Attacker drives van into Barcelona crowd; 1 dead, 32 hurt – Los Angeles Times

A white van jumped onto a sidewalk and sped down a pedestrian zone in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district Thursday, swerving from side to side as it plowed into tourists and residents. Calling it a terror attack, police said at least one person was killed and 32 were wounded, many seriously.

Local media reported at least 13 were killed in the incident. They did not name their sources.

In the aftermath, dozens of people were sprawled out on the ground in the city in northeastern Spain, some spattered with blood and others coping with broken limbs. As witnesses and emergency workers tried to help the wounded, police brandishing hand guns launched a search of side streets amid reports that at least one perpetrator and maybe more were holed up in a nearby bar.

A few hours later, Spanish public broadcaster RTVE announced that a suspect had been arrested. Authorities provided no immediate information on the person or on who might be behind the attack.

“We can only confirm one death and 32 injured, some seriously, so unfortunately the number of fatalities will likely rise,” Joaquim Forn, the regional interior chief who is in charge of the police, told reporters Thursday evening.

Police immediately cordoned off the city’s broad Las Ramblas avenue, which is popular with tourists, and ordered stores and nearby Metro and train stations to close. They asked people to stay away from the area so as not to get in the way of emergency services. A helicopter hovered over the scene.

Quoting unnamed police sources, the El Pais newspaper said two perpetrators of the crash were holed up in a bar in Tallers Street. Armed police ran down adjacent streets and through a market, checking into stores and cafes, presumably in search of them.

Las Ramblas, a street of stalls and shops that cuts through the center of Barcelona, is one of the city’s top tourist destinations. People walk down a wide, pedestrian path in the center of the street but cars can travel on either side. A taxi driver who witnessed the incident, Oscar Cano, told TV3 that the van jumped onto the central pedestrian area at a high speed and swerved from side to side.

In photographs and videos, at least five people could be seen lying in the street Thursday afternoon, being helped by police and others. Other video recorded people screaming as they fled the van.

Keith Fleming, an American who lives in Barcelona, said he was watching TV in his building just off Las Ramblas when he heard a noise and went out to his balcony.

“I saw women and children just running and they looked terrified,” he said.

He said there was a bang — possibly from someone rolling down a store shutter — and more people ran by. Then police arrived and pushed everyone a full block away. People leaning out of doors were being told to go back inside, he said.

Fleming said regular police had their guns drawn and riot police were at the end of his block, which was soon deserted.

“It’s just kind of a tense situation,” Fleming said. “Clearly, people were scared.”

Carol Augustin, a manager at La Palau Moja, an 18th century place on Las Ramblas that houses government offices and a tourism information center, said the van passed right in front of the building.

“We saw everything. People started screaming and running into the office. It was such a chaotic situation. There were families with children. The police made us close the doors and wait inside,” she said.

Spain has been on a security alert one step below the maximum since June 2015 following attacks elsewhere in Europe and Africa. Spanish police have also been involved in the arrests of more than 200 suspected jihadists since then.

Cars, trucks and vans have been the weapon of choice in multiple extremist attacks in Europe in the last year.

The most deadly was the driver of a tractor-trailer who targeted Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice in July 2016, killing 86 people. In December 2016, 12 people died after a driver used a hijacked trick to drive into a Christmas market in Berlin.

There have been multiple attacks this year in London, where a man in a rented SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four people before he ran onto the grounds of Parliament and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death in March.

Four other men drove onto the sidewalk of London Bridge, unleashing a rampage with knives that killed eight people in June. Another man also drove into pedestrians leaving a London mosque later in June.


UPDATES:

11 a.m. This article has been updated with police confirming 1 dead and a Spanish broadcaster reporting that one suspect had been arrested.

10:15 a.m.: This article has been updated with police saying 32 people were injured, 10 seriously.

10 a.m.: This article has been updated with Spanish media reporting up to 13 killed.

9:45 a.m.: This article has been updated with a report from Spanish media that at least 20 people were injured.

9:29 a.m.: This article has been updated with a report from Spanish media that police have at least one confirmed fatality and are treating the incident as a terrorist attack .

9:11 a.m.: This article has been updated with a report from Spanish media that armed crash perpetrators are holed up in a bar.

8:55 a.m.: This article has been updated with information about the district and confirmation of several injuries.

8:40 a.m.: This article has been updated with police reporting possible injuries.

This article was originally published at 8:25 a.m.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Barcelona: Van rams crowds in Ramblas tourist area – BBC News

Media playback is unsupported on your device

At least one person died and 32 were injured after a van ploughed into crowds in Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas tourist area, police say.

The vehicle sped along the pedestrianised area, mowing down people and sending others fleeing for cover in shops and cafes.

Witnesses said the van had deliberately targeted people before coming to a stop.

Police are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.

Media reports said the driver of the vehicle had fled on foot.

Live updates

Tom Markwell from New Orleans, who was just arriving in a taxi in Las Ramblas, said: “I heard a crowd screaming. It sounded like they were screaming for a movie star.

“I saw the van. It had already been busted on the front. It was weaving left and right, trying to hit people as fast as possible. There were people lying on the ground.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Aamer Anwar said he was walking down Las Ramblas, which was “jam-packed” with tourists.

“All of a sudden, I just sort of heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run, screaming. I saw a woman right next to me screaming for her kids,” he told Sky News.

“Police were very, very quickly there, police officers with guns, batons, everywhere. Then the whole street started getting pushed back.

“Police officers who got there just started screaming at people to move back, move back.”

Vehicles have been used to ram into crowds in a series of attacks across Europe since July last year.


Las Ramblas

  • Central boulevard that runs 1.2km (0.75 miles) through the centre of Barcelona
  • Runs from the city’s Plaça de Catalunya (Catalonia Square) to the Christopher Columbus monument at the seafront.
  • Popular with tourists because of its market stalls, bars and restaurants
  • Barcelona city council restricted traffic flow because of heavy pedestrian use of the street

Are you in the area? Did you witness what happened? If it’s safe to do so, you can share your experience by emailing [email protected].

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Trump Aides Agonize Over Future in White House Reeling on Race – Bloomberg

Follow @bpolitics for all the latest news, and sign up for our daily Balance of Power newsletter.

As Treasury Department aides filtered in for a routine meeting on Wednesday, there was one main issue to be discussed: Secretary Steven Mnuchin does not stand with Donald Trump on the topic of neo-Nazis.

Mnuchin, like other officials, had no idea the president would inflame the Charlottesville controversy by equating white supremacists to counter-protesters, the staff was told, according to two people familiar with the meeting. He stood beside Trump at the president’s news conference in New York, the one that devolved into a shouting match with reporters over race, but not with the intent of endorsing his remarks on the issue.

And now the message was that it’s time to move on. The team was encouraged to look beyond the chaos of the past several days and instead focus on advancing Trump’s economic agenda, the two people said.

Follow the Trump Administration’s Every Move

It was the morning after a long night for many in the Trump administration, still reeling from his statement that there was “blame on both sides” for violence in Virginia that left a woman dead after a rally by Hitler-saluting neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. 

Even in a White House battered by controversy, it felt to many like a new low. Officials shared their anguish in phone calls and texts, furtive exchanges that boiled down to a single question over and over — how much more can I take? — according to more than a half-dozen presidential aides and others familiar with the conversations.

One applicant — who’s in the late stages of vetting for a senior job in a federal agency — now says he is reconsidering going to work for the administration in light of Trump’s remarks on race.

Cohn Upset

One senior official who was particularly upset over the president’s comments: his top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, according to two people familiar with his thinking.

The anguish was apparent when Cohn, who also stood with the president at the freewheeling session in the lobby of Trump Tower, faced reporters’ questions after Trump had departed. Asked whether he agreed with the president’s statement, Cohn responded by saying he shared Trump’s view “that infrastructure is really important to America.”

Still, Cohn does not have any plans to depart the administration following the flap, according to two individuals. 

In fact, no one in the administration has resigned or publicly criticized Trump’s statement, even though several senior officials who are Jewish — including Cohn, Mnuchin, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner — were said to be especially upset.

Vice President Mike Pence went before the cameras Wednesday during a visit to Santiago, Chile, to tell reporters “I stand with the president” in the aftermath. 

Rationale for Remaining

A theme emerged, amid the reasons to stay on: we’re here for the cause, not the man. Many had been drawn to Trump for that rarest of chances: to bring conservative change to Washington, ushering in tax cuts, regulatory rollback and judicial confirmations with full Republican control of the White House and Congress. And they knew it would be harder to shape the president’s and administration’s policies from the outside. 

Cohn, for example, is among a small group of potential nominees to become the next chair of the Federal Reserve. Mnuchin is seeking a legacy-defining overhaul of the tax code.

Some aides also said they can stick it out because they don’t think Trump is a bigot and have concluded that he was lashing out at unfair media treatment and runaway political correctness, rather than sympathizing with white supremacists.

So White House aides gamely tried to stick to the business at hand, with discussions focused on planning upcoming events on the president’s calendar, including a meeting Friday at Camp David, where the president plans to discuss Afghanistan policy, and a trip to the Western U.S. next week that includes a political rally in Arizona. Top aide Stephen Miller held a call with administration allies to discuss efforts to target so-called sanctuary cities.

Councils Disbanded

Separately, the president announced that he was disbanding a pair of business councils that had provided advice to the administration. The move appeared designed to end what had been a steady drumbeat of CEOs announcing that they were severing ties with the White House over Trump’s handling of Charlottesville. Some administration officials reached out to business leaders throughout the day to shore up their support amid the controversy.

Still, the president’s remarks left a beleaguered White House staff particularly demoralized.

Staffers had been buoyed by the recent appointment of John Kelly as chief of staff and were optimistic that the retired Marine Corps general would be able to impose military discipline on a chaotic West Wing. They’d also been excited by what looked to be a mostly quiet two-week vacation for the president while workers renovated the West Wing, hoping a period of relative calm could provide a reset for the administration ahead of a packed autumn schedule.

All that was punctured by the events in Charlottesville and the president’s defiant insistence that there was merit in denouncing “alt-left” protests while defending some attendees of the largely white nationalist rally as “very fine people” who were demonstrating “quietly.”

Stone-Faced Kelly

As the president jousted with reporters at Trump Tower on Tuesday, Kelly stood stone-faced, staring at the ground with his arms crossed. Shortly after, sources told CNN that Kelly was frustrated with how the day played out.

Kushner and Ivanka Trump also made their displeasure known, with two people familiar with their sentiments telling the New York Times that they urged the president to moderate his stance. The couple was vacationing in Vermont as the controversy unfolded.

But the anonymously sourced hand-wringing by White House official met swift ridicule online, with critics of the administration quick to point out that Trump aides want credit for soul-searching without publicly rebuking the president or risking their own priorities and careers.

Despite months of controversial statements and missteps, no White House official has resigned in public protest of the president’s words or actions.

Social Media Scorn

Particular scorn was heaped on Kushner and Ivanka, who appear to frequently attempt to distance themselves from controversy through the press. Blind quotes from anonymous sources surfaced after the president’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate deal, ban travel from several Muslim majority countries, and bar transgender service members from the military, all while playing down the pair’s influence on the controversial decisions.

Even as many members of the White House staff expressed dismay over the president’s remarks, others applauded his performance or accused the media of ginning up false controversy.

In talking points circulated to allies on Capitol Hill, the White House argued that Trump was “entirely correct” in his comments blaming both sides for the violence. They paint Trump as “a voice for unity and calm” and say that there “will never be enough” for critics in the media. A person close to Stephen Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, said he was proud of the president’s performance Tuesday.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

The Latest: Arizona Dems ask Trump to not pardon Arpaio – Washington Post

By Associated Press,

WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EDT):

10:58 a.m.

A group of Arizona Democrats is urging President Donald Trump not to pardon Joe Arpaio (ahr-PY’-oh).

Congressmen Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva (gree-HAHL’-vuh) and Tom O’Halleran say in a letter to Trump that the former Phoenix-area sheriff shouldn’t get any “relief from the penalties he deservedly faces for his illegal conduct and brazen abuse of the public trust.”

Trump told Fox News in an interview earlier this week that he may pardon Arpaio, who was one of his early supporters.

A federal judge ruled in 2013 that Arpaio’s officers had racially profiled Latinos. But Arpaio refused to stop his immigration patrols, which led to his criminal contempt of court case.

The lawmakers tell Trump a pardon would send a “clear message that your allies are immune from prosecution.”

___

9:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump says it’s “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart” with the removal of Confederate statues and monuments around the country.

Local and state officials have renewed pushes to remove Confederate imagery from public property since the violence and death of a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a white nationalist rally over the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.

Baltimore and other cities have already removed or covered up Confederate statues.

Trump in a Thursday tweet called them “our beautiful statues and monuments” and said “you can’t change history, but you can learn from it.”

“Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” Trump continued. “The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”

___

9:30 a.m.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham says President Donald Trump’s stance on the Charlottesville, Virginia violence and death is garnering praise from “some of the most racist and hate-filled individuals and groups” and called on him to “please fix this.”

Trump and Graham have been going after each other since the president’s statements on the violence and death of a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a white nationalist rally.

Trump on Thursday called Graham a “publicity seeking” lawmaker and tweeted that Graham’s contention that the president had said there was “moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists and people like Ms. Heyer” was a “disgusting lie.”

Graham replied on Twitter soon thereafter that the president’s statements on Charlottesville have garnered him “praise from some of the most racist and hate-filled individuals and groups in our country.”

“For the sake of our Nation — as our President — please fix this. History is watching us all,” Graham tweeted.

___

8:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is touting a primary opponent looking to unseat GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has criticized the president’s response to the violence and death of a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump on Thursday tweeted that Flake “is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!” The president has already pledged to spend money to defeat the first-term senator.

Flake is facing a GOP primary challenge, including from former state Sen. Kelli Ward. “Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake,” Trump tweeted.

Flake had tweeted on Wednesday, “We can’t claim to be the party of Lincoln if we equivocate in condemning white supremacy.”

The first-term senator has also recently released a book criticizing Trump and fellow Republicans for straying from what he called conservative values.

___

7:45 a.m.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford has strongly endorsed the statements by the leaders of the four major U.S. military services, who spoke out against racism and extremism after last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

During a visit Thursday to Beijing, Dunford said: “I have seen the chiefs’ tweets and I can absolutely and unambiguously tell you that there is no place for racism and bigotry in the U.S. military or in the United States as a whole.”

He said the “chiefs’ statements were important. They were speaking directly to the force and the American people.”

Dunford said the intent was “to the force, to make it clear that that kind of racism and bigotry is not going to stand inside the force. And to the American people, to remind them of the values for which we stand in the U.S. military, which are reflective of what I believe to be the values of the United States.”

___

7:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump has abruptly disbanded two of his White House business councils in the latest fallout from his combative comments on racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Wednesday’s decision came as the White House tried to manage the repercussions from Trump’s defiant remarks a day earlier, in which he blamed the violence at a white supremacist rally on “both sides.”

Trump himself stayed out of sight Wednesday, but he returned to Twitter early Thursday to chastise Sen. Lindsey Graham for remarks the South Carolinian made about Trump’s take on Charlottesville. He also had harsh words for Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican.

He posted one tweet saying that “publicity-seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency” between the white supremacists and the counter-demonstrators at Saturday’s violent protest.

___

6:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump has taken a swipe at a fellow Republican, calling Sen. Lindsey Graham a “publicity seeking” lawmaker.

In a daybreak post on his Twitter account Thursday, Trump faulted the GOP senator for statements Graham has made about the president’s stance on the violence and death of a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump said in his tweet: “Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists and people like Ms. Heyer.” He was referring to Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed when she was struck by a car driven into the crowd.

“Such a disgusting lie,” Trump said of Graham’s remarks. “He just can’t forget his election trouncing. The people of South Carolina will remember.”

In a separate tweet, Trump accused “the Fake News” of distorting “what I say about hate, bigotry, etc. Shame!”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Why Trump may be refocusing racial politics on Confederate memorials – Washington Post

President Trump asked if statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson should be removed since they owned slaves while speaking in New York on Aug. 15. (The Washington Post)

For six days, President Trump has been trying to figure out where the solid ground lies after the violent protests in Charlottesville on Saturday. His political and personal instinct has been to align with those who were in Charlottesville to oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, despite that group being made up largely of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. His first statement on the matter was true to that instinct, and his remarks at a news conference on Tuesday solidified it.

But he has justifiably come under fire for treating the concerns of the Ku Klux Klan as just another political position. So, on Thursday morning, he refocused his energy: The real issue, aside from all the other distractions, is those statues.

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” he said in tweets. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it.”

A poll released Wednesday suggests that, on this at least, Americans generally agree with Trump. The survey from NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist found that 62 percent of Americans think that memorials to Confederate leaders should remain in place, while a bit over a quarter of the population thinks they should be removed. Among Democrats, that percentage is lower, but even on the left, views are about split. Remarkably, 44 percent of black respondents said they should remain, versus 40 percent who said they should go.

Trump’s tweets didn’t end there, though.

“Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson — who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” he continued. “Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”

By repeating the claim that Lee and Stonewall Jackson — generals who defended the Confederacy and its insistence on human slavery — are equivalent to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Trump echoed the equivalence he offered between neo-Nazis and those who’d come to Charlottesville to protest them. On that point, his political instinct was correct that his base would agree with him. But other than his base, Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville unrest was generally seen as a failure.

A poll from CBS News found that 35 percent of Americans disapproved of his response to the events of Saturday. Here, unlike on the issue of those statues, there was the expected partisan split. Republicans think Trump handled the issue well.

CBS did find that the Tuesday news conference made people less likely to say that he handled the whole thing well, with a noticeable uptick in disapproval from that day on.

The NPR-NewsHour-Marist poll found similar numbers: A bit over half the country — thanks to independents and Democrats — thought Trump’s response was inappropriate or insufficient.

CBS asked respondents whether they thought Trump’s equal distribution of the blame between the far-right protesters and those who came out to oppose them was fair. The split by party was nearly identical to the distribution of how people felt about Trump’s response overall. In other words, those who approved of his response thought his description of where the blame lay was correct.

While Republicans were more favorable to Trump than independents or Democrats on the issue, more than a fifth viewed his handling as a negative. That’s a problem, too, given that he won 9-in-10 Republican votes in his narrow victory last year. Refocusing on the memorials issue, on which his party agrees with his position, makes sense in that regard, too.

The Marist poll found another partisan split when it asked how race relations had shifted over the past year. Republicans mostly said that things were about the same or had improved. A majority of Democrats think things have deteriorated.

CBS’s poll found a similar split. Notice, again, the relatively large negative numbers from Republicans.

Marist also asked a revealing set of questions about respondents’ views on a number of organizations, including those at the heart of the protest on Saturday. The vast majority of Americans said they mostly disagreed with the beliefs of the Klan, but fewer said they disagreed with the beliefs of white supremacists or white nationalists. Many weren’t familiar with the term “alt-right,” used by some white supremacists to describe the modern movement, so opposition to that concept was lower still.

Marist also asked about the Black Lives Matter movement. About half of the country disagreed with the beliefs of the alt-right, and about a third with Black Lives Matter. Among Republicans, though, about 4 in 10 mostly disagreed with the beliefs of the alt-right and about 6 in 10 disagreed with Black Lives Matter. (Numbers on these questions among those who approved of Trump were about the same.) They’re only slightly more likely to disagree with white nationalism than Black Lives Matter.

It appears to be a shared view in the White House that the issue of Confederate memorials is a political winner. Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon gave an inadvertentinterview to the American Prospect in which he noted with satisfaction that Democrats’ focus on racial issues will only yield political dividends for his side.

“The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em,” Bannon said. “I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.” Those skeptical about that idea need only look at that last graph above: Republicans think Black Lives Matter is farther afield from their beliefs than the alt-right, certainly a function of the work of conservative media like Bannon’s former employer, Breitbart News.

Trump’s tweets on Thursday also serve to keep the identity politics water boiling in a way that’s helpful to him. Democrats are less likely to think that Confederate statues should remain than are Republicans, but they’re split on the subject. For some on the left, this is a highly motivating issue and an ongoing one. Others are less enthusiastic. Promoting the fight over the statues helps distract from Trump’s poorly reviewed response to the Charlottesville violence and moves the debate onto more favorable territory with his base, territory where the left is divided and Bannon feels his side can triumph.

But Trump has lost many battles in which he was positioned well simply by deviating from his strategy. There’s probably a Civil War analogy in there somewhere, too.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

With Candlelight And Spirituals, Charlottesville Takes Back UVA Campus – NPR

Sanjay Suchak/Courtesy UVA

Thousands of people quietly amassed on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville Wednesday night for an unannounced candlelight vigil.

A soft glow illuminated the Rotunda – the iconic historic building at the heart of the University of Virginia.

After a dark week in the city, it was a peaceful protest intended to counter a weekend of deadly violence sparked by a white supremacist rally.

People streamed onto campus, lifting up lit candles. They chanted “love wins” and sang “We Shall Overcome” and “Amazing Grace.” A student read Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise.”

Those on the lawn are now singing Amazing Grace. pic.twitter.com/1aVVaouw71

— Allison Wrabel (@craftypanda) August 17, 2017

On Friday night the campus had been aglow, but with torches wielded by white supremacists shouting racist chants. They faced off with counter protesters around a statue of UVA founder Thomas Jefferson.

The candlelight vigil, which UVA says retraced the steps of the supremacists’ rally, was a rejection of Friday’s scene, says government major Daniel Folsom.

“It was definitely a shock to see a lot of white supremacists surround this statue and surround UVA students some of whom were in the middle of the statue as a counter protest,” he said, “Because this has always been somewhere where we’re safe.”

That sense of safety was shattered when Charlottesville became a battleground for one of the largest formal gatherings of hate groups in recent history. Their rally erupted in violence as they clashed with opponents.

Memorial services for 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who died after a driver barreled through a crowd of counter-protesters, were held earlier Wednesday. Heyer’s mother called on mourners to carry on her daughter’s fight against injustice.

At the vigil, people stopped to place their candles around the base of the Jefferson statue.

“It’s a very moving experience to go up and put your candle there and you feel the flames,” said Ellen Markowitz. “And it’s like this will go on, and we’re lighting something, like Heather’s mom said. We’ll make this count. We’ll make it a beginning.”

For many, this was a chance to reclaim both this space on the UVA campus, and the town of Charlottesville.

The vigil was not publicized in advance, but spread through a stealth campaign to thwart any hate groups that might seek to disrupt it.

Michael Coleman, a 29-year old musician and sales manager, says he’s encouraged by the mass rejection of hate, but he wonders if it will last.

Thousands of people “gathered with candles singing is beautiful,” he said, “but, you know. if something else happens next week are you gonna be here? Are you gonna engage yourself, are you gonna talk to people tomorrow and the next day and next day?”

Coleman says doing the hard work when it comes to race will be the big challenge.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

How Trump helped the racists snatch victory from the jaws of defeat – Washington Post


President Trump speaks following a meeting on infrastructure at Trump Tower on Aug. 15 in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

One of the most subtly telling lines in Vice News’s exceptional documentation of the events in Charlottesville last weekend came when correspondent Elle Reeve described the rationale behind gathering neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white nationalist groups in the first place.

[embedded content]

“They’re supposedly here to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee,” Reeve explained. “But they’re really here to show that they’re more than an Internet meme. That they’re a big, real presence that can organize in physical space.”

There was certainly an element of the original protest that might have been seen at other Klan rallies in the recent past; it’s not new for a group of racists to gather together and demonstrate. What was unusual was the scale and the demographics: Scores of young white men who had been espousing racist and violent opinions from the dark safety of online anonymity were encouraged to take to the streets. It was a sort of first date for hundreds of people who had been flirting with hate on the Web for years.

In the Vice coverage you can see the giddy initial moments of that coming out, the often play-acted ferocity and the grinning shouts of racist or homophobic slurs. Some of those who’d engaged in this behavior online may have convinced themselves that it was largely insincere, just a way for a young guy to be a nonconformist in 2017. Once you’re carrying a Nazi flag and yelling at other people in the street, though, that’s a hard argument to make.

That lesson dawned on a number of the protesters quite quickly, as New York magazine’s Brian Feldman noted in a piece on Monday.

Consider the words of college student Peter Cvjetanovic, a picture of whom, mid-shout while holding a tiki torch, circulated widely on social media this weekend. “I hope that the people sharing the photo are willing to listen that I’m not the angry racist they see in that photo,” he told news station KTVN, despite having traveled to Charlottesville specifically to protect the legacy of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. In the real world, it’s not “just talk” anymore.

Cvjetanovic was not the only one to realize that his racist comments weren’t going to go unchallenged when he said them out loud in public. On the day of the protest and the days that followed, we saw a number of similar examples. Recognizable faces who had been agitating people online for months recanted or downplayed the violence that’s inherent in the push for an all-white nation. Some lost jobs. The racist at the center of Reeve’s report filmed a teary explanation for why he wasn’t a bad guy, despite all the guns he carried and his insistence that he wanted to be prepared for violence that he thought was justified.

One pro-Nazi protester stripped off his shirt identifying him as a member of Vanguard America when challenged by counterprotesters. (The racist who was arrested for ramming his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, was filmed participating with the same group.) The shirtless man later explained to a journalist that he was only “barely” into white nationalism. “It’s kind of a fun idea, just being able to say ‘white power,’ you know?” he said. Maybe on 4chan or Twitter. Not in the street.

The events of the weekend also did significant damage in other ways. The protests and Heyer’s death injected new energy into the effort to tear down monuments to the Confederacy. The city of Baltimore removed four statues in the middle of the night. Birmingham, Ala., barred from removing a prominent statue, instead covered it with plywood. Even Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, will review the presence of Confederate memorials on its famous Monument Avenue.

More directly, the racists suddenly found that their online safe spaces were no longer that safe. The domain registrar for Daily Stormer, one of the most prominent neo-Nazi sites, booted its registration. It moved to Google. Google did the same. The Stormer finally found a home at a Russian domain host, after trying a few other hosts. But then Cloudflare, a group that helps websites defend against digital attacks, dropped its protection of the site, leaving it open to attacks that repeatedly took it offline.

A slew of other online hosts cut other services. Discord, which had hosted Nazi chat rooms, shut them down. Online payment systems kicked the Nazis out.

In all, something of a debacle. Sure, the efforts got a lot of media attention, but that transition from online to the big, real, real-world presence severely undercut their ability to communicate and left a number of participants facing significant legal or personal tribulations. Being a Nazi in a chat-room may have seemed safe and powerful. Being a Nazi in the street carried a lot more risk.

And then President Trump gave his Tuesday news conference.

There, he equated the political efforts of the Nazis and Klan members with those in Charlottesville to oppose them. In a way that we haven’t seen from an American president in perhaps a century, Trump made clear that, while he had offered the expected words of condemnation against those groups broadly, he considered their political ideas a natural part of the national debate. The White House scrambled to downplay the president’s comments, but the white nationalists understood that they’d been given a gift.

Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa https://t.co/tTESdV4LP0

— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) August 15, 2017

“I love this man,” one told Reeve by text message on Tuesday night. “He has our back.”

For those racists dipping their toes into the public world, then, the protest did have a silver lining.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Powerball soars to $510M, 8th biggest lottery jackpot in history – NJ.com

A 19th consecutive Powerball drawing was held on Wednesday night without a jackpot-winning ticket, pushing the big prize for Saturday’s drawing to more than a half-billion dollars.

Though three-second prize tickets were bought in different parts of the country, no one matched all the winning numbers. That projected jackpot for Saturday’s drawing is $510 million.

It’ll be at least the eighth-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history. The cash option is worth $324.2 million, but that total is likely to climb by the time the drawing takes place.

Here’s what N.J. family that won $429M jackpot is doing with its money

The winning numbers for Wednesday’s $432.5 million drawing were 9, 15, 43, 60 and 64. The Powerball was 4 and the Megaplier was 3x.

In New Jersey, seven tickets were sold matching four numbers and the Powerball. Six are worth $50,000. One person won $150,000 because he or she spent an extra $1 to exercise the Powerplay option. State lottery officials will announce the locations where those tickets were sold later Thursday.

A ticket sold in Texas is worth $2 million because it was bought with the Megaplier. One bought in Florida is valued at $1 million. The third originated in California and is worth $608,157.

Powerball tickets, which have been sold in New Jersey since January 2010, cost $2 each. The odds of a ticket hitting the jackpot are 292,201,338 to 1. Players have roughly a 1 in 11,688,053 chance to win the second prize of at least $1 million.

Jeff Goldman may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

VICE’s Charlottesville documentary on Trump’s “fine people” will terrify you An error occurred. – Salon

For anyone, including President Donald Trump, who thinks there are two legitimate sides to the Charlottesville riots or “fine people” attempting to preserve history mixed amongst the white supremacists who marched in that Virginia city this weekend, VICE has a rather ugly wakeup call.

VICE News’ “Charlottesville: Race and Terror” episode opens with images from the white nationalist protest on Friday in Charlottesville. Red-faced white men hold Tiki torches ablaze and chant “white lives matter,” “Jews will not replace us,” and “blood and soil.”

Counter-protestors meet them at the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue, which Trump claimed was the sole reason for the alt-right protest. Police stand back, people are maced. When a VICE reporter asks white supremacist and speaker of “Unite the Right,” Christopher Cantwell, who he was maced by, he responds, “by Commies.”

“I’m here to spread ideas, talk,” Cantwell says, “in hopes that somebody more capable will come along and do that, somebody like Donald Trump who does not give his daughter to a Jew.”

“So, Donald Trump, but like, more racist?” VICE’s reporter questions. “A lot more racist than Donald Trump,” Cantwell responds. “I don’t think that you could feel about race the way I do and watch that Kushner bastard walk around with that beautiful girl, okay?”

Video from Saturday’s protests show Black Lives Matter and anti-facist protestors with backpacks and signs. The white supremacists facing off against them pack helmets, shields and blunt weapons. After authorities force the crowd to disperse by police and declare a state of emergency, Cantwell says, “We’re here obeying the law,” he continues, “and the criminals are over there getting their way.”

“So you’re the true nonviolent protestors?” the reporter asks. “We’re not nonviolent, we’ll fuckin’ kill people if we have to.” Soon, Cantwell’s pledge becomes chilling and devastatingly prescient.

Horrifying footage shows a car ramming through counter-protestors, bodies flying and then bodies on the ground. “We got hit by a car,” one woman screams in disbelief. VICE’s reporter on the scene seems quietly devastated as she talks to the medic who tried, and failed, to save Heather Heyer’s life.

In a final interview with Cantwell after the weekend’s riots end, he says, “We knew that we were going to meet a lot of resistance. The fact that nobody on our side died, I’d go ahead and call that points for us.” He sits next to a bed strewn with no less than four firearms he packed for the protests.

Of Heyer’s death, Cantwell says “I think it was more than justified,” he says. “I think a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here, frankly.”

As frightening as the weekend’s violence was, local activist Tanesha Hudson doesn’t find it shocking, especially for black people who live in Charlottesville. “This is what we deal with everyday being African-American,” she said, “and this has always been the reality of Charlottesville.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Bannon Says He Fights Mnuchin, Cohn Daily for Tough China Policy – Bloomberg

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon took public his long-simmering feud with some of President Donald Trump’s top economic advisers, saying in an interview with The American Prospect that he battles them often, especially over his determination to take a tougher position on China.

“That’s a fight I fight every day here,” Bannon is quoted as saying in the interview published Wednesday. He pointed to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, both alumni of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. who are pushing for a softer stance on trade with China. “We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.”

The interview was conducted Tuesday by the magazine’s co-editor Robert Kuttner, who said Bannon told him he reached out because he agreed with Kuttner’s past writings on China. Bannon rarely speaks with reporters on the record, let alone a liberal-leaning magazine.

The interview with Bannon comes as the White House has struggled to respond to Saturday’s violent racial protests in Charlottesville, Virginia and as some aides — including Cohn — have objected in private to Trump’s restrained denunciations of white supremacists. Bannon approved of the president’s approach, officials in the administration who asked not to be named have said.

Bannon, who also once worked at Goldman Sachs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the interview.

In the interview Bannon said his rivals in the administration are “wetting themselves” as he works to undermine their influence with the president and he bragged about working to get some of them ousted. There has been speculation in recent days that Bannon could be in danger of losing his job, though Trump spoke in supportive terms about about him at Tuesday’s press conference.

Bannon said he favors pushing back against Chinese economic expansion, arguing only one country will emerge as a leader from what he described as an “economic war.”

“To me, the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we’re five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover,” he said.

He advocated for the U.S. to file a complaint under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act — which allows for sanctions against countries that violate trade agreements or engage in unfair trade practices — as well as follow-up complaints against steel and aluminum dumping, Kuttner wrote.

“We’re going to run the tables on these guys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they’re in an economic war and they’re crushing us,” Bannon said.

Bannon also dismissed speculation that the U.S might consider using military action against North Korea to get the regime there to abandon its intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear weapon programs. Trump recently vowed to deliver “fire and fury” onto North Korea.

“There’s no military solution, forget it,” Bannon said. “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.” 

Bannon also was dismissive in the interview of the so called far-right that he helped organize and inflame when he led Breitbart News and during Trump’s 2016 campaign. 

“Ethno-nationalism — it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more,” he said. “These guys are a collection of clowns.”

Still, Bannon said he’s fine with the issue of race taking over the national conversation. “The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em,” he is quoted as saying. “I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

— With assistance by Margaret Talev

Let’s block ads! (Why?)