Better Than Nothing: California @ACLU Chapters Break Ranks With Chickenshit Ass-Covering Statement

Since the ruling class will always periodically need paramilitary style fascist groupings, it surely won’t permit Charlottesville to be the death knell of First Amendment Absolutism, which is its main instrument for legitimizing fascism as a discourse and facilitating fascist organizing.

Hence, the national chapter of the ACLU has shamelessly dug in its heels, with this disgusting statement from Executive Director Anthony Romero, which recapitulates the childish bromides of Magic Paper Theory,  enumerates all the fine work the ACLU does for people who don’t wish to exterminate an entire race, and then callously and ridiculously insists that his organization’s Virginia chapter “made the right call” when it insisted Charlottesville make antifa counter-protesters conveniently available for murder by automobile.

Of course, as an alum of the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, running errands for capital and its covert operations is precisely how Romero earns the big bucks. Shame clearly isn’t in his repertoire, as his infamous call to “Pardon Bush and Those Who Tortured” illustrates.

Things are more complicated for local chapter executives who likely earn a fraction of what Romero does, don’t have his CIA pass-through grooming, and will bear more culpability when things go wrong. Surely every ACLU chapter head is wondering if they’ll be the next one tasked by nazis to facilitate a crime. So let the ass-covering begin.

Yesterday, the executive directors of California’s three ACLU chapters issued the following statement:

There are troubling events planned in our state in the coming weeks. This is an incredibly painful and difficult time for millions of Californians.  For those who are wondering where we stand – the ACLU of California fully supports the freedom of speech and expression, as well as the freedom to peacefully assemble. We review each request for help on a case-by-case basis, but take the clear position that the First Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence. If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution. The First Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence.

The most obvious problem with this statement is the implicit distinction it makes between white supremacists and white supremacists who “incite or engage in violence.” Of course, a white supremacy rally is nothing but incitement to violence, given that there’s no peaceful way to dominate an entire race, and history shows that these groups do not limit themselves to theory.  It is this ludicrous distinction that is at the heart of objections to First Amendment Absolutism, much as the free speech assholes want to make it about intolerance toward bad opinions.

One can only guess how the California chapters will separate nazi wheat from nazi chaff under their new policy. Will they make prospective clients pinkie swear to no weapons before they secure their right to express racial hatred in dangerously confined public spaces? Will they make them forswear cars, since these are clearly weapons also?  Or will they err on the side of caution, and, based on Charlottesville, fail prospective clients on the imminence test outright?

Whatever the case, any exposure of how deeply stupid and dishonest is the ACLU’s quaint notion of “peaceful” white supremacy is to the good, even when its unwitting.

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27 Responses to Better Than Nothing: California @ACLU Chapters Break Ranks With Chickenshit Ass-Covering Statement

  1. Richard Estes says:

    Off topic, but have you seen Greenwald’s reflections upon immigration and “national identity”?
    Perhaps, you’ve referenced it, but if so, I missed it:

    https://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com.au/2005/12/yelling-racist-as-argument-in.html

    Pertinent passages:

    “The notion that a nation requires a cohesive “national identity” is hardly the malignant invention of the Ku Klux Klan or White Supremacist groups. It is a central prong for how our country was formed and how it has survived.”

    “Current illegal immigration – whereby unmanageably endless hordes of people pour over the border in numbers far too large to assimilate, and who consequently have no need, motivation or ability to assimilate – renders impossible the preservation of any national identity. That is so for reasons having nothing whatever to do with the skin color or origin of the immigrants and everything to do with the fact that what we end up with are segregated groups of people with allegiences to their enclaves, an inability to communicate, cultural perspectives incompatible with prevailing American culture, and absolutely nothing to bind them in any way to what we know as the United States.”

    • Tarzie says:

      Yes I have and that, among other things written around the same time, like his aspersions against the “national character” of Venezuelans make his First Amendment Absolutism, his support for Weev and his whitewashing of Omidyar’s Ukraine adventure look very suspect. The details of his support for Matthew Hale are hair-curling. It’s so above and beyond free speech advocacy. I was very tempted to go deeper into his biography in the last post, but didn’t want to go off track.

  2. rakish ape fight says:

    It is not a “problem” with their statement. They believe quite reasonably that there is a distinction between white supremacist speech and violence.

    This is pretty rich, rabid talk from a dude who is currently retweeting ALLCAPSBRO, considering that ALLCAPSBRO has now been trolling non-neonazis for wanting to take down statues as regressive. You hang out with suspect reactionaries then you have the shameless audacity to pretend you are the last word in social critique.

    Romero’s article is so clearly ironic, one would have to be a stupid dweeb to even dare venture an interpretation that he was suggesting Bush’s war crimes really don’t deserve a punishment.
    What part of,

    My organization and others have spent 13 years arguing for accountability for these crimes. We have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor or the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission, or both. But those calls have gone unheeded. And now, many of those responsible for torture can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has run out.

    do you not read as (I don’t even need to paraphrase, Romero says it clearly himself),

    But with the impending release of the report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I have come to think that President Obama should issue pardons, after all — because it may be the only way to establish, once and for all, that torture is illegal.

    ?

    ACLU sellout there, stating that THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS SO CORRUPT THAT THEY GOT AWAY WITH MURDER, AT LEAST LET US HAVE A TOKEN GESTURE TO IMPLY THAT THE MURDER AND TORTURE WAS A CRIME WHOSE COMMISSION SHOULD NORMALLY BE PUNISHED WITH PRISON.

    Top keks.

    Your kind of ultraleft routinely, ROUTINELY, seeks Stalinist levels of censorship and never deigns to solve a problem. White supremacist speech is bad! Crickets on solving the problem of white supremacy.

    Greenwald is so blatantly a closet bigot putting on a show for his dumb civil libertarian audience.
    How long did it take you to figure that out, supersleuth? Or are you trying to gain fame again by starting down that road anew, pretending this is some kind of recent discovery. Funny because everyone who should have cared, already ignored it.
    Doesn’t make white supremacist speech the same thing as violence except by some long-winded philosophical chain.

    • Tarzie says:

      Here’s the thing about ALLCAPSBRO, He’s not boring. He’s smart and funny and he knows he’s fucked in the head. You on the other hand are dull and hackneyed and rather taken with yourself.

      Thank you for explaining Anthony Romero’s stupid essay to me but I did get it. It’s a variant of magic paper theory, for rubes like you. It’s entertaining how smart you think you are.

      Part of solving the problem of white supremacy is to quit pretending it’s discourse any more than a bomb threat is discourse. The slippery slope idea has absolutely no historical basis. Only stupid people eat it up. The ruling class thanks you. They get to subsidize paramilitaries right out in the open.

      You’re right about Greenwald, I was late to that. But you’re wrong about everyone knowing it. It became clear this week that a lot of people have no idea he’s even a free speech purist. I am way more interested in those people than I am in you. In fact, I know from just one comment that you will never do anything here but bore the shit out of me and probably everyone else.

      I’m probably gonna ignore you in future, just so you know. I don’t have the patience for this shit anymore.

      • rakish ape fight says:

        Rude.

        “forest”/Tarzie was also wrong but not rude like Tarzie-Tarzie. “pre-emptive” pardons. More like post-emptive. Wrong and boring? Definatly.

      • Tarzie says:

        “forest”/Tarzie was also wrong”

        ah, I shoulda known it was you oxy. Kinda surprised to see you caping for a ruling class clerk like Romero. That threw me off your stench.

        I retract what I said about you being boring. You often are, but i love your homoerotic poems. Can you favor us with one?

      • Jay says:

        Can you further explain Romero’s letter as an MPT variant? Don’t think I’m following.

      • Tarzie says:

        Because it aims to set a little precedent in some adorably counter-intuitive way that will magically constrain people with power. Just as a First Amendment win for the KKK is a win for the Black Panthers, pardoning torturers now constrains torturers in future. Oh such clever lawyering! Except what makes Romero’s essay even more stupid than Magic Paper Theory is that torture is already illegal.

      • rakish ape fight says:

        I will lose all respect for Jay if he accepts Tarzie’s squirming answer. Romero didn’t want to establish legal precedent but re-establish MORAL precedent. Tarzie keeps digging. Jay will fold and accept it. Then again, since Jay is Tarzie, that just makes perfect sense. About the only sense made on this blog post.

      • Tarzie says:

        squirming my ass.

        Romero didn’t want to establish legal precedent but re-establish MORAL precedent

        You’re half right, Romero’s stupid measure wouldn’t even establish a legal precedent, which makes it even sillier. But as ever, his concerns are entirely and idiotically legalistic.

        Romero:

        An explicit pardon would lay down a marker, signaling to those considering torture in the future that they could be prosecuted.

        That’s not morals, dumbass.

        Never mind that there was already a “marker” in the form of actual laws when Cheney and co embarked on the crime spree Romero wants them exonerated for.

        By the way, were Romero seeking a “MORAL precedent” from Prez BO, his proposal would be even dumber.

        I never thought you were an idiot, oxy, just a uniquely miserable asshole, but I’m beginning to have my doubts, assuming you mean anything you write.

      • Jay says:

        I’m not Tarzie. I am a fan of his writing, despite the fact he doesn’t usually think much of my comments. I now follow what he’s saying here – I disagree in the sense that I would rank Romero’s letter at about #973432 of the reasons to criticize him and his organization.

        Unrelated – last night, per Tarzie’s rec, I looked into the greenwald hale representation saga. Fascinating stuff. GG says in 2013 that “he hated” Hale… certainly didn’t look like it at the time when he was bizarrely and quixotically trying to secure the man a law license… pro-bono nonetheless.

      • Tarzie says:

        I never said Romero’s essay was in the top five reasons to hate him. I just think its emblematic of his shameless servility. Remove all the verbiage and what you’re left with is a plea to preemptively pardon war criminals before they’ve even been indicted for anything. It’s helpfully ahistoric and minimizing at the very least. Gosh the CIA really did lose its way there. Let’s put it on notice by shielding everyone involved from prosecution. It kinda pains me that I have to exhaustively demonstrate what’s wrong with that.

      • Tarzie says:

        No it doesn’t look like hate at all, especially when you read news articles where he chummily refers to him as “Matt” and discusses the passing of coded messages from Hale to Greenwald via Hale’s Mom. He spent five years seemingly working on Hale’s every legal entanglement, twice on cases that tried to finger Hale or an associate for incitement to racist violence that actually occurred. It’s really creepy.

        There’s a theory among some of Greenwald’s more hateful detractors at the Jewish Defense Organization that Hale and he were lovers which seems entirely possible to me. It’s weird enough for a New York attorney to dedicate his charity work to a genuinely dangerous race warrior but one in Illinois? The same source also says that GGs law partners kicked him out because of his work for Hale, which they claim is what led him into blogging.

      • rakish ape fight says:

        It’s like talking to an ox. And a liar. And a preening narcissist. Yes, “marker” means legal precedent. Hey, courts, there is this, uh, “marker” here, that’s like, uh, “legal precedent”, right? This guy Tarzan said it on his blog.
        In any case, Romero clearly has no opinion about torture other than it should be prosecuted. He isn’t seeking morality from Obama, but from whomever was in the position at the time. Obama happened to be. It is a gesture in a hollow system. Romero starts out by explaining that he wanted REAL accountability NOW but since the government has no interest, why not a token gesture?
        You used it, as you do so often, to prove something else: that Romero is an apologist for torture, torturers, and is doing the torture state’s bidding by shielding torturers from accountability. Therefore, yet another example of how the ACLU functions to defend fascists without defending their victims or opposition. QED.
        YOU are a genius, Tarzie. Nobody would’ve ever come up with such a creative take, because it is so out of touch with reality we just don’t have the inspiration.
        My most generous response should be that you should have brought up other evidence to support your general attack on the ACLU as Nazi enablers. If you look at their history, it is not that clear. They may be incompetent and stupid, instead of deeply reactionary.

        Ok. I’ve had enough of this dumb sassing back thing you do. I just thought you lied in your blog post and didn’t want other people to take your word for it without clicking the link to the Times Romero piece you shrewdly provided.
        The rest of what you answered back…just dreck. I can’t be bothered to pick apart such childish denials and ad hominems. This is at such a low level I feel I am enabling someone with obvious self-regulation issues to pointlessly disrespect his other readers and insult their intelligence. You have made a fool of yourself enough for one blog post. Good day, sir.

      • Tarzie says:

        Can you read? I specifically said in my last comment that it doesn’t even aim at precedent, but that doesn’t mean it aims for a moral precedent either, as you claimed, you incredibly dimwitted troll. I used the word precedent in my reply to Jay to show its likeness to magic paper theory. It was imprecise but the point I made still stands. Let’s call Romero’s little “marker” a proto-precedent, an eensy weensy threat of LEGAL accountability to anyone at the CIA who wants to continue to do what the fucking CIA does and has always done and will always do.

        Yeah, I do think Romero’s idiotic piece serves the interest of the torturers and the CIA more than it serves anyone else, just as the recent confidential torture settlement did, which is fitting considering his Ford and Rockefeller Foundation pedigree. Does he have to come out and say torture is great, long live the CIA to arouse suspicion?

        But it doesn’t matter if what they do owes to incompetence or softness on fascism or their ties to Rockefeller and Ford. Clearly, corporations and nazis have reaped more from their help than anyone else, a simple fact which they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge. Which is no doubt why oligarchs love them and why they have an open invitation to talk shit in the op ed pages of the New York Times.

        I’m glad I’ve exhausted you beyond picking apart my “childish denials and ad hominems.” So write me an erotic poem or go away.

        By the way, you calling me out for rudeness and ad homs is really fucking rich considering you’ve been obsessively spewing vitriol at me and about four other bloggers for what now, seven years? But then, that’s what trolls do, because as research shows, they’re sociopaths and self-unawareness is their superpower.

    • forest says:

      not as long-winded and flimsy as romero’s for issuing pre-emptive pardons.

  3. robertmstahl says:

    For all the insanity, have you considered viewpoints about a larger agenda beginning August 21 on YouTube by MrCati? This is a machine metaphor we humans have to put up with, until we can figure out NETWORKING on some other level, mechanically, just not digitally, ecologically. Hellstorm on YouTube also, comes to mind, just because of the odds of altering an agenda of this magnitude. Lately, as well, I have been seriously looking at Bravo Von Muller and Montegraph, anticipating something much more connected-at-the-hip.

    • milosevic says:

      Are you a disinfo sockpuppet? You certainly sound like one.

      • robertmstahl says:

        I have my reasons for getting ice cream on Monday and looking for a CERN event related to Grand Island, Nebraska. Don’t try to tell me you are NOT co-opted under the same “currency” awareness BS, moving money out of the Cayman Islands, perbaps, whichever form of liquid perception is driving all awareness. ALL civilizations end in stereotype. No one escapes the “acting” challenge

      • milosevic says:

        disinfo sockpuppet confirmed, then.

  4. davidly says:

    Doesn’t the whole discussion upthread about what Romero did or didn’t mean rest more importantly on the fact that Bo Rama & his justice dept. in no way wanted to either punish or prevent torture? I mean, even that much must be clear to Paul Boobyhead or whatever his real name is.

    • Tarzie says:

      I don’t know what you’re trying to say here. Who is Paul Boobyhead?

      I don’t think anyone disagrees on what Romero means at least in broad strokes. I think we disagree on just how stupid or useful it is.

  5. d.mantis says:

    I imagine this is the reason I have always felt uncomfortable when someone uses the terminology of “protected” versus “unprotected” speech. I understand the legal and technical basis for the difference but I could never quite articulate why it rang so hollow.

    If we disregard the technical meaning of “protected” and “unprotected” and simply look at the evidence, there are obviously legal, monetary and media resources expended en mass on rhetoric that is racist, bigoted and ultimately power serving. I have never had a reasonable response when I ask to be shown examples of all the resources to protect speech when that speech is critical of empire, capitalism, inequality, or class.

    An interesting article taking this line of critique to a broader context:
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/18/how-both-sides-forge-u-s-supremacy-the-nationalistic-hypocrisies-of-violence-and-free-speech/

    A great point: “Consider that as the national ACLU seemed to be backtracking from their position, the California ACLU put out a statement that read in part “First Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence.” Who is going to be the likely victim of this? White supremacists — or someone who explains why Hezbollah might want to lob missiles at Israel?”

    • Tarzie says:

      A great point: “Consider that as the national ACLU seemed to be backtracking from their position, the California ACLU put out a statement that read in part “First Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence.” Who is going to be the likely victim of this? White supremacists — or someone who explains why Hezbollah might want to lob missiles at Israel?”

      Ok at first I was mystified by your concern here, since it sounds like the old Greenwaldian slippery slope that I have railed against for years now. But if the issue is that the wording is problematically ambiguous, I agree. Once again the ACLU fails to recognize genocidal incitement as unique from other forms. However, given that the Cali ACLU statement seems like an ambiguous appeasement gesture, which, if it even rises to policy, seems to only draw the line at orgs that bring weapons to events, I don’t think it’s worth worrying over. That’s a good catch though and Husseini’s piece is a find also.

      • dmantis says:

        I obviously have trouble getting my thoughts down in a clear way. My point was that it’s absolutely ambiguous and it was an interesting counter point about the Hezbollah comparison in the Husseini piece.

        I also find this statement from the Cali ACLU fucking ludicrous:
        “The First Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence.”

        What?!?! That’s exactly what these events are actually fucking doing! They (and the president) can explicitly use the excuse that the mere existence of a counter-protest is enough to justify violence occurring.

        I wonder what the Cali ACLU’s position was on the Oakland and Black Panthers situation in the 60’s.

  6. Hieroglyph says:

    As an aside, this has all been making me wonder about Charles Manson. The Antifa useful idiots remind me of Manson and his indoctrinated group of fellow whack jobs. Given what we know of the infiltration tactics of the PTB, maybe Chuckie Manson was just another useful idiot, spying for The Man. After all, old Hitler himself was German Intelligence once, sent to spy on the hard-right; an unfortunate hiring if ever there was was one.

    The above is idle speculation. Because really it doesn’t matter: the powers that be don’t really need to ‘hire’ anyone (though they still do of course), because useful idiots are literally clamouring to make utter fools of themselves.

    And so to Trump, inevitably. The people making fools of themselves over Trump are legion. May I add Chris Hedges to this list. Another in a long line of leftist writers who eventually let you down. He has done some interesting work, particularly around the absurd prison sentencing for African Americans and minorities, but I suppose once you’ve written for the NY Times, you never can quite escape. Hedges calls Trump a ‘Fascist’, quite literally. He also once commented that he expected ‘arrests to begin’. I wish Trump would arrest Clinton, and all her creepy Clinton Foundationers. It appears he and Sessions are unable, or unwilling to, for reasons that Chris Hedges does not care to elucidate. I can elucidate: it’s because everything is so corrupt in DC that everyone is fighting to protect their hides with all the empathy of a cornered rat. Clinton goes down, so does pretty much everyone else. So, they are reduced to the silly spectacle of calling Trump a ‘Fascist’ and a ‘white supremacist’, and carry on blithely making utter fools of themselves. Sad, as Trump might say.

    Here’s the thing with Trump. If you want greater worker protections, less inequality, and much better welfare – he is definitely NOT your man. Vote for someone else, that’s ok. If you want a fascist, vote for Clinton, or any one one of her utterly creepy acolytes. Trump is a libertarian conservative, always has been, and calling him a fascist because you disagree with his immigration policy, that’s just lunacy. They are all at it though, because the putative left in America, such as it exists at all, has gone completely insane.

    Actually, it would be genuinely interesting if one of these left writers actually attempted to explain why Trump is a ‘fascist’ or ‘white supremacist’. I’d read that article, if nothing else, it could be funny. Truthspeak: all fascists and white supremacists are utter jerks, but the converse isn’t necessarily true. Sometimes a jerk is just a jerk.

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