authoritarianism

theguardian.com
Anti-Trump protesters risk 60 years in jail.  Is dissent a crime?
More than 200 people who were arrested on Trump’s inauguration day risk up to 60 years of jail. Meanwhile, the white supremacists in Charlottesville walk free
By Eirik Cheverud

On the morning of President Trump’s inauguration, police trapped and arrested more than 230 people. Some were anti-Trump demonstrators; some were not. The next day, federal prosecutors charged them all with “felony rioting”, a nonexistent crime in Washington DC. The prosecution then launched a sweeping investigation into the defendants’ lives, demanding vast amounts of online information through secret warrants.

Prosecutors eventually dropped a few defendants, like journalists and legal observers, but simultaneously increased the charges against everyone else. The most recent indictment collectively charged more than 200 people with felony rioting, felony incitement to riot, conspiracy to riot, and five property-damage crimes – all from broken windows.

Each defendant is facing over 60 years in prison.

The prosecution next obtained warrants focused on anti-Trump organizers. One sought a list of all visitors to a website that organizers used to promote Inauguration Day protests. A second sought information on all Facebook friends and related communications of two organizers, the host of a coalition Facebook page, and those who simply “liked” that page.

Despite legal challenges, a court recently decided to enforce the warrants, requiring only that personally identifiable information be redacted for “irrelevant” material. This unprecedented prosecution follows a drastic change in local law enforcement’s response to protest.

The DC Office of Police Complaints issued a report critical of the mass arrest, noting the departure from standard operating procedure and the likelihood that police lacked individualized probable cause to arrest everyone. This is exactly the type of action new policies and statutes enacted in DC were meant to avoid, following a 2002 mass arrest that caused the District to pay over $10m in settlements.

Compare this crackdown with the government’s response to the pre-planned, armed violence and rioting by white supremacists and private militia groups in Charlottesville, Virginia.

There was no sweeping online dragnet to identify organizers who conspired to plan, promote, and carry out violence in Charlottesville – violence against people, not property.

Nor were all the participants in Charlottesville rounded up and charged with felony conspiracy to commit rioting – or charged as accessories to Heather Heyer’s murder. Instead, federal prosecutors have done little to nothing.

Online activists exposed the identities of a few white supremacists, leading to charges from local law enforcement due to public pressure. But there have been no felony rioting charges, no charges of guilt-by-association, no police raids, no sweeping investigation.

(read more at the link)

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Also:  US government demands details on all visitors to anti-Trump protest website

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - http://jensorensen.tumblr.com/

……ummmm so,, trump literally has his own propaganda TV network that praises the president and his so called “accomplishments” without providing any credible sources or proof…. keep in mind this is what they do in North Korea and in any other authoritarian state., idk about ya’ll but this scares the shit out me and this isn’t a normal thing any presidential administration should allow  

“The party who told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”  - George Orwell, 1984


Never in my wildest dreams could I ever imagine I’d encounter so many people acting willfully ignorant in order to justify and avoid culpability for things that are so obviously self serving yet harmful to others. And they do so in this particular manner in order to serve their own conveniences while attempting to maintain clear consciences.

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CNN’s Brian Stelter exposes the fascistic nature of Trump and Press Sec. Spicer spouting lies to the press and intimidating the media through a series of ESSENTIAL questions.

Look, I know that we can all list off a million and one ways the current news media is garbage and problematic. But they are still our last imperfect line of defense from Trump’s authoritarianism and he is trying to dismantle it. The danger in that is clear.

Why I Was Fired By Google, by James Damore

Special to the Wall Street Journal

I was fired by Google this past Monday for a document that I wrote and circulated internally raising questions about cultural taboos and how they cloud our thinking about gender diversity at the company and in the wider tech sector. I suggested that at least some of the male-female disparity in tech could be attributed to biological differences (and, yes, I said that bias against women was a factor too). Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai declared that portions of my statement violated the company’s code of conduct and “cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

My 10-page document set out what I considered a reasoned, well-researched, good-faith argument, but as I wrote, the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google because of the company’s “ideological echo chamber.”My firing neatly confirms that point.

How did Google, the company that hires the smartest people in the world, become so ideologically driven and intolerant of scientific debate and reasoned argument?

We all have moral preferences and beliefs about how the world is and should be. Having these views challenged can be painful, so we tend to avoid people with differing values and to associate with those who share our values. This self-segregation has become much more potent in recent decades. We are more mobile and can sort ourselves into different communities; we wait longer to find and choose just the right mate; and we spend much of our time in a digital world personalized to fit our views.

Google is a particularly intense echo chamber because it is in the middle of Silicon Valley and is so life-encompassing as a place to work. With free food, internal meme boards and weekly companywide meetings, Google becomes a huge part of its employees’ lives. Some even live on campus. For many, including myself, working at Google is a major part of their identity,almost like a cult with its own leaders and saints, all believed to righteously uphold the sacred motto of “Don’t be evil.”

Echo chambers maintain themselves by creating a shared spirit and keeping discussion confined within certain limits. As Noam Chomsky once observed, “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”

But echo chambers also have to guard against dissent and opposition. Whether it’s in our homes, online or in our workplaces, a consensus is maintained by shaming people into conformity or excommunicating them if they persist in violating taboos. Public shaming serves not only to display the virtue of those doing the shaming but also warns others that the same punishment awaits them if they don’t conform.

In my document, I committed heresy against the Google creed by stating that not all disparities between men and women that we see in the world are the result of discriminatory treatment.

When I first circulated the document about a month ago to our diversity groups and individuals at Google, there was no outcry or charge of misogyny. I engaged in reasoned discussion with some of my peers on these issues, but mostly I was ignored.

Everything changed when the document went viral within the company and the wider tech world. Those most zealously committed to the diversity creed—that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and all people are inherently the same—could not let this public offense go unpunished. They sent angry emails to Google’s human-resources department and everyone up my management chain, demanding censorship, retaliation and atonement.

Upper management tried to placate this surge of outrage by shaming me and misrepresenting my document, but they couldn’t really do otherwise: The mob would have set upon anyone who openly agreed with me or even tolerated my views. When the whole episode finally became a giant media controversy, thanks to external leaks, Google had to solve the problem caused by my supposedly sexist, anti-diversity manifesto, and the whole company came under heated and sometimes threatening scrutiny.

It saddens me to leave Google and to see the company silence open and honest discussion. If Google continues to ignore the very real issues raised by its diversity policies and corporate culture, it will be walking blind into the future—unable to meet the needs of its remarkable employees and sure to disappoint its billions of users.

  • me: I'm an anarchocommunist
  • me: I believe in the abolition of nation-states
  • me: I'm also antifascist, definitionally, as I don't agree with nation-states.
  • me: I hate nazis. I will fight them in any way possible, just as they will murder millions to create authoritarian nationstates which will harm the people brutally with any dissent.
  • some reddit fuck: YOU'RE ACTUALLY THE REAL FASCIST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO SILENCE FREEDOM OF SPEECH OF THE NAZIS AND UHM... YOU ARE MEAN AND UHM.. YOU BREAK STARBUCKS WINDOWS WHICH IS THE REAL PROBLEM
  • me: ... Okay, for starters buddy, pal, fuckjob, fascism requires a strong nation, it relies on nationalism, I very clearly disagree with nation-states. I definitionally can't be fascist, but apparently you never learned what this meant
  • me: secondly I have no government power to silence freedom of speech, I'm using my freedom of speech to fight nazi fucks, you're uncomfortable with this because you're a nazi-supporter, very clearly, lmao
  • me: and thirdly, I will break all the starbucks windows, I'm antistarbucks, get fucked.
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Jürgen Vogel as the teacher in Die Welle (The Wave) (2008). Dir. Dennis Gansel.

This excellent film is about a high school social studies class in Germany where a teacher engages his class in a project in which they try to understand the factors that could lead a country toward an autocratic form of government. At the outset most of the students feel that German society has progressed too far to ever lapse back into autocracy. The teacher is quite charismatic, and he convinces the students of the merits of working as a team to help one another in their studies. Gradually he convinces them that the solidarity of their team would be enhanced if they were to dress in a similar manner, adopt a logo for the group, have a special group salute, and convince more students to join the group. Some students remain skeptical, but most enjoy the camaraderie of working together on the project. After a while they find that the sense of community within their group is offset by the sense of exclusion felt by those outside the group. Various dynamics come into play that reveal how easily a society can slip into totalitarianism. This film is likely to be quite engaging for young people and would be highly effective for prompting discussion of authoritarianism in any high school social studies class.