Shape-Shifting Extremists

September 17, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Alt-Right Racists

Open Carry Texas.  American Freedom Keepers.  Confederate Riders.  Hezbollah.  What do they have in common? Mob tactics, as in the Mafia.  It’s a common technique; to gain support of local communities or to create a “good guy” image, these organizations move into areas where government support is weak or removed, and they fill that void.  Because they support the local community, radicals can shape-shift into magnanimous philanthropists and volunteers to “help” a community. Hezbollah, for example, is a global criminal organization with an operation extending into drugs, guns, and explosives that fuels its terrorist activities; at the same time, Hezbollah also funds schools and hospitals, provides food, and provides security for residents in southern Lebanon.  These “charitable” activities gives the organization some level of cover and support throughout the Middle East, and give its leaders opportunity to assert that they’re not terrorists at all; they’re merely good guys trying to improve the lot of the people of Lebanon.  To those not paying attention, the tactic works.

The same Mafia technique is often tried here in the US.  Open Carry Texas (OCT), the loose organization of radical gun crazies who don’t feel safe unless they’re packing an AR-15 and a Samurai sword at the local Walmart, gained notoriety  in 2013 and 2014 for parading around in public with all manner of firearms.  CJ Grisham, convicted in 2013 for interfering with a police officer while carrying his semi-auto rifle, started the demonstrations to “educate” Texans and to “desensitize” people to the constant presence of screwballs carrying guns everywhere.  He also pushed the idiotic notion of “constitutional” carry, peddling the lie that the Founders intended for anyone to carry any weapon they desired with no oversight, no qualifications, and no common sense.  When the group started demonstrating with guns, normal people reacted as you would expect and called the police terrified that weirdos were out in public with guns in plain sight.  When those people called, OCT members responded by threatening and harassing those callers (especially if they were women), publishing their addresses and telephone numbers.  The victims would be deluged with harassment 24/7.  They even labelled those callers “thugs with jugs”.  Nice.  Well, as you would expect, those terrorist tactics backfired and OCT got some really bad press.  What did ol’ CJ do then?  He decided that OCT was really about helping people, so his minions started collecting contributions of canned goods and school supplies for poor kids.  And again, if you weren’t paying attention, you would be fooled that this group of radical nuts were actually dewy-eyed do gooders.

Which brings us to Hurricane Harvey and the latest case of shape-shifting by assholes.  As we all know, Harvey wrought havoc on the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coast threatening over 100,000 homes and 8 million people.  The damage stretched from Corpus Christi to Beaumont, and tens of thousands of Texans were displaced.  Local government, the feds, and volunteers scrambled to save lives, then rebuild those lives.  The effort continues.

Here’s where things get weird – in Fort Bend County is a small agricultural community outside of Rosharon called Little Cambodia.  It’s populated by Cambodian refuges, has its own Buddhist temple and has been pretty self sufficient.  The area suffered serious flooding, and being outside of larger communities, was left on its own as the effort to respond to the disaster was organized.  American Freedom Keepers, a lose affiliation of gun-toting anti-government screwballs based in Portland, Oregon, saw an opportunity, joined forces with a motorcycle club called Confederate Riders of America and swept in proclaiming that they are in charge of recovery.  FEMA representatives were threatened by this crowd when they arrived trying to assess the situation and promptly left, feeling the area unsafe for their workers.  AFK has now essentially taken over the community.  The Confederate Riders say the community “is not ready for federal help”, whatever that means.  The Fort Bend County sheriff is apparently trying to get handle on the situation.

So, who are these people?  AFK is led by some guy who calls himself Francis Marion, apparently after a Revolutionary War figure who was famous for guerrilla tactics.  AFK is identified with anti-government figures like Cliven Bundy and show up at white supremacist rallies around the country.  They were highly visible last month at the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally where KKK and
Neo-Nazis clashed with anti-fascism counter protestors.  A counter protester was killed by a white supremacist who plowed into a crowd with his car.  AFK was a named participant in the rally, and they posted pictures of themselves wearing body armor and camo and toting guns at the rally.

The Confederate Riders, whose name doesn’t make it hard to divine their own proclivity, is a motorcycle club that claims it’s not a motorcycle club and has a chapter in area of Little Cambodia.  They wear their black leather vests festooned with white supremacist imagery and Confederate battle flags.  They love to associate with all things Trump and all things anti-Hillary.  At least one of their members is an employee of SSG Group LLC, which is providing support to the Little Cambodia effort.  They love to pose for pictures with guys with guns.

Last week, ABC13 reporter Miya Shay received a tip that white supremacists had taken over Little Cambodia and they were keeping FEMA out.  When she went to investigate, the white supremacists verbally attacked her, calling her a racist for daring to ask about the racists who taken over the community and appointed themselves the sole authority for all relief efforts.  The response of radicals is always the same when unmasked – protest their innocence, grossly overstate shock, and follow that up by vicious lashing out; and that’s exactly what’s happened.  While Shay was in Little Cambodia, she was videoed by one of the racists and a social media campaign, OCT style, was begun by RedElephants, a new alt-right website, run by by Vincent James O’Connor.  RedElephants has rapidly become a key propaganda outlet promoting the alt-right, racists, white supremacists, and gun toting militia types, and has become known for its live streaming of clashes with counter protestors and white supremacists.

The day of Shay’s encounter with AFK and the Confederate Riders in Rosharon, O’Connor posted a video of the encounter with the guy who calls himself Francis Marion excoriating her for daring to ask what was going on.  The video went viral and the result was obvious.  Shay is now being attacked 24/7.  There are attempts to hack into her social media pages and she’s being threatened.  Here ABC13 Facebook comments are filled with nothing but attacks by racists calling her a racist.

Unfortunately, this is often the result when someone unmasks radicals like AFK and Confederate Riders.  Bad guys, who tote guns in public “protecting” white supremacists and those who celebrate the most shameful chapter in our history live in an upside down world where gun toting weirdos are the victims and normal people just asking questions are the bad guys.  AFK suffered backlash for participating in the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and other racist events.  To counter that bad press, they rush down to a hurricane ravaged area, enlist the Confederate Riders, and run actual aid workers out of an area badly in need of help, declaring themselves in charge.  That’s one of the goofiest traits of these kinds of groups – they just decide they’re going to “protect” a certain group of people (like the racists in Charlottesville) and self-appoint themselves as in charge, ignoring and even opposing those actually in authority.  In this case, armed racists are trying to recast themselves as selfless do gooders.  After all, how can they be racists when they’re helping Asian people?  Oh, and please ignore that AR-15 standing in the corner.

The result is always the same – these militia style folks get in the way; they confuse things; they slow down response; oh, and they scare the shit out of normal people.  Then, they declare victory, post it on Facebook, then run off to the next white supremacist event where they can get more attention for themselves by declaring “free speech”.

We’ll continue following this story.  Hopefully the sheriff will be able to restore order and get the residents actual help.

The Fourth Estate Stands Up On Its Hind Legs

March 16, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Alternative Facts

One gratifying shift we’ve seen in the chaos since January 20th is the rejuvenation of the Fourth Estate – the press.  In the last 20 years we’ve seen the press devolve into the 24 hour news cycle, infotainment, and simply blatant partisanship which willfully misinforms the electorate.  At the same time, that same electorate has become less and less engaged, seemingly divorced from reality and facts.  American Idol and The Voice get higher participation than elections that actually matter.  The election of the worst candidate for the presidency in US history has changed that.  His withering attacks on facts, truth, decency, compassion, AND the press have finally awoken a sleeping giant.  Major news outlets have geared up and are actually digging for the facts, digging for the dirt, going after lies and the liars who speak them, and aggressively fact checking.

My response to this?  It’s about goddam time (sorry Momma).  Where the hell have you all been (besides working on your SEO and re-marketing strategy)?  To demonstrate this awakening, The Washington Post recently altered their longstanding logo, to wit:


During the Oscars broadcast, The New York Times aired its The Truth is Hard ad, which is powerful:

Even Fox Noise has backed off of at least some of its perpetual GOP cheerleading.

The result of the press waking up is that our system of government has begun to actually function again.  Cheeto Jesus stupidly accuses President Obama of wiretapping him (on Twitter), and the press relentless pursues the story until even HE admitted he got that BS story from Brett Baier of Fox Noise.  He claims that busloads of fraudulent Massachusetts voters went to New Hampshire to commit voter fraud, and the press runs down the facts exposing that as false.  Now, I’m not naive; even an army of reporters would be hard pressed to run down every one of CJ’s lies since he spews a bushel basket full on a daily basis, but with a functioning press, his big lies are quickly debunked, or at least vigorously challenged.  So, instead of spewing more lies and misinformation at the daily press brief, all of Sean Spicer’s time is spent answering a barrage of questions about his boss’s most recent incendiary lie.

As ugly as this is, our republic is still hanging together.  And it’s critical to our survival.  With the rise of the alt-right propaganda machine, the actual Fourth Estate must continue to beat back lies with truth.

 

The New Head of National Security of the United States

January 30, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Fascism, Trump

Steve Bannon – white supremacist, anti-Semite.  Professional alt-right propagandist and liar. Permanent member of the National Security Council.

I’m so proud.  Aren’t you?

Misinformer of the Year:

December 27, 2016 By: El Jefe Category: Misogyny, Sumbitches

Every year, Media Matters awards a person/organization with the title Misinformer of the Year.  Started by David Brock back in 2004, Media Matters has been on a mission to counter what he dubs the Republican Noise Machine which was actually the title of one of his first books. The Misinformer award has been given to those who you would expect, like Sean Hannity, but also to CBS for it’s bogus Benghazi story a couple of years ago.  The Center for Medical Progress received the award in 2015 for its highly edited video designed to make it look like Planned Parenthood “sold baby parts” for profit, which it most certainly does not.

This year, the award is shared by two awardees: fake news and the “Alt-Right”.  They are both closely related as the “Alt Right” uses fake news to motivate its devotees to harass innocent people who it dubs a threat.  Those threats usually target females and/or people with a skin color that is not white and American.  Media Matters singled out Facebook for the proliferation of fake news by both political groups and simple money grubbers profiting from people’s gullibility.

Fake news and the “Alt-Right” are both cancers on society as they add nothing, but daily crucify truth and knowledge.  Media Matters is correct to call both of these out to the public.

 

Twitter Joins Google and Facebook in Leading from the Rear

November 16, 2016 By: El Jefe Category: 2016 Election

Today, Twitter announced it was suspending alt-right twitter accounts.  Alt-right, you say?  You know, those guys who hate everything: women, African-Americans…hmm…It’s actually easier to say what they support, twitterwhich is white supremacists.  White supremacists with guns.  Since Steve Bannon of Breitbart joined the Cheeto campaign and is now White House chief advisor to… I just can’t say it – to Him, the alt-right has spilled out into the public arena spreading their racist, misogynist, and hate filled rhetoric all over social media.  Yesterday, a week after the elections, Google and Facebook decided it was time to close the barn door, now that the entire herd of horses got out last Tuesday.  Twitter followed suit today, joining the other social media company at the back of the pack, cancelling hundreds of alt-right accounts spewing the same hateful rhetoric.

Thanks, Twitter, for helping us out and being so timely.  (That was sarcasm.)