A 600% increase in threats! Hey DOJ, where are the arrests?

Jena Griswold, the Colorado Secretary of State was on Chris Hayes talking about the threats she got and revealed that there was a 600% increase in threats to her and staff. 600% WTF?

That day, she received an email declaring: “We are coming for you bitch.” Another person emailed, “If you have kids, I hope they get murdered by illegal aliens,” adding, “Seriously, just die.”

In a voicemail, someone said, “I can’t wait to find you and follow you to your house and expose your address.” Another person left a voicemail saying, “I’d love for you to die.” Some time this month, a person told Griswold on social media, “Take my advice and wear Kevlar … a lot of Kevlar!!!”

‘Just Die’: Colorado Elections Chief Who Took on Trump Sees 600% Spike in Threats, By Andrew Perez, Adam Rawnsley, Ryan Bort, Asawin Suebsaeng March 28, 2024 

On these cable news segments we often hear some specific threats, but unless someone counts all the threats, and then tells the media about them, we never know just how huge the problem is. And if we don’t know how huge the problem is, we also don’t know how terrible the response to the problem is.

At the end of the segment Griswold talked about how the DOJ Election Threat Response Task Force has failed. It’s been going since 2021 and has only 20 convictions.

Have you heard about any of those 20 convictions? Did you see any mugshots of the perps who are now serving 3 1/2 years in prison for threatening election officials? No. Because the DOJ didn’t use any photos of the convicted felons in their press release or press conference!

This is a huge failure by the DOJ. They MUST promote their successes to send a message to the general public that if you threaten election officials, their staff and poll workers you will be found, arrested, tried and punished. And I’m not the only one who thinks this. This is from AZ’s new secretary of state,

Even when federal prosecutors secure a victory after charging people making these violent threats, Arizona’s secretary of state argues that barely anyone hears about it — and that’s a major problem.

“In almost every other area criminality is deterred through public campaigns,” he adds. The Justice Department’s election task force issues typically press releases after convictions, but Fontes says press releases aren’t enough to deter people or adequate given the extent of the problem.

Top Arizona Dem: Biden’s DOJ Is Failing to Protect Election Workers From ‘Domestic Terrorism’

As my friend Bill said, that’s like if the feds did a massive drug and weapons bust but didn’t have a photo of the guy they busted or a photo of the 600 pounds of cocaine stacked up next to 275 rocket propelled grenades.

I couldn’t find a photo anywhere online of Joshua Russell of Bucyrus, Ohio who got 2.5 years in prison for death threats made in 2022 to Arizona’s top election official. The only mug shot I found was of Frederick Goltz of Lubbock Texas. He threaten Arizona elected officials and their kids on RW social media. I read all court documents for the entire Goltz case and the media coverage. His lawyers used all the usual explanations, ‘He was joking. He was in another state, he didn’t intend to take action, his comment was taken out of context, he is a good father who cares for his kids.” The prosecution countered all of those and proved he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Goltz was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. This would have been an excellent case for the DOJ to promote nationally as a deterrent, because he threatened to kill kids too. But they didn’t. It was one of the victims who posted on social media that I found the mugshot. The VICTIMS should NOT have to promote the successful prosecution.

In the case of threats to Jena Griswold, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office went to the journalists at Rolling Stone and told them what was happening. THIS IS NOT what law enforcement tells people to do. But when law enforcement isn’t doing their job, they have to. Law enforcement knew of all the threats to Judge Engoron’s clerk during Trump’s trial, but they don’t talk about “ongoing investigations” so the New York state court system’s Department of Public Safety kept count of the threats and told the media. Here’s Lisa Rubin telling Chris Hayes about the 275 Pages of transcribed voicemail threats. When he saw that the scale and scope of the threats it finally made an impact on Hayes.

The Secretary Of State office had to go the press because law enforcement isn’t doing their job. But even media pressure isn’t enough. There needs to be an look into WHY law enforcement is failing and fix the problem. Thanks to great reporting from Linda So and Jason Szep at Reuters, we’ve learned that law enforcement often won’t investigate and they dismiss threats as not rising to the level of criminal threat prosecution. Or they declare them “protected political speech”  But based on the experts who reviewed the threats it’s that’s a bullshit excuse. This is a must read piece on the failure of law enforcement to manage threats to U.S. election workers. It’s from 2021 and is damning.
U.S. election workers get little help from law enforcement as terror threats mount Reuters Campaign of Fear Sept. 8, 2021,

What’s really behind law enforcement not wanting to do this?
1) It’s not a priority
2) They don’t have a budget
3) They don’t see it as a big deal, it’s “online” or on social media, so it’s not local or “real world.”
4) It’s a lot of work for a low conviction rate, especially if they have to prove intent.
5) The people getting threatened aren’t important (POC, low-level election workers, women like Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss)
6) The people who are doing the threatening are not seen as domestic terrorists.
7) Lots of cops are MAGA Trumpers

I’ve dug into the reasons and excuses for law enforcement’s failure to act.
1) Show the problem is huge and real.
The Secretary of States offices, should talk to more people in the media about scale and scope.
They should describe the actions that need to be taken, and by whom.
There should be talk about who is blocking those actions and what pressures they are using.
(Is this about Trump lovers? Budget? Fear of speaking out?)
4) Determine what pressures can apply to get action. What if the stories about 1,000s of threats isn’t enough? Do we need to expose the INTENTIONAL internal failures and how they will lead to deaths?

And finally, since I LOVE to talk about successes, not just failures, when a law gets passed or a person is convicted for threats or a victim wins a civil law suit and is compensated for their pain and suffering, promote those stories! Make it a big deal!
(BTW, I’ve been doing this by educating groups on the power of civil legal actions and teaching them how to do follow up stories with the media. What I don’t know how to do, and needs to be done, is a social media plan that addresses the coordinated disinformation and gaslighting and fights back.)

One thing I learned from Glenn Kirschner is that the DOJ wants people to believe they are above pressure, but he said when they get new information, either from the original reporting or from reports from sources like the Secretary of State’s offices, the DOJ is forced to look at it and respond.

Based on this information everyone being threatened needs to USE that information. Get your story out there. Demand of law enforcement, “Where are the arrests?” If law enforcement does HAVE a success, SHOW IT!

Get the media to stop with their OWN excuses. I still see a reflexive move of the media to give the benefit of the doubt to people making threats. I get it, they don’t want to be seen as censors. They want to be able to criticize elected officials, Chris Hayes was still pushing the “You should expect some incoming” as a DA, as a normal experience, until he heard of the 275 transcribed pages of voicemail threats. That finally got through to him. But the media, and the public, need to hear it OVER AND OVER again. The right is exploiting our old views of in-person free speech in an actual public square, via an era of anonymous bots pushing lies and threats on social media.

The DOJ Election threats Task Force should be doing big national stories about the people who are in jail for threats. SO big that FOX news can’t avoid covering them. And when RW social media and FOX try to turn the perpetrators into “misunderstood martyrs” whose “free speech is being censored!” There needs to be a social media rapid response team that flips that lie around. “This guy IS NOT A “FREE SPEECH” HERO.” THIS GUY THREATENED TO KILL KIDS, HE IS BEING PUNISHED AS THE LAW PROVIDES.”

The social media owners should know this is against their Terms Of Service AND the LAW! Any gaslighting about being free speech needs to be called out as the BS it is.

Finally. I’d repeat what John Keller, head of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force, had to say in this press conference,

“Death threats are not debate.
Death threats do not contribute to the marketplace of ideas.
Death threats are not a protected constitutional right.”

John Keller, head of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force
John Keller, head of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force

When there are no big stories about convictions for threats, no photos of the people who are going to prison for years following a trial by a jury of their peers, there will be no deterrence. Yes, justice was done, but the public doesn’t know about. Humans need to SEE justice being done.

I asked people for an example of seeing justice getting done. They recommended the ending scene of The Untouchables. I thought that was appropriate, especially since Trump has taken to comparing himself to Al Capone lately.

Cross posted to Digby’s Hullabaloo

They’re all laughing at you Trump!

Two of Trump’s worst nightmares are happening right now, he’s broke and people are laughing at him.It’s glorious! I’m enjoying these 24 hours of knowing he’s squirming. In this clip you can see how Eric Trump is personally experiencing his Dad’s humiliation at the hands of bankers and bond companies.Eric Trump Sunday interview on Fox News, host Maria Bartiromo

“When I came to them saying, ‘Hey, can I get a 1/2 billion dollar bond?’ Maria they were laughing!”

-Eric Trump to Maria Bartiromo on Fox 3-24-2024

It’s interesting that Eric is doing this. Why not Daddy? Because they know Donald always get revenge against people who laugh at him and don’t do what he wants. On Monday there will be some story about how Trump leveraged the recent IPO to get the money for a bond. Or he’ll file for a Double Secret Special Extension that will kick the can down the road 30 days. Or, he’ll get the money from “outside the US” (I noted that Eric used that phrase intentionally twice, he’s setting it up for a “We had to go outside the US because no one would do it in the US!” We’ll . . . → Read More: They’re all laughing at you Trump!

Threats of Violence to Judge McAfee & family delayed Trump’s RICO Case

Did you know that Judge Scott McAfee delayed his written order on Willis and Wade for a week because he had been receiving threats? He needed time for proper security to be in place for him and his family. The ONLY source that I found who mentioned this was Kyle Griffin at MSNBC.

This really PISSES ME OFF. I try to be all logical about the reasons the threats keep working and point to solutions, but I’m really sick and tired of the BS excuses by law enforcement when it comes to dealing with threats from the MAGA base to the judges, prosecutors, witnesses, jurors AND THEIR FAMILIES, in Donald Trump’s legal cases.

I’m a fast talker but slow writer so I dictated my thoughts to Otter.AI (a service I use to transcribe videos). It has a feature to summarize what you said and provide action items. It worked surprisingly well!

Spocko is frustrated with the lack of action taken by law enforcement to address threats made against judges and their families. He argues that local law enforcement should have anticipated and prepared for these threats, but their failure to do so is driving him ‘nuts.’

Spocko . . . → Read More: Threats of Violence to Judge McAfee & family delayed Trump’s RICO Case

Americans old metaphors about free speech & debate don’t work with social media. But we still cling to them says Barb McQuade

I just read Barb McQuade’s new book. Attack from Within. How Disinformation is Sabotaging America. I had planned to go see her in person at the Commonwealth Club and ask her some questions, but it was sold out, plus I knew what would happen, the first person at the mic would say, “I don’t have a question so much as a 3 part comment ” and talk for 5 minutes.” (I’m guilty of that myself, I even used that phrasing as a joke line with my friend Cory Doctorow and Annalee Newitz at his book reading for Red Team Blues. )My goal when asking book authors questions is to help them amplify the parts I see as important in a memorable way. Especially for an audience that needs to hear it, but will likely never read the book.So when I heard Barb was going to be on the Nicole Sandler show I wrote Nicole and said, “I think the most important point Barb makes in the book is that with social media our old metaphors of speech & debate are out of date and they are being used against us. Please get Barb to repeat this, with examples! . . . → Read More: Americans old metaphors about free speech & debate don’t work with social media. But we still cling to them says Barb McQuade

How do we stop the Supreme Court?

This court has proven with its actions—through one politically motivated decision after another—that it is unfit to wield the power that it does.”

The Supreme Court Must Be Stopped, Elie Mystal in the Nation. March 1, 2024

I agree with Elie. So what do we do? I’m an activist and I know that there are multiple steps to make something happen. Elie has thoughts about changing how we in the public perceive the court. Elie said, “The first step toward stopping the Supreme Court’s political actions is to treat the justices as political actors and subject them to all of the scrutiny, pressure, and protest normal political actors face every day. ” I like the way my friend Lisa Graves referred to them on the Nicole Sandler show “Politicians in robes.”

How we treat politicians in American is very different than how we treat Supreme Court Justices. We questions them, we have processes for getting rid of them when they do a bad job. Part of our perception comes from how the media treat them. That needs to change. When our perception of the court changes, so should our response to them. I LOVE the work that has . . . → Read More: How do we stop the Supreme Court?

How Much Does Trump Owe? When Does He Have To Pay Up?

How long Does Trump Have to Pay His Fraud Fines? From payuptrump.com

What will it take to stop the threats of violence?

Jamison Foser wrote an excellent piece about how the media disconnects the threat of violence from Trump and his supporters from the 14th Amendment court case. I read that and my first thought was, “Yes!” Then, “What can I do?” Followed by, “Do I have to write about it again? My brain gets tired just thinking about this! Where’s my Sodastream diet cola?” Some thoughts one liter later:1) The media doesn’t want to say it, but the threats from Donald Trump needed to be stopped years ago. Now to stop him it will involve putting him in pre-trial detention, with no direct access to social media, as the law provides.

2) Law enforcement doesn’t want to say it, but it takes too much time, money and human resources to find and arrest people making threats. So they just say, “It’s “protected” political speech and don’t charge anyone. 3) Legislators don’t want to pass laws that would appear to be targeting conservatives. Even suggesting it sends them into gaslighting hissy fits. “They want to send the FBI after me just because of a difference of opinion!” 4) Social Media companies don’t want to enforce their own Terms of Service . . . → Read More: What will it take to stop the threats of violence?

2 Ways To Stop White Nationalist Morons Like The Patriot Front

The White Nationalist group Patriot Front was confused by the turnstiles at NYC’s World Trade Center PATH station. It reminded me of this classic turnstile scene with Slim Pickens in Blazing Saddles.

But seriously folks, who is the Patriot Front and how can they be defeated once they figure out how to use turnstiles? In June I talked to Matt Binder on the Doomed podcast about Patriot Front, the Neo-Nazis group seen in this clip. They wear the same hats, khakis and gatherers on their faces when they go to Pride events, Juneteenth parades and other events.

The Patriot Front may appear dumb here, but they are very clever at avoiding being prosecuted for their use of threats online and in person. One organization that figured out how to fight them is the called Task Force Butler Institute. Their tag line: Veterans Fighting Fascism

From the Task Force Butler website under What We Do

Hold Extremists Accountable

For far too long neo-nazi, white supremacist, and fascist organizations have been able to terrorize vulnerable Americans and erode our democracy without paying a price.

We provide the resources and support necessary to ensure that those who want to destroy our . . . → Read More: 2 Ways To Stop White Nationalist Morons Like The Patriot Front

Stop Rudy Giuliani from weaseling out of paying the financial judgment against him!

The size of the financial judgement against Rudy Giuliani should come tomorrow. The first question people will have is. “Will he pay?” The rich have lots of tricks to avoid paying. Here’s a bit of good news from Barb Mcquade.

“Intentional torts, like defamation, are NOT dischargeable in bankruptcy.

And so it may be that Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss are able to chase Rudy Giuliani to his grave to catch every penny they can out of his pockets.”

barb Mcquade

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Elon’s dominance over global satellite communications is dangerous.

I just listened to Elon Musk on Spaces talk about the use of his Starlink satellites by Ukraine. He also talked about how they might be used by people in Gaza. When I listen to his answer I remember two things. 1) He is not ‘under oath” he can be lying and mischaracterizing what he did and what happened. There is no one on the call who will check him or ask for clarification. 2) His control over Starlink makes him a major player in global politics. Who has leverage over him? The US? He is located here and Starlink is a US corporation. He is a US citizen. BUT we have seen that the control the US government has over him is not total. Other people and countries have leverage over him. He listened to Putin and made a decision based on what Putin told him. Musk has dominance over satellite communications. When a company has harmful dominance over an industry they need to be disciplined. That can happen by competition, regulation or labor. Last week Cory Doctorow talked about why the US implemented antitrust laws. To stop harmful domination by a company.This should apply to person too. . . . → Read More: Elon’s dominance over global satellite communications is dangerous.