Nel's New Day

September 20, 2022

Russian Troll Influence on Opinions about Women Protests

In January 2017, the Women’s March protesting the election of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) may have been one of the most successful in history, but within the next year dissension destroyed the same success in ensuing years. Protest movements have a history of factions, but the serious divisions in the women’s movement against DDT were highly expanded by Russian trolls paid by the government, according to a detailed article by Ellen Barry. Following are a summary and excerpts from her piece.

Overnight, the protesters turned on their leader, Linda Sarsour, because of targeted grievances sent to social media by organizations linked to the Russian government pretending to be “Black women critical of white feminism, conservative women who felt excluded, and men who mocked participants as hairy-legged whiners.” The most successful Russian trolling was against Sarsour, a Palestinian and observant Muslim American activist. For 18 months, the trolls sent fictional narratives about her through 2,642 tweets from 152 different Russian accounts.  

Russia followed its pattern over a century old of weakening Western adversaries by exacerbating racial and ethnic problems. In the 1960s, KGB officers in the U.S. paid agents to paint swastikas on synagogues and desecrate Jewish cemeteries. Pretending to be white supremacists, they forged racist letters to African diplomats. Russian President Vladimir Putin revived these strategies a decade ago when he funneled over $300 million to political parties in over two dozen countries, trying to sway policies toward Russia’s favor. Russia’s Internet Research Agency, controlled by Putin’s ally, doubled its budget in its desire to get DDT elected in 2016, but social media programs waited over a year to purge the Russian accounts.

Since that time, Russia switched to pushing rifts in U.S. society. It hired people to scan fringe news outlets looking for extreme content to publish and amplify. The goal was “a visceral, emotional reaction, ideally one of indignation … a kind of explosion.” Because it was a “Western agenda,” feminism was an obvious target, especially publishing accounts supposedly by Black women to promote racial divisions. Russian accounts pretended to be “resentful trans women, poor women, and anti-abortion women. They dismissed the marchers as pawns of the Jewish billionaire George Soros. And they derided the women who planned to participate, often in crudely sexual terms.”

Meanwhile, the Russians developed a more effective line of messaging, using Sarsour. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had featured her at a 2016 campaign event, troubling New York’s pro-Israel politicians because of her support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to obtain Palestinian rights. The Women’s March was accused of tolerating anti-Semitism.

Forty-eight hours after the march, Russian posts called Sarsour “a radical jihadi who had infiltrated American feminism.” Posts used such falsehoods as the claim that she was a radical Islamist, “a pro-ISIS Anti USA Jew Hating Muslim” who “was seen flashing the ISIS sign.” They moved on to tweeting that “Sarsour favored imposing Shariah law in the United States.” This message initially received 1,686 replies, 8,046 retweets, and 6,256 likes. The next day, 1,157 right-wing accounts picked up the narrative, publishing 1,659 posts on the subject.

From all over the country, hate mail poured into Sarsour’s nonprofit immigrant advocacy organization, the Arab American Association of New York. By spring, the divisive politics drowned out ideas behind the Women’s March. Her invitation to be graduation speaker at the City University of New York’s graduate school of public health brought far-right polemicist Milo Yiannopoulos to the city in protest, attracting “a strange mix, including right-leaning Jews and Zionists, commentators like Pamela Geller, and some members of the alt-right.” Yiannopoulos told them, “Linda Sarsour is a Shariah-loving, terrorist-embracing, Jew-hating, ticking time bomb of progressive horror.”

The Russian troll accounts came from GRU, its largest military intelligence agency with the hashtag “#CancelSarsour.” After no incident at the graduation speech, trolls waited for her to say something divisive. That summer she told a Muslim audience near Chicago to protest unjust government policies as “the best form of jihad.” In Islam, the term refers to any virtuous struggle, but people in the U.S. think of it as a holy war. Trolls produced 184 posts in a single day, and the audience responded with 6,222 retweets and 6,549 likes followed by a strong focus on Sarsour. Protesters at a kosher barbecue restaurant demanded her brother be fired as manager. He left the job and then New York. Her mother received a self-published book, A Jihad Grows in Brooklyn, falsely claiming to be Sarsour’s autobiography and illustrated with family photographs.  

Barry wrote:

“It is maddeningly difficult to say with any certainty what effect Russian influence operations have had on the United States, because when they took hold they piggybacked on real social divisions. Once pumped into American discourse, the Russian trace vanishes, like water that has been added to a swimming pool.”

Internal disputes of the Women’s March had started during its formation. A Jewish organizer Vanessa Wruble was pushed out after difficult discussions with co-chairs Carmen Perez, Tamika Mallory about the role of Jews in structural racism. Rachel Timoner, the senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn said “discomfort” with Sarsour “had dampened enthusiasm among some Jewish progressives.” She said she defended Sarsour against “racist and Islamophobic” attacks, but Sarsour would then say “something inflammatory and ‘ultimately indefensible.” Timoner said Jews wondered if “were being excluded from progressive movements.”

A year after the 2017 Women’s March, Mallory attended the annual gathering of the Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan. She refused to disavow him because the Nation of Islam was considered “crusaders against urban violence” although she didn’t share his anti-Semitic position. Sarsour and Perez supported Mallory, and progressive groups distanced themselves from the three co-chairs. Perez and Sarsour stepped down from their positions as did another co-chair, Bob Bland.

Russian trolls were busy posting about Farrakhan and the Women’s March leaders in spring 2018. By that summer, however, Twitter suspended 3,841 accounts traced to Russia’s Internet Research Agency but kept 10 million of their tweets for research study. In the fall, Twitter suspended 414 accounts from Russia’s GRU but kept its work.

“With that, a chorus of voices went silent—accounts that, for years, had helped shape American conversations about Black Lives Matter, the Mueller investigation and NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. The record of the messaging around the Women’s March breaks off there, too, frozen in time.”

Shireen Mitchell, a technology analyst who has studied Russian interference in Black online discourse and the founder of Stop Online Violence against Women, said about the Russian trolls’ seeding ideas:

“It’s the priming of all that, starting from the beginning. If those thousand tweets hit a division between the groups that matter, if they open and allow that division, it’s no longer a crack. It becomes a valley.”

Under new leadership, the Women’s March continued, but the controversy lost many women electrified by the first one. Seattle resident JeanetteTaylor-Skinner who founded The Electorette, a podcast directed to progressive women, said she lost the feeling of unity:

“Just thinking about it, I still feel a bit unmoored from any central movement. There was a coalition possibly forming here that has been broken up.”

Five years after the monumental 2017 Women’s March, Sarsour is no longer considered as a future political candidate but hopes to continue as an activist:

“I’m never going to get a real job [at a major nonprofit or a corporation]. That’s the kind of impact that these things have on our lives.”

The academic journal International Journal of Communication published data on Russian messaging connected to the Women’s March late in 2021 in a review of state interference in feminist movements. Coauthor Samantha Bradshaw said that “movements … are fragile structures, often unprepared to weather well-resourced state-backed sabotage campaigns, especially when combined with algorithms that promote negative content.”

Sarsour was surprised about the research:

“All that time, the Russian government had been thinking about her. She had long had a sense of where her critics came from: the American right wing, and supporters of Israel. A foreign government — that was something that had never occurred to her.”

She said:

“To think that Russia is going to use me, it’s much more dangerous and sinister. What does Russia get out of leveraging my identity, you know, to undermine movements that were anti-Trump in America—I guess.”

Learning about what Russian trolls had done helped her understand what happened. She called Mallory and said, “We weren’t crazy.”

[Note: Despite the rigorous studies of Russian trolling and a history of its past, many of the comments to the article reflect the opinion that Russians have no influence on people in the U.S. and describe Sarsour in highly negative terms. In some cases, Russia wins.—Editor]

September 1, 2020

DDT Foments Violence in His America for Personal Benefit

Today, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) visited Kenosha (WI), site of police shooting an unarmed Black man seven times in the back in front of three of his small children. Jacob Blake, the injured man, is lying in a hospital bed, paralyzed from the waist down. Public backlash caused the police to remove his handcuffs and leg restraints.

DDT didn’t go to Kenosha to comfort anyone or bring unity. He wanted to talk to law enforcement and survey damaged property. He has already defended a 17-year-old teenager from another state who shot three people, killing two of them and injuring the third. The teen could not legally possess the gun in Illinois because a parent or guardian didn’t sign off for his owning the gun, and he couldn’t legally carry it in Wisconsin. He went to Kenosha to fight protesters, but DDT said he killed the people out of self-defense. The first unarmed man who the teen killed had thrown a plastic bag at the teenager and then chased him to take his gun. DDT lied about saying the teen was attacked when he killed the first man. [Right: police face off protester.]

State and local officials—the governor, the attorney general, and the town’s mayor—asked DDT to not come to the town in an attempt to keep the peace. Only a former alderman, who co-founded the Kenosha Guard attacking protesters, wanted DDT present. While in Kenosha, DDT called police abusing Black people “some bad apples,” denied any systemic racism in law enforcement and the U.S., and attacked anyone who disagreed with him “all Democrat.” Although there were few fight in the city today, the mood was tense. DDT also falsely took credit for the National Guard deployments authorized by the state governor.

DDT claimed he went to Kenosha because he had “such success” in other cities where sending in his personal militia “shut down [the violence] immediately.” Presumably he was talking about Portland (OR) where DDT agents caused such large protests that they had to leave in a month. The protests calmed down until caravans of white supremacists—mostly from out of state—invaded Portland. Last Saturday one of them was killed after Proud Boys, Three Percenters, and American Guard drove over 1,000 vehicles throughout the city and fired paint balls at demonstrators. DDT said protesters “shot a young gentleman and killed him—not with paint, but with a bullet. And I think it’s disgraceful.” [Left: Paintball guns carried by the radical right could appear to be real guns in a stress situation.]

Last Sunday, Joe Biden condemned violence “whether on the left or the right.” Six hours later, DDT denounced Biden for not criticizing what he called “the Anarchists, Thugs & Agitators in ANTIFA,” leading his supporters to also accuse Biden of ignoring the violence. This timeline shows Biden’s condemnation of the violence—on both sides—for a week. Meanwhile, DDT lied, “Portland has been burning for many years, for decades it’s been burning.” He repeatedly assert that protesters there wanted to kill Mayor Ted Wheeler while he praises his radical right supporters’ violence as he always has.

Cops continue to kill unarmed Blacks in the United States of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). While 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee was riding his bicycle, Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies stopped him for an unspecified traffic violation. He dropped his bike and began to run away. A block away, he punched a deputy in the face and dropped clothing with a semi-automatic handgun. Officers shot Kizzee at least five times; witnesses heard more bullets fired. One witness saw him put his hands in their air after dropping the clothing and gun.

Last night, DDT went off the rails during an interview with Fox’s Laura Ingraham, despite her attempt to protect him. In one piece of the session, DDT compared police who kill unarmed Black men and use other excessive force to golfers. He said, “They choke. Just like in a golf tournament, they miss a three-foot putt.” Ingraham responded, “You’re not comparing it to golf,” but DDT didn’t deny he wasn’t making that comparison.

In another segment, he repeated a QAnon conspiracy as if it were fact. DDT tried to prove Joe Biden is “weak” with his claim Biden was “controlled like a puppet” by “people you’ve never heard of. People that are in the dark shadows. They’re people that are in the streets, they’re people that are controlling the streets.” Protesters in Portland are paid by this shadow group, according to DDT—and QAnon. He continued by saying funding for a “revolution” is coming from “very stupid rich people that have no idea that if their thing ever succeeded, which it won’t, they would be thrown to the wolves like never before.” These funding groups are “a Marxist organization,” DDT said.

Again, Ingraham tried to divert him by saying, “That sounds like a conspiracy theory.” DDT failed to pick up the cue he sounded crazy and kept on going about a planeload of “thugs” flying to an unspecified location to cause trouble.

“We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend. And in the plane, it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that. A lot of the people were on the plane to do big damage.”

When Ingraham asked for details, he said he couldn’t tell her right now, but he would “sometime.” Today, DDT repeated his conspiracy theory to the press, and QAnon members used his comments as proof that a shadowy group of elites works to undermine DDT. Conspiracy theory researcher Travis View tweeted:

“He’s a hairsbreadth away from just pushing Illuminati, Freemasonry, and Rothschild conspiracy theories. Trump kept the identity of the ‘shadowy’ enemy vague, so conspiracy theorists can fill it with their favorite villain. Some choose China, the Deep State, or ‘Elites.’ Though some prefer the stronger antisemitic twang of ‘banking families.’”

Avowed conservative Bill Kristol noted this morning, “When Laura Ingraham is amazed by something Donald Trump has said, and tries to save him from himself, Donald Trump has jumped the shark.” 

DDT’s craziness followed with the 89 tweets and retweets from Sunday morning, one retweet from OAN blaming “this coup attempt” on “a well funded network of anarchists trying to take down the President.”

Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, agrees with DDT’s retiring counselor that increasing violence will help DDT in his reelection campaign. And radical right Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) supports DDT in defending the teenager’s killing two people in Kenosha. DDT is doing nothing to stop the problems except threaten everyone who may not be his followers with attacks by his militia and the National Guard. Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein questioned whether “suburban voters look at these pictures and say, ‘yes, where I belong is in the same political coalition as men who crowd into pickup trucks w/guns, as in Bosnia 1998 or a Third World dictatorship?’”

In 2019, DDT said in an interview with Breitbart:

“I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump—I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough—until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

Two years earlier, he told police, “Please don’t be too nice.” DDT is pushing them to this “certain point.”

At the convention, DDT promised a wonderful life would begin on November 3. Why not now?

“Law and order” without law also has no “order.” DDT doesn’t want “law” for the perpetrators of violence, whether civilians or police. He couldn’t even follow the law in his own convention last week. Instead of trying to bring “law and order” through peace, he escalates the rage with praise for white supremacists and rage for everyone else, including a call for jailing New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the Democrat who finally quelled the COVID-19 surge in his area. In addition to demanding imprisonment of political foes, which he’s done for a half-decade, he encourages violence for his personal benefit from private mobs and undermines civil authorities.

Like all good authoritarians, DDT uses his party members to manipulate investigations and smear his opponent, tells everyone in his administration to refuse to cooperate with Congress, invites foreign election interference for his benefit, stops vote by people who might oppose him, dismisses competent nonpartisan government officials to replace them with loyalists, uses agents from the Executive Branch as his personal militia, packs the courts, makes money off laws and rules he creates and changes, allows the Russians to put bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers, and increases civil disorder as a campaign strategy.

As of today, September 1, 2020, another 1,164 deaths from COVID-19 brought the U.S. total to 188,900 after another part of DDT’s campaign strategy allowed the virus to continue unabated, thus making Democratic states look bad. The 41,9479 cases in the past day brought the U.S. total to 6,257,571. The U.S. still has no national testing program, and the death rate per capita is higher than any other advanced countries. That’s life in DDT’s America.

August 28, 2020

DDT’s ‘America’ on Anniversary of ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech

[Correction from August 27, 2020, post on Nel New Day: DDT [Dictator Donald Trump] did keep his promise to cut down on immigration across the southern border, but he did not mention the process would include abusing and molesting children, sexually assaulting women, separating families, and depriving immigrants of decent healthcare, food, and shelter.] Also, DDT wanted to “maim” and “shoot” immigrants seeking asylum on the southern border. 

Last Tuesday on the second RNC night, a 17-year-old from Antioch (IL) shot three protesters in Kenosha (WI), killing two of them. Two days earlier, police shot unarmed Jacob Blake in the back seven times in front of his three of his small children on the birthday of the oldest. Paralyzed from the waist down, Blake was handcuffed to his hospital bed until a public outcry. Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who spoke to Blake’s father, said:

“His first question after he woke up was, ‘Daddy, why did they shoot me so many times?’ He wept to his father. He has restraints on even though he can’t move his legs.”

Police claim, without witnesses or evidence, they shot Blake because he put them in a headlock and refused to drop a knife he was carrying. Police had no body cameras.

Classmates remember the teenage killer as being short-tempered and easily offended, focused on loving guns, cops, DDT, and “triggering the libs.” They joked about his being a future mass shooter, and one of them said, “I personally believe he went to Wisconsin with the intent to kill.” When the teen joined militia members in Kenosha, the city police thanked him for being there and gave him a bottle of water although he was breaking the 8:00 pm curfew. An hour later, he shot a protester in the head and tried to run away. After he tripped and fell, he opened fire on two protesters chasing him, killing one and injuring the other. Police drove by him as he tried to surrender. The police chief justified law enforcement action by claiming tunnel vision in “high-stress” situations. (A video trail of the police ignoring the teenager killing people.) 

A new report from the Brennan Center for Justice, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” shows how white supremacist groups or violent far-right militias  infiltrated law enforcement agencies in at least ten states, including my home state of Oregon. In Kenosha, the ACLU has called for the resignations of Police Chief Daniel Miskinis, who blamed protesters for being shot and killed and Kenosha Sheriff David Beth who said Black shoplifters are “a cancer to our society” and “have to be warehoused.” Read the Brennan report here. 

Twitter forced conservative pundit Ann Coulter to delete her tweet calling on the teenager to be her “president.” It followed another tweet recommending the teen be a “bodyguard.” Fox’s Tucker Carlson suggested the teen’s actions were noble. The killer’s first murder was of another White man carrying a skateboard.

A judge is permitting the white teenager, witnessed in killing two people and injuring a third, to stay in Illinois until a September 25 hearing. The purpose of the delay, according to the judge, is for the killer to put together a legal team. The personal lawyer for Fox network’s Sean Hannity, L. Lin Wood, announced he is raising money and coordinating legal representation for the vigilante murderer. A QAnon member, Wood also represented the case against the media by Kentucky teenager, Nick Sandmann, after he was accused to blocking an Indigenous activist at the Lincoln Memorial last year. Sandmann was a speaker for DDT at this week’s GOP convention.

A journalist for Mother Jones described the difference in treatment for Jacob Blake, a Black, and the teenager, a White:

“Jacob Blake was shot several times in the back while walking away from police officers. Kyle Rittenhouse made it all the way home before being arrested. Law and order is only for certain people.”

Conservatives complain about the violence of leftist activists, but radical right counterprotesters are causing violence in cities and towns across the U.S. At a Democratic rally for candidate Hank Gilbert in Tyler (TX) on July 26, Paul Benson tried to protect the speakers from DDT-supporters with military-style rifles who charged into the town of 100,000 population. The rally was intended to oppose deploying federal agents to U.S. cities and register new Democratic voters in conservative east Texas 100 miles southeast of Dallas. Hundreds the radical right pushed and shoved people. A man punched voter deputy registrar Nancy Nichols in the chest, three others held her husband against a war memorial, and Gilbert’s top aid was injured. The thugs blew air horns over the candidate’s speech, shouted and jeered, and pulled the plug on his sound system. Others surrounded the square in military-style defensive formation.

A Tyler councilman connected to Texas Freedom Fighters and Oath Keepers came with an AR-15 and a .45-caliber pistol. He had at least six more guns in his logging truck parked nearby and wants to keep the liberals from unfairly stealing the election from DDT. Police said they held back from the town square because they didn’t want to “escalate the situation.” Supposedly, they moved in after the radical right started the violence. They did file assault charges against three people, including a local businessman. Nichols said she plans to continue appearing at events to register people but said:

“If I see the presence of these goons, I will immediately call the police, the constables, the sheriff, the county judge and anyone else I can think of to make sure there is protection there for everyone.”

In a disturbance at Weatherford (TX) 160 miles west of Tyler, heavily armed counterprotesters, including far-right Texas-based group members, clashed over removing a Confederate statue from the Parker County Courthouse. Tony Crawford, a leader of the Parker County Progressives, talked to the police about having protection, but law enforcement never appeared, despite calls for help, when social media brought busloads from Dallas and Fort Worth, heavily armed, spitting on the rally, throwing water bottles at them, and chasing demonstrators back to their vehicles. The police chief of Weatherford, population 31,000, said city and county law enforcement agencies lacked the ability to police the event.

A week later, hundreds of motorists, many with DDT and Confederate flags, police were called to break up a gathering when hundreds of motorists, many flying Trump and Confederate flags, descended on an historical Black church in Dallas displaying a two-story Black Lives Matter sign.

People marching from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. for the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington were subjected to slurs, arrests, and gunfire.  On August 28, 57 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial. Last Monday night, the first night of the GOP convention, one of the marchers was shot in the face and side with bird shot in Schellsburg (PA) while the group rested near a salvage yard on U.S. 30, known as Lincoln Highway. The business owner said the marchers refused to leave the parking lot, but the leader said they “never even had a conversation” with him or the shooter. Two marchers were arrested in Indiana, accused of blocking traffic. 

Take America Back Texas, a new group surging to over 10,000 members in less than three months, orchestrates attacks on rallies such as those in Tyler and Weatherford. PR director Wendi Rees, a conservative, White suburban mother in Tyler, repeated the GOP mantra about losing “constitutional rights” although she mentioned only First and Second Amendments.

In the Tyler debacle, other radical right groups joined Take America Back Texas, including Rep. Louie Gohmert’s (R-TX) supporters, members of Texas militia groups, and the white-supremacist Aryan Brotherhood. People who attended compared the event to public lynchings in the square persisting into the 1900s. A Black retired Army nurse who served in Iraq said seeing the people with “lots and lots of weapons” was “devastating.”

White vigilantes and radical-right thugs have shown up to inject violence into Black Lives Matter protests at least 497 times in the three months since George Floyd was killed, according to data collected by Alexander Reid Ross, a doctoral fellow at the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right. Vigilante crimes include driving cars into demonstrators 38 times and firing guns at protesters nine times. Three people died from their wounds. In at least two events, law enforcement approved or supported the vigilantes. A sheriff’s deputy wore a “III Percenters” militia patch while policing a protest, and Portland (OR) police stood and watched the neo-fascist gang the Proud Boys attack peaceful protesters in the street. While the police arrested 22 protesters, they didn’t bother the Proud Boys leader who had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.  

Never mentioning the violence of the radical right, speakers at the GOP convention dwelt on a view of the dark, violent world under Joe Biden. DDT’s approval of the radical right is creating this dark violence during personal crime-ridden administration. 

Today, thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial on the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington to protest the inequalities within the “justice” system. Unlike the RNC, the Black Lives Matter event required temperature checks, masks, and social distancing.

U.S. daily COVID-19 cases are rising—49,601 in the last 24 hours bringing the total to 6,096,235. Deaths remain above 1,000—1,105 with the total at 185,901. Iowa saw a record surge of almost 80 percent positivity rate with 2,579 positive cases from 3,247 tests. 

June 7, 2020

Week 176 – Some Positive Events

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser wants a peaceful city, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wants to turn Bowser’s city into a war zone. A military planner wanted guidance for the U.S. Northern Command in determining “route restrictions” for the “movement of tactical vehicles” and “military forces” from Fort Belvoir, Va., into the city to assist in “Civil Disturbance Operations.” DDT couldn’t get his tanks to the White House for a Fourth of July parade so he’s declaring war on Bowser.

Right now, she’s winning. Bowser just renamed the section of 16th Street in front of the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza” to honor the peaceful protesters. She said:

“There are people who are craving to be heard and to be seen, and to have their humanity recognized, and we had the opportunity to send that message loud and clear on a very important street in our city. And it is that message, and that message is to the American people, that Black Lives Matter black humanity matters, and we as a city raise that up as part of our values as a city.”

Bowser also asked DDT to remove all “extraordinary” law enforcement officers sent to the city as well as writing GOP Gov Mike DeWine of Ohio and Dem Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, ordering them to remove their National Guard troops from DC. She wrote, “I appreciate your service, but your presence encroaches on the rights of 705,000 tax-paying residents.”  

Until today, DDT refused Bowser’s request to remove troops, but he caved in to bad publicity and claims he ordered the National Guard out of DC—“now that everything is under control.” Defense Secretary Mark Esper had already demanded that National Guard use neither firearms nor ammunition and sent active-duty military from DC. Not involved in that decision, DDT spent the week trying to decide whether to fire Esper against the wishes of his advisers. Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy confirmed all 5,240 out-of-state National Guardsmen would be withdrawn from the nation’s capital within 48 to 72 hours and all 1,600 active-duty U.S. troops that had been put on alert outside the city earlier in the week had gone home.

National Guard troops and active military members are checking their options through the GI Rights Network if they refuse to fire on people in the United States. After watching events in the last week, a National Guard member wrote he no longer believes in a justified use of force:

“Most of all, I feel that I cannot be complicit in any way when I’ve seen so many examples of soldiers and police acting in bad faith.”

Protesters in Washington, D.C. have made the White House fortress fence into an exhibition. Posters, ribbons, flags and origami hung from its black holes, forming a makeshift exhibition or archive expressing both anger and grief from the protests. Next to “POLICE-FREE SCHOOLS,” a white shirt pinned to the fence displayed the slogan: “My body is not a target.” Today, DDT hides behind his fence in a “bigger bunker” from an enormous crowd of protesters.

In an emergency meeting last week, the Minneapolis City Council voted to ban police chokeholds and require officer intervention and reporting of any unauthorized use of force that law enforcement officers see. Since the beginning of 2015, officers from the Minneapolis Police Department have used neck restraints causing people to become unconscious at least 44 times, an unusually high number according to police experts. Other mandated reforms are approval by the police chief for tear gas and disciplinary decisions in a timely manner.

Since then, a majority of city council members pledged to dismantle the Police Department because it cannot be reformed. They have no plans but plan to work with the community.

In Denver, a federal court issued a restraining order against Denver Police, prohibiting them from using chemicals and projectiles against peaceful protesters without supervisory approval.

The executive board of MLK Labor, the central body of labor groups which represents more than 150 unions and 100,000 workers in the Seattle, Washington, area approved a resolution to issue an ultimatum to Seattle Police Officers Guild—either address systemic racism or be expelled. With no response by June 13, the council will vote whether to disaffiliate from the Guild. The Minnesota Federation of Labor has ousted openly-racist Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation. Although the AFL-CIO will not expel the police unions, its president Richard Trumka said the labor movement must play a leading role in the racial justice movement “because protesting racial brutality, whether at the hands of a police officer, or a neighbor, or an employer, is not only the right cause. It’s a responsibility.”

Four years ago, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was blackballed for taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racism but started a movement. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement about racism, social injustice, and peaceful protests:

“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter.”

In a tweet, DDT expressed his concern about Goodell’s anti-racist statement.

Hennepin County (MN) won’t get away with its autopsy finding for George Floyd of “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxiation or strangulation.” The complaint had cited “underlying health conditions … likely contributed to his death,” blaming “potential intoxicants” and preexisting cardiovascular disease. An independent autopsy, however, found Floyd died from asphyxia “due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.” In addition, “weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function.”

A Scientific American piece defined the county’s “findings” as gaslighting, “psychological manipulation employed to make a victim question their own sanity, particularly in scenarios where they are mistreated.” The authors continue by explaining gaslighting toward blacks in ways that society blames them for the racist acts. A further explanation about the autopsy and the abuse of gaslighting in the medical field is here.

The county has released a more complete autopsy, listing blunt-force injuries to his face, shoulders, hands, arms, and legs not contributing to his death. It also listed drugs in his system but added that tests are not reliable.

Fox network actually apologized for connecting the death of George Floyd to the increase in the stock market in an “infographic” of S&P 500 correlating with horrific events such as Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination, police acquittal for Rodney King’s killing, the killing of Michael Brown, Jr in Ferguson (MO), and Floyd’s murder—all deaths of unarmed blacks resulting in extreme protests. Initially, Fox Business Insider defended its report but finally admitted to “insensitivity” and lack of “full context.”

In what may have been intended as a free speech move, the New York Times published an op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) inciting violence by encouraging martial law in the U.S. Staffers objected the piece as misinformation by NYT’s standards. The editorial page editor James Bennet has resigned after four years in that position and the deputy editorial page editor James Dao reassigned to the newsroom. Bennet had originally defended the essay but not read it before publication. “Free speech” in the First Amendment doesn’t include inciting danger such as lying about the people who are protesting.

Not all Republicans are fools. Some state GOPs—even in VP Mike Pence’s home state, Indiana—can’t find enough delegates to attend DDT’s anointment for candidacy because of COVID-19.

The Marines directed their corps commanders to “identify, and remove the display of the Confederate battle flag or its depiction within workplaces, common-access areas, and public areas on their installations.” The order is to “support our core values, ensure unit cohesion and security, and preserve good order and discipline.” 

Throughout the South, Confederate monuments are again being removed, following a movement started by a white supremacist killing nine black people at a Bible study. For example, Virginia’s Daughters of the Confederacy removed the statue of a soldier. In Richmond, the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will come down as soon as possible with the approval of Gov. Ralph Northam and other officials. It goes into storage for the time being. Despite protesting state Senate GOP leaders, a fourth-generation descendent of Lee said, “We have created an idol of white supremacy.”

The Center for Democracy & Technology filed a lawsuit against DDT’s “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship” because it violates the First Amendment. His order targeted the federal law protecting tech companies from liability for third-party content on their sites.

Twitter refuses to be bullied. It marked DDT’s tweets for lies and “glorifying violence” and then pulled a four-minute ad campaign video for violating NASA guidelines. Former astronaut Karen L. Nyberg also objected to the photo of her and her son because she had never given consent. Twitter, joined by Facebook, also removed DDT’s campaign tribute video to George Floyd because of copyright complaints

From Sergio Peçanha comes this brilliant photo-essay about DDT’s infamous walk to the church.

June 6, 2020

Are We Tired of Winning?

[Update: Yesterday both the media and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) overlooked a note about a major “error”: the “misclassification error” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics put the unemployment rate at 3 points higher than reported, making it 16.3 percent for May. Other corrections were an increase to 5.4 percent in March and 19.7 percent in April.]

Lt. Bob Kroll is the head of Minneapolis’s police union, and his police officers killed George Floyd with one of them using his knee to press down on the black man’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd had no pulse for the last two minutes and 53 seconds before the officer stopped. In April, Kroll said, “I’ve been involved in three shootings myself, and not one of them has bothered me.” The rest of his comments in this article are equally horrifying. Col. Matt Langer, head of the Minnesota State Patrol, said his officers’ actions “aren’t particularly pretty” but necessary. Their attitude reflects the growing police brutality throughout the United States.

Police brutality is finally exposed by the thousands of videos caught not only by news cameras but by the ubiquitous cellphones. Jim Pasco, executive director of the labor union  Fraternal Order of Police, said:

“We certainly, as a profession, have been diminished by events that have been witnessed on video over the course of the last couple of weeks. And the burden is on us to reestablish and build a relationship with the community. We can’t do our job without the community. So the burden is on us going forward.”

Two other high-profile murders of innocent black people preceding Floyd’s killing exacerbated the anger. In south-eastern Georgia, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was killed on February 23, 2020 while jogging. The unarmed black man was pursued and confronted by a white man and his son in a pickup. The killers were known, but no arrests were made for 74 days, but another white man, also arrested for felony murder, had recorded a video, including the racial slurs.

In the other case, 16-year-old ER tech Breonna Taylor was killed about midnight on March 13 when Louisville plainclothes officers broke into her apartment with a ”no-knock” warrant for two men allegedly selling drugs far away from the apartment. A judge signed a warrant for Taylor’s apartment because a detective had lied about the drug-dealers using the apartment for packages. Taylor, also a university student, and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were asleep. A licensed gun owner, Walker grabbed his gun and called 911; police fired, hitting Taylor eight times. Police found no drugs in the apartment and had already found the suspect in the investigation before breaking into Taylor’s apartment. The warrant was illegally obtained; no one has been charged for the killing. 

U.S. attitudes toward police brutality since a law enforcement officer killed Michael Brown in Ferguson (MO) have changed. Six years ago, 43 percent viewed Brown’s killing as part of the problem in police treatment of blacks. That number increased to 74 percent after police killed George Floyd. Police talk about being yelled at, having water bottles and other projectiles thrown at them. Yet the videos of police force show them dressed in riot gear and violently pushing demonstrators around. T. Greg Doucette, a Durham (NC) lawyer, collects these videos to prove the problems are not just one time and not just one police officer. He’s up to 310 from cities all over the United States.

One video shows a high-level Philadelphia police officer beating protesters on the head with his baton, including a 21-year-old Temple University student, before he arrests the young man. Two days later, the protester was released after the officer was found to be lying and taken off street duty and after he was again filmed beating a protester. Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner said he is charging the officer.

The Kentucky National Guard killed a black Louisville (KY) chef, David McAtee, who often fed police officers for free. Police left McAtee’s body lying in the street for over 12 hours. Police body cameras were not activated during the shooting, and the city mayor fired Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad. A bystander who livestreamed the tragedy said the gathering was “there chilling,” not protesting—eating, drinking, and listening to music in the parking lot—before large numbers of police and National Guard members arrived and told them to leave.

A video from Buffalo shows a 75-year-old man trying to give a police officer a paper. The officer pushes him to the sidewalk where he lay, inert and bleeding from an ear. He is in the hospital in serious condition. When one officer tried to lean over the prone man, a colleague grabbed him, and they all walked on. The police department originally said the man “tripped and fell,” but the emergence of the video forced them to change their story. The two officers who shoved the man are suspended without pay, and 57 law enforcement members of the Emergency Response Team resigned in protest for the discipline although they stayed with the police department. A police union official said the suspended officers who injured the man were “simply following orders.” The two officers are now facing second-degree assault

Pandering to his base, DDT urged law enforcement to be much harder on the protesters and falsely lumped them all together as “low life” and “scum” led by far-left antifa and anarchists. An authority on crowd control procedures and author of a guidebook about it, Edward Maguire, said many police chiefs seem to do the opposite of recommendations for effective control. Policing groups’ crowd-control tactics advise against using armor-clad officers unless absolutely necessary because it reduces their inhibitions about using force and makes protesters more violent by dehumanizing officers. AG Bill Barr’s new secret police throughout Washington, D.C. who refuse to give their name or affiliation show how police can cause violence.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker received reports of more than 300 violations of press freedoms between May 25 and June 3, including physical assault, arrest, and damage or seizure of equipment. Those reports usually number about 100 to 150 a year. Claims came from free-lancing journalists to AP and CNN reporters, all identifying themselves as members of media. Despite Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s promise to stop the attacks against journalists after black/Latino reporter Omar Jimenez was arrested on May 29, law enforcement in Minneapolis didn’t let up, and police followed their example across the U.S. The year 2019 saw only 34 reported assaults against reporters through the entire 12 months.

In several cities, police deliberately destroyed water bottles, snacks, and medical supplies for demonstrators, sometimes in a tent for that purpose and other times at locations such as LGBTQ bars in Raleigh (NC), Des Moines (IA), and the legendary Stonewall Inn in Manhattan. After they slashed everything, they gassed the supplies to give people chemical burns if they were used. Law enforcement also beat and arrested medics and others present.

Like the lawyer, I started keeping track of the police brutality, but the list has become too long for a blog post. Here are a few “highlights” from reports and videos. Sometimes police stopped when they saw they were being recorded; other times, they continued.

Police used the same knee technique as on Floyd in Seattle and Sarasota (FL) while victims begged for help. 

Police permanently blinded in one eye at least two journalist, free-lance journalist Linda Tirado in Minneapolis hit with a “less-lethal” bullet weekend editor at a local television station Balin Brake, 21, by a police-thrown teargas cannister that ruptured his eye and fractured the occipital bone.  

Police hit a black student recording the protest in Austin (TX) in the back of his head with a bean bag projectile causing severe brain damage.  

Peaceful protesters weren’t exempt from violence: Huntsville (AL) police shot tear gas and rubber bullets because protesters’ permit expired an hour earlier; a Charleston (SC) policeman arrested a young kneeling black man who gave a speech about love and peace; New Orleans police teargassed demonstrators who refused to leave a bridge; Columbus (OH) police pepper-sprayed Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), 70, who tried to de-escalate a situation; Dallas police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at kneeling, non-violent demonstrators and others who chanted “hands up, don’t shoot”; they fired a projectile at a young woman walking home with groceries.

Police pepper-sprayed journalists with the Detroit Free Press ; Andrea Sahouri of the Des Moines Register; and Kaitlin Rust of WAVE 3 in Louisville (KY). Others were hit with projectiles such as Cerise Castle with the NPR affiliate in LA or punched them such as LA reporter Lexis-Olivier Ray. They and others arrested and harassed all identified themselves as media; police frequently responded, “I don’t care.”

Two NYPD SUVs drove into a group of protesters.

Arrested journalists include Bridget Bennett, Agence France-Presse and Ellen Schmidt Las Vegas Review-Journal.  

And more.

Some police have been fired, such as the police chief at Troy University (AL) who said Floyd caused his own death and two police officers in Atlanta for using excessive force.

White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, claimed the US. law enforcement has no systemic racism. He claimed the “99.9% of our law enforcement officers are great Americans.”

Are you tired of winning?

June 4, 2020

Is ‘Divide & Conquer’ Working?

What a bizarre week! And to say that after the chaos created by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) for almost four years is not done lightly. In the space of two days, DOD Secretary Mark Esper claimed that he had no idea why he was walking after DDT for a photo-op, opposed deploying the military against protesters through the Insurrection Act of 1807, said he would send city police forces and National Guard back to their home bases, wouldn’t send them back after talking to DDT, and then changed his mind—again—to say he would send 700 troops home. And he decided he did know that he was going with DDT to his photo-op at the church across the street after firing tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters. His other confusion was who was responsible for the flight of helicopters flying low over the streets to kick up debris that can physically hurt peaceful protesters. He could have read the media: Ryan McCarthy, Army secretary, and Gen. James C. McConville, the Army chief of staff, organized the attack from an FBI command center complete with maps.

Then there’s the bunker fiasco. Angered by looking weak, DDT lied about seeking safety in the White House protective area last Friday and said that he was giving it an “inspection.” Anyone who read Andy Borowitz’s satiric piece about the “inspection” might think it was a joke. Borowitz wrote that DDT “discovered that the underground facility was covered in dust because Barack Obama never used it.” In the humor piece, Borowitz said that President Obama was “disrespectful to the bunker” for not using it. In the satire, DDT also pointed out that Barack Obama “never used the Insurrection Act of 1807,” concluding, “I don’t even know why Obama wanted to be President… Obama is a mess.” DDT really did lie about the fact that he was sent to the bunker for safety, resulting in a number of protest signs reading “Bunker Bitch.”

Military leaders, past and present, are fed up with DDT’s politicizing the military and violating law and the Constitution by threatening to send the military to fire on protesters. In a Foreign Policy piece, John Allen, retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general, and former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, vigorously opposed DDT’s divisive and bragging comments about how his MAGA supporters “love African American people. They love black people. MAGA loves the black people.” Allen wrote:

White supremacists have murdered, lynched, tortured, terrorized, oppressed, and discriminated against black Americans from the beginning of the idea of America. They have killed black Americans by the thousands, often in the most horrific ways imaginable. Far more damage to the United States has come from these terrorists—fascists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis, all feeling newly empowered today—than those who have opposed them.”

Allen continued about the irony of a president who called himself the “ally of peaceful protesters” who uses tear gas to attack a peaceful demonstration with no provocation.

DDT wasn’t finished with co-opting St. John’s Episcopal Church for his Monday photo-op; he told federal police to block clergy from using the same church by closing a street. Bishop Mariann Budde planned a vigil today to show solidarity for protesters on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre when the authoritarian Chinese government used military to kill hundreds or thousands of protesters gathering peacefully for democratic reforms. Without a vigil, she held a sit down and discussion. At the nearby AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, protesters had water, snacks, and other supplies for people in the 90-degree weather.

The DEA also has complete authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests. The statute limits DEA to enforcing drug-related federal crimes, but Timothy Shea, Barr’s close friend, said he has approval for the DEA “to perform other law enforcement duties” Barr may “deem appropriate.” Barr said the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law” blaming, with no evidence, “anarchistic and far left extremists.” Agents are to share intelligence with state and local law enforcement authorities.

Barr already militarized prison guards and possibly others to move through Washington, D.C. revealing neither their affiliation nor their personal identities. No one knows what assignments any of these people have. They do belong to a military operation, however—“Operation Themis,” meaning “Divine Law and Order.” And they have bayonets as well as riot gear. The Lincoln Monument, honoring the president who freed the slaves, now has military troops to protect the president who wants to enslave black protesters. 

The FBI has found no evidence that Antifa, the far-left people Barr and DDT blamed for the protests, has any involvement. Reports indicate that white supremacist groups pretend to be Antifa. Twitter has already taken down a troll account belonging to the far-right white nationalist group Evropa called ANTIFA_US and claiming to be part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Three former servicemen, active in the far-right “boogaloo” movement to create chaos through violence with racist civil war as the goal, were arrested for attempting that in Las Vegas. Antifa, meaning anti-fascism, has no organization but a common purpose of opposition to the far-right authoritarianism. The White House got caught accusing “professional anarchists” of “staging bricks and weapons to instigate violence,” but the cage of bricks was a security measure to protect the Chabad of Sherman Oaks (CA) from being rammed by anti-Semitic car ramming attacks. The same lies were made about bins of blocks left on a street corner seven miles away from protests.

Most GOP legislators, as cowardly as DDT, used dodge and duck to avoid questions about DDT’s behavior. Only three Republican senators—Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mitt Romney (UT), and Ben Sasse (NE)—criticized DDT’s actions. Even those three didn’t mind gassing people to get a photo-op at the church. Murkowski and Romney came around after the Atlantic published James Mattis’ criticism about DDT. The rest of GOP senators? It’s the media’s fault. Didn’t see it. I have to go to lunch. No comment. Photographer Jerry Avenaim tweeted about Ron Johnson’s (WI) hadn’t seen DDT’s statements:

“This was the same response in Nazi Germany.”

In The New Republic, Adam Weinstein wrote that the fear of speaking truth among DDT’s GOP parallels the slide toward fascism of Hitler and Mussolini almost a century ago. Weinstein added:

“The message of this federal government is unambiguous. The message is: Join the fascist party. We’re winning.”

Robert Reich described the lack of condemnation as simple cowardice.

To most Republican legislators, government overreach is being able to not get a haircut—not attacking, injuring, and arresting members of the media and other U.S. residents, sometimes for just a photo-op.  

Tens of thousands of protesters are still marching every night, breaking curfew but being much more law abiding as some law enforcement are going after the far-right white supremacists trying to infiltrate the demonstrators and violently incite a racial civil war. Other groups are stepping in to support the attempts to preserve democracy in the United States. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the unwarranted federal use of force at the peaceful Washington, D.C. protest naming DDT, AG Bill Barr, and other federal officials as defendants.

In Minnesota, the charges against the police officer killing George Floyd with his knee has been raised to 2nd-degree murder, and the watching officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. The state of Minnesota filed a human rights complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department for the murder. For decades, the city police department has faced allegations of brutality and other discrimination against blacks and other minorities, even from within the department

The ACLU is also filing lawsuits throughout the country because of attacks, assaults, and arrests of journalists.

Minneapolis Public Schools, University of Minnesota, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted to end their relationships with the police department. Schools will no longer use law enforcement as school resource officers, and the park police uniforms will be redesigned so that they don’t look like police uniforms.

Los Angeles is cutting the police department budget by to $150 million while investing in marginalized communities, including housing, health, education, and environmental projects. Before the police brutality before the protests, the proposal was an increase of seven percent. The police get 54 percent of city funds.

Throughout DDT’s declaring war on the U.S. people, he ignores COVID-19, with deaths over 110,000 and infections closing in on two million at 1,924,051 on June 4. The U.S. is almost at the top of larger countries at the per capita confirmed cases, slightly below Spain. 

June 2, 2020

(Pro)Fascism, Not ‘Fools’

After Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) delivered his speech in the Rose Garden yesterday about sending the military against protesters throughout the United States without permission from the states, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) tweeted:

“The fascist speech Donald Trump just delivered verged on a declaration of war against American citizens.”

Wyden is known for careful speech, and he didn’t use the F word carelessly. Before DDT’s election in 2016, John McNeill, professor of history, described characteristics of fascism: hyper-nationalism, militarism, glorification of violence, fetishization of masculinity, leader cult, lost-golden-age syndrome, purges of the disloyal, and theatricality. In this article, McNeill tried to prove that DDT was not a fascist, but the past three years have proved differently. In his book The Anatomy of Fascism,  Robert Paxton, an expert in the subject, has more characteristics such as scapegoating, demonizing, playing the victim, and males as leaders. Major parts of fascism are also controlling the media, manipulation through the most common religion, and suppressing labor rights to protect corporate power.

Wyden is right: DDT fulfilled fascist expectations—many yesterday afternoon between his Rose Garden speech threatening to send the military against U.S. people and then clearing peaceful protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets for a photo-op at a church. An official said he wanted to look strong by gassing people after being called “Bunker Boy” for hiding out two days earlier. At least one Episcopal priest, Rev. Gini Gerbasi (right), and a seminarian were expelled from the church’s patio, and both were affected by tear gas. Gerbasi was wearing clerical garb. [visual pastor]

The blame game for DDT’s poorly-orchestrated photo-op, where he held the Bible upside down, has flown fast and furious but keeps coming back to DDT. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley supposedly thought that they were in Lafayette Square “to review efforts to quell the protests,” but Milley followed the photo-op by stalking the streets of Washington in combat fatigues as if it was he were planning a military assault in a war zone. DDT seems to be at fault, and the White House ordered military helicopters to fly low over peaceful protesters in Washington to incite fear and physically hurt them. 

About DDT’s photo-op, the outraged bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Mariann Budde, said:

“The president just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese, without permission, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our churches stand for.”

This morning, DDT, down in the polls by 12 points with white Catholics, had a photo-op at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. Like Budde, Catholic Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory was angry. He made this statement:  

“I find it baffling that and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree.”

DDT also held up a bible so that everyone could identify it. Evan Osnos called DDT’s show “an unholy production” and described the scene in Layfayette Park before police attacked with tear gas and rubber bullets, one of the victims a pastor from the church for the photo-op:

“Men and women, along the sunny edge of Lafayette Park, chanted and knelt. A young boy and girl, flanking their father, held protest signs. A vender touted coronavirus masks bearing the grim slogan of our time: ‘I Can’t Breathe…’’

“The scene was quieter than it had been for hours. Holding aloft a yellow sign reading ‘Trump Coward,’ Anita, a Virginia woman with long blond hair, told me, ‘I am a registered Republican. This man has disgraced my political party. I will be changing political parties after this.’ She wore black capri pants and a white T-shirt with the American flag on it. For a while, she explained, she had credited Trump with a strong economy. For more than three years, she stayed loyal; she liked to imagine that he was best for business. She said, ‘I gave him that much time. And, as the days have gone by, the insult from this President is just too much to take….’

“’Yesterday was it,” she said. She had watched the video of Floyd’s death, and it left her shaken. ‘Any one of us with even a little bit of humanity, it absolutely broke our hearts.’ Her voice cracked. “Every police department in this country needs to change. They should never be allowed to touch a person’s head or neck. Why would they even need to do that?’

“She went on, ‘It makes you question—what have they done in the past that we don’t know about, that’s not on video? All of the complaints from the black community now become just real complaints that have been happening. The reality of what they’ve been living in for years just becomes that much more real…’”

Osnos continued with a description of DDT’s speech and the aftermath:

“At 6:40, twenty minutes before a curfew was to go into effect, police with riot shields on their arms pressed toward the crowd, driving it back, as some people held their hands in the air. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as men and women scattered. Officers swung batons at reporters holding cameras and microphones.

“In the Rose Garden, reporters could hear flash grenades detonating on the streets outside. Trump, looking tense and reading from a teleprompter… Declaring himself a ‘President of law and order,’ he called the looting and violent demonstrations ‘acts of domestic terror.’ He vowed to ‘dominate the streets’ and promised an ‘overwhelming law-enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled.’ He added, ‘If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them…’

“CNN carried the President’s remarks on a split screen with images of police advancing through the crowds. A moment later, a chyron noted, ‘Trump says he’s an “ally of peaceful protesters” as police fire tear gas, rubber bullets on peaceful protesters near WH…’

“Trump stalked across the park, weaving past the monuments, with his security detail skittering around him. When he reached the sanctuary, he did not go inside. Instead, he turned toward the camera, and members of his entourage assembled into a tableau so bizarre that it took a moment to understand what was unfolding. He held up a Bible and posed with it for the cameras, clasping it to his chest, bouncing it in his hand, turning it to and fro, like a product on QVC. He did not offer a prayer or read from scripture. On either side of him, his aides fidgeted awkwardly; there was the droopy, basset-hound visage of his enabling Attorney General, William Barr; his unrelenting cheerleader Mark Meadows, the chief of staff; his spokesperson, Kayleigh McEnany, who grinned madly. Apart from Ivanka Trump, none wore masks…

“For now, as his people pleaded for leadership, a President with no personal understanding of strength or spirit offered a crude simulation of them. He assembled a pageant of symbols that he knows have power over others—the Bible, the gun, and the shield. And he tossed them together in a cruel jumble of nonsense.”

The protesting lessened because one of George Floyd’s killers was arrested, but DDT took personal credit in his tweet:

“D.C. had no problems last night. Many arrests. Great job done by all. Overwhelming force. Domination. Likewise, Minneapolis was great (thank you President Trump!).”

DDT’s repeated use of “terrorists” about the far-left people he blames for violent protest, most likely a lie, can be a part of his determination to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act. Since the act was last invoked in 1992 for Los Angeles riots, Congress expanded the law in 2006 to include “a natural disaster or terrorist attack.” California’s GOP governor, Pete Wilson, had asked for military help after four white police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King, a black man. To invoke the act, a president “must first issue a proclamation ordering the insurgents to disperse within a limited time, 10 U.S.C. § 334.4. If the situation does not resolve itself, the President may issue an executive order to send in troops.” DDT, however, is not known for following the law.

In the Philadelphia Inquirer, Will Bunch wrote:

“[Trump’s speech in the Rose Garden represented] the moment we’ve been dreading since that escalator ride down Trump Tower five years ago this month—that’s been slowly building brick by brick as Donald Trump tore down the rule of law, abused the presidency to enrich himself, and grabbed the bully pulpit of the White House to divide America with racism, sexism and xenophobia.”

DDT told governors yesterday that they looked like “fools.” He looks like a Fascist.

DDT Hides in Bunker After Fueling Violence

One week ago, white police officers deliberately killed a black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis. Floyd had been accused of paying for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill but didn’t resist when police handcuffed him and put him into a police car. He may not have known the bill was counterfeit. For some unknown reason, they took him out of the car, and one of the officers knelt on Floyd’s neck with his knee for almost nine minutes—over two minutes after Floyd had no pulse. The others watched.

Protests building during the week boiled over into violence by last Friday in over 75 cities across the nation. This morning, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), called the governors of the 50 states to harangue them for looking “weak.”  He accused governors of looking like “fools” to people in the world who laughed at the U.S. “If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time,” DDT declared. He ordered governors to “use the military” and stated “we have a wonderful military” while frequently referring to the Occupy Wall Street movement. “You’re allowed to fight back,” DDT said while calling the protests a “war.”   

DDT ranted for most of the first 17 minutes, but AG Bill Barr also repeated his evidence-free accusations against left-wing organizing and ordered governors to arrest protesters. GOP governors, such as Brian Kemp (GA) and Doug Ducey (AZ), took the opportunity to preen about their accomplishments. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker did call out DDT for his rhetoric and mishandling of his state’s pandemic. About the telephone call, Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker blamed DDT’s comments for their “bitterness, combativeness and self-interest” instead of “compassion and leadership.” Baker also praised peaceful protesters in Boston for their “powerful statement.”

Last Friday, after DDT fueled violence with violent comments, he went to his bunker for terrorism attacks because of the protesters. The next morning, he bragged about how safe he felt in the White House with the “most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons.” DDT has pushed his followers to be violent since he was inaugurated, continuing to praise white supremacist protests such as the one on May 1 when armed people broke into the Michigan capitol and stopped the legislative work. He said, “These are very good people, but they are angry.” Now, protesters are “bad guys.”

While DDT bragged about his safety, he lambasted Washington, D.C.’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, for not sending the D.C. police to protect him. Bowser tweeted back:

“While he hides behind his fence afraid/alone, I stand w/ people peacefully exercising their First Amendment Right after the murder of #GeorgeFloyd & hundreds of years of institutional racism. There are no vicious dogs & ominous weapons. There is just a scared man.”

Later, the Secret Service admitted that it coordinated with the D.C. police and the U.S. Park Police throughout the evening and night. Bowser said, “At no time was [D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham] concerned about losing control of protest activity in Washington, D.C.”

DDT’s advisers initially wanted an Oval Office address to ease tensions but rejected the idea because DDT has no policy proposals and no interest in a message of unity. His position is shown by a retweet from Buck Sexton, far-right radio host:

“This isn’t going to stop until the good guys are willing to use overwhelming force against the bad guys.”

DDT also emphasized that people are allowed to “fight back,” a phrase he repeated several times. His “good guys” are pushing for a race war by instigating riots in the name of protesters against systemic racism.  In the hour-long telephone all, DDT also told states to pass strict laws against flag burning and said that with a “different court” the Supreme Court may outlaw flag-burning. 

DDT said he put Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark A. Milley in charge but didn’t say of what. A military takeover? Introducing the Defense Secretary Mark Esper, DDT said that he was looking for arrests. A military takeover? Esper called the streets of U.S. a “battlespace.” DDT also said that he will “activate” him “very strongly. Later, he said that he was activating the Army into D.C., something he can do because D.C. is not a state. DDT said he was protecting the Second Amendment, allowing people to carry guns. He also claimed to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 to deploy the military everywhere in the U.S., ignoring a demand that people “disperse” and to their “abodes.” The Pentagon doesn’t know if DDT has taken that action, and DDT can take this action only if the states have failed.

DDT reiterated his sending in the military during an afternoon speech in the White House Rose Garden:

“If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

Pentagon officials seem uncomfortable with sending in their troops because they, unlike DDT, understand the law. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 outlaws use of the military without permission of Congress. No president can help civil officials by ordering the military to enforce the law or suppress civil disorder. The law was passed because of military occupation of former Confederate states after the Civil War. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) also called the military to be deployed, but he would need another 267 other Congressional members to support this action.

Without any warning, the police broke up a peaceful protest near the White House after DDT’s speech by teargassing and firing rubber bullets at about 1,000 people so that DDT could walk across the street to give a photo-op at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church. Asked if the Bible he held up was his, DDT said, “It’s a Bible.”

Police in riot gear assaulted two Australian journalists outside the White House while the area was being cleared for DDT’s walk to the church. Cameraman Tim Myers was repeatedly struck with a shield and punched while U.S. correspondent Amelia Brace was his in her back with a rubber bullet. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told Australia’s embassy in the U.S. to investigate, after two Australian journalists were assaulted by police during a protest outside the White House. An officer tried to hold the other two back when one of them also tried to hit them with a baton while they tried to escape. Brace said that they were caught between the National Guard behind them as the police rapidly moved forward. The video is horrifying.

The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, said she learned of Trump’s visit by watching it on the news. She said she was “outraged.“   

“I don’t want President Trump speaking for St. John’s… I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call that they would be clearing with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop, holding a Bible, one that declares that God is love and when everything he has said and done is to enflame violence.”

Before coming to Washington, Budde was rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Minneapolis. She said the church disassociates itself from the messages of the president.

“We hold the teachings of our sacred texts to be so grounding to our lives and everything we do, and it is about love of neighbor and sacrificial love and justice.”

Arlington County (VA) officials have pulled their police officers out of Washington, D.C. after they were used to fire chemical canisters and stingers at protesters that included families with children. The county’s police department had been helping National Park Police for crowd control. Libby Garvey, the chair of Arlington County’s board, said the photo-op “endangered all our officers. We don’t do that.”

DOJ said that a number of agencies would protect DDT, including the DOD, DHS, FBI, DEA, Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Also involved are the Metropolitan Police Department, the Capitol Police, the Federal Protective Service, the U.S. Secret Service, and the D.C. National Guard.

DDT’s ranting tweets are usually saved for weekends, but today was an exception—hostile messages toward Democrats and Joe Biden after the polls show DDT lower than ever compared to Biden in the presidential race. In another tweet from mid-morning today, he posted a photograph with the statement, “Anarchists, we see you!”

On Sunday, while DDT was spreading hate and division, Democratic presidential candidate used social media to ask people to turn “anguish into purpose.” During the day, he walked around Wilmington (DE) to visit the site of the protesting on Saturday night.

In a frightening symbol of DDT’s administration, the lights were turned off at the White House last night. 

August 19, 2019

Antifa Battles Fascism in Portland

Filed under: protests,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 10:01 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Organizer Joe Biggs of the racist, sexist, xenophobic violent white supremacy/fascist groups including Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, Three Percenters, and American Guard, some of them wearing body armor and carrying weapons, got what he wanted on the Portland (OR) downtown waterfront last Saturday—national attention for their unpermitted event. They failed in their other goal, to “exterminate” antifa, anti-fascist opposition. Before the event, members, claiming to be non-violent, posted images of beatings, knives slicing throats, and corpses in body bags on social media.

Before the rally, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) sided with white supremacists and called for “naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,’” something that doesn’t exist for domestic groups. Earlier in August, he criticized antifa for promoting what he called “supremacy” in its fight against white supremacists. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) proposed a resolution to designate antifa a domestic terrorist group (a designation given to no white supremacist groups). He claims the Rose City Antifa “explicitly rejects the authority of law enforcement officers in the United States.” Cruz will fail because antifa doesn’t kill anyone, and the U.S. uses the designation of “hate groups” for extremist organizations such as the KKK. Members of far-right extremist groups have committed 73 percent of extremist murders in the U.S. between 2009 and 2018, 

The night before the event, Joey Gibson, leader of the fascist Patriot Prayer from across the Columbia River in Washington state, turned himself in for felony rioting outside a Portland cidery but got out on bail in time to join the few hundred fascists. Six men were charged this month for violence at a bar favored by the left, and violence always marks Gibson’s frequent events in Portland. White supremacist groups such as Identity Evropa and the PDX Stormers often support Gibson’s rallies in Portland, but the Proud Boys led he August 17 event. Biggs sent threats to “antifa” after conservative writer Andy Ngo was “milkshaked”—having a drink poured over him—and punched on June 29. A police-generated rumor that the milkshakes contained concrete—a false statement—generated backlash from both right-wing media and traditional media counterparts (notably CNN) in their sympathy for Ngo. After Ngo’s appearance on Fox’s Tucker Carlson, his GoFundMe website raised more than $200,000.

Over 700 law enforcement officers from 15 agencies tried to keep the 1,300 members of opposing groups apart in an effort that cost the city millions of dollars. Outnumbered by over three to one, the fascist groups wandered for about 30 minutes before Portland police, criticized for their friendly relationships with one of he fascist groups, escorted them to a bridge blocked to the public where they marched across the Willamette River. Law enforcement willingness to accommodate groups terrorizing Portland residents for a rally with no permits in a public park may have avoided bloodshed, but it showed support for fascist protesters. The groups stayed for only an hour of their planned five-hour rally.

The counterprotest, organized by the Popular Mobilization (or PopMob) coalition of leftist groups, distributed flyers stating:

“If you oppose racism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and the xenophobic, ultranationalist ideologies of the far right (and our current administration), you are an EVERYDAY ANTIFASCIST.

“If you are not a fascist — then you are Antifa.”

The 1,000 counterdemonstrators included local Jewish and Buddhist faith leaders and a marching band in bright yellow banana costumes. Others dressed as unicorns and pandas, blowing giant bubbles and singing along the waterfront.

Biggs said that the Proud Boys will come to Portland monthly to deplete its resources until the mayor rids the city of antifa. The Proud Boys sometimes say that their violence is only self-defense, but Biggs’ videos are violent, such as the one in which he swings a DDT-themed baseball bat that he brags will be “put to good use” in Portland. In his announcement of the rally, Biggs wore a shirt reading “Training to Throw Communists Out of Helicopters” and issued violent threats to his antifa critics:

“You’re not gonna feel safe when you go out in public. Every time you turn your shoulder or your head, you look over, you’re always gonna feel like myself or someone else is gonna be there looking, because that’s what we’re going to do. You’re scum, you’re filth, you’re anti-American socialist fucking pricks, and I’m not gonna let that shit happen in this country.”

Later Biggs tweeted his followers:

“Get a gun. Get ammo. Get your gun license. Get training. Practice as much as you can and be ready because the left isn’t playing anymore and neither should we.”

His supporters responded with memes depicting ISIS-style beheadings of antifascists with large knives. One of them said:

“I fully expect [an] armed conflict to break out on Aug. 17. People may die this is the real deal.”

Republicans have a history of supporting the violent fascist Proud Boys. Almost two years ago, the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan invited former Proud Boys to attend and their leader Gavin McInnes to speak. Following their riot outside, the Club defended the racist group and denied that the speech “was certainly not inciting violence.” Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) posed for photos with Proud Boys on the campaign trail, and Fox talk show host Tucker Carlson posed in a Fox green room with two Proud Boys and GOP operative Roger Stone who used Proud Boys as his security force at an Oregon GOP event after the Proud Boys were well-known for their Portland brawls.

Nine Proud Boys were arrested because of the Metropolitan Republican Club riot, and McInnes quit the group after the FBI classified them as an extremist organization. He said he did it to “alleviate the sentencing” of the arrested members to “show jurors they are not dealing with a gang and there’s no head of operations.” The FBI backed off from its designation because it “does not and will not police ideology.” DDT’s 2020 campaign may cause more Proud Boys violence; they prominently appear at his rallies. Proud Boys have also gone to alt-right researcher Gwen Snyder’s Philadelphia home and threatened her

Scholars of fascism note that fascist skinhead groups pose serious political threats when a mainstream political party endorses them, and they “become functional equivalents of Hitler’s SA and Mussolini’s squadristi.” Conservatives cultivating or tolerating white supremacists as weapons against an eternal enemy such as immigrants raise fascist insurgency to “Stage Two.” Proud Boy lawyer Jason Lee Van Dyke said that the group has been welcomed by DDT’s GOP party. Group umbers grew after the disastrous riots at Charlottesville (VA) caused other groups to dissipate, but the 3,000 membership seems to be shrinking everywhere except in the Pacific Northwest, especially Portland, perhaps because of some police sympathy toward the group.

The white supremacist groups violently invading cities reflect the neo-Nazi skinhead gangs of the 1980s and early 1990s who controlled music venues, bars, and street corners. They recruited disaffected members of the white working class just as groups like the Proud Boys develops its presence by trolling blogs.

The conservative USA Today explains antifa, short for “anti-fascist,” as a movement, not an “organization” as DDT tweeted, because it lacks leadership and structure. The oldest alliance of anti-fascists, the ten-year-old Rose City Antifa in Portland, has been the object of attacks by fascist groups. Antifa’s goal is stopping Neo-Nazis from having its racist, sexist, homophobia public forum by confronting them and protecting counterprotesters. They “dox” fascist group members by spreading private information about them to the public and employers because “the goal of fascism is to exterminate the vast majority of human beings.”

Mark Bray, author of Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook, emphasized the importance of publicizing fascist believes to blunt their growth:

“We should be wary of those who are more distressed about alleged violations of the speech of fascists than the actual violence they perpetrate.”

Bray writes about the importance of stopping fascist groups before they take over countries. Bloodshed could have been avoided by blocking Mussolini in 1919 when his nucleus had only 100 men or the 54 members of German Workers’ Party at Hitler’s first meeting. Earlier intervention might have prevented the murder of heather Heyer at Charlottesville.

A counterprotester said:

“If we ignore fascism, it emboldens fascism, and we must confront fascism with all necessary force, even if that just means showing up and saying, ‘You’re not welcome here.’”

Despite the protesters against fascists outnumbering the opposition over three to one, the fascists declared the event a victory for them—probably because the man they call the president of the United States sided with them and not with opponents of fascism. Counterprotesters might have wanted more fascists to attend the event: they collected pledges of money for each one who attended. Proceeds went to Causa, a local group that helps protect local undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Two days later, the gathering of 300 fascists in Portland seems a flash in the pan as DDT struggles against the reality of a possible recession, angers from farmers loss of income, calls for gun safety legislation, crises around the world, and his disastrous polls.  

August 17, 2017

DOJ Warrant: ‘There Should Be an Uproar over This’

Filed under: protests — trp2011 @ 10:43 PM
Tags: , , , ,

A recent guideline to surviving an authoritarian government comes from 80 years experience in surviving Polish resistance. The first directive is “assume all communications and activities are monitored.” As the author points out, surveillance roots out dissent, builds mistrust among people, and controls the actions of the general population. It forces everyone to monitor their speech and actions as if they are being constantly watched. This scrutiny escalated after 9/11 with the PATRIOT Act, but Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is raising it to a level in the United States that people had not thought possible.

For many decades, almost all people in the nation considered voting to be a right easily achieved if they are eligible according to age and a few other requirements. With a restrictive 2005 Indiana law upheld by the Supreme Court, people began to understand that voting might be a privilege mostly for white, financially comfortable people. Over half the states, including almost the entire South, have limiting ID laws; many of them also have other laws restricting over 5 million eligible voters at the polls. DDT is now cutting down voting since his new voting commission has requested detailed voter registration information from all the states. In Colorado alone, at least 5,000 people, some of them who had actively assisted in the voting process, have deregistered because of DDT’s demand for their records. They express fear at what he will do with the information.

[Note that DDT’s response to people’s request for privacy is to ask, “What do they have to hide?” What a question from a man elected president who refuses to release his tax returns and hides everything else he can about his administration.]

With his strong support of white supremacists, DDT and his DOJ are upping the ante on dissenters against his administration, going far beyond widespread ridicule about respected journalists and media outlets. Initially, AG threatened to subpoena journalists and force them to give up their sources before grand juries in lieu of prison. Now information has been released that the DOJ is trying to collect complete information about 1.3 million visitors to an anti-DDT website,, on DreamHost, regarding protests on DDT’s inauguration day.

John Borchert, deputy chief of the Felony Major Crimes Trial Section of the Justice Department, signed the search warrant on July 12 seeking “evidence about individuals who participated, planned, organized or incited the January 20 riot.” DOJ is demanding “all information that might identify the subscribers…including names, addresses, telephone numbers and other identifiers, email addresses, business information…and source of payment for services including any credit card or bank account information.” DreamHost said that the DOJ wants “the time and date of the visit, the IP address for the visitor, the website pages viewed by the visitor (through their IP address), and even a detailed description of the software running on the visitor’s computer.

Regarding the DOJ warrant, ACLU stated:

“One of the core principles enshrined in the Fourth Amendment is a prohibition on general searches — meaning, the government cannot simply go fishing for a wide range of information in the hope that some kind of useful evidence will turn up.”

DreamHost refused, stating that the users’ information “could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment. That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind.” The host already disclosed information relevant to the ongoing criminal investigation after 214 people were charged with vandalizing a car and breaking windows. DOJ now wants information about everyone who visited the site, however, not just the people who have broken laws. The warrant doesn’t say why or what will happen to the information on the 1.3 million visitors.

TechFreedom president Berin Szóka supports DreamHost’s refusal on the basis of the Fourth Amendment:

“The Founders outlawed general warrants precisely to prevent governments from harassing their political opponents en masse. If the DOJ can unmask over a million Internet users simply for visiting a website, without any further alleged connection to criminal activity, then no American is safe to use the Internet to access dissident speech. The fear of being unmasked — and subjected to harassment, or far worse — will chill the speech of millions more.”

Phishing for records of all visitors is comparable to getting search warrants for everyone in a city of 1.3 million if a criminal is suspected of residing there.

DDT is also accelerating his repression of dissent by increasing the severity of charges against the 214 protesters in Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day 2017 to a felony level that includes inciting rioting, conspiracy to riot, and destruction of property. For many of them, prosecutors have no more proof than their presence at the protest and their black clothing, but they will go to trial—next March. If they fight the charges in court and lose, they could be in prison for 70 to 80 years, just for breaking windows or perhaps nothing. When Wilbur Ross came back from Saudi Arabia, he marveled that they faced no protesters. The sentences of prison and death there for protesting could be replicated in the United States. At least 18 states consider 30-plus bills to curb protests by increasingly severe penalties for demonstrators.

U.S. customs and Border Protection tried to get Twitter records in March for an account that supposedly shared material from federal employees who disagree with DDT’s policies. After Twitter sued, DOJ dropped the request. A woman was tried in May because she involuntarily laughed during AG Jeff Sessions confirmation hearing. She was responding to Sen. Richard C. Shelby’s (R-AL) statement about Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.” The DOJ argument was that her laugh constituted “disorderly and disruptive conduct” meant to “impede, disrupt, and disturb the orderly conduct” of Congress. Last month, a judge threw out the conviction for Desiree A. Fairooz, 61, but ordered a new trial on September 1.

Robert Mercer, the billionaire who owns Breitbart and bought the presidency for DDT, also has Cambridge Analytica, the source that has profiles of 5,000 pieces of data on about 220 million voters in the U.S. and uses the information to target them through their emotions. Basically, it’s a propaganda machine. As a communications director Andy Wigmore said, “The computer never stops learning and it never stops monitoring.” Gaining detailed information about the 1.3 million is a great addition to Analytica. These records can be used to prosecute—and persecute—anyone who opposes DDT in a highly technological redo of the Joseph McCarthy witch hunts for “political dissidents.”

Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, said:

“The U.S. Supreme Court has said that forced disclosure chills speech. Visiting a website is First Amendment activity and this is quite troubling.”

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) told Sessions:

“When the government attempts to seize personal information, including email and physical addresses, for more than a million Americans who visited a website, it shows that the president is willing to use his Justice Department and the machinery of government to go after his political opponents.”

Even some Fox commentators don’t support DOJ’s actions. Judge Andrew Napolitano said talked about its “very serious constitutional problems.” He added that DOJ may have gone to a superior court for the warrant request, rather than a federal judge because “none of them would sign it.” Napolitano said, “There should be an uproar over this.”

DreamHost’s scheduled hearing tomorrow, August 18, in DC Superior Court has been postponed. Judge Robert E. Morin, who overturned Fairooz’s conviction, may be assigned the case some time in the future.

As Heather Heyer, the counter-protester killed by a neo-Nazi, said, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” We need to be outraged by the DOJ collecting information from protest websites.

There has been no mention of subpoenas for white supremacist websites setting up their violent actions in Charlottesville (VA) last weekend. Of course, The Daily Stormer has lost its domain name and access through U.S. hosts. Even Russia and China won’t give a home to its website. The group can go onto the dark Web, but not being indexed in popular search engines may cut down on recruiting–for a while.


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