der roles for men and women. Accord­ing a state­ment on the Vision Forum’s web­site, “Egal­i­tar­i­an fem­i­nism is a false ide­ol­o­gy that has bred false doc­trine in the church and seduced many believ­ers.”

    For at least a decade, dat­ing back to 1999, Moore served on the “fac­ul­ty” of Vision Forum’s so-called “With­er­spoon School of Law and Pub­lic Pol­i­cy.” Not a school at all, With­er­spoon was instead a series of four-day crash cours­es that taught men — and only men — that the Bible is the source of “law and lib­er­ty and the only sure foun­da­tion for address­ing the chal­leng­ing eth­i­cal ques­tions of the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry.”

    Prais­ing a “best of” album of the school’s lec­tures, Moore said, “I came to share what I have learned and instead received a bless­ing. All who attend the With­er­spoon School of Law and Pub­lic Pol­i­cy have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to share in the restora­tion of our Nation — One Nation Under God.”

    Moore’s lec­ture, which is includ­ed in the “Law and Gov­ern­ment” cur­ricu­lum, was record­ed in 2008 at one such “school”, and host­ed and facil­i­tat­ed by Phillips him­self. In the speech, Moore recounts his fight over the Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment and bemoans the arrival of mar­riage equal­i­ty, which the Cal­i­for­nia Supreme Court had approved two weeks pri­or.

    He also open­ly prais­es both Phillips and Vision Forum, say­ing, “As I think about what’s going on here at Vision Forum and what Doug’s doing and has done, I’m a lit­tle envi­ous because I admire Doug and the fact he can round up these young men that are going to make a dif­fer­ence in our nation.”

    Vision Forum closed in 2013 after Phillips resigned, hav­ing admit­ted to a “lengthy” and “inap­pro­pri­ate­ly roman­tic and affec­tion­ate” rela­tion­ship with a woman who was not his wife. Short­ly there­after, that woman, Lour­des Tor­res-Man­teufel, sued Phillips and Vision Forum, detail­ing an emo­tion­al­ly, psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly, and sex­u­al­ly abu­sive rela­tion­ship that start­ed when she was just 15 years old.

    The suit, which was set­tled and dis­missed in 2016, has clear par­al­lels to the many sex­u­al abuse accu­sa­tions against Moore, which alleged­ly took place when his accusers were teenagers and he was in his 30s. (Moore has claimed that the alle­ga­tions against him are “absolute­ly false.”) Moore’s attor­ney has stat­ed that, “whether they were 25, 35, or whether he doesn’t know their age”, Moore would always make sure to ask a girl’s par­ents for per­mis­sion to date them before begin­ning any courtship.

    That tra­di­tion is con­sis­tent with the “Bib­li­cal patri­archy” tenets out­lined by Vision Forum.

    “Since daugh­ters are ‘giv­en in mar­riage’ by their fathers, an obe­di­ent daugh­ter will desire her father to guide the process of find­ing a hus­band, although the final approval of a hus­band belongs to her,” the tenets state.

    One lec­ture in the Vision Forum study course on which Moore worked is giv­en by William O. Ein­wechter, a teach­ing elder at Immanuel Free Reformed Church. The lec­ture is titled “What the Bible Says About Female Mag­is­trates.” The les­son argues that the Bible for­bids women from hold­ing elect­ed office.

    An uniden­ti­fied man intro­duces Einwechter’s les­son and crit­i­cizes the women’s suf­frage move­ment.

    “By and large, the issue of the female mag­is­trate rul­ing in author­i­ty in Amer­i­ca would not have been any­where near as con­tro­ver­sial,” the man says. “The con­tro­ver­sy was begin­ning to brew with the women’s suf­frage move­ment.”

    The man ref­er­ences the Bib­li­cal pas­sage Isa­iah 3 as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for this claim. How­ev­er, his argu­ment — that it equates to a blan­ket pro­hi­bi­tion of women in lead­er­ship posi­tions — is not wide­ly held among Chris­tians.

    Many, includ­ing acclaimed 17th cen­tu­ry Bible com­men­tar­i­an Matthew Hen­ry, instead inter­pret the pas­sage as metaphor­i­cal. Oth­ers note ear­li­er trans­la­tions of the pas­sage (in the Greek Sep­tu­agint) do not even include the word “women,” but instead “cred­i­tors” — a word with iden­ti­cal con­so­nants in Hebrew, but dif­fer­ent vow­el points — which also fits with the over­all con­text of the pas­sage.

    To this day, some trans­la­tions of the Bible, such as the Com­mon Eng­lish Bible, New Eng­lish Trans­la­tion, and the Good News Trans­la­tion, still use “swindlers” or “cred­i­tors” instead of “women.”

    Regard­less, when Ein­wechter begins his lec­ture, he asks, “Why even con­sid­er a ques­tion like this?” The answer, he says, is because of the “heresy of fem­i­nism.”

    “One of the most destruc­tive ide­olo­gies of the last 50, hun­dred years have been the doc­trines of fem­i­nism, which have trans­formed our cul­ture and have paved the way for abor­tion on demand, the homo­sex­u­al agen­da, under­mined our church, and sub­vert­ed the doc­trines of the bib­li­cal fam­i­ly,” Ein­wechter says.

    He goes on to call fem­i­nism a “rad­i­cal agen­da” and says “noth­ing enrages fem­i­nists more than the Bib­li­cal doc­trine of male head­ship.”

    “Fem­i­nism and those who have been influ­enced by it advo­cate instead for what we’re going to call an egal­i­tar­i­an approach,” Ein­wechter says, “where men and women are tout­ed as being equal in all respects, except maybe the most obvi­ous phys­i­cal dif­fer­ences, and that they’re equal­ly fit to serve in any occu­pa­tion or serve in any office or posi­tion of lead­er­ship in any sphere of life.”

    The les­son uses what Ein­wechter argues are Bib­li­cal truths about the roles and design of men and women, argu­ing that hus­band, chil­dren, and home “sum­ma­rize God’s def­i­n­i­tion of the woman.”

    “She’s not a war­rior. She’s not a judge. She’s a woman. Cre­at­ed by God. Glo­ri­ous in her place and in her con­duct and in her role,” Ein­wechter says. “Noth­ing is said in scrip­ture that sup­ports the notion that she is qual­i­fied or called to be a civ­il mag­is­trate.”

    This, Ein­wechter says, is proof that women should not work out­side the home, run for office, or take on any role that gives women “dom­i­nance” over men, call­ing women “the weak­er ves­sel.” Women, the les­son teach­es, are only fit to be home­mak­ers and should ded­i­cate their lives to their hus­bands and chil­dren, nev­er to work or out­side pur­suits.

    “Some­times we may have a hard time dis­cern­ing the faith, the char­ac­ter, and the views of a par­tic­u­lar can­di­date. But we can usu­al­ly dis­cern if the can­di­date is a man or a woman. And so there is no excuse on that one,” Ein­wechter says as he con­cludes the lec­ture. “In con­clu­sion, we’ve argued that scrip­ture teach­es us that it is not God’s revealed will for a woman to serve as a civ­il mag­is­trate and thus to rule over men in the civ­il sphere.”

    Ein­wechter says this is proof that, if Chris­tians aim to fol­low the teach­ings of the Bible, they must nev­er vote for women run­ning for office, no mat­ter their pol­i­tics.

    His lec­ture, Ein­wechter says, is an “objec­tive study.” In clos­ing, he quotes pas­tor J. H. Vin­cent, say­ing, “The world is in such press­ing need for moth­ers — moth­er­ly women — that none can be spared for pub­lic life.”

    The teach­ing stands in stark con­trast to var­i­ous Chris­t­ian groups that hold sharply diver­gent views. Entire denom­i­na­tions, such as the Unit­ed Methodist Church, Evan­gel­i­cal Luther­an Church in Amer­i­ca, Pres­by­ter­ian Church U.S.A., and the Epis­co­pal Church, ordain women and do not object to female polit­i­cal lead­er­ship, as do oth­ers. Many evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians hold sim­i­lar views: the Repub­li­can Par­ty includes pas­sion­ate female evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers such as Michele Bach­mann and Sarah Palin, and one of Don­ald Trump’s clos­est spir­i­tu­al advis­ers is Paula White, a female pros­per­i­ty gospel preach­er.

    ThinkProgress could not find any record of Moore endors­ing any women for office. The only can­di­date Moore appears to have effec­tive­ly endorsed is Michael Per­out­ka, the Con­sti­tu­tion par­ty can­di­date for pres­i­dent in 2004, accord­ing a Mont­gomery Adver­tis­er arti­cle from July 2004. Notably, the Con­sti­tu­tion par­ty was found­ed by Howard Phillips, Vision Forum head Doug Phillips’ father.

    ...

    ———-

    “Text­book co-authored by Roy Moore in 2011 says women shouldn’t run for office” by Addy Baird, Zack Ford, Jack Jenk­ins, Judd Legum; Think Progress; 11/29/2017

    “Alaba­ma Repub­li­can Sen­ate Can­di­date Roy Moore co-authored a study course, pub­lished in 2011 and recent­ly obtained by ThinkProgress, that instructs stu­dents that women should not be per­mit­ted to run for elect­ed office. If women do run for office, the course argues, peo­ple have a moral oblig­a­tion not to vote for them. The course is also crit­i­cal of the women’s suf­frage move­ment, which in 1920 secured some Amer­i­can women the right to vote.”

    Yep, the guy the GOP is des­per­ate to pro­tect from accu­sa­tions that he rou­tine­ly tried to date high school girls just hap­pens to be a con­trib­u­tor to a reli­gious cur­ricu­lum that taught “Bib­li­cal patri­archy” and argued that women were Bib­li­cal­ly unfit for pub­lic office and even vot­ing. And it just so hap­pens that the man behind the Vision Forum orga­ni­za­tion that cre­at­ed this cur­ricu­lum end­ed up hav­ing to resign after it came out that he had a long-run­ning affair with a woman and this woman claims it start­ed when she was 15 and involved emo­tion­al, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and sex­u­al abuse:

    ...
    The cur­ricu­lum was a prod­uct of Vision Forum, a now-defunct Texas-based evan­gel­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion head­ed by Doug Phillips, which taught “Bib­li­cal patri­archy”, a the­ol­o­gy that pre­scribes strict, unequal gen­der roles for men and women. Accord­ing a state­ment on the Vision Forum’s web­site, “Egal­i­tar­i­an fem­i­nism is a false ide­ol­o­gy that has bred false doc­trine in the church and seduced many believ­ers.”

    ...

    Vision Forum closed in 2013 after Phillips resigned, hav­ing admit­ted to a “lengthy” and “inap­pro­pri­ate­ly roman­tic and affec­tion­ate” rela­tion­ship with a woman who was not his wife. Short­ly there­after, that woman, Lour­des Tor­res-Man­teufel, sued Phillips and Vision Forum, detail­ing an emo­tion­al­ly, psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly, and sex­u­al­ly abu­sive rela­tion­ship that start­ed when she was just 15 years old.

    The suit, which was set­tled and dis­missed in 2016, has clear par­al­lels to the many sex­u­al abuse accu­sa­tions against Moore, which alleged­ly took place when his accusers were teenagers and he was in his 30s. (Moore has claimed that the alle­ga­tions against him are “absolute­ly false.”) Moore’s attor­ney has stat­ed that, “whether they were 25, 35, or whether he doesn’t know their age”, Moore would always make sure to ask a girl’s par­ents for per­mis­sion to date them before begin­ning any courtship.

    That tra­di­tion is con­sis­tent with the “Bib­li­cal patri­archy” tenets out­lined by Vision Forum.
    ...

    “The suit, which was set­tled and dis­missed in 2016, has clear par­al­lels to the many sex­u­al abuse accu­sa­tions against Moore, which alleged­ly took place when his accusers were teenagers and he was in his 30s.”

    Yes indeed, the par­al­lels are clear. Dis­turbing­ly clear.

    And the “strict, unequal gen­der roles for men and women” laid out in the “Bib­li­cal patri­archy” world­view Roy Moore sub­scribes not sur­pris­ing­ly for­bids women from hold­ing office and from lead­er­ship posi­tions in gen­er­al:

    ...
    One lec­ture in the Vision Forum study course on which Moore worked is giv­en by William O. Ein­wechter, a teach­ing elder at Immanuel Free Reformed Church. The lec­ture is titled “What the Bible Says About Female Mag­is­trates.” The les­son argues that the Bible for­bids women from hold­ing elect­ed office.

    An uniden­ti­fied man intro­duces Einwechter’s les­son and crit­i­cizes the women’s suf­frage move­ment.

    “By and large, the issue of the female mag­is­trate rul­ing in author­i­ty in Amer­i­ca would not have been any­where near as con­tro­ver­sial,” the man says. “The con­tro­ver­sy was begin­ning to brew with the women’s suf­frage move­ment.”

    The man ref­er­ences the Bib­li­cal pas­sage Isa­iah 3 as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for this claim. How­ev­er, his argu­ment — that it equates to a blan­ket pro­hi­bi­tion of women in lead­er­ship posi­tions — is not wide­ly held among Chris­tians.
    ...

    And, of course, this is all infused with a deep and seething hatred of “fem­i­nism” and egal­i­tar­i­an­ism between the sex­es in gen­er­al:

    ...
    “One of the most destruc­tive ide­olo­gies of the last 50, hun­dred years have been the doc­trines of fem­i­nism, which have trans­formed our cul­ture and have paved the way for abor­tion on demand, the homo­sex­u­al agen­da, under­mined our church, and sub­vert­ed the doc­trines of the bib­li­cal fam­i­ly,” Ein­wechter says.

    He goes on to call fem­i­nism a “rad­i­cal agen­da” and says “noth­ing enrages fem­i­nists more than the Bib­li­cal doc­trine of male head­ship.”

    “Fem­i­nism and those who have been influ­enced by it advo­cate instead for what we’re going to call an egal­i­tar­i­an approach,” Ein­wechter says, “where men and women are tout­ed as being equal in all respects, except maybe the most obvi­ous phys­i­cal dif­fer­ences, and that they’re equal­ly fit to serve in any occu­pa­tion or serve in any office or posi­tion of lead­er­ship in any sphere of life.”

    The les­son uses what Ein­wechter argues are Bib­li­cal truths about the roles and design of men and women, argu­ing that hus­band, chil­dren, and home “sum­ma­rize God’s def­i­n­i­tion of the woman.”

    “She’s not a war­rior. She’s not a judge. She’s a woman. Cre­at­ed by God. Glo­ri­ous in her place and in her con­duct and in her role,” Ein­wechter says. “Noth­ing is said in scrip­ture that sup­ports the notion that she is qual­i­fied or called to be a civ­il mag­is­trate.”
    ...

    “She’s not a war­rior. She’s not a judge. She’s a woman. Cre­at­ed by God. Glo­ri­ous in her place and in her con­duct and in her role...Nothing is said in scrip­ture that sup­ports the notion that she is qual­i­fied or called to be a civ­il mag­is­trate.”

    And that, right there, is a major rea­son why women con­tin­ue to be sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly mis­treat­ed by men across cul­tures and times: women have been tra­di­tion­al­ly seen as sex objects, baby-machines and lit­tle more. It’s a mas­sive black mark on human his­to­ry. And those tra­di­tions and atti­tudes con­tin­ue to this day are so per­va­sive that even men who aren’t far-right theocrats might still suc­cumb to a ‘boys will be boys’ atti­tude towards women. It’s a part of our social fab­ric and that’s what needs to change. The ‘Mike Cer­novich’ world­view that the ‘Alt Right’ is fever­ish­ly try­ing to defend is what needs to go. For some men that might large­ly come down to real­iz­ing women don’t appre­ci­ate their sex­u­al advances, but for oth­er men like Cer­novich it come down to rec­og­niz­ing that their entire per­spec­tive on women is sick and wrong. There’s A LOT of work still to be done, and most of that work needs to be done on the right-wing because that’s where misog­y­ny is active­ly embraced at an insti­tu­tion­al and ide­o­log­i­cal lev­el.

    But anoth­er part of what makes the top­ic of a per­mis­sive cul­ture towards sex­u­al harass­ment so chal­leng­ing to address is that sex­u­al harass­ment is both a major top­ic and chal­lenge in and of itself, but it’s also sort of a proxy issue for per­haps one of the fun­da­men­tal prob­lems that plague human­i­ty: the human instinc­tu­al dri­ve to dehu­man­ize and cat­e­go­rize ‘oth­ers’ and do this casu­al­ly with­out real­ly think­ing about it. For a vari­ety of evo­lu­tion­ary and cir­cum­stan­tial rea­sons humans are kind of wired to be ass­holes to each oth­er. Help­ful ass­holes at times, but still ass­holes. And you prob­a­bly can’t find a more per­va­sive exam­ple of that human dri­ve to dehu­man­ize oth­er peo­ple than the his­toric dehu­man­iza­tion of women by patri­archies.

    Racism is anoth­er mas­sive exam­ple of this capac­i­ty for casu­al dehu­man­iza­tion, but soci­eties were women are seen as prop­er­ty and/or less­er beings has got to be one of the ‘orig­i­nal sins’. Sure, women a per­fect­ly capa­ble of dehu­man­iz­ing oth­ers too, but its an unavoid­able fact of human his­to­ry that patri­ar­chal soci­eties have that rel­e­gat­ed women to ‘less­er being’ have large­ly been the norm. That may not have been the case for every ancient trib­al cul­ture, but as human ‘civ­i­liza­tion’ took root it’s hard to ignore the the fact that women have been sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly mis­treat­ed by men through­out his­to­ry writ­ten his­to­ry. A pro­found lack of empa­thy appears to be built into the human species. Which is a weird and scary but it’s the his­toric norm.

    And that weird and scary his­toric norm of humans not empathiz­ing very well isn’t just a defin­ing fea­ture of human­i­ty. It’s also a major exis­ten­tial chal­lenge because if we don’t get bet­ter at it we’re prob­a­bly going to destroy our­selves. Just wait until peo­ple who can’t empathize well get their hands on future super-weapons that they can use for super-vil­lain schemes. The the ‘Alt Right’ has almost defined itself as a move­ment of peo­ple who real­ly, real­ly, real­ly hate human­iz­ing oth­er peo­ple and deeply resent being asked by oth­er peo­ple to do so. And Nazis active­ly plot wreak­ing hav­oc on soci­eties in order to seize con­trol and install an uber-patri­ar­chal rule. What’s going to hap­pen when these move­ments of uber-misog­y­nists and neo-Nazis get their hands on those future weapons? Not some­thing good, which is why rais­ing future gen­er­a­tions of males who don’t have this psy­cho­log­i­cal weak­ness of thought­less cru­el­ty isn’t just a utopi­an dream. It’s going to be a basic neces­si­ty as human civ­i­liza­tion advances tech­no­log­i­cal­ly.

    And it’s that fun­da­men­tal rela­tion­ship between the cur­rent nation­al ‘moment’ cen­tered on sex­u­al harass­ment and that much old­er and deep­er chal­lenge for human­i­ty — the chal­lenge of over­com­ing that per­va­sive human capac­i­ty for the casu­al dehu­man­iza­tion of oth­ers — that com­pli­cates this ‘moment’ because it cre­ates a ‘chick­en & egg’ dilem­ma: Is focus­ing on the dam­age to real lives that the sex­u­al objec­ti­fi­ca­tion and harass­ment of women by men a use­ful step­ping stone in address­ing that deep­er exis­ten­tial chal­lenge of human­i­ty’s propen­si­ty to casu­al­ly dehu­man­ize and not think about the lives of oth­er peo­ple? Or does that deep­er issue of human­i­ty’s capac­i­ty for casu­al cru­el­ty and unem­pa­thet­ic behav­ior need to real­ly be addressed in order to address a top­ic as dif­fi­cult as the his­tor­i­cal sys­tem­at­ic mis­treat­ment of women? Can chang­ing actions help change the under­ly­ing thoughts that lead to those actions or do you need to change the thoughts first? It’s one of those kind of sit­u­a­tions. And it will prob­a­bly remain one of those sit­u­a­tions if we don’t get this right.

    Giv­en that chick­en & egg conun­drum it’s not exact­ly clear what the best path for­ward is at this point. But what remains unam­bigu­ous is that going back­wards is not the solu­tion, and yet going back­wards is exact­ly the solu­tion the ‘Alt Right’ neo-Nazis and their allies in the GOP would like to see on the gen­er­al issue of gen­der equal­i­ty in the Unit­ed States. Tra­di­tion­al patri­ar­chal atti­tudes that encour­age men to dehu­man­ize women as mere sex objects — a kind of cul­tur­al selec­tive sociopa­thy — is obvi­ous­ly a major fac­tor that needs to be con­front­ed. But more gen­er­al­ly, rec­og­niz­ing that achiev­ing a state of cul­tur­al enlight­en­ment that is unprece­dent­ed in human his­to­ry — a soci­ety where boys and girls are actu­al­ly raised to view each oth­er as equals — is the solu­tion. How we get there is unclear, but it clear­ly should­n’t involve going back­wards, which is exact­ly where Roy Moore, Mike Cer­novich, and their GOP allies would like to drag us.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 6, 2017, 3:28 pm
  9. With the race to replace Attor­ney Gen­er­al Jeff Ses­sion­s’s Alaba­ma Sen­ate seat just a few days, one of the ques­tions that’s been loom­ing over the race is whether or not GOP Sen­ate can­di­date Roy Moore will be able to squeeze in a few more hor­ri­ble actions, state­ments or scan­dals — past or new — that make his loom­ing elec­tion vic­to­ry even more soul-crush­ing. It’s part of the US’s nation­al New Nor­mal Night­mare expe­ri­ence of the Trump era. It’s a lot like the GOP’s nor­mal nation­al New Nor­mal Night­mare, but with more overt white nation­al­ism.

    And sure enough, Moore did­n’t dis­ap­point. It was an oldie that sud­den­ly got noticed. But it’s only a few months old: When Moore was asked dur­ing a cam­paign ral­ly back in Sep­tem­ber when exact­ly he thought Amer­i­ca was “Great” (in ref­er­ence to Don­ald Trump’s “Make Amer­i­can Great Again” slo­gan), Moore’s answer was the pre-Civ­il War South. The era of slav­ery in Amer­i­ca was when Amer­i­ca was last “Great” accord­ing to Moore. And the guy ask­ing the ques­tion was an African Amer­i­can. It’s just one of the many pro­found­ly dis­turb­ing ele­ments of the like­ly Moore win, but it’s a doozy:

    Vox

    Roy Moore: Amer­i­ca “was great at the time when fam­i­lies were unit­ed — even though we had slav­ery”
    He real­ly said this.
    By Ger­man Lopez
    Updat­ed at Dec 8, 2017, 8:35pm ES

    Alabama’s Repub­li­can can­di­date for Sen­ate, Roy Moore, says Amer­i­ca needs to be a bit more like it was when it had slaves.

    This is not a joke or exag­ger­a­tion. When a black man at a Sep­tem­ber ral­ly asked what Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump means by “make Amer­i­ca great again,” Moore acknowl­edged, the Los Ange­les Times report­ed, that the coun­try had a his­to­ry of racial ten­sions. Then he answered the ques­tion: “I think it was great at the time when fam­i­lies were unit­ed — even though we had slav­ery. They cared for one anoth­er. Peo­ple were strong in the fam­i­lies. Our fam­i­lies were strong. Our coun­try had a direc­tion.”

    Moore lat­er added, “The great­ness I see was in our cul­ture, not in all our poli­cies. There were prob­lems. We had slav­ery; we’ve over­come slav­ery. We’ve had prej­u­dice; we still have prej­u­dice. But we’ve turned the tide on civ­il rights. And we’ve done a lot of things to bring this coun­try around, and I think we can still make it bet­ter.”

    The first part of the quote comes from a Los Ange­les Times report pub­lished in Sep­tem­ber, but it was recent­ly resur­faced by a viral tweet from for­mer Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial Eric Colum­bus. The Times lat­er pub­lished the full audio.

    There are so many prob­lems with this remark that it’s hard to know where to start.

    For one, which fam­i­lies, exact­ly, were “unit­ed” and “strong,” as Moore claims? Black fam­i­lies were reg­u­lar­ly torn apart — and tor­tured — by slave mas­ters at the time. Slaves often couldn’t even mar­ry, because their mar­riages were legal­ly con­sid­ered void.

    Moore’s com­ments also lay bare what “make Amer­i­ca great again” real­ly means. Pro­gres­sives have long asked when, exact­ly, Amer­i­ca was so much bet­ter than it is today.

    When black peo­ple were slaves? When the coun­try com­mit­ted geno­cide and eth­nic cleans­ing against Native Amer­i­cans? Was it when the coun­try looked the oth­er way as white suprema­cists lynched thou­sands of black peo­ple? When women and black peo­ple were denied the right to vote? When black peo­ple were legal­ly barred from white-only schools and restau­rants?

    Was it when women were thwart­ed from hav­ing mean­ing­ful careers? When same-sex cou­ples couldn’t get mar­ried, or even go out into pub­lic hold­ing hands with­out fear­ing for their safe­ty?

    The list could real­ly go on. (And some of these still apply today.)

    These were all hor­ri­ble peri­ods for many Amer­i­cans. The rhetoric of “make Amer­i­ca great again” sug­gests that those Amer­i­cans — black, Native Amer­i­can, LGBTQ, women, and so on — just don’t mat­ter, or at least that their plights could be over­looked for what­ev­er ben­e­fits the coun­try was sup­pos­ed­ly pro­duc­ing — for white men — back then.

    Moore essen­tial­ly said that it’s pos­si­ble to over­look America’s orig­i­nal sin. The time of slav­ery was the time of, in his view, great things — at least in America’s cul­ture, even though that cul­ture includ­ed slav­ery — and that’s appar­ent­ly what the coun­try should aspire to.

    I asked Han­nah Ford, deputy cam­paign man­ag­er for Moore, if he real­ly thinks that the last time Amer­i­ca was great was when it still had slav­ery. She respond­ed, “To sug­gest such is reck­less­ly mali­cious. Judge Moore clear­ly made his point: Amer­i­ca is great when our fam­i­lies are unit­ed, as in the hus­band and wife com­mit­ted to each oth­er and rais­ing their chil­dren to be good cit­i­zens.” She did not respond to a fol­low-up ques­tion about why, then, Moore brought up slav­ery at all.

    ...

    ———-

    “Roy Moore: Amer­i­ca “was great at the time when fam­i­lies were unit­ed — even though we had slav­ery”” by Ger­man Lopez; Vox; 12/08/2017

    “This is not a joke or exag­ger­a­tion. When a black man at a Sep­tem­ber ral­ly asked what Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump means by “make Amer­i­ca great again,” Moore acknowl­edged, the Los Ange­les Times report­ed, that the coun­try had a his­to­ry of racial ten­sions. Then he answered the ques­tion: “I think it was great at the time when fam­i­lies were unit­ed — even though we had slav­ery. They cared for one anoth­er. Peo­ple were strong in the fam­i­lies. Our fam­i­lies were strong. Our coun­try had a direc­tion.”

    Yes, in Roy Moore’s mind, Amer­i­ca was “Great” back when it still had slav­ery. Because the pre-Civ­il War era of Amer­i­ca was appar­ent­ly a unique time in Amer­i­can his­to­ry when “fam­i­lies were strong” and “our coun­try had a direc­tion.”

    But Moore assures us that his slav­ery-era choice for Amer­i­can ‘great­ness’ was­n’t about the slav­ery. It was about the unique great­ness in Amer­i­can cul­ture at the time:

    ...
    Moore lat­er added, “The great­ness I see was in our cul­ture, not in all our poli­cies. There were prob­lems. We had slav­ery; we’ve over­come slav­ery. We’ve had prej­u­dice; we still have prej­u­dice. But we’ve turned the tide on civ­il rights. And we’ve done a lot of things to bring this coun­try around, and I think we can still make it bet­ter.”
    ...

    “The great­ness I see was in our cul­ture, not in all our poli­cies.”

    Now, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that when the con­tem­po­rary far-right rails against the “cul­ture” and the loss of ‘strong fam­i­lies’ in Amer­i­ca today, that’s gen­er­al­ly code for a crit­i­cism of rights for women and minori­ties and the growth of a gov­ern­ment safe­ty-net and wel­fare pro­grams that the right-wing por­trays as exclu­sive­ly used by sin­gle black moth­ers. In oth­er words, “strong fam­i­lies” has become a dog-whis­tle term for the clas­sic GOP ‘wel­fare Queen’ smear. So when Roy Moore claims that he was­n’t say­ing slav­ery made the slav­ery-era Amer­i­ca great, but instead it was “our cul­ture” and the “strong fam­i­lies”, he’s still mak­ing a high­ly racial­ly charged com­ment even if you take him at his word about not being a fan of slav­ery.

    And note that when Moore claims that Amer­i­ca has “turned the tide on civ­il rights”, that’s some­thing he open­ly opposed just last month when he told an audi­ence that all the “new rights” cre­at­ed in 1965 — the year the Vot­ing Rights Act was passed — were caus­ing all sorts of prob­lems today.

    It’s also impor­tant to recall one of the most egre­gious omis­sion from Moore’s whim­si­cal remem­brances of slav­ery-era Amer­i­ca: the real­i­ty that slave fam­i­lies were rou­tine­ly tor­tured, torn apart, and mar­riage between slaves was­n’t legal­ly rec­og­nized:

    ...
    There are so many prob­lems with this remark that it’s hard to know where to start.

    For one, which fam­i­lies, exact­ly, were “unit­ed” and “strong,” as Moore claims? Black fam­i­lies were reg­u­lar­ly torn apart — and tor­tured — by slave mas­ters at the time. Slaves often couldn’t even mar­ry, because their mar­riages were legal­ly con­sid­ered void.
    ...

    Keep­ing slaves, tear­ing their fam­i­lies apart, and tor­tur­ing them. All high­ly notable pieces of the cul­ture of slave-era Amer­i­ca, and yet Roy Moore assures us that these weren’t the cul­tur­al ele­ments that he feels made Amer­i­can ‘great’.

    Which, of course, begs the ques­tion as to which part of the cul­ture dur­ing the slaver-era Moore felt was unique­ly ‘great’. Because if he was sole­ly dog-whistling about wel­fare pro­grams and black sin­gle-par­ent homes he could have just referred back to the pre-Civ­il Rights 1950’s Amer­i­ca as a time when Amer­i­ca was last ‘great’, which is the stan­dard ‘when Amer­i­ca was great’ peri­od of nos­tal­gia for the con­tem­po­rary GOP. Per­haps he want­ed to include the New Deal, unions, and the post-WWII rise of the mid­dle-class in his list of griev­ances, but he could have cho­sen the 1920’s. Instead, he chose the slav­ery-era.

    So what was so unique­ly great about the slav­ery-era accord­ing to Roy Moore? It’s an open ques­tion:

    ...
    Moore’s com­ments also lay bare what “make Amer­i­ca great again” real­ly means. Pro­gres­sives have long asked when, exact­ly, Amer­i­ca was so much bet­ter than it is today.

    When black peo­ple were slaves? When the coun­try com­mit­ted geno­cide and eth­nic cleans­ing against Native Amer­i­cans? Was it when the coun­try looked the oth­er way as white suprema­cists lynched thou­sands of black peo­ple? When women and black peo­ple were denied the right to vote? When black peo­ple were legal­ly barred from white-only schools and restau­rants?

    Was it when women were thwart­ed from hav­ing mean­ing­ful careers? When same-sex cou­ples couldn’t get mar­ried, or even go out into pub­lic hold­ing hands with­out fear­ing for their safe­ty?

    The list could real­ly go on. (And some of these still apply today.)
    ...

    It’s a mys­tery. A mys­tery with a pret­ty obvi­ous answer even if we take Roy Moore at his word: that Roy Moore would like to see a return to a slav­ery-era Amer­i­ca, per­haps with­out the actu­al slav­ery. Or maybe with the slav­ery. It’s unclear.

    It’s unclear just what Moore meant by those remarks, in part, because of how lit­tle Moore has done to clar­i­fy those remarks. But let’s not not for­get that Roy Moore’s ties to slav­ery-era Amer­i­ca are for more exten­sive than just his chill­ing com­ments. There’s also the fact that Roy Moore’s clos­est polit­i­cal ally and biggest finan­cial donor has long by Michael Per­out­ka of the pro-Con­fed­er­a­cy/pro-seces­sion League of the South and Per­out­ka him­self has open­ly called for seces­sion.

    And let’s also not for­get that, while Michael Per­outka’s polit­i­cal his­to­ry includes a 2004 run as the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date for the Con­sti­tu­tion Par­ty, he is cur­rent­ly an elect­ed offi­cial in the Repub­li­can par­ty. Specif­i­cal­ly, Per­out­ka is cur­rent­ly a coun­ty com­mis­sion­er in Anne Arun­del Coun­ty, Mary­land. And he’s not just sit­ting on the coun­ty com­mis­sion coun­cil. He’s the cur­rent chair­man. Yep, the GOP in Anne Arun­del Coun­ty Coun­cil — which has a 4–3 GOP major­i­ty — chose to make Michael Per­out­ka the chair­man. And it made this deci­sion — on a 4–3 vote — last Mon­day.

    So with all the nation­al con­tro­ver­sy swirling around Roy Moore, the Ann Arun­del Coun­ty GOP decid­ed to make Roy Moore’s long-time sug­ar-dad­dy its coun­cil chair­man.

    With all that in mind, check out the Repub­li­can politi­cian who is cur­rent­ly fac­ing ques­tions over his close ties to an extrem­ist per­son­al­i­ty: Michael Per­out­ka, who is cur­rent­ly fac­ing ques­tions in Mary­land about why he has­n’t renounced Roy Moore:

    The Los Ange­les Times

    Anne Arun­del Democ­rats call on Michael Per­out­ka to resign

    By Chase Cook

    Decem­ber 8, 2017, 12:30 PM

    The Anne Arun­del Coun­ty Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee is call­ing on Coun­ty Coun­cil Chair­man Michael Per­out­ka to resign.

    In a state­ment sent Fri­day to The Cap­i­tal, com­mit­tee Chair­woman Chris­tine Dav­en­port called on the Millersville Repub­li­can to relin­quish his posi­tion as coun­cil chair­man and resign from the coun­cil. The com­mit­tee, which serves as the par­ty orga­ni­za­tion in the coun­ty, also called on Repub­li­can mem­bers of the coun­cil to hold a new vote on the chair­man­ship.

    The com­mit­tee cit­ed Peroutka’s con­nec­tion to U.S. Sen­ate can­di­date Roy Moore, of Alaba­ma. The Repub­li­can can­di­date has been accused of pur­su­ing girls as young as 14, one of which revealed a sex­u­al encounter she had with Moore when she was 14 and he was in his 30s. The encounter did not include inter­course, but the girl said the sce­nario made her uncom­fort­able and she avoid­ed Moore’s fol­low-up call.

    Per­out­ka has been a long­time friend and sup­port­er of Moore since his days as a judge.

    Moore has called the alle­ga­tions “fake news” and a smear cam­paign. The Wash­ing­ton Post ini­tial­ly report­ed the sto­ry.

    “Per­out­ka has donat­ed thou­sands to Moore’s cam­paign, has trav­eled to Alaba­ma to cam­paign on his behalf, and even stood on stage with Moore to cel­e­brate his pri­ma­ry elec­tion vic­to­ry, last month,” Dav­en­port wrote in her state­ment. “In our view, this con­duct is a dis­grace and a stain upon our coun­ty.”

    ...

    But the first-term coun­cil­man has bro­ken his silence on the WNAV pro­gram “Your Coun­ty Mat­ters.” Each Mon­day and Thurs­day Per­out­ka pro­vides brief — about a minute and a half — record­ed thoughts about coun­ty issues.

    Per­out­ka said in his 15 years of friend­ship with Moore, he hasn’t heard him or seen him do any­thing “con­sis­tent with the accu­sa­tions that have been report­ed.”

    The coun­cil chair­man cau­tioned coun­ty res­i­dents not to relin­quish due process when exam­in­ing the accu­sa­tions against Moore.

    “This is my wit­ness, and it gives me no rea­son to with­draw my sup­port or my friend­ship from him,” Per­out­ka said in the radio show.

    Per­out­ka was elect­ed as the coun­cil chair­man at Monday’s meet­ing. The deci­sion was made along par­ty lines in a 4–3 vote.

    This isn’t the first time Per­out­ka has been asked to resign. Most recent­ly coun­ty res­i­dents asked him to step down because of his League of the South ties and racist com­ments made by the league’s pres­i­dent and co-founder, Michael Hill. Per­out­ka said he wouldn’t resign and has denounced Hill’s com­ments.

    The com­mit­tee didn’t save its ire just for Per­out­ka.

    They also called on Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Steve Schuh and oth­er Repub­li­can offi­cials to denounce Per­out­ka and call for his res­ig­na­tion as well.

    Schuh sup­port­ed Moore with a $1,000 dona­tion after attend­ing a Sep­tem­ber fundrais­er in Sev­er­na Park. Schuh asked for that mon­ey back Mon­day, the same day a pro­gres­sive media out­let wrote about the dona­tion.

    The coun­ty exec­u­tive said the sto­ry about the dona­tion was not linked to his refund request. He called Moore a “creep­er” and said the dona­tion was made before know­ing about the alle­ga­tions. He called the alle­ga­tions cred­i­ble.

    Schuh, who has endorsed Peroutka’s 2018 re-elec­tion cam­paign, could not be reached for com­ment.

    ———-

    “Anne Arun­del Democ­rats call on Michael Per­out­ka to resign” by Chase Cook; The Los Ange­les Times; 12/08/2017.

    The com­mit­tee cit­ed Peroutka’s con­nec­tion to U.S. Sen­ate can­di­date Roy Moore, of Alaba­ma. The Repub­li­can can­di­date has been accused of pur­su­ing girls as young as 14, one of which revealed a sex­u­al encounter she had with Moore when she was 14 and he was in his 30s. The encounter did not include inter­course, but the girl said the sce­nario made her uncom­fort­able and she avoid­ed Moore’s fol­low-up call.”

    This is the state of the con­tem­po­rary GOP: Michael Per­out­ka is an elect­ed GOP offi­cial and Roy Moore is about to become an elect­ed offi­cial. And Per­out­ka is appar­ent­ly held in such high esteem by the Anne Arun­del Coun­ty GOP that they decid­ed to make him coun­cil chair­man this week.

    ...
    Per­out­ka was elect­ed as the coun­cil chair­man at Monday’s meet­ing. The deci­sion was made along par­ty lines in a 4–3 vote.
    ...

    And this deci­sion to make him coun­cil chair­man was done in a vac­u­um with no knowl­edge of Per­outka’s extrem­ist asso­ci­a­tions. He’s been asked to step down over this kind of stuff before. Like when he was recent­ly asked by coun­ty res­i­dents to step down over his League of the South ties and the hor­ri­ble things the League’s co-founder, Michael Hill, has just said:

    ...
    This isn’t the first time Per­out­ka has been asked to resign. Most recent­ly coun­ty res­i­dents asked him to step down because of his League of the South ties and racist com­ments made by the league’s pres­i­dent and co-founder, Michael Hill. Per­out­ka said he wouldn’t resign and has denounced Hill’s com­ments.
    ...

    So what exact­ly did League co-found Michael Hill say that led to pub­lic calls for Per­outka’s res­ig­na­tion? Oh, mere­ly that Hill pledged to be, “a white suprema­cist, a racist, an anti-Semi­te, a homo­phobe, a xeno­phobe, an Islam­o­phobe and any oth­er sort of ‘phobe’ that ben­e­fits my peo­ple.” It’s the kind of com­ment that simul­ta­ne­ous­ly lays bare exact­ly the kind of world-view the League of the South rep­re­sents, which is prob­a­bly why even Michael Per­out­ka denounced it. It’s the truth the neo-Con­fed­er­ate dares not speak...in pub­lic:

    South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter
    Hate­watch

    For­mer LOS Mem­ber Per­out­ka Denounces Pres­i­dent Michael Hill

    by Hate­watch Staff
    June 21, 2017

    Speak­ing at a recent ses­sion of Maryland’s Anne Arun­del Coun­ty Coun­cil, for­mer League of the South (LOS) mem­ber Coun­cil­man Michael Per­out­ka denounced state­ments made by the pres­i­dent of the Neo-Con­fed­er­ate LOS, Michael Hill.

    Per­out­ka opened the meet­ing by refer­ring to Hill’s recent pledge “to be a white suprema­cist, a racist, an anti-Semi­te, a homo­phobe, a xeno­phobe, an Islam­o­phobe and any oth­er sort of ‘phobe’ that ben­e­fits my peo­ple” as “out­ra­geous” and “inap­pro­pri­ate.”

    While Hate­watch and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions long warned of the dan­ger­ous impli­ca­tions of Hill’s rhetoric and the League’s bent toward mil­i­tan­cy, in 2014 Per­out­ka respond­ed to alarm over his affil­i­a­tion with the League by stat­ing that “he had dropped his asso­ci­a­tion with the League of the South over the sum­mer, although he was vague about his rea­sons and said he ‘didn’t have any prob­lem with the orga­ni­za­tion.’”

    Whether or not Peroutka’s denun­ci­a­tion was sin­cere, his tim­ing in seek­ing office was, to say the least, prov­i­den­tial. Short­ly after Per­out­ka dis­tanced him­self from LOS while cam­paign­ing for office, Hill’s writ­ing and speech­es took an alarm­ing turn toward unprece­dent­ed mil­i­tan­cy, racism and anti-Semi­tism.

    Peroutka’s rebuff comes just as the League is prepar­ing for its annu­al con­fer­ence this week­end in Wetump­ka, Alaba­ma. The con­fer­ence, which Per­out­ka sang “Dix­ie” at in 2012, gen­er­al­ly con­sists of mem­bers sit­ting through hours of speech­es from LOS high­er-ups before lin­ing the inter­sec­tion of US High­ways 231 and 14 for a protest. This year, the pub­lished sched­ule indi­cates the con­fer­ence will be titled “Redeem­ing the Time: Prepar­ing for the Inevitable Con­flict” and con­tains no men­tion of a protest, but rather indi­cates that Hill has final­ly giv­en up on hid­ing his rabid desire for a vio­lent race war.

    David Duke, the noto­ri­ous ex-Klans­men whose asso­ci­a­tion was long seen as the kiss of death for far right groups seek­ing main­stream cred­i­bil­i­ty, is slat­ed as keynote speak­er. Duke’s atten­dance comes along with speech­es from long time LOS affil­i­ates such as John Weaver, who will speak on “Gun Safe­ty and Self Defense.” Weaver has offered gun train­ing to the League and oth­er far-right groups and has preached on slav­ery as a bib­li­cal­ly ordained insti­tu­tion.

    Duke’s appear­ance comes on the back of League involve­ment in a series of high-pub­lic­i­ty events with oth­er far-right groups in Pikeville, Ken­tucky, New Orleans, Lou­siana Auburn, Alaba­ma, Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, and Gainesville, Flori­da.

    Hill has boast­ed that the League has attend­ed these events under the guise of its “South­ern Defense Force,” a para­mil­i­tary wing of the LOS estab­lished this year to put com­bat the ‘left­ist men­ace to our his­toric Chris­t­ian civ­i­liza­tion.

    Hill recent­ly signed the League onto a far-right alliance known as the “Nation­al­ist Front,” com­posed of var­i­ous Amer­i­can and Euro­pean far-right groups such as the Swedish Sveriges Nationel­la För­bund, Nation­al Social­ist Move­ment (NSM), Texas Rebel Knights, Racial Nation­al­ist Par­ty of Amer­i­ca, SS Action Group, Pacif­ic Coast Knights of the KKK, Scot­tish Nation­al Social­ist Par­ty, White Nation­al­ist Front (Cana­da), the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­ers Par­ty (TWP), White Lives Mat­ter, Blood & Hon­our Social Club, and Amer­i­can Van­guard.

    While the League for­mer­ly eschewed any rela­tion­ship with Klans­men such as Duke, his pres­ence at the League’s con­fer­ence, the League’s entry into the NF, as well as rumors that Hill is now admit­ting Klans­men into LOS as dual-mem­bers, show that Hill’s past state­ments were either disin­gen­u­ous, hyp­o­crit­i­cal, or down­right lies.

    ...

    ———-

    “For­mer LOS Mem­ber Per­out­ka Denounces Pres­i­dent Michael Hill” by Hate­watch Staff; South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter Hate­watch; 06/27/2017

    “Per­out­ka opened the meet­ing by refer­ring to Hill’s recent pledge “to be a white suprema­cist, a racist, an anti-Semi­te, a homo­phobe, a xeno­phobe, an Islam­o­phobe and any oth­er sort of ‘phobe’ that ben­e­fits my peo­ple” as “out­ra­geous” and “inap­pro­pri­ate.””

    Out­ra­geous and inap­pro­pri­ate, that’s how Michael Per­out­ka char­ac­ter­ized Michael Hill’s proud white suprema­cist dec­la­ra­tion. And while it’s true that they were out­ra­geous and inap­pro­pri­ate com­ments, it’s also true that “out­ra­geous” and “inap­pro­pri­ate” is an out­ra­geous under­state­ment con­sid­er­ing what Hill said.

    And it’s not like Per­out­ka is new the League of the South or Michael Hill. As the arti­cle point­ed out, this was­n’t the first time Per­out­ka dis­as­so­ci­at­ed him­self with the League of the South. When he did this same song and dance back in 2014, Per­out­ka also not­ed that he “didn’t have any prob­lem with the orga­ni­za­tion.” He just dis­as­so­ci­at­ed him­self with the group for vague rea­sons:

    ...
    While Hate­watch and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions long warned of the dan­ger­ous impli­ca­tions of Hill’s rhetoric and the League’s bent toward mil­i­tan­cy, in 2014 Per­out­ka respond­ed to alarm over his affil­i­a­tion with the League by stat­ing that “he had dropped his asso­ci­a­tion with the League of the South over the sum­mer, although he was vague about his rea­sons and said he ‘didn’t have any prob­lem with the orga­ni­za­tion.’”
    ...

    And note how, it was only short­ly after Per­outka’s 2014 dis­as­so­ci­a­tion with the League that Hill’s rhetoric sud­den­ly became much, much more like that of an open neo-Nazi:

    ...
    Whether or not Peroutka’s denun­ci­a­tion was sin­cere, his tim­ing in seek­ing office was, to say the least, prov­i­den­tial. Short­ly after Per­out­ka dis­tanced him­self from LOS while cam­paign­ing for office, Hill’s writ­ing and speech­es took an alarm­ing turn toward unprece­dent­ed mil­i­tan­cy, racism and anti-Semi­tism.
    ...

    That was 2014, when the League start­ed get­ting open­ly mil­i­tant. Flash for­ward to today, and we have the League make David Duke the keynote speak­er at its annu­al con­fer­ence and a grow­ing num­ber of alliances with far-right groups across North Amer­i­can and Europe, includ­ing Nazis:

    ...
    Peroutka’s rebuff comes just as the League is prepar­ing for its annu­al con­fer­ence this week­end in Wetump­ka, Alaba­ma. The con­fer­ence, which Per­out­ka sang “Dix­ie” at in 2012, gen­er­al­ly con­sists of mem­bers sit­ting through hours of speech­es from LOS high­er-ups before lin­ing the inter­sec­tion of US High­ways 231 and 14 for a protest. This year, the pub­lished sched­ule indi­cates the con­fer­ence will be titled “Redeem­ing the Time: Prepar­ing for the Inevitable Con­flict” and con­tains no men­tion of a protest, but rather indi­cates that Hill has final­ly giv­en up on hid­ing his rabid desire for a vio­lent race war.

    David Duke, the noto­ri­ous ex-Klans­men whose asso­ci­a­tion was long seen as the kiss of death for far right groups seek­ing main­stream cred­i­bil­i­ty, is slat­ed as keynote speak­er. Duke’s atten­dance comes along with speech­es from long time LOS affil­i­ates such as John Weaver, who will speak on “Gun Safe­ty and Self Defense.” Weaver has offered gun train­ing to the League and oth­er far-right groups and has preached on slav­ery as a bib­li­cal­ly ordained insti­tu­tion.

    Duke’s appear­ance comes on the back of League involve­ment in a series of high-pub­lic­i­ty events with oth­er far-right groups in Pikeville, Ken­tucky, New Orleans, Lou­siana Auburn, Alaba­ma, Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, and Gainesville, Flori­da.

    Hill has boast­ed that the League has attend­ed these events under the guise of its “South­ern Defense Force,” a para­mil­i­tary wing of the LOS estab­lished this year to put com­bat the ‘left­ist men­ace to our his­toric Chris­t­ian civ­i­liza­tion.

    Hill recent­ly signed the League onto a far-right alliance known as the “Nation­al­ist Front,” com­posed of var­i­ous Amer­i­can and Euro­pean far-right groups such as the Swedish Sveriges Nationel­la För­bund, Nation­al Social­ist Move­ment (NSM), Texas Rebel Knights, Racial Nation­al­ist Par­ty of Amer­i­ca, SS Action Group, Pacif­ic Coast Knights of the KKK, Scot­tish Nation­al Social­ist Par­ty, White Nation­al­ist Front (Cana­da), the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­ers Par­ty (TWP), White Lives Mat­ter, Blood & Hon­our Social Club, and Amer­i­can Van­guard.
    ...

    So we have League of the South co-founder Michael Hill basi­cal­ly call­ing for an alliance with an array of groups plan­ning on mass vio­lence and race wars. It’s cer­tain­ly “out­ra­geous” and “inap­pro­pri­ate”. As Per­out­ka put it.

    And yet, as the fol­low­ing SPLC pro­file on Hill describes, it’s not like the League of the South just sud­den­ly start­ed call­ing for mil­i­tan­cy and race wars in 2014. It just became more open about it, but Michael Hill and the League have been get­ting open­ly mil­i­tant and talk­ing of race war long before Per­outka’s 2014 dis­as­so­ci­a­tion

    South Pover­ty Law Cen­ter
    Extrem­ist Files

    Michael Hill

    Michael Hill rep­re­sents the intel­lec­tu­al but racist fac­tion of the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment and is its most impor­tant pro­po­nent.

    Extrem­ist Info
    Born: 1951
    Group: League of the South
    Loca­tion: Killen, AL
    Ide­ol­o­gy: Neo-Con­fed­er­ate

    About Michael Hill

    Iron­i­cal­ly, Hill was a pro­fes­sor for years at a his­tor­i­cal­ly black col­lege before estab­lish­ing the League of the South in 1994 as an insti­tu­tion devot­ed to reviv­ing South­ern her­itage and, even­tu­al­ly, push­ing for seces­sion. As Hill spurred the group to become increas­ing­ly racist and mil­i­tant in the late 1990s, most of the oth­er aca­d­e­mics who joined in 1994 fled as racial extrem­ists took their place in a much-dimin­ished insti­tu­tion. Dur­ing the first decade of the 21stcentury, the group grew increas­ing­ly rad­i­cal, talk­ing about a com­ing “race war,” form­ing a para­mil­i­tary unit, and talk­ing increas­ing­ly of weapons.

    In His Own Words

    “The destruc­tion of states rights in the South was the first neces­si­ty lead­ing to forced poli­cies under­min­ing the cul­tur­al dom­i­nance of the Anglo-Celtic peo­ple and its insti­tu­tions. [Arch-seg­re­ga­tion­ist Alaba­ma Gov. George] Wal­lace right­ly iden­ti­fied the ene­my and fought it until the attempt on his life in 1972.
    South­ern Patri­ot, 1998.

    “[T]he evil genie of uni­ver­sal ‘human rights,’ once loosed from its bot­tle, can nev­er be restrained because rights for women, racial and eth­nic minori­ties, homo­sex­u­als, pedophiles, etc., can be man­u­fac­tured eas­i­ly.”
    Essay post­ed to Dixienet.org, 1999

    “In part, [the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist attacks] spring from an ‘open bor­ders’ pol­i­cy that has for the past four decades encour­aged mas­sive Third World immi­gra­tion and thus cul­tur­al desta­bi­liza­tion. Hence, these acts of vio­lence were also the nat­ur­al fruits of a regime com­mit­ted to mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and diver­si­ty, hall­marks of empire rather than of nation. … [T]his is Amer­i­ca’s wake-up call to for­sake its idol­a­try and to return to its true Chris­t­ian and Con­sti­tu­tion­al foun­da­tions.”
    Essay post­ed to Dixienet.org, 2001

    “If the sce­nario of the South (and the rest of Amer­i­ca) being over­run by hordes of non-white immi­grants does not appeal to you, then how is this dis­as­ter to be avert­ed? By the peo­ple who oppose it ris­ing up against their trai­tor­ous elite mas­ters and their mis­an­throp­ic rule. But to do this we must first rid our­selves of the fear of being called ‘racists’ and the oth­er mean­ing­less epi­thets they use against us. What is real­ly meant by the [mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism] advo­cates when they peg us as ‘racists’ is that we adhere to eth­no­cen­trism, which is a nat­ur­al affec­tion for one’s own kind. This is both healthy and Bib­li­cal. I am not ashamed to say that I pre­fer my own kind and my own cul­ture. Oth­ers can have theirs; I have mine. No group can sur­vive for long if its mem­bers do not pre­fer their own over oth­ers.”
    Essay post­ed to Conservativetimes.org, 2007

    “Yes, the South has a ‘black’ prob­lem. It also has a ‘yan­kee’ prob­lem. But our biggest problem—and one even Chris­t­ian mem­bers with­in our own ranks refuse (or fear) to acknowledge—is the ‘Jew­ry’ prob­lem. Indeed, orga­nized Jew­ry has been at the root of most of the South’s trou­bles for the past 100 years.”
    On an inter­nal League of the South Face­book group

    “We South­ern nation­al­ists do not want a race war (or any sort of war). But if one is forced on us, we’ll par­tic­i­pate. … South­ern whites are geared up and armed to the teeth. … So if negroes think a ‘race war’ in mod­ern Amer­i­ca would be to their advan­tage, they had bet­ter pre­pare them­selves for a very rude awak­en­ing. White peo­ple may be patient, but our patience does have a lim­it. You do not want to test that lim­it.”
    “A few notes on an Amer­i­can race war,” May 6, 2015

    “Nev­er under­es­ti­mate the per­fidy of the orga­nized Jew. He is craft enough to manip­u­late both sides in a con­flict for his own advan­tage. From my expe­ri­ence and stud­ies, I have come to the con­clu­sion that his main ene­my is Euro­pean man—the inher­i­tors of Christendom—and his main weapons against us are the var­i­ous Third World peo­ples (includ­ing Mus­lims) he employs as his street-lev­el foot sol­diers, debt, pro­pa­gan­da, and our own guilt. If we are to sur­vive, we must com­bat these weapons, and soon.” — On an inter­nal League of the South Face­book group, Decem­ber 8, 2015

    Back­ground

    Sport­ing a white beard intend­ed to give him the look of a Con­fed­er­ate Army offi­cer, native Alabami­an J. Michael Hill has done more than any­one to cre­ate a new, racial­ly tinged South­ern seces­sion move­ment. Iron­i­cal­ly, Hill taught British his­to­ry for decades as he devel­oped his think­ing about the nature and reli­gion of the South at his­tor­i­cal­ly black Still­man Col­lege in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

    Hill was always an odd­i­ty at the school, roam­ing the cam­pus wear­ing a Con­fed­er­ate flag pin and wax­ing nos­tal­gic to his most­ly black stu­dents about the “War Between the States.” In 1996, Hill told colum­nist Diane Roberts that his black stu­dents adored him; what he did­n’t say was that he appar­ent­ly did not share their warmth. In a 2000 post­ing to the invi­ta­tion-only AlaReb E‑mail list, Hill mocked his for­mer stu­dents and co-work­ers. “A quote,” he wrote, “from a recent affir­ma­tive action hire: ‘Yesta-day I could not spell ‘sec­re­tary.’ Today I is one.’ ” He con­tin­ued: “One of few ben­e­fits I got on a reg­u­lar basis from hav­ing taught for 18 years at Still­man Col­lege was read­ing the class rolls on the first day of class.” He went on to list sev­er­al “humor­ous” names of his black stu­dents, end­ing with, “Where do these peo­ple get such names?” Hill resigned from Still­man in 1998. Although school offi­cials nev­er said so pub­licly, The Jour­nal of Blacks in High­er Edu­ca­tion report­ed that Hill had become “an embar­rass­ment” to the admin­is­tra­tion.

    Hill began to devel­op his ideas about a new Con­fed­er­a­cy in the 1970s, while study­ing under Grady McWhiney and For­rest McDon­ald, two extreme­ly con­ser­v­a­tive his­to­ry pro­fes­sors at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alaba­ma. His men­tors wrote Crack­er Cul­ture, a book that argued that the South was set­tled pri­mar­i­ly by “Anglo-Celts,” while in the North it was British Protes­tants who pre­dom­i­nat­ed.

    Expand­ing on his old pro­fes­sors’ con­tro­ver­sial claim that the South was dif­fer­ent from the North because its pop­u­la­tion was “Celtic,” Hill pub­lished two books on Celtic his­to­ry in the ear­ly 1990s. In 1994, he became an activist and put his ideas into prac­tice, cre­at­ing the South­ern League, which was lat­er renamed the League of the South (the orig­i­nal name was a take­off on the sep­a­ratist and anti-immi­grant North­ern League of Italy, but had to be changed after a base­ball league of the same name threat­ened to sue), or LOS. The LOS envi­sioned a seced­ed South that would be run, basi­cal­ly, as a theo­crat­ic state marked by medieval legal dis­tinc­tions between dif­fer­ent types of cit­i­zens, with white males at the top of the hier­ar­chy.

    Start­ed with 40 peo­ple, the LOS ini­tial­ly includ­ed four men with Ph.D.s on its board, along with Jack Ker­shaw, who was once active in the seg­re­ga­tion­ist White Cit­i­zens Coun­cil in Nashville and who remained on the board as late as 2009.

    Hill’s LOS start­ed out com­plain­ing about the media treat­ment of white South­ern­ers but quick­ly devel­oped into a racist group call­ing for a sec­ond seces­sion, attack­ing egal­i­tar­i­an­ism, describ­ing ante­bel­lum slav­ery as “God-ordained,” oppos­ing racial inter­mar­riage, and defend­ing seg­re­ga­tion as a pol­i­cy designed to pro­tect the “integri­ty” of both the black and the white races.

    An ear­ly sign of the League’s under­ly­ing racism came in 1995, when Hill set up a stu­dent chap­ter at his alma mater, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alaba­ma. With­in months, its mem­bers began to ver­bal­ly attack gays, and chap­ter pres­i­dent Thomas Sted­man wrote to the stu­dent news­pa­per to claim that “blacks did not invent ... any­thing of note any­where in the world.” Hill also praised extrem­ists like the Holo­caust-deny­ing and immi­grant-bash­ing Jean-Marie Le Pen of France, call­ing for “oth­ers like Le Pen to arise.” The “rav­ages of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and so-called diver­si­ty,” Hill said, are anath­e­ma to him. Hill described the Pledge of Alle­giance as “nation­al­ist pro­pa­gan­da [meant] to indoc­tri­nate” chil­dren with social­ist ideas about gov­ern­ment.

    In 2003, Hill led an attempt to resus­ci­tate the South­ern Par­ty, anoth­er neo-Con­fed­er­ate orga­ni­za­tion. And he attacked the Supreme Court after its rul­ing in July of that year strik­ing down anti-gay sodomy laws, say­ing the court was help­ing to advance what he called the “sodomite and civ­il rights agen­das.”

    In 1998, just after he left Still­man, Hill claimed that the LOS had some 15,000 mem­bers. In 2000, the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter added the orga­ni­za­tion to its list of hate groups based on its white suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy. Four years lat­er, Hill’s for­mer men­tor, For­rest McDon­ald, who had attend­ed the first meet­ing of the LOS in 1994, denounced him, telling the Intel­li­gence Report that Hill’s racism had destroyed the group. By 2009, the League of the South could only draw a hand­ful of par­tic­i­pants to its events, and its pub­li­ca­tions were pro­duced spo­rad­i­cal­ly.

    But as Hill saw his aca­d­e­m­ic sup­port flee and his organization’s mem­ber­ship dwin­dle, his rhetoric grew more extreme, his racism more explic­it. The Civ­il War, he says, wasn’t about slav­ery. It was the impo­si­tion by god­less Yan­kees of a mate­ri­al­is­tic, cap­i­tal­ist indus­tri­al sys­tem on a South that embod­ied the only sur­viv­ing rem­nant of “ortho­dox Chris­tian­i­ty.” He decried the “evil genie of uni­ver­sal ‘human rights,’” and called egal­i­tar­i­an­ism a nox­ious “Jacobin” doc­trine. America’s trai­tor­ous “elite mas­ters,” he com­plained, had allowed it to be “over­run by hordes of non-white immi­grants.”

    In a 2012 essay, he claimed that white peo­ple are endowed with a “God-ordained supe­ri­or­i­ty.” Whites of “hon­or, genius and prin­ci­ple” left us with a “glo­ri­ous her­itage,” while black peo­ple “have nev­er cre­at­ed any­thing approx­i­mat­ing a civ­i­liza­tion.” Slav­ery, he wrote, was “suc­cess­ful­ly defend­ed from a Bib­li­cal stand­point” until “the institution’s legit­i­ma­cy was sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly under­mined in the name of ‘equal­i­ty’ and mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ed ‘Chris­t­ian ethics.’” He also waxed nos­tal­gic for the Jim Crow sys­tem of racial oppres­sion.

    Par­tic­u­lar­ly alarm­ing was Hill’s grow­ing pen­chant for incit­ing his remain­ing fol­low­ers to vio­lence. At a March 2011 LOS meet­ing in Geor­gia, he urged mem­bers to stock up on AK-47s, hol­low-point bul­lets and tools to derail trains. That sum­mer, at the League’s annu­al con­fer­ence, the leader asked, “What would it take to get you to fight? The mantra [that] vio­lence, or the seri­ous threat there­of, nev­er set­tles any­thing is patent­ly false. His­to­ry shows that it indeed does set­tle many things.”

    This increas­ing­ly vocal mil­i­tan­cy brought the LOS’ ide­ol­o­gy and goals clos­er and clos­er to those of the antigov­ern­ment “Patri­ot” move­ment. In a Jan­u­ary 2012 email, Hill declared the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment an “orga­nized crim­i­nal enter­prise” led by “domes­tic ter­ror­ists,” and told his fol­low­ers to pre­pare for a fight.

    Hill even took ideas straight from the play­book of the Posse Comi­ta­tus, a racist, anti-Semit­ic group that raged through the Mid­west in the late 1970s and 1980s. Adher­ents of the Posse, which was the pre­cur­sor to the con­tem­po­rary “sov­er­eign cit­i­zens” move­ment, believed that sher­iffs were the high­est legit­i­mate law enforce­ment offi­cials in the coun­try. In addi­tion to self-defense, Hill advised his fol­low­ers to use their coun­ty sher­iffs “as bul­warks against the crim­i­nal class. … He can law­ful­ly tell the feds to ‘Go to Hell’ and stay out of his ter­ri­to­ry.”

    The year 2013 saw anoth­er major shift in strat­e­gy for Hill and the LOS as it adopt­ed new rhetoric against “South­ern demo­graph­ic dis­place­ment.” The LOS deem­pha­sized its long­stand­ing objec­tives of a sec­ond south­ern seces­sion and soci­ety dom­i­nat­ed by “Euro­pean Amer­i­cans” dur­ing pub­lic events in order to por­tray a more mod­er­ate, con­ser­v­a­tive image. Under this new strat­e­gy, protests began focus­ing on more tra­di­tion­al­ly con­ser­v­a­tive themes such as oppo­si­tion to immi­gra­tion and same-sex mar­riage. Atten­dees were also required to fol­low a dress code at LOS demon­stra­tions. Most remark­ably, the group banned the usage of the Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag at its events, much to the anger and cha­grin of many of its mem­bers, in favor of a new “south­ern nation­al­ist” flag.

    This shift in the LOS’ pol­i­cy also led to Hill’s expul­sion of Matthew Heim­bach, one of the orga­ni­za­tions most vis­i­ble young mem­bers, after pho­tos sur­faced of Heim­bach per­form­ing a Nazi salute at events with the neo-Nazi Nation­al Social­ist Move­ment and the Impe­r­i­al Klans of Amer­i­ca. “Matthew Heim­bach, a for­mer mem­ber of The League of the South, has appar­ent­ly decid­ed to cast his lot with Nazis and oth­ers who do not rep­re­sent the tra­di­tion­al South, the South­ern Nation­al­ist move­ment, and The League of the South,” Hill wrote on the Face­book page for an upcom­ing League event in Ten­nessee. “Nei­ther he nor his friends will be wel­come at our demon­stra­tions.”

    But Hill appar­ent­ly under­went a change of heart less than a year lat­er, read­mit­ting Heim­bach and pro­mot­ing him to a lead­er­ship posi­tion as LOS train­ing direc­tor.

    The LOS’ more rad­i­cal ele­ments returned to the fore­front short­ly there­after with the for­ma­tion of an armed, para­mil­i­tary unit dubbed “the Indomita­bles” by Hill and the LOS’ lead­er­ship at the group’s 2014 nation­al con­fer­ence. The unit was tasked with advanc­ing a sec­ond south­ern seces­sion by any means nec­es­sary and embod­ied the increas­ing­ly extreme rhetoric of the group. “The pri­ma­ry tar­gets will not be ene­my sol­diers; instead, they will be polit­i­cal lead­ers, mem­bers of the hos­tile media, cul­tur­al icons, bureau­crats, and oth­er of the man­age­r­i­al elite with­out whom the engines of tyran­ny don’t run,” wrote Hill on the League’s web­site. He con­clud­ed the essay by quot­ing Psalms: “Blessed be the Lord my strength who teach­es my hands to war and my fin­gers to fight.”

    In May 2015, Hill pub­lished what was prob­a­bly his most provoca­tive essay yet, pon­tif­i­cat­ing about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an Amer­i­can “race war” and warn­ing black Amer­i­cans of “a very rude awak­en­ing” if such a war devel­oped.

    Per­haps even more sur­pris­ing was the appear­ance of an essay by Hill in The Barnes Review, one of the most well known his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ist and Holo­caust denial pub­li­ca­tions. Hill’s essay titled, “The Pol­i­tics of Provo­ca­tion: Spi­ral­ing Out of Con­trol,” capped more than a year of increas­ing­ly anti-Semit­ic post­ings in inter­nal LOS Face­book groups.

    In the months lead­ing up to the pub­li­ca­tion of Hill’s arti­cle, he reg­u­lar­ly post­ed remarks such as, “Orga­nized Jew­ry does its rep­u­ta­tion among decent peo­ple no good by being neck-deep in pornog­ra­phy, the sex traf­fick­ing trade, and the homo­sex­u­al agen­da,” for LOS mem­bers to fawn over.

    In Decem­ber of 2015, when respond­ing to a ques­tion about non-reli­gious indi­vid­u­als join­ing the LOS, Hill told an inquir­ing LOS mem­ber that, “The League is not the church. Though most of us are Chris­tians, one does not have to be to join our ranks. We do not allow Mus­lims or Jews, how­ev­er. Both have proven them­selves, as orga­nized groups, to be against our her­itage and inter­ests. We will take no chances with them. Your friend is wel­come if he is nei­ther a Mus­lim nor Jew.”

    ...

    ———-

    “Extrem­ist Files: Michael Hill”; South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter; Accessed 12/09/2017

    “In a 2012 essay, he claimed that white peo­ple are endowed with a “God-ordained supe­ri­or­i­ty.” Whites of “hon­or, genius and prin­ci­ple” left us with a “glo­ri­ous her­itage,” while black peo­ple “have nev­er cre­at­ed any­thing approx­i­mat­ing a civ­i­liza­tion.” Slav­ery, he wrote, was “suc­cess­ful­ly defend­ed from a Bib­li­cal stand­point” until “the institution’s legit­i­ma­cy was sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly under­mined in the name of ‘equal­i­ty’ and mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ed ‘Chris­t­ian ethics.’” He also waxed nos­tal­gic for the Jim Crow sys­tem of racial oppres­sion.

    Yep, in 2012, Michael Hill described slav­ery as “suc­cess­ful­ly defend­ed from a Bib­li­cal stand­point” until “the institution’s legit­i­ma­cy was sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly under­mined in the name of ‘equal­i­ty’ and mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ed ‘Chris­t­ian ethics.’” And that was just one of the many com­ments of this nature that Hill has been mak­ing for decades.

    And note the par­al­lels between Hill’s com­ments about the Civ­il War and Roy Moore’s impres­sion that the slav­ery era was the last time Amer­i­ca was “great”: As Hill sees it, the Civ­il War was­n’t about slav­ery. It was about the impo­si­tion by god­less Yan­kees of a mate­ri­al­is­tic, cap­i­tal­ist indus­tri­al sys­tem on a South that embod­ied the only sur­viv­ing rem­nant of “ortho­dox Chris­tian­i­ty”:

    ...
    But as Hill saw his aca­d­e­m­ic sup­port flee and his organization’s mem­ber­ship dwin­dle, his rhetoric grew more extreme, his racism more explic­it. The Civ­il War, he says, wasn’t about slav­ery. It was the impo­si­tion by god­less Yan­kees of a mate­ri­al­is­tic, cap­i­tal­ist indus­tri­al sys­tem on a South that embod­ied the only sur­viv­ing rem­nant of “ortho­dox Chris­tian­i­ty.” He decried the “evil genie of uni­ver­sal ‘human rights,’” and called egal­i­tar­i­an­ism a nox­ious “Jacobin” doc­trine. America’s trai­tor­ous “elite mas­ters,” he com­plained, had allowed it to be “over­run by hordes of non-white immi­grants.”
    ...

    That sure sounds like music to Roy Moore’s ears! After all, isn’t a casu­al dis­missal of slav­ery cou­pled with a focus on the impo­si­tion of god­less Yan­kee mate­ri­al­ism as a threat to “ortho­dox Chris­tian­i­ty” kind of Roy Moore’s brand at this point?

    So, to sum­ma­rize, it appears that Roy Moore’s idea of what it would take to “Make Amer­i­ca Great Again” has a rather dis­turb­ing over­lap with that of Michael Hill, the mil­i­tant neo-Con­fed­er­ate leader of the League of the South. And that’s why Michael Per­out­ka has become anoth­er headache for the GOP.

    And yet Per­out­ka has­n’t actu­al­ly become that much of headache and his own words and asso­ci­a­tions should more than enough to make him a much big­ger headache. But he’s only appears to have got­ten atten­tion in a sin­gle coun­ty in Mary­land. It rais­es the ques­tion of why Moore’s ties to Per­out­ka has­n’t also been an issue for Moore dur­ing this cam­paign. And the answer to that ques­tion is clear­ly that Roy Moore alleged­ly stalked and sex­u­al­ly assault­ed high-school­ers while he was a dis­trict attor­ney and Moore has respond­ed by say­ing it’s all lies, which is under­stand­ably going to grab a lot of atten­tion, espe­cial­ly in the #metoo nation­al polit­i­cal con­text.

    It’s a reminder that, had Moore not been fac­ing his teen-creep­er accu­sa­tions that mor­phed into a nation­al night­mare of sorts, his nom­i­na­tion and like­ly vic­to­ry would still be a nation­al night­mare. Just a dif­fer­ent kind of nation­al night­mare. A nation­al night­mare involv­ing the legit­imiza­tion of a neo-Con­fed­er­ate theo­crat instead of a nation­al night­mare involv­ing the legit­imiza­tion of a guy who cruis­es the local mall look­ing for high-school girls while he was a dis­trict attor­ney.

    But, of course, the Roy Moore nation­al night­mare is both a night­mare about a teen creep­er and a nation­al night­mare about a neo-Con­fed­er­ate theo­crat who pals around with pals of mil­i­tant white suprema­cists who want to wage a race war and reim­pose slav­ery and a whole lot of oth­er night­mares. And don’t for­get Moore’s cam­paign is also a nation­al night­mare about a guy who thinks thinks the Bib­li­cal role of women bans them from pol­i­tics and lead­er­ship roles in gen­er­al. It’s a whole bunch of sub-night­mares all woven togeth­er into one giant mul­ti­fac­eted night­mare.

    It’s a recur­ring night­mare.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 9, 2017, 8:48 pm
  10. Oh look, anoth­er US gov­ern­ment shut­down after Con­gress reach­es an impasse over the bud­get. Giv­en the fre­quen­cy with which this hap­pens in US pol­i­tics in recent decades it’s tempt­ing to snark­i­ly remark, ‘Who could have seen that com­ing?

    But as the fol­low­ing arti­cle reminds points out, in this case the impasse real­ly was a bit of sur­prise. The big stick­ing points were known well in advance. The issue of DACA — the “Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals” pro­gram cre­at­ed by Pres­i­dent Oba­ma to address ~800,000 ‘Dream­ers’, undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants brought into the coun­try as chil­dren by their par­ents, who are sud­den­ly at risk of depor­ta­tion in ear­ly March — was obvi­ous­ly going to be a major issue for these bud­get nego­ti­a­tions. And sure enough, that’s the stick­ing point. Sort of. There’s a fac­tion of GOP­ers who are actu­al­ly demand­ing a Steve Ban­non-esque immi­gra­tion over­haul in return for their sup­port in end­ing the shut­down.

    So that’s the shut­down sit­u­a­tion. The Democ­rats drew a sin­gle line in the sand with this upcom­ing bud­get nego­ti­a­tion: Due to the urgency of resolv­ing the Dream­er issue by the March 5th dead­line (at which point they could lose their legal sta­tus, lose their jobs, and face depor­ta­tion to coun­tries they bare­ly know), any bud­get bill need­ed to include the DACA fix. Because there is no belief in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty that Trump and the GOP will be will­ing to agree to a fix by the dead­line. The bud­get bill real­ly is the last chance for the Dream­ers.

    And don’t for­get that these Dream­ers are at risk of los­ing their jobs and get­ting deport­ed because Trump rescind­ed the pre­vi­ous agree­ment back in Sep­tem­ber and gave a 6 month win­dow to resolve it. Trump lis­tened to the Steve Bannon/Stephen Miller fac­tion back in Sep­tem­ber and that’s how this sit­u­a­tion was cre­at­ed.

    The default thing that hap­pens if the DACA issue isn’t resolved by the dead­line is the loss of legal sta­tus and jobs for the ‘Dream­ers’ and the begin­ning of depor­ta­tion of 800,000 peo­ple to coun­tries they bare­ly know. Which, of course, a cru­el human­i­tar­i­an dis­as­ter. An entire­ly avoid­able cru­el human­i­tar­i­an dis­as­ter. Mak­ing this a ‘line in the sand’ in the bud­get nego­ti­a­tions with the threat of the shut­down real­ly is pret­ty much only real­is­tic option for the Democ­rats because kick­ing out all the Dream­ers is a very Trumpian thing to do based on his record of words and deeds on immi­gra­tion. Allow­ing this DACA nego­ti­a­tion to make it to the March 5th dead­line is a guar­an­teed recipe for no real nego­ti­a­tions. The GOP will obvi­ous­ly make unre­al­is­ti­cal­ly out­ra­geous demands to total­ly over­haul the immi­gra­tion sys­tem in exchange for DACA.

    But even if the GOP promis­es to address DACA soon in exchange for the Democ­rats’ sup­port on the bud­get to end the shut­down, the par­ty lacks any cred­i­bil­i­ty in gen­er­al. This real­ly is basi­cal­ly the last chance for the ‘Dream­ers’ to avoid depor­ta­tion to coun­tries they bare­ly know so it real­ly is a human­i­tar­i­an issue. And the GOP’s lack of cred­i­bil­i­ty isn’t just based on its long track-record of increduli­ty. The GOP has already bro­ken its word on these nego­ti­a­tions. Specif­i­cal­ly, Pres­i­dent Trump has already reject­ed a bipar­ti­san pro­pos­al that includ­ed the Democ­rats mak­ing con­ces­sions that includ­ed fund­ing for Trump’s bor­der wall, lim­its on the abil­i­ty of legal U.S. res­i­dents to spon­sor their adult chil­dren for immi­gra­tion, and a reduc­tion in diver­si­ty visas. Democ­rats just offered that in exchange for sav­ing the Dreams and Trump report­ed­ly took it as an insult.

    So what will Trump accept in exchange for sav­ing the Dream­ers from depor­ta­tion? Well, accord­ing to Chief of Staff John Kel­ly, Trump wants a bill that will appease the group of immi­gra­tion hard­line GOP hold­outs like Sen­a­tors Tom Cot­ton and Son­ny Per­due who co-spon­sored a bill to cut immi­gra­tion in half and move away from fam­i­ly-focused immi­gra­tion. And as we’ll see, these demands are being made by Sen­a­tor Tom Cot­ton in order to get his sup­port just to end the shut­down.

    As the arti­cle below also notes, Trump appears to be under the sway of his most hard­line pol­i­cy advi­sors (like Stephen Miller). And that’s why this cur­rent sit­u­a­tion real­ly is the last chance to pre­vent a human­i­tar­i­an cat­a­stro­phe: GOP pledges to address this issue soon in exchange for sup­port on end­ing the shut­down now can’t be tak­en seri­ous­ly because there’s no cred­i­bil­i­ty behind them. Jon Kel­ly just basi­cal­ly said a mas­sive Ban­non-esque immi­gra­tion over­haul is the only accept­able trade in exchange for sav­ing the Dream­ers. So we appear to be in the mid­dle of a mul­ti­fac­eted GOP ‘gotcha’ strat­e­gy of trap­ping the Democ­rats in a sit­u­a­tion where they’re forced to choose between hold­ing out for the Dream­ers’ last chance or end­ing the shut­down while the GOP blames them the whole time for cre­at­ing this sit­u­a­tion:

    New York Mag­a­zine

    Leaked Memo Shows White House Doesn’t Real­ly Want a Dream­er Deal

    By Eric Levitz
    Jan­u­ary 19, 2018 10:50 am

    Don­ald Trump has repeat­ed­ly sug­gest­ed that he believes undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants who were brought to this coun­try as chil­dren — and who went on to obey all (non-immi­gra­tion) laws, and grad­u­ate from col­lege or secure gain­ful employ­ment — should be allowed to stay in the Unit­ed States. On the day the pres­i­dent end­ed Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA), which had pro­vid­ed such immi­grants with work per­mits and pro­tec­tion from depor­ta­tion, he called on Con­gress to pass a leg­isla­tive replace­ment for the Exec­u­tive branch pro­gram. The pres­i­dent went on to say that if Con­gress failed to pro­tect the program’s for­mer ben­e­fi­cia­ries, he would “revis­it the issue,” and, osten­si­bly, pro­tect them him­self.

    But that shouldn’t be nec­es­sary. Last week, a bipar­ti­san group of sen­a­tors announced that they’d reached con­sen­sus on a DACA replace­ment bill: Even though the pres­i­dent and GOP lead­er­ship had claimed to sup­port legal sta­tus for Dream­ers as an end in itself (and thus should have been pre­pared to sup­port leg­is­la­tion that does noth­ing but that), Democ­rats nonethe­less agreed to back a DREAM Act that includ­ed fund­ing for Trump’s bor­der wall, lim­its on the abil­i­ty of legal U.S. res­i­dents to spon­sor their adult chil­dren for immi­gra­tion, and a reduc­tion in diver­si­ty visas — pro­vi­sions cham­pi­oned by Repub­li­cans and loathed by the pro­gres­sive base.

    And Trump took their offer as an insult.

    Lat­er, White House chief of staff John Kel­ly informed the sen­a­tors that the admin­is­tra­tion did not mere­ly want a Dream­er bill that could pass Con­gress with bipar­ti­san sup­port but one that could earn the approval of “con­ser­v­a­tives like Sens. Tom Cot­ton (R‑Ark.) and David Per­due (R‑Ga.) and Rep. Bob Good­lat­te (R‑Va.).”

    Tom Cot­ton doesn’t like the term “Dream­ers” — he prefers “ille­gal aliens.” The sen­a­tor is the lead spon­sor on a bill to cut legal immi­gra­tion in half. Demand­ing a bipar­ti­san immi­gra­tion bill that Cot­ton can sup­port is like demand­ing a bipar­ti­san agree­ment to cut Social Secu­ri­ty that Bernie Sanders will glad­ly co-spon­sor. If Barack Oba­ma had made the lat­ter request dur­ing “Grand Bar­gain” nego­ti­a­tions in 2011, every­one involved would have under­stood that he did not actu­al­ly want to pass a Grand Bar­gain.

    But Trump’s grasp of polit­i­cal real­i­ty is so loose, it’s gen­uine­ly unclear if he under­stands that he is ask­ing for the impos­si­ble. And an inter­nal White House memo, leaked to Axios on Fri­day, sug­gests that the pres­i­dent like­ly doesn’t com­pre­hend the absur­di­ty of his posi­tion — and that his clos­est advis­ers on immi­gra­tion want to keep it that way.

    Short­ly after Trump’s meet­ing with the sen­a­tors behind the bipar­ti­san DACA bill, staffers from the Jus­tice Depart­ment and DHS pre­pared an inter­nal memo assess­ing the mer­its of the leg­is­la­tion. In a doc­u­ment titled, “Flake-Gra­ham-Durbin Pro­pos­al Would Crip­ple Bor­der Secu­ri­ty and Expand Chain Migra­tion,” the staffers lament­ed that the bill:

    1.Fails to Secure the Bor­der: “pro­vides less than 10 per­cent of the nec­es­sary funds to con­struct the bor­der wall.”

    2. Increas­es Ille­gal Immi­gra­tion and Guar­an­tees Future Amnesties: “pro­vides immi­gra­tion ben­e­fits to cer­tain ille­gal aliens who came to the Unit­ed States as juve­niles.”

    3. Pro­pos­al Not Only Grants Cit­i­zen­ship To Up to 3 Mil­lion “DREAM­ers,” But Also Grants Legal Sta­tus to Their Par­ents: “grants a path to cit­i­zen­ship to an ille­gal pop­u­la­tion that is near­ly five times larg­er than the pop­u­la­tion of DACA recip­i­ents.”

    4. Increas­es Chain Migra­tion: “keeps chain migra­tion in place while increas­ing the num­ber of indi­vid­u­als eli­gi­ble to bring in their for­eign rel­a­tives through chain migra­tion.”

    5. Fails To End the Visa Lot­tery.

    It’s worth remem­ber­ing that Trump wasn’t inclined to can­cel DACA in the first place. It took a law­suit from sev­er­al Repub­li­can state Attor­neys Gen­er­al — and an ulti­ma­tum from Attor­ney Gen­er­al Jeff Ses­sions — to get the pres­i­dent to cut the Dream­ers loose. Even then, Trump had Ses­sions announce the ter­mi­na­tion of the pro­gram for him, and expressed open­ness to reviv­ing DACA over Twit­ter on the very same day.

    In Sep­tem­ber, a sin­gle con­ver­sa­tion with Chuck Schumer and Nan­cy Pelosi con­vinced Trump to back a DACA bill that includ­ed no fund­ing for his wall what­so­ev­er. Less than two weeks ago, Trump told a bipar­ti­san group of law­mak­ers that he would sign any DREAM Act that made it to his desk — and, momen­tar­i­ly, signed on to Sen­a­tor Dianne Feinstein’s pro­pos­al for a “clean” ver­sion of the bill that wouldn’t include any bor­der secu­ri­ty mea­sures at all.

    After all of these inci­dents, immi­gra­tion hard-lin­ers in Con­gress — and far-right White House advis­er Stephen Miller — guid­ed Trump back toward recal­ci­trance. Miller has long been the most con­spic­u­ous obsta­cle to a deal.. The Ses­sions acolyte and Bre­it­bart dar­ling has no inter­est in see­ing Dream­ers gain legal sta­tus. And as the administration’s res­i­dent immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy wonk, he has repeat­ed­ly sent Con­gress the same long list of impos­si­ble demands, includ­ing pro­pos­als that lack the sup­port of a major­i­ty of con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans, like a halv­ing of legal immi­gra­tion and $18 bil­lion for a bor­der wall.

    The key rev­e­la­tion of the memo obtained by Axios is that Miller is not alone: Appar­ent­ly, sev­er­al of the administration’s top immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy hands are also com­mit­ted to sab­o­tag­ing a Dream­er deal — or, at the very least, to jeop­ar­diz­ing such a deal by press­ing max­i­mal­ist demands.

    This explains the inco­her­ence of the White House’s posi­tion. Trump is per­son­al­ly inclined, at least some of the time, to notch a bipar­ti­san vic­to­ry, claim cred­it for achiev­ing some­thing that Oba­ma failed to do, and cel­e­brate his suc­cess in con­vinc­ing Con­gress to make a down pay­ment on his wall. But he is also high­ly impres­sion­able and deeply racist, and sur­round­ed by far-right ide­o­logues who are eager to exploit both those traits to their own ends.

    At this point, the most viable path to a DREAM Act may be for Con­gress to sim­ply ignore the White House, pass some­thing rough­ly sim­i­lar to the exist­ing bipar­ti­san pro­pos­al, and trust that, once the bill is in front of him, Trump will find the lure of a sign­ing cer­e­mo­ny more com­pelling than the com­plaints of the West Wing’s con­niv­ing nativists.

    ———-

    “Leaked Memo Shows White House Doesn’t Real­ly Want a Dream­er Deal” by Eric Levitz; New York Mag­a­zine; 01/19/2018

    “The key rev­e­la­tion of the memo obtained by Axios is that Miller is not alone: Appar­ent­ly, sev­er­al of the administration’s top immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy hands are also com­mit­ted to sab­o­tag­ing a Dream­er deal — or, at the very least, to jeop­ar­diz­ing such a deal by press­ing max­i­mal­ist demands.”

    Yep, sev­er­al of the administration’s top immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy hands are out to tank any deal pro­tect­ing the Dream­ers. Either by con­vinc­ing Trump to reject a Dream­er deal out­right or by con­vinc­ing him to make demands that Democ­rats could­n’t pos­si­bly sup­port. And these pol­i­cy hands have been lob­by­ing Trump on this issue ever since he declared DACA null and void back in Sep­tem­ber. And keep doing it when­ev­er he waivers. Hence Trump’s rejec­tion of the bipar­ti­san bill pro­pos­al filled with Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­ces­sions:

    ...
    But that shouldn’t be nec­es­sary. Last week, a bipar­ti­san group of sen­a­tors announced that they’d reached con­sen­sus on a DACA replace­ment bill: Even though the pres­i­dent and GOP lead­er­ship had claimed to sup­port legal sta­tus for Dream­ers as an end in itself (and thus should have been pre­pared to sup­port leg­is­la­tion that does noth­ing but that), Democ­rats nonethe­less agreed to back a DREAM Act that includ­ed fund­ing for Trump’s bor­der wall, lim­its on the abil­i­ty of legal U.S. res­i­dents to spon­sor their adult chil­dren for immi­gra­tion, and a reduc­tion in diver­si­ty visas — pro­vi­sions cham­pi­oned by Repub­li­cans and loathed by the pro­gres­sive base.

    And Trump took their offer as an insult.
    ...

    “And Trump took their offer as an insult.”

    That was Trump’s view on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic offer with mas­sive con­ces­sions. Because he wants a bill that will appears the hard­core immi­gra­tion fac­tion of Sen­a­tors Cot­ton, Per­due, and Good­lat­te:

    ...
    Lat­er, White House chief of staff John Kel­ly informed the sen­a­tors that the admin­is­tra­tion did not mere­ly want a Dream­er bill that could pass Con­gress with bipar­ti­san sup­port but one that could earn the approval of “con­ser­v­a­tives like Sens. Tom Cot­ton (R‑Ark.) and David Per­due (R‑Ga.) and Rep. Bob Good­lat­te (R‑Va.).”
    ...

    That hap­pened. And then this hap­pened short­ly after Trump met with that bipar­ti­san Sen­ate del­e­ga­tion: Trump sat down with the hard­lin­ers:

    ...
    Short­ly after Trump’s meet­ing with the sen­a­tors behind the bipar­ti­san DACA bill, staffers from the Jus­tice Depart­ment and DHS pre­pared an inter­nal memo assess­ing the mer­its of the leg­is­la­tion. In a doc­u­ment titled, “Flake-Gra­ham-Durbin Pro­pos­al Would Crip­ple Bor­der Secu­ri­ty and Expand Chain Migra­tion,” the staffers lament­ed that the bill:

    1.Fails to Secure the Bor­der: “pro­vides less than 10 per­cent of the nec­es­sary funds to con­struct the bor­der wall.”

    2. Increas­es Ille­gal Immi­gra­tion and Guar­an­tees Future Amnesties: “pro­vides immi­gra­tion ben­e­fits to cer­tain ille­gal aliens who came to the Unit­ed States as juve­niles.”

    3. Pro­pos­al Not Only Grants Cit­i­zen­ship To Up to 3 Mil­lion “DREAM­ers,” But Also Grants Legal Sta­tus to Their Par­ents: “grants a path to cit­i­zen­ship to an ille­gal pop­u­la­tion that is near­ly five times larg­er than the pop­u­la­tion of DACA recip­i­ents.”

    4. Increas­es Chain Migra­tion: “keeps chain migra­tion in place while increas­ing the num­ber of indi­vid­u­als eli­gi­ble to bring in their for­eign rel­a­tives through chain migra­tion.”

    5. Fails To End the Visa Lot­tery.

    ...

    And this is the same hard­lin­er group of White House pol­i­cy advi­sors since he first announced the end to the DREAM Act back in Sep­tem­ber. So they’ve had a lot of time to influ­ence him:

    ...
    In Sep­tem­ber, a sin­gle con­ver­sa­tion with Chuck Schumer and Nan­cy Pelosi con­vinced Trump to back a DACA bill that includ­ed no fund­ing for his wall what­so­ev­er. Less than two weeks ago, Trump told a bipar­ti­san group of law­mak­ers that he would sign any DREAM Act that made it to his desk — and, momen­tar­i­ly, signed on to Sen­a­tor Dianne Feinstein’s pro­pos­al for a “clean” ver­sion of the bill that wouldn’t include any bor­der secu­ri­ty mea­sures at all.

    After all of these inci­dents, immi­gra­tion hard-lin­ers in Con­gress — and far-right White House advis­er Stephen Miller — guid­ed Trump back toward recal­ci­trance. Miller has long been the most con­spic­u­ous obsta­cle to a deal.. The Ses­sions acolyte and Bre­it­bart dar­ling has no inter­est in see­ing Dream­ers gain legal sta­tus. And as the administration’s res­i­dent immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy wonk, he has repeat­ed­ly sent Con­gress the same long list of impos­si­ble demands, includ­ing pro­pos­als that lack the sup­port of a major­i­ty of con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans, like a halv­ing of legal immi­gra­tion and $18 bil­lion for a bor­der wall.
    ...

    Less than two weeks ago, Trump told a bipar­ti­san group of law­mak­ers that he would sign any DREAM Act that made it to his desk — and, momen­tar­i­ly, signed on to Sen­a­tor Dianne Feinstein’s pro­pos­al for a “clean” ver­sion of the bill that wouldn’t include any bor­der secu­ri­ty mea­sures at all.”

    So back in Sep­tem­ber, Trump declares the DREAM Act dead and gives a 6 month win­dow to fix it. His advi­sors start lob­by­ing him to not fix it at all. Then a cou­ple of weeks ago he says he’ll sign ANY new ver­sion Con­gress presents him. The a bipar­ti­san group of Sen­a­tors makes an offer with a ton of Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­ces­sions includ­ing mon­ey for ‘The Wall’. Trump rejects it, declares he needs some­thing Tom Cot­ton will approve of, and then he meets with his hard­line advi­sors. And here we are. Forced by Trump to pla­cate Cot­ton. Who wants to cut immi­gra­tion in half:

    ...
    Tom Cot­ton doesn’t like the term “Dream­ers” — he prefers “ille­gal aliens.” The sen­a­tor is the lead spon­sor on a bill to cut legal immi­gra­tion in half. Demand­ing a bipar­ti­san immi­gra­tion bill that Cot­ton can sup­port is like demand­ing a bipar­ti­san agree­ment to cut Social Secu­ri­ty that Bernie Sanders will glad­ly co-spon­sor. If Barack Oba­ma had made the lat­ter request dur­ing “Grand Bar­gain” nego­ti­a­tions in 2011, every­one involved would have under­stood that he did not actu­al­ly want to pass a Grand Bar­gain.
    ...

    And there’s no deny­ing that a large chunk of Trump’s base, which is the GOP’s base, is more like­ly to agree with the Tom Cot­ton view on these issues, like demand­ing an end to ‘chain-migra­tion’ — the term for fam­i­ly-focused immi­gra­tion poli­cies which is a mas­sive change to the US immi­gra­tion poli­cies — in exchange for sup­port­ing an end to the gov­ern­ment shut­down:

    The Hill

    Cot­ton: I won’t com­mit to an immi­gra­tion deal just because Trump sup­ports it

    By Julia Man­ches­ter — 01/21/18 11:13 AM EST

    Sen. Tom Cot­ton (R‑Ark.) said on Sun­day he would not vote for an immi­gra­tion deal just because Pres­i­dent Trump sup­port­ed it.

    “I can’t make that com­mit­ment at all,” Cot­ton told NBC’s Chuck Todd after he was asked if he would sup­port what­ev­er the pres­i­dent agreed to in the shut­down nego­ti­a­tions.

    “I will eval­u­ate any deal on its mer­its and what’s best for the peo­ple of Arkansas and best for our coun­try,” Cot­ton said on “Meet the Press.”

    Sen­ate Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats failed to meet a mid­night dead­line on Sat­ur­day to reach a deal to fund the gov­ern­ment.

    Democ­rats reject­ed fund­ing leg­is­la­tion because it did not con­tain a fix for the recip­i­ents of the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals pro­gram, while Repub­li­cans say Democ­rats are hold­ing the gov­ern­ment hostage. Trump in Sep­tem­ber said he would end the Oba­ma-era pro­gram, which pro­tects young immi­grants brought to the U.S. ille­gal­ly as chil­dren, but gave Con­gress time to come up with a leg­isla­tive solu­tion.

    Cot­ton has proven to be one of the most vocal immi­gra­tion hard-lin­ers in the Sen­ate.

    The Arkansas sen­a­tor and Sen. David Per­due (R‑Ga.) have pro­posed a mea­sure that seeks to end so-called chain migra­tion, which allows U.S. cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents to spon­sor fam­i­ly mem­bers abroad to come to the U.S.

    ...

    ———-

    “Cot­ton: I won’t com­mit to an immi­gra­tion deal just because Trump sup­ports it” by Julia Man­ches­ter; The Hill; 01/21/2018

    ““I can’t make that com­mit­ment at all,” Cot­ton told NBC’s Chuck Todd after he was asked if he would sup­port what­ev­er the pres­i­dent agreed to in the shut­down nego­ti­a­tions.”

    Sen­a­tor Tom Cot­ton wants an end to ‘chain-migra­tion’ to sup­port an end to the shut­down. And that’s the view of the Stephen Miller/Steve Ban­non fac­tion suc­cess­ful­ly manip­u­lat­ing Trump right now. It’s why even GOP Sen­a­tor Lind­sey Gra­ham is call­ing Tom Cot­ton the ‘Steve King of the Sen­ate’;

    The Hill

    Gra­ham calls Tom Cot­ton ‘the Steve King of the Sen­ate’

    By Max Green­wood — 01/19/18 01:30 PM EST

    Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham (R‑S.C.) said Fri­day that Sen. Tom Cot­ton (R‑Ark.) has become “sort of the Steve King of the Sen­ate,” a ref­er­ence to one of the House­’s most ardent immi­gra­tion hard-lin­ers.

    In an inter­view with MSNBC, Gra­ham, who has advo­cat­ed for leg­isla­tive pro­tec­tions for young immi­grants, reject­ed the notion of end­ing fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion in exchange for enshrin­ing the pro­tec­tions of the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) pro­gram into law.

    A pro­pos­al by Cot­ton and Sen. David Per­due (R‑Ga.) seeks to end so-called chain migra­tion, which allows U.S. cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents to spon­sor fam­i­ly mem­bers abroad to come to the U.S.

    “All I can say is we’re not going to end fam­i­ly immi­gra­tion for DACA,” Gra­ham said. “The Tom Cot­ton approach has no via­bil­i­ty here. You know, he’s become sort of the Steve King of the Sen­ate.”

    “I like Tom, but on immi­gra­tion, he’s putting some­thing on the table that there’s just no mar­ket for in Phase 1,” he added.

    King, an Iowa Repub­li­can, has been a vocal advo­cate for curb­ing immi­gra­tion and end­ing DACA, an Oba­ma-era pro­gram rescind­ed by Trump last fall.

    ...

    Democ­rats have insist­ed that any spend­ing mea­sure must include pro­tec­tions for DACA recip­i­ents, while some Repub­li­cans have called to address legal pro­tec­tions for the young immi­grants, known as Dream­ers, at a lat­er date.

    ———-

    “Gra­ham calls Tom Cot­ton ‘the Steve King of the Sen­ate’
    ” by Max Green­wood; The Hill; 01/19/2018

    “In an inter­view with MSNBC, Gra­ham, who has advo­cat­ed for leg­isla­tive pro­tec­tions for young immi­grants, reject­ed the notion of end­ing fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion in exchange for enshrin­ing the pro­tec­tions of the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) pro­gram into law.”

    So what exact­ly is Tom Cot­ton demand­ing in exchange for end­ing the gov­ern­ment shut­down by demand­ing an end to ‘chain-migra­tion’ immi­gra­tion poli­cies, where fam­i­ly mem­bers of immi­grants are giv­en a large per­cent­age of annu­al slots (after an aver­age wait peri­od of 15 or so years)? Well, to answer that we have to take a look at the fol­low­ing Vox arti­cle about how end ‘chain-migra­tion’ is a pol­i­cy response to what amounts to an ‘Alt-Right’ Big Lie cam­paign about how immi­gra­tion works in the US. Because accord­ing to the pro­pa­gan­da put out by far-right anti-immi­grant white nation­al­ist-ori­ent­ed orga­ni­za­tions like the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS), ‘chain-migra­tion’ allow a sin­gle immi­gra­tion to lead to thou­sands of new immi­grants for their fam­i­lies and their fam­i­lies’ fam­i­lies. And their fam­i­lies’ fam­i­lies’ fam­i­lies, etc. And it’s a Big Lie at the heart of deep sense of urgency embed­ded in the right-wing fear machine about impend­ing ‘demo­graph­ic-replace­ment’ and the loss of con­trol for White Amer­i­ca. And this gross mis­char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of how immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy works is at the heart of Tom Cot­ton’s demands that Trump is demand­ing Democ­rats sup­port in exchange for end­ing the shut­down:

    Vox

    What “chain migra­tion” real­ly means — and why Don­ald Trump hates it so much
    “Fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion” doesn’t sound as scary — or get at the fear of los­ing con­trol.

    By Dara Lind­dara
    Updat­ed Dec 29, 2017, 1:20pm EST

    Over the course of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s first year in office, his administration’s top immi­gra­tion pri­or­i­ty has shift­ed sub­tly. He’s talk­ing less about deport­ing “bad hom­bres” and talk­ing more — a lot more — about how “chain migra­tion” is bad for the Unit­ed States.

    “We have to get rid of chain­like immi­gra­tion, we have to get rid of the chain,” Trump told the New York Times’s Mike Schmidt in an impromp­tu inter­view at his West Palm Beach golf club in Decem­ber. He fol­lowed it up, as he does, with a tweet:

    The Democ­rats have been told, and ful­ly under­stand, that there can be no DACA with­out the des­per­ate­ly need­ed WALL at the South­ern Bor­der and an END to the hor­ri­ble Chain Migra­tion & ridicu­lous Lot­tery Sys­tem of Immi­gra­tion etc. We must pro­tect our Coun­try at all cost!— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Decem­ber 29, 2017

    “Chain migra­tion” — which is loose­ly used as a syn­onym for all immi­gra­tion to the Unit­ed States that hap­pens based on fam­i­ly ties (when a US cit­i­zen or, in some cas­es, a green card hold­er peti­tions for a rel­a­tive to join them) — has become a con­ser­v­a­tive boogey­man, and an excuse to cut down on legal immi­gra­tion. It’s long been a tar­get of immi­gra­tion restric­tion­ists whose con­cerns about immi­gra­tion are less about peo­ple “respect­ing the law” than about the gov­ern­ment exer­cis­ing stricter con­trol over who enters the coun­try.

    Under the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, those restric­tion­ists have more polit­i­cal pow­er than they’ve had in a gen­er­a­tion — and they’re using it to pros­e­cute an aggres­sive case against the fam­i­ly-based sys­tem as it stands.

    The Trump administration’s attacks on “chain migra­tion” have helped shift the terms of the debate over immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy. “Chain migra­tion” is being invoked, among oth­er things, to frame two total­ly dif­fer­ent demands Repub­li­cans have made in the debate over legal­iz­ing immi­grants tem­porar­i­ly cov­ered by the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals pro­gram: pre­vent­ing cur­rent DACA recip­i­ents from spon­sor­ing their par­ents after becom­ing cit­i­zens, and cut­ting or elim­i­nat­ing some cat­e­gories of fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion for all immi­grants in exchange for legal­iz­ing DACA enrollees.

    It’s time to end Chain Migra­tion: https://t.co/kad5A8Slw7 pic.twitter.com/735JzAZIUa— The White House (@WhiteHouse) Decem­ber 18, 2017

    But it’s not just dur­ing the DACA debate. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion blamed the failed New York sub­way bomb­ing in Decem­ber on “chain migra­tion” because the would-be bomber came as the child of a US citizen’s sib­ling in 2010. Its Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Strat­e­gy, issued Mon­day, called chain migra­tion a secu­ri­ty threat.

    In oth­er words, the Trump administration’s attack on “chain migra­tion” isn’t just a set­up for a par­tic­u­lar pol­i­cy fight. It’s about who is allowed to be a part of Amer­i­ca — and whether changes to the country’s make­up are healthy demo­graph­ic devel­op­ment or a sign of uncon­trolled inva­sion.

    “Chain migra­tion” is the tech­ni­cal name for a com­mon­sense idea: Peo­ple are more like­ly to move where their rel­a­tives are

    The dynam­ic under­ly­ing “chain migra­tion” is so sim­ple that it sounds like com­mon sense: Peo­ple are more like­ly to move to where peo­ple they know live, and each new immi­grant makes peo­ple they know more like­ly to move there in turn.

    But as obvi­ous as the real­i­ty is on the ground, it wasn’t always incor­po­rat­ed into the­o­ret­i­cal mod­els of migra­tion (par­tic­u­lar­ly eco­nom­ic mod­els). Econ­o­mists tend­ed to think about the deci­sion to migrate as a sim­ple cal­cu­lus of how much mon­ey some­one was mak­ing at home ver­sus how much he could be mak­ing abroad, rather than under­stand­ing that the deci­sion was more com­pli­cat­ed — and that fam­i­ly and social rela­tion­ships played a role.

    Prince­ton demog­ra­ph­er Doug Massey, one of the lead­ing schol­ars on immi­gra­tion to the US at the end of the 20th cen­tu­ry (and the begin­ning of the 21st), was one of the schol­ars who tried to cor­rect this over­sim­pli­fied view. As he put it in an essay for the Inter-Amer­i­can Par­lia­men­tary Group on Pop­u­la­tion and Devel­op­ment in the ear­ly 1990s:

    The first migrants who leave for a new des­ti­na­tion have no social ties to draw upon, and for them migra­tion is cost­ly, par­tic­u­lar­ly if it involves enter­ing anoth­er coun­try with­out doc­u­ments. After the first migrants have left, how­ev­er, the costs of migra­tion are sub­stan­tial­ly low­er for their friends and rel­a­tives liv­ing in the com­mu­ni­ty of ori­gin. Because of the nature of kin­ship and friend­ship struc­tures, each new migrant cre­ates a set of peo­ple with social ties to the des­ti­na­tion area.

    These immi­grants would also end up behav­ing dif­fer­ent­ly once they arrived in their new coun­tries. If they were just there for eco­nom­ic rea­sons, they’d have an incen­tive to move back once they’d made enough mon­ey, or cir­cu­late back and forth. But immi­grants who move for social rea­sons are mov­ing to a new com­mu­ni­ty — a new place they’ll stay. That’s an upside if you think it’s impor­tant for immi­grants to become Amer­i­can — and a down­side if you think the US should be much pick­i­er about who gets to move here for good than it is about who gets to work here.

    One upshot of chain migra­tion: Any poli­cies that made it eas­i­er for immi­grants to bring their rel­a­tives would allow migra­tion chains to form, thus expand­ing immi­gra­tion into the coun­try. “Fam­i­ly reuni­fi­ca­tion sys­tems,” Massey wrote, “work at crosspur­pos­es with the lim­i­ta­tion of immi­gra­tion.”

    Massey and the oth­er demog­ra­phers of “chain migra­tion” weren’t pre­sent­ing it as a neg­a­tive. But their words were eas­i­ly adopt­ed by peo­ple who did. The Massey essay quot­ed above end­ed up being reprint­ed in an issue of The Social Con­tract — the jour­nal found­ed by immi­gra­tion restric­tion­ist mogul John Tan­ton, who also found­ed the three most vis­i­ble restric­tion­ist orga­ni­za­tions in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics (the think tank the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies and the advo­ca­cy groups Num­ber­sUSA and FAIR).

    The Social Con­tract was a forum for con­cerns about the threat of mass immi­gra­tion (par­tic­u­lar­ly mass non­white immi­gra­tion) to the Unit­ed States. (The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, which con­sid­ers all Tan­ton-affil­i­at­ed insti­tu­tions to be “hate groups,” run­down of some of the journal’s more incen­di­ary con­tent.) Massey, on the oth­er hand is a long­time sup­port­er of reforms that would make it eas­i­er for immi­grants to come to Amer­i­ca.

    An arti­cle by a sup­port­er of expan­sive immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy could be reprint­ed, with few appar­ent edits, in a jour­nal for his intel­lec­tu­al oppo­nents only because the debate over chain migra­tion is fun­da­men­tal­ly not about whether it hap­pens, but whether it’s okay. Defend­ers of chain migra­tion tend to argue that it’s impor­tant for immi­grants to put down roots in the US, and that hav­ing a fam­i­ly here is part of what that means.

    Oppo­nents, on the oth­er hand, see fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion as the gov­ern­ment ced­ing some con­trol for who gets to come here, so that it’s not select­ing indi­vid­u­als in a vac­u­um — which leads rapid­ly to fears of the US gov­ern­ment los­ing con­trol of the immi­gra­tion sys­tem entire­ly.

    The actu­al pol­i­cy behind “chain migra­tion”

    It’s not clear whether Pres­i­dent Trump under­stands how fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion actu­al­ly works — and when it can lead to “chains” of rel­a­tives. Trump has claimed that the man who ran over sev­er­al pedes­tri­ans in New York in Novem­ber brought 23 (some­times he says 24) rel­a­tives to the US in the sev­en years he’d lived here — a claim that chain migra­tion oppo­nent Mark Kriko­ri­an of the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion stud­ies said was impos­si­ble. And the White House’s “chain migra­tion” dia­gram makes it looks like each gen­er­a­tion of adults brings in chil­dren, which brings their chil­dren — which isn’t how chain migra­tion works.

    To bet­ter under­stand what poli­cies, exact­ly, oppo­nents of “chain migra­tion” are wor­ried about, check out this chart from the restric­tion­ist advo­ca­cy group Num­ber­sUSA — which is a more detailed rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the same fear of over­whelm­ing, uncon­trol­lable waves of migra­tion.

    [see Num­ber­sUSA graph­ic show­ing a sin­gle immi­grant lead­ing to thou­sands of new immi­grants and chil­dren]

    Let’s walk through the sce­nario in that chart. It depicts an immi­grant who’s come to the US on an employ­ment-based green card (in black) and is able to bring over his spouse and chil­dren imme­di­ate­ly. He can also — after he becomes a cit­i­zen (some­thing the Num­ber­sUSA chart doesn’t clar­i­fy) — peti­tion for his par­ents and sib­lings to come to the US on green cards (all in gray).

    The sib­lings all bring over their spous­es and chil­dren imme­di­ate­ly, and the spous­es (in orange, maroon, navy, and teal) can (upon nat­u­ral­iza­tion) peti­tion to bring over their own par­ents and sib­lings. The orig­i­nal immigrant’s par­ents (even­tu­al­ly) peti­tion for their own sib­lings to come to the US, and the sib­lings then peti­tion to bring over their mar­ried adult chil­dren — whose spous­es can then (eventually)petition for their own par­ents and sib­lings, etc., etc.

    Mean­while, the orig­i­nal immigrant’s spouse, once she becomes a cit­i­zen, can peti­tion for her par­ents (in pink) and her sib­lings (in blue, pur­ple, red, and green). Those sib­lings bring over their spous­es, who sub­se­quent­ly peti­tion for their own par­ents and sib­lings, etc., etc.

    There are a ton of assump­tions in this mod­el about the way immi­grants behave — why is every­one in fam­i­lies of four or five? Does no one real­ly want to stay in her home coun­try? Is there no such thing as a bach­e­lor in any of these fam­i­lies? — but the visa cat­e­gories under US law make it a hypo­thet­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ty. But the thing is, US pol­i­cy­mak­ers know that it’s a hypo­thet­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ty. And there are safe­guards built into the sys­tem that restrict fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion far more than the dia­gram would have you believe.

    In prac­tice, bring­ing over a fam­i­ly mem­ber takes years — which makes it very hard to build a chain

    No one is auto­mat­i­cal­ly allowed to immi­grate to the US. Any­one apply­ing for res­i­den­cy in the coun­try has to go through a stan­dard vet­ting process — includ­ing a crim­i­nal and ter­ror­ism back­ground check, and an eval­u­a­tion of whether they’re like­ly to become a “pub­lic charge” in the US (i.e., be unable to sup­port them­selves for income and rely on social pro­grams).

    Trump’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Strat­e­gy claims that “chain migra­tion” is a prob­lem for nation­al secu­ri­ty, but there’s noth­ing inher­ent to the way some­one is allowed to immi­grate to the US that makes it hard­er for the US to catch would-be ter­ror­ists — that is, if any­thing, a fail­ure of the screen­ing process.

    The big­ger obsta­cle, though, isn’t qual­i­fy­ing to immi­grate — it’s that the num­ber of hypo­thet­i­cal­ly qual­i­fied fam­i­ly-based immi­grants great­ly exceeds the num­ber of slots avail­able for immi­grants each year. The US doesn’t set caps on the num­ber of spous­es, minor chil­dren, or par­ents of US cit­i­zens who can come to the US each year — but, again, those cat­e­gories in them­selves don’t cre­ate chains.

    The cat­e­gories that do cre­ate chains are strict­ly capped: 23,400 mar­ried chil­dren of US cit­i­zens (plus their own spous­es and minor chil­dren) are allowed to immi­grate each year, and 67,500 adult sib­lings of US cit­i­zens (plus spous­es and minor chil­dren). Fur­ther­more, because the total num­ber of immi­grants com­ing from a par­tic­u­lar coun­try each year is capped, would-be immi­grants from Mex­i­co, Chi­na, India, and the Philip­pines end up fac­ing even longer wait times.

    When peo­ple talk about the “visa back­log,” this is what they mean: In Jan­u­ary 2018, for exam­ple, the US gov­ern­ment will start pro­cess­ing appli­ca­tions for F4 visas (the sib­lings of US cit­i­zens) who first peti­tioned to let them immi­grate on June 22, 2004, or ear­li­er. That is, unless the sib­ling lives in India (in which case the peti­tion had to be filed by Decem­ber 2003 to get processed in Jan­u­ary 2018), Mex­i­co (Novem­ber 1997), or the Philip­pines (Sep­tem­ber 1994).

    Under­stand­ing that an F4 visa is a 13- to 23-year process throws that Num­ber­sUSA dia­gram into a dif­fer­ent light. How implau­si­ble it is depends on your assump­tions about how close togeth­er gen­er­a­tions are, and how young the immi­grants are when they come to the Unit­ed States. But if you start by under­stand­ing that the first mem­bers of the orange, maroon, navy, teal, blue, pur­ple, red, and green chains don’t enter the US until 18 years after the orig­i­nal immi­grant (sig­ni­fied by black) does — and that the first immi­grants in the yel­low sec­tion of the chart don’t enter the coun­try until 23 years lat­er — it should give you a sense of how long it will take in to fill in the rest of the chain.

    In prac­tice, this ulti­mate­ly looks like a lot of peo­ple com­ing to the US in late mid­dle age. That’s backed up by the data: A study from Jes­si­ca Vaugh­an of the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies — which is crit­i­cal of “chain migra­tion” — found that the aver­age age of immi­grants to the US has risen over the past few decades, and that fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion was a sub­stan­tial cause.

    But even then, the Num­ber­sUSA sce­nario assumes that all the immi­grants can afford to spon­sor a fam­i­ly mem­ber to immi­grate to the US. A US cit­i­zen (or green card hold­er seek­ing to bring an unmar­ried child or par­ent) has to prove to the gov­ern­ment that they can pro­vide finan­cial sup­port if their rel­a­tive needs it, rather than rely­ing on the gov­ern­ment for aid.

    In prac­tice, this means that every immi­grant needs to have some­one vouch­ing for them whose house­hold income is 125 per­cent of the pover­ty line — and the “house­hold” includes the rel­a­tive who’s try­ing to come to the US. In oth­er words, a sin­gle adult could spon­sor his par­ent to immi­grate if he made at least $20,300 — 125 per­cent of the fed­er­al pover­ty line for a two-per­son house­hold — but if he had a spouse and two chil­dren, he’d have to be mak­ing 125 per­cent of the pover­ty line for a five-per­son house­hold. And that includes any oth­er immi­grants who the house­hold is spon­sor­ing at the same time.

    So an immi­grant with a wife and two chil­dren who want­ed to spon­sor his par­ents and four sib­lings to immi­grate as soon as he became a cit­i­zen would have to be mak­ing $56,875 — around the medi­an income in the US. And if his spouse were try­ing to do the same thing with her par­ents and four sib­lings, as in the Num­ber­sUSA chart, they’d have to be mak­ing $83,000 — which would place them in the 66th per­centile of US house­hold income.

    That’s not impos­si­ble. But it cer­tain­ly calls into ques­tion the stereo­type of fam­i­ly-based migra­tion as a way for “low-skilled,” low-earn­ing immi­grants to bring their low-skilled, low-earn­ing rel­a­tives into the US.

    There are ways for cit­i­zens to get oth­er peo­ple to agree to help sup­port a poten­tial immi­grant rel­a­tive. But at the same time, the US gov­ern­ment has dis­cre­tion to reject an appli­ca­tion, even if the cit­i­zen meets the income thresh­old, if they sus­pect that in prac­tice the immi­grant won’t be sup­port­ed in the US. (Anoth­er fac­tor in deter­min­ing “pub­lic charge” is age — which is inter­est­ing, giv­en the data about fam­i­ly-based immi­grants being old­er.)

    Add all of these fac­tors togeth­er, and it becomes clear that an immi­grant won’t be able to bring that many rel­a­tives to the US over the course of his or her life­time. Vaughan’s study found that as of 2015, immi­grants who came to the US from 1981 to 2000 had spon­sored an aver­age of 1.77 rel­a­tives to come join them. The most recent immi­grants in the study — those who came to the US in the late 1990s — had spon­sored the most rel­a­tives: 3.46. But both of those num­bers include the minor chil­dren they brought with them at the time: In oth­er words, they were hard­ly start­ing 3.46 new “chains.”

    If any­thing, in fact, the fam­i­ly-based sys­tem is so over­loaded that it ends up cre­at­ing unre­al­is­tic hopes in peo­ple that they’ll be able to immi­grate to the US. If your sib­ling moves to the US on a work visa, for exam­ple, you might start to hope that he’ll even­tu­al­ly be able to bring you along — but if you try to plan your life around that, you’ll end up wait­ing for two decades.

    There are hints all this pan­ic over “chain migra­tion” is real­ly about fear of cul­tur­al change

    ...

    But the most stal­wart oppo­nents of “chain migra­tion,” the ones who use it to refer to all fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion, peri­od, are talk­ing not just about the mechan­ics of the chain but about a big­ger nor­ma­tive ques­tion: whether allow­ing immi­grants to come as fam­i­ly units, or allow­ing peo­ple to immi­grate based on fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships, gives the US too lit­tle con­trol over who gets to come.

    The ulti­mate impres­sion of both the White House and Num­ber­sUSA “chain migra­tion” dia­grams is to make it seem that admit­ting a sin­gle immi­grant unleash­es an uncon­trol­lable tide of infi­nite future fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion — that each immi­grant is a one-per­son Tro­jan horse for hun­dreds more.

    [see pro-Brex­it cam­paign poster]

    “As more and more immi­grants are admit­ted to the Unit­ed States, the pop­u­la­tion eli­gi­ble to spon­sor their rel­a­tives for green cards increas­es expo­nen­tial­ly,” the restric­tion­ist group FAIR says on its web­site. “This means that every time one immi­grant is admit­ted, the door is opened to many more.”

    This potent visu­al is why “chain migra­tion” has been a long­time tar­get of immi­gra­tion restric­tion­ists, even when the Repub­li­can Par­ty as a whole was attempt­ing to wel­come legal immi­grants. For peo­ple whose biggest fear regard­ing immi­gra­tion is that immi­grants will change the face of Amer­i­ca — that they’ll tram­ple the country’s “tra­di­tion­al­ly” white, Chris­t­ian major­i­ty — there’s lit­tle more potent than the idea of immi­grants bring­ing over huge fam­i­lies, replant­i­ng their com­mu­ni­ties whole in Amer­i­can soil.

    This fear goes hand in hand with a fear that immi­grants won’t assim­i­late. When immi­gra­tion restric­tion­ists cite the sec­ond quar­ter of the 20th cen­tu­ry as a great time for the Unit­ed States, they’re not (at least explic­it­ly) prais­ing the racist coun­try quo­tas that gov­erned immi­gra­tion at the time. They’re (explic­it­ly) prais­ing the fact that, with over­all immi­gra­tion lev­els low, immi­grants were forced to inter­act with and even­tu­al­ly inte­grate among US cit­i­zens. The more immi­grants that come over — and espe­cial­ly the more that immi­grants bring their fam­i­lies over — the less, in the­o­ry, that they and their descen­dants will have to inter­act with peo­ple from out­side of their com­mu­ni­ty. In turn, this gets into fears that parts of Amer­i­ca could become alien to Amer­i­cans — cul­tur­al, or lit­er­al, “no-go zones.”

    The use of “chain migra­tion” in the cur­rent debate over DACA, to refer to DACA recip­i­ents allow­ing their par­ents to become legal immi­grants, com­pli­cates the mat­ter even fur­ther. Because the par­ents of DACA recip­i­ents have, by def­i­n­i­tion, lived in the US as unau­tho­rized immi­grants, this isn’t real­ly about bring­ing new peo­ple into the US — it’s about legal­iz­ing peo­ple who are already here (or bring­ing peo­ple back who have been deport­ed, some­thing US pol­i­cy already makes pret­ty hard).

    ...

    Because these memes, and the fears that they pro­voke, are all so tight­ly con­nect­ed, “chain migra­tion” is both an ide­o­log­i­cal con­cern about Amer­i­ca select­ing immi­grants based on their mer­it, and a racist smoke­screen for fears of demo­graph­ic change. It can be hard to sep­a­rate the two. And it’s cer­tain­ly not in the inter­ests of the oppo­nents of “chain migra­tion” to try.

    There’s a rea­son that fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion has last­ed as long as it has

    It’s a lot eas­i­er to get peo­ple to agree, in the­o­ry, that the US should be accept­ing immi­grants on the basis of “mer­it” — i.e., with­out con­cern for whether they have rel­a­tives liv­ing here — than it is to get them to agree on exact­ly what should be done to reduce the impor­tance of fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion to the cur­rent sys­tem.

    For one thing, many pol­i­cy­mak­ers, includ­ing many Repub­li­cans, see allow­ing some fam­i­ly mem­bers to immi­grate as an impor­tant fac­tor in encour­ag­ing inte­gra­tion. Allow­ing immi­grants to bring along their spous­es and minor chil­dren, for exam­ple, makes it less like­ly that they’ll decide to return to their home coun­tries — and it means their chil­dren will grow up Amer­i­can, in more ways than one.

    There are also pol­i­cy­mak­ers who see fam­i­ly uni­ty as a val­ue worth pro­tect­ing for its own sake (an argu­ment you’ll often hear among reli­gious advo­cates). And there’s, of course, an eth­nic com­po­nent. Asian Amer­i­cans, in par­tic­u­lar, feel that they are still try­ing to make up ground after decades of racist exclu­sion from the immi­gra­tion sys­tem — and fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion has been the best way for them to make that ground up. Mex­i­can Amer­i­cans, too, feel that the cur­rent sys­tem has unfair­ly forced Mex­i­can immi­grant fam­i­lies to be sep­a­rat­ed while oth­er fam­i­lies get to reunite with ease.

    All of these objec­tions have com­bined, so far, to make Democ­rats firm­ly opposed to any pro­pos­al that would restrict future fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion. But as “chain migra­tion” begins to eclipse oth­er issues (like immi­gra­tion enforce­ment in the inte­ri­or of the US) as a top Repub­li­can pri­or­i­ty, it’s not clear whether Democ­rats’ com­mit­ment to hypo­thet­i­cal legal immi­grants of the future is going to win out over their com­mit­ment to legal­iz­ing unau­tho­rized immi­grants who are cur­rent­ly here.

    ———-

    “What “chain migra­tion” real­ly means — and why Don­ald Trump hates it so much” by Dara Lind­dara; Vox; 12/29/2017

    “Massey and the oth­er demog­ra­phers of “chain migra­tion” weren’t pre­sent­ing it as a neg­a­tive. But their words were eas­i­ly adopt­ed by peo­ple who did. The Massey essay quot­ed above end­ed up being reprint­ed in an issue of The Social Con­tract — the jour­nal found­ed by immi­gra­tion restric­tion­ist mogul John Tan­ton, who also found­ed the three most vis­i­ble restric­tion­ist orga­ni­za­tions in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics (the think tank the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies and the advo­ca­cy groups Num­ber­sUSA and FAIR).”

    Adven­tures in unin­tend­ed cita­tions: Prince­ton demog­ra­ph­er Doug Massey stud­ies the motives behind immi­gra­tion and rec­og­nizes the fam­i­ly ele­ment (peo­ple like to move to where they have rel­a­tives) and this gets twist­ed into ‘chain-migra­tion’ hys­te­ria by a bunch of white nation­al­ists run­ning anti-immi­gra­tion ‘think-tanks’:

    ...
    The Social Con­tract was a forum for con­cerns about the threat of mass immi­gra­tion (par­tic­u­lar­ly mass non­white immi­gra­tion) to the Unit­ed States. (The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, which con­sid­ers all Tan­ton-affil­i­at­ed insti­tu­tions to be “hate groups,” run­down of some of the journal’s more incen­di­ary con­tent.) Massey, on the oth­er hand is a long­time sup­port­er of reforms that would make it eas­i­er for immi­grants to come to Amer­i­ca.

    An arti­cle by a sup­port­er of expan­sive immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy could be reprint­ed, with few appar­ent edits, in a jour­nal for his intel­lec­tu­al oppo­nents only because the debate over chain migra­tion is fun­da­men­tal­ly not about whether it hap­pens, but whether it’s okay. Defend­ers of chain migra­tion tend to argue that it’s impor­tant for immi­grants to put down roots in the US, and that hav­ing a fam­i­ly here is part of what that means.

    Oppo­nents, on the oth­er hand, see fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion as the gov­ern­ment ced­ing some con­trol for who gets to come here, so that it’s not select­ing indi­vid­u­als in a vac­u­um — which leads rapid­ly to fears of the US gov­ern­ment los­ing con­trol of the immi­gra­tion sys­tem entire­ly.
    ...

    And now Pro­fes­sor Massey’s work is used to jus­ti­fy bla­tant pro­pa­gan­da and dis­in­for­ma­tion embraced by a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tion of the GOP and the Bannon/Miller wing of the Trump White House:

    ...
    The ulti­mate impres­sion of both the White House and Num­ber­sUSA “chain migra­tion” dia­grams is to make it seem that admit­ting a sin­gle immi­grant unleash­es an uncon­trol­lable tide of infi­nite future fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion — that each immi­grant is a one-per­son Tro­jan horse for hun­dreds more.

    [see pro-Brex­it cam­paign poster]

    “As more and more immi­grants are admit­ted to the Unit­ed States, the pop­u­la­tion eli­gi­ble to spon­sor their rel­a­tives for green cards increas­es expo­nen­tial­ly,” the restric­tion­ist group FAIR says on its web­site. “This means that every time one immi­grant is admit­ted, the door is opened to many more.”

    This potent visu­al is why “chain migra­tion” has been a long­time tar­get of immi­gra­tion restric­tion­ists, even when the Repub­li­can Par­ty as a whole was attempt­ing to wel­come legal immi­grants. For peo­ple whose biggest fear regard­ing immi­gra­tion is that immi­grants will change the face of Amer­i­ca — that they’ll tram­ple the country’s “tra­di­tion­al­ly” white, Chris­t­ian major­i­ty — there’s lit­tle more potent than the idea of immi­grants bring­ing over huge fam­i­lies, replant­i­ng their com­mu­ni­ties whole in Amer­i­can soil.
    ...

    And it seems like Pres­i­dent Trump might actu­al­ly believe this is how US immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy works:

    ...
    The actu­al pol­i­cy behind “chain migra­tion”

    It’s not clear whether Pres­i­dent Trump under­stands how fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion actu­al­ly works — and when it can lead to “chains” of rel­a­tives. Trump has claimed that the man who ran over sev­er­al pedes­tri­ans in New York in Novem­ber brought 23 (some­times he says 24) rel­a­tives to the US in the sev­en years he’d lived here — a claim that chain migra­tion oppo­nent Mark Kriko­ri­an of the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion stud­ies said was impos­si­ble. And the White House’s “chain migra­tion” dia­gram makes it looks like each gen­er­a­tion of adults brings in chil­dren, which brings their chil­dren — which isn’t how chain migra­tion works.

    To bet­ter under­stand what poli­cies, exact­ly, oppo­nents of “chain migra­tion” are wor­ried about, check out this chart from the restric­tion­ist advo­ca­cy group Num­ber­sUSA — which is a more detailed rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the same fear of over­whelm­ing, uncon­trol­lable waves of migra­tion.

    [see absurd Num­ber­sUSA graph­ic show­ing a sin­gle immi­grant lead­ing to thou­sands of new immi­grants and chil­dren]

    Let’s walk through the sce­nario in that chart. It depicts an immi­grant who’s come to the US on an employ­ment-based green card (in black) and is able to bring over his spouse and chil­dren imme­di­ate­ly. He can also — after he becomes a cit­i­zen (some­thing the Num­ber­sUSA chart doesn’t clar­i­fy) — peti­tion for his par­ents and sib­lings to come to the US on green cards (all in gray).

    The sib­lings all bring over their spous­es and chil­dren imme­di­ate­ly, and the spous­es (in orange, maroon, navy, and teal) can (upon nat­u­ral­iza­tion) peti­tion to bring over their own par­ents and sib­lings. The orig­i­nal immigrant’s par­ents (even­tu­al­ly) peti­tion for their own sib­lings to come to the US, and the sib­lings then peti­tion to bring over their mar­ried adult chil­dren — whose spous­es can then (eventually)petition for their own par­ents and sib­lings, etc., etc.

    Mean­while, the orig­i­nal immigrant’s spouse, once she becomes a cit­i­zen, can peti­tion for her par­ents (in pink) and her sib­lings (in blue, pur­ple, red, and green). Those sib­lings bring over their spous­es, who sub­se­quent­ly peti­tion for their own par­ents and sib­lings, etc., etc.

    There are a ton of assump­tions in this mod­el about the way immi­grants behave — why is every­one in fam­i­lies of four or five? Does no one real­ly want to stay in her home coun­try? Is there no such thing as a bach­e­lor in any of these fam­i­lies? — but the visa cat­e­gories under US law make it a hypo­thet­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ty. But the thing is, US pol­i­cy­mak­ers know that it’s a hypo­thet­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ty. And there are safe­guards built into the sys­tem that restrict fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion far more than the dia­gram would have you believe.

    ...

    And this pro­pa­gan­da is all in the ser­vice of deceiv­ing the pub­lic of the real­i­ty of how ‘chain migra­tion’ works in the US: you can tug on those chains to bring some rel­a­tives. But those chains mov­ing reeeeal­l­ly sloooow­ly:

    ...
    In prac­tice, bring­ing over a fam­i­ly mem­ber takes years — which makes it very hard to build a chain

    No one is auto­mat­i­cal­ly allowed to immi­grate to the US. Any­one apply­ing for res­i­den­cy in the coun­try has to go through a stan­dard vet­ting process — includ­ing a crim­i­nal and ter­ror­ism back­ground check, and an eval­u­a­tion of whether they’re like­ly to become a “pub­lic charge” in the US (i.e., be unable to sup­port them­selves for income and rely on social pro­grams).

    ...

    The cat­e­gories that do cre­ate chains are strict­ly capped: 23,400 mar­ried chil­dren of US cit­i­zens (plus their own spous­es and minor chil­dren) are allowed to immi­grate each year, and 67,500 adult sib­lings of US cit­i­zens (plus spous­es and minor chil­dren). Fur­ther­more, because the total num­ber of immi­grants com­ing from a par­tic­u­lar coun­try each year is capped, would-be immi­grants from Mex­i­co, Chi­na, India, and the Philip­pines end up fac­ing even longer wait times.

    When peo­ple talk about the “visa back­log,” this is what they mean: In Jan­u­ary 2018, for exam­ple, the US gov­ern­ment will start pro­cess­ing appli­ca­tions for F4 visas (the sib­lings of US cit­i­zens) who first peti­tioned to let them immi­grate on June 22, 2004, or ear­li­er. That is, unless the sib­ling lives in India (in which case the peti­tion had to be filed by Decem­ber 2003 to get processed in Jan­u­ary 2018), Mex­i­co (Novem­ber 1997), or the Philip­pines (Sep­tem­ber 1994).
    ...

    When peo­ple talk about the “visa back­log,” this is what they mean: In Jan­u­ary 2018, for exam­ple, the US gov­ern­ment will start pro­cess­ing appli­ca­tions for F4 visas (the sib­lings of US cit­i­zens) who first peti­tioned to let them immi­grate on June 22, 2004, or ear­li­er. That is, unless the sib­ling lives in India (in which case the peti­tion had to be filed by Decem­ber 2003 to get processed in Jan­u­ary 2018), Mex­i­co (Novem­ber 1997), or the Philip­pines (Sep­tem­ber 1994).”

    That’s the real­i­ty of ‘chain migra­tion’ in Amer­i­ca. But Tom Cot­ton needs immi­gra­tion cut in half and an end of fam­i­ly-focused poli­cies. And an end to the diver­si­ty lot­tery entire­ly. In order to sup­port end­ing the shut down. And Pres­i­dent Trump’s chief of staff declared Trump wants a bill that sat­is­fies Tom Cot­ton’s CIS-ori­ent­ed fac­tion.

    So, since the under­ly­ing real obsta­cle to end­ing this shut­down is the deep fear of immi­grants flood­ing into Amer­i­ca felt deeply by ele­ments of Trump’s base and how the polit­i­cal need to pla­cate those fears is hold­ing up the res­o­lu­tion of the DACA cri­sis, and since those fears are based heav­i­ly on the gross mis­char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of things like ‘chain migra­tion’ (along with all the oth­er anti-immi­grant pro­pa­gan­da), per­haps part of the path for­ward out of this impasse is an edu­ca­tion cam­paign to let peo­ple know that Tom Cot­ton and Pres­i­dent Trump have suc­cumbed to ‘Alt-Right’ garbage pro­pa­gan­da on the state of US immi­gra­tion poli­cies. ‘Alt-Right’ pro­pa­gan­da shut down the gov­ern­ment and know­ing that is part of over­com­ing it. Because while there may not be an epi­dem­ic of immi­grants flood­ing the US like bar­bar­ian hordes, there is an epi­dem­ic of lies about it.

    It’s basi­cal­ly the last chance to stop an ‘Alt-Right’ lie from throw­ing the Dream­er­s’s lives into chaos. So that immi­gra­tion-real­i­ty edu­ca­tion cam­paign is pret­ty urgent. And long over­due.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 22, 2018, 1:13 am
  11. Well that was a fast. You blink and the gov­ern­ment shut­down over the fate of the ~800,00 ‘Dream­ers’ is over. That’s sort of how the US fed­er­al shut­down played out. It starts on mid­night Fri­day night, when most fed­er­al employ­ees aren’t work­ing any­way, and on Mon­day it’s over by noon. The non-essen­tial fed­er­al employ­ees went on fur­lough for the morn­ing.

    But the shut­down isn’t over for long. It was more of a tac­ti­cal retreat for the Democ­rats. Because the offer the Democ­rats accept­ed from Sen­ate Major­i­ty leader Mitch McConnell mere­ly deferred this same shut­down bud­get fight over the fate of the ‘Dream­ers’ to Feb­ru­ary 8th.

    Plus the Democ­rats got 6 years of fund­ing for the CHIP chil­dren’s health pro­gram in the deal (yes, the GOP was hold­ing CHIP hostage too in addi­tion to the Dream­ers). So it was a tac­ti­cal retreat with a sweet­en­er. Sick chil­dren are no longer being held hostage in these nego­ti­a­tions.

    And that all means there’s going to be a two and a half week peri­od when both par­ties pre­pare to have a new shut­down over the DREAM Act that will pre­vent the ‘Dream­ers’ from all los­ing their jobs and get­ting sub­ject to depor­ta­tion to coun­tries they bare­ly know on March 5th.

    So what should we expect for the next shut­down? That’s very unclear, in large part because the over­all polit­i­cal dynam­ics of this sit­u­a­tion are extreme­ly coun­ter­in­tu­itive. How so? Well, for exam­ple, con­sid­er this: The most pow­er­ful lever­age the Democ­rats hold in this sit­u­a­tion is their pow­er to save the GOP from itself.

    Yep. The Democ­rats cajol­ing the GOP into agree­ing to a new DREAM Act is quite pos­si­bly the best thing that could hap­pen to the GOP at this point. Why? Because if the GOP real­ly goes through with what its base wants the GOP to do, almost all of the Dream­ers will be deport­ed and that’s going to be real­ly unpop­u­lar. Recent polls on the ques­tion of whether or not the Dream­ers should be allowed to stay in the US ranged from 70 to 80 per­cent sup­port for allow­ing the Dream­ers to stay. A poll back in Sep­tem­ber sug­gest­ed two thirds of Repub­li­can vot­ers want­ed to grant the DACA Dream­ers cit­i­zen­ship. But for a key white nation­al­ist ele­ment of the GOP/Trump base, kick­ing all the Dream­ers out is REALLY pop­u­lar and the ONLY way the GOP can save the Dream­ers is by almost com­plete­ly shut­ting down immi­gra­tion into the US.

    All that is why ‘win­ning’ on DACA (result­ing in Dream­er depor­ta­tions) is poten­tial­ly a BIG net loss for the GOP. And that big loss could hap­pen right when a cru­cial mid-term elec­tion threat­ens the GOP’s grip on Con­gress. In oth­er words, when the GOP holds the Dream­ers hostage, its hold­ing itself hostage too and only the Democ­rats can save them from this self-ful­fill­ing fate. That’s real lever­age for the Democ­rats, but it’s extreme­ly coun­ter­in­tu­itive.

    And that all iron­i­cal­ly makes the great­est threat the Democ­rats can make in the upcom­ing shut­down fight is the threat agree to fold on the shut­down with­out an agree­ment for the Dream­ers. This test of wills is real­ly a game of ‘chick­en’ where the win­ner ends up dri­ving off a cliff.

    But here’s the coun­ter­in­tu­itive oth­er side of that coin: While the Dream­ers might have pub­lic sup­port on their side, that sup­port only man­i­fests in real polit­i­cal pow­er when they appear to be at risk of depor­ta­tion. So in order for the Democ­rats to wield their lever­age in the upcom­ing fight, the Dream­ers have to remain at risk of depor­ta­tion long enough for the Amer­i­can pub­lic to start demand­ing their sit­u­a­tion gets fixed. And that’s why this strate­gic retreat from the shut­down was­n’t actu­al­ly a bad move for the Democ­rats. Their best strat­e­gy is pred­i­cat­ed on wait­ing for the GOP to basi­cal­ly ‘drop the mask’ and start harm­ing the lives of the Dream­ers because that’s exact­ly the kind of sit­u­a­tion that trans­lates into the kind of real pub­lic demand the GOP fears. The Dream­ers coun­ter­in­tu­itive­ly have to lose to win. Just hope­ful­ly not lose too much. It’s that kind of sit­u­a­tion. Sad!

    Anoth­er coun­ter­in­tu­itive aspect to this Dream­er shut­down stand­off is that the clos­er the Democ­rats get to the March 5th dead­line, the bet­ter off the Dream­ers are from a posi­tion mak­ing it clear to the Amer­i­can pub­lic that the GOP real­ly is seri­ous about deport­ing the Dream­ers. Look at how the shut­down played out: When the Democ­rats entered Fri­day’s shut­down, their gen­er­al argu­ment was that Trump could­n’t be trust­ed to make good on his pledge to help the Dream­ers and that’s why they were mak­ing the DREAM Act a require­ment for pass­ing the bud­get. But the GOP just said, “we want to work on the Dream­ers, but sep­a­rate­ly from the bud­get.” And the Democ­rats did­n’t have a clear response to the that. The GOP’s pledges to deal with the Dream­ers after the bud­get is resolved lack cred­i­bil­i­ty but that’s not an easy argu­ment for the Democ­rats to make in the US media. So the Democ­rats had the right argu­ment (the GOP and Trump aren’t seri­ous about help­ing the Dream­ers) at the wrong time (a month and a half before the March 5th dead­line).

    But as time pass­es it keeps get­ting increas­ing­ly clear that the GOP wants to see some sort of mas­sive immi­gra­tion over­haul in exchange for help­ing the Dream­ers and that mas­sive over­haul is real­ly just an excuse NOT to reach a deal and not to legal­ize them at all. Don’t for­get that grant­i­ng a path to cit­i­zen­ship for the Dream­ers is an extreme­ly unpop­u­lar out­come in the right-wing talk-radio/­Fox News domain of con­ser­v­a­tive thought. And that sug­gests the GOP is going to keep ratch­et­ing up its demands for a big far-right immi­gra­tion over­haul the clos­er we get to March 5th, cre­at­ing an absur­dist dynam­ic where they demand the Steve Bannon/Stephen Miller immi­gra­tion dream pack­age on March 4th in exchange for sav­ing the Dream­ers. It’s the kind of per­ilous sit­u­a­tion that coun­ter­in­tu­itive­ly helps the Dream­ers by mak­ing their per­il very clear. Because, again, the Amer­i­can pub­lic does want to help the Dream­ers accord­ing to polls, they just haven’t real­ized that the GOP real­ly does want to deport them and will do so if they are allowed.

    And that’s all why the Democ­rats real­ly do have major lever­age in this sit­u­a­tion: if they can maneu­ver the GOP into a posi­tion where the pub­lic real­izes the GOP is seri­ous about deport­ing the Dream­ers, it’s pos­si­ble the Democ­rats can save the GOP from them­selves and save the Dream­ers at the same time by cre­at­ing a pub­lic uproar about sav­ing the Dream­ers that is so unde­ni­able the GOP can safe­ly explain such a deci­sion to their anti-immi­grant base. And that sce­nario is iron­i­cal­ly the best sce­nario for the Dream­ers, Democ­rats, and elect­ed GOP­ers who prob­a­bly want to avoid a much more pro­tract­ed and larg­er polit­i­cal headache with the vot­ing pub­lic at large that could arise if Dream­er depor­ta­tion actu­al­ly starts hap­pen­ing.

    That’s two and a half weeks for the Democ­rats to make the fol­low­ing basic points:

    1. Trump and a large fac­tion of the GOP wants to deport the ‘Dream­ers’.

    2. That would be a hor­ri­ble thing for the US to do.

    3. The only way the GOP is plan­ning on let­ting the ‘Dream­ers’ get amnesty and become US cit­i­zens is to get a mas­sive Stephen Miller/Steve Ban­non-esque immi­gra­tion over­haul bill that in no way should be attached to the ‘Dream­ers’ issue. Because that’s hold­ing the ‘Dream­ers’ hostage.

    4. Hold­ing the ‘Dream­ers’ hostage is a hor­ri­ble thing for the GOP to do. There are plen­ty of oth­er oppor­tu­ni­ties for the GOP to bar­gain for its immi­gra­tion over­haul demands with­out hold­ing them hostage.

    5. With the White House already open­ly back­ing Tom Cot­ton’s rad­i­cal immi­gra­tion over­haul bill as stan­dard Trump is look­ing for, it’s pret­ty clear Trump will only accept a mas­sive Stephen Miller/Steven Ban­non-esque immi­gra­tion over­haul in exchange for free­ing the Dream­er hostages. Which, again, is a hor­ri­ble thing to do.

    6. All the above points are rea­sons to treat this Dream­er issue as a loom­ing moral and human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis and oppor­tu­ni­ty for the US. Because doing the right thing, and just grant­i­ng amnesty to the ‘Dream­ers’ a path to cit­i­zen­ship with­out tying it up with a big far-right immi­gra­tion over­haul, real­ly is the only decent option. Doing the right thing is a pos­si­bil­i­ty here, but only if the pub­lic demands it.

    But there’s on oth­er sig­nif­i­cant hur­dle that both helps and hurts the upcom­ing Feb­ru­ary 8th shut­down show­down in the Sen­ate: While the upcom­ing Feb­ru­ary 8th fight is in the Sen­ate, the per­son most rel­e­vant to those dis­cus­sion is in the oth­er cham­ber of Con­gress: House Speak­er Paul Ryan, who, like Trump, has a his­to­ry of promis­ing to save the Dream­ers while also promis­ing to appease the peo­ple who want them deport­ed:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    The fate of the ‘dream­ers’ lies in Paul Ryan’s hands

    By Paul Wald­man
    Jan­u­ary 23, 2018 at 1:42 PM

    Amid all the talk of who “won” the gov­ern­ment shut­down, there’s an extreme­ly impor­tant ques­tion that needs to be asked, one that con­cerns real people’s lives: What hap­pens now to the “dream­ers”?

    Almost every­one in both par­ties pro­fess­es to care about the young peo­ple who were brought to Amer­i­ca as chil­dren and grew up here, whom Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma pro­tect­ed by installing the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) pro­gram, which Pres­i­dent Trump can­celed last fall. Can they actu­al­ly hope to be pro­tect­ed? Will the deal Democ­rats made with Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑Ky.) result in a per­ma­nent exten­sion of DACA and a path to cit­i­zen­ship for them? Will Trump betray them at the urg­ing of his hard-line anti-immi­grant advis­ers?

    The truth is that there is one per­son who can answer all those ques­tions, one per­son who has the pow­er both to fore­stall anoth­er shut­down and lit­er­al­ly keep hun­dreds of thou­sands of young peo­ple from hav­ing their lives destroyed. That per­son is House Speak­er Paul D. Ryan (R‑Wis.), and unfor­tu­nate­ly, there isn’t much rea­son to believe he’ll do the right thing.

    The agree­ment Sen­ate Democ­rats struck with McConnell was the fol­low­ing: they would sup­port reopen­ing the gov­ern­ment until Feb. 8, and between now and then, McConnell would allow a vote on an immi­gra­tion bill that would pro­vide pro­tec­tions for the dream­ers. There are a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent pro­pos­als float­ing around, but the bill will prob­a­bly include some mon­ey for a bor­der wall and oth­er restric­tions that Repub­li­cans want, such as end­ing the diver­si­ty visa lot­tery.

    But what­ev­er the Sen­ate pass­es would then have to pass the House. The trou­ble there isn’t get­ting the votes, because a bill that was accept­able to the Sen­ate would like­ly be able to pass the House with­out much of a prob­lem. Pre­sum­ing all or near­ly all House Democ­rats vote for it, it would only need two dozen of the 238 Repub­li­can mem­bers to join in. The ques­tion is whether Ryan would allow a vote on a bill. If he does not, the dream­ers would lose their work per­mits and like­ly be dri­ven under­ground. Some could be deport­ed — ripped away from their fam­i­lies and the coun­try they grew up in, to be sent back to places they bare­ly know. It is no exag­ger­a­tion to say their lives are in Ryan’s hands.

    And what do we know about what he’ll do? Like most Repub­li­cans, when ques­tioned about dream­ers, Ryan says the right things. Last Jan­u­ary, Ryan had a pow­er­ful exchange with a dream­er mom, dur­ing which he hailed her con­tri­bu­tion to her com­mu­ni­ty and said he and Trump want to act to allow peo­ple like her to “get right with the law.” More recent­ly, in Sep­tem­ber, he said that dream­ers should “rest easy,” because the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Con­gress would make sure they get to stay. In Decem­ber, he again said he want­ed to “make sure that we don’t pull the rug out from under peo­ple.”

    But if Ryan is going to be true to those sen­ti­ments, he might have to break anoth­er promise — one he made to the hard-right Free­dom Cau­cus.

    In 2015, when Ryan was vying for House speak­er, Free­dom Cau­cus mem­ber Rep. Mo Brooks (R‑Ala.) demand­ed and received a promise from Ryan that, even after Oba­ma was gone, Ryan would allow no immi­gra­tion bill to be vot­ed on unless it had the sup­port of “a major­i­ty of the major­i­ty.”

    So let’s say the Sen­ate pass­es a bill to pro­tect dream­ers. That bill might or might not be able to get a major­i­ty of House Repub­li­cans. Either way, Ryan may refuse to allow the bill to come to a vote — in effect veto­ing any com­pro­mise. Then we could be fac­ing anoth­er gov­ern­ment shut­down.

    Minus the shut­down, that’s what hap­pened in 2013. A bipar­ti­san “Gang of Eight” spent months craft­ing a com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform bill, which passed the Sen­ate 68–32. When it was sent to the House, Speak­er John A. Boehn­er killed it in def­er­ence to his party’s hard-right wing. Then as now, the bill would have passed if Boehn­er had allowed it to be vot­ed on.

    But what about Trump, you might ask? His own feel­ings are flu­id on this issue, depend­ing on what he saw any giv­en morn­ing on “Fox & Friends,” or whether his lat­est dou­ble cheese­burg­er is sit­ting right. He says admir­ing things about the dream­ers, but he’s also an obvi­ous big­ot who wants to make Amer­i­ca more white. We’ve seen many times how he can be pulled back from con­cil­ia­to­ry posi­tions by the hard-lin­ers on his staff, includ­ing John F. Kel­ly and Stephen Miller.

    ...

    That leaves it up to Ryan. He’s already under pres­sure from his right, and this morn­ing Politi­co reports that House Major­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise (R‑La.) “told us the House doesn’t feel at all bound by [McConnell’s] agree­ment with Sen­ate Democ­rats to con­sid­er immi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion by Feb. 8.”

    What it ulti­mate­ly comes down to is these ques­tions: How deep is Ryan’s cru­el­ty? Will he con­demn hun­dreds of thou­sands of dream­ers to pos­si­ble depor­ta­tion because he’s afraid of the ultra-right mem­bers of his cau­cus? Or will he do what he him­self says is the right thing?

    We all know that once the threat of the gov­ern­ment shut­down has passed, there won’t be any immi­gra­tion com­pro­mise. The con­flicts with­in the Repub­li­can Par­ty are just too deep. So it’s now or nev­er, and the fact that dream­ers are going to have to rely on Paul Ryan’s human­i­ty makes it hard to be opti­mistic.

    ———-

    “The truth is that there is one per­son who can answer all those ques­tions, one per­son who has the pow­er both to fore­stall anoth­er shut­down and lit­er­al­ly keep hun­dreds of thou­sands of young peo­ple from hav­ing their lives destroyed. That per­son is House Speak­er Paul D. Ryan (R‑Wis.), and unfor­tu­nate­ly, there isn’t much rea­son to believe he’ll do the right thing.”

    Yep, even if the Sen­ate comes to a bipar­ti­san bud­get bill that includes a DACA fix, there’s no rea­son to assuem Paul Ryan will even allow a vote on the issue in the House. And that’s why Paul Ryan, the Speak­er of the House, is iron­i­cal­ly the cen­tral per­son in this shut­down sit­u­a­tion in the Sen­ate. Ok, Pres­i­dent Trump is actu­al­ly the cen­tral per­son on this issue because he could resolve it all sin­gle-hand­ed (he just needs to issue an Exec­u­tive Order), but since he’s clear­ly not inter­est­ed in doing that, the next most impor­tant per­son in this debate because Paul Ryan:

    ...
    The agree­ment Sen­ate Democ­rats struck with McConnell was the fol­low­ing: they would sup­port reopen­ing the gov­ern­ment until Feb. 8, and between now and then, McConnell would allow a vote on an immi­gra­tion bill that would pro­vide pro­tec­tions for the dream­ers. There are a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent pro­pos­als float­ing around, but the bill will prob­a­bly include some mon­ey for a bor­der wall and oth­er restric­tions that Repub­li­cans want, such as end­ing the diver­si­ty visa lot­tery.

    But what­ev­er the Sen­ate pass­es would then have to pass the House. The trou­ble there isn’t get­ting the votes, because a bill that was accept­able to the Sen­ate would like­ly be able to pass the House with­out much of a prob­lem. Pre­sum­ing all or near­ly all House Democ­rats vote for it, it would only need two dozen of the 238 Repub­li­can mem­bers to join in. The ques­tion is whether Ryan would allow a vote on a bill. If he does not, the dream­ers would lose their work per­mits and like­ly be dri­ven under­ground. Some could be deport­ed — ripped away from their fam­i­lies and the coun­try they grew up in, to be sent back to places they bare­ly know. It is no exag­ger­a­tion to say their lives are in Ryan’s hands.
    ...

    So if Democ­rats in the Sen­ate are plan­ning on redo of the gov­ern­ment shut­down over the DACA issue, and Paul Ryan’s coop­er­a­tion is required in the House for this issue to be resolved, what’s Paul Ryan’s stance on the issue? Well, as we saw, like most elect­ed GOP offi­cials, Paul Ryan has pub­licly expressed his sym­pa­thy for the Dream­ers and has long indi­cat­ed that he sup­ports a fix for them:

    ...
    Almost every­one in both par­ties pro­fess­es to care about the young peo­ple who were brought to Amer­i­ca as chil­dren and grew up here, whom Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma pro­tect­ed by installing the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) pro­gram, which Pres­i­dent Trump can­celed last fall. Can they actu­al­ly hope to be pro­tect­ed? Will the deal Democ­rats made with Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑Ky.) result in a per­ma­nent exten­sion of DACA and a path to cit­i­zen­ship for them? Will Trump betray them at the urg­ing of his hard-line anti-immi­grant advis­ers?

    ...

    And what do we know about what he’ll do? Like most Repub­li­cans, when ques­tioned about dream­ers, Ryan says the right things. Last Jan­u­ary, Ryan had a pow­er­ful exchange with a dream­er mom, dur­ing which he hailed her con­tri­bu­tion to her com­mu­ni­ty and said he and Trump want to act to allow peo­ple like her to “get right with the law.” More recent­ly, in Sep­tem­ber, he said that dream­ers should “rest easy,” because the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Con­gress would make sure they get to stay. In Decem­ber, he again said he want­ed to “make sure that we don’t pull the rug out from under peo­ple.”
    ...

    BUT, Ryan has also made pledges to the far-right Free­dom Cau­cus of his par­ty that he won’t allow an immi­gra­tion bill to have a vote in the House UNLESS this bill as the back­ing of the “major­i­ty of the major­i­ty” (a major­i­ty of House GOP­ers). And there’s no real rea­son to believe a major­i­ty of House GOP­ers have any inter­est in an immi­gra­tion bill that grants amnesty to the Dream­ers, despite all the hap­py talk from the par­ty:

    ...
    But if Ryan is going to be true to those sen­ti­ments, he might have to break anoth­er promise — one he made to the hard-right Free­dom Cau­cus.

    In 2015, when Ryan was vying for House speak­er, Free­dom Cau­cus mem­ber Rep. Mo Brooks (R‑Ala.) demand­ed and received a promise from Ryan that, even after Oba­ma was gone, Ryan would allow no immi­gra­tion bill to be vot­ed on unless it had the sup­port of “a major­i­ty of the major­i­ty.”

    So let’s say the Sen­ate pass­es a bill to pro­tect dream­ers. That bill might or might not be able to get a major­i­ty of House Repub­li­cans. Either way, Ryan may refuse to allow the bill to come to a vote — in effect veto­ing any com­pro­mise. Then we could be fac­ing anoth­er gov­ern­ment shut­down.

    Minus the shut­down, that’s what hap­pened in 2013. A bipar­ti­san “Gang of Eight” spent months craft­ing a com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform bill, which passed the Sen­ate 68–32. When it was sent to the House, Speak­er John A. Boehn­er killed it in def­er­ence to his party’s hard-right wing. Then as now, the bill would have passed if Boehn­er had allowed it to be vot­ed on.
    ...

    And that mas­sive uncer­tain­ty swirling around the House Repub­li­cans is a big rea­son why mak­ing this DACA issue part of the bud­get fight is seen as real­ly the only real chance to save the Dream­ers from depor­ta­tion but also simul­ta­ne­ous­ly why it’s very unclear if the threat of shut­down in the Sen­ate even can resolve the issue because the Sen­ate has no con­trol over the House or the White House:

    ...

    We all know that once the threat of the gov­ern­ment shut­down has passed, there won’t be any immi­gra­tion com­pro­mise. The con­flicts with­in the Repub­li­can Par­ty are just too deep. So it’s now or nev­er, and the fact that dream­ers are going to have to rely on Paul Ryan’s human­i­ty makes it hard to be opti­mistic.

    And this sit­u­a­tion — where there’s absolute­ly no com­pelling rea­son to believe the GOP has any real inter­est in help­ing the Dream­ers (oth­er than the fear of look­ing like mon­sters after all the hor­ror sto­ries come out fol­low­ing the mass depor­ta­tions) — is why the new Feb­ru­ary 8th dead­line has a ‘now or nev­er’ feel to it.

    But let’s not for­get that it’s real­ly more of a ‘now or hope­ful­ly lat­er when it’s more obvi­ous the GOP is going to seri­ous­ly deport these kids’ sce­nario as opposed to a ‘now or nev­er’ sce­nario. Because the clos­er we get to that March 5th DACA dead­line, and the more obvi­ous it becomes that the GOP real­ly is seri­ous­ly about deport­ing these kids, the like­li­er that we’ll actu­al­ly see some sort of pub­lic back­lash against the GOP. And that pub­lic back­lash is pret­ty much the ONLY thing that can real­is­ti­cal­ly com­pel the GOP to do the right thing. Don’t for­get, the vast major­i­ty of vot­ers, includ­ing a major­i­ty of GOP vot­ers, real­ly do want to pro­tect the Dream­ers, but that small hard­core anti-immi­grant GOP base is intense­ly opposed to it. The GOP real­ly is in a bind here.

    And let’s also not for­get about the oth­er sce­nario that could result in the ‘Dream­ers’ being save. It’s a hor­ri­ble sce­nario but it might iron­i­cal­ly work: the GOP lets DACA expire, the Dream­ers start get­ting deport­ed, and the hor­ror sto­ries about almost a mil­lion peo­ple who were essen­tial­ly young Amer­i­cans hav­ing their lives destroyed shocks and sick­ens the Amer­i­can pub­lic to such an extent that the GOP feels com­pelled to pass a fix just to avoid look­ing like the par­ty of the heart­less. That’s the ‘now or lat­er, per­haps too late for some’ sce­nario that at least some mem­bers of the GOP prob­a­bly wants to avoid as much as the Dream­ers.

    So we have this strange ‘chick­en and egg’ sce­nario where the most effec­tive path to per­suad­ing the Repub­li­cans to change their stance on this issue is to let them have their way and act like a bunch of mon­sters. The Democ­rats can insist all they want that the GOP is just lying when it pre­tends to want an actu­al solu­tion for the Dream­ers, but until the Amer­i­can pub­lic tru­ly believes that’s the case and can clear­ly see that the par­ty real­ly is heart­less enough to destroy the lives of almost a mil­lion young peo­ple there’s lim­it­ed lever­age that the Democ­rats have in this debate.

    But what about all those pledges Paul Ryan has made about find­ing some solu­tion for the Dream­ers? Might there be rea­son to assume that he’ll make good on that? Well, to answer that ques­tion, let’s take a look at the rea­son state­ments of House Major­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise. Because as the Major­i­ty Whip, Scalise’s job is to basi­cal­ly get an idea of where the GOP cau­cus stands on issue. So what does Scalise have to say about the idea of the House get­ting togeth­er with the Sen­ate and pass­ing a DACA bill that pro­tects the Dream­ers? There will be NO DEAL from the House until the March 5th dead­line. And any deal can NOT involve amnesty for the Dream­ers. That’s what Scalise had to say on the issue:

    Politi­co

    Scalise says House not bound by McConnel­l’s deal with Sen­ate Democ­rats

    01/23/2018 06:18 AM EST

    As the Sen­ate was vot­ing yes­ter­day, we head­ed up to the third floor of the capi­tol to sit down with HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP STEVE SCALISE (R‑LA.). Scalise was recent­ly dis­charged from the hos­pi­tal, where he had anoth­er post-shoot­ing surgery. Mon­day was his first day back in the Capi­tol.

    SCALISE was in good spir­its. He was sharp — espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing he had surgery less than two weeks ago. He had a few thoughts about the immi­gra­tion debate… Keep this in mind: Scalise — and Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHen­ry of North Car­oli­na — inter­act with every sin­gle House Repub­li­can. They know the mood of the con­fer­ence as well as any­one.

    SCALISE told us the House doesn’t feel at all bound by SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL’S (R‑KY) agree­ment with Sen­ate Democ­rats to con­sid­er immi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion by Feb. 8. “March is real­ly the time­line. … The House wasn’t part of that deal.”

    We asked SCALISE if Gra­ham-Durbin — the bipar­ti­san immi­gra­tion deal du jour — stands a chance, and he said “not in the House.” “It’s good for every­body to put their ideas on paper but ulti­mate­ly there are things that can and can­not pass in the House. And we have to work through those details and we’re work­ing through them.”

    SCALISE said he thought it would “excite our base” if they get a big immi­gra­tion deal. But he said blunt­ly: “We’re not going to pass a bill that has amnesty. There are things that would anger our base that I don’t see us pass­ing in the House.”

    ...

    – EXPECTATION SETTING: The Sen­ate seems quite ready to tack­le a big, bipar­ti­san immi­gra­tion deal. The only big leg­is­la­tion the House has passed in the last year is a tax bill, which was done with Repub­li­cans only. As we kick off this immi­gra­tion debate, set your expec­ta­tions to the low­est com­mon denom­i­na­tor. Yes, it’s true that if put on truth serum, a major­i­ty of the House would prob­a­bly sup­port the DREAM Act. But in the real world, the lead­er­ship will be wor­ried about their own preser­va­tion, and con­ser­v­a­tives will ensure the debate tacks to the right.

    … OF COURSE, there’s a case to be made that the House will feel such intense polit­i­cal pres­sure that they’ll have to put some­thing on the floor that a huge chunk of the con­fer­ence hates. Time will only tell. But we think that’s unlike­ly.

    ———-

    “Scalise says House not bound by McConnel­l’s deal with Sen­ate Democ­rats”; Politi­co; 01/23/2018

    “SCALISE told us the House doesn’t feel at all bound by SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL’S (R‑KY) agree­ment with Sen­ate Democ­rats to con­sid­er immi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion by Feb. 8. “March is real­ly the time­line. … The House wasn’t part of that deal.”

    So House Major­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise is basi­cal­ly say­ing that there is NO WAY the House will par­tic­i­pate in any deal worked out by Sen­ate Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans UNTIL we’re at the March 5th DACA dead­line. That cer­tain­ly com­pli­cates the Sen­ate Democ­rats’ Feb­ru­ary 8th shut­down threats. BUT, look at what Scalise has to say about how for the GOP is will­ing to go with the ulti­mate March 5th deal: “We’re not going to pass a bill that has amnesty. There are things that would anger our base that I don’t see us pass­ing in the House”:

    ...
    We asked SCALISE if Gra­ham-Durbin — the bipar­ti­san immi­gra­tion deal du jour — stands a chance, and he said “not in the House.” “It’s good for every­body to put their ideas on paper but ulti­mate­ly there are things that can and can­not pass in the House. And we have to work through those details and we’re work­ing through them.”

    SCALISE said he thought it would “excite our base” if they get a big immi­gra­tion deal. But he said blunt­ly: “We’re not going to pass a bill that has amnesty. There are things that would anger our base that I don’t see us pass­ing in the House.”
    ...

    And if there’s no amnesty for the Dream­ers, that means the House GOP is basi­cal­ly plan­ning on kick­ing them out. And that is exact­ly the kind of thing that does help the Sen­ate Democ­ra­t’s shut­down threats because the whole Demo­c­ra­t­ic strat­e­gy in this sit­u­a­tion is to make it clear that the GOP real­ly is plan­ning on doing some­thing Amer­i­cans by and large view as hor­ri­ble. And the GOP has to know that deport­ing the Dream­ers is not going to be pop­u­lar at all.

    That’s weird dynam­ic of all this. Steve Scalise’s warn­ing that the House GOP will not to any­thing about the Dream­ers before the March 5th dead­line weak­ens the Democ­rats’ bar­gain­ing pow­er in the upcom­ing Feb­ru­ary 8th shut­down fight in the Sen­ate because the House GOP has already made it clear it’s unwill­ing to nego­ti­ate on any­thing before March 5th. But Scalise’s assur­ances that “We’re not going to pass a bill that has amnesty. There are things that would anger our base that I don’t see us pass­ing in the House,” only serve to strength­en the Democ­rats’ case by mak­ing it clear that the House GOP real­ly is plan­ning on deport­ing the Dream­ers and that’s the most impor­tant case the Democ­rats can make in this sit­u­a­tion since pub­lic out­rage over Dream­er depor­ta­tions is the only real strength they have in this sit­u­a­tion.

    And don’t for­get that the bipar­ti­san offer the Sen­ate made to the White House that Trump reject­ed ‘as an insult’ was an offer that includ­ed an enor­mous num­ber of con­ces­sions: fund­ing for Trump’s bor­der wall, lim­its on the abil­i­ty of legal U.S. res­i­dents to spon­sor their adult chil­dren for immi­gra­tion, and a reduc­tion in diver­si­ty visas. That was all reject­ed by the White House when the Democ­rats made that offer. So it’s pret­ty clear that the GOP is plan­ning on mak­ing a Steve Bannon/Stephen Miller immi­gra­tion over­haul wish list as its demands for pro­tect­ing the Dream­ers, know­ing full well that such demands are unlike­ly to be met. And that’s why the best strat­e­gy for sav­ing the Dream­ers prob­a­bly revolves around mak­ing the case to the Amer­i­can pub­lic that the GOP lead­ers like Paul Ryan are lying when they say they want to help the Dream­ers and the GOP is plan­ning on mak­ing com­plete­ly unre­al­is­tic demands with these nego­ti­a­tions about a com­plete immi­gra­tion over­haul in order to cre­ate the excuse for deport­ing them and blam­ing the Democ­rats. It’s all a cyn­i­cal game design to cre­ate a giant smoke­screen so they can deport the Dream­ers and act like they had no choice. That’s obvi­ous­ly the GOP’s plan, and the clos­er we get to that March 5th dead­line the more obvi­ous it becomes.

    Will this issue be resolved with the upcom­ing new Feb­ru­ary 8th shut­down show­down? It’s pos­si­ble, but it’s hard to see that hap­pen­ing because the GOP is prob­a­bly just going to incred­u­lous­ly say, “we want to pro­tect the Dream­ers, but just not now. Not until March 5th.” And that means we’re prob­a­bly look­ing at a March 5th show­down of some sort. And even then, it’s still unclear a deal will be achieved at that point because so much of the GOP wants noth­ing to do with amnesty for the Dream­ers at all and will keep mak­ing more and more extreme demands in exchange for some sort of Dream­er path to cit­i­zen­ship because they are actu­al­ly search­ing for a rea­son to not pro­tect the Dream­ers (to pla­cate their hard­line base) while blam­ing the Democ­rats. It’s like a hostage nego­ti­a­tion with the Jok­er.

    So is there any real hope for the Dream­ers? Sure, but only as long as the sit­u­a­tion for them appears hope­less thanks to GOP heart­less­ness. How exact­ly the Democ­rats make that heart­less hope­less­ness clear to the Amer­i­can pub­lic remains to be seen. Win­ston Churchill is said to have once quipped that ‘that Amer­i­cans will always do the right thing, only after they have tried every­thing else’. Is that true in this sit­u­a­tion or is Amer­i­can going to do the wrong thing after try­ing every­thing else? We’ll find out.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 24, 2018, 5:26 pm
  12. There’s no short­age of omi­nous sto­ries involv­ing the GOP. But there’s noth­ing quite like sto­ries about the GOP’s youth out­reach orga­ni­za­tions to max­i­mize the omi­nous­ness, because they’re gen­er­al­ly sto­ries about col­lege Repub­li­cans espous­ing Nazi-like views. And those are the peo­ple who are going to be run­ning the GOP in a few decades. It’s no sur­prise the nihilis­tic agen­da of the GOP attracts scary youths, but it’s still omi­nous.

    So in the spir­it of omi­nous sto­ries about the GOP’s youth out­reach agen­da, here’s a pair of arti­cles about Turn­ing Point USA. It’s one of the far-right orga­ni­za­tions focused on col­lege cam­pus. In par­tic­u­lar, focused on what it per­ceived to be the per­se­cu­tion of con­ser­v­a­tive voic­es on col­lege cam­pus­es. In oth­er words, it’s a form of lib­er­al tyran­ny when there are protests against some­one like Milo Yiannopou­los, Richard Spencer, or Charles Mur­ray com­ing to spew hate speech on a cam­pus or when far-right ideas are laughed down in class­rooms because they’re unground­ed and aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly unsound. Mak­ing the point that this is tyran­ny is one of the pri­ma­ry pur­pos­es of Turn­ing Point USA.

    But as Jane May­er point­ed out in an arti­cle back in Decem­ber, Turn­ing Point USA has quite a few more uses. For instance, it’s being used as a vehi­cle for the right-wing takeover of almost all the col­lege stu­dent gov­ern­ments of major Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties. The idea is to get pow­er, then defund left-wing orga­ni­za­tion, and repeal bans on hate speech.

    Turn­ing Point also runs a McCarthyite “Pro­fes­sor Watch List” that claims to reveal out­ra­geous left-wing pro­fes­sors. And Turn­ing Point USA has mil­lions of dol­lars in its annu­al bud­get.

    So who is pay­ing for Turn­ing Point’s activ­i­ties? Well, that’s a secret. Most of the donors are anony­mous, although we know Fos­ter Friess — one of the key bil­lion­aires behind Ted Cruz — is heav­i­ly involved in the financ­ing. And the petro­le­um indus­try too. Oth­er than that it’s a secret.

    Turn­ing Point was also revealed to be used as a polit­i­cal arm of some Repub­li­can cam­paigns, which is tech­ni­cal­ly ille­gal because it’s calls itself a char­i­ty. But it turns out that Crys­tal Clan­ton, the sec­ond in com­mand at the group, was appar­ent­ly lend­ing some Turn­ing Point staff to the cam­paign of Ted Cruz. Gini Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Jus­tice mem­ber Clarence Thomas, was the Cruz cam­paign con­tact per­son with Clan­ton.

    And, sur­prise, it turns out that Turn­ing Point USA had a racial­ly hos­tile envi­ron­ment. Clan­ton was revealed to have sent a text mes­sage to anoth­er Turn­ing Point employ­ee say­ing, “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all ... I hate blacks. End of sto­ry.” The few black mem­bers found them­selves unin­vit­ed to evens. And, as we’ll see, the group has a very chum­my rela­tion­ship with a num­ber of ‘Alt Right’ fig­ures.

    Oh, and the group can boast the endorse­ments of Bre­it­bart and the Trump fam­i­ly. Don Jr. and Lara Trump, Eric’s wife, are both open­ly close to the group.

    So we have a secret bil­lion­aire-fund­ed far-right orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to attack­ing left-wing pro­fes­sors and tak­ing over col­lege stu­dent gov­ern­ments run by racists. And it’s act­ing as a poten­tial pool for youth mus­cle for GOP cam­paigns while call­ing itself a tax-exempt char­i­ty so those secret bil­lion­aires have extra incen­tives to flood them with mon­ey. This is why the GOP youth out­reach sto­ries are so omi­nous:

    The New York­er

    A Con­ser­v­a­tive Non­prof­it That Seeks to Trans­form Col­lege Cam­pus­es Faces Alle­ga­tions of Racial Bias and Ille­gal Cam­paign Activ­i­ty

    By Jane May­er

    Decem­ber 21, 2017

    On Tues­day, in a con­ven­tion cen­ter in West Palm Beach, Flori­da, amid chants of “USA!” and “The wall is going to be built!,” Don­ald Trump, Jr., kicked off a three-day annu­al sum­mit for Turn­ing Point USA, a con­ser­v­a­tive non­prof­it. Based out­side of Chica­go, Turn­ing Point’s aim is to foment a polit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion on America’s col­lege cam­pus­es, in part by fun­nelling mon­ey into stu­dent gov­ern­ment elec­tions across the coun­try to elect right-lean­ing can­di­dates. But it is secre­tive about its fund­ing and its donors, rais­ing the prospect that “dark mon­ey” may now be shap­ing not just state and fed­er­al races but ones on cam­pus..

    Turn­ing Point touts its close rela­tion­ship with the President’s fam­i­ly. The group’s Web site pro­mot­ed Don, Jr.,’s appear­ance for weeks, fea­tur­ing a pho­to of him rais­ing a clenched fist. Its pro­mo­tion­al mate­ri­als include a quote from the younger Trump prais­ing Turn­ing Point: “What you guys have done” is “just amaz­ing.” Lara Trump, the wife of Don, Jr.,’s broth­er Eric, is also involved with the group. In West Palm Beach on Wednes­day, she host­ed a lun­cheon pro­mot­ing Turn­ing Point’s com­ing Young Women’s Lead­er­ship Sum­mit. The group’s twen­ty-four-year-old exec­u­tive direc­tor and founder, Char­lie Kirk, told me that he counts Don, Jr., as “a per­son­al friend.”

    Turn­ing Point casts itself as a grass­roots response to what it per­ceives as lib­er­al intol­er­ance on col­lege cam­pus­es. Kirk has called col­lege cam­pus­es “islands of total­i­tar­i­an­ism”; he and his sup­port­ers con­tend that con­ser­v­a­tives are the true vic­tims of dis­crim­i­na­tion in Amer­i­ca, and he has vowed to fight back on behalf of what he has called his “Team Right.” Kirk is a fre­quent guest on Fox News, and last sum­mer he was invit­ed to give a speech at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion. That was where he met Don­ald Trump, Jr., and “hit it off” with him, Kirk said. After the con­ven­tion, Kirk divid­ed his time between Turn­ing Point activ­i­ties and work­ing for the Trump cam­paign as a spe­cial­ist in youth out­reach. “I helped coör­di­nate some rather suc­cess­ful events with him,” Kirk told me, refer­ring to Don, Jr., “and I also car­ried his bags.” When friends threw Kirk a sur­prise birth­day par­ty ear­li­er this year, Don, Jr., attend­ed, as did Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka, the for­mer Trump White House advis­er.

    As Turn­ing Point’s pro­file has risen, so has scruti­ny of its fund­ing and tac­tics. Inter­nal doc­u­ments that I obtained, as well as inter­views with for­mer employ­ees, sug­gest that the group may have skirt­ed cam­paign-finance laws that bar char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions from par­tic­i­pat­ing in polit­i­cal activ­i­ty. For­mer employ­ees say that they were direct­ed to work with promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tives, includ­ing the wife of the Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas, in aid of Repub­li­can Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates in 2016. Per­haps most trou­bling for an orga­ni­za­tion that holds up con­ser­v­a­tives as the real vic­tims of dis­crim­i­na­tion in Amer­i­ca, Turn­ing Point USA is also alleged to have fos­tered an atmos­phere that is hos­tile to minori­ties. Screen­shots pro­vid­ed to me by a source show that Crys­tal Clan­ton, who served until last sum­mer as the group’s nation­al field direc­tor, sent a text mes­sage to anoth­er Turn­ing Point employ­ee say­ing, “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all ... I hate blacks. End of sto­ry.”

    Clan­ton, who resigned after serv­ing as the group’s sec­ond-high­est offi­cial for five years, at first declined to com­ment. “I’m no longer with Turn­ing Point and wish not to be a part of the sto­ry,” Clan­ton told me over e‑mail. Lat­er, in a sec­ond e‑mail, she said, “I have no rec­ol­lec­tion of these mes­sages and they do not reflect what I believe or who I am and the same was true when I was a teenag­er.”

    John Ryan O’Rourke, the for­mer Turn­ing Point employ­ee who received the text mes­sages from Clan­ton, request­ed that the mes­sages “not be used in any arti­cle or back­ground infor­ma­tion con­cern­ing Turn­ing Point” and declined to com­ment on them. Kirk said in an e‑mail that “Turn­ing Point assessed the sit­u­a­tion and took deci­sive action with­in 72 hours of being made aware of the issue.” Soon after, Clan­ton left the orga­ni­za­tion.

    While Kirk served as the pub­lic face of Turn­ing Point, Clan­ton, its for­mer field direc­tor, act­ed as its hands-on boss, accord­ing to for­mer employ­ees. In a 2016 book that Kirk co-authored with Brent Hamachek, “Time for a Turn­ing Point: Set­ting a Course Toward Free Mar­kets and Lim­it­ed Gov­ern­ment for Future Gen­er­a­tions,” he described Clan­ton as “the best hire we ever could have made.” He called her “inte­gral to the suc­cess of Turn­ing Point while effec­tive­ly serv­ing as its chief oper­at­ing offi­cer.” He added, “Turn­ing Point needs more Crys­tals; so does Amer­i­ca.”

    For­mer Turn­ing Point employ­ees say that the orga­ni­za­tion was a dif­fi­cult work­place and rife with ten­sion, some of it racial. Gabrielle Fequiere, a for­mer Turn­ing Point employ­ee, told me that she was the only African-Amer­i­can hired as a field direc­tor when she worked with the group, three years ago. “In look­ing back, I think it was racist,” she said. “At the time, I was blam­ing myself, and I thought I did some­thing wrong.” Fequiere, who now works as a mod­el, recalled that the young black recruits that she brought into the orga­ni­za­tion sud­den­ly found them­selves dis­in­vit­ed from the group’s annu­al stu­dent sum­mit, and that when she her­self attend­ed, she watched speak­ers there who “spoke bad­ly about black women hav­ing all these babies out of wed­lock. It was real­ly offen­sive.” (Kirk, through a spokesman, denied that any such inci­dents occurred, and said, “These accu­sa­tions are absolute­ly base­less and even absurd.”)

    Fequiere said that Clan­ton fired her on Mar­tin Luther King, Jr., Day, on the grounds that she was not per­form­ing her job well. “I was the only black Amer­i­can employ­ee they had, and they fired me on M.L.K. Day—it was so rude!” Fequiere told me. She added, “I felt very uncom­fort­able work­ing there because I was black,” but she said she had seen white employ­ees mis­treat­ed, as well. “My Demo­c­ra­t­ic friends had told me that some Repub­li­cans didn’t care about the poor and minori­ties, and I thought it wasn’t true, but then I found the peo­ple they were talk­ing about!”

    Speak­ers at Turn­ing Point events on var­i­ous col­lege cam­pus­es have been accused of going out of their way to thumb their noses at eth­nic and cul­tur­al sen­si­tiv­i­ties. The con­ser­v­a­tive provo­ca­teur Milo Yiannopou­los, for instance, whose appear­ance Turn­ing Point co-host­ed with the Col­lege Repub­li­cans at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Col­orado, in Boul­der, said that despite being gay, he hat­ed “fag­gots,” les­bians, and fem­i­nists, who, he said, “fuck­ing hate men.”

    In an effort to mock cam­pus oppo­si­tion to hate speech, mem­bers of the Turn­ing Point chap­ter at Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty staged a protest last fall in which they appeared on cam­pus wear­ing adult dia­pers and suck­ing on paci­fiers while pro­claim­ing “Safe Spaces are for Chil­dren.” The protest stirred wide­spread ridicule, and Kirk’s spokesman said that he dis­ap­proved of the dis­play and lat­er issued guide­lines against oth­er chap­ters repeat­ing it.

    Kirk grew up in Wheel­ing, Illi­nois, and was an Eagle Scout; in a 2015 speech to the Con­ser­v­a­tive Forum of Sil­i­con Val­ley, he said that his “No. 1 dream in life” was to attend West Point, but the slot he con­sid­ered his went to “a far less-qual­i­fied can­di­date of a dif­fer­ent gen­der and a dif­fer­ent per­sua­sion” whose test scores he claimed he knew. (Kirk said he was being sar­cas­tic when he made the com­ment.) An old­er acquain­tance encour­aged him to for­go col­lege and launch a con­ser­v­a­tive ana­logue to the pro­gres­sive advo­ca­cy group MoveOn.org. Kirk acknowl­edged in an inter­view that it is some­thing of an irony that he heads an orga­ni­za­tion devot­ed to wag­ing polit­i­cal war­fare on cam­pus­es when he nev­er actu­al­ly attend­ed col­lege him­self. “I joke that I wasn’t smart enough to go to a four-year school,” Kirk told me, although he not­ed that he con­tin­ued his stud­ies at a com­mu­ni­ty col­lege.

    MoveOn, how­ev­er, has one part set up as a super PAC, and anoth­er as a 501©4 “social-wel­fare group,” both of which are legal­ly allowed to engage in polit­i­cal elec­tions. It also has a pol­i­cy of dis­clos­ing the names of any­one con­tribut­ing five thou­sand dol­lars or more. In con­trast, Turn­ing Point is a 501©3 char­i­ty. This means that, unlike MoveOn donors, Turn­ing Point donors can take tax deduc­tions for their con­tri­bu­tions and remain anony­mous. In exchange for these ben­e­fits, how­ev­er, the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice strict­ly pro­hibits char­i­ties such as Turn­ing Point from engag­ing either direct­ly or indi­rect­ly in polit­i­cal elec­tions.

    Sev­er­al for­mer Turn­ing Point employ­ees told me in inter­views that they felt they were asked to par­tic­i­pate in activ­i­ties that crossed lines drawn by cam­paign-finance laws for groups like theirs. Pay­den Hall, who worked for Turn­ing Point dur­ing the 2016 Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, told me that Clan­ton, who was her boss, e‑mailed her at her Turn­ing Point address to make arrange­ments for her to coör­di­nate with Gin­ni Thomas, the wife of the Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas, to help Ted Cruz’s Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. “That’s where the ambi­gu­i­ty began,” Hall recalled. Soon after, she said, Gin­ni Thomas, who was sup­port­ing Cruz’s can­di­da­cy and is on Turn­ing Point’s advi­so­ry coun­cil, left a voice mes­sage for Hall and her sis­ter, who also worked for Turn­ing Point, say­ing that she was send­ing two hun­dred Cruz plac­ards to them to dis­trib­ute in the com­ing Wis­con­sin Pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry.

    “Crys­tal gave Gin­ni Thomas my pri­vate mail­ing address with­out my per­mis­sion,” Hall recalled. “They gave out employ­ees’ per­son­al infor­ma­tion to the wife of a Supreme Court Jus­tice.” The next thing she knew, she said, hun­dreds of Cruz plac­ards arrived at her home. “We threw them out,” Hall said. She was a Cruz sup­port­er, but, she says, “We want­ed to vol­un­teer on our own terms, not to give in to pres­sure from a boss. I felt that if it wasn’t cross­ing a legal line, it was cross­ing a pro­fes­sion­al one.”

    Trevor Pot­ter, a for­mer Repub­li­can com­mis­sion­er on the Fed­er­al Elec­tions Com­mis­sion who is the founder and pres­i­dent of the Cam­paign Legal Cen­ter, a non­par­ti­san cam­paign-finance-law watch­dog group, said that Turn­ing Point is barred from aid­ing polit­i­cal cam­paigns. “Under the law, a 501©3 can’t engage in polit­i­cal action or give any­thing of val­ue to a cam­paign, includ­ing stu­dents, or the names of stu­dents,” he said. “If what Turn­ing Point USA was doing was help­ing Repub­li­cans on cam­pus and feed­ing them to cam­paigns, that’s a polit­i­cal oper­a­tion, and it sounds as if it cross­es the line.”

    Reached by phone, Gin­ni Thomas declined to com­ment. Clanton’s lawyer, Robert Graber­mann, said that if she e‑mailed Hall “at her TPUSA email address, it was an hon­est over­sight and sin­cere mis­take on Ms. Clanton’s part. Ms. Clan­ton cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly denies using TPUSA resources to aid any polit­i­cal cam­paign activ­i­ties. She ful­ly under­stands the 501 ©(3) guide­lines, and has on many occa­sions con­sult­ed with legal coun­sel to ensure that all per­son­al cam­paign involve­ment was com­pli­ant with 501 ©(3) rules.”

    Susan Walk­er, who worked for Turn­ing Point USA in Flori­da, in 2016, told me that the group did aid Repub­li­can polit­i­cal cam­paigns. Walk­er said that a list she cre­at­ed while work­ing for Turn­ing Point, with the names of hun­dreds of stu­dent sup­port­ers, was giv­en with­out her knowl­edge to some­one work­ing for Mar­co Rubio’s Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. “That list had, like, sev­en hun­dred kids, and I worked my ass off to get it,” she said. “I had added notes on every stu­dent I talked to, and they were all on it still.” The Rubio oper­a­tive, she added, “shouldn’t have had that list. We were a char­i­ty, and he was on a polit­i­cal cam­paign.”

    E‑mails and inter­views from oth­er for­mer Turn­ing Point employ­ees in South Car­oli­na and Ohio showed crossover between Pres­i­den­tial-cam­paign work and work for the char­i­ty, as well. In South Car­oli­na, a chain of e‑mails shows, Kirk asked a Turn­ing Point USA employ­ee to round up stu­dents to sup­port Cruz at the behest of two offi­cials with a pro-Cruz super PAC. In a Jan­u­ary 25, 2016, e‑mail, Drew Ryun, a Turn­ing Point advi­so­ry-coun­cil mem­ber who was help­ing run one of the pro-Cruz super PACs, asked Kirk to get anoth­er Turn­ing Point employ­ee to “send” the super PAC “as many kids as pos­si­ble.” Ryun, a for­mer deputy direc­tor of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, explained that he need­ed “as many kids as you can gen­er­ate for a WSJ piece on efforts in” South Car­oli­na. After Kirk agreed to help, the e‑mail thread shows, Kirk coör­di­nat­ed with Dan Tripp, Ryun’s asso­ciate at the pro-Cruz super PAC, who head­ed its oper­a­tions in South Car­oli­na and is the founder and pres­i­dent of Ground Game Strate­gies.

    “Yes!” Kirk answered Tripp when asked for help from Turn­ing Point. “What part of SC?”

    “Greenville, Sparten­burg or Ander­son Coun­ties,” Tripp replied.

    “Time of day and how long?” Kirk asked.

    “I’m think­ing 2 hours late Sun­day after­noon. Can­vass­ing, train­ing and piz­za,” Tripp respond­ed.

    “You got it, will recon short­ly,” Kirk e‑mailed back. Kirk explained that a Turn­ing Point employ­ee in South Car­oli­na named Anna Scott Marsh would be the point per­son, and added that “Anna will be help­ing. Let’s rock this!”

    Soon after, e‑mails show, Marsh, the Turn­ing Point employ­ee, promised to round up the request­ed recruits. “Send­ing some­thing out tonight, and will send you a list hope­ful­ly tomor­row ... I’m sure we can find some sol­id stu­dents here.” Marsh declined to com­ment about her e‑mails.

    Asked about these prac­tices, Kirk referred me to a state­ment from his lawyer, Sal­ly Wagen­mak­er: “Turn­ing Point USA works dili­gent­ly to com­ply entire­ly with all rel­e­vant laws and reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing not-for-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions. Turn­ing Point USA focus­es on fis­cal con­ser­vatism, free mar­ket eco­nom­ics, and relat­ed stu­dent edu­ca­tion and advo­ca­cy, all com­plete­ly with­in applic­a­ble Sec­tion 501(c)(3) legal con­straints.”

    Ryun con­firmed that the exchanges occurred, but said that Kirk e‑mailed him “via his per­son­al e‑mail and on his per­son­al time!” Tripp, too, con­firmed the e‑mails, but said, “We wel­comed many vol­un­teers to our efforts and were grate­ful for their sup­port. It would be quite trou­bling if cam­paign finance rules were inter­pret­ed to pre­vent con­ser­v­a­tive vol­un­teers from exer­cis­ing their right to be involved in the polit­i­cal process.”

    In a phone inter­view, Kirk declined to iden­ti­fy the donors who have sup­plied his group’s eight-mil­lion-dol­lar-plus annu­al bud­get, not­ing that many pre­fer to remain anony­mous. But Kirk has spo­ken and fund-raised at var­i­ous closed-door ener­gy-indus­try gath­er­ings, includ­ing those of the 2017 board meet­ing of the Nation­al Min­ing Asso­ci­a­tion and the 2016 annu­al meet­ing of the Inde­pen­dent Petro­le­um Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­ca. In our inter­view, Kirk acknowl­edged that some of his donors “are in the fos­sil-fuel space.”

    Kirk’s ties to fos­sil-fuel mag­nates are con­tro­ver­sial because Turn­ing Point has helped orga­nize oppo­si­tion on cam­pus­es to stu­dents call­ing for schools to divest from fos­sil-fuel com­pa­nies. Turn­ing Point dis­trib­uted a guide for col­lege stu­dents with a fore­word by Kirk, titled “10 Ways Fos­sil Fuels Improve Our Dai­ly Lives.” In it, he argues, “Across the nation, col­lege stu­dents are clam­or­ing for their cam­pus­es to divest from fos­sil fuel ... stu­dents are indoc­tri­nat­ed to believe the myth that fos­sil fuels are dirty and renew­able ener­gy is a plau­si­ble alter­na­tive ... ” Turn­ing Point, which also runs an online “Pro­fes­sor Watch List” that tar­gets pro­fes­sors it believes are lib­er­al, blamed “left­ist pro­fes­sors” in its book­let for hav­ing “per­pet­u­at­ed” these “myths.” In the inter­view, Kirk told me that “We think tar­get­ing fos­sil fuels is rather unfair, and it is not real­ly in the best inter­ests of the uni­ver­si­ties to favor one type of polit­i­cal agen­da over anoth­er.” It’s a mes­sage that “went great,” he said, when he deliv­ered it at ener­gy-indus­try meet­ings.

    Last May, The Chron­i­cle of High­er Edu­ca­tion pub­lished an inves­tiga­tive report on what it called Turn­ing Point’s “stealth plan for polit­i­cal influ­ence.” The sto­ry recount­ed accu­sa­tions on mul­ti­ple cam­pus­es that the group had fun­nelled mon­ey into stu­dent elec­tions in vio­la­tion of the spend­ing caps and trans­paren­cy require­ments set by those schools. It detailed how stu­dent can­di­dates backed by Turn­ing Point had been forced to drop out of cam­pus elec­tions at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land and Ohio State “after they were caught vio­lat­ing spend­ing rules and attempt­ing to hide the help they received from Turn­ing Point.” It also quot­ed Kirk say­ing in an appear­ance before a con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal group in 2015 that his group was “invest­ing a lot of time and mon­ey and ener­gy” in stu­dent-gov­ern­ment elec­tions. (In the sto­ry, Kirk denied any wrong­do­ing and said it was “com­plete­ly ludi­crous and ridicu­lous that there’s some sort of secret plan.”)

    A copy of a Turn­ing Point brochure pre­pared for poten­tial donors that I obtained pro­vides a glimpse into the group’s tac­tics. (A for­mer Turn­ing Point employ­ee said the brochure was close­ly held, and not post­ed online so that it couldn’t leak.) Its “Cam­pus Vic­to­ry Project” is described as a detailed, mul­ti-phase plan to “com­man­deer the top office of Stu­dent Body Pres­i­dent at each of the most rec­og­niz­able and influ­en­tial Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ties.”

    Phase 1 calls for vic­to­ry in the “Pow­er 5” con­fer­ence schools, includ­ing the Atlantic Coast Con­fer­ence, the Big Ten Con­fer­ence, the Pacif­ic 12 Con­fer­ence, the Big 12 Con­fer­ence, and the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence. Phase 2 calls for win­ning the top stu­dent-gov­ern­ment slots in every Divi­sion 1 N.C.A.A. school, of which it says there are more than three hun­dred. In the first three years of the plan, the brochure says, the group aims to cap­ture the “out­right major­i­ty” of stu­dent-gov­ern­ment posi­tions in eighty per cent of these schools.

    Once in con­trol of stu­dent gov­ern­ments, the brochure says, Turn­ing Point expects its allied cam­pus lead­ers to fol­low a set polit­i­cal agen­da. Among its planks are the defund­ing of pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions on cam­pus, the imple­men­ta­tion of “free speech” poli­cies elim­i­nat­ing bar­ri­ers to hate speech, and the block­ing of all cam­pus “boy­cott, divest­ment and sanc­tions” move­ments. Turn­ing Point’s agen­da also calls for the stu­dent lead­ers it empow­ers to use stu­dent resources to host speak­ers and forums pro­mot­ing “Amer­i­can Excep­tion­al­ism and Free Mar­ket ideals on cam­pus.”

    Today, Turn­ing Point claims to have a pres­ence on more than a thou­sand col­lege cam­pus­es nation­wide, and to have “a stronger, more orga­nized pres­ence than all the left-wing cam­pus groups com­bined.” Kirk told me his group had start­ed three hun­dred new chap­ters in the past year. The Cam­pus Vic­to­ry Project brochure names more than fifty four-year col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties where it claims the group helped effec­tu­ate stu­dent gov­ern­ment vic­to­ries in the 2016–17 year, includ­ing the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les, Syra­cuse, Pur­due, Michi­gan State, Wake For­est, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and it names a hun­dred and twen­ty-two more schools whose gov­ern­ments the group hopes to “com­man­deer” in Phase 2. The brochure notes that com­plet­ing the task will take mon­ey: specif­i­cal­ly, $2.2 mil­lion.

    ...

    The prospect of “dark money”—contributions from anony­mous donors to nation­al ide­o­log­i­cal groups—flowing into cam­pus elec­tions has alarmed some stu­dents. “Stu­dents were out­raged that our elec­tions were being influ­enced from out­side,” Danielle Di Scala, who last year was vice-pres­i­dent of the stu­dent gov­ern­ment at Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty, said. “I’d nev­er seen that before, but it’s start­ing to be a trend. The prob­lem,” she told me, “is it can price some stu­dent can­di­dates out of the mar­ket when oth­ers are get­ting mon­ey from groups with unlim­it­ed funds.”

    Andy Mac­Crack­en, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Nation­al Cam­pus Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, said he wor­ries that cam­pus elec­tions are “par­tic­u­lar­ly vul­ner­a­ble” to out­side mon­ey, “because there aren’t real­ly any stan­dard rules.” Mac­Crack­en says it’s been “shock­ing to see how much of an oper­a­tion there is from Turn­ing Point,” adding that “there’s real­ly noth­ing com­pa­ra­ble that I’m aware of from left-wing groups.”. The push, he sug­gest­ed, reflects a recog­ni­tion on the part of con­ser­v­a­tives about the future val­ue of stu­dent lead­ers. “I can total­ly imag­ine they’re think­ing that if we can win this on cam­pus­es, they will be the thought lead­ers down the road. This is a way to win it effi­cient­ly at the start. The chal­lenge, though,” he says, “is that so much of this is in the dark.”

    ———–

    “A Con­ser­v­a­tive Non­prof­it That Seeks to Trans­form Col­lege Cam­pus­es Faces Alle­ga­tions of Racial Bias and Ille­gal Cam­paign Activ­i­ty” by Jane May­er; The New York­er; 12/21/2017

    “As Turn­ing Point’s pro­file has risen, so has scruti­ny of its fund­ing and tac­tics. Inter­nal doc­u­ments that I obtained, as well as inter­views with for­mer employ­ees, sug­gest that the group may have skirt­ed cam­paign-finance laws that bar char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions from par­tic­i­pat­ing in polit­i­cal activ­i­ty. For­mer employ­ees say that they were direct­ed to work with promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tives, includ­ing the wife of the Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas, in aid of Repub­li­can Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates in 2016. Per­haps most trou­bling for an orga­ni­za­tion that holds up con­ser­v­a­tives as the real vic­tims of dis­crim­i­na­tion in Amer­i­ca, Turn­ing Point USA is also alleged to have fos­tered an atmos­phere that is hos­tile to minori­ties. Screen­shots pro­vid­ed to me by a source show that Crys­tal Clan­ton, who served until last sum­mer as the group’s nation­al field direc­tor, sent a text mes­sage to anoth­er Turn­ing Point employ­ee say­ing, “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all ... I hate blacks. End of sto­ry.”

    Turn­ing Point USA: the con­ser­v­a­tive ‘char­i­ty’ ded­i­cat­ed to harass­ing lib­er­al pro­fes­sor and a stealth cam­paign to take over stu­dent gov­ern­ments. And its nation­al field direc­tor, who hates black peo­ple and was open about this, direct­ed her employ­ees to help Ted Cruz’s cam­paign. It’s quite a char­i­ty. No won­der the Trumps love it. And Turn­ing Point’s founder, Char­lie Kirk who now calls Don, Jr. a per­son­al friend, was work­ing for the Trump cam­paign as a spe­cial­ist in youth out­reach:

    ...
    Turn­ing Point touts its close rela­tion­ship with the President’s fam­i­ly. The group’s Web site pro­mot­ed Don, Jr.,’s appear­ance for weeks, fea­tur­ing a pho­to of him rais­ing a clenched fist. Its pro­mo­tion­al mate­ri­als include a quote from the younger Trump prais­ing Turn­ing Point: “What you guys have done” is “just amaz­ing.” Lara Trump, the wife of Don, Jr.,’s broth­er Eric, is also involved with the group. In West Palm Beach on Wednes­day, she host­ed a lun­cheon pro­mot­ing Turn­ing Point’s com­ing Young Women’s Lead­er­ship Sum­mit. The group’s twen­ty-four-year-old exec­u­tive direc­tor and founder, Char­lie Kirk, told me that he counts Don, Jr., as “a per­son­al friend.”

    Turn­ing Point casts itself as a grass­roots response to what it per­ceives as lib­er­al intol­er­ance on col­lege cam­pus­es. Kirk has called col­lege cam­pus­es “islands of total­i­tar­i­an­ism”; he and his sup­port­ers con­tend that con­ser­v­a­tives are the true vic­tims of dis­crim­i­na­tion in Amer­i­ca, and he has vowed to fight back on behalf of what he has called his “Team Right.” Kirk is a fre­quent guest on Fox News, and last sum­mer he was invit­ed to give a speech at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion. That was where he met Don­ald Trump, Jr., and “hit it off” with him, Kirk said. After the con­ven­tion, Kirk divid­ed his time between Turn­ing Point activ­i­ties and work­ing for the Trump cam­paign as a spe­cial­ist in youth out­reach. “I helped coör­di­nate some rather suc­cess­ful events with him,” Kirk told me, refer­ring to Don, Jr., “and I also car­ried his bags.” When friends threw Kirk a sur­prise birth­day par­ty ear­li­er this year, Don, Jr., attend­ed, as did Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka, the for­mer Trump White House advis­er.
    ...

    Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka and Don, Jr. show up for your sur­prise birth­day par­ty. The joys of being a right-wing hack.

    And, as we should expect for a group with a nation­al field direc­tor who open­ly hates black peo­ple, the black employ­ees did­n’t feel wel­come. And the only black field direc­tor was fired of Mar­tin Luther King, Jr., Day:

    ...
    For­mer Turn­ing Point employ­ees say that the orga­ni­za­tion was a dif­fi­cult work­place and rife with ten­sion, some of it racial. Gabrielle Fequiere, a for­mer Turn­ing Point employ­ee, told me that she was the only African-Amer­i­can hired as a field direc­tor when she worked with the group, three years ago. “In look­ing back, I think it was racist,” she said. “At the time, I was blam­ing myself, and I thought I did some­thing wrong.” Fequiere, who now works as a mod­el, recalled that the young black recruits that she brought into the orga­ni­za­tion sud­den­ly found them­selves dis­in­vit­ed from the group’s annu­al stu­dent sum­mit, and that when she her­self attend­ed, she watched speak­ers there who “spoke bad­ly about black women hav­ing all these babies out of wed­lock. It was real­ly offen­sive.” (Kirk, through a spokesman, denied that any such inci­dents occurred, and said, “These accu­sa­tions are absolute­ly base­less and even absurd.”)

    Fequiere said that Clan­ton fired her on Mar­tin Luther King, Jr., Day, on the grounds that she was not per­form­ing her job well. “I was the only black Amer­i­can employ­ee they had, and they fired me on M.L.K. Day—it was so rude!” Fequiere told me. She added, “I felt very uncom­fort­able work­ing there because I was black,” but she said she had seen white employ­ees mis­treat­ed, as well. “My Demo­c­ra­t­ic friends had told me that some Repub­li­cans didn’t care about the poor and minori­ties, and I thought it wasn’t true, but then I found the peo­ple they were talk­ing about!”

    Speak­ers at Turn­ing Point events on var­i­ous col­lege cam­pus­es have been accused of going out of their way to thumb their noses at eth­nic and cul­tur­al sen­si­tiv­i­ties. The con­ser­v­a­tive provo­ca­teur Milo Yiannopou­los, for instance, whose appear­ance Turn­ing Point co-host­ed with the Col­lege Repub­li­cans at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Col­orado, in Boul­der, said that despite being gay, he hat­ed “fag­gots,” les­bians, and fem­i­nists, who, he said, “fuck­ing hate men.”

    In an effort to mock cam­pus oppo­si­tion to hate speech, mem­bers of the Turn­ing Point chap­ter at Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty staged a protest last fall in which they appeared on cam­pus wear­ing adult dia­pers and suck­ing on paci­fiers while pro­claim­ing “Safe Spaces are for Chil­dren.” The protest stirred wide­spread ridicule, and Kirk’s spokesman said that he dis­ap­proved of the dis­play and lat­er issued guide­lines against oth­er chap­ters repeat­ing it
    ...

    And Turn­ing Point can pay for these staffers with his mil­lions in anony­mous dona­tions. Which are tax deductible because it calls itself a char­i­ty. Despite lend­ing its staff to Repub­li­can cam­paigns. It’s the kind of thing that’s not going to b e lim­it­ed to Turn­ing Point but is instead like­ly an exam­ple of how a lot of polit­i­cal ‘char­i­ties’ oper­ate to giv­ing secret bil­lion­aires more bang for their buck:

    ...
    Kirk grew up in Wheel­ing, Illi­nois, and was an Eagle Scout; in a 2015 speech to the Con­ser­v­a­tive Forum of Sil­i­con Val­ley, he said that his “No. 1 dream in life” was to attend West Point, but the slot he con­sid­ered his went to “a far less-qual­i­fied can­di­date of a dif­fer­ent gen­der and a dif­fer­ent per­sua­sion” whose test scores he claimed he knew. (Kirk said he was being sar­cas­tic when he made the com­ment.) An old­er acquain­tance encour­aged him to for­go col­lege and launch a con­ser­v­a­tive ana­logue to the pro­gres­sive advo­ca­cy group MoveOn.org. Kirk acknowl­edged in an inter­view that it is some­thing of an irony that he heads an orga­ni­za­tion devot­ed to wag­ing polit­i­cal war­fare on cam­pus­es when he nev­er actu­al­ly attend­ed col­lege him­self. “I joke that I wasn’t smart enough to go to a four-year school,” Kirk told me, although he not­ed that he con­tin­ued his stud­ies at a com­mu­ni­ty col­lege.

    MoveOn, how­ev­er, has one part set up as a super PAC, and anoth­er as a 501©4 “social-wel­fare group,” both of which are legal­ly allowed to engage in polit­i­cal elec­tions. It also has a pol­i­cy of dis­clos­ing the names of any­one con­tribut­ing five thou­sand dol­lars or more. In con­trast, Turn­ing Point is a 501©3 char­i­ty. This means that, unlike MoveOn donors, Turn­ing Point donors can take tax deduc­tions for their con­tri­bu­tions and remain anony­mous. In exchange for these ben­e­fits, how­ev­er, the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice strict­ly pro­hibits char­i­ties such as Turn­ing Point from engag­ing either direct­ly or indi­rect­ly in polit­i­cal elec­tions.

    Sev­er­al for­mer Turn­ing Point employ­ees told me in inter­views that they felt they were asked to par­tic­i­pate in activ­i­ties that crossed lines drawn by cam­paign-finance laws for groups like theirs. Pay­den Hall, who worked for Turn­ing Point dur­ing the 2016 Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, told me that Clan­ton, who was her boss, e‑mailed her at her Turn­ing Point address to make arrange­ments for her to coör­di­nate with Gin­ni Thomas, the wife of the Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas, to help Ted Cruz’s Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. “That’s where the ambi­gu­i­ty began,” Hall recalled. Soon after, she said, Gin­ni Thomas, who was sup­port­ing Cruz’s can­di­da­cy and is on Turn­ing Point’s advi­so­ry coun­cil, left a voice mes­sage for Hall and her sis­ter, who also worked for Turn­ing Point, say­ing that she was send­ing two hun­dred Cruz plac­ards to them to dis­trib­ute in the com­ing Wis­con­sin Pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry.

    “Crys­tal gave Gin­ni Thomas my pri­vate mail­ing address with­out my per­mis­sion,” Hall recalled. “They gave out employ­ees’ per­son­al infor­ma­tion to the wife of a Supreme Court Jus­tice.” The next thing she knew, she said, hun­dreds of Cruz plac­ards arrived at her home. “We threw them out,” Hall said. She was a Cruz sup­port­er, but, she says, “We want­ed to vol­un­teer on our own terms, not to give in to pres­sure from a boss. I felt that if it wasn’t cross­ing a legal line, it was cross­ing a pro­fes­sion­al one.”
    ...

    Keep in mind that these are a bunch of for­mer employ­ees giv­ing these tes­ti­monies. Seems like a pret­ty crap­py place to work.

    So how many resources does Turn­ing Point actu­al­ly have on hand to lend to cam­paigns like Cruz’s and act as a polit­i­cal oper­a­tive tax shel­ter? Well, it appears to have an $8 mil­lion annu­al bud­get. Raised from the ener­gy indus­try:

    ...
    In a phone inter­view, Kirk declined to iden­ti­fy the donors who have sup­plied his group’s eight-mil­lion-dol­lar-plus annu­al bud­get, not­ing that many pre­fer to remain anony­mous. But Kirk has spo­ken and fund-raised at var­i­ous closed-door ener­gy-indus­try gath­er­ings, includ­ing those of the 2017 board meet­ing of the Nation­al Min­ing Asso­ci­a­tion and the 2016 annu­al meet­ing of the Inde­pen­dent Petro­le­um Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­ca. In our inter­view, Kirk acknowl­edged that some of his donors “are in the fos­sil-fuel space.”

    Kirk’s ties to fos­sil-fuel mag­nates are con­tro­ver­sial because Turn­ing Point has helped orga­nize oppo­si­tion on cam­pus­es to stu­dents call­ing for schools to divest from fos­sil-fuel com­pa­nies. Turn­ing Point dis­trib­uted a guide for col­lege stu­dents with a fore­word by Kirk, titled “10 Ways Fos­sil Fuels Improve Our Dai­ly Lives.” In it, he argues, “Across the nation, col­lege stu­dents are clam­or­ing for their cam­pus­es to divest from fos­sil fuel ... stu­dents are indoc­tri­nat­ed to believe the myth that fos­sil fuels are dirty and renew­able ener­gy is a plau­si­ble alter­na­tive ... ” Turn­ing Point, which also runs an online “Pro­fes­sor Watch List” that tar­gets pro­fes­sors it believes are lib­er­al, blamed “left­ist pro­fes­sors” in its book­let for hav­ing “per­pet­u­at­ed” these “myths.” In the inter­view, Kirk told me that “We think tar­get­ing fos­sil fuels is rather unfair, and it is not real­ly in the best inter­ests of the uni­ver­si­ties to favor one type of polit­i­cal agen­da over anoth­er.” It’s a mes­sage that “went great,” he said, when he deliv­ered it at ener­gy-indus­try meet­ings.
    ...

    And this ener­gy indus­try-fund­ed nation­al right-wing cam­pus activism group ded­i­cat­ed to por­tray­ing con­ser­v­a­tives as a per­se­cut­ed class on cam­pus is being used as a vehi­cle for a right-wing takeover of col­lege cam­pus­es across Amer­i­ca:

    ...
    Last May, The Chron­i­cle of High­er Edu­ca­tion pub­lished an inves­tiga­tive report on what it called Turn­ing Point’s “stealth plan for polit­i­cal influ­ence.” The sto­ry recount­ed accu­sa­tions on mul­ti­ple cam­pus­es that the group had fun­nelled mon­ey into stu­dent elec­tions in vio­la­tion of the spend­ing caps and trans­paren­cy require­ments set by those schools. It detailed how stu­dent can­di­dates backed by Turn­ing Point had been forced to drop out of cam­pus elec­tions at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land and Ohio State “after they were caught vio­lat­ing spend­ing rules and attempt­ing to hide the help they received from Turn­ing Point.” It also quot­ed Kirk say­ing in an appear­ance before a con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal group in 2015 that his group was “invest­ing a lot of time and mon­ey and ener­gy” in stu­dent-gov­ern­ment elec­tions. (In the sto­ry, Kirk denied any wrong­do­ing and said it was “com­plete­ly ludi­crous and ridicu­lous that there’s some sort of secret plan.”)

    A copy of a Turn­ing Point brochure pre­pared for poten­tial donors that I obtained pro­vides a glimpse into the group’s tac­tics. (A for­mer Turn­ing Point employ­ee said the brochure was close­ly held, and not post­ed online so that it couldn’t leak.) Its “Cam­pus Vic­to­ry Project” is described as a detailed, mul­ti-phase plan to “com­man­deer the top office of Stu­dent Body Pres­i­dent at each of the most rec­og­niz­able and influ­en­tial Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ties.”

    Phase 1 calls for vic­to­ry in the “Pow­er 5” con­fer­ence schools, includ­ing the Atlantic Coast Con­fer­ence, the Big Ten Con­fer­ence, the Pacif­ic 12 Con­fer­ence, the Big 12 Con­fer­ence, and the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence. Phase 2 calls for win­ning the top stu­dent-gov­ern­ment slots in every Divi­sion 1 N.C.A.A. school, of which it says there are more than three hun­dred. In the first three years of the plan, the brochure says, the group aims to cap­ture the “out­right major­i­ty” of stu­dent-gov­ern­ment posi­tions in eighty per cent of these schools.

    Once in con­trol of stu­dent gov­ern­ments, the brochure says, Turn­ing Point expects its allied cam­pus lead­ers to fol­low a set polit­i­cal agen­da. Among its planks are the defund­ing of pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions on cam­pus, the imple­men­ta­tion of “free speech” poli­cies elim­i­nat­ing bar­ri­ers to hate speech, and the block­ing of all cam­pus “boy­cott, divest­ment and sanc­tions” move­ments. Turn­ing Point’s agen­da also calls for the stu­dent lead­ers it empow­ers to use stu­dent resources to host speak­ers and forums pro­mot­ing “Amer­i­can Excep­tion­al­ism and Free Mar­ket ideals on cam­pus.”

    Today, Turn­ing Point claims to have a pres­ence on more than a thou­sand col­lege cam­pus­es nation­wide, and to have “a stronger, more orga­nized pres­ence than all the left-wing cam­pus groups com­bined.” Kirk told me his group had start­ed three hun­dred new chap­ters in the past year. The Cam­pus Vic­to­ry Project brochure names more than fifty four-year col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties where it claims the group helped effec­tu­ate stu­dent gov­ern­ment vic­to­ries in the 2016–17 year, includ­ing the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les, Syra­cuse, Pur­due, Michi­gan State, Wake For­est, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and it names a hun­dred and twen­ty-two more schools whose gov­ern­ments the group hopes to “com­man­deer” in Phase 2. The brochure notes that com­plet­ing the task will take mon­ey: specif­i­cal­ly, $2.2 mil­lion.
    ...

    Once in con­trol of stu­dent gov­ern­ments, the brochure says, Turn­ing Point expects its allied cam­pus lead­ers to fol­low a set polit­i­cal agen­da. Among its planks are the defund­ing of pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions on cam­pus, the imple­men­ta­tion of “free speech” poli­cies elim­i­nat­ing bar­ri­ers to hate speech, and the block­ing of all cam­pus “boy­cott, divest­ment and sanc­tions” move­ments. Turn­ing Point’s agen­da also calls for the stu­dent lead­ers it empow­ers to use stu­dent resources to host speak­ers and forums pro­mot­ing “Amer­i­can Excep­tion­al­ism and Free Mar­ket ideals on cam­pus.””

    That’s the plan: defund left-wing groups on cam­pus and get rid of cam­pus hate speech laws.

    As Andy Mac­Crack­en, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Nation­al Cam­pus Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, puts it at the end, this is an invest­ment in the thought lead­ers of the tomor­row. Lit­er­al­ly an attempt to hijack stu­dent gov­ern­ments and, in the process, cre­ate young con­ser­v­a­tive ‘thought lead­ers’ who will hope­ful­ly be influ­en­tial decades lat­er. And, no, there does­n’t appear to be a left-wing equiv­a­lent of a group like this:

    ...
    Andy Mac­Crack­en, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Nation­al Cam­pus Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, said he wor­ries that cam­pus elec­tions are “par­tic­u­lar­ly vul­ner­a­ble” to out­side mon­ey, “because there aren’t real­ly any stan­dard rules.” Mac­Crack­en says it’s been “shock­ing to see how much of an oper­a­tion there is from Turn­ing Point,” adding that “there’s real­ly noth­ing com­pa­ra­ble that I’m aware of from left-wing groups.”. The push, he sug­gest­ed, reflects a recog­ni­tion on the part of con­ser­v­a­tives about the future val­ue of stu­dent lead­ers. “I can total­ly imag­ine they’re think­ing that if we can win this on cam­pus­es, they will be the thought lead­ers down the road. This is a way to win it effi­cient­ly at the start. The chal­lenge, though,” he says, “is that so much of this is in the dark.”
    ...

    “I can total­ly imag­ine they’re think­ing that if we can win this on cam­pus­es, they will be the thought lead­ers down the road. This is a way to win it effi­cient­ly at the start. The chal­lenge, though, is that so much of this is in the dark.”

    An invest­ment in the future of thought by try­ing to take con­trol of cam­pus­es to fur­ther the far-right agen­da of the ener­gy sec­tor. There’s no short­age of omi­nous­ness there.

    So what should we expect from Turn­ing Point? Will it suc­ceed in its stealth cam­pus cru­sade? Well, as the fol­low­ing piece from the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter describes, it appears that Turn­ing Point might have some more prob­lems with dis­grun­tled work­ers. But it’s a very dif­fer­ent prob­lem with the work­ers cam­paign­ing about racism and cam­paign financier vio­la­tions:

    On Feb­ru­ary 12th, Kaitlin Ben­nett, the pres­i­dent of the Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty chap­ter of Turn­ing Point USA, pub­lished a let­ter list­ing her rea­sons for resign­ing. And at the core of her com­plaints was what she saw as hypocrisy by TPUSA founder Char­lie Kirk over his refusal to allow her to invite ‘Alt Right’ celebri­ty Kyle ‘the Based Stick­man’ Chap­man to speak at an event because Kirk wants the group to dis­tance itself from the ‘Alt Right’. Ben­nett point­ed out the hypocrisy by not­ing how Kirk had recent­ly liked a tweet by James Alsupp, a white nation­al­ist icon.

    And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle lays out, this out­burst from Ben­nett hap­pened just 10 days after Kirk had to pub­licly denounce mem­bers of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­ers Par­ty (TWP) dur­ing a speech at the Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty at Fort Collins. The TWP — which is Matt Hem­bach’s youth-ori­ent­ed neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion — had been can­vass­ing anti-immi­grant fliers on the cam­pus ear­li­er that week, which sounds like pig­gy-back­ing on Kirk’s appear­ance. And then dur­ing Kirk’s speech some of the TWP mem­bers showed up out­side with masks and shields and start­ed chant­i­ng “blood and soil!”. So of course Kirk denounces them at that moment. You almost have to won­der if that was the point of the spec­ta­cle. To give Kirk a chance to denounce them while get­ting a bunch of atten­tion.

    But that was the con­text of Ben­net­t’s pub­lic res­ig­na­tion: Kirk had denounced the neo-Nazi Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­ers Par­ty peo­ple in masks chant­i­ng “blood and soil!” 10 days ear­li­er and he would­n’t let Ben­nett invite ‘Alt Right’ celebri­ty Kyle ‘Stick­man’ Chap­man to come speak. So it seems pret­ty safe to say that Turn­ing Point USA has an ‘Alt Right’ prob­lem:

    South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter

    Turn­ing Point USA’s bloom­ing romance with the alt-right

    Bren­dan Joel Kel­ley
    Feb­ru­ary 16, 2018

    On Mon­day, Feb­ru­ary 12, Kaitlin Ben­nett, pres­i­dent of the Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty chap­ter of Turn­ing Point USA (TPUSA), a self-pro­claimed “stu­dent move­ment for free mar­kets and lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment,” post­ed a scathing res­ig­na­tion let­ter online titled “I’m Turn­ing Point USA’s Top Activist in the Coun­try, & I Quit this Shit­ty Orga­ni­za­tion.”

    Addressed to a field direc­tor and a region­al man­ag­er for TPUSA, Frankie O’Laughlin and Alana Mas­trange­lo, respec­tive­ly, the let­ter detailed Bennett’s per­ceived lack of sup­port from the nation­al orga­ni­za­tion, but made some point­ed claims relat­ed to the racist “alt-right.”

    Ben­nett assert­ed that O’Laughlin “told us we were not allowed to bring Kyle Chap­man (the Based Stick­man) to our cam­pus since Turn­ing Point wants to dis­tance itself from the alt-right.” Chap­man is the founder of the Proud Boys-affil­i­at­ed Fra­ter­nal Order of Alt Knights, which he called the “tac­ti­cal defen­sive arm” of the “west­ern chau­vin­ist” Proud Boys.

    Ben­nett went on to point out the hypocrisy of O’Laughlin reject­ing Chap­man as a guest, since O’Laughlin him­self was “lik­ing tweets from noto­ri­ous Char­lottesville attendee and white nation­al­ist icon, James All­supp,” and post­ed a screen­grab of an All­sup tweet O’Laughlin liked. All­sup is an alt-right YouTube per­son­al­i­ty and speaks at white nation­al­ist ral­lies.

    The same day Bennett’s res­ig­na­tion let­ter was post­ed online, the Kent State chap­ter of TPUSA dis­band­ed itself. Ben­nett did not respond to a request for com­ment from Hate­watch.

    Just 10 days ear­li­er, on Feb­ru­ary 2, a speak­ing engage­ment at Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty (CSU) in Fort Collins, Col­orado, by TPUSA founder and direc­tor Char­lie Kirk attract­ed a con­tin­gent of white nation­al­ists from the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty (TWP). In the runup to the event, anti-immi­grant fliers attrib­uted to TWP had been post­ed on the CSU cam­pus, caus­ing both CSU’s pres­i­dent and its local TPUSA chap­ter to respond.

    “The TWP goes by var­i­ous names online, but let me keep this sim­ple: a Nazi is a Nazi is a Nazi. And the mem­bers of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty are unapolo­getic Nazis who advo­cate mur­der­ing all those who don’t align with their world­view,” CSU pres­i­dent Tony Frank wrote in a pub­lic state­ment.

    Regard­ing Kirk’s speak­ing engage­ment, titled “Smash­ing Social­ism,” Frank wrote, “the recent appear­ance of white nation­al­ist rhetoric on cam­pus has been con­flat­ed with this speak­er and caused con­cerns about the safe­ty and secu­ri­ty of reli­gious groups, peo­ple of col­or, and oth­er tar­get­ed pop­u­la­tions rel­a­tive to pro­tes­tors and counter-pro­tes­tors that may show up on cam­pus Fri­day evening.”

    CSU’s TPUSA chap­ter respond­ed with a state­ment say­ing, “TPUSA at CSU and UNC [Uni­ver­si­ty of North­ern Col­orado] con­demns white nation­al­ism and embraces stu­dents from all back­grounds.”

    While TPUSA founder Kirk was giv­ing his speech, a group of alleged TWP mem­bers showed up on cam­pus wear­ing masks and car­ry­ing shields, chant­i­ng the Nazi ral­ly­ing cry “blood and soil!” The neo-Nazis briefly clashed with anti-racist pro­test­ers, and Kirk lat­er crowed about the con­fronta­tion on Twit­ter:

    Got heat­ed today after my speech today at Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty
    Had ANTIFA, dis­gust­ing white-nation­al­ists, and hun­dreds of pro­tes­tors out­side event
    Why free speech is awe­some: these hand­ful of rad­i­cals screamed at each oth­er while hun­dreds of stu­dents filled our event!

    Dur­ing his speech, Kirk acknowl­edged the white nation­al­ists out­side, but dis­tanced him­self and TPUSA from the neo-Nazis. “That BS they’re try­ing to say out there, it’s not who we are, it’s not what we believe, it’s not what Turn­ing Point believes,” he said.

    “It’s very fun­ny, they say, ‘Oh Char­lie, you must be an eth­no-nation­al­ist because these four peo­ple with no lives show up out­side your event. First of all, that’s a bunch of non­sense. Sec­ond of all, I don’t remem­ber any­one say­ing that when all the com­mu­nists show up to the Demo­c­rat events.”

    Still, in his appear­ance Kirk decried the con­cept of white priv­i­lege, call­ing the idea racist because the idea is based on skin col­or. “They’re try­ing to dis­cred­it good ideas and good argu­ments, just because you’re white, and that’s ridicu­lous,” he said.

    So what exact­ly is Turn­ing Point USA, and why is the orga­ni­za­tion so attrac­tive to neo-Nazis and the alt-right?

    TPUSA claims chap­ters on over 1,000 col­lege and high school cam­pus­es across the coun­try. It mar­kets itself say­ing it pro­motes free­dom, free mar­kets and lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment — a brand of con­ser­vatism square­ly aimed at mil­len­ni­als. Don­ald Trump, Jr., and his sis­ter-in-law Lara Trump have pro­mot­ed TPUSA, and accord­ing to a New York­er expose on the group, “[a]mong its planks are the defund­ing of pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions on cam­pus, the imple­men­ta­tion of ‘free speech’ poli­cies elim­i­nat­ing bar­ri­ers to hate speech, and the block­ing of all cam­pus ‘boy­cott, divest­ment and sanc­tions’ move­ments.”

    TPUSA has also been accused of vio­lat­ing spend­ing cap and trans­paren­cy rules at dif­fer­ent col­lege cam­pus­es by fun­nel­ing “dark mon­ey” into stu­dent gov­ern­ment elec­tions, accord­ing to the New York­er arti­cle. The piece also sug­gest­ed TPUSA may have bro­ken cam­paign finance laws by work­ing to aid Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates in 2016.

    Then there’s TPUSA’s “Pro­fes­sor Watch­list,” a McCarthy-ist web­site fea­tur­ing pro­fes­sors at uni­ver­si­ties across the coun­try who TPUSA says “dis­crim­i­nate against con­ser­v­a­tive stu­dents and advance left­ist pro­pa­gan­da in the class­room.”

    Wendy Lynne Lee, a phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor at Blooms­burg Uni­ver­si­ty (BU) in rur­al Penn­syl­va­nia for more than a quar­ter-cen­tu­ry (who’s not yet on the Pro­fes­sor Watch­list), began track­ing TPUSA’s activ­i­ties in 2016. “Here was an orga­ni­za­tion that had a mis­sion state­ment that said one thing: lib­er­tar­i­an, free mar­ket, con­ser­v­a­tive… fine, but whose activ­i­ties, affil­i­a­tions, sources of fund­ing, whose Twit­ter feed did not cohere, did not line up with its mis­sion state­ment,” she says.

    Lee began col­lect­ing a “bib­li­og­ra­phy” doc­u­ment­ing con­nec­tions between TPUSA, its fun­ders, advi­sors and guest speak­ers and online expres­sions of anti­semitism, anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment, racism, misog­y­ny and anti-LGBT bias, as well as con­nec­tions to promi­nent alt-right per­son­al­i­ties.

    When Lee dis­cov­ered there was a TPUSA chap­ter on her cam­pus at BU, she went to the group’s cam­pus advi­sor with her con­cerns and her bib­li­og­ra­phy. “These kids have free speech rights,” she explains, “but my issue was with for­mal uni­ver­si­ty recog­ni­tion that gets them access to all kinds of uni­ver­si­ty-fund­ed things and the use of the uni­ver­si­ty logo. My objec­tion to them wasn’t that they had a right to be here on cam­pus.”

    Lee failed in her attempt to get TPUSA’s offi­cial cam­pus recog­ni­tion rescind­ed, and as a protest, put a hand-scrawled poster in her office win­dow read­ing “BU-Turn­ing Point USA = Alt-Right = White Suprema­cism.” When a local news report said some stu­dents were con­cerned the sign endorsed white suprema­cy, she changed it to read, “Reject white suprema­cism. Reject BU-Turn­ing Point USA.”

    The back­lash was swift. Days lat­er posters appeared on Lee’s cam­pus read­ing, “WARNING COMMUNIST PROFESSORS TEACH ON THIS CAMPUS.” An online meme with a pho­to of an ani­mat­ed Lee yelling behind a podi­um at an anti-frack­ing protest read, “THIS EXTREMIST PROFESSOR CLAIMS THAT FREEDOM IS THE NEW ‘WHITE SUPREMACY’ — WAIT… THAT WOMAN IS ALLOWED TO TEACH?!” It was shared near­ly 3,000 times on Face­book..

    One con­nec­tion Lee had high­light­ed in her bib­li­og­ra­phy was with alt-right misog­y­nist Ivan Throne, a pre­pos­ter­ous fig­ure who spoke at TPUSA’s Moun­tain West Region­al Con­fer­ence in Den­ver in March 2017. Throne, who pos­es as a mys­te­ri­ous war­rior per­sona he calls “Dark Tri­ad Man,” and whose book has been endorsed by promi­nent white nation­al­ist Greg John­son on his Counter-Cur­rents web­site, struck back on his own web­site in an arti­cle titled “The Incred­i­ble Howl­ing Damp Vira­go of Blooms­burg Uni­ver­si­ty,” imply­ing Lee was involved in the ecoter­ror­ism move­ment.

    ...

    Kirk him­self, besides advo­cat­ing for the elim­i­na­tion of so-called safe spaces for minor­i­ty stu­dents on cam­pus and claim­ing that the con­cept of white priv­i­lege is itself racist, recent­ly tweet­ed “Fact: A police offi­cer is 18.5 times more like­ly to be killed by a black male, than an unarmed black man is to be killed by a police offi­cer” (a flawed sta­tis­tic pro­mul­gat­ed by neo­con­ser­v­a­tive con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Den­nis Prager). Kirk has also post­ed anti-immi­grant and anti-Mus­lim tweets.

    A mem­ber of TPUSA’s advi­so­ry coun­cil, mul­ti­mil­lion­aire Fos­ter Friess, has fund­ed anti-Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions and urged stu­dents to “be more intol­er­ant” in a com­mence­ment speech.

    Anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment seems all too com­mon in TPUSA. The pres­i­dent of TPUSA’s chap­ter at the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Greens­boro, Col­by Weath­er­spoon, has tweet­ed the anti-Mus­lim hash­tag #Islam­Con­trol­Now and claims mem­ber­ship in the misog­y­nis­tic “west­ern chau­vin­ist” Proud Boys in his Twit­ter bio.

    Dur­ing Islam Aware­ness Week at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mia­mi last March, a TPUSA mem­ber, Driena Six­to, co-host­ed a “counter info ses­sion” called “The Truth of Being a Woman of Islam” which its orga­niz­er summed up as “being a woman of Islam often comes with many dan­gers.”

    And TPUSA was blast­ed for anti­semitism after a writer named Adam Wein­stein crit­i­cized the group on Twit­ter by respond­ing on its offi­cial TPUSA account, “The best ‘grift’ this morn­ing is hav­ing a guy named Wein­stein crit­i­cize young peo­ple for want­i­ng few­er hands in their pock­ets. Too good.” TPUSA lat­er delet­ed the tweet and apol­o­gized, say­ing it was a ref­er­ence to Har­vey Wein­stein rather than an insult regard­ing Jew­ish stereo­types.

    TPUSA has also fea­tured for­mer con­gress­man Joe Walsh as a speak­er at events. Walsh has been crit­i­cized as racist and anti-Mus­lim for his con­tro­ver­sial state­ments and tweets, and was fired from a talk radio host gig in 2014 for using racial slurs — which didn’t seem to deter him, since he sub­se­quent­ly tweet­ed, “Found out if I said Red­skins or Crack­er or Red­neck Bible Thumper, I could stay on. But if I said Nig­ger or Spick, they cut me off.”

    While TPUSA and Char­lie Kirk claim to “con­demn” the racist alt-right that seem to sup­port the orga­ni­za­tion, as wit­nessed by the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty demon­stra­tion in Fort Collins in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, evi­dence is amass­ing that the attrac­tion between the enti­ties is large­ly mutu­al.

    ———-

    “Turn­ing Point USA’s bloom­ing romance with the alt-right” by Bren­dan Joel Kel­ley; South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter; 02/16/2018

    “While TPUSA and Char­lie Kirk claim to “con­demn” the racist alt-right that seem to sup­port the orga­ni­za­tion, as wit­nessed by the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty demon­stra­tion in Fort Collins in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, evi­dence is amass­ing that the attrac­tion between the enti­ties is large­ly mutu­al.”

    Yes indeed, the evi­dence is amass­ing that Turn­ing Point USA is real­ly, real­ly right-wing. And racist. And basi­cal­ly an ‘Alt Right’ front group for the cam­pus­es. Fund­ed by wealthy peo­ple from the petro­le­um sec­tor and Fos­ter Friess. And when Wendy Lynne Lee, a phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor at Blooms­burg Uni­ver­si­ty (BU) in rur­al Penn­syl­va­nia, exposed these ele­ments of Turn­ing Point USA, they waged an inter­net meme cam­paign against her:

    ...
    Wendy Lynne Lee, a phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor at Blooms­burg Uni­ver­si­ty (BU) in rur­al Penn­syl­va­nia for more than a quar­ter-cen­tu­ry (who’s not yet on the Pro­fes­sor Watch­list), began track­ing TPUSA’s activ­i­ties in 2016. “Here was an orga­ni­za­tion that had a mis­sion state­ment that said one thing: lib­er­tar­i­an, free mar­ket, con­ser­v­a­tive… fine, but whose activ­i­ties, affil­i­a­tions, sources of fund­ing, whose Twit­ter feed did not cohere, did not line up with its mis­sion state­ment,” she says.

    Lee began col­lect­ing a “bib­li­og­ra­phy” doc­u­ment­ing con­nec­tions between TPUSA, its fun­ders, advi­sors and guest speak­ers and online expres­sions of anti­semitism, anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment, racism, misog­y­ny and anti-LGBT bias, as well as con­nec­tions to promi­nent alt-right per­son­al­i­ties.

    When Lee dis­cov­ered there was a TPUSA chap­ter on her cam­pus at BU, she went to the group’s cam­pus advi­sor with her con­cerns and her bib­li­og­ra­phy. “These kids have free speech rights,” she explains, “but my issue was with for­mal uni­ver­si­ty recog­ni­tion that gets them access to all kinds of uni­ver­si­ty-fund­ed things and the use of the uni­ver­si­ty logo. My objec­tion to them wasn’t that they had a right to be here on cam­pus.”

    Lee failed in her attempt to get TPUSA’s offi­cial cam­pus recog­ni­tion rescind­ed, and as a protest, put a hand-scrawled poster in her office win­dow read­ing “BU-Turn­ing Point USA = Alt-Right = White Suprema­cism.” When a local news report said some stu­dents were con­cerned the sign endorsed white suprema­cy, she changed it to read, “Reject white suprema­cism. Reject BU-Turn­ing Point USA.”

    The back­lash was swift. Days lat­er posters appeared on Lee’s cam­pus read­ing, “WARNING COMMUNIST PROFESSORS TEACH ON THIS CAMPUS.” An online meme with a pho­to of an ani­mat­ed Lee yelling behind a podi­um at an anti-frack­ing protest read, “THIS EXTREMIST PROFESSOR CLAIMS THAT FREEDOM IS THE NEW ‘WHITE SUPREMACY’ — WAIT… THAT WOMAN IS ALLOWED TO TEACH?!” It was shared near­ly 3,000 times on Face­book..

    One con­nec­tion Lee had high­light­ed in her bib­li­og­ra­phy was with alt-right misog­y­nist Ivan Throne, a pre­pos­ter­ous fig­ure who spoke at TPUSA’s Moun­tain West Region­al Con­fer­ence in Den­ver in March 2017. Throne, who pos­es as a mys­te­ri­ous war­rior per­sona he calls “Dark Tri­ad Man,” and whose book has been endorsed by promi­nent white nation­al­ist Greg John­son on his Counter-Cur­rents web­site, struck back on his own web­site in an arti­cle titled “The Incred­i­ble Howl­ing Damp Vira­go of Blooms­burg Uni­ver­si­ty,” imply­ing Lee was involved in the ecoter­ror­ism move­ment.
    ...

    And this ‘Alt Right’ ori­en­ta­tion for Turn­ing Point’s agen­da that pro­fes­sor Lee was attacked for expos­ing bub­bled over into pub­lic again when Kaitlin Ben­nett, the pres­i­dent of the Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty chap­ter of Turn­ing Point USA (TPUSA), post­ed her res­ig­na­tion let­ter that angri­ly denounced Char­lie Kirk’s hypocrisy for not let­ting her invite Kyle ‘the Based Stick­man’ Chap­man to speak due to his deci­sion to dis­tance itself from the ‘Alt Right’. And that was 10 days after the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­ers Par­ty Mem­bers showed up and chant­ed “blood and soil!” dur­ing speech by Kirk at Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty (CSU) in Fort Collins, Col­orado:

    ...
    On Mon­day, Feb­ru­ary 12, Kaitlin Ben­nett, pres­i­dent of the Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty chap­ter of Turn­ing Point USA (TPUSA), a self-pro­claimed “stu­dent move­ment for free mar­kets and lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment,” post­ed a scathing res­ig­na­tion let­ter online titled “I’m Turn­ing Point USA’s Top Activist in the Coun­try, & I Quit this Shit­ty Orga­ni­za­tion.”

    Addressed to a field direc­tor and a region­al man­ag­er for TPUSA, Frankie O’Laughlin and Alana Mas­trange­lo, respec­tive­ly, the let­ter detailed Bennett’s per­ceived lack of sup­port from the nation­al orga­ni­za­tion, but made some point­ed claims relat­ed to the racist “alt-right.”

    Ben­nett assert­ed that O’Laughlin “told us we were not allowed to bring Kyle Chap­man (the Based Stick­man) to our cam­pus since Turn­ing Point wants to dis­tance itself from the alt-right.” Chap­man is the founder of the Proud Boys-affil­i­at­ed Fra­ter­nal Order of Alt Knights, which he called the “tac­ti­cal defen­sive arm” of the “west­ern chau­vin­ist” Proud Boys.

    Ben­nett went on to point out the hypocrisy of O’Laughlin reject­ing Chap­man as a guest, since O’Laughlin him­self was “lik­ing tweets from noto­ri­ous Char­lottesville attendee and white nation­al­ist icon, James All­supp,” and post­ed a screen­grab of an All­sup tweet O’Laughlin liked. All­sup is an alt-right YouTube per­son­al­i­ty and speaks at white nation­al­ist ral­lies.

    The same day Bennett’s res­ig­na­tion let­ter was post­ed online, the Kent State chap­ter of TPUSA dis­band­ed itself. Ben­nett did not respond to a request for com­ment from Hate­watch.

    Just 10 days ear­li­er, on Feb­ru­ary 2, a speak­ing engage­ment at Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty (CSU) in Fort Collins, Col­orado, by TPUSA founder and direc­tor Char­lie Kirk attract­ed a con­tin­gent of white nation­al­ists from the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty (TWP). In the runup to the event, anti-immi­grant fliers attrib­uted to TWP had been post­ed on the CSU cam­pus, caus­ing both CSU’s pres­i­dent and its local TPUSA chap­ter to respond.
    ...

    Yes, Turn­ing Point USA, clear­ly has an ‘Alt Right’ prob­lem. Accord­ing to some for­mer employ­ees, it’s too racist. But accord­ing Kaitlin Ben­nett, it was­n’t racist enough. Or rather, Char­lie Kirk was­n’t allow­ing her to be true to the real ‘Alt Right’ view­point that Kirk him­self had embraced. So Ben­nett was most­ly pissed they weren’t allowed to be open­ly ‘Alt Right’. Which she felt was dis­hon­est and war­rant­ed the pub­lic res­ig­na­tion.

    So that’s how the GOP’s cam­pus out­reach efforts are omi­nous­ly going.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 4, 2018, 10:45 pm
  13. Here’s a rather dis­turb­ing arti­cle about a neo-Nazi stu­dent at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka-Lin­coln that direct­ly relates to all of the out­cry over the missed oppor­tu­ni­ties to stop Niko­las Cruz — the neo-Nazi who attacked his high school in Park­land, Flori­da, after repeat­ed­ly mak­ing clear his vio­lent fan­tasies on social media:

    Videos of a self-described white nation­al­ist UNL stu­dent, Daniel Kleve, chat­ting with oth­er neo-Nazis on “Google Hang­outs” and basi­cal­ly declar­ing that he was very intent on com­mit­ting extreme vio­lence in the name of a neo-Nazi rev­o­lu­tion, but not com­mit­ting that vio­lence yet because the move­ment was­n’t ready, was leaked by Antifa Nebras­ka and shown to the school admin­is­tra­tion. And that’s not the only video of Kleve express­ing vio­lent desires. Kleve also worked secu­ri­ty at the “Unite the Right” march in Char­lottesville last year and is gen­er­al­ly quite open about his view. As a result of the videos, some stu­dents at UNL are ask­ing he be expelled over con­cerns that he’s a tick­ing time-bomb on cam­pus. The UNL admin­is­tra­tion declined to take any action after review­ing the video and say he has­n’t made any direct threats and so there’s noth­ing they can do.

    It’s a par­tic­u­lar­ly top­i­cal case giv­en the numer­ous missed oppor­tu­ni­ties to inter­vene with Niko­las Cruz giv­en all the warn­ing signs and it rais­es a grim ques­tion for soci­ety posed by the rise of the neo-Nazi ‘Alt Right’ in gen­er­al:

    How should soci­ety response to a move­ment with a long track record of extreme vio­lence that makes very clear its plan­ning on vio­lence even more vio­lence but has also made it clear that its pri­ma­ry recruit­ing tac­tic is to ‘play the vic­tim’ and act like they are ‘fight­ing for free­dom’ against a ‘repres­sive mul­ti­cul­tur­al state’ that does­n’t give them the free­dom to vio­lent­ly sub­ju­gate those they view as infe­ri­or? A move­ment of vio­lence-prone trolls who thrive on nurs­ing a vic­tim­hood nar­ra­tive to jus­ti­fy fur­ther vio­lence. Because that’s a move­ment that real­ly is a ‘tick­ing time-bomb’. It’s such a sad and twist­ed sit­u­a­tion but that’s where we are. How should soci­ety address this?:

    Mic

    Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka-Lin­coln stu­dents fear alt-right activist on cam­pus is a tick­ing time bomb

    By Chauncey Alcorn
    | Feb. 14, 2018

    Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebraska-Lincoln’s stu­dent gov­ern­ment is host­ing a “Hate Will Nev­er Win” ral­ly Wednes­day to send a mes­sage of defi­ance to their fel­low Corn­husker, a self-described white nation­al­ist named Daniel Kleve.

    The action is just the lat­est in a string of events over the last nine days that start­ed when a video of Kleve talk­ing about his racist views and lust for vio­lence went viral Feb. 5. On Sat­ur­day, the UNL men’s bas­ket­ball team wore match­ing “Hate Will Nev­er Win” T‑shirts in response to the con­tro­ver­sy. Oth­er UNL stu­dents host­ed their own town-hall-style meet­ing Tues­day to dis­cuss ways to address the sit­u­a­tion on cam­pus.

    “Just because I dress like a normie, a pre­sentable per­son, doesn’t mean that I don’t love vio­lence,” Kleve said in one of the Google Hang­out videos leaked by the antifas­cist activist group Antifa Nebras­ka. “I want to be vio­lent. Trust me. Real­ly vio­lent. It’s just not the right time. We need to build our­selves up. We need to be dis­ci­plined. We need to train our­selves and make our­selves hard ... so that when the time comes, we can do what needs to be done.”

    [see video of Kleve express­ing his desire for extreme vio­lence “when the time comes”]

    Since Feb. 5, pic­tures have resur­faced show­ing Kleve stand­ing with white suprema­cist mem­bers of Van­guard Amer­i­ca as they beat a man Aug. 12 dur­ing the infa­mous “Unite the Right” ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia. James Alex Fields, the sus­pect in the car attack that killed 32-year-old Heather Hey­er the same day, was also pho­tographed car­ry­ing a Van­guard-pro­vid­ed shield.

    Anoth­er video shows Kleve talk­ing about want­i­ng to shoot a “Niger­ian dude” who pre­vi­ous­ly asked him about his “Pagan tat­toos.”

    An Antifa Nebras­ka activist named Nestor said in an inter­view that his orga­ni­za­tion has been mon­i­tor­ing Kleve’s activ­i­ties for about a year and had sent leaked pic­tures and screen­shots from Kleve’s now-pri­vate social media accounts to UNL admin­is­tra­tors six months ago. Nestor, who is also a stu­dent at the school, said his group went pub­lic with the videos because the school refused to do any­thing about Kleve. Some of the leaked images show Kleve post­ing threat­en­ing mes­sages to Jew­ish peo­ple, using racial slurs and stereo­typ­i­cal memes.

    “We’ve been try­ing to bring this issue up for six months now. UNL didn’t take any action,” Nestor said Tues­day. “They’re walk­ing this real­ly fine line where they’re say­ing, ‘He’s not doing any­thing wrong. We can’t prove this. We can’t prove that.’”

    Accord­ing to Nestor, one of Kleve’s posts read “Hap­py James Earl Ray Day,” cel­e­brat­ing the man who assas­si­nat­ed Dr. Mar­tin Luther King Jr. In anoth­er post-Char­lottesville post, Kleve announced his plans to “cre­ate the biggest far-right pres­ence in Nebras­ka since the days of the [Ku Klux] Klan.”

    UNL admin­is­tra­tors have host­ed mul­ti­ple town hall meet­ings in recent days allow­ing stu­dents to express their con­cerns about Kleve. The school has refused to expel, how­ev­er, even though oth­er uni­ver­si­ties have expelled stu­dents for espous­ing sim­i­lar racist rhetoric.

    It’s a free speech debate col­leges seem to be fac­ing in greater num­bers since Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion. Far-right per­son­al­i­ties like Milo Yiannopou­los, Richard Spencer and oth­ers have been barred from speak­ing on col­lege cam­pus­es by pro­gres­sive activists and anti-fas­cist demon­stra­tors. Accu­sa­tions of sup­press­ing free speech have com­pelled uni­ver­si­ties to bal­ance pro­tect­ing con­ser­v­a­tive speech and keep­ing stu­dents safe from far-right extrem­ists.

    “Every school has their own code of con­duct that they deal with,” UNL’s inter­im direc­tor of the Jack­ie Gaugh­an Mul­ti­cul­tur­al Cen­ter Char­lie Fos­ter said in a phone inter­view. “If they don’t make direct threats, there’s very lit­tle we can do about that. I go to sleep at night and wake up think­ing about the safe­ty of our stu­dents ... But First Amend­ment rights have to be tak­en seri­ous­ly.”

    Kleve’s rhetoric and pres­ence on cam­pus have many stu­dents say­ing they fear he’s a tick­ing time bomb. Nestor and oth­er UNL stu­dents believe Kleve’s remarks about vio­lence meet the thresh­old for being con­sid­ered threat­en­ing. Mul­ti­ple stu­dents have called out the school’s reac­tion on social media.

    “They aren’t tak­ing our safe­ty seri­ous­ly, in my opin­ion,” UNL stu­dent Kyi­ia Rol­lag said in an inter­view. “I am wor­ried, though, that if [Kleve] does get expelled, then he might retal­i­ate. It’s scary because he looks like the major­i­ty [of stu­dents] at my school so I wouldn’t be able to rec­og­nize him. Plus, it is not cer­tain how many fol­low­ers he has recruit­ed already.”

    ...

    Accord­ing to the Anti-Defama­tion League, Kleve and oth­er white nation­al­ist orga­niz­ers have ampli­fied their activ­i­ties at col­leges across the coun­try since Sep­tem­ber 2016, the final few months of Trump’s suc­cess­ful White House bid. Since then, there have been 346 con­firmed reports of “white suprema­cist pro­pa­gan­da” being found on uni­ver­si­ty grounds.

    White nation­al­ists like Kleve killed 18 Amer­i­cans in 2017, more than any oth­er extrem­ist group, includ­ing the Islam­ic state and Al Qae­da. Their vic­tims includ­ed black men like U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III and Tim­o­thy Caugh­man, who were fatal­ly stabbed at ran­dom by white men with self-avowed or alleged alt-right ties.

    In recent days, Kleve has post­ed mul­ti­ple videos on his YouTube chan­nel claim­ing the viral video released by Antifa Nebras­ka was edit­ed to make him seem like a “Hol­ly­wood vil­lain” and “domes­tic ter­ror­ist,” adding that he and oth­er white nation­al­ists are the ones being vic­tim­ized.

    “I’ve received over­whelm­ing sup­port from many Nebraskans, which I appre­ci­ate so much,” Kleve said. “We’re not going to be intim­i­dat­ed. We’re not going to be ashamed. We’re going to be proud to be white.”

    ———-

    “Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka-Lin­coln stu­dents fear alt-right activist on cam­pus is a tick­ing time bomb” by Chauncey Alcorn; Mic; 02/14/2018

    ““Just because I dress like a normie, a pre­sentable per­son, doesn’t mean that I don’t love vio­lence,” Kleve said in one of the Google Hang­out videos leaked by the antifas­cist activist group Antifa Nebras­ka. “I want to be vio­lent. Trust me. Real­ly vio­lent. It’s just not the right time. We need to build our­selves up. We need to be dis­ci­plined. We need to train our­selves and make our­selves hard ... so that when the time comes, we can do what needs to be done.””

    That’s Daniel Kleve, in his own words. Words that sound a lot like what neo-Nazis around the world. And that’s part of what makes it so dis­turb­ing: it’s not just the rant­i­ngs of a lone indi­vid­ual. It’s the expres­sion of a long-held goal of the far-right. Recruit now in prepa­ra­tion for some sort of sur­prise over­whelm­ing attack on soci­ety at some point in the future. In oth­er words, a plan to car­ry out the Nazi takeover plot in Ser­pen­t’s Walk. That’s what Kleve was express­ing in that leaked video.

    And the video is far from the only evi­dence that Kleve is a neo-Nazi. There’s the pho­tos of him stand­ing with mem­bers of Van­guard Amer­i­ca at the Unite the Right ral­ly in Char­lottesville. And anoth­er video where he shares his desire to shoot a “Niger­ian dude” who pre­vi­ous­ly asked him about his “Pagan tat­toos”:

    ...
    Since Feb. 5, pic­tures have resur­faced show­ing Kleve stand­ing with white suprema­cist mem­bers of Van­guard Amer­i­ca as they beat a man Aug. 12 dur­ing the infa­mous “Unite the Right” ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia. James Alex Fields, the sus­pect in the car attack that killed 32-year-old Heather Hey­er the same day, was also pho­tographed car­ry­ing a Van­guard-pro­vid­ed shield.

    Anoth­er video shows Kleve talk­ing about want­i­ng to shoot a “Niger­ian dude” who pre­vi­ous­ly asked him about his “Pagan tat­toos.”
    ...

    And Antifa Nebras­ka has spent months try­ing to get the UNL admin­is­tra­tion to take some sort of action, but to no avail. Because Kleve is tech­ni­cal­ly not ‘doing any­thing wrong’ since there’s no proof that he’s actu­al­ly going to com­mit an act of vio­lence:

    ...
    An Antifa Nebras­ka activist named Nestor said in an inter­view that his orga­ni­za­tion has been mon­i­tor­ing Kleve’s activ­i­ties for about a year and had sent leaked pic­tures and screen­shots from Kleve’s now-pri­vate social media accounts to UNL admin­is­tra­tors six months ago. Nestor, who is also a stu­dent at the school, said his group went pub­lic with the videos because the school refused to do any­thing about Kleve. Some of the leaked images show Kleve post­ing threat­en­ing mes­sages to Jew­ish peo­ple, using racial slurs and stereo­typ­i­cal memes.

    “We’ve been try­ing to bring this issue up for six months now. UNL didn’t take any action,” Nestor said Tues­day. “They’re walk­ing this real­ly fine line where they’re say­ing, ‘He’s not doing any­thing wrong. We can’t prove this. We can’t prove that.’”

    Accord­ing to Nestor, one of Kleve’s posts read “Hap­py James Earl Ray Day,” cel­e­brat­ing the man who assas­si­nat­ed Dr. Mar­tin Luther King Jr. In anoth­er post-Char­lottesville post, Kleve announced his plans to “cre­ate the biggest far-right pres­ence in Nebras­ka since the days of the [Ku Klux] Klan.”

    UNL admin­is­tra­tors have host­ed mul­ti­ple town hall meet­ings in recent days allow­ing stu­dents to express their con­cerns about Kleve. The school has refused to expel, how­ev­er, even though oth­er uni­ver­si­ties have expelled stu­dents for espous­ing sim­i­lar racist rhetoric.

    It’s a free speech debate col­leges seem to be fac­ing in greater num­bers since Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion. Far-right per­son­al­i­ties like Milo Yiannopou­los, Richard Spencer and oth­ers have been barred from speak­ing on col­lege cam­pus­es by pro­gres­sive activists and anti-fas­cist demon­stra­tors. Accu­sa­tions of sup­press­ing free speech have com­pelled uni­ver­si­ties to bal­ance pro­tect­ing con­ser­v­a­tive speech and keep­ing stu­dents safe from far-right extrem­ists.

    “Every school has their own code of con­duct that they deal with,” UNL’s inter­im direc­tor of the Jack­ie Gaugh­an Mul­ti­cul­tur­al Cen­ter Char­lie Fos­ter said in a phone inter­view. “If they don’t make direct threats, there’s very lit­tle we can do about that. I go to sleep at night and wake up think­ing about the safe­ty of our stu­dents ... But First Amend­ment rights have to be tak­en seri­ous­ly.”
    ...

    “If they don’t make direct threats, there’s very lit­tle we can do about that.”

    That’s the posi­tion of the UNL admin­is­tra­tion. As long as neo-Nazis make gen­er­al threats about orga­niz­ing for the pur­pose of extreme vio­lence it will be pro­tect­ed free-speech. It’s only a prob­lem when it’s a direct threat.

    Not sur­pris­ing­ly, a num­ber of stu­dents feel very dif­fer­ent­ly, and those feel­ings are backed up by the fact the white nation­al­ists killed more peo­ple than al Qae­da and ISIS in the US last year (and that does­n’t count the 17 peo­ple killed by Niko­las Cruz last month):

    ...
    Kleve’s rhetoric and pres­ence on cam­pus have many stu­dents say­ing they fear he’s a tick­ing time bomb. Nestor and oth­er UNL stu­dents believe Kleve’s remarks about vio­lence meet the thresh­old for being con­sid­ered threat­en­ing. Mul­ti­ple stu­dents have called out the school’s reac­tion on social media.

    “They aren’t tak­ing our safe­ty seri­ous­ly, in my opin­ion,” UNL stu­dent Kyi­ia Rol­lag said in an inter­view. “I am wor­ried, though, that if [Kleve] does get expelled, then he might retal­i­ate. It’s scary because he looks like the major­i­ty [of stu­dents] at my school so I wouldn’t be able to rec­og­nize him. Plus, it is not cer­tain how many fol­low­ers he has recruit­ed already.”

    ...

    White nation­al­ists like Kleve killed 18 Amer­i­cans in 2017, more than any oth­er extrem­ist group, includ­ing the Islam­ic state and Al Qae­da. Their vic­tims includ­ed black men like U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III and Tim­o­thy Caugh­man, who were fatal­ly stabbed at ran­dom by white men with self-avowed or alleged alt-right ties.
    ...

    But, of course, Kleve is com­plain­ing about how he’s being framed as some sort of “Hol­ly­wood vil­lain” and “domes­tic ter­ror­ist”, and then falls back on the “we’re the real vic­tims here” far-right ral­ly cry:

    ...
    In recent days, Kleve has post­ed mul­ti­ple videos on his YouTube chan­nel claim­ing the viral video released by Antifa Nebras­ka was edit­ed to make him seem like a “Hol­ly­wood vil­lain” and “domes­tic ter­ror­ist,” adding that he and oth­er white nation­al­ists are the ones being vic­tim­ized.

    “I’ve received over­whelm­ing sup­port from many Nebraskans, which I appre­ci­ate so much,” Kleve said. “We’re not going to be intim­i­dat­ed. We’re not going to be ashamed. We’re going to be proud to be white.”

    That’s right, Kleve and the oth­er white suprema­cists plot­ting a vio­lent sub­ju­ga­tion of soci­ety are the real vic­tims here.

    So giv­en all that, is there any­thing that Kleve could do that would con­sti­tute ‘cross­ing the line’? Some­thing that would make it very clear that this guy real­ly is a tick­ing time-bomb wait­ing for the right time to engage in orga­nized domes­tic ter­ror­ism? The answer is sad­ly very unclear, but as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, Kleve has also post­ed pic­tures of him­self pos­ing with Atom­waf­fen mem­bers along with Face­book posts where he encour­ages peo­ple to fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of ‘the Order’ from The Turn­er Diaries, and that does­n’t appear to have crossed the line:

    Newsweek

    Nebras­ka White Suprema­cist Who Prais­es Vio­lence Pos­es Unique Chal­lenges to Cam­pus Free Speech

    By Michael Edi­son Hay­den
    On 2/13/18 at 12:16 PM

    The Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka-Lin­coln (UNL) receives mes­sages and phones calls about Daniel Kleve all the time these days. The 23-year-old under­grad­u­ate bio­chem­istry major is a white suprema­cist who is overt­ly racist and dan­ger­ous, his class­mates say. They don’t want to share class­es with him, they don’t want to bump into him in a din­ing hall—they don’t want to see the tawny-haired man on cam­pus ever again.

    Antifas­cist Action Nebras­ka, a local group that has devel­oped a nation­al rep­u­ta­tion among activists for the relent­less­ness with which it tracks the move­ments of white suprema­cists, pub­lished a video of Kleve speak­ing with oth­er extrem­ists on Google Hang­out, and it went viral last week, fur­ther inflam­ing the sense of out­rage about him.

    [see Face­book pic of Kleve stand­ing with mem­bers of Atom­waf­fen]

    “Just because I dress like a normie—a reg­u­lar person—doesn’t mean I don’t love vio­lence,” Kleve said to a group of peers regard­ing his ambi­tions as a white suprema­cist. “Trust me. I want to be vio­lent. Trust me. Real­ly vio­lent.”

    Kleve, who is fond of post­ing self­ies with guns to social media, also said that “now is not the right time” for vio­lence, and he has argued that the edit­ed video took his words out of context—but the lan­guage spoke for itself to stu­dents who were already con­cerned about him and his demon­stra­ble con­nec­tions to neo-Nazi groups. Hun­dreds of stu­dents demand­ing Kleve’s expul­sion gath­ered on cam­pus grounds to stage a protest on Wednes­day of last week, adding a phys­i­cal pres­ence to what was already a sus­tained cam­paign of activism.

    The ques­tion about what to do with the increas­ing­ly iso­lat­ed Kleve is emblem­at­ic of a larg­er issue fac­ing col­leges across the coun­try. Even though the era of so-called alt-right pol­i­tics that arose dur­ing the pop­ulist cam­paign of Don­ald Trump has shown signs of frac­tur­ing, it has embold­ened a small but not insignif­i­cant num­ber of young, white men to come for­ward with white suprema­cist or neo-Nazi beliefs. As this is hap­pen­ing, women, minori­ties and oth­er com­mu­ni­ties that are threat­ened by the polit­i­cal goals of such men are becom­ing more sen­si­tive to their pres­ence, and demand­ing that schools take action to pro­tect them. Young white suprema­cists were tied to a num­ber of mur­ders last year, fur­ther com­pli­cat­ing the issue. The sit­u­a­tion is a com­plex one, and it pos­es chal­lenges to both admin­is­tra­tors and to advo­cates of free speech.

    ...

    “Actu­al harass­ment is not pro­tect­ed speech”

    Saman­tha Har­ris, a researcher with Foun­da­tion for Indi­vid­ual Rights in Edu­ca­tion (FIRE), told Newsweek that the ques­tion of whether to expel an extrem­ist like Kleve is typ­i­cal­ly drawn along one line: All polit­i­cal beliefs should be tol­er­at­ed in acad­e­mia, but “actu­al harass­ment is not pro­tect­ed speech.” By “actu­al harass­ment,” Har­ris said she meant any­thing that pro­hibits some­one from receiv­ing a nor­mal edu­ca­tion.

    In the case of Kleve, the uni­ver­si­ty told Newsweek it was not clear he had made any threats against a spe­cif­ic stu­dent or stu­dents. But his class­mates have told Newsweek that Kleve made them feel uneasy because they believed him to be capa­ble of unleash­ing vio­lence at any time. Addi­tion­al­ly, Calvin Scott, 19, Kleve’s for­mer room­mate at an off-cam­pus hous­ing facil­i­ty, and Scott’s friend, Jack­ie Schnei­der, 20, told Newsweek that Kleve made vio­lent threats against peo­ple of color—generally and also about spe­cif­ic indi­vid­u­als. Both Scott and Schnei­der are peo­ple of col­or them­selves, but nei­ther of them are UNL stu­dents. Kleve has denied mak­ing such threats. UNL cam­pus police told Newsweek that Kleve cur­rent­ly rep­re­sent­ed an active inves­ti­ga­tion, but declined to elab­o­rate any fur­ther about what it entailed.

    [See Face­book pho­to of Kleve giv­ing Nazi salute with mem­bers of Van­guard Amer­i­can before leav­ing for Char­lottesville]

    The issue is tricky for UNL to nav­i­gate for rea­sons beyond the obvi­ous. Politi­cians in the Repub­li­can-dom­i­nat­ed state have been fierce­ly crit­i­cal of the school for what they per­ceive to be its mis­treat­ment of con­ser­v­a­tives. The state is cur­rent­ly review­ing a bill sur­round­ing cam­pus free speech, for exam­ple, one of sev­er­al sim­i­lar mea­sures being exam­ined through­out the coun­try. The Nebras­ka mea­sure, Leg­isla­tive Bill 718, intro­duced by state Sen­a­tor Steve Hal­lo­ran of Hast­ings, would force schools like UNL to cre­ate a “Com­mit­tee on Free Expres­sion” to pro­vide an annu­al inci­dent report to state res­i­dents about free speech mat­ters. Crit­ics say the bill, which was issued in response to a grad­u­ate stu­dent and lec­tur­er who gave the fin­ger to a stu­dent who was recruit­ing for a con­ser­v­a­tive group, is intend­ed to ampli­fy only voic­es of Repub­li­can stu­dents on cam­pus. In response to the inci­dent, UNL will not renew a con­tract to teach issued to the grad­u­ate stu­dent who made the ges­ture.

    In addi­tion to this, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka Board of Regents has adopt­ed its own poli­cies to delin­eate areas where cer­tain kinds of speech are per­mis­si­ble on cam­pus. “When peo­ple want to cen­sor view­points that peo­ple don’t like, uni­ver­si­ties have to step in and pro­tect free speech,” Har­ris of FIRE argued to Newsweek, refer­ring to both right- and left-lean­ing view­points. FIRE has defend­ed not only con­ser­v­a­tive view­points on cam­pus, but wrote a let­ter crit­i­ciz­ing UNL for the way it treat­ed the grad­u­ate stu­dent and lec­tur­er caught up in the scan­dal.

    ...

    “Trust me. Real­ly vio­lent.”

    The stu­dents who claim Kleve is a dan­ger to oth­ers argue that the school should be look­ing at his his­to­ry to under­stand their con­cerns. He appeared in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia on August 12 in a con­tin­gent with Van­guard Amer­i­ca, the white suprema­cist group whose fol­low­ers includ­ed James Fields, the man charged with mur­der­ing antiracist activist Heather Hey­er in a bru­tal car-ram­ming inci­dent. He also post­ed pho­tos of him­self next to an Atom­waf­fen flag in 2017. Atom­waf­fen is a neo-Nazi group that has gar­nered head­lines for being linked to a num­ber of mur­ders. Kleve told me he has “pub­licly dis­avowed” Atom­waf­fen, and no longer belongs to any white suprema­cist groups, but as recent­ly as this year, he was post­ing white suprema­cist slo­gans on Face­book, and endors­ing “the Order,” a fic­tion­al col­lec­tive depict­ed in the neo-Nazi pro­pa­gan­da book The Turn­er Diaries.

    In the book, “the Order” slaugh­tered Jews, non-whites and oth­er minori­ties in part of a make-believe race war. The book was admired by ter­ror­ists like Okla­homa City bomber Tim­o­thy McVeigh and David Copeland, a British man who mur­dered three peo­ple in a bomb­ing cam­paign that was tar­get­ed at minori­ties in 1999. Kee­gan Han­kes, an intel­li­gence ana­lyst with South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, told Newsweek that peo­ple “should be con­cerned” about vio­lence when deal­ing with those who asso­ciate with Van­guard Amer­i­ca and Atom­waf­fen, even periph­er­al­ly.

    [See Face­book post where Kleve shows off a hand­gun which he labels “Future Con­ser­v­a­tive starter pack”]

    “Every­one has to remem­ber that this ide­ol­o­gy is found­ed on build­ing a white eth­nos­tate,” Han­kes said. “They believe that they are fight­ing for the sur­vival of the white race.”

    Scott, who lived with Kleve from mid-Octo­ber to the start of Decem­ber 2017, told Newsweek that Kleve had an AR-15 assault rifle that he kept in a com­mon area of their apart­ment. Schnei­der, Scott’s friend, said she saw the weapon as well but thought it was a shot­gun. (She admit­ted to not know­ing much about firearms, while Scott claimed to have a bet­ter under­stand­ing of them.) Scott also told Newsweek that Kleve kept a pis­tol “on him.” Nebras­ka is an open-car­ry state, and Lin­coln Police con­firmed to Newsweek that Kleve would be legal­ly allowed to car­ry a weapon out­side of cam­pus. Kleve told Newsweek that his guns were pur­chased legal­ly but would not elab­o­rate on how many he owns, or their makes and mod­els. He denied own­ing an AR-15, but declined to answer whether he owned any sim­i­lar weapons that could be mis­tak­en for one.

    Scott said he didn’t report to the police about threats Kleve made because he didn’t trust them to do their job, but he report­ed his room­mate to the hous­ing com­plex, ask­ing for a sep­a­ra­tion. A report issued by the admin­is­tra­tion of their hous­ing com­plex and giv­en to Newsweek con­firmed that Scott had expressed “con­cerns” about his room­mate at the time he lived with Kleve. Their rela­tion­ship end­ed when Kleve moved out. Kleve claimed Scott was mak­ing up sto­ries about him.

    [see screen­shot of Kleve’s Face­book post where he states: “You want to be mil­i­tant. Be like the Order. Be a name­less group of extrem­ists who act instead of talk. TWP and NF has a lot of good peo­ple. But you can’t be mil­i­tant and be a pop­u­lar move­ment. Atleast not in this par­tic­u­lar instance in time.”]

    “Noth­ing has changed,” Leslie Reed, a spokesper­son for the school, told Newsweek while stu­dents were protest­ing Kleve’s pres­ence, regard­ing their hes­i­tan­cy to remove him from UNL.

    The Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka can’t “dis­crim­i­nate against some­one for hav­ing unpop­u­lar polit­i­cal beliefs,” she said pre­vi­ous­ly.

    “I can’t wait to grad­u­ate so that I can get out of every­one’s hair”

    Stu­dents who spoke to Newsweek about Kleve, who fre­quent­ly boasts about what he believes to be his tal­ents as a pro­pa­gan­dist, sug­gest­ed that his tac­tics are hav­ing the oppo­site of their intend­ed impact. Kleve is not only fail­ing to make recruit­ing in-roads for his cause, the stu­dents claimed, but his views have made him into a pari­ah on cam­pus. On Sat­ur­day, for exam­ple, the Nebraska’s men’s bas­ket­ball team waged a protest against his pres­ence before their game with Rut­gers. The men wore T‑shirts that read, “Hate Will Nev­er Win.” Stu­dent ath­letes across cam­pus, in fact, have used their influ­ence to con­demn Kleve, and a search for his name on Twit­ter will turn up what looks like a del­uge of dis­gust from fel­low class­mates.

    ...

    Har­ris of FIRE argued to Newsweek that con­dem­na­tion and debate is the best way to deal with a stu­dent like Kleve, so long as he was not harass­ing or endan­ger­ing spe­cif­ic stu­dents. “The best way to com­bat [white suprema­cist advo­ca­cy] is with more speech and bet­ter ideas.” But because of Kleve’s appar­ent racist fix­a­tion with vio­lence, he poten­tial­ly rep­re­sents a dif­fer­ent case than oth­er “alt-right” fig­ures who have stirred protest on cam­pus­es.

    One sim­i­lar case to Kleve’s is that of Mark Daniel Neuhoff, a 27-year-old grad­u­ate stu­dent in Vir­ginia Tech’s Eng­lish depart­ment. Neuhoff’s pres­ence on cam­pus sparked a mas­sive out­cry in the fall semes­ter of 2017. Posts from Neuhoff’s Face­book account that appeared to endorse white suprema­cy, Hitler and the Nazi appli­ca­tion of “Jew­ish stars” dur­ing World War II were leaked by a local antifas­cist group. Stu­dents were out­raged when they saw them, and their feel­ings were com­pli­cat­ed by the fact that Neuhoff taught under­grad­u­ates in his capac­i­ty as a teacher’s assis­tant.

    Vir­ginia Tech told Newsweek that fol­low­ing relent­less protests and phone calls, the admin­is­tra­tion and Neuhoff came to a qui­et agree­ment that he would no longer teach there. Since that time, Neuhoff has become an out­cast. He said he was grate­ful for the way the admin­is­tra­tion han­dled his case, but expressed feel­ings of despair and lone­li­ness in describ­ing his time in school there. He sug­gest­ed that col­leagues had ostra­cized him and sev­ered all ties.

    [See Face­book post by David Neuhoff say­ing “If Hitler Had Won World War II We’d Have A Bet­ter, More Just World Today”]

    He told Newsweek that he was actu­al­ly a “pale­o­con­ser­v­a­tive monar­chist” and not a white suprema­cist, despite his posts appear­ing to praise Hitler, and claimed that his views were tak­en out of con­text. He also com­plained that the posts that appeared to many stu­dents to be deeply anti-Semit­ic were made on a locked feed, and that antifas­cist activists had infil­trat­ed his account.

    “It’s made me feel extreme­ly unwel­come and I can’t wait to grad­u­ate so that I can get out of every­one’s hair and they can get out of mine,” he told Newsweek about the atmos­phere of his edu­ca­tion.

    While Neuhoff longs to make an exit from acad­e­mia, oth­ers on the far-right are eager to make inroads there, but so far with extreme­ly lim­it­ed suc­cess. Matthew Heim­bach of Tra­di­tion­al­ist Worker’s Par­ty (TWP), a small but active neo-Nazi group, is attempt­ing to start a col­lege speak­ing tour called “Nation­al Social­ism or Death” at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ten­nessee in Knoxville lat­er this month. He told Newsweek that the point of the exer­cise is to find com­mon ground with “con­ser­v­a­tives and social­ists.” As with ral­lies staged by white suprema­cist Richard Spencer, though, pro­test­ers of the event are expect­ed to out­num­ber his sup­port­ers. Heim­bach argued that he was doing it to argue for a “safe space for fas­cists” in acad­e­mia, but it is also unclear that fas­cist beliefs are real­ly treat­ed with any intol­er­ance by admin­is­tra­tors. Stu­dents like Neuhoff and Kleve are iso­lat­ed, but they are also enrolled.

    ...

    The far right is a busy but ulti­mate­ly small online com­mu­ni­ty, at least when it comes to peo­ple who don’t oper­ate anony­mous­ly. Neuhoff is Face­book friends with Kleve and inter­acts with him from time to time. He said that while Kleve is more involved with “what peo­ple call white nation­al­ism, nation­al social­ism, and the pro-white cause in gen­er­al,” he iden­ti­fies with Kleve because of the degree to which they’ve been alien­at­ed from their peers in a left-lean­ing envi­ron­ment.

    “Our cas­es are the same,” Neuhoff argued to Newsweek about Kleve. “We have views oth­er peo­ple don’t like and they’re tak­ing things out of con­text or using any pos­si­ble tac­tic to cause us harm while try­ing to con­vince peo­ple we are vio­lent.”

    But two sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ences exist between the com­plaints about Kleve and Neuhoff. Neuhoff told Newsweek that he nev­er belonged to a white suprema­cist or neo-Nazi group. Dur­ing the vio­lence at the Unite the Right ral­ly in Char­lottesville that Sat­ur­day after­noon in August, for exam­ple, he said that he was in church. (Neuhoff is in the process of con­vert­ing to Chris­t­ian Ortho­dox after hav­ing grown up in a non-reli­gious house­hold.) Also, he said he doesn’t own any guns.

    ...

    “The student’s view­point — how­ev­er hate­ful and intol­er­ant it is — is also pro­tect­ed by the First Amend­ment.”

    Justin Myers, 18, a fresh­man busi­ness stu­dent at UNL and a self-described con­ser­v­a­tive, told Newsweek that while he wasn’t sure if Kleve had done enough to be “legal­ly kicked off cam­pus” in terms of his praise of vio­lence, he would feel uncom­fort­able being any­where near him in class.

    Myers also argued that there was a dif­fer­ence between the cam­pus debates about free speech between con­ser­v­a­tives and left­ists, and the threat of overt neo-Nazism. “These guys hate our sys­tem of gov­ern­ment and the free­doms we have,” Myers said.

    ...

    ———-

    “Nebras­ka White Suprema­cist Who Prais­es Vio­lence Pos­es Unique Chal­lenges to Cam­pus Free Speech” by Michael Edi­son Hay­den; Newsweek; 02/13/2018

    “Kleve, who is fond of post­ing self­ies with guns to social media, also said that “now is not the right time” for vio­lence, and he has argued that the edit­ed video took his words out of con­text—but the lan­guage spoke for itself to stu­dents who were already con­cerned about him and his demon­stra­ble con­nec­tions to neo-Nazi groups. Hun­dreds of stu­dents demand­ing Kleve’s expul­sion gath­ered on cam­pus grounds to stage a protest on Wednes­day of last week, adding a phys­i­cal pres­ence to what was already a sus­tained cam­paign of activism.”

    The neo-Nazi who is fond of post­ing self­ies with guns to social media and says things like “now is not the right time” for vio­lence wants to assure every­one that he’s not a threat and this is all being tak­en out of con­text. Which appar­ent­ly means the pho­tos of him pos­ing with Atom­waf­fen mem­bers in front of an Atom­waf­fen flag are also being tak­en out of con­text. As well as his social media posts where he endorsed “The Order” from The Turn­er Diaries:

    ...
    [see Face­book pic of Kleve stand­ing with mem­bers of Atom­waf­fen]

    ...

    The stu­dents who claim Kleve is a dan­ger to oth­ers argue that the school should be look­ing at his his­to­ry to under­stand their con­cerns. He appeared in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia on August 12 in a con­tin­gent with Van­guard Amer­i­ca, the white suprema­cist group whose fol­low­ers includ­ed James Fields, the man charged with mur­der­ing antiracist activist Heather Hey­er in a bru­tal car-ram­ming inci­dent. He also post­ed pho­tos of him­self next to an Atom­waf­fen flag in 2017. Atom­waf­fen is a neo-Nazi group that has gar­nered head­lines for being linked to a num­ber of mur­ders. Kleve told me he has “pub­licly dis­avowed” Atom­waf­fen, and no longer belongs to any white suprema­cist groups, but as recent­ly as this year, he was post­ing white suprema­cist slo­gans on Face­book, and endors­ing “the Order,” a fic­tion­al col­lec­tive depict­ed in the neo-Nazi pro­pa­gan­da book The Turn­er Diaries.

    In the book, “the Order” slaugh­tered Jews, non-whites and oth­er minori­ties in part of a make-believe race war. The book was admired by ter­ror­ists like Okla­homa City bomber Tim­o­thy McVeigh and David Copeland, a British man who mur­dered three peo­ple in a bomb­ing cam­paign that was tar­get­ed at minori­ties in 1999. Kee­gan Han­kes, an intel­li­gence ana­lyst with South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, told Newsweek that peo­ple “should be con­cerned” about vio­lence when deal­ing with those who asso­ciate with Van­guard Amer­i­ca and Atom­waf­fen, even periph­er­al­ly.

    [See Face­book post where Kleve shows off a hand­gun which he labels “Future Con­ser­v­a­tive starter pack”]

    “Every­one has to remem­ber that this ide­ol­o­gy is found­ed on build­ing a white eth­nos­tate,” Han­kes said. “They believe that they are fight­ing for the sur­vival of the white race.”

    ...

    [see screen­shot of Kleve’s Face­book post where he states: “You want to be mil­i­tant. Be like the Order. Be a name­less group of extrem­ists who act instead of talk. TWP and NF has a lot of good peo­ple. But you can’t be mil­i­tant and be a pop­u­lar move­ment. Atleast not in this par­tic­u­lar instance in time.”]
    ...

    “You want to be mil­i­tant. Be like the Order. Be a name­less group of extrem­ists who act instead of talk. TWP and NF has a lot of good peo­ple. But you can’t be mil­i­tant and be a pop­u­lar move­ment. Atleast not in this par­tic­u­lar instance in time.”

    Those were his words. Post­ed on Face­book. But if you’re alarmed you’re appar­ent­ly just tak­ing it out of con­text.

    Oh, and it turns out Kleve actu­al­ly owns an AR-15. Or at least some­thing that looks a lot like an AR-15, the mass shoot­er weapon of choice in Amer­i­ca most recent­ly used by Niko­las Cruz:

    ...
    Scott, who lived with Kleve from mid-Octo­ber to the start of Decem­ber 2017, told Newsweek that Kleve had an AR-15 assault rifle that he kept in a com­mon area of their apart­ment. Schnei­der, Scott’s friend, said she saw the weapon as well but thought it was a shot­gun. (She admit­ted to not know­ing much about firearms, while Scott claimed to have a bet­ter under­stand­ing of them.) Scott also told Newsweek that Kleve kept a pis­tol “on him.” Nebras­ka is an open-car­ry state, and Lin­coln Police con­firmed to Newsweek that Kleve would be legal­ly allowed to car­ry a weapon out­side of cam­pus. Kleve told Newsweek that his guns were pur­chased legal­ly but would not elab­o­rate on how many he owns, or their makes and mod­els. He denied own­ing an AR-15, but declined to answer whether he owned any sim­i­lar weapons that could be mis­tak­en for one.
    ...

    And as the arti­cle notes, the ques­tion of what to do about a stu­dent like Kleve is emblem­at­ic of the larg­er issue of what to do about the sud­den surge in open white suprema­cists who have decid­ed to make a point of going on col­lege cam­pus­es to spread their ideas and recruit oth­ers:

    ...
    The ques­tion about what to do with the increas­ing­ly iso­lat­ed Kleve is emblem­at­ic of a larg­er issue fac­ing col­leges across the coun­try. Even though the era of so-called alt-right pol­i­tics that arose dur­ing the pop­ulist cam­paign of Don­ald Trump has shown signs of frac­tur­ing, it has embold­ened a small but not insignif­i­cant num­ber of young, white men to come for­ward with white suprema­cist or neo-Nazi beliefs. As this is hap­pen­ing, women, minori­ties and oth­er com­mu­ni­ties that are threat­ened by the polit­i­cal goals of such men are becom­ing more sen­si­tive to their pres­ence, and demand­ing that schools take action to pro­tect them. Young white suprema­cists were tied to a num­ber of mur­ders last year, fur­ther com­pli­cat­ing the issue. The sit­u­a­tion is a com­plex one, and it pos­es chal­lenges to both admin­is­tra­tors and to advo­cates of free speech.
    ...

    For instance, there’s Daniel Neuhoff, a 27-year-old grad­u­ate stu­dent in Vir­ginia Tech’s Eng­lish depart­ment who turns out to be a neo-Nazi. Although he assures us he’s actu­al­ly just a “pale­o­con­ser­v­a­tive monar­chist” and not a white suprema­cist, despite his praise of Hitler. It must be more ‘out of con­text’ judge­ment:

    ...
    One sim­i­lar case to Kleve’s is that of Mark Daniel Neuhoff, a 27-year-old grad­u­ate stu­dent in Vir­ginia Tech’s Eng­lish depart­ment. Neuhoff’s pres­ence on cam­pus sparked a mas­sive out­cry in the fall semes­ter of 2017. Posts from Neuhoff’s Face­book account that appeared to endorse white suprema­cy, Hitler and the Nazi appli­ca­tion of “Jew­ish stars” dur­ing World War II were leaked by a local antifas­cist group. Stu­dents were out­raged when they saw them, and their feel­ings were com­pli­cat­ed by the fact that Neuhoff taught under­grad­u­ates in his capac­i­ty as a teacher’s assis­tant.

    ...

    He told Newsweek that he was actu­al­ly a “pale­o­con­ser­v­a­tive monar­chist” and not a white suprema­cist, despite his posts appear­ing to praise Hitler, and claimed that his views were tak­en out of con­text. He also com­plained that the posts that appeared to many stu­dents to be deeply anti-Semit­ic were made on a locked feed, and that antifas­cist activists had infil­trat­ed his account.
    ...

    There’s also Matthew Heim­bach of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Worker’s Par­ty (TWP), who is try­ing to start a col­lege speak­ing tour. His goal? to argue for a “safe space for fas­cists” in acad­e­mia:

    ...
    While Neuhoff longs to make an exit from acad­e­mia, oth­ers on the far-right are eager to make inroads there, but so far with extreme­ly lim­it­ed suc­cess. Matthew Heim­bach of Tra­di­tion­al­ist Worker’s Par­ty (TWP), a small but active neo-Nazi group, is attempt­ing to start a col­lege speak­ing tour called “Nation­al Social­ism or Death” at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ten­nessee in Knoxville lat­er this month. He told Newsweek that the point of the exer­cise is to find com­mon ground with “con­ser­v­a­tives and social­ists.” As with ral­lies staged by white suprema­cist Richard Spencer, though, pro­test­ers of the event are expect­ed to out­num­ber his sup­port­ers. Heim­bach argued that he was doing it to argue for a “safe space for fas­cists” in acad­e­mia, but it is also unclear that fas­cist beliefs are real­ly treat­ed with any intol­er­ance by admin­is­tra­tors. Stu­dents like Neuhoff and Kleve are iso­lat­ed, but they are also enrolled.
    ...

    Yep, accord­ing to Heim­bach, fas­cists need “safe spaces” to espouse their fas­cist views. But as the arti­cle notes, they are indeed allowed to espouse those views, just not with­out crit­i­cism and poten­tial ostra­ciza­tion.

    So what should col­leges do about this surge in fas­cists and neo-Nazis seek­ing accep­tance on cam­pus? Well, in the case of UNL that ques­tion for like­ly be large­ly up to con­ser­v­a­tives giv­en that it’s an over­whelm­ing­ly Repub­li­can dom­i­nat­ed state. And giv­en the GOP’s cham­pi­oning of Alt-Right fig­ures like Milo Yiannopou­los com­ing to cam­pus­es with­out get­ting protest­ed — there are actu­al­ly GOP-spon­sored “Milo bills” in state leg­is­la­tures across the USit’s hard to see the GOP get­ting too con­cerned about peo­ple like Kleve pos­ing a threat.

    But there is hope. Sort of. As the self-described con­ser­v­a­tive UNL stu­dent inter­viewed in the arti­cle put it, while he’s not sure Kleve had don enough to be “legal­ly kicked off cam­pus”, he still sees a dif­fer­ence between the cam­pus debates about free speech between con­ser­v­a­tives and left­ists, and the threat of overt neo-Nazism. It’s bet­ter than noth­ing:

    ...
    Justin Myers, 18, a fresh­man busi­ness stu­dent at UNL and a self-described con­ser­v­a­tive, told Newsweek that while he wasn’t sure if Kleve had done enough to be “legal­ly kicked off cam­pus” in terms of his praise of vio­lence, he would feel uncom­fort­able being any­where near him in class.

    Myers also argued that there was a dif­fer­ence between the cam­pus debates about free speech between con­ser­v­a­tives and left­ists, and the threat of overt neo-Nazism. “These guys hate our sys­tem of gov­ern­ment and the free­doms we have,” Myers said.
    ...

    But putting aside the ques­tion of whether or not UNL should expel a stu­dent like Kleve and return­ing to the out­cry over the missed oppor­tu­ni­ties to inter­vene in Niko­las Cruz’s down­ward vio­lence into neo-Nazi vio­lence, the case of Daniel Kleve pos­es a rather sig­nif­i­cant ques­tion: how open­ly does a move­ment need to talk about its plans for vio­lent­ly over­throw­ing and sub­ju­gat­ing soci­ety before its rec­og­nized as no longer pro­tect­ed free speech and instead is a sig­nif­i­cant threat to oth­ers where law enforce­ment gets involved? Pos­ing with an Atom­waf­fen flag and pro­mot­ing The Turn­er Diaries clear­ly does­n’t cross the line. So what does cross the line? It’s an awful open ques­tion for Amer­i­ca.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 8, 2018, 11:41 pm
  14. The grow­ing influ­ence ‘Alt Right’ presents a num­ber of chal­lenges for the Repub­li­can Par­ty. It’s nev­er easy to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly court and dis­own a vot­ing bloc. But per­haps the great­est chal­lenge is the gener­ic chal­lenge of how to deal with an infu­sion of peo­ple into the par­ty who are pre­dom­i­nant­ly angry young males with a strong nihilis­tic streak and a desire to watch soci­ety burn. And as the ‘Alt Right’ fac­tion of the GOP grows larg­er and larg­er, the need to cater to that nihilis­tic sadism at the core of the ‘Alt Right’ world­view is only going to grow too.

    The GOP has long had a sadis­tic streak, but open­ly cater­ing to that urge is risky pol­i­tics. The par­ty that has long brand­ed itself on the Rea­ganesque slo­gan of ‘build­ing a shin­ing city on a hill’ is more and more forced to open­ly cam­paign the par­ty of the peo­ple that want to burn the shin­ing city down so they can rev­el in all the ‘snowflake tears’. When Paul Ryan’s pri­ma­ry oppo­nent, Paul Nehlen, hires one of the most promi­nent anti-Semi­tes in Amer­i­ca, Kevin Mac­Don­ald, as his cam­paign spokesman, it’s pret­ty clear that the GOP’s ‘South­ern Strat­e­gy’ dog-whistling of the past might not be loud enough for the grow­ing ‘Alt Right’ con­ser­v­a­tives. And that’s invari­ably going to change the pub­lic face of the par­ty.

    So how is the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment hop­ing to deal with the tricky pol­i­tics of simul­ta­ne­ous­ly hug­ging and shun­ning all these new, often young, ‘Alt Right’ neo-Nazi con­ser­v­a­tives who don’t get fired up by tra­di­tion ‘shin­ing city on a hill’ Repub­li­can rhetoric and pre­fer a more ‘burn it down and take over’ Steve Bannon/Trump kind approach to pol­i­tics? Well, as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, there is one source of ‘hope’ the par­ty appears to be hold­ing onto: Jor­dan Peter­son, the Cana­di­an con­ser­v­a­tive psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sor who has quick­ly become a ris­ing star in right-wing thought. A ris­ing star ped­dling an ‘Alt-Right’-lite self-help gospel tar­get­ing frus­trat­ed young men with a mes­sage of embrac­ing their mas­culin­i­ty and find­ing pur­pose in life by embrac­ing Chris­tian­i­ty and bat­tling the forces of “cul­tur­al marx­ism” that are try­ing to strip men of their right­ful male roles in a tra­di­tion­al cul­ture that it their nat­ur­al right. And since Peter­son­’s tar­get audi­ence heav­i­ly over­laps with the ‘Alt Right’ tar­get audi­ence of frus­trat­ed young males, the appears to be hope that Peter­son will be able to tame the ‘Alt Right’-leaning young men and turn them into some more close­ly resem­bling the tra­di­tion ‘God, guns, and gays’ kind of con­ser­v­a­tives polit­i­cal foot sol­dier:

    Mic

    Jor­dan Peter­son is the ris­ing self-help guru of young con­ser­v­a­tives. Here’s what he’s telling them.

    By Jack Smith IV
    Feb. 3, 2018

    There’s a new self-help guru at the heart of mod­ern con­ser­vatism. He’s a rous­ing speak­er, encour­ag­ing his lis­ten­ers to take con­trol of their own des­tinies, like a wiry Tony Rob­bins who sounds like a Mup­pet and believes there are only two gen­ders.

    His name is Dr. Jor­dan B. Peter­son, a Cana­di­an pro­fes­sor who’s become the spir­i­tu­al father of an online tribe of alien­at­ed, dis­af­fect­ed and resent­ful young men. In the past few months, Peterson’s rapid­ly gone from a lit­tle-known clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist to a ver­i­ta­ble megachurch preach­er of anti-com­mu­nism and per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty. His pop­u­lar­i­ty is mete­oric, and if pro­gres­sives want to under­stand the ide­o­log­i­cal future of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment, they may want to pay notice.

    Peterson’s been described as “the stu­pid man’s smart per­son,” which is a good enough euphemism for say­ing “effec­tive pub­lic intel­lec­tu­al.” Peterson’s YouTube chan­nel has more than 700,000 sub­scribers, and he has a pod­cast in which he gives long address­es on clas­si­cal phi­los­o­phy. At his well-attend­ed col­lege talks, his ador­ing, large­ly male fan­base reg­u­lar­ly approach him after­ward to say that his advice has giv­en them mean­ing and pur­pose.

    Peter­son first earned inter­na­tion­al noto­ri­ety in Novem­ber 2017 as the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to pro­fes­sor who refused to use gen­der-neu­tral pro­nouns after the intro­duc­tion of a Cana­di­an bill that would pro­hib­it dis­crim­i­na­tion on the basis of gen­der iden­ti­ty. Peter­son railed against the bill as a total­i­tar­i­an crack­down on free speech. He threat­ened a hunger strike if he were jailed for not using someone’s pre­ferred pro­nouns, although a let­ter from the Cana­di­an Bar Asso­ci­a­tion found that inter­pret­ing the law as Peter­son did is “a mis­un­der­stand­ing of human rights and hate crimes leg­is­la­tion.”

    When for­mer Google engi­neer James Damore was fired after writ­ing his now-infa­mous inter­nal memo about gen­der in the work­place, he did two inter­views on YouTube before speak­ing with any­one in the main­stream press. One inter­view was with far-right talk­ing head Ste­fan Molyneux. The oth­er was with Peter­son.

    But no sin­gle event did more to launch Peter­son than his mid-Jan­u­ary appear­ance on the British Chan­nel 4 News, where he was con­front­ed about his gen­der essen­tial­ism by vet­er­an news­cast­er Cathy New­man.

    The inter­view was a dis­as­ter for New­man. For a half-hour, New­man pep­pered Peter­son with asser­tions about his beliefs, mis­quot­ing Peter­son back to him­self. In a dis­cus­sion about the gen­der pay gap, she con­tin­u­al­ly tried to catch him in his sex­ism, employ­ing the phrase “so what you’re real­ly say­ing is...” fol­lowed by bold mis­char­ac­ter­i­za­tions of his com­ments as he lucid­ly recit­ed sta­tis­tics and anec­dotes from his work as a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist.

    The inter­view went viral with right wingers, who held it up as exem­plary of one of their favorite tropes: the man of sci­ence employ­ing log­ic against a rad­i­cal fem­i­nist in media hell-bent on call­ing him a sex­ist.

    In the days that fol­lowed, con­ser­v­a­tive colum­nists rushed to his defense in the Guardian, the Atlantic and the Wall Street Jour­nal. The New York Times announced that the “Jor­dan Peter­son Moment” had arrived. Soon after, Peterson’s lat­est book, 12 Rules for Life, shot to the top of the Ama­zon best­seller list. In the Atlantic, res­i­dent con­ser­v­a­tive Conor Frieder­s­dorf asked, “Why can’t peo­ple hear what Jor­dan Peter­son is say­ing?”

    ...

    Con­sid­er the lob­ster

    Jor­dan Peter­son is obsessed with lob­sters. Sev­er­al ear­ly pages in 12 Rules for Life are ded­i­cat­ed to lob­sters and their behav­ior, how they fight, how they mate, their dom­i­nance hier­ar­chies and their sero­tonin lev­els.

    “Look for your inspi­ra­tion to the vic­to­ri­ous lob­ster, with its 350 mil­lion years of prac­ti­cal wis­dom,” Peter­son wrote. “Stand up straight, with your shoul­ders back.”

    This is the first piece of advice he dis­pens­es in his book and his lec­tures, aimed large­ly at the alien­at­ed and pur­pose­less young men. Peterson’s work mix­es psy­chol­o­gy with basic self-help pablum, Joseph Campbell’s idea of the “Hero’s Jour­ney,” moti­va­tion­al speak­ing, evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gy, Dis­ney movies like Pinoc­chio and Chris­tian­i­ty. His advice is sim­ple: Stand up straight. Make your bed. Only use speech that makes you feel strong. Pick up the heav­i­est bur­den you can find, and make your­self stronger by bear­ing it. Slay the drag­on. Defend the West.

    Jor­dan Peter­son is con­cerned for the young men of the world. They’ve become weak, resent­ful and bit­ter. Peter­son wor­ries that young men are scold­ed into believ­ing their own con­fi­dence is a symp­tom of “tox­ic mas­culin­i­ty,” and giv­en no words of encour­age­ment. It’s a prob­lem that reg­u­lar­ly brings him to tears in talks and inter­views.

    When Peter­son speaks, he looks out into the crowd and sees the eyes of his most­ly male audi­ence light up at the men­tion of per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty. But it nev­er takes long before Peter­son sim­mers over from lucid, effec­tive advice and into tirades against fem­i­nists and social jus­tice war­riors. Even the lob­sters are evi­dence that biol­o­gy is biol­o­gy, and that gen­der hier­ar­chy must not be inter­rupt­ed.

    “Do male crus­taceans oppress female crus­taceans?” Peter­son asks in 12 Rules for Life. “Should their hier­ar­chies be upend­ed?”

    So what is this force Peter­son says is bear­ing down on young men, blud­geon­ing their self-esteem with unfair accu­sa­tions and reduc­ing their capac­i­ty for per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty? “Post­mod­ernism.”

    To under­stand Peterson’s use of the word “post­mod­ernism,” you need to become famil­iar with one of the most pop­u­lar and implau­si­ble fan­tasies in mod­ern con­ser­vatism: “cul­tur­al marx­ism.” Cul­tur­al marx­ism is an anti-Semit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry devel­oped in the 1980s large­ly in response to affir­ma­tive action, cham­pi­oned by every­one from far-right ter­ror­ists like Anders Behring Breivik to mem­bers of Pres­i­dent Trump’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil.

    The con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry goes like this: A group of aca­d­e­mics in the 1970s real­ized that Marx­ism had failed. So instead of class war between work­ers and own­ers, they devel­oped a new idea as a revenge plot to unrav­el West­ern civ­i­liza­tion: cul­tur­al war­fare. Then, the sto­ry goes, this Marx­ist plot against white men and the nuclear fam­i­ly spread among uni­ver­si­ties and through­out the coun­try. Diver­si­ty train­ing? Black super­heroes? Trans­gen­der rights? That’s all cul­tur­al Marx­ism.

    Peterson’s “post­mod­ernism” and “neo-Marx­ism” is essen­tial­ly the same as “cul­tur­al Marx­ism,” but with some of the names changed. Peter­son not only sees Marx­ism every­where, but sees its influ­ence as the most per­va­sive threat to mod­ern civ­i­liza­tion. He often rec­om­mends the book The Gulag Arch­i­pel­ago, a 1973 his­to­ry of Sovi­et labor camps, as the essen­tial text for under­stand­ing “the cen­tral issue in our cul­ture at the moment.” This is large­ly his issue with the pro­noun debate: If we cede ground to the rad­i­cal left­ists, it’s not just pro­nouns, but our entire cul­ture that’s at stake.

    “I believe that the rea­son this has caused so much noise — tremen­dous amount of noise, tremen­dous amount of atten­tion on YouTube — is because there are things that are at stake in this dis­cus­sion, despite its sur­face nature, that strike at the very heart of our civ­i­liza­tion,” Peter­son said dur­ing a Cana­di­an broad­cast inter­view.

    So how can the young men of the West defend them­selves from a Marx­ist plot to tear apart the cul­ture and the nuclear fam­i­ly? A right­ly ordered soul.

    “What I’ve been telling young men is that there’s an actu­al rea­son why they need to grow up, which is that they have some­thing to offer,” Peter­son said in the Chan­nel 4 inter­view. “That peo­ple have with­in them this capac­i­ty to set the world straight, and that’s nec­es­sary to man­i­fest in the world.”

    Chick­en Soup for the Cap­i­tal­ist Soul

    Self-help pro­grams nat­u­ral­ly lend them­selves to a con­ser­v­a­tive world­view. Empow­er­ment gurus often teach their adher­ents to give up on blame and focus on pulling them­selves up by their spir­i­tu­al boot­straps. In The New Prophets of Cap­i­tal, Nicole Aschoff writes about how even lib­er­al heros like Oprah can divert our atten­tion away from the sys­tems that pro­duce pover­ty and anx­i­ety, and instead focus our atten­tion inward.

    “Oprah is appeal­ing pre­cise­ly because her sto­ries hide the role of polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic, and social struc­tures,” Aschoff wrote. “In doing so, they make the Amer­i­can Dream seem attain­able. If we just fix our­selves, we can achieve our goals.”

    In oth­er words: Don’t wor­ry about chang­ing the world, focus on chang­ing your­self. It doesn’t mat­ter, for exam­ple, that one of the top indi­ca­tors of income is where you were born, and not the struc­ture of your fam­i­ly. The only thing that mat­ters is what you’re going to do to pre­vail.

    Peter­son has iden­ti­fied that nascent ingre­di­ent of con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics with­in self-help, and pulled its fla­vor straight to the sur­face.

    Where cre­at­ing social progress requires col­lec­tive action, Peter­son says attempt­ing to fix soci­ety at large is an arro­gant project, akin to a mon­key try­ing to repair a mil­i­tary heli­copter by bang­ing it with a wrench. He invokes the Ser­mon on the Mount — “Why do you look at the speck of saw­dust in your brother’s eye and pay no atten­tion to the plank in your own eye?” — as evi­dence that any­one who calls into ques­tion the world with­out hav­ing per­fect­ly ordered their own soul is a hyp­ocrite.

    “The dom­i­nance hier­ar­chy is not cap­i­tal­ism,” Peter­son writes in his book. “It’s not com­mu­nism, either, for that mat­ter. It’s not the mil­i­tary-indus­tri­al com­plex. It’s not the patri­archy — that dis­pos­able, mal­leable, arbi­trary cul­tur­al arti­fact.”

    No, he says. Those who want to fix the world are whin­ers, unin­ter­est­ed in doing the real work of tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty for them­selves.

    It’s no sur­prise that the mess of ide­olo­gies asso­ci­at­ed with the alt-right revere Peter­son, a great defend­er of the “West.” For white nation­al­ists, his writ­ing about evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gy sup­ports their belief in a Dar­win­ist con­test for resources. For so-called “men’s rights” misog­y­nists, Peter­son rein­forces the idea that fem­i­nism has turned mod­ern men fee­ble. Peter­son is a philo­soph­i­cal sage for rad­i­cal anti-com­mu­nists, and a demigod of YouTube debate pedantry.

    But Peter­son rejects the far-right. Instead, he sees his work as a path away from all that, from the resent­ment and vio­lence of fringe nihilists.

    “I’ve had many, many peo­ple write me from the right, or from the fringes of the rad­i­cal right, say­ing pre­cise­ly that lis­ten­ing to my lec­tures stopped them from going all of the way,” Peter­son said in an inter­view on YouTube.

    And this is why mod­ern con­ser­vatism is so enam­ored of Peter­son.

    Since Trump’s elec­tion, there’s been a sim­mer­ing fear that the future of the GOP would look less like the par­ty of Rea­gan and will instead be led by dis­af­fect­ed white racists raised on a media diet of 4chan and provo­ca­teurs like Milo Yiannopou­los. Peter­son promis­es to res­cue the Lost Boys. He goes into the cor­ners of the inter­net to ral­ly the fright­ened fledgelings of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment yet to come, and rais­es them up to be good Repub­li­cans.

    Now, Peter­son doesn’t him­self iden­ti­fy as con­ser­v­a­tive, but main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics are the nat­ur­al con­clu­sion of near­ly all of his teach­ings and beliefs.

    In one speech, deliv­ered at Har­vard and uploaded with the title “The Great­est Speech Every Stu­dent Should Hear,” he addressed the idea that the wealth­i­est 1% of soci­ety are hoard­ing wealth, call­ing it “absolute rub­bish.” The wealthy accu­mu­lat­ed what they have through lives of great­ness, Peter­son said, and if stu­dents would only become deserv­ing through rig­or­ous dis­ci­pline and self-improve­ment, the 1% would find no greater delight than to hand out oppor­tu­ni­ties.

    “There are few things which are more intrin­si­cal­ly mean­ing­ful, if you’re an accom­plished per­son, then to find young peo­ple who have the pos­si­bil­i­ty of being accom­plished and say, ‘Hey look, here’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty for you.’”

    Peter­son believes Chris­tian­i­ty is the foun­da­tion of soci­etal great­ness, that same-sex mar­riage is a poten­tial Left­ist assault on tra­di­tion­al fam­i­ly struc­tures, and that “white priv­i­lege” is a destruc­tive con­cept that will engen­der a sui­ci­dal lev­el of guilt in the West. Self-help is all well and good for get­ting one’s life in shape, but when extrap­o­lat­ed to the lev­el of nation­al pol­i­tics, the rhetoric of “per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty” is a handy weapon for those who oppose sin­gle-pay­er health care.

    Peter­son demands that his adher­ents not chal­lenge the rules their fore­fa­thers set out for them, to “set your house in per­fect order before you crit­i­cize the world.” It was the French philoso­pher Michel Fou­cault who observed that every­day fas­cism can arise in the pro­grams of self-dis­ci­pline that make docile, obe­di­ent work­ers of us all. Then again, Peter­son thinks Fou­cault is a treach­er­ous, bit­ter and resent­ful char­la­tan at the cen­ter of the “neo-Marx­ist” plot against the West. So that’s that.

    But if the true cause of young men’s alien­ation isn’t the rad­i­cal fem­i­nists, but the stag­na­tion of wages rel­a­tive to pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, rapid decline in income equal­i­ty, reduced oppor­tu­ni­ties and the dec­i­ma­tion of fields once dom­i­nat­ed by men? If the cri­sis of the West con­tin­ues unchal­lenged by Peterson’s pro­teges, crum­bling around them as they bear the bur­den of that pain and close their ears to col­lec­tive demands for change?

    Well, then Peter­son will only have that many more alien­at­ed young men whom he can teach to per­pet­u­ate the soci­ety that made them.

    The real prob­lem is those god damn Marx­ists, any­way.

    ———-

    “Jor­dan Peter­son is the ris­ing self-help guru of young con­ser­v­a­tives. Here’s what he’s telling them.” by Jack Smith IV; Mic; 02/03/2018

    “His name is Dr. Jor­dan B. Peter­son, a Cana­di­an pro­fes­sor who’s become the spir­i­tu­al father of an online tribe of alien­at­ed, dis­af­fect­ed and resent­ful young men. In the past few months, Peterson’s rapid­ly gone from a lit­tle-known clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist to a ver­i­ta­ble megachurch preach­er of anti-com­mu­nism and per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty. His pop­u­lar­i­ty is mete­oric, and if pro­gres­sives want to under­stand the ide­o­log­i­cal future of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment, they may want to pay notice.”

    That’s Jor­dan Peter­son, the man behind what appears to be a trendy self-help/­men’s right­s/an­ti-left tra­di­tion­al­ist cul­ture-war­rior fusion mes­sage. And at this point it’s unclear how pop­u­lar he’s going to get because his metoric rise is still under­way. Espe­cial­ly with the help of Youtube (of course), where his chan­nel has 700,000 sub­scribers:

    ...
    Peterson’s been described as “the stu­pid man’s smart per­son,” which is a good enough euphemism for say­ing “effec­tive pub­lic intel­lec­tu­al.” Peterson’s YouTube chan­nel has more than 700,000 sub­scribers, and he has a pod­cast in which he gives long address­es on clas­si­cal phi­los­o­phy. At his well-attend­ed col­lege talks, his ador­ing, large­ly male fan­base reg­u­lar­ly approach him after­ward to say that his advice has giv­en them mean­ing and pur­pose.
    ...

    And James Damore, the Alt Right for­mer Google engi­neer did his first two inter­views with Ste­fan Malyneux, a promi­nent far-right pro­mot­er of eugen­ics and anoth­er inter­view with Jor­dan Peter­son. Those were the first two inter­views for Damore:

    ...
    When for­mer Google engi­neer James Damore was fired after writ­ing his now-infa­mous inter­nal memo about gen­der in the work­place, he did two inter­views on YouTube before speak­ing with any­one in the main­stream press. One inter­view was with far-right talk­ing head Ste­fan Molyneux. The oth­er was with Peter­son.
    ...

    It’s an indi­ca­tion of Peter­son­’s Alt-Right appeal and why there appears to be so much hope that he’ll mold the dis­af­fect­ed Alt Right youth more in his image. And more in the image of lob­sters, Peter­son­’s favorite ani­mal. Appar­ent­ly because lob­sters are very hier­ar­chi­cal. By embrac­ing their inner lob­sters, men could embrace their mas­culin­i­ty with­out being shamed into think­ing it’s tox­ic to do so:

    ...
    Con­sid­er the lob­ster

    Jor­dan Peter­son is obsessed with lob­sters. Sev­er­al ear­ly pages in 12 Rules for Life are ded­i­cat­ed to lob­sters and their behav­ior, how they fight, how they mate, their dom­i­nance hier­ar­chies and their sero­tonin lev­els.

    “Look for your inspi­ra­tion to the vic­to­ri­ous lob­ster, with its 350 mil­lion years of prac­ti­cal wis­dom,” Peter­son wrote. “Stand up straight, with your shoul­ders back.”

    This is the first piece of advice he dis­pens­es in his book and his lec­tures, aimed large­ly at the alien­at­ed and pur­pose­less young men. Peterson’s work mix­es psy­chol­o­gy with basic self-help pablum, Joseph Campbell’s idea of the “Hero’s Jour­ney,” moti­va­tion­al speak­ing, evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gy, Dis­ney movies like Pinoc­chio and Chris­tian­i­ty. His advice is sim­ple: Stand up straight. Make your bed. Only use speech that makes you feel strong. Pick up the heav­i­est bur­den you can find, and make your­self stronger by bear­ing it. Slay the drag­on. Defend the West.

    Jor­dan Peter­son is con­cerned for the young men of the world. They’ve become weak, resent­ful and bit­ter. Peter­son wor­ries that young men are scold­ed into believ­ing their own con­fi­dence is a symp­tom of “tox­ic mas­culin­i­ty,” and giv­en no words of encour­age­ment. It’s a prob­lem that reg­u­lar­ly brings him to tears in talks and inter­views.

    When Peter­son speaks, he looks out into the crowd and sees the eyes of his most­ly male audi­ence light up at the men­tion of per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty. But it nev­er takes long before Peter­son sim­mers over from lucid, effec­tive advice and into tirades against fem­i­nists and social jus­tice war­riors. Even the lob­sters are evi­dence that biol­o­gy is biol­o­gy, and that gen­der hier­ar­chy must not be inter­rupt­ed.

    “Do male crus­taceans oppress female crus­taceans?” Peter­son asks in 12 Rules for Life. “Should their hier­ar­chies be upend­ed?”
    ...

    “Jor­dan Peter­son is con­cerned for the young men of the world. They’ve become weak, resent­ful and bit­ter. Peter­son wor­ries that young men are scold­ed into believ­ing their own con­fi­dence is a symp­tom of “tox­ic mas­culin­i­ty,” and giv­en no words of encour­age­ment. It’s a prob­lem that reg­u­lar­ly brings him to tears in talks and inter­views.”

    And who is respon­si­ble for cre­at­ing an atmos­phere where embrac­ing your inner lob­ster is labeled ‘tox­ic mas­culin­i­ty’? ‘Cul­tur­al Marx­ists’, that’s who. ‘Cul­tur­al Marx­ists’ who are schem­ing to sap men of their god giv­en rights to assume their nat­ur­al roles and embrace their inner hier­ar­chi­cal macho lob­sters:

    ...
    So what is this force Peter­son says is bear­ing down on young men, blud­geon­ing their self-esteem with unfair accu­sa­tions and reduc­ing their capac­i­ty for per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty? “Post­mod­ernism.”

    To under­stand Peterson’s use of the word “post­mod­ernism,” you need to become famil­iar with one of the most pop­u­lar and implau­si­ble fan­tasies in mod­ern con­ser­vatism: “cul­tur­al marx­ism.” Cul­tur­al marx­ism is an anti-Semit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry devel­oped in the 1980s large­ly in response to affir­ma­tive action, cham­pi­oned by every­one from far-right ter­ror­ists like Anders Behring Breivik to mem­bers of Pres­i­dent Trump’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil.

    The con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry goes like this: A group of aca­d­e­mics in the 1970s real­ized that Marx­ism had failed. So instead of class war between work­ers and own­ers, they devel­oped a new idea as a revenge plot to unrav­el West­ern civ­i­liza­tion: cul­tur­al war­fare. Then, the sto­ry goes, this Marx­ist plot against white men and the nuclear fam­i­ly spread among uni­ver­si­ties and through­out the coun­try. Diver­si­ty train­ing? Black super­heroes? Trans­gen­der rights? That’s all cul­tur­al Marx­ism.

    Peterson’s “post­mod­ernism” and “neo-Marx­ism” is essen­tial­ly the same as “cul­tur­al Marx­ism,” but with some of the names changed. Peter­son not only sees Marx­ism every­where, but sees its influ­ence as the most per­va­sive threat to mod­ern civ­i­liza­tion. He often rec­om­mends the book The Gulag Arch­i­pel­ago, a 1973 his­to­ry of Sovi­et labor camps, as the essen­tial text for under­stand­ing “the cen­tral issue in our cul­ture at the moment.” This is large­ly his issue with the pro­noun debate: If we cede ground to the rad­i­cal left­ists, it’s not just pro­nouns, but our entire cul­ture that’s at stake.

    “I believe that the rea­son this has caused so much noise — tremen­dous amount of noise, tremen­dous amount of atten­tion on YouTube — is because there are things that are at stake in this dis­cus­sion, despite its sur­face nature, that strike at the very heart of our civ­i­liza­tion,” Peter­son said dur­ing a Cana­di­an broad­cast inter­view.
    ...

    “Peter­son not only sees Marx­ism every­where, but sees its influ­ence as the most per­va­sive threat to mod­ern civ­i­liza­tion.”

    And that is why Peter­son is the per­fect guy to paper over the dif­fer­ences between the ‘Alt Right’ neo-Nazis and more tra­di­tion­al ‘God and small-gov­ern­ment’ con­ser­v­a­tives: by fix­at­ing on ‘cul­tur­al marx­ism’ as an exis­ten­tial threat that these dis­af­fect­ed young men should find mean­ing in life by oppos­ing, Peter­son is basi­cal­ly repack­ing the Alt Right neo-Nazi world­view — a rehashed update of the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion, where the Jews lead the whole world in a giant con­spir­ing to keep con­ser­v­a­tive white males down by pro­mot­ing pro­gres­sivism — and express­ing it in the ‘God and small-gov­ern­ment’ tra­di­tion­al GOP lan­guage. In oth­er words, he’s ‘tam­ing’ the Alt Right by teach­ing them how to cloak them­selves as tra­di­tion­al con­ser­v­a­tives more effec­tive­ly.

    And that focus on a small-gov­ern­ment, do-it-your­self mes­sage is so extreme in the world­view Peter­son is ped­dling that he explic­it­ly dis­cour­ages try­ing to fix the world in gen­er­al. That’s seen as arro­gant and a dis­trac­tion from fix­ing your­self. It’s anoth­er way Peter­son helps chan­nel the nihilism of the young Alt Right con­ser­v­a­tives and turns it into a gen­er­al apa­thy. A gen­er­al apa­thy with the excep­tion of the focus on fight­ing ‘cul­tur­al marx­ism’. You can see why the right-wing oli­garchy that tra­di­tion­al­ly built and man­ages the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment loves Peter­son. He promis­es to turn out of con­trol poten­tial neo-Nazi ter­ror­ists into peo­ple focused on mak­ing them­selves bet­ter cul­ture war­riors and lit­tle else:

    ...
    So how can the young men of the West defend them­selves from a Marx­ist plot to tear apart the cul­ture and the nuclear fam­i­ly? A right­ly ordered soul.

    “What I’ve been telling young men is that there’s an actu­al rea­son why they need to grow up, which is that they have some­thing to offer,” Peter­son said in the Chan­nel 4 inter­view. “That peo­ple have with­in them this capac­i­ty to set the world straight, and that’s nec­es­sary to man­i­fest in the world.”

    Chick­en Soup for the Cap­i­tal­ist Soul

    Self-help pro­grams nat­u­ral­ly lend them­selves to a con­ser­v­a­tive world­view. Empow­er­ment gurus often teach their adher­ents to give up on blame and focus on pulling them­selves up by their spir­i­tu­al boot­straps. In The New Prophets of Cap­i­tal, Nicole Aschoff writes about how even lib­er­al heros like Oprah can divert our atten­tion away from the sys­tems that pro­duce pover­ty and anx­i­ety, and instead focus our atten­tion inward.

    “Oprah is appeal­ing pre­cise­ly because her sto­ries hide the role of polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic, and social struc­tures,” Aschoff wrote. “In doing so, they make the Amer­i­can Dream seem attain­able. If we just fix our­selves, we can achieve our goals.”

    In oth­er words: Don’t wor­ry about chang­ing the world, focus on chang­ing your­self. It doesn’t mat­ter, for exam­ple, that one of the top indi­ca­tors of income is where you were born, and not the struc­ture of your fam­i­ly. The only thing that mat­ters is what you’re going to do to pre­vail.

    Peter­son has iden­ti­fied that nascent ingre­di­ent of con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics with­in self-help, and pulled its fla­vor straight to the sur­face.

    Where cre­at­ing social progress requires col­lec­tive action, Peter­son says attempt­ing to fix soci­ety at large is an arro­gant project, akin to a mon­key try­ing to repair a mil­i­tary heli­copter by bang­ing it with a wrench. He invokes the Ser­mon on the Mount — “Why do you look at the speck of saw­dust in your brother’s eye and pay no atten­tion to the plank in your own eye?” — as evi­dence that any­one who calls into ques­tion the world with­out hav­ing per­fect­ly ordered their own soul is a hyp­ocrite.

    “The dom­i­nance hier­ar­chy is not cap­i­tal­ism,” Peter­son writes in his book. “It’s not com­mu­nism, either, for that mat­ter. It’s not the mil­i­tary-indus­tri­al com­plex. It’s not the patri­archy — that dis­pos­able, mal­leable, arbi­trary cul­tur­al arti­fact.”

    No, he says. Those who want to fix the world are whin­ers, unin­ter­est­ed in doing the real work of tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty for them­selves.
    ...

    “No, he says. Those who want to fix the world are whin­ers, unin­ter­est­ed in doing the real work of tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty for them­selves.”

    If you want to improve the world, you’re a whin­er run­ning away from your respon­si­bil­i­ty to improve your­self. Just focus on oppos­ing the ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ists’ (i.e. peo­ple try­ing to improve the world). That’s the anti­dote to the inher­ent nihilism of Nazism Peter­son offers the GOP. An anti­dote that just might trans­form some of these neo-Nazis into dis­ci­plined right-wing foot sol­diers by offi­cial­ly reject­ing the far-right at the same time he’s espous­ing their world­view:

    ...
    It’s no sur­prise that the mess of ide­olo­gies asso­ci­at­ed with the alt-right revere Peter­son, a great defend­er of the “West.” For white nation­al­ists, his writ­ing about evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gy sup­ports their belief in a Dar­win­ist con­test for resources. For so-called “men’s rights” misog­y­nists, Peter­son rein­forces the idea that fem­i­nism has turned mod­ern men fee­ble. Peter­son is a philo­soph­i­cal sage for rad­i­cal anti-com­mu­nists, and a demigod of YouTube debate pedantry.

    But Peter­son rejects the far-right. Instead, he sees his work as a path away from all that, from the resent­ment and vio­lence of fringe nihilists.

    “I’ve had many, many peo­ple write me from the right, or from the fringes of the rad­i­cal right, say­ing pre­cise­ly that lis­ten­ing to my lec­tures stopped them from going all of the way,” Peter­son said in an inter­view on YouTube.

    And this is why mod­ern con­ser­vatism is so enam­ored of Peter­son.

    Since Trump’s elec­tion, there’s been a sim­mer­ing fear that the future of the GOP would look less like the par­ty of Rea­gan and will instead be led by dis­af­fect­ed white racists raised on a media diet of 4chan and provo­ca­teurs like Milo Yiannopou­los. Peter­son promis­es to res­cue the Lost Boys. He goes into the cor­ners of the inter­net to ral­ly the fright­ened fledgelings of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment yet to come, and rais­es them up to be good Repub­li­cans.
    ...

    “Since Trump’s elec­tion, there’s been a sim­mer­ing fear that the future of the GOP would look less like the par­ty of Rea­gan and will instead be led by dis­af­fect­ed white racists raised on a media diet of 4chan and provo­ca­teurs like Milo Yiannopou­los. Peter­son promis­es to res­cue the Lost Boys. He goes into the cor­ners of the inter­net to ral­ly the fright­ened fledgelings of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment yet to come, and rais­es them up to be good Repub­li­cans.”

    And as the final pati­na of tra­di­tion­al con­ser­vatism to counter the anti-bil­lion­aire sen­ti­ments that some­times exist on the far-right, Peter­son has a very Calvin­ist mes­sage that explic­it­ly rejects the notion that the con­cen­tra­tion of wealth is a valid con­cern:

    ...
    Now, Peter­son doesn’t him­self iden­ti­fy as con­ser­v­a­tive, but main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics are the nat­ur­al con­clu­sion of near­ly all of his teach­ings and beliefs.

    In one speech, deliv­ered at Har­vard and uploaded with the title “The Great­est Speech Every Stu­dent Should Hear,” he addressed the idea that the wealth­i­est 1% of soci­ety are hoard­ing wealth, call­ing it “absolute rub­bish.” The wealthy accu­mu­lat­ed what they have through lives of great­ness, Peter­son said, and if stu­dents would only become deserv­ing through rig­or­ous dis­ci­pline and self-improve­ment, the 1% would find no greater delight than to hand out oppor­tu­ni­ties.

    “There are few things which are more intrin­si­cal­ly mean­ing­ful, if you’re an accom­plished per­son, then to find young peo­ple who have the pos­si­bil­i­ty of being accom­plished and say, ‘Hey look, here’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty for you.’”

    Peter­son believes Chris­tian­i­ty is the foun­da­tion of soci­etal great­ness, that same-sex mar­riage is a poten­tial Left­ist assault on tra­di­tion­al fam­i­ly struc­tures, and that “white priv­i­lege” is a destruc­tive con­cept that will engen­der a sui­ci­dal lev­el of guilt in the West. Self-help is all well and good for get­ting one’s life in shape, but when extrap­o­lat­ed to the lev­el of nation­al pol­i­tics, the rhetoric of “per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty” is a handy weapon for those who oppose sin­gle-pay­er health care.

    Peter­son demands that his adher­ents not chal­lenge the rules their fore­fa­thers set out for them, to “set your house in per­fect order before you crit­i­cize the world.” It was the French philoso­pher Michel Fou­cault who observed that every­day fas­cism can arise in the pro­grams of self-dis­ci­pline that make docile, obe­di­ent work­ers of us all. Then again, Peter­son thinks Fou­cault is a treach­er­ous, bit­ter and resent­ful char­la­tan at the cen­ter of the “neo-Marx­ist” plot against the West. So that’s that.
    ...

    “Peter­son demands that his adher­ents not chal­lenge the rules their fore­fa­thers set out for them, to “set your house in per­fect order before you crit­i­cize the world.””

    In oth­er words, don’t rock the boat. Instead, orga­nize to throw all the hip­pies over­board. It’s like a Koch/Mercer dream mes­sage. And that’s why Jor­dan Peter­son is cur­rent­ly being treat­ed like a dream come true by the con­ser­v­a­tive estab­lish­ment.

    It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing devel­op­ment in the unfold­ing sto­ry of the rise of the Alt Right and the overt neo-Nazi takeover of the GOP. Trump is part of that sto­ry but it’s a sto­ry that is going to have a post-Trump chap­ter and we might be see­ing the con­tours of that post-Trump sto­ry of the Alt Right with the emer­gence of Peter­son as a thought-leader embraced by both the Alt Right and main­stream con­ser­v­a­tivism.

    So Peter­son is basi­cal­ly offer­ing the Alt Right and polit­i­cal­ly dis­af­fect­ed nihilist right-wing young men in gen­er­al a pitch to ditch their nihilism and instead orga­nize to burn down soci­ety togeth­er and replace it with one where men are free to embrace their role at the top of a macho lob­ster hier­achy with­out being shamed for it. And the Alt Right appears to be lik­ing what Peter­son is sell­ing. Will he suc­ceed in invit­ing a bunch of Alt Right trolls into the polit­i­cal realm by mor­ph­ing them into good lit­tle GOP oper­a­tives? Or will he fail keep the Alt Right trolls focused on Hel­ter Skel­ter-style paths to pow­er? Either way, it’s a depress­ing ques­tion.

    So if you do find your­self depressed by the rise of the Alt Right and the gen­er­al suc­cess of far-right pro­pa­gan­da in keep­ing human­i­ty divid­ed and con­quered, or depressed for any oth­er rea­son, keep in mind that the Alt Right appears to be active­ly recruit­ing depressed peo­ple. Espe­cial­ly over the inter­net. Using Jor­dan Peter­son videos on Youtube as the gate­way.

    The way it works is the depressed per­son watched the ‘main­stream’ Jor­dan Peter­son self-help videos on depres­sion then get served up a more ‘Red-pill’-ish video of Peter­son sound­ing more like an Alt Right guru. And then Youtube’s algo­rithm serves up videos for peo­ple like Ste­fen Molyneux next. And it goes on from there. Youtube is the slip­pery slope is the extrem­ist’s recruit­ment dream tool.

    Accord­ing to “MrHap­py­DieHap­py”, the moniker for some­one sound­ing the alarm over the Alt Right recruit­ment efforts they expe­ri­enced as a depressed per­son on the inter­net, the “com­mon rail­road stages of ‘help­ful’ link­ing to ‘moti­va­tion­al speak­ers’ goes ‘Jor­dan Peter­son —> Ste­fan Molyneux —> Mil­len­ni­al Woes”.

    In oth­er words, Jor­dan Peter­son isn’t just becom­ing a gate­way for peo­ple to move out of the trap­pings of the Alt Right and into the GOP fold, he’s also being used as a gate­way for peo­ple to move into the Alt Right. He’s like a one-man GOP crytp-Nazi fac­to­ry.

    So if you find your­self even more depressed after learn­ing all that, you prob­a­bly want to avoid the Jor­dan Peter­son self-help videos while deal­ing with your depres­sion:

    The Out­line

    The Alt-right is recruit­ing depressed peo­ple
    Alt-right fig­ures are tar­get­ing vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties with videos and, unfor­tu­nate­ly, it seems to be work­ing.

    Paris Mar­tineau
    Feb—26—2018 02:02PM EST

    A video on YouTube enti­tled “Advice For Peo­ple With Depres­sion” has over half a mil­lion views. The title is gener­ic enough, and to the unsus­pect­ing view­er, lec­tur­er Jor­dan Peter­son could even look legit­i­mate or knowl­edgable — a quick Google search will reveal that he even spoke at Har­vard once. But as the video wears on, Peter­son argues that men are depressed and frus­trat­ed because they don’t have a high­er call­ing like women (who, accord­ing to Peter­son, are bio­log­i­cal­ly required to have and take care of infants). This leaves weak men seek­ing “impul­sive, low-class plea­sure,” he argues. Upon first glance he cer­tain­ly doesn’t seem like a dar­ling of the alt-right, but he is.

    Type “depres­sion” or “depressed” into YouTube and it won’t be long until you stum­ble upon a suit-clad white suprema­cist giv­ing a lec­ture on self-empow­er­ment. They’re every­where. For years, mem­bers of the alt-right have tak­en advan­tage of the internet’s most vul­ner­a­ble, turn­ing their fear and self-loathing into vit­ri­olic extrem­ism, and thanks to the movement’s recent gal­va­niza­tion, they’re only grow­ing stronger.

    “I still won­der, how could I have been so stu­pid?” writes Red­dit user u/pdesperaux, in a post detail­ing how he was acci­den­tal­ly seduced by the alt-right. “I was part of a cult. I know cults and I know brain­wash­ing, I have researched them exten­sive­ly, you’d think I would have noticed, right? Wrong. These are the same tac­tics that Sci­en­tol­ogy and ISIS use and I fell for them like a chump.”

    “NOBODY is talk­ing about how the online depres­sion com­mu­ni­ty has been infil­trat­ed by alt-right recruiters delib­er­ate­ly prey­ing on the vul­ner­a­ble,” writes Twit­ter user @MrHappyDieHappy in a thread on the issue. “There NEED to be pub­lic warn­ings about this. ‘Online pals’ have attempt­ed to groom me mul­ti­ple times when at my absolute low­est.”

    “You know your life is use­less and mean­ing­less,” Peter­son says in his “Advice” video, turn­ing towards the view­er, “you’re full of self-con­tempt and nihilism.” He doesn’t fol­low all of this rous­ing self-hatred with an answer, but rather mere­ly teas­es at one. “[You] have had enough of that,” he says to a class­room full of men. “Rights, rights, rights, rights…”

    Peterson’s alt-light mes­sag­ing quick­ly takes a dark­er turn. Fin­ish that video and YouTube will queue up “Jor­dan Peter­son — Don’t Be The Nice Guy” (1.3 mil­lion views), and “Jor­dan Peter­son — The Trag­ic Sto­ry of the Man-Child” (over 853,000 views), both of which are prac­ti­cal­ly right out of the redpill/incel hand­book.

    The com­mon rail­road stages of ‘help­ful’ link­ing to ‘moti­va­tion­al speak­ers’ goes ‘Jor­dan Peter­son —> Ste­fan Molyneux —> Mil­len­ni­al Woes,” writes @MrHappyDieHappy. “The first is charis­mat­ic and not as harm­ful, but his per­sua­sive­ness leaves peo­ple open for the next two, who are frankly evil and dumb.” Molyneux, an anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ist who pro­motes sci­en­tif­ic racism and eugen­ics, has grown wild­ly pop­u­lar amongst the alt-right as of late. His videos — which argue, among oth­er things, that rape is a “moral right” — are often used to help tran­si­tion vul­ner­a­ble young men into the vit­ri­olic and racist core of the alt-right.

    Though it may seem like a huge ide­o­log­i­cal leap, it makes sense, in a way. For some dis­il­lu­sioned and hope­less­ly con­fused young men, the alt-right offers two things they feel a seri­ous lack of in the throes of depres­sion: accep­tance and com­mu­ni­ty. These primer videos and their asso­ci­at­ed “sup­port” groups do a shock­ing­ly good job of acknowl­edg­ing the valid­i­ty of the depressed man’s exis­tence — some­thing men don’t often feel they expe­ri­ence — and cap­i­tal­ize on that good will by gal­va­niz­ing their mem­bers into a plan of action (which gen­er­al­ly involves fight­ing against some group or class of peo­ple des­ig­nat­ed as “the ene­my”). These sort of move­ments allot the depressed per­son a form of agency which they may nev­er have expe­ri­enced before. And whether it’s ground­ed in real­i­ty or not, that’s an addict­ing feel­ing.

    Accord­ing to Chris­t­ian Pic­ci­oli­ni, a for­mer neo-nazi who co-found­ed the peace advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion, Life After Hate, these sort of recruit­ing tac­tics aren’t just com­mon, but sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly enforced. “[The recruiters] are active­ly look­ing for these kind of bro­ken indi­vid­u­als who they can promise accep­tance, who they can promise iden­ti­ty to,” Pic­ci­oli­ni said in an inter­view with Sam Seder. “Because in real life, per­haps these peo­ple are social­ly awk­ward — they’re not fit­ting in; they may be bul­lied — and they’re des­per­ate­ly look­ing for some­thing. And the ide­ol­o­gy and the dog­ma are not what dri­ve peo­ple to this extrem­ism, it’s in fact, I think, a bro­ken search for that accep­tance and that pur­pose and com­mu­ni­ty.”

    ...

    Some of the most tox­ic unof­fi­cial alt-right com­mu­ni­ties online have oper­at­ed on this prin­ci­ple. r/Incels (which is now banned, thank­ful­ly), began as a place for the “invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate” to com­mis­er­ate, but quick­ly became the place for extreme misog­y­nists to gath­er and blame their prob­lems on women and minori­ties. “Men going their own way,” (MGTOW) was ini­tial­ly a space for men to com­mune and pro­tect their sov­er­eign­ty as dudes “above all else,” it devolved into an infi­nite­ly racist and misog­y­nis­tic hell­hole. Sim­i­lar fates have befall­en r/Redpill, r/MensRights, and count­less oth­ers. Com­mis­er­a­tion begets com­mu­ni­ty begets a vul­ner­a­ble trend towards group­think.

    While it’s easy to iso­late pure­ly hate­ful con­tent, the type that preys upon the dis­en­fran­chised and uses much more insid­i­ous meth­ods to bring them into the fold is much more dif­fi­cult to man­age on expan­sive plat­forms like YouTube. Par­tic­u­lar­ly because the mes­sage being sent isn’t one of obvi­ous in-your-face hate speech, or some­thing so obvi­ous­ly objec­tion­able, but rather more of a slow burn. It’s not the sort of thing you can train algo­rithms to spot — or at least, not yet — mak­ing the issue of con­tain­ment that much hard­er to address.

    ———-

    “The Alt-right is recruit­ing depressed peo­ple” by Paris Mar­tineau; The Out­line; 02/26/2018

    Type “depres­sion” or “depressed” into YouTube and it won’t be long until you stum­ble upon a suit-clad white suprema­cist giv­ing a lec­ture on self-empow­er­ment. They’re every­where. For years, mem­bers of the alt-right have tak­en advan­tage of the internet’s most vul­ner­a­ble, turn­ing their fear and self-loathing into vit­ri­olic extrem­ism, and thanks to the movement’s recent gal­va­niza­tion, they’re only grow­ing stronger.”

    And there we have it, the worst ther­a­py for depres­sion ever: an end­less stream of white-suprema­cy videos on Youtube. Well, ok, ISIS recruit­ment videos would tie for worst ther­a­py.

    And almost no one is warn­ing depressed peo­ple about this:

    ...
    “I still won­der, how could I have been so stu­pid?” writes Red­dit user u/pdesperaux, in a post detail­ing how he was acci­den­tal­ly seduced by the alt-right. “I was part of a cult. I know cults and I know brain­wash­ing, I have researched them exten­sive­ly, you’d think I would have noticed, right? Wrong. These are the same tac­tics that Sci­en­tol­ogy and ISIS use and I fell for them like a chump.”

    “NOBODY is talk­ing about how the online depres­sion com­mu­ni­ty has been infil­trat­ed by alt-right recruiters delib­er­ate­ly prey­ing on the vul­ner­a­ble,” writes Twit­ter user @MrHappyDieHappy in a thread on the issue. “There NEED to be pub­lic warn­ings about this. ‘Online pals’ have attempt­ed to groom me mul­ti­ple times when at my absolute low­est.”
    ...

    And that stream self-help Alt-Right gate­way videos includes the Jor­dan Peter­son. Then it turns to ‘red­pilled’ Jor­dan Peter­son videos:

    ...
    “You know your life is use­less and mean­ing­less,” Peter­son says in his “Advice” video, turn­ing towards the view­er, “you’re full of self-con­tempt and nihilism.” He doesn’t fol­low all of this rous­ing self-hatred with an answer, but rather mere­ly teas­es at one. “[You] have had enough of that,” he says to a class­room full of men. “Rights, rights, rights, rights…”

    Peterson’s alt-light mes­sag­ing quick­ly takes a dark­er turn. Fin­ish that video and YouTube will queue up “Jor­dan Peter­son — Don’t Be The Nice Guy” (1.3 mil­lion views), and “Jor­dan Peter­son — The Trag­ic Sto­ry of the Man-Child” (over 853,000 views), both of which are prac­ti­cal­ly right out of the redpill/incel hand­book.

    The com­mon rail­road stages of ‘help­ful’ link­ing to ‘moti­va­tion­al speak­ers’ goes ‘Jor­dan Peter­son —> Ste­fan Molyneux —> Mil­len­ni­al Woes,” writes @MrHappyDieHappy. “The first is charis­mat­ic and not as harm­ful, but his per­sua­sive­ness leaves peo­ple open for the next two, who are frankly evil and dumb.” Molyneux, an anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ist who pro­motes sci­en­tif­ic racism and eugen­ics, has grown wild­ly pop­u­lar amongst the alt-right as of late. His videos — which argue, among oth­er things, that rape is a “moral right” — are often used to help tran­si­tion vul­ner­a­ble young men into the vit­ri­olic and racist core of the alt-right.
    ...

    So what are Peter­son and the Alt Right offer­ing the depressed? A com­mu­ni­ty that accepts them, which is exact­ly what Chris­t­ian Pic­ci­oli­ni, a for­mer neo-nazi who co-found­ed the peace advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion, Life After Hate, warns is a clas­sic fea­ture of neo-Nazi and extrem­ist recruit­ment tech­niques:

    ...
    Though it may seem like a huge ide­o­log­i­cal leap, it makes sense, in a way. For some dis­il­lu­sioned and hope­less­ly con­fused young men, the alt-right offers two things they feel a seri­ous lack of in the throes of depres­sion: accep­tance and com­mu­ni­ty. These primer videos and their asso­ci­at­ed “sup­port” groups do a shock­ing­ly good job of acknowl­edg­ing the valid­i­ty of the depressed man’s exis­tence — some­thing men don’t often feel they expe­ri­ence — and cap­i­tal­ize on that good will by gal­va­niz­ing their mem­bers into a plan of action (which gen­er­al­ly involves fight­ing against some group or class of peo­ple des­ig­nat­ed as “the ene­my”). These sort of move­ments allot the depressed per­son a form of agency which they may nev­er have expe­ri­enced before. And whether it’s ground­ed in real­i­ty or not, that’s an addict­ing feel­ing.

    Accord­ing to Chris­t­ian Pic­ci­oli­ni, a for­mer neo-nazi who co-found­ed the peace advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion, Life After Hate, these sort of recruit­ing tac­tics aren’t just com­mon, but sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly enforced. “[The recruiters] are active­ly look­ing for these kind of bro­ken indi­vid­u­als who they can promise accep­tance, who they can promise iden­ti­ty to,” Pic­ci­oli­ni said in an inter­view with Sam Seder. “Because in real life, per­haps these peo­ple are social­ly awk­ward — they’re not fit­ting in; they may be bul­lied — and they’re des­per­ate­ly look­ing for some­thing. And the ide­ol­o­gy and the dog­ma are not what dri­ve peo­ple to this extrem­ism, it’s in fact, I think, a bro­ken search for that accep­tance and that pur­pose and com­mu­ni­ty.”
    ...

    And this approach of tar­get­ing depressed men was trag­i­cal­ly on dis­play when a red­dit group for the “invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate” to com­mis­er­ate quick­ly became an Alt Right stomp­ing ground where women and minori­ties (‘cul­tur­al Marx­ists’) got all the blame. The world­view shared by Jor­dan Peter­son and the Alt Right became the dom­i­nant world­view of that online red­dit “invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate” com­mu­ni­ty, mak­ing that com­mu­ni­ty a new recruit­ment tool. It real­ly is quite depress­ing:

    ...
    Some of the most tox­ic unof­fi­cial alt-right com­mu­ni­ties online have oper­at­ed on this prin­ci­ple. r/Incels (which is now banned, thank­ful­ly), began as a place for the “invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate” to com­mis­er­ate, but quick­ly became the place for extreme misog­y­nists to gath­er and blame their prob­lems on women and minori­ties. “Men going their own way,” (MGTOW) was ini­tial­ly a space for men to com­mune and pro­tect their sov­er­eign­ty as dudes “above all else,” it devolved into an infi­nite­ly racist and misog­y­nis­tic hell­hole. Sim­i­lar fates have befall­en r/Redpill, r/MensRights, and count­less oth­ers. Com­mis­er­a­tion begets com­mu­ni­ty begets a vul­ner­a­ble trend towards group­think.
    ...

    So, as we can see, Jor­dan Peter­son is both fuel­ing the growth fo the Alt Right and doing it using a mes­sage that cre­ates the rhetor­i­cal cov­er sto­ry for those Alt Right believ­ers to go into cryp­to-Nazi mode and become ‘respectable’ and join the GOP. A one-man far-right foot sol­dier con­vey­or belt based on the pro­mo­tion of fol­low­ing key ideals:

    1. Those try­ing to make the world a bet­ter place are just run­ning for the need to improve them­selves.

    2. You can improve your­self and find mean­ing in life by focus­ing on the bat­tle against ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ism’, i.e., the bat­tle against the peo­ple try­ing to make the world a bet­ter place for every­one by mak­ing it a place with every­one in mind. That’s peo­ple are bat­tle and get in the way of your inner lob­ster.

    3. If you’re feel­ing depressed or nihilis­tic, defeat­ing ‘cul­tur­al Marx­ism’ is a good form of ther­a­py for those feel­ings.

    And Peter­son­’s for­mu­la appears to be work­ing. At least the part where Peter­son fun­nels peo­ple in the Alt Right. We’ll see if he suc­ceeds with pulling them out by turn­ing them into card car­ry­ing God fear­ing Repub­li­cans. But with main­stream con­ser­vatism embrac­ing him too it seems very pos­si­ble that Jor­dan Peter­son­’s mes­sage could be a kind of unit­ing ral­ly­ing cry for the GOP and its allied Alt Right troll army.

    So, yeah, beware the Jor­dan Peter­son self-real­iza­tion cult. The next thing you know you’re a Nazi and at the end of it all you’re a Jor­dan Peter­son brand Repub­li­can. It’s a sur­pris­ing­ly vast and scary cult. Beware.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 11, 2018, 7:56 pm
  15. Oh great, it looks like the social media giants like Youtube and Face­book that are fac­ing scruti­ny over the way they’ve become major pro­pa­gan­da tools for the far right have com­pe­ti­tion: The Steam gam­ing app, a major dis­trib­u­tor for very pop­u­lar video games, appears to have a neo-Nazi prob­lem. Specif­i­cal­ly, neo-Nazis are using its chat room and voice-over-IP options to pro­mote their ide­ol­o­gy. Both the Dai­ly Stormer and Andrew Auern­heimer have Steam chat rooms. Atom­Waf­fen too.

    And there’s also a prob­lem with Steam chat forums that glo­ri­fy school shoot­ers. Yep. 173 such groups glo­ri­fy­ing school shoot­ings accord­ing to one count.

    And Steam isn’t the only pop­u­lar gam­ing app that this neo-Nazi prob­lem. Dis­cord, anoth­er very pop­u­lar app for gamers, also appears to have a num­ber of chat rooms run by neo-Nazis. The Ger­man­ic Recon­quista group of Ger­man neo-Nazis who were train­ing peo­ple how to game Youtube’s algo­rithms did that train­ing using Dis­cord. And, again, Steam and Dis­cord are both quite pop­u­lar.

    So while school shoot­ings like the shoot­ing in Park­land, Flori­da, inevitably raise dif­fi­cult ques­tions over the role vio­lent video games may have played in push­ing the shoot­er towards such an act, it seems like the ques­tion over whether or not there’s a prob­lem with video gam­ing chat apps pro­mot­ing school shoot­ings is a pret­ty sim­ple ques­tion. Yes, there is indeed a prob­lem. Specif­i­cal­ly, the 173+ pop­u­lar video game chat forums on Steam that glo­ri­fy school shoot­ers are indeed part of the school shoot­ing prob­lem. A school shoot­ing prob­lem that is part of the much larg­er prob­lem of psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple suc­cumb­ing to vio­lent hate­ful ide­olo­gies in gen­er­al which is also being pro­mot­ed over these pop­u­lar chat apps:

    Newsweek

    Neo-Nazis, ‘Future School Shoot­ers’ Using Lead­ing Gam­ing App to Post Hate­ful Con­tent in Hun­dreds of Groups: Report

    By Michael Edi­son Hay­den
    On 3/7/18 at 5:43 PM

    A lead­ing gam­ing app that is pop­u­lar with adher­ents of the neo-Nazi wing of the alt-right move­ment has at least 173 groups ded­i­cat­ed to the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of school shoot­ings, accord­ing to a report pub­lished last week by Reveal News. Sep­a­rate­ly, dozens of neo-Nazi groups have cul­ti­vat­ed active com­mu­ni­ties on the app.

    The report notes that these Steam groups—which typ­i­cal­ly have between 30 and 200 active mem­bers—glo­ri­fy men like 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, who killed six peo­ple and injured over a dozen oth­ers in the vicin­i­ty of the cam­pus of Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San­ta Bar­bara, before com­mit­ting sui­cide in 2014.

    Rodger was a vir­u­lent misog­y­nist and want­ed to pun­ish women for reject­ing him. Oth­er shoot­ers, like Seung-Hui Cho, the Vir­ginia Tech senior who killed 32 peo­ple in 2007, are also hailed in these Steam groups. The groups have names like “School Shoot­ers Are Heroes” and “Shoot Up a School.” Some of them allude to “future” school shoot­ings yet to take place and are filled with racist lan­guage.

    ...

    The link between vio­lence and the scat­tered cul­ture of inter­net Nazism has received greater scruti­ny in recent weeks, fol­low­ing a CBS News report that sus­pect­ed Park­land, Flori­da, mass shoot­er Niko­las Cruz alleged­ly pos­sessed gun mag­a­zines engraved with swastikas. Gam­ing apps like Steam have become increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar with­in that com­mu­ni­ty.

    One exam­ple of neo-Nazis using Steam is Andrew “Weev” Auern­heimer, who han­dles the tech­ni­cal side of the white suprema­cist troll web­site Dai­ly Stormer, and sev­er­al months ago appeared to threat­en to “slaugh­ter” Jew­ish chil­dren in retal­i­a­tion for his web­site being tak­en offline. Auern­heimer appears to have a group on the app, which dis­cuss­es games in the con­text of whether they por­tray Adolf Hitler in a favor­able light. The broad­er com­mu­ni­ty of Dai­ly Stormer also appears to have an active com­mu­ni­ty on Steam called “Storm Sect” with rough­ly 200 mem­bers.

    Oth­er neo-Nazi groups on Steam have more overt­ly hate­ful and vio­lent names like “Fag Lynch Squad,” which depicts shad­owy fig­ures hang­ing limply from noos­es in its pro­file pic­ture. Atom­Waf­fen Divi­sion, a neo-Nazi group linked to a num­ber of mur­ders, had its com­mu­ni­ty on Steam removed ear­li­er this month, Reveal News report­ed.

    Angela Nagle, a left­ist writer, demon­strat­ed links between the ori­gins of the alt-right and gam­ing cul­ture in her book Kill All Normies: Online Cul­ture Wars From 4Chan And Tum­blr To Trump And The Alt-Right. The ven­er­a­tion of school shoot­ers and oth­er killers is sim­i­lar­ly linked.

    It is not only on Steam where neo-Nazis have found a plat­form with­in the gam­ing world. Dis­cord, anoth­er gam­ing app, was instru­men­tal to young neo-Nazis in plan­ning the Unite the Right event that took place in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, last August, which led to the death of counter-pro­test­er Heather Hey­er. Dis­cord has made efforts to remove vio­lent and far-right con­tent from its app fol­low­ing reports of the ral­ly, but new groups con­tin­ue to pop up on that plat­form.

    Uni­corn Riot, a vol­un­teer media col­lec­tive, pub­lished record­ings and mes­sages this week that appeared to reveal inter­nal plan­ning dis­cus­sions from the young white suprema­cist group Patri­ot Front, which were ini­tial­ly host­ed on Dis­cord. Patri­ot Front splin­tered from Van­guard Amer­i­ca, the group in which the man accused of killing Hey­er alleged­ly marched dur­ing the protests in Char­lottesville.

    Dis­cord told Newsweek in a state­ment that the com­pa­ny is still try­ing to purge groups like Patri­ot Front from its app.

    “Dis­cord has a Terms of Ser­vice and Com­mu­ni­ty Guide­lines that we ask all of our com­mu­ni­ties and users to adhere to. These specif­i­cal­ly pro­hib­it harass­ment, threat­en­ing mes­sages, or calls to vio­lence,” a spokesper­son said, not­ing that the group recent­ly removed sev­er­al offend­ing servers. “Though we do not read people’s pri­vate mes­sages, we do inves­ti­gate and take imme­di­ate appro­pri­ate action against any report­ed Terms of Ser­vice vio­la­tion by a serv­er or user.”

    ———-

    “Neo-Nazis, ‘Future School Shoot­ers’ Using Lead­ing Gam­ing App to Post Hate­ful Con­tent in Hun­dreds of Groups: Report” by Michael Edi­son Hay­den; Newsweek; 03/17/2018

    “A lead­ing gam­ing app that is pop­u­lar with adher­ents of the neo-Nazi wing of the alt-right move­ment has at least 173 groups ded­i­cat­ed to the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of school shoot­ings, accord­ing to a report pub­lished last week by Reveal News. Sep­a­rate­ly, dozens of neo-Nazi groups have cul­ti­vat­ed active com­mu­ni­ties on the app.”

    At least 173 groups ded­i­cat­ed to the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of school shoot­ings. And that’s just on Steam. When we’re won­der­ing about cul­tur­al influ­ences that might push some­one to com­mit such an act, the var­i­ous online forums glo­ri­fy­ing past school shoot­ers seem like a pret­ty clear cul­tur­al cul­prit. And each of these forums typ­i­cal­ly have 30–200 mem­bers:

    ...
    The report notes that these Steam groups—which typ­i­cal­ly have between 30 and 200 active mem­bers—glo­ri­fy men like 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, who killed six peo­ple and injured over a dozen oth­ers in the vicin­i­ty of the cam­pus of Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San­ta Bar­bara, before com­mit­ting sui­cide in 2014.

    Rodger was a vir­u­lent misog­y­nist and want­ed to pun­ish women for reject­ing him. Oth­er shoot­ers, like Seung-Hui Cho, the Vir­ginia Tech senior who killed 32 peo­ple in 2007, are also hailed in these Steam groups. The groups have names like “School Shoot­ers Are Heroes” and “Shoot Up a School.” Some of them allude to “future” school shoot­ings yet to take place and are filled with racist lan­guage.
    ...

    “Some of them allude to “future” school shoot­ings yet to take place and are filled with racist lan­guage”

    Recall the ques­tions sur­round­ing Niko­las Cruz and whether or not he was in con­tact with the “Repub­lic of Flori­da” local neo-Nazi group. Also recall the reports that Repub­lic of Flori­da leader Jor­dan Jereb was talk­ing on a neo-Nazi chat forum, Gab, about how to set up “lone wolf” acts. So here’s were see­ing posts in these Steam school shoot­er chat rooms filled with racist lan­guage where peo­ple talk about future school shoot­ings. Might post­ing mes­sages like that be part of a neo-Nazi tech­nique for inspir­ing “lone wolves” that Jereb was talk­ing about? Hope­ful­ly some­body is look­ing into that.

    Whether or not these school shoot­er forums are being set up and seed­ed by neo-Nazis, it’s pret­ty clear that the psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple read­ing those forums are going to have plen­ty of oth­er neo-Nazi forums they’re get­ting direct­ed to with­in the Steam cha­t­room ecosys­tem. And that might even include the chat room set up by Andrew “weev” Auern­heimer where they dis­cuss whether or not games por­tray Hitler in a pos­i­tive light. Or the cha­t­room set up by the Dai­ly Stormer:

    ...
    The link between vio­lence and the scat­tered cul­ture of inter­net Nazism has received greater scruti­ny in recent weeks, fol­low­ing a CBS News report that sus­pect­ed Park­land, Flori­da, mass shoot­er Niko­las Cruz alleged­ly pos­sessed gun mag­a­zines engraved with swastikas. Gam­ing apps like Steam have become increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar with­in that com­mu­ni­ty.

    One exam­ple of neo-Nazis using Steam is Andrew “Weev” Auern­heimer, who han­dles the tech­ni­cal side of the white suprema­cist troll web­site Dai­ly Stormer, and sev­er­al months ago appeared to threat­en to “slaugh­ter” Jew­ish chil­dren in retal­i­a­tion for his web­site being tak­en offline. Auern­heimer appears to have a group on the app, which dis­cuss­es games in the con­text of whether they por­tray Adolf Hitler in a favor­able light. The broad­er com­mu­ni­ty of Dai­ly Stormer also appears to have an active com­mu­ni­ty on Steam called “Storm Sect” with rough­ly 200 mem­bers.
    ...

    And even Atom­Waf­fen had a group, until it was removed by Steam ear­li­er this month. So Dai­ly Stormer and Auern­hiemer appear to have not crossed what­ev­er line trig­gers the removal of a chat group:

    ...
    Oth­er neo-Nazi groups on Steam have more overt­ly hate­ful and vio­lent names like “Fag Lynch Squad,” which depicts shad­owy fig­ures hang­ing limply from noos­es in its pro­file pic­ture. Atom­Waf­fen Divi­sion, a neo-Nazi group linked to a num­ber of mur­ders, had its com­mu­ni­ty on Steam removed ear­li­er this month, Reveal News report­ed.
    ...

    And Steam’s video gam­ing cha­t­rooms are mere­ly one of the video gam­ing cha­t­room ecosys­tems with a neo-Nazi pres­ence. There’s also the pop­u­lar Dis­cord gam­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions app. And for­tu­nate­ly some­one decid­ed to leak months of the chat logs from the pri­vate Dis­cord forum for Patri­ot Front, the neo-Nzi group that recent emerged as a splin­ter from Van­guard Amer­i­ca after Van­guard Amer­i­ca become asso­ci­at­ed with Alex Field, the dri­ver who killed Heather Hey­er at Char­lottesville:

    ...
    It is not only on Steam where neo-Nazis have found a plat­form with­in the gam­ing world. Dis­cord, anoth­er gam­ing app, was instru­men­tal to young neo-Nazis in plan­ning the Unite the Right event that took place in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, last August, which led to the death of counter-pro­test­er Heather Hey­er. Dis­cord has made efforts to remove vio­lent and far-right con­tent from its app fol­low­ing reports of the ral­ly, but new groups con­tin­ue to pop up on that plat­form.

    Uni­corn Riot, a vol­un­teer media col­lec­tive, pub­lished record­ings and mes­sages this week that appeared to reveal inter­nal plan­ning dis­cus­sions from the young white suprema­cist group Patri­ot Front, which were ini­tial­ly host­ed on Dis­cord. Patri­ot Front splin­tered from Van­guard Amer­i­ca, the group in which the man accused of killing Hey­er alleged­ly marched dur­ing the protests in Char­lottesville.

    Dis­cord told Newsweek in a state­ment that the com­pa­ny is still try­ing to purge groups like Patri­ot Front from its app.
    ...

    “Dis­cord told Newsweek in a state­ment that the com­pa­ny is still try­ing to purge groups like Patri­ot Front from its app.”

    Dis­cord is “still try­ing to purge groups like Patri­ot Front from its app.” Which is anoth­er way of say­ing that it has­n’t actu­al­ly purged the group from its app. And as a par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­turb­ing report the Dai­ly Beast recent made clear, one rea­son Dis­cord might have so much trou­ble purg­ing Patri­ot Front from its app is because it has dif­fi­cul­ty purg­ing any group from its app includ­ing groups that pro­mote rape, the trad­ing of revenge porn, and child pornog­ra­phy. Because peo­ple just make new Dis­cord IDs to get around the ban and new forums after they get banned. In oth­er words, all these extrem­ist groups are on Dis­cord because Dis­cord is set up to make it very hard to actu­al­ly kick them off.

    But that does­n’t mean there aren’t risks for these groups when they use Dis­cord, and that includes the pos­si­bil­i­ty that their pri­vate chat logs might get leaked, like what hap­pened to Patri­ot Front when its chat logs from May 2017 to Sep­tem­ber 2017 were leaked to Uni­corn Front. And this is actu­al­ly a pret­ty big risk of using these forums as recruit­ment tools because the risk of leak­ing is always there. When those kinds of pri­vate neo-Nazi chat logs get leaked, the world gets remind­ed once again that Nazis real­ly do plot real-world night­mares.

    And as the fol­low­ing Uni­corn Riot report on those chat logs point out, in the case of Patri­ot Front, their real-world night­mare goals include an “ide­al soci­ety” where “eth­nos­tate rape gangs” are allowed to rape women who aren’t liv­ing accord­ing to “tra­di­tion­al val­ues.” The only rule is that the rape gang could only rape a woman of the same race (because inter-racial eth­nos­tate rape gangs would be wrong, you see). Giv­en that the ‘Alt Right’ has focused on using the inter­net to pro­mote a less-Nazi-ish pub­lic face for Nazism, it’s always a big set back for the ‘Alt Right’ when the inter­net is also used to reveal that their ide­al soci­ety real­ly does involve a night­mare future like eth­nos­tate rape gangs:

    Uni­corn Riot

    “We’re Amer­i­cans, And We’re Fas­cists”: Inside Patri­ot Front

    March 5, 2018

    Lans­ing, MI – As white nation­al­ist Richard Spencer is sched­uled to speak at Michi­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty on Mon­day, March 5, far-right, neo-Nazi and “alt-right” fac­tions have been arriv­ing in the area ahead of his event.

    One such group is Patri­ot Front, which was formed after mem­bers of Van­guard Amer­i­ca splin­tered off to cre­ate a new orga­ni­za­tion. Uni­corn Riot has gained access to a large amount of mate­ri­als from Patri­ot Front Dis­cord servers, includ­ing chat lots and audio record­ings of voice meet­ings. The records of con­ver­sa­tions between Patri­ot Front lead­ers and mem­bers spans months and pro­vides a unique insight into the oper­a­tions of the self-described “Amer­i­can fas­cist” orga­ni­za­tion.

    Record­ed con­ver­sa­tions between mem­bers show an obses­sion with firearms, a non-stop tirade of racist, sex­ist and oth­er­wise abu­sive lan­guage, and a desire to take action in the real world. Patri­ot Front mem­bers are also told that rap­ing women is accept­able, “as long as you’re rap­ing, like, peo­ple in your own race” and describe how in their ide­al soci­ety, “eth­nos­tate rape gangswould be allowed to freely tar­get unmar­ried white women who did not adhere to “tra­di­tion­al val­ues.” Dis­cord users in the serv­er repeat­ed­ly share pic­tures of them­selves, wrestling, box­ing, spar­ring, and shoot­ing, which they casu­al­ly refer to as “vio­lence train­ing.”

    Last year Uni­corn Riot was sent the con­tents of the South­ern Front Dis­cord serv­er, which con­tained chat logs (now avail­able on our Dis­cordLeaks plat­form) from May to Sep­tem­ber 2017, show­ing the tran­si­tion of mem­bers from Van­guard Amer­i­ca to Patri­ot Front. Patri­ot Front’s founder, Thomas Rousseau, who posts using the name Thomas Ryan, was active in Van­guard Amer­i­ca lead­er­ship and is the own­er of the web­site BloodAndSoil.org, which had been Van­guard America’s offi­cial domain.

    Fol­low­ing a con­flict between Rousseau and Van­guard Amer­i­ca ‘CEO’ Dil­lon Irrizary (AKA Dil­lon Hop­per) after Char­lottesville, Rousseau resigned from Van­guard and took the web­site and a fair amount of active mem­bers with him. He found­ed Patri­ot Front the next day, and used the estab­lished ‘Blood and Soil’ web­site to boost its pro­file.

    Rousseau, who is 19 years old, acts as the leader of the group, which includes many old­er men in their thir­ties. He tells his side of the sto­ry of the split between Patri­ot Front and Van­guard Amer­i­ca in a Dis­cord voice call that took place on Feb­ru­ary 9. On the call, after mak­ing jokes rev­el­ing in Heather Heyer’s vio­lent death in Char­lottesville at Unite the Right on August 12, 2017, Rousseau describes the “PR night­mare” that ensued after pic­tures sur­faced of car attack­er James Alex Fields stand­ing along­side mem­bers of Van­guard Amer­i­ca, includ­ing him­self. (As of August 12, Rousseau had not yet left Van­guard Amer­i­ca to found Patri­ot Front.)

    Rousseau went on to claim that Van­guard Amer­i­ca claimed “maybe” 250 mem­bers “at its peak” with 80 mem­bers active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing. He boast­ed of accom­plish­ing “more activism with appar­ent­ly half of their peo­ple,” sug­gest­ing that Patri­ot Front has at most 125 mem­bers with per­haps 60 being reg­u­lar­ly active.

    Patri­ot Front appears to be the most active in Texas, where it has three dif­fer­ent local net­works for mem­bers. On a Feb­ru­ary 11, 2018 voice call, mem­bers esti­mat­ed that “Flori­da has 11 guys” but lament­ed that their group had lit­tle to no pres­ence in Appalachia. The group also seems to have a small but estab­lished pres­ence in New Eng­land states, such as Mass­a­chu­setts and Ver­mont.

    Van­guard Amer­i­ca is a mem­ber of the Nation­al­ist Front coali­tion, along with the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty (TWP), the League of the South, and the Nation­al Social­ist Move­ment (NSM). While Patri­ot Front is active­ly feud­ing with Nation­al­ist Front groups such as TWP, they still main­tain an infor­mal rela­tion­ship through their affil­i­a­tion with fig­ures like Richard Spencer. An oper­a­tional doc­u­ment (PDF) from Spencer’s appear­ance in Gainesville last Octo­ber lists Patri­ot Front among the pri­ma­ry groups involved in an alt-right secu­ri­ty “task force” which also includ­ed mem­bers of League of the South.

    While groups of young white men like Patri­ot Front are often used as a per­son­al secu­ri­ty force by alt-right VIPs such as Richard Spencer, Dis­cord chats show some con­fu­sion and/or denial regard­ing this rela­tion­ship. “We don’t do secu­ri­ty at alt-right events”, Rousseau wrote on Octo­ber 15, 2017. How­ev­er, just two days lat­er on Octo­ber 17, anoth­er Patri­ot Front mem­ber wrote that “Thomas, Me, etc are all going” to Richard Spencer’s speech at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Flori­da on Octo­ber 19, adding “most” were attend­ing “in a secu­ri­ty capac­i­ty.”

    Late Sun­day night after the Free­dom for the Mar­ket­place of Ideas (FMI) alt-right con­fer­ence this week­end in Detroit, mem­bers of Patri­ot Front post­ed about how they had been act­ing as armed secu­ri­ty for the event. “PF chi had to run armed patrols at FMI,” wrote user ‘Smiter IL.’ “Shit was crazy, but every­thing is ok.”

    The ‘Front and Cen­ter’ chat logs also reveal con­fu­sion and frus­tra­tion among Patri­ot Front mem­bers after three men were arrest­ed for shoot­ing at antifas­cist pro­test­ers fol­low­ing Spencer’s Flori­da speech. William Fears, a Texas neo-Nazi arrest­ed on Octo­ber 17 along with his broth­er Colton Fears and his friend Tyler Ten­brink, has repeat­ed­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Patri­ot Front although he is not an offi­cial mem­ber. Writ­ing about Fears and his two co-defen­dants now fac­ing charges of attempt­ed mur­der, Patri­ot Front Dis­cord mem­ber ‘NDO Nick – TX’ wrote,

    We will not pub­licly dis­avow these guys. With that being said Will was told by mul­ti­ple peo­ple includ­ing Cross and myself not to attend.” – Dis­cord user ‘NDO Nick – TX’, Octo­ber 20, 2017 8:41 PM

    ‘Nick’ also shared many images of him­self and oth­er white suprema­cists attend­ing Spencer’s Gainesville event.

    While Van­guard Amer­i­ca takes an open­ly nation­al social­ist approach, Thomas Rousseau and Patri­ot Front seek to present the same ide­ol­o­gy in a slight­ly more sub­tle and patri­ot­ic pack­age. While cen­ter­ing the group’s rhetoric around “Amer­i­can iden­ti­ty,” Dis­cord mes­sages reveal that Patri­ot Front’s vision is of an exclu­sive­ly white Amer­i­ca in which non-whites are dri­ven out or forced into sub­or­di­nate roles.

    The Amer­i­can Iden­ti­ty belongs to a cer­tain group of peo­ple,” Rousseau wrote in a chat on Octo­ber 15, “and cit­i­zen­ship doesn’t change that.” On Novem­ber 1st, he reit­er­at­ed his “Amer­i­can fas­cist” approach to brand­ing the group: “If any­one asks what we are, we’re Amer­i­cans, and we’re fas­cists. In that order exact­ly.” In a text chat on Novem­ber 8, anoth­er Dis­cord user in the Front and Cen­ter serv­er fur­ther explained the strate­gic val­ue of using patri­ot­ic Amer­i­can aes­thet­ics to pro­mote fas­cism.

    Patri­ot­ic Amer­i­can Imagery: Some­thing true Amer­i­cans iden­ti­fy with, and plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty for us when asso­ci­at­ed with Nazi­ism, etc.” – Dis­cord user ‘Racist Milk TX’, Novem­ber 8, 2017, 7:57 PM

    Rousseau, the group’s teenage leader, describes how his vision of an Amer­i­can eth­nos­tate would inevitably involve the forced removal of all black peo­ple. “We’re incom­pat­i­ble… either they have to go, or they get to go, depend­ing on how will­ing they are.

    Our anony­mous source who reached out to us from inside Patri­ot Front said they rep­re­sent­ed “a group of con­cerned indi­vid­u­als” and told us why they decid­ed to take steps to expose the group’s inter­nal work­ings:

    We chose to obtain and pass on infor­ma­tion about Patri­ot Front to ensure that any­one con­sid­er­ing join­ing this group or oth­ers like it under­stands what type of orga­ni­za­tion they are com­mit­ting to. This is a group that presents itself as a bul­wark for the future of white peo­ple in pub­lic, while behind closed doors they speak open­ly of vio­lent eth­nic cleans­ing, the rape of white women, the forcible abor­tion of female peo­ple of col­or and death for mem­bers of the LGBTQIA+ com­mu­ni­ty. We have seen what those like them are capa­ble of in Char­lottesville and Orange Coun­ty.”

    The new logs from the ‘Front and Cen­ter’ serv­er, as well as a few relat­ed small­er chat groups, show how Patri­ot Front has con­tin­ued orga­niz­ing into 2018. Along with most of the alt-right since Char­lottesville, Patri­ot Front tak­en up the tac­tic of short, unan­nounced ‘flash demo’ protests, in which they assem­ble in pub­lic to chant, hold ban­ners, and take pho­tos for pro­pa­gan­da before quick­ly dis­pers­ing to avoid counter-pro­test­ers. They held a short protest car­ry­ing flares and ban­ners at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas cam­pus on Novem­ber 3, 2017, before being sur­round­ed by police and quick­ly leav­ing the area. This ‘flash demo’ was writ­ten up for the Dai­ly Stormer by Robert ‘Azzmador’ Ray, who, while not a mem­ber of Patri­ot Front, gen­er­al­ly acts as an ally and sup­port­er. Oth­er Patri­ot Front ‘flash demos’ have tak­en place in Austin, Texas and more recent­ly in Burling­ton, Ver­mont, where mem­bers had to change loca­tions at the last minute due to their plans alleged­ly being leaked to local antifas­cists.

    Patri­ot Front also places a strong empha­sis on aggres­sive­ly plac­ing racist fly­ers and posters in pub­lic places, with mem­bers shar­ing hun­dreds of pic­tures of their escapades. The #activism chan­nel in Patri­ot Front’s Dis­cord serv­er shows hun­dreds of images of mass-fly­er­ing cam­paigns car­ried out by member’s dis­trib­ut­ing the group’s racist pro­pa­gan­da. Cells of Patri­ot Front activists were also encour­aged to car­ry out ban­ner drops in their area. “20 min­utes of work and we trig­ger hun­dreds,” gloat­ed ‘NDO Eric – TX’ after a ban­ner read­ing “Amer­i­ca is a white nation” was dropped from a library bal­cony at Texas State Uni­ver­si­ty in San Mar­cos, TX. While tar­gets includ­ed gov­ern­ment offices, church­es, and syn­a­gogues, the over­whelm­ing focus was on col­lege cam­pus­es, with some Patri­ot Front mem­bers dri­ving to sev­er­al dif­fer­ent cam­pus­es in one night to dis­trib­ute hun­dreds of fly­ers.

    In a Dis­cord voice meet­ing on Feb­ru­ary 13, a Patri­ot Front mem­ber with the user­name ‘Himm­ler’ described how he had hacked into hun­dreds of print­ers on col­lege cam­pus­es to print off anti-semit­ic fly­ers. The man claims to have remote­ly accessed 29,000 print­ers and describes his actions as under­tak­en in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ‘Weev’, aka Andrew Auren­heimer, con­vict­ed hack­er and sys­tems admin­is­tra­tor for the Dai­ly Stormer. ‘Himm­ler’ brags about caus­ing “upwards of $20,000” in finan­cial dam­age due to ink used in the print­ing. He named UMass and DePaul as schools he had per­son­al­ly tar­get­ed.

    One user in the Patri­ot Front Dis­cord serv­er, ‘Machi­nesmiter-IL,’ bragged about how he was secret­ly using his found­ing posi­tion at the Col­lege Repub­li­cans chap­ter at Roo­sevelt Uni­ver­si­ty in Chica­go to prime sus­cep­ti­ble young white men to be recep­tive to fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy. He boast­ed about putting up hun­dreds of fly­ers on his cam­pus and the sur­round­ing area, and how on Novem­ber 4 he “hit Fed­er­al Plaza and the whole sur­round­ing area hard… I prob­a­bly got up at least 150–200 posters down­town.

    The Chica­go-based Patri­ot Front mem­ber claimed in his fall 2017 Dis­cord posts that he planned on leav­ing school for work in a few months but want­ed to leave a racist lega­cy behind on Roo­sevelt cam­pus. On Novem­ber 8, Dis­cord user ‘Machi­nesmiter-IL’ shared his progress in groom­ing Roo­sevelt Col­lege Repub­li­can mem­bers:

    My first Col­lege Repub­li­cans turnout was excel­lent. 10 white ath­let­ic males, a cou­ple fashy hair­cuts, good dis­cus­sion. This has awe­some poten­tial. They said they came, because of my Pepe fly­er that I put up. Meme mag­ick worked won­ders for me in a 3 hour win­dow. Pepe comes in clutch. We talked Intro­duc­to­ry stuff, talked about demo­graph­ics being des­tiny, how being a straight white male makes you an ene­my, and are talk­ing about our first event. We are going to try and get Amer­i­can Flags put up on cam­pus.

    Conor Ryan, the pres­i­dent of the Col­lege Repub­li­cans chap­ter at Roo­sevelt Uni­ver­si­ty, was not avail­able for com­ment as of this writ­ing.

    In our pre­vi­ous leak from Patri­ot Front, we found that one active mem­ber of the group was work­ing as a prison guard for the Geor­gia Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions. In the new­er serv­er logs, mem­bers of Patri­ot Front have also claimed to be col­lab­o­rat­ing with law enforce­ment against antifas­cists. “We’re going to have an Antifa arrest soon,” wrote user ‘Pale­Horse FL’ on Octo­ber 2nd, “I’m talk­ing to Detec­tive Declan Hick­ey of Char­lottesville.”

    Patri­ot Front has also repeat­ed­ly engaged in dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns in the after­math of recent mass shoot­ings. After the Las Vegas shoot­ing last year, mem­bers were post­ing memes in Dis­cord push­ing the false con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that shoot­er Stephen Pad­dock was tied to anti-racist groups. One image of the after­math of the Las Vegas shoot­ing had an added cap­tion which read “THE RADICAL LEFT AIMS TO EXTERMINATE WHITE CULTURE.” Imme­di­ate­ly after the recent shoot­ing at Park­land High School in Flori­da, Patri­ot Front mem­bers tried to paint shoot­er Nicholas Cruz, who had swastikas etched onto his ammu­ni­tion, was an antifas­cist and a left­ist. Users in the Front and Cen­ter Dis­cord serv­er also joined in online cam­paigns try­ing to slan­der sur­viv­ing stu­dents as ‘cri­sis actors.’

    Patri­ot Front is expect­ed to keep push­ing their anti­se­mit­ic, neo-Nazi mes­sage into the pub­lic sphere as they con­tin­ue orga­niz­ing in 2018. As var­i­ous alt-right fac­tions dis­tance them­selves from each oth­er as they con­tin­ue infight­ing and blam­ing each oth­er for their movement’s fail­ures, dif­fer­ent groups appear to be exper­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent approach­es.

    Patri­ot Front prefers a tra­di­tion­al­ly Amer­i­can nation­al­ist aes­thet­ic in an attempt to reach ordi­nary white Amer­i­cans, where­as more overt­ly nation­al social­ist groups such as the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty open­ly advo­cate for break­ing up the Unit­ed States into forcibly sep­a­rat­ed race-based nations.

    ...

    As part of our in-depth report­ing on white suprema­cist and far-right move­ments, Uni­corn Riot has added the serv­er logs from the Patri­ot Front servers to our pub­lic Dis­cord Leaks plat­form. See links to spe­cif­ic servers below, along with .MP3 down­loads of the full leaked audio record­ings.

    We con­tact­ed Dis­cord and asked them about Patri­ot Front and oth­er neo-nazi groups using their plat­form to orga­nize. They pro­vid­ed us with the fol­low­ing state­ment:

    Dis­cord has a Terms of Ser­vice (ToS) and Com­mu­ni­ty Guide­lines that we ask all of our com­mu­ni­ties and users to adhere to. Though we do not read people’s pri­vate mes­sages, we do inves­ti­gate and take imme­di­ate appro­pri­ate action against any report­ed ToS vio­la­tion by a serv­er or user. We will con­tin­ue to be aggres­sive to ensure that Dis­cord exists for the com­mu­ni­ty we set out to sup­port – gamers.

    As of Mon­day after­noon, Patri­ot Front’s Dis­cord servers were still online. By Tues­day after­noon, the servers appeared to have been shut down by the com­pa­ny.

    ———-

    ““We’re Amer­i­cans, And We’re Fas­cists”: Inside Patri­ot Front”; Uni­corn Riot; 03/05/2018

    “Record­ed con­ver­sa­tions between mem­bers show an obses­sion with firearms, a non-stop tirade of racist, sex­ist and oth­er­wise abu­sive lan­guage, and a desire to take action in the real world. Patri­ot Front mem­bers are also told that rap­ing women is accept­able, “as long as you’re rap­ing, like, peo­ple in your own race” and describe how in their ide­al soci­ety, “eth­nos­tate rape gangswould be allowed to freely tar­get unmar­ried white women who did not adhere to “tra­di­tion­al val­ues.” Dis­cord users in the serv­er repeat­ed­ly share pic­tures of them­selves, wrestling, box­ing, spar­ring, and shoot­ing, which they casu­al­ly refer to as “vio­lence train­ing.””

    Rap­ing women is accept­able, “as long as you’re rap­ing, like, peo­ple in your own race”. That’s what peo­ple are taught in the pri­vate Patri­ot Front forums. Now we know thanks to the leaked chat logs from May to Sep­tem­ber 2017. It’s it’s a peri­od that hap­pens to cov­er Char­lottesville and the cre­ation of the the Patri­ot Front splin­ter group out of Van­guard Amer­i­ca as a con­se­quence of the neg­a­tive fall­out from the fact that Alex Fields, the neo-Nazi dri­ver at Char­lottesville who ran over Heather Hey­er, was seen march­ing with Van­guard Amer­i­ca mem­bers there. The asso­ci­a­tion with Fields was seen as a “PR Night­mare”, which is pret­ty iron­ic con­sid­er their goals are the cre­ate eth­nos­tate rape gangs. But that’s the game the ‘Alt Right’ is play­ing: put forth a pub­lic face that does­n’t talk about things like eth­nos­tate rape gangs in order to recruit peo­ple into ide­ol­o­gy where eth­nos­tate rape gangs and run­ning over peo­ple like Heather Hey­er are the log­i­cal con­clu­sions of the vio­lent total­i­tar­i­an world­views open­ly shared on these neo-Nazi pri­vate chat forums:

    ...
    Last year Uni­corn Riot was sent the con­tents of the South­ern Front Dis­cord serv­er, which con­tained chat logs (now avail­able on our Dis­cordLeaks plat­form) from May to Sep­tem­ber 2017, show­ing the tran­si­tion of mem­bers from Van­guard Amer­i­ca to Patri­ot Front. Patri­ot Front’s founder, Thomas Rousseau, who posts using the name Thomas Ryan, was active in Van­guard Amer­i­ca lead­er­ship and is the own­er of the web­site BloodAndSoil.org, which had been Van­guard America’s offi­cial domain.

    Fol­low­ing a con­flict between Rousseau and Van­guard Amer­i­ca ‘CEO’ Dil­lon Irrizary (AKA Dil­lon Hop­per) after Char­lottesville, Rousseau resigned from Van­guard and took the web­site and a fair amount of active mem­bers with him. He found­ed Patri­ot Front the next day, and used the estab­lished ‘Blood and Soil’ web­site to boost its pro­file.

    Rousseau, who is 19 years old, acts as the leader of the group, which includes many old­er men in their thir­ties. He tells his side of the sto­ry of the split between Patri­ot Front and Van­guard Amer­i­ca in a Dis­cord voice call that took place on Feb­ru­ary 9. On the call, after mak­ing jokes rev­el­ing in Heather Heyer’s vio­lent death in Char­lottesville at Unite the Right on August 12, 2017, Rousseau describes the “PR night­mare” that ensued after pic­tures sur­faced of car attack­er James Alex Fields stand­ing along­side mem­bers of Van­guard Amer­i­ca, includ­ing him­self. (As of August 12, Rousseau had not yet left Van­guard Amer­i­ca to found Patri­ot Front.)
    ...

    And that “PR night­mare” result­ed Patri­ot Front, which boasts of get­ting more “activism” done with just half of Van­guard Amer­i­ca’s size. Which would put Patri­ot Front at about 125 peo­ple:

    ...
    Rousseau went on to claim that Van­guard Amer­i­ca claimed “maybe” 250 mem­bers “at its peak” with 80 mem­bers active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing. He boast­ed of accom­plish­ing “more activism with appar­ent­ly half of their peo­ple,” sug­gest­ing that Patri­ot Front has at most 125 mem­bers with per­haps 60 being reg­u­lar­ly active.

    Patri­ot Front appears to be the most active in Texas, where it has three dif­fer­ent local net­works for mem­bers. On a Feb­ru­ary 11, 2018 voice call, mem­bers esti­mat­ed that “Flori­da has 11 guys” but lament­ed that their group had lit­tle to no pres­ence in Appalachia. The group also seems to have a small but estab­lished pres­ence in New Eng­land states, such as Mass­a­chu­setts and Ver­mont.
    ...

    And Van­guard Amer­i­ca is a mem­ber of the Nation­al­ist Front coali­tion that includes the League of the South and the Nation­al Social­ism Move­ment while Patri­ot Front acts as secu­ri­ty for Richard Spencer events. It’s a reminder that the Richard Spencer col­lege tour real­ly is a tour to nor­mal­ize the kind of world­view that would jus­ti­fy eth­nos­tate rape gangs:

    ...
    Van­guard Amer­i­ca is a mem­ber of the Nation­al­ist Front coali­tion, along with the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty (TWP), the League of the South, and the Nation­al Social­ist Move­ment (NSM). While Patri­ot Front is active­ly feud­ing with Nation­al­ist Front groups such as TWP, they still main­tain an infor­mal rela­tion­ship through their affil­i­a­tion with fig­ures like Richard Spencer. An oper­a­tional doc­u­ment (PDF) from Spencer’s appear­ance in Gainesville last Octo­ber lists Patri­ot Front among the pri­ma­ry groups involved in an alt-right secu­ri­ty “task force” which also includ­ed mem­bers of League of the South.

    While groups of young white men like Patri­ot Front are often used as a per­son­al secu­ri­ty force by alt-right VIPs such as Richard Spencer, Dis­cord chats show some con­fu­sion and/or denial regard­ing this rela­tion­ship.We don’t do secu­ri­ty at alt-right events”, Rousseau wrote on Octo­ber 15, 2017. How­ev­er, just two days lat­er on Octo­ber 17, anoth­er Patri­ot Front mem­ber wrote that “Thomas, Me, etc are all going” to Richard Spencer’s speech at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Flori­da on Octo­ber 19, adding “most” were attend­ing “in a secu­ri­ty capac­i­ty.”

    Late Sun­day night after the Free­dom for the Mar­ket­place of Ideas (FMI) alt-right con­fer­ence this week­end in Detroit, mem­bers of Patri­ot Front post­ed about how they had been act­ing as armed secu­ri­ty for the event. “PF chi had to run armed patrols at FMI,” wrote user ‘Smiter IL.’ “Shit was crazy, but every­thing is ok.”
    ...

    And it’s the extreme nature of what these groups are work­ing towards that makes their focus on pub­lic image both iron­ic and under­stand­able. And that also appeared to be part of why the Patri­ot­ic Front split from Van­guard Amer­i­ca: Van­guard Amer­i­ca has an open­ly nation­al social­is­tic approach (they are open Nazis) while Patri­ot­ic Front prefers to frame things from a more tra­di­tion­al ‘patri­ot’ sense:

    ...
    While Van­guard Amer­i­ca takes an open­ly nation­al social­ist approach, Thomas Rousseau and Patri­ot Front seek to present the same ide­ol­o­gy in a slight­ly more sub­tle and patri­ot­ic pack­age. While cen­ter­ing the group’s rhetoric around “Amer­i­can iden­ti­ty,” Dis­cord mes­sages reveal that Patri­ot Front’s vision is of an exclu­sive­ly white Amer­i­ca in which non-whites are dri­ven out or forced into sub­or­di­nate roles.

    The Amer­i­can Iden­ti­ty belongs to a cer­tain group of peo­ple,” Rousseau wrote in a chat on Octo­ber 15, “and cit­i­zen­ship doesn’t change that.” On Novem­ber 1st, he reit­er­at­ed his “Amer­i­can fas­cist” approach to brand­ing the group: “If any­one asks what we are, we’re Amer­i­cans, and we’re fas­cists. In that order exact­ly.” In a text chat on Novem­ber 8, anoth­er Dis­cord user in the Front and Cen­ter serv­er fur­ther explained the strate­gic val­ue of using patri­ot­ic Amer­i­can aes­thet­ics to pro­mote fas­cism.
    ...

    And Patri­ot­ic Front just recruit online. It’s appar­ent­ly quite enthu­si­as­tic about leav­ing fly­ers on col­lege cam­pus­es and else­where:

    ...
    Patri­ot Front also places a strong empha­sis on aggres­sive­ly plac­ing racist fly­ers and posters in pub­lic places, with mem­bers shar­ing hun­dreds of pic­tures of their escapades. The #activism chan­nel in Patri­ot Front’s Dis­cord serv­er shows hun­dreds of images of mass-fly­er­ing cam­paigns car­ried out by member’s dis­trib­ut­ing the group’s racist pro­pa­gan­da. Cells of Patri­ot Front activists were also encour­aged to car­ry out ban­ner drops in their area. “20 min­utes of work and we trig­ger hun­dreds,” gloat­ed ‘NDO Eric – TX’ after a ban­ner read­ing “Amer­i­ca is a white nation” was dropped from a library bal­cony at Texas State Uni­ver­si­ty in San Mar­cos, TX. While tar­gets includ­ed gov­ern­ment offices, church­es, and syn­a­gogues, the over­whelm­ing focus was on col­lege cam­pus­es, with some Patri­ot Front mem­bers dri­ving to sev­er­al dif­fer­ent cam­pus­es in one night to dis­trib­ute hun­dreds of fly­ers.
    ...

    And notice how their out­reach also includes a Patri­ot­ic Front mem­ber learn­ing from Andrew Auern­heimer how to hack print­ers and this per­son claimed he and Auern­heimer remote­ly hacked 29,000 print­ers and made them spit out anti-semit­ic fly­ers. And that did hap­pen, back in 2016. Auern­heimer blogged about it. It’s a reminder that, while Auern­heimer is like­ly one of the most tal­ent­ed neo-Nazi hack­ers out there, he’s far from the only neo-Nazi hack­er. Espe­cial­ly if he’s teach­ing oth­er neo-Nazis how to be hack­ers:

    ...
    In a Dis­cord voice meet­ing on Feb­ru­ary 13, a Patri­ot Front mem­ber with the user­name ‘Himm­ler’ described how he had hacked into hun­dreds of print­ers on col­lege cam­pus­es to print off anti-semit­ic fly­ers. The man claims to have remote­ly accessed 29,000 print­ers and describes his actions as under­tak­en in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ‘Weev’, aka Andrew Auren­heimer, con­vict­ed hack­er and sys­tems admin­is­tra­tor for the Dai­ly Stormer. ‘Himm­ler’ brags about caus­ing “upwards of $20,000” in finan­cial dam­age due to ink used in the print­ing. He named UMass and DePaul as schools he had per­son­al­ly tar­get­ed.
    ...

    And then we dis­cov­er that one Patri­ot Front mem­ber was the found­ing mem­ber of the Col­lege Repub­li­cans chap­ter at Roo­sevelt Uni­ver­si­ty in Chica­go. Because of course:

    ...
    One user in the Patri­ot Front Dis­cord serv­er, ‘Machi­nesmiter-IL,’ bragged about how he was secret­ly using his found­ing posi­tion at the Col­lege Repub­li­cans chap­ter at Roo­sevelt Uni­ver­si­ty in Chica­go to prime sus­cep­ti­ble young white men to be recep­tive to fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy. He boast­ed about putting up hun­dreds of fly­ers on his cam­pus and the sur­round­ing area, and how on Novem­ber 4 he “hit Fed­er­al Plaza and the whole sur­round­ing area hard… I prob­a­bly got up at least 150–200 posters down­town.

    The Chica­go-based Patri­ot Front mem­ber claimed in his fall 2017 Dis­cord posts that he planned on leav­ing school for work in a few months but want­ed to leave a racist lega­cy behind on Roo­sevelt cam­pus. On Novem­ber 8, Dis­cord user ‘Machi­nesmiter-IL’ shared his progress in groom­ing Roo­sevelt Col­lege Repub­li­can mem­bers:

    My first Col­lege Repub­li­cans turnout was excel­lent. 10 white ath­let­ic males, a cou­ple fashy hair­cuts, good dis­cus­sion. This has awe­some poten­tial. They said they came, because of my Pepe fly­er that I put up. Meme mag­ick worked won­ders for me in a 3 hour win­dow. Pepe comes in clutch. We talked Intro­duc­to­ry stuff, talked about demo­graph­ics being des­tiny, how being a straight white male makes you an ene­my, and are talk­ing about our first event. We are going to try and get Amer­i­can Flags put up on cam­pus.

    Conor Ryan, the pres­i­dent of the Col­lege Repub­li­cans chap­ter at Roo­sevelt Uni­ver­si­ty, was not avail­able for com­ment as of this writ­ing.
    ...

    Oh, and we learn that Patri­ot Front has repeat­ed­ly engage in dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns in the after­math of recent mass shoot­ings. In par­tic­u­lar, they spread the rumors that Steven Pad­dock, the Vegas shoot­er, and Niko­las Cruz, the Park­land shoot­er, were mem­bers of antifa. Giv­en the dis­in­for­ma­tion about Niko­las Cruz that we saw ema­nat­ing from the far right, it’s hard to avoid the dis­turb­ing con­clu­sion that dis­in­for­ma­tion from groups like Patri­ot Front fol­low­ing mass shoot­ing is going to be per­ma­nent fea­ture of Amer­i­can soci­ety. Which is extra dis­turb­ing since it involves mass shoot­ings also being per­ma­nent fea­ture of Amer­i­can soci­ety. But here we are:

    ...
    Patri­ot Front has also repeat­ed­ly engaged in dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns in the after­math of recent mass shoot­ings. After the Las Vegas shoot­ing last year, mem­bers were post­ing memes in Dis­cord push­ing the false con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that shoot­er Stephen Pad­dock was tied to anti-racist groups. One image of the after­math of the Las Vegas shoot­ing had an added cap­tion which read “THE RADICAL LEFT AIMS TO EXTERMINATE WHITE CULTURE.Imme­di­ate­ly after the recent shoot­ing at Park­land High School in Flori­da, Patri­ot Front mem­bers tried to paint shoot­er Nicholas Cruz, who had swastikas etched onto his ammu­ni­tion, was an antifas­cist and a left­ist. Users in the Front and Cen­ter Dis­cord serv­er also joined in online cam­paigns try­ing to slan­der sur­viv­ing stu­dents as ‘cri­sis actors.’
    ...

    This whole dis­turb­ing sto­ry about the use of video gam­ing chat apps to pro­mote extrem­ism and poten­tial­ly cul­ti­vate “lone wolf” school shoot­ers by glo­ri­fy­ing school shoot­ers in Nazi-infest­ed chat rooms, and the sub­se­quent leak­ing of some of the chat logs from some of these pri­vate neo-Nazi forums, all high­lights how the inter­net is a dou­ble-edged sword for extrem­ist move­ments, whether they’re neo-Nazis or ISIS.

    On the one hand, the inter­net makes it eas­i­er than ever for these kinds of groups spread their mes­sages and ide­olo­gies while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly putting for­ward a ‘nice’ pub­lic face when desired. Espe­cial­ly on Youtube. And the inter­net makes it eas­i­er than ever for active neo-Nazi group mem­bers to all com­mu­ni­cate and coor­di­nate, poten­tial­ly anony­mous­ly.

    But on the oth­er hand, the inter­net makes it eas­i­er than ever for every­one else to dis­cov­er what groups like this are actu­al­ly plot­ting. Because extrem­ists are going to have to open­ly talk about their extrem­ism at some point over the inter­net and things on the inter­net get leaked. And in this case those leaks mean the world gets reminder that Nazis want night­mare total­i­tar­i­an­ism that involves things like “eth­nos­tate rape gangs”.

    The inter­net giveth and the inter­net taketh away when it comes to the far right’s infor­ma­tion war­fare strate­gies. Although most­ly giveth since the inter­net is still invalu­able for recruit­ment and it’s not like it’s a rev­e­la­tion to learn Nazis a plot­ting Nazi-like schemes.

    It’s also all one big rea­son why we should­n’t be sur­prised when the next school shoot­er is a Nazi.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 18, 2018, 10:34 pm
  16. House Speak­er Paul Ryan’s retire­ment announce­ment rais­es a num­ber of ques­tions about the GOP’s prospects for main­tain­ing con­trol of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives across the US. The GOP’s prospects in the House were already look­ing pret­ty omi­nous in the upcom­ing mid-terms. And that’s why it was such an excep­tion­al­ly omi­nous sign for Ryan to announce his retire­ment: things were already look­ing bad for the GOP so it’s hard to avoid the con­clu­sion that Paul Ryan read those awful tea leaves and con­clud­ed that he was like­ly to lose his speak­er­ship and decid­ed to retire instead. And now his seat is up for grabs and the Democ­rats have a much bet­ter chance of win­ning it. In oth­er words, Paul Ryan move to extri­cate him­self out the GOP’s bad sit­u­a­tion has made the GOP’s bad sit­u­a­tion worse.

    And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, there’s anoth­er way the Ryan retire­ment makes the GOP’s bad sit­u­a­tion worse, although it’s a some­what dif­fer­ent, albeit relat­ed, bad sit­u­a­tion: the GOP’s bad sit­u­a­tion of increas­ing­ly being the par­ty of white suprema­cy and neo-Nazis.

    Yep, while there’s undoubt­ed­ly going to be a num­ber of elect­ed GOP offi­cials in Wis­con­sin who are con­sid­er­ing jump­ing into the pri­ma­ry race for Ryan’s seat, it turns out that Ryan already had a pair of pri­ma­ry oppo­nents. And the lead­ing oppo­nents, Paul Nehlen, is quick­ly becom­ing one of the most promi­nant open white suprema­cist neo-Nazis in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics and he’s set to only get more promi­nent thanks to Paul Ryan’s sud­den retire­ment:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Paul Ryan’s Retire­ment Gives a Big Boost to the Most Promi­nent White Nation­al­ist in U.S. Pol­i­tics
    Paul Nehlen was banned from Twit­ter. Then he was banned from the Twit­ter of the Alt Right. Now, he’s well posi­tioned to be the GOP nom­i­nee in Wisconsin’s 1st Dis­trict

    Lach­lan Markay
    04.11.18 12:23 PM ET

    House Speak­er Paul Ryan’s deci­sion to retire from office makes, for the moment, an anti-Semit­ic white nation­al­ist who has embraced the so-called Alt Right the Repub­li­can fron­trun­ner in Wisconsin’s first con­gres­sion­al dis­trict.

    In a Face­book post hail­ing the news, GOP can­di­date Paul Nehlen called Ryan’s retire­ment “good news for Amer­i­ca, bad news for spe­cial inter­ests who bought Paul Ryan’s vote. My focus has always been on YOU.”

    In fact, Nehlen’s focus has not always been on “YOU,” his vot­ers. Pre­vi­ous­ly, his cam­paign crit­i­cized Ryan’s “silence on issues of [Jew­ish] media rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”

    The antipa­thy is appar­ent­ly mutu­al. Ryan’s cam­paign pulled no punch­es in a state­ment on Wednes­day after­noon. “There are many qual­i­fied con­ser­v­a­tives who would be effec­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Wisconsin’s 1st Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, and Paul Nehlen isn’t one of them,” said Kevin Seifert, the head of Ryan’s polit­i­cal oper­a­tion. “His big­ot­ed rhetoric and his rep­re­hen­si­ble state­ments should dis­qual­i­fy him from hold­ing any pub­lic office and we are con­fi­dent vot­ers in South­ern Wis­con­sin feel the same way.”

    In large part because of his pen­chant for racial­ly inflam­ma­to­ry or anti-Semit­ic remarks, Nehlan’s polit­i­cal prospects have not been tak­en all that seri­ous­ly. Ryan defeat­ed him by near­ly 70 points in the 2016 Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry and the expec­ta­tion was that the same would hap­pen again this cycle.

    With Ryan’s retire­ment, those expec­ta­tions change. Nehlen is one of two Repub­li­cans who had vied to replace Ryan in 2018, and while oth­er Repub­li­cans are like­ly to jump into the con­test before the district’s August pri­ma­ry, Nehlen has more vis­i­bil­i­ty and polit­i­cal expe­ri­ence than his sole exist­ing oppo­nent, Army spe­cial forces vet­er­an and busi­ness­man Nick Polce. He also is per­son­al­ly wealthy, though local media has inves­ti­gat­ed his com­pa­ny, Blue Skies Glob­al LLC, and found scant evi­dence that it does any actu­al busi­ness.

    ...

    With cash to spare and his major pri­ma­ry oppo­nent out of the way, Nehlen is not just a threat to win the nom­i­na­tion, but also is like­ly to solid­i­fy his place as the most promi­nent white nation­al­ist in U.S. pol­i­tics today. His brand of pol­i­tics is so tox­ic that even Bre­it­bart News, which has pre­vi­ous­ly iden­ti­fied with the Alt Right and pro­vid­ed exten­sive and favor­able cov­er­age to Nehlen, recent­ly dis­avowed him. And while Nehlen may be run­ning as a Repub­li­can, the Wis­con­sin GOP wants noth­ing to do with him.

    “Nehlen and his ideas have no place in the Repub­li­can Par­ty,” a state par­ty spokesper­son said in Feb­ru­ary, short­ly after Nehlen tweet­ed out a racist image of Meghan Markle, the bira­cial actress slat­ed to mar­ry Prince Har­ry next month.

    For that tweet, Nehlen was banned from the plat­form. But he found oth­er ways to muse about race and pol­i­tics online. He joined Gab, a Twit­ter alter­na­tive pop­u­lar among the Alt Right. Last week, how­ev­er, he was banned from that plat­form too.

    Nehlen’s tra­vails on social media have inspired him to make online cen­sor­ship the cor­ner­stone of his pol­i­cy plat­form. He pro­pos­es to “extend Amer­i­cans’ First Amend­ment free speech pro­tec­tions onto major social media plat­forms,” though he insists that such a move would not require a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment.

    Nehlen hails from the Trumpian wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. And he rode hard on the president’s coat­tails dur­ing his thor­ough­ly unsuc­cess­ful 2016 run. But last year, Nehlen took a hard turn even fur­ther right, embrac­ing the per­son­al­i­ties, affec­ta­tions, and big­ot­ed racial, reli­gious, and polit­i­cal views of the country’s resur­gent white nation­al­ist com­mu­ni­ty.

    Last month, Nehlen post­ed a link on his Gab page to an essay on the Dai­ly Stormer, a lead­ing neo-Nazi forum. The piece, writ­ten by the site’s founder, Andrew Anglin, alleged a “Jew­ish pol­i­cy of using vio­lence, intim­i­da­tion and threats of finan­cial ruin to silence crit­i­cism of them.” Anglin added, “it sim­ply is not con­tro­ver­sial that Amer­i­ca is run by Jews to the detrain­ment of the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

    On East­er, Nehlen shared a pho­to­shopped image of him­self sit­ting at the Oval Office desk sur­round­ed by the sev­ered heads of a group of Hasidic Jews.

    Though Nehlen has appeared on radio pro­grams host­ed by for­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and oth­er Alt Right lead­ers, his bla­tant anti-Semi­tism has been too much for some in the move­ment. Last month, Jared Tay­lor, the lead­ing of white nation­al­ist group Amer­i­can Renais­sance, dis­in­vit­ed Nehlen from a con­fer­ence the group was host­ing.

    Nehlen fur­ther drew the Alt Right’s ire last week when he revealed the iden­ti­ty of a racist pro-Trump troll who goes by the name Ricky Vaughn. Nehlen’s “dox­ing” of Dou­glass Mack­ey, the man behind Ricky Vaughn, is was pre­cip­i­tat­ed his ban­ish­ment from Gab.

    That’s left Nehlen with few allies even in the fringe cor­ners of the right-wing fever swamps where he was once hailed as a hero. But Nehlen’s polit­i­cal allies con­tin­ue to make inroads in some cor­ners of the polit­i­cal right. For­mer Nehlen cam­paign con­sul­tants recent­ly acquired a right wing news web­site, Big League Pol­i­tics, that they have used to advance the polit­i­cal inter­ests of their cur­rent and for­mer clients, includ­ing Nehlen, for­mer Alaba­ma Sen­ate can­di­date Roy Moore, and Vir­ginia Sen­ate can­di­date Corey Stew­art.

    ———-

    “Paul Ryan’s Retire­ment Gives a Big Boost to the Most Promi­nent White Nation­al­ist in U.S. Pol­i­tics” by Lach­lan Markay; The Dai­ly Beast.; 04/11/2018

    “House Speak­er Paul Ryan’s deci­sion to retire from office makes, for the moment, an anti-Semit­ic white nation­al­ist who has embraced the so-called Alt Right the Repub­li­can fron­trun­ner in Wisconsin’s first con­gres­sion­al dis­trict.”

    Yep, Paul Nehlen is, for the moment, the Repub­li­can fron­trun­ner for the nom­i­na­tion in Paul Ryan’s dis­trict. Grant­ed, that’s prob­a­bly not going to last long after oth­er peo­ple jump into the race. But for now he real­ly is the effec­tive fron­trun­ner. And as the GOP fron­trun­ner in Paul Ryan’s dis­trict that makes Paul Nehlen the effec­tive fron­trun­ner in the race to be the most promi­nent white nation­al­ist in U.S. pol­i­tics today (not count­ing Don­ald Trump, of course):

    ...
    In large part because of his pen­chant for racial­ly inflam­ma­to­ry or anti-Semit­ic remarks, Nehlan’s polit­i­cal prospects have not been tak­en all that seri­ous­ly. Ryan defeat­ed him by near­ly 70 points in the 2016 Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry and the expec­ta­tion was that the same would hap­pen again this cycle.

    With Ryan’s retire­ment, those expec­ta­tions change. Nehlen is one of two Repub­li­cans who had vied to replace Ryan in 2018, and while oth­er Repub­li­cans are like­ly to jump into the con­test before the district’s August pri­ma­ry, Nehlen has more vis­i­bil­i­ty and polit­i­cal expe­ri­ence than his sole exist­ing oppo­nent, Army spe­cial forces vet­er­an and busi­ness­man Nick Polce. He also is per­son­al­ly wealthy, though local media has inves­ti­gat­ed his com­pa­ny, Blue Skies Glob­al LLC, and found scant evi­dence that it does any actu­al busi­ness.

    ...

    With cash to spare and his major pri­ma­ry oppo­nent out of the way, Nehlen is not just a threat to win the nom­i­na­tion, but also is like­ly to solid­i­fy his place as the most promi­nent white nation­al­ist in U.S. pol­i­tics today. His brand of pol­i­tics is so tox­ic that even Bre­it­bart News, which has pre­vi­ous­ly iden­ti­fied with the Alt Right and pro­vid­ed exten­sive and favor­able cov­er­age to Nehlen, recent­ly dis­avowed him. And while Nehlen may be run­ning as a Repub­li­can, the Wis­con­sin GOP wants noth­ing to do with him.
    ...

    So how is Nehlen going to exploit this sud­den, if tem­po­rary, fron­trun­ner sta­tus? Well, based on what we know about Nehlen he’s pre­sum­ably going to attack the Jews:

    ...
    In a Face­book post hail­ing the news, GOP can­di­date Paul Nehlen called Ryan’s retire­ment “good news for Amer­i­ca, bad news for spe­cial inter­ests who bought Paul Ryan’s vote. My focus has always been on YOU.”

    In fact, Nehlen’s focus has not always been on “YOU,” his vot­ers. Pre­vi­ous­ly, his cam­paign crit­i­cized Ryan’s “silence on issues of [Jew­ish] media rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”
    ...

    And then he’ll prob­a­bly post a bunch of tweets that are so racist that he’ll get kicked off of what­ev­er social media plat­forms he has­n’t been kicked off of yet:

    ...
    “Nehlen and his ideas have no place in the Repub­li­can Par­ty,” a state par­ty spokesper­son said in Feb­ru­ary, short­ly after Nehlen tweet­ed out a racist image of Meghan Markle, the bira­cial actress slat­ed to mar­ry Prince Har­ry next month.

    For that tweet, Nehlen was banned from the plat­form. But he found oth­er ways to muse about race and pol­i­tics online. He joined Gab, a Twit­ter alter­na­tive pop­u­lar among the Alt Right. Last week, how­ev­er, he was banned from that plat­form too.

    Nehlen’s tra­vails on social media have inspired him to make online cen­sor­ship the cor­ner­stone of his pol­i­cy plat­form. He pro­pos­es to “extend Amer­i­cans’ First Amend­ment free speech pro­tec­tions onto major social media plat­forms,” though he insists that such a move would not require a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment.
    ...

    And then Nehlen will prob­a­bly use his sud­den promi­nence to pro­mote arti­cles from places like the Dai­ly Stormer to attack the Jews some more:

    ...
    Nehlen hails from the Trumpian wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. And he rode hard on the president’s coat­tails dur­ing his thor­ough­ly unsuc­cess­ful 2016 run. But last year, Nehlen took a hard turn even fur­ther right, embrac­ing the per­son­al­i­ties, affec­ta­tions, and big­ot­ed racial, reli­gious, and polit­i­cal views of the country’s resur­gent white nation­al­ist com­mu­ni­ty.

    Last month, Nehlen post­ed a link on his Gab page to an essay on the Dai­ly Stormer, a lead­ing neo-Nazi forum. The piece, writ­ten by the site’s founder, Andrew Anglin, alleged a “Jew­ish pol­i­cy of using vio­lence, intim­i­da­tion and threats of finan­cial ruin to silence crit­i­cism of them.” Anglin added, “it sim­ply is not con­tro­ver­sial that Amer­i­ca is run by Jews to the detrain­ment of the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

    On East­er, Nehlen shared a pho­to­shopped image of him­self sit­ting at the Oval Office desk sur­round­ed by the sev­ered heads of a group of Hasidic Jews.
    ...

    Final­ly, Nehlen will prob­a­bly say or do some­thing so out­ra­geous that even his fel­low white nation­al­ists dis­tance them­selves from him:

    ...
    Though Nehlen has appeared on radio pro­grams host­ed by for­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and oth­er Alt Right lead­ers, his bla­tant anti-Semi­tism has been too much for some in the move­ment. Last month, Jared Tay­lor, the lead­ing of white nation­al­ist group Amer­i­can Renais­sance, dis­in­vit­ed Nehlen from a con­fer­ence the group was host­ing.

    Nehlen fur­ther drew the Alt Right’s ire last week when he revealed the iden­ti­ty of a racist pro-Trump troll who goes by the name Ricky Vaughn. Nehlen’s “dox­ing” of Dou­glass Mack­ey, the man behind Ricky Vaughn, is was pre­cip­i­tat­ed his ban­ish­ment from Gab.
    ...

    And that’s what we should prob­a­bly expect from the cur­rent fron­trun­ner in the GOP pri­ma­ry for Paul Ryan’s seat. Because that’s what he’s been doing all along.

    So how long should we expect Nehlen to retain his fron­trun­ner sta­tus in the GOP pri­ma­ry for Paul Ryan’s seat? Pre­sum­ably until one of the more main­stream can­di­dates enters the race, at which point Nehlen will no longer be the most promi­nent Repub­li­can in this par­tic­u­lar pri­ma­ry race.

    That, of course, assumes he does­n’t end up win­ning the nom­i­na­tion. This is Trump’s GOP we’re talk­ing about, after all.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 12, 2018, 11:06 pm
  17. Here’s a pair of arti­cles that pro­vide some impor­tant con­text to the van attack in Toron­to by a sui­ci­dal man who drove over pedes­tri­ans and then shout­ed at the police to shoot him: the 25 year old van dri­ver, Alek Minass­ian, post­ed a trib­ute on Face­book min­utes before the attack to Elliot Rodger, who went on a 2014 shoot­ing ram­page in 2014 tar­get­ing women, and announced the begin­ning of the “Incel rev­o­lu­tion”. His post also ref­er­enced 4chan:“Private (Recruit) Minass­ian Infantry 00010, wish­ing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebel­lion has already begun! We will over­throw all the Chads and Sta­cys! All hail the Supreme Gen­tle­man Elliot Rodger.” Both Rodger, and Minass­ian, were self-described “incels” (invol­un­tary celi­bates).

    And as we’re going to see, the incel move­ment is one ele­ment of a hyper-misog­y­nis­tic sub-cul­ture for men that has become a fer­tile recruit­ing ground for the ‘Alt Right’ and neo-Nazis. Basi­cal­ly, sex­u­al­ly frus­trat­ed come to these online com­mu­ni­ties look­ing for sym­pa­thy and like-mind­ed friends end up get­ting turned into neo-Nazis con­vinced that fem­i­nism is part of a grand ‘cul­tur­al marx­ist’ plot to sup­press white males.

    So, first, let’s take a look at how the ‘incel’ move­ment is part of this larg­er hyper-misog­y­nis­tic “manos­phere” sub-cul­ture and how, when you look past the per­va­sive sex­u­al frus­tra­tion on the sur­face of the ‘incel’ move­ment, you’ll find an ide­ol­o­gy that is fun­da­men­tal­ly both nihilis­tic and author­i­tar­i­an in nature:

    The Guardian

    ‘Raw hatred’: why the ‘incel’ move­ment tar­gets and ter­roris­es women

    The man accused of car­ry­ing out the Toron­to van attack has alleged links to ‘invol­un­tary celi­bate’ online com­mu­ni­ties. The lan­guage they use may be absurd, but the threat they pose could be dead­ly

    Zoe Williams

    Wed 25 Apr 2018 13.13 EDT
    Last mod­i­fied on Wed 25 Apr 2018 13.29 EDT

    When a van was dri­ven on to a Toron­to pave­ment on Tues­day, killing 10 peo­ple and injur­ing 15, police chief Mark Saun­ders said that, while the inci­dent appeared to be a delib­er­ate act, there was no evi­dence of ter­ror­ism. The pub­lic safe­ty min­is­ter Ralph Goodale backed this up, deem­ing the event “not part of an organ­ised ter­ror plot”. Cana­da has rules about these things: to count as ter­ror­ism, the attack­er must have a polit­i­cal, reli­gious or social moti­va­tion, some­thing beyond “want­i­ng to ter­rorise”.

    Why have the author­i­ties been so fast to reject the idea of ter­ror­ism (tak­ing as read that this may change; the tragedy is very fresh)? Short­ly before the attack, a post appeared on the suspect’s Face­book pro­file, hail­ing the com­mence­ment of the “Incel Rebel­lion”, includ­ing the line “Pri­vate (Recruit) … Infantry 00010, wish­ing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161.” (“4chan is the main organ­is­ing plat­form for the ‘alt-right’,” explains Mike Wendling, the author of Alt-Right: from 4Chan to the White House.)

    There is a reluc­tance to ascribe to the “incel” move­ment any­thing so lofty as an “ide­ol­o­gy” or cred­it it with any devel­oped, con­nect­ed think­ing, part­ly because it is so bizarre in con­cep­tion.

    Stand­ing for “invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate”, the term was orig­i­nal­ly invent­ed 20 years ago by a woman known only as Alana, who coined the term as a name for an online sup­port forum for sin­gles, basi­cal­ly a lone­ly hearts club. “It feels like being the sci­en­tist who fig­ured out nuclear fis­sion and then dis­cov­ers it’s being used as a weapon for war,” she says, describ­ing the feel­ing of watch­ing it mutate into a Red­dit muster point for vio­lent misog­y­ny.

    It is part of the “manos­phere”, but is dis­tin­guished from men’s rights activism by what Wendling – who is also the edi­tor of BBC Trend­ing, the broadcaster’s social media inves­ti­ga­tion unit – calls its “raw hatred. It is vile. It is just incred­i­bly unhinged and sep­a­rate from real­i­ty and com­plete­ly raw.” It has some crossover with white suprema­cism, in the sense that its adher­ents hang out in the same online spaces and share some of the same ter­mi­nol­o­gy, but it is quite dis­tinc­tive in its hate fig­ures: Sta­cys (attrac­tive women); Chads (attrac­tive men); and Normies (peo­ple who aren’t incels, ie can find part­ners but aren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly attrac­tive). Basi­cal­ly, incels can­not get laid and they vio­lent­ly loathe any­one who can.

    Some of the fault, in their eyes, is with attrac­tive men who have sex with too many women – “We need to do some­thing about the polygamy prob­lem,” said the Incelcast, an aston­ish­ing three-hour pod­cast about the Toron­to attack – but, of course, the main prob­lem is women them­selves, who become foes as peo­ple, but also as a polit­i­cal enti­ty. There is a lot of dis­cus­sion about how best to pun­ish them, with mass rape fan­tasies and threads on how to fol­low women with­out get­ting arrest­ed, just for the thrill of hav­ing them notice you. Fem­i­nism is held respon­si­ble for a dude who can’t get laid, and birth con­trol is said to have caused “women to date only Chads. It caus­es all sorts of neg­a­tive social ram­i­fi­ca­tions”.

    There are no num­bers on how many adher­ents this doc­trine has, or how extreme they are, “but it’s not one tiny bit of Red­dit” says Wendling. “It’s big. It’s sub­stan­tial. It’s a move­ment that has tens of thou­sands of peo­ple who vis­it these boards, these sub-Red­dits, that are safe places for them.”

    Angela Nagle is the author of Kill All Normies: Online Cul­ture Wars from 4Chan and Tum­blr to Trump and the Alt-Right. She says: “There is a real­ly inter­est­ing irony in the incel style of qua­si­pol­i­tics – they are both a response to and advo­cates of almost an Ayn Ran­di­an view of romance and human rela­tion­ships. So they rail against the lone­li­ness and the iso­la­tion and the indi­vid­u­al­ism of mod­ern life, but they seem to advo­cate it as well, in that they love the lan­guage of the strong tri­umph­ing over the weak. But they them­selves are the weak.”

    Their land­scape is strewn with com­plete­ly unsquarable con­tra­dic­tion: “They’ll say how ter­ri­ble it is that the left has won the cul­ture wars and we should return to tra­di­tion­al hier­ar­chies, but then they’ll use terms like ‘bang­ing sluts’, which doesn’t make any sense, right?” Nagle con­tin­ues. “Because you have to pick one. They want sex­u­al avail­abil­i­ty and yet, at the same time, they express this dis­gust at promis­cu­ity.”

    Incels obsess over their own unat­trac­tive­ness – divid­ing the world into alphas and betas, with betas just your aver­age, frus­trat­ed idiot dude, and omegas, as the incels often call them­selves, the low­est of the low, scorned by every­one – they then use that self-accep­tance as an insu­la­tion. They feel this makes them untouch­able in their quest for suprema­cy over sluts.

    They bor­row a lot of lan­guage from the equality/civil rights agen­da – soci­ety “treats sin­gle men like trash, and it has to stop. The peo­ple in pow­er, women, can change this, but they refuse to. They have blood on their hands,” read one post the morn­ing after the Toron­to attack. Basi­cal­ly, their vir­gin­i­ty is a dis­crim­i­na­tion or apartheid issue, and only a state-dis­trib­uted girl­friend pro­gramme, out­law­ing mul­ti­ple part­ners, can rec­ti­fy this grand injus­tice. Yet at the same time, they hate vic­tims, snowflakes, lib­er­als, those who cam­paign for any actu­al equal­i­ty.

    The less sense their out­look makes, the more sense it makes, on some ele­men­tal lev­el. Coher­ence, con­sis­ten­cy, rea­son – these are all tools by which we under­stand, accom­mo­date, include and lis­ten to one anoth­er. In a pure­ly author­i­tar­i­an world­view, those are the rules you most enjoy not play­ing by. That makes it very dif­fi­cult to for­mu­late a response to, on an intel­lec­tu­al lev­el, let alone a prac­ti­cal one: you can’t argue with a schema whose prin­ci­ple is that it will not brook argu­ment. But the reg­u­lar alter­na­tive – ridicule – is not nec­es­sar­i­ly wise, or right.

    Elliot Rodger, the Isla Vista killer, uploaded a video to YouTube about his “ret­ri­bu­tion” against attrac­tive women who wouldn’t sleep with him (and the attrac­tive men they would sleep with) before killing six peo­ple in 2014. He was named by the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter (which tracks activ­i­ty on the far right) as the first ter­ror­ist of the “alt-right”: so even if incels don’t describe the full extent of far-right activ­i­ty, so far they have been its most dev­as­tat­ing sub­group.

    There is this huge dis­con­nect between the threat they pose – which is, even if we accept Rodger as only a foot sol­dier, dead­ly – and the things they talk about, which are often absurd. In the sphere of the “pick­up”, seduc­tion is weaponised in the gen­der war: there is a huge amount of dis­cus­sion about its fin­er points, but its core and only prin­ci­ple is that you get women to sleep with you (and behave) by mak­ing them feel inse­cure.

    When this, amaz­ing­ly, doesn’t work, incels dis­ap­pear down the worm­hole of the black pill: the game is rigged from the start. Appear­ance is every­thing. If you’re dealt a bad hand, you’ve lost before you’ve start­ed. This esca­lates to vio­lent fan­ta­sy, since if the game is rigged, then the only thing that will get attrac­tive women to sleep with you is force. Attrac­tive men are col­lat­er­al dam­age in the vio­lent fan­ta­sy, though it is inter­est­ing that mes­sage boards can get away with a lot of mass rape fan­ta­sy, only to be shut down when a man starts fan­ta­sis­ing about cas­trat­ing his male room­mate.

    From the way cha­t­room mod­er­a­tors respond to threats of vio­lence against women, to the reluc­tance among author­i­ties to name this as a ter­ror­ist threat, I am filled with this unset­tling sense that because incels main­ly want to kill, maim or assault women, they are sim­ply not tak­en as seri­ous­ly as if they want­ed to kill pret­ty much any­one else. Doesn’t every­one want to kill women, some­times, is the impli­ca­tion? Or at least give them a fright?

    Their behav­iour is often ridicu­lous – some­one last week got a tat­too of Jor­dan Peterson’s face (he is the pop philoso­pher of menin­ism) across his entire arm. The incels’ folk hero is the 30-year-old vir­gin wiz­ard – if you can make it to 30 with­out hav­ing sex, you will be endowed with mag­i­cal pow­ers. And the threads are so pathet­ic that it is hard to feel any­thing but ambi­ent pity (on the site Wiz Chan – sub­ti­tle “dis­re­gard females, acquire mag­ic” – one thread titled How do I live in my sedan? is like a short sto­ry).

    Puz­zling in the abstract, weird­ly inevitable in the flesh, their stance com­bines that utter­ly flaky 90s jok­ing-not-jok­ing (“Hey, I was only jok­ing when I said I want­ed to rape you! Unless we’re actu­al­ly in an alley and there’s no one else around”), rag­ing self-pity, false appro­pri­a­tion and super­hero cos­tumes, all deliv­ered with the deaf­en­ing rage of the rep­til­ian brain. It makes Four Lions look like Wittgen­stein.

    But this fails to reflect, or reflect on, what mod­ern ter­ror­ism is: the per­pe­tra­tors don’t have to meet and their bal­a­clavas don’t have to match. All they have to do is estab­lish their hate fig­ures and be con­sis­tent.

    ...

    ———-

    “‘Raw hatred’: why the ‘incel’ move­ment tar­gets and ter­roris­es women” by Zoe Williams; The Guardian; 04/25/2018

    “Why have the author­i­ties been so fast to reject the idea of ter­ror­ism (tak­ing as read that this may change; the tragedy is very fresh)? Short­ly before the attack, a post appeared on the suspect’s Face­book pro­file, hail­ing the com­mence­ment of the “Incel Rebel­lion”, includ­ing the line “Pri­vate (Recruit) … Infantry 00010, wish­ing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161.” (“4chan is the main organ­is­ing plat­form for the ‘alt-right’,” explains Mike Wendling, the author of Alt-Right: from 4Chan to the White House.)”

    Yep, a shout out to 4Chan and the “Incel Rebel­lion”. That give us an idea of the motive.

    And yet, as we saw, there was a strong hes­i­tan­cy to call this an act of ter­ror­ism:

    ...
    There is a reluc­tance to ascribe to the “incel” move­ment any­thing so lofty as an “ide­ol­o­gy” or cred­it it with any devel­oped, con­nect­ed think­ing, part­ly because it is so bizarre in con­cep­tion.

    Stand­ing for “invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate”, the term was orig­i­nal­ly invent­ed 20 years ago by a woman known only as Alana, who coined the term as a name for an online sup­port forum for sin­gles, basi­cal­ly a lone­ly hearts club. “It feels like being the sci­en­tist who fig­ured out nuclear fis­sion and then dis­cov­ers it’s being used as a weapon for war,” she says, describ­ing the feel­ing of watch­ing it mutate into a Red­dit muster point for vio­lent misog­y­ny.

    It is part of the “manos­phere”, but is dis­tin­guished from men’s rights activism by what Wendling – who is also the edi­tor of BBC Trend­ing, the broadcaster’s social media inves­ti­ga­tion unit – calls its “raw hatred. It is vile. It is just incred­i­bly unhinged and sep­a­rate from real­i­ty and com­plete­ly raw.” It has some crossover with white suprema­cism, in the sense that its adher­ents hang out in the same online spaces and share some of the same ter­mi­nol­o­gy, but it is quite dis­tinc­tive in its hate fig­ures: Sta­cys (attrac­tive women); Chads (attrac­tive men); and Normies (peo­ple who aren’t incels, ie can find part­ners but aren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly attrac­tive). Basi­cal­ly, incels can­not get laid and they vio­lent­ly loathe any­one who can.

    Some of the fault, in their eyes, is with attrac­tive men who have sex with too many women – “We need to do some­thing about the polygamy prob­lem,” said the Incelcast, an aston­ish­ing three-hour pod­cast about the Toron­to attack – but, of course, the main prob­lem is women them­selves, who become foes as peo­ple, but also as a polit­i­cal enti­ty. There is a lot of dis­cus­sion about how best to pun­ish them, with mass rape fan­tasies and threads on how to fol­low women with­out get­ting arrest­ed, just for the thrill of hav­ing them notice you. Fem­i­nism is held respon­si­ble for a dude who can’t get laid, and birth con­trol is said to have caused “women to date only Chads. It caus­es all sorts of neg­a­tive social ram­i­fi­ca­tions”.

    There are no num­bers on how many adher­ents this doc­trine has, or how extreme they are, “but it’s not one tiny bit of Red­dit” says Wendling. “It’s big. It’s sub­stan­tial. It’s a move­ment that has tens of thou­sands of peo­ple who vis­it these boards, these sub-Red­dits, that are safe places for them.”
    ...

    “There are no num­bers on how many adher­ents this doc­trine has, or how extreme they are, “but it’s not one tiny bit of Red­dit” says Wendling. “It’s big. It’s sub­stan­tial. It’s a move­ment that has tens of thou­sands of peo­ple who vis­it these boards, these sub-Red­dits, that are safe places for them.””

    Tens of thou­sands of “incels”, mutu­al­ly con­sol­ing each oth­er online by joint­ly hat­ing the mod­ern world.

    And while the hes­i­tan­cy to call this attack an act of ter­ror no doubt has some­thing to do with a gen­er­al hes­i­tan­cy to called far right vio­lent acts by non-Mus­lims ter­ror­ism in the West, the gen­er­al lack of appre­ci­a­tion for how much over­lap there is between the “incel” move­ment and broad­er ‘Alt Right’ com­mu­ni­ty like­ly also plays a role. But the “incel” move­ment is indeed an ide­ol­o­gy. Because it’s basi­cal­ly the ‘Alt Right’ world­view, but with a par­tic­u­lar focus on demo­niz­ing women for not want­i­ng to sleep with these guys:

    ...
    Angela Nagle is the author of Kill All Normies: Online Cul­ture Wars from 4Chan and Tum­blr to Trump and the Alt-Right. She says: “There is a real­ly inter­est­ing irony in the incel style of qua­si­pol­i­tics – they are both a response to and advo­cates of almost an Ayn Ran­di­an view of romance and human rela­tion­ships. So they rail against the lone­li­ness and the iso­la­tion and the indi­vid­u­al­ism of mod­ern life, but they seem to advo­cate it as well, in that they love the lan­guage of the strong tri­umph­ing over the weak. But they them­selves are the weak.”

    Their land­scape is strewn with com­plete­ly unsquarable con­tra­dic­tion: “They’ll say how ter­ri­ble it is that the left has won the cul­ture wars and we should return to tra­di­tion­al hier­ar­chies, but then they’ll use terms like ‘bang­ing sluts’, which doesn’t make any sense, right?” Nagle con­tin­ues. “Because you have to pick one. They want sex­u­al avail­abil­i­ty and yet, at the same time, they express this dis­gust at promis­cu­ity.”

    Incels obsess over their own unat­trac­tive­ness – divid­ing the world into alphas and betas, with betas just your aver­age, frus­trat­ed idiot dude, and omegas, as the incels often call them­selves, the low­est of the low, scorned by every­one – they then use that self-accep­tance as an insu­la­tion. They feel this makes them untouch­able in their quest for suprema­cy over sluts.

    They bor­row a lot of lan­guage from the equality/civil rights agen­da – soci­ety “treats sin­gle men like trash, and it has to stop. The peo­ple in pow­er, women, can change this, but they refuse to. They have blood on their hands,” read one post the morn­ing after the Toron­to attack. Basi­cal­ly, their vir­gin­i­ty is a dis­crim­i­na­tion or apartheid issue, and only a state-dis­trib­uted girl­friend pro­gramme, out­law­ing mul­ti­ple part­ners, can rec­ti­fy this grand injus­tice. Yet at the same time, they hate vic­tims, snowflakes, lib­er­als, those who cam­paign for any actu­al equal­i­ty.

    The less sense their out­look makes, the more sense it makes, on some ele­men­tal lev­el. Coher­ence, con­sis­ten­cy, rea­son – these are all tools by which we under­stand, accom­mo­date, include and lis­ten to one anoth­er. In a pure­ly author­i­tar­i­an world­view, those are the rules you most enjoy not play­ing by. That makes it very dif­fi­cult to for­mu­late a response to, on an intel­lec­tu­al lev­el, let alone a prac­ti­cal one: you can’t argue with a schema whose prin­ci­ple is that it will not brook argu­ment. But the reg­u­lar alter­na­tive – ridicule – is not nec­es­sar­i­ly wise, or right.
    ...

    And that’s over­lap with the ‘Alt Right’ is why the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter declared Elliot Rodger to be the first ‘Alt Right’ ter­ror­ist back in 2014. A ter­ror­ist who was respond­ing to the per­cep­tion that soci­ety was rigged against him and oth­ers like him because he could find women who would sleep with him:

    ...
    Elliot Rodger, the Isla Vista killer, uploaded a video to YouTube about his “ret­ri­bu­tion” against attrac­tive women who wouldn’t sleep with him (and the attrac­tive men they would sleep with) before killing six peo­ple in 2014. He was named by the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter (which tracks activ­i­ty on the far right) as the first ter­ror­ist of the “alt-right”: so even if incels don’t describe the full extent of far-right activ­i­ty, so far they have been its most dev­as­tat­ing sub­group.

    There is this huge dis­con­nect between the threat they pose – which is, even if we accept Rodger as only a foot sol­dier, dead­ly – and the things they talk about, which are often absurd. In the sphere of the “pick­up”, seduc­tion is weaponised in the gen­der war: there is a huge amount of dis­cus­sion about its fin­er points, but its core and only prin­ci­ple is that you get women to sleep with you (and behave) by mak­ing them feel inse­cure.

    When this, amaz­ing­ly, doesn’t work, incels dis­ap­pear down the worm­hole of the black pill: the game is rigged from the start. Appear­ance is every­thing. If you’re dealt a bad hand, you’ve lost before you’ve start­ed. This esca­lates to vio­lent fan­ta­sy, since if the game is rigged, then the only thing that will get attrac­tive women to sleep with you is force. Attrac­tive men are col­lat­er­al dam­age in the vio­lent fan­ta­sy, though it is inter­est­ing that mes­sage boards can get away with a lot of mass rape fan­ta­sy, only to be shut down when a man starts fan­ta­sis­ing about cas­trat­ing his male room­mate.

    From the way cha­t­room mod­er­a­tors respond to threats of vio­lence against women, to the reluc­tance among author­i­ties to name this as a ter­ror­ist threat, I am filled with this unset­tling sense that because incels main­ly want to kill, maim or assault women, they are sim­ply not tak­en as seri­ous­ly as if they want­ed to kill pret­ty much any­one else. Doesn’t every­one want to kill women, some­times, is the impli­ca­tion? Or at least give them a fright?
    ...

    And as we should expect, Jor­dan Peter­son, who’s videos are being used by a the far right to recruit depressed peo­ple, is pop­u­lar with this crowd:

    ...
    Their behav­iour is often ridicu­lous – some­one last week got a tat­too of Jor­dan Peterson’s face (he is the pop philoso­pher of menin­ism) across his entire arm. The incels’ folk hero is the 30-year-old vir­gin wiz­ard – if you can make it to 30 with­out hav­ing sex, you will be endowed with mag­i­cal pow­ers. And the threads are so pathet­ic that it is hard to feel any­thing but ambi­ent pity (on the site Wiz Chan – sub­ti­tle “dis­re­gard females, acquire mag­ic” – one thread titled How do I live in my sedan? is like a short sto­ry).
    ...

    So let’s take a clos­er look at how misog­y­ny has become one of the key recruit­ment ele­ments for con­vert­ed sex­u­al­ly frust­ed young men into Alt Right neo-Nazis who are con­vinced that they are vic­tims of a “cul­tur­al marx­ist” plot to oppress white males:

    Vox

    How the alt-right’s sex­ism lures men into white suprema­cy
    The movement’s many online com­mu­ni­ties prey on male inse­cu­ri­ty to advance a racist polit­i­cal agen­da.

    By Aja Romano
    Dec 14, 2016, 2:20pm EST

    In the wake of the elec­tion, per­haps no top­ic has been more wide­ly dis­cussed and debat­ed than the self-described “alt-right” — the racist, sex­ist, meme-hap­py, most­ly inter­net-based move­ment asso­ci­at­ed with rad­i­cal white suprema­cy that has unex­pect­ed­ly tak­en cen­ter stage in US pol­i­tics after the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump.

    Though many con­sid­er the alt-right to be pri­mar­i­ly a fringe move­ment encom­pass­ing mul­ti­ple ide­olo­gies (includ­ing white nation­al­ism and white suprema­cy), its sup­port­ers’ unortho­dox tac­tics for pro­mot­ing those ide­olo­gies were fun­da­men­tal to Trump’s cam­paign, and thus fun­da­men­tal to his vic­to­ry. Said tac­tics include engag­ing in extrem­ist dis­course, using decep­tive irony and racial­ly tinged inter­net memes to con­fuse peo­ple into dis­miss­ing the “alt-right” label as a syn­onym for inter­net trolls, and spread­ing false and mis­lead­ing infor­ma­tion. Thus, it’s no sur­prise that the move­ment has become a focal point of the sub­se­quent cul­ture war and nar­ra­tive sur­round­ing the president-elect’s tran­si­tion to the White House — par­tic­u­lar­ly out­rage that Trump arguably won through racist rhetoric and that his chief strate­gist is direct­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the alt-right move­ment.

    But one foun­da­tion­al aspect of the alt-right’s var­i­ous belief sys­tems has been sig­nif­i­cant­ly down­played fol­low­ing the elec­tion — even though it may be the key to under­stand­ing the movement’s racist, white nation­al­ist agen­da. While it’s true that the move­ment is most fre­quent­ly described in terms of the self-stat­ed, explic­it white suprema­cy that defines many of its cor­ners, for many of its mem­bers, the gate­way drug that led them to join the alt-right in the first place wasn’t racist rhetoric but rather sex­ism: extreme misog­y­ny evolv­ing from male bond­ing gone hay­wire.

    The “alt-right” label is tricky to define, but the movement’s top pri­or­i­ty is ele­vat­ing the sta­tus of white men

    Don’t let the term “alt-right” fool you; despite the fact that it’s the self-cho­sen descrip­tor adopt­ed by many white suprema­cists, the ide­ol­o­gy under the hood is still the same. Not only do mem­bers of the alt-right sup­port the most extreme ver­sion of Trump’s cam­paign promis­es to deport mil­lions of immi­grants and cre­ate a nation­al reg­istry for Mus­lims, but their ulti­mate goal is to eth­ni­cal­ly cleanse non­white indi­vid­u­als from Amer­i­ca and estab­lish a com­plete­ly white eth­no-state.

    Mem­bers of the alt-right tend to be young white men spout­ing bla­tant­ly racist, nation­al­ist, and misog­y­nis­tic views that align eeri­ly well with his­tor­i­cal fas­cism, and many of these men open­ly advo­cate harass­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion (or worse) of women and minor­i­ty groups. (Indeed, since the elec­tion, overt ten­sion sur­round­ing these var­i­ous spheres has led to hun­dreds of report­ed hate crimes.)

    Con­se­quent­ly, many peo­ple have pon­dered whether the “alt-right” label puts too fine a pol­ish on what is at best an ugly mix of racism, xeno­pho­bia, and misog­y­ny. In response, many news orga­ni­za­tions have grap­pled with whether it’s appro­pri­ate to use the term at all, and, if so, how to define it for their read­ers.

    But no mat­ter what you call it, the move­ment is plain­ly built around a polit­i­cal agen­da that seeks to advance the rights of white male cit­i­zens at the expense of every­body else.

    The alt-right’s indoc­tri­na­tion process starts out look­ing like a healthy way for men to social­ize

    In a wide­ly shared Twit­ter thread the morn­ing after the elec­tion, writer Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa out­lined what she views as the insid­i­ous process by which young men are rad­i­cal­ized into the alt-right.

    If peo­ple fol­lowed the alt-right groups on Red­dit, they would know that young white Amer­i­cans were told to hide their sup­port of Trump.— Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    These col­lege edu­cat­ed young men were then ripe enough to be sold idea that Trump rep­re­sent­ed a return to Men Being Real Men— Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    Many of these rad­i­cal white men were raised by sin­gle fem­i­nist moth­ers. Inter­net groups rad­i­cal­ized their sex­u­al frus­tra­tion into big­otry.
    — Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    These online groups found young white men at their most vul­ner­a­ble & con­vinced them lib­er­als were col­lud­ing to destroy white West­ern man­hood— Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    When we talk about online rad­i­cal­iza­tion we always talk about Mus­lims. But the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of white men online is at astro­nom­i­cal lev­els— Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    Mohutsiwa’s tweet­storm elu­ci­dates an impor­tant, gen­er­al­ly over­looked point: Most white men who become rad­i­cal­ized into the alt-right start out in search of some like-mind­ed friends.

    Though var­i­ous branch­es of the move­ment are often at odds with one anoth­er, they share a num­ber of core beliefs — and a com­mon meme-fla­vored ver­nac­u­lar — that serve to unite them in what is some­times called “the manos­phere.” This realm includes the “men’s rights” move­ment, pick­up artist cul­ture (a com­mu­ni­ty of men also labeled “PUAs” that essen­tial­ly makes a game of the art of bed­ding women), “incels” (men who are “invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate” because they feel women reject them), and geek gate­keep­ers like sup­port­ers of the Gamer­gate move­ment.

    On the sur­face, PUA com­mu­ni­ties and incel com­mu­ni­ties have a lot of gener­ic appeal: The PUA lifestyle empha­sizes self-esteem and con­fi­dence build­ing along with phys­i­cal health, while the incel com­mu­ni­ty allows men to bond over their strug­gle to achieve all of the above in spite of their sour luck with women. Mean­while, gamers and geeks habit­u­al­ly tout the impor­tance of gam­ing in pro­vid­ing social inter­ac­tion for young men.

    These spaces fos­ter the kind of male friend­ship whose impor­tance doesn’t get a lot of atten­tion in the real world. But the ben­e­fits of their exis­tence are often accom­pa­nied (and some­times negat­ed) by their ten­den­cy to instill in their mem­bers a new­found artic­u­la­tion of fun­da­men­tal anx­i­ety over their posi­tion as men in a soci­ety where women are active­ly seek­ing empow­er­ment.

    And in build­ing its mem­ber­ship from so many dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties of white men who ulti­mate­ly feel threat­ened and reject­ed by women, the move­ment pro­motes a sense of male enti­tle­ment that is eas­i­ly rad­i­cal­ized into white nation­al­ism and white suprema­cy.

    How sex­ism serves as the alt-right’s gate­way drug

    In many alt-right com­mu­ni­ties, men are encour­aged to view women as sex­u­al and/or polit­i­cal tar­gets that men must dom­i­nate. The men in these com­mu­ni­ties don’t see them­selves as sex­ist; they see them­selves as fight­ing against their own emas­cu­la­tion and sex­u­al repres­sion at the hands of stri­dent fem­i­nists. (For instance, one alt-right blog described the activist group Code Pink as “a sort of lib­er­al, fem­i­nist ver­sion of the West­boro Bap­tist Church.”)

    All of these indi­vid­ual com­mu­ni­ties advo­cate a dis­trust of fem­i­nism and an insis­tence that female empow­er­ment nec­es­sar­i­ly dis­em­pow­ers men. One of the most famous, Reddit’s r/TheRedPill, even paints this ide­ol­o­gy as a reli­gious con­ver­sion: an “awak­en­ing,” or “tak­ing the red pill” (a ref­er­ence bor­rowed from The Matrix) to under­stand what they regard as the life-alter­ing “truth” that fem­i­nism has ruined mod­ern soci­ety for every­one (but espe­cial­ly for men). Many peo­ple who’ve tried engag­ing with r/TheRedPill only to walk away have described it as a place where rela­tion­ships are viewed pri­mar­i­ly in terms of pow­er strug­gles rather than mutu­al respect and equal­i­ty. “In prac­tice,” one Red­dit user wrote, “their ideas become pret­ty tox­ic real­ly fast.”

    Red­di­tor RZRtv expe­ri­enced this first-hand; he found his way to r/TheRedPill after wit­ness­ing his father’s painful expe­ri­ence in court dur­ing a messy divorce. He told Vox that despite being social­ly pro­gres­sive for most of his life, he had been drawn to the movement’s anti-fem­i­nist mes­sage, feel­ing resent­ment for the way fem­i­nism seemed to be blam­ing white men for every­thing.

    “I was grate­ful for the com­mu­ni­ty to be rais­ing points that affect­ed my father and my life,” he told Vox, not­ing that Reddit’s var­i­ous men’s rights forums were full of “great points” about how soci­ety expects men to be emo­tion­al­ly reserved. They also pro­vid­ed a basic form of sup­port in acknowl­edg­ing that men are allowed to be emo­tion­al, flawed humans, which he found to be “a big sell­ing point.”

    Of course, many fem­i­nists fre­quent­ly point out that gen­der stereo­types about men are unfair, harm­ful, and need dis­man­tling, but fem­i­nists and men’s rights activists (com­mon­ly referred to as MRAs) rarely lis­ten to each oth­er. “Nei­ther side seems to accu­rate­ly assess its trib­al­ism,” he said.

    RZRtv spent near­ly two years in the com­mu­ni­ty, but grad­u­al­ly soured on its mes­sage due to the over­whelm­ing hatred, which “got to the point where every­thing seemed to be about tak­ing down women or minori­ties, rather than help­ing men in the areas they faced dis­crim­i­na­tion,” he said.

    “The tip­ping point, where I was final­ly fed up, is mem­o­rable. There was an arti­cle post­ed to /r/MensRights with the title ‘Hillary Clin­ton will be worse for men than Don­ald Trump will be for women,’ which I knew was com­plete bull­shit ... [T]he bla­tant bull­shit allowed to prop­a­gate in the com­mu­ni­ty had final­ly reached a boil­ing point, and I stopped putting effort into the same caus­es.”

    It’s impor­tant to note that while sex­ism and big­otry ulti­mate­ly drove RZRtv away from Reddit’s men’s rights com­mu­ni­ties, he says he nev­er sought out a great deal of emo­tion­al sup­port from them to begin with, “as I’m a pret­ty pri­vate per­son and don’t seek that type of thing out.” But oth­er men who do lean on these com­mu­ni­ties for emo­tion­al sup­port may be prone to falling fur­ther into the hate-filled envi­ron­ment.

    Mohut­si­wa argued in her tweet­storm that we have been pay­ing the wrong kind of atten­tion to the alt-right’s inter­net havens. “When we talk about online rad­i­cal­iza­tion we always talk about Mus­lims. But the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of white men online is at astro­nom­i­cal lev­els,” she wrote. “That’s why I nev­er got one strat­e­gy of Clin­ton’s cam­paign: high­light­ing Trump’s sex­ism. Trump sup­port­ers love him BECAUSE of his sex­ism.”

    The alt-right’s ver­nac­u­lar is full of sex­ist lan­guage. “Weak” mod­er­ates or lib­er­als who buy into the fem­i­nist agen­da are deemed “cucks,” a term derived from “cuck­old,” the arcane Old Eng­lish word for a man whose wife cheats on him. Many of the movement’s var­i­ous sub­com­mu­ni­ties have insist­ed that the word is (warn­ing: the fol­low­ing two links con­tain hate speech) strict­ly racist and that its ori­gins cen­ter on white men being dis­em­pow­ered by mis­ce­gena­tion and oth­er forms of inter­ac­tion with mem­bers of oth­er races. But in its prac­ti­cal use by the alt-right at large — most fre­quent­ly to harass women online — the com­mon impli­ca­tion is that pro­gres­sive men are sex­u­al­ly dis­em­pow­ered by manip­u­la­tive women.

    This ide­ol­o­gy inevitably has polit­i­cal ram­i­fi­ca­tions. On PUA forums, where men proud­ly talk about their “lay counts,” the default assump­tion in the days lead­ing up to the elec­tion was that a vote for Hillary Clin­ton sig­ni­fied weak­ness that no real man would dis­play. Wit­ness this exchange that took place on one PUA forum the morn­ing after the elec­tion:

    [see screen­shot of PUA mes­sage board]

    The basic idea that “women are get­ting too out of hand” is the patri­ar­chal com­mon denom­i­na­tor. And it aligns per­fect­ly with male rage against “social jus­tice” activism, which in turn paves the way for white nation­al­ism and white suprema­cy to gain a foothold.

    The alt-right’s ongo­ing fight against “social jus­tice war­riors” fuels a larg­er cam­paign of white suprema­cy

    These online groups found young white men at their most vul­ner­a­ble & con­vinced them lib­er­als were col­lud­ing to destroy white West­ern man­hood— Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    Over the past few years, Gamer­gate and male-cen­tric Red­dit com­mu­ni­ties have pop­u­lar­ized the idea of “social jus­tice war­riors,” com­mon­ly abbre­vi­at­ed as SJWs. This dis­parag­ing label is an updat­ed way to accuse pro­gres­sives of extreme polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. The “SJW” label is a huge and suc­cess­ful weapon in the alt-right’s arse­nal; it paints fem­i­nists as manip­u­la­tive, over­sen­si­tive, shrill women who attack men with claims of sex­ism at the tini­est of provo­ca­tions while reject­ing their sex­u­al advances.

    Men who deploy the “SJW” attack seek to reestab­lish con­trol and agency over the cul­tur­al con­ver­sa­tion by ridi­cul­ing pro­gres­sive attempts to seek greater diver­si­ty and rep­re­sen­ta­tion in media, and to dis­miss basi­cal­ly any­thing that could be deemed “mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism” or rep­re­sen­ta­tion (see: Gamer­gate and this year’s Ghost­busters back­lash).

    How­ev­er, nest­ed with­in the alt-right’s fight against SJWs is a fla­grant­ly rad­i­cal, white suprema­cist ele­ment.

    Mem­bers of the alt-right fre­quent­ly refer to pro­gres­sive cul­ture as “cul­tur­al Marx­ism” — a favored catch­phrase of Bre­it­bart founder Andrew Bre­it­bart. The aca­d­e­m­ic term “cul­tur­al Marx­ism” is a pos­i­tive one that denotes the spread of Marx­ist val­ues through­out cul­ture, but its com­mon use today is much more pejo­ra­tive. Mem­bers of the alt-right view SJWs who are active­ly try­ing to make art and cul­ture more inclu­sive as attempt­ing to incite socio­cul­tur­al and socioe­co­nom­ic upheaval under the guise of “diver­si­ty.”

    In fact, the term “cul­tur­al Marx­ism” is descend­ed from actu­al Nazi pro­pa­gan­da — a dis­trust of mod­ernism and the spread of non-Ger­man­ic cul­ture that Hitler called “cul­tur­al Bol­she­vism.” In his book A His­to­ry of Nazi Ger­many: 1919–1945, his­to­ri­an Joseph W. Ben­der­sky notes that the phrase was code for the cul­tur­al purg­ing that pre­ced­ed the Holo­caust. “Hitler referred to ‘cul­tur­al Bol­she­vism’ as a dis­ease that would weak­en the Ger­mans and leave them prey to the Jews,” Ben­der­sky writes. “A moral strug­gle was under­way, and the out­come could deter­mine the sur­vival of the race.”

    The updat­ed alt-right ver­sion of this idea pri­mar­i­ly tar­gets fem­i­nists and pro­gres­sives as the insti­ga­tors of this cul­tur­al demise. Their belief in insid­i­ous cul­tur­al plots against white patri­archy leads them to over­lap and inter­act with anoth­er branch of the alt-right — the innu­mer­able online right-wing con­spir­a­cy groups that see Jew­ish, Islam­ic, and for­eign plots in per­ceived attacks on white patri­ar­chal cul­ture. The all-or-noth­ing urgency and the bla­tant nation­al­ism and white suprema­cy of Hitler’s ver­sion of the phrase is still intact.

    The Trump Vic­to­ry marks an impor­tant moment in His­to­ry­It was the day good peo­ple stood up & defeat­ed evil­Cul­tur­al Marx­ism has been smashed pic.twitter.com/XF4TT7NPpz— Trutho­phobes (@truthophobes) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    Regres­sive left has cli­maxed with Trump and Milo Effect, and 20 years of con­di­tion­ing of cul­tur­al Marx­ism will soon be laid to rest. https://t.co/ogxTjTenA2— Kristi­na Dabic (@moonchildwander) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    In essence, many men who were drawn to these com­mu­ni­ties because they want­ed to get laid and gain self-con­fi­dence have found them­selves embroiled in a cul­ture war, one that start­ed as a way to boost indi­vid­ual male auton­o­my and evolved into a way to wrest back con­trol of the coun­try — nay, the world — from shrill fem­i­nists and their weak­ling cuck sup­port­ers, which include “lib­tard” shills in the main­stream media.

    Young men came to these online groups for tips on pick­ing up girls & came out believ­ing that it was up to them to save West­ern civ­i­liza­tion— Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    Ulti­mate­ly, these groups found their hero in Don­ald Trump.

    Gamer­gate fore­shad­owed the alt-right’s rise — and cre­at­ed an unset­tling tem­plate for the move­ment to expand

    In the wake of Trump’s vic­to­ry, many have point­ed to Gamergate’s sex­ist assault on fem­i­nism as a har­bin­ger of things to come. Far more than the “fringe” com­po­nents of the alt-right, the Gamer­gate move­ment drew main­stream atten­tion from its begin­nings in August 2014 and gained exten­sive cov­er­age from pop­u­lar geek media out­lets as well as inter­na­tion­al news orga­ni­za­tions as it grew. Though it peaked around the spring of 2015, the move­ment is still active; writ­ing at the Guardian, Matt Lees points out that its sup­port­ers’ “tech­niques” of harass­ment and rhetor­i­cal vic­tim blam­ing “have become the stan­dard toolset of far-right voic­es online.”

    Writ­ers who’ve report­ed on and/or been tar­get­ed by Gamer­gate have also not­ed the con­ver­gence of the group’s mem­ber­ship with that of the alt-right. David Futrelle is a jour­nal­ist who has spent the past five years main­tain­ing a men’s rights watch blog, We Hunt­ed the Mam­moth. In an email to Vox, he said that it’s “close to impos­si­ble to over­state the role of Gamer­gate in the process of [alt-right] rad­i­cal­iza­tion.”

    From the start, Gamer­gate was based on the same sense of aggriev­ed enti­tle­ment that dri­ves the alt-right — and many Trump vot­ers. While Trump warned of the puta­tive dan­gers of Mus­lims and Mex­i­cans ‘invad­ing’ Amer­i­ca, Gamer­gaters talked about the dan­gers of so-called social jus­tice war­riors “invad­ing” the world of gam­ing; many defined gam­ing as a “male space” or even a “male safe space,” and so it was no coin­ci­dence that they focused so much of their anger at sup­posed female inter­lop­ers — [includ­ing gam­ing cul­tur­al crit­ics like] Ani­ta Sar­keesian, Zoe Quinn, Bri­an­na Wu and oth­ers.

    By pre­sent­ing them­selves as belea­guered defend­ers of gam­ing’s “safe space,” gamer­gaters man­aged to con­vince them­selves that their harass­ment of peo­ple like Sar­keesian and Quinn was in fact a defense of an imper­iled cul­ture. They were sav­ing the world!

    One of the fem­i­nist tar­gets of Gamer­gate was gam­ing jour­nal­ist Leigh Alexan­der, who recent­ly wrote about the movement’s expan­sion and con­ver­gence with the alt-right move­ment.

    “When I was harassed in an attempt to get me to aban­don [pro­gres­sive crit­i­cal stances on the rela­tion­ship between pop cul­ture and pol­i­tics] dur­ing the embar­rass­ment that was ‘Gamer­Gate,’ every­one told me it was just a radar blip,” she wrote.

    They said that the hit pieces on Bre­it­bart about me, oth­er women, and pro­gres­sive voic­es in tech­nol­o­gy were just fringe issues. We should not give them any more atten­tion, every­one said. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

    Now the CEO of Bre­it­bart, Steve Ban­non, is an advi­sor to incom­ing Pres­i­dent Trump. And in the last few weeks all those same old peo­ple, the dross of image­board cul­ture with their same assem­bly-line right-wing memes, are back in my Twit­ter time­line let­ting me know they “won.” ... These people’s fears, their pow­er fan­tasies, are now steer­ing the world.

    Futrelle point­ed out to Vox that Gamergate’s explic­it sex­ism led many of its mem­bers to 4chan and to 4chan’s even more extreme sib­ling 8chan (which became a haven for Gamer­gate after the move­ment was offi­cial­ly boot­ed off 4chan for misog­y­ny). In those enclaves, Futrelle says, “there were hordes of neo-qua­si-Nazis (some ‘iron­ic’ Nazis but many oth­ers utter­ly sin­cere) ready to tell them that it was­n’t just gam­ing that need­ed sav­ing, but West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion itself.”

    He con­tin­ued: “They weren’t fight­ing for the right to look at boobs in videogames any more, but fight­ing against ‘white geno­cide.’ Sud­den­ly the weird­ly inflat­ed, often melo­dra­mat­ic rhetoric of Gamer­gate made more sense.”

    Gamer­gate-inspired vio­lence also pre­saged the wave of hate crimes that have been report­ed since the elec­tion. Exam­ples from the past two years include the threat of a mass shoot­ing at a major pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty because the uni­ver­si­ty host­ed Gamer­gate ene­my Ani­ta Sar­keesian; the many pro-rape state­ments made on PUA hubs and social media accounts by promi­nent pick­up artists like the noto­ri­ous inter­net troll Roosh V, who bragged about com­mit­ting rape; and final­ly, the 2014 mass stab­bing and shoot­ing of six UC San­ta Bar­bara stu­dents by Elliot Rodger, a man who for­ti­fied his misog­y­ny and sense of alien­ation via the incel com­mu­ni­ties he fre­quent­ed online.

    ...

    ———-

    “How the alt-right’s sex­ism lures men into white suprema­cy” by Aja Romano; Vox; 12/14/2016

    “But one foun­da­tion­al aspect of the alt-right’s var­i­ous belief sys­tems has been sig­nif­i­cant­ly down­played fol­low­ing the elec­tion — even though it may be the key to under­stand­ing the movement’s racist, white nation­al­ist agen­da. While it’s true that the move­ment is most fre­quent­ly described in terms of the self-stat­ed, explic­it white suprema­cy that defines many of its cor­ners, for many of its mem­bers, the gate­way drug that led them to join the alt-right in the first place wasn’t racist rhetoric but rather sex­ism: extreme misog­y­ny evolv­ing from male bond­ing gone hay­wire.

    Misog­y­ny: it’s a potent gate­way drug. And a gate­way drug that starts off as just men social­iz­ing with each oth­er on these kinds of “manos­phere” online boards:

    ...
    The alt-right’s indoc­tri­na­tion process starts out look­ing like a healthy way for men to social­ize

    In a wide­ly shared Twit­ter thread the morn­ing after the elec­tion, writer Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa out­lined what she views as the insid­i­ous process by which young men are rad­i­cal­ized into the alt-right.

    If peo­ple fol­lowed the alt-right groups on Red­dit, they would know that young white Amer­i­cans were told to hide their sup­port of Trump.— Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    These col­lege edu­cat­ed young men were then ripe enough to be sold idea that Trump rep­re­sent­ed a return to Men Being Real Men— Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    Many of these rad­i­cal white men were raised by sin­gle fem­i­nist moth­ers. Inter­net groups rad­i­cal­ized their sex­u­al frus­tra­tion into big­otry.
    — Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    These online groups found young white men at their most vul­ner­a­ble & con­vinced them lib­er­als were col­lud­ing to destroy white West­ern man­hood— Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    When we talk about online rad­i­cal­iza­tion we always talk about Mus­lims. But the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of white men online is at astro­nom­i­cal lev­els— Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    Mohutsiwa’s tweet­storm elu­ci­dates an impor­tant, gen­er­al­ly over­looked point: Most white men who become rad­i­cal­ized into the alt-right start out in search of some like-mind­ed friends.
    ...

    “Mohutsiwa’s tweet­storm elu­ci­dates an impor­tant, gen­er­al­ly over­looked point: Most white men who become rad­i­cal­ized into the alt-right start out in search of some like-mind­ed friends.”

    And these online com­mu­ni­ties of sex­u­al­ly frus­trat­ed young men veer­ing into misog­y­ny are the per­fect recruit­ment grounds for the ‘Alt Right’, because while many of the sub-cul­tures on the ‘Alt Right’ are often at odds with each oth­er, they all share some core beliefs and a sense that white males are vic­tim­ized and oppressed by soci­ety is one of those core beliefs:

    ...
    Though var­i­ous branch­es of the move­ment are often at odds with one anoth­er, they share a num­ber of core beliefs — and a com­mon meme-fla­vored ver­nac­u­lar — that serve to unite them in what is some­times called “the manos­phere.” This realm includes the “men’s rights” move­ment, pick­up artist cul­ture (a com­mu­ni­ty of men also labeled “PUAs” that essen­tial­ly makes a game of the art of bed­ding women), “incels” (men who are “invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate” because they feel women reject them), and geek gate­keep­ers like sup­port­ers of the Gamer­gate move­ment.

    On the sur­face, PUA com­mu­ni­ties and incel com­mu­ni­ties have a lot of gener­ic appeal: The PUA lifestyle empha­sizes self-esteem and con­fi­dence build­ing along with phys­i­cal health, while the incel com­mu­ni­ty allows men to bond over their strug­gle to achieve all of the above in spite of their sour luck with women. Mean­while, gamers and geeks habit­u­al­ly tout the impor­tance of gam­ing in pro­vid­ing social inter­ac­tion for young men.

    These spaces fos­ter the kind of male friend­ship whose impor­tance doesn’t get a lot of atten­tion in the real world. But the ben­e­fits of their exis­tence are often accom­pa­nied (and some­times negat­ed) by their ten­den­cy to instill in their mem­bers a new­found artic­u­la­tion of fun­da­men­tal anx­i­ety over their posi­tion as men in a soci­ety where women are active­ly seek­ing empow­er­ment.

    And in build­ing its mem­ber­ship from so many dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties of white men who ulti­mate­ly feel threat­ened and reject­ed by women, the move­ment pro­motes a sense of male enti­tle­ment that is eas­i­ly rad­i­cal­ized into white nation­al­ism and white suprema­cy.
    ...

    So of course this core belief in the oppos­sion of white males includes a core belief that fem­i­nism is a fun­da­men­tal­ly malev­o­lent force run­ing soci­ety. The “the life-alter­ing “truth” that fem­i­nism has ruined mod­ern soci­ety for every­one (but espe­cial­ly for men)” is treat­ed as a kind of polit­i­cal reli­gion:

    ...
    How sex­ism serves as the alt-right’s gate­way drug

    In many alt-right com­mu­ni­ties, men are encour­aged to view women as sex­u­al and/or polit­i­cal tar­gets that men must dom­i­nate. The men in these com­mu­ni­ties don’t see them­selves as sex­ist; they see them­selves as fight­ing against their own emas­cu­la­tion and sex­u­al repres­sion at the hands of stri­dent fem­i­nists. (For instance, one alt-right blog described the activist group Code Pink as “a sort of lib­er­al, fem­i­nist ver­sion of the West­boro Bap­tist Church.”)

    All of these indi­vid­ual com­mu­ni­ties advo­cate a dis­trust of fem­i­nism and an insis­tence that female empow­er­ment nec­es­sar­i­ly dis­em­pow­ers men. One of the most famous, Reddit’s r/TheRedPill, even paints this ide­ol­o­gy as a reli­gious con­ver­sion: an “awak­en­ing,” or “tak­ing the red pill” (a ref­er­ence bor­rowed from The Matrix) to under­stand what they regard as the life-alter­ing “truth” that fem­i­nism has ruined mod­ern soci­ety for every­one (but espe­cial­ly for men). Many peo­ple who’ve tried engag­ing with r/TheRedPill only to walk away have described it as a place where rela­tion­ships are viewed pri­mar­i­ly in terms of pow­er strug­gles rather than mutu­al respect and equal­i­ty. “In prac­tice,” one Red­dit user wrote, “their ideas become pret­ty tox­ic real­ly fast.”

    ...

    Mohut­si­wa argued in her tweet­storm that we have been pay­ing the wrong kind of atten­tion to the alt-right’s inter­net havens. “When we talk about online rad­i­cal­iza­tion we always talk about Mus­lims. But the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of white men online is at astro­nom­i­cal lev­els,” she wrote. “That’s why I nev­er got one strat­e­gy of Clin­ton’s cam­paign: high­light­ing Trump’s sex­ism. Trump sup­port­ers love him BECAUSE of his sex­ism.”
    ...

    And this fear and loathing of fem­i­nism and “social jus­tice war­riors” typ­i­cal­ly gets wrapped into the gen­er­al term of “cul­tur­al marx­ism”, which is basi­cal­ly the same term Hitler used when describ­ing what he described as the insid­i­ous effect Jews on have soci­ety:

    ...
    The alt-right’s ver­nac­u­lar is full of sex­ist lan­guage. “Weak” mod­er­ates or lib­er­als who buy into the fem­i­nist agen­da are deemed “cucks,” a term derived from “cuck­old,” the arcane Old Eng­lish word for a man whose wife cheats on him. Many of the movement’s var­i­ous sub­com­mu­ni­ties have insist­ed that the word is (warn­ing: the fol­low­ing two links con­tain hate speech) strict­ly racist and that its ori­gins cen­ter on white men being dis­em­pow­ered by mis­ce­gena­tion and oth­er forms of inter­ac­tion with mem­bers of oth­er races. But in its prac­ti­cal use by the alt-right at large — most fre­quent­ly to harass women online — the com­mon impli­ca­tion is that pro­gres­sive men are sex­u­al­ly dis­em­pow­ered by manip­u­la­tive women.

    This ide­ol­o­gy inevitably has polit­i­cal ram­i­fi­ca­tions. On PUA forums, where men proud­ly talk about their “lay counts,” the default assump­tion in the days lead­ing up to the elec­tion was that a vote for Hillary Clin­ton sig­ni­fied weak­ness that no real man would dis­play. Wit­ness this exchange that took place on one PUA forum the morn­ing after the elec­tion:

    [see screen­shot of PUA mes­sage board]

    The basic idea that “women are get­ting too out of hand” is the patri­ar­chal com­mon denom­i­na­tor. And it aligns per­fect­ly with male rage against “social jus­tice” activism, which in turn paves the way for white nation­al­ism and white suprema­cy to gain a foothold.

    The alt-right’s ongo­ing fight against “social jus­tice war­riors” fuels a larg­er cam­paign of white suprema­cy

    These online groups found young white men at their most vul­ner­a­ble & con­vinced them lib­er­als were col­lud­ing to destroy white West­ern man­hood— Siyan­da Mohut­si­wa (@SiyandaWrites) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    Over the past few years, Gamer­gate and male-cen­tric Red­dit com­mu­ni­ties have pop­u­lar­ized the idea of “social jus­tice war­riors,” com­mon­ly abbre­vi­at­ed as SJWs. This dis­parag­ing label is an updat­ed way to accuse pro­gres­sives of extreme polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. The “SJW” label is a huge and suc­cess­ful weapon in the alt-right’s arse­nal; it paints fem­i­nists as manip­u­la­tive, over­sen­si­tive, shrill women who attack men with claims of sex­ism at the tini­est of provo­ca­tions while reject­ing their sex­u­al advances.

    Men who deploy the “SJW” attack seek to reestab­lish con­trol and agency over the cul­tur­al con­ver­sa­tion by ridi­cul­ing pro­gres­sive attempts to seek greater diver­si­ty and rep­re­sen­ta­tion in media, and to dis­miss basi­cal­ly any­thing that could be deemed “mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism” or rep­re­sen­ta­tion (see: Gamer­gate and this year’s Ghost­busters back­lash).

    How­ev­er, nest­ed with­in the alt-right’s fight against SJWs is a fla­grant­ly rad­i­cal, white suprema­cist ele­ment.

    Mem­bers of the alt-right fre­quent­ly refer to pro­gres­sive cul­ture as “cul­tur­al Marx­ism” — a favored catch­phrase of Bre­it­bart founder Andrew Bre­it­bart. The aca­d­e­m­ic term “cul­tur­al Marx­ism” is a pos­i­tive one that denotes the spread of Marx­ist val­ues through­out cul­ture, but its com­mon use today is much more pejo­ra­tive. Mem­bers of the alt-right view SJWs who are active­ly try­ing to make art and cul­ture more inclu­sive as attempt­ing to incite socio­cul­tur­al and socioe­co­nom­ic upheaval under the guise of “diver­si­ty.”

    In fact, the term “cul­tur­al Marx­ism” is descend­ed from actu­al Nazi pro­pa­gan­da — a dis­trust of mod­ernism and the spread of non-Ger­man­ic cul­ture that Hitler called “cul­tur­al Bol­she­vism.” In his book A His­to­ry of Nazi Ger­many: 1919–1945, his­to­ri­an Joseph W. Ben­der­sky notes that the phrase was code for the cul­tur­al purg­ing that pre­ced­ed the Holo­caust. “Hitler referred to ‘cul­tur­al Bol­she­vism’ as a dis­ease that would weak­en the Ger­mans and leave them prey to the Jews,” Ben­der­sky writes. “A moral strug­gle was under­way, and the out­come could deter­mine the sur­vival of the race.”

    The updat­ed alt-right ver­sion of this idea pri­mar­i­ly tar­gets fem­i­nists and pro­gres­sives as the insti­ga­tors of this cul­tur­al demise. Their belief in insid­i­ous cul­tur­al plots against white patri­archy leads them to over­lap and inter­act with anoth­er branch of the alt-right — the innu­mer­able online right-wing con­spir­a­cy groups that see Jew­ish, Islam­ic, and for­eign plots in per­ceived attacks on white patri­ar­chal cul­ture. The all-or-noth­ing urgency and the bla­tant nation­al­ism and white suprema­cy of Hitler’s ver­sion of the phrase is still intact.
    ...

    In fact, the term “cul­tur­al Marx­ism” is descend­ed from actu­al Nazi pro­pa­gan­da — a dis­trust of mod­ernism and the spread of non-Ger­man­ic cul­ture that Hitler called “cul­tur­al Bol­she­vism.” In his book A His­to­ry of Nazi Ger­many: 1919–1945, his­to­ri­an Joseph W. Ben­der­sky notes that the phrase was code for the cul­tur­al purg­ing that pre­ced­ed the Holo­caust. “Hitler referred to ‘cul­tur­al Bol­she­vism’ as a dis­ease that would weak­en the Ger­mans and leave them prey to the Jews,” Ben­der­sky writes. “A moral strug­gle was under­way, and the out­come could deter­mine the sur­vival of the race.””

    And as a result of this suc­cess­ful infil­tra­tion and pro­pa­gan­diz­ing of these online com­mu­ni­ties of sex­u­al­ly frus­trat­ed men, we have a sit­u­a­tion where the many men who were drawn to these com­mu­ni­ties because they want­ed to either learn how to pick up women or share their frus­tra­tions find end up fight­ing the Alt Right’s broad­er cul­ture war:

    ...

    The Trump Vic­to­ry marks an impor­tant moment in His­to­ry­It was the day good peo­ple stood up & defeat­ed evil­Cul­tur­al Marx­ism has been smashed pic.twitter.com/XF4TT7NPpz— Trutho­phobes (@truthophobes) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    Regres­sive left has cli­maxed with Trump and Milo Effect, and 20 years of con­di­tion­ing of cul­tur­al Marx­ism will soon be laid to rest. https://t.co/ogxTjTenA2— Kristi­na Dabic (@moonchildwander) Novem­ber 9, 2016

    In essence, many men who were drawn to these com­mu­ni­ties because they want­ed to get laid and gain self-con­fi­dence have found them­selves embroiled in a cul­ture war, one that start­ed as a way to boost indi­vid­ual male auton­o­my and evolved into a way to wrest back con­trol of the coun­try — nay, the world — from shrill fem­i­nists and their weak­ling cuck sup­port­ers, which include “lib­tard” shills in the main­stream media.
    ...

    And that’s all a big rea­son why the attack in Toron­to real­ly was basi­cal­ly a ter­ror­ist attack. A neo-Nazi ter­ror­ist attack cloaked as a “Incel Rebel­lion”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 25, 2018, 3:45 pm
  18. And here we go again: On the heels of nom­i­nat­ing open Nazi Arthur Jones in Illi­nois’s Third Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, it looks like the GOP is at risk of nom­i­nat­ing anoth­er neo-Nazi. This time it’s for Cal­i­for­ni­a’s Sen­ate race. For real.

    This is thanks, in part, to Cal­i­for­ni­a’s “Jun­gle” pri­ma­ry sys­tem, where every­one from all par­ties par­tic­i­pate in a sin­gle pri­ma­ry and the top two can­di­dates have a runoff. But also thanks to the shock­ing­ly high sup­port a Nazi can­di­date is get­ting in a race with 10 oth­er GOP can­di­dates. Accord­ing to a recent poll con­duct­ed by local ABC News affil­i­ates along with the polling com­pa­ny Sur­vey USA, Dianne Fein­stein is in the lead with 39 per­cent. And open Nazi Patrick Lit­tle is polling at 18 per­cent, putting him in sec­ond place a month away from the June 5th runoff vote:

    Newsweek

    Repub­li­can Sen­ate Can­di­date, Who Has Called for Coun­try ‘Free From Jews,’ Could be Dianne Feinstein’s Chal­lenger

    By Michael Edi­son Hay­den On 4/28/18 at 8:20 AM

    Overt anti-Semi­tes have been slow­ly creep­ing into Repub­li­can pol­i­tics in the after­math of Pres­i­dent Trump’s suc­cess­ful, pop­ulist can­di­da­cy, and now one of them has a fight­ing chance of rep­re­sent­ing the Repub­li­can Par­ty in a Sen­ate race.

    The man in ques­tion is Patrick Lit­tle, an extrem­ist with hard­line anti-Semit­ic views who is backed by David Duke and oth­er far-right extrem­ists. Lit­tle will be squar­ing off in a top-two pri­ma­ry with 10 oth­er Repub­li­cans as well as Democ­rats and inde­pen­dents on June 5 for the chance to oppose vet­er­an Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Dianne Fein­stein. Accord­ing to a recent poll, released last week, he very much has a chance of win­ning the right to face off with the incum­bent.

    A poll con­duct­ed by local ABC News affil­i­ates along with the polling com­pa­ny Sur­vey USA, sug­gest­ed that Lit­tle is polling at 18 per­cent of the vote on the Repub­li­can tick­et, a full 10 points ahead of his next strongest oppo­nent. The 84-year-old Fein­stein, who entered office in 1992, at the start of Bill Clinton’s first term, remains a sol­id favorite to win the state—polling at 39 per­cent.

    It’s unclear how pre­dic­tive the poll will prove to be, or whether many Cal­i­for­ni­ans are inti­mate­ly famil­iar with Little’s views, but the notion that he has any via­bil­i­ty at all in the state is like­ly to raise alarm. Lit­tle has said he believes Jews should have no say over white non-Jews and wants to see them removed from the coun­try alto­geth­er. On Gab, a social media site with large swaths of extrem­ist users, he argues that the neo-Nazi web­site Dai­ly Stormer, whose pro­pri­etors praise Adolf Hitler and have appeared to call for acts of vio­lence against Jew­ish peo­ple, is too Jew­ish.

    “I pro­pose a gov­ern­ment that makes counter-semi­tism cen­tral to all aims of the state,” he wrote on that web­site, refer­ring to a white nation­al­ist euphemism for a hatred of Jews. He argued for for­bid­ding “all immi­gra­tion except of bio­log­i­cal kin, where no per­son of Jew­ish ori­gin may live, vaca­tion or tra­verse.”

    He also wrote that he want­ed to keep Amer­i­cans “free from Jews.”

    Matt Bar­reto, a pro­fes­sor of polit­i­cal sci­ences at Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les, told Newsweek that while the poll is con­cern­ing due to Little’s views, it isn’t a strong indi­ca­tor that he will ever become Sen­a­tor.

    “There’s been no cam­paign to speak of. All the dis­cus­sion has been between Fein­stein and [Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger] Kevin de León,” Bar­reto said. “I don’t believe that this can­di­date has much out­reach.”

    He not­ed that many peo­ple may have no idea who Lit­tle is, and are sim­ply respond­ing to the fact that his name was grouped with the Repub­li­cans. He said that if his views became more wide­ly known, it would like­ly sink his can­di­da­cy.

    [See screen­shot of Patrick Lit­tle’s post on Gab say­ing: “Jews have no seat at the table in mat­ters of white self-deter­mi­na­tion.

    We don’t have a seat at the table for how Japese rule them­selves, why should Semi­tes have on at ours?”]

    ...

    Bar­reto not­ed that Democ­rats dom­i­nate Cal­i­for­nia pol­i­tics and that the state Repub­li­can par­ty is focused on issues of tax­a­tion. He described them as being more open-mind­ed than the nation­al par­ty on issues like immi­gra­tion, gay mar­riage and mar­i­jua­na legal­iza­tion, even if there are pock­ets of white suprema­cist vot­ers in places like Orange Coun­ty.

    Lit­tle did not respond to a request for com­ment on this sto­ry. His overt­ly anti-Semit­ic posts in the runup to an elec­tion fol­low the can­di­da­cy of Wis­con­sin-based Repub­li­can con­gres­sion­al can­di­date Paul Nehlen, who has veered so far to the right that he has been dis­avowed by some promi­nent white nation­al­ists.

    White Suprema­cist Richard Spencer wrote on Twit­ter this month that Nehlen “needs to just go away,” sug­gest­ing that he had embar­rassed their cause of build­ing a state for only whites by being too open­ly prej­u­diced. Most recent­ly, Nehlen appeared on an extrem­ist pod­cast inspired by racist mass mur­der­er Dylann Roof. It’s unclear whether or not Lit­tle, whose polit­i­cal ambi­tions have so far received less scruti­ny than Nehlen’s, will be sim­i­lar­ly dis­avowed.

    Lit­tle is a vocal fan of Christo­pher Cantwell, an anti-Semit­ic pod­cast host and one of the white nation­al­ists who marched in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, in August of 2017. Cantwell is an out­spo­ken sup­port­er of Adolf Hitler has made a hatred of Jews the crux of his polit­i­cal argu­ment when he speaks to his audi­ence. He told Newsweek Fri­day that Lit­tle has a slim chance of win­ning, even if they share the same prej­u­dices.

    “I can­not claim to have famil­iar­ized myself with the mechan­ics of that race well enough to say,” Cantwell said. “How­ev­er, I have my doubts that Holo­caust revi­sion­ism polls well amongst Cal­i­for­ni­ans of any par­ty.”

    ———-

    “Repub­li­can Sen­ate Can­di­date, Who Has Called for Coun­try ‘Free From Jews,’ Could be Dianne Feinstein’s Chal­lenger” by Michael Edi­son Hay­den; Newsweek; 04/28/2018

    ““I can­not claim to have famil­iar­ized myself with the mechan­ics of that race well enough to say,” Cantwell said. “How­ev­er, I have my doubts that Holo­caust revi­sion­ism polls well amongst Cal­i­for­ni­ans of any par­ty.””

    Christo­pher Cantwell, an open admir­er of Hitler, has his doubts about Patrick Lit­tle’s chances to win the GOP pri­ma­ry. And yet, as we just saw, the most recent polls put Lit­tle ahead of the rest of the Repub­li­can can­di­dates. All ten of them. At 18 per­cent in the polls, Lit­tle is ten points ahead of his next rival:

    ...
    The man in ques­tion is Patrick Lit­tle, an extrem­ist with hard­line anti-Semit­ic views who is backed by David Duke and oth­er far-right extrem­ists. Lit­tle will be squar­ing off in a top-two pri­ma­ry with 10 oth­er Repub­li­cans as well as Democ­rats and inde­pen­dents on June 5 for the chance to oppose vet­er­an Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Dianne Fein­stein. Accord­ing to a recent poll, released last week, he very much has a chance of win­ning the right to face off with the incum­bent.

    A poll con­duct­ed by local ABC News affil­i­ates along with the polling com­pa­ny Sur­vey USA, sug­gest­ed that Lit­tle is polling at 18 per­cent of the vote on the Repub­li­can tick­et, a full 10 points ahead of his next strongest oppo­nent. The 84-year-old Fein­stein, who entered office in 1992, at the start of Bill Clinton’s first term, remains a sol­id favorite to win the state—polling at 39 per­cent.
    ...

    And Lit­tle isn’t your stan­dard Alt Right fig­ure. He’s the kind of the neo-Nazi that think the Dai­ly Stormer is “too Jew­ish” and calls for make “counter-semi­tism cen­tral to all aims of the state”:

    ...
    It’s unclear how pre­dic­tive the poll will prove to be, or whether many Cal­i­for­ni­ans are inti­mate­ly famil­iar with Little’s views, but the notion that he has any via­bil­i­ty at all in the state is like­ly to raise alarm. Lit­tle has said he believes Jews should have no say over white non-Jews and wants to see them removed from the coun­try alto­geth­er. On Gab, a social media site with large swaths of extrem­ist users, he argues that the neo-Nazi web­site Dai­ly Stormer, whose pro­pri­etors praise Adolf Hitler and have appeared to call for acts of vio­lence against Jew­ish peo­ple, is too Jew­ish.

    “I pro­pose a gov­ern­ment that makes counter-semi­tism cen­tral to all aims of the state,” he wrote on that web­site, refer­ring to a white nation­al­ist euphemism for a hatred of Jews. He argued for for­bid­ding “all immi­gra­tion except of bio­log­i­cal kin, where no per­son of Jew­ish ori­gin may live, vaca­tion or tra­verse.”

    He also wrote that he want­ed to keep Amer­i­cans “free from Jews.”
    ...

    And, of course, Lit­tle isn’t alone in being an open Nazi promi­nent­ly run­ning in a GOP pri­ma­ry this year. In addi­tion to Arthur Jones there’s Paul Nehlen, fet­ed as an anti-estab­lish­ment hero by Bre­it­bart in 2016, drop­ping the mask and run­ning as an open neo-Nazi this year. Even Richard Spencer dis­ap­proves of the guy, pri­mar­i­ly because he’s too open about his views:

    ...
    Lit­tle did not respond to a request for com­ment on this sto­ry. His overt­ly anti-Semit­ic posts in the runup to an elec­tion fol­low the can­di­da­cy of Wis­con­sin-based Repub­li­can con­gres­sion­al can­di­date Paul Nehlen, who has veered so far to the right that he has been dis­avowed by some promi­nent white nation­al­ists.

    White Suprema­cist Richard Spencer wrote on Twit­ter this month that Nehlen “needs to just go away,” sug­gest­ing that he had embar­rassed their cause of build­ing a state for only whites by being too open­ly prej­u­diced. Most recent­ly, Nehlen appeared on an extrem­ist pod­cast inspired by racist mass mur­der­er Dylann Roof. It’s unclear whether or not Lit­tle, whose polit­i­cal ambi­tions have so far received less scruti­ny than Nehlen’s, will be sim­i­lar­ly dis­avowed.
    ...

    “It’s unclear whether or not Lit­tle, whose polit­i­cal ambi­tions have so far received less scruti­ny than Nehlen’s, will be sim­i­lar­ly dis­avowed.”

    Yep, it’s still unclear whether or not the Lit­tle will be sim­i­lar­ly dis­avowed. Because he’s still lead­ing the GOP pack and sec­ond place over­all mak­ing his the cur­rent front run­ner to run against Diane Fein­stein. At least accord­ing to that poll. This is where we are.

    Per­haps the most dis­turb­ing aspect of this is that, as Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia polit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor Matt Bar­reto points out, Lit­tle does­n’t appear to have any sort of vis­i­ble cam­paign to speak of. He’s win­ning the GOP race with­out a vis­i­ble cam­paign. That’s where the Cal­i­for­nia GOP is these days:

    ...
    Matt Bar­reto, a pro­fes­sor of polit­i­cal sci­ences at Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les, told Newsweek that while the poll is con­cern­ing due to Little’s views, it isn’t a strong indi­ca­tor that he will ever become Sen­a­tor.

    “There’s been no cam­paign to speak of. All the dis­cus­sion has been between Fein­stein and [Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger] Kevin de León,” Bar­reto said. “I don’t believe that this can­di­date has much out­reach.”

    He not­ed that many peo­ple may have no idea who Lit­tle is, and are sim­ply respond­ing to the fact that his name was grouped with the Repub­li­cans. He said that if his views became more wide­ly known, it would like­ly sink his can­di­da­cy.
    ...

    But as we saw, he is quite active on Gab, the Alt Right social media plat­form. So he does have a cam­paign to speak of, it’s just a cam­paign large­ly lim­it­ed to on the Alt Right’s social media plat­form. Although Gab is report­ed­ly not actu­al­ly that active and large­ly a dig­i­tal ghost town these days, so it seems like Patrick Lit­tle’s sup­port from Gab would be fair­ly lim­it­ed. And yet he’s get­ting sup­port some­how with no vis­i­ble cam­paign. He’s an open Nazi run­ning a suc­cess­ful stealth cam­paign. This is also where we are.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 5, 2018, 12:39 am
  19. There’s no short­age of rea­sons to assume the the big North Kore­an denu­cleariza­tion sum­mit won’t result in any­thing close to denu­cleariza­tion. But per­haps the biggest rea­son to assume it won’t result in any sort of diplo­mat­ic break­through is Trump. Or rather, Trump being Trump.

    At the same time, there’s no short­age of rea­sons to hope that the sum­mit suc­ceeds. Even if that means Trump gets a big polit­i­cal vic­to­ry. Yes, if there is a break­through it will almost cer­tain­ly hap­pen despite Trump and be large­ly due to the efforts of the new South Kore­an Moon gov­ern­ment. But a break­through would still be used to val­i­date Trump’s schizo-bul­ly­ing diplo­mat­ic style which would be unfor­tu­nate, just not so unfor­tu­nate that it does­n’t make a break­through worth it. Net, we should over­whelm­ing­ly hope for some sort of break­through.

    So in the hopes there is a real break­through and Trump does­n’t some­how screw this up, it’s worth not­ing that Trump does bring some unusu­al qual­i­ties to this sum­mit that could come in handy for bridg­ing the divide. How so? Well, it’s worth keep­ing in mind that North Kore­a’s gov­ern­ment fac­ing an exis­ten­tial para­dox: the North Kore­an gov­ern­ments wants to engage the world as an equal plat­form, but it can’t actu­al­ly engage the world as equals with­out expos­ing it’s peo­ple to it and the great­est threat to the North Kore­an regime is unfil­tered infor­ma­tion about the rest of the world.

    And even if the North Kore­an gov­ern­ment nev­er plans on vol­un­tar­i­ly let­ting their peo­ple talk to the rest of the world, they have to be ter­ri­fied that the civil­ians will some­day get unfil­tered inter­net access some­how. imag­ine devices with satel­lite inter­net ser­vices get­ting dropped into the coun­try. That could hap­pen some­day. So you have to imag­ine that the North Kore­an gov­ern­ment is con­stant­ly think­ing about how to safe­ly deflate it’s real­i­ty-bub­ble if that ever becomes nec­es­sary. Real­i­ty is lit­er­al­ly an exis­ten­tial threat for Kim’s gov­ern­ment.

    Con­ve­nient­ly, real­i­ty is also a threat to Trump. And one of those real­i­ties is that he’s had almost noth­ing to do with North and South Korea reach­ing this point and his antics on the top­ic have been gen­er­al­ly unhelp­ful. It’s just one exam­ple of the num­ber of qual­i­ties the Trump and Kim have in com­mon that should give us hope that maybe the two real­ly might hit it off. There’s a bud­dy com­e­dy wait­ing to hap­pen here. For real.

    Beyond that, it’s pos­si­bly a great and rare oppor­tu­ni­ty for Kim to actu­al­ly open North Korea up to the rest of the world. How so? Well, now that Amer­i­ca has sort of debased itself by elect­ing Trump. Plus, far right ide­olo­gies is sweep­ing Europe. And this low point for the West kind of cre­ates a great moment for the North Kore­an gov­ern­ment to final­ly let their peo­ple see the world. It has to hap­pen some day, why not today’s Trumpian dystopia. It’s hard to envi­sion a bet­ter time for the Kim regime to com­pare itself to the rest of the world.

    So per­haps Trump and Kim and help each oth­er with their real­i­ty bub­ble issues be strik­ing a deal: Peace and denu­cleariza­tion and in exchange Trump will say real­ly nice things about Kim to the North Kore­an peo­ple as part of a plan to cush­ion the psy­cho­log­i­cal blow when the North Kore­ans get access to infor­ma­tion about the out­side world and learn that their gov­ern­ment has been hold­ing them in an Orwellian trap. Trump, being a walk­ing Orwellian trap him­self, is kind of per­fect for this. The degrad­ing chaos of Trump is the per­fect envi­ron­ment for Kim to make a big fate­ful move and show his peo­ple the world.

    But as the fol­low­ing arti­cles make clear, Trump brings a cer­tain crit­i­cal deal-sweet­en­er. The kind of sweet­en­er that a god king like Kim would drool over: It turns out Trump is a bit of a god king him­self. At least for a sub­stan­tial and grow­ing por­tion of the Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cal Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ty. And this is exact­ly the kind of band­wag­on Kim could jump onboard because it turns out Trump has found a theo­crat­ic angle where he can be as un-Chris­t­ian (in the good sense) as pos­si­ble and it does­n’t mat­ter he’s still God’s ves­sel. Because Trump is appar­ent­ly like Cyrus the Great, the Per­sian King who freed the Jews in Baby­lon. So, because Cyrus was­n’t Jew­ish, Trump does­n’t have to act like a Chris­t­ian. That’s the gig. It’s per­fect for Kim.

    Plus, South Kore­a’s con­ser­v­a­tive evan­gel­i­cal Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ty is both cul­tur­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant and appar­ent­ly includes a large num­ber of church­es that also preach that Trump is God’s man. So how about Trump and his team of evan­gel­i­cal enablers/annointers offered Kim dibs on some Bible prophe­cy good­ness as part of a pack­age deal for open­ing up North Korea to the world. How can Kim resist? Who knows what kind of new evan­gel­i­cal fans he might get.

    Trump may not be good at being pres­i­dent, but that might make him the per­fect pres­i­dent for a his­toric deal with Kim Jong Un, espe­cial­ly if it was deal that led to a sig­nif­i­cant open­ing of North Kore­an soci­ety to the world. A thug clown pres­i­dent run the US and most of the West is going fas­cist. It’s the per­fect moment for Kim to let his peo­ple meet the world. Kim, the the liv­ing god, and Trump, the prophet:

    Rightwing Watch

    Mark Tay­lor: Trump Is ‘A Polit­i­cal Prophet’ And ‘An Anoint­ed Spir­i­tu­al Machine’

    By Kyle Manty­la
    June 1, 2018 10:55 am

    Self-pro­claimed “fire­fight­er prophet” and right-wing con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Mark Tay­lor appeared on the “Watch­men Radio” pro­gram on Tues­day, where he said that Pres­i­dent Trump is a “prophet” and declared that Chris­tians who refuse to sup­port him are harm­ing the faith.

    Tay­lor, whose sto­ry is the focus of an upcom­ing movie from Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty, declared that in 2016, Chris­tians had a choice between vot­ing for “a demon-pos­sessed witch” and “a man of God” and host Richard Kelt­ner agreed, call­ing Hillary Clin­ton “a satan­ic, Illu­mi­nat­ic witch that’s into Piz­za­gate, child-hump­ing and satan­ic rit­u­als.”

    ...

    Tay­lor said that Chris­t­ian lead­ers who crit­i­cized Trump for his infa­mous remarks about being able to sex­u­al­ly assault women with impuni­ty because of his fame were exposed as frauds because “this man got born again way after that fact.”

    “Why were they com­ing against this man?” he angri­ly asked. “Because the Bible says your sins are wiped com­plete­ly clean, they are washed clean in the blood of Jesus. Why are you even bring­ing this up? Peri­od. Because of the polit­i­cal and social pres­sure they caved into. That right there exposed these lead­ers, they should have been shamed beyond belief because who in their right mind would ever want to come to Christ with these lead­ers as a leader, know­ing that they’re going to come out pub­licly and con­demn me for some­thing I did 15 years ago?”

    “The Bible says, ‘Do not touch my anoint­ed, but espe­cial­ly my prophets,’” Tay­lor added. “I believe Trump is a type of prophet, he’s a polit­i­cal prophet, and I said from day one, you had bet­ter be care­ful what you say about this man because you are touch­ing God’s anoint­ed … He’s an anoint­ed spir­i­tu­al machine.”

    [audio clip avail­able here]

    ———-

    ” Mark Tay­lor: Trump Is ‘A Polit­i­cal Prophet’ And ‘An Anoint­ed Spir­i­tu­al Machine’” by Kyle Manty­la; Rightwing Watch; 06/01/2018

    ““The Bible says, ‘Do not touch my anoint­ed, but espe­cial­ly my prophets,’” Tay­lor added. “I believe Trump is a type of prophet, he’s a polit­i­cal prophet, and I said from day one, you had bet­ter be care­ful what you say about this man because you are touch­ing God’s anoint­ed … He’s an anoint­ed spir­i­tu­al machine.”

    “He’s an anoint­ed spir­i­tu­al machine.” That’s Trump. An annoint­ed spir­i­tu­al machine. Accord­ing to far right con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist/­self-declared prophet Mark Tay­lor. And his prophe­cy is about to get a lot more expo­sure in the Chris­t­ian evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty now that Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­i­ty, run by Trump boost­er Jer­ry Fal­well, Jr., is mak­ing his Trump prophe­cy into a movie:

    ...
    Tay­lor, whose sto­ry is the focus of an upcom­ing movie from Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty, declared that in 2016, Chris­tians had a choice between vot­ing for “a demon-pos­sessed witch” and “a man of God” and host Richard Kelt­ner agreed, call­ing Hillary Clin­ton “a satan­ic, Illu­mi­nat­ic witch that’s into Piz­za­gate, child-hump­ing and satan­ic rit­u­als.”
    ...

    And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle points out, the upcom­ing Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty movie about Mark Tay­lor’s Trump prophe­cy isn’t sim­ply a doc­u­men­tary. It’s inten­tion­al­ly infused with a strong sense of patri­o­tism. A man who embod­ies God and coun­try. It’s right up Kim’s ally:

    Rightwing Watch

    Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty Is Mak­ing A Movie About Trump-Lov­ing ‘Fire­fight­er Prophet’ Mark Tay­lor

    By Kyle Manty­la
    March 21, 2018 3:52 pm

    Mark Tay­lor is a for­mer fire­fight­er who claims that while he was watch­ing Fox News back in 2011, God per­son­al­ly told him that Don­ald Trump would become pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. Tay­lor ini­tial­ly thought that meant that Trump would chal­lenge Pres­i­dent Oba­ma when he ran for re-elec­tion in 2012, but when that didn’t hap­pen, Tay­lor real­ized that was because it was God’s plan to keep Oba­ma in office for a sec­ond term so that Amer­i­cans could “build a right­eous anger” nec­es­sary to elect Trump and there­by save the world.

    When Trump was elect­ed pres­i­dent in 2016, Tay­lor penned a book titled “The Trump Prophe­cies: The Aston­ish­ing True Sto­ry Of The Man Who Saw Tomor­row… And What He Says Is Com­ing Next” and quick­ly made a name for him­self as a modem-day prophet and rad­i­cal con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist.

    In the last year, Tay­lor has claimed that God told him that Trump will replace five mem­bers of the Supreme Court, three of whom will be removed from the bench after being indict­ed for cor­rup­tion, and that two of the five cur­rent­ly liv­ing for­mer pres­i­dents will die as pun­ish­ment for crit­i­ciz­ing Trump, while the oth­er three will be impris­oned and pos­si­bly exe­cut­ed for trea­son.

    Tay­lor, who claims that Trump will release the cures for can­cer and Alzheimer’s dis­ease dur­ing his sec­ond term in office and assert­ed that God made jour­nal­ist Meg­yn Kel­ly ill as a “warn­ing shot” to all those who would dare to crit­i­cize Trump, believes that thou­sands of elite satan­ic pedophiles have been secret­ly arrest­ed and that we will soon start see­ing them pros­e­cut­ed via mil­i­tary tri­bunals that will “make Nurem­berg look like a cake­walk.” Tay­lor actu­al­ly pre­dict­ed that we’d see mass arrests in Feb­ru­ary, but the fact that that obvi­ous­ly didn’t hap­pen doesn’t seem to have harmed his stand­ing as a “prophet” in any way.

    Last year, Tay­lor assert­ed that Hur­ri­canes Har­vey and Irma, which dev­as­tat­ed parts of Texas and Flori­da respec­tive­ly, were cre­at­ed and con­trolled by the Illu­mi­nati to pun­ish the areas of the coun­try that vot­ed for Trump and to serve as a “train­ing run” for a mas­sive witch­craft attack against the pres­i­dent. On top of that, Tay­lor warned that the Freema­sons and the Illu­mi­nati are using a spe­cial fre­quen­cy to change people’s DNA in order to make them hate Trump so that they are unable to see how God is using him to save Amer­i­ca.

    [audio clip avail­able here]

    With an amaz­ing track record like this, it was prob­a­bly only a mat­ter of time before Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty decid­ed to turn Taylor’s life sto­ry into a fea­ture film, which is a thing that is actu­al­ly hap­pen­ing:

    It was offi­cial­ly announced Jan. 26 that the Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty Cin­e­mat­ic Arts depart­ment would be work­ing on a fea­ture film get­ting nation­al the­atri­cal release.

    “Com­man­der” comes after the program’s first fea­ture film “Extra­or­di­nary,” and a series of short films. “Com­man­der” is an adap­ta­tion of the book “The Trump Prophe­cies.”

    The film, which is slat­ed to be released in Octo­ber, is the true sto­ry of an ex-fire­fight­er named Mark Tay­lor who in 2011, while recov­er­ing from PTSD, had a vision that Don­ald Trump would be Pres­i­dent.

    ...

    The mes­sage the film’s pro­duc­er and financier Rick Eldridge wants to get across is how there is pow­er in prayer and the impact it can have on a group of peo­ple mixed with patri­o­tism.

    “I real­ly want it to be a patri­ot­ic, a God and coun­try mes­sage that we can under­stand,” Eldridge said. “The best thing I can take away is when peo­ple leave the the­ater they are real­ly feel­ing proud about their coun­try and the things God has blessed us with.”

    Pre­dictably, this project is not sit­ting well with some Lib­er­ty stu­dents and alum­ni who have start­ed a peti­tion to get the uni­ver­si­ty to can­cel this “hereti­cal film project” on the grounds that “this movie could reflect very poor­ly on all Lib­er­ty stu­dents and Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty as a whole,” espe­cial­ly those enrolled in the Cin­e­mat­ic Arts pro­gram who “do not want this movie on their resume and … are even con­sid­er­ing using alias­es on IMDB or drop­ping out.”

    Lib­er­ty University’s pres­i­dent, Jer­ry Fal­well Jr., has been an enthu­si­as­tic and loy­al sup­port­er of Trump’s, which has also not gone over well with some stu­dents and alum­ni.

    ———-

    “Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty Is Mak­ing A Movie About Trump-Lov­ing ‘Fire­fight­er Prophet’ Mark Tay­lor” By Kyle Manty­la; Rightwing Watch; 03/21/2018

    “When Trump was elect­ed pres­i­dent in 2016, Tay­lor penned a book titled “The Trump Prophe­cies: The Aston­ish­ing True Sto­ry Of The Man Who Saw Tomor­row… And What He Says Is Com­ing Next” and quick­ly made a name for him­self as a modem-day prophet and rad­i­cal con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist.

    “The Trump Prophe­cies: The Aston­ish­ing True Sto­ry Of The Man Who Saw Tomor­row… And What He Says Is Com­ing Next.” It’s quite a title. Sounds riv­et­ing. The movie adap­ta­tion will no doubt be riv­et­ing too:

    ...
    With an amaz­ing track record like this, it was prob­a­bly only a mat­ter of time before Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty decid­ed to turn Taylor’s life sto­ry into a fea­ture film, which is a thing that is actu­al­ly hap­pen­ing:

    It was offi­cial­ly announced Jan. 26 that the Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty Cin­e­mat­ic Arts depart­ment would be work­ing on a fea­ture film get­ting nation­al the­atri­cal release.

    “Com­man­der” comes after the program’s first fea­ture film “Extra­or­di­nary,” and a series of short films. “Com­man­der” is an adap­ta­tion of the book “The Trump Prophe­cies.”

    The film, which is slat­ed to be released in Octo­ber, is the true sto­ry of an ex-fire­fight­er named Mark Tay­lor who in 2011, while recov­er­ing from PTSD, had a vision that Don­ald Trump would be Pres­i­dent.

    ...

    The mes­sage the film’s pro­duc­er and financier Rick Eldridge wants to get across is how there is pow­er in prayer and the impact it can have on a group of peo­ple mixed with patri­o­tism.

    “I real­ly want it to be a patri­ot­ic, a God and coun­try mes­sage that we can under­stand,” Eldridge said. “The best thing I can take away is when peo­ple leave the the­ater they are real­ly feel­ing proud about their coun­try and the things God has blessed us with.”

    ...

    ““I real­ly want it to be a patri­ot­ic, a God and coun­try mes­sage that we can under­stand,” Eldridge said.”

    God and coun­try. And Trump. That’s the mes­sage.

    But it’s not just Mark Tay­lor mak­ing these prophet­ic pro­claima­tions and it’s not just Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty endors­ing it. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle makes alarm­ing­ly clear, the belief that Trump is annoint­ed by God is wide­spread among Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cals:

    Vox

    The bib­li­cal sto­ry the Chris­t­ian right uses to defend Trump
    Why evan­gel­i­cals are call­ing Trump a “mod­ern-day Cyrus.”

    By Tara Isabel­la Bur­ton
    Mar 5, 2018, 9:20am EST

    It’s a typ­i­cal morn­ing seg­ment on Pat Robertson’s Chris­t­ian Broad­cast­ing Net­work, late in 2016. The con­tro­ver­sial Access Hol­ly­wood tapes, on which then-can­di­date Don­ald Trump can be heard boast­ing about grab­bing women by the gen­i­tals, have just been released.

    Stand­ing on a sun­ny street, reporter Chris Mitchell says, “Chris­tians are divid­ed about what to do on Don­ald Trump.”

    Some want to aban­don him, he says. Oth­ers want to stand with him. But oth­ers, he says, are won­der­ing: Does Trump have a “bib­li­cal man­date” to become pres­i­dent?

    Mitchell runs swift­ly through the first two options, cit­ing both a con­dem­na­tion of Trump and an endorse­ment by Focus on the Family’s James Dob­son. But it’s the third option — that God him­self has cho­sen Trump to be pres­i­dent — that Mitchell focus­es on.

    Evan­gel­i­cal thinker Lance Wall­nau then gives Mitchell his take: Trump is a “mod­ern-day Cyrus,” an ancient Per­sian king cho­sen by God to “nav­i­gate in chaos.”

    Mitchell notes that some evan­gel­i­cals dis­agree but does not name or cite them. Instead, he cites the grow­ing threat of Chi­na, Rus­sia, and Iran, before Wall­nau con­cludes, “America’s going to have a chal­lenge either way. With Trump, I believe we have a Cyrus to nav­i­gate through the storm.”

    The com­par­i­son comes up fre­quent­ly in the evan­gel­i­cal world. Many evan­gel­i­cal speak­ers and media out­lets com­pare Trump to Cyrus, a his­tor­i­cal Per­sian king who, in the sixth cen­tu­ry BCE, con­quered Baby­lon and end­ed the Baby­lon­ian cap­tiv­i­ty, a peri­od dur­ing which Israelites had been forcibly reset­tled in exile. This allowed Jews to return to the area now known as Israel and build a tem­ple in Jerusalem. Cyrus is ref­er­enced most promi­nent­ly in the Old Tes­ta­ment book of Isa­iah, in which he appears as a fig­ure of deliv­er­ance.

    That com­par­i­son has become more and more explic­it in the wake of Trump’s pres­i­den­cy. Last week, an Israeli orga­ni­za­tion, the Mik­dash Edu­ca­tion­al Cen­ter, mint­ed a com­mem­o­ra­tive “Tem­ple Coin” depict­ing Trump and Cyrus side by side, in hon­or of Trump’s deci­sion to move the Amer­i­can embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. It was among the most brazen, pub­lic links between Trump and Cyrus; one that takes the years of sub­text run­ning through out­lets like Chris­t­ian Broad­cast­ing Net­work and, quite lit­er­al­ly, sealed the com­par­i­son.

    Mon­day, how­ev­er, an even high­er-pro­file fig­ure linked Trump and Cyrus. Dur­ing his vis­it to Wash­ing­ton, DC, Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu heav­i­ly implied Trump was Cyrus’s spir­i­tu­al heir. Thank­ing Trump for mov­ing the Amer­i­can embassy to Jerusalem, Netanyahu said, “We remem­ber the procla­ma­tion of the great King Cyrus the Great — Per­sian King. Twen­ty-five hun­dred years ago, he pro­claimed that the Jew­ish exiles in Baby­lon can come back and rebuild our tem­ple in Jerusalem...And we remem­ber how a few weeks ago, Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump rec­og­nized Jerusalem as Israel’s cap­i­tal. Mr. Pres­i­dent, this will be remem­bered by our peo­ple through­out the ages.”

    While Cyrus is not Jew­ish and does not wor­ship the God of Israel, he is nev­er­the­less por­trayed in Isa­iah as an instru­ment of God — an unwit­ting con­duit through which God effects his divine plan for his­to­ry. Cyrus is, there­fore, the arche­type of the unlike­ly “ves­sel”: some­one God has cho­sen for an impor­tant his­tor­i­cal pur­pose, despite not look­ing like — or hav­ing the reli­gious char­ac­ter of — an obvi­ous man of God.

    For believ­ers who sub­scribe to this account, Cyrus is a per­fect his­tor­i­cal antecedent to explain Trump’s pres­i­den­cy: a non­be­liev­er who nev­er­the­less served as a ves­sel for divine inter­est.

    For these lead­ers, the bib­li­cal account of Cyrus allows them to devel­op a “ves­sel the­ol­o­gy” around Don­ald Trump, one that allows them to rec­on­cile his per­son­al his­to­ry of wom­an­iz­ing and alleged sex­u­al assault with what they see as his divine­ly ordained pur­pose to restore a Chris­t­ian Amer­i­ca.

    “I think in some ways this is a kind of bap­tism of Don­ald Trump,” says John Fea, a pro­fes­sor of evan­gel­i­cal his­to­ry at Mes­si­ah Col­lege in Har­ris­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia. “It’s the theopo­lit­i­cal ver­sion of mon­ey laun­der­ing, tak­ing Scrip­ture to … clean [up] your can­di­date.”

    This fram­ing allows for the cre­ation of Trump as a viable evan­gel­i­cal can­di­date regard­less of his per­son­al beliefs or actions. It allows evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers, and to a less­er extent ordi­nary evan­gel­i­cals, to pro­vide a com­pelling nar­ra­tive for their sup­port for him that tran­scends the mere prag­mat­ic fact that he is a Repub­li­can. Instead of hav­ing to jus­ti­fy their views of Trump’s con­tro­ver­sial past, includ­ing reports of sex­u­al mis­con­duct and adul­tery, the evan­gel­i­cal estab­lish­ment can say Trump’s pres­i­den­cy was arranged by God, and thus legit­imize their sup­port for him — a sup­port that has begun to divide ordi­nary evan­gel­i­cals and cre­ate a kind of “schism.”

    Trump has cap­i­tal­ized on this idea of “ves­sel the­ol­o­gy”

    Numer­ous evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers have used the Trump-as-Cyrus com­par­i­son to explain how a leader who, while not (orig­i­nal­ly) reli­gious, might nev­er­the­less fig­ure into a divine his­tor­i­cal plan.

    In Decem­ber, Chris­t­ian evan­gel­i­cal leader Mike Evans made the com­par­i­son while prais­ing Trump’s deci­sion to move the Amer­i­can embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, anoth­er act with deep the­o­log­i­cal con­no­ta­tions. Before see­ing Trump right after the announce­ment, Evans said, “the first word I’m going to say to him, ‘Cyrus, you’re Cyrus.’” He explained that Cyrus “was used as an instru­ment of God for deliv­er­ance in the Bible, and God has used this imper­fect ves­sel, this flawed human being like you or I, this imper­fect ves­sel, and he’s using him in an incred­i­ble, amaz­ing way to ful­fill his plans and pur­pos­es.”

    Like­wise, last year, Cre­ation Muse­um founder Ken Ham used the same rhetoric to explain how God had, in his view, brought Trump to pow­er: “God is in total con­trol,” Ham told the Deseret Dai­ly News ear­ly last year. “He makes that very clear in the Bible where he tells us that he rais­es up kings and destroys king­doms. He even calls a pagan king, Cyrus, his anoint­ed, or his ser­vant to do the things that he wants him to do.”

    Trump him­self seemed to bol­ster this par­tic­u­lar com­par­i­son. He ref­er­enced a (fake) quote from Cyrus in March 2017 as part of a speech com­mem­o­rat­ing Nowruz, the Per­sian New Year.

    Adher­ing the Cyrus motif to an Amer­i­can pres­i­dent — and par­tic­u­lar­ly using it to jus­ti­fy evan­gel­i­cal sup­port of the Trump pres­i­den­cy — is unique.

    Anbara Kha­li­di, a for­mer research asso­ciate at Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford’s Wad­ham Col­lege and an expert on Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cal apoc­a­lyp­tic nar­ra­tives, says she has not come across the Cyrus nar­ra­tive in her pre­vi­ous study of evan­gel­i­cals and pol­i­tics. “I actu­al­ly have per­son­al­ly nev­er heard any of the Chris­t­ian evan­gel­i­cals I’ve researched refer to any politi­cian as Cyrus,” she said in an email.

    Often, she said, the end-times-con­scious evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­ni­ties she researched in the pre-Trump era were far more ret­i­cent to make spe­cif­ic asso­ci­a­tions between bib­li­cal fig­ures and present-day ones.

    Kha­li­di said most evan­gel­i­cals tend to be “pret­ty cau­tious” about asso­ci­at­ing indi­vid­u­als in his­to­ry with bib­li­cal fig­ures or prophe­cies. Rather, she says, many evan­gel­i­cals tra­di­tion­al­ly speak more gen­er­al­ly about “signs of the times” or indi­ca­tors that the end, more broad­ly, may be at hand, with­out speak­ing specif­i­cal­ly about link­ing mod­ern politi­cians to giv­en bib­li­cal prophe­cies or par­al­lels.

    How­ev­er, Kha­li­di said, the Trump-Cyrus asso­ci­a­tion has gained trac­tion in recent years, espe­cial­ly among those “who have rec­og­nized its polit­i­cal expe­di­en­cy.” Fur­ther­more, Trump seems to have been encour­aged to pub­licly embrace these asso­ci­a­tions.

    Trump’s deci­sion to move the Amer­i­can embassy in Israel to Jerusalem late last year, for exam­ple, might have been seen as one such curat­ed response, evok­ing the his­tor­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion between Cyrus and the lib­er­a­tion of the Jew­ish peo­ple as a kind of dog whis­tle to evan­gel­i­cal vot­ers that he’s on their side.

    Fea point­ed out that among a cer­tain sub­set of evan­gel­i­cals, even innocu­ous details seem to be evi­dence of prophe­cy. The most famous bib­li­cal verse about Cyrus as God’s “anoint­ed” is found in Isa­iah 45 — and Trump is the 45th pres­i­dent. Wall­nau made this con­nec­tion explic­it, telling the Chris­t­ian Broad­cast­ing Net­work that God spoke to him direct­ly to tell him, “Isa­iah 45 will be the 45th pres­i­dent ... Isa­iah 45 is Cyrus.”

    Andrew White­head, an assis­tant pro­fes­sor of soci­ol­o­gy at Clem­son Uni­ver­si­ty who focus­es on the rise of Chris­t­ian nation­al­ism, agreed with Fea. “Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist rhetoric, defend­ing America’s Chris­t­ian her­itage” — all these, he said, were com­mon tropes through­out Amer­i­can his­to­ry. “But what makes Trump inter­est­ing, a test as to the pow­er of this Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist rhetoric, is that regard­less of per­son­al piety … his use of that rhetoric still res­onat­ed, and peo­ple still vot­ed for him.” Trump man­aged to cap­ture the evan­gel­i­cal imag­i­na­tion with­out being par­tic­u­lar­ly evan­gel­i­cal — or, indeed, per­son­al­ly reli­gious — him­self.

    The Cyrus nar­ra­tive allows evan­gel­i­cals to thread a dif­fi­cult rhetor­i­cal nee­dle. It allows them to see Trump as “their” can­di­date — a can­di­date who will effect God’s will that Amer­i­ca become a tru­ly Chris­t­ian nation — with­out requir­ing Trump him­self to man­i­fest any Chris­t­ian virtues. He is, like Cyrus, anoint­ed by God and thus has divine legit­i­ma­cy (Trump’s spir­i­tu­al advis­ers, includ­ing evan­gel­i­cal fig­ures Robert Jef­fress and Paula White, have repeat­ed­ly ham­mered this point), but he has no oblig­a­tion to live out Chris­t­ian prin­ci­ples in his per­son­al life.

    Accord­ing to Fea, this nar­ra­tive works because it allows evan­gel­i­cals to cap­i­tal­ize on Trump’s “strong­man” per­sona — in prac­ti­cal terms, his abil­i­ty to get votes — while allow­ing them to jus­ti­fy their sup­port the­o­log­i­cal­ly and pre­serve their sense of Trump as a God-backed can­di­date.

    Some­one like Ted Cruz, Fea says, may ini­tial­ly have been a “pur­er can­di­date” as far as evan­gel­i­cals were con­cerned. But when it became clear that Trump was per­form­ing bet­ter in the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, they shift­ed tac­tics. “They have to have some kind of bib­li­cal or the­o­log­i­cal or Chris­t­ian rea­son ... for their sup­port,” he says. But they also have to back a win­ner.

    ...

    Trump’s rhetoric ties into and sig­nif­i­cant­ly expands on a robust his­tor­i­cal tra­di­tion of lan­guage and thought about God, and a kind of “ves­sel the­ol­o­gy,” in Amer­i­can polit­i­cal his­to­ry.

    White­head says the idea that God plays a divine role in pol­i­tics is noth­ing new. When it comes to the pres­i­den­cy, nar­ra­tives of divine inter­ven­tion have been woven into Amer­i­can cul­tur­al dis­course from the begin­ning of what White­head calls Amer­i­ca’s “civ­il reli­gion,” which he describes as a fusion of polit­i­cal and reli­gious imagery.

    For exam­ple, after George Wash­ing­ton died, White­head said, “sto­ries cropped up about his reli­gios­i­ty, about what a great man he was.”

    “Great lead­ers [have been his­tor­i­cal­ly] iden­ti­fied with how God was using them, or that God placed them there for a pur­pose,” he said. For Amer­i­ca, a rel­a­tive­ly new nation, this Chris­t­ian mythos became a foun­da­tion­al ele­ment of cre­at­ing a nation­al iden­ti­ty. “Colo­nials had clos­er ties to Britain than they had to each oth­er. Chris­tian­i­ty became a part of that.”

    Fea con­curs. Through­out the ear­ly his­to­ry of Amer­i­ca, he notes, Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism and a par­tic­u­lar blend of Chris­t­ian nation­al­ism — see­ing Amer­i­ca as a kind of new cho­sen land for God’s inter­ven­tion on a par­al­lel with the Israel of the Old Tes­ta­ment — went hand in hand. He ref­er­ences the ide­al of the “city on a hill,” an image from Jesus’s Ser­mon on the Mount, used by Puri­tan set­tler John Winthrop to describe how the new Amer­i­can colonies would serve as a mod­el for Chris­t­ian liv­ing.

    Fea ref­er­ences, too, the work of ear­ly Amer­i­can revival­ist preach­ers like Jonathan Edwards, who believed the sec­ond com­ing of Christ was immi­nent in Boston dur­ing the 18th cen­tu­ry. Fea says the ide­al­is­tic nature of America’s found­ing — as a coun­try that believes in “lib­er­ty and free­dom” — has lent itself to appro­pri­a­tion by Chris­t­ian nar­ra­tives. “It’s sort of tak­ing these Enlight­en­ment ideas [of free­dom and lib­er­ty],” he added. “Since day one, they have been kind of ‘bap­tized’ by evan­gel­i­cals who say in a very unthought­ful way, ‘Amer­i­ca is for free­dom. God is for free­dom. There­fore, God must priv­i­lege the US.’”

    This sense that God has “cho­sen” Amer­i­ca as a spe­cial peo­ple, or that he acts direct­ly in Amer­i­can affairs, has, Fea argues, giv­en us quin­tes­sen­tial­ly Amer­i­can his­tor­i­cal phe­nom­e­na such as Man­i­fest Des­tiny, the impe­ri­al­ist expan­sion of the Unit­ed States across North Amer­i­ca.

    There­fore, at the very least, the idea that God inter­venes direct­ly in Amer­i­can polit­i­cal affairs, and uses Amer­i­can polit­i­cal fig­ures as ves­sels to effect divine will, is deeply root­ed in cen­turies of Chris­t­ian nation­al­ism.

    Trump’s whole team fur­thers the Cyrus nar­ra­tive

    The con­tin­ued preva­lence of the Cyrus nar­ra­tive through­out the cam­paign and the first year of Trump’s pres­i­den­cy speaks to its longevi­ty and pow­er. But it speaks, too, to the degree to which those around Trump — from his unof­fi­cial evan­gel­i­cal advi­so­ry coun­cil to Chris­t­ian sup­port­ers on CBN — are able to sig­nal to sup­port­ers that the evan­gel­i­cal agen­da is receiv­ing atten­tion in the White House regard­less of Trump’s actions, or even regard­less of whether Trump is aware of what’s going on.

    After all, Trump him­self has men­tioned Cyrus just once (and made up a quote in the process). But every time those around Trump men­tion Cyrus, they’re sig­nal­ing to their lis­ten­ers that because Trump is noth­ing but a ves­sel for God’s will, he’s also some­what irrel­e­vant in the scheme of things.

    Pay no atten­tion to the man in front of the cur­tain, they imply. The real work is being done by his evan­gel­i­cal influ­encers behind the scenes.

    But Trump, too, is doing his share of influ­enc­ing, dog-whistling to evan­gel­i­cal rhetoric of an unex­pect­ed or incon­gru­ous “divine plan.”

    With­in that par­a­digm, his some­what incon­gru­ous anec­dote dur­ing the State of the Union address about the New Mex­i­co cou­ple that adopt­ed a home­less, hero­in-addict­ed woman’s baby makes far more sense.

    Trump says of Ryan Holets, the New Mex­i­co police offi­cer who adopt­ed the baby, that “Ryan said he felt God speak to him: ‘You will do it — because you can.’”

    With­in the con­text of a pres­i­den­tial address, the anec­dote felt jar­ring, out of place. But as a the­o­log­i­cal nod, the anec­dote made per­fect sense. The image of an unlike­ly indi­vid­ual cho­sen unex­pect­ed­ly by God to shoul­der a dif­fi­cult and divine­ly ordained bur­den is a pop­u­lar nar­ra­tive with­in Chris­t­ian, and more specif­i­cal­ly evan­gel­i­cal, dis­course.

    And it’s a nar­ra­tive that Trump will con­tin­ue to cap­i­tal­ize on to keep his evan­gel­i­cal vot­ers close.

    ———

    “The bib­li­cal sto­ry the Chris­t­ian right uses to defend Trump” by Tara Isabel­la Bur­ton; Vox; 03/05/2018

    “Some want to aban­don him, he says. Oth­ers want to stand with him. But oth­ers, he says, are won­der­ing: Does Trump have a “bib­li­cal man­date” to become pres­i­dent?”

    Does Trump have a “bib­li­cal man­date” to become pres­i­dent? That’s the ques­tion many evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians in Amer­i­ca are unfor­tu­nate­ly ask­ing them­selves. Specif­i­cal­ly, is Trump a new Cyrus the Great, the his­tor­i­cal Per­sian king who con­quered Baby­lon in the sixth cen­tu­ry BC. Cyrus end­ed the Baby­lon­ian cap­tiv­i­ty and allowed cap­tive Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their tem­ple. Thus, Cyrus the Great is seen as a non-Jew­ish fig­ure who was act­ing as an agent of God. Same with Trump increas­ing­ly:

    ...
    Mitchell runs swift­ly through the first two options, cit­ing both a con­dem­na­tion of Trump and an endorse­ment by Focus on the Family’s James Dob­son. But it’s the third option — that God him­self has cho­sen Trump to be pres­i­dent — that Mitchell focus­es on.

    Evan­gel­i­cal thinker Lance Wall­nau then gives Mitchell his take: Trump is a “mod­ern-day Cyrus,” an ancient Per­sian king cho­sen by God to “nav­i­gate in chaos.”

    Mitchell notes that some evan­gel­i­cals dis­agree but does not name or cite them. Instead, he cites the grow­ing threat of Chi­na, Rus­sia, and Iran, before Wall­nau con­cludes, “America’s going to have a chal­lenge either way. With Trump, I believe we have a Cyrus to nav­i­gate through the storm.”

    The com­par­i­son comes up fre­quent­ly in the evan­gel­i­cal world. Many evan­gel­i­cal speak­ers and media out­lets com­pare Trump to Cyrus, a his­tor­i­cal Per­sian king who, in the sixth cen­tu­ry BCE, con­quered Baby­lon and end­ed the Baby­lon­ian cap­tiv­i­ty, a peri­od dur­ing which Israelites had been forcibly reset­tled in exile. This allowed Jews to return to the area now known as Israel and build a tem­ple in Jerusalem. Cyrus is ref­er­enced most promi­nent­ly in the Old Tes­ta­ment book of Isa­iah, in which he appears as a fig­ure of deliv­er­ance.
    ...

    “Evan­gel­i­cal thinker Lance Wall­nau then gives Mitchell his take: Trump is a “mod­ern-day Cyrus,” an ancient Per­sian king cho­sen by God to “nav­i­gate in chaos.””

    Trump as Chaos Nav­i­ga­tor in Chief. Won­der­ful. And the fact that he cre­ates half the chaos him­self is pre­sum­ably seen as divine­ly direct­ed too.

    But it’s not lim­it­ed to Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cals. Look who is also get­ting on board the ‘Trump is Cyrus’ meme: Ben­jamin Netanyahu:

    ...
    That com­par­i­son has become more and more explic­it in the wake of Trump’s pres­i­den­cy. Last week, an Israeli orga­ni­za­tion, the Mik­dash Edu­ca­tion­al Cen­ter, mint­ed a com­mem­o­ra­tive “Tem­ple Coin” depict­ing Trump and Cyrus side by side, in hon­or of Trump’s deci­sion to move the Amer­i­can embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. It was among the most brazen, pub­lic links between Trump and Cyrus; one that takes the years of sub­text run­ning through out­lets like Chris­t­ian Broad­cast­ing Net­work and, quite lit­er­al­ly, sealed the com­par­i­son.

    Mon­day, how­ev­er, an even high­er-pro­file fig­ure linked Trump and Cyrus. Dur­ing his vis­it to Wash­ing­ton, DC, Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu heav­i­ly implied Trump was Cyrus’s spir­i­tu­al heir. Thank­ing Trump for mov­ing the Amer­i­can embassy to Jerusalem, Netanyahu said, “We remem­ber the procla­ma­tion of the great King Cyrus the Great — Per­sian King. Twen­ty-five hun­dred years ago, he pro­claimed that the Jew­ish exiles in Baby­lon can come back and rebuild our tem­ple in Jerusalem...And we remem­ber how a few weeks ago, Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump rec­og­nized Jerusalem as Israel’s cap­i­tal. Mr. Pres­i­dent, this will be remem­bered by our peo­ple through­out the ages.”
    ...

    So this Cyrus-Trump com­par­i­son, cou­pled with the fact that Cyrus was­n’t Jew­ish but still an agent of God, basi­cal­ly allows Trump to behave in a most un-Christ-like man­ner and still be seen as an of God by a shock­ing­ly large num­ber of evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians in Amer­i­ca. That sure sounds like the kind of vibe Kim Jong Un would like to glom onto if his cult is going to join the world com­mu­ni­ty:

    ...
    While Cyrus is not Jew­ish and does not wor­ship the God of Israel, he is nev­er­the­less por­trayed in Isa­iah as an instru­ment of God — an unwit­ting con­duit through which God effects his divine plan for his­to­ry. Cyrus is, there­fore, the arche­type of the unlike­ly “ves­sel”: some­one God has cho­sen for an impor­tant his­tor­i­cal pur­pose, despite not look­ing like — or hav­ing the reli­gious char­ac­ter of — an obvi­ous man of God.

    For believ­ers who sub­scribe to this account, Cyrus is a per­fect his­tor­i­cal antecedent to explain Trump’s pres­i­den­cy: a non­be­liev­er who nev­er­the­less served as a ves­sel for divine inter­est.

    For these lead­ers, the bib­li­cal account of Cyrus allows them to devel­op a “ves­sel the­ol­o­gy” around Don­ald Trump, one that allows them to rec­on­cile his per­son­al his­to­ry of wom­an­iz­ing and alleged sex­u­al assault with what they see as his divine­ly ordained pur­pose to restore a Chris­t­ian Amer­i­ca.

    “I think in some ways this is a kind of bap­tism of Don­ald Trump,” says John Fea, a pro­fes­sor of evan­gel­i­cal his­to­ry at Mes­si­ah Col­lege in Har­ris­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia. “It’s the theopo­lit­i­cal ver­sion of mon­ey laun­der­ing, tak­ing Scrip­ture to … clean [up] your can­di­date.”

    This fram­ing allows for the cre­ation of Trump as a viable evan­gel­i­cal can­di­date regard­less of his per­son­al beliefs or actions. It allows evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers, and to a less­er extent ordi­nary evan­gel­i­cals, to pro­vide a com­pelling nar­ra­tive for their sup­port for him that tran­scends the mere prag­mat­ic fact that he is a Repub­li­can. Instead of hav­ing to jus­ti­fy their views of Trump’s con­tro­ver­sial past, includ­ing reports of sex­u­al mis­con­duct and adul­tery, the evan­gel­i­cal estab­lish­ment can say Trump’s pres­i­den­cy was arranged by God, and thus legit­imize their sup­port for him — a sup­port that has begun to divide ordi­nary evan­gel­i­cals and cre­ate a kind of “schism.”
    ...

    And note how Trump him­self is encour­ag­ing this. That’s also a use­ful ser­vice he can offer Kim: if he denu­clearizes Trump can help encour­age his sta­tus as a Bib­li­cal fig­ure born again. Trump can even offer the ser­vice of ref­er­enc­ing fake quotes. That should be super use­ful for Kim:

    ...
    Trump him­self seemed to bol­ster this par­tic­u­lar com­par­i­son. He ref­er­enced a (fake) quote from Cyrus in March 2017 as part of a speech com­mem­o­rat­ing Nowruz, the Per­sian New Year.

    ...

    Kha­li­di said most evan­gel­i­cals tend to be “pret­ty cau­tious” about asso­ci­at­ing indi­vid­u­als in his­to­ry with bib­li­cal fig­ures or prophe­cies. Rather, she says, many evan­gel­i­cals tra­di­tion­al­ly speak more gen­er­al­ly about “signs of the times” or indi­ca­tors that the end, more broad­ly, may be at hand, with­out speak­ing specif­i­cal­ly about link­ing mod­ern politi­cians to giv­en bib­li­cal prophe­cies or par­al­lels.

    How­ev­er, Kha­li­di said, the Trump-Cyrus asso­ci­a­tion has gained trac­tion in recent years, espe­cial­ly among those “who have rec­og­nized its polit­i­cal expe­di­en­cy.” Fur­ther­more, Trump seems to have been encour­aged to pub­licly embrace these asso­ci­a­tions.

    Trump’s deci­sion to move the Amer­i­can embassy in Israel to Jerusalem late last year, for exam­ple, might have been seen as one such curat­ed response, evok­ing the his­tor­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion between Cyrus and the lib­er­a­tion of the Jew­ish peo­ple as a kind of dog whis­tle to evan­gel­i­cal vot­ers that he’s on their side.
    ...

    And these researchers of Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cal­ism haven’t seen this same kind of treat­ment by the Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty of an Amer­i­can pres­i­dent in the past. Trump and his evan­gel­i­cal back­ers can offer Kim Jong Un a rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to get in on what­ev­er weird scary reac­tionary theo­crat­ic mal­leabil­i­ty sit­u­a­tion going on in the right-wing Chris­t­ian evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty:

    ...
    Adher­ing the Cyrus motif to an Amer­i­can pres­i­dent — and par­tic­u­lar­ly using it to jus­ti­fy evan­gel­i­cal sup­port of the Trump pres­i­den­cy — is unique.

    Anbara Kha­li­di, a for­mer research asso­ciate at Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford’s Wad­ham Col­lege and an expert on Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cal apoc­a­lyp­tic nar­ra­tives, says she has not come across the Cyrus nar­ra­tive in her pre­vi­ous study of evan­gel­i­cals and pol­i­tics. “I actu­al­ly have per­son­al­ly nev­er heard any of the Chris­t­ian evan­gel­i­cals I’ve researched refer to any politi­cian as Cyrus,” she said in an email.

    Often, she said, the end-times-con­scious evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­ni­ties she researched in the pre-Trump era were far more ret­i­cent to make spe­cif­ic asso­ci­a­tions between bib­li­cal fig­ures and present-day ones.
    ...

    And that cre­ates the per­fect dynam­ic for Kim Jong Un to ‘thread the nee­dle’ as he tran­si­tions from unchal­lenged liv­ing god king of an iso­lat­ed North Korea into a chal­lenged god king of a North Korea that gets intro­duced to the rest of the world. There’s going to be be quite a few shocks in store for North Kore­an soci­ety once they even­tu­al­ly get to see the rest of the world with­out the gov­ern­ment fil­ter. It has to hap­pen some­day and some seri­ous nee­dle thread­ing is going to be required. Hav­ing Kim Jong Un get annoint­ed as some sort of born again Bib­li­cal fig­ure by Trump and the Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cals could be one way to thread that nee­dle. Maybe they could come up with some sort of Bib­li­cal par­al­lel to denu­cleariza­tion that involves a Bli­b­li­cal pledge not to attack a nation that dis­arms. It would be a nov­el, if dis­turb­ing and unfor­tu­nate, way to cre­ate the kind of secu­ri­ty guar­an­tee Kim would need for real denu­cleariza­tion:

    ...
    Andrew White­head, an assis­tant pro­fes­sor of soci­ol­o­gy at Clem­son Uni­ver­si­ty who focus­es on the rise of Chris­t­ian nation­al­ism, agreed with Fea. “Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist rhetoric, defend­ing America’s Chris­t­ian her­itage” — all these, he said, were com­mon tropes through­out Amer­i­can his­to­ry. “But what makes Trump inter­est­ing, a test as to the pow­er of this Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist rhetoric, is that regard­less of per­son­al piety … his use of that rhetoric still res­onat­ed, and peo­ple still vot­ed for him.” Trump man­aged to cap­ture the evan­gel­i­cal imag­i­na­tion with­out being par­tic­u­lar­ly evan­gel­i­cal — or, indeed, per­son­al­ly reli­gious — him­self.

    The Cyrus nar­ra­tive allows evan­gel­i­cals to thread a dif­fi­cult rhetor­i­cal nee­dle. It allows them to see Trump as “their” can­di­date — a can­di­date who will effect God’s will that Amer­i­ca become a tru­ly Chris­t­ian nation — with­out requir­ing Trump him­self to man­i­fest any Chris­t­ian virtues. He is, like Cyrus, anoint­ed by God and thus has divine legit­i­ma­cy (Trump’s spir­i­tu­al advis­ers, includ­ing evan­gel­i­cal fig­ures Robert Jef­fress and Paula White, have repeat­ed­ly ham­mered this point), but he has no oblig­a­tion to live out Chris­t­ian prin­ci­ples in his per­son­al life.

    Accord­ing to Fea, this nar­ra­tive works because it allows evan­gel­i­cals to cap­i­tal­ize on Trump’s “strong­man” per­sona — in prac­ti­cal terms, his abil­i­ty to get votes — while allow­ing them to jus­ti­fy their sup­port the­o­log­i­cal­ly and pre­serve their sense of Trump as a God-backed can­di­date.
    ...

    Anoth­er sell­ing point Trump has in these nego­ti­a­tions is that Amer­i­ca is unusu­al­ly well equipped to bro­ker a deal that con­fers upon Kim some sort of Bib­li­cal sig­nif­i­cance: Amer­i­can his­to­ry is infused with nar­ra­tives of divine inter­ven­tion in pol­i­tics. In oth­er words, the pumps for theo­crat­ic Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist cre­ativ­i­ty have been thor­ough­ly primed in Amer­i­ca. There’s got to be some sort of Bible verse that makes Kim look decent in exchange for denu­cleariza­tion and peace. The US Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ty is good at this stuff:

    ...
    Trump’s rhetoric ties into and sig­nif­i­cant­ly expands on a robust his­tor­i­cal tra­di­tion of lan­guage and thought about God, and a kind of “ves­sel the­ol­o­gy,” in Amer­i­can polit­i­cal his­to­ry.

    White­head says the idea that God plays a divine role in pol­i­tics is noth­ing new. When it comes to the pres­i­den­cy, nar­ra­tives of divine inter­ven­tion have been woven into Amer­i­can cul­tur­al dis­course from the begin­ning of what White­head calls Amer­i­ca’s “civ­il reli­gion,” which he describes as a fusion of polit­i­cal and reli­gious imagery.

    For exam­ple, after George Wash­ing­ton died, White­head said, “sto­ries cropped up about his reli­gios­i­ty, about what a great man he was.”

    “Great lead­ers [have been his­tor­i­cal­ly] iden­ti­fied with how God was using them, or that God placed them there for a pur­pose,” he said. For Amer­i­ca, a rel­a­tive­ly new nation, this Chris­t­ian mythos became a foun­da­tion­al ele­ment of cre­at­ing a nation­al iden­ti­ty. “Colo­nials had clos­er ties to Britain than they had to each oth­er. Chris­tian­i­ty became a part of that.”

    Fea con­curs. Through­out the ear­ly his­to­ry of Amer­i­ca, he notes, Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism and a par­tic­u­lar blend of Chris­t­ian nation­al­ism — see­ing Amer­i­ca as a kind of new cho­sen land for God’s inter­ven­tion on a par­al­lel with the Israel of the Old Tes­ta­ment — went hand in hand. He ref­er­ences the ide­al of the “city on a hill,” an image from Jesus’s Ser­mon on the Mount, used by Puri­tan set­tler John Winthrop to describe how the new Amer­i­can colonies would serve as a mod­el for Chris­t­ian liv­ing.

    Fea ref­er­ences, too, the work of ear­ly Amer­i­can revival­ist preach­ers like Jonathan Edwards, who believed the sec­ond com­ing of Christ was immi­nent in Boston dur­ing the 18th cen­tu­ry. Fea says the ide­al­is­tic nature of America’s found­ing — as a coun­try that believes in “lib­er­ty and free­dom” — has lent itself to appro­pri­a­tion by Chris­t­ian nar­ra­tives. “It’s sort of tak­ing these Enlight­en­ment ideas [of free­dom and lib­er­ty],” he added. “Since day one, they have been kind of ‘bap­tized’ by evan­gel­i­cals who say in a very unthought­ful way, ‘Amer­i­ca is for free­dom. God is for free­dom. There­fore, God must priv­i­lege the US.’”

    This sense that God has “cho­sen” Amer­i­ca as a spe­cial peo­ple, or that he acts direct­ly in Amer­i­can affairs, has, Fea argues, giv­en us quin­tes­sen­tial­ly Amer­i­can his­tor­i­cal phe­nom­e­na such as Man­i­fest Des­tiny, the impe­ri­al­ist expan­sion of the Unit­ed States across North Amer­i­ca.

    There­fore, at the very least, the idea that God inter­venes direct­ly in Amer­i­can polit­i­cal affairs, and uses Amer­i­can polit­i­cal fig­ures as ves­sels to effect divine will, is deeply root­ed in cen­turies of Chris­t­ian nation­al­ism.
    ...

    And Trump’s team and sup­port­ers at places like Pat Robert­son’s Chris­t­ian Broad­cast Net­work (CBN) appear to be ful­ly on board with qui­et­ly pro­mot­ing this ‘Trump is Cyrus’ meme. It’s a group lead­er­ship effort:

    ...
    Trump’s whole team fur­thers the Cyrus nar­ra­tive

    The con­tin­ued preva­lence of the Cyrus nar­ra­tive through­out the cam­paign and the first year of Trump’s pres­i­den­cy speaks to its longevi­ty and pow­er. But it speaks, too, to the degree to which those around Trump — from his unof­fi­cial evan­gel­i­cal advi­so­ry coun­cil to Chris­t­ian sup­port­ers on CBN — are able to sig­nal to sup­port­ers that the evan­gel­i­cal agen­da is receiv­ing atten­tion in the White House regard­less of Trump’s actions, or even regard­less of whether Trump is aware of what’s going on.

    After all, Trump him­self has men­tioned Cyrus just once (and made up a quote in the process). But every time those around Trump men­tion Cyrus, they’re sig­nal­ing to their lis­ten­ers that because Trump is noth­ing but a ves­sel for God’s will, he’s also some­what irrel­e­vant in the scheme of things.

    Pay no atten­tion to the man in front of the cur­tain, they imply. The real work is being done by his evan­gel­i­cal influ­encers behind the scenes.
    ...

    “Pay no atten­tion to the man in front of the cur­tain, they imply. The real work is being done by his evan­gel­i­cal influ­encers behind the scenes”

    Trump as an ungod­ly agent of God who is giv­ing cov­er for his evan­gel­i­cal influ­encers to do God’s work behind the scenes. That appears to be be the mes­sages his army of evan­gel­i­cal leader sur­ro­gates are send­ing. It’s also a great recipe for a theoc­ra­cy. It’s per­fect for Kim’s sit­u­a­tion.

    Traf­fick­ing in prophe­cy obvi­ous­ly isn’t an ide­al way to do major for­eign pol­i­cy, but giv­en that Trump is pres­i­dent this is more of a ‘mak­ing lemon­ade’ kind of thing: If the US has to go through this dark peri­od of Trump get­ting annoint­ed a Bib­li­cal fig­ure by a pow­er­ful fac­tion of the Amer­i­can Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ty we might as well try to get some­thing good out of it. Like denu­cleariza­tion. Plus, Kim will have an incen­tive to keep doing more and more peace­ful things to bol­ster his prophet­ic sta­tus.

    If Trump and Kim can just fig­ure out which Bib­li­cal fig­ure Kim vague­ly resem­bles we can get the denu­cleariza­tion under way. Kim will get a new divine leader sta­tus that will be super use­ful for both domes­tic and for­eign pro­pa­gan­da and Trump will get a major for­eign pol­i­cy vic­to­ry and bol­ster his prophet­ic sta­tus. And the world gets denu­cleariza­tion. Win­ning all around. If you ignore the exis­ten­tial dam­age cater­ing to author­i­tar­i­an cults does to every­thing and the dam­age to the done by Amer­i­ca being taught stu­pid lessons about the virtues of Trump’s schizo-bul­ly diplo­ma­cy.

    So let’s hope for some of break­through in the upcom­ing sum­mit. Maybe Trump, being a wannabe author­i­tar­i­an eager to please oth­er author­i­tar­i­ans, will have some sort of author­i­tar­i­an-to-author­i­tar­i­an bud­dy thing going on with Kim (final­ly, some­one else who under­stands them). And if that’s what it takes for a major break­through, so be it. It’s well worth it. Maybe this can be Trump’s thing. Every­body finds one way to do good. Hope­ful­ly that’s Trump’s good deed thing. Trump the Dic­ta­tor Whis­per­er.

    Can Kim Jong Un also be a Cyrus-like fig­ure or is only one allowed? That seems like some­thing Pat Robert­son should fig­ure out soon. Trump could invite all sorts of dic­ta­tors into a Cyrus club. They could do a real­i­ty show.

    Bet­ter yet, Moon Jai-In’s peace push will suc­ceed and none of this will be nec­es­sary. But if Trump and his net­work of evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers can offer some sort of prophet­ic role for Kim that real­ly could be a deal sweet­en­er. Just was a god king needs as he fights for the world’s accep­tance. If Trump Tow­er Pyongyang ends up being part of the deal that’s also ok. Not ide­al, but ok.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 10, 2018, 2:19 am
  20. Remem­ber how it looked at one point like the Cal­i­for­nia GOP might end up nom­i­nat­ing Patrick Lit­tle, an open neo-Nazi, as its Sen­ate can­di­date for Cal­i­for­nia? That did­n’t end up hap­pen­ing, but that has­n’t stopped the GOP was nom­i­nat­ing a Nazi fel­low trav­el­er for Sen­ate: Cory Stew­art, a can­di­date deemed even too extreme from the Trump cam­paign two years ago, just won the Vir­ginia GOP pri­ma­ry for the Sen­ate. And while the Nation­al Sen­ate Repub­li­can Com­mit­tee has yet to endorse Stew­art, Pres­i­dent Trump is already tweet­ing out his sup­port.

    Stew­art is known for palling around with Jason Kessler, one of the lead orga­niz­ers of Unite the Right ral­ly in Char­lottesville last year. And he almost won the GOP nom­i­na­tion for gov­er­nor in last year’s race after heav­i­ly focus­ing his cam­paign on defend­ing Con­fed­er­ate stat­ues. Fol­low­ing the Unite the Right ral­ly and the con­dem­na­tions some in the Repub­li­can par­ty had for the ral­ly orga­niz­ers, Stew­art called them weak Repub­li­cans and blamed “half the vio­lence” on the counter-pro­test­ers.

    And, of course, Stew­art is a big fan of Paul Nehlen, the Alt Right can­di­date run­ning in the Wis­con­sin pri­ma­ry for Paul Ryan’s seat. He even called Nehlen his per­son­al hero last year dur­ing the Vir­ginia women for Trump Inau­gur­al Ball. Or at least he used to be a big fan of Nehlen’s until a lit­tle over a week ago when Stew­art claimed to have sub­se­quent­ly dis­avowed Nehlen when asked about his past sup­port by the Wash­ing­ton Post (pre­sum­ably over Nehlen ‘drop­ping the mask’ and com­ing out as an overt neo-Nazi). So that’s the GOP’s Sen­ate can­di­date in Vir­ginia:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Trump Endors­es Corey Stew­art, the Alt-Right’s Favorite Can­di­date
    A pro-Con­fed­er­ate friend of anti-Semi­tes got a pres­i­den­tial boost after win­ning the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for Sen­ate in Vir­ginia.

    Kel­ly Weill
    Gideon Resnick
    06.13.18 1:11 PM ET

    Two years ago, Corey Stew­art was too extreme for the Trump cam­paign. This morn­ing, he got Trump’s endorse­ment to run for Sen­ate.

    Stew­art won the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for Sen­ate in Vir­ginia on Tues­day. A coun­ty board mem­ber, Stew­art almost won the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for Vir­ginia gov­er­nor last year on a cam­paign of defend­ing Con­fed­er­ate stat­ues. Since then, he’s risen on the back of the alt-right, attend­ing events with an archi­tect of the vio­lent Char­lottesville ral­ly and giv­ing mon­ey to an anti-Semit­ic can­di­date in Wis­con­sin.

    “Con­grat­u­la­tions to Corey Stew­art for his great vic­to­ry for Sen­a­tor from Vir­ginia,” Trump tweet­ed Wednes­day. “Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and bor­ders, and wants to raise your tax­es through the roof. Don’t under­es­ti­mate Corey, a major chance of win­ning!”

    Kaine’s spokesper­son called Stew­art a “crud­er imi­ta­tion of Don­ald Trump who stokes white suprema­cy and brags about being ‘ruth­less and vicious.’”

    While the pres­i­dent got behind him, Sen. Cory Gard­ner, chair of the Nation­al Sen­ate Repub­li­can Com­mit­tee, did not. “We have a big map, right now we are focused on Flori­da, North Dako­ta, Mis­souri, Indi­ana,” Gard­ner told CNN’s Manu Raju. “I don’t see Vir­ginia in it.”

    In 2016, Stew­art was a local offi­cial in Prince William Coun­ty and Vir­ginia co-chair­man of Trump’s cam­paign. After the Access Hol­ly­wood tape came out, he defend­ed Trump’s remarks about sex­u­al­ly assault­ing women, say­ing Trump “act­ed like a frat boy, as a lot of guys do.” He went to take part in a protest out­side Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee head­quar­ters, mak­ing ref­er­ences to “estab­lish­ment pukes,” and was kicked off the cam­paign short­ly after.

    As chair­man of the Prince William Board of Coun­ty Super­vi­sors, Stew­art pushed Trumpian posi­tions includ­ing a pro­pos­al to allow coun­ty police to check the immi­gra­tion sta­tus of any­one they arrest­ed.

    Almost a year ago to the day, Stew­art shocked polit­i­cal observers by near­ly win­ning the GOP guber­na­to­r­i­al pri­ma­ry in Vir­ginia against Ed Gille­spie, the for­mer chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee. Stew­art once even called Gille­spie a “cuck­ser­v­a­tive.” (Gille­spie was trounced by Demo­c­rat Ralph Northam last Novem­ber.)

    Stew­art cam­paigned on the preser­va­tion of Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments in the state after a push across the coun­try to tear down the mon­u­ments. Stew­art defend­ed the Con­fed­er­ate flag as “not about racism” dur­ing a speech at an “Old South Ball” in April 2017, sur­round­ed by Con­fed­er­ate flags and peo­ple dressed in Ante­bel­lum South cos­play.

    Stew­art, orig­i­nal­ly from Min­neso­ta, also sought to cap­i­tal­ize on a plan to remove the stat­ue of Robert E. Lee from a local park in Char­lottesville.

    “Noth­ing is worse than a Yan­kee telling a South­ern­er that his mon­u­ments don’t mat­ter,” he tweet­ed.

    Stew­art also tout­ed the entire­ly base­less claim that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma wasn’t born in Amer­i­ca.

    As Gille­spie dis­ap­point­ed some mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans by turn­ing towards cul­tur­al issues in his guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign—includ­ing a mail­er about NFL play­ers kneel­ing dur­ing the Nation­al Anthem—Stewart told The Dai­ly Beast that those deci­sions would be the rea­son why he won.

    “The Repub­li­can par­ty is chang­ing,” Stew­art told The Dai­ly Beast. “It’s becom­ing more pop­ulist. “There are going to be some dinosaurs out there who refuse to change and even­tu­al­ly they’re going to go extinct.”

    Since los­ing, Stew­art has made mul­ti­ple press appear­ances with Jason Kessler, one of the lead orga­niz­ers of Unite the Right, a white suprema­cist ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia last August. The pair attend­ed a pro­to-Unite the Right ral­ly togeth­er in Feb­ru­ary 2017, when they ral­lied against the removal of the Lee stat­ue in Char­lottesville .

    Stew­art also spoke along­side Kessler at a Feb­ru­ary 2017 event for the group “Uni­ty & Secu­ri­ty for Amer­i­ca,” a group Kessler found­ed for “defend­ing West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion includ­ing its his­to­ry, cul­ture and peo­ples while utter­ly dis­man­tling Cul­tur­al Marx­ism.” Cul­tur­al Marx­ism is a favorite con­spir­a­cy on the far-right, which holds that lib­er­als (Jews) are try­ing to destroy West­ern (white) soci­ety through pop­u­lar cul­ture.

    After Unite the Right, where a white suprema­cist alleged­ly killed an anti-racist pro­test­er with his car, Stew­art con­demned his fel­low Repub­li­cans for con­demn­ing Nazis.

    “All the weak Repub­li­cans, they couldn’t apol­o­gize fast enough,” Stew­art told The Wash­ing­ton Post after the mur­der at the Kessler-orga­nized ral­ly. “They played right into the hands of the left wing. Those [Nazi] peo­ple have noth­ing to do with the Repub­li­can Par­ty. There was no rea­son to apologize.”He blamed “half the vio­lence” on counter-pro­test­ers.

    Stew­art also has ties to Paul Nehlen, a Repub­li­can run­ning for Rep. Paul Ryan’s House seat on an anti-Semit­ic, anti-Mus­lim plat­form. A for­mer Bre­it­bart con­trib­u­tor, Nehlen lost the alt-right outlet’s back­ing after he was revealed to have made anti-semit­ic com­ments on for­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s pod­cast. Nehlen was banned from Twit­ter after a racist tweet about Meghan Markle. On Gab, a social-media plat­form beloved by the alt-ri