Lawmakers warn of potential political violence in campaign

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ASPartOfMe
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31 Aug 2022, 8:45 pm

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National leaders are warning of the potential for political violence as campaign rhetoric heats up, fueled by an FBI investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents that has generated a furious backlash from him and his supporters.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and loyal Trump ally, faced criticism this week after claiming that there would be “riots in the streets” if the Justice Department prosecutes Trump. His comments come after Trump himself warned that “the temperature has to be brought down in the country. If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen.”

With less than 10 weeks to go before the midterm elections, the political climate is increasingly volatile, experts who study extremism say. Federal agencies like the IRS, FBI and National Archives are beefing up security as they become targets of the right. Lawmakers are disclosing threats and openly predicting violence; one even says that it has become too dangerous to hold public events and that she feels the need to shield her family from harm.

On Tuesday, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a vocal Trump critic and frequent GOP target, said a man called his office, repeating homophobic slurs and threatening to shoot and kill the congressman.

Swalwell, who has previously tweeted about threats to his office, wrote: “Bloodshed is coming."

Republicans have criticized the Justice Department and the FBI, with some calling to defund the bureau; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., labeled Attorney General Merrick Garland a “radical communist.”

“It’s legitimizing violence. It’s a very dangerous thing,” said Daryl Johnson, a former analyst at the Department of Homeland Security who wrote a report in 2009 warning of rising right-wing extremism and said after Jan. 6 that it would get worse. “The politicians themselves — if they’re just doing this as a publicity stunt, they need to stop it. Because in the end, are lives worth the cost of winning an election?”

He said the recent rhetoric from Republicans — baseless claims about the FBI “retaliating against the former president,” warnings of a militarized IRS and claims that the 2020 election was stolen — fits a pattern. “This rhetoric is a form of radicalization,” he said.

Lawmakers are taking precautions. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and other members of the special House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack have security details due to violent threats. This month, the House sergeant at arms began paying for lawmakers' home security equipment and installation costs, up to $10,000.

Texas Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar told NBC News she won’t hold public events without law enforcement in attendance, and she doesn’t let family members answer the door anymore.

On Tuesday, Biden placed the blame for violent rhetoric on Republicans, saying his “friends in the other team” are “talking about political violence and how it’s necessary” and defending those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

"Political violence in America — it’s never appropriate. Never. Period. Never, never, never," Biden told a crowd in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. "No one should be encouraged to use political violence. None whatsoever."


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31 Aug 2022, 9:03 pm

It's almost like they're trying to bait it at this point.


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01 Sep 2022, 7:25 am

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His comments come after Trump himself warned that “the temperature has to be brought down in the country. If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen.”

“I didn’t think leopards would eat my face,” says man who voted for “Leopards Eating People’s Faces” party.



kraftiekortie
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01 Sep 2022, 7:57 am

inevitably, there will be incendiary rhetoric----it just goes with the MAGA territory.....



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01 Sep 2022, 8:11 am

Each time I hear fussing about MAGAs I’m reminded of the left’s temper tantrum after the 2016 election. Pretty hard to compete with all that rioting, burning, and pillaging.


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01 Sep 2022, 8:13 am

Never believe that I, myself, believe in all the rioting that went on. I'm not on the side of the elements of ANTIFA who see fit to riot. I don't believe destroying innocent businesses is really all that great. I believe anybody who sets a fire that destroys a business should be charged with at least 2nd degree arson, which carries a maximum 25 year sentence in New York State.

The MAGA threat could be said to be more pernicious, though----since it targets, at times, sacred American institutions. And those who maintain internal American security.



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03 Sep 2022, 7:53 am

Raptor wrote:
Each time I hear fussing about MAGAs I’m reminded of the left’s temper tantrum after the 2016 election. Pretty hard to compete with all that rioting, burning, and pillaging.

Yep. I remember in January 2017 when Hillary Clinton organised a rally to stop the certification of the results and then her supporters stormed the Capitol building intent on hanging Joe Biden. And when James Comey announced he was re-opening the email investigation, Democrats started making terroristic threats against the FBI. And in the 2018 mid-terms, the Democrats elected a bunch of people who refused to recognise that Trump won.

Wait, sorry, that was what the Trump supporters did when he lost the 2020 election. All that happened after 2016 was a few peaceful protests, Jill Stein’s legal challenges (she isn’t even a Democrat), and a few mean Tweets. Night and day.



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03 Sep 2022, 10:08 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Wait, sorry, that was what the Trump supporters did when he lost the 2020 election. All that happened after 2016 was a few peaceful protests, Jill Stein’s legal challenges (she isn’t even a Democrat), and a few mean Tweets. Night and day.


In late 2020, cities across the country boarded up their business districts and put their police forces on high alert, and it wasn't in case angry MAGA people decided to storm them. Draw your own conclusions.


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03 Sep 2022, 11:22 pm

A long read but worth the data.2020 was a complex event.Certainly not just BLM.
https://acleddata.com/2020/09/03/demons ... mmer-2020/
Majority of arrests in 2020 were not crazed leftists looting and burning.
https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbre ... d96c54f748


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03 Sep 2022, 11:46 pm

Misslizard wrote:
Majority of arrests in 2020 were not crazed leftists looting and burning.


Strangely enough, those people seldom seem to get arrested.


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04 Sep 2022, 12:52 am

The_Walrus wrote:
[ All that happened after 2016 was a few peaceful protests, Jill Stein’s legal challenges (she isn’t even a Democrat), and a few mean Tweets. Night and day.

There were many protests in many cities for several days after Trump won. There were riots in a few places and a riot in Washington D.C. on inauguration day. And there was this.

Democratic presidential electors revolt against Trump
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At least a half-dozen Democratic electors have signed onto an attempt to block Donald Trump from winning an Electoral College majority, an effort designed not only to deny Trump the presidency but also to undermine the legitimacy of the institution.

The presidential electors, mostly former Bernie Sanders supporters who hail from Washington state and Colorado, are now lobbying their Republican counterparts in other states to reject their oaths — and in some cases, state law — to vote against Trump when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 19.


A lot of "Not my President", signs and similar sprung up. In what world is that accepting the result?

No, that is not close to the failed coup attempt of January 6, 2021 and the ongoing coup to ensure Republican takes the oath of office on January 20, 2025. What it demonstrates was that the escalation process was well underway.


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04 Sep 2022, 2:05 am

Misslizard wrote:
A long read but worth the data.2020 was a complex event.Certainly not just BLM.
https://acleddata.com/2020/09/03/demons ... mmer-2020/
Majority of arrests in 2020 were not crazed leftists looting and burning.
https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbre ... d96c54f748
.
The AP jumped to the conclusion that it was not crazed leftists because most of the arrested were white suburbanites not in organized groups. That was racist of them. What they are implying is only black people can be crazed leftists. Some of the suburbanites were mostly peaceful people who were "crazed" in the moment by the sight of George Floyd being murdered, and some were associated with the decentralized violent anarcho-leftist Antifa movement.

Most of 2020 "BLM" protesters were peaceful. Most of November 2020 to January 2021 pro Trump protesters were peaceful carrying "Stop the Steal" and wearing funny clothes, even at the capital. We rightly do not call these protests "mostly peaceful", we call it an insurrection. We define them by the organizers and their violent vanguard. But we call the summer of 2020 events "mostly peaceful" protests that got a bad image because the right gaslighted the movement by defining them by their well versed in Marxism organizers and violent vanguard.

None of the above makes the "BLM riots" as bad as the insurrection. The insurrectionists stormed the Capital. The summer of 2020 insurrectionists never went beyond local (police stations, a federal field office, a few blocks in Seattle).

That is no excuse to vastly minimize the summer 2020 events. That the "anti-racism" cause is more righteous than trying to assassinate people who wanted to certify the electors vote is not an excuse. The fact that BLM is more decentralized is not an excuse, it just makes them easier to excuse. Two wrongs do not make a right has gone the way of the horse and buggy.


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04 Sep 2022, 9:41 am

My take is , throw a brick through a window ,set a fire, loot and trespass,attack police, drive a car into a crowd of protesters, threaten government officials with death or kidnapping, storm government buildings ,get arrested and go to jail.
I don’t care if the perpetrators are left or right,brown or white .They violated the peace.
No one really showed their best side the last couple of years.


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04 Sep 2022, 10:49 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Most of 2020 "BLM" protesters were peaceful. Most of November 2020 to January 2021 pro Trump protesters were peaceful carrying "Stop the Steal" and wearing funny clothes, even at the capital. We rightly do not call these protests "mostly peaceful", we call it an insurrection. We define them by the organizers and their violent vanguard. But we call the summer of 2020 events "mostly peaceful" protests that got a bad image because the right gaslighted the movement by defining them by their well versed in Marxism organizers and violent vanguard.

On what grounds do you consider the summer 2020 looters and arsonists to have been a "vanguard" of BLM, rather than just opportunistic criminals, or in some cases just immature young people getting carried away in the moment?

Yes, it appears that many of the leaders of BLM are Marxists. However, Marxists generally do NOT advocate violence or property destruction, at least in today's world, under today's circumstances. Even if they believe that a violent revolution will ultimately be necessary, they recognize that violent revolution is clearly not a good idea in today's world, in which the right wingers have nearly all the guns, and in which the working class isn't anywhere near organized enough for a violent workers' revolution to have any chance of turning out well. (I'm not a Marxist myself, but I've personally known quite a few Marxists, including one of my best friends when I was in my twenties.) Most of today's Marxists are careful to operate within the law.


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04 Sep 2022, 11:59 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
Most of 2020 "BLM" protesters were peaceful. Most of November 2020 to January 2021 pro Trump protesters were peaceful carrying "Stop the Steal" and wearing funny clothes, even at the capital. We rightly do not call these protests "mostly peaceful", we call it an insurrection. We define them by the organizers and their violent vanguard. But we call the summer of 2020 events "mostly peaceful" protests that got a bad image because the right gaslighted the movement by defining them by their well versed in Marxism organizers and violent vanguard.

On what grounds do you consider the summer 2020 looters and arsonists to have been a "vanguard" of BLM, rather than just opportunistic criminals, or in some cases just immature young people getting carried away in the moment?

Yes, it appears that many of the leaders of BLM are Marxists. However, Marxists generally do NOT advocate violence or property destruction, at least in today's world, under today's circumstances. Even if they believe that a violent revolution will ultimately be necessary, they recognize that violent revolution is clearly not a good idea in today's world, in which the right wingers have nearly all the guns, and in which the working class isn't anywhere near organized enough for a violent workers' revolution to have any chance of turning out well. (I'm not a Marxist myself, but I've personally known quite a few Marxists, including one of my best friends when I was in my twenties.) Most of today's Marxists are careful to operate within the law.

Career criminal rioters taking advantage and people getting caught up in the moment can be members of the violent vanguard without being recruits. Often there is a kind of good cop bad cop thing going on. This long predates BLM. Your “good cops” are the mostly peaceful protesters.

The short term goal need not be revolution and a specific date need not be set in advance or even known about by leaders. The government was not overthrown, but in the short term their agenda gained ground at lightning speed. How the issues are discussed changed seemingly overnight and policies did change.

I believe it was about being prepared for the opportunity when it came. That does not mean they had advanced knowledge or organized the events but the reaction to them seemed pretty well planned to me.

The people dismissing and minimizing the events of the summer of 2020 for the most part are not BLM leaders. That tells me they are generally pleased the riots happened.

The right wingers have most of the weaponry but provoking an overreaction does help define the people opposing them as evil. This is an old lefty tactic. Back in our day we had we had the juvenile antics of the Yippie party. Before the 1968 Democratic Convention Abbie Hoffman said they were going to poison Chicago’s water supply with LSD. The notion that enough LSD could be put in the water supply to get the whole city tripping is preposterous. Yet it led to the “the whole world is watching” police riot. There was Kent State two years later. It took time but these events were factors in the U.S. eventually giving up on the Vietnam War. I need to be very careful here. While there are people that are that craven a lot of the time the degree of overreaction shocks them as much as the rest of us. You play with fire you risk getting burned.


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04 Sep 2022, 7:35 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Career criminal rioters taking advantage and people getting caught up in the moment can be members of the violent vanguard without being recruits.

That's a very odd use of the word "vanguard."

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Often there is a kind of good cop bad cop thing going on. This long predates BLM. Your “good cops” are the mostly peaceful protesters.

The short term goal need not be revolution and a specific date need not be set in advance or even known about by leaders. The government was not overthrown, but in the short term their agenda gained ground at lightning speed. How the issues are discussed changed seemingly overnight and policies did change.

To that end, the looting and arson were unnecessary. The massive marches themselves, plus the videos that launched the movement in the first place, plus a celebrity or two getting on board, would have been enough. The main effect of the looting and arson was to give rhetorical ammunition to the right wing opposition.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
I believe it was about being prepared for the opportunity when it came. That does not mean they had advanced knowledge or organized the events but the reaction to them seemed pretty well planned to me.

The original reactions were spontaneous, though subsequent marches were more organized and planned. The organized BLM movement grew out of an already-organized network of "cop watch patrols" and other groups that opposed police brutality.

Today's technology helped a lot, specifically the advent of cell phone video cameras and YouTube, which made it a lot easier for ordinary people to document police brutality than ever before.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
The people dismissing and minimizing the events of the summer of 2020 for the most part are not BLM leaders. That tells me they are generally pleased the riots happened.

Unfortunately, most BLM leaders seem to be silent on this matter, as far as I can tell. A while back I did find a statement by one BLM chapter condemning looting and vandalism, but I can't find it now. At least one other local BLM chapter leader, unfortunately, has responded to the looting and vandalism by making excuses for it. That's not good.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
The right wingers have most of the weaponry but provoking an overreaction does help define the people opposing them as evil. This is an old lefty tactic. Back in our day we had we had the juvenile antics of the Yippie party. Before the 1968 Democratic Convention Abbie Hoffman said they were going to poison Chicago’s water supply with LSD. The notion that enough LSD could be put in the water supply to get the whole city tripping is preposterous. Yet it led to the “the whole world is watching” police riot.

It also, probably, helped lead to the election of Richard Nixon, which is probably NOT what they intended.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
There was Kent State two years later. It took time but these events were factors in the U.S. eventually giving up on the Vietnam War. I need to be very careful here. While there are people that are that craven a lot of the time the degree of overreaction shocks them as much as the rest of us. You play with fire you risk getting burned.

In order for the strategy of sparking an overreaction to work well, as a way of attracting popular support, your own side needs to keep its hands clean of any actual harm, causing minor inconvenience at worst. That's the strategy of nonviolent civil disobedience, as used by Dr. Martin Luther King's organization, and later by ACT-UP. Groups that engage in civil disobedience also need to train their members to prepare for encounters with police. (See, for example, ACT-UP's guide.)

Anyhow, it seems to me that Black Lives Matter has no strategic need to provoke police overreactions, in the first place. They already have lots and lots of widely-shared videos of cops overreacting in various situations. To the extent that BLM has managed to attract sympathy from large numbers of white people, those videos are what did it. All the BLM marchers need to do is to solemnly repeat the names of people killed in those videos (plus the names of people killed in other, less well-known incidents).


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