Breitbart & Its (MERCER!) Sympathizers: Not *Actual* Nazis — They Just Hate All the Same People

Per Mic, the blowback has begun:

Vice has cut ties with a senior writer from its feminist vertical Broadly after a BuzzFeed report revealed that the writer pitched story ideas to then-Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos, and once requested that Yiannopoulos mock a “fat feminist” writer.

Mitchell Sunderland, who at the time he sent emails to Yiannopoulos was managing editor of Broadly, was spotted departing Vice’s offices with a box of his belongings. (Mic saw a photo of Sunderland departing.)

A Vice spokesperson confirmed to Mic that Sunderland was let go Friday, and that Vice is continuing to look into the matter…

I’m sure that Mr. Sunderland would never encourage genocide, euthanasia of the disabled, or the invasion of Poland. But, c’mon — doesn’t “everybody” hate those “fat feminist” SJWs?

If you didn’t have a chance to read that Buzzfeed report when Cole posted about it earlier today, it’s well worth your time this weekend:

During the 2016 presidential campaign, under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart courted the alt-right — the insurgent, racist right-wing movement that helped sweep Donald Trump to power. The former White House chief strategist famously remarked that he wanted Breitbart to be “the platform for the alt-right.”…

It’s a relationship illustrated most starkly by a previously unreleased April 2016 video in which Yiannopoulos sings “America the Beautiful” in a Dallas karaoke bar as admirers, including the white nationalist Richard Spencer, raise their arms in Nazi salutes.

These documents chart the Breitbart alt-right universe. They reveal how the website — and, in particular, Yiannopoulos — links the Mercer family, the billionaires who fund Breitbart, to underpaid trolls who fill it with provocative content, and to extremists striving to create a white ethnostate.

They capture what Bannon calls his “killing machine” in action, as it dredges up the resentments of people around the world, sifts through these grievances for ideas and content, and propels them from the unsavory parts of the internet up to TrumpWorld, collecting advertisers’ checks all along the way…

For the record, Yiannopoulos claims he didn’t see those Nazi salutes, because of his “severe myopia.” (Murphy the Trickster God remains an unsubtle scripter.)

… A year and a half ago, Milo Yiannopoulos set himself a difficult task: to define the alt-right. It was five months before Hillary Clinton named the alt-right in a campaign speech, 10 months before the alt-right’s great hope became president, and 17 months before Charlottesville clinched the alt-right as a stalking horse for violent white nationalism. The movement had just begun its explosive emergence into the country’s politics and culture.

At the time, Yiannopoulos, who would later describe himself as a “fellow traveler” of the alt-right, was the tech editor of Breitbart. In summer 2015, after spending a year gathering momentum through GamerGate — the opening salvo of the new culture wars — he convinced Breitbart upper management to give him his own section. And for four months, he helped Bannon wage what the Breitbart boss called in emails to staff “#war.” It was a war, fought story by story, against the perceived forces of liberal activism on every conceivable battleground in American life…

“Finally doing my big feature on the alt right,” Yiannopoulos wrote in a March 9, 2016, email to Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, a hacker who is the system administrator of the neo-Nazi hub the Daily Stormer, and who would later ask his followers to disrupt the funeral of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer. “Fancy braindumping some thoughts for me.”
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I Have Now Seen It All: The Crying NAZI And His Cosplaying Attorney Go To Court

Oy vey!

Chris Cantwell, the Crying NAZI, had his first court appearance today. It was a doozy!

Cantwell’s attorney is Elmer Woodard, who appeared in court wearing an early-1800s-style red waistcoat with gold buttons, bowtie, white muttonchop whiskers, black velcro shoes, and a a 1910s-style straw boater hat. Cantwell said Woodard was his fourth choice for legal counsel after three other lawyers declined to take his case. (Woodard previously attempted to defend a client accused of sexual assault by a 15-year-old girl by claiming that the man’s sleepwalking caused him to rape her.)

This is the good barrister as he appeared in court today:

So what did Woodard put forward as a defense of Cantwell?

Christopher Cantwell’s lawyer says his client’s comments disparaging blacks and Jews is just a comedic act of a “shock jock,” comparing him to the Jewish comedian Jackie Mason.

The claim was made during a four-hour bail hearing for Cantwell on Thursday night. Cantwell faces three felony charges stemming from an incident at the University of Virginia on Aug. 11, in which he pepper-sprayed at least two people during a torchlight procession of hundreds of white supremacists who chanted Nazi slogans. The conflict was captured on camera and broadcast in a now-famous Vice News documentary.

Woodard said it was all a “shock jock” act.

But when Tracci asked Cantwell to describe what he does for a living, he answered: “I do a racist podcast.”

When Tracci quoted Cantwell’s statement praising the murder of Heyer, Woodard objected to the use of the word “murder.”

Much more at the link.

You’ll be happy to know that Cantwell has been denied bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for 9 November. There is no word if Mr. Woodard is back in custodial care, resting comfortably, and enjoying a pudding cup.

I have been researching, first scholarly and then applied, extremists, insurgents, terrorists, and revolutionaries – domestic and foreign, ideological, religious, ethno-national – since I was 24 years old. I started presenting my research at the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in 1995. My first panel presentation was comparing Israeli and Palestinian religious extremists with domestic American ones. The individuals and groups, domestic and foreign, I was studying back then would have eaten Cantwell for lunch.

We can be thankful that they don’t make fascists like they used to.

Voting Systems Hacked?

The answer to the question is that we just don’t know. And Congress cares not at all.

Or perhaps I should focus that to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan care not at all. Or Republicans care not at all.

The New York Times has an article about suspicious problems with voter roll books, particularly in North Carolina. It points out that it’s not clear that the problems arose from hacking, but one of the software companies involved is known to have been hacked.

This is why the screwing-around by the Republican leaders and the idiot Freedom Caucus is so evil. Not only are they threatening damage to their voters and all American citizens, but they are not dealing with things that need attention. I could provide a long list of those – fixing the problems with immigration laws, bringing police forces back to the rule of law, improving the ACA, limiting monopolies, you get the idea.

John McCain makes the point more politely to his colleagues. You can call your members of Congress.

Open Thread: Trump & Arpaio, Dirty Birds of A Nasty Feather

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(Possible) Good News About Tonight’s Phoenix White Supremacy Trump Campaign Rally

Unless, of course, Lord Smallgloves changes his mind once he’s in front of the cameras and a mob of his biggest fans. DADDY NEEDS ANOTHER HIT OF THAT SWEET, SWEET EGO BOOSTER, BABY!

White House officials won’t say exactly what’s on Trump’s agenda when he holds a campaign-style rally here. But it’s widely expected he will go after GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, a loud critic of the president who recently published an anti-Trump manifesto, “Conscience of a Conservative.”

Whatever he says about Flake, the president is clearly determined to send a message. State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, who is weighing a primary challenge against Flake, will join the president on Air Force One on Tuesday, according to two people briefed on the plans. And the daughter of another potential GOP candidate, former state GOP Chairman Robert Graham, is slated to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the days leading up to Trump’s Arizona trip, Senate GOP leaders have implicitly warned Trump that attacking Flake, who faces a treacherous path to reelection, would only serve to further rupture his relationship with a congressional GOP wing that he’s grown increasingly isolated from in recent weeks. It came after Trump, in a tweet after the Phoenix event was announced, called Flake “toxic.” The president had earlier threatened to spend as much as $10 million to take out the incumbent Republican…

Trump’s decision to venture to Flake’s home state goes to what senior Republicans say is a much deeper concern: that the president seems more interested in exacting revenge against members of his own party than defeating Democrats. It is highly unusual for the president to openly campaign against a sitting member of his own party, let alone someone as vulnerable as Flake…

You knew what Trump was when you hugged him to your bosoms, Repubs.

Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Joke O’Keefe Strikes (Himself) Again!

Lest we forget — being a Republican means never learning anything from one’s mistakes. Jane Mayer, in the New Yorker, on a repeat offender:

James O’Keefe III, the conservative activist famous for undercover stings, has dedicated his life to exposing the “misconduct” of others. But he’s developed a side business in accidentally exposing his own. In the latest chapter of his strange career, the League of Conservation Voters, a national environmental-advocacy group, has filed a complaint against three individuals who infiltrated its operations, at least two of whom, the group alleges, “could be associated with” O’Keefe and have past ties to him. The group’s leaders recently began to suspect that they were being scammed, and decided to go to the authorities before O’Keefe or his alleged associates released any material on their own.

In a six-page letter of complaint sent to the California Department of Justice on Friday, the League of Conservation Voters, or L.C.V., asked the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, to open a criminal investigation into the operatives for potential fraud, racketeering, unfair business practices, trespassing, invasion of privacy, and possible violation of the state’s two-way-consent eavesdropping laws. The environmental group filed the letter in California because the “imposters,” as it labelled the operatives, first made contact with the organization through its state branch in the San Francisco Bay Area. A spokesperson for the California Department of Justice declined to comment, as is its policy on potential criminal investigations.

O’Keefe, whom I reached by phone on Tuesday, said that he was unaware of the letter and otherwise declined to discuss the matter. “I don’t comment on investigations real or imagined, or work with mainstream reporters who operate in bad faith,” he told me. In 2016, I wrote an article for this magazine about O’Keefe’s bungled attempt to sting George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, a liberal nonprofit group that O’Keefe had targeted.

L.C.V.’s letter describes an elaborate, six-month-long scheme. It alleges that the three operatives created false personas—backed up with fake Facebook, LinkedIn, and e-mail accounts—under which they met with “dozens” of the group’s staffers, board members, and donors, and gained access to “confidential” information. According to the letter, “at least two” of the individuals, who are identified as Christian Hartsock and Daniel Sandini, have reportedly worked with O’Keefe in the past, though L.C.V.’s letter acknowledges that the group doesn’t know whether O’Keefe was directly involved in the sting or merely inspired a copycat operation. Hartsock and Sandini also have connections to Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief political adviser: they both received film credits in “Occupy Unmasked,” a 2012 documentary directed by Bannon. The film’s cast notes describe Hartsock as a longtime collaborator of O’Keefe’s and a “protégé” of Andrew Breitbart, the late founder of the right-wing Web site Breitbart News, which Bannon ran prior to joining Trump’s Presidential campaign last year. They also say that Sandini is “inspired by Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe.” The third individual named in the letter, Ann Vandersteel, is a conservative online commentator who has promoted conspiracy theories including “Pizzagate,” the election-season right-wing fantasy that claimed Hillary Clinton’s campaign was running a child-molestation ring in the basement of a Washington pizza parlor that, among other things, has no basement. (Hartsock declined to comment for this article, and attempts to reach Sandini and Vandersteel were unsuccessful.)…

According to the letter, the scheme began last December, when Hartsock approached L.C.V.’s Oakland, California, office pretending to be a man named Trent Maynard. He allegedly said that he represented a wealthy but politically inexperienced donor who had been motivated by Trump’s election to give to progressive causes. Hartsock presented a fake business card and mentioned that his donor friend wanted to be introduced to environmental leaders and elected officials. Soon after, L.C.V. staffers invited Hartsock to attend an Inauguration Day fundraiser for environmental groups, where he mingled with various progressive leaders…

The L.C.V. staff found some of Sandini’s behavior bizarre. At one L.C.V. event, he seemed inexplicably disappointed when he wasn’t able to present a pair of cufflinks to the California Senate’s president pro tempore, Kevin de León, after de León failed to show. The staff also noticed that he had a habit of leaving his cufflinks, and his phone, on tables during get-togethers, which, according to L.C.V.’s letter, “raises the possibility that we have been recorded without consent. We are deeply concerned that if surreptitious, unauthorized videos or recordings were made, these individuals could make deceptive edits to create unfair, malicious, and false impressions.”…

Beats looking for an honest job, I guess.

Apart from casting a cold eye on all the little criminals, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Media Open Thread: Beyond ‘An Embarrassment of Riches’, into ‘A Disgrace of WTFs’…

Decline and fall of a once-great ideal, in three arcs:


[*record scratch*] Fox News Dumbest Talking Head, former Bill O’Reilly hand puppet:

(If you’re unable to listen, ‘America is not a racist nation’ immediately segues to ‘Maxine Waters & Susan Rice, encouraging NK?’ and ‘[Black] guys with guns threatening President Trump over food stamps’)

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