This weekend we suffered a tragedy in Charlottesville with KKK and American White Supremacists walking under a Nazi flag. The tragedy though was repeated when InfoWars went on the race baiting offensive claiming Jewish actors were part of the protest to make it look like Nazis were in Charlottesville. (InfoWars Video)
The presence of David Duke confirms what we already knew. This was a group of angry, white men who were there to incite violence. InfoWars simply gave them cover for their bigotry, but they were not alone.
The woman who was killed by one of the Nazi sympathizers, Heather Heyer, was attacked nearly immediately on these same fake news sites that we have seen for more than a year now: Got News, Daily Stormer, and others ran what appeared to be coordinated attacks against her posthumously. It wasn't bad enough she was killed peacefully protesting, they chose to attack her personally when she could not defend herself.
This weekend reminded me that attacks on those who question Donald Trump is not new, but an old Trump tactic. When word leaked of a potential affair between Trump and a beauty queen during the campaign, the National Enquirer reportedly bought the story from the model - prohibiting her from having it published elsewhere and effectively killing it.
It also reminds me of another case late in the election cycle that I do not think gained enough attention.
Nearly sixteen years ago terrorists attacked the United States. We knew then how bad that attack was and the numbers were staggering. Nineteen terrorists hijacked four planes. The crashes into public monuments became a wakeup call to America. It left three thousand dead. More than three hundred more firefighters were dead. One of the responders that day was also a member of the Electoral College from Texas, Chris Suprun. Suprun, who published an oped in the New York Times described his reasons for not supporting Donald Trump was immediately attacked from most quarters on the right.
Multiple attacks were laid at Suprun. He was called a traitor and his home address was doxed by multiple people.
Given the assertions Suprun made back in December that have come true, it is interesting to find out if the attacks on him are true.
In his December 5 oped he said he would not vote for Donald Trump because he was a demagogue, would be a disaster on foreign policy, and was violating the Emoluments Clause.
There has been a great deal of hand wringing over whether or not Trump has been a demagogue or not with regard to the Muslim Ban, but Trump himself called it a Muslim Ban in live remarks. White House spin continues to say the President is only quoting the press, but that it is really a necessary evil for the security of our nation.
To date there have been no attacks on US soil by anyone affected by the Muslin travel ban, but there have been multiple terrorist incidents involving angry, radical white men. These have not earned the President's attention whether they be attacks in Baltimore or and-double-murder-white-supremacist-muslim-hate-speech" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Portland. Meanwhile he retweets Pizzagate theory supporter Jack Posobiec. I could be wrong, but I score this one for Suprun.
Similarly, Suprun quoted the fifty Republican foreign policy experts who said Trump would be a disaster when it came to foreign policy. He was right when he said Trump lacked the "demeanor to be Commander in Chief." Since his election he has swung wildly on foreign policy positions threatening nuclear action on the Korean peninsula while simultaneously sabre rattling with Venezuela. His supporters must be confused by the man who said he wanted to remove us from expensive wars. Score another for Suprun.
Suprun also delivered charges regarding Trump's infamous taxes which have been hidden from view, but which might provide some information about his financial dealings overseas. It is said Special counsel Bob Mueller has the taxes in question and is following the money through its many laundries that Trump has operated worldwide. It may take time for the full Emoluments Clause issues to rear their heads, but stateside we know that one of every three days of Trump's presidency have been spent at a Trump property. These properties must be receiving many times their normal income just from the Secret Service and related White House staff who must travel with the President. While this issue can not be fully evaluated it certainly looks like Mr. Trump is profiting off his office in a way the Founding Fathers had no intention of allowing. I can not give Suprun full credit here as it seems he found these beliefs via people like Richard W Painter and Norm Eisen, the ethics lawyers for the George W. Bush and Barak Obama administrations. He also is lacking in proof and following a hunch, but it seems accurate.
The onslaught was immediate with one change.org petition garnering more than thirty thousand signatories saying he should be replaced as an elector. Reports indicate he did not stay in the same location on multiple nights due to threats against he and his family. There were personal insults hurled via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. People who had not contacted Suprun in years came out of the wood work to tell me "to die." Then the personal attacks happened.
A group called Got News, out of California contacted Suprun about a story they were doing. The website, filled with the same pizzagate style theories as InfoWars is run by Chuck Johnson.
Johnson is a well known internet troll and friend of Donald Trump. His site has not responded to my emails requesting comment, but included attacks on Suprun for being kicked out of a local police academy for plagiarism and an attack on him for using the Ashley Madison website.
Suprun says the timing of the first charge was hard to respond to because the school was on Winter Break during the period he stated his position publicly on the Electoral College. Since that time he showed me documentation from Tarrant County College who ran the police academy indicating he dropped out. His grades were modest, but he was having no difficulty passing. Further, the Vice President for Student Development Services - the person who handles campus discipline - confirmed in writing there were no records of violations or even allegations of wrong doing by Suprun. This was a simple attack on him because they could do so.
Further, Suprun was alleged to have used the Ashley Madison affair service. Here again Suprun provided bank statements showing the charges and his letters to the bank stating the charges themselves were fraudulent. The information that Got News chose to use admits to a discrepancy in the date of birth and email, but there are also other personal details that are incorrect in the stated information. All of this indicates Got News was on a fishing expedition less interested in truth than terrorizing a political opponent.
Finally, Suprun noted in his New York Times oped he had been a September 11 responder. A Dallas affiliate of Tenga media reported there was no record of Suprun serving on September 11 because his LinkedIn profile noted he started working for a fire department in October of 2001. Suprun immediately responded he responded with a volunteer department, not listed on LinkedIn or other social media, given it was fifteen years ago.
The reporter in question, Jason Whitely, stated that department had no record of responding either. This is odd though because a simple google search of Dale City Volunteer 9-11 would have taken him to a forum post stating Dale City Volunteer Fire Department contributed more than forty personnel to staffing stations in and around the Pentagon and the site itself. Further, a document detailing the role of volunteer fire departments published by a third party organization states Dale City VFD sent two trucks to the Pentagon.
The first forum post was published the day after the attacks. The second, almost a year later, but both contemporaneous documents. Further, in addition to a statement by Dale City stating Suprun was indeed a member, three separate conversations were held with volunteer co-workers. They all stated they knew Suprun volunteered with Dale City at the time. His immediate partner that day stated they remembered Suprun that day. A third was able to confirm staffing decisions were made by a regional emergency management authority. He stated the order for Suprun to respond to the Pentagon would have come down from above even the local department level.
Further, Suprun maintains in his possession two notecards from community members from Dale City who thanked him for his service by name in one case and as part of the collective group secondly.
There are other contemporaneous accounts too. In an evaluation of Suprun as an instructor he is given a hard time for relying too strongly on September 11 "war stories." There is a paid department memo thanking him for his service at a September 11 memorial as the only member of the department who responded.
Further, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request the FBI states that there are responsive documents regarding a camera Suprun submitted to them as part of an evidence gathering request, but they can not release those documents. The important part is if Suprun were on duty which multiple people have placed him as being, how did he have relevant information on his camera, unless he was at the Pentagon?
Suprun has requested WFAA and Tegna remove the inaccurate story and correct it given the wealth of data that exists contrary to their report. To date they have not done so. They have also declined comment to me. All of this indicates Suprun is not the credibility problem here, but poor reporting, or is there something more?
Whitely in a tweet said Suprun has yet to prove where was on September 11, but his claims have been backed up by others. What hasn't been explained is Whitely and his own history.
Whitely is considered a soft Republican, voting regularly though not all the time in GOP primaries. More concerning though is recent documentation that Whitely contributed to the Trump campaign this year.
Requests for comment to Whitely, his news manager, and his corporate office have all gone unanswered. While reporters should vote like every other citizen and might even participate in primaries, it seems awkward to have them donating as well to candidates when they attack political opponents of the same candidate. This is a dangerous new issue that media companies across America need to face as their organizations become more political.
All of this raises the question: Why did Suprun back away from his party's chosen candidate? In the end, only he, and one other Republican elector stood up against the party and voted against Donald Trump. His reasons have been proven out so far, but why take any of this abuse?
If you ask Suprun he says he "believes in doing the right thing." This may sound hokey to many, but maybe he is the person we always say we want in community leaders. We ask our friends and neighnbors to do the right thing when they get the chance - to stand up against censorship, to stand up for those oppressed, to stand up to Nazis, even those in our neighborhood. Suprun did that and he did so at great personal cost.
As an elector he did not cast a protest vote. He crossed the aisle to work with others to find a better solution than what Donald Trump offered.
He stood up and voted against the party he had worked with for years. He stood up against threats of physical violence against he and his loved ones. He stood up against a President-elect.
We say this is what we want. We want people who will stand up and do the right thing, but we allowed him to be attacked and we didn't defend him. We should have defended him. He was doing the right thing then and he is trying to do the right thing now. So should we.