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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

9 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

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