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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Proud Boys
Posted: October 17, 2021 at 4:55 pm
The flurry of violence from far right street gangs and militias in cities like Portland, Oregon, have become so common in the years since former President Donald Trumps rise that they have become an expected part of the U.S. political theater. Groups like the Proud Boys regularly descend into liberal cities to attack counterdemonstrations, notably when the Black Lives Matter protests erupted around the country in 2020 in response to the killing of George Floyd.
Rather than being able to depend on the police for protection, activists have regularly pointed to the inability or unwillingness of police to intervene in these attacks, often seeing police standing far away when the far right readies weapons, only to return to policing when its only anti-racist demonstrators left. This has been seen in the dozens of confrontations that have happened between the far right and anti-fascists in Portland, including on August 22 of this year, when activists pushed a Proud Boy rally away from the city center.
One year earlier, on August 22, 2020, a Back the Blue rally was held in Portland in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center, the legal building that had been the center of abolitionist protests for months. There, Proud Boys and other far right groups led a string of assaults on counterdemonstrators, including hitting them with batons, shooting them with paintball guns and mace, and even drawing loaded firearms. Police stayed several blocks away, asking all protesters to police themselves over their megaphone, yet were heavy-handed with nonviolent anti-racist protesters later that same day. With the far right groups allowed access to the city and leaving without intervention, it seemed as though they simply were given impunity to attack the anti-racist protesters.
That was until one of the leaders of the group, Alan Swinney, was arrested and charged with multiple violent felony counts stemming from his behavior during the protest. Over a year later, the guilty verdict has been handed down, making a clear statement to the community about what kind of violence these figures are capable of.
Swinney had become a staple of these far right rallies that often sought out left-wing activists for attack. With a large Proud Boy tattoo on his arm (though the Proud Boys claim he is not a member), and an imposing height, he often made his presence known through aggressive confrontations while livestreaming.
On August 22, 2020, he led a crowd that inflicted numerous assaults and was even photographed pointing a handgun at a protester, finger on the trigger. He was eventually arrested under numerous charges related to his violent behavior on that day, and he also faced a $1 million lawsuit from people who say they were victimized by him. Swinneys trial brought the question of his guilt to the forefront of the community.
Jury selection began by asking potential jurors how they felt about key political issues, such as the left/right divide, gun rights and the police. D, who asked to be identified by an initial due to fears of retaliation from Swinneys supporters, is a juror who sat on Swinneys trial. D tells Truthout that during jury selection, court officials asked them questions about their views on gun rights, whether D owns a firearm and whether they have ever been a victim of assault.
The court seemed to prepare for potential violence from the start by holding three court rooms for the proceedings, D says: one for supporters of Swinney, one for people not clearly identified as his supporters and one for the actual proceedings. This allowed the jury to remain anonymous to the public and disallow Swinneys supporters to potentially intimidate them.
D told Truthout that Swinneys attorneys continually argued he was acting in self-defense, claiming Swinney was feeling nervous and fearful in response to each new piece of evidence put forward by the prosecution. [The prosecution] showed a lot of Parler and social media posts where [Swinney] literally said, This is civil war, were ready to fight. This is where we attack, D tells Truthout.
The prosecution also played a leaked video from Swinneys body-worn camera that was previously published by this reporter in a Bellingcat story. The leaked video was dropped August 22, 2020, and contains private conversations from multiple prior rallies in which Swinney appears to plan for acts of violence. In one audio portion, he suggested that his comrades should videotape counterdemonstrators with the hope that they can catch anti-fascists engaging in violence so that they can legally justify their violent retaliations. Everybody needs to have their cameras rolling in case anyone gets an assault, just like yell out, Got one. We need to make sure weve got assaults on video, Swinney says in the leaked footage. If weve got [an assault] on video and stuff, and we know we got it on video and we have several on video, then nothing is going to happen because we just show the judge the video. In other videos, captured by Swinney himself, he admits to macing dozens of anti-fascist activists.
This made an impact on the jury in revealing that Swinney had planned attacks ahead of time and simply viewed claims of self-defense as a ruse to justify violence against anti-fascist demonstrators. In the same leaked footage, Swinney says that bear mace, an extremely volatile form of mace, is worth every penny when you get to spray antifa with it, and that supporters who provide money for the mace get a lot of satisfaction knowing they were responsible for that pain.
Swinneys public defenders tried to cast both Black Lives Matter protesters and anti-fascists as equally responsible for violence. Swinney himself took the stand during the trial to try and build up the claim of self-defense, but this did little to sway the jurys decisions. The leaked video, which clearly showed Swinney pulling a firearm and assaulting multiple people, was clear.
You see the juxtaposition as a really tall guy with all of that gear, versus someone who looks like they just walked up off the street. It was impossible for me to think that he genuinely felt scared with all of that evidence put together, D tells Truthout.
D voted along with the other members of the jury to convict Swinney on 11 of the 12 counts against him, including one count of assault in the second degree, two counts of unlawful use of mace in the second degree and pointing a firearm. (He was found not guilty on one assault charge.) Swinney is now awaiting sentencing, which could lead to a lengthy prison stay.
Convictions like these reinforce the idea that the Proud Boys are a violent street gang, says John Tilly, a local Portland activist who alleges he was assaulted by Swinney on August 15, 2020, and who has faced numerous other assaults while photographing Proud Boy events.
Many activists question whether this verdict will actually effect lasting change, or, despite getting one violent figure off the streets, will allow the conditions that created Swinney to continue.
I think that [the verdict] might dissuade some non-long-haul fascists. [But] I dont think were suddenly going to see folks open their eyes to the violence that is deeply rooted in these groups, says A, the person who originally leaked the video used as evidence at the trial. A is also using an initial due to fears of retribution from Proud Boys or their supporters. While I personally object to a carceral system, I feel that looking at the justice system as it exists right now, this was a very favorable outcome for anti-fascists.
These mixed feelings were shared by a number of people who are survivors of violence by Swinney and other far right groups.
Verdicts like these are incredibly rare, says Melissa Lewis, who says she was attacked by Swinney and supporters on August 22, 2020, and witnessed him brandish a revolver. The verdict means very little to me, which Im sure will surprise a lot of people. [I am] an abolitionist, and I know prison will only make people like Swinney worse [when] he will be released in a few years. But I dont shed any tears for fascists who go on the stand and make absolute fools of themselves.
D had similarly mixed feelings even while voting to convict, which they said was the only accurate verdict given the evidence that was presented. On the one hand, the prison system is awful, and it is not anything I necessarily agree with. On the other hand, Swinney definitely should not be able to have such a large audience and should not be able to move as freely as he does. He literally travels the country to go to these events. Hes violent, says D. [Its] one less violent white supremacist on the street. However, I know he is going to come out of the prison system even more radical than he is. This is a victory for the left in a way, but it is not a cure. It is hitting at a symptom of the system, rather than an overhaul.
While the Swinney verdict does appear as a bright spot for those who have been concerned that groups like this are able to operate with impunity, it is not a real solution to the issue. Instead, deeper reforms and community accountability are necessary to unseat the conditions that allow groups like the Proud Boys to flourish in the first place. This is part of the role that anti-fascists see themselves playing: creating a solution to community protection that relies on solidarity and mutual aid rather than the carceral approach that police present.
Even though the cops and media would like folks to believe otherwise, anti-fascism is self-defense. These groups want us dead, says A. People need to see for themselves any time there is an opportunity to expose them.
That exposure is a key part of anti-fascist strategies, which are only continuing in the post-Trump years as the far right continues to descend on city after city. In that reality, there will likely be more court cases like Swinneys, yet the limitations of this legal approach to public safety are glaring and many radical organizers are looking to build up alternatives.
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Evidence of Armed Trump Extremists Continues to Emerge in January 6 Cases Mother Jones – Mother Jones
Posted: at 4:55 pm
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Since January 6, Republican lawmakers attempting to cover up the Trump-driven insurrectionhave claimed that no one brought guns to the US Capitol. That claim is false, as we showed in a recent Mother Jones investigation documenting an array of criminal casesfrom a defendant who was armed on Capitol grounds and called for the overthrow of the US government, to an alleged operation in which numerous members of the so-called Oath Keepers, a loose-knit far-right militia, stockpiled firearms at a hotel near downtown DC for potential battle in support of Trump.
Since the end of September, further evidence has emerged linking armed extremists to the events of January 6, including in the case of an additional Oath Keeper charged with participating in the Capitol riot. According to a complaint and arrest warrant filed in DC federal court, 47-year-old Jeremy M. Brown of Florida, a US Army special forces veteran and briefly a 2020 congressional candidate, faces charges for his presence on restricted Capitol grounds and disorderly conduct in confrontation with police. The complaint contains photos showing that Brown was outfitted that day in full military gear, including a helmet, radio, a tactical vest, and prominently displayed large surgical trauma shears tucked into a pack sitting on the vest, according to the FBI. Brown also displayed a Trump logo on his tactical belt, the photos show.
The complaint further alleges that Brown and other unidentified individuals coordinated travel for January 6 using an encrypted messaging platform, communications in which Brown described plans to drive a recreational vehicle he referred to as GROUND FORCE ONE from Florida to DC.
Plenty of Gun Ports left to fill, he said in the encrypted group chat, according to evidence from the FBI. We can pick you up. The plan was to stop overnight in North Carolina and arrive in DC about a day before the congressional certification of President Joe Bidens victory. This will give us the 4th/5th to set up, conduct route recons, CTR (Close Target Reconnaissance) and any link ups needed with DC elements, Brown messaged. According to the complaint, Brown brought guns with him on the trip but left them with unidentified people in Virginia and didnt take them to the Capitol.
In a second case, Brown faces federal gun charges stemming from the investigation of him since January 6. According to court documentsfiled in the middle district of Florida, federal agents who searched Browns home in Tampa in late September found a short-barreled semiautomatic rifle and a sawed-off shotgunboth unregistered in violation of federal lawas well as two military ordinance grenades.
Browns defense attorney did not reply to a detailed request for comment.
In court filings and during an October 5 detention hearing, federal prosecutors presented evidence in support of their argument that Brown remains too dangerous to release from custody, including an alleged threat Brown directed at the FBI and other federal and local law enforcement agencies. According to court filings, and prosecutors remarks as reported in the Tampa Bay Times, Brown called out those agencies in a handwritten sign he posted in front of his house following a visit from federal agents earlier in the year:
Re-read your Oath. You are being used as a Pawn by the Enemies of this Republic & your Liberties. If you dont care & say to yourself Im just following orders, then Go Fuck Yourself. P.S. Better bring a bigger Tactical Package
Despite his apparent reference to the amount of force the feds would need to take him into custody, Brown said during the October 5 hearing that he was not making a threat with the sign, according to the Times. Brown said that he respected police and that he was not antigovernment, but was anti-tyrannical government. In arguing for his pretrial release, Brown and his attorney further suggested that the government was targeting Browns freedom of speech and his skepticism of law enforcement.
District Judge Sean P. Flynn ordered Brown detained, acknowledging in his ruling that Brown had a long and distinguished career in military service and no criminal history. Judge Flynn further emphasized that his decision was not due to Browns political beliefs or ownership of weapons. You made a specific threat to law enforcement, he told Brown, according to theTimes, and thats something I cant ignore.
Browns actions in early January as described in the FBI complaint echo the alleged activity of other Oath Keepers charged in the insurrection. They include several Oath Keepers from Florida who drove to DC by way of a stopover in North Carolina, according to an Oath Keepers lawyer,and went on to stash guns at the Comfort Inn Ballston in northern Virginia, about 7 miles from the US Capitol, between January 5 and 7. As detailed in our recent investigation, multiple Oath Keepers stockpiled an arsenal at the hotel, as one group member described it, for potential use by a quick reaction force inside DC to battle perceived enemies of Trump, according to court documents.
The FBI complaint against Brown stated that just ahead of January 6, Brown deposited his guns with individuals in Virginia and retrieved them after the riots.
It is unclear whether Browns case connects with actions of other Oath Keepers facing charges. According to the FBI, evidence of his alleged crimes was corroborated by Defendant 4, an unidentified person in the complaint who has pled guilty to Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding relating to his conduct and the conduct of others in breaching the US Capitol.
Since June, as we previously reported, three Oath Keepers have admitted guilt on conspiracy chargestwo of whom drove to DC from Florida. According to the GW Program on Extremism, a total of 69 Floridians face charges stemming from the events of January 6, the highest number of such cases of any state.
Other developments further pointing to extremists carrying guns during the attack on Congress include recent reporting about an indicted Proud Boys leader who allegedly had a concealed weapon at the Capitol, newly unsealed evidence of a defendant stating he was armed during the riot, and a recently disclosed document showing that FBI agents were aware before January 6 of specific intelligence about armed people traveling to DC.
According to the New York Times, defendant Ryan Samsel, who is charged with assaulting police at the Capitol, told FBI investigators that Joseph Biggs, an organizer for the Proud Boys, had a gun in the crowd on January 6 and flashed it at Samsel as he urged Samsel to confront officers defending Capitol grounds. (Samsel has no publicly known connection to the Proud Boys.) A lawyer for Biggs denied the allegations to the Times, saying they amounted to a tall tale. Biggs currently faces charges including conspiracy, civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, and destruction of government property, to which hehas pleaded not guilty. He has not been charged with any gun crimes.
In the case of January 6 defendant Thomas H. Smith of Mississippi, who was indicted in May on 10 counts including assault on police, a court filing unsealed Tuesday described evidence suggesting Smith was armed at the Capitol. According to prosecutors, Smith sent a private message through Facebook in which he claimed that he had a pistol in his pocket during the riot on January 6.
As our recent investigation detailed, law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol testified to Congress that they believed the mob of Trump extremists was far more heavily armed with guns than is definitively known. Internal communications from January 6 among US Park Police and other agencies that have since been made public support that view. The lack of certainty, the officers told lawmakers, was a result of their limited capacity to make arrests that day amid the sheer number of people, compounded by fears that taking more aggressive action could set off perilous violence.
A document obtained recently by a government transparency watchdog, Property of the People, contains indications that the FBI had specific intelligence, prior to January 6, about armed people headed for the nations capital. According to emails circulated among FBI agents in the bureaus Seattle field office on January 5, intelligence analysts with the Washington State Fusion Center had specifically noted social media comments suggesting that some residents of the state were planning to travel armed to Washington D.C. for tomorrows protests there.
Proud Boys started showing up. N.H. government roiled by protests over COVID mandates – The Boston Globe
Posted: at 4:55 pm
The ruckus in Nashua, where members of the far-right Proud Boys and neo-Nazis have attended previous meetings, is not an isolated occurrence. The business of local and state government in New Hampshire is under increasing strain as antigovernment activists including foes of COVID-19 vaccinations, mask mandates, and even federal grants to fight the virus have turned traditionally quiet meetings into ugly shouting matches.
Such behavior still stands out in long-staid New England, even if its increasingly common in other parts of the country.
Its really awful, frankly, said Raymond, who also asked fellow board member Paula Johnson to leave the Oct. 5 meeting because she refused to wear a mask.
Another board member, Gloria Timmons, said she has received alarming threats via social media after she supported the masking policy. One, from Aug. 21, warned: No communist or socialist should be allowed ANY place in ANY government, but should be hunted down and exterminated along with their followers, just to be sure.
Timmons, who is Black, is a disabled Army veteran and former president of the Greater Nashua branch of the NAACP.
Elsewhere, State Police arrested nine people Wednesday at a meeting of the states Executive Council in Concord. The protesters had urged the council, which shares authority with the governor to administer state affairs, to reject $27 million in federal money to support the states vaccination effort. The Republican-dominated board complied with a 4-1 vote along party lines.
On Sept. 29, an earlier protest over the issue prompted the Executive Council to adjourn because of safety concerns for state employees. Some protesters yelled at the councilors, We know where you live.
In Merrimack, a September meeting to reconsider the mask mandate in the schools was disrupted by protesters, one of whom targeted state Representative Rosemarie Rung, a local Democrat, with insults and obscene gestures, she said. In February, Rung found a headless chicken in her yard.
On Oct. 2, about 1,200 people shut down traffic outside the State House with an impromptu march for medical freedom. And in Hollis, a longtime Republican selectman resigned last month after being heckled for wearing a mask to a meeting.
That selectman, Peter Band, explained that he wore his mask because of concerns for people such as his 101-year-old mother-in-law and two medically vulnerable relatives. Band later switched his party affiliation to Democrat.
Raymond said the Nashua school board now typically posts two police officers at its meetings.
This is my fourth year on the board, and this is the first time weve needed to do this. Its not good for our community, Raymond said. The Proud Boys started showing up at our meetings in June, and then in July we had the NSC-131 group come. Theyre neo-Nazis and came in full regalia with swastikas on their arms.
Although those groups no longer show up, their unnerving effect has lingered.
Weve allowed people to share their thoughts even if they were yelling, but its gotten to the point where people arent waiting for the comment period. Theyre shouting during the meeting and interrupting what we need to do, Raymond said.
To opponents of vaccination and mask mandates, the swelling anger at public meetings is a natural progression from long-simmering alarm at the reach of government.
Thousands of New Hampshire citizens are angry and hurt because they are losing their jobs for no apparent reason, or theyre having their children put in masks that have been proven not to work, said Andrew Manuse, founder of RebuildNH, an activist group that opposes any COVID-related mandates or restrictions.
These are people who arent used to engaging in public meetings. They are people who just want to go about their daily lives, Manuse added. Theyre not used to being oppressed by their country.
Manuse said his group, which helped organize the Concord march, does not endorse disruptions that interfere with public business.
RebuildNH wants to be a vehicle for these people to express themselves, Manuse said. To disrupt meetings and close them down, I dont feel thats effective activism. I dont think its a successful strategy.
Manuse said he hopes the anger does not lead to violence, but he added that unrest is likely to grow.
The civil methods are not working, and theyre resorting to these other methods, Manuse said. I think youre going to see more of it, unless some of these boards start listening to more of these parents.
Manuse, a financial consultant from Derry, cited Nazi war crimes as an example of the dangers of medical tyranny. He also forwarded to the Globe a sermon by an online ministry that, over the course of 90 minutes, moved from the mark of the beast in the New Testaments Book of Revelation, to Nazi regimentation, to questions of satanic connections with the COVID-19 vaccine.
What youre seeing with the vaccine mandates and the mask mandates certainly are concerning when you look at the patterns of history that have led to tyrannical regimes, Manuse said.
What some New Hampshire legislators see is a deliberate, organized assault on democracy.
I think its an effort to intimidate and an effort by some people who dont believe in government to undermine government, said state Representative Renny Cushing, a Democrat from Hampton who is House minority leader.
We have people who hate government but want to have control over it, Cushing said. Were in very dangerous times, and its building upon the big lie that our elections arent fair.
Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, said that the state has long had a libertarian streak, and that its COVID mandates appear to have given fresh voice and energy to that wing. Free speech isnt always polite, he said.
Our system of government is supposed to allow citizens to have voice even loud voice, even impolite, even raucous. We should err on the side of allowing that, Scala said.
However, he said, governmental bodies should prepare when conflict is possible to ensure that the peoples business can proceed.
Cinde Warmington, a Democrat on the Executive Council who voted to accept the federal COVID funds, said she will not be deterred by belligerent protesters.
I was very upset that the business of state government was disrupted by these people, Warmington said. I stood ready to do the work of our government, and I will not be intimidated by these right-wing extremists.
Sometimes, she added, it just takes courage to govern.
Brian MacQuarrie can be reached at email@example.com.
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Posted: at 4:55 pm
We should all condemn, in no uncertain terms, the violent Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. George Packer, in his book, Last Best Hope, claims, A mob of freedom-loving Americans [were] hunting down elected representatives to kidnap and kill. In New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait likened these efforts to the 1933 Reichstag Fire. But murderous images are not consistent with at least some of the evidence of what happened in Washington while Congress was certifying the 2020 election results.
None of those arrested after the Capitol breach has been charged with gun possession or assault while inside the Capitol. Moreover, one of the most identifiable groups among the protesters the Proud Boys may have had no intention to use violence or attack the Capitol, according to an embedded FBI informant. Even liberal commentator Glenn Greenwald apparently was disgusted by false and exaggerated claims made about the events of Jan. 6.
The Capitol assault also has been used as a blanket condemnation of all those who gathered in D.C. that day to protest the elections outcome. About 20,000 people attended the rally at the White House, and perhaps about 1,000 of them then moved to the Capitol, where somewhat over half of them actively participated in the breach. That means about 3 percent of the days protesters took part in the assault and yet the entire group that peacefully rallied was indicted in social media and some media posts. Compare this to the rallies across America following the May 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis most media outlets took pains to distinguish participants in looting and vandalism in some cities from the vast majority of protesters who were peaceful.
Indeed, the vilification of all who rallied at the White House is extended by some to anyone who is Republican. For some time, Republicans have been broadly labeled as white supremacists. After the Capitol assault, they increasingly have been accused of threatening democracy. As Bill Zeiser reported in The Spectator, liberal commentator Dean Obeidallah claimed, If you ever wondered what it was like to live in early 1930s Germany, you are getting a taste of it courtesy of [former President] Trump and the GOP. On Twitter, heoffered thatthe GOP is no longer a political party its an openly fascist movement. That is undisputed.
Indeed, a summer 2021 survey conducted by the University of Virginias Center for Politics found that 56 percent of President BidenJoe BidenPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks State school board leaves national association saying they called parents domestic terrorists Sunday shows preview: Supply chain crisis threaten holiday sales; uncertainty over whether US can sustain nationwide downward trend in COVID-19 cases MOREs voters believe there is no real difference between Republicans and fascists.
In Antifascism: The Course of a Crusade, Paul Gottfried claims alluding to the impending dangers of fascism underpins the dark vision for America expressed by Packer, Chait and Obeidallah and also a large share of social justice advocates. In explaining the contrasting view of the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, compared to violence during urban demonstrations last summer, one of the books reviewers, James McElroy, claimed that [f]ascism is a permanently lurking evil that can re-emerge at any moment so that the black-clad [antifa] thugs from last summer are not the enemies of power but its unwitting shock troops.
Short of fascism, many social justice advocates label the danger right-wing authoritarianism, linking Trumpism with Brazils president, Jair Bolsonaro, and Hungarys prime minister, Viktor Orbn. While right-wing authoritarianism is well-documented, researcher Thomas Costello and his Emory colleagues have found that left-wing authoritarianism is far from inconsequential. While Costello estimated that in the United States right-wing authoritarians are probably three times the number of left-wing authoritarians, Sally Satel, a psychiatrist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, noted in an article in The Atlantic, One doesnt need to believe that left-wing authoritarians are as numerous or as threatening as their right-wing counterparts to grasp that both phenomena are a problem.
Right-wing authoritarians appear to be more significant in rural, less populated areas and their efforts may result in illiberal policies in some states. However, at universities and in much of urban America, there appears to be more danger from liberal authoritarians who are often emboldened by some in the media who amplify their exaggerations of dangers posed by the fascist right.
Most troubling, labeling Republicans as fascist, right-wing authoritarians or white supremacists has nothing to do with finding solutions to two pressing social problems in America: gun violence, especially in predominantly Black communities, and the educational deficiencies of too many Black youngsters. Indeed, one might argue that left-wing authoritarians by trying to silence all those who want to look beyond white racism to understand the persistence of racial disparities stand in the way of finding solutions to these problems.
Robert Cherry is a retired professor of economics at Brooklyn College and a member of the Woodson Centers 1776 Unites forum.
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Posted: at 4:55 pm
The Portugueses free-kick five minutes into added time took a huge deflection and nestled into the Villa net to spark joyous scenes of celebrations in the away end, which Neves enjoyed with a knee slide. The inner belief within this group has been on display for Neves entire time in gold and black and he insists that wont be the last late winner they bag, because of the togetherness within.
On the winning goal
I think the ball was going to the goal. I tried to shoot at the goalkeepers side because I know Martinez always goes a little bit early to the wall side, it was a little bit slow, I have to be honest, but what mattered is the ball hit the net, their second goal was a deflection as well, so I dont want to hear anyone talking about luck. All that matters is the three points we gave to the fans today.
On a big win
What a win. A lot of team spirit. Im so proud of the boys, a really hard game for us. Villa have a great team, they were playing at home, a derby, so it was almost perfect for us. Of course, we wanted to play better, but when you cant play as you like to play, the team spirit comes.
On the belief in the group
As soon as the first goal went in, I just knew it could change the game. I remember they had a corner, but we needed to keep on going, it wasnt done, we still had time and two minutes after we scored the first goal.
The team spirit, its happened a lot of times with us since Ive been here, and it will keep happening because we just dont give up until the whistle. We changed the game in 15 minutes.
On eight games in assessment
It was a special game. Every single game is important, but today we knew we really wanted to win the game. We struggled a little bit during the game, they are a great team, but we had chances to score.
They had chances to score, it was a great game to watch, and when things are not coming, the team spirit comes and thing happen. I think we deserved the win, there was a lot of games like that we didnt win, thats football, really happy for the team and for the fans, because we know what the game means to them.
On Traores brilliance
Its his game. He can do things that not anyone can do in football because of his characteristics, of course. Hes a special player, we are used to it because he does a lot of it in training sessions, and we know how hard it is to stop him, almost impossible when hes running.
Unlucky he didnt score, but he did a great cross for our second goal. It was a good game for everyone, we suffered, we were two down at Villa Park, its not easy to come back here, but we did it. Our fans were amazing, they didnt stop supporting us, so really happy for the team and fans.
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Posted: at 4:55 pm
To the editor -- I've voted Republican for most of my life, but when Trump ran, I lost my desire to do so. It is so easy to see how he has manipulated, lied and prepared in order to maintain the office of president.
I heard him badger and bully others. I heard him tell the Proud Boys to stand by and stand ready during a debate. Not a single court case regarding so-called voter fraud was true. In fact, Biden has gotten more votes.
The big lie continues, with Republican senators perpetuating it. To see it even affect people I've known for years is a shame. People I liked and respected are losing touch with reality. Because of my opinion, I have had friends not speak to me anymore. This letter may cause me to lose clients, but there comes a time when you HAVE to stand up for what's right. We all know Fox is the fakest "news." Even their attorney calls it an entertainment channel.
It literally makes me cry to see the dishonor among Republicans and how it's a cult.
Don't let anyone get off scot-free. It's OK to make a mistake, but it needs fixed. Now.
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Posted: at 4:55 pm
The American flag became a blunt instrument in the bearded mans hands. Wielding the flagpole like an ax, he swung once, twice, three times, to beat a police officer being dragged down the steps of a United States Capitol under siege.
Other officers also fell under mob attack, while the rest fought to keep the hordes from storming the Capitol and upending the routine transfer of power. Sprayed chemicals choked the air, projectiles flew overhead and the unbridled roars formed a battle-cry din all as a woman lay dying beneath the jostling scrum of the Jan. 6 riot.
Amid the hand-to-hand combat, seven men from seven different states stood out. Although strangers to one another, they worked as if in concert while grappling with the phalanx of police officers barring entry to the Capitol.
The moment was a flicker in the chaotic panorama, a 90-second flash of unhinged violence overshadowed by the high drama inside, where rioters menaced in packs, legislators hid in fear and a protester was shot to death.
Now, nine months removed from the mayhem, Republicans bound to former President Donald J. Trumps unfounded assertion that the 2020 election was stolen from him have all but wished the day away: blocking the creation of a bipartisan investigative commission; blaming antifa, or Democrats, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and minimizing the overwhelming video evidence.
Even so, a reckoning is underway, as prosecutors and congressional investigators seek to understand how a political rally devolved into an assault on the citadel of American democracy and those who guard it. They are drilling down on whether the riot was organized and what roles were played by far-right extremist groups, various Trump supporters and Mr. Trump himself.
But it may also help to slow down the video evidence, linger on those 90 seconds on the Capitol steps and trace back the roots of the violence and its perpetrators. Doing so provides a close-up view of how seemingly average citizens duped by a political lie, goaded by their leaders and swept up in a frenzied throng can unite in breathtaking acts of brutality.
Nearly a quarter of the more than 600 people arrested in connection with the riot have been charged with assaulting or impeding police officers. But only a handful of that subset have any ties to extremist provocateurs like the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys. The most violent on Jan. 6, it seems, were the most ordinary a slice of the Trump faithful.
They largely represent a group certain to have powerful sway in the nations tortured politics to come: whiter, slightly older and less likely than the general voting population to live in a city or be college-educated. Recent studies indicate that they come from places where people tend to fear the replacement of their ethnic and cultural dominance by immigrants, and adhere to the false belief that the 2020 election was stolen.
This description generally fits the seven men, now bound together by federal prosecutors as co-defendants in an indictment charging them with myriad felonies. To a man, they are described in superlatives by relatives and friends: perfect neighbor, devout churchgoer, attentive father, good guy. They include:
1 The bearded truck driver from Arkansas who weaponized Old Glory. 2 A heavy-machine operator from Michigan who once modeled for the covers of romance novels. 3 A fencing contractor from Georgia. 4 A geophysicist from Colorado. 5 A former Marine from Pennsylvania. 6 A deputy sheriff from Tennessee.
7 And a self-made businessman from Kentucky named Clayton Ray Mullins, 52, described as a well-intentioned person devoted to keeping his small country church afloat. He does not drink, smoke, curse or bother with social media, and prefers old westerns to the news.
On the first Sunday of 2021, Mr. Mullins arrived at the church before anyone else, as always, and made sure everything was just so down to placing a water glass at the pulpit for the mornings preacher. The next day, Jan. 4, he began the two-day drive with his wife and a sister to a place hed never been: Washington.
They say they thought this might be their last chance to experience a Trump rally. They say they had no intention of rioting or trespassing to keep Mr. Trump in office.
Even if this were true, why did Mr. Mullins join the mob overrunning the Capitol grounds? Why was he standing so close to the violent standoff with the police? Why did he pull on the leg of a downed officer under attack?
Sitting recently in his empty church, so far from Washington, Mr. Mullins began to weep, as the question hung heavy over him, his family, his community, this country.
The thing is, Mr. Mullins almost hadnt gone to Washington.
The hastily planned trip had depended on whether his wife, Nancy, could get time off from her job as a physical therapist. Once she got permission, the Mullinses and one of his sisters, Tena Mullins Sisson, rented a Honda Accord and headed out.
I told Clayton it was something to see, Nancy Mullins said of Washington. Plus you get to see Trump.
In his western Kentucky community, Mr. Mullins is not known as a political activist or even a man of strong opinion, other than that Jesus Christ is his lord and savior.
He grew up in Wingo, a town of 800 just outside Mayfield, the Graves County seat, which features several religious-goods stores and no saloons. After high school, he roped cattle and dabbled in auctioneering before opening Mullins Machinery, a salvage business that operates from a lot cluttered with rusted heavy equipment.
He would bid on distressed machinery at auctions throughout the South, traveling in the Nissan Frontier truck that he bought, used, nearly 20 years ago. It has since clocked more than 1.4 million miles.
Mr. Mullins and his wife, whom he met in the seventh grade, live beside a lake about 30 miles north of Wingo. But he spends a lot of time in his hometown, drawn to the steepled cornerstone of his life, the Little Obion Baptist Church, which has 12 pews and a history going back 175 years.
There is no longer a permanent pastor, though, and the full-immersion baptistery has fallen out of use. Mr. Mullins is the treasurer, handyman and quiet benefactor who finds the preachers for sparsely attended Sunday services.
Hes been the burden-carrier of that church for years, honoring a promise to his dying mother to keep it going, said Richard Heatherly, one of its former pastors.
Mr. Mullins has no social media presence and is relatively new to text messaging. He watches little more than reruns of The Andy Griffith Show and Gunsmoke, while his wife prefers programs about home decorating.
Where, then, does he get his news? Word of mouth, Mr. Mullins said. People listening to different stations.
But many in his circle are active on social media, including Ms. Sisson, the sister who accompanied him to Washington. This year her Facebook postings of biblical quotations and makeup tutorials have been sprinkled with criticisms of mask mandates, Covid vaccinations, gun-control initiatives and other familiar Republican targets.
Among the images she has reposted: One of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez superimposed between President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, in the limousine in which he was assassinated in 1963. The caption mocks Ms. Ocasio-Cortezs recollection that she feared for her life during the Jan. 6 riot.
On Monday, Jan. 4, the three Trump supporters from Kentucky drove more than 400 miles before stopping in southwestern Virginia. The next day they drove 360 miles more, parking on Constitution Avenue in time to do some sightseeing and catch the end of a Stop the Steal rally, where a tag team of speakers warned of a country on the precipice of a fight being waged between good and evil, the godly and the godless.
Once the evenings battle cries ended, the trio returned to Constitution Avenue to find that their rental car, with all their luggage, had been towed.
Late the next morning, Jan. 6, they made their way to the Ellipse, a sprawling park just south of the White House, for the Save America March. The rallys purpose: to sound the alarm that in a few hours, Congress would certify what the president had proclaimed a fraudulent election another step in the transition of government to culminate on Inauguration Day, two weeks away.
The speakers did their best to flatter, coax and enrage the gathered thousands into action. The greatest group of patriots ever put together, Mr. Trumps middle son, Eric, declared, while his eldest, Donald Jr., warned that Trump supporters would be coming for any Republican legislator who voted for certification.
It was noon by the time the president took his place before the bank of American flags arrayed onstage. Standing behind a protective shield in a dark overcoat and black gloves, Mr. Trump exhorted his loyalists to march to the Capitol and somehow stop Congress from certifying the election. He said they would never take back their country with weakness, they had to show strength and as they marched, Ill be there with you.
In spirit only. After dispatching his followers, Mr. Trump and his family, who had been watching the rally on television in the celebratory atmosphere of a nearby tent, vanished from view.
The Mullinses were so far from the stage during Mr. Trumps long speech that they heard more echoes than words. I think he said we were going to march, Ms. Mullins recalled.
They joined the human river of frustration flowing the two miles east to the Capitol a Trump rally on the move, its angry stop-the-steal chants heating the cool air. As they walked, many passed the figures carved into the white marble of a Civil War memorial known as the Peace Monument, including one named History and another named Grief.
The river pooled outside the security barriers surrounding the Capitol, forming furious eddies of resistance, brimming with Trump red and camo green. The shouts of Our House grew louder, the rage directed at the outnumbered police officers more profane until, finally, the dams broke.
Shortly before 1 p.m., protesters breached the barricades on the Capitols west side to pour by the hundreds onto the manicured grounds, past the commemorative trees and Olmsted-designed lanterns. Amid the flapping flags and throaty chants of U.S.A.! U.S.A.! people were urging marchers to climb over the barriers. We need patriots! Ms. Mullins remembered someone shouting into a megaphone. We need men!
Mr. Mullins would later say that while he supported Mr. Trumps re-election he liked the presidents approach to business he had also accepted the election results. No one man has the power, he would say. Youre not supposed to put one man up on a pedestal and think hes going to bring peace to the world.
Still, he left his wife and sister behind and joined the trespassing throng.
Glass shattered, and a dark-clothed man climbed over the shards of a broken window and leapt down like a cat burglar to the polished floor. The moment, at about 2:13 in the afternoon, marked the first sustained breach of the Capitol since a fiery attack by the British in 1814 only this time, the attackers were American.
Other insurrectionists followed, including one wielding a bat and another holding a Confederate flag. A locked door was kicked open, other windows were smashed and the rioters rushed in.
What ensued in the Capitols hallowed halls and chambers over the next two hours has been seared in the national consciousness: the hostility and fear, the valor and violence the shocking but ultimately failed attempt to derail the republics democratic process in the name of Donald J. Trump, who had closed his incendiary speech at the Ellipse with: God bless you. And God bless America.
But the startling scenes inside the Capitol tend to eclipse the medieval civil war that was waged just beyond its doors. In suffocating clouds of chemical irritants, Americans fought other Americans with fists and cudgels, with bear spray and hunks of broken wood, roaring in combat frenzy and spilling blood on the white steps of their countrys democratic center.
Adding to the sense of a republic turned upside down was that many of the rioters identified with the Republican Party, which has long prided itself on being the champion of law and order. But here they were, fighting police officers, the very defenders of law and order.
The rioters kept coming, a ragtag army in mismatched colors: the orange knit caps of the Proud Boys, the green camouflage jackets of men girding to fight antifa, the red-white-and-blue shirts and caps and flags espousing allegiance to Mr. Trump. Some walked with a jaw-jutting air; others ran, as if storming a beachfront.
Along the Capitols west side, knots of rioters pressed against the interlocking metal barricades, while police officers pushed back to hold the line. Push forward, patriots! one insurgent kept screaming. Push forward!
Pepper balls flew, flags rippled and flash bangs detonated in failed attempts to disperse the determined mob, as police radios crackled with battlefield updates:
Multiple officers injured at the Capitol, west side.
Throughout, Clayton Ray Mullins was often in the frame, a Zelig among insurgents in black gloves and a gray winter coat, with a distinctive crop of thick brown hair.
Here he was, joining hundreds of others near the lower west terrace in singing The Star-Spangled Banner off key. Here he was, at the front of a tense standoff between rioters and officers separated by barricades and differing understandings of patriotism, as a man in a Trump cap beside him sprayed the officers with an irritant, used his Stop the Steal sign to shield the blowback and melted back into the crowd.
Mr. Mullins winced as the chemical cloud hit his face. Still, he stayed on the scene.
By 2:45, he was near the fore of a roaring mob forcing police officers to backpedal on the terrace, their riot shields raised, their backs nearly to the wall. As scuffles broke out, someone near him was shouting: Take their helmets! Take their face masks!
By 3, Mr. Mullins was standing high up on the Capitols ascending stone balustrade, holding an American flag and taking in the sweeping view of the raucous gathering below. He wasnt moving or chanting or even waving his flag. He was just standing, still as a sentry.
Circulating in the milling crowd around Mr. Mullins were six strangers destined to become his co-defendants.
One was Peter Stager, 42, a burly truck driver whose long dark hair and full beard would distinguish him in any crowd. He had stopped to join the Trump rally on his way back from a delivery in New Jersey to take some photographs, his employer, Charlie Penrod, later testified. And the other thing is, he was asked by the president to show support.
Had Mr. Stager instead kept driving, he would have returned to the small Arkansas city of Conway. Back to his one-story brick house on a working-class street where residents, Black and white, knew him as an even-keeled father of two teenagers who went out of his way to help others.
A next-door neighbor, Karmesia Odonell, recalled that when her water heater broke down, Mr. Stager installed the new unit free of charge. Its a big job, and he just did it for us, Ms. Odonell said.
Mr. Stager tended to talk a lot, but never about politics, as far as anyone could remember. Not even once, said his close friend Melvin Jemerson, who is not a Trump supporter.
Im not a politics person, Mr. Jemerson said. It is what it is. What can we do about it? We can just go to work every day and come home and take care of our families.
I thought Pete was like that, too.
Also trespassing on the Capitol grounds that wintry afternoon was Jack Wade Whitton, 31, carrying a military-style backpack and wearing a red-billed Trump 2020 baseball cap over his thinning brown hair.
Mr. Whitton and his fiance, Haley McLean, had come to Washington from Locust Grove, a small town about 35 miles south of Atlanta. He was well known in the local fitness community a former CrossFit instructor good enough to earn a sponsorship with the Hurt Locker apparel company, whose T-shirts sport slogans like, If Youre Afraid to Be Strong Then You Deserve to Be Weak. He was also known for his passionate adherence to right-wing conspiracy theories.
Were we surprised when we heard about what happened to him? Yes and no, said Kirk Gibson, the owner of Smashletics, a gym in Locust Grove. While Mr. Whitton wasnt a malicious person, he said, he might very well think it cool to come back and go Hoorah to his buddies he was fighting for Trump.
Several friends have sent glowing reference letters to the federal judge handling Mr. Whittons criminal case. But some of those friends were decidedly less politic when contacted by a reporter.
One of them, Alexander Shakkour, a commercial pilot, wrote that his friend was a hard-working, charismatic and humble leader. But in a recent phone conversation, after deriding a reporter for trying to take down a real patriot, he asked, Howd you like to meet me in person? punctuating his taunt with an expletive.
When the reporter pointed out that he had tried to meet him in person by going to his front door, Mr. Shakkour called him another crude name and hung up.
A few years ago, Mr. Whitton branched out by starting his own fencing company, which was doing well by the start of 2021. When plans to visit family in Florida fell through, he and Ms. McLean instead flew to hear Mr. Trump speak for what they thought was probably their last opportunity.
They did not go to stop the steal or disrupt Congress, Ms. McLean recalled recently, as she stood outside their apartment, her arms folded, her eyes averted.
Everything was fine, she said. Everything was great. It was a happy experience the entire day. And then I dont know.
There at the Capitol, too, was Jeffrey Sabol, 51, wearing a crash helmet and carrying a backpack containing a two-way radio, an earpiece and a bundle of zip ties. He had traveled from the Colorado mountain town of Kittredge, where people knew him as a rugby-playing father of three who worked as a geophysicist, specializing in the removal of unexploded munitions at mines and other energy installations.
His job is safety and protecting others, his sister wrote to the judge handling his case.
While Mr. Sabol held strong conservative beliefs, one of his friends, a self-described liberal Democrat, wrote the judge that the geophysicist was one of the few people he could have a conversation with about politics and it doesnt get nasty. But Mr. Sabols sister whose name was redacted in court documents described a troubling trajectory that began with his divorce in 2011 and worsened with the death of his older brother three years later.
I believe at this point, Jeff lost his bearing and allowed himself to be led by others that steered him down a negative path, she wrote.
He had come to Washington for what he thought were good reasons at the time, one of his lawyers later said. The president of the United States of America was telling citizens, Something evil has happened, and you all have to go fix it.
Others had answered this call. Ronald McAbee, 27, a sheriffs deputy from Williamson County, Tenn., just south of Nashville, had been in a car accident days earlier. He had injured his hip and shoulder and been granted medical leave.
Despite these injuries, Mr. McAbee, described by those who know him as a good and upright man, had come prepared for action. He wore a red MAGA hat, reflective sunglasses and black gloves with metal knuckles, and his text messages with a friend suggested that they expected violence. Referring to the injuries from his accident, Mr. McAbee wrote, Ill slap a commie with this dead arm.
And when Mr. Trump tweeted about the need for a strong turnout at the Jan. 6 rally, a Michigan man named Logan Barnhart tweeted in response: Ill be there.
Now here he was, moving through the crowd in an American-flag hat, his extraordinary physique covered by a hooded sweatshirt bearing the logo of the Caterpillar construction equipment company. Mr. Barnhart, 40, a heavy-machine operator from a Lansing suburb, had trained as a bodybuilder and modeled bare-chested for the covers of books like Stepbrother UnSEALed: A Bad Boy Military Romance.
Among the actual veterans trespassing on Capitol grounds was Michael Lopatic, 57, from Pennsylvania. Six foot four, well over 200 pounds and sporting a scraggly gray beard, he announced his military affiliation with his red Marines cap and his political affiliation with a Trump 2020 T-shirt that said, PTSD: Pretty Tired of Stupid Democrats.
Mr. Lopatic served in civil-war-torn Beirut in the early 1980s before taking part in the American invasion of Grenada, where he suffered injuries and hearing loss in a mortar explosion. He left the Marines on disability and, according to one of his lawyers, has not held a full-time job in years. But his military service has remained central to his identity, as one peculiar incident would attest.
While in line at a Chinese buffet in 2012, Mr. Lopatic helped himself to the crab legs all of them prompting an enraged man behind him to start a fistfight. Later, Mr. Lopatic told the doctors treating his injuries that hed been jumped in an attempted robbery.
Confronted by this lie at his assailants criminal trial, Mr. Lopatic said: Talk about a hit to your masculinity. Im supposed to tell people I got beat up at a Chinese buffet over crab legs? Im a former Marine. This isnt supposed to happen to me.
Mr. Lopatic and his Laotian-born wife, Chinh, have four children and live just outside downtown Lancaster. He is an active parishioner at Historic St. Marys Catholic church, ushering at Sunday Mass, volunteering with the meals-on-wheels program and joining the parishs marriage-strengthening program, I Still Do. Another participant in the program, John Claus, later wrote, Violence is simply not in this mans nature that I have observed.
Still, some of Mr. Lopatics friends said they noticed an unsettling embrace of conspiracy theories after the presidential election. He got all twisted up, said a friend who asked not to be identified. He just spent too much time listening to lies. He really, really believed.
A day after the election, Mr. Lopatic posted a photograph on Facebook of two bloodied pheasants he had killed. Both head shots, he wrote. I got a rooster and a hen. I named them Joe and Kamala.
Two days later, he posted photographs of two other shot pheasants. I named this one Schumer, he wrote of one, presumably referring to Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat who would soon become Senate majority leader. I called this old bird Nancy, he wrote of the other, an apparent reference to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
By New Years Day, Mr. Lopatic had committed to rallying in Washington on Jan. 6. He wrote, UNITED WE STAND, GO FORTH AND FIGHT.
With dusk approaching, mayhem reigned. At its center was a fevered cluster of humanity on the Capitols west side, mustering its collective rage to batter through an arched portal that figures prominently on Inauguration Day every four years.
Heave-ho! they shouted, like sailors set to task.
In two weeks, Mr. Biden would emerge from this door to take the oath as president, in a ceremony meant to convey stability and continuity. Preparations were underway on the terrace of Massachusetts marble, with woodwork and scaffolding everywhere.
But rioters had been scaling that scaffolding as part of their offensive. Now they were using its metal bars, confiscated riot shields and anything else at hand to remove a blockade of officers straining to keep them from entering the building.
The insurgents managed to get just inside the archway, where a wall of sweat-stained riot shields was blocking them at the beeping metal-detector checkpoint. In the surreal half-light they kept pushing, pushing, moving like a body at war with itself.
Theyre getting tired! someone shouted. We got fresh fucking meat here! Push em back!
Amid the spasmodic violence, the unthinkable became routine: the throwing of poles like spears at the police, a vandal working unimpeded to smash a Capitol window. And at the archways edge, a woman sprawled on the ground, unconscious.
This was Rosanne Boyland, 34, from Kennesaw, Ga., a passionate Trump supporter whose embrace of conspiracy theories had worried her family. It was as if these outlandish beliefs including that top Democrats belonged to a global pedophile ring had become a replacement addiction for Ms. Boyland, who had worked hard at sobriety after years of substance abuse.
She had come to Washington with a friend, Justin Winchell, who earlier in the day had taken a photograph of her in all her Save America March splendor: holding a large yellow Dont Tread on Me flag and wearing red-white-and-blue sunglasses. But now she was on the marble terrace, out, her friend kneeling beside her, pleading for help.
Mr. Mullins stood close by. He later said he was trying to stand over Ms. Boyland to protect her, with the undulating crush of people so strong that he temporarily lost his shoes.
Is the idea of former Pres. Trump being subpoened to testify before the Jan. 6 committee far-fetched? – WTRF
Posted: at 4:55 pm
One member of Congress says no.
by: Karen Compton
FILE In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo with the White House in the background, President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Washington. The request seeks records about events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack, including communication within the White House and other agencies, and information about planning and funding for rallies held in Washington, including an event at the Ellipse featuring then-President Donald Trump before thousands of his supporters stormed the Capitol. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
WASHINGTON (WTRF) According to reports, Congressional Representative Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat from the Virgin Islands, subpoenaing former President Donald J. Trump to testify before the House January 6 select committee is possible.
Subpoenaing the former president is not something that we should consider far-fetched, Representative Plaskett, said Saturday per reports.
Theyre going to be bound by the facts and the law, and if that means deposing the president, they will do so, Plaskett said on MSNBC Saturday concerning the Jan. 6 select committee.
Plaskett also said the scope of the select committees investigation will be thorough and may consist of, Not only the deposition of the president himself, but records related to him. Whether those be cellphone,Twitteraccounts, communications with individuals, video tapes, if there are, in the White House of what he is doing on that day.
Plaskett served as an impeachment manager earlier this year, say reports.
On Wednesday, the White House blocked former President Donald J. Trumps request to use executive privilege to halt his surrendering of documents, say reports.
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Posted: at 4:55 pm
Theres little that can be called surprising about the passions that drove Trump supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol this January in protest of Joe Bidens certification as the winner of the 2020 presidential electionan invasion that caused lawmakers to crouch under their desks and reach for their gas masks. The same can be said of President Trumps reaction to that disaster, which as Four Hours at the Capitol (Wednesday, 9 p.m., HBO and HBO Max) suggests bordered on the serene. In this darkly observant documentary (director, Jamie Roberts), a heady brew of the subtle and the merciless, each significant figuretheir number is not smallmanages to take stage center at once and keep it. All of which accounts, of course, for the extraordinary parade of militant activists who deliver the history that is the heart of this storya history in which they took part. Most vital of all the powers of this marathon-like work whose life and intensity can be exhausting is the remarkably intimate photographythe point of view is always from inside the mob, never at a removethat propels a viewer into impossible closeness to the events on screen.
Is there some character with a large bullet hole in his cheek, rattling on as he spews streams of blood, about his feelings about being a proud American fighting for truth, justice and honest elections? There is. There are many such moments, such pictures, in this film which is, after all, the story of a war between an outnumbered Capitol police force and a mob of insurrectionists who came to Washington bent on doing their all to express their rage and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential electionStop the Steal Signs make a regular appearance, though nothing near the number of Trump 2020 flags.
Posted: at 4:55 pm
(Graphic by Sydney Stam | The Daily Utah Chronicle)
Despite President Joe Biden being in office for over 9 months, the validity of the 2020 presidential election results is still being questioned.
Some Republican lawmakers have fueled this lie with their statements. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has been vocal about her false belief that the election was stolen from former President Trump. She has voiced her support for the Stop the Steal movement alongside Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones at a political rally and wore a Trump Won mask on the U.S. House floor.
Former President Trump has also been vocal about the fraudulent election. After the 2020 election results, Trump was adamant that voter fraud kept him from reelection. Recently, he has advertised on his political campaign emails that over 15 million U.S. ballots were unaccounted for in the 2020 presidential election.
The most blatant consequence of this misinformation was the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol earlier this year. The storming of the capitol by people wishing to overturn the 2020 election results caused $30 million worth of damages from people graffitiing the building, breaking windows and stealing objects.
Several people died during this attack on the Capitol: both perpetrator and defender. This attack has potentially sparked an era of violent political uprisings in our country, and federal law enforcement has prepared for such. Metal fencing surrounded the capital for months following the insurrection and only recently came down.
Another consequence was the creation of the Stop the Steal movement by Trump supporters, which supports extremist and far-right policies. The Proud Boys, a group of white supremacists who engaged in violence in the 2016 Charlottesville protests, are heavily involved in this movement. Many of them were arrested at the insurrection.
The Proud Boys chapter in Utah is known to spread hateful messages laced with misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. They have also involved themselves in local politics by speaking against teaching critical race theory in Granite school district schools.
Despite the chaos and unrest that the election fraud narrative has caused, Republican legislators are still continuing to question the validity of the election, even though these claims have been disputed many times. Recently, Republican lawmakers have been trying to prove that Arizona did not vote blue, but evidence has suggested the contrary. Frighteningly enough, 53% of Republicans in the U.S. believe that the election rightfully belongs to former President Trump.
This untrue rhetoric that some Republicans are trying to spread that Biden stole the election is harmful and must be stopped. If Republicans dont hold each other accountable for this misinformation, more conflict could arise.
Due to the lack of accountability for the spread of this misinformation, weve seen this harmful rhetoric continue to spread in our state. During the 2021 legislative session, Rep. Joel Briscoe attempted to pass a resolution acknowledging the success of the mail-in voting process in Utah for the 2020 election process. Rep. Norm Thurston and Rep. Phil Lyman, who are both Republican legislators, refused to support the resolution unless there was a re-write that removed divisive themes.The resolution was then edited to remove language recognizing the success of the 2020 presidential election in Utah.
Utah has been conducting successful mail-in voting since 2012, which leads me to believe that Rep. Thurston and Rep. Lyman dont have issues with Utah mail-in voting, but rather are against admitting that the 2020 presidential election was legitimate.
Such blatant displays of ignorance by our legislators have only kindled distrust in the election among Utah Republicans. 41% of Utah Republicans believe that the election had widespread voter fraud.
Republican lawmakers need to do whats right and denounce the falsities that some of their peers are making. They should support fair election results at every opportunity.
The GOP shouldnt lie about election fraud so that they can gain political power. If what Rep. Adam Kizinger says is true about most Republican lawmakers privately disavowing Trumps claims of election fraud, then they need to stop privately disagreeing and start publicly disagreeing.
Republicans are setting a dangerous precedent by lying about the validity of the election to maintain their political presence. For a party that claims they value honesty and integrity, they sure arent showing it with their current acceptance of election conspiracy theorists within their party.
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