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Terry H. Schwadron

Oct. 28, 2020

Gun and ammunition sales are soaring, including for first-time gun-owners. The divisive political talk and attacks are ugly — and too often personal. And law enforcement has stopped actual plots to kidnap elected officials.

Despite attempts by Donald Trump and Atty. Gen. William P. Barr to target the largely unorganized left-leaning Antifa movement as dangerous, both Homeland Security and the FBI have identified extreme far right-wing, racist movements as a potential “flashpoint” for reactionary violence.

Over the last week, a report by a group called The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) and a group called Militia Watch, which track, document and analyze about 80 contemporary US militia movements, pinpointed militia organizing in five states for major trouble during voting and post-election.

The groups warned of particular problems if Trump loses.

Basically, ACLED finds that unlike more “latent” groups, there are several associated with an ideology of violence towards foes that are moving to take action if the election goes against their liking — or to defend perceived aggressions by an incoming Joe Biden administration. Until now, their talk and their trainings have gone on unchallenged, even by local law enforcement or politicians as expressions of free speech.

The open question is whether that is about to change as this movement edges towards actions, as in the foiled plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer.

The key finding is that over the last few years, these rightist militias have firmed up actual election support for a Trump reelection, and see any other result as an attack on their way of life and their view of a whiter, conservative, libertarian America.

Five States

ACLED warns of militia activity in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Oregon — most of which are battleground states. Oregon, of course, is home for Portland, which has emerged as a particularly symbolic site for clashes between right and left. …

Terry H. Schwadron

Oct. 27, 2020

In Miami, an armed city police officer in full uniform now faces disciplinary action after wearing a Trump campaign mask while directing voters at the polls.

In Nevada City, CA, enthusiastic Trump supporters in cars trucks held a rally around a ballot-drop-off site, making it difficult for voters to get through to leave their ballots. A truck blaring loud music just beyond the 100-foot buffer zone at that California site, prompting a local official to ask the person to knock it off.

In Philadelphia, the state attorney general has told the Trump campaign to stop videotaping voters dropping off completed mail ballots. In Fort Morgan, CO, a trailer park owner warned residents that their rent could double if Joe Biden wins. …

Terry H. Schwadron

Oct. 26, 2020

A civilian employee dismissal case in the Pentagon at once captures the Trump administration’s campaign to eliminate top Black managers, Donald Trump’s obsession with any move by Barack Obama, and the White House’s sneer at diversity in the federal workforce.

Reporter Alicia Mundy’s tale in about one person’s hell sketches the broader efforts towards making the highest civilian ranks of our government as white as possible, and running two, months-long secret investigations of the employee in violation of Army rules over relatively silly issues before demoting and firing him.

It is something that demands an independent review of outside the standard employer-leaning merit review processes. As things stand, the very person fingered as an aggressor here is part of the judgment process. …


Terry Schwadron

Journalist, musician, community volunteer

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