Lazy Caturday ReadsPosted: March 16, 2019 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: anti-semitism, Bernie Sanders, Beto O'Rourke, cat gods and goddesses, Chelsea Clinton, Christchurch massacre, Cult of the Dead Cow, Donald Trump, hackers, Ilhan Omar, Islamophobia, mass shootings, Mikhail Lesin, murder fantasies, New Zealand, rape fantasies, terrorism 29 Comments
I said this a few days ago, and I’m still feeling it: I don’t want to live in this world. America’s toxic culture of white supremacy and mass shootings is spreading around the globe, enabled by Trump. I stayed offline for much of the day yesterday so I wouldn’t have to read about the horror in New Zealand.
I did hear last night that somehow the massacre on the other side of the world was the fault of Chelsea Clinton. At least according to some Bernie Sanders supporters. Here’s the video of a young women in a Bernie T-shirt poking her finger at Chelsea and screaming in her face.
Clinton, who attended and worked at the university in various capacities, including co-founding the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership, was said to be invited to the vigil, according to students at the vigil.
But Clinton’s presence at the vigil was not a welcome sight for at least two activists who were at the vigil.
A video went viral on Twitter Friday night showing a confrontation between Clinton and a student activist, filmed and tweeted out by a friend, who can be seen in the video telling Clinton, “This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put into the world. And I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deeply — 49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.” [….]
On Twitter, an account that appears to belong to the student activist wrote, “the CAUCASITY that chelsea clinton has showing up to a vigil for the 49 muslims massacred in an islamophobic hate crime after STOKING ISLAMOPHOBIA AND RACISM surrounding ilhan omar… f—ing ridiculous.” The account retweeted the video, posted by her “best friend,” writing, “apparently my brand is yelling at white politicians.”
Fact check: Chelsea Clinton is not a politician. Chelsea’s offense was that she sent a tweet about anti-semitism, after which she politely interacted with Rep Ilhan Omar, who had been criticized for tweets about politicians supporting Israel because they received donations from AIPAC. Here is what Clinton tweeted: “We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.”
On the other hand, let’s take a look at Trump’s history. Brian Klaas at The Washington Post: A short history of President Trump’s anti-Muslim bigotry.
Trump’s anti-Muslim bigotry has a long history. In 2011 and 2012, Trump insinuated that President Barack Obama was secretly Muslim. In September 2015, at a campaign rally, Trump nodded along as a supporter claimed “we have a problem in this country; it’s called Muslims.” Trump continued nodding, saying “right,” and “we need this question!” as the supporter then proceeded to ask Trump “when can we get rid of them [Muslims]?” In response, Trump said: “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things.”
In November 2015, on “Morning Joe,” Trump said that America needs to “watch and study the mosques.” Four days later, he indicated that he would “certainly implement” a database to track Muslims in the United States. Two days after that, he falsely claimedthat “thousands and thousands” of Muslims cheered in New Jersey when the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Then came the most egregious statement — one that should haunt Trump’s legacy forever and taint everyone who supported him subsequently: On Dec. 7, 2015, he called to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Three days later, Trump tweeted that the United Kingdom is “trying hard to disguise their massive Muslim problem.” On March 9, 2016, Trump falsely claimed that “Islam hates us.”
Upon taking office, Trump surrounded himself with anti-Muslim bigots. Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump adviser, was fired by the FBI for his Islamophobia. Michael Flynn, Trump’s disgraced national-security-adviser-turned-felon, said that Islam “is like a cancer.” And top officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton have also stoked hatred of Islam.
In late November 2017, Trump retweeted three videos by Jayda Fransen. She was one of the leaders of Britain First, a neo-fascist hate group. She has been convicted of multiple hate-crime offensesand was involved in organizing “Christian patrols,” which included what Britain First called “mosque invasions” aimed at intimidating British Muslims. While Fransen was out on bail, she appeared on Radio Aryan, a neo-Nazi radio station. Her interview began right after the station concluded its reading from “Mein Kampf.” That is who the president of the United States chose to amplify to his millions and millions of Twitter followers.
There’s much more at the link if you can stand to read it.
More from Vox: The New Zealand shooter called immigrants “invaders.” Hours later, so did Trump.
President Donald Trump just used similar language to describe immigrants coming into the United States that the alleged mass shooter did to justify killing nearly 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand.
On Friday, Trump issued the first veto of his presidency to override a congressional blockade of the national emergency he declared at America’s southern border. During the veto signing ceremony, Trump explained why he felt a national emergency was warranted to stop migrants from entering the US.
“People hate the word ‘invasion,’ but that’s what it is,” he said, according to the White House pool report.
That is chillingly similar to the language the main suspect in Friday’s Christchurch terrorist attack used to explain why he chose to gun down at least 49 Muslims. In the rambling 74-page manifesto the 28-year-old suspected shooter posted online shortly before the attack, he writes that he was committing the killings “to show the invaders that our lands will never be their lands.”
It’s also the same language the man who killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last October used: In that case, the perpetrator blamed Jews for helping what he called “invaders”in the Central American migrant caravans who were trying to enter the US.
Informative articles on the New Zealand terrorist attack, links only:
David C. Atkinson at The New Republic: The Longer History of the Christchurch Attacks. For over a century, the United States has played a role in inspiring and enabling white supremacy in Australia and New Zealand.
Wajahat Ali at The New York Times: The Roots of the Christchurch Massacre. All those who have helped to spread the worldwide myth that Muslims are a threat have blood on their hands.
NBC News: New Zealand shooting leaves online extremism researchers ‘hopeless and furious.’
The Daily Beast: New Zealand Mosque Shooting Suspect Used Swedish Girl’s Death as License to Kill.
More interesting reads to check out
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has a fascinating story on that former Putin pal who supposedly died accidentally in a DC hotel room: Exclusive: Washington Autopsy Files Reveal Lesin Sustained Broken Bone In Neck.
WASHINGTON — Mikhail Lesin, the former Russian press minister who turned up dead in a Washington hotel room in 2015, sustained a fracture to a neck bone just below the jaw line “at or near the time” of his death, according to documents released by the city’s medical examiner that provide new details about his final days….
That detail, however, and others contained in the 149-page file released exclusively to RFE/RL offer the most precise scientific description to date about Lesin’s death, which officials ruled accidental and said was caused by blunt-force injuries amid excessive alcohol consumption.
Once a powerful media adviser to President Vladimir Putin, Lesin fell out of favor with the Kremlin elite sometime around 2012 and had lowered his public profile before he was discovered dead in the Dupont Circle Hotel, located a few blocks from the White House, on November 5, 2015….
Among the new details revealed by the documents:
• Lesin’s hyoid — a bone located about midway between the larynx and the jaw bone — was completely fractured;
• The FBI considered possibly taking over the case in early 2016. It wasn’t clear whether the agency formally did so, though earlier files released by the agency show its agents were involved in questioning witnesses and examining video recordings from hotel cameras;
• Lesin’s son, Anton, who lives in Beverly Hills, California, told investigators he did not know why his father was in the U.S. capital, and also reported that Lesin regularly had serious bouts of drinking while on business trips;
• The day after the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released an initial report, one of its officials was summoned to appear before a criminal grand jury looking into Lesin’s death;
• In a report filed the day of Lesin’s death, a forensic investigator with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner wrote that a detective had called and said a “friend” of the former Russian official had contacted him and “inquired about the decedent’s location.”
Read many more details at the link.
The media has begun vetting Beto O’Rourke. Two interesting reads:
Reuters: Beto O’Rourke’s secret membership in America’s oldest hacking group.
While a teenager, O’Rourke acknowledged in an exclusive interview, he belonged to the oldest group of computer hackers in U.S. history.
The hugely influential Cult of the Dead Cow, jokingly named after an abandoned Texas slaughterhouse, is notorious for releasing tools that allowed ordinary people to hack computers running Microsoft’s Windows. It’s also known for inventing the word “hacktivism” to describe human-rights-driven security work.
Members of the group have protected O’Rourke’s secret for decades, reluctant to compromise his political viability. Now, in a series of interviews, CDC members have acknowledged O’Rourke as one of their own. In all, more than a dozen members of the group agreed to be named for the first time in a book about the hacking group by this reporter that is scheduled to be published in June by Public Affairs. O’Rourke was interviewed early in his run for the Senate.
There is no indication that O’Rourke ever engaged in the edgiest sorts of hacking activity, such as breaking into computers or writing code that enabled others to do so. But his membership in the group could explain his approach to politics better than anything on his resume. His background in hacking circles has repeatedly informed his strategy as he explored and subverted established procedures in technology, the media and government.
“There’s just this profound value in being able to be apart from the system and look at it critically and have fun while you’re doing it,” O’Rourke said. “I think of the Cult of the Dead Cow as a great example of that.”
That doesn’t seem to problematic to me. As younger candidates come forward, they are likely to have on-line histories. This story from Politico is a bit more embarrassing: O’Rourke ‘not … proud’ of teenage murder fantasy writing.
Beto O’Rourke said Friday he is “not … proud” of fiction he wrote as teenager about murdering children, while acknowledging its surfacing could hurt his campaign.
“Stuff I was part of as a teenager … not anything that I’m proud of today,” O’Rourke told reporters outside a meet-and-greet here. “And I mean, that’s the long and short of it.”
O’Rourke’s remarks followed a report in Reuters that O’Rourke, as a young member of the computer hacking group Cult of the Dead Cow, wrote an online article about how society could work without money and, in a more disturbing missive, about killing children.
“One day, as I was driving home from work, I noticed two children crossing the street. They were happy, happy to be free from their troubles. … This happiness was mine by right. I had earned it in my dreams,” he wrote, according to Reuters. “As I neared the young ones, I put all my weight on my right foot, keeping the accelerator pedal on the floor until I heard the crashing of the two children on the hood, and then the sharp cry of pain from one of the two. I was so fascinated for a moment, that when after I had stopped my vehicle, I just sat in a daze, sweet visions filling my head.”
There’s more of this stuff, definitely creepy; but it was a long time ago. Bernie Sanders survived his early fantasy writings about rape and his theories about breast cancer being caused by sexual frustration.
What else is happening? What stories are you following today?
Ides of March ReadsPosted: March 15, 2019 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: Donald Trump is a WHITE SUPREMACIST, Mosque shootings Christchurch, Mueller investigation, New Zealand, Robert Gates 28 Comments
It’s Mueller Friday Sky Dancers!
And it’s the Ides of March! Who needs to beware today?
Let’s start with this from Reuters: “Mueller, in U.S. court filing, says multiple probes continue” and asks for a sentencing delay for Rick Gates. I imagine he’s cooperating on the Trump inauguration scam but it’s just a guess on my part.
The U.S. Special Counsel’s Office on Friday asked a court to delay sentencing for U.S. President Donald Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman, Rick Gates, amid “ongoing investigations” stemming from the Russia investigation.
In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller cited Gates’ continued cooperation with multiple probes and asked permission to update the judge on the case again by May 14.
“Gates continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations, and accordingly the parties do not believe it is appropriate to commence the sentencing process at this time,” Mueller’s team said in the court filing.
Gates is probably the one person who is still in the best position to spill a lot of beans in a lot of areas. He was active during and past the campaign and transition. This is from the AP via ABC News.
Gates is a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference and possible coordination with the Trump campaign. But he is also helping federal authorities in New York who are looking into Trump’s inaugural committee as well as lobbying on behalf of foreign interests by prominent Washington insiders.
The joint filing by Mueller’s office and Gates’ attorneys comes amid signs the Russia investigation is winding down. But it’s unclear if Friday’s delay is an indication that Mueller may submit his confidential report soon or if it’s related to the status of the other investigations.
The filing asked for another 60 days to update U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on whether Gates can proceed to sentencing. The judge granted the request later Friday.
Gates pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and false statement charges related to Ukrainian lobbying and political consulting he carried out with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison.
Gates helped the government in obtaining a trial conviction of Manafort last year. Prosecutors have noted that he continues to provide information about Manafort’s time on the Trump campaign, though neither man has been charged with any crimes related to Russian election interference.
Still, Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who led the Manafort case, told a federal judge earlier this year that a meeting Gates attended with Manafort in August 2016 went to the “heart” of the Russia investigation. The meeting at the Grand Havana Room cigar club in New York was with Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime Manafort associate who the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence.
Prosecutors have not revealed exactly what piqued their interest in the meeting, though court papers show it involved a discussion of a possible Russia-Ukraine peace plan.
Separately, federal prosecutors in New York are investigating the Presidential Inaugural Committee, where Gates served in a senior role. Investigators are looking into whether foreigners illegally contributed to the committee, which raised $107 million for Trump’s inaugural events, and how that money was spent.
The same office is also investigating lobbying for Ukraine in which Gates was involved.
Another mass murder by white nationalist terrorists shocks the world.
Yesterday, New Zealand became a site of right wing white nationalist terror. There were mass shootings at Muslim Mosques that have taken many lives. A video from the attacks has been streaming on the internet and is said to be from an attacker.
Facebook, where a man claiming to be the attacker livestreamed footage of the shootings, removed the original video about an hour later, but by that time copies of the footage had started to circulate across other social media sites.
Facebook’s community standards explicitly ban “individuals engaged in mass murder” from having a presence on its network, and the company has deleted the account associated with the suspect. But eight hours after the attack videos were still live, obscured behind a warning that they may “show violent or graphic content” but not deleted.
Traditional news outlets have taken starkly different positions. MailOnline’s version of the story features an autoplaying clip of 18 seconds of the suspect’s livestream, showing him leaving his car, weapon in hand, cutting it as he enters the front door of Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue. There was a version of the clip autoplaying on its homepage.
The Sun took a similar approach. A spokesman for the paper told the Guardian: “We recognise that in the aftermath of horrific events such as these there will be sensitivities around reporting, and we take those responsibilities seriously.
“We have thought long and hard about how much of the easily available material currently on social media we should host on our site in order to shed light on this barbarous attack and the twisted ‘motive’ behind it. We have not published any video which depicts any act of actual violence, nor have we published or linked to the hate-filled manifesto.”
On the Mirror’s website, a longer clip of the same video led the story, showing the same footage of the attacker entering the mosque, cutting over the footage of the attack, and resuming the clip as the gunman walks back out of the building towards his car. That video was removed following inquiries from the Guardian, and the paper’s editor later apologised, saying “It is not in line with our policy relating to terrorist propaganda videos.”
A Fox News Analyst has found bottom on what not to say about an attack of this magnitude. No thoughts and prayers from the Fox propaganda lair. This is from the Daily Beast.
Fox News analyst Walid Phares called Friday’s white nationalist terrorist attackin Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 49 people and injured 40 others, “very understandable” on a “political level.” Phares said that New Zealand has now joined countries fighting terrorism “on all sides” adding, it’s very understandable what (the shooter) was trying to do on a political level, obviously it’s horrific and should be condemned completely on the action level.” Earlier in the segment, Phares called the horrific attack “pure evil, more than that it’s successful pure evil.” “Unfortunately New Zealand now has joined the community of probably 100 countries that are fighting terrorism from any side and all sides, mosques, churches have been attacked by extremists on all sides.” Phares is an author and right-wing political pundit. He worked for the Republican presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney in 2012, and President Donald Trump in 2016.
The primary attacker has left a manifesto which can be found on The Daily Mail. The DM also shared the first person footage of the attack.
The Daily Mail’s website uploaded the Christchurch mosque attacker’s 74-page “manifesto”, allowing readers to download the entire document just hours after the massacre on Friday which left at least 49 people dead.
The Mail was one of several British news outlets which defied requests from New Zealand police on Friday not to spread the terrorist’s first-person footage, which had been repeatedly shared across social media platforms in the wake of the attack.
The latest news is that there are 49 confirmed dead. Four suspects have been arrested to include one woman.
• 49 confirmed dead in ‘terrorist’ shootings at two Christchurch mosques
• Seven died at Linwood, 41 at mosque near Hagley Park
• Four people initially arrested, including one woman
• Man, 28 due in court tomorrow charged with murder
• One of the gunmen livestreamed shooting at Al Noor Mosque in chilling 17-min video
Forty-nine people have been killed and 48 more hurt after mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques in the worst terror attack on New Zealand soil.
Nour Tavis said he was in the front row of the Al Noor Mosque in Deans Ave with his friend when the shooting started. At first they did not know what the noise was.
“Then we heard screaming … everyone panicked,” he said. “There was shooting and shooting and shooting … people were running and all of a sudden you saw them fall.”
Tavis saw someone smash a window and jump out. “It was the only way to escape,” he said. “I followed.”
As he and others ran for cover the shooting carried on inside the mosque.
The questions now start about where these folks are getting their inspirations. Here’s some speculation from WAPO’s James McAuley. The sources is the main suspect’s manifesto.
Before embarking on a deadly shooting rampage Friday targeting Muslim worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand, the suspected gunman — a 28-year-old, self-styled “regular white man from a regular family” — posted a 74-page manifesto on Twitter.
The sprawling, angry text sheds some light on the motivation behind an attack that killed 49 Muslims during Friday prayers and wounded dozens of others. Among other things, that suspect — who Christchurch police say posted the manifesto and whom they have since charged with murder — wrote that a trip to France in 2017 convinced him that the country was under “invasion” by “nonwhites.”
“The final push was witnessing the state of French cities and towns. For many years I had been hearing and reading of the invasion of France by nonwhites, many of these rumors and stories I believed to be exaggerations, created to push a political narrative,” the suspect wrote.
“But once I arrived in France, I found the stories not only to be true, but profoundly understated,” he continued. A significant detail is that the suspect titled his manifesto “The Great Replacement,” a clear reference to the title of a 2012 book by right-wing French polemicist Renaud Camus.
In that book, Camus expounds on the “theory” that Europe’s white majority is being replaced by nonwhite North African and sub-Saharan African immigrants, many of whom are Muslim.
The “great replacement” has been a battle cry of the French far right, even after immigration arrivals into Europe fell significantly after their peak in 2015. In the words of Marion Maréchal, granddaughter of convicted Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen and a darling of the American far right, the idea perfectly corresponds to reality.
Unsurprisingly, the shooter also finds inspiration in the current occupant of the US White House. I am fully ashamed of this. This is from Salon and the keyboard of Chauncey DeVega.
Words are weapons. Those weapons can be lethal.
The president of the United States gives both permission and encouragement for public’s behavior, values and norms. This is true both in the United States and around the world. He or she is that powerful.
Earlier on Friday, a 28-year-old white man who appears to have described himself as “an actual fascist” entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, armed with assault rifles and killed at least 49 people, injuring many 20 others. New Zealand authorities also report that the attacker had placed two explosive devices on his vehicle, which apparently did not detonate.
In an especially gruesome contemporary twist, the gunman apparently streamed parts of the terror attack live on Facebook. Although that feed and other accounts apparently associated with the shooter have been taken down, the New York Times reports that both the 17-minute video and a manifesto apparently posted by the shooter have been widely disseminated on social media.
Three men and one woman have been taken into custody by New Zealand law enforcement, who have since said that one of those people is likely not involved. At this writing, reports suggest that the 28-year-old man, who by his own account was born and raised in Australia, may have been the sole shooter.
hat man appears to have posted his hate-filled manifesto online before the attack. In it, he rages against “Islamic invaders” who are “occupying European soil,” and specifically writes that he used guns to commit this massacre in order to call attention to debate about the Second Amendment in the United States. The alleged mass murderer also wrote that he had donated money to American white supremacist organizations, and quoted the “14 words” pledge often used by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
According to various reports, the alleged terrorist specifically cited President Trump as an inspiration. His online manifesto praises Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
Friday’s massacre appears to be another example of what is known as “stochastic terrorism” or “scripted violence.” It is also another case study in how right-wing terrorists, with no official group affiliation, can be radicalized online
Stephen A. Crockett Jr.–writing for The Root– leaves us with this lede. “New Zealand Mosques Shooting Suspect Called Trump a ‘Symbol of White Supremacy’ and Claimed He Was Just a ‘Regular White Man’ Ensuring a ‘Future for My People’ “
The suspected gunman who killed dozens of worshippers inside two New Zealand mosques is an Australian man who reportedly posted a 74-page manifesto that called Donald Trump as a “symbol of white supremacy” before the shooting .
According to Yahoo News, the alleged killer who live-streamed the attack identified himself as Brenton Tarrant. He claimed that he was motivated by “far-right extremism he saw in the United States to carry out the attack at Al Noor Mosque.”The shooting left 49 people dead inside two mosques. Some 41 people were killed inside Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch while several more were killed inside Linwood Masjid Mosque.
The suspect was captured and has been charged with murder. Three other people are also being held in custody, Yahoo News reports.
Someone using the username ‘Brenton Tarrant 9’ posted footage of the attack that “shows the gunman firing 205 times on men, woman and children and stopping only to reload his weapons.”
The last few years have put the worst of our country on display. It is out there inspiring the worst of humanity. Not a day goes by that I do not wonder what type of hell realm beings find inspiration in this atrocious lump of air brushed flesh. Well, we see at least one of them today. It’s at this point where you know that thoughts and prayers can never be enough.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Late Night: New Zealand Bans Weird Baby NamesPosted: July 21, 2011 Filed under: just because | Tags: baby names, first amendment, Global Post, New Zealand, Sweden 20 Comments
This story from the Global Post really tickled my funny bone: New Zealand Bans Weird Baby Names.
The country’s Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages has been cracking down on parents who get too creative when naming their kids, Australia’s Herald Sun reports.
The list of weird names for kids that are banned by New Zealand’s names registrar has grown to include Lucifer, Duke, Messiah and 89.
Also not approved: Bishop, Baron, General, Judge, King, Knight and Mr., names that were all said to be too similar to titles.
The letters, C, D, I and T were also rejected as first names, the Herald Sun says.
As well, the agency has refused to allow names involving asterisks, commas, periods and other punctuation marks.
Apparently New Zealand’s government isn’t burdened with a First Amendment. According to the article, Sweden also has laws prohibiting parents from using certain names.
While Lego and Google have been approved as names for children, Superman, Metallica and Elvis, and the name Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116, pronounced Albin, were not approved.
Too much. When I was in college years ago, I worked in the data processing department–those were the days of keypunch machines and computers that filled a good sized room. Anyway, I would see the strangest names when I was working there. There was a girl at the school named “Dimple Smith.” The funniest names were the rhyming ones–like Harry Carey. There was a girl in my high school named Tamara Paxon (Tam for short).
What’s the weirdest name you’ve ever come across?