When Billy Barr Called a Press Conference to Target Non-Terrorists Rather than Brag about the Right Wing Terrorists FBI Caught

What if the FBI succeeded in thwarting a right wing terrorist attack but rather than bragging about that success, instead redoubled its efforts to target peaceful protestors as terrorists?

That’s what happened this week.

On Tuesday, the FBI terrorism agents arrested three adherents of the “Boogaloo” movement, a group of extremists planning a civil war. All have military experience and one, Andrew Lynam, is currently in the Army Reserve. At a ReOpen Nevada protest held in April, at which they were all heavily armed, Lynam told a person who’d go on to become an FBI informant that, “their group was not for joking around and that it was for people who wanted to violently overthrow the United States government.” One of them planned to use the cover of the George Floyd protests to conduct attacks and sow panic.

CHS stated that PARSHALL and LOOMIS’s idea behind the explosion [targeting Lake Mead] was to hopefully create civil unrest and rioting throughout Las Vegas. They wanted to use the momentum of the George Floyd death in police custody in the City of Minneapolis to hopefully stir enough confusion and excitement, that others see the two explosions and police presence and begin to riot in the streets out of anger.

They were arrested on the way to a Black Lives Matter protest with the makings of Molotov cocktails and an AR-15 in their vehicles.

Normally when the FBI thwarts a terrorism attack in process, they hold a big press conference to brag about it. As of this morning, however, neither DOJ nor FBI have posted the arrest on their national news websites (the Nevada US Attorney’s Office has).

Instead of boasting about the plotters arrested as terrorists, yesterday Billy Barr, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Acting DEA Administrator (and Barr flunky) Timothy Shea, and the head of ATF had a press conference that seemed designed to provide post hoc and advance justification for abusive steps Barr has and plans to authorize. (The Daily Beast also remarked on their silence about the Boogaloo arrests, and noted that that was one of the only arrests of ideologically motivated groups that have taken place during the uprising.)

The specifics of their statements, given the legal framework around national security investigations and known and presumptive OLC memos authorizing such things, deserves more attention.

The culprit is Antifa, not (also) the right-wingers carrying guns

In questions, for example, Pierre Thomas asked Bill Barr about the Boogaloo bust. Barr responded by focusing on Antifa.

And that’s why in my prepared statement, I specifically said, in addition to Antifa and other extremist groups like Antifa, there were a variety of groups and people of a variety of ideological persuasion. So I did make that point. I’m not going to get too specific, but the intelligence being collected by our US attorney’s office is particularly integrated by the FBI from multiple different sources is building up. There are some specific cases against individuals, some Antifa related.

Chris Wray also responded to the question about Boogaloo by emphasizing that Antifa was a terrorist organization.

Sure. Let me say first, as I’ve said for quite some time and including even my first few months in job, we, the FBI have quite a number of ongoing investigations of violent anarchist extremists, including those motivated by an Antifa or Antifa like ideology. And we categorize and treat those as domestic terrorism investigations and are actively pursuing them through our joint terrorism task forces.

This repeats comments both Wray and Barr made in their prepared speeches. Barr saidhe culprit here is “Antifa” and it is violent.

At some demonstrations, there are groups that exploit the opportunity to engage in looting.  And finally, at some demonstration, there are extremist agitators who are hijacking the protests to pursue their own separate and violent agenda.

We have evidence that Antifa and other similar extremist groups, as well as actors of a variety of different political persuasions, have been involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity.

Wray said the same. The culprits are “Antifa” and other agitators.

We’re seeing people who are exploiting this situation to pursue violent, extremist agendas—anarchists like Antifa and other agitators. These individuals have set out to sow discord and upheaval, rather than join in the righteous pursuit of equality and justice. And by driving us apart, they are undermining the urgent work and constructive engagement of all those who are trying to bring us together—our community and religious leaders, our elected officials, law enforcement, and citizens alike.

There is a foreign nexus that will allow us to use transnational tools

In his prepared speech, Barr claimed that there are foreign actors involved.

We are also seeing foreign actors playing all sides to exacerbate the violence.

It’s true that the Russians who helped Trump get elected are sowing dissension but that would be dealt separately from a press conference if Barr weren’t trying to use the foreign nexus to access national security tools he says can’t be used with Trump supporters.

Barr returned to this later, and specifically said they maybe can’t offer proof.

I may ask Chris if he cares to provide a little more detail. I’m not sure how much detail we want to get into, but people shouldn’t think that countries that are hostile to the United States, that their efforts to influence the US or weaken the US or sow discord in the US is something that comes and goes with the election cycle. It is constant. And they are constantly trying to sow discord among our people, and there’s a lot of disinformation that circulates that way. And I believe that we have evidence that some of the foreign hackers and groups that are associated with foreign governments are focusing in on this particular situation we have here and trying to exacerbate it in every way they can. Unless Chris has something to add, I can turn it over to … Yeah.

By suggesting there’s a foreign nexus, Barr is laying the groundwork to claim to need tools only available with that foreign nexus (something that has been done with past protest movements).

Every store that gets raided gives federal jurisdiction

After making it clear that Billy Barr intends to target Antifa as the culprit here, and use national security tools to do so, Barr and his flunkies then laid out how they think they have national jurisdiction.

Barr asserted his own jurisdiction based off the federal buildings he said that had been targeted (and because protestors were in front of the White House).

Many of the buildings, as you know, and facilities here, and the monuments are the responsibility of the federal government and the proceedings and process of the federal government take place here. And so when you have a large scale civil disturbance that is damaging federal property, threatening federal property, threatening federal law enforcement officers, threatening the officials in government and their offices and our great monuments, it is the responsibility of the federal government to render that protection.

Barr described how that Federal jurisdiction — and his invocation of the word “riot” — allows them to lead the response via what is the intelligence-driven network used against terrorists.

The Justice Department is also working closely with our state and local partners to address violent riots around the country.  Our federal law enforcement efforts are focused on the violent instigators.

Through the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Offices, component field offices, and state and local law enforcement, we are receiving real-time intelligence, and we have deployed resources to quell outbreaks of violence in several places.

While Wray didn’t use the word “riot” he described the centrality of the Joint Terrorism Task Force to the Federal response.

We’re making sure that we’re tightly lashed up with our state, local, and federal law enforcement partners across the country, by standing up 24-hour command posts in all of our 56 field offices. We have directed our 200 Joint Terrorism Task Forces across the country to assist local law enforcement with apprehending and charging violent agitators who are hijacking peaceful protests.

Timothy Shea invented an excuse not used in his request to get involved: the DEA has jurisdiction because some people stole controlled substances from pharmacies, possibly after they had been looted.

In addition, DEA continues to investigate drug related crimes, including the theft of controlled substances from looted pharmacies, which is happening here in the District of Columbia and across the country. In the national capital region, approximately or over 150 DEA special agents have partnered with the metropolitan police department at their request and the National Guard to enforce security posts and maintain a secure perimeter in designated areas.

Acting ATF Director Regina Lombardo made a similar claim to jurisdiction (though theirs legitimately extends to explosives activity): ATF is investigating firearm dealer thefts.

 ATF has also responded to 73 federal firearms licensed dealers. We have identified many suspects that made arrest and recovered many firearms already.

When it came to Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal, the only real excuse he offered was that Billy Barr requested BOP get involved. Though he did offer the bogus claim that BOP’s riot team is “experienced in … conflict resolution.”

The Attorney General asked the BOP to request and assist other law enforcement agencies in maintaining order and peace in the district of Columbia. BOP crisis management teams are highly trained to deal with various types of emergency situations, including crowd control and civil disturbances. They are experienced in confrontational avoidance and conflict resolution.

Barr offered even more transparently bullshit excuses for inviting in the kinds of people who put down riots among violent felons, claiming that there weren’t enough Marshals to go around, and that no one else in the US Government (like Park Police) know how to deal with the kinds of crowds they deal with all the time. Barr also provided a totally bullshit excuse for why the riot teams weren’t wearing identification.

Let me just add that the Bureau of Prisons SORT teams are used frequently for emergency response and emergency situations, in either civil disturbances or hurricanes or other things like that. They’re highly trained. They’re highly trained units. And in fact, in the Department of Justice, we do not really have large numbers of units that are trained to deal with civil disturbances. I know a lot of people may be looking back on history, think we can call on hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of US Marshals, and that’s simply not the case. Our marshals’ response for us is approximately a hundred US Marshals. And so, historically when there have been emergencies where we have to respond with people who do have experience in these kinds of emergencies that are highly trained people, we use what are called SORT teams, response teams from the Bureau of Prisons.

And I could see a number … Now, in the federal system, we don’t wear badges with our name. I mean, the agents don’t wear badges and their names and stuff like that, which many civilian police agents, I mean, non-federal police agencies, do. And I could understand why some of these individuals simply wouldn’t want to talk to people about who they are, if that were, if that in fact was the case.

The photo op was not a photo op

But Barr’s bullshit explanation for why he sicced riot teams on peaceful protestors was still more credible than the excuse he offered for violently attacking peaceful protestors, including priests at a church serving them, for a photo op. He had decided (using the jurisdiction assumed by claiming everything is a federal building) to expand the perimeter around the White House.

Unfortunately, because of the difficulty in getting appropriate units into place, by the time they were able to move our perimeter up to I street, a large number of protestors had assembled on H Street. There were projectiles being thrown and the group was becoming increasingly unruly. And the operation to what… They were asked to three times if they would move back one block, they refused. And we proceeded to move our perimeter out to I Street.

And that had nothing at all whatsoever with the President’s desire for a photo op and he just happened to be in the photo op that had nothing to do with the violent attack on peaceful protestors and the exploitation of a house of worship.

Obviously, my interest was to carry out the law enforcement functions of the federal government and to protect federal facilities and federal personnel, and also to address the rioting that was interfering with the government’s function. And that was what we were doing. I think the president is the head of the executive branch and the chief executive of the nation, and should be able to walk outside the White House and walk across the street to the church of presidents. I don’t necessarily view that as a political act. I think it was entirely-I don’t necessarily view that as a political act. I think it was entirely appropriate for him to do. I did not know that he was going to do that until later in the day after our plans were well underway to move the perimeter, so there was no correlation between our tactical plan of moving the perimeter out by one block and the president’s going over to the church. The president asked members of his cabinet to go over there with him, the two that were present, and I think it was appropriate for us to go over with him.

Let me be clear. These are — most of them — transparently bullshit excuses. Unfortunately, the way our intersecting justifications for using national security authorities work, such transparently bullshit excuses provide the legal cover that the Federal government has long used, especially when it comes to spying on brown people.

To be clear, this is not new. It’s just incredibly ham-handed and pretty transparently done after the fact, after the press already identified Barr’s abuses. And I assume OLC only now is writing memos to match the transparently bogus claims made in yesterday’s presser.

125 replies
  1. J. H. Frank says:

    In the interest of pointing out corner cases, Boogaloo isn’t strictly right-wing. Leftist Iglooers are a real thing, though awfully rare.

    Think of leftist and PoC 2A gun-fondlers, because they’re pretty much the same folks.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Show me a PoC that has been allowed to pack heat in front of a cop. At best your “leftists” are anarchists and libertarians, not progressives or even socialists. Try again.

      • subtropolis says:

        But J.H. didn’t say “progressive” or “socialist” though. While most of the Boogers do appear to be typical far-right types most closely associated with the militia groups, the appeal of triggering a revolution (yeah, I know, it’s stupid but I didn’t write their manifesto) has attracted people who self-identify as being leftist, according to their own statements. (Whether they understand wth they are talking about is another thing.)

        Academics and poliwonks aside, to the prole on the street, the twin arcs of the “left” and “right”, taken far enough, bend around towards a fuzzy confusion called nihilism.

  2. Rugger9 says:

    The sad thing as well is that there is no place to seek redress of these grievances now that the courts have been walled off (apparently there is a ruling out today/yesterday that says indefinite detention of protesters is OK), McConnell and Paul are holding up lynching legislation of nitpicking procedural grounds (something Paul did for the stimulus bill, IIRC), which leaves the courtier press including the NYT that ran Cotton’s “op-ed” on the day that Tienanmen Square saw state organized murder.

    It seems to me that the WH is testing limits again, hoping for outrage fatigue.

  3. Peterr says:

    Instead of boasting about the plotters arrested as terrorists, yesterday Billy Barr, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Acting DEA Administrator (and Barr flunky) Timothy Shea, and the head of ATF had a press conference . . .

    Two little edits here. First, Shea may be Acting DEA Administrator, but he’s a Permanent Barr flunky. Second, as you note further down, the head of ATF is also Acting, not permanent.

    Shea’s transition from his brief role as Acting USAtty for DC to Acting head of DEA suggests to me that Barr has had his eyes on using DEA’s rather unique set of tools in more extreme ways for quite a while, and putting Shea there was his means of accessing them.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      I am of the opinion that Barr is Trump’s Dick Cheney. Both Barr and Cheney ‘served’ useful idiots.

      • Greg Hunter says:

        It would seem that Liz may have taken over those contacts…I think Barr and Cheney served together to achieve many things. I am reading the minority report for Iran Contra and I just love that Ken Buck R-CO and my hated swamp creature Mike DeWine were contributing members to that report.

        If you listen they tell you whom they are…

        • Sonsony says:

          Thank you for reminding us that DeWine, current Republican darling (due to speaking in actual complete sentences), is/was a Tea Party imbecile in Congress.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        @Molly Pitcher: YES! Not to mention, Turd Blossom, another soulless power-seeker.

  4. viget says:

    Obviously, my interest was to carry out the law enforcement functions of the federal government and to protect federal facilities and federal personnel, and also to address the rioting that was interfering with the government’s function.

    So the bolded portion is the scariest part. Compare it to 10 USC 253 (part of the Insurrection Act):

    The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other means, shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy, if it—


    (2)opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.

    I feel like Barr is still trying to lay down the legal framework to justify Trump using the Insurrection act to impose military rule. Interestingly enough, the Insurrection Act specifically mentions “State” in its verbiage, would DC pass muster as being considered a State?

    And lest you think this is angels dancing on a pin, Sec. 255 of title 10 specifically mentions Guam and the Virgin Islands as being “states”, but not Puerto Rico or other US territories, and not DC.

    So, would it be illegal for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act in DC?

    Also, why the heck are out of state National Guards operating in DC? Have they been pressed into Federal service? If so, they are in violation of Posse Comitatus.

    Wonder if any lawyers would like to comment.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Barr is working hard to create a framework that will allow Trump to refuse to acknowledge his loss in November and stay in the White House. It is a multi-prong plan. One prong is his attempt to corrupt the USPS, to manipulate how voting-related mail gets through and/or to claim that enough votes against him were fraudulent so as to claim victory.

      Another, militarization, has multiple uses. Two of them are to intimidate anti-Trump voters, especially people of color, into not voting. Another would be to respond to the outrage should Trump claim a false victory and refuse to leave the White House. That’s apparent in his programmatic depiction of anti-Trump protests (and, by extension, voters) as terrorists.

      Barr is there, in part, to create a false sense that whatever Trump does has a legitimate legal basis. (He also acts as a flywheel, to keep Trump’s motion continuous, despite his many fits and starts.)

      All of that will be hard to pull off – elections are state matters – and harder to sustain. It’s most obvious consequence would be pervasive and inevitably violent civil unrest. The standard dictator’s play would be to try to ratchet up that violence, blame it on insurrectionists, and use the unrest as an excuse to stay in office during a never-ending emergency.

      The success of that dictator’s play – and the survival and health of American civil society – lies in who plays along with it. How many Tom Cottons and Bill Barrs there are vs. how many people and how much of society Just Says No, refuses to play, blows out tiny Donald’s lit matches, and peacefully ejects him from office and American life.

      • MB says:

        “a heavy revolving wheel in a machine that is used to increase the machine’s momentum and thereby provide greater stability or a reserve of available power during interruptions in the delivery of power to the machine”

        Especially important to Trump as his other flywheel, the public rallies, have been sidelined due to covid-19 concerns.

        Also, in the dispute as to where the GOP convention will take place, I’ve been hearing now of some kind of cockamamie hybrid “solution” such that the convention will now be allowed to take place in Charlotte, but Trump will be elsewhere, giving his acceptance speech remotely, from a more-friendly location where he won’t be required to wear a mask, apparently.

          • Raven Eye says:

            There would be a certain symmetry around election day if the administration would leverage demonstrations in support of voting rights/voting access as an excuse to restrict access to polling places.

            • bmaz says:

              A fair fear. That said, the number and location of polling places is generally determined at the county level by the registrar or elections director. In some cases the board of supervisors.

              It is absolutely breathtaking in some places. Milwaukee famously went from 180 down to 12 for the recent primary. Across souther states (which apparently includes Arizona) over 1200 polling places have been eliminated according to this alarming Reuters report from September 2019. And, note, that was pre-Covid, it may get much, much worse. And that is just not acceptable.

              • Raven Eye says:

                I worked for a county for a few years. My little division was under a guy who was also the county elections official. Even then 1995-98, he was finding fewer venues to use a polling places. ADA limited him, and schools were becoming more concerned about people wandering around the grounds. The Greatest Generation seemed to make up a good part of the poll workers, and they were starting to be unavailable. Some county workers would take a day of leave from their regular jobs to be poll workers, but the overall trend was fewer suitable venues and fewer poll workers. Add that trend to the efforts by some to mess with access to voting and things look a little grim.

                The county encouraged early voting and many folks would swing by the county office during their trips around town — though some lived pretty far away, up to a 1 1/2 hour drive — so it wasn’t practical. Absentee ballots, though, were easy to apply for.

                Fortunately, in the time of COVID and looming obstruction, I now live in a state that is totally mail-in (or drop-off the vote-by-mail ballot). But for states that haven’t had a history of mail-in, ramping up for 100% mail-in takes more time than we have now (per NPR’s interview with the Washington Secretary of State).

                I agree — the situation is not acceptable.

                • bmaz says:

                  Yeah, and on all counts. There are issues. Here polling places were often schools. Fewer now, and more at churches. But funded and set up, there are plenty of places available.

                  We are certainly not full on total mail voting like a couple of states, but not far behind. All you have to do is request a mail ballot and you get one. And you can do so online. It is really that easy, and it works flawlessly. And it is very easy to check to insure your ballot was received and counted. It is insanely good. And if you forget to mail it, you can easily drop it in a box at a polling place on election day without standing in line. In short, it really works.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          At this rate it will be a skull shaped island and he will be stroking the hairless cat he holds in his arms.

        • Mitch Neher says:

          Excerpted from the article linked above:

          Section 3

          If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

          • Mitch Neher says:

            That would be the incoming Congress rather than the outgoing Congress that selects the “acting President.”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Speaking of blowing out Trump’s lit matches, the cover of the German magazine, Der Spiegel, riffs off the theme. (Behind a paywall.)

        It’s a face-and-torso image of Trump, sitting at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office. A conflagration outside his window frames him. His small hands hold a lit match. He wears his usual dim-but-arrogant face. The caption reads, roughly, “Trump the Firedevil Sets His Country Ablaze.”

        • harpie says:

          Here’s a link to the article and photo [my translation]:

          Der Feuerteufel The Fire Bug; The death of George Floyd has unleashed a wave of protests. Donald Trump fans the hate, in order to distance himself from his own failures, and to secure his reelection with questionable methods.
          05.06.2020, 13.00 Uhr

          I never heard the term “fire bug”. It means [Merriam-Webster] Incendiary, pyromaniac;
          Synonyms are arsonist, incendiary, torch

          From Wikipedia: 1940 German movie with the tile Der Feuerteufel

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fire_Devil The Fire Devil

          The Fire Devil (German: Der Feuerteufel) is a 1940 German historical adventure film […]
          It is set during the Tyrolean Rebellion against Napoleon, about which Trenker had previously made another film The Rebel in 1932. However Adolf Hitler, who had been an admirer of the previous film, was apparently displeased feeling that the parallels between Napoleon and the Third Reich meant that the film glorified and potentially incited popular revolt against the regime.[2] To restore himself to favour, Trenker published a novel Captain Ladurner which was overtly pro-Nazi.[3]

          I don’t think that connection was lost on the writers of the Der Spiegel piece.

  5. Molly Pitcher says:

    I think we are seeing the rehearsals for whatever the hell they are planning on to disrupt the election in November.

    • TimH says:

      More particularly, if DT loses and refuses to go, then the physical defenses and pretextual arguments will both be in place.

    • dude says:

      Suppose Trump does steal the election and holds the inauguration. Will we have a Nicolae Ceaușescu moment during his speech?

      • zoomzoom says:

        What else is there? I have no intention of rolling over for a tin pot dictator wannabe.
        Is there a better option that I am unaware of?

  6. CaliLawyer says:

    Antifa is getting the Soros treatment, as if this fairly small group is some kind of puppet master of the protests. The absurd fortifications and levels of military presence in DC, which is constantly in the news, is designed to whip up fear in the Foxnews crowd, as if the country is a war zone.

  7. OldTulsaDude says:

    It appears to me that Bill Barr has decided that he will never have a better opportunity to create his beloved authoritarian Christian theocracy and has decided to push all his chips into the pot. After all, history is written by the winners – or so they say.

  8. Jenny says:

    This is exactly what Trump and Barr want to do, escalate everything. They are the agitators by provoking violence and praising violence from cops. Using the police to arrest protesters rather than protect protesters. More power for them to seize which is the authoritarian way.

    These demonstrations are about no longer supporting a system built on a patriarchal, Aryan foundation that excludes basic rights and freedoms for the wide majority of the human race. This is about humanity consciously creating a place where all people are respected, honored and considered an important part of their society. This is about balancing out an imbalanced world.

    “Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.” Thurgood Marshall

    • John Lehman says:

      “This is about humanity consciously creating a place where all people are respected, honored and considered an important part of their society. This is about balancing out an imbalanced world.”

      Thanks Jenny
      These are the people who will win and write history.

  9. Savage Librarian says:

    Is anyone else worried about what Erik Prince might be doing behind the scenes?

    • MB says:

      Yes. He could already be Billy Barr’s chief lieutenant for insurrection suppression, for all we know (in an unofficial capacity of course)…

      • Raven Eye says:

        No bid, sole source, IDIQ contract, based on a national emergency, with national security sprinkles.

        • Rayne says:

          That’s what bothers me about the few contracts we’ve seen. We really need a much larger analysis of everything ordered immediately following Trump’s emergency declaration. Anything ordered for policing must be tracked down and questioned.

  10. Ginevra diBenci says:

    “They are experienced in confrontational avoidance,” per Carvajal. Orwell warned about exactly this type of multi-syllabic, latinate rhetoric, wielded by officials seizing power. Never mind that it is, at best, an oxymoron, and at worst a clear signal of the clinically disturbed thinking/urges behind this. It sounds authoritative. And they have the force.

  11. Nehoa says:

    As I seem to recall the U.S. military was pretty active in the anti-fascist movement from December 1941 to mid-1945. We need to reframe and talk about those that are profa (pro-fascist).

  12. Vinnie Gambone says:

    How about another Million Woman march 10000 per day for the last 100 days before election marching single file past the white house?

    • Rayne says:

      Suggest something YOU are willing to do. Don’t ask women to organize another effort requiring unrecognized emotional and physical labor.

      How about working with a group like Indivisible or Swing Left or some other group to ensure people in your neighborhood are registered to vote?

      • Budd says:

        Also, 8cantwait.org has specific policy suggestions you can ask your local police department to adopt to reduce police violence. With local action like this, you can have real leverage with a small group.

  13. Savage Librarian says:

    Putin might be so proud of the way Barr and Wray took command of the propaganda that he might even have a special place for them at RT. I wonder if they are participating by Zoom in the SPIEF which ends this week, 3–6 June 2020. Someone should check to see if Erik Prince was there.

    As you know, after my unpleasant encounter with a white supremacist group decades ago, I had an even worse experience with the obstinate and obnoxious city government that failed to follow the rules, ethics and laws that they constantly preached. So, I first went to the Civil Service Board (which was equally as corrupt) and then I filed suit in Federal Court.

    But I also contacted the US Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights. They came down and made the City rescind the policy that prevented us from checking the rifle bag the group brought to its meetings. They also required the library system to provide anti-discrimination training to the entire staff as soon as possible.

    So, the library and city provided training that was entitled, “Beyond Sexual Harassment.” The staff had no idea it was connected to what occurred with the white supremacist group. It was all very sneaky and dishonest, par for the course. Just like Barr and Wray, and Trump’s golfing habits. But now even the Dept. of Ed. is corrupt.

  14. jdmckay says:

    Haven’t seen mention here wrt John Dowd’s written response to Mattis’ statement.

    The phony protesters near Lafayette park were not peaceful and not real. They are terrorists using idle hate filled students to burn and destory., Theey were abusing and disrespecting the police when the police were preparing the area for the 1900 curfew.


    I understand, you had to stick to the assigned narrative which did not include three years of corrupt investigations and evidence to destroy the president, his office and his lawful free election. Nancy has no tolerance for dissent in the ranks-including those with stars.

    It goes on.

    • Rayne says:

      There has been speculation Trump wrote that and Dowd is simply keeping his mouth shut. It does sound more like one of Trump’s “John Barron” episodes.

      • jdmckay says:


        From where I sit all I see is Trump being surrounded by “True Believers” in this white supremacy, racist, fascist evil. Would be a perfect time for Dems/DNC & MSM to give time reading off some of Stephen Miller’s most egregious emails and tweets.

        And while they’re at it how about get past always playing defense and… w/Lindsey Graham’s BS Flynn/Biden hearings, why not start speaking loudly, every day, listing details of Kushner’s $1b “loan” from UAE. No nepotism there, right? Jared’s as much a cancer as any of them, just a rich idiot spoiled kid trying to run the world.

      • vicks says:

        IMHO it was a Trump toadie
        Too many big words for Trump to have personally written, too incoherent to be written by a guy who from what I understand is considered to be in a class of lawyers that bill over 1k an hour.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          Of the two tweets, the first one looks like genuine Trump. “phoney” “hate-filled” have the genuine stylistic ring. The second one, however, is less Trumpian; “no tolerance for dissent in the ranks” sounds like someone who actually does politics for a living.

  15. Skilly says:

    So, If I got this correct, because we use the word, “Antifa” we may be subjecting ourselves and everyone we may have ever called, (and everyone they may have known or called or written) or written or communicated with through text or other form of electronic communication, can now be subjected to Federal scrutiny. And perhaps if we throw in a few more choice words, like “Violence” and “Insurrection,” we can get a secret court order to search our homes and library records and video rentals (oh wait, no one rents video any more) and our internet search history? I am getting the feeling that I may be able to breathe.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Trump-McEnany voter fraud scandals keep on coming. McEnany apparently used her parents’ address in Tampa as her residence for voting purposes, while having a NJ driver’s license and working in DC. Trump used first his White House and then his Mar-a-Lago address while nominally living and working in DC.

    Dick Cheney did something similar in 2000. He made himself GHB’s running mate, but had to get around the law that prohibits the presidential and vice-presidential nominees from residing in the same state. He declared himself a resident of Wyoming, where he grew up, despite having lived and worked for years in Texas and DC. He used a newly-acquired vacation property as his so-called residence.

    It’s common to live and work in different states, and common for the wealthy to be partial-year residents in two or more states. But you can have only one residence for voting and driver’s license purposes. It requires a “nexus,” a sufficient connection to a state.

    McEnany’s use of her parent’s address – despite being independent, earning a ridiculously high salary out-of-state, and living and having a driving license elsewhere for years. Her nexus to Florida seems inadequate. Trump has a bigger problem. All those things apply to him, too. Plus, when when he personally bought Mar-a-Lago, he agreed that No One could use it as a personal residence. It was a material part of the deal, which Trump was closely involved with. He did not seek or obtain a variance. Trump and McEnany sure look like fraudulent voters.

    • vicks says:

      I have to look into it a little more but I’m thinking registering to vote in Florida MIGHT be more about establishing residency to evade taxes than her giving a crap about her vote counting in Florida
      Florida does not have a personal income tax and Google is saying that DC does not require non-residents to pay income tax.
      The new Jersey driver’s license doesn’t work into my plan at all, however it DOES look like up until 2009 Florida was the only state that allowed you to hold a license from another state along with a Florida license meaning she COULD have a “valid” license there that she never surrendered (and continues to renew) but I’m not going there….
      All speculation of course, but why would we be surprised to find another person in Trumpland that wasn’t properly vetted and who felt only suckers paid taxes?

  17. Molly Pitcher says:

    Well it was just announced by Newsweek,that Derrick Chauvin has been dallying in voter fraud as well. He voted illegally in Florida in 2016 and 2018, according to a Florida attorney.

    “Florida attorney, Dan Helm, who is a candidate for Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, has requested that Orange County State Attorney Aramis Ayala prosecute Chauvin for violating the state’s election laws, a third-degree felony, according to The Star Tribune.”


    • vicks says:

      No wonder republicans are so convinced there is voter fraud…
      Is there some sort of underground campaigning that is pointing people to where there vote would be more useful?
      Micro targeting?
      I am sure they have the data to do it and damn some of those wins were slim.
      I know i’m beating a dead horse but I still think there was something nefarious about the committee that was supposed to investigate voter fraud, never had a meeting and shut down as soon as they shook down states for their voter’s data.

      • vicks says:

        I should probably clarify that I would assume the Trump campaign would have the data to be able to identify which republicans had a reasonable path to registering to vote in a state where their vote was more valuable than where they resided, and among that group, identify those that were leaving trails showing a high level of passion for the cause

        • Vicks says:

          While poking around at Florida voting laws. I was surprised to see that Florida will email someone requesting a mail/absentee ballot.
          I know in most states you can make the REQUEST for a ballot online, but the actual ballot will either be mailed, or in some cases can be picked up by the voter or by someone they designate.
          Quick check, Wisconsin will also e-mail or fax a ballot to someone requesting to vote absentee.
          In response to to your comment and link regarding polling data.
          Do we know if the content of the data was part of the investigation?
          An “email with the data attached” was referenced, but I for one am not clear from the wording.

          Át the risk of sounding like a conspiracy nutter.
          Wouldn’t it follow what we have seen of Russian strategy, to use micro-targeting to locate the folks that could make a difference by voting in a state in which they had a a loose connection, and then do the slow boil?
          Start with things like series of fake (or real) emails from homeowners association meetings or other simple things most people would get when they are legit residents of a community?
          Hit them with local ads from the (target) states that ask them for their vote?
          Flood them with requests for campaign donations from local republican leaders?
          Follow that up with fake outreach from the target states reminding them to vote or register to vote?
          Finish it up with real links showing how easy it is to request an absentee ballot?
          The campaign had the data to target these people and provide them with the “incentive” every tool they needed to commit voter fraud,
          Again total speculation, just because the campaign “could” do something didn’t mean they would, or did.

  18. drouse says:

    The Antifa seem just so ripe for infiltration and exploitation. As far as I can tell planning isn’t their strong suit. It seems to be getting RSVPs for the next event is as far as it goes. I would also expect that there is a lot churn in the most active members given the lack of formal organization. So if a couple hard charging more catholic than the Pope types float to the top and offer to undertake all that pesky planning….

  19. Pajaro says:

    These developments and possibilities evoke many memories of the past, Kent State, Vietnam protests, LA riots, etc. for me. Frank Zappa’s song, “It can’t happen here” (Freak Out album) keeps running in my brain. One of first albums I ever bought. Bizarre feel then, bizarre feel now. (Bmaz may appreciate the segue to a music post>). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svdrAHn_LGo

    • Sonso says:

      OMG! (‘sorry for the valley girl text). I have been singing this in my head for way too long. Unfortunately, it already has happened here.

  20. Molly Pitcher says:


    That link goes to USA Spending.gov showing the Justice Department’s purchase of : 40MM OC ROUNDS 40EA, 400 RUBBER BATON ROUNDS 30EA, SPONGE ROUNDS 100EA, BLUNT IMPACT PROJECTILE 50EA, 40MM STINGER 50EA, 12GA STINGER 32CAL RUBBER BALLS 25EA, 40MM SPEDE HEAT PROJECTILES 160EA,

    The Spede Heat projectile canisters were gathered by @wusa9 crews Monday night at Lafayette Park, from the gassing that ‘wasn’t gas’. see Nathan [email protected] Jun 4

    purchased from:
    302 MAIN ST
    STEVENSVILLE, MT 59870-2530
    Congressional District: MT-00

    On April 9.

    Can someone with military/DOJ experience please explain this purchase to me ? Is it customary for DOJ to purchase things like this in what looks like a rather small quantity ?

    the DNB description of A2Z Supply Corp. has a total of 3 employees in a tiny Montana town, pop. 1,809, and it does $11M a year.

    • madwand says:

      These are all crowd control weapons of varying intensity. Purchased at this small amount I would guess they are testing the effectiveness of it in real time situations. Looking at the Spede heat canisters lets hope CS or its equivalent is the only gas they put in it. They just advertise a chemical agent. That’s a broad swath. Could be anything.

    • Rayne says:

      Ah nuts. That sets off a bell in my head from way back in 2007-2008. I don’t have Marcy’s holographic memory, will take me a while to ponder why Montana and federal contractors and possible white nationalist intersection.

      And by federal contractors I mean an entity like but not Blackwater.

      • Raging Granny says:

        Regarding the mystery of riot gear ordered from obscure Montana town: Stevensville is the local supply depot for fly-in moguls visiting their $20 million ranchettes in private enclaves like the nearby Stock Farm Club. Add in a long tradition of well-connected spooks, generals and militia folks semi-retiring to Montana and the location makes more sense. A wealth advisor friend/former student in Missoula tells me the Stock Farm Club’s been busy and full during the pandemic.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, it makes sense that spooks/generals/militia would want more police gear.

          And yet it makes zero sense because the chances of violent rioting in pricey BFE are slim-to-none.

          If they argue that the USDA/US Parks Service or other agency associated with rural areas needs riot gear, that’s likewise jacked up. I really want to know if these out of the way smaller purchases though atypical pocketbooks are really means to weaponize what is tantamount to an insurrection.

    • Raven Eye says:

      There is some kind of thing going on with regard to small business in Montana. I buy made-to-order coaxial cable and other radio supplies from a Montana company — which fabricates in and ships from Georgia. Another Montana small business ships from southern California.

  21. x174 says:

    interesting piece–
    with some editing, i think it would be suitable for a larger audience. interesting, original intro. solid, effortless take-down of our skank of an ag. the concluding sentence could have been from zorn’s spillane.

  22. madwand says:


    This in from the Atlantic this morning, I suppose one can only hope, it makes the point that,

    “Even if the protests fizzle—and the parade of denunciations comes to an end—it’s worth pausing to marvel at the moment. Despite the divisions of the country, a majority of its people joined together in shared abhorrence of the president, at least for an instant. Sectors of society that studiously avoid politics broke with their reticence. In a dark era, when it seemed beyond the moral capacities of the nation, it mustered the will to disobey”

    The article also details how we seem to be following the model of Ukraine and Victor Yanukovych. By confronting the protests, Yanukovych precipitated his own downfall. Trump and Barr are hopefully making the same mistake.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Franklin Foer, the author of this Atlantic piece, references Gene Sharp’s “From Dictatorship to Democracy”, paraphrasing “A dictator doesn’t maintain power on his own; he relies on individuals and institutions to carry out his orders. A successful democratic revolution prods these enablers to stop obeying. It makes them ashamed of their complicity and fearful of the social and economic costs of continued collaboration.”

      The problem is, in our little morality play, the GOP Senate has no shame. See my post below regarding an interview with Anne Applebaum for why this is so very dangerous.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Bill Barr has the time to play Praetorian commander – and an unlimited budget to defend his god-emperor. But his department hasn’t the time or resources to defend an appeal by an Iranian banker, convicted in NYC on charges of conspiracy, bank fraud ($115 million) and false statements.

    The US department of justice has made an unusual decision to drop charges against a prominent Iranian banker who was convicted of bank fraud in March after prosecutors in New York said they did not have the resources to continue to prosecute the case on appeal.

    The appeal alleges that attorneys working for NY USA Geoffrey Berman failed to disclosed exculpatory evidence. The odds seem good that the case involves intelligence sources and methods, involving, as it does, an Iranian banker, a Venezuelan construction firm, ties to a former Maltese PM, and the murder of a journalist investigating him, Daphne Caruana Galizia. But cuttin’ and runnin’ is getting to be a habit with Bill Barr. It’s almost as if he’s hiding stuff more than prosecutin’ it.


    • Molly Pitcher says:

      I distinctly remember reading/hearing about Galizia. That Barr and his minions would do this, on this case, is simultaneously enraging and disheartening.

      I wish that I could say that I am surprised. But the more things like this and Lafayette Park and on and on occur, the less I believe that Trump is in charge. There is no way he has knowledge of this event other than at the 30,000 ft level.

      I wonder what limits there are on what Barr would do to bring about what he is dreaming of. I wonder if there is a point when Trump becomes an impediment.

      Pence might be more in line.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Trump will always bend toward power, in part, because he thinks it’s his, in part, because he is weak. Barr is not so encumbered. He knows where and whose the power is, and what he can do with it with the right persuasion. He managed Poppy Bush with some success. With a guy like Trump, it’s not as easy, but he will have more success. It’s his ends that are frightening.

        • Yogarhythms says:

          Eh, Ew,…
          Daily death totals from SARS-CoV-2 are the most important factor that can be written about. I marched in my home town today with hundreds of others in sleepy Buckeye AZ. President Trump’s focus on protest is what he needs. 1-2 k dead every day until 3NOV20 is the failure he must ignore.

        • drouse says:

          Considering that Barr is Opus Dei, he might consider himself a modern day Cardinal Richelieu.

  24. Stephen Calhoun says:

    I’m inexpert, but I can also imagine specific means of disrupting elections. One idea that popped up was Trump using his pardon power to ignite urban areas in the run-up to election day. Could this substantially depress blue turnout?

  25. Savage Librarian says:

    Excerpts from an article with signs of sanity:

    “We are witnessing the birth of a movement — and the downfall of a president” – Salon, 6/6/20, Lucian K. Truscott IV

    “We’ve reached a turning point in the Trump era. The 2020 campaign is in the streets and he’s losing”
    “These generals are not politicians, but all their statements are as political as any I’ve ever seen by senior officers, retired or active duty. It’s the equivalent of lining up howitzers on Pennsylvania Avenue and aiming at the White House.”

    “I’ll bet Trump rues the day he appointed “Mad Dog” Mattis as secretary of defense. They don’t go out and make statements like this without talking to one another. Mullen and Mattis were said to have been aware of Milley’s confrontation with the president at the time they wrote their articles on Tuesday and Wednesday. Milley and his fellow generals and admirals are giving a clear sign that the military leaders are turning against Trump. Colin Powell will reportedly be next, in an appearance on one of the Sunday morning shows.”

    “The military is the most reliably conservative institution this country has. But inside the military establishment, the signals are being sent. They have announced that they are more reliable as defenders of the rights of their fellow citizens than the police. Without stepping over the line into insubordination, they have made it as clear as they can that their loyalty isn’t to the president. It’s to the Constitution.”

    “I don’t think we have to worry about the military following illegal orders from Trump. At least for now, they’re on our side.”


    • Savage Librarian says:

      Hopefully, all branches of military service will do this as well:

      “REMOVAL PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG > United States Marine Corps Flagship > Messages Display”, 6/5/20



    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I admire Truscott’s writing and point of view. But you’ll note his qualifier, “at least for now.” A wave against Trump would be good, a necessary precondition for his failure at the polls. (It will need to be a big win for Biden, because Trumpies will cheat bigly.) But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The police and National Guard, both with more local loyalties than the military, are still on the Don’s side, as are a majority of state legislatures.

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On the Pentagon programs that provide local law enforcement with all that military hardware:

    Aside from the waste, fraud, and abuse… the episode showed how low the barriers are [to purchase war materiel] and how serious the lack of accountability is with the Pentagon program’s supply of matériel to the thousands of law enforcement agencies across America.


    As Alfred McCoy has long warned, imperial policing always comes home. https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform/reforming-police/war-comes-home

    There’s an Israeli training services connection. https://www.amnestyusa.org/with-whom-are-many-u-s-police-departments-training-with-a-chronic-human-rights-violator-israel/

    And a Homeland Security connection (in the original German, the Heimat Sicherheitsdienst). https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/20/police-billions-homeland-security-military-equipment

  27. Jeff L says:

    “They were asked to three times if they would move back one block, they refused. And we proceeded to move our perimeter out to I Street.”

    Not that this needs confirmation, but I was right up at the fence the entire time and absolutely nobody gave any warning that they were going to clear Lafayette or asked us to move to I Street. At least we got to boo Barr before he taught me how much flashbang grenades fuck up your hearing.

    • bmaz says:

      Ouch. And what you report seems to be what many people there said. Also, it is just bonkers that General Barr was leading this charge on peaceful citizenry.

    • civil says:

      Here’s the full transcript for anyone interested: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bill-barr-george-floyd-protests-blm-face-the-nation-transcript/

      No one should trust his claims if he’s not under oath, and even then I wouldn’t be sure.

      He clearly lies about things that are easy to disprove, such as the following exchange:
      MARGARET BRENNAN: There were chemical irritants the park police has said–
      BARR: No, there were not chemical irritants. Pepper spray is not a chemical irritant. It’s not chemical.
      MARGARET BRENNAN: Pepper spray, you’re saying is what was used–
      BARR: Pepper balls. Pepper balls. [end excerpt]

      Everything is composed of chemicals, so “It’s not chemical” is laughable, and pepper balls absolutely contain irritants.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Perfect retort to Bill Barr’s claim that pepper spray is not a “chemical.” https://twitter.com/YAppelbaum/status/1269676939293478914

      Generalfeldmarschall Barr: “Pepper spray is not a chemical irritant. It is not chemical.”
      Pepperball’s official website: “The most effective chemical irritant available.”

      Barr talks like a former lawyer, hoping for a reduced sentence from the judges at Nuremberg. Once they pick themselves off the floor, every Ivy League organic chemistry professor should correct Columbia University graduate Bill Barr’s self-serving lie.

      But, as EW argues, Barr, following Trump, gave up on fact-based argument long ago. This is about muddying the water to avoid accountability and to hold onto power.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        On a similar note, someone on twtr picked up on the distinction the administration was shoveling about “not using CN or CS gas” on the people in Lafayette Square.

        True. The administration chose a third irritant, OS gas. It causes debilitating inflammation of the very tissue attacked by Covid-19. In the middle of a Covid-19 pandemic.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The obtuse Howard Kurtz, who claims to be a media reviewer, bemoans James Bennet’s resignation. He says the newsroom’s disgruntled current employees have “claimed a scalp.”

      Kate Arthur points out Howard’s hypocrisy and that Kurtz has used a racist trope. Kurtz must also have forgotten that it was the British army that taught the locals how to take hair – as an act of terror – in its divide and conquer occupation of the North American eastern seaboard.


      • BobCon says:

        This makes me so happy. Bennet was a key conductor of the right wing gravy train, handing out credentials and cash to undeserving hacks.

        I love the irony that he was brought down not just by Cotton, who has been dining off unearned establishment plaudits for years, but by an editor Bennet brought in as one of his conservative anti-merit hires.

        And considering his two most notorious hires are well known for trying to get people fired for personal and ideological differences, I will enjoy the irony of watching the right wing fair weather free speechers wringing their hands at the unfairness of it all.

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          Maybe they can arrange some wingnut welfare for him over at one of our esteemed conservative think tanks.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Arrgh, blew the edit from my phone.

      Bennet resigned from the NY Times editorial page after the Cotton debacle

      • BobCon says:

        My guess is that’s face saving transition and a way for him to keep his benefits and add some cash to his severance/retirement package until he gets a new job. I can’t imagine a replacement would take the job unless he was out of the picture, not to mention the uproar with the staff who stuck their necks out to protest him if he stays in anything other than a figurehead role.

  28. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Jake Tapper – or his producers – earn their occasional Fugg You – although nothing like as often as Chuck Todd. But he’s earned a big one for “wondering” whether the Dems have moved too far left.

    The alternative – that the GOP has moved off the spectrum and jumped into a neofascist sewer – must not fit his view of the possible. He needs to stop that right now.


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