Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert – Take A Stand, Mr. President

“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert shreds Donald Trump’s off the script press conference last Tuesday when he reversed his condemnation of white supremacists. Unfortunately, it’s Sunday and Donald is still in office.

Sucky Blogging- I’m not kidding.

Today and Friday I will be traveling.

In between I’ll be without my portable desktop (too heavy, too busy). Normally I’d just ask TMC to cover for me, but she has her own obligations and will probably be no more productive than I. BobbyK contributes on occasion however he works double shifts and I’m not sure how busy he will be.

So mostly you’re on your own. We are not closed and will be back Saturday for sure.

Who knows? I might find time to squeeze out a line or 2 if events allow and warrant it. Don’t forget to watch the Eclipse the 21st 2:30 pm ET, and don’t stare at the Sun. You’ll burn your eyes out.

Really.

The Breakfast Club (M.T.A.)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for August 20th

U.S. cruise missiles hit Afghanistan and Sudan after American embassies bombed in Africa; The Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia; NASA’s Voyager 2 launched; Singers Issac Hayes and Robert Plant born.

 

Breakfast Tune The Kingston Trio – M.T.A.

 

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

 
Trump attacks Boston counter-protesters as ‘anti-police agitators’
Sarah Betancourt in Boston and agencies, The Guardian

Donald Trump described anti-fascist and anti-racist demonstrators who converged on Boston as “anti-police agitators” on Saturday, in a tweet that seemed destined to revive the still simmering controversy over his remarks equating the far right and anti-Nazis in Charlottesville last weekend.

“Looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston,” Trump tweeted. “Police are looking tough and smart! Thank you.”

An estimated 40,000 leftwing counter-protesters – including various Black Lives Matter groups and activist group Violence in Boston – marched through the city to historic Boston Common, dwarfing a small group of conservatives holding a “free speech rally”. …

 
Yousef al-Otaiba berates Saudi in leaked emails
Aljazeera

The United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba, berated Saudi Arabia’s leadership, a series of emails leaked by a computer hacking group reveal.

In a 2008 email chain with his wife Abeer Shoukry, published by the Middle East Eye news website on Friday, Otaiba described the kingdom’s leaders as “f****ing coo coo”.

“Global Leaks” leaked the correspondence; the company is not to be confused with the Milan-based software company GlobalLeaks.

Otaiba’s profane message is in reference to a decision by the Saudi government in 2008 to ban the sale of red roses on Valentine’s Day. …

 
More Trump Populism: DOJ Shuts Down An Operation That Was Successfully Combating Consumer Fraud
David Dayen, The Intercept

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT plans to terminate Operation Choke Point, an Obama-era law enforcement crackdown on scam consumer transactions that conservatives characterized as an attack on gun sellers and legal businesses. It concludes one of the more brazen misinformation efforts in recent political history — with misinformation triumphing.

The idea behind Operation Choke Point, initiated in 2013, was to prevent consumer fraud by limiting access to the financial system. Any transaction that requires a deduction from a bank account has to go through what’s called the Automatic Clearing House. Only banks with access to the payment system can facilitate those transactions.

Banks, of course, have certain responsibilities to flag suspicious activity, under the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering statutes. Banks must identify that their customer is legitimate, to ensure that they’re not implicated in a fraud scheme. So Operation Choke Point heightened scrutiny on banks who failed to raise concerns about questionable transactions on their networks. In presentations to banks, regulators and law enforcement highlighted business transactions with high rates of customer disputes. It was already the bank’s responsibility to report these; DOJ was just warning banks to be vigilant. …

 
New York City police take a knee at rally in support of Colin Kaepernick
Guardian sport and agencies

Dozens of current and former New York City police officers, including famed corruption whistleblower Frank Serpico, turned out Saturday at a rally in support of getting free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick a job in the National Football League.

The former San Francisco 49ers player became a controversial figure last year after he refused to stand for the national anthem in what he called a protest against oppression of people of color.

He opted out of his contract in March and became a free agent, but so far, no NFL teams have signed him for the upcoming season, which kicks off in three weeks.

The gathering in Brooklyn featured about 75 mostly minority officers wearing black T-shirts reading #imwithkap. …

 
Anti-Fracking Activists Celebrate Ruling Against Major Pipeline
Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams

Environmentalists are celebrating a federal appeals court ruling on Friday that reaffirmed New York State’s decision to block a 124-mile natural gas pipeline project.

“This project would have been bad news for New York waters and communities, and the court’s decision will help ensure that important waterways in the state, including the Hudson River and Schoharie Creek, will be protected,” said Riverkeeper president Paul Gallay.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) had the authority to deny a Clean Water Act permit to four companies planning to construct the Constitution Pipeline, which would have carried fracked gas from Pennsylvania to Eastern New York State. …

 
Wreckage of lost ship USS Indianapolis found after seven decades
Agence France-Presse

The wreckage of the second world war cruiser USS Indianapolis has been found off the coast of the Philippines 72 years after it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.

The hulk was found in the Philippine sea 5.5km (3.4 miles) below the surface, according to philanthropist Paul Allen, who headed the civilian research crew that located the ship.

The ship was hit in the final days of the war while sailing from Guam to the Philippines. It had just completed a secret mission delivering parts of the atomic bomb used in Hiroshima.

The vessel sank in 12 minutes, meaning it was unable to send a distress signal or deploy life-saving equipment, according to the history division of the US Navy.

Some 800 of the ship’s 1,196 sailors and marines initially survived the maritime disaster, but only 316 ultimately lived after enduring several days in shark-infested waters where they also faced risks of dehydration and drowning. Of those survivors, 22 are still alive today, the US Navy said. …

 

 

 

 

 

Something to think about over coffee prozac

Men say they’ve set record for traversing Boston’s subway

REVERE, Mass. (AP) — Two Boston-area residents say they’ve set the world record for travelling to every stop on the city’s subway system in about 7 1/2 hours.

The Boston Globe reports Dominic DiLuzio and Alex Cox accomplished the feat on Friday in 7 hours, 29 minutes and 46 seconds. The men hope to get official recognition from Guinness World Records and are submitting photos, videos and other evidence.

DiLuzio says he came up with the plan and enlisted Cox, a Massachusetts Department of Transportation employee.

They started their journey around 5:30 a.m. at Cambridge’s Alewife Station, which is the end of the Red Line. They ended at about 1 p.m. at Revere’s Wonderland stop, at the end of the Blue Line. They were greeted there by friends, media and transit officials.

Many, Many Sides

 

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere,
I’ve looked at clouds that way.

But now they only block the sun,
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done,
But clouds got in my way.

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels,
The dizzy dancing way that you feel
As every fairy tale comes real,
I’ve looked at love that way.

But now it’s just another show,
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know,
Don’t give yourself away.

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud,
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds,
I’ve looked at life that way.

Oh but now old friends they’re acting strange,
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day.

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life
I really don’t know life at all

Hmm… looks like Sam is on vacation until September 13th. Well, so am I only I don’t get as long.

Not to worry. I may have missed them at the time but Full Frontal’s YouTube Channel is featuring some older pieces that are surprisingly prescient. The first 2 are from October 31st, 2016.

Feeling Alt Right Part 1

Feeling Alt Right Part 2

This 3rd one is from November 14th, 2016.

Steve Bannon: Trump’s Alt-Right Hand Man

These and about 11 others are posted in the #Many Sides playlist at YouTube (thus the Joni Mitchell).

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

 

3-Ingredient Summer Recipes

Because the best summer cooking is the simplest, we’ve got pool-party-ready, backyard-grilling-friendly recipes—none of which require more than three ingredients.

Epicurious

 

3-Ingredient Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

Make this street-food favorite at home using just flavor-packed chipotle mayonnaise and crumbly Cotija cheese.

3-Ingredient Grilled Steak, Pineapple, and Avocado Salad

A fresh, bright pineapple dressing ties together this irresistible platter of grilled pineapple rings, strip steak, and creamy avocado.

3-Ingredient Garlic-Herb Grilled Chicken Wings

Combine garlic and your favorite hardy herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano, for a marinade that’s quick, easy, and oh-so-delicious on these grilled wings.

3-Ingredient Caramel Apple Hand Pies

These quick and easy hand pies are a cross between the beloved caramel apple and flaky apple turnover.

Health and Fitness News

A Little Drinking Might Lengthen Your Life: Study

Heart Risks May Rise After Cancer Diagnosis

Lack of Sleep May Raise Child’s Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Study

U.S. Antidepressant Use Jumps 65 Percent in 15 Years

Marijuana May Help Ease Nerve Pain, Review Finds

Taking a Stand on Staying Mobile After 80

‘Herd Immunity’ May Be Curbing U.S. Zika Numbers

Could Urban Lighting Raise Breast Cancer Risk for Some Women?

High-Cal Foods May Raise Cancer Risk in Women, Even Without Weight Gain

Nearly 4 Million Worldwide Die Each Year From Asthma, COPD

FDA Announces Recall of Some Liquid Pharmaceutical Products

Hospitals Not to Blame for Most Opioid Addiction: Study

The Breakfast Club (Strength)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Soviet hard-liners mount a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev; Nazi Germany ratifies Adolf Hitler’s powers; U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers convicted by Soviet tribunal; Comedian Groucho Marx dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The strength of a civilization is not measured by its ability to fight wars, but rather by its ability to prevent them.

Gene Roddenberry

Read the rest of this entry »

Republicans Want To Murder You

One of the characteristics of Fascist, Despotic Movements (and Criminal Enterprises for that matter) is that dissent is punishable by death. No due process required.

Note that the legislators proposing these bills are all Republicans.

The Republicans who want to legalize running over protesters
By Catherine Rampell, Washington Post
August 17, 2017

This year, Republican lawmakers in at least six states have proposed bills designed to protect drivers who strike protesters. The first bill was introduced in North Dakota in January, and similar bills have since come under consideration in North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Rhode Island.

They were joined by other states trying to discourage protests — typically relating to Black Lives Matter, the Dakota Access Pipeline or other left-leaning causes — that sometimes obstruct traffic.

The North Dakota bill would shield drivers from civil and criminal liability. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Keith Kempenich, perversely suggested that shielding drivers who kill protesters was a necessary anti-terrorism measure.

Protesters who blocked cars were committing “an intentional act of intimidation — the definition of terrorism,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

Right-wing websites and at least one well-known conservative commentator more gleefully advocated running over protesters, including by sharing a viral video montage titled “Here’s a Reel of Cars Plowing Through Protesters Trying to Block the Road.” (Tank Man didn’t make the cut, alas.)

I wonder: Did the Republican politicians and pundits who backed these measures believe too few protesters were getting hit by cars?

If not, what did they think would happen when they encouraged drivers to use their vehicles as a weapon against the public?

Because that’s exactly what these bills do.

The bills all include language about how drivers who injure or kill protesters must have done so “unintentionally” or while exercising “due care” if they wish to be spared liability. (Hitting protesters intentionally, as the Charlottesville driver appears to have done, could still make one subject to civil and criminal liability.) Even so, the foreseeable effect of passing laws like these would be to change the calculus for any frustrated driver considering whether to plow through a crowd of protesters.

Economists tend to think about decisions in terms of expected costs and benefits. By lowering the expected costs to the driver, these proposed laws would tilt the balance in favor of hitting people.

And not just any people. Protesters specifically.

In five of the six states where bills were introduced, the legislation would shield drivers who hit protesters or demonstrators only. Drivers who kill pedestrians who are not out exercising their First Amendment rights would still be subject to the usual criminal and civil liabilities.
In other words, the purpose of these proposals was to make acts of protest, and acts of protest alone, more lethal.

So far none of these bills has made it into law. Hopefully Heyer’s tragic death this past weekend destroys their chances.

Already, though, white supremacists have latched on to the rhetoric behind these bills to excuse her death. In “Vice News Tonight’s” chilling Charlottesville documentary, neo-Nazi Christopher Cantwell said her murder was “more than justified” because the driver was provoked by “stupid animals” who attacked and then “couldn’t just get out of the way” because they weren’t paying attention.

The moral rot in the Republican Party runs deep.

Maybe the state legislators who introduced these bills are malevolent, and maybe they’re just morons. In politics, I tend to err on the side of the latter explanation. Either way, they advocated reckless bills whose foreseeable consequence was increased vehicular killings.

These politicians are not fit to serve the public, in any level of government.

Neo Liberalism and the Ascendancy of Markets Over Humanity

Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world
By Stephen Metcalf, The Guardian
Friday 18 August 2017

That Hayek is considered the grandfather of neoliberalism – a style of thought that reduces everything to economics – is a little ironic given that he was such a mediocre economist. He was just a young, obscure Viennese technocrat when he was recruited to the London School of Economics to compete with, or possibly even dim, the rising star of John Maynard Keynes at Cambridge.

The plan backfired, and Hayek lost out to Keynes in a rout. Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936, was greeted as a masterpiece. It dominated the public discussion, especially among young English economists in training, for whom the brilliant, dashing, socially connected Keynes was a beau idéal. By the end of the second world war, many prominent free-marketers had come around to Keynes’s way of thinking, conceding that government might play a role in managing a modern economy. The initial excitement over Hayek had dissipated. His peculiar notion that doing nothing could cure an economic depression had been discredited in theory and practice. He later admitted that he wished his work criticising Keynes would simply be forgotten.

Hayek’s was a total worldview: a way of structuring all reality on the model of economic competition. He begins by assuming that nearly all (if not all) human activity is a form of economic calculation, and so can be assimilated to the master concepts of wealth, value, exchange, cost – and especially price. Prices are a means of allocating scarce resources efficiently, according to need and utility, as governed by supply and demand. For the price system to function efficiently, markets must be free and competitive. Ever since Smith imagined the economy as an autonomous sphere, the possibility existed that the market might not just be one piece of society, but society as a whole. Within such a society, men and women need only follow their own self-interest and compete for scarce rewards. Through competition, “it becomes possible”, as the sociologist Will Davies has written, “to discern who and what is valuable”.

What any person acquainted with history sees as the necessary bulwarks against tyranny and exploitation – a thriving middle class and civil sphere; free institutions; universal suffrage; freedom of conscience, congregation, religion and press; a basic recognition that the individual is a bearer of dignity – held no special place in Hayek’s thought. Hayek built into neoliberalism the assumption that the market provides all necessary protection against the one real political danger: totalitarianism. To prevent this, the state need only keep the market free.

This last is what makes neoliberalism “neo”. It is a crucial modification of the older belief in a free market and a minimal state, known as “classical liberalism”. In classical liberalism, merchants simply asked the state to “leave us alone” – to laissez-nous faire. Neoliberalism recognised that the state must be active in the organisation of a market economy. The conditions allowing for a free market must be won politically, and the state must be re-engineered to support the free market on an ongoing basis.

That isn’t all: every aspect of democratic politics, from the choices of voters to the decisions of politicians, must be submitted to a purely economic analysis. The lawmaker is obliged to leave well enough alone – to not distort the natural actions of the marketplace – and so, ideally, the state provides a fixed, neutral, universal legal framework within which market forces operate spontaneously. The conscious direction of government is never preferable to the “automatic mechanism of adjustment” – ie the price system, which is not only efficient but maximises liberty, or the opportunity for men and women to make free choices about their own lives.

It is a grand epistemological claim – that the market is a way of knowing, one that radically exceeds the capacity of any individual mind. Such a market is less a human contrivance, to be manipulated like any other, than a force to be studied and placated. Economics ceases to be a technique – as Keynes believed it to be – for achieving desirable social ends, such as growth or stable money. The only social end is the maintenance of the market itself. In its omniscience, the market constitutes the only legitimate form of knowledge, next to which all other modes of reflection are partial, in both senses of the word: they comprehend only a fragment of a whole and they plead on behalf of a special interest. Individually, our values are personal ones, or mere opinions; collectively, the market converts them into prices, or objective facts.

Hayek’s Big Idea isn’t much of an idea – until you supersize it. Organic, spontaneous, elegant processes that, like a million fingers on a Ouija board, coordinate to create outcomes that are otherwise unplanned. Applied to an actual market – one for pork bellies or corn futures – this description is little more than a truism. It can be expanded to describe how various markets, in commodities and labour and even money itself, form that part of a society known as “the economy”. This is less banal, but still inconsequential; a Keynesian accepts this description happily. But what if we bump it up one more step? What if we reconceive all of society as a kind of market?

Markets may be human facsimiles of natural systems, and like the universe itself, they may be authorless and valueless. But the application of Hayek’s Big Idea to every aspect of our lives negates what is most distinctive about us. That is, it assigns what is most human about human beings – our minds and our volition – to algorithms and markets, leaving us to mimic, zombie-like, the shrunken idealisations of economic models. Supersizing Hayek’s idea and radically upgrading the price system into a kind of social omniscience means radically downgrading the importance of our individual capacity to reason – our ability to provide and evaluate justifications for our actions and beliefs.

As a result, the public sphere – the space where we offer up reasons, and contest the reasons of others – ceases to be a space for deliberation, and becomes a market in clicks, likes and retweets. The internet is personal preference magnified by algorithm; a pseudo-public space that echoes the voice already inside our head. Rather than a space of debate in which we make our way, as a society, toward consensus, now there is a mutual-affirmation apparatus banally referred to as a “marketplace of ideas”. What looks like something public and lucid is only an extension of our own pre-existing opinions, prejudices and beliefs, while the authority of institutions and experts has been displaced by the aggregative logic of big data. When we access the world through a search engine, its results are ranked, as the founder of Google puts it, “recursively” – by an infinity of individual users functioning as a market, continuously and in real time.

According to the logic of Hayek’s Big Idea, these expressions of human subjectivity are meaningless without ratification by the market – as Friedman said, they are nothing but relativism, each as good as any other. When the only objective truth is determined by the market, all other values have the status of mere opinions; everything else is relativist hot air. But Friedman’s “relativism” is a charge that can be thrown at any claim based on human reason. It is a nonsense insult, as all humanistic pursuits are “relative” in a way the sciences are not. They are relative to the (private) condition of having a mind, and the (public) need to reason and understand even when we can’t expect scientific proof. When our debates are no longer resolved by deliberation over reasons, then the whimsies of power will determine the outcome.

This is where the triumph of neoliberalism meets the political nightmare we are living through now. “You had one job,” the old joke goes, and Hayek’s grand project, as originally conceived in 30s and 40s, was explicitly designed to prevent a backslide into political chaos and fascism. But the Big Idea was always this abomination waiting to happen. It was, from the beginning, pregnant with the thing it was said to protect against. Society reconceived as a giant market leads to a public life lost to bickering over mere opinions; until the public turns, finally, in frustration to a strongman as a last resort for solving its otherwise intractable problems.

What began as a new form of intellectual authority, rooted in a devoutly apolitical worldview, nudged easily into an ultra-reactionary politics. What can’t be quantified must not be real, says the economist, and how do you measure the benefits of the core faiths of the enlightenment – namely, critical reasoning, personal autonomy and democratic self-government? When we abandoned, for its embarrassing residue of subjectivity, reason as a form of truth, and made science the sole arbiter of both the real and the true, we created a void that pseudo-science was happy to fill.

A little too mystical for me but it does point out why Neo Liberalism is a failure as a Philosophy as well as an Economic Policy.

The Breakfast Club (Leadership)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Mongol ruler Genghis Khan dies; Women in U.S. clinch right to vote; James Meredith graduates from Univ. of Miss.; Vladimir Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ published in U.S.; Actor-director Robert Redford born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.

Rosalynn Carter

Happy 90th Birthday to former First Lady Rosalyn Carter.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Antifa

Antifa: A Look at the Anti-Fascist Movement Confronting White Supremacists in the Streets

Part 2

Clergy in Charlottesville Were Trapped by Torch-Wielding Nazis

Terror in Charlottesville, Part 2

Witnessing the Terror in Charlottesville

Yes, What About the “Alt-Left”?
By Dahlia Lithwick, Slate
Aug. 16 2017

Brandy Daniels

It was basically impossible to miss the antifa for the group of us who were on the steps of Emancipation Park in an effort to block the Nazis and alt-righters from entering. Soon after we got to the steps and linked arms, a group of white supremacists—I’m guessing somewhere between 20-45 of them—came up with their shields and batons and bats and shoved through us. We tried not to break the line, but they got through some of us—it was terrifying, to say the least—shoving forcefully with their shields and knocking a few folks over. We strengthened our resolve and committed to not break the line again. Some of the anarchists and anti-fascist folks came up to us and asked why we let them through and asked what they could do to help. Rev. Osagyefo Sekou talked with them for a bit, explaining what we were doing and our stance and asking them to not provoke the Nazis. They agreed quickly and stood right in front of us, offering their help and protection.

Less than 10 minutes later, a much larger group of the Nazi alt-righters come barreling up. My memory is again murky on the details. (I was frankly focused on not bolting from the scene and/or not soiling myself—I know hyperbole is common in recounting stories like these, but I was legitimately very worried for my well-being and safety, so I was trying to remember the training I had acquired as well as, for resolve, to remember why I was standing there.) But it had to have been at least 100 of them this go around. I recall feeling like I was going to pass out and was thankful that I was locked arms with folks so that I wouldn’t fall to the ground before getting beaten. I knew that the five anarchists and antifa in front of us and the 20 or so of us were no match for the 100-plus of them, but at this point I wasn’t letting go.

At that point, more of the anarchists and antifa milling nearby saw the huge mob of the Nazis approach and stepped in. They were about 200-300 feet away from us and stepped between us (the clergy and faith leaders) and the Nazis. This enraged the Nazis, who indeed quickly responded violently. At this point, Sekou made a call that it was unsafe—it had gotten very violent very fast—and told us to disperse quickly.

While one obviously can’t objectively say what a kind of alternate reality or “sliding doors”–type situation would have been, one can hypothesize or theorize. Based on what was happening all around, the looks on their faces, the sheer number of them, and the weapons they were wielding, my hypothesis or theory is that had the antifa not stepped in, those of us standing on the steps would definitely have been injured, very likely gravely so. On Democracy Now, Cornel West, who was also in the line with us, said that he felt that the antifa saved his life. I didn’t roll my eyes at that statement or see it as an exaggeration—I saw it as a very reasonable hypothesis based on the facts we had.

Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin

There was a group of antifa defending First United Methodist Church right outside in their parking lot, and at one point the white supremacists came by and antifa chased them off with sticks.

Rebekah Mennin

I stood with a group of interfaith clergy and other people of faith in a nonviolent direct action meant to keep the white nationalists from entering the park to their hate rally. We had far fewer people holding the line than we had hoped for, and frankly, it wasn’t enough. No police officers in sight (that I could see from where I stood), and we were prepared to be beaten to a bloody pulp to show that while the state permitted white nationalists to rally in hate, in the many names of God, we did not. But we didn’t have to because the anarchists and anti-fascists got to them before they could get to us. I’ve never felt more grateful and more ashamed at the same time. The antifa were like angels to me in that moment.

Mary Esselman

My 13-year-old son and I stood by ourselves on the corner down the street from the synagogue, in front of the Catholic Church, trying to walk back home but interrupted by a stream of white extremist marchers, with their signs and firearms and crazy regalia. I felt like an idiot but tried to look each in the eye and said, “Peace,” and “Peace be with you,” with as much sincerity as I had in me, trying to reach some humanity in them, and they jeered and mocked me, called me what you might imagine, told my son, Luke, that his mom was a this and a that. And now I learn that my son and labradoodle and I, and our little “peace be with you”s are apparently “alt-left.”

Our path home was blocked by them, and we had no choice but to face them. Just us alone on that street corner, and all of them menacing, streaming past us on their way to the rally. Later, when we were a block away from where everyone was clashing and considering going to the front steps of the public library, there was a big line of white supremacists, the leader wearing some kind of yellow spiked helmet, and as they tromped toward the rally, these lovely older women standing beside us wearing sky blue T-shirts that said “Quaker” kind of trotted alongside them gently, holding signs that said “Love.” Alt-left for sure. I was armed with my iPhone and my dog’s leash. Luke was armed with his acne and hormones.

Rev. Seth Wispelwey

I am a pastor in Charlottesville, and antifa saved my life twice on Saturday. Indeed, they saved many lives from psychological and physical violence—I believe the body count could have been much worse, as hard as that is to believe. Thankfully, we had robust community defense standing up to white supremacist violence this past weekend. Incredibly brave students held space at the University of Virginia and stared down a torch-lit mob that vastly outnumbered them on Friday night. On Saturday, battalions of anti-fascist protesters came together on my city’s streets to thwart the tide of men carrying weapons, shields, and Trump flags and sporting MAGA hats and Hitler salutes and waving Nazi flags and the pro-slavery “stars and bars.”

Out of my faith calling, I feel led to pursue disciplined, nonviolent direct action and witness. I helped lead a group of clergy who were trained and committed to the same work: to hold space on the frontline of the park where the rally was to be held. And then some of us tried to take the steps to one of the entrances. God is not OK with white supremacy, and God is on the side of all those it tries to dehumanize. We feel a responsibility to visibly, bodily show our solidarity with the oppressed and marginalized.

A phalanx of neo-Nazis shoved right through our human wall with 3-foot-wide wooden shields, screaming and spitting homophobic slurs and obscenities at us. It was then that antifa stepped in to thwart them. They have their tools to achieve their purposes, and they are not ones I will personally use, but let me stress that our purposes were the same: block this violent tide and do not let it take the pedestal.

The white supremacists did not blink at violently plowing right through clergy, all of us dressed in full clerical garb. White supremacy is violence. I didn’t see any racial justice protesters with weapons; as for antifa, anything they brought I would only categorize as community defense tools and nothing more. Pretty much everyone I talk to agrees—including most clergy. My strong stance is that the weapon is and was white supremacy, and the white supremacists intentionally brought weapons to instigate violence.

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