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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

It's becoming clear that the "Boogaloo Bois" who have been filling Facebook and other social media platforms with their increasingly violent scenarios about engaging in a civil war—beginning with civil authorities as the chief targets, expanding to include racial and ethnic minorities, and finally including their ordinary neighbors—are not content to merely keep fantasies online.

A 32-year-old Air Force sergeant with special combat training tried to make the "Boogaloo" a reality this week in Santa Cruz, California, when he embarked on a killing rampage targeting law enforcement officers, ambushing two sheriff's deputies, killing one, and severely wounding another. He then was stopped by a determined neighbor before he could get any farther. On the hood of his car, he had scrawled in blood: "I became unreasonable" and "Boog."

It shortly emerged that Steven Carrillo is also the primary suspect in the shootings of two federal protective services officers (one of whom died) last month in Oakland during street protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. There has been previous evidence that so-called "Boogaloo" fans have been involved in some of the violence at the anti-police brutality protests around the nation.

Following reports of a van in the Santa Cruz mountains matching the description of one that witnesses identified at the scene in Oakland, deputies arrived at the scene of what turned out to be Carrillo's mountain compound stocked with guns, bombs, and ammunition just as the van pulled away. They followed it to a home in Ben Lomond, where Carrillo had retreated, and when deputies went to arrest him, he unleashed a torrent of gunfire and pipe bombs, killing one deputy and wounding another.

Carrillo, who was wounded during the fight, left the scene in a white sedan, and then was found an hour later after running through his back yard, jumping onto a neighbor's property, entering his home, and demanding his car keys. After the neighbor obeyed, he seized an opportunity to tackle Carrillo from behind and did so, knocking away his AR-15 in the process, and then knocking away both a pipe bomb and his handgun when he tried to reach for them while on the ground. The neighbor held him there until deputies arrived and took Carrillo away.

On the hood of his car, Carrillo had scrawled a series of messages: "I became unreasonable," "Boog," and "Stop the duopoly." He was also heard to shout the latter slogan during the firefight.

As analyst J.J. McNab observes, the first quote is a reference (often found on far-right message boards and chat rooms, and included in a number of memes related to the "Boogaloo") to the 2004 bulldozer rampage of a Colorado repairman named Marvin Heemeyer, who destroyed multiple buildings before killing himself. He had left behind a note investigators found explaining his motives: "I was always willing to be reasonable until I had to be unreasonable," he wrote. "Sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things."

"Boog" is a common shortened reference to the "Boogaloo." "Stop the duopoly" is a popular libertarian slogan, referencing the grip on power held by the U.S.'s two dominant political parties. Friends said Carrillo is an active libertarian.

People who knew Carrillo in the Air Force spoke poorly of him. "He was the type that couldn't keep his mouth shut. He was too narcissistic. It would always be 'me this, me that. I'm the best. Me, me.' He was very dominant," said one former fellow member of the Air Force's elite-training squad Phoenix Ravens, a special security force to protect aircraft from terrorist and "criminal threats."

His friends told the Mercury News that Carrillo's political leanings in the past year had taken an extremist turn. One friend said he was sharing "Boogaloo" memes on Facebook that were "disturbing." Among the common topics on "Boogaloo" pages are open discussions about opening fire on federal agents, who are derisively described as "alphabet bois."

Carrillo now faces 19 felony charges in the Ben Lomond incident. He has not yet been charged in the shootings of the federal officers in Oakland.

The far right's hopes for a civil war, embodied in the spreading "Boogaloo" cult, are increasingly less a fantasy and more of a real-life, looming domestic terrorism problem. Recent incidents are making clear that men swept up in the movement are increasingly intent on making it a reality:

    • A Texarkana, Texas, man who intended to spark the "Boogaloo" by ambushing police officers was caught by officers who were alerted by his attempt to livestream his planned killing spree, went to his location and arrested him shortly thereafter.
    • A "Boogaloo" enthusiast who posted comments on Facebook about bringing his rifle to an anti-stay-at-home-orders protest in Denver attracted the interest of FBI agents, who upon visiting him at his home discovered a cache of homemade pipe bombs. The man openly expressed his intent to use them to kill any federal agents who tried to invade his home.
    • Another "Boogaloo Boi" planned to livestream his ambush on police officers at an Ohio national park, but was arrested by FBI agents before he could pull off the plan.
    • A trio of men with connections to Facebook "Boogaloo" groups were arrested en route to a Houston anti-police protest with a load of Molotov cocktails they intended to use to spread chaos at the event.


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    Former President Donald Trump, left, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

    On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

    The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

    Keep reading... Show less

    Mark Meadows

    Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

    But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

    Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

    And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

    Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

    After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

    “He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

    “Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

    Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

    Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

    “She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

    Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

    Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

    Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

    As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

    “He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

    Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

    Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

    His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

    Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

    Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

    Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

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