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Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
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Journal Archives

Violent Far-Right Extremism Is Fueling Mass Shootings in America


17 hours ago
Violent Far-Right Extremism Is Fueling Mass Shootings in America
The repugnant massacre in Buffalo also highlights the urgent need for greater attention on shooter warning signs.
Mark Follman
National Affairs EditorBio | Follow


Gendron had a history of disturbing behavior, according to law enforcement authorities, including a threat he made in June 2021 to commit a suicidal school shooting. Under New York law, he was taken into custody by state police and given a psychiatric evaluation. The results are not publicly known, but Gendron was released within two days, officials said. After he graduated high school, according to the account that authorities say he posted, he spent months becoming radicalized online and preparing for his attack. He acquired weapons and tactical gear and surveilled his target, a common warning behavior among mass shooters.

As I’ve reported in previous investigations, violent far-right extremism surged in the United States during Donald Trump’s presidency and has grown deadlier since converging with the mass shootings epidemic. The violence has included lethal rampages targeting Latinos at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and Jews at synagogues in San Diego and Pittsburgh. Political polarization that continued to deepen after the January 6 insurrection, combined with record gun sales during the pandemic, raised further concerns among experts.

Political extremism fueling grievances and despair in troubled people has become a more urgent focus in recent years for leaders in the emerging field of behavioral threat assessment, the subject of my new book, Trigger Points: Inside the Mission to Stop Mass Shootings in America. The ways in which Trump and his political allies demonized “enemies” were nothing new, but their brazen tactics catalyzed a resurgence of ideological hate and a rise in the threat from domestic terrorism. This stark shift in mainstream American politics has profound consequences, experts in the field told me:

Threat assessment leaders typically are stoic in the face of tumultuous current affairs, but after an intense 2020 election year battered by a politicized pandemic, several top experts I spoke with described feeling deeply unsettled by the way dehumanization and themes of existential social war had become normalized in American politics. As one of them put it, “History shows how bad it can get when you really start convincing people that differences of opinion or political affiliation are coming from ‘enemies’ to be feared and despised because they’re threatening to destroy your way of life.”

Political demonization and unhinged conspiracy theories [have been] percolating in fringe subcultures, with social media forming an ever more interconnected pathway to radicalization, according to forensic psychiatrist Philip Saragoza, a threat assessment practitioner with expertise on incels and other extremist groups. “One thing we emphasize in trainings is how cross-linked these categories have all become,” he told me, describing the growing pattern. “You have these disaffected young males who live online, and they’ll wade into a community on 4Chan or 8Chan, and in one thread they’ll find all kinds of misogynistic content from manosphere groups that’s also wrapped up with MAGA movement politics, QAnon, or ‘great replacement’ and other racist conspiracy theories. It’s a real hive of choices, almost like à la carte extremism.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 17, 2022, 09:18 AM (4 replies)

'We Are Ascendant!' Defiant Steve Bannon Addresses Replacement Theory

Scary stuff right here...


'We Are Ascendant!' Defiant Steve Bannon Addresses Replacement Theory
Conservative podcaster Steve Bannon on Monday vowed not to back down in promoting a racist conspiracy theory that was allegedly cited by suspected Buffalo gunman Payton Gendron.
By David — May 16, 2022

Conservative podcaster Steve Bannon on Monday vowed not to back down in promoting a racist conspiracy theory that was allegedly cited by suspected Buffalo gunman Payton Gendron.

On his daily War Room: Pandemic podcast, Bannon insisted reports about the "replacement theory" were meant to distract the public. Bannon has previously promoted a French book that inspired the theory, which claims that white citizens are being replaced by immigrants.

"Of course, all of the morning shows are all over Tucker Carlson and a few others about the replacement theory," Bannon complained. "They seem to miss the point. And here's what we're not going to back off on. For people who have followed this show from day one, we are inclusive nationalists. Right?"

"OK? So, this is not about race," he continued. "This is about American citizenship! This is about the value of your citizens."

Bannon said that he was "not backing off one inch" despite the shooting.

"This is why we're going to take over every elections board in the nation," he remarked. "This is why we're going to take over every medical board in this nation. This is why we're going to take over state legislatures and D.A.s and attorney generals [sic] and secretaries of state and governors. And we're not going to stop. We are ascendant!"

Watch the video below via Real America's Voice:

Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 17, 2022, 08:16 AM (16 replies)

The Supreme Court just made it much easier to bribe a member of Congress

The Supreme Court just made it much easier to bribe a member of Congress
A case brought by Ted Cruz is a huge boon to rich candidates and moneyed lobbyists.
By Ian Millhiser May 16, 2022, 1:30pm EDT
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The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has been at war with campaign finance laws for more than a dozen years, stretching at least as far back as its decision in Citizens United v. FEC (2010). On Monday, the Court’s six Republican appointees escalated this war.

The Court’s decision in FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate is a boon to wealthy candidates. It strikes down an anti-bribery law that limited the amount of money candidates could raise after an election in order to repay loans they made to their own campaign.

Federal law permits candidates to loan money to their campaigns. In 2001, however, Congress prohibited campaigns from repaying more than $250,000 of these loans using funds raised after the election. They can repay as much as they want from campaign donations received before the election (although a federal regulation required them to do so “within 20 days of the election”).

The idea is that, if already-elected officials can solicit donations to repay what is effectively their own personal debt, lobbyists and others seeking to influence lawmakers can put money directly into the elected official’s pocket — and campaign donations that personally enrich a lawmaker are particularly likely to lead to corrupt bargains. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) manufactured a case to try to overturn that $250,000 limit, and now, the Court has sided with him.

Indeed, now that this limit on loan repayments has been struck down, lawmakers with sufficiently creative accountants may be able to use such loans to give themselves a steady income stream from campaign donors.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 16, 2022, 09:31 PM (1 replies)

SC sides with Ted Cruz, striking down cap on use of campaign funds to repay personal campaign loans

Supreme Court sides with Ted Cruz, striking down cap on use of campaign funds to repay personal campaign loans
Fredreka Schouten byline
By Ariane de Vogue and Fredreka Schouten, CNN
Updated 11:21 AM ET, Mon May 16, 2022

Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in a case involving the use of campaign funds to repay personal campaign loans, dealing the latest blow to campaign finance regulations.

The court said that a federal cap on candidates using political contributions after the election to recoup personal loans made to their campaign was unconstitutional.


In her dissenting opinion, Kagan criticized the majority for ruling against a law that she said was meant to combat "a special danger of corruption" aimed at "political contributions that will line a candidate's own pockets."

"In striking down the law today," she wrote, "the Court greenlights all the sordid bargains Congress thought right to stop. . . . In allowing those payments to go forward unrestrained, today's decision can only bring this country's political system into further disrepute."


Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 16, 2022, 11:40 AM (4 replies)

Melania Trump Continues Her White House Legacy: Bitter and Petty as Ever


17 hours ago
Melania Trump Continues Her White House Legacy: Bitter and Petty as Ever
Be best.
Inae Oh

Save for a few tacky NFTs that no one wanted to buy, things have been relatively quiet for Melania Trump since her husband lost the 2020 presidential election. But, surprise, a return to private life does not appear to have given way to much self-reflection. In fact, as evidenced in her first television interview since leaving the White House, the former first lady proved as bitter as ever, taking shots at Vogue and complaining about the state of the country.

“With your business background, your fashion background, and your beauty—never on the cover of Vogue,” Fox News host Pete Hegseth asked, pointing to the covers of Jill Biden, Kamala Harris, and Michelle Obama as apparent evidence that the media had been unfair to her. “Why the double standard?”

“They have likes and dislikes, and it’s so obvious,” Trump answered, indirectly accusing longtime editor Anna Wintour of being “biased” for never putting her on the cover while she was the first lady. Trump then claimed that she had “more important” issues to tend to during her time in the White House, which, of course, is dubious; Trump was largely seen as an absent first lady, even bored at the notion of public duty. And it remains unclear what, if anything, was ever done with her non-ironic anti-bullying campaign, “Be Best.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Trump lamented over the “sad” state of the country under President Biden. “A lot of people are struggling and suffering,” Trump said. “It’s very sad to see and I hope it changes fast.” She also made sure to plug her NFT ventures. “My NFTs, they are available on MelaniaTrump.com and USMemorabilia.com.”

As for a potential return to the White House, “Never say never,” Trump appeared to tease. Downright chilling stuff.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 16, 2022, 09:24 AM (17 replies)

CSPAN Caller Calls Host 'Racist' For Saying Buffalo Shooter Is White

Brain trusts.


CSPAN Caller Calls Host 'Racist' For Saying Buffalo Shooter Is White
A Republican caller on C-SPAN's Washington Journal program accused host Pedro Echevarria of being a "racist," simply because he pointed out facts about the Buffalo shooter.
By David — May 16, 2022

A Republican caller on C-SPAN's Washington Journal program accused host Pedro Echevarria of being a "racist."

During the daily call-in show, Echevarria asked guests to react to a shooting in Buffalo that appeared to be a hate crime where most of the victims were Black.

"It's stir-the-pot Sunday," a Republican caller named John complained. "Trying to get everybody to hate each other on a Sunday. Like the first caller. He thinks white people are systematically out hunting Black people. I guess he doesn't watch channel 6 news in Philadelphia, where Blacks kill Blacks three, four in the middle of the afternoon."

"What do you think about the event from yesterday which is the basis of our question today?" Echevarria wondered.

"I don't think nothing of it!" John remarked. "Because I think you're just trying to start a race war. You had the guy in Wisconsin that ran over those Christians in that parade. They were all white. But that wasn't a race crime. OK? And then you just had the guy from Philadelphia that went to New York City and shot the people in the subway."

"And how does that relate to yesterday's event?" Echevarria pressed.

"How does it relate?" John exclaimed. "He is a racist! He went from Philadelphia to New York just to kill white people on a subway."

"OK. That's not yesterday's event you're talking about," the C-SPAN host pointed out. "How does that relate to yesterday's event?"

"You're a goddamn racist!" the caller shouted.

"OK," Echevarria stated. "You can't use language on that so we're going to cut you off right there."
Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 16, 2022, 09:08 AM (3 replies)

Pennsylvania US Senate candidate Fetterman suffers stroke...

Pennsylvania US Senate candidate Fetterman suffers stroke but says he's 'well on my way to a full recovery'
CNN Digital Expansion 2017
By Dan Merica, CNN
Updated 5:02 PM ET, Sun May 15, 2022

(CNN)John Fetterman, the favorite to win Pennsylvania's Democratic US Senate contest, announced Sunday that he's recovering after a stroke.

Fetterman is at the Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, according to a statement, which noted he first went to the hospital Friday.

Pennsylvania's primary is on Tuesday, and polls show Fetterman, Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, holding a significant lead over US Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. Fetterman, who began canceling events on Friday, said Sunday he is continuing in the race.

"I had a stroke that was caused by a clot from my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long," he said, adding, "I'm feeling much better, and the doctors tell me I didn't suffer any cognitive damage. I'm well on my way to a full recovery."

He continued: "Our campaign isn't slowing down one bit, and we are still on track to win this primary on Tuesday, and flip this Senate seat in November."


Posted by babylonsister | Sun May 15, 2022, 07:27 PM (5 replies)

How America Lost One Million People


How America Lost One Million People
May 15, 2022 at 8:07 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

New York Times: “The magnitude of the country’s loss is nearly impossible to grasp.”

“More Americans have died of Covid-19 than in two decades of car crashes or on battlefields in all of the country’s wars combined.”

“Experts say deaths were all but inevitable from a new virus of such severity and transmissibility. Yet, one million dead is a stunning toll, even for a country the size of the United States, and the true number is almost certainly higher because of undercounting.”

“It is the result of many factors, including elected officials who played down the threat posed by the coronavirus and resisted safety measures; a decentralized, overburdened health care system that struggled with testing, tracing and treatment; and lower vaccination and booster rates than other rich countries, partly the result of widespread mistrust and resistance fanned by right-wing media and politicians.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sun May 15, 2022, 02:39 PM (9 replies)

Altercation: How Republicans Argue: They Lie


Altercation: How Republicans Argue: They Lie
Which the media generally doesn’t bother to point out (or contrast what they say with the truth) after quoting them
by Eric Alterman
May 13, 2022


The second piece of meta-context to always keep in mind when reading about U.S. politics is how deeply the contemporary right wing is embedded with the enemies of democracy, including its murderous dictators. It’s not just that CPAC is having its convention in Victor Orban’s Hungary. Nor is it just that Fox News is a more effective propaganda tool for Vladimir Putin than RT ever was. It’s also that the Republicans keep nominating candidates who are either personally, financially, or via their staffs playing for Putin’s team as well. It wasn’t just Trump and the people with whom he peopled the government. It was, as Steve Schmidt revealed this week, also John McCain, something that was originally reported by The Nation back during the 2008 campaign but lied about by the campaign and ignored by the McCain-besotted mainstream media. That article noted, and Schmidt has now confirmed, that “despite McCain’s tough talk, behind the scenes his top advisers have cultivated deep ties with Russia’s oligarchy—indeed, they have promoted the Kremlin’s geopolitical and economic interests, as well as some of its most unsavory business figures, through greedy cynicism and geopolitical stupor.” (If one wants to be really cruel or learn something important about the psychology of the Washington press corps, go back and read the loving coverage offered to McCain in real time. I wrote about that here, again, back in 2008, and here, two years later. I’ve got more, but that’s enough for now.)

The third and among the most important meta-media-related factors never to forget in contemporary political reporting is the mass addiction of contemporary conservatives to the practice of “bald-faced lying.” (I’m using the term in its philosophical senses.) This compulsion is evident even among many who profess distaste for Trump’s brand of dishonesty. Look, for instance, at this Peggy Noonan column in The Wall Street Journal. In support of her nutty contention that a leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion—which is not even against the law—is somehow the equivalent of a murderous insurrection designed to overthrow the government of the United States, Noonan argues, “Other high court decisions that liberalized the social order—desegregation of schools, elimination of prayer in the schools, interracial marriage, gay marriage—were followed by public acceptance, even when the rulings were very unpopular.” I suppose it is conceivable that Noonan—a regular not only in the Journal but also on NBC News’s Meet the Press—is so ignorant of history that she is unaware that the case she picks first—desegregation of schools—was met with what was proudly called “massive resistance” in the South up to and including one district in Virginia shutting down its entire public school system rather than comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Now, Noonan may just be nuts. There is certainly evidence to support this view. But she has editors and copy editors and other people—researchers, I imagine—who help her produce her columns.
Most likely, all of these people have gone to college and are at least minimally familiar with the history of the United States in the second half of the 20th century. So the only explanation for her ridiculous contention is that Peggy feels she has a license to lie. And it doesn’t even matter if her readers know she is lying. That’s the beauty of the bald-faced lie. The truth doesn’t matter. What matters are the politics and in this case, it’s a neat combination of racism and anti-feminism tied together by know-nothingism: a pretty good, albeit partial, description of the contemporary Republican Party. (I’ve no space to get into personal corruption, for example.)


Republicans know they cannot win without lying. And they know that most of the time, the media will “both sides” their lies to the point where citizens cannot discern what’s true and what’s not (to the degree that they are sufficiently engaged with old-fashioned politics even to care). And so Republicans resist all attempts to address the issue, no matter how vulnerable it leaves the rest of us to violent extremists, both from within and without. It’s actually amazing to me, as I write these words, the degree to which conservatives have become virtually carbon copies of the enemies that so excited them during the Cold War. I haven’t watched this crappy movie for a long time, but if it were being made honestly today, it would be called I Was a Republican … well, the FBI is not allowed to look into this kind of thing either.

We are really screwed.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat May 14, 2022, 11:17 AM (1 replies)

Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board Says GOP Candidates Are Too Nuts to Endorse


Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board Says GOP Candidates Are Too Nuts to Endorse
Justin Rohrlich
Published May. 13, 2022 9:45PM ET

Pennsylvania will be holding primaries for governor and senator on Tuesday, but The Philadelphia Inquirer won’t be endorsing any Republicans this year because the paper says none are “operating in the same reality.” In a blistering editorial on Friday, the board said that while it has historically leaned toward Democrats, it has also endorsed Republicans “even when a candidate’s views didn’t exactly align” with their own. However, when sending out surveys to Pennsylvania GOP candidates in the Senate primary, only one would even acknowledge that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. “How do you find points of agreement when you can’t reach common ground on facts so basic that they could be used in a field sobriety test?” the editorial board wrote. And although the GOPers in this year’s gubernatorial primary conceded that Trump’s lie about winning was, and continues to be, a lie, their extreme views on abortion were dubbed a “sad state of affairs” by the editorial board.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat May 14, 2022, 07:55 AM (2 replies)
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