Authorities Warned about Charlottesville Clashes

State and local officials had plenty of warning before the infamous white-supremacist rally that led to a fatality and multiple injuries earlier this month. Politico quotes a Department of Homeland Security warning that an escalating series of clashes had created a powder keg that would likely make the event “among the most violent to date” between white supremacists and anarchists.

The assessment, says Politico, “raises questions about whether Charlottesville city and Virginia state authorities dropped the ball before, and during, a public event that was widely expected to draw huge crowds of armed, emotional and antagonistic participants from around the country.”

The Aug. 9 assessment by the DHS Office of Intelligence and analysis, was made in coordination with state, local and federal authorities at the Virginia Fusion center. “Anarchist extremists” had attacked white supremacists at previous gatherings, leading to fights, injuries and arrests.

Both sides were clearly gearing up for an unprecedented confrontation in the weeks leading up to the Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” rally and a weekend of events planned around it by white supremacist rally organizers and those protesting it.

“Anarchist extremists and white supremacist extremists online are calling on supporters to be prepared for or to instigate violence at the 12 August rally,” the assessment warned.

One “probable” white supremacist, it said, had posted an online “call to arms,” saying “antifa must be destroyed.”

“They predicted it,” one senior law enforcement analyst from another state said of the assessment. Each side was saying, “’All right everybody, go get your weapons, and we’re gonna go kick their asses.’ And that’s exactly what happened in Charlottesville.”

Bacon’s bottom line: This revelation puts more heat on state and local authorities to explain their actions on Aug. 12. Why did the police remain passive for so long? Could they have averted the tragedy by intervening earlier, more aggressively, or differently?

Any inquiry into the events on that fateful day should be viewed in the context of the moral posturing by Charlottesville’s mayor and Virginia’s governor denouncing the white supremacists (who richly deserved the criticism) without mentioning the contribution of “anti-fascist” elements to the violence. No one takes a political risk excoriating Nazis and racists — 99% percent of all Americans would agree. But rebuking Antifa and other anarchists… that’s not so easy. Many Americans are ambivalent, especially on the Left. While they may not approve of Antifa’s violent tactics, some politicians and pundits seem to think the nihilist group’s anti-Nazi, anti-KKK, anti-Trump sentiments confer it with moral legitimacy.

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39 responses to “Authorities Warned about Charlottesville Clashes

  1. Excellent questions

  2. We do have a problem with reporting and context. There were THREE groups present at the “rally” and the 3rd group was local citizens and to this point we do not know in terms of size of each .

    We do know that the lady killed was local and as far as we know so far – not “with” the “anarchists”.

    The narrative that Charlottesville and other locality rallies is a battle between outside groups of white supremacists and the anarchists is misleading.

    How many local citizens showed up to tell the White Supremacists they were not wanted? Did any locals show up to tell the “anarchists” the same message?

    Take Boston – who showed up to rebut the White Supremacists? Was it a bunch of out-of-town “anarchists” or was it 99% local citizens who were telling the white supremacists to leave?

    What I’m seeing here is a narrative that is not the truth.. but instead slanted.. or perhaps a view that the local citizens themselves are de-facto “anarchists”… so what is the truth?

    IF you were the police – and you saw THREE groups .. how exactly WOULD you “separate” them?

    • Larry – you ask good questions. If we had credible media, someone would have investigated and written about it. But then, except for an article I finally found in the Richmond Times Dispatch, the MSM did not bother to report that the State Police contradicted Governor McAuliffe.

      While I think McAuliffe focuses too much on social issues and has a fairly weak record on economic growth, he’s done a reasonably good job as Governor. But he did not respond well to the Charlottesville event.

      But what we need now is better security protection and level-headed local government to come up with reasonable solutions to the 20th Century Confederate statues not in cemeteries, battlefields or museums.

  3. Not to repeat myself, but when my wife marched in the Women’s march on DC, they were not even allowed to have anything other the cardboard signs – no wood allowed. Charlottesville demonstrations the protesters had live fire torches and military weapons. Something wrong with this policy. Mobs in general, I know from Vietnam war protests at college, are known to take to have the potential to take on a volatile, uncontrollable personality different from an individual. So I don’t see how we can allow a demonstration to have both Ammendment 1 and 2 apply for the everyone there. Mace was overused too by demonstrators/counter demonstrators too.

    Besides weapons, the organizers need to be well aware of the potential for a group of people to adopt a destructive mob-mentality and try to reduce the potential for that. You see Houston thinking about that now, trying to keep law and order under different difficult circumstances.

  4. Here’s something that might help the discussion. It is a blog item I posted at The Washington Post about a week or so ago. One question that nudged at me was why the police allowed these self-styled “militias” with assault rifles. Answer is that in Virginia “open carry” is very liberal. In Maryland, they could go to jail for a year because that state does not allow open carry firearm policies at public demonstrations. It just wouldn’t happen in the District.

    Back when I wrote for BusinessWeek, I covered Klan rallies in Cleveland and West Virginia in the 1990s when there was a resurgence. In both cases, all attendees, pro and con, had to go through metal detectors.No firearms, pepper spray cans, clubs or shields were allowed.

    So, rather than get down in the weeds about the State Police, McAuliffe and the city manager, the real question is why is Virginia so lenient when it comes to toting weapons.

    Here’s my item:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/all-opinions-are-local/wp/2017/08/18/why-didnt-police-shut-down-the-militias-that-descended-on-charlottesville-last-week/?utm_term=.b3194c90947d

  5. re: “it’s the MSN’s “fault” that we don’t know”

    really? what possible motivation would they have since their critics have said they don’t believe them anyhow?

    and how does that explain publications like Politico portraying it as “two sides” of White Supremacists and “anarchists” as if there was not a significant local citizens presence OR that their presence is considered in support of the “anarchists” .

    My suspects are that the local citizens far outnumbered the other two but you’d never know that from the “reporting” .. like Politicos…

    Charlottesville apparently has some internal problems.. judging from some of the info coming out now… and they were wholly unprepared for the confrontation and … I AGREE the job of the police was to keep order – which they did not do… for reasons we are going to find out more about in due time.

    but again reporting the confrontations as primarily between White Supremacists and “anarchists” , both from out of town …or worse attributing the local citizens as part of the “anarchists”.. even worse…

    The truth is that in most places, including in Richmond if it every came to be , the vast majority of the crowds are going to be local citizens who don’t want the white supremacists in their town .. and the “anarchists” are more than likely a group even smaller than the White Supremacists… and the truth of that ought to be told.

    • Larry – my strongest criticism is for Washington’s ideological newspaper – Pravda. Err, the Washington Post. It often suppresses news that doesn’t fit with its editorials.

      I think it’s grand Peter is writing for the Post from time to time. But who counterbalances him?

  6. Every single eyewitness account I’ve read, and I’ve sought them out, has been clear that there were those on both sides eager for violence, and people on both sides instigated it. One of the best accounts was in the local C-ville publication. But my initial “plague on both their houses” response was rejected by some of you.

    I submit the violently inclined activists will eventually embarrass their supporter/enablers, just as our illustrious president is paying a (deserved) price for his own dance with the devils he invoked starting on the very first day of his campaign. Anybody else remember SDS?

    I could never stand with the KKK or the Nazis. If I was somewhere, and they showed up, I would leave. Their strong attachment to the statues has weakened my own attachment to them – if a locality wants them down, take them down. But I am still amazed that there is not a similar reaction to the AntiFa/Communists and Anarchists – they too should be rejected and disavowed by those they seek to align with. They are also anathema to everything this country aspires to.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to see a joint statement to that effect from leaders of both parties? ‘Tis to dream…..

    As to the weapons, I think they can be prohibited once a state of emergency or unlawful assembly is declared, which they were way too slow to do that day. Should have happened right after the torch march.

  7. Whatever you call them – anarchists, anti-trumpers, antifa, BLM, protesters, activists, etc. the reported incidents over the past 18 months would seem to suggest that these types are far more prevalent, organized, and better-funded than white supremacists or alt-right or any right groups.

    They were at every Trump campaign event, some of whom were paid by DNC fronts and Soros organizations with the intent to spur violence to discredit Trump. They have been at every conservative speaking controversy, again with paid organizers, with the intent to create violence and shut down alternative views.

    Liberal hate speech is now commonplace most weeks if not days throughout the MSN with calls for the assassination of Trump, sympathy and support for shooters of Republican congressmen, despicable attacks and slurs on the President’s family and anyone else who might be suspected of supporting his administration, yada, yada.

    Liberals probably understand that when they so openly support and provocate violence in support of or defense of their ideas, they are going to get violence back. Apparently, they believe there are more of them than the other side and they will win. As they have shown since Trump’s election, fundamentals of democracy and civic responsibility have disappeared from Democratic rhetoric and leadership.

    And Republican leadership, such as there is, appears hopelessly overwhelmed intellectually and morally to assert any positive impact or alternative narratives to the apparent current Democrat catechism of “screw those who don’t agree with us, it’s oour way 100% or violence and mayhem. The MSM have become the mouthpiece and chief apologists and even provateurs of the violent, leftist Liberal and Democratic Party.

    Anyone who cares even a little about preserving our Democracy from this hell-bent race to Middle-Eastern politics should pray for Trump.

  8. Whatever you call them – anarchists, anti-trumpers, antifa, BLM, protesters, activists, etc. the reported incidents over the past 18 months would seem to suggest that these types are far more prevalent, organized, and better-funded than white supremacists or alt-right or any right groups.

    They were at every Trump campaign event, some of whom were paid by DNC fronts and Soros organizations with the intent to spur violence to discredit Trump. They have been at every conservative speaking controversy, again with paid organizers, with the intent to create violence and shut down alternative views.

    Liberal hate speech is now commonplace most weeks if not days throughout the MSN with calls for the assassination of Trump, sympathy and support for shooters of Republican congressmen, despicable attacks and slurs on the President’s family and anyone else who might be suspected of supporting his administration, yada, yada.

    Liberals probably understand that when they so openly support and provocate violence in support of or defense of their ideas, they are going to get violence back. Apparently, they believe there are more of them than the other side and they will win. As they have shown since Trump’s election, fundamentals of democracy and civic responsibility have disappeared from Democratic rhetoric and leadership.

    And Republican leadership, such as there is, appears hopelessly overwhelmed intellectually and morally to assert any positive impact or alternative narratives to the apparent current Democrat catechism of “screw those who don’t agree with us, it’s our way 100% or violence and mayhem. The MSM have become the mouthpiece and chief apologists and even provocateurs of the violent, leftist Liberal and Democratic Party.

    Anyone who cares even a little about preserving our Democracy from this hell-bent race to Middle-Eastern politics should pray for Trump.

  9. calling local citizens “anarchists” or “BLM” or “antifa” ia not the truth though no matter how some might want to characterize it that way.

    And Steve should know this if the White Supremacists were to rally in Richmond… the vast majority of local citizens who would show up are not “activists” who travel as a group to show up at towns to rebut the Supremacist groups.

    If you look at the folks who came out in Boston – to oppose the White Supremacists groups , the vast majority of them were ordinary people who were prompted to stand up against the Supremacists – as opposed to groups of “anarchists”…

    I feel it is essentially dishonest to portray it as “Supremacists verses Anarchists” and it plays dangerously close to Trumps “both sides” argument and totally hides the fact that there are many, many ordinary people who are not “activists” who totally oppose the Supremacists and their ilk – not unlike white people who stood up against Jim Crow and Massive Resistance who might be characterized by other white folks -unwilling to get involved at all – as more “activist” than themselves..

    it’s a matter of perspective and context.. and what one is ready to believe about themselves and their own role in standing up against those who hold the views that the Supremacists do.. ..

    this does remind me of the complicit white folks back during Massive Resistance – who blamed white folks for standing up against the racism as “causing trouble”… using the “wrong tactics”, etc.. as if going along like we had been and watching the continuing systematic discrimination was “okay” because some day it might end.

    At some point – some people – decide that something more than sitting at home and watching – has to be done… and they show up to send a message to the white supremacists… and then they get labeled as “anarchists” for actually doing something.

    don’t confuse real “anarchists” with citizens who stand up against what is wrong… how many in Charlottesville were actually real “anarchists” and how many were citizens who had had enough? It’s patently dishonest to merge the two groups as all of them being “anarchists”.

    Don’t get me wrong – I have no sympathy for ANYONE who shows up with an intent to engage in violence… but I also have no sympathy for those who would mischaracterize “anarchists” with local citizens fed up with racists.

    • Squiggle like a worm, Larry.

      Nobody but nobody is equating the peaceful anti-white supremacist protesters with the anarchists. Nobody is criticizing them. Steve, MusingsFromJanus, and I are simply asking you to acknowledge that a splinter of the counter-protesters are inclined to violence, and that they are part of a national movement to which, until very recently, the Mainstream Media was paying no attention to.

      Thankfully, the MSM is paying attention now, so there’s no wriggling off the hook for you!

      • I’m quoting verbatim here: ” … make the event “among the most violent to date” between white supremacists and anarchists”

        you did not say “splinter”… you characterized it as white supremacists versus anarchists and that’s wrong… and you refuse to admit that’s how it was characterized…

        when I see you ENTITLE your blog post using the word “Splinter” and acknowledging that it’s NOT white supremacists versus anarchists I’ll give credit for telling the truth – until then – characterizing the two groups and totally ignoring the 3rd group is just not an honest depiction.

        I’m not only not wiggling.. I’m standing firm here.. the way you and Politico are characterizing it is simply not the case,

        this is not just one sentence.. it’s a continuing pattern… of attempting to characterize the struggle itself as one of one “bad” group against another “bad” group.. which is totally disingenuous and more akin to Trumps view that “both sides do it”.

        The vast majority of the crowd in Charlottesville was who? Was it largely the White Supremacists and Anarchists?

  10. Larry, I am pleased to say you condemn those who promote violence as a political tool, even those who are attacking your enemies. I hope you mean it. I never said everybody on the “counter-” side in C-ville was an Anarchist. They were a minority hiding among the otherwise peaceful crowd, just as they have been most other places they have attacked, as with Berkeley just a day or so ago. The otherwise peaceful crowd should either eject them, or leave – but right now you think they are an asset. You will regret it.

    Likewise I’m sure some of the original marchers were peaceful people, but in their case I will accept guilt by association. I can assure you that if the KKK comes to march in force in Richmond, in my mind anybody who stands with them – anybody – after what happened in C-ville — has a century and a half of blood on their hands. Anybody who stands with the Nazi’s shares the guilt of Buchenwald and Belsen and Rotterdam. But I have the same warm and fuzzies for AntiFa – not much difference between the Final Solution and the Gulag and Stalin’s purges.

    People of good will who support our Constitution need to reject violence and turn on the perpetrators. Period.

  11. Steve – I appreciate your words … and I suspect we agree more than we disagree but again – this is what I am objecting to:

    ” Politico quotes a Department of Homeland Security warning that an escalating series of clashes had created a powder keg that would likely make the event “among the most violent to date” between white supremacists and anarchists.”

    that’s NOT an accurate depiction of what happened.

    this is not some struggle between white supremacists and anarchists who just picked some random town to rumble in…

    If you followed this, the Citizens of Cville were outraged and intent on giving the Supremacists a piece of their mind.. then some other groups decided it was a perfect venue for them to do their thing also.

    Characterizing this as a venue by venue “struggle” between bad guys on the right and bad guys on the left is goofy but it’s the way that some folks would prefer to view it as opposed to citizens being fed up with these clowns on the right – and don’t mistake the use of the word “Clown”.. Dylan Roof was a “clown” also but deadly serious as are more than a few of the White Supremacists…are ..armed to the teeth…

  12. And here is what you are missing. The peaceful citizens of Charlottesville had counter rallies in other locations, AWAY from the park with the statue, and that was just fine. But others went to the main location intending confrontation. A bunch of misguided clergy for example tried to block the access which had been designated in the (lawful) permit for the Kluckers and the Nazis. The one thing everybody in that direct confrontation crowd wanted was to deny the despicable scumbags their First Amendment right to spew their despicable message, and that in my book makes the title “good guys” a bit harder to apply. And some were bent on violence. We are all losers because among the casualties was that very First Amendment.

    The people who behaved lawfully and used the opportunity to peacefully protest, sure, good guys. I didn’t exactly go marching around in the 60s and early 70s, being a young right winger and all, but I do remember that the anti-war and civil rights protesters were pretty well organized and had their own set of marshals internal to their group to prevent violence, usually with great success. The irony is AntiFa and its friends are a gift to Trump and the sooner the left gets wise to that, they quicker they may tamp them down.

  13. I do not encourage nor tolerate violence but at the same time when these KKK clowns invade a town armed to the teeth -you’re gonna get trouble.. and characterizing it as bad right guys against bad left guys is just not the truth.

  14. re: AntiFa – is this a real group with real organization and leaders or is it basically a figment of the right-wing’s imagination…an amalgam of various “lefty” activists ? Do they have the same infatuation with guns and flags and “heritage” and advocate policies that hold some “kinds” of people as”inferior”and thus not equal, etc?

    What are the goals of AntiFa?

    • I will give you this, Larry – you personify the clueless enabler wandering around with a “what, me worry?” look as the flames start to grow. You have to be consciously blind when 1) the Governor the night before warns in writing that violent counter-protesters plan to attack the rally, (2) reflecting a police intelligence memo we’ve now seen that was put together by the pros who track terrorism for a living and 3) then played out on television and reported in countless eyewitness accounts. I suspect that will all be followed by court testimony as some cases come to trial and it becomes clear that sometimes one side threw the first punch or bottle, and sometimes the other side did.

      People who fill balloons with urine are planning something. Hell, how to you even do that? Not a funnel I’d want to use again….

      Then you saw Boston, where the police had to use major effort to keep the two sides apart, and now Berkeley, where the AntiFa thugs attacked a rally that had carefully excluded the racist groups and WN groups and merely were a bunch of Trumpers.

      Cooler heads on both sides need to unequivocally condemn this violence from anybody.

  15. I am trying to get Larry ‘s point. It seems there are 3 points he is making-
    1. There was a third group – the locals – whose impact, issues or whatever have not been adequately covered but who were against the WN’s or KKK’ers coming to CVille and were demonstrating to that effect;
    2, Characterizing the cause of the violence as between left and right groups marginalizes the issues of the locals;
    3. there were not two sides to blame, only the WN’s, KKKers, et al alt right – ergo Trump was wrong;

    Re point one, that is probably true although anyone who knows CVille knows that is it a deeply liberal burg and isn’t very hospitable to anyone who isn’t.

    Re point 2, I don’t get it except of course the result of violent confrontation is to sweep away discourse and the opportunity for non-violent anti-WSNs to have media airtime or whatever they sought; however it would appear that the entire affair was a great victory for the locals as well as the leftist provocateurs to use the violence to demonize the right provocateurs which it seems Larry is arguing was the point of the local’s involvement, whatever it was.

    Re point 3, Larry is just wrong.

  16. I offer this op ed from the Wall Street Journal as additional fodder for the locals versus the agitators discussion.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-extremist-show-is-just-starting-1503092033

  17. first – I DO appreciate the civil dialogue… it can be tough without being personal and nasty.. and I value that – most of all .. because while I do have my own view – as others do – I DO LEARN from others… and I hope -likewise.

    re: the 3 points

    1. – not only Charlottesville… “liberal” or not – wherever the KKK attempts to rally from here on in – local people who abhor racism and what the KKK stands for ARE going to show up.. and if the KKK says they are coming armed and ready to rumble, some of the locals are going to return the favor… I compare this to a bunch of thugs or biker gangs showing up to terrorize a town and the local townspeople standing up to it… some more visceral than others..

    2. – yes… we know what the goals of the white supremacists and KKK are, I’m asking for folks to quantify who their opponents are that are not local townspeople.. the so-called “Antifas” movement.. what are their purpose and goals ?

    is it to promote some alternative ideology that townspeople would also equally oppose like they would the KKK and so the townspeople want BOTH of these groups out? Or is it that Antifas is, in general, opposed to groups like the KKK and their ilk and want to follow them wherever they do and challenge them? Are they really some kind of equivalent hate group that also advocates policies of hate and violence towards others – on a race or religious or equivalent basis?

    Are they like the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland or the Bosnian or Sudan? or are they a very loosely affiliated group that is opposed to what they see as injustices against people?

    3. – this is why 2 is important because Trump and those that think like him want simplistic views that “both sides” are wrong rather so they can continue to refuse to admit the deeper race problem in this country… that is still festering .. and actually at the heart of the Confederate memorials issue. NOtice how folks try to equate it to all founding fathers and any/all slave owners as opposed to the Confederacy itself.. that’s purposeful evasion of the issue – and it’s continuing disrespect of black people as a race in this country who have been targeted societally and institutionally for generations – and it continues today in more subtle but very real ways… that groups like BLM like the Black Panthers.. still believe …and with some justification… but their tactics are wrong. Right cause, wrong tactics. KKK – wrong cause, wrong tactics… Jim Crow is STILL with us… as an ideology.

    People in Trumps own administration, businesses, Congressmen, Governors, and millions of people denounce and reject this ideology – regardless of what other bad actors might be also in play.

    I think I know where Steve is coming from.. he basically wants law and order… and does not really care what the source of the violence is about…
    correct me if I’m wrong.. I’ve only got a glimpse of what he really feels about the issue itself …

    I’m of the view you have to know what is at the core of the violence and whether it is a rancid ideology to “class” people or if it is a group that is violently opposed to groups that would class and discriminate on the basis of race or religion. We have a war in the Middle East over that.. We ended a war and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia over that. We saw generations of killings in Ireland over that.

    …. so I’ll shut up and listen.. I post way too much here.. and way too long posts… eh?

  18. Note this recent public announcement from the Governing Council of UVA’s Miller Center –

    “WE’RE ALL ON ONE SIDE: A UNITED STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION TO “UNITE THE RIGHT”

    On behalf of the Governing Council of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center—a non-partisan institute specializing in the presidency and public policy—we speak in opposition to the ugly incidents of racism, hate, and violence that assaulted Charlottesville and the University. We do this together, as citizens from across the country who bring a wide range of political perspectives and professional experiences. Our membership includes executive and legislative branch alumni who have served under Republican and Democratic presidents.

    We send our condolences, thoughts, and prayers to the families of the three people killed on Saturday—Berke Bates, H. Jay Cullen, and Heather Heyer—and to those who were injured.

    We want to make clear that the founding credo of our nation—that all men and women are created equal—is the bedrock of our democracy. Countless Americans have died fighting for freedom and justice, at home during our ongoing quest for racial equality and on foreign battlefields. Countless others came to this country precisely because of this credo.

    We firmly denounce the organizers and supporters of the “Unite the Right” rally, who were united only around hateful white supremacist and Nazi beliefs, and around the intent to provoke violence. These groups organized and initiated the assault on our town and bear responsibility for bringing hate, violence, and death to our community.

    There are not “two sides” on the question of ultimate responsibility for the events in Charlottesville. We applaud leaders from both political parties who have affirmed this shared belief.

    The Miller Center takes great pride in our nonpartisan scholarship, which examines the American presidency and public policy initiatives of both political parties. We provide historical context and strive to foster enlightened civil discourse around public issues. Too often political leaders from both parties ignore the lessons of history, which makes our work more necessary than ever. We know, from a careful study of presidential history, that past presidents have responded to similar moments of profound crisis by offering comfort, leadership, and resolve—drawing bright moral boundaries and healing the nation’s deep wounds.

    Our nation is still waiting to see this kind of presidential leadership, in the tradition of predecessors who led us through our most trying times.

    Like the University of Virginia’s founder Thomas Jefferson, we believe an educated citizenry is vital to our survival as a free people. We will persevere in our mission to offer such historical guidance to any political leaders who care to listen and to educate both policy makers and the public about the issues facing our nation.

    Eugene Fife
    Chair
    William Antholis
    Director and CEO”

    End of Public Statement from UVA Miller Center.

    Question:

    Has the Miller Center corrupted its own stated mission, doing the reverse, issuing a public statement that is actively partisan and that thus interferes with its stated mission?

    Has the Governing Council of the Miller Center corrupted the Center’s Mission Statement by doing the precisely the reverse by issuing this recent statement?

    Part of UVA Miller Center’s mission statement per its website:

    “The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history and strives to apply the lessons of history and civil discourse to the nation’s most pressing contemporary governance challenges …

    We see a better way for the nation.

    A more informed democracy. A nation full of leaders guided by intelligence and driven by an inner need for truth—leaders who know that you have to look back to see ahead, that to comprehend our present, you must first understand our past.

    At the Miller Center, we strive to illuminate presidential and political history accurately and fairly. To shine a light on all the ways our democracy has worked—and all the times America has struggled. To inspire America’s leaders with unbiased insights, especially on the presidency, that advance democratic institutions and the public good.

    Now in our fifth decade, we make our home at the University of Virginia, the nation’s first presidential university, founded by Thomas Jefferson. We carry forward a unique nonpartisan tradition, generating scholarship in the public interest to help guide the future of American democracy.

    An era of bitter partisanship divides Washington. Citizens are frustrated—with our government and with each other. Basic needs go unmet. Basic questions go unanswered. And rational dialogue seems to grow more distant with each passing day.

    It’s tempting to think that we just disagree too much. But it’s not that we disagree, but rather how that causes so many of our problems. Instead of focusing on issues, our political dialogue attacks motivation and character. We paint those who disagree with us as corrupt, evil, ignorant, or stupid. The vitriol infects our politicians, our media, even our local neighborhoods. Ultimately it undermines the very faith we have in our political system.

    At the Miller Center, we believe that opposing positions can both have merit; that we can investigate questions of fact and discuss questions of opinion; that we can be open to changing our minds; and that our political system benefits from compromise.

    All of these values have been at the heart of our mission since our founding in 1975. That’s why every year we bring together Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. We convene nearly 100 events fostering civil and intellectual dialogue among scholars, politicians, journalists, and citizens. We host small private gatherings with government leaders in Washington, DC, and public roundtables with scholars and current and former public officials across the country. We present lectures for UVA students and alumni. And we produce a nationally syndicated public affairs television program, American Forum, that’s distributed weekly on PBS stations across the United States.

    These gatherings not only bring important perspectives to our discussion of issues but are models of civil discourse. Because ultimately our democracy depends on how we talk to each other, and what we do when we disagree.
    ….”

    End of UVA Miller Center’s website mission statement.

    To learn more about the Governing Council of UVA’s Miller Center see:

    millercenter.org/about/governing-council

    Please review carefully the biographies of these council members. What are the outstanding characteristics of the great majority of these members? Why were they chosen in particular?

    Also note the very very recent activities of the Miller Center. Are those activities non-partisan, and inclusive of all political viewpoints within America today?

    • Yep, that is a missed opportunity – the most recent of many. No question, one side picked the date, picked the location, issued the first set of invitations and set the tone. They bear ultimate responsibility. I said so on August 12. But violence as a tactic needs to be condemned, it spreads like a virus.

    • Regarding the false and misleading statement referred to above and recently issued in the name of the Governing Council of UVA’s Miller Center:

      Please compare that recent statement, namely:

      “The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history and strives to apply the lessons of history and civil discourse to the nation’s most pressing contemporary governance challenges …

      We see a better way for the nation.

      A more informed democracy. A nation full of leaders guided by intelligence and driven by an inner need for truth—leaders who know that you have to look back to see ahead, that to comprehend our present, you must first understand our past.

      At the Miller Center, we strive to illuminate presidential and political history accurately and fairly. To shine a light on all the ways our democracy has worked—and all the times America has struggled. To inspire America’s leaders with unbiased insights, especially on the presidency, that advance democratic institutions and the public good.

      Now in our fifth decade, we make our home at the University of Virginia, the nation’s first presidential university, founded by Thomas Jefferson. We carry forward a unique nonpartisan tradition, generating scholarship in the public interest to help guide the future of American democracy.

      An era of bitter partisanship divides Washington. Citizens are frustrated—with our government and with each other. Basic needs go unmet. Basic questions go unanswered. And rational dialogue seems to grow more distant with each passing day.

      It’s tempting to think that we just disagree too much. But it’s not that we disagree, but rather how that causes so many of our problems. Instead of focusing on issues, our political dialogue attacks motivation and character. We paint those who disagree with us as corrupt, evil, ignorant, or stupid. The vitriol infects our politicians, our media, even our local neighborhoods. Ultimately it undermines the very faith we have in our political system.

      At the Miller Center, we believe that opposing positions can both have merit; that we can investigate questions of fact and discuss questions of opinion; that we can be open to changing our minds; and that our political system benefits from compromise.

      All of these values have been at the heart of our mission since our founding in 1975. That’s why every year we bring together Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. We convene nearly 100 events fostering civil and intellectual dialogue among scholars, politicians, journalists, and citizens. We host small private gatherings with government leaders in Washington, DC, and public roundtables with scholars and current and former public officials across the country. We present lectures for UVA students and alumni. And we produce a nationally syndicated public affairs television program, American Forum, that’s distributed weekly on PBS stations across the United States.

      These gatherings not only bring important perspectives to our discussion of issues but are models of civil discourse. Because ultimately our democracy depends on how we talk to each other, and what we do when we disagree.”

      End of Miller Center Statement.

      PLEASE COMPARE THAT STATEMENT AGAINST What really happened in Charlottesville last weekend as those events were witnessed by University of Virginia Professor Mark Edmundson and reported in an article entitled:

      “Violence in Charlottesville, what I saw firsthand, and what it meant”

      published on August 28, 2017 in The American Scholar magazine.

      That very detailed, nuanced and authoritative report written by Professor Edmondson can be accessed at:

      theamericanscholar.org/violence-in-charlottesville

      If true, this article vividly demonstrates that the statement of the Governing Council of UVA’s Miller Center is little more that propaganda. A statement by the Miller Center that was intended to obfuscate the truth of what happened, instead of reveal the truth behind those events.

      I will add that:

      The real problem in this country today is not the thugs on the left and right. The real problem is the failure of our leaders and institutions like the Miller Center to act with integrity and courage but to instead hide from the reality of what is going on in front of their nose, and twist the truth by issuing misleading statements in an attempt to gain partisan advantage.

      This failure on the part of our leaders and institutions give the thugs on both the left and right the space and power they need to rear their ugly heads and do the horrendous damage they do, and thus threaten to destroy our representative government.

      History has taught the lesson over and over again, and the Miller Center cannot marshal the character, integrity, and courage to act on these lessons, but to do the reverse.

      As to Professor Mark Edmonson – Several years ago, I read his book WHY TEACH, IN DEFENSE OF REAL EDUCATION.

      This book is among the FINEST Books I have ever read.

      Here are one snippets from the book’s many favorable reviews.

      “In this collection of 16 essays, some of which have appeared in Harper’s and the New York Times, University of Virginia English professor Edmundson explores how higher education has devolved into a place where preprofessionalism is the order of the day; where the study of literature has become arid and abstract; and where universities behave like corporations, teachers like service providers, and students like customers. He offers, at turns, a meditation, a jeremiad, some musings, and some possible solutions. The questions (what to teach? what to study?) find answers in the values Edmundson discovers in becoming an English major: Love for language, hunger for life, openness and a quest for truth or truths. Addressing teachers, students, and parents, Edmundson defends the intellectual and spiritual value, even the usefulness, of the scholarly enclave and seeking knowledge so as to make the lives of other human beings better.” publishers weekly

  19. “I’m of the view you have to know what is at the core of the violence and whether it is a rancid ideology to “class” people or if it is a group that is violently opposed to groups that would class and discriminate on the basis of race or religion.”

    There it is, Larry – when you claim to condemn violence as a tactic, you actually do not. It depends! You are not the first to say this since August 12. You think it is okay to punch a Nazi just because he’s a Nazi. I think the proper response to a Nazi is to ignore him, or answer him without violence, and certainly to arrest him for breaking any law.

    I had this argument with a member of my own family, who also attended the same fine university that produced Kessler and Spencer (and Bacon). They apparently do not teach history there, because history is full of examples of how this spiral of mutual violence ends. Hitler. Lenin and then Stalin. Napoleon. The Paris Commune. None of them rose in a vacuum. You can call me a law and order man if you want, but I prefer the aspire to “love thy neighbor” and “do unto others as…” and “turn the other cheek.” (They are also more effective tactics!)

  20. re: ” There it is, Larry – when you claim to condemn violence as a tactic, you actually do not.”

    I say it’s MORE than condemning violence if you really want to deal with what is causing it.

    I do not justify violence .. at all.. but if you do not deal with what is causing the conflict.. you end up being complicit in not taking steps to end it – and that’s why we are where we are today – we still have groups like KKK and what is in essence their complicit defenders…. by essentially saying they are no worse than those who oppose their ideology – using violent tactics.

    Those who stand back and condemn “both sides” – further empower the KKK… the KKK/WS actually point to that as “proof” that their ideology is legitimate… they THANK Trump and like-minded for “understanding” them.

    you DO condemn violence – of all kinds but you do NOT LINK two violent groups as “equals”… if one group is basically violently opposed to the ideology of the other group.

    I have zero problems with locking up ANYONE who commits violence for ANY stated reason… we do not tolerate it – period.

    But we do not equate two groups as “equals” when one of them has an ideology of violence in the name of racism and hate and the second group opposes that ideology but wrongly commits violence in the name of their opposition. they are not the same and those that depict them as the same – further legitimize and empower the racists… and actually legitimize a strategy for the racists to incite violence so that those that oppose them will be characterized as no better than them…

    not sure if I clearly stated this as well as I could have … but I’m sure you must have the flavor by now Steve.

    the question is – do we both now know the difference between us and we just disagree on the merits… ?

  21. My September issue of The Atlantic contained this very interesting article. Larry, I think you would appreciate the effort made to define the terms and address factually what the movement is and purports to be.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/the-rise-of-the-violent-left/534192/

    On The Atlantic’s website now, there is a current article that delves into the differences between groups.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/drawing-distinctions-antifa-the-alt-right-and-black-lives-matter/538320/

    Part of what is interesting about these articles is that The Atlantic is a left leaning publication. Much of what they see as a threat from Antifa is the impact the group’s actions will have politically.

    Both are worth a read.

  22. I think I now get Larry the G’s point.

    Those who organize to defend themselves against attack are morally justified in doing so. Based on our Judao-Christian values, this is true BUT when, how, in what way is the issue.

    This is the current argument with Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinians claim they are not terrorists but resisters. Israelis claim they are not oppressors but defenders.

    If that is what the locals were doing and were not conducting themselves in provocative ways, I would agree with Larry that they should be exempted from condemnation and it would be a more complete picture if the media had reported on their existence, numbers, role, etc.

    What I do not accept is that there was only one side. Larry says you must understand the source of violence. I agree and believe that one contributor has been the incessant violence in rhetoric and action from the left for the past 18 months with local, state, and Federal Democrat officials either expressly approving and endorsing or at the least failing to criticize it.

    This has effectively put the WS, WNs and their ilk in the position of defending their values with the violence they are being delivered which of course the left despises and think indefensible. Kind of like Israel and Palestine depending on where your sympathies lie.

    One of the foundational tenets of a non-violent society not at the mercy of militias of various sympathies is the rule of law. All sides who take it on themselves to “defend” are deeply wrong and destroying what they are attempting to protect by taking the law into their own hands — even well-meaning locals who take it on themselves to defend rather than hold their police accountable for that work.

  23. Thanks Sara – they ARE excellent reads…. and thanks musingsfromjanus for your thoughtful perspective also…

    I don’t know your ages but the “violent left” has been around for a while.. back in the 1960’s… there were several groups that had a reputation for violence…usually property damage rather than systematic killing or others…

    and yes.. they did harm to the political left who was indeed afraid of having their cause undermined by extremists committing violence in the name of the same causes.

    I’d just also point out the history of the KKK and WS … from the era of Jim Crow – to now… so whose righteous “cause” were they “hurting” and undermining with their violence?

    to a slightly wider context – if a group violently opposes another group that believes and practices ethnic cleansing and has for as long as it has existed … is the first group equally “bad” if non-violent opposition has not worked?

  24. Must admit that the left can be violent as well. I think it was 1971 and I was a student at Tufts University outside of Boston. I was either a freshman or a sophomore and I resided in an ancient dorm called West Hall. It was a short walk to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, an internationally known graduate school involving global affairs. Its dean at the time was Edmund Gullion, a former U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam. At the time, there was enormous resistance to the Vietnam war. The Fletcher School was a target because it trained many Foreign Service, CIA and military officers.

    I used to study in the Fletcher library because it was very comfortable and nearby. One night I was asleep in my dorm room. There was a big blast and sirens. Someone had touched off a bomb that demolished Gullion’s office.

    It was serious business but no one was killed.

  25. Larry the G, doesn’t it depend on what kind of society you want to live in?
    My simple answer is that the remedies must be through the legal system; so I would say they are just as bad.
    However, if they showed up at my synagogue and began any kind of violence and there was no police presence, I would feel justified in returning the violence with violence and would think I am not as bad.

  26. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/31/pelosi-on-violent-antifa-members-lock-them-up.html

    Yes! Yes! Thank you Leader Pelosi! (No, I don’t normally check Fox News, Larry, but the WashPo story was blocked by the paywall…)

  27. Steve – I don’t disagree on iota from Pelosi…. but when I see thugs on left armed with AK-47s and going into random churches and systematically executing people because those victims are the wrong kind of people to be living in the US, I might be more convinced that they are “the same” as Dylan Roof and company..aka “the clowns”.

    • Larry, It is true that extreme right wingers have been more deadly in the last couple of decades than extreme left wingers. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. But, you see, everybody agrees that white supremacists are (a) basically evil, and (b) very dangerous. Ninety-nine percent of the country is united on that point. There’s no controversy here.

      Your argument seems to be that extreme left wingers are (a) not as evil, and (b) not as dangerous. Fine, for purposes of argument, I’ll agree with that. My problem is that large swaths of the electorate don’t recognize that left-wing extremists are a danger of any kind, and, even if they are, their use of violence is kinda, sorta OK as long as it’s deployed against Nazis and racists. Dude, even PeterG acknowledges that the far left has a history of violence!

      Nazis/Racists — universally loathed
      Extreme leftists/anarchists — widespread ambivalence

    • What, shooting congressmen at a baseball practice doesn’t count? I give up. You don’t know when you’ve lost an argument, Larry.

  28. re: shooting Congressmen… no more than other lunatics not affiliated with any particular group… yes Steve.. there are lunatics… no question but don’t confuse things here …accidently or on purpose.. keep the truth..

    re: ” My problem is that large swaths of the electorate don’t recognize that left-wing extremists are a danger of any kind, and, even if they are, their use of violence is kinda, sorta OK as long as it’s deployed against Nazis and racists. Dude, even PeterG acknowledges that the far left has a history of violence!”

    what history of “violence” on the left?l BLM is basically a group that is concerned about police mistreatment of blacks.. not without some hangers on more inclined to something more than street protesting… but none of them – not a one – has gone to a white church and mowed down innocents…

    most of the “left” violence tends to be bombings… or property damage – gone sideways as opposed to them threatening people with harm – and then carrying it out.. as the KKK has a long and undeniable history of.. right on up to Mr. Roof.. there are others in the KKK/WS .. that one would be a fool to claim the rest are just harmless clowns.. harmless clowns don’t show up armed to the teeth ..ready to rumble.. like a biker gang…does..

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