Later On

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Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

A Democratic Firm Is Shaking Up the World of Political Fundraising.

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The report I blogged in the previous post is probably a response in part to this innovation, reported in the Intercept by Rachel Cohen:

WHEN KARA EASTMAN pulled off a primary upset this past spring in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, a swing seat in the Omaha metro region, she did so with no help from the national Democratic party. Eastman, a social worker and first-time candidate running on an unapologetic left-wing platform, was competing against former Rep. Brad Ashford, who served for years in the Nebraska legislature and one term in Congress between 2014 and 2016.

Despite Ashford’s long track record of supporting abortion restrictions, pro-choice groups like EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL Pro-Choice America opted to stay out of the race. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, elevated Ashford to their “Red to Blue” list, a signal of official party support for competitive races, and political action committees controlled by House leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., kicked in over $28,000 to Ashford’s bid.

Eastman, who embraced not only reproductive freedom but also policies like “Medicare for All,” tuition-free college, a $15 minimum wage, and increased gun control, struggled early on to compete. While her proposals and personal story were popular, finding donors was hard.

Yet by the time her primary rolled around, Eastman emerged the winner, raising close to $400,000  and benefitting from a flurry of late-stage media coverage. Using a new digital fundraising company to target customized groups of donors across the country — such as all Democrats who identify as social workers or those who back “Medicare for All” — Eastman’s team was able to change the trajectory of the race.

Her campaign credits Grassroots Analytics, an obscure tech startup that’s quietly shaking up the Democratic campaign finance world. Not a single article has ever been written about or even mentioned it, despite the company having aided some of the biggest upsets of the 2018 cycle, including Joe Cunningham in South Carolina, Lucy McBath in Georgia, and Kendra Horn in Oklahoma.

“Grassroots Analytics absolutely was what allowed us to be competitive in the primary and get on TV, otherwise there is no way we would have won,” said Dave Pantos, the finance director for Eastman’s campaign. “We were definitely not the mainstream candidate, and we didn’t have access to donor lists that more establishment candidates have.” Eastman ended up losing the general election, earning 49 percent of the vote, but has already announced that she’s jumping back in the fray for 2020.

Grassroots Analytics says it wants to level the playing field and to make it easier for candidates to run who don’t already have a built-in network of wealthy family, friends, and co-workers. Using an algorithm to clean and sort publicly available data spread across the internet, the company provides campaigns with customized lists of donors who they believe are most likely to support them. If you’re involved in the world of political fundraising, a thought has probably occurred to you just now: Wait, isn’t that illegal? Hold that thought.

Establishment groups like the Democratic National Committee, the DCCC, and EMILY’s List have largely given the firm the cold shoulder, despite its goals and the fact that it worked with 137 campaigns in the last cycle. Not even mainstream progressive organizations like Our Revolution or Justice Democrats would return Grassroots Analytics’s entreaties to work together.

DANNY HOGENKAMP, THE 24-year-old founder and director of Grassroots Analytics, wasn’t expecting to end up in this kind of business. He had no background in politics; he studied Arabic at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and assumed he’d end up doing foreign policy or refugee resettlement work after college.

But after graduating in 2016, with no job yet to speak of, he decided to go crash with some relatives in Syracuse, New York, where he was born, and try his hand in a congressional campaign. He enlisted with first-time candidate Colleen Deacon, a 39-year-old single mother who had worked as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s regional aide in upstate New York. Deacon, who previously lived on Medicaid and food stamps, campaigned on putting herself through college with minimum wage jobs and student loans.

Hogenkamp was placed on the finance team, where he was charged with raising money and managing a team of 20 unpaid interns. It was there that he first encountered the opaque world of political fundraising — a world that even many organizers, pundits, and journalists can hardly grasp.

“I had no idea what campaigns were like, and it turns out that literally what candidates actually do to raise money, unless you’re really well-connected and famous, is sit in a room and call rich, old people to beg for $1,500, $2,000, or preferably [the federal maximum] of $2,700,” he said.

To run a competitive House race, Deacon’s campaign knew it needed to raise between $1.5 million and $2 million. Syracuse is one of the poorer metropolitan areas in New York, and after the campaign exhausted all the local prospective donors it could think of, the next step was the big open secret in political campaigning: finding similar candidates in other states and races and then researching who donated to their campaigns. So, for example, Deacon staffers would search for similar candidates — like Monica Vernon, who was running for Congress at the same time in Iowa — and then try and track down the contact information for the donors listed on their Federal Election Commission reports.

“Our interns would literally just Google people and try to find their phone numbers,” Hogenkamp said. “But donors change their numbers all the time, and they’re hard to find.”

The whole thing was invariably slow and disorganized. “It was the stupidest process,” he said. “It’s not digitized; there’s no math; it’s just random and stupid.”

Hogenkamp, still pretty much an idealistic novice, was convinced that there had to be a better way, some obvious step he was missing. So, from his perch as a relatively high-level finance staffer on Deacon’s team, he reached out to everyone he could think of — like the DCCC, EMILY’s List, liberal consulting firms, and other politicians — to find out how to make this fundraising process easier. “No one had any good answers; they said, ‘Well, this is just how you do it,’” he said. Hogenkamp recalled Gillibrand’s team telling him about its personal wealthy contacts in New York and how fundraising for the campaign meant going to those people and asking each of them to go out and find 10 more donors within their own networks.

Eventually, Hogenkamp connected with David Chase, a Democratic political operative who was then managing the campaign for Rubén Kihuen in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District. Chase offered a bit of help: He had developed a very rudimentary tool to aid his team’s fundraising efforts.

“Using OpenSecrets, I built some product that allowed you to search through all the federal and state contributions,” Chase told The Intercept. “It was very simple — I don’t have any advanced technological skills — but I wrote a script that allowed you to upload a list and it spit back the stats on the amount of times someone had given to state races and their average contributions.” In other words, for someone looking to discover who had given $500 or so to multiple candidates, Chase’s tool provided a way to more quickly glean that information.

Chase explained his tool, and Hogenkamp realized that there was a lot more he could do with an idea like that. During college, he had interned at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he learned to model how likely students were to default on their student loans. “I just randomly had a background in R and Python and zero-inflated negative binomial regressions from my time at the CFPB, so it was really just serendipitous that I actually knew what to do,” he said. Following that conversation, Hogenkamp went back and recruited a bunch of Syracuse University computer science students to help him build out his vision.

The result was effectively what he calls a “cleaner” of publicly available data, scraped from across the internet, that analyzes and sorts information for more than 14.5 million Democratic donors over the last 15 years. The tool would generate lists of individuals most likely to support a candidate given shared characteristics and shared views — ranging from race and ethnicity to a passion for yoga or universal health care. . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

23 March 2019 at 10:46 am

House Democratic Leadership Shows Its Authoritarian Side

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Akela Lacy reports in the Intercept:

THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL Campaign Committee warned political strategists and vendors Thursday night that if they support candidates mounting primary challenges against incumbent House Democrats, the party will cut them off from business.

The news was officially announced Friday morning, paired with a statement on the committee’s commitment to diversity in consulting — “which, obviously, is just to give themselves cover,” a Democratic political consultant who learned of it Thursday told The Intercept. The consultant asked for anonymity given their relationship with the DCCC, and the party organization’s professed strategy of blacklisting firms that don’t fall in line.

To apply to become a preferred vendor in the 2020 cycle, firms must agree to a set of standards that includes agreeing not to work with anyone challenging an incumbent.

“I understand the above statement that the DCCC will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting Member of the House Democratic Caucus,” the form reads.

It’s no secret that the DCCC and national party leaders often interfere on behalf of preferred candidates. Or that they otherwise jump into the game too late, if they don’t completely write off newcomers who don’t meet their standards. The DCCC is known for prioritizing candidates and direct them to its own consultants, most of whom are alumni of the DCCC, which is known in Washington as a “consultant factory.” The latest move only reaffirms that reputation and sends a warning shot to grassroots and progressive consultants.

Groups working to diversify Congress say the committee has been slow to adequately address lack of representation — i.e., recruiting more womenand people of color. Collective PAC, which works to elect black Democrats, sent a letter to the DCCC last year asking why the group didn’t include any black candidates in its “Red to Blue” program, which targets seats that have a promising chance to flip. They added several candidates after that, including current Reps. Lauren Underwood of Illinois and Colin Allred of Texas.

D-trip claims its top priority is protecting the majority, and that in order to do so, they must keep internal discord at a minimum. But as progressive candidates, organizers, and members build grassroots campaigns and prove they can hold their own, the D-trip’s old playbook is having the opposite effect.

The strategy isn’t new. Though it did bring a few more hiccups in 2018 than expected, which makes the rollout all the more puzzling. “There was never an enforcement that I’ve ever seen,” the strategist told The Intercept. “This is the first time that they are ever making it open policy.”

After their coordinated attack on Laura Moser in Texas’s 7th District, she raised $86,000, got an endorsement from Our Revolution, and made it to a runoff. She eventually lost to current Rep. Lizzie Fletcher. But the episode gave fodder to progressive groups like the Working Families Party, Justice Democrats, and Collective PAC, which had formed for precisely that occasion — the party’s increasing inability to make space for new voices, many of them progressive. D-trip proved their point, and Our Revolution and WFP stepped in instead.

And in Nebraska’s 2nd District, the DCCC backed former Rep. Brad Ashford over Kara Eastman, who ended up winning the primary and losing the general election. Ashford was a former Republican who flip-floppedon access to abortion throughout his time in the state legislature and later as a Democrat in the U.S. House, and opposed single-payer health care. Eastman was a staunchly pro-choice progressive who supported Medicare for All. She was one of only two insurgents to beat DCCC-backed candidates last cycle. In the Democratic primary for Kentucky’s 6th District, Amy McGrath beat Jim Gray and later lost to Republican Rep. Andy Barr. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is now recruiting her to run against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020.

Strategists and congressional staffers with knowledge of the change say it will disproportionately impact vendors and candidates who are women and people of color, as the consultants who work with incumbents are the ones who’ve come up through the party at a time when its commitment to diversity was even dimmer than it is today.

The committee is telling firms they can’t oppose sitting members, the strategist said. “I’d rather keep the majority too, which is why to me this is kind of stupid to have a blanket rule. Because, if it’s a safe incumbent seat, why does it matter?”

The DCCC’s move also creates a new niche business, paradoxically, opening the door for consultants who don’t want to be under the thumb of the party. “From here on out, let’s refer to the DCCC for what it is, the White Male Centrist Campaign Protection Committee,” said Sean McElwee of Data for Progress. “My email is seanadrianmc@gmail.com. Any challenger looking for firms to work with them can feel free to reach out. There are plenty.”

Rebecca Katz, a longtime Democratic consultant, also said she’d be happy to work with the challengers. “The people who can’t understand the party is stronger because we have Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley in Congress should not be in the business of choosing who can run for Congress,” she said.

Alex Rojas, the head of Justice Democrats, the bane of the DCCC, is backing a primary challenge to incumbent Henry Cuellar in Texas, while looking for other candidates across the country. “Make no mistake — they are sending a signal that they are more afraid of Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez winning primary challenges than Henry Cuellar who votes with Trump nearly 70 percent of the time,” she said.

For both parties, . . .

Continue reading.

I find this repulsive.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 March 2019 at 10:41 am

Americans, pessimistic about what life will be like in 2050, fear these things most

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This is a grim column by James Hohmann in the Washington Post, and it puts into words (and illustrates with data) a growing feeling I have that the US will not recover: the decline is now leading into the fall because the US can no longer get the job done. Maybe I’m just being pessimistic—I certainly hope so—but read the column and see whether it matches your own thoughts and feelings:

THE BIG IDEA: Americans, collectively, appear to be in a deeper funk about the future than Beto O’Rourke was after he lost his Senate race.

When adults are asked to think about what the United States will be like in 2050, they see the country declining in stature on the world stage, a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots and growing political polarization. They think health care will be less affordable, public education will be lower quality and retiring will be harder.

They fear the growing national debt, the likelihood of an attack that’s as bad or worse than 9/11 and another 1970s-style energy crisis. Many people also think robots will take their jobs.

Few folks in either party believe the political class is up to the task of addressing the most pressing challenges. Part of the problem is that there is less agreement about what the biggest problems even are than there once was, let alone the best ways to tackle them.

A Pew Research Center study published Thursday is full of sobering data points that underscore the level of unease in the body politic and help explain why every two years brings another change election. The comprehensive poll, released with a 58-page report, paints a grim portrait of Americans who feel trepidation about the day-to-day lives that they and their children will be forced to live in 30 years. The numbers bear out what I’ve heard for years now from voters across the country and across the ideological spectrum.

Seven in 10 Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country right now, higher than at any time in the past year, but there is a more atmospheric crisis of confidence that transcends the daily news cycle or even the Trump presidency. Overall, 56 percent of people say they are somewhat or even “very” optimistic about the future while 44 percent say they are pessimistic. But asking specific questions reveals a deeper, more systemic anxiety.

— The economy: We’re a decade removed from the Great Recession, yet 62 percent of Americans expect the lower class will increase as a relative share of the U.S. population by 2050. Only 20 percent expect that average families will fare better financially in the future than they do today. Another 44 percent predict that their standard of living to be worse three decades from now.

The poll shows that 73 percent expect the gap between the rich and the poor to grow, including majorities across demographic and political groups. Overall, 54 percent predict that the U.S. economy as a whole will be weaker in 2050 than it is today. And 63 percent worry the national debt will be larger in 2050 than it is now.

These numbers are startling considering the relative strength of the economy. If people are this pessimistic when times are pretty good, what’s going to happen as this economy continues to slow and inevitably dips into a recession?

— People fear the future of work: 37 percent of all currently employed Americans see automation as a direct threat to their current occupation. Exactly half of workers with no more than a high school diploma think robots and computers will take over the work that they currently do. While many of the highly educated and affluent think artificial intelligence and automation are great, a majority of Americans believe that it will worsen inequality. They don’t see the advantages.

— There’s growing anxiety about retirement security: Among those who are currently in the workforce, 42 percent expect to receive no Social Security benefits when they eventually retire. Another 42 percent anticipate that benefits will be reduced from what they are today.

Overall, 3 in 4 Americans expect older adults will be less prepared financially for retirement in 2050 than they are today; 83 percent predict that most people will have to work into their 70s to be able to afford to stop working; and 57 percent think people over 65 will have a worse standard of living in 2050 than they do today.

— More expect the quality of public schools to get worse than better by 2050, and 77 percent of Americans worry about their ability to provide a quality education for the students of tomorrow. This concern is shared across party lines.

— Six in 10 Americans predict that health care will be less affordable in 2050 than it is today.

— The same share of people thinks the condition of the planet will be worse in 2050. Only 16 percent think the environment will be better. Meanwhile, 2 in 3 Americans predict a major worldwide energy crisis that will hamper our economy sometime in the next 30 years.

— About half of Americans believe that a majority nonwhite population will lead to more racial and ethnic conflicts. Many white people especially fear demographic change. By 2050, the Census Bureau predicts the United States will be a majority-minority country. The Pew poll shows that 35 percent believe that’s good, 23 percent say it will be bad and the rest don’t think it’s good or bad. Overall, 40 percent believe race relations will be worse in 2050 than they are now.

— Six in 10 Americans believe that the United States will be less important in the world in 2050 than it is now.And 53 percent expect that China definitely or probably will overtake us as the world’s main superpower within the next three decades.

— There are also deep worries about the future of faith, marriage and family: Overall, 43 percent say they are “very” worried about the nation’s moral values while another 34 percent are “fairly” worried. Half the country sees religion being less important to American life in 2050. A 46 percent plurality expects that fewer people will have children. And a 53 percent majority thinks people in 2050 will be less likely to get married than they are today. Only 7 percent predict that people will be more likely to marry in the future.

— That finding comes amid fresh evidence that America is suffering epidemic levels of aloneness. Another major poll published this week, the General Social Survey, shows that just over half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 do not have a steady romantic partner. That’s up dramatically from 33 percent in 2004, which was the lowest figure since the question was first posed in 1986, and it’s up from 45 percent in 2016.

“The shift has helped drive singledom to a record high among the overall public, among whom 35 percent say they have no steady partner,” Lisa Bonos and Emily Guskin report. “There are several other trends that go along with the increase in young single Americans. Women are having fewer children, and they’re having them later in life. The median age of first marriage is increasing. … According to the General Social Survey data, 41 percent of Democrats are without a steady partner, compared with only 29 percent of Republicans.”

— Tribalism alert: Back to the Pew poll, 2 in 3 Americans predict that the country will be more politically divided in 2050 than it is now, including 68 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Democrats.Only 26 percent of adults think we will be less polarized in 30 years than we are now.

Other surveys have shown similar levels of pessimism about polarization. A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll in 2017 found that 36 percent of Americans were “not proud” of U.S. democracy, for example, at least twice as many as said this in both 2014 and 1996. That survey also found 71 percent saying they think partisan disagreements have reached a dangerous new normal. Most of this group (39 percent) thought this was the new normal, rather than temporary. Seven in 10 respondents thought divisions in this era are at least as big as during the Vietnam War, including 77 percent of people who were adults in the 1970s.

— Finally, most Americans don’t think solutions to our problems will come from Washington. In fact, 55 percent in the Pew poll said Washington will have a more negative impact than a positive one. The country continues to be divided over the role of government: Six in 10 fear the government will do too little to solve problems, while 39 percent worry that the feds will be too involved in issues that are better left to businesses and individuals. These people are counting on scientists, entrepreneurs and educators to get us out of the malaise. . .

Continue reading. And do read the entire column: there’s a lot more and it’s overwhelming.

In this connection, Andrew Sullivan’s column “Trump Is a Massive Failure — and Getting Exactly What He Wants,” in New York is sobering:

Every day, the evidence piles up that Trump’s presidency is a failure on its own terms, let alone anyone else’s. And every day, it becomes clearer that this really doesn’t matter at all.

A politically successful policy catastrophe? That’s one way of putting it. Let us count the ways. On trade, we have a record deficit in goods — precisely the opposite of what Trump promised. On immigration, we are facing the biggest crisis since the Bush years — a huge jump in migrants from Central America that is now overwhelming the system. Trump, for his part, is now enabling what he calls “catch and release” on a massive scale. On economic growth, the huge tax cut for the rich has failed. It will not boost growth to levels of 4 or 5 percent — even the president’s own advisers think it’s likely to be a shade less than 3 percent this year and will decline thereafter. The Fed thinks we’ll be lucky to get a little more than 2 percent.

Meanwhile, the budget deficit now looks likely to be more than a trillion dollars annually for the indefinite future, and public debt is hitting new, stratospheric levels. Trump pledged he’d balance the budget. On entitlements, Trump is beginning to backtrack on his promises to protect the safety net. On climate, the denial of reality is exposed almost daily. In just the last week, we’ve seen catastrophic flooding in the Midwest and what could become the Southern Hemisphere’s deadliest cyclone on record.

And what consequences do we see for these massive failures? Staggeringly stable polling numbers. A year ago, Trump’s approval-to-disapproval rateswere 40.6 to 53.4; today they’re 41.6 to 53.1 percent. Nothing seems to move them. A new survey of Fox News viewers shows that 78 percent of them think that Trump has accomplished more than any other president in history. More than Lincoln, FDR, or Washington, for Pete’s sake. And the enthusiasm of Trump’s base now exceeds that of the Democrats. The usual reassurance — that he’s still underwater, widely unpopular, and easy to defeat next year — is getting less reassuring. When you actually break out the head-to-head polls, you find Trump remains highly competitive. Bernie bests him by just two points right now — and that’s before the GOP attack machine has even gotten started. Everyone else is also neck and neck, although a new poll shows Biden with a ten-point lead. Maybe Biden will save us. I think he would have in 2016. But he failed at both his previous presidential runs, has a huge message-discipline problem, will have a hard time inspiring the grassroots, and looks to be a little too handsy with women for comfort. I’m not saying he cannot win. I’m just saying it’s obviously going to be tough.

And the cult is deepening. For me, the grimmest reality is Congress’s likely inability to override Trump’s veto on wall spending. Here you have a bedrock principle of constitutional conservatism — separation of powers, Congress’s sole power of the purse — and it has been tossed out the window. This is not some minor development. Handing the president the ability to make up national emergencies in order to appropriate funds for purposes Congress has explicitly ruled out — well, it’s textbook authoritarianism. It makes Obama’s attempt to juggle priorities in who gets deported look positively meek.

There is also a collapse in a functioning, accountable government outside the small royal court that has effectively replaced the cabinet. Foreign policy has become a matter of authoritarian whim, or family connection. Yesterday, Trump tweeted — yes, tweeted — an attack on the basis of international law: He recognized Israel’s seizure of the Golan Heights as legitimate and permanent. That piece of land is now, for the U.S., part of “Israel’s Sovereignty.” Reversing decades of policy only took a few seconds.

Trump’s rationale is the idea that the Heights are of “critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” So if a state decides to annex the territory of a neighboring state, because such an occupation helps the strategy and security of the aggressor nation, the U.S. has no problem with that. What principle is left to oppose Putin’s annexation of Crimea? Why did Trump do this? No one really knows, as is usually the case with monarchs of old. Probably he was trying to please evangelicals, support Bibi’s reelection, and nudge along the son-in-law’s harebrained Mideast scheme. (Yes, the mute dauphin who uses his WhatsApp for official business, and hangs out with the Saudi torturer, MBS.)

Trump’s dominance routine has also become more effective the longer it has gone on. Look at the miserable examples of Lindsey Graham or Ben Sasse, eunuchs at the Royal Court. Or think of Trump’s Twitter assaults on George Conway, a man pointing out the bleeding obvious — that Trump is so mentally and psychologically sick that he is unfit to run a lemonade stand. And, for her part, Conway defends Trump rather than her husband! This is Stalinesque. Or think of the insane indecency of Trump’s continued flaying of the ghost of John McCain. Yes, some Republicans have demurred. But primarily those whose own careers are over, time-limited, or beyond accountability because their seats are so safe. Mitt Romney is reduced to saying he cannot “understand” why Trump would do this. Again: the former nominee, safe Senate seat, Mormon rectitude, long Republican loyalist. And he pretends merely to be baffled?

Talk about “ripe for tyranny”! And that, it seems to me, is the real salience of the tweets. Trump is showing his foes and friends that he can say anything, abuse anyone, lie about anything, break every norm of decency, propriety and prudence — and suffer no consequences at all. It’s all a dominance ritual. And just think about what he has actually claimed: that the heads of the FBI and DOJ engaged in treasonous and illegal activity; that Russia, despite the unanimous judgment of U.S. and Western intelligence, did not attempt to intervene in the 2016 election; and that the opposition party cannot “legitimately” win an election. The latter — repeated over the years — is a direct assault on liberal democracy, and on the integrity and legitimacy of the entire system. It opens up the very real possibility that Trump will not concede an election he loses. In any functioning democracy, such statements would end any politician’s career. They merely burnish Trump’s hold.

In this post-truth world, where Trump has allied with social media to create an alternate reality, lies work. This week, he approached the press corps simply repeating, “No Collusion! No Collusion!” And he will continue to say this regardless of what the Mueller report may reveal, because it doesn’t matter what actually happened. Whatever Trump says will become the truth for 40 percent of the country, while the expectations of the opposition, troubled by pesky empiricism, may well be deflated. Fox, a de facto state propaganda channel, will do the rest.

This remains a surreal state of affairs, does it not? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2019 at 4:28 pm

Capt. Sullenberger on the FAA and Boeing: ‘Our credibility as leaders in aviation is being damaged’

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Capt. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger writes at MarketWatch.com:

For most of the history of powered flight, the United States has been a world leader in aviation.

This nation’s aviation regulatory body, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has long been the gold standard of safety regulation in global aviation, often a template for other nations to follow in technical and safety matters.

Boeing BA, -1.75% has long been the world’s preeminent airplane maker.

But now, our credibility as leaders in aviation is being damaged. Boeing and the FAA have been found wanting in this ugly saga that began years ago but has come home to roost with two terrible fatal crashes, with no survivors, in less than five months, on a new airplane type, the Boeing 737 Max 8, something that is unprecedented in modern aviation history.

For too many years, the FAA has not been provided budgets sufficient to ensure appropriate oversight of a rapidly growing global aviation industry. Staffing has not been adequate for FAA employees to oversee much of the critically important work of validating and approving aircraft certification. Instead, much of the work has been outsourced by designating aircraft manufacturer employees to do the work on behalf of the FAA. This, of course, has created inherent conflicts of interest, when employees working for the company whose products must be certified to meet safety standards are the ones doing much of the work of certifying them. There simply are not nearly enough FAA employees to do this important work in-house.

To make matters worse, there is too cozy a relationship between the industry and the regulators. And in too many cases, FAA employees who rightly called for stricter compliance with safety standards and more rigorous design choices have been overruled by FAA management, often under corporate or political pressure.Let me be clear, without effective leadership and support from political leaders in the administration, the FAA does not have sufficient independence to be able to do its job, which is to keep air travelers and crews safe. Oversight must mean accountability, or it means nothing.

Boeing, in developing the 737 Max 8, obviously felt intense competitive pressure to get the new aircraft to market as quickly as possible. When flight testing revealed an issue with meeting the certification standards, they developed a fix, Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), but did not tell airline pilots about it. In mitigating one risk, they seem to have created another, greater risk.

After the crash of Lion Air 610 last October, it was apparent that this new risk needed to be effectively addressed. It has been reported that Boeing pushed back in discussions with the FAA about the extent of changes that would be required, and after the second crash, of Ethiopian 302, the Boeing CEO reached out to the U.S. President to try to keep the 737 Max 8 from being grounded in the U.S. The new fix still has not been fielded, nearly five months after Lion Air. It almost certainly could have been done sooner, and should have been.

Boeing  has focused on trying to protect its product and defend its stance, but the best way, indeed the only way, to really protect one’s brand or product is to protect the people who use it. We must not forget that the basis of business, what makes business possible, is trust.

Estimates are that Boeing likely will face additional costs of several billion dollars because of these recent crashes and the decisions made several years ago that led up to them. This case is a validation of something that I have long understood, that there is a strong business case for quality and safety, that it is always better and cheaper to do it right instead of doing it wrong and trying to repair the damage after the fact, and when lives are lost, there is no way to repair the damage. . .

Continue reading.

The credits note:

Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger is a safety expert, author and speaker on leadership and culture. He is also a retired airline pilot who, on Jan. 15, 2009, safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York when both engines lost power after they were struck by a flock of birds. All 155 people on board survived.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2019 at 10:09 am

Tech Platforms Obliterated ISIS Online. They Could Use The Same Tools On White Nationalism.

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The puzzle is why Big Tech is so reluctant to take action. Ryan Broderick and Ellie Hall report in Buzzfeed News:

Before killing 50 people during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and injuring 40 more, the gunman apparently decided to fully exploit social media by releasing a manifesto, posting a Twitter thread showing off his weapons, and going live on Facebook as he launched the attack.

The gunman’s coordinated social media strategy wasn’t unique, though. The way he manipulated social media for maximum impact is almost identical to how ISIS, at its peak, was using those very same platforms.

While most mainstream social networks have become aggressive about removing pro-ISIS content from the average user’s feed, far-right extremism and white nationalism continue to thrive. Only the most egregious nodes in the radicalization network have been removed from every platform. The question now is: Will Christchurch change anything?

A 2016 study by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism shows that white nationalists and neo-Nazi supporters had a much larger impact on Twitter than ISIS members and supporters at the time. When looking at about 4,000 accounts of each category, white nationalists and neo-Nazis outperformed ISIS in number of tweets and followers, with an average follower count that was 22 times greater than ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts. The study concluded that by 2016, ISIS had become a target of “large-scale efforts” by Twitter to drive supporters off the platform, like using AI-based technology to automatically flag militant Muslim extremist content, while white nationalists and neo-Nazi supporters were given much more leeway, in large part because their networks were far less cohesive.

Google and Facebook have also invested heavily in AI-based programs that scan their platforms for ISIS activity. Google’s parent company created a program called the Redirect Method that uses AdWords and YouTube video content to target kids at risk of radicalization. Facebook said it used a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning to remove more than 3 million pieces of ISIS and al-Qaeda propaganda in the third quarter of 2018.

These AI tools appear to be working. The pages and groups of ISIS members and supporters have almost been completely scrubbed from Facebook. Beheading videos are pulled down from YouTube within hours. The terror group’s formerly vast network of Twitter accounts have been almost completely erased. Even the slick propaganda videos, once broadcast on multiple platforms within minutes of publication, have been relegated to private groups on apps like Telegram and WhatsApp.

The Christchurch attack is the first big instance of white nationalist extremism being treated — across these three big online platforms — with the same severity as pro-ISIS content. Facebook announced 1.5 million versions of the Christchurch livestream were removed from the platform within the first 24 hours. YouTube said in a statement that “Shocking, violent and graphic content has no place on our platforms, and is removed as soon as we become aware of it,” though the video does continue to appear on the site — a copy of it was being uploaded every second in the first 24 hours. Twitter also said it had taken down the account of the suspected gunman and was working to remove all versions of the video.

The answer to why this kind of cross-network deplatforming hasn’t happened with white nationalist extremism may be found in a 2018 VOX-Pol report authored by the same researcher as the George Washington University study cited above: “The task of crafting a response to the alt-right is considerably more complex and fraught with landmines, largely as a result of the movement’s inherently political nature and its proximity to political power.”

But Silicon Valley’s road to accepting that a group like ISIS could use its technology to radicalize, recruit, and terrorize was a long one. After years of denial and dragging their feet, it was the beheading death of American journalist James Foley, quickly followed by videos of the deaths of other foreign journalists and a British aid worker, and the viral chaos that followed that finally forced tech companies to take the moderation of ISIS seriously. The US and other governments also began putting pressure on Silicon Valley to finally start moderating terror. Tech companies formed joint task forces to share information, working in conjunction with governments and the United Nations and establishing more robust information-sharing systems.

But tech companies and governments can easily agree on removing violent terrorist content; they’ve been less inclined to do this with white nationalist content, which cloaks itself in free speech arguments and which a new wave of populist world leaders are loath to criticize. Christchurch could be another moment for platforms to draw a line in the sand between what is and is not acceptable on their platforms.

Moderating white nationalist extremism is hard because it’s drenched in irony and largely spread online via memes, obscure symbols, and references. The Christchurch gunman ironically told the viewers of his livestream to “Subscribe to Pewdiepie.” His alleged announcement post on 8chan was full of trolly dark web in-jokes. And the cover of his manifesto had a Sonnenrad on it — a sunwheel symbol commonly used by neo-Nazis.

And unlike ISIS, far-right extremism isn’t as centralized. The Christchurch gunman and Christopher Hasson, the white nationalist Coast Guard officer who was arrested last month for allegedly plotting to assassinate politicians and media figures and carry out large-scale terror attacks using biological weapons, were both inspired by Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik. Cesar Sayoc, also known as the “MAGA Bomber,” and the Tree of Life synagogue shooter, both appear to have been partially radicalized via 4chan and Facebook memes.

It may now be genuinely impossible to disentangle anti-Muslim hate speech on Facebook and YouTube from the more coordinated racist 4chan meme pages or white nationalist communities growing on these platforms. “Islamophobia happens to be something that made these companies lots and lots of money,” Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor at Syracuse University whose research includes online harassment, recently told BuzzFeed News. She said this type of content leads to engagement, which keeps people using the platform, which generates ad revenue.

YouTube has community guidelines that prohibit all content that encourages or condones violence to achieve ideological goals. For foreign terrorist organizations such as ISIS, it works with law enforcement internet referral units like Europol to ensure the quick removal of terrorist content from the platform. When asked to comment specifically on whether neo-Nazi or white nationalist video content was moderated in a similar fashion to foreign terrorist organizations, a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that hate speech and content that promotes violence have no place on the platform.

“Over the last few years we have heavily invested in human review teams and smart technology that helps us quickly detect, review, and remove this type of content. We have thousands of people around the world who review and counter abuse of our platforms and we encourage users to flag any videos that they believe violate our guidelines,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson from Twitter provided BuzzFeed News with a copy of its policy on extremism, in regards to how it moderates ISIS-related content. “You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people,” the policy reads. “This includes, but is not limited to, threatening or promoting terrorism.” The spokesperson would not comment specifically on whether using neo-Nazi or white nationalist iconography on Twitter also counted as threatening or promoting terrorism.

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment on whether white nationalism and neo-Nazism are moderated using the same image matching and language understanding that the platform uses to police ISIS-related content.

Like the hardcore white nationalist and neo-Nazi iconography used by the Christchurch gunman, the more entry-level memes that likely radicalized the MAGA bomber, and the pipeline from mainstream social networks to more private clusters of extremist thought described by the Tree of Life shooter, ISIS’s social media activity before the large-scale crackdown in 2015 had similar tentpoles. It organized around hashtags, distributed propaganda in multiple languages, transmitted coded language and iconography, and siphoned possible recruits from larger mainstream social networks into smaller private messaging platforms.

Its members and supporters were able to post official propaganda materials across platforms with relatively few immediate repercussions. A 2015 analysis of the group’s social media activity found that ISIS released an average of 38 propaganda items a day — most of which did not contain graphic material or content that specifically violated these platforms’ terms of service at the time.

ISIS’s use of Twitter hashtags to effectively spread material in multiple languages went relatively unpoliced for years, as did their use of sharing propaganda material in popular trending tags, in what is known as “hashtag spamming.” As one of many examples, during the 2014 World Cup, ISIS supporters shared images of Iraqi soldiers being executed using the Arabic World Cup tag. They also tweeted propaganda and threats against the US and then-president Barack Obama into the #Ferguson tag during the protests after the death of Michael Brown.

The accounts that were not caught by outsiders for sharing graphic or threatening content often went undetected due to the insulated nature of the communities and the number of languages employed by ISIS members. Also, the group regularly employed coded language, much of which is rooted in a fundamentalist interpretation of the Qur’an and can be difficult for non-Muslims to interpret. As one example, fighters killed in battle or killed carrying out terrorist attacks were referred to as “green birds,” referencing the belief that martyrs of Islam are carried to heaven in the hearts of green birds.’

ISIS’s digital free-for-all started to end on Aug. 19, 2014. A YouTube account that claimed to be the official channel for the so-called Islamic State uploaded a video titled “A Message to America.” The video opened with a clip of Obama announcing airstrikes against ISIS forces in Syria and then cut away to a masked ISIS member standing next to Foley, kneeling on the ground wearing an orange jumpsuit. Foley had been captured by insurgent forces while covering the Syrian Civil War in November 2012. The 4-minute, 40-second video showed his execution by beheading and then a shot of his decapitated head atop his body.

Within minutes of the Foley video being uploaded to YouTube, it started spreading across social media. #ISIS, #JamesFoley, and #IslamicState started trending on Twitter. Users started the #ISISMediaBlackout, urging people not to share the video or screenshots from it.

Then a ripple effect — similar to Alex Jones being deplatformed last year — began. In Jones’ case, first he was kicked off Apple’s iTunes and Podcast apps, then YouTube and Facebook removed him from their platforms, then Twitter, and finally his app was removed from Apple’s App Store.

In 2014, it was YouTube that was the first platform to pull down the James Foley video for violating the site’s policy against videos that “promote terrorism.”

“YouTube has clear policies that prohibit content like gratuitous violence, hate speech and incitement to commit violent acts, and we remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users,” the company said in a statement at the time. “We also terminate any account registered by a member of a designated foreign terrorist organisation and used in an official capacity to further its interests.”

Then Dick Costolo, then the CEO of Twitter, followed YouTube’s lead, tweeting, “We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you.” Then Twitter went a step further, agreeing to remove screenshotsof the video from its platform.

Foley’s execution also forced Facebook to become more aggressive about moderating terror-related content across its family of apps.

It wasn’t just tech companies that came out against the distribution of the Foley execution video. There was a concerted push from the Obama administration to work with tech companies to eliminate ISIS from mainstream social networks. After years of government-facilitated discussions, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorismwas formed by YouTube, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter in 2017. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has repeatedly highlighted the department’s anti-ISIS collaboration with the GIFCT as one of the key ways the Trump administration is combating terrorism on the internet.

In a certain sense, there is a similar movement online to #ISISMediaBlackout and a genuine pushback against using the name or sharing pictures of the Christchurch gunman. The House Judiciary Committee announced that it will hold a hearing this month on the rise of white nationalism and has invited the heads of all the major tech platforms to testify. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to never say the name of the alleged gunman, and continues to call on social media platforms to take more responsibility for the dissemination of his video and manifesto. . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

 

Written by LeisureGuy

21 March 2019 at 11:34 am

Americans Are Seeing Threats in the Wrong Places

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Janet Napolitano with Karen Breslau, authors of How Safe Are We?: Homeland Security Since 9/11, write in the Atlantic (and let me mention that it was Janet Napolitano who retracted the DHS report on the dangers of right-wing domestic terrorism—the GOP in Congress pushed her, and she caved):

At 8:07 a.m. on January 13, 2018, every smartphone screen in Hawaii lit up with a single message, in all caps: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” In fact, it was a false alarm triggered by a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency worker who mistook instructions he had received during an unscheduled emergency drill for a real attack. Nevertheless, motorists drove erratically as they raced to park their car inside a freeway tunnel. Spectators fled sporting events, and college students ran to campus tsunami shelters. Some people called or texted their loved ones to say goodbye.

It was not until 8:38 a.m. that the State of Hawaii issued a correction on its emergency-alert system. It took nearly half an hour, the governor later confessed, because he could not remember the login for his official Twitter account. The White House issued no communication until later in the day, when a deputy press secretary said in a statement that the president had been briefed on the incident and that “this was purely a state exercise.”

From the safety of my apartment in Oakland, California, I had two thoughts: First, I was glad to be headed to the farmers’ market that Saturday morning—and glad not to be serving as secretary of homeland security anymore. Second, it was clear that the incident, however bizarre it appeared on the surface, revealed systemic failures far more serious than any being discussed in the media. What if this had been not an accident, but a hack by a hostile actor intended to cause chaos not only in one American city or state but in many? What if the goal had been to distract Americans and provide cover for another type of attack? What if public panic caused traffic accidents or heart attacks? A breakdown in public order?

In the four years I led the Department of Homeland Security, I learned from the inside that the greatest threats to our safety play out differently from how political speeches and news reports might have us believe. True security means educating the public about which dangers are real and likely and which are not. Hours after a man killed more than four dozen people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, President Donald Trump downplayed the threat of violence by white-supremacist groups—and went on to contend that the United States is under “invasion” from the south. In fact, mass shootings are genuine security problems. Natural disasters and cyberattacks are genuine security problems. Undocumented immigrants supposedly running over an open border by the millions and attacking Americans on the streets are not.

In a huge and open nation, there will never be enough money, gates, guns, or guards to run down every potential threat. Homeland security works when we adhere to proven principles of law enforcement, national security, and disaster management, and when we integrate those principles with the best data science and other technological innovations available and update them constantly. We get into trouble when political ideology is thrown into the mix. A stubborn or willful misreading of the threat environment leads to poor management of resources and results in failure. And in this regard, I regret to say, we are backsliding terribly.

Border protection is one such area. Vetting travelers primarily by nation of origin, as President Trump’s ban on travelers from certain predominantly Muslim countries does, is not a very effective way of catching terrorists. While offering the illusion of toughness, the ban misdirects our efforts. Rather than directing Customs and Border Protection to fend off every traveler from, say, Syria or Yemen, the agency’s resources are better spent when focused on people who, regardless of which passport they use, have suspicious connections and a pattern of traveling to suspicious places.

Meanwhile, meat-ax policies such as Trump’s ban provide propaganda points to adversaries and antagonize our allies in the Islamic world—governments whose cooperation has, in the past, helped us immensely. They become, as a result, less reliable partners in endeavoring to mitigate threats to the United States on their soil before those threats mature on ours. We become a go-it-alone nation in protecting our own security rather than working with partners. Similarly, the border wall between the United States and Mexico threatens to waste money, attention, and political capital and antagonize Mexico, our neighbor and ally. In 2013, Mexican intelligence helped the United States foil a plot by an Iranian American who tried to recruit a Mexican drug cartel to bomb a Washington, D.C., restaurant where the Saudi ambassador to the United States dined. We would like Mexico to continue helping us in this way.

Read: Why Trump keeps creating crises

The choice is not between an open border and a wall. To promote security and the rule of law, we should focus on smart, cost-effective solutions to securing the border. There are far more effective measures involving technology and hybrid approaches combining physical barriers, surveillance, and the presence of agents that can secure the border.

We are also moving backwards on immigration enforcement. . .

Continue reading. There’s more, and it’s important.

I have a strong sense that the US is facing a defining crisis. It could go very bad very quickly, and based on what we see, that is increasingly likely. Do any others sense this?

Written by LeisureGuy

20 March 2019 at 5:11 pm

Trump Shut Down Programs That Could Help Stop the Next White Nationalist Attack

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Tess Owen writes in Vice:

Last week, after the deadly mosque attacks in New Zealand, President Trump was asked whether he believed white nationalism was a growing threat. “I don’t, really,” he replied. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”

Terrorism experts firmly disagree, pointing to data that says far-right extremist violence in the U.S. and Europe is becoming more frequent and potentially more deadly.

But while other countries have taken significant steps to identify the threat and counter it through dedicated intelligence programs, the Trump administration has cut or cancelled initiatives that were designed to combat domestic extremism.

Shortly after taking office, the administration defunded the Obama-era Countering Violent Extremism Program, which launched in 2016 and had allocated $10 million toward organizations fighting domestic extremism. In addition, the administration froze funds that had already been allocated, including a $400,000 grant for Hope Not Hate, a Chicago-based organization that deradicalizes neo-Nazis.

“In the U.S., we lack any political will to deal with it appropriately. That’s due in part to the nationalist politics that define the right-wing extremist movement at home,” said Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent who was involved in numerous high-profile counterterrorism operations, and is now executive director of the Soufan Center, an organization dedicated to researching global security issues. “We’re not doing much to counter it.”

Terrorism experts say the New Zealand attack is further evidence that far-right extremism is now a global terror threat, often originating and spreading in the online world. The New Zealand attacker, who left 50 dead, published a lengthy manifesto online that revealed his deep entrenchment in the modern white supremacist movement, which is connected internationally via forums like 8chan and 4chan and gaming chat rooms, and amplified through social media.

“After 50 people were murdered, the president never called it terrorism. That makes that blind spot even more glaring,” said Soufan. “Unfortunately we see some sort of compliance when it comes to dealing with the ideology and actions of right-wing extremism.”

FUNDING CUTS

The Department of Homeland Security’s “Office of Community Partnerships,” which oversaw the extremism program, had a budget of $21 million and a staff of 16 full-time employees and 25 contractors under Obama. The Trump administration rebranded it “The Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships” soon after taking office, cut its staff to eight full-time employees, and reduced its budget to less than $3 million.

Former Director George Selim resigned in June 2017, saying that the environment had become “too polarized” and he felt he could no longer do his job effectively.

That was months before hundreds of white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, for the violent “Unite the Right” in August 2017.

The data shows far-right extremism is a bigger problem than Islamic extremism in the U.S. There have been more than 70 deadly attacks by the far right in the U.S. in the last 17 years, compared to 26 carried out by radicalized Muslims, according to an analysis by NPR last October, citing research from private organizations and federal data.

A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that the number of active hate groups in the U.S. reached a record high of 1,020 in 2018, driven largely by a surge in white nationalist groups.

In 2018, far-right extremists carried out a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, killed two black people who were grocery shopping in Kentucky, and waged a weeklong package-bombing campaign targeting the president’s biggest critics.

Days after the New Zealand attacks, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen acknowledged the dangers of domestic terrorism but stopped short of calling it far-right extremism. “We, too, have seen the face of such evil with attacks in places such as Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, and Charleston,” she said as part of her “state of national security” speech Monday.

“My department assesses that the primary terrorist threat to the United States continues to be from Islamist militants and those they inspire,” Nielsen said, “but we should not—and cannot—ignore the real and serious danger posed by domestic terrorists.”

In an email to VICE news, DHS spokesperson Tyler Q. Houlton wrote that the “Department of Homeland Security was committed to combating all forms of violent extremism, especially movements that espouse racial supremacy or bigotry.”

“DHS takes all threats to the homeland, both foreign and domestic, very seriously,” Houlton wrote. “To suggest otherwise is an affront to the men and women of DHS that work tirelessly every day to ensure the safety of the American people.”

At the Department of Justice, efforts to contain domestic right-wing extremism have been confined largely to prosecuting celebrated hate crimes and launching a website. In response to a question from VICE News, a spokesperson sent examples of prosecutions for hate crimes under the Trump administration, including the prosecution of the young neo-Nazi who rammed his car into a crowd of protesters during the Charlottesville rally in 2017.

They also noted that two days after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting last October, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein allocated nearly $900,000 to the University of New Hampshire to conduct “a national survey of hate crime incidents and victimization.”

Rosenstein also said that the Justice Department was directing some funds to improving hate crime prosecution and data collection, including launching a new hate crimes website.

EUROPE’S APPROACH

These efforts contrast with other Western countries, which have taken a much more aggressive stance toward far-right extremism. “Our allies recognize how dangerous this threat is,” Soufan said.

Both Germany and the United Kingdom, which have also seen recent resurgences in far-right extremist activity, have dedicated significant resources to the problem. Last year, MI5 — the U.K.’s domestic counterintelligence agency — was given additional authority to gather intelligence and monitor far-right extremist groups for possible threats to national security. The decision signaled that the British intelligence community were treating far-right extremism with the same level of seriousness as they do Islamist and Northern Ireland-related terrorism.

Meanwhile, Germany is planning to grow “Department Two” of its federal domestic intelligence agency, which monitors far-right extremism, by 50 percent in 2019. “On numbers, I won’t comment. They are secret,” said Thomas Haldenwang, the president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, in December. “But my goal for the department on right-wing extremism is that it approach the size of our largest department that works on Islamist terrorism.”

In January, Germany’s domestic spy agency announced it was investigatingthe far-right, anti-immigrant political party AfD for possible violations of the constitutional safeguards against extremism.

IGNORED WARNINGS

But experts say that the Obama administration also failed to heed warnings about the threat posed by the far right.

In 2009, Daryl Johnson, an analyst at the Department of Homeland Security, issued a report warning about a potential resurgence of right-wing extremism, driven by the financial crisis, and by the election of America’s first black president. His report warned that returning military veterans, in particular, might be targeted for recruitment by far-right extremists.

Republicans demanded DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano retract his report, and called for him to be fired. The American Legion, an organization representing veterans, also blasted the report and demanded an apology. Eventually, Napolitano issued an apology, and withdrew the report. Johnson left DHS in 2010 after his team was disbanded.

Today, he runs DT Analytics, a private security consulting firm for state and local law enforcement, and is considered a national expert in domestic extremism. Johnson said he expected the far-right threat to peter out after Obama’s presidency and when Republicans took back control of the White House.

Now, he says, he was wrong.

“The fact that it’s still operating at a heightened level, despite Republicans being in power, is very concerning, and goes against the trending I’ve seen in 40 years,” said Johnson. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 March 2019 at 2:55 pm

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