Trump supports Virginia, USA neo-nazis

Fencing and magnetometers are set up around Capitol Square for the anticipated pro gun rally at the Virginia State Capitol Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

As neo-Nazis head to Richmond, Trump boosts gun-rights rally

20 January 2020

On the eve of a planned right-wing gun-rights rally in Richmond, Virginia, fascists and white supremacists are reportedly heading for the Virginia state capitol, hoping to create a “second Charlottesville,” modeled on the neo-Nazi riot in 2017 which killed one anti-fascist demonstrator and attracted the praise of President Donald Trump, who called the fascist marchers “good people.”

Trump signaled his support for the Richmond event, tweeting Friday that the Democratic-controlled state government in Virginia was engaged in violating the Second Amendment rights of the state’s gun owners. “Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia,” he wrote. “That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020. Thank you Dems!”

Trump’s tweet was a gesture of open encouragement to ultra-rightists and neo-Nazis only days before the president’s trial before the US Senate begins, on impeachment charges brought by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. It is a clear demonstration that Trump is not relying merely on the Republican majority in the Senate to safeguard his hold on power but aims to mobilize forces entirely outside the existing two-party structure of capitalist politics.

Monday’s rally was called by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun-rights organization that is well to the right of the National Rifle Association. The NRA has declined to join the planned demonstration, urging its supporters to take part in a separate effort to lobby the state legislature against prospective gun regulations that have passed the Virginia state senate and are now before the General Assembly.

Hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists have indicated on social media that they are traveling to Richmond, either to participate in the rally on the capitol grounds—where firearms are now prohibited under a state of emergency declared by Governor Ralph Northam—or in the crowd which will assemble just outside the rally perimeter, where gun possession will be legal.

Under the state of emergency, which extends from 5 p.m. Thursday to 5 p.m. Tuesday, the area around the state capitol has been turned into a fortress. State police have fenced off the capitol grounds, with a single point of entry for protesters where they must divide into lines to pass through 17 metal detectors in order to enter a pie-shaped pen. Those found to be in possession of firearms will be denied admission.

Northam has banned not only firearms, but torches, bats, laser pointers and scissors from the capitol grounds. The Virginia state Supreme Court upheld the temporary ban on Friday, after it was challenged by several gun rights groups.

The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed temporary flight restrictions for Richmond’s airspace, making it illegal to fly drones or small planes anywhere near the state capitol. Northam said that officials were concerned about possible threats from weaponized drones.

The actual gun regulations being enacted by the Virginia state legislature are quite modest. There are several separate bills, limiting handgun purchases to one per month, banning military-style weapons and silencers, allowing local governments to ban guns in certain public spaces, and expanding background checks.

Democrats won control of the state legislature in November and pledges to adopt such legislation played a major part in the final months of the election campaign. Governor Northam, a Democrat, has said he will sign the restrictions into law. None of the measures violates the Second Amendment to the Constitution, even under the current interpretation by the US Supreme Court as an individual right to bear arms, and most of them are in effect in several other states already—without a noticeable effect either on gun ownership, or on gun violence.

The initial response of right-wing groups and the Republican Party has been the adoption of “Second Amendment sanctuary” proclamations in which officials of villages, towns and counties have pledged not to enforce the restrictions, claiming they are unconstitutional. These proclamations have been adopted by more than 110 local jurisdictions in the state, most of them small and rural.

In his annual State of the Commonwealth Address to the state legislature last week, Northam sought to appease the right-wing campaign over the gun regulations. He declared, “No one is calling out the National Guard. No one is cutting off your electricity or turning off the internet. No one is going door-to-door to confiscate guns.”

The birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has become the customary day for various groups, both liberal and conservative, to lobby the Virginia state legislature, but the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, which supports the gun restrictions, canceled its planned rally because of the danger of a confrontation with the ultra-rightists.

The holiday is now suffused with the threat of violence by the gun-rights demonstrators, either directly against the state capitol itself, or, more likely, against any counter-protesters who may attempt to challenge them, as was the case in Charlottesville, some 60 miles away, three years ago.

In an indication of the lack of popular support for the white supremacists, barely 100 people took part Friday in a Lee-Jackson Day parade in Lexington, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley about 40 miles west of Charlottesville. The parade was supposedly a staging ground for Monday’s much larger rally in Richmond.

At least seven neo-Nazis were arrested in three separate operations by the FBI last week. Three were arrested in Delaware, suspected of planning a violent provocation during the Richmond rally. Three more were arrested in Georgia, on suspicion of plotting to “overthrow the government and murder a Bartow County couple,” according to a police statement. The fascists targeted the Florida couple because they believed they were members of the anti-Nazi Antifa group. It was not known whether the three men in Georgia had been planning to travel to Richmond.

In Racine, Wisconsin, another member of the same group, which calls itself “the Base”, was arrested on charges of vandalizing a synagogue.

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The impeachment trial begins as Trump escalates fascist appeals
[17 January 2020]

On Monday, for the second time in three days, President Donald Trump tweeted support as thousands of gun-rights activists, many of them carrying semi-automatic weapons, descended on Virginia’s capital, Richmond. The protest was to denounce mild gun control measures moving through the Democratic-controlled state legislature: here.

Virginia is for Lovers, ‘Aryan’ lovers?

This 2016 video says about itself:

Loving – Official Trailer 1 (Universal Pictures) HD

“Loving” celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry – making their love story an inspiration to couples everywhere.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In this state, in the 1960s, Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were sentenced to one year in prison for getting married. With this, they had violated the law against marriage between whites and non-whites. Jeter and Loving challenged the ban up to the US Supreme Court.

“Virginia is for Lovers” is the tourism and travel slogan of the United States commonwealth of Virginia.

Now, 52 years after the prison sentence for Richard and Mildred Loving for marrying was annulled, Virginia is not yet for all lovers.

From the BBC, 9 September 2019:

Virginia couples challenge laws requiring them to declare their race

By Dhruti Shah, BBC News, Washington

In the US state of Virginia, couples must declare their racial background from a long list of options including “Aryan“, “Moor” and “Zoroastrian” before getting married.

Other options include: ‘Arabic’, ‘mulatto’, ‘Jew’. See also here.

A lawsuit is aiming to put a stop to this.

The suit, filed by lawyer Victor M Glasberg on behalf of three couples, describes the statute as “unconstitutional” and “reflective of a racist past“.

Mr Glasberg has also written to Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, urging him to “do what must be done to get on the right side of history”.

One of the couples involved – Brandyn Churchill, 27, and Sophie Rogers, 23, of Lexington, Virginia – is hoping to have won the case by the time they get married next month.

Brandyn Churchill and his fiancee Sophie Rogers

But they have meanwhile asked for an injunction so that they will not be a denied a marriage license by the clerk for refusing to have their race recorded.

The complaint has been brought against the Virginia State Registrar, the Arlington Circuit Court clerk and the Rockbridge Circuit Court clerk. …

The other two couples involved are Ashley Ramkishun and her fiancé Samuel Sarfo and Amelia Spencer and her fiancé Kendall Poole.

In the documentation all state they wish to get married in Virginia but not if they “must label [themselves] with a race in order to get a marriage license”.

Ms Rogers told the BBC: “We got engaged in July 2018. In Virginia, you have 60 days to apply for the license before the registry. We applied for our license in Rockbridge County and went to the clerk’s office on 3 September. The clerk tried to fill out the application without the race question filled for us but the computer wouldn’t let her.”

Mr Churchill added: “Many of the categories were outdated, offensive racist terms which have no place in the 21st century. We said we were uncomfortable and left.”

Virginia is one of eight states in the US with this legal requirement to identify race prior to marriage.

The other seven states: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota and New Hampshire.

Mr Glasberg notes that in Virginia, “this requirement reflects a regulatory scheme embodied in the Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924, originally called ‘An Act to Preserve the Integrity of the White Race’.”

He says that the requirement for race on marriage records was grounded in bigotry.

Mr Glasberg, 74, told the BBC that he had been mulling a challenge for many years. When he got married in 1981, he asked if he could put “human” down in the category but was told no.

Ms Ramkishun, 26, said she had decided to join the lawsuit after attempting to register for her marriage at Arlington Circuit Court and discovering that there was no option not to put race.

“We didn’t feel comfortable. We were told we could put ‘other’ down as an option but that’s not what we are. It was either ‘pick other, pick a race or you can’t go ahead’.”

Mr Churchill was positive about his chances of success. “A requirement like this might have been Virginia’s past but it’s not its future”, he said.

“We are not telling people they can’t identify with a certain race. We are saying it’s not the State’s place to compel individuals into certain categories.”

Though Mississippi is not one of the eight states asking racist questions, sometimes it is also not for all lovers.

From the BBC, 3 September 2019:

A US interracial couple was turned away by a wedding venue because the owner said their union went against her Christian beliefs, video shows.

The footage was filmed at Boone’s Camp Event Hall in Booneville, Mississippi, by the groom’s sister who met the woman about the rejection.

During the exchange, the owner says the decision was because we “don’t do gay weddings or mixed race”. …

When asked what passage of the Bible informs that belief, the owner adds: “I don’t want to argue my faith.”

Ex-soldier’s mass murder in Virginia, USA

This 31 May 2019 CBS TV video from the USA says about itself:

At least 11 people were killed and several others hurt in a shooting in Virginia Beach. The suspect was killed by police. Jeff Pegues has the latest.

By Bryan Dyne in the USA:

At least 12 dead in Virginia Beach mass shooting

1 June 2019

On Friday afternoon, a longtime public utilities employee opened fire in the municipal building complex of Virginia Beach, Virginia, just east of Norfolk and Chesapeake. At least twelve people were killed and another six were injured.

The shooter has been identified as 40-year-old DeWayne Craddock, a certified professional engineer in the city’s Public Utilities Department. News reports from the time show that Craddock had enlisted in the Army National Guard shortly after he graduated high school in 1996.

The shooting took place on multiple floors of Building No. 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, which includes offices for planning, public works, the police department and City Hall. It is the largest workplace mass shooting since the Aurora, Illinois warehouse shooting this past February.

The names of the victims have not been released as of this writing.

It has been reported that Craddock was killed, bringing the shooting spree to an end, though it is unclear whether or not it was during an extended shootout with police or the result of a self-inflicted gunshot. A .45 caliber handgun, extended magazines and a silencer were reportedly recovered by the police.

Injuries were being treated at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital or Sentara Princess Anne Hospital. The New York Times reported that one victim had to be airlifted by helicopter to a trauma center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, though details on the conditions of any of the patients are not yet available.

Local authorities were alerted to the situation by an administrative assistant who works in the building where the shooting happened. According to the available police reports, a “disgruntled” employee began firing indiscriminately, though they have not yet commented on a concrete motive.

As has become common after mass shootings in the United States, politicians including Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam have responded with hypocritical laments about the “unspeakable, senseless violence.” Former Democratic vice-presidential candidate and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine appealed for Congress to address the “daily scourge” of gun violence.

These words can be given no weight. Northam presides over a state with a heavy presence of all four branches of the US military, the greatest instigator of violence in the world. Kaine was Hilary Clinton’s running mate, who, as US Secretary of State, oversaw the destruction of Libya and laughed in response to the brutal killing of former Libyan head of state Muammar Gaddafi by US backed militias.

Nor can this latest mass shooting in the United States be treated as an isolated incident of unimaginable evil. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 150 mass shootings in the country since the start of the year, among a total of nearly 22,000 incidents of gun violence more broadly. To date, there have been 16,846 people killed or injured in shootings, including 1,332 children and teenagers.

These numbers speak to a crisis-ridden society rife with social inequality and they reveal the vast toll a quarter century of unending war has inflicted on American society. The conditions of life for broad masses of people are sharply declining and, in the absence of a mass working class movement, mass shootings are one of the many negative expressions of the overall social situation.

This killing also occurs a month after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine incident. As shown since then, the actual response of the political establishment to mass killings is to call for more heavily armed police, increased surveillance … initiatives which only intensify the repressive apparatus of the state. These repressive efforts will certainly escalate in the wake of the latest, but certainly not the last, mass killing spree in America.

While it cannot be determined at this point whether Craddock’s time in the National Guard had any role in shaping the behavior that would ultimately lead to his murderous outburst, the military plays a large role in the economy and culture of Virginia Beach. The city is part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area in Southeastern Virginia/Northeastern North Carolina, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Hampton Roads is known for its large military presence and is home to about 20 military facilities: here.

Immigrant children abuse in Virginia, USA

This 21 June 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Explosive Lawsuit Alleges Mistreatment Of Young Immigrants In Detention

“Virginia’s governor ordered state officials Thursday to investigate abuse claims by children at an immigration detention facility who said they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the probe in a tweet hours after The Associated Press reported the allegations. They were included in a federal civil rights lawsuit with a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino youths held for months or years at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center.

The AP report also cited an adult who saw bruises and broken bones the children said were caused by guards. Northam, a Democrat, said the allegations were disturbing and directed the state’s secretary of public safety and homeland security and the Department of Juvenile Justice to report back to him “to ensure the safety of every child being held there.” Children as young as 14 said the guards there stripped them of their clothes and strapped them to chairs with bags placed over their heads.”

Read more here.

By Nick Barrickman in the USA:

Virginia’s Democratic governor seeks to whitewash abuse of immigrant youth at state detention facility

21 August 2018

A report issued last week by Virginia state government seeks to whitewash the criminal abuse of unaccompanied immigrant children detained in the United States and held at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center (SVJC) in northwest Virginia from 2014 through 2017.

Governor Ralph Northam, elected last year as part of a wave of Democratic Party victories that were presented in the media as a rebuke to the Trump administration, has effectively provided political cover for the criminal policies of the right-wing president.

The plight of dozens of immigrant youth at the juvenile detention facility first became known in June when a lawsuit detailing the conditions at SVJC and a similar center in Texas emerged. The lawsuit, filed last year by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, accuses detention officials of “excessive, abusive, and irreparably punitive and disciplinary practices and denial of adequate mental health care” that subjects children to “physical, emotional and psychological damage, in violation of fundamental constitutional norms.”

The staff of the two facilities were accused of:

In addition, youth were denied adequate meals, not informed of their rights and often denied the ability to appeal their treatment, which is referred to in the lawsuit as “torture”.

The revelation of brutal treatment of immigrant youth inside state detention centers is an indictment of the policies of both Democratic President Barack Obama as well as Republican President Donald Trump, as well as numerous state and local political figures. The governor of Virginia during the period covered by the lawsuit was Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee, a close ally of Hillary Clinton, and a potential candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

The Virginia state report, overseen by Secretary for Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran and conducted by the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Social Services, is a flagrant cover-up. Within the first paragraphs, the “study” states: “The DJJ [Department of Juvenile Justice] team found SVJC in compliance with applicable regulations and certification standards” and thus “no evidence of abuse or neglect” was found.

Using language intended to downplay the actions of officials at the SVJC, the report states: “SVJC operational tenets are geared more toward a correctional philosophy and environment than a therapeutic model”, suggesting the facility hire more staff with backgrounds in “cognitive behavioral interventions and trauma informed care.”

Elsewhere, the review suggests that, “given the concerns raised by the allegations … about physical restraints more generally … DJJ will inform and educate the Board about their use in Virginia in order that the Board may properly consider the current regulations and whether any changes might be necessary.” While the report mentions that several staff members faced discipline for inappropriate use of restraints, it fails to explain the nature of the violations or if they had resulted in any injuries to the minors.

The report reveals that the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is responsible for the children, refused to allow DJJ investigators to take notes about or copy any case files for children held in the facility at any time. State investigators also could not question current detainees without an “SVJC staff member … present for all interviews.” Unsurprisingly, the report finds: “No residents interviewed had knowledge of the use of the restraint chair” or any other such torture methods.

In addition, the youth who originally had been included in the federal class action lawsuit had been deported or transferred to a different facility prior to the investigation.

Governor Northam praised the findings: “I applaud the quick and comprehensive examination conducted by the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Social Services, and encourage the facility to heed their recommendations … The safety of every child being held there is of the utmost importance.” Spokespeople for SVJC issued a statement praising the conclusions and stating the facility “embraces the recommendations of the report.”

Spokespeople for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee called the report “deeply flawed”, noting that children were interviewed without having lawyers present and that the investigators had declined to contact the children’s legal representatives, despite the “ample evidence produced” by their research and that of expert witnesses.

The whitewashing of abuse and torment of children by state officials occurs as the Democratic Party at the national level has dropped the plight of immigrants trapped inside the government’s illegal dragnet. Despite the Trump administration’s flouting a legal deadline which required that it reunite all immigrant children separated from their families under the “zero tolerance” policy, no Democrats have called for the prosecution of Trump or any members of his cabinet.

Rather, the opposition of Democratic Party officials and liberal commentators has focused on claims that Trump has been colluding with Russia, while denouncing all forms of social opposition to the administration as the product of foreign agents seeking to “sow divisions” in American society.

A recent report in the Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star noted that the state of Virginia plans to admit more immigrant detainees into its detention centers. Referencing comments by ICE’s Richmond sub-office chief, the publication states “detainees will begin arriving at the Caroline Detention Center ‘soon’.” Virginia detention centers have housed at least 19,000 immigrant detainees since 2008.

Donald Trump’s war on children and the Red Hen restaurant

This video from the USA says about itself:

Red Hen Restaurant President Trump Claims Is ‘Filthy’ Has Clean Record

25 June 2018

After President Trump slammed a Virginia restaurant that asked his press secretary to leave, other places with the same name are being unfairly slammed. President Trump took to Twitter and attacked the restaurant that kicked out press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “The Red Hen restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders“, Trump tweeted Monday morning.

Here’s why Trump really shouldn’t call someone else’s restaurant “dirty”.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

In defense of the Red Hen

26 June 2018

On Friday, the owner of the Red Hen, a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her establishment after employees objected to serving her.

The event followed an incident Tuesday in which a group of demonstrators chanted, “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace!” as Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was having dinner in a Washington, DC restaurant.

This 18 June 2018 video from the USA is called Listen to children who’ve just been separated from their parents at the border.

Two days later, the right-wing ideologue and White House adviser Stephen Miller was denounced as a fascist by a patron at another restaurant.

These incidents reflect an outpouring of revulsion and horror among millions of Americans at the Trump administration’s policy of separating refugee children from their parents, a practice condemned as torture by the United Nations. Hundreds of thousands of people have donated to a fundraiser in support of the victims, setting a new Facebook record, and demonstrations against the cruel and barbaric practice have been held throughout the country.

No doubt, the employees of the Red Hen, as well as its proprietor, felt genuinely disgusted to be in the presence of Trump’s filthy mouthpiece, who day after day spews lies to justify the president’s criminal policies. They politely told her to get out.

No one would claim that these individual actions represent a strategy for fighting Trump, but they reflect vast and intense social anger, not just over the inhuman treatment of impoverished refugees, but against inequality, war, the militarization of society and attacks on democratic rights.

This is why, amid general sympathy and support for the Red Hen among the American people, the response of the Democratic Party and the corporate media has been to subject its owner and employees to pompous and hypocritical lectures about “civility”.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (Democrat from New York) took to the Senate floor Monday to declare, “No one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That’s not right. That’s not American.”

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi denounced “harassment” of Trump officials as “unacceptable”, and declared that “we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity.”

The Washington Post likewise weighed in with a reprimand, publishing an editorial stating that while “passions are running high… Ms. Huckabee… should be allowed to eat dinner in peace.” It added, “Those who are insisting that we are in a special moment justifying incivility should think for a moment how many Americans might find their own special moment.”

Another column in the Post complained that Trump cabinet members were being harassed by “mobs”.

What accounts for the Democrats’ sudden concern for the sensibilities of Trump and his associates?

For the past two years, the Democratic Party, the Post and the New York Times have been waging a factional war against Trump centered on allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US election and collusion by the Trump campaign with Moscow. A special counsel has been appointed, Trump’s former campaign manager has been jailed, and his lawyer’s office and home have been raided by the FBI. For good measure, the press has thrown in sex scandals regarding porn stars and call girls. No accusation has been too disgusting to air, in keeping with the nature of the conflict—a palace intrigue centered on disputes over foreign policy within the ruling elite.

This anti-Russia, anti-Trump campaign, while resonating with sections of the political establishment and the affluent upper-middle class, has left the general population cold. But now, the anti-Russian narrative has suddenly been superseded by mounting popular anger over real crimes committed by the Trump government: the torture and imprisonment of children; the construction of concentration camps; threats to dispense with due process.

The Democrats have denounced the protests against Trump’s accomplices because they are instinctively hostile to any form of spontaneous popular anger that cannot be channeled along reactionary lines that are harmless to capitalism. On fundamental policy issues—militarism and war, austerity, attacks on democratic rights—there is little that separates the two parties. In fact, as Trump correctly notes and former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged on Sunday, immigrant children were separated from their families and jailed under Obama.

The Democrats and Trump speak for different factions of the criminal financial oligarchy that dominates American society.

After Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters called for protests against Trump cabinet members and aides, she was denounced by both Pelosi and Schumer. Within 90 minutes of Pelosi’s disavowal of Waters, Trump posted a tweet declaring:

“Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!”

There is no doubt that the Trump administration was taken aback by the visceral public outcry against the separation of children and parents at the border, which led Trump to promise to end the policy. But by denouncing Waters, the Democrats gave Trump the opportunity to go on the offensive once again, rallying his fascistic, extra-parliamentary power base—the “Make America Great Again Movement”—in a threat against a member of Congress.

The entire episode demonstrates certain undeniable realities about American politics. No matter how bitter the divisions between Trump and his factional opponents within the ruling class, they are all involved in what former President Obama called an “intramural scrimmage.” On issues of fundamental class importance, including the ability of the state to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with impunity, all factions of the ruling elite are united against the working class.

While Trump makes use of every opportunity to whip up his fascistic base, the Democrats live in perpetual fear that a movement will develop from below centered not on their pet issues of … war policy, but on revolutionary issues.

As the World Socialist Web Site explained last June in its statement “Palace coup or class struggle: The political crisis in Washington and the strategy of the working class”, the opposition to Trump within the state and the opposition to Trump within the population are entirely different movements, one from above and the other from below, with radically different methods, aims and intentions.

To the Democrats’ methods of palace coup must be counterposed the methods of the class struggle. The only way to fight the Trump administration’s warmongering and its assault on social and democratic rights is to mobilize the working class on the basis of a socialist strategy aimed at overthrowing the capitalist system, of which Trump is a noxious expression.

‘A CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY, NOT MANNERS’ Read this remarkable piece in The New York Times on Red Hen’s refusal to serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “I don’t blame staff members at the Virginia restaurant, the Red Hen, for not wanting to help Sanders unwind after a hard week of lying to the public about mass child abuse.” Vox also has a good line on the incident and the failure of “civility.” [The New York Times]

US assault on immigrants continues as Democrats denounce protests against Trump officials: here.

‘DON’T TALK TO REPORTERS’ Unaccompanied children held by the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy are being told not to speak with reporters about their detainment. [HuffPost]

The independent media outlet Unicorn Riot has published the “Undercover Operations Manual” used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to regulate the use of informants and to infiltrate pro-immigrant organizations. This handbook is the fifth and latest document related to the functioning of ICE that has been published by Unicorn Riot as part of its “Icebreaker” series: here.

Jennifer Carnahan, an Asian-American GOP official, reveals Republican Party members have called her “ch*nk,” and “a stupid Asian not even born in America.”

‘COTTON-PICKING MIND’  Former Trump campaign official David Bossie went on “Fox & Friends” and told a a black panelist, “You’re out of your cotton-picking mind.” [HuffPost]

CALIFORNIA PROSECUTOR ON LEAVE AFTER UNHINGED WATERS RANT A San Bernardino County prosecutor has been placed on leave after posting a vicious attack on social media about Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). It read: “Being a loud-mouthed c**t in the ghetto you would think someone would have shot this b***h by now.” [HuffPost]

Far-right Koch brothers’ infiltration of United States education

This video from Canada about the USA says about itself:

The Koch Brothers‘ “Dark Money” | Jane Mayer

26 February 2016

Investigative journalist Jane Mayer explains how the Koch brothers have used their billions to shift American policies to the far right.

By Harvey Simpkins in the USA:

Documents reveal the vast influence of Koch brothers in US universities and public schools

29 May 2018

Last month, the George Mason University protest group “UnKoch My Campus” released documents to the public through a Freedom of Information Act request detailing how the Charles Koch Foundation and the Federalist Society, groups dedicated to the promotion of ultra-conservative “free market” public policy and ideas, maintain control over the appointment of law school and economics professors at the college, a public university in northern Virginia, as part of a nationwide campaign to promote ultra-right politics.

The ideological activities of Charles and David Koch, with a combined net worth of $96.6 billion, extend to universities, colleges and even high schools. Taking advantage of the deficits caused by the decades-long bipartisan assault on public funding for both K-12 and university education, groups like the Koch brothers, the Walton Family Foundation and the Gates Foundation use their grotesque wealth, squeezed from the working class, in an attempt to inculcate young people with [so called] libertarian and other right-wing, pro-capitalist ideologies.

In 2016, George Mason University (GMU) received the largest donation in its history, a $30 million gift to its law school. $10 million came from the Koch Foundation and $20 million from the BH Fund, whose president is Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society. The BH Fund’s secretary and treasurer is Jonathan Bunch, vice president and director of external relations at the Federalist Society, a right-wing organization that lobbies for the appointment of ultra-right judges.

Leo played an instrumental role in getting Federalist Society member and far-right Justice Neil Gorsuch a seat on the US Supreme Court in early 2017, suggesting nominees to the Trump administration and meeting personally with the president. Top donors to the society include Koch Industries, David Koch, and the Charles Koch Foundation. Through the BH Fund, the Federalist Society is intimately involved in faculty hiring, gaining admittance for prospective right-wing law students, and suggesting law graduates to clerk for right-wing judges.

Numerous emails between the Federalist Society’s Leo and GMU law school dean Henry Butler show that the society played a role in hiring new professors. In October 2015, for example, Leo emailed Butler about a potential adjunct professor. A few minutes later, Butler replied, “We’re on it.” Other hiring suggestions from Leo came in May 2016 and November 2016.

The released documents also reveal that GMU officials, including University President Ángel Cabrera, law school dean Butler, and University Provost S. David Wu misled faculty about the nature of the Koch brothers/Federalist Society gift. Shortly after the law school donation was made, Butler circulated a memo to law school faculty claiming that “there are no conditions tied to this gift other than creating scholarship programs.” On April 6, 2016, at a faculty senate meeting, Wu similarly stated that the donation came with “no strings attached, and the scholarship decisions are made by GMU. The entire $30M is for scholarships for students and nothing else.”

On April 27, just days before the release of the documents by “UnKoch My Campus”, Cabrera claimed, absurdly: “[s]ince I arrived at Mason in 2012, I have made it a priority to have all gift agreements clearly uphold our commitment to academic independence. As I have stated before, gifts may be earmarked for programs, scholarships or faculty support, but donors may not determine what is taught, what student is funded, or what professor is hired. If these terms are not acceptable to donors, the gifts are kindly declined.”

The direct influence on hiring of professors by right-wing forces is even more explicit on GMU’s undergraduate campus. From 2003 to 2011, a number of agreements for hiring professors were entered into with the university that allow donors to determine who is selected for the jobs. In a 2007 agreement, for example, the Koch Foundation, along with another donor, each provided $1.25 million to fund a professorship in the economics department. The agreement provided for a five-member selection committee which would determine, by majority vote, who to hire. Two of the five members of the committee were determined by the donors.

Additionally, donors for the professorships also potentially had a direct role in determining whether professors hired through these agreements could keep their jobs, pending a specially-appointed advisory board’s “determination (based on the individual’s performance or otherwise) that the professor filling the Professorship is no longer qualified” to remain at the university.

Cabrera acknowledged that the “gift agreements … raise questions concerning donor influence in academic matters … [T]hese agreements fall short of the standards of academic independence I expect any gift to meet.” He also conceded that the agreements granted “donors some participation in faculty selection and evaluation.”

In the wake of the revelations, the GMU faculty senate passed a motion calling for the release of donor agreements for public review within 30 days of formal enactment. Bethany Letiecq, a faculty senator, told reporters “We want all gift agreements to be made public so we can discern the full extent of the academic violations that have been occurring here … It’s now abundantly clear that the administration of Mason, in partnership with the Mercatus Center and private donors, violated principles of academic freedom, academic control and ceded faculty governance to private donors.”

Letiecq was also justifiably bothered by the potential power exerted by donors over hiring and firing of professors, stating, “These are all gross violations of academic freedom. Faculty hiring and faculty retention are not the business of donors, in any way, shape or form.”

Koch brothers influence at George Mason extends far beyond the financial backing, hiring and firing of professors. According to the Fairfax County Times, the Koch Foundation has donated over $95 million to the University since 2005. The Kochs provided millions of dollars to GMU in the mid-1980s to set up what is now known as the Mercatus Center (Mercatus means market in Latin), which plays a large role in setting Congressional legislative policy. Over the years, at least $30 million of the Kochs’ donations have gone directly to this Center. Charles Koch and several Koch Industries associates sit on the Center’s Board of Directors.

The Koch brothers influence does not stop at George Mason. Over the past few decades, the Charles Koch Foundation has given over $200 million to hundreds of US colleges and universities, usually targeted at economics departments. In 2012, the Kochs spread more than $12.7 million among 163 colleges and universities. A year later, their foundations spent another $19.3 million, spread across 210 college campuses in 46 states and the District of Columbia. In 2014, the Koch Foundation donated $25 million to the United Negro College Fund.

In addition to GMU, the Koch brothers exert substantial control over the economics department at Florida State University (FSU), giving millions to the department since at least 2007.

In a November 2007 memorandum, revealed through a prior FOIA request, Bruce Benson, then-FSU’s economics department chairman, explained to fellow economics department faculty that the Koch brothers would not just “give us money to hire anyone we want and fund any graduate student that we choose. There are constraints.” He added, “Koch cannot tell a university who to hire, but they are going to try to make sure, through contractual terms and monitoring, that people hired are [to] be consistent with ‘donor Intent.’We cannot expect them to be willing to give us free rein to hire anyone we might wantIf we are not willing to hire [libertarian economics] faculty, they are not willing to fund us” (emphasis added).

In Arizona, twenty percent of new funding for universities will go to two Koch-backed “economic freedom” schools (at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona). While providing millions to fund Koch brothers’ initiatives, the state government has slashed K-12 school funding by more than $1 billion since 2008, with the state currently ranking 48th in per-pupil spending. In April, educators went on strike throughout Arizona to oppose such conditions.

The Koch brothers’ influence also extends to the high school level. Charles Koch funded EDvantage, an online curriculum for high school teachers that criticizes government spending and promotes so-called free market economic principles. EDvantage provides economic “lessons”, including explaining why the Environmental Protection Agency is bad for the environment; why sweatshops are good for third-world workers; and how the minimum wage leads to unemployment.

Another Koch brothers’ venture into the mis-education of youth is the “Youth Entrepreneurs” (YE) program. As with EDvantage, YE’s curriculum promotes libertarian notions, such as the conception that the minimum wage hurts workers and slows economic growth; that public assistance harms the poor; while fostering such ruling class ideas as low corporate taxes and little government regulation.

The goal of the YE program, according to publicly available emails from a Google group set up by high school students who were part of a 2009 pilot program, is to turn young people into “liberty-advancing agents” while inoculating students against left-wing ideas by assigning them to read passages from free-market economists like Friedrich Hayek. “We hope to develop students’ appreciation of liberty by improving free-market education”, the Koch associates wrote during the program’s initial planning stages. “Ultimately, we hope this will change the behavior of students who will apply these principles later on in life.”

The YE program is now in schools in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, California, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. The program will begin in Montana next school year.

The Koch brothers’ growing influence over education is a byproduct of the deliberate and conscious defunding of public education by the Democratic and Republican parties over the last few decades. With growing inequality comes the increasing dominance of the wealthy over all aspects of social life, including the funding of education. As the example of the Koch brothers shows, the ruling class is using its ill-gotten wealth to promote in high school and university students the bankrupt ideas that have led to the unending crises of the capitalist system.

Colourful millipede discovery in Virginia, USA

These are Apheloria polychroma colourmorphs. Credit: Virginia Tech

From Virginia Tech in the USA:

Entomologist discovers millipede that comes in more color combinations than any other

January 26, 2018

The new millipede that Paul Marek discovered is as pretty as it is dangerous.

The thumb-sized millipede that crawls around the forest floor of Southwest Virginia’s Cumberland Mountains has more color combinations than any other millipede discovered.

Apheloria polychroma, as the millipede is known, also has an enviable trait in the animal world — it’s covered in cyanide, ensuring any bird that snacks on the colorful but lethal invertebrate won’t do it a second time. Lots of other millipedes that don’t have as much toxic defense mimic Apheloria polychroma’s coloring in hopes of avoiding becoming another link in the food chain.

This is the 10th species that Marek, an assistant professor in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences‘ Department of Entomology, has discovered and named in recent years. Apheloria polychroma was named for its rainbow of colors and was described by Marek; Jackson Means, a graduate student from Keswick, Virginia; and Derek Hennen, a graduate student from Little Hocking, Ohio. Marek runs the only millipede lab in the United States.

The team’s findings were recently published in the journal Zootaxa.

While Marek’s work is focused on small things, his research helps tell the larger story of the quickly changing natural world. By documenting the many living organisms of the planet, he is helping avoid anonymous extinction — a process in which a species goes extinct before its existence, role in the ecosystem, or potential benefit to humanity is known.

“It is imperative to describe and catalog these species so that we know what role they play in the ecosystem — and what impact we are having on them,” said Marek. “This region is ripe with biodiversity and is an excellent living laboratory to do this work.”

The millipedes that copy Apheloria polychroma use what is called Mullerian mimicry, where different species converge on a shared aposematic (warning signal) to defend themselves against a common predator. The more frequently predators encounter what appears to be the same brightly colored unpalatable millipede and memorize its warning colors, the better the collective advertisement of their noxiousness.

In addition to the millipede‘s colorful exoskeleton, it also serves an important role in the ecosystem as a decomposer by breaking down decaying leaves, wood, and other vegetation to unlock and recycle their nutrients for future generations of forest life.

In recent years, Marek also has had a tarantula named for him, explored the origins of bioluminescence, and discovered the leggiest creature on Earth.

South European millipede in Dutch The Hague: here.

Researchers studying near-identical species of millipedes found a new way to tell them apart: shining a blacklight on them. Under the UV light, parts of the different species’ genitals will glow different colors. This discovery has allowed scientists to rewrite this part of the millipede family tree: here.

Charlottesville, USA police and violent racists

This video from the USA says about itself:

Charlottesville Terror: Police and Racists Too Cozy?

17 October 2017

Is there a political alliance between Charlottesville police and local white supremacists? TYT Politics Contributor Ryan Grim talks to Intercept colleague Alex Emmons who recently returned from Charlottesville, VA. Read more here.

See also here.

CHARLOTTESVILLE STUDENTS WALK OUT Students at Charlottesville High School in Charlottesville, Virginia, walked out of classes on Monday, days after they were targeted by a racist threat on 4chan. The walkout, organized by local activist and student Zyahna Bryant and the high school’s Black Student Union, was framed around pushing the school district for cultural reform and increased safety ― particularly salient concerns in a city where white supremacists held a large and deadly rally less than two years ago. [HuffPost]

Virginia declares state of emergency barring guns at State Capitol ahead of far-right rally: here.

FBI ARRESTS 3 NEO-NAZIS AHEAD OF VIRGINIA PRO-GUN RALLY Three suspected neo-Nazis were arrested after allegedly discussing plans to show up to a pro-gun rally in Virginia next week where they anticipated a race war might ensue. The governor has declared a state of emergency banning guns from the capitol ahead of the event. [HuffPost]

Neonazis demonstrate again in Charlottesville, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Alt-Right Leader’s Speech Ends With Nazi Salutes

21 November 2016

At a recent alt-right conference it became clear that white nationalism was on the rise. Ben Mankiewicz, Grace Baldridge, and Francis Maxwell, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“WASHINGTON — By the time Richard B. Spencer, the leading ideologue of the alt-right movement and the final speaker of the night, rose to address a gathering of his followers on Saturday, the crowd was restless.

In 11 hours of speeches and panel discussions in a federal building named after Ronald Reagan a few blocks from the White House, a succession of speakers had laid out a harsh vision for the future … Earlier in the day, Mr. Spencer himself had urged the group to start acting less like an underground organization and more like the establishment.

But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun”, a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”

Read more here.

By Doha Madani in the USA today:

Richard Spencer And Fellow White Nationalists Return To Charlottesville

The rally in the town’s Emancipation Park was reportedly to support Confederate statues.

Less than two months after violence broke out at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacists returned to Emancipation Park on Saturday evening to demonstrate in support of Confederate statues.

The rally in early August was purportedly organized to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate soldier Robert E. Lee from downtown Charlottesville. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) declared a state of emergency after the white supremacists clashed violently with counterprotesters, injuring at least 35 people and killing 32-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer.

On Saturday, white nationalist leader Richard Spencer led a group holding torches to the park and livestreamed the rally from his Twitter account. The images were reminiscent of the group’s previous rally in the city, when they held tiki torches and chanted “Blood and soil” as they marched. …

The governor responded to the rally Saturday evening on Twitter.

“We are monitoring this situation as we continue to oppose these racists and their message of hate”, McAuliffe wrote.

Mayor Mike Signer of Charlottesville reacted on Twitter as well:

Another despicable visit by neo-Nazi cowards. You’re not welcome here! Go home! Meantime we’re looking at all our legal options. Stay tuned.

The Doha Madani article continues:

The group sang the Confederate Civil War song “I Wish I Was In Dixie Land,” and chanted phrases like “the South will rise again” …

Spencer delivered a speech filled with his familiar rhetoric, and he claimed that the U.S. was founded by what he calls “white culture.”

“We define this country, not anyone else,” Spencer told his supporters.

The event brought out about three dozen white nationalists, reported NBC 29′s Matt Talhelm, who also said there was police presence at the rally.

The group disbanded after Spencer’s speech. “We will be back,” they chanted.

DeAndre Harris, an African American man who was savagely beaten by white nationalists during the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in September was charged by a local magistrate judge Monday with a felony of unlawfully wounding one of his assailants. Charlottesville police had just recently arrested a third man in connection with Harris’ beating: here.

Heather Heyer Street in Charlottesville, USA

This video from Virginia in the USA says about itself:

16 August 2017

Thousands of people carrying candles filled the streets of downtown Charlottesville for a vigil for Heather Heyer, the woman killed at a white supremacist rally.

Al Jazeera’s Shihab Rattansi reports from Charlottesville.


Charlottesville to rename street for woman killed during August protest

5 Oct, 2017 07:17

The city council of Charlottesville, Virginia has voted to rename a street after Heather Heyer who was killed while protesting a white supremacist rally on August 12.

On the 4th street in Charlottesville, where Heyer, 32, died there will be a sign with her name, as requested by her mother, Susan Bro.

“Even the thought of going there now is very challenging. I didn’t even go to the site until a week after she passed away, and that was very, very difficult,” Bro told CNN affiliate WVIR. “For me, that spot is the site of my daughter’s murder.”

Heyer was among the protesters who came to confront a white supremacist rally, which gathered to demonstrate against the planned relocation of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s statue. A driver then plowed into the crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heyer and injuring over a dozen others.

The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, was charged with second-degree murder. He reportedly supported white supremacists.

Heyer’s killing and the violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters triggered a wave of Confederate monument removals across the US, which are seen by many as symbols of racism and support for slavery.

I’d been tracking racially charged threats of violence against anti-racist activists in North Carolina for a couple months. In this combustible climate, in which anti-racist activists felt threatened and vulnerable, I started getting messages from anti-racist activists complaining that people associated with a site called Big League Politics were coming on campus and trying to instigate confrontations. Although I wasn’t familiar with BLP, I knew about the right-wing conspiracy theory insinuating that UNC professor Dwayne Dixon was a part of a vast left-wing plot and somehow engineered James Fields’ deadly car-ramming attack at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville — an outrageous slander against Dixon: here.

It took a Charlottesville jury less than seven hours’ deliberation Friday to find 21-year-old James Fields, Jr. of Maumee, Ohio guilty of first-degree murder and nine other felony charges stemming from an attack on peaceful counter-protesters during a white racist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year: here.