Good News Open Thread: DeAndre Harris Found Not Guilty

Per The Root:

On Friday, the American criminal-justice system actually got something right; as it turns out, DeAndre Harris, the black man who was brutally beaten during the Charlottesville, Va., Unite the Right white supremacist rally, was found not guilty of assaulting a white nationalist.

Last year, Harris, who was counterprotesting the infamous rally, was cornered and attacked by white supremacists in a parking garage. He sustained multiple injuries, including a broken wrist and staples in his head. Yet for some reason, Harris was charged with felony counts as well as misdemeanor assault following his own beating. The felony charges were ultimately dropped, but he was still forced to stand trial for the misdemeanor.

However, on the same day Harris went to trial, he was immediately acquitted. Charlottesville General District Court Judge Robert Downer Jr. found Harris, 20, not guilty. Had Harris been convicted, he would have faced up to 12 months in jail along with a $2,500 fine for allegedly striking Harold Crews, a North Carolina attorney and state chairman of the League of the South, the Washington Post reports.

In one clip, Crews is seen holding a large flagpole in front of a black protester, who is pulling on the other end. As the two grapple over the pole, Harris swings his flashlight, seemingly hitting Crews on his head or shoulder.

Moments later, several white supremacists cornered Harris in the garage and brutally took him to the ground, attacking him.

As stated, Harris suffered severe injuries, only to be treated as a criminal afterward. His friends and family started a GoFundMe to help pay for his medical expenses, a campaign that raised a whopping $166,045…

NYMag adds:

Twenty-year-old DeAndre Harris faced up to a year in prison for hitting Harold Crews, the state chairman of the neo-Confederate group the League of the South, over the head with a flashlight. The incident occurred outside a parking garage, shortly before a brawl between protesters and counterprotesters in the garage, during which Harris was beaten badly by several white supremacists. Harris suffered a spinal injury and a head laceration that required stitches.

Crews brought the charges against Harris two months after the rally, at which point a warrant was issued for his arrest. The charge, originally a felony, was knocked down to a misdemeanor.

Crews (along with legions of right-wingers online) claims that Harris had incited violence by hitting him with the flashlight. But Harris said that he had only struck Crews because Crews had been attacking his friend, Corey Long, with a flagpole…

Four men who assaulted Harris in the garage, including members of Crews’s organization, face trials in the spring.

Cheers broke out in the courtroom when the verdict was read.

Luzers After Dark Open Thread: TradWorker Heartland Family Values

Life’s rich tapestry…

Matthew Heimbach, the leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party, is free on bond after being charged with battery in southern Indiana after a bizarre sequence of events involving Heimbach having an affair with his chief spokesman’s wife.

Police in Paoli, Indiana, said Heimbach attacked his wife and TWP spokesman Matt Parrott early Tuesday morning after the two confronted him about the affair with Parrott’s wife.

After the arrest, Parrott announced he was walking away from the group…

Heimbach, 26, posted $1,000 bond and was released Tuesday. He did not answer calls to his cellphone and did not return questions sent by text message from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The strange incident began just after 1 a.m. Tuesday, when Matt Parrott, 36, called police from a Walmart near his home. He fled to the Walmart with his step-daughter after a violent confrontation with Heimbach.

The step-daughter told police that Heimbach and Parrott’s wife had been having an affair for three months. Heimbach and Parrott’s wife said the fling had ended.

The step-daughter and Parrott’s wife tried to set up Heimbach to see if he would continue the affair after saying it was over, police said in a report.

During the set up at Parrott’s Paoli trailer home, Matthew Parrott and his step-daughter waited outside, standing on a box and watching through a window, police said.

A confrontation ensued between Heimbach and Matt Parrott…

In the report, all four people involved in the incident recorded their occupations as “White Nationalist.”…

The Very Serious True Progressives tell me it’s kreeewell and “counterproductive” to mock these folk, who will now be forced to shun the Democrat Party and cast their precious, precious White Working Class votes to “heighten the contradictions”, but srsly…

Barely a week after brawling with antifascists outside a Richard Spencer speaking event at Michigan State University, Matthew Heimbach, chairman of the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party, has been charged with domestic battery…

The charges come as Heimbach is engaged in a power struggle with Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, over the strategy and direction of the increasingly fractured alt right. Following Heimbach’s arrest, his father-in-law and TWP co-founder Matt Parrott told the Southern Poverty Law Center that he was stepping away from the organization. “I’m done. I’m out,” Parrott said. “SPLC has won. Matt Parrott is out of the game. Y’all have a nice life.”…

The Traditionalist Worker Party and its allies are to be found in the thick of the fighting wherever militant antifascists and antiracists clash with the far right, the skirmishes in Michigan last week being just the most recent example and the rally in Charlottesville in August being the most deadly…

… these are the people for whom the phrase “rooting for injuries” was invented.

Breaking News: There Is A Parcel Bomber Operating In The Austin, Texas Area

I would also add to leave the parcel/package exactly where it is, move yourself, anyone else – friends, neighbors, and/or relations – as well as pets well away from it and await the arrival of the police and the bomb squad.

From CBS Austin:

Austin Police, Austin Fire and Austin-Travis County EMS crews are responding to a reported explosion in southeast Austin.

Its happening in the 6700 block of Galindo, close to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, near Hwy 183 and Hwy 71.

EMS says a woman in her 70s was injured and is being transported to Dell Seton Medical Center with serious, potentially life-threatening injuries.

There is no word yet if it is related to another deadly explosion that happened on Monday.

NBCDFW has the report on that other, and deadly, explosion today:

Authorities have not said whether the most recent explosion was caused by a package bomb like the one that exploded earlier Monday about 5 miles away, or another earlier this month.

Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference Monday — before the third explosion — that investigators believe the deadly package blast Monday is linked to a March 2 package bomb that killed a 39-year-old man in another part of the city.

In each case, Manley said, the package bombs were left on the victims’ front doorsteps and not delivered by a mail service. He said the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t have a record of delivering a package to the Austin home where the explosion occurred Monday. He said that package was brought into the kitchen where it detonated, killing a 17-year-old boy and injuring the woman.

The March 2 explosion occurred about 12 miles (19 kilometers) north of Monday’s blast. Both explosions occurred in the early-morning hours.

The chief said all of the victims have been black and that investigators are considering whether race could have factored into the attacks.

Here’s Austin Police Chief Manley doing a press conference:

Whether you live in Austin or anywhere else, if you receive a package you are not expecting: do NOT open it. Move yourself and anyone else away from the package, contact authorities, and wait for them to respond. Better safe than sorry as this type of thing has the unfortunate tendency to create copycats. And the copycats may not be good at building improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Or they may simply put non-lethal or lethal noxious substances in the package because they can’t figure out how to make a bomb. Finally, if today’s bombings/explosions are linked than it may mean that the perpetrator is shifting into a more rapid operational cycle.

Updated at 3:55 PM EDT

The second victim today was a Latina woman.

Stay frosty! And safe!

Open thread.

Russiagate Open Thread: Is This the End of Little Roger Stone?

I don’t think Murphy the Trickster God loves me enough for it to happen, but not even seeing Donny Dollhands dragged weeping out of the Oval Office would make me quite as happy as watching foundational ratfvcker Roger Stone realize he was gonna die in jail. But after half a century of sliding away from his multitudinous crimes — reputedly by always knowing when to be the first to rat out his partners — can the Trumplodyte explosion of amateurs, wannabes, and frothing crazees finally cost Stone his position as the Last Thug Standing?


Roger Stone said on Tuesday he was “pleased” that Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide, had said he would cooperate with the federal probe into Russian election meddling after initially vowing to reject a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I would certainly have not advised him to ignore or refuse a document-production subpoena,” Stone, a longtime confidant of President Donald Trump’s, told MSNBC. “I was pleased to read today that he’s changed his mind about that.”…

Stone told MSNBC on Tuesday that he had “no idea” why Nunberg had been so adamant in expressing his opposition to producing documents regarding their communications, saying that Nunberg “marches to his own drummer.”

Stone added that Nunberg was “not speaking at my behest or direction” when he made his remarks.

In a wide-ranging interview, his first since Nunberg’s erratic media tour on Monday, Stone also dismissed the notion that he and Trump had ever spoken about the WikiLeaks hack of Democratic emails during the 2016 campaign….

Stone also denied having contacts with the foreign hacker known as Guccifer 2.0, who released Democratic National Committee documents during the 2016 campaign, prior to the breach of Democratic servers. Stone has previously hailed the hacker as a “hero,” with the two trading messages on Twitter after the breach.

Digby, in Salon, this morning:

Much like his old pal Donald Trump, Stone has always operated on the legal and ethical fringe while craving the spotlight, which is a dangerous way to live. They are both in their own ways flamboyant thrill-seekers, always dancing on the edge of disaster. So when I first heard that Stone was involved with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign it was anything but surprising. It was even less surprising when Trump allegedly fired him early on. Stone does his best work outside the normal political boundaries.

Stone also has connections to Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has recently been indicted on multiple charges in Robert Mueller’s investigation. The two men were partners in a high-level Republican lobbying firm that included the notorious strategist Lee Atwater, back in the 1980s.

It’s pretty clear that Stone is implicated in some aspects of the Russia scandal, and it probably has to do with the hacking. He’s been playing fast and loose with his connections to WikiLeaks and the hacker who called himself Guccifer 2.0, as well as ill-advised Twitter previews of hacked materials before they were released.
Read more

NRAngst Open Thread: The Elephant in the House (And the Senate, Too)

Ask any of us who works in national security what to do about ISIS, and we’d have no problem pitching you ideas. Even if we lack expertise in the topic or don’t work directly on it, we’d still have opinions and thoughts, because we’ve been swimming in a sea of articles, op-eds, books, hearings, programs, and overall research and debate for years. But ask us about right-wing extremism, a violent ideology that’s killed more Americans than ISIS in the last decade, and most of us would pause — either because we were unaware of the problem or, worse, we were afraid to speak openly about it…

Over the last decade, individuals and groups fueled by this virulent ideology have committed 71 percent of the known politically or religiously inspired killings in our country — that is, 274 of the 387 Americans murdered by extremists. Reports now indicate it was part of the recent murder of 17 school children and teachers in Florida, just as it was part of mass shootings that have happened everywhere from California to Charleston. It has not just hit inside the US, but has struck many of our closest allies, both causing near-tragedies and horrible massacres. It is not a new threat; it has killed hundreds of Americans in past decades. But it is growing in power and influence, worrisomely being stoked by foreign nations like Russia that wish our nation harm. It is a clear, present, and proven danger to the United States. Yet we find it awkward to talk about.

There are many reasons why we have a hard time acknowledging the deadly threat from the cluster of groups that gather inside our country under the hateful flags of white nationalism, white supremacy, anti-government militia, and Neo-Nazism. One reason is to avoid appearing too partisan, a desire to be even-handed. There is irony in that we seek to avoid appearing biased, even when the threat espouses bias to the point of justifying hating and even killing their fellow Americans. So, after each episode of right-wing violence, we avoid talking about it, even to the point of reaching in the opposite direction. For instance, after these groups united to march on Charlottesville, culminating in the killing of a young woman, major U.S. papers ran more op-eds condemning the counter-protesters, who have yet to commit a mass killing, than those who committed the crime…

We also have to admit that we are quiet about right-wing extremist violence out of calculation. The cost-vs.-gain equations that shape our choices are simply different from other topics. Compare the professional benefits to the potential risks of publishing an article, creating a college course, writing a book or dissertation, organizing a conference, hosting a speech, creating a university or thinktank project, funding a foundation program, etc., on right-wing extremism. It is not just that there is no great profit in it. It is that every one of these endeavors would be far more difficult, and would likely create far more headaches for us and our bosses, than a similar project on pretty much any other topic in our field.

This isn’t to say there aren’t fantastic researchers on this topic; there are many, who have valuably shaped much of what we know about the issue. But we in the rest of the field must acknowledge that they’ve chosen a more professionally risky path than most of us, even though the very object of their study has killed more Americans over the last few years than essentially any other problem we are working on…

Companies Fleeing The NRA

A number of companies have associated themselves with the NRA. Now they’ve changed their minds about that.

You might want to contact the ones that haven’t dropped out yet.  Full details here.


Update: Oh, and we need an open thread, so here it is!


Everything But the Obvious

They did everything right, but missed one key detail:

Nikolas Cruz was immature, quirky and depressed when James and Kimberly Snead took him into their Parkland home. But he was pleasant and seemed to be growing happier, they said.

How the 19-year-old turned into a killer still baffles them.

“We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know,” Kimberly Snead told the South Florida Sun Sentinel in an exclusive interview Saturday. “We didn’t see this side of him.”

“Everything everybody seems to know, we didn’t know,” James Snead said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Cruz still lived with the Sneads on Wednesday when he walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15 rifle and killed 17 people — the worst school shooting since Sandy Hook.


Five days before the shooting, Kimberly Snead took Cruz to the office of a therapist she has been seeing. Cruz said he was open to therapy but didn’t like medication. He took a business card and was figuring out what his health insurance would cover.

James, 48, is a decorated army veteran and a military intelligence analyst who served stints in the Middle East between 1988 and 1996. Kimberly, 49, is a neonatal intensive care nurse who cares for premature and ill babies.

They told Cruz there would be strict rules in their home.

“I told him there’d be rules and he followed every rule to the T,” James said.

The couple both grew up around guns and are comfortable with them, but they insist on gun safety.

They made Cruz buy a locking gun safe to put in his room the day he moved in. Cruz had a handful of guns, including the AR-15 and two other rifles that Snead said would be considered assault rifles. Cruz, a hunter, also had knives, BB guns and pellet guns.

Snead thought he had the only key to the cabinet but has figured out Cruz must have kept a key for himself. The family kept their own rifles, bought after a burglary a couple of years ago, in a separate locked cabinet.

They told Cruz he needed to ask permission to take out the guns. He had asked only twice since November. They said “yes” once and “no” once.

These seem like really sweet people, and I feel horrible for them. And they did everything right. Except one thing. They kept guns in the house and he had access to them.

I just don’t know why this is so damned hard, how many members of our society are so blinded by the obvious. Imagine if you went to the doctor and s/he said “Your test results show you have a fatty liver and early stages of cirrhosis, you just absolutely have to stop drinking and now.” If you acted like we do regarding gun violence, here is how the rest of the conversation would go:

You: What if I drink a lot of cranberry juice. I hear that is good for the liver.

Dr.: Yes, cranberry juice can be good for the liver, but you have to stop drinking alcohol. It’s going to kill you.

You: What about coffee and tea?

Dr.: Yes, those are both good, but you have to stop drinking alcohol. You are killing yourself.

You: WHat if instead I stop using butter and other oils and switch to olive oil?

Dr.: Yes, that would be good, too, but you need to stop drinking alcohol because your liver is very damaged.

You: How about if instead I start a good diet and exercise program and lose some weight?

Dr.: That would also be good for your liver and long term health, but you need to stop drinking alcohol immediately or you are going to die.

You: Thanks for all the helpful advice, Doc.

*Drinks a gallon of vodka. Dies.*

It’s the same damned things with guns, and we have this god damned debate every time there is a mass shooting. Yes, we need to spend more time and money addressing mental health issues. Yes, we need to engage our children more. Yes, we need to keep our eyes open for socially isolated individuals. yes, we need to report people who make threats to the authorities. Yes, we need to deal with people being radicalized online and via social media. Yes, we need to do all those things and more.


This is why all those kids from Florida who are speaking out sound like they are making so much sense- BECAUSE THEY ARE. They aren’t taking a simple issue and and getting wrapped around the axle by turning it into something complicated. The clarity of youth lets them embrace the principle of parsimony that for a number of reasons eludes the adults in the room. Crazy and dangerous people repeatedly for a variety of reasons keep killing people with guns, so we should do something about guns. When someone takes a knife into school, they get kicked out. When someone takes an AR-15 into a school, 20 kids get killed. The kids aren’t confused by all the bullshit that has seeped into our discourse, so they say things like this:

America has a gun problem, and no amount of diet, exercise, or cranberry juice is going to fix it. It’s the fucking guns, stupid.