Stephen W. Browne Rants and Raves

August 28, 2017

Berkeley explodes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephen W. Browne @ 10:51 am

Antifa B
Well well, another change of plans. This week’s column, full of incisive commentary on stuff, is delayed by events in Berkeley.

By the time this goes to press it may be over and we’ll know more. Or maybe not.

Curiously I could find nothing on CNN or FOX about this. The New York Times does have an article filed by their San Francisco bureau, which seems oddly restrained in the light of the videos one can find on conservative sites and the foreign press.

Briefly, two right-wing rallies were scheduled for the weekend, a “No to Marxism in America” rally in Berkeley and a Prayer Patriot “Freedom Rally” in San Francisco to support free speech.

The Berkeley rally was denied a permit by the city, but Mayor Jesse Arreguin, urged residents to gather on the streets to show their “rejection of bigotry and white supremacy.”

The San Francisco rally was cancelled after organizers received threats. Counter demonstrators walled off the park to make their point,

In Berkeley they got it anyway as black-clad masked Antifa supporters swarmed the streets and attacked people wearing Trump supporter gear, invariably described as “far-right,” or apparently anyone who just looked like one.

There are reports of journalist being assaulted as they took pictures and video, and of fights breaking out between different factions of demonstrators. There are videos of people getting beat downs by the mob.

The police ceded parts of the city to rioters. Berkeley police chief Andrew Greenwood defended the decision, calling use of force “problematic.”

Good information is also “problematic.” Some accounts have it the demonstration was peaceful at first until invaded by Antifa soldiers equipped with shields emblazoned with flowers and puppy dogs and the legend “No hate” after which things went to that place people go in handbaskets.

The term “white supremacists” gets thrown around a lot, though there doesn’t seem to be any evidence from video of Nazi or Klan symbolism being flaunted, unlike Charlottesville.

It is worth noting Prayer Patriot founder Joey Gibson, who is by the way Asian-American, has disavowed racism.

OK, what’s happening and why should it matter?

I mean after all this is the People’s Republic of Berkeley and San Francisco we’re talking about. These are the national mental asylums we’ve all agreed to call cities.

What it looks like to me is that gang culture has come to the middle class.

Antifa is made up of white middle-class youth steeped in far-left politics vaguely Marxist and left anarchist. They have an uneasy alliance with Black Lives Matter, which is not poor ghetto youth but middle-class college educated.

They have stated up front they despise free speech and democracy.

On the right you find those who are committed to free speech and democracy. They are the ones who cancel rallies because of the threat of violence.

But the right is compromised by the presence of a white identity movement which formed in response to identity politics on the left – and is anyone surprised at that? I’m only surprised it took this long once the political advantage of organizing around race and ethnicity became obvious.

At present most middle class white people are repelled by them and still committed to the ideal of a nation founded on a creed rather than ties of blood.

That could change.

A largely left-of-center media sweeps leftist violence under the rug and tars all of the right with the white identity brush. That could backfire badly. Among other reasons because there is an alternative media which can present video evidence of leftist violence, totally discrediting the legacy media.

Many police forces have invested in tacti-cool gear for anti-terrorist operations, but not in anti-riot training, since that involves the potential for serious head-busting action, which they’re terrified of.

If this kind of thing remains confined to the larger mostly coastal cities, the rest of us will watch with mingled alarm and disgust. The backlash will come on election day.

But if the far-left keeps pushing and it escalates, the backlash could be terrible. And it won’t be at the ballot box.

(Photo credit: The Daily Mail (UK) “An antifa member (right) wielding a sign reading ‘No Hate’ clashes with a father and son (left) wearing pro-Trump shirts who had turned out for a ‘No To Marxism In America’ rally.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4828672/Masked-antifa-swarm-Berkeley-rally-assaulting-several.html#ixzz4r48mWAES
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August 14, 2017

Charlottesville

Filed under: Media bias,News commentary,Op-eds — Stephen W. Browne @ 10:40 am
A white nationalist demonstrator walks into Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.  Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday after violence erupted at a white nationalist rally in Virginia. At least one person was arrested.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A white nationalist demonstrator walks into Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday after violence erupted at a white nationalist rally in Virginia. At least one person was arrested. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12:  Anti-fascist counter-protesters wait outside Lee Park to hurl insluts as white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" are forced out after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – AUGUST 12: Anti-fascist counter-protesters wait outside Lee Park to hurl insluts as white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the “alt-right” are forced out after the “Unite the Right” rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Well it finally happened, sombody got killed at a demonstration.

This was not a surprise to some of us. We knew it was going to happen, it was only a matter of when, where, how, and which side.

Heather Heyer, 32, was struck by a car allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr, 20, from Ohio. Heyer was reportedly marching alongside the Democratic Socialists of America, Antifa, and Black Lives Matter in a counter-demonstration against white supremacists and neo-Nazis protesting the upcoming removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Fields is reportedly a kid who thought Nazis were “pretty cool” according to a former high school teacher.

This is very bad and I doubt it’s going to get better soon.

There are reports of clashes between Antifa and police in Portland, Oregon, and a free speech rally has been announced in Boston this Friday.

So far there have been more questions than answers. The protestors evidently had a permit to demonstrate. It is not clear if the counter-protestors did or not.

Charlottesville Police failed to deal with the two groups effectively and were reportedly ordered to stand down when they clashed. We’ve seen that before, in Berkeley.
Worse, it appears they may have funneled protestors leaving the park site to within a block of the counter-protestors.

Worse still, there is video footage circulating around the Internet that purportedly shows someone bashing the back of Fields’ car with a baseball bat before he accelerated into the crowd.

According to unconfirmed stories Fields wasn’t malicious, he was terrified.

If that story pans out, and Fields does have a defense enough to acquit him or convict him of a lesser charge, care to guess what kind of reaction that’s going to provoke?

Understand something, those protestors were or at least had in their midst real live Nazis and white supremacists. The photographic evidence is there, Nazi flags and symbols. If there were participants who weren’t Nazi sympathizers they didn’t have the influence to demand those flags be put away nor the sense to walk away themselves when they saw them.

But the counter protestors are no angels either and here is where it’s getting sticky.

Antifa and BLM showed up spoiling for a fight, armed with bats, pepper spray bags of urine and feces, and reportedly caustic liquids.

On a few pictures you can find some were waving red flag with the yellow hammer and sickle.

And this is where it’s getting very bad. It does indeed look like the major media is colluding to downplay the fact the counter-protestors are thuggish left radicals. Published pictures have apparently been chosen to exclude images of the flags and weapons in the hands of counter-protestors. The fact that they haven’t entirely succeeded would seem to indicate this required some effort on the part of journalists and editors.

New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg reported the Antifa counter-protestors were also acting with hate-filled violence and was evidently made to walk it back.

Some friends I’ve talked to flat don’t believe this was a case where there were no good guys, because “they were fighting racism.”

Acquaintances on the hard left however are jubilant and quite open about it.

One posted a meme with the legend, “When you can’t convince a fascist, acquaint his head with the pavement.”

Facist pavement

As mentioned, confirmed information is scarce so far. When all comes out, if it does, the city government of Charlottesville is going to have a lot to answer for, and the press as well.

I am going to recommend readers go to the site Zombietime to see what I’m talking about.

Zombie is an anonymous blogger on the west coast who for years has been documenting the manipulation of press photos by carefully chosen angles and cropping, by showing their own photos of the same events from the same perspective, and showing what was not reported.

Zombie convincingly demonstrates a long standing pattern of photo manipulation in support of a narrative. After you’ve seen it you might recognize the signs of it elsewhere in the country, and realize photos can indeed lie.

Be warned, some pages are definitely not for children.

August 11, 2017

Other ways than ours

Filed under: Culture,Op-eds — Stephen W. Browne @ 8:49 am

Just the other day I had a delightful conversation with a chance met acquaintance at our local family pub.

This elderly fellow (by which I mean my age) was wearing a T-shirt that he’d acquired in Monrovia, Liberia. A young (college-age) man asked if Monrovia was in Europe somewhere.

Well no, it’s in Africa and it’s the capitol of Liberia. And in fact it’s named after President James Monroe. Because the country was founded by the American Colonization Society in the 19th century as a nation for freed American slaves.

The Americo-Africans formed a local aristocracy that ran things until a coup, followed by a purge, followed by two civil wars.

At any rate my new acquaintance is a retired small-town police chief who was recruited for peace keeping duties in Liberia after he retired from the police force.

In the ordinary course of events one might wonder what we found to talk about, our backgrounds in America having so little in common. He was a cop, I a journalist. He had lived in Africa, I in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Quite a lot actually. We talked with the easy familiarity of people who share a common language. The language of people who know there are other ways than ours.

Most Americans really don’t understand this on anything but an intellectual level, and oddly enough we’ve found those who are loudest in their appreciation of “diversity” understand it the least.
Unless one has lived in a truly foreign culture, and by lived I mean for at least a year and acquired a functional knowledge of the language, one cannot really appreciate that not everybody thinks like us.

We are a W.E.I.R.D. culture: Western Educated Industrialized Rich and Democratic. A term my new acquaintance had never heard before but understood instantly when I mentioned it.

For example, he told me the story of conducting an investigation into an accidental drowning in a village out in the bush.

How do you think that would go in small town America?

A tragedy for sure, and a terrible loss for family and friends. I know, I’ve covered such stories and taken some heat when people thought the press had been too intrusive.

Would you ever think it would result in murder though?

What happened was the investigative team spent the best part of the day trying to convince villagers that this kind of thing just happened, that it was nobody’s fault. Because they were about to take it out on the least popular most vulnerable villagers. Because in their culture they did not believe there was any such thing as “death by natural causes.”

And he really doesn’t know what happened after they left the village.

I mentioned an experience in the Middle East when I got some of my news from an English-language newspaper, The Arab Times.

I was reading an advice column, but not exactly the kind of advice Dear Abby used to give. A reader wrote in to say he had a beef with a neighbor and was thinking about getting even.

He was going to get even with black magic.

The advice columnist sternly warned him that using black magic was strictly against the Koran.

Well, it’s strictly against the Bible too but it doesn’t come up very often in Sunday sermons these days.

Understand, the columnist was in no way denying the reality or efficacy of black magic. He was warning that it’s against the law.

How quaint. To think such things still exist in odd corners of the world. But of course that kind of thing doesn’t happen here anymore. Not since colonial days and the Salem witch trials.

Think so? If you were to go to the Navaho reservation and talk to the Navajo tribal police you’d find they take accusations of witchcraft very seriously. Because yes even in the 21st century people could get killed over that kind of thing.

This is what experience of other cultures teaches. That while yes, we are all human beings and share a common human nature within that common humanity there are a lot of different ways to be human.

Note: The title of this column is an allusion to Robert Heinlein’s book “Podkayne of Mars.” It’s the title of a book the titular heroine’s archeologist father wrote about the native Martians.

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