[Discussion] Police, White Nationalists, and the Rise of Fascism

Politico's Playbook had a scoop this morning about additional phone calls that happened between Republican Congress members and Trump on January 6th.

Politico wrote:

MORE THAN ONE JAN. 6 TRUMP-JORDAN CALL — We know that DONALD TRUMP and Rep. JIM JORDAN spoke once on the day of the Capitol riot, but the Ohio Republican has said he doesn’t remember when their conversation took place. We have some new details that could help clear up that timeframe — including confirmation of at least one more phone conversation between Jordan and the then-president during the siege.

After a group of lawmakers were evacuated from the House chamber to a safe room on Jan. 6, Jordan was joined by Rep. MATT GAETZ (R-Fla.) for a call during which they implored Trump to tell his supporters to stand down, per a source with knowledge of that call. The source declined to say how Trump responded to this request.

Jordan, when asked about whether Gaetz participated, said he’d “have to think about it,” citing many conversations he had during the frenetic attack. He also said phone calls to Trump happened more than once on that deadly day.

“Look, I definitely spoke to the president that day. I don't recall — I know it was more than once, I just don't recall the times,” Jordan told our Olivia Beavers. He later said that “I’m sure” one of the Trump-involved calls took place in the safe room “because we were in that room forever.” (For safety reasons, we are not disclosing the specific room where members were evacuated to, but that is the room Jordan is referencing.) Jordan would not get into the specifics of what he discussed with the president, though he said that like everyone, he wanted the National Guard to get involved.

A spokesperson for Gaetz, who has supported Trump’s decisions on Jan. 6, said: “Congressman Gaetz speaks with President Trump regularly and doesn’t disclose the substance of those discussions with the media.”

Jordan has previously disclosed that he spoke to Trump on Jan. 6, but not the existence of more than one call on the day — a rare piece of new information on the former president’s moves during the riot at a time when House Republicans are loath to discuss such specifics. Trump-Jordan discussions are likely to be of keen interest to the Democrat-led select committee on Jan. 6, which is expected to soon seek phone records of members of Congress themselves in its probe.

Speaking of which, the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has had a busy week. On Wednesday they requested a boatload of information from the National Archives, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior and Justice departments, the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Yesterday they demanded information from 4chan, 8kun, Facebook, Gab, Google and its subsidiary Youtube, Parler, Reddit, Snapchat, Telegram, theDonald.win, Tik-Tok, Twitch, Twitter and Zello.

And soon they'll be going after phone records of multiple people, including members of Congress.

John Stoehr had an excellent and eye-opening tweet-storm on anti-vaxxers and authoritarianism, which is helpful because I understand neither:

Some people are still saying anti-vaxxers are injecting *sheep drench* because they don't trust the CDC. I'm telling you, friend, trust has nothing to do with it. They are *choosing* this, because they'll be damned if they're gonna be wrong and let the enemy be right. Blaming this on a lack of public trust is actually refusing to see the danger that's right in front of it. Some Americans will kill themselves before subordinating themselves to the will of democracy. There is *no solution* other than *hard* partisan politics. The danger comes from lots of Americans telling themselves staggering, howling lies -- like white people are inherently more deserving than non-white people. And they will defend them because the collapse of the lies would mean the collapse of their identities. This is why I say authoritarians are weak on account of being authoritarians. Anything that threatens the lies threatens them. Guess what? Everything in this modern, diverse, technologically advanced democracy has the potential to threaten the lies. It's tempting to say antivaxxers injecting themselves with sheep drench is irrational. That's wrong. It's hyper-rational -- which is to say complete devoid of morality. The enemy is wrong. Ergo, vaccines are wrong. If I get sick, take this stuff the enemy's saying don't take. Importantly, it's rationalism steeped in profound fear of humiliation.

As I said this week: "But there’s a deeper reason why GOP authoritarians will comply once civil society demands compliance. They say they’re against masks and vaccines, because they fear losing their freedoms. They don’t, though. What they fear, as I have said many times before, is humiliation. Mandating vaccines actually helps authoritarians save face. They say they don’t want to be forced, but what they are really saying is they don’t want to choose. They can’t choose. They don’t know how. And they are afraid of making the 'wrong choice.' They are not going to go to war with big corporations. They’ll obey, like good authoritarians."

Natus wrote:

John Stoehr had an excellent and eye-opening tweet-storm on anti-vaxxers and authoritarianism, which is helpful because I understand neither:

Some people are still saying anti-vaxxers are injecting *sheep drench* because they don't trust the CDC. I'm telling you, friend, trust has nothing to do with it. They are *choosing* this, because they'll be damned if they're gonna be wrong and let the enemy be right. Blaming this on a lack of public trust is actually refusing to see the danger that's right in front of it. Some Americans will kill themselves before subordinating themselves to the will of democracy. There is *no solution* other than *hard* partisan politics. The danger comes from lots of Americans telling themselves staggering, howling lies -- like white people are inherently more deserving than non-white people. And they will defend them because the collapse of the lies would mean the collapse of their identities. This is why I say authoritarians are weak on account of being authoritarians. Anything that threatens the lies threatens them. Guess what? Everything in this modern, diverse, technologically advanced democracy has the potential to threaten the lies. It's tempting to say antivaxxers injecting themselves with sheep drench is irrational. That's wrong. It's hyper-rational -- which is to say complete devoid of morality. The enemy is wrong. Ergo, vaccines are wrong. If I get sick, take this stuff the enemy's saying don't take. Importantly, it's rationalism steeped in profound fear of humiliation.

As I said this week: "But there’s a deeper reason why GOP authoritarians will comply once civil society demands compliance. They say they’re against masks and vaccines, because they fear losing their freedoms. They don’t, though. What they fear, as I have said many times before, is humiliation. Mandating vaccines actually helps authoritarians save face. They say they don’t want to be forced, but what they are really saying is they don’t want to choose. They can’t choose. They don’t know how. And they are afraid of making the 'wrong choice.' They are not going to go to war with big corporations. They’ll obey, like good authoritarians."

That is awesome. Can you leave a link? I want to post that.

Natus wrote:

John Stoehr had an excellent and eye-opening tweet-storm on anti-vaxxers and authoritarianism, which is helpful because I understand neither:

Some people are still saying anti-vaxxers are injecting *sheep drench* because they don't trust the CDC. I'm telling you, friend, trust has nothing to do with it. They are *choosing* this, because they'll be damned if they're gonna be wrong and let the enemy be right. Blaming this on a lack of public trust is actually refusing to see the danger that's right in front of it. Some Americans will kill themselves before subordinating themselves to the will of democracy. There is *no solution* other than *hard* partisan politics. The danger comes from lots of Americans telling themselves staggering, howling lies -- like white people are inherently more deserving than non-white people. And they will defend them because the collapse of the lies would mean the collapse of their identities. This is why I say authoritarians are weak on account of being authoritarians. Anything that threatens the lies threatens them. Guess what? Everything in this modern, diverse, technologically advanced democracy has the potential to threaten the lies. It's tempting to say antivaxxers injecting themselves with sheep drench is irrational. That's wrong. It's hyper-rational -- which is to say complete devoid of morality. The enemy is wrong. Ergo, vaccines are wrong. If I get sick, take this stuff the enemy's saying don't take. Importantly, it's rationalism steeped in profound fear of humiliation.

As I said this week: "But there’s a deeper reason why GOP authoritarians will comply once civil society demands compliance. They say they’re against masks and vaccines, because they fear losing their freedoms. They don’t, though. What they fear, as I have said many times before, is humiliation. Mandating vaccines actually helps authoritarians save face. They say they don’t want to be forced, but what they are really saying is they don’t want to choose. They can’t choose. They don’t know how. And they are afraid of making the 'wrong choice.' They are not going to go to war with big corporations. They’ll obey, like good authoritarians."

I mostly disagree with Stoehr’s take here. I feel like he’s taking a bottom-up approach at this phenomenon, and in my opinion a top-down approach makes more sense. I also feel that he need to apply Occam’s Razor to his disorganized model.

IMO, the root of the problem is tribalism behavior and group-think behavior. More generally, this is an ideology issue. To be a member of the extreme right is like subscribing to a religion than a way to express your political leanings. There are hard beliefs that you must adhere to. Hardcore religious cults are authoritarian organizations. Deviation from the rules is unacceptable! Free thought is not allowed.

The extreme right is a type of a cult. For some people, this makes them feel safe. It puts their fears at ease. When outsiders contradict the edicts of the cult it feels like a personal attack. It’s an attack on their sense of safety and security. That’s why no amount of factual data will change their minds. They will only trust the data if it happens to coincide with the cult’s existing doctrine.

So, no. It’s not about humiliation or saving face. It’s about clinging to beliefs that make them feel safe, regardless of how harmful those beliefs may be. Vaccine mandates will not serve to give the extreme right an easy out. Vaccine mandates will be one more very huge threat to their sense of security and community.

RawkGWJ wrote:

So, no. It’s not about humiliation or saving face. It’s about clinging to beliefs that make them feel safe, regardless of how harmful those beliefs may be. Vaccine mandates will not serve to give the extreme right an easy out. Vaccine mandates will be one more very huge threat to their sense of security and community.

So you and he disagree here. He responds to that here (though it may be paywalled...let me know). I guess we'll know which of you is right soon enough.

Paleocon wrote:

That is awesome. Can you leave a link? I want to post that.

I cobbled that together from his tweets. I've subscribed to his newsletter but I can't find it posted there.

This... doesn't seem to have much to do with police, white nationalism, or fascism.

hbi2k wrote:

This... doesn't seem to have much to do with police or white nationalism.

It has a ton to do with authoritarianism, which is what right-wing politics are based on. I apologize for coloring outside the lines.

Until / unless they start trying to mandate that NO ONE gets vaxxed, I don't see what it has to do with authoritarianism either.

hbi2k wrote:

Until / unless they start trying to mandate that NO ONE gets vaxxed, I don't see what it has to do with authoritarianism either.

Then the mods will handle it. They always do.

Natus wrote:

So you and he disagree here. He responds to that here (though it may be paywalled...let me know). I guess we'll know soon enough.

This is purely anecdotal, but I know several unvaxxed casually-right-wing folks who are absolutely terrified to get the vaccine. If they are pretending to be afraid, they are talented actors. That said, everyone has the potential to change their minds, or even be brave and push passed their fears. On the dark side, they can also lie, cheat, protest (violently or nonviolently).

RawkGWJ wrote:
Natus wrote:

So you and he disagree here. He responds to that here (though it may be paywalled...let me know). I guess we'll know soon enough.

This is purely anecdotal, but I know several unvaxxed casually-right-wing folks who are absolutely terrified to get the vaccine. If they are pretending to be afraid, they are talented actors. That said, everyone has the potential to change their minds, or even be brave and push passed their fears. On the dark side, they can also lie, cheat, protest (violently or nonviolently).

I guess we'll find out where the terror/resistance/hatred/fascism/authoritarianism/death-cult conviction will take them when the mandates come thundering down from on high. There might be armed rebellions and terror attacks. Or just a whimper of protest.

But I don't think Stoehr thinks these people are faking it. He thinks they are authentic and sincere in their terror and authoritarian mania.

Natus wrote:

John Stoehr…

Importantly, it's rationalism steeped in profound fear of humiliation.

As I said this week: "But there’s a deeper reason why GOP authoritarians will comply once civil society demands compliance.They say they’re against masks and vaccines, because they fear losing their freedoms. They don’t, though. What they fear, as I have said many times before, is humiliation. Mandating vaccines actually helps authoritarians save face. They say they don’t want to be forced, but what they are really saying is they don’t want to choose. They can’t choose. They don’t know how. And they are afraid of making the 'wrong choice.' They are not going to go to war with big corporations. They’ll obey, like good authoritarians."

This is the part I disagree with. To feel humiliation implies a modicum of humility to begin with.

They’re not play-acting. They are true believers.

How they respond to the mandates remains to be seen.

hbi2k wrote:

This... doesn't seem to have much to do with police, white nationalism, or fascism.

How about a Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate who's so upset about mask mandates in schools that he's calling for "twenty strong men" to bust into school board meetings across the state to scare off or forcefully eject the legitimately elected board members so that a puppet board can be installed and vote down mask mandates. Because, according to him, "that's how you get stuff done, forget writing your legislators." Fascist enough?

OG_slinger wrote:

How about a Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate who's so upset about mask mandates in schools that he's calling for "twenty strong men" to bust into school board meetings across the state to scare off or forcefully eject the legitimately elected board members so that a puppet board can be installed and vote down mask mandates. Because, according to him, "that's how you get stuff done, forget writing your legislators." Fascist enough?

As a sidenote, they are taking the fight to the schoolboards now. Because it's shockingly easy to astroturf them.

Almost everywhere, the answer is to fold. Because most people don’t run for school board so armed people can yell at them.

I feel like we are playing the game wrong. Literally we need to use reverse psychology on them. Start a q about not seeing the racism in medicare for all so they get behind it, start pushing for non social programs as the social programs will give freedom. It sounds dumb but look at all the other crap they will buy with a jackass pushing it on youslug.com

Hobear wrote:

I feel like we are playing the game wrong. Literally we need to use reverse psychology on them. Start a q about not seeing the racism in medicare for all so they get behind it, start pushing for non social programs as the social programs will give freedom. It sounds dumb but look at all the other crap they will buy with a jackass pushing it on youslug.com

Tell them anti mask and anti Vax are part of the gay agenda to kill red state voters.

Mixolyde wrote:
Hobear wrote:

I feel like we are playing the game wrong. Literally we need to use reverse psychology on them. Start a q about not seeing the racism in medicare for all so they get behind it, start pushing for non social programs as the social programs will give freedom. It sounds dumb but look at all the other crap they will buy with a jackass pushing it on youslug.com

Tell them anti mask and anti Vax are part of the gay agenda to kill red state voters.

I've enjoyed the alternate anti face identification trick that seems to work. But yeah it takes playing fox news to get them to comply but that will just morph into hurting people.

Looks like I should run for the board for my local school district. Or, at least, as bouncer.

I had the same thought. I am in what would be considered a safe district but we have a significant population of ex-military. And TBH, is any district/town/neighborhood safe anymore? All it takes is half a dozen nuts or even perhaps just one.

Natus wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

Until / unless they start trying to mandate that NO ONE gets vaxxed, I don't see what it has to do with authoritarianism either.

Then the mods will handle it. They always do.

Trying to argue authoritarianism and fascism as seperate enough to not include in this thread is splitting some fine and uncomfortable hairs there. authoritarianism is kind of foundational to fascism. We're not discussing mandated authoritarianism so much as appeals some fringe groups make towards it. I would think it's part of the conversation.

As long as the emphasis of the discussion and responses focus on the political machinations as a result of using the pandemic as a propaganda tool, that checks out. If anyone starts devolving into anecdotes or assumptions about covidiots, that is off topic. Everyone else has kinda moved on in the conversation already so I suggest you both do the same.

fangblackbone wrote:

I had the same thought. I am in what would be considered a safe district but we have a significant population of ex-military. And TBH, is any district/town/neighborhood safe anymore? All it takes is half a dozen nuts or even perhaps just one.

They've got a real nose for finding the soft points in democracy. Because again, as I said, no-one is running for school board to get Doxxed and harassed non-stop by people who think you're part of a cabal trying to eliminate the white race.

I'm on the school board in a growing purple suburb of 40,000, with about 8,000 children enrolled in public schools E-12.

We had a few wackos in the spring argue against masks. That switched to CRT over the summer, but still fairly tame. Now it's all masks, all the time. We had a vote last week on whether to mandate masks to begin the school year. The weeks leading up to the vote and the week since have blown up my inbox more than all other public input combined.

Since last year we've consistently used infection data for our county as the driving force for mask mandates. This year we added vaccine eligibility to our determination. Outcome: Based on our numbers we will be mandating masks for early childhood (E) and grades K-6, for all students, teachers, staff and visitors. We will be recommending, but not requiring, masks for grades 7-12. This is subject to change based on infection numbers, which we track daily.

Prior to the vote the emails were evenly balanced both for and against a full mandate. The meeting itself had about 20 citizens show up, about 18 more than normal, with some cheering and jeering as we debated the vote.

However, since the meeting, email and social media has gotten hostile. Our new state representative is a full-on conspiracy nutter who, since our vote, has taken on anti-mask as his personal rallying issue. He is organizing a large group to attend our next SB meeting the week after school starts. We will have local police present but they won't be able do anything unless the people threaten violence. If they just stick to jeering and disruption of the meeting the board will have to manage itself.

I predict we'll have to call a recess and reschedule the meeting. If we don't the meeting will get out of hand and we'll be just another example to put on Youtube. But even if we do shut it down, the wackos will have achieved what they wanted: derailing democracy.

JLS how about moving the meeting to Zoom/Teams? Mute everyone as moderator.

Kevin McCarthy warns GOP majority 'will not forget' if companies turn over phone records to Jan. 6 committee

USA Today wrote:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned "a Republican majority will not forget" telecommunications companies that turn over phone records to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

More than 30 companies including Apple, AT&T and Verizon, received a request for phone records from congressional investigators Monday.

"If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States,” McCarthy said in a statement Tuesday. “If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law.”

McCarthy did not specify which federal law.

The Jan. 6 committee has not identified whose phone records it is seeking, but they could include McCarthy and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who spoke with former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6.

So the House leader of the party of law and order just openly threatened telecommunications companies with retaliation in hopes that they don't turn over records Congress has the legal right to request because they directly implicate him and his buddies in some light treason.

Good grief. Manchin and Sinema need to get over themselves or democracy is done. GOP is clearly signaling they will do it again.

This has to be in the running for peak 2021...

Go-to Lawyer for Capitol Riot Defendants Disappears

New York Times wrote:

The mysterious disappearance of the lawyer John Pierce began last Tuesday, prosecutors say, when he missed a hearing for one of the many cases where he is representing a defendant in the Capitol riot investigation. The young associate who took his place said that Mr. Pierce had a “conflict.” At the time, no one seemed to give it much mind.

But in the days that followed, Mr. Pierce — who is defending more cases connected to the riot than any other lawyer — missed additional hearings and the reasons for his absence started changing.

On Wednesday, his associate told a judge in one case that Mr. Pierce had gotten Covid-19 and was in the hospital on a ventilator — but only after telling a prosecutor in another case that Mr. Pierce had been in a car accident. That same evening, a different associate told a reporter that Mr. Pierce had in fact been hospitalized, but was getting care for “dehydration and exhaustion.”

Finally, on Monday — after Mr. Pierce had still failed to emerge — the government got involved. Federal prosecutors issued letters to several judges in 17 Capitol riot cases, informing them that no one in the Justice Department had heard from Mr. Pierce in a week and that “multiple” phone numbers for his law firm appeared to have been disconnected.

His criminal cases had come to a “standstill,” the prosecutors said, endangering the rights of his clients. If Mr. Pierce did not surface soon, they added, something — though it was not clear what — would have to be done.

The New York Times tried to reach Mr. Pierce several times by text and phone in recent days, but he did not respond.

Mr. Pierce’s unexplained absence was the only latest twist in his outsized role in defending those accused of participating in the Capitol attack. His clients — among them members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers militia — have stood out not only for their number, but also for the scorched-earth battle that he has vowed to wage on their behalf.

A self-described pro-Trump populist, Mr. Pierce has promised, for example, to force the government to give him video footage of the Capitol for several days before and after Jan. 6, and has said he will demand information about every police officer working at the building that day. He has also vowed to subpoena hostile witnesses like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, ostensibly to learn what she may have known about security at the Capitol before the attack.

Without citing evidence, Mr. Pierce has said he intends to implicate the F.B.I. and the intelligence community by showing that the riot was something like a grand act of entrapment or an inside job. He has often talked about his cases with a conspiratorial zeal, painting himself as something like a lonely legal warrior out to save his clients from an overreaching government.

..

Mr. Pierce’s situation is not his first encounter with personal and professional setbacks. Last year, his law firm nearly collapsed in a swirl of debts and resignations. Then his most prominent client, Kyle Rittenhouse, the young man charged with murder at a racial justice protest in Wisconsin last year, fired him in a highly public spat that included allegations that a charity arranged for the defense had engaged in financial improprieties.

His work in the Capitol cases began just after the attack when he took several members of the far-right nationalist group the Proud Boys as clients. He has also been hired by L. Brent Bozell IV, the son of a prominent conservative commentator, as well as by a Florida pastor and a Minnesota pub worker.

In recent weeks, however, at least two clients have fired Mr. Pierce, complaining that he seemed unresponsive and appeared at times to be unversed in the details of their cases. Last week, the wife of yet another client, Kenneth Harrelson, a member of the Oath Keepers from Florida, sent a letter to her friends and associates, complaining that her husband was having “issues” getting Mr. Pierce “to do his job.”

Such complaints have come atop concerns that the sheer number of Mr. Pierce’s clients has exposed him to accusations of conflict of interest. He is, for example, representing both James Cusick Jr., the Florida pastor, and Mr. Cusick’s son Casey, who are charged with breaching the Capitol with another of his clients, David J. Lesperance, a member of the Cusicks’ church.

In a separate case, Mr. Pierce has been hired by another father-and-son pair, Kevin and Nathaniel Tuck, two former Florida police officers who have been charged in an indictment with a Florida Proud Boy he also represents.

Pierce's associate who's trying to carry on without him faces his own issues. A big one being that he's not actually a licensed lawyer and is highly unlikely of ever becoming one because he's currently under indictment in two criminal cases in PA accusing him of corruption, theft, and fraud.

OG_slinger wrote:

Kevin McCarthy warns GOP majority 'will not forget' if companies turn over phone records to Jan. 6 committee

USA Today wrote:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned "a Republican majority will not forget" telecommunications companies that turn over phone records to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

More than 30 companies including Apple, AT&T and Verizon, received a request for phone records from congressional investigators Monday.

"If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States,” McCarthy said in a statement Tuesday. “If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law.”

McCarthy did not specify which federal law.

The Jan. 6 committee has not identified whose phone records it is seeking, but they could include McCarthy and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who spoke with former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6.

So the House leader of the party of law and order just openly threatened telecommunications companies with retaliation in hopes that they don't turn over records Congress has the legal right to request because they directly implicate him and his buddies in some light treason.

And his buddy Ms Greene, threatened them all with shutdown tonight on Tucker. Wow

Bfgp wrote:

JLS how about moving the meeting to Zoom/Teams? Mute everyone as moderator.

We were doing that during peak Covid while Minnesota was under an emergency declaration. Once that ended we are obligated to hold in-person board meetings open to the public with plenty of notice. Democracy in action.

Fortunately, we do have a solid plan to quickly shut down a meeting. If it's clear the chair can't maintain order they'll gavel the meeting to recess and the board members will leave the stage and the live stream will be cut. This takes away the protestors' free microphone and allows the police to arrest them for trespassing if they won't leave. We can convene another day with short notice and likely avoid a repeat of organized disruption. It's not perfect but it allows us to control the meeting, something other school boards across the country have struggled with.

JLS wrote:

If it's clear the chair can't maintain order they'll gavel the meeting to recess and the board members will leave the stage and the live stream will be cut.

The average MAGAt navigating Robert's Rules of Order would be as entertaining as a monkey trying to solve a Rubik's Cube.