On the web, TruthSocial.com now lets you search for “truths” and participate in the online discourse without a phone, even if it’s all quite basic. Other than calling tweets “truths” instead, there’s nothing particularly novel or interesting about the platform.
You can also configure alerts, view your profile, and adjust a few settings. For example, you can change whether GIFs play automatically in your feed and hide sensitive material. The web interface allows you to mute and block other users, or tag them easily when you post. The web version doesn’t appear to offer a way to see direct messages, though.
Overall, it’s clean enough and simple to use, but also not at all innovative. John mentioned this before, but Truth Social looks exactly like something a developer would make if they were asked to build an app that does only the Twitter basics and nothing more.
Let’s be clear about something when it comes to Truth Social: John Brandon is not analyzing it as a political venture alone. It is definitely part of an elaborate re-election campaign. He has issues with that, not in terms of his own political views but due to the sketchy nature of having a dedicated social media platform meant only for one candidate. If it’s a campaign app, then great. If it isn’t, why does it exist?
Apart from using the word “truths” the real issue is that this is a clone, and that means there’s no real reason to switch from Twitter to this app.
Now that it works on the web, it makes it a bit easier to check your feed, but with 500.000 users, it makes me wonder why anyone would bother. With that smaller group of users, it’s less likely your post will catch on and reach a wider audience, unless you are related by blood to Donald Trump or you’re a celebrity.
Curiously, the only reason John discovered to use Truth Social is because you can see posts from The Babylon Bee, a satire site that was banned from Twitter.
At least Trump himself is posting now, typically with the same outrageous flare he used when he was active on Twitter. Many of his posts are about Hillary Clinton for some reason.
Huntington Beach police are preparing for a rally Sunday, April 11, that’s among others promoted on social media across the nation to “unify White people against white hate.”
Things could get heated, however. The local Black Lives Matter chapter has announced on social media that it will hold a counterprotest at 11 a.m. Sunday at the pier. The “white lives matter” rally is advertised for 1 p.m. Sunday at the pier.
In a statement, the BLM chapter’s leader, Tory Johnson, said the counterprotest will be a demonstration against racism and hate.
“White supremacy is not welcome here and we will do everything possible to prevent this rally and defend our community from racist terrorism,” he said.
Huntington Beach has a history of attracting those who promote white supremacy. The city also has a history of rallies turning violent. In March 2017, a rally in support of then-President Trump turned into a brawl between supporters of the president and counterprotestors.
More recently, neighborhoods in Southern California cities including Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Villa Park and Long Beach have been hit with flyers mentioning the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacist ideology as well as Sunday’s rally, and extensively using the phrase “white lives matter.”
Meanwhile, the Huntington Beach City Council voted this week to condemn violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans and to condemn white supremacy. Another action called for city-sponsored events to counter the planned “white lives matter” rally on Sunday. Those events are scheduled to be held April 18 at Central Park.
OC Human Relations will hold a virtual event at the same time as the “white lives matter” rally to give community members a space and opportunity to discuss issues around race, hate and bigotry, said Alison Edwards, the organization’s CEO.
“The idea that working toward equality means that someone else needs to be disadvantaged is just a way of spreading fear,” she added. “This is not a time to be divisive. We all need to work in solidarity.”
Is ‘white lives matter’ a group?
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the phrase “white lives matter” originated in early 2015 as a racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which emerged in response to police brutality against Black people.
“White lives matter” appears to be a phrase rather than the name of a specific group, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.
“That’s not to say there is no cell of individuals or a small group that decided to form a little group by that name,” he said. “We just don’t know. These types of catch phrases and bumper sticker slogans are typically used by a broader sub-culture rather than an organized group.”
Harbinger of things to come?
Levin said his center is closely monitoring the rallies promoted for Sunday in six or seven major cities in the United States, including Huntington Beach.
“If there is a city this Sunday for law enforcement to be ready in Southern California, Huntington Beach would be the place,” he said. He noted Sunday’s rallies appear to be the first time far-right groups or individuals have attempted to organize in this manner since the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.
Around the country, there have been reports of other cities gearing up for rallies on Sunday as well. According to the Statehouse News Bureau, an Ohio news outlet, law enforcement agencies in Columbus, Ohio, are preparing for a planned and publicized “white lives matter” rally at the Ohio Statehouse. Other rallies are being promoted in cities in the Carolinas as well, according to posts on Telegram.
Levin said he expects to see more activity among far-right groups as COVID-19 protocols ease. But, he said, they’ll likely stay local or regional and tend to operate as loners or small cells.
“They are moving into more encrypted platforms,” he said of far-right groups. “We see more regional activity as we see groups of people who feel politically disenfranchised. Organized groups are continuing to exist and exert influence even though the leadership is tumbling. In the far-right, white-supremacist world, leaderless resistance and regional action is the fallback.”
So, could Sunday’s event be a forerunner of things to come or might it fizzle out at a national level?
“I think there is going to be some fizzle, drizzle and thunder,” Levin said, “but mostly fizzle and drizzle.”
Pointing to a clip from a March 2020 episode of “The View,” in which McCain said she had no problem with then-President Trump referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus,” the British comedian said McCain’s post was “a fine sentiment to throw up on Twitter after the fact.”
“But there has to be an understanding that saying, ‘I don’t have a problem with calling it the China virus’ is very much giving space for that hate to grow,” Oliver added.
His segment prompted McCain to issue a statement Monday morning.
“I condemn the reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian-American community,” she wrote in a message shared on Twitter. “There is no doubt Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric fueled many of these attacks and I apologize for any past comments that aided that agenda.”
After an official described the Atlanta shooter’s decision to kill eight people as “a really bad day for him,” McCain again took to Twitter. “You know who it was also a bad day for?” she wrote March 17. “The eight people and their families who this man killed!”
“Stop giving radicalized white men different allowances than any of us would have,” McCain added. “When I have a bad day, I eat ice cream and watch Tommy Boy, not gun down innocent people. Bulls—!”
“For many of us in our community, this is the first time we are even able to voice our fear and our anger, and I really am so grateful for everyone willing to listen,” Oh said at Saturday’s demonstration in Pittsburgh.
This week, the Biden administration announced that it would resume efforts to put the image of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, a move first championed by the Obama administration in 2016. Biden press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the Treasury Department is “exploring ways to speed up” the process to ensure the 19th century freedom fighter is recognized.
“It’s important that our notes, our money — if people don’t know what a note is — reflect the history and diversity of our country,” Psaki said during a White House press briefing. “Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that.”
Many initially praised the move put forth by Obama-era Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to highlight the American abolitionist. To supporters, the idea of having Tubman, herself an ex-slave, replace former President Andrew Jackson, a slave owner, is a bold rebuke to an ugly era in American history.
But some Black activists say putting Tubman on the $20 bill is an uneasy fit with her legacy.
“Harriet Tubman did not fight for capitalism, free trade or competitive markets,” Feminista Jones, an activist, author and advocate, wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post in 2015.
“She repeatedly put herself in the line of fire to free people who were treated as currency themselves,” Jones added. “She risked her life to ensure that enslaved Black people would know they were worth more than the blood money that exchanged hands to buy and sell them. I do not believe Tubman, who died impoverished in 1913, would accept the ‘honor.’”
Tubman, born into slavery around 1822, was the fourth of nine children, and grew up working in cotton fields in Dorchester County, Md. In 1849, Tubman escaped her plantation under the cover of darkness, following the North Star to Philadelphia, and at 27 years old began working as a maid. After saving enough money the following year, she returned to the South to liberate her sister’s family. Over the next 10 years, Tubman helped more than 700 slaves escape to freedom, becoming the most well known of the Underground Railroad’s “conductors.”
Jones, in an interview with Yahoo News this week, questioned why putting Tubman on a bill would honor her legacy.
“Why would we want to put somebody who fought for freedom from this kind of capitalist oppression?” Jones asked. “Why would we want to take her image and then make her the face of this thing that so many people lack access to?”
“I’ve studied Harriet Tubman extensively,” she added. “If there’s one thing that I understand, is that she did not get recognized for all of the amazing things that she did. She died a pauper, and she was a U.S. veteran. The [country] should have honored her as a veteran. She was the only woman to lead a raid for the Union Army. That in itself is just an amazing accomplishment for the all-women crowd. So why not acknowledge that?”
Instead of putting a Black woman, or any woman of color, on a note, Jones says Black women merely want to be valued equitably in society.
“When it comes to representation, I’ll be quite honest, I don’t care much about it,” Jones said. “Representation without action, without policy change, without improvement of daily life means nothing to me.”
Historically, Black women have made a fraction of what white men and women make, despite being the most educated population in the country. For every dollar a white man earns for work in the United States, a white woman earns 79 cents and a Black woman earns just 62 cents, according to a 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
The median net worth of Black women in America paints an even grimmer picture. Single Black women ages 20 to 39 with children but without a bachelor’s degree have a median net worth of $0, according to a 2017 report from the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity. Single Black women ages 20 to 39 with a bachelor’s degree fare even worse, having a median net worth range of -$11,000 to $0. White women, on the other hand, fare considerably better. Single white women ages 20 to 39 with a bachelor’s degree have a median net worth range of $3,400 to $7,500.
The push to have Tubman on the $20 bill was initially set to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement in 2020. But the year came and went without any revision to the $20 bill.
The plan to put Tubman on the $20 bill stalled under the Trump administration. Donald Trump, while still a candidate in 2016, called the push to replace Jackson with Tubman “pure political correctness.” He hailed Jackson as his political hero and installed a portrait of the former president in the Oval Office amid criticism from some historians and activists who noted that Jackson, in addition to being a slave owner, committed genocide against Native Americans.
However, not everyone is so supportive of the move. Ashley Stevens, a Black Twitter user with a substantial following, said she thinks “there’s some sort of perversion” in putting Tubman on the bill.
“A woman who was traded as capital becoming the face of capital doesn’t sit right with my spirit,” Stevens said Monday in a tweet that went viral. “If you wanna honor Tubman there are much better ways to do so that would change the material benefits of people’s lives. Build schools, parks, a historical center, etc in her name. Putting her face on the 20 dollar bill isn’t even a feel good. It’s giving me the yucks.”
In New York, Seattle and San Francisco, where businesses and restaurants have suffered for months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Chinatown is marking a year since it first started feeling the effects of the global outbreak.
In the early days on the pandemic, as fear grew that the virus first reported in China would spread to the United States, growing anti-Chinese sentiment caused people to avoid the district, causing harm to the communities’ economies even before the first American case of COVID-19 was confirmed.
The impact worsened as President Trump continuously branded COVID-19 the ‘China plague’.
Asian American small businesses have been among the hardest hit by the economic downturn during the pandemic.
While there was a 22 percent decline in all small business-owner activity nationwide from February to April, Asian American business-owner activity dropped by 26 percent, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
A year on, as the Chinese New Year on February 12 approaches, the normal 16-day celebrations are being abandoned for online events and the oldest Chinatown districts in San Francisco, New York and Seattle remain ghost towns.
Despite the younger generations coming to the communities’ aid, the promise of a faster vaccine rollout, and the aid of donations and loans, Chinatown businesses are still daunted by the uphill battling facing them in surviving 2021.
Photographer Nate Gowdy has documented close to 30 official Trump rallies since 2016, so he thought he knew what to expect when he arrived in Washington, D.C. after leaving Atlanta this week.
“My flight from Atlanta to Baltimore the night before should’ve prepared me for what would be one of the most surreal scenes I’ve documented,” he explains. “I’d never been aboard a plane where the dichotomy of people’s views was so starkly apparent, with people donning red hats and Trump merch side by side with people just getting from one place to the other.”
A chant of “Four More Years” began and was booed by others on the plane, which then resulted in someone shouting: “Go back to Venezuela!”
After the events of January 6th, when a mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol and swarmed for hours until they were ejected from the government building, Gowdy states: “I’m still processing what I witnessed yesterday. We all are. It’s difficult to know what people are thinking when they’re breaching security barriers, attacking law enforcement, threatening members of the media, flaunting pandemic safety protocols, and bashing down the doors and windows to Congress, feeling enabled by the words they’ve just heard uttered from their ringleader, the President of the United States, who tells them that they are fighting the good fight. Throughout the afternoon, I heard countless individuals quipping how it was the best day of their life, and that it was one for the history books. How do you capture something so unprecedented, particularly when you don’t believe the ‘truths’ they do?”
Some Asian American community leaders say Elaine Chao’s resignation as transportation secretary after the riot at the U.S. Capitol is inadequate after years of harm to marginalized groups and the immigrant community — of which she is a part.
Chao, who officially left her role Monday, is one of the few Asian American immigrants to have ascended to such heights in government. But activists say she leaves behind a legacy of complicity with anti-immigrant, racist policies as a loyal Trump administration official.
Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the social services nonprofit Asian American Federation, said that at this point, regardless of her exit, “damage has been done” to her reputation and credibility.
“Elaine Chao was complicit in creating a politics of toxicity and cynicism. Her decision can only be seen in that context,” Yoo said. “Her dissent was needed when Trump degraded, ostracized and isolated the Asian American community with his Covid-19 misinformation and outright racism or in any of the instances when Trump sought to hurt immigrants like herself.”
Chao, who said in her resignation statement that the violence at the Capitol last week had “deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside,” previously made history as the first Asian American woman to hold a Cabinet position. She hasn’t been afraid of opening up about her immigrant roots and her difficult early years in America. Chao, 67, came to the U.S. from Taiwan when she was 8 years old, speaking no English.
“I think you will understand when I say that our initial years in America were very challenging,” Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told the newly naturalized citizens. “We didn’t speak English, had no family or friends here, couldn’t get used to the food nor understand the customs here.”
Her rise from her immigrant roots has made her a role model for some Asian American families. In an interview with CNN in 2017, Chao said that those from the community would show up anywhere, from public events to the airport, to greet her and that she would feel an “instant bond.” Activists say her actions have proven anything but supportive to immigrant communities.
Chao came under fire several times during Trump’s tenure for staying silent as he tried to institute hard-line immigration policies. In 2017, several Asian American organizations called on Chao to oppose Trump’s termination of the Temporary Protected Status programs for several countries, including Sudan, Nicaragua and Haiti. Temporary Protected Status is typically given to countries where conditions prevent nationals from returning.
They also demanded that she speak out against Trump’s attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that year.
While the majority of so-called Dreamers hail from Latin America, about 16,000 undocumented Asian youths are protected under the act. And Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic of undocumented immigrants, their population tripling from 2000 to 2015. Chao, however, was mum about the subject.
She also remained silent about Trump’s public charge rule, which denies immigrants residency if they are deemed likely to need public assistance, among other controversial policies. More than 941,000 recent green card holders would have fallen under the rule had it been in effect when they applied, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit policy organization. Of those, 300,000 are from Asian countries.
But Chao possibly drew the most criticism for migrant family separation. While she did not comment on her stance, she did fire back at protesters at Georgetown University who confronted her and McConnell about the policy in 2018 and asked, “Why are you separating families?”
Chao shouted back, “Leave my husband alone,” winning praise among conservatives.
“She effectively colluded with the Trump administration in increasing the separation of our families and rescinding of the DACA program, denying access to public benefits and much more,” said Becky Belcore, executive director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, an advocacy organization that was among the groups that previously called on Chao to speak out against the immigration crackdowns.
“Chao was in a position of power that she could have leveraged to support the most marginalized members of our community,” Belcore said. “Instead, she was often seen standing next to Trump as he signed anti-immigrant policies into law.”
Advocates also said that in a particularly damning moment, Chao, a woman of color, stood by Trump at a news conference at Trump Tower in New York City as he neglected to call out hate groups and claimed that there were “very fine people on both sides” after white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
While her husband, McConnell, had been feuding with Trump at the time, Chao told reporters at the news conference that she stood “by my man — both of them.” While it’s unclear whether Chao actively supported Trump or was required to do so in the moment as a Cabinet member, John C. Yang, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, said he believes her inaction had consequences.
“President Trump’s statement following the events in Charlottesville were reprehensible,” Yang said. “It is clear that his remarks were building to the insurrection we saw on Wednesday, and the failure of those around him to call out his behavior emboldened him. It is irresponsible and unconscionable for a sitting president of the United States to not only condone but to incite the behavior of people who are only concerned with holding on to white supremacist power.”
Belcore said she felt that Chao, who also served in a Cabinet position as labor secretary under former President George W. Bush, did not sufficiently protect vulnerable workers, including immigrants. But Yang said he felt that Trump’s “racism and xenophobia is toxic and dangerous, at a level not seen in recent presidencies,” taking more precedence compared to the Bush administration. He said that while immigrants and people of color were “under constant attack in dangerous ways” during Trump’s tenure, Chao was in a position in which she could have stood up more for marginalized people. He said it was “disappointing that she did not do so publicly.”
Yang acknowledged that Chao’s ascendance to a Cabinet position as an Asian American, a member of a community that continues to struggle with representation in the political sphere, was an accomplishment, but he said that doesn’t mean her conduct represented the community well. He said, moreover, that as Chao painted herself as a hard-working immigrant while supporting the administration’s anti-immigrant policies, she fed into the “good immigrant versus bad immigrant” myth.