Author: Mitchell Blatt (Page 1 of 27)

Exclusive: The scene at Lafayette Park and marching with the counterprotesters

Lafayette Square was filled with protesters hours before the alt-right began marching towards the White House—counterprotesters, that is.

Pre-march

The counterprotesters consisted of a diverse group of people. Many were individuals who simply opposed racism who didn’t appear to be aligned with any specific group. Many were centrists or moderate liberals. One man who wore a NATO flag as a cape said, “I like to piss off both sides. I oppose fascism and communism.”

There was no shortage of hardcore activists and far-left ideologues, as well. Activist groups organized around communism, socialism, anarchism and “racial justice” all sent large contingencies.

At 12:20 pm, a group of black rights activists came marching down 16 Street NW carrying signs and chanting. Among the groups represented on their shirts and signs were Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) and the Party for Socialism & Liberation (pslweb.org). Black protesters marched in front, followed by white allies. The Revolutionary Communist Party, A.N.S.W.E.R. and Refuse Fascism.org had organized protesters into the park, too, by then.

The park was divided in half—counterprotesters were allowed to fill the northern half, alt-right racists in the southern half. The counterprotest site was a cacophony of chanting and speeches by anti-racists, including Daryle Lamont Jenkins of One People’s Project.

The alt-right arrives

But the real action was along the orange line of the Metro.

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Alt-right marches to Lafayette Park (Unite the Right 2 photos)

Outnumbered by police officers. Outnumbered by journalists. Heavily outnumbered by counterprotesters.

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Revolutionary Communists, Black supremacists, leftists counterprotest noone

Alt-right doesn’t show up to its own protest on first day

The alt-right is coming to Washington, DC to rally outside of Donald Trump’s home in the White House for the anniversary of the bloody Unite the Right event of 2017.

Well, they should be coming tomorrow, Sunday, August 12. They didn’t end up showing on August 11. The 2017 event took place between August 11 and 12.

Counter-protesters had been taking part in an #OccupyLafayettePark protest ever since August 9, in addition to “Impeach Trump” protesters who had already been gathered outside the White House most evenings since July 17. The counter-protest contingency (and the media) was really hoping to give the alt-right an early welcome on Saturday evening, but did not get the chance.

Reporters had been camped out in Lafayette Park since morning. Some had even done shots there Friday night. Rumor swirled Saturday that alt-right supporters would make their first entrance Saturday at 5 pm. Later the time was said to be 5:30 pm.

At 5 pm, a group of black supremacists arrived with a pan-African flag and shield.

They accused “whites” of causing and/or being complicit in crimes of humanity.

“He has killed more than any other man on planet earth. Not only did he bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Japan, he started blazing the fire in Vietnam.”

They left after 15 minutes or so.

The anticipation grew.

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What does Reason think the police should have done?

Do libertarians want mentally ill people involuntarily confined?

Reason‘s Zuri Davis blogs, relying on a Washington Post interview, that local sheriffs had been getting reports that Forrest Gordon Clark, who is suspected of causing a huge forest fire raging in California now, was a threat.

Milligan says, he has been warning the local sheriff’s office and U.S. Forest Service about Clark, repeatedly telling them, “You have to do something or he’s going to kill someone or burn this place down.” Milligan reports that Clark sent him several texts promising that the area was “going to burn just like we planned.” Milligan say that he attempted to alert the authorities but did not receive a response. He criticized, “Why the hell didn’t they respond? I reported this over and over again.”

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Editor on Trump’s threats against Iran

The greatest strategic mistake by the United States in the opening decades of the 21st century has been to get stuck in unwinnable wars in the Middle East, a region with declining strategic importance relative to Asia.

At the time when a predecessor, George W. Bush, invaded Iraq, Donald Trump supported the war. Later, during the 2016 presidential campaign he pretended – loudly and without shame – that he had opposed the war. What would he do if he had a similar decision in front of him as president? We may well get to know sometime soon.

Trump unleashed his vitriol against Iran on July 22, threatening war in an all-caps screed on Twitter.

“To Iranian President Rouhani,” he said. “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”

Trump practices “honor politics.” Please take note that the cause of the Trump’s outburst wasn’t anything Iran had actually done vis-à-vis America, but rather words used by his Iranian counterpart Trump took as a “threat.”

Rouhani had issued a boilerplate statement in response to Trump’s previous provocations, declaring: “Peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” Sniping back and forth is nothing unusual in U.S.-Iranian relations and certainly nothing for the American leader to get angry about. However, Trump seems to have chosen to believe Rouhani’s words were something the U.S. should “not stand for.”

Were Trump’s empty rhetoric the only thing on display, that would be worrisome enough for what it says about the mindset of the commander-in-chief of the largest military in the world. What is more concerning, however, is that Trump has been stoking the flames against Iran since he was elected, and his provocations have intensified of late.

On May 9, he made good on his pledge to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran. Now, he is warning other countries not to import Iranian oil, or else he will impose sanctions against them. Sanctioning a country that continues to comply with the nuclear deal – respected by all signatories except the United States – is an inherently provocative act.

Iran is already facing economic problems and unrest. Now, European companies, including France’s largest oil producer, Total, are reluctantly pulling out of Iran in order to avoid problems. Is it any wonder that Trump’s escalatory actions began shortly after neoconservative hardliner John Bolton became National Security Adviser in April?

Read full article: Column: Trump threatening war with Iran

Vice’s shoddy journalism ethics and reckless sensationalism: the story of Sarah Jeong and Naomi Wu

Sarah Jeong didn’t publish an article exposing personal information about a pseudonymous Chinese tech woman. She just supported the publication of the article and attacked the victim after the fact.

The renewed controversy speaks to shoddy ethics and reckless journalistic practices of Vice, the sensationalist hipster magazine cofounded by current alt-right hate group leader Gavin McInnes. Its March 25, 2018 about tech goddess Naomi Wu is coming under further scrutiny in the aftermath of the New York Times’s hiring of Sarah Jeong. Jeong has been a contributing editor to Vice Motherboard when the article and attacked Wu after the article was published.

The gist of the controversy over this particular article, written by Sarah Emerson, is that the writer and her editors did not respect Wu’s privacy as a Chinese female living in an authoritarian country and working in a heavily-sexist industry. Now that Jeong is under fire because of tweets she has made, Wu took the opportunity to give the controversy renewed attention.

On Friday, I argued that Jeong’s controversial tweets were not in fact racist. But the fact remains that she may have committed breaches of journalistic or social media etiquette in other ways.

Her involvement in the Vice story appears to be mostly limited to criticizing Wu after the fact. She is not listed on the byline of the article, but she enthusiastically jumped into the controversy on Twitter, as might be expected of someone who maintains such a Twitter feed.

Vice’s Reckless Journalism

The article described how Naomi “SexyCyberg” Wu creates cool gadgets while dressed in sexy attire. It links her work with the culture of Shenzhen, a fast growing tech and design hub, and relates the difficulties of working in tech as a woman.

The big problem came approximately 4,700 words in, when Emerson raised a conspiracy theory and the topic of Wu’s personal life, including her marital status. As Wu wrote on Twitter in February 2018, “Why the fuck can guys make things, do STEM[,] without people taking a crowbar to their bedroom door as if they are entitled to the details of EVERY aspect of their lives?”

Vice fancies itself as a worldly, progressive outlet, but in this case, the writers and editors involved in the article failed their cause.

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The conservative case for why Sarah Jeong isn’t racist

After Sarah Jeong was hired by The New York Times, the alt-right attacked her by surfacing controversial years-old tweets and calling for her firing. The mainstream right, while not involved in direct racism against her, did advance the narrative that Jeong’s tweets were “racist” and put pressure on the Times.

”#CancelWhitePeople!”

”Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants,” the shared tweets said.

’Just think what SJWs would do if a white person said that about black people!!!’ the cliched response goes.

Well, excuse me for being a dumbass fucking white person* sharing his opinion online, but calling Jeong “racist” and calling for her to be fired is an overreaction and isn’t even defensible from a laissez faire conservative perspective. (*Although (((I))) am not actually a fucking white person, according to the alt-right…)

Over the past few years, conservatives have wielded the torch of “free speech” against “political correctness.” It was supposedly one of the reasons Donald Trump won the electoral college vote. He was the only one fearless enough to say that Hispanics are not qualified to judge cases impartially and that “#WhiteGenocide” is happening.

Easily-offended right-wing SJWs tweeting angry attacks at Jeong after her tweets went viral.

Alt-right took Jeong tweets out of context

Trump, you see, expressed actually racist thoughts. Jeong, by contrast, was mostly responding to racism directed at her (directly as an individual and indirectly as a member of a targeted ethnicity) and other minority groups.

The idea of “#WhiteGenocide” is illustrative. It is, as I have written, “the idea that diversity is bad because it increases the population of minority ethnic groups in the United States and thus decreases the percentage of whites.” According to the alt-right narrative, America is a white country and should remain that way. Any change of demographics, due to immigration, intermarriage, or group differences in birth rates, is considered “genocide,” because it, in some small way, changes the demographic characteristics of the country. Demographic change in the country, where the percentage of white children born is now less than half of all children, was a factor in Trump’s election.

Thus, when Jeong tweeted to “@RepDanMode,” a racist account that has since been suspended,

.@RepDanMode White people have stopped breeding. You’ll all go extinct soon. This was my plan all along. 😈

complete with a devil emoji, she was mocking the racist idea of “#WhiteGenocide.”

The idea that she individually—or minorities as a group—could have some kind of conspiratorial plan to decrease the fertility rate of members of the white ethnic group is hilariously stupid. Jeong was responding to something racist Mr. “Mode” said and treating it with the contempt it deserved. If anyone thinks she seriously has a plan to stop white people from breeding, they need to learn what sarcasm is.

See the difference? Arguing for banning immigration on the grounds of race is racist. Arguing against the racist idea that immigration should be banned isn’t racist. Using hyperbolic sarcasm to respond to racism is not the same thing as racism.

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“How Democracies Die”: What it says about Trump

“We’ve engaged him for ourselves. … Within two months, we will have pushed [Hitler] so far into a corner that he’ll squeal.” – Franz von Papen

“He’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole.”Duncan Hunter on Donald Trump

Why does the Republican Party continue to stand behind Trump when his approval rating is at 40 percent, he just bowed down to Putin, and it looks more and more like he is going to cost Republicans their control of the House of Representatives? Why did the Republicans allow him to run in their party’s primary in the first place, and why did they use their party mechanisms to support his candidacy in the general election?

In their book How Democracy Dies, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt point out that demagogues often need the support of legitimate political parties and elites to legitimize them. Hitler was appointed chancellor by president Paul von Hindenburg. Hugo Chavez had charges (stemming from his attempted 1992 coup) dropped by then-president Rafael Caldera in 1994. Caldera didn’t think Chavez would ever win a presidential election and was sadly shocked when he did in 1999.

In 2012, the Republican Party candidates courted Donald Trump’s endorsement. Mitt Romney ultimately accepted it. Romney came out against Trump during the 2016 election.

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Facebook banning Alex Jones was the right thing to do

I wrote in April how Facebook has no obligation to post lies and bullshit. Free speech doesn’t mean forcing companies to help broadcast defamation, and Facebook has a real problem with defamatory news. Has Facebook taken the seriousness of its problem to heart?

Alt-right conspiracy nut Alex Jones was suspended from his personal Facebook account for thirty days for violating community standards. The suspension comes shortly after YouTube pulled four of Infowars’ videos for being false and full of conspiracy theories.

The alt-right will be quick to whine that they are victims. Trendy members of the ordinary right will talk about how “ideas should compete in the free marketplace of ideas.” Jones, however, isn’t sharing ideas or competing to make an argument or report news. He’s lying and slandering people. (And YouTube and Facebook aren’t the government; they are media platforms.)

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Anti-Trump protesters welcome Trump back from Helsinki with “traitor” chant

Protesters gathered outside the White House on July 16 and 17 to voice discontent with Trump’s policies generally and his extreme appeasement of Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in particular. Trump had said that he believed Putin’s denial of hacking and interfering in the 2016 election, while criticizing the FBI and Hillary Clinton.

Earlier in the day, July 17, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti gave a speech.

The crowd had thinned by 9:30 pm, but there were still people there singing national patriotic songs and chanting about the migrant child separation issue.

Protesters expressed that they would keep up protests all week. Russia could be a liability for Trump: A survey released today shows that 55 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the Kremlin.

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