This week, Donald Trump’s campaign took a new and even darker turn. As multiple women accused the Republican Presidential nominee of sexual harassment and sexual assault, Trump gave speeches on Thursday and Friday that had two themes: he denied all the charges against him, most notably by arguing that his accusers were not attractive enough for him to assault, and he claimed that the accusations are part of a global conspiracy against him, involving the Clintons, the news media, international banks.
Trump has long been a conspiracy theorist. He gained a prominent role in American politics in 2011 by questioning Barack Obama’s birthplace…It’s no surprise, then, that Trump has been advised for decades by Roger Stone, a prominent political strategist and conspiracy theorist who believes that Lyndon B. Johnson had Kennedy killed…and that George H. W. Bush may have tried to kill Ronald Reagan…
But it took someone a little smarter — and more cynical — than Trump, Stone, or Jones to distill Trump’s platform of protectionism, closed borders, and white identity politics into one message about a global conspiracy. The man behind this new message is Steve Bannon, who became the C.E.O. of the Trump campaign in August. Bannon is on leave from Breitbart, the right-wing news site where he served as executive chairman, and where he honed a view of international politics that Trump now parrots.
Bannon embraces the growing populist movement in America, including the “alt-right,” a new term for white nationalists, who care little about traditional conservative economic ideas and instead stress the need to preserve America’s European heritage and keep out non-whites and non-Christians. Under Bannon, Breitbart promoted similar movements in Europe, including the United Kingdom Independence Party, the National Front in France, Alternative for Germany, and the Freedom Party in the Netherlands. Bannon likes to say that his goal is “to build a global, center-right, populist, anti-establishment news site.” After the election is over, Breitbart, which has offices in London and Rome, plans to open up new bureaus in France and Germany.
This ambition extends to supporting the election of right-wing candidates…
…He believes that the white working class is still the key to the election, because the Clintons have never been able to win without this demographic. While Bill Clinton won two Presidential elections with the support of white working-class voters, this view is wildly at odds with recent changes in the electorate, which have made the Democrats more reliant on minority voters and college-educated whites…
Bannon’s view of the media is similarly narrow. He sees the dominant conservative media players as the establishment, not as allies. He views Fox News as highly unreliable on the nationalist cause…He despises Rupert Murdoch—the chairman and C.E.O. of the News Corporation…When Bannon ran Breitbart, he didn’t want his reporters appearing on Fox, because he believed the cable news channel had made smaller conservative news outlets subservient to it…
Bannon…is a right-wing new-media entrepreneur who is building a political and news infrastructure that mimics Europe’s nationalists. After Trump’s speech on Thursday, when he linked Clinton to “international banks” and “global financial powers,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, issued a statement that Trump “should avoid rhetoric and tropes that have historically been used against Jews and still reverberate today.”
The rhetoric that Bannon is feeding Trump makes it increasingly likely that Trump will lose in a landslide. Polling averages show Trump trailing Clinton by eight points, the largest gap since August…Most election forecasts put Clinton’s chance of victory at about eighty per cent.
Trump’s response to these numbers has been to tell his supporters, repeatedly in recent days, that the election is “rigged,” creating a sense of grievance about the likely results that can be exploited after November 8th. Trump and Bannon have given up on trying to defeat Clinton. They seem more interested in creating a platform for a new ethno-nationalist politics that may bedevil the Republican Party—and the country—for a long time to come.
To me, the only question to be resolved is what will they end up being called. Will they win the battle for control of the Republican Party – still an important name – and defeat more traditional Congressional Republicans? Will they maintain a position within the Republican Party as the new leaders of the Tea Party – created by fossil fuel barons like the Koch Bros and creeps like Dick Armey. Or will they try to take the Tea Party out of the Republican Party forming a right-wing 3rd Party – if they lose the battle for internal control of ideology and the all important purse strings.
I don’t care what the answer is. Recognizing the likelihood of this proto-fascist movement bringing together everyone from “respectable” Congressional racists like Jeff Session all the way over to Klan and militia types – my responsibility is to support movements for democratic solutions on the Left, within and without the Democrats, and oppose the dangers presented by a united white supremacist, fascist movement in America.
This is only the beginning, folks.
Gavin Wright, 49, Curtis Allen, 49, and Patrick Stein, 47
Three Kansas men from a militia cell called “the Crusaders” plotted to bomb a mosque and apartment complex home to Somali immigrants…
Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 49, and Patrick Stein, 47, were charged Friday with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, according to the Department of Justice’s national security division. The Crusaders call Muslims “cockroaches,” and they had discussed attacks brutal attacks on Muslims for months, federal prosecutors said.
FBI agents working on tips from an undercover informant said the three men planned to blow up four car bombs at the Garden City apartments. Allen, Wright and Stein hoped the attack on the 120-resident complex would “wake people up,” the feds said.
The arrests followed an eight-month investigation that took the agents “deep into a hidden culture of hatred and violence,” said acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall. “Many Kansans may find it as startling as I do that such things could happen here.”…
If you read more than the TV Guide, watch more than Fox Noise, you shouldn’t be surprised.
…Allen, Wright and Stein had stockpiled guns, ammunition and explosive components, prosecutors said. They also spied on possible targets and planned to issue a manifesto, according to the feds.
They decided on the apartment complex in Garden City, a meatpacking town of 26,000 people in southwestern Kansas. Many Somali refugees who work at a Tyson Foods beef slaughterhouse live there, and the complex includes a mosque where they worship together.
“They chose the target location based on their hatred of these groups, their perception that these groups represent a threat to American society, a desire to inspire other militia groups, and a desire to ‘wake people up,'” the complaint said…
They talked about attacking targets such as city or county meetings, landlords who rent to Muslim refugees, organizations that assist Muslim refugees, a mall frequented by Muslims and Garden City’s African Community Center, investigators said. They decided on the W. Mary St. apartment complex in August, according to the complaint.
…Police in Liberal arrested Allen on Tuesday night after his girlfriend said he beat her, the charging documents showed. His car had ammo for an AR-15, an AK-47 and a Glock handgun, according to investigators.
Liberal police later found nearly a metric ton of ammo at Allen’s house, investigators said. FBI agents who searched G&G, where Allen worked for Wright, said they uncovered a detonator believed to be a homemade explosive and other bomb components…
Federal agents took custody of all three of them Friday morning. Allen, Wright and Stein face up to life in federal prison without parole if they’re convicted.
Throw away the key!
On any given day in the United States, at least 137,000 men and women sit behind bars on simple drug possession charges, according to a report…by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch.
Nearly two-thirds of them are in local jails. According to the report, most of these jailed inmates have not been convicted of any crime: They’re sitting in a cell, awaiting a day in court which may be months or even years off, because they can’t afford to post bail.
“It’s been 45 years since the war on drugs was declared and it hasn’t been a success,” lead author Tess Borden of the Human Rights Watch said in an interview. “Rates of drug use are not down. Drug dependency has not stopped. Every 25 seconds we’re arresting someone for drug use.”
A significant number of those folks simply see no sense to criminalizing a vegetable less harmful than beer. They won’t arrange their recreational habits to please puritans and conservative politicians.
Federal figures on drug arrests and drug use over the past three decades tell the story. Drug possession arrests skyrocketed, from fewer than 200 arrests for every 100,000 people in 1979 to more than 500 in the mid-2000s. The drug possession rate has since fallen slightly, according to the FBI, hovering now around 400 arrests per 100,000 people…
“Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime,” the report finds, citing FBI data. “More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year.”
In fact, police make more arrests for marijuana possession alone than for all violent crimes combined.
The report finds that the laws are enforced unequally, too. Over their lifetimes, black and white Americans use illicit drugs at similar rates, according to federal data. But black adults were more than two-and-a-half times as likely to be arrested for drug possession…
The report calls for decriminializing the personal use and possession of drugs, treating it as a public health matter instead of a criminal one.
That brings us, as usual, to participating in the demented political construction of our 2-party political trap. Yes, a great deal of how issues and progress is treated is crap. Unseemly dedication to superstition, cultural leftovers useless as your little toe dominate legislative debates.
But – the big “BUT” – is winning what you can, making life a little bit better for people, while still being clear in your own mind what goals should be pinned in the long-term portion of that meat machine inside your skull.
Whether you decide to participate or not, the real creeps, reactionaries who still don’t approve of anyone voting other than white males whose wealth is measured by property-holding – are going to be at it 24/7.
❝ What do you call it when would-be competitors embark on a unified strategy to limit supply, drive up prices, and bilk customers of their hard-earned cash? An antitrust conspiracy, of course. But what do you call it when producers of chickens, a staple of the American diet…allegedly go so far as killing their birds early, shipping more eggs, and buying one another’s products to keep public supply low?
According to food distributors suing the industry, it’s called “capacity discipline.”
The $29 billion industry that churns out 90 percent of America’s chickens has engaged in a price-fixing scheme for years, according to the first of a half-dozen lawsuits filed in Chicago federal court this month. And that artificial premium has been passed on to consumers: You’ve been paying 50 percent more for that supermarket rotisserie bird, the lawsuits claim. While producers have been accused of rigging the market before, this litigation may be the largest effort yet to bring such practices to light…
❝ The court complaint traces the alleged collusion back to 2008, when—thanks to high feed prices, debt, and an oversupplied chicken market — Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the country’s largest poultry companies, was facing serious financial difficulties. It brought in consultants from Bain & Co. to help find a solution, the lawyers contend. This wasn’t enough: In December, Pilgrim’s filed for bankruptcy and eventually became part of meat conglomerate JBS USA Holdings, a unit of São Paulo-based JBS SA. But those consultants did, according to the complaint, offer some sage advice: Pilgrim’s Pride needed to cut supply so prices would rise. (Bain didn’t respond to requests for comment.)
There was a catch, though. Chickens are a commodity: Tyson’s chicken is indistinguishable from Pilgrim’s, which is indistinguishable from that of other defendants, such as Perdue Farms Inc., so this plan would work only if the whole industry participated.
That’s what began to happen in 2007, according to the lawsuit, when Tyson’s, Pilgrim’s, and a few smaller producers reduced their output. At first, others didn’t play ball. But the next year, the plaintiffs said, the industry began to take a more coordinated tack, with a joint effort to cut supply across the board. “We see an uncanny amount of coordination and communication between supposed competitors,” Bruckner argued…
❝ The lawyers say that Tyson, for example, was so committed to this strategy that it began buying competitors’ chickens instead of growing its own, which would have been cheaper, under what was dubbed a “buy vs. grow” strategy. The defendants also exported eggs to Mexico, rather than build up their U.S. flocks…
RTFA for much of the dirty dealing. If and when this all gets to a trial court, no doubt there will be more.
The scene of the crime — Andrew Whitaker/Gazette Staff
❝ All that remains of the solitary marijuana plant an 81-year-old grandmother had been growing behind her South Amherst home is a stump and a ragged hole in the ground.
Margaret Holcomb said she was growing the plant as medicine, a way to ease arthritis and glaucoma and help her sleep at night. Tucked away in a raspberry patch and separated by a fence from any neighbors, the plant was nearly ready for harvest when a military-style helicopter and police descended on Sept. 21.
In a joint raid, the Massachusetts National Guard and State Police entered her yard and cut down the solitary plant in what her son, Tim Holcomb, said was a “pretty shocking” action — one that he argues constitutes unlawful surveillance and illegal search and seizure…
❝ Holcomb said he was told that as long as he did not demand that a warrant be provided to enter the property or otherwise escalate the situation, authorities would file no criminal charges.
“’We just want the illegal contraband,’” Holcomb recalled the officer saying…
❝ Such enforcement actions have become commonplace since the 2012 law that made medical marijuana legal in Massachusetts, according to Northampton attorney Michael Cutler.
“The exact same stuff happened last year,” said Cutler, who specializes in helping clients understand the state’s medical marijuana law and recently participated in drafting the language of the Nov. 8 ballot initiative that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
Looks to me the coppers and other nasties are trying to get in their last licks before democracy takes hold and takes away their toys on November 8th.
RTFA for all the police state details as the guardians of the galaxy moved through the region confiscating a grand total of 44 pot plants in three towns that day. Golly!
❝ Police in India say they have arrested 70 call centre workers on suspicion of tricking American citizens into sending them money by posing as US tax officials.
A total of 772 workers were arrested on Wednesday in raids on nine fake call centres in a Mumbai suburb…
An estimated $36.5 million was extorted from Americans, police said.
❝ Seventy were placed under formal arrest, 630 were released pending questioning over the coming days, and 72 were freed without further investigation.
“The motive was earning money,” said Parag Marere, a deputy commissioner of police. “They were running an illegal process, posing themselves as officers of the [US] Internal Revenue Service.”
Marere said the year-long scam involved running fake call centres that sent voicemail messages telling US nationals to call back because they owed back taxes.
Those who called back and believed the threats would fork out thousands of dollars to “settle” their case, he said. The scam brought in more than $150,000 a day…
Americans are so fracking gullible. You get a voicemail telling you to callback the IRS – without ever checking on the phone number. You’re only calling back – much of the time – because you know you’ve been Trumping your tax bill, anyway. If they can pump you for how much you think you owe – it’s only a matter of playing the fish until you’re landed. You can go higher or lower. It’s all in the game.
Somewhere along the line you might notice your IRS agent has an accent. Perfectly reasonable in a nation of immigrants. If the boiler room is like most I’ve heard, you should also detect conversational background noise. And if everyone has the same accent – you’re in trouble, Bubba. The IRS doesn’t restrict hiring to any one ethnicity. 🙂
❝ Police in Virginia have arrested a 13-year-old girl in connection with a social media threat involving a clown.
The investigation revealed that the girl made contact with someone via social media, and asked the person to murder one of her teachers at Davis Middle School…
The person she contacted was using a clown photo as a profile picture as well as an alias.
❝ The 13-year-old girl from Hampton was arrested and charged with one count of threatening to kill by electronic message. She remains in custody.
❝ Hampton police detectives made contact with the victim to ensure her safety and make her aware of the situation. At this time, there is no evidence to indicate a threat against any others.
There was increased police presence Monday at Davis Middle School and Hampton police officers are working with school security to ensure student safety.
❝ This incident comes just two days after schools in Hampton and Newport News tightened security because of threats from social media accounts of people posing as clowns…
The Hampton Police Division is collaborating with Hampton City Schools, the Newport News Police Division, and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate each of these threats and social media pages.
None of the security hustlers are going to miss out on an opportunity to increase fun and profits from fear. I’m surprised the NRA hasn’t shown up selling handguns outside the school. Yet.