Monday, August 14, 2017

White supremacists show their nature at Charlottesville

Note: Many of my sources were from the Daily Stormer site. It has now been kicked off by its hosting ISP, and is having trouble finding a new host. It may have to switch to a Russian host. The Daily Stormer links may not be available again at all, or they may return. 

Being an American is not boring. It can be deeply embarrassing, even mortifying sometimes. It can be inspiring. It is not dull. There are so many moral aspects to being a thinking citizen in the US, and some of these aspects were on display this past weekend.

Many groups involved in white supremacy coordinated to sponsor a large rally in Charlottesville, VA, the location of a large state university. I hope I can find the list of the organizers, which I read somewhere in the many articles I read in the past 72 hours.

Maybe I'll start the list of sources where I started--a blog called Occidental Dissent. Some things I noticed: the reference to the confederate flag, how-to information on getting ready for rallies, including comments on how to arm yourself. The list of other alt-right blogs. The blogger is taking donations to fund his participation at rallies, and had collected $675 from 9 donors so far. Then there was the link to The Daily Stormer.

Operational Security is a chilling read. It's describes how to cover your tracks. Use a burner phone for all rally-related communications, and don't put anything personal on it. Don't use hate speech on the phone since it may be used against you and the movement. (The author doesn't follow his own advice since The Daily Stormer is full of hate speech.) If you get involved in 'something heavy,' like homicide, flee the country or flee your identity. Wow. This sounds like advice for people with peaceful intent, doesn't it?

The incidents - Torch march on the UVa campus

The white groups planned a march across the campus on Friday night. I don't know whether they didn't publicize their plan, but there wasn't much organized counter-protest. Again, it must of been chilling to witness hundreds of white supremacists carrying torches, marching, chanting, like being in Germany when the Nazis were gaining strength. There were many people who drawn out to witness, but few organized to resist or counter the message. The white groups  declared a huge victory. They jeered at the few protesters, surrounded them, eventually attacked them and ran them off. This was the huge victory that the groups boasted about.

Anti fascists are surrounded by hundreds of fascists at Jefferson statue. No police.

Incident - Scheduled rally 

The main rally was scheduled for Saturday noon at a park where a statue of Robert E. Lee is currently located, but may be removed due to its association with the Confederacy and history of racial bias. The city tried to revoke the permit for the rally, but a federal judge ruled that they must allow it.

However, the crowds turning out, both the white supremacists and the counter protesters, turned out in large numbers and were clearly poised for skirmishes. My speculation (there hasn't been clear reporting) was that the number of counter-protesters was very large partly in reaction to the torch-light rally the night before.

There were also very large numbers of people taking video, some with professional camera equipment. The videos show how many people were recording events. This is wonderful for history--that so many want to witness and capture the events.

Another thing I notice from the videos. Many of the white groups have similar clothing. Many are carrying shields and wearing helmets and other protective gear. They are dressed for confrontation. That kind of organization and preparation were less common among the counter protesters.

The state and local government, based on the conditions that were volatile and unsafe, cancelled the rally. I support this, but I imagine that the city and state will be sued. Already some of the white protest groups are whining that their free speech rights were restricted and the police didn't protect them as they should have. I have no sympathy for them because they were clearly preparing for violence.

Incident - Car ramming protesters, killing one 

A man who earlier in the day joined a white supremacist group called Vanguard America, drove his car at high speed into a large group of counter protesters. One of them died, many others were severely injured. He tried to escape at high speed from the scene, but was observed by many people out on the streets and was caught almost immediately.

The response from the Daily Stormer was particularly repugnant. Someone said the guy was anti-Trump (wrong). Then someone said he acted in self-defense because he was pelted with bricks (wrong). Another said no one of importance was hurt. Another that the driver was Jewish because his mother's surname is 'Bloom.' The fatality was called a fat, childless slut. That is just so lovely. These are people who are hateful and hurtful with no respect for truth or any principles other than tribalism.

There is so much more I could write about, and some of that will be in the extra section.

Image: mysanantonio.com

Extras. The live thread from the Daily Stormer is chilling--the triumphalism, the complaints that the police didn't protect them in their quest to provoke fights, their pretended innocence, their hate for so many others with the least bit of difference, their whining after a death that their free speech (a news conference that next day) wasn't protected from huge outraged crowds. The comment thread.

The propaganda machine for the alt-right has been fairly successful. Too many think that the leftist counter protesters are the problem, including this soon-to-be-former GOP official. Unfortunately, our idiot president is also one of those who have drunk the Kool-Aid of right-wing propaganda. He spoke about the murder and mayhem with no conviction, and with weasel words about 'many sides' being wrong, as though it was expedient for him to gloss over the involvement of white supremacists. Trump deserves the flack he caught: this from the Weekly Standard, this much blunter, harsher, and painfully true piece from the Washington Post. The alt-right were happy with Trump's vagueness, and with his grudging slightly strong statement two days later.

One of the first on-the-ground accounts I read. Several others. How this may be pivotal for the white supremacy movement. At a white supremacy rally in Seattle one day later, a huge police presence prevented violence, not to say this was possible in Charlottesville.

Update 8/15/17. Trump has returned to saying that there were 'bad people' on many sides, or both sides. He seems to have a clearer sense now that there were neo-Nazis there. However, he seems to think the right-wing hate groups weren't a majority of the right-wing people there. (My sense is that a majority did identify as white rights supporters at best, and often KKK or neo-Nazi.) Trump seems to understand that there were good people among the counter protesters, but he focuses on the bad ones. The press seems not to acknowledge at all the violent groups among the counter protesters. In this, Trump is more accurate than the press. So Trump underplays the bad actors among the right, overplays the bad actors among the left, and seems not to know at all about the Nazi-like march on Friday night.

Update 8/16/17. It's important to see what The Daily Stormer was writing and showing about the Charlottesville rallies. I took a screen shot which provides information that isn't available now. Here is the screen shot: (Click to enlarge.)


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cleaning the White House

I'm a bit late on this story, though it's still relevant and may be relevant for a while to come. Like Kelly, Trump's new chief of staff, McMaster was generally considered a wise choice, and not a known crazy.

Unfortunately, some Trump supporters like crazy. McMaster is therefore having some problems and riling up some folks. He's been trying to clear out some of the crazy that was appointed to the National Security staff, and there's pushback. So far, the pushback has been ineffectual. Trump has indicated support for McMaster, and hasn't tweeted catty comments as he did with Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General.

Bannon, who is a patron to many of these crazies (as part of his position as the near-alt-right), has been keeping his head down and avoiding the volleys. It's interesting to see which parts of the conservative media are on which side.

One right wing favorite wrote a memo about how there's a shadow government in the US, and it's not being displaced as it ought to be. The author has now been displaced, to the howls of some. There are complaint about 'the deep state' and Obama holdovers, both of which are probably traitors. It's a damn shame that this chance to finally clean up those damn socialists is slipping away. If America isn't great again, it's because of those traitors that got to stay on.

Image: thepeoplescube.com


Extra. Not particularly connected, but a taste of Russian 'news.' It would be a horrible template for news here.

Update 8/14/17. I was right about relevance. Here's a pair of articles about the feud and ideological differences between Bannon and McMaster, include lies peddled on (wait for it) Alex Jones' show.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A bundle of important stories

Conservative media fabrication revealed. This should be so big. Fox News fell for a peddled fake story about (murdered) Seth Rich and Wikileaks. Now there's a suit, and the papers filed contain a wealth of evidence about how the lies got on the air.

CNN skews its reporting. "Federal investigators ... seized on Trump and his associates' financial ties to Russia as one of the most fertile avenues for moving their probe forward... The web of financial ties could offer a more concrete path toward potential prosecution than the broader and murkier questions of collusion..." This is supposed to be an investigation, not a fishing expedition bent on prosecution. CNN seems to have forgotten that.

Sessions skews his condemnation of leaks. Great story with analysis of a logical trick that Sessions uses. He probably does it knowingly.

Lies are the family business. Donald jr. lied about a meeting with a Russian lawyer. Well, lied at first and then told the truth. It turns out Donald sr. lied about it too. Is anyone surprised?

Stats about the cost of tax deduction. This is important hard information. What costs the government more: mortgage interest deduction, 401K's, or the earned income tax credit? It didn't know, and I was a bit surprised.

Trump the wimp. Putin is disrespecting America, and what is Donald doing about it? Why?

Image: thecoldplayer.deviantart.com

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Quick summary: Repeal FAIL

This is an important issue, but I don't have a bunch of time to spend on it. The Senate failed to repeal and replace Obamacare. McConnell proposed, negotiated, twisted arms, and pulled bills from votes. It was a big embarrassment, so McConnell and the Senate made a last ditch effort TO DO SOMETHING (never a good situation).

McConnell had the Senate voting on bills or amendments within an hour or so of when their text was released. So much for 'a deliberative body' or not 'ramming it down their throats.' John McCain, with stitches on his left eyebrow and newly diagnosed with brain cancer, flew in from Arizona as a necessary vote to start debate-athon.

Two days later, McCain was one of three GOP senators who killed the effort. Maybe it was doomed anyhow. The conservatives vowed that they needed a fuller repeal, with more taxes gone. They folded pretty quickly. The moderates wanted assurances that Medicaid funding wouldn't disappear--this is a higher priority to senators as state-wide representatives, as I mentioned before.

McConnell promised his colleagues that the bill would go to conference, and their concerns would be addressed in the future. Paul Ryan didn't promise that. What is the promise of a politician like McConnell?

A lot of senators who were leery voted for the measure based on these assurances, but McCain didn't, and that was the killing stroke.

Image: kitv.com

Extras. What next? Maybe some bipartisan negotiation.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Trump update: Bad week, then getting better

I was very worried last week. There were lots of reports that Trump was trying to work out how to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel assigned to investigate Russian interference in the election and possible ties to the Trump campaign. Trump was also bad-mouthing his Attorney General essentially for not being corrupt enough to shut down the Russia investigation.

This week, it's much calmer, most likely due to John Kelly becoming White House chief of staff on 7/28/17. This whole week as been such a contrast... and such a relief.

Last week, Trump was floating the idea of replacing Session using his power to make recess appointments. A bunch of senators were telling him not to do that--telling him through the public media so we could all listen to the warnings.

Trump also added a kink to the week with a tweet declaring transgender people couldn't serve in the military 'in any capacity.' Where did that come from? Probably a mish-mash of things Trump heard, and he decided that particular day was a good day to pretend he could act by fiat. Fiat hasn't actually worked. So far, the military has ignored him. His declaration may die just like his declaration that Obama wiretapped him died. "It's just another Trump eruption. Pay no attention." Really, it's pretty stupid to announce an important new policy via twitter, and not to have any plans for implementing the policy. But Trump is that stupid.

But back to Kelly. I have a guess that Kelly saw the craziness of July 24-27, and concluded he had to do something about it. That 'something' was calling Trump and volunteering to be chief of staff and clean up the whole mess. Plenty of credit to Kelly for stepping up. A bit of credit to Trump for saying yes. I hope this works. Reminder--this is my speculation on what happened.

Image: michaelpramirez.com

Extra. The small worries about Kelly taking this job. Kelly got Trump to stop bashing Sessions. Idiotic opinion piece on how Trump should resist firing Mueller, but should fire Sessions and Rosenstein.