Nazi Tears and Stranger Things

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Tiassa, Oct 2, 2020.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,569
    The Crying Nazi has been convicted on two federal counts.

    The lede, from Hilary Sargent↱:

    Christopher Cantwell, the neo-Nazi podcaster charged by federal prosecutors with threatening to rape a rival neo-Nazi's wife has been found guilty of extortion and threats. Jurors acquitted Cantwell of cyberstalking.

    Cantwell, once known as a men's rights advocate° emerged to infamy after the Charlottesville white supremacism riots, during which he was recorded uttering spectacular bigotry and violent threats; he earned the nickname, "Crying Nazi", by weeping through several minutes of later video, responding to word of arrest warrants. He has already pled to misdemeanor counts in a deal with Loudon County, Virginia prosecutors, and is included in a lawsuit against organizers of the Charlottesville demonstrations. Monday's conviction involves a dispute between American Nazis.

    How to explain? Well, the Crying Nazi threatened CheddarMane, a Bowl Patrol member, and his wife in pursuit of Vic Mackey, the Bowl Patrol leader. That is, Cantwell threatened Benjamin Lambert (CheddarMane) and his wife and, technically, children, because he wanted a piece of Andrew Casarez (Vic Mackey). The four-day trial also included, as witness for the prosecution, the Bowl Patrol congressional candidate, Paul Nehlen.

    Lambert, made infamous in along the way as a Bowl Patrol member, expressed afterward that he is "thankful to have the opportunity to turn the page on this part of my life". Compared to being outed in a manner that includes the public seeing how someone threatened sexual violence against his wife, and in front of the children, in a beef between American Nazis, we can only wonder what the next page holds, and if we're lucky, it won't be any of our business and we'll never have to think about him again, except as an historical note.

    Meanwhile—

    Assistant U.S. Attorney John Davis, who prosecuted the case, said he was “pleased” and “vindicated” by the verdict.

    He also said the case should be an example for some of the toxic corners of the web.

    “I do think there is a deterrent value—I hope there is—for everyone, including everyone on the internet, including in the white nationalist world and in other worlds where really abhorrent things are said,” Davis said.

    “When freedom of speech is weaponized, and threats are made, a line must be drawn where individuals like Christopher Cantwell will not be allowed to cross,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.

    —if we crawl back through the years of excuses, maybe blithely and blindly telling people to not get triggered was not the most appropriate response to escalating antisociality.

    Three years ago, when the Crying Nazi won his nickname, Amanda Marcotte↱ observed, it was "no huge surprise" that the "Weeping Nazi started off as a 'men's rights activist' ", explaining:

    Cantwell ran for Congress in 2010 as a Libertarian. He and two friends started the "Free Keane Squad," which made it to "The Colbert Report" in 2014 because their main form of activism appeared to be chasing meter maids around and harassing them for giving people parking tickets.

    Cantwell also identified as a "men's rights activist" and wrote for the site A Voice for Men, one of the hubs of organized misogyny on the internet. He expressed his views that the state supposedly gives "women the power to have men arrested for anything without any evidence at all" and how women, in their roles of "traditionally carrying the role of raising children and supporting the men," did not evolve to have high IQs. Like men do. Allegedly.

    It's yet another example of how the world of online anti-feminism has become a gateway to white supremacy. While there hasn't been any rigid academic analysis of this phenomenon, sites like We Hunted the Mammoth, which started as a way to monitor the various and overlapping worlds of online misogyny, have tracked that when men get together to gripe about their resentment of women's growing independence, they often start drifting toward talking about "white genocide" and other white supremacist ideas.

    ‡​

    Why hating women would lead so many men to hating nonwhite people is difficult to parse in logical terms. But racism and sexism aren't rational ideologies and really aren't bound by the basic rules of logic. At the root of both lies a thwarted sense of entitlement and a sense that women and people of color are somehow stealing what is the white man's due. That was felt most keenly in Charlottesville last Friday night, when the torch-wielding mob chanted, "You will not replace us!"

    Cantwell himself mentioned one of the most common narratives that white supremacists and men's rights activists use to link the two ideologies together, by claiming that "their" women are being stolen from them by Jews and men of color. In one of his many interviews with Reeve, Cantwell sneers at Donald Trump for "giving his daughter to a Jew" and says, “I don't think you can feel about race the way I do and watch that Kushner bastard walk around with that beautiful girl."

    Toward parsing in logical terms, or what it means to not be bound by basic rules of logic, time since has seen some clarification, but those notes often seem to only beg more questions. There is a basic empowerment question, and also the point that birds of common feather will eventually gather together. Moreover, at the intersection of male and white supremacism, the common economic culprits look even easier to blame given their functional overlap.

    It is one thing to attend the threshold of threats, as does U.S. Attorney Bonavolonta, but it is worth considering his colleague's discussion of "other worlds where really abhorrent things are said": The point is not to absolutely banish certain speech, but, rather, stop making excuses for wilful bad behavior. It's not like we haven't known, for years, about the toxicity of certain masculinism, for instance, and it can certainly be useful advice to not let stupid words get under your skin, but when they're not simply encouraging body counts, but actually tallying up, there is a problem. It's a complicated discussion who ought to be losing sleep in U.S. Attorney Davis' context.

    To the other, what does any of that mean to a Nazi? At what point did the Crying Nazi ever stop to think about the idea that he was actually leaving a record of threatening sexual violence, including children?

    Who, for instance, would stand up to parse the logic of calling it a rape threat, as Hilary Sargent's lede characterizes? After all, he didn't actually say, "rape", he just said, "fuck". And in front of the children? Come on, that's just macho bluster and you can't take it seriously. Right? People have offered myriad excuses for bloodlusting machismo over the years. Cantwell was the only witness in his own defense, and the jury did not seem willing to accept any such excuse°°. Nor did Cantwell fool himself into believing that sort of excuse, either; it was just something to say in the moment, and he still described a crime.

    In those "other worlds where really abhorrent things are said" it is not permissiveness, in and of itself, about free speech that presents a problem, but, rather, unanchored, or, worse yet, antisocially-anchored permissiveness. For some people, the boundaries of free speech are described by their own fallacious characterizations of some opponent or enemy. It is easy to lose track of meaning and function when these aspects are considered irrelevant.

    There is a functional difference between the right to express oneself, and where who has what power to grant a platform for expression. The underlying concept is not confusing: This isn't about banishing abhorrent speech, but rather, as traditionalists and conservatives put it, accountability. Speech is also behavior, and sometimes must be regraded in that context; i.e., threatening speech. Free speech is not, and never has been, considered to be the license to make any noise anywhere at any time.

    It should be easy enough to suggest this is apparent; it's in Supreme Court rulings, international human rights arguments, and even the rules in small corners of the web like Sciforums. Still, look at what people protect, this way: It's not really racism, nor misogyny, nor even trolling.

    What stands out is how outrageous Cantwell wasn't, as such, until he was, and we're not supposed to fret the escalations until ... well, that remains something of a mystery. It's not entirely unlike the cancel culture discussion.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ° ... published by the same website (and covered by the same TV show) as men's rights advocate and bicoastal shooter Roy Den Hollander↗ ...

    °° cf., Sargent, "Day 4"↱: Cantwell answered, "It could have meant his wife would consent to having sex with me in front of the children." Attorney Wolpin "stressed that the language … was par for the course for neo-Nazi subculture", and Lambert "would have known that [Cantwell] was not serious”.​

    Marcotte, Amanda. "Weeping Nazi started off as a 'men's rights activist,' which is no huge surprise". Salon. 18 August 2017. Salon.com. 2 October 2020. https://bit.ly/3cCgaut

    Sargent, Hilary. "Cantwell Trial Day 4: So much Cantwell". The Informant. 25 September 2020. Informant.news. 2 October 2020. https://bit.ly/3ifQu7W

    —————. "Christopher Cantwell guilty of extortion and threats". The Informant. 28 September 2020. Informant.news. 2 October 2020. https://bit.ly/3n9B6Om
     
    Ethernos 1997 likes this.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,569
    Once again, Hilary Sargent↱ for The Informant:

    The story of Cantwell's rise and fall is important, because Cantwell was—and is—a caricature of the movement itself. Misogyny. Domestic violence. Targeted harassment. Hypocrisy. Dishonesty. Entitlement. Self-hatred.

    His views on women were no different than countless others in the far right, where misogyny runs rampant. Show me one prominent member of the far right who doesn't have a long history of degrading, if not violent, rhetoric toward women. Misogyny is to the far right what flour is to bread.

    “Even if you become the alpha male, some stupid bitch will still ruin your life,” the neo-Nazi blogger Andrew Anglin once wrote.

    In 2018, Matthew Heimbach, co-founder of the neo-Nazi group Traditionalist Worker Party, was arrested and charged with domestic battery in Indiana. (Heimbach had previously faced misdemeanor charges for accosting a Black woman at a Trump rally.)

    Richard Spencer, the one-time face of the white nationalist movement, allegedly pulled his ex-wife down the stairs by her hair. An affidavit cited in a 2019 HuffPost article includes further allegations of abuse that spanned the 8-year marriage, including Spencer having “pushed her down and held her by her neck and her jaw,” when she was four months pregnant.

    In January, white nationalist Augustus Invictus was arrested on domestic violence charges. Invictus' wife, Anna, told police he held a gun to her head and forced her and their two small children to travel to Florida against her will. Invictus has since been freed on bail pending trial in South Carolina.

    When Cantwell wasn't targeting women he knew personally, he was earning praise from the far right for his willingness to turn women he didn't know into public targets.

    It seems worth adding, of the paragraph on Invictus, that it appears to run in the family. His father was charged with extraordinary crimes including racketeering and trafficking a minor°; they actually managed to land in the same county lockup at the same time.

    Sargent's article reads like a horror show, but this is only one aspect. There is much to the statement that "Cantwell dangled women before his audience … like a hunter training a hunting dog", but the next point can feel even more melodramatic: "And who in the movement hasn't done this?" We might stroke our jaws thoughtfully and say, "Oh, well, I'm sure there are a few." But this might overlook the unfortunately bountiful harvest.

    And there are a few paragraphs on cooperation with journalists—or, if we choose to spend the moment on a note, journalistic cooperation with white supremacists—but the more important ambivalence might have to do with law enforcement:

    Cantwell has been widely criticized for having cooperated with law enforcement, as if this is somehow unheard of within far right circles, that no one who is true to the movement would ever willingly cooperate with police.

    There's an awfully long history of neo-Nazis turning to law enforcement.

    The former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan became an FBI informant. White supremacist Hal Turner was a paid FBI informant, who was later revealed to have worked as an undercover operative for law enforcement for several years, according to news reports from the time. The takedown of the Aryan Brotherhood was assisted by a former member who became an informant and prosecution witness. A federal informant helped prosecutors secure the conviction of a South Florida white supremacist for his role in a murder plot.

    Milo Yiannopoulos is cooperating with the feds. "Antisemite and former Libertarian rapper Jared Howe" has apparently spoken with the FBI in recent times. It turns out that while members of the Bowl Patrol cooperated with law enforcement, their leader, Andrew Casarez, was not interviewed in the Cantwell investigation. "But there's no indication Casarez refused to be interviewed", Sargent reports. Rather, interoffice coordination at FBI seems to have failed.

    Which in its way brings us 'round to the doxxy wars. If Cantwell "set out to spill secrets about his enemies", and in doing so "using the tactics of antifascists and journalists against one of [his] own", he "was hardly the first person in the far right to resort to this, and he surely won't be the last". Sargent reports that while journalists and antifascist researchers do identify some neo-Nazis, "many others are doxed by way of a tip from a rival or an offer to throw a competing podcaster to the wolves". Those following the doxxy wars on social media are already familiar. Bowl Patrol congressional candidate and state's witness Paul Nehlen went after Douglass Mackey°°, CUNY professor Josh Dietz was identified by multiple alt-right trolls; the aforementioned August Invictus went after Top Kek Studios. "And I'd be remiss," Sargent notes, "to not also point out the number of Telegram channels that popped up this year, seemingly with the sole purpose of doxing rival movement members."

    Cantwell once said he needed to "understand the problems of the entire world", because knowing himself would end in suicide. "Am I the greatest person who ever lived," he wondered, "or the fuckin' stupid piece of shit who deserves a bullet in his skull? I'm not entirely certain from one moment to the next."

    Sargent closes with a difficult reflection, a maybe that leads to the obvious, acknowledging, "We don't know what goes on inside the heads of most neo-Nazis, what self doubt lies beneath the racist, misogynistic, gun-toting, race-war-preparing, hateful, alpha male bullshit." Yet, in the sense of his dualism, the greatest or else worthless, "he is no different from anyone else who turns to the easy, black-and-white answers provided by the far right":

    Your life not what you thought it should be? The Jews are to blame.

    Can't find a wife? Women are evil whores.

    When individuals in the far right look at Cantwell now, they see him in those black-and-white terms. They snicker, shake their heads, and think themselves better.

    He was a snitch, a coward, a cuck, a grifter. I'm nothing like that guy.

    But if you're part of the far right, you are, of course, on the same path he was on.

    There are other maybes. I recall a white supremacist who died earlier this year for sake of a Covid conspiracy theory and wonder what if someone had actually hauled off and punched that Nazi. You know, like, someone with credibility. Someone who could knock some sense into him, force him to check himself. Because it is true, maybe if Cantwell had been smarter, and more capable, he could have been something else.

    I remember a different lament about self destruction, "Gotta get back, I never meant to take it this far."°°° It doesn't quite fit except in the sentimental way it does, but if the maybe has to do with being smarter and more capable, the Crying Nazi probably can't ever get back to where he never was, and probably never stood a chance from the outset.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ° "John Gillespie, 71, of Melbourne, is facing several charges, including human trafficking of a minor and exchanging legal representation for sex with teens as young as 15 years old …". (Spectrum↱)

    °° a.k.a., Ricky Vaughn, @Ricky_Vaughn99, @RapinBill; see Pollack↱.

    °°° Savatage, "A Little Too Far↱.​

    Pollack, Catherine. "Middlebury Grad Revealed as Prominent Alt-Right Troll". The Middlebury Campus. 11 April 2018. https://bit.ly/36Fsglp

    Sargent, Hilary. "Snitches, cowards, and liars". The Informant. 7 October 2020. Informant.news. 7 October 2020. https://bit.ly/34OqwUH

    Spectrum News Staff. "Central Florida Attorney Accused of Trafficking Minor, Running Prostitution Ring Out of Home". Spectrum News. 20 April 2020. MyNews13.com. 7 October 2020. https://bit.ly/3lo9xz3
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Ethernos 1997 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    265
    i do agree with accountability part. it makes sense. 2ndly we have to create a degree where line of, its fine to it is not.a parameter.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,569
    Mod Hat — Splinter note

    Thirty-two posts have been splintered to their own thread, "Stranger Things Than Nazi Tears"↗, posts #4-35. Per prior note, the digression has been carved out as its own discussion, in order to ensure its due consideration. After all, it can't really be complaining on behalf of Nazis.

    Members are reminded that squatting threads one doesn't like with off-topic digression as a manner of wilful disruption is not an appropriate response.
     
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,569
    Something About Today

    So, I was thinking of this thread for one reason that happened to cross my twitfeed—

    With the (not remotely shocking) news that Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio has a history as a federal informant, I would just like to take this opportunity to say, yeah, duh, and here's my essay on this topic from October.

    (@lilsarg↱)

    —and then things got even stranger.

    But toward Hilary Sargent's tweet, it's actually well-known among antifascists that right-wingers have a habit of snitching each other out. This includes chatlog dumps, a/v leaks, and, yes, even cooperation with federal authorities. Enrique Tarrio was already an informant when he became chairman of the Proud Boys.

    And I remember that article, writing↑, at the time:

    Sargent reports that while journalists and antifascist researchers do identify some neo-Nazis, "many others are doxed by way of a tip from a rival or an offer to throw a competing podcaster to the wolves". Those following the doxxy wars on social media are already familiar. Bowl Patrol congressional candidate and state's witness Paul Nehlen went after Douglass Mackey°°, CUNY professor Josh Dietz was identified by multiple alt-right trolls; the aforementioned August Invictus went after Top Kek Studios. "And I'd be remiss," Sargent notes, "to not also point out the number of Telegram channels that popped up this year, seemingly with the sole purpose of doxing rival movement members."

    And the note on Douglass Mackey reminds his online aliases: "a.k.a., Ricky Vaughn, @Ricky_Vaughn99, @RapinBill".

    So, yeah. That guy.

    Because I went and lost Sargent's tweet, chased it down, again, and along the way, having already seen my own notes in this thread, encountered Brandy Zadrozny's↱ tweet observing:

    … Notorious troll and white nationalist Ricky Vaughn (real name Douglass Mackey) charged with election interference for "disseminating misinformation designed to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote" in the 2016 election. Facing up to 10 years.

    Checking in with the Department of Justice↱:

    The complaint alleges that in 2016, Mackey established an audience on Twitter with approximately 58,000 followers. A February 2016 analysis by the MIT Media Lab ranked Mackey as the 107th most important influencer of the then-upcoming Election, ranking his account above outlets and individuals such as NBC News (#114), Stephen Colbert (#119) and Newt Gingrich (#141).

    As alleged in the complaint, between September 2016 and November 2016, in the lead up to the Nov. 8, 2016, U.S. Presidential Election, Mackey conspired with others to use social media platforms, including Twitter, to disseminate fraudulent messages designed to encourage supporters of one of the presidential candidates (the "Candidate") to "vote" via text message or social media, a legally invalid method of voting.

    For example, on Nov. 1, 2016, Mackey allegedly tweeted an image that featured an African American woman standing in front of an "African Americans for [the Candidate]" sign. The image included the following text: "Avoid the Line. Vote from Home. Text '[Candidate's first name]' to 59925[.] Vote for [the Candidate] and be a part of history." The fine print at the bottom of the image stated: "Must be 18 or older to vote. One vote per person. Must be a legal citizen of the United States. Voting by text not available in Guam, Puerto Rico, Alaska or Hawaii. Paid for by [Candidate] for President 2016."

    The tweet included the typed hashtags "#Go [Candidate]" and another slogan frequently used by the Candidate. On or about and before Election Day 2016, at least 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted "[Candidate's first name]" or some derivative to the 59925 text number, which was used in multiple deceptive campaign images tweeted by the defendant and his co-conspirators.

    And then Nicole Hong↱ reports:

    A person familiar with the investigation has confirmed that one of the unnamed co-conspirators in this case is Anthime Gionet, the far-right media personality known as "Baked Alaska" who was arrested after the Capitol riot.

    And when it all lands on me in two minutes, it really is kind of a strange rush: Wait, what the hell just happened?

    Today in the American right wing: Proud Boy chairman Enrique Tarrio is outed as a federal snitch; Douglass Mackey is under arrest for interference with the 2016 election, and Baked Alaska is allegedly one of his co-conspirators.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @BrandyZadrozny. "Woooow. Notorious troll and white nationalist Ricky Vaughn (real name Douglass Mackey) charged with election interference for 'disseminating misinformation designed to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote' in the 2016 election. Facing up to 10 years." Twitter. 27 January 2021. Twitter.com. 27 January 2021. https://bit.ly/3iUaIWJ

    @lilsarg. "With the (not remotely shocking) news that Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio has a history as a federal informant, I would just like to take this opportunity to say, yeah, duh, and here’s my essay on this topic from October." Twitter. 27 January 2021. Twitter.com. 27 January 2021. https://bit.ly/3iZzaWT

    @nicole_hong. "NEW: A person familiar with the investigation has confirmed that one of the unnamed co-conspirators in this case is Anthime Gionet, the far-right media personality known as "Baked Alaska" who was arrested after the Capitol riot." Twitter. 27 January 2021. Twitter.com. 27 January 2021. https://bit.ly/3ciULIG

    Department of Justice. "Social Media Influencer Charged with Election Interference Stemming from Voter Disinformation Campaign". Office of Public Affairs. 27 January 2021. Justice.gov. 27 January 2021. http://bit.ly/3ppZE6m
     

Share This Page