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Idealistic ‘freedom fighter’ Joey Gibson offers inner circle a kind of kinship
Author: Sergio Olmos, underscore.news

March 14: A bar, Vancouver

Carmen Estel comes around the shuffleboard table and leans in. “You see this?” She uses her glass to point to her boyfriend. “This is hanging out with Joey.”

Joey Gibson, 35, the founder of Patriot Prayer, is standing at a table by himself, on his phone.

“He’s always off answering Facebook messages, texts,” Estel says. “He’s constantly stimulated.”

Gibson walks over to me. He wants to shoot pool.

As we play, Steve Drury and Russell Schultz are sitting at a table together, watching Estel and a friend play shuffleboard. Drury and Schultz are Gibson’s friends and informal lieutenants in Patriot Prayer.

Schultz gathers “intelligence” and offers Gibson counsel. Drury is an enforcer, a big man who stands next to Gibson at rallies, offering consequences to anyone who tries to touch their leader. Drury stepped into the void that Tusitala “Tiny” Toese left when he quit the group and fled to American Samoa amid assault charges.

Gibson asks me about my goals in life. He’s sizing me up. I ask him the same question.

“It’s been a weird journey,” Gibson says. “I could go through the talking points, which I’m sure you’ve heard.”

I have. Gibson wants you to know he’s for freedom. “Gibson for freedom” is the name of his website. It’s also the name of the campaign committee during his failed U.S. Senate run last year. Gibson is for FREEDOM, the way Gillette is the BEST a man can get, and McDonald’s is LOVIN’ it.

 

“I really do, honestly, I really do want to promote freedom,” Gibson says. “But at the end of the day, what I really want to do…”

I lean in, to hear what he really wants to do.

“I want to inspire people to just stand up for what they believe in,” Gibson says. “I just want to be that symbol.”

I nod. I tell him what his girlfriend said about needing to be constantly stimulated. Gibson thinks about it.

“Yeah, true,” he says, chalking his pool stick. “So, the problem is, I was asleep for a long time, I was in a slumber.

“I’ve always wanted to do things, make change for the world. But I wasn’t.

“I went through this period … I was out wandering around not doing anything. Or I’d be at a friend’s house just watching TV.

“I used to watch TV for five, six hours a day, be homeless, just not do anything,” Gibson says.

“I was literally living in the woods. I broke into a restaurant. Stole food. I’m a felon. I got my gun rights back like three years ago.

“Finally, I woke and I started to do what I can to make change. Now, from when I wake up to go to bed, I want to have some sort of influence on the world.

“I can’t watch TV, I can’t do that anymore,” Gibson says. “I can’t, I don’t know. Like playing pool.”

We look at the table. “I don’t enjoy it like I used to. It’s more of a distraction.”

It’s almost a heart-to-heart moment and, like a lot of Gibson rhetoric, it sounds sincere. But it’s what he leaves out that gives him away.

Clark County court records show that in January 2002, Gibson admitted that he broke a window and entered the Old Fashion Maid Drive-in in Camas after hours. He stole $1,450 in checks and cash. He was charged with burglary in the second degree, pleaded guilty to theft in the second degree and was ordered to undergo an evaluation for treatment of substance abuse.

The court documents make no mention of food.

May 15: A bowling alley, Vancouver

Steve Drury is sitting in a bowling alley. It’s the kind of place that seems to resent the times it’s in.

We’re sitting in a corner booth in the bar section. Drury has a ZZ Top-style white beard and a leather biker cap. He is a convicted felon, serving two years for money laundering after defrauding more than 50 used-car dealerships in a subprime loan scheme. He’s here to tell me he’s no longer with Patriot Prayer; he’s done with all of it.

“I’m going back to work,” Drury says.

“One of my biggest motivations for getting involved: I wanted to know what was real.”

To see, or feel? I ask.

“Yeah, see, feel.

“I’m of the opinion that you feel things way different in real life than you do over that internet,” Drury says.

“I wanted to stand there, see what was going down and see what was real,” Drury says. “Almost like a reporter, but I wanted to add a little something to the spice, you know?”

I ask him if, in the end, he felt something real.

“None of it is real. It’s all WWE, man,” Drury says, referencing professional, scripted wrestling.

“Everybody’s milking it, man,” Drury says. “Everybody’s grifting it on both sides.”

I ask him how Gibson makes money.

“He has the camera in his hand, walks up, ‘Hey, look where I’m at,'” Drury says. ” ‘Oh, somebody took it in the face with a rock, donate.’ ‘Hey, man, somebody did this, donate, donate,’ ” Drury says.

He hands me a laminated flyer, a black-and-white image of Jews in the concentration camps overlaid with a Biblical quotation, like a Facebook meme made tangible.

“Joey has some serious abilities that he’s aware of to attract people to him,” Drury says. “But he lacks something, and he knows it.” He points to Timothy 3:1-5, a passage he says now explains how he’s come to see Gibson.

“There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive …”

I look up from reading.

“I gave it to him months ago,” Drury says.

I keep reading.

“… ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God … having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

Drury explains Gibson is not “the type of person that can say, ‘Oh, you’re hungry today, let me give you my lunch.’ ”

Drury orders a $3 iced tea; he tips $2.

 

Brad Galloway knows how groups like Patriot Prayer draw people. For 13 years, he led the Canadian chapter of Volksfront, a violent neo-Nazi gang founded in Portland.

“They’re seeking belonging, identity,” Galloway says. “There’s this sense of loneliness, especially in this age of the internet, sitting around hour upon hour, in echo chambers online. And they find (their identity) in the collective identity of the group.”

Galloway now works with groups like Life After Hate, a Chicago-based nonprofit that helps people leave white supremacy groups.

Galloway warns that, for some followers, it’s not just a club or WWE. “There’s still firm believers out there,” he says. Groups like Patriot Prayer, he says, “cause fear, division and create controversy, violence in communities.

“There’s nothing wrong with having political leanings, this way or that way,” Galloway says. “But if the nucleus of the group is violent, it’s something else.”

June 29: Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland

“Do you see that?” asks Miguel Lowry. He’s standing at the corner of Pioneer Courthouse Square, squinting to see if the black mass in the distance is antifa — the black clad group of anti-fascists. A few blocks away, the trees outside Tiffany & Co. are shading the sidewalk, creating a black spot in the distance. “Is it moving?” Lowry asks. It is not.

“I’m gonna go check it out,” Lowry says, walking toward shadows that he thinks are his enemy.

Lowry hasn’t been listening to the speeches; he’s been on self-assigned patrols all afternoon. His first Patriot Prayer rally was in 2017, when he was riding the light rail downtown and saw Trump supporters marching.

“I wanted to know what it was about,” Lowry says. He wandered in and has been coming back ever since.

“It was like coming to church,” Lowry says. “They invited me to dinner afterward.”

There he goes, moving around the perimeter of Pioneer Square, with a purpose.

March 14: A bar, Vancouver

Russell Schultz is telling me how he met Gibson, as Gibson listens. Schultz says he followed the Patriot Prayer founder on the internet and interacted with his post.

“I’ve never heard this story,” Gibson says, laughing.

Schultz recalled getting a Facebook message from Gibson. “He said, ‘Dude, you have a lot of potential.’ You know, ‘Thanks for your input,’ ” Schultz says.

Then Schultz showed up to a march and saw Gibson in real life.

“I went up and introduced myself to him. He doesn’t know who I was. He was like, ‘Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Cool, nice to meet you.’ And then we had our march, had a good time. We just kept doing it,” Schultz says.

“And that’s also a good example of antifa pushing people together,” Gibson says, clinking his glass with Schultz’s. “Like camaraderie. Because they try to shut down the entire march.”

Schultz now lives with Gibson in northeast Vancouver. All three of the Patriot Prayer men — Gibson, Drury and Schultz — are unemployed at this moment. “Only once in a while, we’ll have different opinions on how to do stuff,” Schultz says. “He’s the ultimate decision-maker, it’s his name on the line, not me. I can fade off in the sunset and nobody will remember who I was. He doesn’t have that luxury.”

Standing in a circle nearby, with drinks of their own, is a group celebrating. A local high school football coach got his state championship ring tonight. The father of the coach wanders into the Patriot Prayer circle, creating a Venn diagram of conversation. He’s talking to Gibson and his girlfriend, Estel, about football. Schultz tells the man that Gibson once coached football. Gibson seems a little embarrassed by that. The father asks about it. Gibson admits he was an assistant coach and then changes the conversation.

“Are you for the Second Amendment?” Gibson asks.

“What?” the father says, not hearing.

“The Second Amendment.”

“What is that?”

“Gun rights,” Estel says.

“Oh, gun rights.” The father understands now. “Yes. I own several.”

They talk about guns. The man served in the 1960s. “I fired every gun in the military,” he says.

“You ever killed anyone?” Gibson asks.

The man takes it in stride. He chuckles. “I hope I didn’t; I may have,” he says. “Did you serve?”

“No,” Gibson says in a clipped tone.

It’s a strange moment for Gibson, who seems not to be enjoying this.

The father begins to excuse himself, thanking the group for the conversation.

“You ever heard of Joey Gibson?” Schultz asks.

Someone interrupts and says, “What’s a Joey Gibson?”

“He’s a freedom fighter,” Estel says. “He fights for our constitutional rights.”

“Oh,” the veteran says.

I look at Gibson; he seems happy to let his followers peacock for him.

The man’s son, the football coach, joins the circle, seeming to want to diplomatically bring his dad back to their circle. It’s the coach’s night, but his body language is less jubilee and more suspicion, like he just stumbled into a group of teens smoking cigarettes behind the gym.

“You ever heard of a guy named Joey Gibson, Portland troublemaker?” Schultz asks the coach.

“No,” the coach says. “But I been here for like three years, so …” he adds, offering them a way to save face.

They engage him in conversation, anyway, asking him where he played football in college.

After they leave, Gibson sits there quietly, he looks like somebody just told him his freedom movement is to patriotism what “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is to policing.

“Did talking to that guy mess you up?” I ask.

“It didn’t mess me up,” Gibson says. A moment passes.

“I miss football so much.”

I ask what about seeing that coach made him miss football.

“I think the biggest thing is that I can tell … he’s for the boys, he’s for the guys he’s coaching, he’s not for himself, you know…. He’s for the higher cause, and that’s what I miss.”

“How is that different from what you’re doing now?” I ask.

“Football, there’s a lot more love. I don’t know what it is about politics, but even the people who say they are your friends … um, like they probably aren’t your friends.”

“What about these guys?” I say, nodding my head at Drury and Schultz, who are talking to Estel.

“They’re my friends,” Gibson says. “In the beginning, the circle was too big, I didn’t narrow it down and stuff. I saw the brotherhood, but in football you bleed together.”

What about all the bloodshed at rallies?

“So, at a rally, you show up, right, and you, yeah, when you bleed together over and over again, you build that camaraderie, like the way I did with Tiny,” Gibson says.

(Ten days earlier, “Tiny” Toese announced on social media that he would return from American Somoa to face his charges, but as this story went to press, he hasn’t shown up.)

June 29: Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland

Antifa is across the street. “Don’t go over there,” Schultz says to Haley Adams, a Patriot Prayer devotee who spun off to form her own group called Portland’s Liberation.

“I kind of want to,” Adams says, putting her finger on her lips. She asks a couple more people what they think. Schultz is trying to tell her that the rally won’t be peaceful if she walks into the antifa crowd.

“Joey sent me to make sure the Proud Boys don’t push Haley around,” Schultz tells me, a little frustrated that Adams is itching for confrontation.

March 14: A bar, Vancouver

I ask Russell Schultz a hypothetical: If the government found a way to make bullets cost $35,000 each, would that violate the Second Amendment?

Schultz is excited and, like a little brother, turns to Gibson, but Gibson is looking away.

“But, but … does that violate the Second Amendment? That’s the question,” Schultz says in earnest. “I don’t know. I haven’t been able to reason that one yet. Because, because….

“A lot of things violate the Second Amendment,” Gibson says, trying not to get sucked in.

“Right, but you can…” Schultz mutters something under his breath about a special ammunition, and then almost to himself says, “There’s so much open for litigation.”

“It’s about infringement,” Gibson says, annoyed.

“It is about infringement,” Schultz says, like a professor debating a colleague on stage. “But what is infringement?” Gibson is uninterested. “And so, I need a defense for…”

A karaoke singer has launched into “The Way I Am” by Eminem.

“I need, I need, I need, I need an argument to defend myself from their argument. I need to counter their argument; how do I counter their argument?” Schultz is excited.

“Infringe,” Gibson says slowly.

“Great, but it’s deeper than that,” Schultz says, not realizing that Gibson wants to move to another table and talk to someone else. “We, we have to go back and define what ammunition is. Does ammunition count as a firearm? As in arms? Is it arms?” Schultz says, almost in soliloquy.

“How do you fire a gun without ammo?” Gibson says.

“Exactly!’

“Infringe,” Gibson says, intending to end the discussion.

A moment later.

“OK, so you’re saying that ammunition is arms?”

“Infringe, on your rights,” Gibson says.

Schultz starts speculating on a way to separate the bullets from the casing.

“What? What are you …”

“Because it’s part of the argument,” Schultz says, cutting him off.

“No, it’s infringement.”

“I know. But…”

“How do you fire a gun without ammo?”

“Right. It’s like, how do you sling a rock without a slingshot, right?”

“That’s ridiculous,” Gibson says, and walks away.

June 29: Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland

I see Steve Drury at the Haley Adams protest. He nods in the direction of Schultz and the two men talk. He jokes that there’s a truce for the day.

This is Drury, who in April walked away from Patriot Prayer. Who said Gibson and antifa were using these WWE-style events to swindle their followers. Who told me that none of it was real. Who said he was done with all of it.

“What are you doing here?” I ask.

Drury laughs.

“How else can a 56-year-old man have this much fun?”

Earth, Wind & Fire a purveyor of black excellence
Author: Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Earth, Wind & Fire hadn’t been booked to perform Tuesday afternoon at City Hall, where members of the veteran R&B band took part in a ceremony designating — what other date? — the 21st of September as Earth, Wind & Fire Day in Los Angeles.

But that didn’t stop Philip Bailey from grabbing the microphone at an official-looking lectern set up near the building’s steps as a DJ spun “September,” the group’s late-’70s classic about a night when “love was changing the minds of pretenders.”

To the delight of a few hundred city workers on their lunch break — including some wearing T-shirts that read “DO YOU REMEMBER?” — the frontman proceeded to bust out a couple of lines over the ecstatic funk groove that’s been elevating moods for decades.

Tuesday’s ceremony wasn’t the only time Earth, Wind & Fire will find itself in such a serious setting this year, nearly half a century after the band was founded in 1971 by the late Maurice White, who died at age 74 in 2016. In November, the group’s surviving principals — Bailey, drummer and singer Ralph Johnson, and Maurice’s brother, bassist Verdine White, all 68 — will be honored alongside Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Smithsonian’s American Portrait Gala in Washington, D.C.

Then they’ll be feted at the Kennedy Center Honors, the annual awards event meant to recognize artists and performers who’ve helped shape American culture. (This year’s other recipients are Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, Michael Tilson Thomas and the folks behind “Sesame Street.”)

All the high-minded accolades are well deserved for a Grammy-winning act designed by Maurice White to “render a service to humanity,” as Bailey put it. The singer was referring to the essential optimism of sophisticated yet irresistible EWF songs such as “September” and “Shining Star,” which carried ideas of what’s now called black excellence into the pop mainstream throughout the 1970s.

“I often think about Maurice’s intent,” Bailey said, adding that the awards seem to him a “testament” to White’s determination to “give something very positive to people.”

Yet as the event at City Hall demonstrated, Earth, Wind & Fire shouldn’t be thought of as a museum piece. The group, whose flashy road show made it a must-see in its heyday, is still a nimble live act capable of putting over beloved tunes that blend soul, rock, jazz and African music. This weekend the band will perform two shows at the Hollywood Bowl.

More remarkable, these Rock & Roll Hall of Famers aren’t just playing to the same aging fans over and over again, as former peers such as War and Kool & the Gang do. Earth, Wind & Fire has been embraced by younger artists and listeners who readily acknowledge the group’s importance.

Bailey’s new solo album, the tender and spacey “Love Will Find a Way,” features appearances by Bilal and the acclaimed saxophonist Kamasi Washington, both of whom have worked with Kendrick Lamar. And if you’ve ever seen Bruno Mars perform with his large touring band, you’ve witnessed the legacy of EWF’s festive yet meticulous live attack.

The singer was sitting with Johnson and White in a conference room at City Hall; they’d already received a set of plaques from Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson (who called EWF “America’s greatest band”) and would soon pose for photos with people standing in a line that stretched down a very long hallway. Each man had dressed with a different sense of occasion: Bailey in a black-leather vest, Johnson in a crisp patterned blazer, White in a dark jacket that seemed to come from somebody’s yacht.

Yet the three agreed on what makes Earth, Wind & Fire still worth experiencing in 2019. It’s the details, they said, in songs as rhythmically and harmonically complicated as “Boogie Wonderland,” “After the Love Has Gone” and, of course, the deathless “September.

“Those little things make it legitimate,” said Bailey. “We still rehearse,” added White, who described sessions of 10 or 12 hours.

That long to practice tunes they’ve played thousands of times?

“You can never get to the point where you take it for granted,” Johnson replied. “You wouldn’t understand,” Bailey said, chuckling but not kidding, “unless you’re a musician.”

What unites the crowds, Johnson said, is their desire to hear the hits — one reason Earth, Wind & Fire is in no hurry to make a new studio album. (Its last one, the so-so “Now, Then & Forever,” came out in 2013.) Most fans don’t care about songs they don’t know, Bailey explained, especially given that the band can’t even squeeze all the ones they do know into a 90-minute set.

“The same is true for the Stones and McCartney and the Eagles,” White pointed out. “Groups from our era, all of us deal with that.”

‘Do you have white teenage sons?’
Author: Caitlin Gibson, The Washington Post

At first, it wasn’t obvious that anything was amiss. Kids are naturally curious about the complicated world around them, so Joanna Schroeder wasn’t surprised when her 11- and 14-year-old boys recently started asking questions about timely topics such as cultural appropriation and transgender rights.

But she sensed something off about the way they framed their questions, she says — tinged with a bias that didn’t reflect their family’s progressive values. She heard one of her sons use the word “triggered” in a sarcastic, mocking tone. And there was the time Schroeder watched as her son scrolled through the “Explore” screen on his Instagram account and she caught a glimpse of a meme depicting Adolf Hitler.

Schroeder, a writer and editor in Southern California, started paying closer attention, talking to her boys about what they’d encountered online. Then, after her kids were in bed one night last month, she opened Twitter and began to type.

“Do you have white teenage sons?” she wrote. “Listen up.”

In a series of tweets, Schroeder described the onslaught of racist, sexist and homophobic memes that had inundated her kids’ social media accounts unbidden, and the way those memes — packaged as irreverent, “edgy” humor — can indoctrinate children into the world of alt-right extremism and white supremacy.

She didn’t know whether anyone would pay attention to her warning. But by the time she awoke the next morning, her thread had gone viral; as of Monday, it had been retweeted more than 81,000 times and liked more than 180,000 times. Over the following days, Schroeder’s inbox filled with messages from other parents who were deeply concerned about what their own kids were seeing and sharing online.

“It just exploded, it hit a nerve,” she says of her message. “I realized, OK, there are other people who are also seeing this.”

Over recent years, white supremacist and alt-right groups have steadily emerged from the shadows — marching with torches through the streets Charlottesville, Va.; clashing with counterprotesters in Portland; papering school campuses with racist fliers. In June, the Anti-Defamation League reported that white supremacist recruitment efforts on college campuses had increased for the third straight year, with more than 313 cases of white supremacist propaganda recorded between September 2018 and May 2019. This marked a 7 percent increase over the previous academic year, which saw 292 incidents of extremist propaganda, according to the ADL.

As extremist groups have grown increasingly visible in the physical world, their influence over malleable young minds in the digital realm has become a particularly urgent concern for parents. A barrage of recent reports have revealed how online platforms popular with kids (YouTube, iFunny, Instagram, Reddit, multiplayer video games, among others) are used as tools for extremists looking to recruit. Earlier this year, a viral essay in Washingtonian magazine — written by an anonymous mother who chronicled a harrowing, year-long struggle to reclaim her teenage son from the grips of alt-right extremists who had befriended him online — sparked a flurry of passionate discussions and debates among parents across social media.

Parents wanted to know: What was happening to their kids? Why was it happening, and how could it be stopped?

For extremist groups, the goal is hardly a secret; the founder and editor of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer has openly declared that the site targets children as young as 11.

“This is a specific strategy of white nationalists and alt-right groups,” says Lindsay Schubiner, program director at the Western States Center, a nonprofit organization focused on social, economic, racial and environmental justice. Schubiner co-authored a tool kit published by the center this year that offers guidance to school officials and parents who are facing white nationalist threats in their communities.

“White nationalist and alt-right groups use jokes and memes as a way to normalize bigotry while still maintaining plausible deniability,” Schubiner says, “and it works very well as a recruitment strategy for young people.”

Schroeder saw this firsthand when she sat down with her kids to look at their Instagram accounts together.

“I saw the memes that came across my kids’ timelines, and once I started clicking on those and seeking this material out, then it became clear what was really happening,” she says. With each tap of a finger, the memes grew darker: sexist and racist jokes (for instance, a looping video clip of a white boy demonstrating how to “get away with saying the n-word,” or memes referring to teen girls as “thots,” an acronym for “that ho over there”) led to more racist and dehumanizing propaganda, such as infographics falsely asserting that black people are inherently violent.

“The more I clicked, the more I started to see memes about white supremacy,” Schroeder says, “and that’s what was really scary.”

Familiar pattern

That pattern of escalation is familiar to Christian Picciolini, an author and former neo-Nazi who left the movement in 1996 and now runs the Free Radicals Project, which supports others who want to leave extremist movements.

“Youth have always been critical to the growth of extremist movements, since the beginning of time. Young people are idealistic, they’re driven, they are motivated, and they’re not afraid to be vocal. So if you can fool them into a certain narrative that seems to speak to them, then that’s the growth of your movement,” he says. “And I’ve never seen an extremist movement grow as fast as I have in the last 10 years.”

Most of the people who contact Picciolini looking for help — anywhere from 10 to 30 per week, he says — are “bystanders,” people who are scared that someone they know or love is a white supremacist. And most of those bystanders are parents of teens and young adults.

He’s noticed that he hears from them most often after a high-profile act of violence, such as the 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that left six people dead (“before that was the last time I had a day off,” he says). Or the 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Or the massacre of 22 shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, just last month.

“Those moments sometimes push parents to reach out,” he says, “to say, ‘Okay, I can’t ignore this anymore.’ ”

Picciolini was a lonely kid in 1987 — the son of Italian immigrants who were loving but often absent, working long hours — when he first met his neo-Nazi recruiter. The man strolled up to Picciolini as he smoked in an alley, and plucked the joint from his lips: “The communists and the Jews want you to do that, to keep you docile,” the man said. And the power of that moment, Picciolini recalls, didn’t lie in the words the recruiter spoke, but in how he made Picciolini feel: like he mattered.

“The politics, the ideology, wasn’t attractive to me at all,” Picciolini says. “I didn’t even understand it, at 14 years old. But what was attractive was the sense of the identity, community and purpose that the movement provided.”

The dark alleys, the punk shows, the skate parks where Picciolini and his fellow neo-Nazis used to look for new targets have been replaced by vast digital hunting grounds. But the psychology behind their recruitment tactics is the same as it’s ever been, he says.

In the wake of the Washingtonian article, many discussions focused on a particular quote — what the boy had said about why he felt drawn to the extremist individuals he met online: “I liked them because they were adults and they thought I was an adult. I was one of them,” he had told his mother. “They took me seriously. … They treated me like a rational human being, and they never laughed at me.”

For kids between ages 11 and 15 especially, this sense of inclusion is an incredibly powerful lure, says Gil Noam, an associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital whose research focuses on child and adolescent development.

“In this stage, the issue is not so much ‘Who am I?’ but rather, ‘Where do I belong?’ ” he says. ” ‘Who includes me?’ Who treats me well?’ ”

Extremist recruiters understand, Noam says, that a child at this age is more likely to respond to the pull of community and a sense of purpose, even if they don’t readily identify with a group’s core message. For parents who struggle to understand how extremist indoctrination can happen to “good” kids, he says, it’s helpful to keep this developmental vulnerability in mind.

And this isn’t unique to young white boys in America in 2019: “Even with the Hitler Youth,” Noam says, referring to recruitment within the youth wing of the Nazi Party in Germany, “what they really understood was the power of belonging.”

Alice LoCicero, a clinical psychologist and co-founder of the Society for Terrorism Research, saw similar patterns of behavior when she studied the recruitment of child soldiers by the militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka.

“About age 13, kids have a big developmental shift, cognitively,” she says. “There’s a sense of idealism and altruism, and wanting to make a difference in the world. It’s an age where a sense of justice becomes really important, and that can be misconstrued and manipulated: justice according to whom?”

Volunteering in the community, engaging with a new hobby, joining a mission-driven club or campaign — these might be ways to redirect a young person, LoCicero says.

“One of the things that research has shown is that these kids who get recruited, they describe the need to have an impact,” she says. “All kids need positive mentoring, and if we fail on that, then there are people out there who are only too happy to mentor them into violence.”

Advice for parents

In her Twitter thread, Schroeder offered advice for other parents, urging them to talk about these issues with kids in a way that avoids shame or defensiveness — emotions that might drive children away from their parents, and toward extremist influences online. She described how she sat down with her kids so they could look through Instagram together and talk about what they saw: “It’s such a good tool for parents, because there’s no blame there,” she says. “It gives you a peek into what your kids are seeing online and what the people they follow are sharing, but it doesn’t come from a place of, ‘Oh, you did this thing wrong.’ ”

No teenager wants to feel like they’re being manipulated, Schroeder says. So she talked to her boys about the power of propaganda.

“What I said that connected with them really well was, ‘These people are trying to pull the wool over your eyes — they’re trying to trick you,’ ” she says. “I told them, ‘They’re trying to get you to believe something that, if you think about it, you really don’t believe.’ ”

Noam, the Harvard psychologist, agrees that this sort of approach — an open conversation, where the child feels valued and taken seriously — is the best way for parents to navigate this delicate territory.

“Engaging in a dialogue in a way that is not lecturing, and that doesn’t make the parent’s anxiety the main focus, that’s the way to go,” he says.

And don’t immediately envision a catastrophic outcome, Noam adds: It’s possible to turn these patterns around if the underlying need is understood and met.

“I don’t know any kid who says: ‘I can’t wait to grow up and become a Nazi. I can’t wait to grow up and hate somebody else,’ ” Picciolini says. “These are manifestations of despair. It’s a last-ditch thing. We have to understand our children and what engages them at the youngest age possible, so that they have access to opportunities that will get them involved in something positive.”

50 years of FISH in Vancouver
Author: Scott Hewitt

Astronauts on the moon. A half-million hippies at Woodstock. War raging in Vietnam and protests raging at home. We keep being reminded that this is the 50th anniversary of 1969, one of the busiest, newsiest years in American history.

Something else happened in 1969, right here in Vancouver, that didn’t make national headlines but is worth celebrating: the launch of what became the largest, busiest food pantry in town.

Started by local women and housed at first in kitchens and garages, FISH Westside Food Pantry of Vancouver now has two paid employees and a 6,000-square-foot storefront and warehouse on downtown’s Harney Street.

It accounts for one-sixth of all the food that’s given away through the Clark County Food Bank system, said James Fitzgerald, FISH’s executive director.

“Fifty years is an amazing milestone. I think of all the wise decisions made over many years by volunteers,” Fitzgerald said. “They created a solid organization that has been able to do so much for the community.”

“I love it here,” said client Liliya Paige, who brought her kids and her grandfather to FISH on a recent Wednesday morning. “There are fresh vegetables and fruits, and the people are awesome.”

To note those awesome people and their 50-year history, FISH has teamed up with renowned local pianist Jim Fischer, award-winning fingerstyle guitarist John Standefer and the 100-voice Vancouver Master Chorale for a Saturday afternoon concert titled “We Get By With a Little Help from Our Friends.”

The concert program will indulge the “light, fun and positive” music of 1969, said Jana Hart, the music director of the Vancouver Master Chorale.

“What a great year for music!” Hart wrote in an email.

The concert will feature songs from the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and the musical “Hair,” as well as songs from different eras that show the same spirit, including “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper and selections from the musicals “Hercules” and “The Greatest Showman.”

“The day of the FISH concert is International Peace Day,” Hart added, “so we are closing with the gospel song ‘Let There Be Peace On Earth.’ ”

All needs

According to a typewritten 1978 manuscript by one Clarice Setner, FISH — for Friends in Service to Humanity — of Vancouver began with Readers Digest devotee Barbara Golgert. Golgert was impressed to read about the spiritual satisfaction that FISH volunteers elsewhere in America were already reaping, and she and some friends launched the Vancouver chapter in her home on April 20, 1969.

“FISH started out trying to answer all needs,” Setner writes. Golgert’s phone “rang in the night, she drove to pick up strangers, she put them up for the remainder of the night, she gave them breakfast, she saw them on their way.”

Before long the all-volunteer project found a downtown home in the basement of St. Paul Lutheran Church downtown. It set up a reliable network of local donors and started providing across-the-board assistance of nearly every kind: food, cash, bus tickets, diapers, medicine, cheap hotel stays, trips to the doctor or hospital, even transportation for needy children to day camp at Lewisville Park.

FISH got back out of the bus-ticket and gas-voucher business in the mid-1970s, as inflation and an energy crisis hit America hard. And it got out of the cheap-accommodations business as real emergency housing programs grew.

“The money had to be used for food,” Golgert writes. “Food is our main concern, to feed the hungry our task.”

That’s not always what happened, though. A later FISH history, written by Bea Howell, notes typical charity troubles.

One local grocer pretending to make “donations” actually treated FISH like a free trash-disposal service. Wildly popular “K-rations” donated by the military turned out to contain cigarettes. A downtown cardroom offered free lunch coupons, but volunteers decided against “sending needy people … to gamble and drink away what little money they had,” Howell writes.

Some FISH clients would take their standard, pre-made sack of food across the street and dump what they didn’t want. That’s when FISH started asking clients what they did want, Howell writes.

In that sense, FISH was way ahead of the current industry trend toward making food-pantry visits resemble standard grocery store shopping — giving hungry clients the dignity to make their own choices.

Daily rounds

“We need some men to lift these boxes.”

That’s how George Kaufer got recruited into FISH by his wife, Joe Ann.

“I saw the need and I fell in love with the volunteers and the opportunity to lend a hand,” Kaufer said. “They are all givers, and it’s been my honor to help.”

Kaufer served as unpaid manager of the nonprofit organization from 2003 until 2015, when he guided FISH out of St. Paul’s cramped basement and into its own real estate.

FISH is grateful for St. Paul’s long commitment, Kaufer said, but there were always challenges. Because there was no room for storage in the church’s 1,500-square-foot basement, Kaufer used to make daily rounds to private garages and sheds where food was kept.

“We had places all over the city and we had to chase around to pick it up every day,” he said.

One day the pantry ran out of an important staple: peanut butter. Kaufer headed out the door to go buy some, when up drove a couple who asked, “What do you need?”

Peanut butter, Kaufer said, and the man handed him $100. But his companion said that wouldn’t go very far — so the man upped it to $1,000.

“That was one-tenth of our whole budget for the year,” Kaufer said, and he spent it all on peanut butter.

Outpouring

Kaufer resolved that FISH must move. He worked with then-state Rep. Jim Moeller to apply for a $1 million grant from the Legislature, and was amazed to get it, he said. FISH launched a capital campaign to match that amount and scored a sweet deal on the Harney Street building it wanted. It moved in debt-free, Kaufer said.

Because the building includes a separate commercial space, FISH even became a landlord, which bolsters the nonprofit’s financial stability, Fitzgerald said. (The current tenant is RIFF Creative, a marketing firm.)

The need for FISH has continued to soar since the agency reopened its doors in 2016 on Harney Street, Fitzgerald said. Hungry folks line up every weekday morning plus two Saturdays a month, he said.

“Employment has gotten better, but rent has gone up so much, anything people have gained, they’ve lost,” he said.

“People need food,” said volunteer Jacques Cotton, who’s been working here weekly for 10 years. “It’s a nice thing to do, and it’s needed. It’s a real crisis out there.”

Fresh fruits, root vegetables and other healthy foods were plentiful on the central grocery table at FISH on a recent morning. Bread shelves were full. Refrigerated meat and milk were available too, and a video screen provided basic pointers about nutrition and healthy eating.

The place was also packed with what seemed like a gross or two of donated Pop-Tarts — chocolate, strawberry and blueberry.

“You’re always going to have things like that,” Fitzgerald said. “There’s all sorts of stuff in the system. It comes in waves. We encourage our clients to eat wonderful, healthy foods and maybe enjoy one treat.”

Volunteer Ray Beresh of Vancouver, serving clients at one counter, turned out to be an incredible example of “givers” actually getting back more than they give out.

“I just lost my wife, last month, after 38 years,” Beresh said, struggling to maintain composure. “My friend introduced me to this, and I just love it. The outpouring of love that goes back and forth, all the hugs and laughs that we share — it really helps pick me up.”

Women in journalism mourn iconic Roberts
Author: Alex Horton, The Washington Post

For decades when there was news, there was Cokie Roberts.

The Emmy-winning mainstay reporter of NPR and ABC News died at 75 on Tuesday, ABC said, after a long and storied career than began in the 1960s.

Almost instantly, her death prompted a wave of condolences across social media, particularly from women in the industry who regarded Roberts as a role model when the voice and names of men crowded newspaper bylines and radio waves.

“Sad news about one of our founding mothers,” wrote Michele Kelemen, an NPR correspondent who has been with the outlet fore more than two decades.

For many women, Roberts was the reason they pursued a career in journalism.

“A legend has passed,” said NPR’s Rachel Martin. “When I was in high school I wanted to grow up to be Cokie Roberts.”

“Cokie Roberts inspired me to become a journalist,” Washington Post reporter Heather Long said on Twitter. “She was one of the few women on Sunday talks shows when I was growing up. She was always smart, fierce and insightful.”

Farrah Fazal, an investigative reporter, said the death of Roberts was a “complete, irreplaceable loss” to the field. “She was a pioneer, a mentor, committed to integrity and truth, a driving force in trying to change the system that held women back.”

Roberts joined CBS on the radio as a foreign correspondent soon after her 1964 graduation from Wellesley College. She covered Capitol Hill for NPR beginning in 1978, when she reported on the Panama Canal Treaty, then served as congressional correspondent for more than a decade, according to ABC News.

20 years later, Blink-182 is having the last laugh
Author: Steve Appleford, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Hours before showtime, Blink-182 singer-bassist Mark Hoppus is in the VIP lounge of the Forum in Inglewood, surrounded by generations of popular music. On the walls are vivid pictures of headliners from the past and present, from Led Zeppelin to Madonna, Neil Diamond to Guns N’ Roses, and Hoppus is contemplating how his pop-punk trio fits into that company.

In the normal arc of a pop music career, an artist might enjoy a season or three of major chart success and arena concerts. Only a small number survive decades at that altitude. Blink is still here, a full 20 years after their multiplatinum “Enema of the State” album.

“Somehow Blink has had several do-over tokens,” says Hoppus, still bouncy but grown up at 47, his auburn hair standing up into a youthful, tousled Bazooka Joe spike.

The night before, Blink-182 — Hoppus, drummer Travis Barker and guitarist/singer Matt Skiba — were at an amphitheater in Chula Vista, close to the band’s San Diego birthplace, and near the end of a Southern California tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Enema.” The record contains several of Blink’s many radio hits and is the foundation to a seemingly open-ended longevity few might have predicted when they emerged from a garage as a trio of leaping, snarling, foul-mouthed goofballs.

“I used to drink before I walked on stage,” says Hoppus with a grin. “Now … I take a couple of Advil.”

Founded by Hoppus, former singer/guitarist Tom DeLonge and original drummer Scott Raynor, Blink-182 arrived in the mid-’90s as pop-punk pranksters with irreverent tunes of adolescent frustration, delivering an avalanche of sex jokes and soaring pop choruses. Alongside Green Day, Blink’s takeover of MTV and pop radio helped introduce a suburban version of punk to a new wave of restless young fans. Their songs and accompanying videos — “All The Small Things” and “What’s My Age Again?” most indelibly — were angsty, juvenile, endearingly cute and loaded with irresistible hooks.

“We would go to New York and they’d put us on ‘TRL,’ ” Hoppus recalls. “I’d look out that window and Times Square would be packed with fans. Or we’d show up for some MTV interview in Italy and there’d be thousands of people outside. We’re like, ‘Is Puffy coming by today?’ ‘No, that’s for you guys.’ ”

With Blink’s newest album, “Nine,” set for release Friday, the trio — now featuring Skiba, 43, who replaced Delonge in 2015 — is looking to reach beyond nostalgia by adding elements of hip-hop, electronics and modern recording techniques into an otherwise intact punk-rock mix.

“Making sure Blink isn’t different than modern music — rather than being something of the past — is a big achievement for me,” says Barker, who collaborates regularly with of-the-moment DJs and hip-hop artists, including rappers 03 Greedo and Lil Nas X.

Reality asserted itself in the making of the band’s new album on “Heaven,” a song initiated by Barker after a 2018 mass shooting barely 2 miles from his home, at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where 12 people were killed.

On “Nine,” the sound is tense with postmodern effects and accelerated beats mingling with Blink-style vocal harmonies, as Hoppus sings: “Make a wish that you’ll get a chance to say goodbye / Before the shots ring out in the dead of night.”

The song’s message had even more resonance for the band this summer, long after it was recorded, when Blink had a day off in El Paso on Aug. 3. Hoppus had just finished breakfast at a coffee shop with his wife and son, when he was contacted by the band’s security. “We were walking out of the restaurant to head over there and our security texted saying, ‘Hey, there’s an active shooter in the area. You should probably come back to the hotel,’ ” says Hoppus of the attack that killed 22 at the mall’s Walmart. Blink canceled the next night’s El Paso show “in solidarity with the community.”

All three band members live in the Los Angeles area, including Hoppus in Beverly Hills with his wife and son, after several years residing in the U.K. For Barker, whose domestic life with ex-wife Shanna Moakler was famously documented a decade ago on MTV’s “Meet the Barkers,” his two kids are usually nearby.

After surviving a 2008 private plane crash with his friend and EDM partner, Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein, Barker faced a series of health issues, but is now fully recovered. He keeps a full schedule on the road, including a daily 3-mile run and work on multiple recording projects off stage. After Blink concerts, Barker often follows with a DJ gig across town.

“Travis keeps himself busy all day long,” says Hoppus. “I’m cool to just sitting in a room and looking at my phone for an hour.”

In Our View: Land-use fight’s end clears way for compliance
Author: The Columbian

Clark County officials have a long and unproductive history of challenging the state’s Growth Management Act. So it is encouraging that the county council has halted a three-year legal battle over the issue.

County leaders have decided to not appeal the most recent court ruling regarding the area’s comprehensive growth management plan. It is a prudent decision, but it leaves open questions about the next step related to the issue. The county now must bring the plan passed in 2016 into compliance with state law and move forward for the benefit of local citizens.

That means allowing for well-managed growth that leaves room for additional housing developments that are accompanied by necessary infrastructure, while also preserving rural areas as well as possible.

By way of a simple explanation, Washington’s Growth Management Act designates urban areas and provides for their gradual expansion. This prevents farms from being turned into out-of-the-way housing developments and ensures adequate roads, water and sewer service for new housing. The goal is to prevent sprawl that has pockmarked the countryside in other parts of the nation and to adhere to the Northwest’s ethos of protecting rural areas. Generally speaking, if you have a farm, you have a farm, not a 100-lot housing development.

Growth and development are essential to the vitality of the region. They facilitate economic expansion, allow the housing supply to keep up with the demands of a growing population, and ensure that the area is inviting for newcomers. But such growth must be strictly managed.

Those are the basics that have led to the county’s prolonged battle with state government. After Clark County approved a plan in 2016, environmental group Friends of Clark County and Seattle-based Futurewise challenged that plan, saying it facilitated sprawl. Property rights group Clark County Citizens United also appealed, saying that the process for adopting the proposal violated public participation requirements and excluded rural landowners.

Last month, the Washington State Court of Appeals decided that the county’s desire to create a rural industrial land bank was improper, but annexations by the cities of Ridgefield and La Center should be allowed to go through. That is where the issue will stand with county officials opting to not pursue additional appeals. As Councilor Julie Olson told The Columbian, “The likelihood of prevailing on reconsideration at the Supreme Court on the (rural industrial land bank) was minimal.”

All of this is confusing, yet necessary. Washington’s land-use laws have helped preserve the state’s culture and have helped to ensure managed growth driven by quality-of-life concerns rather than solely by economic desires.

For Clark County, the decision to end the court battle reopens the option for millions of dollars in state funding related to growth. Under state law, counties that are not in compliance are ineligible for various funding opportunities, a situation that has limited or halted several local projects. That funding is essential to Clark County’s ability to prepare for the future and to facilitate development that is an investment in the regional economy.

That is the most important aspect of county officials declining to appeal the latest court ruling. Bringing the comprehensive growth plan into compliance with state law will allow Clark County to grow wisely rather than haphazardly, and still retain a high quality of life for all residents.

The Cars did something surprising: Endure
Author: Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times

It’s almost impossible to do now, after decades of continuous radio play that’s rendered the Cars’ music as familiar as the smell of your own automobile. But put on “Just What I Needed” or “Let’s Go” or “Shake It Up” and try to imagine that you’re encountering the song for the first time.

Listen to the guitars, how they idle for a few seconds before suddenly zooming off from the starting line. Listen to the beat, which suggests a machine until it doesn’t. And listen to those crisp, compact melodies, none with a single note out of place — even (or especially) the weird ones, as when the dissonant “your” in “ribbons in your hair” gives “Just What I Needed” a vivid splash of sexual desperation.

Do all that, then ask yourself if anybody from the late 1970s and early 1980s was making tunes more precisely designed to grab than the Cars, whose mastermind, Ric Ocasek, died of heart disease at his home Sunday in New York City.

The poppiest punk band — or were they the punkiest pop band? — of their new-wave generation, the Cars grabbed plenty with their string of immediately appealing hits, more than a dozen of which made it inside the top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100. From the group’s flawless self-titled debut album in 1978 to “Heartbeat City” in 1984, they went platinum every time out; their clip for “You Might Think” was named video of the year over “Thriller” at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards. (Alas, the Cars lost best new artist at the Grammys in 1979 to, uh, A Taste of Honey.)

Yet Ocasek and his bandmates — guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes, drummer David Robinson and bassist Benjamin Orr, who died in 2000 — also knew how to maintain their grip. “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Good Times Roll,” “Magic,” “Drive” — each hooky jam stuck around to become a permanent fixture of the era.

Look under the hood and you can understand why. Beneath the shiny surfaces and the metronomic grooves, the Cars’ songs, which Ocasek wrote and which he and Orr alternately sang, sported all kinds of musical and emotional eccentricities that made them hard to shake.

Think of that line about the hair ribbons in “Just What I Needed,” which cuts against the practiced indifference of the priceless opening lyric: “I don’t mind you coming here / And wasting all my time.” Or the unexpected moment Ocasek chooses to enter “Good Times Roll,” seemingly off beat until you finally grasp where he is in the rhythmic pattern.

Or consider how little the plush production of “Drive” sets you up for the sheer hopelessness of the song.

“Who’s gonna pay attention to your dreams?” Orr sings, “And who’s gonna plug their ears when you scream?” It’s a chilling vision made only more so by the loveliness of Ocasek’s melody.

The frontman — memorably captured in a late-’70s Rolling Stone profile, bitching about the lousy songs on his car’s FM radio — worked hard to create music that could tell both a short story and a long one. He and Orr formed the Cars in Boston after trying out a variety of other modes, including post-hippie folk-pop in a group called Milkwood. And the band’s graduation five albums in from Queen’s producer (Roy Thomas Baker) to Def Leppard’s (Robert John “Mutt” Lange) demonstrated Ocasek’s willingness to do Big ’80s bombast even as his lyrics grew colder and more suspicious.

The Cars’ heavy investment in music videos was another play for ubiquity by a band whose stiff live show never inspired much in the way of hysteria. Where some of his post-punk peers dismissed the medium, Ocasek went all in with high-concept videos for “Magic” and “Shake It Up” and “You Might Think,” which won that VMA with computer-generated graphics as garish as they were novel.

His understanding of the importance of visuals extended to his licensing the group’s music to movies, as when “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” used “Moving in Stereo” to soundtrack an iconic scene featuring Phoebe Cates.

Yet Ocasek’s commercial instinct was always accompanied by the commitment of a true artiste. During the Cars’ chart-topping heyday he produced uncompromising albums by acts like Bad Brains and Suicide; later, after the band broke up (but before it reunited briefly in 2011), he worked in the studio with some of its inheritors, including Weezer and Guided by Voices.

Last year, when the Killers’ Brandon Flowers inducted the Cars into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he recalled being knocked out by the band’s classic records as a 13-year-old in 1994.

Ocasek’s instant hits had hung on. They’re still hanging on.

Rampell: Economic boost is in fact a bust
Author: Catherine Rampell

The Trump administration recently revealed its grand plan for turbocharging economic growth: Make Drinking-Water Dirty Again.

The talking heads who get trotted out to defend President Trump frequently tout his supposedly stellar economic record. He’s unleashing gangbusters growth, they claim. You might not like the tweets, but you can’t deny that his tax cuts and deregulation have jump-started the economy.

But those tax cuts, so far, have been a bust, never delivering the sustained surge in business investment that Trump surrogates promised. In fact, business investment shrank last quarter. Moreover, Trump surrogates have never provided actual evidence for the assumed straight line between the president’s deregulatory agenda and economic growth.

So let’s consider the kinds of federal regulations that Trump has been rolling back, the ones that are supposedly boosting the economy.

As a case study, take the administration’s decision to formally repeal a rule that granted expanded federal oversight of U.S. waterways. We are reverting to water-pollution standards from 1986 — a year from Trump’s favorite decade, which was not exactly a high-water mark, so to speak, for environmental protections.

For context, this is one of many deregulatory actions Trump has taken to allow more pollution. Others include allowing power plants to dump more lead, arsenic and mercury into the water; relaxing restrictions on the release of methane and fine particulate matter into the air; and legalizing a pesticide linked to brain damage in children.

This latest case involved the bodies of water the federal government can protect under the Clean Water Act, which makes it illegal to pollute a “water of the United States” without a permit. An Obama administration rule clarified that “waters of the United States” include streams and wetlands that feed larger waterways, including those used for drinking-water. The government’s cost-benefit analysis produced at the time found that this rule produced net economic benefits.

The Trump administration’s cost-benefit analysis, however, came to the opposite conclusion — chiefly because it abruptly decided that the largest category of benefits previously attributed to the rule could no longer be quantified at all. (The Trump administration said the research that had been used to quantify the benefits of protecting wetlands was too old, even though it cited even older research elsewhere in the same report.)

Therefore, these benefits were effectively assigned a value of zero. Voila, the rule must go.

This legerdemath aside, it’s not exactly clear how allowing water pollution would help supercharge economic growth. Sure, it might save some businesses a few bucks to be able to dump toxic waste into a local tributary without a permit, but it’s difficult to argue this has a positive impact on the overall economy or public welfare.

After all, it’s generally less costly to not pollute the water system in the first place than to try to clean it up once it’s already polluted. Just ask Flint, Mich.

This episode helps illustrate how Trump’s deregulatory agenda often relies on a false dichotomy: If a policy is pro-environment, it must not be pro-business. In fact, several of the Trump administration’s harmful deregulatory actions have faced opposition from the very businesses the administration claims to be helping.

Major players in the fossil-fuel industry have opposed the methane emissions relaxation, because they want to be able to make a credible case that natural gas can be clean and climate-friendly.

The auto industry has likewise opposed the administration’s rollback of fuel-efficiency standards. The supposedly pro-business Trump administration’s response was to weaponize the Justice Department, launching a bogus antitrust investigation into the automakers.

The cumulative economic costs of such actions — based on damage to the environment, human health and rule of law — may be hard to fully quantify. But we know they’re not zero.

Letter: Whole story is crystal clear
Author: Kelsey Potter, Vancouver

I almost spit out my coffee while reading Lloyd Jolley’s “Tell the whole story” letter (Our Readers’ Views, Sept. 13), which lamely tries to state that black plantation owners are just as culpable for slavery as their white counterparts.

He states that 12,760 slaves were owned by black plantation owners. From my research, that appears to be true, but what he fails to mention is that number is out of 2,009,043 slaves, for a total of 0.6 percent. And, according to historian Carter G. Woodson, research from the 1830s census records show that the “majority of the black owners of slaves were such from the point of view of philanthropy. In many instances, the husband purchased the wife or vice versa. Slaves of black people were in some cases the children of a free father who had purchased his wife. If he did not thereafter emancipate the mother, as so many such husbands failed to do, his own children were born his slaves and were thus reported to the numerators.”

Lloyd wonders why we focus only on the white slave owners: Well, it’s because they were 99.4 percent of the problem.

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