MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en This Video From the Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Is Absolutely Nuts. A Total War Zone. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Last night, a group of activists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline were met by law enforcement and pipeline security agents, and the situation quickly spiraled out of hand. As <em>Mother Jones</em>' Wes Enzinna <a href="" target="_blank">reported from the scene</a>:</p> <blockquote>An armed security agent employed by the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline was arrested Thursday after he was caught entering the camp of activists protesting near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in southern North Dakota. After a car chase and a standoff during which he allegedly pointed his assault rifle at a local Sioux teenager, the man, apparently an employee of Dakota Access LLC, was arrested and handed over to the FBI.</blockquote> <p>This video by <em>Unicorn Riot</em>, an alternative media source, <a href="" target="_blank">shows the chaos</a>. It looks like an absolute war zone:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src=";show_text=0&amp;width=560" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Now go read Wes' <a href="" target="_blank">full story</a>.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Crime and Justice Energy Fri, 28 Oct 2016 16:10:15 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 317687 at Chart of the Day: Economy Picks Up Nicely in Q3 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">Real GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the third quarter.</a> This is a fairly healthy number, driven largely by a big increase in purchases of durable goods (cars, refrigerators, etc.). Purchases of nondurable goods fell, and investment in residential housing also fell, for the second straight quarter. Exports were up considerably.</p> <p>Politically, this is good news for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump wants this to be a change election, but if inflation is low, unemployment is low, and economic growth is healthy, an awful lot of people are going to think that an extension of the Obama presidency sounds pretty good.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_gdp_q3_2016.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 5px 15px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Oct 2016 14:19:48 +0000 Kevin Drum 317677 at How Donald Trump Used "The Apprentice" to Promote Questionable Companies <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In 2009, the identity theft prevention company LifeLock was in trouble. The <a href="" target="_blank">Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general in 35 states</a> were investigating allegations that it was engaging in false and deceptive advertising practices and potentially exposing customers to the risk of identity theft because it was careless with their personal information. Class-action lawsuits against the company were piling up with similar allegations.</p> <p>But that April, the beleaguered company got a major boost of positive publicity courtesy of Donald Trump, who featured LifeLock and its CEO Todd Davis on an episode of <em>The Celebrity Apprentice</em> in which contestants designed retail sales strategies for the outfit. In a <a href="" target="_blank">press release</a> announcing the LifeLock episode&mdash;titled "Donald Trump &amp; LifeLock&reg; Want to Protect Your Personal Information and Say 'You're Fired' to Identity Theft"&mdash; Trump heaped praise on the company. "Todd Davis and my friends at LifeLock have created a revolutionary system to protect and secure your personal information. They are going on <em>The Apprentice</em> to let the country in on a well-kept secret&mdash;I advise you check out what they have to offer."</p> <p>LifeLock's appearance on Trump's reality show demonstrated a special kind of genius Trump had brought to network television. Traditional TV shows were supported by commercials and occasional product placement, but Trump had transformed <em>The Apprentice</em> into full-fledged infomercials, once bragging that the show had helped "<a href="" target="_blank">revolutionize brand integration</a>."</p> <p>For a hefty fee, which <em>Ad Age</em> estimated at between $5 million and $9 million, companies hoping to improve their reputations or extend their reach could get a jolt of exposure and positive PR by becoming the subject of a two-hour, prime-time episode of <em>The Celebrity Apprentice</em>. "There's never been another show where you've had a product sold for two hours," Trump <a href="" target="_blank">explained</a> to <em>Ad Age</em> in 2011. "They do a 30-second commercial, but where do they do two hours?"</p> <p>Major companies, including GM and Walgreens, sponsored episodes, which reached millions of viewers. The format also made <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> a useful venue for embattled outfits, such as LifeLock, that were seeking to rehabilitate their reputations while under fire from regulators and consumers for dubious practices. (The Trump campaign did not respond to questions from <em>Mother Jones</em>.)</p> <p>LifeLock was co-founded by Robert J. Maynard in 2005. He came up with the idea for the company while sitting in an Arizona jail after being arrested for stiffing the Las Vegas Mirage Hotel on a $15,000 casino marker. (Maynard, who calls himself bipolar, <a href="" target="_blank">wrote on his website</a> that he has no memory of the episode that led to his arrest, but acknowledges it took place. "I don't have a criminal record," he noted. "I was never convicted of anything.") Maynard had previously run a credit-repair business that was <a href="" target="_blank">shut down</a> by government regulators in the 1990s for engaging in "unfair and deceptive acts." (In 2007, <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Phoenix New Times</em></a> revealed Maynard's past in a lengthy feature story. Soon after, Maynard resigned from LifeLock.) According to a <a href="" target="_blank">2010 lawsuit</a> by the Federal Trade Commission, the company did not offer the level of fraud protection it promised and in fact exposed consumers to possible identity theft because of its poorly secured databases containing sensitive customer information, including Social Security numbers.</p> <p>Davis, the company's CEO and co-founder, had <a href="" target="_blank">his own identity stolen multiple times</a>. Davis had starred in company ads in which his real Social Security number was splashed across the screen to prove how well LifeLock worked. Instead, lawyers who brought a <a href="" target="_blank">2008 class action against the company</a> found that more than 20 driver's licenses had been fraudulently obtained using Davis' Social Security number. When questioned by reporters about various security breeches, Davis had to admit that someone had taken out a <a href="" target="_blank">payday loan</a> using his personal information.</p> <p>On March 9, 2010, <a href="" target="_blank">LifeLock agreed to pay $12 million</a> to settle charges with the FTC and state attorneys general around the country that it had made false claims in advertising its services. "While LifeLock promised consumers complete protection against all types of identity theft, in truth, the protection it actually provided left enough holes that you could drive a truck through it," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said at the time.</p> <p>Yet LifeLock's dubious track record didn't deter Trump from once more promoting the company. Two weeks after the FTC announced the settlement, LifeLock was again featured on <em>The</em> <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em>. This time the company was touting a new security product&mdash;with the help of disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who appeared as a contestant on the show while his criminal case was pending. "The episode," Davis said in a <a href="" target="_blank">press release</a>, "is the perfect outlet to demonstrate to viewers how to help protect their good name."</p> <p><em>Apprentice</em> viewers who were persuaded to buy LifeLock's services might have ended up disappointed. Last year, the company <a href="" target="_blank">agreed to pay $100 million</a> to settle contempt charges with the FTC for failing to comply with the terms of its 2010 settlement agreement, under which the company promised to tighten security for customers' personal information.</p> <p>LifeLock did not respond to a request to comment, but in public statements it has asserted that no customer information was compromised.</p> <p>LifeLock isn't the only questionable company Trump promoted on <em>The Celebrity Apprentice</em>. Trump twice featured ACN, a multilevel marketing company with a record of regulatory run-ins in the United States and abroad. (Trump was also a longtime spokesman for ACN, which displayed the real estate mogul prominently on its website and <a href="" target="_blank">paid him $450,000</a> for each of three speeches he gave to its salesforce.)</p> <p>ACN's history of running afoul of regulators dates back to 2001, when Pennsylvania's public utility commission began investigating ACN's energy subsidiary for "slamming," or signing up customers for energy or phone services they never authorized. In 2002, the <a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiS_sjn7vPPAhXJXD4KHXCaB64QFggeMAA&amp;;usg=AFQjCNEecyavtHHb1z0-Mj4imMXoQ8Rrlg&amp;sig2=2bC6QrSmm6ZP_s9ctxNSzQ&amp;cad=rja" target="_blank">commission fined ACN $45,000.</a> But complaints about the company's business practices persisted.</p> <p>In December 2008, a Fox News affiliate in Los Angeles <a href="" target="_blank">aired a long investigation</a> examining whether the company was effectively a pyramid scheme. The report suggested the firm was misleading people into paying to work for the company and alleged that most of ACN's salespeople lost money working for ACN. (In the broadcast, ACN denied that it was a pyramid scheme and said it was simply offering a business opportunity and that not everyone would make money.)</p> <p>A few months later, ACN executives appeared on <em>The</em> <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> with Trump, who gave the company&mdash;and its new video phone&mdash;a positive spin. In <a href="" target="_blank">a press release</a> before the show aired, Trump gushed, "I've come to know Greg, Robert, Tony and Mike, the Co-Founders of ACN, very well.&nbsp;They have built a terrific company and their new ACN Video Phone is amazing.&nbsp;I simply can't imagine anyone using this video phone and not loving it." On the show he dubbed them, "Very successful, very good guys."</p> <p>Yet in 2010, the Montana securities commission issued a <a href="" target="_blank">cease-and-desist</a> order against ACN, alleging that it was operating a pyramid scheme. Eventually, the commission <a href="" target="_blank">resolved its action</a> against ACN after the company agreed to provide "additional training" to its independent sales representatives.</p> <p>Despite a spate of bad press for the company resulting from the allegations in Montana, Trump again promoted the company in a <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> episode in which contestants were tasked with marketing ACN's video phone. (As the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> reported, Trump didn't inform <em>Apprentice</em> viewers that sales of the phone were so poor that ACN's supplier had been forced to slash 70 percent of its workforce shortly before the episode aired.)</p> <p>The company declined to answer detailed questions from <em>Mother Jones </em>but said in a statement, "ACN had a business relationship with Donald Trump that began in 2006 and ended mutually when he announced his decision to pursue presidential candidacy."</p> <p>When the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> questioned Trump about his relationship with ACN last year, he claimed he had no knowledge of the company's products or practices. "I'm not familiar with what they do or how they go about doing that," he said. Still, he defended showcasing ACN on <em>The Celebrity Apprentice</em>. After all, he said, "They paid a lot of money to go on the show."</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump Regulatory Affairs Fri, 28 Oct 2016 13:42:10 +0000 Stephanie Mencimer 317561 at I Watched An Armed Dakota Access Pipeline Employee Get Arrested After Entering Protesters' Camp <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>An armed security agent employed by the company behind the controversial <a href="" target="_blank">Dakota Access Pipeline</a> was arrested Thursday after he was caught entering the camp of activists protesting near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in southern North Dakota. After a car chase and a standoff during which he allegedly pointed his assault rifle at a local Sioux teenager, the man, apparently an employee of Dakota Access LLC, was arrested and handed over to the FBI.</p> <p>A little after 5 p.m., protesters spotted a man driving down Highway 1806 in a white Chevy Silverado with what appeared to be an assault rifle in the cab, according to multiple eyewitnesses. The road is the <a href="" target="_blank">main site of a conflict</a> between local tribes, who want to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and police, who had deployed two armored vehicles, tear gas, tasers, and shotguns firing plastic pellets to remove 300 protesters from the land earlier in the day.</p> <p>Tribal members and their supporters jumped into two cars and chased the Chevy Silverado in the direction of a small reservoir and crossing called Backwater Bridge. The two cars forced the Silverado off the road, according to Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network. The driver then got out of his car, brandishing an AR-15-style rifle and a 9mm pistol, says another witness, Jennifer Owyhee. He allegedly pointed the rifle at the head of one of his pursuers, according to witnesses. "You can't kill all of us," one participant told the man. "You're just going to make things worse."</p> <p>The man then fled into shallow water. Protesters and tribal members tried to get him to drop his weapon. After a half hour of negotiations and arguments, the man refused to leave the water, according to witnesses including Ryan Vizziones, a photographer and activist. I watched as several people waded into the pool after the armed man. The photo above, shot by Vizziones, shows the man as he refuses to hand over his assault rifle.</p> <p>According to the Morton County Sheriff's Department, an unknown person "was shot in the hand" during the altercation and an investigation is underway. It's not clear if the man fleeing through the water, or one of his pursuers, were shot, or if additional events may have led to the initial car chase.</p> <p>After about 30 minutes, around 6 p.m., more than a dozen Bureau of Indian Affairs police cars entered the protest encampment. They disarmed the man without incident and took him into custody.</p> <p>As the man was being taken to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Police Department in Fort Yates, an unnamed person drove the Chevy Silverado a half mile up Highway 1806, close to where confrontations between protestors and police were still occurring. A swarm of several dozen protestors rifled through the dashboard. They found an ID badge bearing the armed man's photograph. Avery White, a freelance photographer, took a photo of the ID after it was retrieved from the Silverado. "DAPL Security" is printed on the badge. "DAPL" stands for Dakota Access Pipeline. The protestors rifling through the car also found an insurance certificate whose holder is listed as Dakota Access LLC, based in Houston, Texas.</p> <p>A log sheet for the truck shows that a man had checked the vehicle out at 8:30 that morning and had not returned it. Though the name of the man arrested by police has not been released yet, it appears from the ID badge and documents found in the truck that he is a Dakota Access Pipeline security employee.</p> <p>After the documents were taken, protestors set the Chevy Silverado on fire.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/truck-fire630x900.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Anti-pipeline protesters burned a pickup truck driven by an armed man who entered their camp. </strong>Wes Enzinna</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/truck-burn630.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>The truck burns near the site of confrontations between protesters and police. </strong>Wes Enzinna</div> </div> <p>According to an officer at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Police Department who confirmed the man's arrest, he was picked up from Fort Yates by the FBI around 8 p.m. and taken to Bismarck, North Dakota, where he is currently being held. We are awaiting comment or more information from the FBI.</p></body></html> Politics Energy Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Wes Enzinna 317672 at The Trump Files: Watch Donald Get Booed Mercilessly at Wrigley Field <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>Until the election, we're bringing you "The Trump Files," a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of GOP nominee Donald Trump.</em></p> <p>In case the <a href="" target="_blank">election polls</a> weren't enough evidence that Donald Trump should probably stick to his day job, here's more proof, just in time for the first World Series game at Chicago's Wrigley Field since 1945. The TV station WGN, famous as the broadcasting home of the Chicago Cubs, <a href="" target="_blank">unearthed a video</a> last week of Trump at Wrigley Field singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"&mdash;very, very badly.</p> <p>It's a Wrigley tradition to have guests lead the crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch, and on July 9, 2000, it was Trump's turn. "We hear 'The Donald' practiced for two weeks leading up to his appearance here and was very confident he would bring the house down," <a href="" target="_blank">reported the </a><em><a href="" target="_blank">Chicago Tribune</a></em>. Whatever practicing he did, it didn't help. Trump's shouty, off-key rendition was practically drowned out by boos before it was halfway through. (You can't quite hear if Melania, standing next to him, did any better.) As <em>Deadspin</em> <a href="" target="_blank">accurately put it</a>, "He sounds like shit."</p> <p>To be fair, Hillary Clinton didn't get much better treatment when she sang at Wrigley as first lady in 1994. According <a href="" target="_blank">to the </a><em><a href="" target="_blank">Tribune</a>, </em>"boos rang out when she was introduced, and a plane flying overhead pulled a sign reading, 'Hillary, U have the right to remain silent,' a reference to the Whitewater affair."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p data-tracked="true"><em style="line-height: 2em; font-weight: bold;">Read the rest of <a href="" target="_blank">"The Trump Files"</a>:</em></p> <ul><li>Trump Files #1:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time Andrew Dice Clay Thanked Donald for the Hookers</a></li> <li>Trump Files #2:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Tried to Stop Charlie Sheen's Marriage to Brooke Mueller</a></li> <li>Trump Files #3:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Brief Life of the "Trump Chateau for the Indigent"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #4:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Thinks Asbestos Fears Are a Mob Conspiracy</a></li> <li>Trump Files #5:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Nuclear Negotiating Fantasy</a></li> <li>Trump Files #6:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Wants a Powerball for Spies</a></li> <li>Trump Files #7:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Gets An Allowance</a></li> <li>Trump Files #8:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time He Went Bananas on a Water Cooler</a></li> <li>Trump Files #9:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Great&nbsp;Geico&nbsp;Boycott</a></li> <li>Trump Files #10:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Trump, Tax-Hike Crusader</a></li> <li>Trump Files #11:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch Donald Trump Say He Would Have Done Better as a Black Man</a></li> <li>Trump Files #12:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Can't Multiply 17 and 6</a></li> <li>Trump Files #13:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch Donald Sing the "Green Acres" Theme Song in Overalls</a></li> <li>Trump Files #14:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time Donald Trump Pulled Over His Limo to Stop a Beating</a></li> <li>Trump Files #15:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Wanted to Help the&nbsp;Clintons&nbsp;Buy Their House</a></li> <li>Trump Files #16:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">He Once Forced a Small Business to Pay Him Royalties for Using the Word "Trump"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #17:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">He Dumped Wine on an "Unattractive Reporter"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #18:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Behold the Hideous Statue He Wanted to Erect In Manhattan</a></li> <li>Trump Files #19:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Was "Principal for a Day" and Confronted by a Fifth-Grader</a></li> <li>Trump Files #20:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">In 2012, Trump Begged GOP Presidential Candidates to Be Civil</a></li> <li>Trump Files #21:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Couldn't Tell the Difference Between Gorbachev and an Impersonator</a></li> <li>Trump Files #22:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">His Football Team Treated Its Cheerleaders "Like Hookers"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #23: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Tried to Shut Down a Bike Race Named "Rump"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #24:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Called Out Pat Buchanan for Bigotry</a></li> <li>Trump Files #25:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Most Ridiculous Appearance on Howard Stern's Show</a></li> <li>Trump Files #26:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">How Donald Tricked New York Into Giving Him His First Huge Deal</a></li> <li>Trump Files #27:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Told Congress the Reagan Tax Cuts Were Terrible</a></li> <li>Trump Files #28:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Destroyed Historic Art to Build Trump Tower</a></li> <li>Trump Files #29:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Wanted to Build an Insane Castle on Madison Avenue</a></li> <li>Trump Files #30:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Near-Death Experience (That He Invented)</a></li> <li>Trump Files #31:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Struck Oil on the Upper West Side</a></li> <li>Trump Files #32:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Massacred Trees in the Trump Tower Lobby</a></li> <li>Trump Files #33:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Demanded Other People Pay for His Overpriced Quarterback</a></li> <li>Trump Files #34:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time Donald Sued Someone Who Made Fun of Him for $500 Million</a></li> <li>Trump Files #35:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Tried to Make His Ghostwriter Pay for His Book Party</a></li> <li>Trump Files #36:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch Donald Shave a Man's Head on Television</a></li> <li>Trump Files #37:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">How Donald Helped Make It Harder to Get Football Tickets</a></li> <li>Trump Files #38:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Was Curious About His Baby Daughter's Breasts</a></li> <li>Trump Files #39:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Democrats Courted Donald</a></li> <li>Trump Files #40:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch the Trump Vodka Ad Designed for a Russian Audience</a></li> <li>Trump Files #41:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Cologne Smelled of&nbsp;Jamba&nbsp;Juice and Strip Clubs</a></li> <li>Trump Files #42:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Sued Other People Named Trump for Using Their Own Name</a></li> <li>Trump Files #43:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Thinks Asbestos Would Have Saved the Twin Towers</a></li> <li>Trump Files #44:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Why Donald Threw a Fit Over His "Trump Tree" in Central Park</a></li> <li>Trump Files #45:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch Trump Endorse Slim Shady for President</a></li> <li>Trump Files #46:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Easiest 13 Cents He Ever Made</a></li> <li>Trump Files #47:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time Donald Burned a Widow's Mortgage</a></li> <li>Trump Files #48:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Recurring Sex Dreams</a></li> <li>Trump Files #49:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Trump's Epic Insult Fight With Ed Koch</a></li> <li>Trump Files #50:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Has Some Advice for Citizen Kane</a></li> <li>Trump Files #51:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Once Turned Down a Million-Dollar Bet on "Trump: The Game"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #52:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Tried to Shake Down Mike Tyson for $2 Million</a></li> <li>Trump Files #53:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald and Melania's Creepy, Sex-Filled Interview With Howard Stern</a></li> <li>Trump Files #54:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Mega-Yacht Wasn't Big Enough For Him</a></li> <li>Trump Files #55:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Got in a Fight With Martha Stewart</a></li> <li>Trump Files #56:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Reenacts an Iconic Scene From&nbsp;<em>Top Gun</em></a></li> <li>Trump Files #57:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">How Donald Tried to Hide His Legal Troubles to Get His Casino Approved</a></li> <li>Trump Files #58:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Wall Street Tower Is Filled With Crooks</a></li> <li>Trump Files #59:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Took Revenge by Cutting Off Health Coverage for a Sick Infant</a></li> <li>Trump Files #60:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Couldn't Name Any of His "Handpicked" Trump U Professors</a></li> <li>Trump Files #61:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch a Clip of the Awful TV Show Trump Wanted to Make About Himself</a></li> <li>Trump Files #62:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Perfectly Explains Why He Doesn't Have a Presidential Temperament</a></li> <li>Trump Files #63:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Petty Revenge on Connie Chung</a></li> <li>Trump Files #64:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Why Donald Called His 4-Year-Old Son a "Loser"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #65:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time Donald Called Some of His Golf Club Members "Spoiled Rich Jewish Guys"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #66:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">"Always Be Around Unsuccessful People," Donald Recommends</a></li> <li>Trump Files #67:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Said His Life Was "Shit." Here's Why.</a></li> <li>Trump Files #68:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Filmed a Music Video. It Didn't Go Well.</a></li> <li>Trump Files #69:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Claimed "More Indian Blood" Than the Native Americans Competing With His Casinos</a></li> <li>Trump Files #70:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Has Been Inflating His Net Worth for 40 Years</a></li> <li>Trump Files #71:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Weighs In on "Ghetto Supastar"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #72: <a href="" target="_blank">The Deadly Powerboat Race Donald Hosted in Atlantic City</a></li> <li>Trump Files #73: <a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Fat-Shamed Miss Universe</a></li> <li>Trump Files #74: <a href="" target="_blank">Yet Another Time Donald Sued Over the Word "Trump"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #75: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Thinks Exercising Might Kill You</a></li> <li>Trump Files #76: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Big Book of Hitler Speeches</a></li> <li>Trump Files #77: <a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Ran Afoul of Ancient Scottish Heraldry Law</a></li> <li>Trump Files #78: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Accuses a Whiskey Company of Election Fraud</a></li> <li>Trump Files #79: <a href="" target="_blank">When Donald's Anti-Japanese Comments Came Back to Haunt Him</a></li> <li>Trump Files #80: <a href="" target="_blank">The Shady Way Fred Trump Tried to Save His Son's Casino</a></li> <li>Trump Files #81: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Creepy Poolside Parties in Florida</a></li> <li>Trump Files #82: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Gives a Lesson in How Not to Ski With Your Kids</a></li> <li>Trump Files #83: <a href="" target="_blank">Listen to Donald Brag About His Affairs&mdash;While Pretending to Be Someone Else</a></li> <li>Trump Files #84: <a href="" target="_blank">How Donald Made a Fortune by Dumping His Debt on Other People</a></li> <li>Trump Files #85: <a href="" target="_blank">The Saga of Donald's Short-Lived Weight-Loss Program</a></li> <li>Trump Files #86: <a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Bought a Nightclub From an Infamous Mobster</a></li> <li>Trump Files #87: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Sues Himself&mdash;And Wins!</a></li> <li>Trump Files #88: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald's War on His Scottish Neighbors</a></li> <li>Trump Files #89: <a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Had to Prove He Was Not the Son of an Orangutan</a></li> <li>Trump Files #90: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Made Charity Pledges In His Dead Brother's Name, Then Apparently Never Delivered</a></li> <li>Trump Files #91: <a href="" target="_blank">There Once Was a Horse Named DJ Trump</a></li> <li>Trump Files #92: <a href="" target="_blank">How Donald's Lawyers Dealt With His Constant Lying</a></li> <li>Trump Files #93: <a href="http://Donald%20Flipped%20Out%20When%20an%20Analyst%20%28Correctly%29%20Predicted%20His%20Casino%27s%20Failure" target="_blank">Donald Flipped Out When an Analyst (Correctly) Predicted His Casino's Failure</a></li> <li>Trump Files #94: <a href="" target="_blank">Cosmo Once Asked Donald to Pose Nude for $50,000</a></li> <li>Trump Files #95: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Attacks a Reporter Who Questioned His Claim to Own the Empire State Building</a></li> <li>Trump Files #96: <a href="" target="_blank">When He Had the Hots for Princess Diana and Then Denied It</a></li> <li>Trump Files #97: <a href="" target="_blank">Famous Tic Tac Gobbler Donald Trump Had This Breath Advice for Larry King</a></li> <li>Trump Files #98: <a href="" target="_blank">How Donald Drove Palm Beach Nuts With an American Flag</a></li> <li>Trump Files #99: <a href="" target="_blank">Trump Finds the Silver Lining in an Ebola Outbreak</a></li> <li>Trump Files #100: <a href="" target="_blank">How Donald Screwed Over New York City on His Tax Bill</a></li> <li>Trump Files #101: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Words to a Grieving Mother</a></li> <li>Trump Files #102: <a href="" target="_blank">Trump's Long History of Getting Sued by His Own Lawyers</a></li> </ul><ul></ul></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump The Trump Files Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Max J. Rosenthal 317566 at Civil Rights Groups and Officials Are Worried About Violence at the Polls <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>During the third and final presidential debate, moderator <a href="" target="_blank">Chris Wallace asked Donald Trump</a> if he would respect the results of the election.<br> "I will look at it at the time," Trump replied. "I'm not looking at anything now. I'll look at it at the time."</p> <p>Trump then described how the media has "poisoned the mind of the voters," how "millions of people...are registered to vote that shouldn't be registered to vote," and how Hillary Clinton is "guilty of a very serious crime" and therefore shouldn't be able to run. Her candidacy, he insisted, is evidence that the overall system is "rigged." Wallace pressed the point, asking whether Trump would adhere to a peaceful transition of power.</p> <p>Without hesitation, Trump shot back: "What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time, I'll keep you in suspense."</p> <p>Trump's reluctance to commit to a peaceful transition of power created a firestorm of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. But his assertions are the natural conclusion of much of his standard <a href="" target="_blank">campaign rhetoric,</a><strong> </strong>with <a href="" target="_blank">ongoing claims </a>that the election is "rigged" against him by groups including the media, the federal government, and a "global power structure," and coded language about voter fraud in the inner cities. He urged his supporters to <a href="" target="_blank">"watch" the polls</a> in cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, and Philadelphia. "I hear these horror shows, and we have to make sure that this election is not stolen from us and is not taken away from us," <a href="" target="_blank">he told a mostly white crowd</a> in northeast Pennsylvania earlier this month. "And everybody knows what I'm talking about."</p> <p>His inflammatory rhetoric has<a href=";smid=nytcore-iphone-share" target="_blank"> raised concerns</a> that Trump supporters might attempt to intimidate voters on Election Day and adds to growing misgivings about the integrity and security of polling places. "Threats of voter intimidation, the most racially bigoted election in generations, and the specter of voting discrimination in the first-post <em>Shelby</em> presidential election have created a perfect storm for disenfranchisement," said Wade Henderson, <a href="" target="_blank">the president and CEO</a> of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Leadership Conference Education Fund, during a call with reporters on Wednesday. In response, his organization, along with a host of others, is planning to deploy thousands of volunteers across the country, particularly in minority areas, to ensure eligible voters know their rights and have resources to fall back on if they're challenged at the polls by voters or elections workers.</p> <p>But how are they preparing? And what are they likely to be up against?</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">New voting laws will be in place in 14 states</a> for the first time in a presidential election, which is likely to cause confusion among some of the thousands of mostly volunteer poll workers across the country. <a href="" target="_blank">There will also be fewer Department of Justice observers</a> sent to monitor elections in key states to make sure all procedures are followed.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">In 1982</a>, the Democratic National Committee sued the Republican National Committee after the RNC recruited volunteers to harass and intimidate voters in predominantly African American and Hispanic precincts in New Jersey. <a href="" target="_blank">A subsequent consent decree</a> that's still in effect prohibited the RNC from recruiting volunteers to challenge minority voters' eligibility at the polls and engaging in other activities that could be considered harassment. The RNC has <a href="" target="_blank">notified its members</a> that they should not challenge voters at the polls, but some are concerned about problems given the climate of this election. The DNC accused Republicans of violating that court order by allegedly helping the Trump campaign with "ballot security" measures and the recruitment of poll watchers, and it <a href="" target="_blank">filed a lawsuit Wednesday</a> in federal court asking for sanctions on the GOP and an eight-year extension of the court order, which was set to expire on December 1, 2017.</p> <p>Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said Wednesday that her group is in its 14th year of coordinating a nonpartisan voter protection program and is recruiting 4,500 volunteers who will be working in 29 states. Those volunteers will be trained to help voters with questions and complaints related to early voting, absentee ballots, and more. There are similar support efforts in other states and minority communities, spearheaded by groups such as the NAACP National Voter Fund, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the Arab American Institute. The work of all these different groups highlights a basic problem: There is no coordinated effort across the country to monitor the polls and assist voters.</p> <p>On Monday, Henderson's group&mdash;along with 87 other civil and voting rights groups&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">sent a letter to each state's secretary of state</a> urging the development of "a plan to ensure that no one in your state is disenfranchised in the upcoming election."</p> <p>Tammy Patrick was the former federal compliance officer in the Maricopa County Elections Department in Arizona, which made her responsible for ensuring that the state's biggest county followed all applicable federal laws when it came to running elections. She said election officials always try to be prepared for a number of possibilities on Election Day, including aggressive voters who have, on occasion, gotten into fistfights with each other or election workers. But, she says, Trump has complicated things.</p> <p>"What is different this year is that a candidate for president of the United States has called the integrity of our democratic process in question before ballots had even been cast in the election," said Patrick, now <a href="" target="_blank">a fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC.</a> "Others have done this, candidates for lower office, but never a national candidate&mdash;to my knowledge."</p> <p>Even some seasoned poll watchers are getting nervous in the middle of all the talk about violence at the polls. Catherine Engelbrecht is the head of <a href="" target="_blank">True the Vote</a>,&nbsp;an "election integrity" organization that works with people from all political backgrounds to volunteer for their local elections, scour voter rolls for names of deceased or otherwise ineligible voters, learn local election regulations, and get appointed as poll watchers in their communities. The group emerged from the <a href="" target="_blank">Texas Tea Party movement</a> in 2009 and has been accused of training poll watchers that <a href="" target="_blank">end up targeting minority voting areas</a>, an accusation the group denies. This year Engelbrecht estimates they've trained thousands of volunteers. In an interview with <em>Mother Jones</em>, Engelbrecht said Trump's claims of a rigged or stolen election are part of the general troubling conversation about election integrity.</p> <p>"It just leaves me numb," she said about the talk of violence or confrontations at the polls. "What we are seeing now is a gross manipulation of political power. It's dangerous on both sides of the ticket." She says Trump is, "God forbid, willing things into reality, putting ideas in people's heads that need not be there." But <a href="" target="_blank">Clinton's repeated references to Russian sabotage</a> of the electoral process and <a href="" target="_blank">Democrats' talk of a federal takeover of elections</a> has also stirred people up.</p> <p>Is there an increased danger of gun violence at polling places this year? Election officials in several open-carry states have attempted to prepare for the possibility, the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em></a> reported. In Virginia, a local election board considered seeking a one-day ban on weapons at polling places on private property such as schools. In <a href="" target="_blank">New Hampshire, where firearms at the polls are legal,</a> officials have had to explain to some worried voters why other voters at the polls might be armed. <a href="" target="_blank">In Pennsylvania</a>, election officials are reminding voters of the do's and don'ts of voter intimidation, including not waving a gun at another person.</p> <p>In Denver, Amber McReynolds, the director of elections for the city and county, said she trains her poll workers on what to do in the event of an active shooter as part of an overall approach to safety. "It's really just another way we're trying to make sure our personnel in the field are ready in the event of an emergency situation," McReynolds said, adding that the training was instituted more than a year ago and not in response to<strong> </strong>any recent safety concerns.</p> <p>Concerns about guns and polling place intimidation aren't new: In 2006, anti-immigration activists with the Minutemen militia staked out a polling place in Tucson, Arizona, questioning Hispanic voters to see if they spoke English, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the <em>New York Times</em></a>. Even though there was intimidation, there were no reports of violence. Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan said her office has not heard of any threats to polling places during this cycle, and that law enforcement will be ready to respond to any reports of violence.</p> <p>Cook County Clerk David Orr supervises elections for roughly 3 million registered voters throughout Chicago. He says concerns about Election Day violence are slightly exaggerated. "It's not particularly warranted," he told <em>Mother Jones.</em> "I don't think this would be happening if it wasn't for Mr. Trump's comments about a rigged election." He said there is "nothing wrong" with candidates who urge their supporters "to be enthusiastic," but "this has come to a different level, which I do think has some dangerous tones."</p> <p>Trump singled out St. Louis as one of the places where his supporters should watch the polls.<strong> </strong>Erv Switzer, the board chairman for the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners, says election officials have been in touch with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and are relying on them to provide "the appropriate level of security" for polling places, just as they have for previous presidential elections. Switzer says Trump supporters are welcome to visit polling places, just as long as they follow the normal poll-watching procedures in which political parties, not candidates, appoint designated poll watchers.</p> <p>"We're focusing on having a properly run and fair election," Switzer says. "The allegations of rigged elections taking place just is something that is not realistic in our jurisdiction, and I suspect throughout the state of Missouri."</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump Guns Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:00:12 +0000 AJ Vicens 317091 at Inside the Knock-down, Drag-out Fight to Turn North Carolina Blue <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><span class="section-lead">"Oh, you're taking</span> a freedom ride," a North Carolina organizer said when I mentioned I was going to catch the NAACP bus to Virginia. The chartered coach that pulled into the parking lot of Raleigh's Martin Street Baptist Church at 4:30 a.m., half full of people who had woken up even earlier in Goldsboro, was cushier than the interstate buses civil rights activists took back in the 1960s. Air ride suspension, air conditioning, plush upholstery. The crowd that settled into the seats and bowed their heads as the Reverend Curtis Gatewood stood in the aisle and invoked those who'd died struggling for voting rights, for civil rights, was different, too. More homogeneous. While waiting outside in the dark to board, Bob Finch, the community affairs chair of the Lee County NAACP, had asked me, one of the very few white people, to identify myself. He'd wondered if I was one of "Pope's people."</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="378" src="/files/northcarolina_roberts_630-1.jpg" width="274"><div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>RELATED: Chief Justice Roberts "Had It In for the Voting Rights Act" </strong></a></div> </div> <p>There's been a war on in North Carolina, to hear locals tell it, since uberconservative Art Pope brought his Variety Wholesalers fortune into state politics. In the mid-2000s, Pope, who'd previously served in the Statehouse himself, began an ambitious campaign to turn a purple state deep red, a showcase of interlocking conservative policies. He began by contributing to ad campaigns against moderate Republicans and later Democrats, as well as funding think tanks and advocacy groups. Then, in 2010&mdash;helped by the <em>Citizens United</em> Supreme Court decision and in concert with a national Republican redistricting project known as <a href="" target="_blank">REDMAP</a>&mdash;his network <a href="" target="_blank">spent millions</a> to turn the Legislature Republican for the first time in <a href="" target="_blank">140 years</a>. Two years later, Pope helped fund Pat McCrory's successful campaign to become governor. McCrory appointed Pope to be his budget director, and Pope and the politicians he helped elect went on a cutting spree that didn't stop at slashing education and welfare but went after obscure programs like the University of North Carolina's <a href="" target="_blank">Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity</a>, shuttered for failing to adequately explore free-market solutions to poverty and for being too political. Pope no longer holds office, but the shadow he casts over political life remains large, mentioned in minimalist passing by liberals here&mdash;"since Pope," "after the takeover"&mdash;because, duh, everyone knows about it.</p> <p>Outside the state, the Pope takeover is political trivia&mdash;did you read that <a href="" target="_blank">Jane Mayer piece</a>?&mdash;an early but largely forgotten allegory of the <em>Citizens United</em> epoch. But this spring, the battle for North Carolina's political soul spilled over state lines when, on March 23, a General Assembly stocked with <a href="" target="_blank">Pope's people</a> passed <a href="" target="_blank">House Bill 2</a>, which required transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender assigned to them at birth. HB2 also banned any minimum-wage increases or anti-discrimination statutes local governments might pass, but, in the wake of gay marriage victories, the "bathroom bill" is what lit the media firestorm. Musicians from <a href="" target="_blank">Beyonc&eacute;</a> to <a href="" target="_blank">Bruce Springsteen</a> boycotted or spoke out; <a href="" target="_blank">PayPal canceled plans</a> for an operations center in Charlotte; the <a href=";_ylu=X3oDMTE0cWI0YnFrBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDRkZVSTNDMV8xBHNlYwNzcg--/RV=2/RE=1475217664/RO=10/" target="_blank">NBA pulled its All-Star Game</a>; at least 68 tech companies, including Apple, Cisco, and Salesforce, signed on as supporters to the Justice Department's lawsuit <a href="" target="_blank">against the law</a>. All told, the bill is thought to have cost the state <a href="" target="_blank">$400 million</a>. Though Pope denied having anything to do with HB2, he's funded <a href="" target="_blank">three anti-LGBT</a> groups that backed the bill (not to mention the campaign of <a href=";d-eid=5979558#%5B%7B1%7Cgro=d-eid,y" target="_blank">the governor who signed it</a>).</p> <p>There was a lot less press in 2013, when McCrory signed another historic piece of legislation, the one that prompted the early morning bus trip to Virginia to visit the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals. After taking office, the GOP majority commissioned research into African American voting patterns and then crafted <a href="" target="_blank">House Bill 589</a>, which dramatically cut back ballot access in North Carolina, reducing the number of early voting days, requiring photo ID, and eliminating same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting (aimed at college students), and a preregistration program for 16- and 17-year-olds. The bill passed just a month after the <a href="" target="_blank">Supreme Court</a> made it possible with <em><a href="" target="_blank">Shelby County v. Holder</a></em>, a 5-4 decision that struck down a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The court threw out a provision that required state and local governments with a record of voter suppression&mdash;and North Carolina's record is <a href="" target="_blank">among the worst</a>&mdash;to obtain permission from the feds before making any changes to their voting laws. With those "preclearance" provisions wiped out, and HB589 passed, North Carolina suddenly had the strictest voting regulations <a href="" target="_blank">in the country</a>.</p> <p>Arriving early at the courthouse, the groggy bus riders packed the benches of the wood-paneled, evergreen-carpeted room an hour before lawyers for the Justice Department, which joined as a plaintiff in <em>North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. McCrory</em>, opened oral arguments by saying that the law was designed to have a disparate impact on African Americans. Black voters are three times more likely to have transportation issues than whites, they make up a disproportionate share of those lacking state ID, and many of them vote on early-voting Sundays.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/NORTHCAROLINA_E_630.EL__6.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>The Reverend William Barber and Rosanell Eaton </strong>Jeremy Lange</div> </div> <p>But the state's assault on voting rights wasn't just a black problem, said the Reverend William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, after the arguments had concluded and everyone had gathered at Richmond's Third Street Bethel AME Church, a mile away, for a press conference and a chicken lunch. The mood was light. The three-judge panel had seemed sympathetic to the NAACP's argument&mdash;that HB589 had been passed so fast after Shelby was decided, one judge said, "looks pretty bad to me." When another judge asked the state's lawyer if the Legislature had researched voting data by race and the lawyer responded, "Let me ask you a question," the judge shot back, "You don't ask me questions." The crowd was hopeful, in a hard-won way. In the years after HB589 was passed, Barber had been leading a series of demonstrations, a.k.a. "Moral Mondays," where protesters gathered in front of the Capitol. Now he led everyone in song before slowly escalating into a preacher's cadence. "I couldn't help but recognize that here we are in the capital of the old Confederacy, and those who were defending voter suppression were all white men," he said. The three core plaintiffs, who flanked Barber now, were black women ("the matriarchs," he called them), including 95-year-old Rosanell Eaton, who'd made almost a dozen visits to three different agencies in a month to get ID that complied with the new law&mdash;the process harder and longer than the two-hour mule trip and Constitution preamble recitation she'd endured in the 1940s to become one of the first blacks to <a href="" target="_blank">register in the South</a>.</p> <p>Barber encouraged the crowd to look beyond voting rights: Because of the "white Southern strategy to use code words," he warned, poor whites didn't know they were getting screwed by conservative policies, too. Politicians used to distract them from economic injustice by stoking anxiety over integration. Then it was panic over welfare. "Just like when you call the president the 'food stamp president.'&hellip;You're suggesting policies that would have a disparate impact on black, brown, and poor white people, but you say it in a way that poor white people miss it. Nixon used it and won overwhelmingly the South." These days, distractions include bathrooms. Pitting people against each other, he said, "undermines the ability of blacks and whites to be a fusion coalition, because those who are afraid of the fusion coalition know the power of it."</p> <p>Barber had been fostering such coalitions for a decade. In 2006, one year after he became North Carolina's NAACP president, he pulled together unions, environmental organizations, and civil rights groups to push their issues through the Legislature. Progressives accomplished a lot in a relatively moderate state: <a href="" target="_blank">death penalty reform</a>. <a href="" target="_blank">Anti-bullying legislation</a>. A statewide <a href="" target="_blank">smoking ban</a> in bars and restaurants, in the heart of tobacco country. Then Barack Obama got elected, and what some locals refer to as a "great backlash" ensued. In 2010, the school board in Raleigh began to dismantle a nationally recognized<a href="" target="_blank"> diversity busing program</a>. In 2011, the Republican majority Pope helped put in power did indeed <a href="" target="_blank">REDMAP the state</a>, redistricting legislative and congressional districts. The following year, Republicans won <a href="" target="_blank">9 of 13 congressional seats</a>. As more progressive wins were rolled back&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">abortion access</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">unemployment benefits</a>&mdash;more organizations, from Planned Parenthood to immigrant groups, joined Barber's coalition. Liberals around the nation started <a href="" target="_blank">pouring money into the state</a>. What had been a 10-group coalition became a partnership of 260.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;Video: The History of Voting Rights in North Carolina</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="546" src="" width="970"></iframe></p> <p>Now, both sides of the political spectrum are hell-bent on winning the ground game in North Carolina, a swing state where national issues like transgender rights, voting rights, police violence, and campaign finance are dramatically converging. But what's happening here is about far more than who will occupy the White House come 2017. North Carolina is a testing ground for whether we are in an era of expanding or contracting rights&mdash;and whether, with some of the best organizing in the country, progressives can transform a spike of energy around the bathroom bill into lasting power.</p> <p>"If you register 30 percent of unregistered blacks in the South, and they hook up with Latinos and progressive whites," Barber cried, "you really begin to change the South." He went on, as the amassed reporters of all colors looked increasingly bored, their attention waning for a fight often considered to have ended more than 50 years ago. But the Supreme Court had provided a road map for how to roll back voting rights, Barber warned; North Carolina's HB589 "was the first and the worst case after <em>Shelby</em>," but similar bills had been introduced all over the country. "Is America a place of retrogression?"</p> <p><span class="section-lead">A week after</span> the NAACP bus ride, I sat in the excessively air-conditioned basement of a Raleigh DoubleTree hotel, where red pillars were bedecked with signs declaring "North Carolina's Conservative Voice." Civitas Institute President Francis De Luca promised to keep citizens informed "about what's really going on in our state," as he welcomed 85 people to the institute's monthly lunch, where the results of the Pope-funded think tank's work are revealed. Civitas <a href="" target="_blank">commissions studies</a>, like one that touted a lower income tax (the Legislature then <a href="" target="_blank">lowered the income tax</a>), and conducts polls, on topics like vouchers for private schools (subsequently funded by the Legislature), thereby trying to "equip the legislator, as well as the layman, with the tools necessary to understand public policy in North Carolina." After I sat down to my plates of chicken, pasta, salad, and cake, North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse&mdash;previously the state director of Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity&mdash;approached to shake my hand and join me at my table. No one here asked suspiciously if I was working for the other side; everyone else at the lunch appeared to be white, too&mdash;save the waitstaff.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="375" src="/files/screen_shot_2014-04-07_at_6.09.jpg" width="270"><div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>RELATED: The Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act. What Happened Next in These 8 States Will Not Shock You. </strong></a></div> </div> <p>Kristen Jaciw, a regional field finance director for the Republican National Committee, sat between me and Woodhouse. Gov. McCrory's political director, Ryan Terrill, joined our table, along with another campaign staffer. At the front of the room, De Luca introduced the guest speaker for the day, Joe Stewart of the North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation, who said he described his previous job as a lobbyist to his young daughter by telling her he "killed baby seals for a living," which really cracked the room up.</p> <p>De Luca took the audience through a slideshow of Civitas' most recent polling data about various initiatives. A freeze on UNC tuition increases for students who graduate in four years (63 percent support). A $1.6 billion light-rail line connecting Chapel Hill to Durham (54 percent oppose). Who should get to view police body-cam footage (47 percent said everyone, 31 percent said law enforcement should decide). When De Luca read the question of whether people would support Obamacare being extended to illegal immigrants who were working, the room erupted in groans; when he revealed that 40 percent said yes, the groans got louder and more flabbergasted. The woman sitting to my left, a retiree who was the only other non-political-operative at my table, told me she came because she finds the information interesting and shocking every time. "I can't believe anybody disagrees with me," she said, laughing exasperatedly. "How can they be so dumb?"</p> <p>Despite the GOP's lock on the Statehouse, North Carolina is still more Democratic than Republican, De Luca reminded the crowd. McCrory is up for reelection; his favorability was "underwater" for a bit, but that was "at the height of the HB2 thing." (Currently he and Democratic challenger Roy Cooper are polling <a href="" target="_blank">within a point </a>of each other.) Still, De Luca warned, this November was going to be competitive, more competitive than in many states. But voters are disenchanted. Their choices for president are "a grandma that yells at you or a guy with a bad tan," so "young people won't come out, like they did for Obama, this time." Lest the crowd be too encouraged, Stewart warned that "there's a lot of money coming into the state from outside sources. Batten down the hatches. It's a tight race comin' up."</p> <p>The day before the luncheon, it was leaked that, in the face of HB2 backlash, a <a href="" target="_blank">governor-appointed committee</a> had proposed the creation of a registry by which trans people could <a href="" target="_blank">record their gender identity</a> with the state and use the corresponding bathroom. (LGBT groups and the American Civil Liberties Union, which are suing the state over the law, as is the Justice Department, want the measure flat-out repealed.) The committee was bipartisan. One of its chairs was former Democratic Lt. Governor Dennis Wicker. The other was Art Pope.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p><span class="section-lead">In 2015, Civitas</span> published "<a href="" target="_blank">Mapping the Left</a>," a searchable database of names and affiliations of liberals that tracked how they organize together. "Since well before the 2010 election, groups on the Left have been relentless in North Carolina," reads the intro. "[W]e watched them work separately and together during political rallies."</p> <p>This is not conspiratorial conservative thinking. Or, it is, but it is also true. "We spent years and years laying the foundation for the progressive roots to work together," said Ian Palmquist, former executive director of <a href="" target="_blank">Equality North Carolina</a>, the state's largest LGBT advocacy group, over iced tea in Raleigh. "Not necessarily in the machinelike way of the Art Pope industrial complex, but at least to all have really strong relationships, and I think that made it possible&mdash;when we did find ourselves with this conservative-dominated government&mdash;to really come together with a fairly united front."</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/NORTHCAROLINA_960.jpg" style="height: 640px; width: 960px;"><div class="caption"><strong>The NAACP's Reverend William Barber, leader of the Moral Mondays movement, marches with fellow clergy. </strong>Jeremy Lange</div> </div> <p>What Palmquist described as long, hard, tense coalition building well positioned the left to respond to the perfect storm that was HB2. The bill was a gift to fundraisers and organizers on both sides, who, after the legalization of gay marriage, needed an issue to rally their bases around. After HB2 passed, there was a Moral Monday focused on workers' and trans rights, with hundreds turning out and <a href="" target="_blank">at least 54 arrested</a> in acts of civil disobedience. "These elected officials think we're dumb," Abdul Jalil Rasheed Burnette, a Bojangles worker and an organizer with the minimum-wage campaign Fight for $15, told the crowd. "They think we're gonna fall for their boogeyman attacks on our trans community members. But we aren't." The day before the oral arguments in Richmond, Moral Mondays again rallied against HB2 and held a vigil for Orlando victims, 49 mostly Latino queers killed in a mass shooting a week prior. The Reverend Barber stood on a stage with multiple gay leaders, including Nancy Petty, the senior pastor of Raleigh's Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. It was Petty who, six years ago, began building a relationship with Barber that led to his Disciples of Christ congregation letting her visit as a guest preacher, and, ultimately, an alliance between the NAACP and LGBT groups. Also sharing the stage were a black imam, a female rabbi, and three black Southern ministers, all straight, all of whom talked about the importance of gay rights. "Every living soul, regardless of sexual orientation, has a right to live in this country without fear," the imam said.</p> <p>But as much as HB2 billboards the state's impressive progressive coalition, it may also serve to highlight its cracks: Two days after the Moral Monday vigil for Orlando, another vigil happened in the exact same place, this one organized by <a href="" target="_blank">TurnOut NC</a>, a coalition headed by the ACLU, Equality NC, and the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT rights group. "That's a little bit of a problem that we have in North Carolina with the Moral Monday movement and the LGBT community," Petty conceded. "This is one of the hard places where we're still tryin' to build this kinda movement where everybody's together and it's not just about my one thing or your one thing, but as far along as we've come in that, we're still not there yet. Reverend Barber, he wants the LGBTQ people to support his stuff"&mdash;as he supports theirs&mdash;"and then Equality NC and LGBT Center of Raleigh and TurnOut, they do their thing." (The second rally, in addition to being separate, made hardly a mention of voting rights or wage suppression.) "We're still trying to work out how to best collaborate."</p> <p>Sitting down in her church's sanctuary, Bishop Tonyia Rawls, founder of <a href="" target="_blank">Sacred Souls Community Church</a>, a United Church of Christ offshoot in Charlotte in which all the walls are painted lavender, put it somewhat differently: "You wanna really kinda bitch-slap people sometimes."</p> <p>She put her hand to her chest and then to the sky. "Forgive me, Lord," she said. "Every now and then you just wanna bitch-slap somebody."</p> <p>Rawls is 58. She is a lesbian. She is black. In the early 2000s, she started building a coalition between her church, largely LGBT congregants of color, and 30 "conventional" African American churches to address HIV and AIDS in their communities. "Southern organizing is intersectional," she explained. "We don't always get the luxury of breaking things out" when working on race, education, incarceration; overlap happens, and relationships are crucial.</p> <p>So she's disappointed in what she sees as the failure of Gay Inc.&mdash;what she and others call the large, well-funded, mostly white, predominately cisgender (as opposed to transgender), male-led nonprofits like HRC and Equality NC&mdash;to build on such inclusion. "On one hand I'm incredibly excited about some of the work" the LGBT community has accomplished, she said. "On the other hand I'm a bit disappointed that I do not feel that the sacrifices are reciprocal." When LGBT groups condemned the proposed Pope-Wicker transgender registry, their statements called for a repeal but glossed over the wage suppression measures also in the bill. Trans people, poor people, people of color, and old people built more of the bridges within the state's progressive movement, Rawls said&mdash;and offered themselves up to get arrested more&mdash;than did white male cisgender professionals. "And it's becoming increasingly difficult to justify."</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%">&nbsp; <div class="caption"> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="420" src="/files/NORTHCAROLINA_B_630_2.jpg" width="272"><div class="caption"><strong>Art Pope </strong>Jeremy Lange</div> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a gay activist who used to have to convince straight progressives that gay rights were important to the broader movement, Rawls feels shortchanged that voting rights and poverty are not properly included in some gay groups' agendas: "It shocks me that it feels very familiar because I'm having to again build arguments about why this is also our issue"&mdash;gays' issue&mdash;"but I'm having to do it in reverse."</p> <p>Palmquist, now senior director of programs at the <a href="" target="_blank">Equality Federation</a>, a national LGBT advocacy group&mdash;and who said, when I told him Rawls wanted to bitch-slap some coalition allies, "That's totally fair; I'm sure she's wanted to bitch-slap me at some point"&mdash;said it would be naive to assume that all progressive priorities will always align. "One of the big tensions just within the LGBT movement, for example: We're partnering a lot with the business community because they're better than government on discrimination." But those same business folks, he said, "are not necessarily good on minimum wage. They're not necessarily good on labor, which is not strong in North Carolina. They may not even be good on some environmental stuff that our environmental partners are working on. We have to have those partnerships with business because it's really effective and it helps us get things done. And we also have to recognize how we balance that with our progressive partnerships."</p> <p>That means the queer part of the movement, however, is less reliant on nonbusiness partnerships. When I met Burnette, the Bojangles worker, at his apartment in a subsidized housing complex in Durham, he acknowledged that if the General Assembly repealed just the anti-LGBT parts&mdash;trans bathrooms, discrimination statutes&mdash;of HB2, many segments of the movement would be disappointed. Still, he believed that "now that Hate Bill 2 exists, we're pulling together"; the LGBT movement won't leave the repeal fight until all of it, including the minimum-wage piece, is abolished.</p> <p>Rawls is not so sure. "They don't need anybody," she said of Gay Inc. "If we wanna get nakedly honest. They definitely don't need immigrants. They definitely don't need ex-cons. They definitely don't need trans people"&mdash;except, she said, to fundraise off of now that the Supreme Court has approved gay marriage. "It's real. But nobody likes to say it though."</p> <p>When I asked Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC and the only openly gay member of the state House of Representatives, why his group hadn't synced up with the Moral Mondays Orlando rally, he said, "I think with the ongoing energy in response to HB2 and now in the wake of Orlando, people are looking to bring themselves together on a rolling basis, and we're happy to provide an outlet."</p> <p>One activist I interviewed agreed with this. More didn't. But paramount to success is how the progressive coalition will come together when it's time to vote&mdash;or whether they can vote, and not have their votes gerrymandered away. That's true everywhere, but especially in North Carolina. Two days after the Civitas luncheon, the 4th Circuit appeals court ruled that Raleigh's school board and county commissioner election districts were unconstitutional, favoring suburban and rural voters and violating the rule of "one person, one vote." That same week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case about whether the state's congressional districts are unconstitutional as well, and the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, and others have asked the court to review whether the state's legislative districts are unconstitutional, too.</p> <p>"The reality is we're a pretty evenly split state that's becoming more progressive all the time," Palmquist said. But "when does that become enough to overcome the terrifically bad districting? We haven't consistently put as much money into the electoral piece as the right has. We have to do it. That's a place where we really need to see progressive groups coming together."</p> <p><span class="section-lead">On the morning</span> of the Fourth of July, <a href="" target="_blank">Southerners On New Ground</a> (SONG) organizers Serena Sebring and Jade Brooks pulled onto a side street of Southport, a little town on North Carolina's coast. Floats had been lining up for the state Independence Day parade since 8 a.m. On Rhett Street, past the local theater group practicing nostalgic tunes&mdash;"He's a Rebel," "Be My Baby"&mdash;and near the Walmart float bedecked with signs ("Faith Family Freedom") and blasting "Thank God I'm a Country Boy," was the spot reserved for SONG's silver Ford F-150. The noise from other entrants in the parade, which attracts 50,000 people from all over the state, bounced eerily around the muggy, sleepy quiet. At most of the floats, the wait for the 11 a.m. start felt like boredom. At Float 92, it felt like tension.</p> <p>A week earlier, in a food co-op in Raleigh, Brooks had said the GOP was trying to have it both ways on states' rights. "They're trying to say, 'We don't want the federal government to come in and squash any of our states' rights, but we actually wanna supersede any kind of local organizing and local power.'" SONG is a regional "queer liberation organization" led by people of color, and to them, HB2 is an attack on local democracy: The bill arose in response to an anti-discrimination statute that Charlotte had passed protecting trans people's right to use the bathroom of their choice. "And that has been super clear from the General Assembly," she added, "when over and over in our towns, we see hard-won victories squashed at the state level."</p> <p>"What unity requires is reaching out to people in our rural communities who have not had access to the political discourse and organizing infrastructure that folks in Charlotte or in Durham or in Raleigh have had," Sebring said, about the decision to show up here in Southport&mdash;outside the progressive bubble of the Triangle, where it seemed like every business had a sign up encouraging people to use whatever bathroom they wanted (though not protesting HB2's wage caps) and front lawns and windows displayed placards that read "Y'All Means All." The state's population is growing fast, and a lot of it is baby boomers retiring from the Northeast and West, bringing their values and their money to Asheville and Wilmington and Chapel Hill. But that, as Rawls pointed out, is not the state.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="278" src="/files/voting2k_0.jpg" width="268"><div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Here's What's Happening in the Battle for Voting Rights </strong></a></div> </div> <p>"We hear about this language of 'independence,'" Brooks had said. "The Fourth of July is about liberty and independence. At SONG we think of independence more as interdependence; we wanna offer people a new vision of the South. LGBTQ, immigrant communities, black communities, working communities, Muslim communities&mdash;we need each other more than ever. We wanted to bring that into a more official space where people don't always agree with us."</p> <p>At Float 92, nine people showed up to march, including a baby. "We definitely thought we were gonna have more people," Sebring said&mdash;at least 30. A white trans guy in a button-down suit vest named T.R. said Cape Fear Equality, the local branch of Equality NC, wouldn't come. "I'm trying to drag 'em out," he said. "But they're really mainstream." Other than him, the membership of <a href="" target="_blank">Cape Fear Equality</a> is older whites, mostly cisgender men. SONG was founded by a multiracial group of lesbians.</p> <p>On the passenger side of SONG's truck was a Black Lives Matter banner. On the driver's side, a banner topped with a giant rainbow read, "The People's Agenda, Pro-Worker Pro-Black Pro-Trans Pro-Queer Pro-Immigrant." The sign taped to the front of the truck proclaimed, "Crush the Confederacy."</p> <p>A few floats away, in a shady cemetery, Sons of Confederate Veterans snapped pictures in full gray uniforms with their own banner: "Proclaim Your Southern Heritage. 1-800-MY-SOUTH." They were visible as Brooks tried on a massive paper-mach&eacute; head in the likeness of Gov. McCrory, which she planned to wear, despite a 105-degree heat index.</p> <p>"I think we're gonna get applause!" T.R. said. Then he laughed nervously and pointed at himself: "Delusional."</p> <p>But.</p> <p>Then.</p> <p>That's exactly what happened.</p> <p>At first.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="523" src="/files/NORTHCAROLINA-extra_2.jpg" width="960"><div class="caption"> <div class="caption"><strong>The Reverend</strong><strong> Curtis Gatewood, right, raises his fist in support of the North Carolina NAACP's voting rights case against Gov. Pat McCrory.</strong> Jeremy Lange</div> </div> </div> <p>As the parade finally started, Sebring pulled the truck out onto a bigger street. Each person in the back held a sign reading "pro-queer," "pro-trans," "pro-black," "pro-immigrant," or "pro-worker"; Brooks walked behind in her giant Pat McCrory head. No one talked. The crowds back here, as the floats crawled toward the main parade route, were thinner. But among those standing on the shaded lawns, there was a lot of clapping. There were even bursts, as SONG passed, of loud <em>whoo</em>-ing.</p> <p>Not everyone was doing it. Not even close. But enough, and they were almost all white and straight-looking&mdash;young families, it seemed. In this setting, the SONG truck was something to see. You could hear it in the surprised enthusiasm of the <em>whoo</em>s, yelled by people clapping hard or with their arms raised high.</p> <p>But then, along the main route, things changed.</p> <p>Brooks was stopped by a parade official and told to take off McCrory's head. We told you guys, the official was saying, and they had, when SONG had signed up: No statements about HB2, and keep it apolitical. But now on the main drag, with people packed everywhere along the side of the road, Brooks thought it was unlikely anyone would reprimand her publicly&mdash;and weren't those Confederate flags political?&mdash;so she put the head back on. Some 80 floats farther up, the governor himself was at the head of the parade, and while he maybe didn't get as much applause as, say, the Sudan Dunn Clowns dancing to Meghan Trainor, he did get a steady polite stream of it, as had every other float that had come through. As SONG entered the main route, the clapping mostly stopped.</p> <p>There were still pockets of <em>whoo</em>s and applause. But they were fewer and farther between. The truck turned every head that it passed, and those who didn't clap narrowed their eyes as they read the signs, and looked either confused or angry. "There's probably gonna be a fight out here," one white guy on the sidewalk said to his friend. "Those other guys"&mdash;the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who were a few floats up on a big red pickup with a Donald Trump sign in the front&mdash;"had swords."</p> <p>"Terrorists," someone spat as SONG passed.</p> <p>"Oh, Lord, that is offensive."</p> <p>When one crowd member asked, "What's that float doing in the parade!" a man assured her, "You didn't hear anybody clap, though." One guy, in his late teens or early 20s, started clapping, and his friend shushed him, telling him that he had better think before he cheered.</p> <p>"Black lives matter," an older man read off the banner in a low voice, seemingly encountering the phrase for the first time. "To who?"</p> <p>This lack of support, said Amber Goodwin, a 27-year-old African American woman who <em>whoo</em>ed the SONG truck as it passed, did not represent the North Carolina she knew. When she was in school, right here in Southport, it was fine to be gay, she told me, and it was fine to be black. "We're all for it on this corner," she said, gesturing to her young, multiracial group of friends.</p> <p>A few yards down from her, an older white man yelled at the float loudly, "Booooo!"</p> <p>A few yards down from him, another white man did the same.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="287" src="/files/_2.jpg" width="277"><div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Watch This 10-Minute Film to Understand the Attack on Voting Rights </strong></a></div> </div> <p>"We have set an intention to be bold," Sebring had told me the week before, "because we think our people are worth the risk. And that means going to the Fourth of July parade and bringing our full, beautiful, creative, glittery, and bold and frankly unafraid selves into the spaces." Though far fewer allies showed up than she'd wanted, she still hoped "to find the folks who are looking for us and to also just stay. We talk about the South as a place where people have to leave because they're gay, and we're staying."</p> <p>In a few weeks, those same three federal judges at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals&mdash;all appointed by Democrats&mdash;would strike down the HB589 voter ID law, saying it <a href="" target="_blank">purposely targeted African Americans</a>. The prayer from a woman on my NAACP bus&mdash;that William Lewis Moore and Medgar Evers may not have died in vain&mdash;is answered. Two weeks after that, the same court would rule that 28 of North Carolina's 170 state legislative districts were unconstitutional "<a href="" target="_blank">racial gerrymanders</a>." "Race was the predominant factor motivating the drawing of all challenged districts," the court found, creating "one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history."</p> <p>Six days later, the Raleigh <em><a href="" target="_blank">News &amp; Observer</a></em> would report that Dallas Woodhouse, the state Republican Party executive director and my Civitas lunch buddy, sent an email to county election boards urging them to go ahead and close early voting sites on Sundays, since the 4th Circuit decision mandated the number of days that counties must hold early voting, but not on which days, or where&mdash;or for how many hours a day. Woodhouse also encouraged election boards to eliminate early voting sites on college campuses.</p> <p>Back at the parade, near where Amber Goodwin and her pack of diverse friends were watching, there was a couple, white, probably early 40s, who started scowling as SONG's float passed. I asked them if they didn't approve, and they shook their heads. The man, large and silent, edged in close to the woman when I asked why. "You shouldn't have politics in the parade," she said. And that's all she'd say, except, "It's about independence."</p></body></html> Politics bathroom bill hb2 North Carolina voting rights Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Mac McClelland 315421 at Bundys Found Not Guilty in Armed Standoff in Oregon <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>A defense attorney was tackled to the ground, a juror was dismissed at the last minute, and all seven defendants were found not guilty in the theatrical trial of seven leaders of the armed takeover of a wildlife refuge in Oregon. Ammon and Ryan Bundy, along with five of their followers, faced a slew of conspiracy and weapons charges related to the armed occupation of the government-run refuge. The trial was expected to be a crucial chapter in the ongoing struggle between federal land authorities and the anti-government patriot movement, which has challenged federal control over Western land.</p> <p>Less than a year ago, Ammon Bundy, the son of a Nevada rancher who has a history of clashing with the federal government, urged demonstrators to gather in a small town in Eastern Oregon to protest the imprisonment of two ranchers who had been found guilty of committing arson on federal land. Bundy and his followers then moved the protest from the town to the remote Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, taking control of the facility and leading an armed standoff that would last for a total of 41 days. It finally came to an end when law enforcement arrested the leaders of the occupation, in the process killing one of the occupiers Lavoy Finnicum after he reached for a gun.</p> <p>Finnicum's death became a flashpoint for members of the so-called <a href="" target="_blank">patriot movement</a>, and the ensuing trial&mdash;which lasted about six weeks&mdash;was expected to have wide ramifications for future anti-government protesters. The defendants, some of whom chose to forgo legal representation and presented their own cases, argued that they were peaceful demonstrators exercising their right to protest government overreach. Ammon Bundy gave a full 10 hours of testimony laying out his political philosophy and describing his family and his Mormon faith.</p> <p>Federal prosecutors, on the other hand, painted the occupiers as outlaws who threatened violence and prevented Bureau of Land Management and US Fish and Wildlife employees from doing their jobs. Much of the standoff was captured on video and live-streamed across the internet, so the prosecution had a mountain of evidence to work with. They showed the jury videos of the occupiers and Facebook conversations in which Ammon Bundy discussed plans for the takeover. They also the presented the court with 34 guns and 18,331 pieces of ammunition that were found at the refuge.</p> <p>After less than six hours of deliberations&mdash;and the last-minute dismissal of one juror who had worked for the federal Bureau of Land Management and declared himself "very biased"&mdash;the defendants were found not guilty on all counts. The only exception was one charge levied against Ryan Bundy for theft of government property, on which the jury never came to a decision. Defense lawyer Lisa Ludwig, who was standby counsel for Ryan Bundy, called the verdict "<a href="" target="_blank">stunning</a>."</p> <p>However, this isn't the end of the Bundy brothers' showdown with the government. They also face federal charges in connection with another armed standoff which took place at their father's Nevada ranch two years ago. In 2014, hundreds of armed protesters had gathered to protest the confiscation of cattle belonging to Cliven Bundy, who had racked up over $1 million in unpaid grazing fees. The Bundy sons are supposed to be transferred to Nevada where they will face trial once again.</p> <p>The Oregon trial came to a dramatic end when Ammon&rsquo;s lawyer&nbsp;Marcus Mumford insisted that his client should be set free, while US District Judge Anna Brown argued that Ammon would have to be taken into custody pending the outcome of the Nevada case. A struggle ensued and Bundy&rsquo;s lawyer was tackled to the floor by US marshalls and hit with a stun gun&mdash;a fitting end to an unusual trial. At one point, early in the proceedings, the Bundys and Judge Brown even clashed over whether the defendants should be able to wear belt buckles and ties&mdash;"cowboy bling" as Anna Griffin of Oregon Public Broadcasting <a href="" target="_blank">put it</a>.</p> <p>Even though these seven ringleaders are off the hook, they were only a handful of 26 occcupiers who were charged with conspiracy. Eleven have already pleaded guilty and seven more will be tried in February 2017.</p> <p><em>For more on the militia movement, read </em>MoJo<em> reporter Shane Bauer's undercover expos&eacute;, and my piece detailing <a href="" target="_blank">why the law often turns a blind eye to militias</a>.</em></p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Guns Fri, 28 Oct 2016 03:48:18 +0000 Sara Rathod 317662 at Sen. Mark Kirk Questions Military Service of Opponent’s Family <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) offered a bizarre and offensive quip Thursday night when he decided to deride the military service of his opponent's family rather than respond to a question about war.</p> <p>The comment came after Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who is challenging Kirk for his Senate seat, noted that her family had served in the military since the American Revolution. Duckworth is a veteran who lost both her legs in the War in Iraq and received the Purple Heart for her service. After she had noted that she is a "daughter of the American Revolution," Kirk was given 30 seconds to respond. Instead, he opted for a one-line response: "I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington."</p> <p>Duckworth was born in Bangkok to a mother of Chinese descent and an American father of British descent.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee quickly condemned the comment as racist. "Senator Mark Kirk&rsquo;s attack on Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth&rsquo;s family tonight was offensive, wrong, and racist," spokeswoman&nbsp;Lara Sisselman said in a statement. "Senator Kirk has been caught lying about his military record over ten times, but he was quick to launch false attacks questioning Congresswoman Duckworth&rsquo;s family&rsquo;s long history of serving our country. A struggling political campaign is no excuse for baseless and despicable attacks, and Senator Kirk owes Congresswoman Duckworth and her family an apology.&rdquo;</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Fri, 28 Oct 2016 02:52:44 +0000 Pema Levy 317667 at Gary Johnson Has a Meltdown When Asked Something Every Candidate Should Know <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Since August, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson <a href="" target="_blank">has been plummeting</a> in national polls. A new interview with <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Guardian</em></a> isn't going to do him any favors.</p> <p>When reporter Paul Lewis asked Johnson about his tax policy, specifically his intention to abolish income tax altogether, Johnson at first demurred: "Look, I don't want to argue." But when Lewis challenged him again, Johnson snapped: "Look, I came out for the legalization of marijuana!"&nbsp;</p> <p>"What's that got to do with your tax policy?" Lewis asked.</p> <p>"It's leadership."</p> <p>Watch the entire cringe-inducing five-minute video&mdash;featuring lines like "I'm not a dummy. I'm not."&mdash;above.</p></body></html> Politics Video 2016 Elections Elections Thu, 27 Oct 2016 23:45:46 +0000 Edwin Rios 317657 at