To be clear: I have absolutely no sympathy for the selfish so-called "protestors" who are being irresponsibly cheered on by the President to "re-open the economy" and endanger millions of American lives. While I can understand economic stresses and concerns about an overreaching government, I simply cannot abide by a movement that was literally organized by nihilistic white nationalists bankrolled by greedy right-wing donors who want other people to die in order to boost a bunch of inherently hollow economic statistics that cannot hold any meaning without human life.
That being said, the Raleigh Police response to the "ReOpen North Carolina" protest was also painfully ridiculous.
"Protesting is a non-essential activity." That's what the police said.
Humans are complex beings, and we are capable of holding more than two thoughts in our minds at once. That's how I'm able to recognize that these protestors were, at best, the unwitting patsies of a bigoted death cult — while also acknowledging that a police department deeming protest as "non-essential" is, at best, dumb, and at worst, utterly horrifying.
Even if one is to agree that these protestors should have been arrested, this is a terrible way to justify that action. They could have just as easily written this off retroactively as reckless endangerment, or simply left it as a public safety violation. Read the rest
“Not only is the terror threat diverse, it’s unrelenting."
--FBI director Chris Wray.
The FBI has elevated the risk from neo-Nazis in America to the same level with which it regards ISIS. Read the rest
Neo-Nazi Media Darling and accused domestic abuser Richard Spencer had a meltdown on Twitter after Iranian authorities launched a missile attack against a US base in Iraq.
Spencer went on to post and retweet some other criticisms of the "American Empire" and pinned a tweet saying, "To the people of Iran, There are millions of Americans who do not want war, who do not hate you, and who respect your nation and its history. After our traitorous elite is brought to justice, we hope to achieve peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness."
Spencer also led a protest against airstrikes in Syria in 2017. Granted, his anti-interventionist stance is largely based in anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic beliefs. (See also: Ecofascism.) So this is less of a "My enemy's enemy is my friend," and more of a "My enemy's enemy is still my enemy even though we kind-of agree on a single action despite coming to those views for completely opposing reasons, which is why we are enemies." But still. Broken clocks, et cetera et cetera.
Image via Wikimedia Commons Read the rest
Nick Gillespie of Reason interviewed filmmaker Errol Morris about American Dharma, his new documentary about Steve Bannon. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
Read the rest
When Errol Morris debuted American Dharma, his documentary about Stephen Bannon, last year at the Venice Film Festival, he received an ovation. But after early reviewers accused the Oscar-winning director of letting the former Breitbart.com head and adviser to President Trump "off the hook," Morris found it impossible to get a distribution deal in the United States.
It was the first time in decades that the acclaimed director of The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War couldn't get a movie into theaters. "The experience was so damn weird," Morris tells Reason. "People became so angry with me and with the movie, they certainly wanted to deplatform not just Bannon, but they wanted to deplatform me."
But now his film, American Dharma, is finally in theaters.
Nick Gillespie sat down with the 71-year-old Morris, whom Roger Ebert called "as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini," for a wide-ranging conversation about the censorious first reactions to his new film, his history with Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, and what he learned—and didn't learn—about Steve Bannon's philosophy. He also talks about why he thinks we're in a golden age of documentary filmmaking, his heated grad-school confrontations with philosopher Thomas Kuhn (detailed in his recent book The Ashtray: Or the Man Who Denied Reality), and Wormwood, his 2017 Netflix docudrama series about the CIA's notorious MKUltra mind-control program.
When Salem, NJ's Fred C. Arena applied for a job at Philadelphia's Navy Yard, he underwent an FBI background check in which he falsely claimed that he was not a member of the Vanguard America, a white nationalist group that was part of the lethal far-right "Unite the Right" 2017 gathering in Charlottesville; whose members posed with the murderer James Alex Fields Jr for a photo hours before he killed Heather Heyer.
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White nationalist activist Martin Sellner and British YouTuber the Iconoclast are free to rake in those YouTube views—and the money that goes with it.
Researchers report that a number of white supremacist/white nationalist/violent racist crackpot groups like the 'Proud Boys' and 'Soldiers of Odin' (gag) are doing just fine and being very active on Facebook -- all they had to do is ever so slightly modify their names. Read the rest
After Property of the People (previously) used clever Freedom of Information Act requests to learn that the FBI classed the Proud Boys as 'an Extremist Group with Ties to White Nationalism', the organization's founder, Gavin McInnis (the Canadian who co-founded Vice Magazine) resigned from the organization he founded.
Read the rest
In news that will not surprise anyone who is Black, Latinx, Jewish, Muslim, queer, or a member of any other group targeted by hateful idiots, hate crimes in America are way up under Trump. Says who? FBI. Read the rest
My friend John Park sent me the following:
This is an article about my old friend, UVa housemate, fellow Glee Club member, and all around wonderful character, D.R. Tyler Magill, who took on Nazis in Charlottesville and has now suffered a stroke.
In the video below we see Tyler doing the right thing, in a smart, calm way, as he chased Nazi organizer Jason Kessler from the podium along with a group of fellow protesters. This, despite having already been doused in torch fuel and struck with torches by fascist thugs as he and a group of 25 students were surrounded by the alt-right mob at the base of the statue on Saturday night. At one point he was struck in the neck, which damaged an artery, leading to his stroke.
He's stable from what we know, and has a fundraising goal to cover sick leave costs, but more publicity about his actions would be a good thing.
I hope Tyler inspires others to be this brave in the face of fascist thugs.
Here's another person who was injured in the same terrorist attack that killed Heather Heyer. Her name is Natalie Romero:
Here's a USA Today article about Natalie. She was in the Junior ROTC. Read the rest
Derek, 27, was set to follow in the footsteps of his dad, Stormfront creator Don Black. He had his own white nationalist website for kids, his own radio show, and gotten elected to local government in Florida. He was their future, slick and self-controlled, never using slurs or suggestions of violence. But he's now come to question the ideology and left it all behind. Eli Saslow reports on The white flight of Derek Black.
So many others in white nationalism had come to their conclusions out of anger and fear, but Derek tended to like most people he met, regardless of race. Instead, he sought out logic and science to confirm his worldview, reading studies from conservative think tanks about biological differences between races, IQ disparities and rates of violent crime committed by blacks against whites
They sent him to a top liberal arts college thinking he would educate them. But with long red hair and a cowboy hat and garrulous personality, he became popular and found himself hiding his association with Stormfront, and his beliefs, rather than expounding them.
When another student mentioned that he had been reading about the racist implications of “Lord of the Rings” on a website called Stormfront, Derek pretended he had never heard of it.
But he kept up the radio show and was soon outed. Instead of ostracizing him, though, his friends and college acquaintances decided to stay in touch and include him. One, an orthodox Jew, invited him to a Shabbat dinner. Read the rest
It's been tough for Craig Cobb since discovering on live TV that his DNA shows he's “14% Black Sub-Saharan African.”