Friday, September 26, 2014

Organizer Behind ‘Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia’ Says It Was A Hoax

[Cross-posted at Hatewatch.]

A self-described “militia” that supposedly was organizing to monitor polling places in Wisconsin to prevent felonious Democrats and African Americans from voting has turned out to be an apparent hoax.

The owner of the Facebook page that announced the “Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia” recently changed the name of the page to “You’ve Been Trolled By Journalists With Zero Credibility” and has filled the page with posts describing how he created the page as a way to “troll liberals.”

The appearance of the Facebook page last week prompted a report at PoliticsUSA describing their efforts to organize Wisconsin conservatives to monitor the political activities of supposed felons. That in turn prompted news stories in the Madison Capital Times and elsewhere describing the “militia” and its activities, which included a supposed training session last Saturday.

Early this week, however, the page—originally a “Justice for Wisconsin” Facebook site—changed its content to make clear there was no militia, though it still claimed to be organizing poll-watching activities directed at Democrats.

Several posts
made it clear that the “militia” was “fictional” and, indeed, just a one-person operation intended to spark liberal ire:
How to create a militia: start a facebook page

How to piss off a bunch of pathetic liberals: specifically name the page something to do with a militia and prey on them like the stooges they are.

You clowns are a joke and your “media” is a joke. Fact check? Why bother? Report fiction as news! Bloggers and idiotic fake journalists have ZERO CREDIBILITY these days.

To those people who do not realize they are easily manipulated, I hope this is a wake up call. You’re f’n morons!!!!
Earlier posts on the page described the “Wisconinsin Poll Watcher Militia” as “a group of individuals who are concerned about the amount of outstanding warrants and are going to take any opportunity available to get some of these people rounded up and thrown into jail.”

As the week went along, the person running the page announced that the group was changing its name to “the Wisconsin Association of Polling Place Monitors.” It described tactics for harassing people suspected of voting with felony convictions. “Do not hesitate to drop instigators like a sack of potatoes,” it advised.

And the page claimed that the organizers indeed had held a training session on Saturday: “We held the meeting at a member’s house and it was done through private invites only. You silly fools who thought we would go to a public restaurant so you weasels could harass us into punching your faces in…. didn’t happen!”

Written queries from Hatewatch to the page’s anonymous owner went unanswered.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Whitewashing History

The Sand Creek Massacre
I see that a claque of conservatives in charge of Jefferson County, Colorado's education board have decreed that learning about the complications and ugly side of American history will not be tolerated any longer:

The materials should not include selections or works that encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law. Violence, if it appears, should be treated in the context of its cause and consequence. It should not appear for reasons of unwholesome excitement or sensationalism.
(i) Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.
This is probably the kind of history they are wanting to eliminate:


The same year the Yana were exterminated [1864], settlers in Colorado, where gold had been discovered in 1858, embarked on a similar program. In this case, the tribes against whom they were arrayed, particularly the Cheyenne and Sioux, were considerably larger and more warlike than the Yana. Thus the conflicts with whites were even more inevitable, and again, the pattern repeated: depredations by whites provoked violent, often murderous retaliation from Indians, which in turn sparked wanton slaughter of any Indian in the vicinity.

The Rocky Mountain News in Denver led the campaign to wipe out local Indians, editorializing in March 1863: "They are a dissolute, vagabondish, brutal, and ungrateful race, and ought to be wiped from the face of the earth." After a series of skirmishes and killings, the News, in August 1864 proclaimed that August 1864 settlers and troops must "go for them, their lodges, squaws and all."

Col. John Chivington
Enter John Chivington, a Methodist minister and self-proclaimed Indian hater, who helped Colorado Gov. John Evans organize a "volunteer militia" constituted once again of "concerned citizens" whose characters were formed more by saloons than by churches. As Dee Brown notes in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Chivington made a public speech in Denver while organizing this militia in which he "advocated the killing and scalping of all Indians, even infants: 'Nits make lice!' he declared."

With his volunteer army in place, Chivington set out "on the warpath," as he put it, ordering his men: "Kill all the Indians you come across." When Indians attempted to negotiate, he was implacable, saying that he was not instructed to make peace, but only war.

When Cheyenne chief Black Kettle's peaceful band (which included some Arapahoes) traveled through Colorado en route to their new reservation in Oklahoma, they reported to Army officials at Fort Lyon, intent on avoiding conflict. Encamped at a site along a stream called Sand Creek, Black Kettle himself traveled to the fort in mid-November in hopes of securing their safe passage. The fort's new commander, Major Scott J. Anthony, met with Black Kettle in what appeared to be a friendly exchange.

As Brown describes it, "Several officers who were present at the meeting between Black Kettle and Anthony testified afterward that Anthony assured the Cheyennes that if they returned to their camp at Sand Creek they would be under the protection of Fort Lyon."

Whether Anthony was aware of Chivington's intentions or not -- and the evidence suggests he was -- his assurance had the effect of making Black Kettle's band sitting ducks. So certain were they of their security that they did not even set out watchmen to guard the camp at night.

Geoffrey Ward, writing in The West, describes what happened next:
Chivington and some 700 volunteers arrived at Fort Lyon on November 26, 1864, eager for a fight before their hundred-day term of enlistment ran out. Some officers protested that to attack the peaceable encampment would betray the army's pledge of safety. "Damn any man that sympathized with Indians," Chivington said. "I have come to kill Indians and believe it right and honorable to use any means under God's heaven ..."

At dawn on November 29, 1864, Chivington and seven hundred men, many of them full of whiskey they had swallowed to keep them warm during the icy all-night ride, reached the edge of Black Kettle's sleeping camp. "Kill and scalp all," Chivington told his men, "big and little; nits make lice." His men needed little encouragement.

One of William Bent's sons, Robert, was riding with them, commandeered against his will to show the way to the Cheyenne camp. Three of Bent's other children -- Charles, Julia, and George -- were staying in it. George Bent watched the soldiers come:
From down the creek a large body of troops was advancing at a rapid trot ... more soldiers could be seen making for the Indian pony herds to the south of the camp; in the camps themselves all was confusion and noise -- men, women, and children rushing out of the lodges partly dressed; women and children screaming at the sight of the troops; men running back into the lodges for their arms ... Black Kettle had a large American flag tied to the end of a long lodgepole and was standing in front of his lodge, holding the pole, with the flag fluttering in the gray light of the winter dawn ...

All the time Black Kettle kept calling out not to be frightened; that the camp was under protection and there was no danger.

Robert Bent was watching it too:
I saw the American flag waving and heard Black Kettle tell the Indians to stand around the flag, and they were huddled -- men, women, and children. This was when we were within fifty yards of the Indians. I also saw a white flag raised. These flags were in so conspicuous a position that they must have been seen ... I think there were six hundred Indians in all ... [T]he rest of the men were away from camp hunting ...

The volunteers began firing into the lodges. Warriors did all they could to defend their families. "I never saw more bravery displayed by any set of people on the face of the earth than by these Indians," a regular soldier recalled. "They would charge on the whole company singly, detemined to kill someone before being killed themselves ... We, of course, took no prisoners."

"After the firing," Robert Bent remembered,
the warriors put the squaws and children together, and surrounded them to protect them. I saw five squaws under a bank for shelter. When the troops came up to them they ran out and showed their persons to let the soldiers know they were squaws and begged for mercy, but the soldiers shot them all. I saw one squaw lying on the bank whose leg had been broken by a shell; a soldier came up to her with a drawn saber; she raised her arm to protect herself, when he struck, breaking her arm; she rolled over and raised her other arm, when he struck, breaking it, and then he left her without killing her. There seemed to be indisriminate slaughter of men, women and children. There were some thirty or forty squaws collected in a hole for protection; they sent out a little girl about six years old with a white flag on a stick; she had not proceeded a few steps when she was shot and killed. All the squaws in that hole were killed. ...

"In going over the battleground the next day," a regular army lieutenant testified later,
I did not see a body of a man, women, or child but was scalped, and in many instances their bodies were mutilated in the most horrible manner. ... I heard one man say that he had cut out a woman's private parts and had them for exhibition on a stick; I heard another say that he had cut the fingers off an Indian to get the rings on his hand; according to the best of my knowledge and belief these atrocities that were committed were with the knowledge of J.M. Chivington, and I do not know of his taking any measures to prevent them; I heard of one instance of a child a few months old being thrown in a feedbox of a wagon, and after being carried some distance left on the ground to perish; I also heard numerous instances in which white men had cut out the private parts of females and stretched them over the saddle-bows and wore them over their hats while riding in ranks.

Chivington and his men returned to Denver in triumph, claiming to have killed five hundred warriors -- instead of ninety-eight women and children and a handful of mostly old men. The Rocky Mountain News pronounced it a "brilliant feat of arms." "All did nobly," Chivington said, and one evening during intermission at the Denver opera house, one hundred Cheyenne scalps were put on display while the orchestra played patriotic airs and the audience stood to applaud the men who had taken them.

As word of these atrocities got out, there was a perhaps predictable outcry from white Americans with some vestige of human decency; but their outrage, as always, had no effect. The killers were downright gleeful about their "victory." David E. Stannard, in American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World, notes that the Rocky Mountain News declared that "Cheyenne scalps are getting as thick here now as toads in Egypt. Everybody has got one and is anxious to get another to send east."

Still, there was an outcry in Congress, and a Senate report eventually declared Chivington's "battle" what it really was: "a foul and dastardly massacre which would have disgraced the veriest savage among those who were the victims of his cruelty." As Stannard notes [p. 134]:
One of them, a senator who visited the site of the massacre and "picked up the skulls of infants whose milk-teeth had not yet been shed," later reported that the concerned men of Congress had decided to confront Colorado's governor and Colonel Chivington openly on the matter, and so assembled their committee and the invited general public in the Denver Opera House. During the course of discussion and debate, someone raised a question: Would it be best, henceforward, to try to "civilize" the Indians or simply to exterminate them? Whereupon, the senator wrote in a letter to a friend, "there suddenly arose such a shout as is never heard unless upon some battlefield -- a shout almost loud enough to raise the roof of the opera house -- 'EXTERMINATE THEM! EXTERMINATE THEM!' "

The committee, apparently, was impressed. Nothing was ever done to Chivington, who took his fame and exploits on the road as an after-dinner speaker. After all, as President Theodore Roosevelt said later, the Sand Creek massacre was "as righteous and beneficial a deed as ever took place on the frontier."

Trusting the word of such men was obviously a foolhardy proposition, but the Indians had little choice if they chose not to fight. As Black Kettle had found, making peace and trusting the word of white men was a mistake with broadly fatal consequences.

Incredibly, Black Kettle managed to survive the Sand Creek massacre, and his wife managed to survive nine gunshot wounds. But four years later, in 1868, they did not manage to survive their encounter with General Custer.

The only reason that conservatives want to eliminate students from learning about episodes such as this is that they make clear that the white-bread narrative of valiant white pioneers forging a greater America is a farce. Learning about Sand Creek might make young white Coloradans uncomfortable, just as learning about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II -- another subject likely to be dropped -- does.

And then these same folks turn around and complain about how education is being degraded these days.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Antigovernment Protest to ‘Shut Down All Ports’ Fizzles, Leaving Law Enforcement Waiting

Sheriff Omar Lucio at the Veterans International Bridge border crossing on Saturday.
(Credit: Maricela Rodriguez/Valley Morning Star)

[Cross-posted at Hatewatch.]

The most recent attempt to protest federal immigration policies by shutting down the nation’s ports of entry along the Mexico border has, to no one’s great surprise, turned out to be another fizzle.

Calling itself a coalition of antigovernment “Patriot” groups angry about immigration enforcement, “Shut Down All Ports of Entry” had attempted to organize a protest Saturday morning at a number of the United States’ border crossings wherein participants would drive up to the port, turn off their trucks and cars, and walk away from them.

But on Friday, the organization took down its Facebook page and removed all content from its website except for a notice announcing that the protest had been cancelled out of fears of retaliation by the drug cartels.

“There has been an unsubstantiated threat of mass violence to attendees, along with very suspicious activity on the Facebook site,” wrote organizer Satsyi Barth. “These two items are more than enough for me to immediately stop any protest that was going to occur. Your lives, and the lives of our law enforcement, are more important than any protest.”

According to one news report, however, a small group of six protesters comprising three small cars did arrive at the port of entry in Brownsville on Saturday.

Local law-enforcement officials, meanwhile, were less than happy about the whole affair. Omar Lucio, the sheriff of Cameron County, Texas, told the Valley Morning Star in Brownsville that he and state and federal law-enforcement officials had prepared a significant response on Saturday to the protest, all for naught.

“We paid people overtime,” Lucio said. “Yes, I hate to waste that kind of money. As law enforcement, you never know what’s going to come up. You use these resources and other resources. We take care of people in the U.S.”

Lucio said that about 30 sheriff’s deputies, including a 15-man SWAT team, and a number of Texas Rangers and FBI officers were present at the Veterans and Gateway bridge crossings on Saturday.

It is unclear whether actual threats against the protest were delivered by Mexican drug cartels, or there simply was not enough support for the protest. Though the organizers called themselves a “coalition” of “Patriot” groups, Hatewatch could not find any other groups aligning themselves with the protest or publicly supporting it. Organizers told Hatewatch that members of other “Patriot” groups planned to participate, but could not name them.

Barth told the right-wing Breitbart website that the protest shut down because of threats:
Cartel threatening mass blood shed. One of the guys in Texas was followed into a Walmart, on the freeway, then approached at his hotel. At the same time, I got a bunch of requests to join the [Facebook] page from Sonora Mexico. I grabbed as many as I could, but realized it was getting out of control fast and I didn’t want them to see who the attendees were. This is after it was requested that we avoid certain areas, because of the recent border threats, unrelated to us. The cartel has people at every port listed..waiting for us, so I was told.
Two previous “Patriot” attempts at shutting down key U.S.-Mexico border crossings–one led by radio host Pete Santilli in July, and another in August by the Santilli-led “Border Convoy”–ended as non-events with similarly dismal turnout.