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Tag Archives: US elections 2016

Band released a statement asking the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to cease all use immediately after Trump played two of their songs

The Rolling Stones have asked presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to stop playing their songs at his campaign events.

In a statement on Wednesday, the rock band said they have not given permission to the Trump campaign to use their songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately.

A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment or say whether they had a license to play their songs.

Trump, an avid music fan, has featured Rolling Stones songs at his rallies for months as part of a diverse soundtrack that includes Elton John, opera and classic rock songs. The Rolling Stones 1969 classic You Cant Always Get What You Want was a popular song for his events, and during an event on Tuesday night, the campaign played Start Me Up.

Adele and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler both asked the candidate to stop using their recorded songs to fire up crowds. Neil Young also objected when the real estate mogul used Rockin in the Free World during his campaign kick-off announcement last year. In those cases, the Trump campaign stopped using the songs.

Political campaigns dont need artists permission to play their songs at rallies as long as the political organization or the venue has gotten whats known as a blanket license from the performing rights organizations Ascap and BMI for all the music in the licensing groups repertoire.

But artists do have some recourse. BMI, for example, has said it has a provision in its license agreement that allows BMI songwriters or publishers to object to the use of their songs and they have the ability to exclude those songs from the blanket license.

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How do we move on from the mess that was 2016? Ive made a little list

Only a fool makes predictions, and I was foolish a lot in 2016. One of my more wince-inducing memories from the last benighted year took place on theThursday evening at Glastonbury. There Iwas, chatting away with one of the most senior managers at the Guardian, who happened to be there with her son. So youre not worried about the referendum tonight? she asked me.

God, no! I hooted, knocking back some more enamel-stripping wine bought from a nearby van.Britains a sensible country, it surely surely wont fall for the obvious lies peddled by those self-serving schuysters, Farage and Johnson. Itll be 60:40 remain.

Well, youve made me feel much better, Hadley! she said, grasping my shoulder like alifeboat. If only shed known Id sprung a leak.

Id bet my job on it! I said merrily, heading offinto the night.

Well. Given that you are currently reading me, you can see that the management here are more measured with their P45s than I am with my pretensions to telepathy.

I learned two lessons from that experience. First, Mystic Meg of the Guardian I am not. And second, when all else fails, using Yiddish words is at least afun distraction. But what needs to happen this year to help us all move on from that dumpster fire/everythings fine cartoon/comedy Joe Biden photo caption (delete according to your favourite internet meme of 2016)? Lets go old-school and list the hell outta this.

1. Honestly, I dont understand why Twitter hasnt deleted Trumps account. Hes retweeted antisemitic memes, engaged in targeted harassment and generally behaved like lets justsay it a massive troll. There is every chance hell start world war three this year with a misspelled tweet (Xi Jinping, president of the Peoples Republic of China: Wait, is he trying tosay that Im an unprecedented leader? First assistant to Xi Jinping: Hard to tell, sir. It may bea compliment, but it may also be an insult. XiJinping: To the military!) So, for the sake of world peace, it would be totally awesome if Trump no longer had access to a site that, as he told me when I interviewed him in 2012, has given him his own newspaper, where, when someone attacks me, I can attack them right back. The man will be president in a fortnights time, for Gods sake. Ithink he has a big enough platform. Please, someone, get him off this one.

2. Lets sort out language, please. In the year when everything imploded, language itself went (and I apologise for being obvious) Orwellian. Ifirst realised that elite had gone from meaning privileged and powerful to people Ijust dont like when I saw Arron Banks a man who looks increasingly like the evil svengali who emerges from the secret door behind the bookcase after James Bond has dispatched his bodyguards referring to journalists as the elite. But you own a diamond mine? someone, not unreasonably, said. Whats wrong with owning a diamond mine? he merrily replied. Someone has to.

Do they? Well, I guess. Maybe. Someone also hasto write the news, but those people are snooty snots; diamond mine-owners who fund political parties are courageous freedom fighters striving against the man. (The average salary of a British journalist: just under 24,000. The average salary of a diamond mine-owner: a gazillion pounds.)

Similarly, terms such as mainstream media, orMSM (translation: journalism I dont like), experts (people who say things I dont like) and identity politics (politics that dont assume the primacy of straight white men) were redefined, while not-very-codified euphemisms such as swarm and global order continue to perpetuate racism and antisemitism. And the left let this happen, being too hesitant to call out prejudice, misogyny and total falsehood where they saw them. The left wasnt able to match the rights shamelessness and, in some corners, even boughttheir narrative.

And here we are now, two weeks away from the inauguration of a billionaire straight out of central casting for the villain in a Batman movie (there are a lot of cartoon villains around these days), because 25.5% of Americans found him less elitist than Hillary Clinton. Lets end this, and insist upon accurate language. (Also, hurry up, Marty McFly, and get that almanac off the old man, so we can get out of this wrong timeline.)

3. For their sake and ours, its time to put the Kardashians in storage now. Basta.

While I may not be much cop at predictions, Icantell you this for free: unless all of the above is sorted, 2017 will not be an improvement on 2016. Were in this together, people.

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Following Trumps win, one KKK chapter announced plans for a victory parade in North Carolina. But where was it going to be, and who might turn up? Dave Eggers joined the protestors playing cat-and-mouse with white supremacists

No one knew much, but the crowd was growing. We were at the rest stop off Highway 29 between Eden and Pelham, where North Carolina meets Virginia, and everyone was looking for the Ku Klux Klan. It was 8.40am.

The day after the election of Donald Trump, the Loyal White Knights of Pelham, a chapter of the KKK with a suitably unhinged website, had announced that they would be holding a victory parade on 3 December. In the weeks since, there had been no word on the Knights website or anywhere else about when or where the parade would be.

But the initial declaration was perhaps the most dramatic manifestation of what we might call the New Emboldening a coast-to-coast rise in everyday American racism and bigotry spurred by the rhetoric and election of a billionaire who had taken swipes at certain Mexican-Americans and all Mexicans, certain women and all women, certain Muslim-Americans and all Muslims, all African Americans and all immigrants.

In the month after the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center had tracked more than 900 incidents targeting non-whites. A Muslim college student in Ann Arbor had been told, by a young white man, to remove her hijab or he would light her on fire. At a Utah high school, two Mexican-American sisters were told by their white classmates, You get a free trip back to Mexico. You should be happy.

The idea of a Klan rally in this kind of atmosphere was potentially explosive. The KKK had demonstrated a year earlier, in Columbia, South Carolina, and the results had been ugly. Three hundred Klan members had been there. The New Black Panthers had countered with 400 of their own members. In all, there were 2,000 protesters. There were cops in body armour. Ripped Confederate flags. A grandmother with a bloody nose. A Klan member, trying to flee in his vehicle, ran into a lamppost.

This 3 December parade, then, coming after Trumps election and during this New Emboldening, had the potential to be far worse. The promise that the parade was coming was a blight on the soul of the nation; the vast majority of the country, whether they supported Trump or not, dreaded it. There is no more wretched and horrifying segment of the American people or history than the Klan, who in their darkest years had lynched black men and women and had terrorised anyone who wasnt white or Christian. At their height, in 1924, the Klans membership was 4 million. In 2016, estimates put their strength at no more than 8,000.

Two masked Ku Klux Klansmen giving an interview on a rural backroad near Pelham, North Carolina on the night of 2 December. Photograph: Jay Reeves/AP

But Trump, like a snake charmer, had coaxed the rise of the alt-right, who embodied the spirit of the Klan, but in different robes and with better social media. And because the depth of Trumps support so much of it invisible to polls and data had shocked much of the nation, there existed the possibility that the Klan, too, would emerge with far greater numbers than anyone thought possible.

But for a month, no one knew where the rally would take place. Activists marked it on their calendars but had no clue where to go, other than Pelham, North Carolina a tiny town of 3,592 souls, with no central business district through which to parade. The night before, Id driven around Pelham and found nowhere a potential parade might happen. Guessing the Klan might be gathering at the home of Amanda and Christopher Barker, the only Knights listed on their website, I drove past the home listed as their address. It was a humble clapboard house in nearby Eden. There were no cars parked outside, no sign of an assembling of regional racists.

Then, late on the night of 2 December, an article appeared on the website of the Times-News of Burlington, North Carolina. A reporter there, Natalie Janicello, spoke with a Loyal White Knights representative who called himself the chapters exalted cyclops. He confirmed that the Klan would indeed parade. Probably at 9am, he said, and in the vicinity of Pelham.

So here we were, at the rest stop, waiting for word. The sky was grey and the temperature hovered at 40F. Cars continued to arrive, and their passengers disembarked to use the facilities. Most were young and dressed in black boots, pants, hoodies and sunglasses. A few were wearing bandanas to cover their faces. These were black-bloc activists some anarchist, some communist, some apolitical in general more willing to engage in confrontation and property damage (thus the efforts to anonymise themselves). There were six of them. Then 10. Then 20. Thirty. They made up the largest group of the assembling activists, but there were also members of the International Workers of the World (IWW), a few people with Black Lives Matter signs, and a smattering of unaffiliateds men and women, most of them under 30, standing in the cold, waiting for word of when and where. But 9am was fast approaching and there was no update.

I befriended a trio of activists who seemed to have the most up-to-date information. Megan Squire, a red-haired professor of computing sciences at nearby Elon University, was earnest and funny and determined to confront the Klan. She was with her husband, Tony Crider, a professor of physics, who, in Ray-Bans and a leather jacket, was a bit more detached and sceptical (for reasons that would become clear later). With them was Sugelema Lynch, a bright-eyed second-grade teacher from nearby Alamance County.

Im more of a tag-along, she said. She was wearing a lime-green scarf and teal-coloured sneakers, and had an enormous camera around her neck. I just want to get a couple cool photos and tell my kids, Look what I did this weekend! She had moved from California five years earlier, when shed married a man who grew up nearby. She was still getting used to this once-Confederate state, whose Latino population had grown from 76,000 in 1990 to 800,000 in 2016.

When I first moved here, she said, living in the Burlington area, you just felt the tension. As a Hispanic woman, just walking around felt awkward. She is one of two Latino teachers at her elementary school, where most of the students are the children of Latino immigrants. Its not really a surprise to hear about the Klan here. Things dont ever just go away. But Im not offended just looking at the Confederate flag. I grew up watching The Dukes of Hazzard, too.

Megan was periodically checking in with the IWW and black-bloc groups, and returned with news. OK, she said. The rumour now is that the Klan is organising itself, planning to go to Danville via Highway 29. Everyones trying to find someone who might have a car shitty enough to block the highway.

Black bloc protesters some anarchist, some communist, some apolitical who formed a large part of the turnout against the KKK march. Photograph: Carol Guzy/Photoshot/Avalon

Danville was a city of 43,000, just over the Virginia border. It had been on the list of possible sites for the Klan march.As we waited, Tony told a story of a recent Trump-fuelled incident on the Elon campus. The day after the election, he had arrived at his classroom to find the words Bye bye Latinos. Hasta la Vista written in large letters on his whiteboard. There had been recent activity in the area by another neo-white supremacist group called Actbac (Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County), and Tony thought this might have something to do with them. Deciding to make it a teachable moment, he took a picture of the board and posted it on his Facebook account.

When his first class arrived that morning, he left the words up. He asked the students to write down their thoughts on the election and drop them in a bin, so each students opinion would remain anonymous. (He planned to read them aloud a week later, when they had some distance.) He taught the class as planned, then went back to his office, closed the door, and cried.

Meanwhile, his photo had been shared with a student reporter at Elon, who tweeted it. That tweet was retweeted 2,000 times, and by the next day, it had been reported in the Daily Mail and the Associated Press. It was referenced all over the world.

Then we found out it was a hoax, Tony said. It turned out that a Latino student at Elon had written it. The student considered it satire.

Now the assembled protesters gathered around Greg Williams, an organiser from the IWW. With long dark hair and a beard, he was calm and in control. He introduced the protesters to four men and women wearing bright green baseball caps. They were from the National Lawyers Guild, he said if anyone got arrested, they would be available. He provided one of their phone numbers. It had a San Francisco area code. The activists passed around a black marker and wrote it on their arms.

Anyone with a smartphone that can be opened with your fingerprints should disable that function, Megan said. If youre arrested, she explained, police cant make you give up your password, but they can compel you to use your fingerprint. The heads of the assembled protesters bent downward as they busily made adjustments to their phones.

Finally, Williams instructed the protesters to think about your positionality. White protesters should, he said, try to keep at least two of them (white protesters) between the Klan and any protesters of colour. Speak for yourself, a black protester said, and there were laughs. The bottom line, Williams said, is look after each other.

A parking attendant had been making her way through, marking tires. The police would soon have reason to move the group, so everyone got in their cars and caravanned to the Pelham Community Center just across the highway. A sign out front promised a visit from Santa Claus later that week.

Behind the community centre was a dirt road with a narrow stretch of grass running alongside it. The area was flanked by a high wire fence on one side and a dense forest on another. Everyone parked their cars, got out and waited. The protesters milled and talked and looked at each others placards. RAPIST PRESIDENT read one. NO HATE IN OUR STATE read another. A white man in shorts held a sign declaring that The Worst Thing to Ever Come Out of a Vagina Was a WHITE MAN. Another white man demonstrating every protests struggle to keep focus had a sign pushing for a $15 minimum wage.

Word was that the parade would happen at 11am. Now the black bloc got serious. Baseball bats were removed from car trunks. Masks were adjusted. One man wore a leather jacket covered with silver studs. Another put on a motorcycle helmet. The scene began to have the look of troops assembling before battle.

More members of the media appeared. There were about a dozen small video crews and an equal number of journalists walking around with notebooks and tape recorders. They roamed among the assembled and waiting protesters, and, with nothing else to do, pretty much every journalist and photographer interviewed and photographed pretty much every protester. A trio of young activists with hand-drawn signs were photographed at least 10 times in precisely the same pose. Sugelema took a picture, too. What the hell, she said.

An SUV with tinted windows arrived. Two men emerged wearing identical outfits fleece jackets, khaki pants, sunglasses and hats. Security contractors with a group called ESG, they were there to protect a TV newscaster, an older gentleman, well-tanned, who emerged from the SUV with a cameraman in tow. His security detail followed.

Two young men removed two crates from their car trunk, one full of bottled water, the other Red Bull, and distributed them. The mood was upbeat. The current joke, Megan said, is that were just a bunch of goth kids playing Pokmon Go.

With an hour to kill before the Klan parade, there was general anxiety that some faction of the protesters would start a drum circle. The anarchists dont like drum circles, Megan noted. Sugelema pointed to a man with a red drum at his feet. Two other men were carrying cymbals. Another man with an elaborate moustache appeared with a saxophone. A few days before, at the Standing Rock protests, Sioux tribal leaders had asked the white people, arriving in great numbers and in festive spirit, not to treat the protests like Burning Man.

Megan checked in with Natalie Janicello, the reporter who had the trust of the Loyal White Knights. Janicello happened to have been a student of Megans at Elon University. She conveyed the latest: the Loyal White Knights had pushed their parade back to 3pm. The theory circulated that the Klan had been scared off by the size of the counter-protest, and had postponed their rally to gather a comparable volume of paraders of their own. One woman with hair dyed blue carried around a sign, newly made, that said Big Bad KKK: 2 Scared 2 March.

Protesters in Danville after the theory circulated that the Klan had been scared off and had postponed their rally. Photograph: Carol Guzy/Photoshot/Avalon

Sugelema and I went to get snacks. At the local mini-mart, where the staff and customers were all black, there was no awareness at all of the parade and counter-rally happening down the road. Next door, three young African American men were offering car washes. It was business as usual. We drove through Danville, quiet as a tomb.

They used to make socks here, Sugelema noted. A wide river, the Dan, cut through the town, and there were abandoned factories decomposing alongside its grey water. Around this part of North Carolina, there had been textile factories specialising in hosiery. In 1951, two local manufacturers, the Riverside Cotton Mill and Schoolfield, merged and became the largest single-unit textile mill in the world. But the plant closed in 2006. Now the city looked like the kind of place that might see its red-brick warehouses turned into lofts, and its riverside factories transformed by non-profits. But this kind of revival had yet to arrive in Danville.

Sugelemas parents were migrant farmworkers from Mexico. We moved every couple months, she said, following harvests up and down the Pacific coast. They picked apples in Washington and Oregon, melon and strawberries in Californias central valley. Thats where she was born, between harvests, and was given an unprecedented name.

Its Estonian. In the hospital, my mom didnt know what to name me, so the nurse suggested Sugelema, making her name at birth Sugelema Guadalupe Gonzalez probably the only person with that name the world has ever known. As an adult, Sugelema had looked up the meaning of her first name. According to the internet, in Estonian her name means itchy.

Of the 17 students in her classroom this year, 14 are from immigrant families, most of them from Mexico. Since Trumps election, some of the families were worried, fearing that he would follow through on promises to deport millions of people, but Sugelema had not rushed to judgment. Growing up, her parents had admired another Republican, Ronald Reagan. With the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Reagan had granted amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants, including many seasonal agricultural workers like her parents. It was Reagan who allowed us stay in the US, she said.

Her parents found a small town in Oregon and settled down. Sugelema and her older brother were sent to a public school where most of the kids were white. Later, her brother joined the marines and became a successful IT specialist, with most of his contracts coming from the US military. He now lives in San Diego, where Sugelemas mother is comfortably retired. Sugelema went to college and is the mother of five. Her oldest son is on the local football team.

The American dream is not perfect, but it is real. Sugelemas parents arrived in the 1970s from Mexico with nothing. They worked the fields, and now their daughter is a teacher and an indie-rock singer-songwriter. This I learned on the drive. Later, Sugelema showed me one of the music videos she had made with her husband. The song was called All Things Considered, and the video has the manic energy and lurid colours of 1980s MTV. In it, Sugelema wears Tweety Bird pyjamas as a cast of costumed partygoers dances around her. Megan is dressed in lederhosen; Tony wears the mask of a devil. In the centre of the frame, Sugelema sings, not quite awake and not quite asleep.

We returned from the convenience store to find that the protesters had decided to have an impromptu march down the dirt road. The Caswell County sheriff had blocked off one entrance, so we went around to the other, parked, and arrived in time to see the march in full swing. The photographers dutifully took pictures and the videographers filmed. In every way it had the look of a real protest, and any close-cropped photo would imply a rousing demonstration in favour of equality and diversity.

But there was no Klan and there were no spectators. It was about 60 activists marching for about 100ft on a road in the woods. After a few minutes, the group stopped marching and went back to waiting. It was not quite noon.

Soon there was news. Apparently there was a group of white supremacists demonstrating in nearby Danville. Sugelema and I had just come back from there, and had seen nothing of the kind. I think we should head out there! Williams roared, and the crowd cheered. Someone started drumming. The saxophonist played a ditty as everyone ran to their cars. Saxman, youre my hero, someone yelled.

We followed the 30 cars back on to Highway 29. There was one catch: no one had an address. There had been some mention of the centre of town. Someone else had heard the word Sutherlin. Megan sleuthed that this might be the Sutherlin home in downtown Danville. During the waning days of the civil war, when Union troops had overrun and burned Richmond to the ground, the home of Major WT Sutherin in Danville had become the last capital of the Confederacy. For a week at least 3-10 April 1865. It was now a museum.

There was no Klan and there were no spectators anti-KKK protesters march outside Danville, Virginia. Photograph: MWAA/ZDS/

We raced into Danville and were the first to find the building. It was a grand, red-stone home in the Italian villa style, on a hilltop, with a wide lawn and a stone obelisk on which were engraved the words Guarding Our Future by Preserving Our Past. The property occupied an entire city block, and would have been a fitting site for any demonstration. But there was no one there. No white supremacists. No one at all.

We drove through Danville and soon found the ESG Security SUV in a parking lot on the edge of Danvilles downtown. Theyd found something. The white-haired newscaster stood outside, flanked by his private security guards, talking to a tall man with a wild grey beard. He wore a black leather cowboy hat and a denim jacket bearing at least 10 Confederate flag patches. There were two trucks nearby. One bore the Virginia license plate CNFEDRT.

The bearded mans was named George Randall. He and the two women with him were bewildered, like Custer caught in an ambush. Were not part of the Klan, Randall said. They were part of a group called the Virginia Flaggers, whose motto was Heritage, not hate. Periodically they held rallies to preserve Southern heritage and fly the Southern flag. He said he hadnt heard anything about a Klan rally, and hated getting confused with the Klan. This kind of mix-up, he said, was the fault of the media. And the young people. And the liberals. He monologued for a time, at one point complaining about a woman hed seen on the internet defecating on a picture of Trump. While he was speaking two more cars, carrying activists and journalists, pulled into the parking lot. Randall looked alarmed.

We better get out of here, said one of the women in the CNFEDRT truck. Randall jumped in and they took off.

Back at the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History, a handful of black-bloc activists stood on the corner. Passing motorists, most of them African American, gawked and pointed. Thought experiment: what would the reaction have been in a reciprocal situation? If 30 or so young black people, most of them men, showed up in a small predominantly white town, wearing masks and carrying baseball bats, what might happen?

Megans phone dinged. The activists were headed back to the rest stop where we had started the day almost five hours earlier. Sugelema and I left Danville and got on the highway. When we got to the rest stop, the 30 cars were leaving. They were going back to the Danville Museum. Theyd heard that a different Confederate group was about to demonstrate. We tried to convince them that we had just come from Danville and that nothing was happening there, but it was too late. They were gone. We followed. It was a lot like high school, where dozens of cars roamed the same few suburban miles, looking for a party, stopping at the mini-mart, getting a Slurpee, exchanging specious information and driving off only to repeat the whole process half an hour later.

We arrived at the museum to find a few disappointed black-bloc members. No Klan, no Confederates, no neo-Confederates. Megan and Tony arrived with news. Tony had seen some police cars a few blocks away, parked near a playground. He thought it might be the protest, or at least a protest. We raced to the park, but there were no Klansmen there, no black bloc. Instead, about 25 Danville residents, most of them African American, had assembled before a video camera, in rows, as if posing for a school picture. Put down the guns! they all said in unison. The gathering had nothing to do with white supremacists or Trump. It was about ending a recent cycle of violence in Danville.

David L Wilson, who split his time between selling life insurance and working at a tyre-manufacturing plant, explained. Weve had a lot of shootings in our city. Weve had 14 murders recently. Even last night, a young lady here had a gunshots outside of her house. He took the arm of an older man next to him; he had tired eyes. This was the idea of this man, Gerald Holmes, Wilson said. Holmes had organised a movement called 434 Lives Matter, named for the local area code.

We have to change the mindset of the people, Wilson said. We cant do it from a top-down position. We cant do it just with the police. If we dont change the mindset of the people in the community, and change the way theyre dealing with each other in terms of conflict resolution, were going to continue to see this robbing and shooting and killing.

The members of 434 Lives Matter planned to go canvassing that day, door to door, in the neighbourhoods affected by the violence. For a moment, what the rest of us had been doing all day seemed hopelessly irrelevant. A mass of interlopers, many of whom were in costume, were chasing the Klan like it was some urban scavenger hunt. Meanwhile, the actual residents of the town were trying to figure out why their young men were shooting each other.

Sometimes they do things out of their character, Wilson said. But theyre doing what they think they have to do in order to survive. Theyre trying to do what they can to make ends meet, to take care of their families. Our main thing is listening now. We have to listen to what peoples hurts are.

We left the park. Megans phone went off again. The protesters were marching in downtown Danville. Apparently they were tired of waiting for the Klan. We raced to Main Street and found them. It was happening. And their numbers had grown there were now about 100 people marching. There were more locals. There were parents with their children. It was loud and it was real. No hate! No Fear! The KKKs not welcome here! they chanted. Leading the march were the black bloc, their baseball bats dragging on the pavement. Minutes before, I had felt like whatever the anti-KKK activists were doing had no tangible meaning, but now, seeing it happen, it seemed vital and necessary. The last vestiges of the Ku Klux Klan must be met with this kind of demonstration of resistance.

Trailing the marchers were three Danville police cars, their lights spinning brightly. They had sanctioned the march and were ensuring that it had the run of the road. All of which was remarkable. The police had allowed the protest on incredibly short notice, and were OK with dozens of black-clad protesters marching down their street with bats. It was a model of accommodation and restraint.

But because it was a Saturday, and because the stretch of road they marched was not a busy pedestrian thoroughfare, and because the march had been organized in the last half-hour, there were only a few people to watch it. A beautician peeked out the window of her shop, but otherwise the witnesses to the march were entirely members of the media.

After a few blocks, the protesters gathered in a parking lot. Williams spoke first. We shut shit down! he said, and the crowd repeated it: We shut shit down! they roared. The mood was ebullient. We shut shit down, they roared again and again, their baseball bats hammering the pavement. Then, in the call-and-response style he had used earlier, Williams added a coda.

One more good piece of news before you go, he said.

One more good piece of news before you go, the crowd repeated.

We just heard from folks, he said.

We just heard from folks, the crowd repeated.

Who are watching the Twitter account, he said.

Who are watching the Twitter account, the crowd repeated.

Of the official spokesperson, he said.

Of the official spokesperson, the crowd repeated.

Of the Loyal White Knights, he said.

Of the Loyal White Knights, the crowd repeated.

Who says they fucking cancelled their march.

One more good piece of news before you go, he said. We just heard from folks who are watching the Twitter account of the official spokesperson of the Loyal White Knights who says they fucking cancelled their march.

The crowd erupted. Megan was ecstatic. The Klan, she and the activists had deduced, had been scared off by the strength of the counter-protests. Maybe the Loyal White Knights were really only two people Amanda and Chris Barker. And maybe they had been trying to gather enough people all day to make their parade worthwhile, and had failed. It seemed like a suitably pathetic end to a hateful but powerless cabal. There was still the alt-right, and David Duke was running for office again, but at least the KKK, or this head of the serpent, was dead.

Since the Loyal White Knights announcement of the rally, there had been much debate about what to do. There was a school of thought that said paying the Klan any attention at all was only encouraging them. There were those elsewhere in North Carolina, from Greensboro to Raleigh to Charlotte who preferred to hold counter-rallies, focusing on inclusion and featuring speakers and songs, far away from any confrontation. But the people in Danville believed it would be a terrible thing, in 2016, if a Klan rally happened, and happened uncontested. Slightly better would be a Klan rally that was vociferously confronted. Best of all, though, would be a Klan rally cancelled in the face of opposition. And this is what had just happened. And even though this was a modest counter-protest in a modest city, it mattered just as Birmingham had mattered in 1963, and Ferguson had mattered in 2014. Maybe it mattered more because it was Danville, the last home of the Confederacy.

Terrell Simmons was feeling good. A tall African American man wearing combat boots and a red bandana, he had led some of the post-march chants. The Klan dont have the people, so they dont have the power! he had yelled. The establishment dont have the people, so they dont have the power! He was a high school test-prep teacher from Mobile, Alabama, and had driven 12 hours to confront the Klan. Now he was basking in the victory and planning what would come next. Were going to have a lot of cohesion between the groups that have been divided, he said. Were going to see that we cant build this country without one another. A lot of the things that have held us up in the past are going to go away. Reality is going to set in that without actually meeting the needs of the poor people, the sick people, this nation is doomed to fail.

He walked away smiling, joining the black bloc, whose members were taking off their masks and disbanding. Soon there were only a few people left on Main Street. Tony and Sugelema were looking for a place to get a beer. Shit, Megan said. In the parking lot, now nearly empty, she was reading her phone. Natalie Janicello had just posted a tweet. ITS HAPPENING, she wrote. KKK just came through Roxboro. Battle flags and shouting WHITE POWER.

Natalie A. Janicello (@natalie_allison)

IT’S HAPPENING. KKK just came through Roxboro. Battle flags & shouting “WHITE POWER!”

December 3, 2016

While the anti-Klan protesters marched through Danville, the Klan had paraded through a different town, 45 minutes away. Janicello had embedded film of it into her Twitter feed.

In the video, about 20 vehicles speed through an intersection. Some of the cars have Confederate flags flapping from their windows. Some cars are unadorned just gray sedans driving down the street. No spectators are visible. None of the drivers are visible. A woman in one of the cars yells White power from a window. Then its over.

Megan was despondent. Not just because the Klan had trolled the protesters and had pulled off their parade. But there was the matter of her former student, Natalie Janicello, who must have known about the location of the parade, and had opted not to tell any of the protesters or members of the media. She was the only media member, and maybe the only person, who saw it.

The next day brought one last twist. A Klan member named Richard Dillon, who had made the trip from Indiana, was in the hospital with multiple stab wounds to the chest. Two other Klansmen, Chris Barker and William Ernest Hagen of California, were charged with the crime. Apparently, in the early morning before the planned parade, the Klan had assembled at the Barkers house. Drinks were drunk. Dillon had hassled Hagen about a Klan rally Hagen had put on in Orange County, where the Klansmen had been beaten up by counter-protesters. Hagen didnt much appreciate that, so he stabbed Dillon repeatedly, while Barker blocked the door. Bleeding profusely, Dillon managed to escape, drove to Danville, went to the hospital and told the doctors on duty what had happened.

Police arrested Barker and Hagen that morning. So they didnt get to see the parade, either.

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That the reality-TV star and president-elect should make a would-be MP rejected seven times at the polls his first British guest at Trump Tower is cause for concern on both sides of the Atlantic

You wonder how its possible to find the humour in the news at a time when the western world is starting to pivot towards an awkward dystopia and after a week when hostility and hate are no longer simmering just below the surface but are suddenly emboldened by Donald Trumps election victory.

The sketch show Saturday Night Live gave up on comedy entirely, sitting Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton at a piano, performing a version of Leonard Cohens Hallelujah. Rarely has the traditional Live from New York, its Saturday night! intro been delivered with such raw hurt and defiance. It was powerful. It was deeply emotional. But it wasnt funny.

Its hard to find much humour, either, in the picture of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage grinning as they meet at Trump Tower, the interim Ukip leader having secured a meeting with the president-elect ahead of any British politician. It might have seemed comical a week ago, but now nothing is the same. Farage tweeted the image with some razor-sharp political insight into Trumps impending term of office: He was relaxed and full of good ideas. I am confident he will be a good President. He used good twice, as if its all hes got.

Last week, if the politics of the two men in the picture repulsed you as much as they have repulsed roughly half of their respective nations, you might have said: look at the pair of clowns. Heres Farage, usually pictured clasping a pint your dads mate down the pub, the one who tells a rum gag through a haze of Embassy smoke that makes his friends laugh because someone else is the butt of the joke. And now he stands next to the president-elect of the United States, a man who got the job apparently because he wasnt part of the establishment, because he wasnt a politician, because he promised to break the system rather than play it.

Yet here they stand, a reality-TV star turning it on for the camera, his unnaturally white teeth bearing a smile or is it a grimace? and the man who looks as though he could be chairman of Trumps fan club, typing up newsletters once a month, quoting everything hes ever said back to him with exact dates and times, just six months away from a restraining order. Farages statement afterwards said they discussed freedom and winning.

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Despite major reservations about my partys candidate, hearing us all dismissed by other voters in line at the polls inspired me to support him

The commercials have stopped airing. The votes have been cast. The people have spoken. Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States.

I was reluctant to back Trump even though I am a Republican, because right or wrong, he caters to many Americans desire to the see the progress in the world slow down a bit just so they can catch up. I also have grave concerns about building walls around our country, and I fear what the impact will be when we start isolating our economy from others. But in the end, I voted for him.

As I walked into my polling place, I simply planned on skipping the ballot for president and voting on down ballot races. We had a very important Senate race in Georgia, and maintaining control of that body for conservatives was, far and away, the most important goal I had this election cycle on the federal level. We also had important local races and amendments to the state constitution that I felt compelled to vote on.

I arrived at my polling place early enough to avoid the lines, or so I thought. Although I was half an hour early, the line snaked around a corner and down a long schoolhouse hallway. Because I forgot my headphones, I couldnt listen to music as a I waited. And the reception was spotty in the building so I couldnt peruse social media, either. So I waited and listened. Most folks maintained conversations with neighbors they knew or just sat quietly. However, two individuals nearby were engaged in a conversation that I wish I never heard.

From what I did overhear, they resented the very existence of the Republican party, and their scorn was reserved most for people who didnt have the strength to stop this man from being even the nominee. Their banter contained the usual unfounded complaints about Republicans were racists and misogynists but also included comments about how truly weak they thought we were as people.

This was in no way reflective of the party I love. As chairman of the Georgia Young Republicans, I struggled to strike a balance between our membership that campaigned vigorously for Trump and those that felt alienated from the party by his nomination. I defend the brand that my organization has of demonstrating support for the Republican ticket but maintaining enough independence that our members have a place to learn, discuss and disagree.

Fellow Republicans I know are, by and large, hardworking people. They love their families, and they cherish the privilege of being Americans. They hurt when their neighbors are suffering. They rejoice when those same neighbors find success in their life. More importantly, they genuinely just want all Americans to have an opportunity at a better life and justifiably are concerned that dream has become a nightmare for far too many Americans. The Republicans I know and work with were not the Republicans I heard these people talking about.

Now, Ill fully admit I never even saw these peoples faces, and they engaged in other topics of political conversation as the line inched closer to the ballot boxes, but I couldnt help but continue to listen anytime Republicans were brought up. And what I heard kept making me angrier.

So I voted for Trump. I wanted to prove a point and vote against those types of people who had nothing good to say about us. But it also felt good to me to support the good people I know worked so hard in an election they were told was a losing cause from the very beginning. They fought for whats right and treated me with a lot of respect even though I remained skeptical about our Republican nominee from the outset.

Just to support them, I wish I had come around sooner than 15 minutes before I pressed the button to cast my ballot. Nonetheless, today its a vote I proudly stand behind to honor them. Now we get to continue the hard work of encourage positive reforms and holding our elected officials accountable when they fall short of expectations.

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Sabrina Siddiqui relays her experience as a pool reporter, part of a small group shadowing Clinton and her top aides, in the final 24 hours of her bid to make history as the first female US president

Hillary Clinton had barely slept in 24 hours when she arrived at her polling station in upstate New York to cast her ballot, on the crisp autumn day that would eventually determine that she would not, after all, break that highest, hardest glass ceiling.

The final day of her 18-month campaign to be the USs first female president had seen her blitz through four cities in three battleground states, and culminated in a bespectacled Clinton bounding off her plane to her campaign anthem, Fight Song by Rachel Platten, before a couple of hundred supporters who braved the 3.30am wind chill at the Westchester County airport.

About four hours later, at least 100 well-wishers assembled at the Douglas G Griffin elementary school in Clintons adopted hometown of Chappaqua to watch her cast her vote.

It is the most humbling feeling, she told CNN when asked how it felt to vote for herself, because I know how much responsibility goes with this and so many people are counting on the outcome of this election, what it means for our country, and I will do the very best I can if Im fortunate enough to win today.

To have a woman on the ballot as the nominee of a major party was a first in Americas 240-year history and Clinton said she had thought about her mother when she cast her ballot.

Her language at the polling station echoed the cautiously optimistic tone that had dominated the final two weeks of her campaign. Shifting from her routine stump speech, the Democratic nominee had begun to look beyond the 8 November election, the first time many reporters had witnessed her allowing herself to do that in 18 months of covering her campaign.

She spoke of a certainty that voters would choose an open, inclusive, big-hearted America, and told voters in Manchester, New Hampshire: We will have some work to do to bring about healing and reconciliation after this election.

The country would need to come together, Clinton said repeatedly, whether standing before several dozen parishioners at a black church in Philadelphia in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania or before thousands of students gathered under the fall foliage at an outdoor park in that states other major city, Pittsburgh.

There is fear and anger in our country, Clinton said in Pittsburgh. But anger is not a plan. We have got to start talking to each other again.

Beneath the veneer of her carefully chosen words, Clinton had already begun to frame the aftermath of the election as though victory was well within sight. Neither she nor her campaign seemed to foresee that American voters would resoundingly reject a plea to hold on to unity in favour of division, and choose fear over hope.

But they did precisely that on Tuesday, propelling Donald Trump to the nations highest office in a stunning affirmation of a wholly different definition of America and its identity.

As Clinton hopscotched across a small set of critical swing states in those final days, top aides sauntered to the back cabin of her campaign plane daily to brief the traveling press on the state of the race. An at-capacity group of 42 reporters huddled in the aisle or climbed on to their seats to record vital details on how the campaign was executing its turnout strategy, rooted in a massive ground game they claimed was slowly cultivating a lead too insurmountable for Trump to overcome.

Standing near a barricade separating the press from the crowd at one of Clintons final rallies on Monday, a senior campaign official predicted wins in Nevada, Michigan, Florida, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, deeming only North Carolina a tossup. Only New Hampshire and Nevada would eventually be won.

The official even quietly entertained what a President-elect Clintons itinerary might look like after Tuesday, telling reporters she would need some downtime before probably flying to Washington on Thursday to meet with Barack Obama.

Timing of announcements for a potential transition team was unclear, but the aide was willing to indulge an exhausted press corps and speculateon when they might finally be safe taking a break from a grueling schedule that for some had spanned more than two years trailing Clinton.

Somewhat lost at that moment was the fact that the conversation was taking place in Michigan, where Clinton held a rally for 4,600 supporters at a basketball gymnasium in Grand Rapids.

The Clinton campaign remained bullish about its chances in Michigan, insisting that its decision to make a last-minute trip to the state, and dispatch President Obama there too, was merely the product of taking no votes for granted. But in retrospect, it presaged the Trump insurgency, both there Trump looks likely to have won the state for the Republicans for the first time since 1988 and across the US, and the attendant cracks in the so-called Democratic firewall.

But if the Clinton campaigns major weakness was in Michigan, the odds pointed to a similar trend in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (Democratic since 1992) and the rest of the midwest too, where the campaign and most of the pollsters and pundits underestimated the large number of white voters who would flock to the Republican nominee. In its pursuit of more diverse states, Clintons team failed to shore up the Democrats long-held base in the so-called rust belt, despite recurring signs that Trump was appealing to working-class, less-educated white voters.

If there was any concern within the Clinton campaign in its final stretch, it was instead over the untold damage caused by the announcement by the FBI director, James Comey, at the end of October that his agency was reviewing a new batch of emails that might be pertinent to the previous investigation into her use of a private server while heading the Department of State.

The jolt was delivered 11 days before the election, as Clinton was flying between campaign events, placing another cloud of suspicion over a candidate polling persistently low in trustworthiness. Aides downplayed its significance on the polls, conceding only that the renewed focus on emails distracted Clinton from her message with precious time remaining to seal the deal with undecided voters.

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Election night at the Hilton hotel in New York began with campaign staff dampening expectations but ended with Donald Trumps victory speech

Just before 3am on Wednesday at the Hilton hotel in Midtown Manhattan, Donald Trump made his entrance to his victory party amid chants of U-S-A! U-S-A!. If they could have heard it in the nearby convention centre where they awaited in vain for Hillary Clinton, it might have sounded like a threat.

Just as at his freewheeling rallies, his entrance to the crowded ballroom was heralded by the theme music of Air Force One, a Hollywood action film starring Harrison Ford as the American president. All eyes turned up to the balcony. There stood a tall figure in dark suit with white shirt, red tie and familiar shock of orange hair. But this was no movie.

This was the president-elect. Trump who at 70 will be the oldest person ever to assume the office clapped and raised a triumphant fist above a blue Make America Great Again banner. He was followed by a royal train of grinning family members, political allies and campaign aides, some scarcely able to believe what just happened. Behind them the curtains were illuminated red, white and blue.

An improbable, rollicking, at times farcical campaign that had begun with a ride down an escalator at Trump Tower in June last year in the days when he was dismissed as a clown posing no possible threat to the republic culminated in an exultant strut down a staircase at a nearby hotel. Trump gave the thumbs up and applauded some more as he walked on to a stage where two red Make America Great Again baseball caps were mounted in glass cases like religious relics.

He took the podium against a backdrop of 24 US flags plus state flags, with son Barron on his left and running mate Mike Pence on his right, as the crowd chanted U-S-A! U-S-A!. After 17 months of bile and braggadocio in which he threatened to jail his opponent, suddenly Trump was Mr Magnanimous: Ive just received a call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us its about us on our victory and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign.

He added: We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. I mean that very sincerely. Now its time for America to bind the wounds of division.

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As a woman drew close to the most powerful job in the world, things got ugly. Lets hope the open misogyny and fightback against it mark a turning point

Its been a bad year for a certain kind of man.

From Donald Trump referencing the size of his penis early in the primary, to his more recent exposure as a serial sexual predator, the election has been bookended by the worst aspects of masculinity. And while the thrice-married former beauty contest owner-cum-Republican nominee has gotten the lions share of coverage, hes not the only person women have become angry about.

This was the election that saw multiple accusations of assault and harassment made against Bill Cosby. Likewise Roger Ailes. Powerful men who had been in the public eye for decades were made to face the claims of their accusers. More than that, the public finally listened.

Its upsetting but not surprising that this happened in tandem with a womans rise to the top of a major party ticket for the first time. The forces that made that impossible for the past 240 years are same ones that taught these men to measure their power in terms of their control of women, that its excusable to treat women as trophies or toys.

While Trump is the only person running for high office whos had more than a dozen different women come forward to accuse him of sexual misbehavior and assault, hes far from the only powerful man to have internalized misogynistic values. And while the wider electorate, and women and minorities in particular, have signaled we are ready to evolve from this social barbarism, the swell of popular support for Trump signals that too many men in America are not.

Its not just Republican men, either. Hillary Clintons biggest weakness when it comes to painting herself as a leader for women is her own husbands past. Bill Clintons record doesnt look so good re-litigated by the standards of 2016. As a result, hes wisely opted to get out of the way. His most effective speech of the campaign, given at the Democratic national convention in Philadelphia, was more love ballad than call to arms. In the summer of 1971, he began, I met a girl …

A few decades back, it was she, not Bill, who was the political liability in the relationship, famously refusing to change her last name, bake cookies, and stand by her man in the soul-crushing Tammy Wynette sense of that phrase. But our culture has shifted dramatically since then.

As more women make the same choices young Hillary Rodham did, she appears in our rear window as ahead of her time. But so much of this race has been stuck in the gender politics of the past.

Her character has been reduced to resilience; her theme music is Fight Song; the one thing everyone, even Trump, will praise her for is staring down defeat after defeat after defeat. Many of the words used to describe Clinton tell us as much about us as they do about her.

And the final insult is that she may just lose it all again. Because, well, Anthony Weiner. Its not so much that Clinton is innately secretive and often seemingly bereft of personality its that being a woman seeking power in our society made her that way.

This has already been a big year for feminism, but theres a lot of work left to do. If we make Clinton president tonight, we can expect the work of equality to continue. Its hard to know whether a vision of the first female president will help destroy bygone gender identities, or drive those who cling to them screaming into the arms of the next manifestation of Trump. What we do know is that everything from parental leave to equal pay and the right to control our own bodies will get a different treatment than theyve ever had from office of the president.

And if we get a President Trump? Its hard to fathom just how much damage he could do. Hes promised to jail his opponent and wants to open up libel laws to make it easier to sue the press. Hes hinted that he wont accept the results of the election unless he wins. Hes said those who get abortions should endure some form of punishment. His walkback notwithstanding, women certainly would be punished in some form or other under a Trump administration.

Whatever happens, we shouldnt forget the trauma of the election that got us here. All the ugliness weve seen is part and parcel of the fight to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling. And no matter how bad it gets, and no matter how many times we have to hear phrases like grab them by the pussy, we know we cant plug our ears or stay quiet, because all of this would just happen again. This is the moment to speak. This is the moment to say: it stops here.

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Way too much has happened this year. The world needed a break, and so along came the viral video craze that consists of doing absolutely nothing

Has 2016 gotten to be a bit much? Has the election driven you to digital distraction? All right: stop, collaborate and listen.

The internet is back with a brand new invention, one that involves stopping everything for a moment and pretending that youre a non-sentient being immune to whatever nonsense is currently going on in the world.

I am referring, of course, to the Mannequin Challenge, which has recently become a thing. Indeed, its now starting to overtake long political rants as the thing youre probably seeing most of on your social media feed. The trend apparently started with high school kids who may have taken their teachers supplications to please, can you all just sit still a little too literally. It infiltrated the adult world over the weekend; the hashtag #mannequinchallenge has been mentioned 2.3m times in the past week on Twitter. Everyone from Adele to Ellen DeGeneres the New York Giants has given it a go. Destinys Child even briefly reunited briefly to film their take. And Hillary Clintons team got in on the (non)action Tuesday morning.

So what exactly is the Mannequin Challenge? The clue is in the name. A group of people freeze in mid-action like mannequins while someone goes around filming them. The only thing moving in the shot should be the camera. Then you put a soundtrack on it, stick it online, and watch the likes rack up. Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd is one of the more popular options for soundtracks. Its a perfect song for the challenge because theres a quiet build up and then, around 25 seconds in, the beat drops and nothing happens.

You see, normally when the beat drops in a video meme, things happen. In the Harlem Shake its the moment where everyone starts dancing. But with the Mannequin Challenge, the song gets going and everyone stays resolutely in position. Its, like, were all going to stand this one out, OK? Were exhausted. Lets see about dancing next year.

In a sense, the Mannequin Challenge is not actually that new; its just a digital reboot of a craze from the 19th century for tableau vivant. Otherwise known as living pictures, these were used to dramatize important moments of history or famous paintings. They were also a bit of after-dinner fun. People used to hang around in their parlors after dinner and recreate famous scenes. To younger readers: yes, that is what life was like before the internet. It was rough.

But while it may date back to the 19th century, the Mannequin Challenge is also very much of the moment. The fact that just being quiet and still for a moment has been so enthusiastically embraced by everyone from high schoolers to imminent presidents is a sign, I feel, that we are all very, very tired, and we would like a little rest, please.

The Mannequin Challenge isnt the only indicator of a need for less speed in an always-on, always-moving world. In August, Netflix started to air slow TV. Something of a cultural phenomenon in Norway, slow TV is basically a genre where nothing happens for hours on end. The first installment, a 7.5-hour train ride from Bergen to Oslo, was watched by around 45% of Norways population.

Just to reiterate, absolutely nothing happens on this train ride. Theres no background music or narrative. Its just train sounds. Oh, and there are several tunnels, so the screen often just goes dark. This quiet hit was followed by other instant classics such as National Knitting Morning, National Knitting Evening, and National Knitting Night (my favorite of the trilogy). That Netflix US has recently picked up Slow TV might be a sign it thinks that Americans may well be in need of a little audiovisual Xanax.

And then, of course, theres the growing popularity of mindfulness, which has gone mainstream in the last couple of years. In a world where being busy is the ultimate badge of honor, corporatized mindfulness allows you to take some time out in a socially approved way. Youre not just sitting around doing nothing, youre not taking a break, youre being mindful.

When theres constant pressure to be achieving, and doing, and ticking off boxes, and racking up likes, its worth remembering that theres nothing wrong with doing nothing now and again. We shouldnt need Slow TV or mindfulness apps or Mannequin Challenges to give us an excuse to just sit quietly.

Still, heres hoping the Mannequin Challenge ushers in a new era of Slow Viral Memes. Maybe a Putting on the Kettle For a Nice Cup of Tea Challenge? Or a Just Having a Quick Nap Challenge? Of course, depending on how the presidential election turns out, the next viral trend may well be emigrating en masse to Canada.

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Campaign announces second amendment coalition, counting NRA leaders, conservationists, and lawmakers among its ranks

An Olympic gold medalist, an influential lobbyist and a former beauty queen convicted of illegally killing a bear have joined forces for Donald Trump, joining his sons coalition for gun rights and the second amendment.

At the helm of the second amendment coalition are Donald Trump Jr, Trumps eldest son, and Chris Cox, the head of the National Rifle Associations lobbying arm, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

My father defends the second amendment, so that you and I and your spouse and your children can take care of themselves when someone much stronger, much meaner and much more vicious than them tries to break into their home, Trump Jr said in the press release announcing the group.

Its not just a hobby or something I do on the weekends. Its a lifestyle; and as my father often says: This is about self-defense, plain and simple.

Both Trumps sons are avid hunters, and their enthusiasm for weapons has been well documented since photographs surfaced of the brothers posing with dead animals after a big game hunt in Zimbabwe a hunt that provoked criticism at home and abroad. Since the campaign began, Trump Jr has served as a liaison between the campaign and the gun industry.

Members of Donald Trumps family: Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. Photograph: Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images

One of the most powerful lobbyists in the country, Cox will serve as a chairman of the advisory panel, and have the ear of a Republican nominee who has, alternately, bragged about currying favor with money and railed against the influence of big money in politics.

The supreme court ruled 5-4 that we have a fundamental, individual right to protect ourselves and our families with a firearm in our own homes, Cox said. Clinton said the supreme court is wrong on the second amendment, he added, alluding to Clintons disagreement with the controversial 2008 ruling that broadly ruled against states rights to regulate guns. A Clinton supreme court means your right to own a firearm is gone.

Among the groups 62 co-chairs are a handful of hunters and sportsmen that appear to share the Trump sons proclivity for big game hunting.

One of the co-chairs, Paul Babaz, sits on the board of directors for the Safari Club International. The Arizona-based big game hunting organization has been sharply criticized by animal protection groups for holding competitions that promote the killing of lions, elephants and other endangered species. Last year, the group revoked the membership of Walter Palmer, after the Minnesota dentist was accused of illegally killing Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe. Trophy hunting is legal, however, and its supporters argue that its high fees help fund conservation efforts and regulate ecosystems.

Chris Cox, the head of the National Rifle Associations lobbying arm, is among the coalitions leaders. Photograph: Rex Shutterstock

Another adviser, Don Peay, an influential conservationist from Utah, is the founder of Big Game Forever, an advocacy group that has been given hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby for the removal of wolves from the endangered species list. On a hunting trip with Trumps sons earlier this year, Peay called the real estate heirs kind of blue-collar kids who like to hunt fish and camp.

With Donald Trump Jr and Eric, its authentic, Peay told the Guardian ahead of the Iowa caucuses. These guys speak the language, they know the gear, theyre hardcore avid hunter conservationists and fishermen.

Theresa Vail, a former Miss Kansas and Outdoor Channel host, was convicted last year of illegally killing a grizzly bear. Prosecutors accused her of trying to cover up the incident, which occurred while on a hunt in Alaska with her show for the Outdoor Channel, Limitless with Theresa Vail. She now hosts a program, NRA All Access, for the channel.

Other co-chairs include a slate of NRA board members, including former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, former Washington Redskins lineman Dave Butz, former Nascar driver Richard Childress, country music singer Craig Morgan and Ronnie Barrett, designer of the Barrett .50 caliber rifles, described as among the most destructive weapons legally available to civilians by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

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