The Police State of America.

Area

Back in 2014, this was one sentence in a long comment written to an oblivious ass about events in Ferguson, Missouri:

A lot of us recognize the dire nature of this situation, and that sooner or later, that rumble will mow down our towns.

The rumble is here. It’s been here for a while, those at the No DAPL camp got to see it up close and personal, more than once. That noise you hear is the boot stomp of a police state, soon to be wherever you live in the States. Legislators have been busy for a while, coming up with various ways to strip people of their rights, and to punish them severely for attempting to exercise those rights. We’re not only back to the bad old days of COINTELPRO (don’t need that anymore, they have Palantir), it’s much worse now. Lately, I’ve been posting a bit of music every day, from the bad old days, which reflected the protests and fights we were in, music which helped to mobilize people. Turns out, we need that more than ever now. Young people, unlike old farts like myself, don’t have the experience of just how far our government is willing to go to shut down dissent. While past experience informs my current alarm, what’s happening now is worse. Much, much worse. Don’t be thinking it’s okay because you aren’t the protesting kind of person – your rights have been shredded and tossed to the wind too. Once open dissent is shut down, it’s never long before it isn’t safe to criticise or be thought unloyal. The loyalist business has already infected the white house, and that’s gotten worse too, with people being fired for having been critical of Trump.

Flint Taylor, a founding partner of the Chicago-based People’s Law Office, told AlterNet that he believes that Trump’s three executive orders on crime and policing have emboldened these state-level initiatives. One decree, titled “Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers,” is premised on the false claim that there is a war on cops. The order instructs the executive branch to “develop strategies, in a process led by the Department of Justice (Department) and within the boundaries of the Constitution and existing Federal laws, to further enhance the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers.”

Sessions, who heads the DOJ, has said that he does not believe systemic police brutality is a problem worth addressing.

“The language of this executive order is focused on ‘preventing violence,’ which was the exact language of the memoranda that former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover wrote justifying the neutralization—i.e. destruction—of everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to the Black Panthers,” said Taylor. “One of the key aspects of COINTELPRO was to ‘prevent violence.’ That was the cover for destroying movements.”

“Together with all the other preliminary indications from the Trump administration, this executive order bodes extremely ill, particularly for communities of color, in terms of unleashing the already awesome and racist power of police departments in cities across the country.”

Meanwhile, right-wing Republicans in Congress, with apparent backing from the Trump administration, are advancing efforts to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. The initiative, which emanates from far-right conspiracy theories that the Sunni Islamist group is infiltrating the U.S. government, is aimed at crushing Muslim civil society organizations at the core of resistance to Trump.

Amidst a climate of authoritarianism, anti-protest laws are advancing alongside so-called Blue Lives Matter bills that protect police officers under hate crime laws meant to safeguard historically oppressed communities. These initiatives are spreading across the country, with Republicans now in control of roughly two-thirds of the partisan legislative chambers in the United States.

“I definitely think there are a lot of Republicans who feel that Trump is a dog whistle to start writing bills that infringe on people’s rights, because we’re seeing that on a federal level,” said Grimm. “They are taking advantage of this time to make sure that people who don’t agree with them don’t have the right to express that. This is how you move toward fascism and nationalism, by getting rid of dissent.”

That’s just a bit of the full article running down all the current legislation looking to strip rights and quash dissent.

There’s also this:

Upon entering Spicer’s second floor office, staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check,” to prove they had nothing to hide.

Spicer, who consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before calling the meeting, was accompanied by White House lawyers in the room, according to multiple sources. There, he explicitly warned staffers that using texting apps like Confide — an encrypted and screenshot-protected messaging app that automatically deletes texts after they are sent — and Signal, another encrypted messaging system, was a violation of the Federal Records Act, according to multiple sources in the room.

The phone checks included whatever electronics staffers were carrying when they were summoned to the unexpected follow-up meeting, including government-issued and personal cell phones.

Spicer also warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was leaked to the media. It’s not the first time that warnings about leaks have promptly leaked. The State Department’s legal office issued a four-page memo warning of the dangers of leaks — that memo was immediately posted by the Washington Post.

But with mounting tension inside the West Wing over stories portraying an administration lurching between crises and simmering in dysfunction, aides are increasingly frustrated by the pressure-cooker environment and worried about their futures there.

Full story at Politico. It should not need to be said that open, transparent governments don’t need to fear leaks. Authoritarian regimes, however…

This Is Our Land.

Water Protectors Leave Oceti Sakowin Reluctantly.

‘Absolutely False’: No Contact From Trump Administration, Archambault Says.

marty-two-bulls-cartoon-dapl-020717
NODAPL; The Last Stand © Marty Two Bulls.
 
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No DAPL; Beware the Early Thaw © Marty Two Bulls.

Deadly Silence.

Adam Purinton. CREDIT: mugshot via Toronto Star.

Adam Purinton. CREDIT: mugshot via Toronto Star.

Yet another incident of racially motivated, domestic terrorism has been met with a deafening silence from the Tiny Tyrant. In the Splintered States of White Nationalism, our president willfully ignores every instance of white nationalism, white supremacy, racism, Islamaphobia, and refuses to face the fact that domestic terrorism is by far the greatest threat to uStates citizens. This happens when you install a white supremacist, Nazi cabinet in the highest offices, people who have no problem whatsoever with domestic terrorism, as long as it doesn’t accidentally take out any white people.

The racially motivated violence in Kansas comes amid an explosion of hate incidents since the election.

[…]

Trump has established a pattern of trying to capitalize on incidents that reinforce his Islamophobia and fear-mongering about “inner cities,” while ignoring violence perpetrated by white supremacists. He has still not publicly denounced a January 29 mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec City that left six dead and was reportedly perpetrated by a white nationalist, anti-immigrant fan of his. Instead, days later, he tweeted about an attack in Paris that left one person with minor injuries.

Research indicates a person in America is far more likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist or white supremacist — like the one who allegedly opened fire on Wednesday night in Kansas — than a Muslim terrorist. But three days after the Quebec City mosque shooting, news broke that the Trump administration wants a federal counter-terrorism program to stop focusing on violent white supremacists and any other extremist groups not comprised of Muslims.

Via Think Progress.

Oh, Those Pro-Protesters, At It…Wait.

Credit: YouTube.

Credit: YouTube.

It’s not protesters causing trouble, it’s a cop. Again. In this case, there’s a 13 year old who is damn lucky to be alive. Let’s see what caused this shining example of “to protect and serve” to boil over, shall we?

Protests erupted in Anaheim, California on Wednesday after an off-duty LAPD officer dragged a 13-year-old boy across his yard, pulled a gun on the boy’s friends, and pulled the trigger.

According to an eyewitness, the confrontation began after a young girl walked across the lawn of an off-duty officer, who responded by calling her a “cunt.” Thirteen-year-old Christian Dorscht reportedly tried to defend the girl.

Cellphone video then shows the unnamed cop grabbing and pulling Dorscht by the arm. As a group of young people wearing backpacks looks on, the officer drags Dorscht for a few yards. Moments later, three boys rush the officer, pushing him into nearby bushes to free Dorscht. Seemingly uninjured, the cop gathers himself and drags the 13-year-old through the shrubs. After one boy tries to punch him, the officer reaches into his waistband and pulls out his gun. Everyone backs away, but the officer fires anyway. Nobody was struck by the bullet.

Oh, well, a kid cut across his lawn. Yes, that’s such an extraordinarily unusual and heinous action! There’s no such thing as the cliche of an adult, generally an old curmudgeon, shaking their fist and yelling “damn kids, get off my lawn!” Obviously, such a horrible act forced this upstanding officer to spit “cunt” at her, and what on earth was a 13 year old boy thinking, trying to defend her? Goodness, such awful behaviour, oh my yes.

Approximately 300 protesters —including young people — gathered in the streets Wednesday night, as news of the incident spread. They reportedly blocked major avenues and intersections in Anaheim, home of Disneyland, and some protesters marched to the unnamed officer’s house. People yelled “Whose streets, our streets” and “Hands up, don’t shoot” as they marched, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Some of the demonstrators threw rocks at police observing the fray, while a few people banged on the doors of the officer’s home. Riot police were eventually called to block off protesters.

Oh, I’m sure that just completely justified calling in riot cops. Having been face to face with riot cops more than once, I can say that no, protests don’t justify their presence in any way. You have a bunch of hyped-up authoritarians swaddled in battle armor, just itching to use all those nifty, lethal toys.

So, what happened to the key players, like the cop, who was an adult, at least technically, who called a young girl a cunt, assaulted a 13 year old boy, and pulled his gun and fired? Oh, nothing much, but those evil, meddling kids?

Dorscht, who sustained a line of bruises on his neck, was arrested and brought to the Orange County Juvenile Hall for battery and making criminal threats against the officer. A 15-year-old involved in the initial confrontation was also arrested for assault and battery.

According to Anaheim Police Sgt. Daron Wyatt, the officer was not arrested but was removed from the field for three days. The LAPD is currently investigating the matter.

Oh, I’m sure they are “investigating”, if that means getting stories straight, shuffling paperwork, and purging evidence. In the meantime, two victims have been dumped into the maw of the SoCal juvenile justice system, which is a remarkably ugly one, as these systems go. As for those wicked protesters, 24 of them, including 6 minors, were arrested and charged for resisting arrest, battery, and refusing to disperse. Remember, cops are the good guys!

Via Think Progress.

Homeland Security: Department of Lies.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly speaks at news conference as cars enter the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on February 10. CREDIT: AP Photo/Denis Poroy.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly speaks at news conference as cars enter the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on February 10. CREDIT: AP Photo/Denis Poroy.

Homeland Security, also known as the department of official lies and bullshit, is now spewing out lies about all those awful aliens. The manipulation is so blatant as to be pointless, outside of the Cult of Trump. Look at that photo, the choice of location! That’s a location I know very well, having been across it and back more times than I could ever count. One thing is sure – most all those cars lining up to head back into SoCal contain U.S. citizens. Mexico is a very popular place. I get the idea behind having the press conference there was to scare idiots though, “oooh, looky, an unsecured border! Hordes of aliens could come pouring in!” The bullshit is deep enough to choke on.

A Department of Homeland Security memo authored by Secretary John Kelly asserts that “criminal aliens routinely victimize Americans and other legal residents.”

The memo, entitled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest,” creates a new federal office meant to work with those victims.

“Accordingly, I am establishing the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office within the Office of the Director of ICE, which will create a programmatic liaison between ICE and the known victims of crimes committed by removable aliens,” Kelly writes. “To that end, I direct the Director of ICE to immediately reallocate any and all resources that are currently used to advocate on behalf of illegal aliens to the new VOICE Office, and to immediately terminate the provision of such outreach or advocacy services to illegal aliens.”

Sigh. Bullshit is not strong enough. Lies is not strong enough. This is not based on any factual information whatsoever. Immigrants, legal or illegal are less likely to commit crimes, particularly so in the case of people who are illegal. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. Way back when, I worked with a whole lot of people who were illegal, and they were law abiding to the core. One thing they did not want was the attention of cops. What this new “office” will do is give hateful bigots the equivalent of a wet dream, allowing for a brand new level of harassment.

Data indicates undocumented immigrants are no more likely to commit crimes than American citizens, and are actually less likely to be criminals in some cases.

The literature is summarized in a 2015 Cato Institute report entitled, “Immigration and Crime — What the Research Says.” Here are some key findings from studies cited in the report.

— One study found that “roughly 1.6 percent of immigrant males 18–39 are incarcerated, compared to 3.3 percent of the native-born.” The study found the disparity in census data spanning three decades — from 1980 to 2010.

— Another found that the phased rollout of the Secure Communities (S-COMM) immigration enforcement program didn’t reduce crime in affected communities. S-COMM “led to no meaningful reduction in the FBI index crime rate,” researchers found. If undocumented immigrants were more likely to commit criminal acts, you’d expect to see crime rates decrease as undocumented immigrants were removed from communities. That wasn’t the case.

— Another study “looked at 159 cities at three dates between 1980 and 2000 and found that crime rates and levels of immigration are not correlated,” the CATO report says, summarizing the findings.

— Another “looked at a sample of 150 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and found that levels of recent immigration had a statistically significant negative effect on homicide rates but no effect on property crime rates.” Yet another study found that an influx of immigrants is actually correlated with decreases in homicide and robbery rates.

— A study that looked looked at 103 different MSAs from 1994–2004 found that “the weight of the evidence suggests that immigration is not associated with increased levels of crime. To the extent that a relationship does exist, research often finds a negative effect of immigration on levels of crime, in general, and on homicide in particular.”

Last month, Richard Pérez-Peña of the New York Times alluded to some of the aforementioned research, writing, “several studies, over many years, have concluded that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States. And experts say the available evidence does not support the idea that undocumented immigrants commit a disproportionate share of crime.” Pérez-Peña’s report is entitled, “Contrary to Trump’s Claims, Immigrants Are Less Likely to Commit Crimes.”

While citizens don’t have reason to fear undocumented immigrants more than they would any other person, the two memos distributed by Homeland Security on Tuesday makes gives undocumented immigrants good reason to by fearful of anyone with a badge.

Oh yes. There will be much more reason to fear. As if non-white people didn’t already need to be scared to death of cops.

As ThinkProgress covered in another post, Kelly’s memos detail “an implementation plan to hire thousands more immigration officials, make more criminal offenses punishable by deportation, allow local law enforcement officials to carry out federal immigration duties, and make it easier to prevent entry to asylum-seeking children who show up at the southern U.S. border.”

Oh good, even more reason to fear cops! Neatly buried under all the fear-mongering is the ginormous waste of money this will be.

Full story at Think Progress.

Right Now, Trump Is…

From a Native American's perspective, Trump is acting more like the Founding Fathers than Hitler.

From a Native American’s perspective, Trump is acting more like the Founding Fathers than Hitler.

Donald J. Trump has been called a lot of things. A bigot. A misogynist. A racist.

And I agree with these descriptions of the new president. He’s earned those titles, especially given all he has spewed over the decades about women and racial minorities, and just about anyone he disagrees with, or who disagree with him.

But Mr. Trump is also unoriginal.

Many of the controversial policies and plans he’s setting into motion have already been executed in this country.

Think about it.

Mr. Trump has vowed to evict millions of undocumented individuals. Brown folks, mostly.

But, of course, this wouldn’t be the first time a sitting U.S. president would forcibly and eagerly evict the indigenous peoples of this continent from their homes.

One of the first of such evictions in this country’s shady history occurred in the 19th century, back in 1830, when president Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which coercively extirpated thousands of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands.

The brutal act prompted the “Trail of Tears,” a vicious campaign that resulted in a forced westward march of men, women, and children through ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. More than four thousand Native Americans died during that rotten trudge.

“But Mexicans aren’t Indians,” a white man recently said to me at an eatery on the north side of Denver, Colorado, during an impromptu discussion on Trump’s unoriginality.

[Read more…]

Oh, that fucking wall.

An agent of the border patrol, observes near the Mexico-US border fence, on the Mexican side, separating the towns of Anapra, Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico, on January 25. CREDIT: AP Photo/Christian Torres.

An agent of the border patrol, observes near the Mexico-US border fence, on the Mexican side, separating the towns of Anapra, Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico, on January 25. CREDIT: AP Photo/Christian Torres.

The projected cost for President Donald Trump’s border wall continues to rise, and Trump has no good plan to contain it.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that the border wall will be much more expensive than the $10 billion figure Trump repeatedly cited during his campaign or the $12–$15 billion cited by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) last month.

“Trump’s ‘wall’ along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6 billion, and take more than three years to construct,” Reuters reported, citing a U.S. Department of Homeland Security document the outlet obtained.

And it could end up costing even more than that.

“Bernstein Research, an investment research group that tracks material costs, has said that uncertainties around the project could drive its cost up to as much as $25 billion,” Reuters reports.

On Saturday morning, Trump responded to that news by assuring Americans that costs of constructing the wall will come “WAY DOWN” as soon as he gets involved in the negotiations.

<Tweets snipped.>

But Trump’s citation of the reduced cost of F-35s should give no one confidence he’ll be able to bring down the exorbitant cost of his border wall.

That’s because on January 30, Trump took credit for cost cuts to the fighter jets that were already put in place before he got involved. A Washington Post fact-check gave Trump’s claim that he was responsible for cutting $600 million from the F-35 program “Four Pinocchios.”

[…]

Trump has repeatedly taken credit for deals that were in the works long before he won the election or became president. For instance, he’s overstated his role in deals with Intel, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and Sprint to take credit for saving American jobs.

[…]

Last year, Reuters reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents don’t think the type of border wall Trump has long supported is necessary for national security. Instead, they seek better equipment and technology.

Not only is this wall idea the epitome of idiocy, people tend to forget a different cost of such idiocy – the high cost imposed on animals, the environment, and various ecologies. This sort of arrogant assholery is little more than a chest-pounding display of cruelty, a game for bully boys. Unfortunately, such people don’t much give a shit about the planet which gives them life, or the diversity of life on our earth, which has no use for the concrete idiocy of naked apes intent on warring with their neighbours. You can read a bit about this high cost here.

Full story at Think Progress.

Jesus Wept.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

Oh, we are so very fucked. People in Iran are extremely upset with the Tiny Dictator, and there’s excellent reason for them to be. If Donny really wanted to do something about potential terrorists, he’d shut up, resign, and go back to watching teevee in Florida, at Mar a whatever it is. Unfortunately, he’s super busy, watching teevee in the white house. Seems to be where he gets all his information from, seeing as he doesn’t read, and his supposed intelligence briefings last around 20 minutes, while he’s preoccupied with super important shit, like how to be rude to a department store on twitter. Then there’s more teevee watching, and tweeting. Tweeting on his personal account, because apparently the POTUS account is beneath him. Or maybe it just reminds him of how fucking incompetent he is, and that he has no business in government of any kind.

On Friday morning, President Trump cited a Lawfare article in an attempt to build a case that the three judges U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit made a bad decision Thursday evening when they declined to reinstate his Muslim ban.

LAWFARE: “Remarkably, in the entire opinion, the panel did not bother even to cite this (the) statute.” A disgraceful decision!

Indeed, the Lawfare article in question — entitled “How to Read (and How Not to Read) Today’s 9th Circuit Opinion” — does mention that the Ninth Circuit’s opinion didn’t cite a statute pertaining to “Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President,” a statute that “forms the principal statutory basis for the executive order.”

But had Trump read the article, he would’ve seen that the author — Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution — concluded that the court actually made the right decision.

[…]

Wittes concludes his piece by blasting the Trump administration’s “incompetent malevolence.”

“Eventually, the court has to confront the clash between a broad delegation of power to the President — a delegation which gives him a lot of authority to do a lot of not-nice stuff to refugees and visa holders — in a context in which judges normally defer to the president, and the incompetent malevolence with which this order was promulgated.”

Instead of coming across the passage he tweeted out from reading the article, it appears Trump was alerted to the Lawfare piece by watching Morning Joe.

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“For a sense of what is happening outside, he watches cable, both at night and during the day — too much in the eyes of some aides — often offering a bitter play-by-play of critics like CNN’s Don Lemon,” the Times reported.

Lifting material from TV news for a tweet is far from unprecedented for Trump. As Fortune reported on February 2, “At least five times since he took office… Trump has tweeted about policy ideas and thoughts that seem directly related to news that was being shown on channels such as Fox News.”

Among the instances are a tweet Trump posted threatening to pull federal funding from public colleges that came minutes after a discussion of the same topic on Fox & Friends, another where the president threatened to send “the Feds!” into Chicago that came on the heels of a discussion of violence in Chicago on The O’Reilly Factor, and a tweet blasting Chelsea Manning as “ungrateful traitor” that came just minutes after she was called the same thing on Fox News.

Really, it’s bad enough he is such an ignorant idiot, he could at least try to pretend he’s somewhat informed. The full story is at Think Progress. As if all this wasn’t quite bad enough, “contempt of cop” is going to get a whole lot worse. Trump wants stormtrooper protections, bigly yuuuge ones.

In a vague executive order signed at the official swearing-in ceremony for new Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump instructed Sessions to work with Congress to establish “new Federal crimes, and increase penalties for existing Federal crimes” to protect law enforcement officers.

More signalling than substance, the order gives executive agencies a broad directive for change without naming specific policy preferences. But you don’t need a divining rod to see where Trump is pointing his team.

Republicans have already embraced the idea of extending hate crimes protections to police officers. Trump’s rhetoric both before and after his election win made clear he will default to the side of police in any dispute with the public they serve. And three recent high-profile, ambush-style killings of police officers — one committed by a Trump fan and Confederate flag enthusiast in Iowa — have generated a sense of political urgency around officer safety.

Yet rather than deterring such rare and devastating assassinations, Thursday’s order lays down fertilizer for a frightfully dank new crop of routine police abuses.

Oh yes. Anyone who has ever had experience with cops knows how much they love tacking on any fucking charge they can think of, even given no reason whatsoever. This is not going to go well, and of course, it’s going to impact people of colour the most. Full story at Think Progress.

Fire, Hatred, and Speed.

 Sintesi Fascista (1935) by Alessandro Bruschetti. Photo courtesy the Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami Beach, Florida, The Mitchell Wolfson, Jr Collection.

Sintesi Fascista (1935) by Alessandro Bruschetti. Photo courtesy the Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami Beach, Florida, The Mitchell Wolfson, Jr Collection.

There’s a very interesting and excellent article at Aeon making the argument that while it’s quite easy to see the Nazi based fascism popping up everywhere, what we are actually facing is a more insidious fascism, one more aligned with the Futurists of Mussolini’s Italy, and its name is libertarian. Highly recommended reading.

Fascism begins as something in the air. Stealthy as smoke in the darkness, easier to smell than to see. Fascism sets out an ethos, not a set of policies; appeals to emotion, not fact. It begins as a pose, often a deceptive one. It likes propaganda, dislikes truth, and invests heavily in performance. Untroubled by its own incoherence, it is anti-intellectual and yet contemptuous of the populace even as it exploits the crowd mentality. Fascism is accented differently in different countries, and uses the materials – and the media – of the times.

Facism is hostile to egalitarianism and loathes liberalism. It champions ‘might is right’, a Darwinian survival of the nastiest, and detests vulnerability: the sight of weakness brings out the jackboot in the fascist mind, which then blames the victim for encouraging the kick. Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media. Even as it pretends to speak for the people, it creates the rule of the elite, a cult of violent chauvinism and a nationalism that serves racism.

The fascism of Thomas Mair (who killed the British Labour MP Jo Cox) or the now proscribed neo-Nazi National Action youth movement in the UK is so obvious; you can see it coming a mile away. The more insidious kind is the type being nourished across today’s libertarian movement. Its precursors are in Italy, not Germany, in the Italian Futurism that bolstered Benito Mussolini, in the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, and in the mythic Roman figure of Deus Sol Invictus.

In the Futurist manifesto of 1909, Filippo Marinetti, the movement’s poster-boy, articulated the emotional fascism from which political fascism stems: ‘[O]ur hearts are not in the least tired. For they are nourished by fire, hatred and speed!’ Steel was the archetypal material for Futurist sculpture, but there are materials of the mind, too: the steel of cruelty, the gunmetal of hatred: ‘We want to exalt aggressive action, the racing foot, the fatal leap, the smack and the punch.’

In contemporary libertarianism, there is a similar love of hatred, from the alt-Right libertarian news site Breitbart proudly publishing the UK libertarian writer James Delingpole’s paean ‘In Praise of “Hate Speech”’, to Sean Gabb who, as director of the Libertarian Alliance in 2006, said: ‘[W]e believe in the right to promote hatred by any means that do not fall within the Common Law definition of assault.’ (Gabb said this as he stepped forward to defend David Irving’s expression of Holocaust denialism.)  When Breitbart’s CEO Steve Bannon moved to become Trump’s chief strategist, his appointment was cheered by the former head of the Ku Klux Klan, and approved by the American Nazi party.

The character traits applauded by today’s libertarians – ambition, superbia, speed, drive, spin, success and spikiness – are the qualities the Futurists valued. There is fire here but never warmth; appetite but never food. If conviviality has an opposite, it is this: anti-vivial, anti-genial and, in its treatment of the future, anti-generative. UK libertarians call their online magazine Spiked, recalling both date-rape drugs and weaponry (as well as poor journalism that deserves to be spiked rather than published.)

Libertarians’ bullyboy mentality detests the sensibility of liberalism, and torments those they call ‘SJWs’ (social justice warriors). There should be no regulations to protect the weak, they say, and they loathe the vulnerable: the British journalist Milo Yiannopoulos, Breitbart’s star writer, having encouraged the racist and sexist abuse of the American actress Leslie Jones on Twitter, then mocked her, saying: ‘If at first you don’t succeed … play the victim.’ This attitude is proto-fascistic, to despise the victim for being vulnerable, using that weakness as a reason to treat them with contempt. The UK libertarian writer Claire Fox, though supportive of an open-border policy on migration, scorns individual or cultural sensitivity by promulgating the term ‘Generation Snowflake’ to describe people who might ‘melt’ in the heat of hate-speech or who want ‘trigger alerts’ to be issued over material that might traumatise survivors of sexual abuse.

[…]

In the decadent days of the late Roman Empire, Deus Invictus, as patron of soldiers, was shown with a whip and a globe to emphasise dominance and invincibility; his solar rays were spiked. Deus Invictus is a ruthless enemy, the god unchained to scorch the earth. Deus Invictus is typified in libertarianism and personified in Trump’s solar solipsism, with his backdrop of gold curtains, Twitter-roaring against the unbearable restraints of respect or social justice. An ideology of monoism without plurality or otherness furious for its own freedom. An idiot divinity unleashed upon the world.

The full article is here. Highly recommended!

Shoot A Black Man, Get Hired By Trump.

Dontrell Stephens via Miami Hearld video.

Dontrell Stephens via Miami Hearld video.

A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s sergeant who shot and paralyzed an unarmed black man in 2013 has been assigned to oversee security for President Donald Trump when he visits his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

According to the Miami Herald, Sgt. Adams Lin has been assigned to work with the Secret Service overseeing security at Palm Beach International Airport including watching Air Force One.

[…]

A spokesperson for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office confirmed that Lin, who has been promoted since the shooting, is assigned to the Trump detail, calling it a “local issue.”

In 2013 Lin shot Stephens who had been riding a bike when the then deputy attempted to cite him for a traffic infraction. According to Lin, he “feared for his life” when he saw something in Stephens’s hand which turned out to be a cell phone.

Lin shot Stephens four times in the back paralyzing him from the waist down.

While the PBSO ruled the shooting justified a federal grand jury disagreed in 2016, finding Lin had violated Stephens’ civil rights by using excessive force and awarding him more than $24 million.

Really couldn’t be much more black and white, could it? Trump obviously doesn’t have a problem with murderous cops, as long as they are trying to murder people of colour. The Tiny Dictator might manage to object if someone white was shot. I can’t imagine Mr. Stephens being unaffected by this, or all his loved ones. It’s outrageous to hire a coward of a cop, who did his best to commit murder.

Via Raw Story.

Early Warning Signs.

U.S. Holocaust Museum.

U.S. Holocaust Museum.

A short road to fascism: Experts on authoritarianism are even more concerned about Trump’s dictator-like tendencies in week two than they were in week one. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that this poster from the U.S. Holocaust Museum outlining the disturbingly familiar warning signs of fascism went viral this week.

From This week in Trump’s America: Week 2: The Muslim ban, Neil Gorsuch, and the “worst call yet.”

And my personal explosive Oh Fuck! for the day:

Nawar al-Awlaki. CREDIT: video screengrab.

Nawar al-Awlaki. CREDIT: video screengrab.

In the Tiny Dictator’s completely botched “military raid”, this beautiful little girl was killed, eight years old. Unfortunately, hers was not the only death. Young Nawar’s death brings back words of the Tiny Dictator:

In December 2015, Trump said he would kill the family members of terrorists to stop ISIS.

“We’re fighting a very politically correct war,” Trump said during a Fox & Friends interview. “And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. They, they care about their lives. Don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.”

Well, he’s made good on his word, adding baby killer to his less than impressive list of feats. If you’re going to have such an attitude, you really shouldn’t be surprised if those on the ‘other side’ adopt it. All’s fair and all that, yeah? This is fucking devastating, dangerous idiocy, and the military knows that. It’s a fucking pity Donny doesn’t, and thinks slaughtering children is okely dokely.

In a statement released shortly after the al Bayda raid, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group expressed concern about President Trump’s first raid and what it signals about his approach to extremism.

“The first military actions by the Trump administration in Yemen bode poorly for the prospect of smartly and effectively countering AQAP [al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula],” the statement said. “The use of US soldiers, high civilian casualties and disregard for local tribal and political dynamics… plays into AQAP’s narrative of defending Muslims against the West and could increase anti-US sentiment and with it AQAP’s pool of recruits.”

Via Think Progress.

Donny & Milo: A Fascist Love Affair.

Students protest Milo Yiannopoulos’ appearance at UC Berkeley Wednesday evening. CREDIT: AP Photo/Ben Margot.

Students protest Milo Yiannopoulos’ appearance at UC Berkeley Wednesday evening. CREDIT: AP Photo/Ben Margot.

Milo Yiannopoulos calls President Trump “Daddy,” and it seems the relationship might be mutual.

Wednesday evening, UC Berkeley ultimately canceled a speech by Yiannopolous, Breitbart editor and professional provocateur, just two hours before it was to take place. The speech, organized by Berkeley College Republicans, was massively protested, and those demonstrations turned increasingly violent after masked protesters not affiliated with the university started marching on Oakland.

Early Thursday morning, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes railed against the protests:

The birth place of free speech became its graveyard. So here’s what needs to happen: President Trump should immediately issue an executive order blocking Berkeley students from receiving any federal funding. Same goes for any other public university that wants to silence conservative voices. Free speech for all or no federal money! Not a single taxpayer penny, period!

That segment aired around 5:17 am. An hour later, Trump tweeted:

If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?

Then, at the top of the 7 o’clock hour, Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on Fox and Friends to reinforce the tweet. She mocked the students who protested, saying, “I don’t even know if they know what they’re protesting. I would love to do this big survey nationwide and ask everybody outside these airports, on the college campuses: what’s got you so in a lather?”

“Life doesn’t work that way folks,” she said. “You’re going to work with people who disagree with you. You’re going to encounter folks who aren’t just accosting you in this protective environment.”

The students know exactly what they are protesting, Madame Alternative Facts: sexism, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, homophobia, and oh yes, fascism. Pretty much everyone in our now fascist government is someone I disagree with, and they are busy accosting people on every level. We know what that’s like, and so do college students. They aren’t babies, and they aren’t stupid.

Yiannopoulos himself insisted that “the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down.”

No, the left and all anti-fascist, anti-nazi peoples are simply exercising their rights, and you don’t like that at all. If anyone wants to shut down free speech, it’s the fascist-nazi people. If you’re shouting in the public square, people have the right to respond.

What Yiannopolous offers is not just speech, but bullying of the most vulnerable. He openly encourages those who are white and male to attack basically anyone and everyone else. Trump, taking his cues from Fox News, is validating his behavior.

Indeed. Yiannopolous has already proved, time and time again, that he’s perfectly willing to endanger the lives of others, while taking exception to any and all criticism. The fact that he has the support of the Tiny Dictator is no comfort.

Via Think Progress.