by Travis Mateer
I didn’t realize the Missoulian was calling ME a political extremist in this lovely article until I saw my name beneath an image of the City Council live feed that gutless reporters use to do their stenography from, so to oblige the Missoulian, I grabbed a TOY rocket from my TOY collection for an extremist pose that bolsters their hilarious depiction of me.
After using my name, this is how the reporter frames this ridiculous “article” about an alleged rise in “hate speech” just as City Council considers RELAXING rules on providing public comment (emphasis mine):
Political extremists are increasingly targeting public meetings with hate speech, according to the Anti-Defamation League. At the same time, two Missoula city councilors want to make public comment a more open forum for community members.
The ADL tracks antisemitic incidents and other forms of bigotry on a broad scale. The group’s Center on Extremism has noted an alarming rise in disruptive dialogue at public meetings across the United States over the past year.
You will note the phrase I emphasized in the content of this article is NOT the phrase used in the title, which was HATE SPEECH. Now we’re talking about merely “disruptive dialogue”? I’m confused.
What a nice little bait and switch from this delightful newspaper and its young reporter who has done the mature, professional thing and blocked me on social media.
What else does this “news” article have to say about “disruptive dialogue” at City Councils? Is there anything else specific to MISSOULA besides my fucking name?
Yes, the fear-mongering does have a Missoula tie-in, but first, here’s the spokesperson for the ADL talking generally about the Pacific Northwest:
“We’ve noticed a significant increase in this kind of activity,” said Stephen Paolini, the Associate Regional Director for the ADL’s Pacific Northwest region. “It’s all across the country. There really has not been any state that is spared.”
Paolini said the PNW, in particular, is seeing this behavior increase among white supremacist groups. Their membership — which he called “very fringe” — is coordinating organized approaches to public comment periods around the area. Their goal, Paolini said, is to discourage public discourse by making public commenters feel uncomfortable in these settings.
“It’s a very, very small number of actors,” Paolini pointed out, while also adding, “absolutely, we should be worried about a systemic effect happening.”
Is there any, like, you know, EVIDENCE that a VERY, VERY small number of “actors” are scheming to have a systemic effect on public meetings? Because the more I read, the more I’m excited to talk to a lawyer about why the fuck my name is being associated with this article.
I found the phone number for Stephen Paolini and left a message. If I get a call back, I’ll explain how cool it is to be considered an extremist on the RIGHT side of the political spectrum, since I was a self-styled RADICAL on the left before getting the boot from the blog for calling Bernie Sanders a sheep dog.
While this old description of myself is a little cringe, I hope it’s ALSO amusing, because I think a lot of this is truly hilarious. I show up to Council meetings and make public comments about DEAD HOMELESS PEOPLE who can’t speak for themselves anymore because they are FUCKING DEAD. I am not sorry at for doing that, and I will not stop, because that is my FUCKING RIGHT to do.
The point of this fear-mongering from the ADL was to discourage the alliance between two politically divergent City Council members. Did it work? I don’t think it did, despite Paolini’s best efforts to scare Council with shit like this (emphasis mine):
Technological advances have enabled the small, decentralized network of extremists to find one another and share best practices for promoting their agendas. In many cases the ADL has tracked, the public commenters pushing hateful rhetoric do not live in the communities where they provide public comment. They often find elected officials who belong to marginalized groups and make verbal attacks against those individuals.
“It’s just really harmful to the civic process,” said Paolini. “Unfortunately, it’s really falling on local governments to think about this.”
Paolini advised forming local planning groups to prepare for intrusions from extremists. Resources like muting virtual participants or kicking them out of online meetings are important to have in place, he said. He also came down heavily against a rule change being proposed by Missoula City Councilors Daniel Carlino in Ward 3 and Sandra Vasecka in Ward 6.
“I definitely would encourage folks not to lessen restrictions in public comment,” he said. “That would be a mistake.”
Here is some of the reaction to this fear-mongering attempt to dissuade Vasecka and Carlino from welcoming a small band of foreign extremists to systemically collapse public meetings:
The changes include allowing “comments or noises while another person is recognized to speak, impugn(ing) motives,” as well as “loud” and “indecent” comments.
Both councilors stressed, however, they will continue to forbid “threatening, abusive, or profane language which disrupts, disturbs or otherwise impedes the orderly conduct of the meeting.”
“Hate speech is still banned,” said Carlino. But he said the proposed changes are more specific and less subjective than the current parameters, making space for emotional appeals to council.
“I believe that hate speech falls under the category of ‘threatening and abusive language,’” said Vasecka, “so if folks are spewing ‘hate speech,’ they are in violation of the rules. If commenters threaten councilors’ safety, they are impeding the orderly conduct of the meeting. So I don’t think that our proposed changes will allow for those concerns to happen, if commenters follow the rules.”
One of the biggest ironies is that my research looks at REAL White Supremacy and its occult underpinnings, so, as I start attending SPOKANE City Council meetings once or twice a month, I look forward to telling EVEN MORE people the stuff I’m learning that I don’t write about in public blog posts.
Thanks for reading!