Tag: trucker convoy
‘Peoples Convoy’ D.C. Demo Permit Is Rejected By National Park Service

‘Peoples Convoy’ D.C. Demo Permit Is Rejected By National Park Service

Truckers! Freedom! The open road! Something something vaccines and mandates and masks mean that truckers need to protest the indignity of public health measures that have been proven to mitigate the dangerous impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. What was an astro-turfed Canadian protest has now turned into a manufactured domestic one. Think Fox News’ immigrant caravans, but with mostly white people and actually dangerous.

On Wednesday news came out that the “People’s Convoy” had hit a hurdle in its movement as the National Park Service partially denied the overblown group’s request for a permit to turn the D.C. National Mall into a trucker encampment. Why they “partially denied” the request may have been due to some of the convoy’s lead organizer Brian Brase answers to their questions. The Daily Beast reports that when the Park Service asked Brase, “Do you have any reason to believe or any information indicating that any individual, group, or organization might seek to disrupt the activity for which this application is submitted?” Brase’s response of “Antifa” was not sufficient.

Oh, wait. There’s a lot more from these freedom fighters.

Brase also may have shot himself in the foot by overselling the convoy’s size, telling the Park Service he expects somewhere between “10,000 to 100,000” supporters to show up. Considering how small the trucker convoys have been thus far, even with media vampires like Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas trying to get attention for the make-it-up-while-we-go freedom statement thing, it’s hard to believe they would be able to muster half of the low end of that range. However, as NBC News’ Terry Bouton reported a few days ago, the success of the convoy is in the right-wing optics. Maybe Brase is thinking “10,000 to 100,000” hours of right-wing news coverage?

The far-right was well represented at the convoy. Members of white supremacist and anti-government groups that were at the center of the Capitol insurrection have been heavily involved in its planning. Erik Rohde, a national leader of Three Percenters, was a “consultant” to the "People’s Convoy." (In return the "People’s Convoy" official Telegram account urged supporters to donate to a protest march on the Washington state capitol that Rohde was organizing). Three Percenter and Proud Boy Telegram channels have organized support and raised money for the "People’s Convoy." In Wisconsin, convoy organizers called on the Oath Keepers to provide security.

Maybe it’s something else that they’re working on? The Daily Beast reports that while being denied a permit didn’t figure into a Tuesday night meeting, talking about the vagaries of what the hell they’re trying to accomplish did come up. In fact, here’s how The Daily Beast explained it: “organizer Mike Landis said that while the prospect of ‘tear[ing] the fence down at the White House and hang[ing] politicians’ was ‘extremely enticing,’ he added that isn’t ‘why we are here.’” Why are they there again?

No word on that yet.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Wasting Gas: How Right-Wing ‘Convoy’ Fell Apart In Beltway Traffic

Wasting Gas: How Right-Wing ‘Convoy’ Fell Apart In Beltway Traffic

Day one of the great Washington, D.C., trucker convoy went great … for everyone but the truckers (some of whom are actually SUV or minivan drivers). For them, it was kind of embarrassing. After a day of confusion on Saturday, the plan for Sunday was to circle the Beltway twice at 40 miles per hour, making a show of strength that would be a “huge pain” for regular traffic. At most, they managed to be a minor irritation, slowing traffic in some places in a region accustomed to traffic jams.

The convoy was unable to stay together basically as soon as it encountered normal Beltway traffic. Normal Sunday Beltway traffic. Some bailed after a single lap. And the whole group got so stretched out and broken up that, “We’re not even sure we can call it a convoy anymore because it’s so dispersed among routine traffic at this point,” Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

The convoy plans to return Monday for even more laps—an interesting ambition considering that some of them couldn’t hack it for two laps in light traffic, and Monday they’ll be encountering higher weekday traffic.

That said, nobody really knows what to expect from this unpredictable, nonsensical pack of assholes. They say they’re protesting until their demands are met, but they don't really have coherent demands. They say they’ve come to the nation’s capital, in some cases from across the country, to protest public health restrictions that were dropping well before they set out. Some of them are talking about high gas prices, while spending hundreds of dollars in gas to try to disrupt other people’s lives. Some flew Confederate battle flags, because of course they damn well did. There’s really no point here beyond the far right asserting its media-given right to attention.

Bear in mind if and when you see descriptions of the people involved in this as somehow representing the working class that these are people who can take weeks and spend thousands of dollars on something that doesn’t even have a real set of demands.

So far, convoy organizers are saying they won’t go into Washington, D.C., itself, staying on the Beltway that loops around it while being based in Hagerstown, Maryland. But other groups of truckers and associated vehicles are expected to join the group that’s already there, which could create significant hassle for residents of the region—people the convoy members are all too happy to create problems for, since they’re largely Democrats. A National Guard presence in the District of Columbia has been extended through Wednesday as things develop.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The Dark Money Outfit Behind Far-Right ‘Truck Convoy’ Movement

The Dark Money Outfit Behind Far-Right ‘Truck Convoy’ Movement

One dark-money conservative group that was developed to fund efforts challenging the outcome of the presidential election pivoted its financial efforts to support the trucker convoy, per a new report published by The Daily Beast.

By Wednesday, February 23, the American Foundation for Civil Liberties and Freedoms (AFCLF) had raised a total of $464,731 for what is protesters have billed “the People’s Convoy.” In recent days, the group's fundraising amount has tripled and is expected to continue to increase in the coming days.

The far-right group, which previously focused on raising funding to push former President Donald Trump's false election claims, has stated that “100% OF THE DONATIONS GO TO SUPPORTING THE CONVOY!”

“Convoy up, America — the donate button is going toward the funding of the ride to Freedom: we are going to take back our country for ourselves and future generations!” the group's website says. The group explained that donated funds will “reimburse fuel and hard costs of the trucker,” as they noted that “the fund is being handled by volunteer accountants and overseen by a law firm.”

Since the group is categorized as a non-profit structured under section 501(c)3 of the tax code, the AFCLF has the advantage of getting the best of both worlds: tax-deductible donations, which would be considered "gifts," and the ability to conceal the identity of its donors.

When The Beast contacted AFCLF chair Chris Marston, it asked him another of critical questions about the funding along with who would qualify to receive it. However, according to The Beast, Martson offered no solid answers saying “everything came together too quickly to establish rules.”

“Trucker leaders are on finance committee to determine where needs are but methods depend on the nature of expense,” Marston said via text message. “This all came together too fast to have pre-determined rules so we set up a committee with Lawyer, account, and trucker oversight.” [sic]

Martson went on to add that a lot of the group's planning efforts are still undetermined.

“We don’t have agreements with truckers on destination plans,” Marston explained. “We are supporting fuel, food, signage and basics for their journey,” he said, adding that the organization “coordinated with local authorities along the path to be cooperative.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Ron Johnson Compares Anti-Vax Convoy To Holocaust Victims

Ron Johnson Compares Anti-Vax Convoy To Holocaust Victims

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Monday compared a convoy of anti-vaccine truckers in Canada to those exterminated by the Nazis during the Holocaust and falsely claimed that the self-named "Freedom Convoy" had acted lawfully to stand up to "tyrants."

In a Wisconsin conservative radio show appearance, Johnson told host Vicki McKenna that "very peaceful" protests are the best way to fight COVID-19 safety measures, and said that that was "the hallmark of what happened in Canada."

He claimed that his wife had seen a report that the truckers "were honking their horns, it was kinda disturbing the peace, [and so] they stopped honking their horns. Don't do anything unlawful." In reality, it took a court order to get hundreds of angry truckers to stop blaring their horns as they intentionally blocked traffic in the nation's capital city of Ottawa.

"I thought the conduct of the truckers, the Canadians up there, was just exemplary," Johnson continued. "That's what you need to keep doing. Again, it's not gonna go away. I'm hearing a truck convoy in the U.S. — we'll see what comes of that. We'll see how the tyrants react to it."

He then suggested that the Canadian government's attempts to disburse the convoy were analogous to the genocide of millions of people under Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime:

I recently downloaded Martin Niemöller's famous quote: "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak [out] because I was not a socialist" — and you know how it goes on — and "then they came for the trade unionists" and "I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me." I think I heard one of the Canadian protesters paraphrase that. People are noticing. People are awakening.

The group of truck drivers upset about a variety of Canada's rules aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 — including a rule that unvaccinated truckers quarantine for a few days after reentering the country following travel in the United States — formed a convoy to block highways, bridges, and border crossings in Ottawa and other parts of Canada.

Contrary to Johnson's claims that the group's behavior has been "exemplary" and lawful, its weeks-long protests were anything but.

Indeed police arrested 11 protesters last Monday blocking a border crossing in Alberta, seizing a "cache of firearms with a large quantity of ammunition," apparently for use in a possible confrontation with law enforcement.

Other convoy members forced small businesses to shut down, caused damage to government vehicles, tried to make an Ottawa homeless shelter feed them, impeded the nation's supply chain and economy, waved Nazi flags, and even desecrated Canada's National War Memorial.

Even Conservative officials in Canada criticized the unpopular demonstrations and urged the convoys to go home. But Johnson and other Republicans in the United States have been cheering them on and even egging on anti-vaccine extremists at home to follow the Canadian truckers' example and shut down American supply chains and businesses.

Johnson is but the latest in a growing string of GOP politicians comparing public health efforts to address a pandemic that has killed more than 920,000 Americans with the Holocaust.

Last summer, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene attacked face mask and vaccine requirements as similar to "Nazi practices." After widespread criticism, she apologized for her "offensive" and "hurtful" analogy — and then three weeks later likened President Joe Biden's efforts to make vaccines available door-to-door for those who wanted them to Nazi "Brownshirts."

Around the same time, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert belittled public health workers offering free in-home vaccination as "Needle Nazis."

In January, Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson had to apologize for comparing a vaccination requirement for Washington, D.C., bars, and restaurants to a "Gesundheitspass." German for "health pass," Nazis used the term as part of its "racial hygiene" requirement.

The Auschwitz Memorial in Poland condemned analogies of this type in December, writing, "Exploiting of the tragedy of all people who between 1933-45 suffered, were humiliated, tortured & murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany to argue against vaccination that saves human lives is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decay."

In a separate interview on Monday, Johnson told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins that by continuing to treat the pandemic as a public health emergency — even as the coronavirus kills about 2,000 Americans each day — Biden is keeping the American people in a "perpetual state of fear."

Johnson claimed that the federal government, pharmaceutical industry, news media, and tech companies are all part of a nefarious "COVID cartel" that has "cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives" by not embracing unproven treatments.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent