June 14, 2022

Posted by orrinj at 5:58 PM


Raskin blames "semantic confusion" for divide over Jan. 6 criminal referrals (Alayna Treene, 6/14/22, Axios)

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House Jan. 6 committee and a constitutional law expert, said Tuesday there's been "semantic confusion from the beginning" about the panel's authority to issue criminal referrals.

Why it matters: The committee has already laid out its view in court filings that former President Trump engaged in a "criminal conspiracy" to prevent Congress from certifying President Biden's election victory.

But Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) surprised reporters on Monday when he declared the committee wouldn't send criminal referrals to the Justice Department, saying it's "not our job."
Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and other members later clarified that the committee "has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals," and Raskin himself said the decision likely wouldn't be made until the panel's final report comes out later this year.

Driving the news: "I, speaking as one member, have no doubt that there are" federal crimes that will feature in the final report, Raskin told Axios and others on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

"I'm not trying to be coy here," Raskin said. "If there's evidence of crimes that we think is relevant to our investigation, we will put it out there. But there's not a separate process for making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice."

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Posted by orrinj at 5:44 PM

THE TIGHTENING NOOSE (profanity alert):

Posted by orrinj at 5:35 PM


Border officers circulate coin memorializing treatment of Haitian migrants in Del Rio (MICHAEL WILNER AND JACQUELINE CHARLES, JUNE 14, 2022, Miami Herald)

 An unofficial challenge coin memorializing the treatment of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas, last summer, is circulating among border patrol officers. A controversial moment captured last fall on the U.S. southern border of an officer on horseback in Del Rio, Texas, has been memorialized on "a challenge coin" that is circulating among border patrol officers.[...]

The unofficial coin, a token of memorabilia, embraces some of the most controversial elements of the scandal, where video footage appeared to show white border agents using their reins as whips against Black migrants.

Posted by orrinj at 1:19 PM


Schiff says evidence of Trump being responsible for Jan. 6 attack is 'very powerful' (OLAFIMIHAN OSHIN, 06/12/22, The Hill)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on Sunday that the evidence of former President Trump being responsible for the Jan 6, 2021 attack at the U.S. Capitol is "very powerful."

"The evidence is very powerful that Donald Trump ... began telling this big lie even before the elections, that he was saying that any ballots counted after Election Day were going to be inherently suspect," Schiff told moderator Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week."

"That lie continued after the election and ultimately led to this mob assembling and attacking the Capitol," he added. 

Schiff also said that there is enough evidence that links Trump with white nationalist groups before the riot, adding that the connection will be a clear focus of their investigation. 

At least the Aryan Brotherhood will have his back. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:53 PM


The untold story of Ginni Thomas' anti-cult activism -- after she was 'deprogrammed' (Allan Smith and Alex Seitz-Wald, 6/14/22, NBC News)

In the 1980s, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas had a moment of clarity: She realized she had fallen in with a group she considered "a cult" and sought to be "deprogrammed" from it, she said in decades-old remarks obtained by NBC News.

Thomas' involvement with Lifespring, an organization advertising training seminars purporting to help participants unlock almost superhuman potential, left her wondering what it was about herself that allowed her to be drawn in.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Everything We Know About the 31 Patriot Front Members Arrested in a U-Haul (Vice News, 6/14/22)

Unsurprisingly, all 31 of the men who were arrested are white and male, per the group's requirements. According to a booking memo, all men were aged between 20 and 40 (Patriot Front typically requires members to be under the age of 35). 

They hailed from a dozen different states: seven from Texas, six from Utah, and five from Washington. Just two are from Idaho, but neither are from Coeur d'Alene. 

They were booked on misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to riot. Law enforcement recovered shields, shin guards, and a smoke grenade in the rented U-Haul truck. 

The arrests set off an online feeding frenzy among antifascist activists, who, since Saturday, have been trying to glean more information about the men behind the names and mugshots. 

An activist group in Spokane, Washington, identified brothers Mishael Buster and Josiah Buster, both arrested in Idaho. They are the sons of Matt Buster, who leads a congregation called the "Real Men's Ministry" and has ties to former Washington state rep. Matt Shea, who was accused by his colleagues of domestic terrorism. 

Activists in Portland, Oregon, identified another arrestee, Jared Boyce, as being formerly affiliated with a slightly more moderate far-right group Patriot Prayer, particularly in connection with the anti-lockdown movement in March 2020. 

Patriot Front formed in 2017 as a splinter faction of a neo-Nazi group Vanguard America, which came under heavy scrutiny after members were seen at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville marching alongside James Alex Fields, who later rammed his car into a crowd of protesters and killed one. 

Thomas Rousseau, 23, the former leader of Vanguard America's Texas chapter, created Patriot Front around some of the hard lessons that the far-right had learned from Charlottesville. Rousseau realized that openly embracing neo-Nazi iconography and rhetoric, as Vanguard America had done, was detrimental to the movement's broader goals of radicalizing more people to white nationalist ideology. Instead, Patriot Front cultivates a preppy Americana aesthetic, and relies on euphemism to express old racist tropes and ideas. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Yamina's Kahana says he'd expel all Arabs, but admits they're here to stay  (MICHAEL BACHNER, 6/14/22, Times of Israel)

"If there were a button you could press that would make all the Arabs disappear, that would send them on an express train to Switzerland -- may they live amazing lives there, I wish them all the best in the world -- I would press that button," he said.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


'Consciousness Of Guilt' Among Pardon-Seeking House Republicans (Chibueze Godwin, June 14 | 2022, National Memo)

It was Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the vice-chair of the select committee, who disclosed during her opening statement that "multiple Republican congressmen sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election."

That so many House Republicans sought pardons could be construed as an admission of guilt, an acknowledgment of their involvement in possibly illegal conduct, and a sign of "potentially perilous legal and political moments to come" for former President Trump and his congressional allies.

"Why would members do that if they felt that their involvement in this plot to overturn the election was somehow appropriate?" Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA) asked on ABC's This Week, speaking of the pardon-seeking House Republicans.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Jan. 6-related filing reveals US Marine was jailed for plot to shoot up synagogue (RON KAMPEAS, 6/14/22, JTA)

 A filing in a case stemming from the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol revealed that a US Marine in a relationship with one of the defendants served 19 months in custody for a plot to shoot up a synagogue.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


ELEPHANT IN THE ZOOMMeltdowns Have Brought Progressive Advocacy Groups to a Standstill at a Critical Moment in World History (Ryan Grim, June 13 2022, The Intercept)

During the first week of June 2020, teams of workers and their managers came together across the country to share how they were responding to the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and to chart out what -- if anything -- their own company or nonprofit could do to contribute toward the reckoning with racial injustice that was rapidly taking shape.

On June 2, one such huddle was organized by the Washington, D.C., office of the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rights movement's premier research organization.

Heather Boonstra, vice president of public policy, began by asking how people were "finding equilibrium" -- one of the details we know because it was later shared by staff with Prism, an outlet that focuses on social justice advocacy.

She talked about the role systemic racism plays in society and the ways that Guttmacher's work could counter it. Staff suggestions, though, turned inward, Prism reported, "including loosening deadlines and implementing more proactive and explicit policies for leave without penalty." Staffers suggested additional racial equity trainings, noting that a previous facilitator had said that the last round had not included sufficient time "to cover everything." With no Black staff in the D.C. unit, it was suggested that "Guttmacher do something tangible for Black employees in other divisions."

Behind Boonstra's and the staff's responses to the killing was a fundamentally different understanding of the moment. For Boonstra and others of her generation, the focus should have been on the work of the nonprofit: What could Guttmacher, with an annual budget of nearly $30 million, do now to make the world a better place? For her staff, that question had to be answered at home first: What could they do to make Guttmacher a better place? Too often, they believed, managers exploited the moral commitment staff felt toward their mission, allowing workplace abuses to go unchecked.

The belief was widespread. In the eyes of group leaders dealing with similar moments, staff were ignoring the mission and focusing only on themselves, using a moment of public awakening to smuggle through standard grievances cloaked in the language of social justice. Often, as was the case at Guttmacher, they played into the very dynamics they were fighting against, directing their complaints at leaders of color. Guttmacher was run at the time, and still is today, by an Afro Latina woman, Dr. Herminia Palacio. "The most zealous ones at my organization when it comes to race are white," said one Black executive director at a different organization, asking for anonymity so as not to provoke a response from that staff.

These starkly divergent views would produce dramatic schisms throughout the progressive world in the coming year.

Snowflakes melt.