<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Political News, Bay Area Politics]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usThu, 17 Aug 2017 17:00:35 -0700Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:00:35 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Trump Cites 'Pants on Fire' Claim in Barcelona Response]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:05:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trump-genpershing-split.jpg

After a van plowed through a crowd of pedestrians in Barcelona on Thursday, killing at least 13 people and wounding scores more, President Donald Trump tweeted a reference to a discredited story about Gen. John Pershing halting Muslim attacks in the Philippines by shooting rebels with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood.

“Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” Trump wrote on his personal account. “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years.”

It was at least Trump's second reference to a story already labeled false last year, this time coming days after the president justified his equivocal response in assigning blame for violence in Charlottesville by saying that before he makes a statement, "I need the facts." 

The Pershing story, which Trump also recounted at the end of a rally in South Carolina in February 2016, has been debunked by several fact-checking organizations, including Politifact and Snopes. Politfact labeled it Pants on Fire! false on its Truth-O-Meter and Snopes called it “false.”

The story — which according to Trump’s telling had Pershing shooting 50 Muslim terrorists with 50 bullets dipped in pigs blood — grew out of the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902. The United States had obtained the islands from Spain but faced armed opposition that continued after the war, when Pershing served as governor of the heavily Muslim Moro Province. Politifact found references to Muslim insurgents being buried with dead pigs but not being killed with bloodied bullets and not by Pershing.

Muslims are prohibited from eating pork. 

“This story is a fabrication and has long been discredited,” Brian McAllister Linn, a Texas A&M University historian and author of Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902-1940, told Politifact. “I am amazed it is still making the rounds.”

Even if the tale were true, Politifact wrote, it had no pacifying effect. The region remains in unrest today.

Snopes noted that Pershing thought the best approach was not to encourage religious fanaticism.

“Nonetheless, the ‘discouraging Muslim terrorists by burying them with pigs’ concept is still invoked in the modern era, even if the evidence of its use (or success) remains nebulous,” Snopes wrote.

Trump’s tweet Thursday came after Catalan officials had confirmed a terrorist attack but were still trying to identify the suspect they arrested.

That was in stark contrast to Trump's actions in the hours and days after an alleged white nationalist, James Allen Fields Jr., was accused of driving a car through a crowd in Charlottesville, North Carolina, over the weekend, killing counter-protester Heather Heyer.

Trump defended his delayed response in calling out white supremacists by name until two days after the attack by saying he didn’t “know all the facts.” 

“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump went on to say this week, doubling down on his initial take that “many sides" were to blame for violence in Charlottesville.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations criticized Trump for tweeting false information soon after the Barcelona attack, while claiming he needed “facts” before responding to the white nationalists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville.

“We condemn the terror attack in Barcelona, and we condemn President Trump's irresponsible and Islamophobic response to that attack,” said the group's executive director, Nihad Awad.

Trump's Pershing tweet Thursday followed an earlier, more restrained one, expressing sympathy for the people of Barcelona.

“The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help,” Trump wrote. “Be tough & strong, we love you!”



Photo Credit: AP/Getty]]>
<![CDATA[SF to Counter 'Alt-Right' Rallies With Dance, 'Dog Poop']]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:17:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/176*120/GettyImages-81969339.jpg

People around the United States have decried the white nationalist movement after three people lost their lives when violence erupted in Virginia over the weekend, and San Franciscans have also made it known that racism and hatred are unwelcome in their hometown.

And the City by the Bay isn't stopping there. Residents have begun organizing counter-protests with unusual themes. 

Up first is "Leave your dog poop on Crissy Field" from 12 p.m. Aug. 25 through 10 a.m. Aug. 26. 

Organizers wrote on Facebook that the idea behind the event is to "leave a gift for our Alt-Right friends."

They continued: "Take your dog to Crissy Field and let them do their business and be sure not to clean it up! Watch out for landmines, friends! We can get together Sunday and clean up the mess and hug each other!"

So far, 525 people have demonstrated interest in this gathering, which has piqued the interest of nearly 3,000 more.

Crissy Field has made headlines this week after right-wing group, Patriot Prayer, applied for a permit to host "Freedom Rally San Francisco" on Aug. 26.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Superintendent London Breed who have expressed outrage at the request and are urging the National Park Service, which has jurisdiction over the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, to deny the permit. 

National Park Service officials, however, said in a statement Thursday: "We are guided by the Constitution, the law, longstanding court precedent, and National Park Service policy, which tells us we must be deliberative and not preemptive in our decisions related to First Amendment gatherings."

They are said to be reviewing the permit application and are expected to make a decision in the coming week. 

In response, counter-protesters, in true San Francisco style, are encouraged to dance as "an alternative to hate, confrontation and aggression."

The "SF LovedUp Mobile Dance Counter-Rally" will last from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 26 at Marina Green Park. Attendees will not interrupt the white supremacist rally, but will dress in their "amazing colorful fabulous best" and "groove to cheesy, party pop dance athems," organizers wrote on Facebook. 

More than 1,000 people have said they will be at the event and nearly 6,000 more are interested.

Meanwhile, community organizations, including Stop the Violence, Castro Community on Patrol, and Unafraid, have teamed up with the Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer for what is described on Facebook as "San Francisco Peacefully Unites Against White Nationalists."

Organizers have issued a special invite to "all drag performers and sparkly freaks" to counter "violent behaviors" from 2 to 5 p.m. Aug. 26. 

They wrote: "Believing hate groups are coming to San Francisco to bait folk into helping them recruit others to their cause and to instigate violent behaviors so lawsuits can fund their hate work, we are uniting with diverse advocates and leaders around San Francisco who are urging safety, peace, and events that will help preserve the fragile diversity of Crissy Field."

However, this peaceful gathering will not occur at Crissy Field. It remains unclear where it will be hosted, but that hasn't stopped roughly 1,400 people from signing up and another 3,100 from expressing interest.

This story will be updated as other events are announced.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Who Are the Fascist-Fighting Coalition 'Antifa'?]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:53:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/antifaactivistsfeuerherd.jpg

During a combative press conference Tuesday, President Donald Trump dubbed the anti-racist protest groups the "alt-left" and blamed "both sides" for the violent clashes that resulted one death, and injured more than a dozen others, NBC News reported.

Who exactly are the protesters that violently clashed with white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia?

What is 'Antifa?'
Antifa is short for "anti-fascist." It is a loosely organized coalition of protesters, left-wing activists, and self-described anarchists who vow to physically confront "fascists" — meaning anyone who espouses bigoted or totalitarian views, NBC News reported.

How long have they been around?
Anti-government and anti-fascist protesters have disrupted protest movements in Europe for decades. Today, they are most frequently seen clashing with riot police during summits of major world leaders, as in last month's "Welcome to Hell" protest against G-20 leaders in Berlin.

What are they protesting?
In the wake of President Trump's election, Antifa organizations across the country issued rallying cries on social media to rise up and fight back against the wave of hate crimes and white nationalism that's spiked across the nation.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Steve Helber, File]]>
<![CDATA[Anti-Hate Groups Seize on Virginia as Teachable Moment]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:11:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/confederatebattleflagfeuerherd.jpg

Anti-hate groups in the United States are giving guidance on what individuals can do to combat hate-inspired violence in the wake of a deadly attack at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

To counter hate-inspired attacks in the U.S., Americans must join forces, speak out and educate themselves about the history and ideology of white nationalists and hate organizations, groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League argue.

The SPLC on Monday issued a step-by-step "community response guide" on how to fight hate after 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a car plowed into counter-protesters at the rally. Her alleged killer, James Fields Jr., had been fascinated with Nazism and idolized Adolf Hitler, according to his high school teacher.

To show why the guide is needed now more than ever, the SPLC noted a number of recent U.S. hate crimes, including the 2015 Charleston church shooting and racist graffiti being found in a school in Stapleton, Colorado. 

The SPLC's 10-point blueprint includes guidance like "educate yourself," "speak up" and "join forces." 

"Others share your desire to stand against hate," the SPLC wrote in the guide, under the "join forces" section. "There is power in numbers. Asking for help and organizing a group reduces personal fear and vulnerability, spreads the workload, and increases creativity and impact." 

The guide adds, "A hate crime often creates an opportunity for a community’s first dialogue on race, gender identity, or religious intolerance. It can help bridge the gap between neighborhoods and law enforcement."

The ADL similarly published a curriculum for teachers on how the violence in Charlottesville is a "teachable moment." The curriculum noted it should be described in the correct historical context and could be used to further understanding of the First Amendment. 

"While freedom of speech means that you can share your opinions and exchange ideas freely without government control — even if it is hateful — there is some speech that is not protected by the First Amendment; this includes obscenity, defamation, true threats, and incitement to imminent lawless action," the curriculum stated. "Talk with students about the First Amendment and our freedoms and emphasize that condemning hatred, bias and white supremacy and vigorously protecting free speech are not mutually exclusive."

An NAACP leader told NBC that understanding the ideologies held by groups like the opposing sides that clashed in Charlottesville is instrumental in ending hate-inspired violence. 

"Understanding what the ideologies are, the arguments and the realities of the vision each side seeks, is crucial," said Hilary Shelton, the NAACP's Washington bureau director.

"On one side of the equation, you had those that believe in white supremacy, racial segregation and treating those leaders of the confederacy as heroes," Shelton said. "On the other side of the issue ... you had those that wanted to promote diversity, equal opportunity." 

To Shelton, if people truly grasp the difference between the two sides, hate groups will not thrive. 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Dave Martin]]>
<![CDATA[Ben Carson Talks About Vandalism of Home, Charlottesville]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:41:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/081717+ben+carson+interview.jpg

The only African-American member of President Donald Trump's cabinet says his home in Northern Virginia was recently the target of anti-Trump vandals.

Ben Carson, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, told News4 in an exclusive interview inside his home Wednesday night that he believes dialogue can help overcome hate and bigotry.

He pointed out that many Confederate statues were erected "during the civil rights movement, to make a statement," and resisted "pointing fingers" at Trump's response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Carson said his home was vandalized earlier this summer while he was away.

"We were out of town and our house was toilet papered," Carson told News4's Meagan Fitzgerald. "They had painted 'F Trump' on it as well."

He said neighbors cleaned up the mess, and he responded with grace. 

"That really is the message that I try to get out to people. You can't necessarily control the animosity and the hatred of someone else, but you can control how you react," he said.

A representative for the local police department said they did not receive a report of the incident. Carson said he did not report it because he believes in ignoring hate and "taking the high road." 

When asked about the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend and the removal of Confederate monuments, Carson said he believed education is key.

"We need to explain to people that many of the Confederate monuments that were put up were put up specifically during the Jim Crow era, specifically during the civil rights movement, to make a statement," he said.

Fitzgerald asked him several times if Trump's response to the deadly violence displayed the leadership the country needs.

"I want to push back and say it's not about pointing fingers about who should have done what and when they should have done it and when they should have said it," Carson said.

He added that strong leaders, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., have the power to bring a nation together. But, he said, it's not up to Trump to bring the country together; it's up to the American people.

Carson first spoke about the vandalism of his home in a Facebook post published Wednesday afternoon. He said that several years ago, after he and his family bought a farm in rural Maryland, a neighbor immediately put up a Confederate flag. Other neighbors put up American flags to shame him, Carson said.

"Hatred and bigotry unfortunately still exists in our country and we must all continue to fight it, but let's use the right tools," he wrote. "By the way, that neighbor who put up the Confederate flag subsequently became friendly. That is the likely outcome if we just learn to be neighborly and to get to know each other."



Photo Credit: NBC Washington
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<![CDATA[Examining Trump's Decision to Disband CEO Advisory Committees]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:04:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Examining_Trumps_Decision_to_Disband_CEO_Advisory_Committees.jpg

President Trump disbanded two CEO advisory committees after nearly a dozen members resigned in protest of his recent remarks on Charlottesville. How significant are these events? NBC Bay Area Political Analyst Larry Gerston explains.

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<![CDATA[Trump Says 'Fixing the Inner Cities' Is a Priority]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 17:05:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trumpinnercities_17319471_1-150292719607000001.jpg

President Donald J. Trump told reporters on Tuesday that "fixing the inner cities" is a priority for his administration. 

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<![CDATA[Military Leaders Denounce Hatred After Charlottesville]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:41:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TrumpCharlottesville.jpg

Five top U.S. military officers condemned bigotry following the white-nationalist led protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, even as President Donald Trump reverted to his initial position of blaming both sides for violence there.

Their comments appear to stray from those of Trump, who said the “alt-left” should also be held accountable.

“The shameful events in Charlottesville are unacceptable and must not be tolerated,” wrote Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson in a Facebook post on Saturday. “The Navy will forever stand against intolerance and hatred.”

Following Trump’s impromptu news conference Tuesday, in which he doubled down on previous statements placing the blame “on many sides,” officials from the Marine Corps, Army and Air Force released statements.

“[There is] no place for racial hatred or extremism in [the U.S. Marine Corps,]” Commandant of the Marines, Robert B. Neller, tweeted on Tuesday.

On Wednesday the Army chief of staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, tweeted “The Army doesn’t tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks.”

Later in the day, the Chief of Staff for the Air Force, Gen. Dave Goldfein, issued a statement in solidarity with his fellow service chiefs via Twitter: “We’re always stronger together.”

Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Joseph Lengyel, also took to Twitter Wednesday, stating "I stand with my fellow Joint Chiefs in condemning racism, extremism [and] hatred. Our diversity is our strength." 

Jason Dempsey, an adjunct senior fellow for the Center for a New American Security, a think tank that explores military issues, said that past difficulties combatting white supremacists within the military ranks may be what caused the leaders to speak up.

“The U.S. military had a significant problem with white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in the late '80s, early '90s,” he said. “It was all codified that you cannot belong to these groups. You cannot espouse their views, you can’t say you’re a member.”

Since Saturday, it’s been revealed that two members of Vanguard America, one of the extremist groups involved in this weekend’s violent clashes, have links to the military.

One of those men was James A. Fields, who was accused of killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer when he drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors.

“James Alex Fields reported for basic military training in August of 2015,” Army Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson stated in an email. “He was, however, released from active duty due to a failure to meet training standards in December of 2015.”

Dillon Ulysses Hopper, the alleged leader of Vanguard America, was identified by news website Splinter as a veteran and former Marine recruiter. A representative from Vanguard America told Splinter that Hopper became a white supremacist in 2012, one year after he started working as a recruiter. Several other news outlets including CNN, later reported that according to Hopper's service records, he was a member of the Marine Corps from 2006 until 2017. 

Dempsey said the statements from the military leaders were most likely made in an attempt to reaffirm the military’s commitment to their rules barring hate groups and send a strong message to subordinates about what type of behavior is appropriate.

“None of them would directly go against the president just to go against the president, because that’s not the way the military was built,” said Dempsey, a combat veteran who previously served as a special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “The chiefs were walking a very fine line but they saw a threat to the force.”

In a post-draft era, promoting acceptance and tolerance has become more of a priority for the military.

“For the first time since World War II, the military has to think about ‘What does our image look like? How are we going to recruit? How do we make sure we have a broad enough talent pool?’” Dempsey said.



Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Contra Costa Religious Leaders Denounce Virginia Violence]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 14:44:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/charlottesville.jpg

More than 200 people gathered at a vigil in Walnut Creek on Monday to pay tribute to Heather Heyer and condemn the white supremacist beliefs held by the man who allegedly took her life in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.

The interfaith vigil, organized by religious leaders across Contra Costa County, lasted from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m at Civic Park. Groups sang "This land is Your Land," "We Shall Not Be Moved," and other songs with underlying themes of unity.

The peaceful event was just one of many vigils and protests that surfaced in the wake of the violent Unite the Right rally, a gathering of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and members of the 'alt-right,' that ended with three fatalities and scores of injuries last Saturday. 

The peaceful East Bay event was just one of many vigils and protests that surfaced in the aftermath of Saturday's violent Unite the Right rally, a gathering of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the Ku Klux Klan, that ended with three fatalities and 19 injuries. 

Heyer, 32, had been walking with counter-demonstrators when a man with ties to the "alt-right" allegedly plowed into the group at roughly 40 mph. Two state troopers who were responding to the Charlottesville protests were also killed when their helicopter crashed in woods on the outskirts of town.

The attendees of Walnut Creek's vigil — a majority of whom were white — said they felt compelled to disavow those who promulgate white supremacist beliefs and confront it within their own families and neighborhoods.

Several children held signs that expressed hope for a future in which protesting against white nationalism would not be necessary. Other attendees held pictures of relatives killed during the Holocaust, while a man handed out "Make America Smart Again" hats that he custom-ordered in bulk. 

"I came today because it was such a shock, such a disgrace," said Helen Rowley, who attended the vigil with her daughter. "I wanted to show that we won't stand for that. We need to look into our own community and stand up against that hate." 

The interfaith vigil was organized by Leslie Takahasha, a lead minister at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, and fellow members of the governing board of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. 

Before moving to Contra Costa County, Takahasha lived in Charlottesville for seven years. Visibly shaken as she stood in the gazebo at Civic Park, she gave a fiery sermon that denounced white nationalism and hatred. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere, she said. 

"This could happen in any community today," Takahasha said. "We have unleashed a culture of hate that is so virulent that it is spreading like a virus throughout our nation."

"It's time for us to end that," she continued, "and stand for something else." 

Numerous politicians on both sides of the aisle have called Saturday's events a terrorist attack. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has been criticized for his lukewarm and non-committal denunciation of neo-Nazis, skinheads and other hate groups that, while rallying, professed their allegiance to him. 

A funeral for Heyer was held on Wednesday. While speaking to a teeming crowd, the woman's mother said that her daughter had long advocated for justice and equality.

"Somehow, I almost feel that this is what she was born to be, is a focal point for change," Susan Bro said.

"They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what? You just magnified her ... By golly, if I’ve got to give her up, we’re going to make it count."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[N. Korea Cools Down War Rhetoric With US]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 06:28:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_usnorthkorea0815_1500x845.jpg

North Korea is changing tack in the war of words with the United States, adopting a plan to pull back and observe after a stern warning on Monday from Defense Secretary James Mattis.

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<![CDATA[Defense Secretary Uses Disparaging Term to Praise Sailors]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 05:07:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mattis_1200x675.jpg

Defense Secretary James Mattis praised Navy sailors for their service earlier this month and used an obscenity to make his point, NBC News reported.

Speaking at Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state, Mattis said the sailors "will have some of the best days of your life and some of the worst days of your life in the U.S. Navy."

He added, “That means you're living. That means you're not some pussy sitting on the sidelines, you know what I mean, kind of sitting there saying, ‘Well, I should have done something with my life.’”

The Pentagon made a transcript of the Aug. 9 speech available earlier this week.

Mattis, a former Marine who went on to serve as the head of U.S. Central Command and picked up the nickname "Mad Dog," said he wished he was “young enough to go back out to sea.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Congresswoman on Trump: 'Time to Invoke the 25th Amendment']]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 23:28:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0815-2017-Speier-Trump.jpg

A Bay Area congresswoman says President Donald Trump is unfit for the job and should be removed from office.

Representative Jackie Speier is beginning a conversation about invoking the 25th Amendment. She also says the president's behavior is putting lives in danger.

In a tweet Tuesday, Speier wrote "POTUS is showing signs of erratic behavior and mental instability that place the country in grave danger. Time to invoke the 25th Amendment."

In a phone interview with NBC Bay Area late Tuesday, the congresswoman says Trump does not appear capable of controlling himself.

"The president day by day is becoming more erratic," she said while also highlighting the president's recent comments about North Korea.

Speier says she plans to talk to other members of Congress about what it will take to remove the president.

"I don't want to send out men and women to war in North Korea because the president made such outrageous comments," Speier said.

But experts say while Trump's conduct is upsetting to some, it does not meet the requirements for removal.

"Absent something totally outrageous, which goes beyond saying something that makes people upset, it's hard to imagine the 25th Amendment being invoked anytime soon," NBC Bay Area Political Analyst Larry Gerston said.

Speier is not the only lawmaker upset by the president. Republicans are speaking up too.

"What he did today again goes back on what he said yesterday and that's unacceptable," Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado said.

The 25th Amendment says the vice president and others in the president's administration would have to agree the president is unfit for removal to happen. Experts also say it is beyond a long shot.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[DOJ Wants Records on Visitors to Trump Protest Website]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:30:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/inauguration-protest1.jpg

What does the federal government want to do with records on everyone who visited an anti-Donald Trump website?

The Justice Department's demand is part of the ongoing case against people who allegedly broke laws while protesting President Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration in Washington, NBC News reported. Prosecutors say the website, DisruptJ20.org, was used to organize "a violent riot."

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington D.C., which is prosecuting the protesters in local courts, points out that the warrant has already been approved by a judge.

But the target of the search warrant, a web-hosting company that has provided information about the people who registered for the site, says federal officials have gone too far by seeking IP addresses for anyone who entered the site.





Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Tenally]]>
<![CDATA[Alt-Right Rally at Crissy Field Alarms SF, Calif. Leaders]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 19:41:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/pelosi16.jpg

San Francisco is bracing for what could be the next battleground between protesters.

Following the violence last weekend at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., local, state and federal officials on Tuesday sent a strong message to organizers of a right-wing rally planned for later this month at Crissy Field.

"No, you are not welcome in San Francisco," Board of Supervisors president London Breed said. "You are not welcome here, don't come to San Francisco, we are going to do everything we can to stop you."

Breed joined Mayor Ed Lee and police Chief Bill Scott in sending a letter to the National Park Service on Tuesday, expressing "outrage" over its decision to grant a permit to the group Patriot Prayer for an Aug. 26 rally. The park service has jurisdiction over Crissy Field, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The letter calls for the park service to impose conditions to ensure public safety and to provide assurances to the city that detailed security plans and measures will be in place.

"San Francisco has a long and storied history of championing freedom of expression and First Amendment rights, but as we have witnessed in recent months, these types of rallies can quickly turn hateful and violent with tragic consequences," Lee said in the letter.

He continued: "Events in Charlottesville and Seattle are proof that rallies such as these attract extreme and racist fringe groups who only want to provoke malice and incite brutality."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also called for the park service to reconsider the permit.

"Free speech does not grant the right to yell fire in a crowded theater, incite violence or endanger the public in any venue," Pelosi said in a statement.

State Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymen Phil Ting and David Chiu sent letters to the park service expressing concerns about the rally.

"As public officials we are used to differences in ideology, but the events in Charlottesville, complete with violence and protestors armed with automatic weapons, have moved us past any sense of civil discourse or peaceful assembly," that letter reads. "If this rally goes forward, we are extremely concerned for the public safety of the people of our city."

National Park Service spokeswoman Sonja Hanson on Monday said the agency had issued a permit, and noted that the agency was required by law to grant such permits on First Amendment grounds.

Hanson said that the agency is working with U.S. Park Police and San Francisco law enforcement to develop plans for security at the event, which organizers had said on their application would involve around 200 people.

Park service officials did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment on the concerns raised by local elected officials.

City officials said they had only learned of the event or the permit Monday. Scott said his department is in talks with the park service now to work out security details.

"We will not tolerate violence in any form," Scott said.

Patriot Prayer, which has been described as an alt-right group by the hate group watchdog Southern Poverty Law Center, has dubbed its event "Free Speech, Unity and Peace San Francisco."

It is billed as "a day of freedom, spirituality, unity, peace, and patriotism!"

"San Francisco has long been a city that prides itself in acceptance of all, so together, let's unite in this beautiful city to listen to some great speakers & live music!" the event's Facebook page states.

Joey Gibson, the organizer of the Crissy Field Protest, told NBC Bay Area that the deadly violence in Charlottesville was reprehensible and conveyed a message that Patriot Prayer doesn't agree with.

"I mean, I'm brown, for crying out loud!" he said. "You know, we have a black speaker, we have two Hispanics, we have a transsexual, we have a white woman. I mean our message is about freedom, and love, and peace.”

Gibson said a Trump rally last year, where the president's supporters were assaulted, galvanized him to action. That's when he began organizing protests. The next one is in San Francisco because of its "intolerance," he said.

“San Francisco is freaking out right now, which is legitimate because of what happened in Virginia," Gibson said. "But even if that didn’t happen, they’re still freaking out because people who are coming in are different from them, and they don’t understand them, so it makes them afraid.”

There is no question the city is afraid that people meaning to do harm, will latch on to this protest as an opportunity.

“We are a city (where) we love each other," said Shamman Walton, president of the San Francisco Board of Education. "We want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to be successful. But we also have to deal with some of these issues that are happening in other parts of the country. And how are we going to be the example?”

Patriot Prayer held an event in Seattle on Sunday that was met with a heavy police presence and a large counter-protest. While police deployed pepper spray and worked to keep the groups separate, the event ultimately ended without major violence.

Scheduled speakers at Aug. 26's event include right-wing figures associated with violent protests in Berkeley that took place in March and April, including "trans patriot" Amber Gwen Cummings and Kyle "Based Stickman" Chapman.

The event is the first of two planned for the Bay Area, with a second one scheduled for Berkeley on Aug. 27. That event, hosted by Cummings on Facebook, is titled "No to Marxism in America," and will take place in Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park from 1 to 5 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[President Trump's Explosive News Conference in 7 Minutes]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 18:43:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT_TRUMP_PRESSER_081517-150283385815300001.jpg

At a press event that was supposed to focus on infrastructure, President Donald Trump answered questions about violence that erupted at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. He again blamed both sides for violence and described counter-protesters as the "alt-left."

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<![CDATA[Trump on Steve Bannon: 'We'll See What Happens' ]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:37:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trump-on-bannon-150283249801700001.jpg

President Donald Trump won't say whether he plans to keep top White House strategist Steve Bannon.

At an impromptu press conference Tuesday, Trump answered questions about his confidence in his top adviser by saying "we'll see what happens."

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<![CDATA[Trump Responds to Confederate Statues Being Torn Down ]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:00:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trump-on-confederate-statues-FULL_17307335-150282955283000001.jpg

Trump responds to reporters' questions about the Charlottesville rally over the weekend. 

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<![CDATA[If Trump Cuts Obamacare Subsidies, Premiums Will Spike: CBO]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:45:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17206719818863.jpg

The Congressional Budget Office says Obamacare premiums will increase by 20 percent next year and by 25 percent in 2020 — if President Donald Trump ends key federal subsidies to the program.

The CBO report released Tuesday also found that if the administration moves to cut the billions in subsidies to insurers, that would leave about 5 percent of Americans living in areas with no access to individual health care plans.

As CNBC reports, Trump has repeatedly threatened to end the billions of dollars in payments to insurance companies that sell individual health plans under the Affordable Care Act.

Insurers have warned they will be forced to raise premiums sharply to make up for the loss of cost-sharing reductions payments, or CSRs, if Trump cuts them off.



Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/AP (File)]]>