Send in the Clowns: Juggalos vs. the Nazis and KKK


"I say f**k your rebel flag Out here pretending like you ain't offendin' I say f**k your rebel flag You redneck judges with racist grudges I say f**k your rebel flag If you gotta tattoo, I'm aimin' at you I say f**k your rebel flag You get punched in your faces reppin' the racists"

Confederate FlagInsane Clown Posse

It's been nearly three weeks since the tragic events of Charlottesville, in which hate group members clashed with counter-protesters, one of whom, Heather Heyer, was run down and killled by a neo-nazi. Since then, another white nationalist "Free Speech" rally in Boston was met with overwhelming peaceful resistance, and a rally scheduled for San Francisco was cancelled by organizers thanks to community and social media activism.

So while the tide seems to be turning when it comes to fringe hate groups showing their faces in public with impunity, they're still planning to hold the "Mother of All Rallies" on September 16th in Washington D.C.

And as fate would have it, followers of the band Insane Clown Posse, a.k.a. Juggalos, are also planning a march at the same date and location. Creators of the website promoting the event call themselves "the outsiders, the misfits, the weirdos, and the underdogs of the mainstream world", but are hoping it will be a chance to show the world that they're law-abiding, hard-working, taxpaying citizens, not "gang members" as they've been categorized by the FBI. Whether one or the other group will blink or be forced to reschedule remains to be seen. So far, it looks like both are moving ahead full steam.

It's an open question as to what a meeting between alt-right rally goers and juggalos would look like. Insane Clown Posse members Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, despite their music's violent and explicit lyrics, profess to be staunch believers in God and country. And juggalos, aside from their beef with the FBI, seem to be more-or-less apolitical. While they may share some anti-establishment views with their alt-right counterparts, and their demographic definitely skews caucasian, bigotry and racism don't seem to be a part of their worldview. In fact, as the Insane Clown Posse lyrics to "Confederate Flag" make clear, quite the opposite. If the events DO occur simultaneously, expect to see a strong police presence.

I welcome civilized discussion and comments from Insane Clown Posse fans, especially those juggalos planning on attending the Sept. 16th march.

From neo-nazis and KKK members, not so much.

President Obama and the Pope

This week in Rome, President Obama will meet with Pope Francis for the first time.

Since his election last year, Pope Francis has made numerous proclamations that many have found to be unusually liberal minded for the Church, both politically and even when it comes to social issues like gay marriage. During their closed door meeting on Thursday, President Obama and the Pope are expected to discuss an issue that's been of great concern to both of them: the problem of growing inequality and lack of opportunity among the poor. In the U.S., some in the right-wing media have gone so far as to label the Pope a communist or, even worse, a LIBERAL. They've come to expect such talk from the President, but when the leader of the Catholic Church starts talking about the failure of 'trickle-down economics', he's simply gone too far. According to Rush Limbaugh, "this pope makes it very clear he doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to capitalism." God forbid that the Church voice an opinion on unchecked greed and the plight of the poor.

While it's true that President Obama and Pope Francis have plenty of common ground when it comes to helping the poor, there are also some areas where the two disagree. Obama's use of drones and the civilian casualties that sometimes result are one. Legalized abortion is another. Still, Pope Francis has made it clear in words and actions that world poverty is his overriding concern and that's what's expected to be the focus of tomorrow's meeting.

Change comes slow to government and even slower to the Church, but for progressives, it's encouraging to see the subjects of inequality and world poverty even being discussed at all.

2012 Chicago NATO summit

So your brother's bound and gagged And they've chained him to a chair Won't you please come to Chicago just to sing In a land that's known as Freedom How can such a thing be fair Won't you please come to Chicago for the help that we can bring?

-Graham Nash "Chicago"

This May, Chicago will be host city for the 2012 NATO summit. It will mark the first time a NATO summit in the U.S. has been held outside Washington. Depending upon which source you reference, the three-day event will be met with either peaceful, family-friendly marches or will be a powder keg of potential violence.

In any case, given that this is an election year, and Chicago is seen as the hometown of President Obama, all eyes will be on the city, much as they were on election night, 2008, when President-elect Obama delivered his historic victory speech from Grant Park. Counter-NATO organizers are taking to social media sites to whip up support among their members and Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields estimates the number of protesters likely to convene in the city at upwards of 40,000. The first permits for protests during the summit have already been issued. So Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking extra precautions to ensure that the protests that DO occur are peaceful and any potential violent disruptions are headed off swiftly. The police force is undergoing riot baton training and ordering protective gear including over $190,000 for new state-of-the-art face shields.

With the potential for violent protests and strong reaction from law enforcement, there will surely be comparisons to Chicago's 1968 Democratic national convention, which was marked by violent clashes between antiwar protesters and then Mayor Richard J. Daley's police force. As the politician's convened, live televised images of bloody and beaten protesters being hauled off in paddy wagons tarnished both Daley's and Chicago's reputation in the years that followed.

However things play out this May in Chicago (and let's hope they remain peaceful), there are sure to be large crowds and strong opinions, which always makes for good sketching opportunities. I plan on being there with my drawing pad. If anyone cares to join in, drop me a line.