Over the course of Halloween season, all sorts of malevolent creatures have emerged from the shadows, but not necessarily the paranormal kind. One is a fascist. Another is a bomber. With people like these, who needs monsters?
We’ll leave curses and hexes to our friendly neighborhood mangkukulam, but when it comes to understanding the monsters that plague our society and news cycle, you can look to us. Here’s a rundown of all the scary, nightmarish stuff that went down this month.
The police are raping the relatives of drug suspects
Police officer Eduardo Valencia is being held in custody as charges are being filed against him, for raping the 15-year-old daughter of a drug suspect. News of the issue started gaining traction when a tweet from GMA News was posted, showing Valencia stating that this isn’t unusual behavior among those working in the police and apprehending drug suspects, after being sermoned by NCRPO Director Guillermo Eleazar.
And while PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde has said at a press briefing in Camp Crame that he will “show no mercy” to police officers committing abuses, Valencia’s words are still disturbing, and indicate a deep-seated culture of corruption in the police force, one in which cops feel it’s okay to promise the freedom of a minor’s drug suspect parents in exchange for her body. Albayalde has also stated that Valencia will receive due process. Your honor, if I may: tangina.
Apprehending the MAGA Bomber
Earlier this October, several suspicious packages were sent to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and other American high profile figures who have criticized and politically opposed Donald Trump. These packages were confirmed to contain bombs, and were traced back to a certain Cesar Sayoc, also known as the MAGA Bomber.
According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, these bombs aren’t liberal hoaxes, but the real deal — pipe bombs designed to go off in reaction to heat, shock, or friction. It seems that Sayoc’s plan was to mail the bombs directly to these people, and have these bombs go off upon reaching their houses. The U.S. Secret Service however, intercepted the delivery of these packages.
So no one was killed or injured, but Sayoc’s political alignments should be enough to freak you out. Sayoc, a registered Republican, has attended multiple Trump rallies wearing his MAGA hat, his van is plastered with loads of pro-Trump propaganda, and also has an arrest record and a history of threatening people through his social media accounts. Thankfully Sayoc’s already been arrested, and was tracked down thanks to a fingerprint he left on one of the packages. I dunno man — dude sounds like he’s not cut out to be an assassin.
President Trump, considering all the brash statements he makes both online and IRL, has consistently encouraged violence against his critics and political opponents — whether he’s calling to have Hillary locked up, or grabbing women where you’re not supposed to grab them. But it seems Trump’s feeling about the situation is disinterest, saying he’s unbothered by and not to blame for the attacks. His followers are also quick to deflect or undercut Cesar Sayoc’s allegiance to Trump. Because of course no one wants to be associated with a bomber, but if it’s issues like black death and imprisoned immigrants, these people don’t bat an eye. Pathetic.
Jair Bolsonaro, fascist, is now the President-elect of Brazil
Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro just won Brazil’s presidential elections. His opponent was Fernando Haddad, ex-mayor of Sao Paulo and member of what for the longest time was Brazil’s strongest party, the left-leaning Workers’ Party.
A Last Week Tonight with John Oliver episode released before the election of Bolsonaro paints a clear picture of how evil this dude is, and we’re not exaggerating. Bolsonaro, who has been a member of Brazilian Congress since 1991, has stated that he wants to withdraw Brazil from the Paris Agreement, described refugees coming into Brazil as “scum of the earth,” has said that he is in favor of a dictatorship, is pro-torture, against LGBTQ+ rights, and is extremely misogynistic (turn on the subs, don’t read the comments). Considering all this, it isn’t surprising that many are calling Bolsonaro “the Brazilian Trump.” That’s right — apparently the Pandora’s box of authoritarianism isn’t done releasing horrific leaders onto the world.
We’ve seen the ways leaders such as Trump and Duterte came to power, and the conditions that led to their rise. Bolsonaro’s case is pretty much the same — factors such as a recent corruption scandal involving Brazil’s last president (who was sent to jail and was therefore unable to participate in the presidential race), along with Brazil’s high homicide rate, has led to feelings of dissatisfaction among Brazilians in their government. And like Duterte and Trump’s followers, Bolsonaro’s voters are characterized by a preference for law and order and well — let’s call a spade a spade — bigotry. Even before he won, warrantless police raids have been conducted in an effort to quash dissent, signalling a new, darker political age for Brazil. Now the country has a president who has stated that he will give the police “carte blanche” to kill. Deja vu.
Anti-semitism and the synagogue shooting
On Oct. 27, Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, yelled “All Jews must die” before opening fire, killing eleven and wounding six.
According to Business Insider, this is the 294th mass shooting to have occurred in the U.S. this year alone. (You can view the complete list in the Gun Violence Archive.) You might know of other such incidents such as the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting which happened earlier this year, and spurred intense discussion on gun control legislation. And while Trump has decried the synagogue shooting as a “wicked act of mass murder,” his administration has not budged in their conservative position on gun control, being against banning guns or holding stricter screenings for whoever can purchase or own a firearm.
It isn’t surprising, then, that Jewish leaders have stated that Trump is not welcome in Pittsburgh. In an open letter by Behind the Arc, a progressive Jewish movement, it states: “For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence. President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism.” Bowers’ social media account on Gab has expressed anti-Semitic views, with his bio stating that “jews are the children of satan.”
The grieving Jewish community of Pittsburgh has found support and compassion elsewhere — members of the Muslim American community. The crowdfunding campaign Muslims United for Pittsburgh Synagogue, has raised over $200,000 for the victims of the shooting. That money will go into helping the victims and their families with funeral expenses and medical bills.
Pro-Duterte pages purged from Facebook
In lighter news, a total of 95 pro-Duterte pages and 39 accounts were exorcized from Facebook.
The social media website released a statement saying that the purge was part of an ongoing effort to “protect our services from abuse,” saying that these pages and accounts have violated their “spam and authenticity policies,” putting out what the statement has called “bad content” and being full of “disruptive ads.” Much discussion has taken place in terms of how complicit Facebook has been in spreading fake news and influencing elections — this is especially significant, considering a report by Bloomberg on how Duterte’s campaign staff was trained to utilize the platform. Harry Roque has even stated, “Well the technology exists and [it] would have been foolhardy for any political candidate not to tap Facebook as a campaign tool.”
In response to this purge, Malacañang doesn’t seem too bothered. In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo has said that the purge does not reflect the personalities of Duterte’s followers. Cool story, bro.