Playing in the Sun: A Tribute to Nelson Mandela
New Civil Rights Movement contributor Clinton Fein, who was born and grew up in South Africa under apartheid, shares his thoughts on todayâ€™s passing of Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela is dead.
Millions of people are weeping today, me among them.
The world has lost a man who had become a living legend, respected, admired and loved in a way that no other figure, political or otherwise, comes to mind. Across the globe.
Nelson Mandela is ours. He is a man of the people. He belongs to us. At least that’s how it feels. And why, in his final days, there was so much tension around the coverage of his illness. The barrage of media presence was a constant reminder that the worst might be true. Unscrupulous behavior fashioned around who might be first to break the inevitable story. But their massive presence also a solemn recognition of Mr. Mandela’s global stature.
â€œThe media are here to support us,â€Â Gerald Moshe, a student told the New York Times. â€œThey have come from overseas to cry with us and support us in this difficult moment.â€
For millions of South Africans, whether living in South Africa or abroad, black or white, Nelson Mandela represents the highest aspiration of what South Africa is. In him and through him, we see ourselves at our very best. Through him, we shine.
Our desire to believe that we can move forward with the capacity for forgiveness in our hearts for the transgressions of others; at peace and forgiven for our own transgressions; and in appreciation for humanity that transcends race, gender, orientation, social status, and privilege.
Nelson Mandela was that special enough, one-in-a-billion personality that comes along and shows us what true greatness looks like in the embodiment of a human being.
Other than some of the hard-core, still-existing racists, most South Africans among us, who grew up in the age of Apartheid, feel his strong, powerful resilience that one, to some extent, feels at liberty to claim as one’s own. It’s a South African thing. Not in the context of nationalism though. Apartheid didn’t inspire nationalism for most of the population — other than its architects.
In one of the many email chain-letters sent among South Africans joking about how you know youâ€™re a South African, is the one that you know someone who knows someone who met Nelson Mandela. That alone may provide some insight as to why it seemed so difficult to let a 95-year old man go. So much external goodwill and self-identityÂ is tied up in the perception of the man.
For any South African who grew up during Apartheid, there are two distinct ages. Thereâ€™s Apartheid, and Post-Apartheid. Nelson Mandela became the miracle. His release from prison after twenty-seven years signaled the end of Apartheid perhaps even more than his election as President. Our lives changed the day he was released, and are inextricably intertwined. It’s like that for all South Africans really.
In order to explain Mandela as the phenomenon he is — this revered and adored â€œeveryman Superman” — one has to view it through the lens of personal experience. What he means to South African blacks as a liberator is different to what he means to whites. Or other meaningless racial classifications that once meant something dangerously real in South Africa.
In Apartheid South Africa, separation existed on multiple levels. Whites were primarily divided into English speaking whites and Afrikaans speaking whites, which were the two national languages of South Africa. Learning both was mandatory at school. Afrikaners dominated the Apartheid government, but English was the more global language, and although there was a certain amount of animosity between English and Afrikaans, language barriers paled by comparison to the racial barriers.
And as much as I wish it were different, Apartheid is still too fresh in our history to conflate the experience of Nelson Mandela collectively without sounding like a fraud. Apartheid saw to it that everything from education to social participation was separate.
Growing up as an affluent white South African Jew was aÂ startlingly different experience for me than it was for Â Hector Pieterson, who was shot and killed protesting on June 16, 1976, and whose death precipitated the Soweto Riots when we were both 12 years-old. The effects of one’s upbringingÂ are not erased overnight. But Nelson Mandela, without doubt, liberated white South Africa from the yoke of Apartheid too.
For many of us who grew up white during Apartheid, our interactions with blacks are embarrassing to articulate. Most white South African children had significant interaction with their familyâ€™s â€œdomestic servantsâ€ who were black. Almost every white household had at least one live-in maid and often two maids and a gardener or â€œhouseboyâ€. (The term â€œboyâ€ or â€œgirlâ€ was frequently used to describe â€œdomestic servantsâ€ regardless of their age, and was considered far less offensive than many of the other terms used at the time).
Live-in maids didnâ€™t quite live-in either. The â€œservantsâ€™ quartersâ€ were very seldom part of the main house, but rather stand-alone rooms and bathroom accessible only through the kitchen. Maybe, on occasion, you might get to interact with your maidâ€™s children, who might have come to visit on holidays, perhaps once or twice a year if your parents were “kind” enough to permit it.
Although there was a lot of interaction with blacks, it was in the context of their day-to-day work. Blacks would be bagging groceries, filling cars with gas, working on street repairs, mowing lawns or making deliveries. Relationships were illegal. Friendships almost impossible.
So without it sounding hokey or offensive, Mr. Mandelaâ€™s release and subsequent rise to lead South Africa represented liberation for whites too. Mr. Mandela was able to make whites feel okay for their inaction if not their active participation in Apartheid; even though they were the direct recipients of the fruits it yielded. Mr. Mandela understood how Apartheid worked far more deeply than those upon who it was foisted, and designed to mislead rather than oppress.
The propaganda of Apartheid ran deep. The governmentâ€™s execution of Apartheid was far too cunning to allow one to realize they were being controlled. Certain things were explicitly, if not proudly, banned, like pornography and adult materials, but history was taught from a white racist perspective and in essence suggested that blacks were savages and unreceptive to white infiltration â€“ or rather civilized Christian society â€“ that they owed whites an enormous amount of gratitude and were forever beholden to them.
â€œLiberal schoolsâ€ managed to sneak in books like Chinua Achebeâ€™s Things Fall Apart, probably because they missed the message. You didn’t question how it was that you had black labor performing menial tasks at home. You were led to believe that providing jobs and housing to â€œthese peopleâ€ was virtuous and another example of how superior, good and decent whites were. From a sound Judeo-Christian standpoint, naturally.
One never realized the extent to which we were being controlled by the government. Or how much one didnâ€™t know. Or that one didnâ€™t know at all. And one certainly didnâ€™t ask questions. Even if you knew instinctively that there were even questions to be asked. Somewhere in the recesses of your mind, you knew something was amiss.
The government, with a heavy-handed force, controlled all media. All media was thus local media and was transmitted through the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) which itself was the only broadcaster allowed to transmit news over radio or television, and which was really nothing more than a propaganda machine for the Apartheid regime.
Although there was quite a bit of underground or alternative journalism going on, life for those journalists was dangerous and unpredictable, and their work not really accessible to the mainstream. The government, using its extraordinary power declared that the presence of journalists — and cameras especially — was directly responsible for the inciting of riots and so most areas of civil unrest were declared off-limits to the press so that the government could control the images that were being broadcast around the world.
Many journalists were detained, often without a trial, which was one of the benefits of declaring a State of Emergency, which happened in 1985 — soon before I left South Africa.
It was impossible to not be affected by Apartheid. The privilege I enjoyed as a white person; the deprivation of any friendship or meaningful relationships with black people; the incessant force-fed diet of controlled misinformation that was designed to instill notions of white superiority; the deep rooted fear that police and government inspired; the deliberate robbing of my ability to think for myself and make my own choices; the decision to leave South Africa rather than be forced to go into the townships and kill other South Africans. So much of who I am today, and what I do is directly attributable to or shaped by Apartheid.
In a remarkable speech Mr. Mandela made as President honoring Steve Biko in September 1997, he used the opportunity to steer a conversation about the Black Consciousness Movement into a broader challenge aimed at internalizing forgiveness and compassion by transforming it into a humanitarian focus without losing or compromising racial identity. Yet cautioning against the potential to mirror Afrikaner nationalism.
â€œWhile Steve Biko espoused, inspired, and promoted black pride, he never made blackness a fetish. At the end of the day, as he himself pointed out, accepting one’s blackness is a critical starting point: an important foundation for engaging in struggle. Today, it must be a foundation for reconstruction and development, for a common human effort to end war, poverty, ignorance and disease.â€
â€œIt means working together, government in each sphere and all sectors from society, in bringing prosperity to the province, the country and the continent which spawned him. It means all of us helping to take South Africa across the threshold of greatness on which it stands. That will be achieved by each of us respecting ourselves first and foremost, and in turn respecting the humanity in each one of us. It means an attitude of mind and a way of life that appreciates the joy in the honest labor of creating a new society. In time, we must bestow on South Africa the greatest gift – a more humane society.”
The violence of the transition and the mistakes that were made, including some by Mr. Mandela, are lost to history for the most part. The painful process of the Mandela government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was also a remarkable and cathartic exercise in closure and forgiveness. Unlike America’s refusal to acknowledge its transgressions, South Africa was empowered to indeed “look forward” because she had bothered to look back. And to learn and grow from her sins, rather than be doomed to repeat them.
Through Mr. Mandela’s government, the transition was about acknowledgement rather than blame. As he met with those who hated him, and smiled and extended the hand of friendship to those who were scared of him, the pain and the fear, and the anger and the bitterness subsided. Some of his actions are now legendary.
He had tea with 94-year old Betsie Verwoerd, whose husband — considered the architect of Apartheid — had jailed him in 1963, where he remained imprisoned for 27 years. And remembered her warmly when she died.
Despite the crap offered up in Hollywood’s Invictus, Mr. Mandela’s embrace of the Springboks did indeed unite the country in an amazing way.
Through the actions and attitude and behavior of one man, he moved mountains and reshaped attitudes wherever he went and whenever he spoke. It is difficult to express just how powerful that is. To South Africans Nelson Mandela represented their highest aspirations. And to some extent, he always will.
I asked my friends to try and articulate what it is about Mr. Mandela that was so magical, and whether it would live on after he died. And as expected, there is a reverence that is difficult for words to convey.
â€œHe’s a legend. He’s superhuman. How do you do justice to that? Simply by covering his history, one can try understand his greatness,â€ wrote Kim Gardi Abelman from Columbus, Ohio.
Guy Miller, who got to shake his hand in a chance meeting in a gym on a quiet Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg wrote from Australia: â€œAs with Ghandi and Martin Luther King we felt the impact of Nelson Mandela a leader of immense proportions. Not many leaders change the landscape so deeply without resorting to force. He extended the hand of peace to those who incarcerated him, he spoke to those who did not wish to speak to him, he reached out through gestures that always surprised us and endeared us to him. A little humility goes a long way but in Mandela’s case he has it by the truck loads.â€
Debbie Helman wrote from Netanya, Israel about the time she reached over three bodyguards at a mall in Cape Town to shake his hand when she chanced upon him, and didnâ€™t wash her hands for days but cherishes the â€œfive brief personal seconds with the man himself.â€
Tracey Posniak Ellison from Miami, USA was working with the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa in 2005 and got to attend a talk he gave in Cape Town. â€œThe entire audience was awed…..humbled…and painfully aware of frail he looked then already. But when he spoke, his voice had the strength of a leader who could unite a nation divided.â€
People who saw him were as moved by the experience as those who met him. “He had messianic moral force. His jailers couldn’t help admiring and befriending him,” wrote my friend, Gary van Wyk, who actively fought against Apartheid and was forced to flee South Africa and live in exile. Today, a renowned art historian and co-owner of New Yorkâ€™s Axis Gallery, his personal encounter with Mandela speaks to the respect and dignity he inspired (and Gary’s gracious offer of solitude): â€œOnce, (it must have been before he became President) I had just checked in for an international flight and saw Mandela resting on a bench in a corner, with one or two attendants. He looked so tired, and having a private moment, that I resisted going to shake his hand. His humanity had always been obvious, even when his face and words were banned. At that moment I saw his human frailty to which mortality is the terminus.â€
And human he was. A few years ago, to my forever jealous consternation, my sister, Candice, who co-runs Feed SA, an organization in South Africa dedicated to feeding and clothing the less fortunate, got to go meet him at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg. In a typically South African fashion, or perhaps typical Candice style, she told him how much he meant to her and what a â€œstunning energyâ€ he had, and naturally asked if he would mind if she had a photo taken with him. He didnâ€™t mind having photos with pretty girls was his playful response, as is evidenced in the photo below. (Contrast this image with the Â controversy earlier this year over the unsmiling, frail and tired photos of Mr. Mandela with Jacob Zuma that resulted in accusations that the ANC were exploiting him.)
Mandela was a teacher. Patrick Matanjana “Bra Pat” was a prisoner for twenty years on Robben Island along with Mr. Mandela, who became a tour guide once the prison was turned into a museum. After a guided tour of the island on one of my visits back to South Africa, I had a chance to have a discussion with Patrick. He had been imprisoned at the age of 19 for â€œterrorist activitiesâ€.
I told him that what struck me as the most remarkable was that both he and Mandela appeared not to be bitter, despite all they had gone through, and wondered how he was able to stomach giving tours to people like me.
He remarked that one of the things he had learned was that when you are faced with oppression and dedicate your life to overturning the system that fosters it, you have to be able to move beyond making the same mistakes, or simply turning the tables. That to successfully end oppression, one has to consider the plight of the oppressor as much as the plight of the oppressed. To that end, education was the most sustaining life force on the island, and he and his comrades or fellow prisoners ended up teaching their wardens â€“ the same people who were in essence censoring their letters and thwarting their communications – how to read.
I was profoundly moved by what he told me, and to this day am awed at the enormity of such internal strength.
Thatâ€™s the spiritual essence from which the magic emanates. It takes an extraordinary capacity for forgiveness and a remarkable restraint when given the reins of power to live up to and be that promise.
For all his grit, courage, determination and integrity, Nelson Mandela knew how to love and how to forgive. Therein rests his power, and why the world is a better place for him having lived in it. Now and forever.
Comparing him with other politicians is pointless, but inevitable. As my friend, Hanna Regev, who grew up in Israel, remarked how great it is that the historic judgment of him was made during his lifetime: “In my humble opinion, there will be no monument that will capture the courage and the essence of this man, this icon. He remains a legend, a hero.â€
There was a genuine excitement I felt along with many Americans when President Obama was first elected. Not because of Obama the man, truthfully, but because America had broken a racial barrier similar to the one I had witnessed and partaken in in May 1994. But President Obama always falls short when I made comparisons, and I made them often. From the meaning behind their respective Nobel Peace prizes then, to President Obamaâ€™s draconian disrespect for the constitution now.
Nelson Mandela wrote the framework of the worldâ€™s most progressive constitutions ever — the first ever toÂ prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation –Â whilst seeking shade in â€œThe Universityâ€ â€“ a refuge from the blazing, unforgiving sun dug into the wall of a mine quarry on Robben Island.Â A dry holeÂ that served as a toilet and a place to rest.
Barack Obama, a constitutional scholar,Â desecrated one from the luxury of the White House.
As someone who dedicated his life to ensuring the right to vote, had he been well enough, he would have been appalled at Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, who played a role this weekÂ in striking down a critical section of the Voting Rights Act that determined which jurisdictions must pre-clear their election laws with the federal government. Mr. Mandela understood that eradicating racism wasn’t about pretending it didn’t exist. Clarence Thomas would probably have upheld Apartheid.
It is not hyperbolic to state that Nelson Mandela shaped the core of who I am and the direction of my life. In every way. My passionate advocacy for freedom of expression, which had me challenge the United States government twice in federal lawsuits — one that was decided by the United States Supreme Court — was driven by a fearlessness that was inspired by Nelson Mandela.
In 1997, I declared as much under the penalty of perjury: â€œIt is important for me to state for the record that I was born and raised in South Africa during Apartheid. My desire to be a journalist was thwarted by the repressive censorship, as I lived in a country where one could be imprisoned for quoting Nelson Mandela (who at the time was in prison for revolutionary activities). I underwent the often difficult process of immigration, becoming an American citizen in 1994, partly because of the First Amendment’s promise of free speech. … I took an oath to protect the principles of the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. A strong motivation for my wanting to bring this lawsuit is to fulfill that promise and have America live up to its promise of freedom.â€
Those words have shaped my career as an artist, as a writer, as an activist, as a technologist and as a humanitarian. And continue to drive my motivation. I owe my strength, perseverance and passion to one man. No other person on earth has taught me the true meaning of integrity like Nelson Mandela has. Of living what you speak. Of walking the walk not just talking the talk.
There will be countless obituaries that try to capture the essence of Nelson Mandela. In his final speech to Parliament on March 26, 1999, however, Mr. Mandela articulated himself how he perceived himself and his legacy as a man and as a South African.
To the extent that I have been able to achieve anything, I know hat this is because I am the product of the people of South Africa.
I am the product of the rural masses who inspired in me the pride in our past and the spirit of resistance.
I am the product of the workers of South Africa who, in the mines, factories, fields and offices of our country, have pursued the principle that the interests of each are founded in the common interest of all.
I am the product of South Africa’s intelligentsia, of every color, who have labored to give our society knowledge of itself and to fashion our people’s aspirations into a realizable dream.
I am the product of South Africa’s business people – in industry and agriculture, commerce and finance – whose spirit of enterprise has helped turn our country’s immense natural resources into the wealth of our nation.
To the extent that I have been able to take our country forward to this new era it is because I am the product of the people of the world who have cherished the vision of a better life for all people everywhere.
They insisted, in a spirit of self-sacrifice, that that vision should be realized in South Africa too.
They gave us hope because we knew by their solidarity that our ideas could not be silenced since they were the ideas of all humanity.
I am the product of Africa and her long-cherished dream of a rebirth that can now be realized so that all of her children may play in the sun.
Nelson Mandela — Madiba — your legacy will live on long after you have departed us. You gave us absolutely everything you had to give, and now you deserve nothing less than the loving nod of an eternally grateful world to call it a day.
It is up to us to take theÂ courageous mantle you left us, follow the course of universalÂ peace and freedom you charted,Â and strive with the same passionate resolve with every fiber of our beings to make sure that South Africa’s children –Â and indeed children everywhere — enjoyÂ their chance to play in the sun.
Rest in peace, dear, graceful, honorableÂ and beautiful man.
And from the bottom of my aching heart, I love you and thank you.
Madiba and Madiba’s Blue Tie are images of paintings by South African artist, Rene Veldsman. The image of Mr. Mandela and the author’s sister is courtesy Candice Etberg.
Clinton Fein is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and First Amendment activist, best-known for his 1997 First Amendment Supreme Court victory against United States Attorney General Janet Reno. Fein has also gained international recognition for his Annoy.com site, and for his work as a political artist. Fein is on the Board of Directors of the First Amendment Project, â€œa nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition.â€ Feinâ€™s political and privacy activism have been widely covered around the world. His work also led him to be nominated for a 2001 PEN/Newmanâ€™s Own First Amendment Award.
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‘Unlawful Incursion’: Manhattan DA Schools Jim Jordan for Demanding He Testify in Ongoing Trump Investigation
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg served up an extensive lesson in American jurisprudence Thursday in his response to House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan’s letter demanding he provide communications and testify before Congress on his ongoing investigation into Donald Trump’s hush money payoff to Stormy Daniels.
Jordan’s demand was seen by legal experts as a “purely political attack.” They note Jordan has no constitutional oversight authority over a duly-elected county district attorney.
Bragg is respectfully refusing Jordan’s demands.
Thorough his office’s General Counsel, Bragg sent Jordan a five-page letter (below) filled with numerous citations of federal and state law and legal decisions up to and including from the U.S. Supreme Court, that offer the Judiciary Chairman instruction in the law and that support the District Attorney’s refusal.
READ MORE: ‘Going Full Fascist’: Morning Joe Blasts Trump’s Latest ‘Dehumanizing’ Attack on Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg
In Bragg’s response, he calls Jordan’s letter “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution,” and notes it “only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day, and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene.” He tells Jordan, “if charges are brought … it will be because the rule of law and faithful execution of the District Attorney’s duty require it.”
Jordan, who refused to comply with a lawful subpoena issued by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, had claimed his demand for documents and testimony was in furtherance of a legislative purpose, an effort to examine federal law. Bragg refuted that claim: “Congress cannot have any legitimate legislative task relating to the oversight of local prosecutors enforcing state law.”
“In New York, the District Attorney is a constitutional officer charged with ‘the responsibility to conduct all prosecutions for crimes and offenses cognizable by the courts of the county in which he serves,'” Bragg’s letter continues, offering an education into the concept of federalism and the U.S. Constitution. “These are quintessential police powers belonging to the State, and your letter treads into territory very clearly reserved to the states.”
In a section titled, “Compliance with the Letter Would Interfere with Law Enforcement,” the Manhattan DA’s response says Jordan’s letter “seeks non-public information about a pending criminal investigation, which is confidential under state law.” It adds that “prosecutor’s disclosure of grand jury evidence is a felony.”
Continuing to explain the law to the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Bragg’s letter adds:
“These confidentiality provisions exist to protect the interests of the various participants in the criminal process–the defendant, the witnesses, and members of the grand jury- as well as the integrity of the grand jury proceeding itself. Like the Department of Justice, as a prosecutor exercising sovereign executive powers, the District Attorney has a constitutional obligation to ‘protect the government’s ability to prosecute fully and fairly,’ to ‘independently and impartially uphold the rule of law,’ to ‘protect witnesses and law enforcement,’ to ‘avoid flight by those implicated in our investigations,’ and to ‘prevent additional crimes.'”
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It continues, warning Jordan’s “requests are an unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty. Congress’s investigative jurisdiction is derived from and limited by its power to legislate concerning federal matters.”
Bragg twice offers to meet with staffers from Jordan’s Judiciary Committee to see if the Chairman’s requests “could be accommodated without impeding those sovereign interests.”
Read the letter posted by Axios’ Andrew Solender below or at this link.
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s response to the House GOP’s request for testimony/docs:
– Complying would “interfere with law enforcement”
– GOP letter is an “unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty”
– Congress is “not the appropriate branch” to review pending criminal case pic.twitter.com/FY3met23tR
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) March 23, 2023
– Federal funding is “an insufficient basis to justify these unconstitutional requests”
Last page includes a request to “meet and confer to understand whether the Committee has any legitimate legislative purpose in the requested materials that could be accomodated.” pic.twitter.com/JrfefCUhSM
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) March 23, 2023
‘Going Full Fascist’: Morning Joe Blasts Trump’s Latest ‘Dehumanizing’ Attack on Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg
Days after he wrongly claimed he would be arrested and urged his supporters to “protest,” Donald Trump unleashed a vicious and antisemitic attack against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and philanthropist and donor George Soros, leading “Morning Joe” Scarborough on MSNBC to declare the ex-president has gone “full fascist” and even “full Nazi.”
“I mean he’s just going full Nazi here, full fascist,” Scarborough said Thursday morning, just minutes after Trump’s remarks posted on social media.
“You’re doing the whole Jewish international banker thing and and dehumanizing him as an ‘animal,’ calling him an ‘animal,'” Scarborough said.
“That’s ugly,” Mika Brzezinski added.
“And that’s like like straight out of the playbook. Yeah, that’s really that’s really ugly. Yeah, it’s really interesting to see exactly what’s happened with Bragg. He hasn’t taken the bait.”
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Thursday morning, in an all-caps rant, Trump called District Attorney Bragg a “Soros backed animal who just doesn’t care about right or wrong no matter how many people are hurt.”
Scarborough was not being hyperbolic when he said Trump had gone “full Nazi.”
“This is no legal system, this is the Gestapo, this is Russia and China, but worse. Disgraceful!”
The Gestapo were Adolf Hitler’s Nazi secret police.
In a separate post Thursday morning, after his attack on Bragg, Trump again appeared to telegraph a call for violence, writing: “Everybody knows I’m 100% innocent, including Bragg, but he doesn’t care. He is just carrying out the plans of the radical left lunatics. Our country is being destroyed, as they tell us to be peaceful!”
It is possible the grand jury, which is meeting Thursday, could vote on an indictment of Trump. Some say any potential vote would not come before next week.
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Burn It to the Ground’: Kari Lake Undeterred After State Supreme Court Smacks Her Down
Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake suffered a devastating blow after the state Supreme Court refused to take up her case challenging the results of her election last November, reported Newsweek on Thursday.
“Speaking at a rally organized by Turning Point Action, Charlie Kirk’s right-wing organization, Lake said: ‘They have built a house of cards in Maricopa County. I’m not just going to knock it over. I’m going to burn it to the ground,'” reported Giulia Carbonaro. “Lake shared a video of her speech, with a caption quoting her comments and a fire emoji.”
Lake is one of the only major statewide Republican candidates last year in a hotly contested race who has refused to concede her loss. She has alleged that her voters were illegally suppressed because of technical glitches with ballot tabulators in certain precincts of Maricopa County, the state’s largest population center, on Election Day.
In reality, there is no evidence of foul play, and Maricopa County election officials provided a backup method for affected ballots to be counted. Furthermore, one reason the glitch may have disproportionately affected Lake’s voters is Trump counseled voters not to mail in their ballots early, based on conspiracy theories — though Lake herself had done the opposite and asked her supporters to vote by mail.
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“Her challenge was thrown out by both Maricopa County Judge Peter Thompson and the Arizona Court of Appeals, which said Lake’s case lacked evidence that the hiccups in the county were intentionally caused by election officials to disenfranchise Lake’s supporters,” said the report. “Lake brought her case to the Arizona Supreme Court, which has declined to hear her case, but did send one of her claims back to a county judge for review. A superior court judge in Maricopa County is now reviewing Lake’s claim that the county did not follow signature verification procedures.”
On top of her litigation failures, Lake was referred to the Secretary of State’s office for investigation after she tweeted out images of what appeared to be real voter ballot signatures, which would be a violation of Arizona state law.
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