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Tag: black lives matter

Busted: Seattle Police Spread Disinformation During Anti-Racist Protests

The latest police scandal in Seattle provides a crystalline example of how local law enforcement authorities have become toxic entities in modern urban areas—largely because it demonstrates, once again, that the city’s ranks have become populated with right-wing extremists who share an abiding contempt for the citizens they’re supposed to “serve and protect.”

An investigation by Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA) reported this week that city police, during George Floyd-inspired June 2020 protests against police brutality, engaged in a campaign of disinformation over police radio intended to convince leftist activists who had created an “autonomous zone” in the Capitol Hill neighborhood that a phalanx of far-right Proud Boys were marching around the city. The radio chatter heightened tensions within the encampment that eventually erupted in real-world gun violence.

The investigation, spurred by social media reports from leftist activists, found that on the night of June 8, 2020—just after police had abandoned its East Precinct Station on Capitol Hill and as activists were creating what they called autonomous zone they later renamed the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP)—deliberately broadcast false verbal reports of a gang of Proud Boys marching around the downtown area.

The participating officers traded the false reports over the radio, saying: “It looks like a few of them might be open carrying,” and: “Hearing from the Proud Boys group. … They may be looking for somewhere else for confrontation.”

Activists monitoring police radio raised the alarm on social media, leading some of the CHOP participants to arm themselves. OPA Director Andrew Myerberg noted that while some of them may have brought guns regardless of the warnings, the disinformation “improperly added fuel to the fire.”

Moreover, key police leaders were aware of the disinformation campaign, even though it violated department policy. However, Myerberg also concluded that the four officers who participated may have used “poor judgment,” but were following guidance from their supervisors, who the report blames for spreading the false story.

The two supervisors it identifies as organizing and overseeing the disinformation network, as it happens, have both left the department in the intervening months. Chief Adrian Diaz will review the activities of the remaining employees.

Prior to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, many police departments—including Seattle’s—had generally amicable relationships with the Proud Boys, leading many of them to conclude that they could behave with impunity in those jurisdictions. This was notably the case in Seattle, which had been the scene of a number of Proud Boys protests before 2020, resulting (as in Portland) mostly in the arrests of leftist counterprotesters and relatively few far-right street provocateurs.

Seattle activist Matt Watson (who uses the nom de plume Spek on social media) first reported the police-radio hoax shortly after it happened, and was able to document the fake reports. His reportage went largely unnoticed until early 2021, when activist Omari Salisbury began digging into the matter. Salisbury’s requests for body-camera footage of the purported Proud Boys sightings led OPA to open its investigation.

Even after the police hoax in early June, real Proud Boys (led by Portland agitator Tusitala “Tiny” Toese) showed up at the CHOP and engaged in harassment of the activists there, as well as of residents in the surrounding neighborhood. Toese and a gang of his Proud Boy and white-nationalist associates entered the zone on June 15 and attempted to start fights and were largely prevented from doing so; they later were videotaped assaulting a man and destroying his cell phone on a neighborhood side street near the zone.

By the end of the month, there had been multiple incidents of gunfire within the zone and in its vicinity, resulting in two deaths. CHOP was shut down on July 1.

Seattle citizens’ fraught relationship with the city’s police department goes back decades, but has intensified since 2011, when the Justice Department opened an investigation into complaints by community leaders about its excessive use of force and its biased behavior while policing minorities, resulting in a federal consent decree under which the department has been operating since 2012. City officials moved in early 2020 to lift portions of that decree, but pulled back on those efforts after the June riots on Capitol Hill.

The presence of right-wing extremists on the force became an acute matter of public concern after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol—largely because six Seattle officers were identified as participants in that day’s “Stop the Steal” protests. Two of them were fired after an investigation found they had entered the Capitol that day.

“Misinformation, especially of this inflammatory nature, is totally unacceptable from our Seattle police officers,” newly elected Mayor Bruce Harrell said in a statement lamenting the “immeasurable” harm caused by the scandal. “This kind of tactic never should have been considered.”

“This misinformation from SPD led to a fortification of the East Precinct and weeks of violence against the people of Seattle,” Seattle City Council member Tammy Morales wrote on Twitter. “As @Omarisal says, it was a ‘strategy planned by the higher ups.’ We need an investigation outside City process and we need real accountability.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Rittenhouse's Preordained Acquittal Will Inflame More Right-Wing Violence

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

We may have an answer for the right-wing "civil war" devotee who asked Charlie Kirk the other week: "When do we get to start using the guns?" Judging from the way the trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is proceeding—and from the way right-wing pundits and politicians are responding—this week, the answer is: The day teenager Kyle Rittenhouse is inevitably acquitted for murdering two men at a Black Lives Matter protest last summer.

Rittenhouse's acquittal is largely a foregone conclusion. And not because the evidence points to his innocence—Rittenhouse did, after all, kill a mentally ill man whose only acts of aggression included shouting at him, flinging a plastic bag with his personal effects in them, and reaching for his gun. On the other hand, the prosecution's case has been a mixed bag at best—but more because the judge in the case, Bruce Schroeder, has placed his thumb so heavily on the scales of justice here, often in plain view. More broadly, however, right-wing political figures and extremists discussing the matter on social media are not merely defending Rittenhouse but valorizing him, holding up his murderous acts as heroic vigilantism, and demanding that other like-minded "patriots" follow in his footsteps.

It's a recipe for an outbreak of eliminationist violence directed at "the left"—who these right-wing ideologues define broadly as "antifa," Black Lives Matter, socialists, anti-police protesters, and for that matter merely liberal Democrats who support President Joe Biden. The day when the jury declares Rittenhouse innocent will become a beacon for the radical right, a giant flashing green light signaling permission to begin "using their guns," telling them their long-awaited day to "begin killing these people" without consequence or compunction has finally arrived.

We know this because that is not only what they have been telling themselves in the runup to the trial, but it's what they and their Republican enablers are now shouting from the rooftops. Leading the parade on Twitter was Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance of Ohio, who posted a video ranting about the trial and denouncing the prosecutor for even filing charges against Rittenhouse:

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for us as patriots to stand up. Because if you don't fight back against the lawlessness, if we don't defend this young boy who defended his community when no one else was doing it, it may very well be your baby boy that they come for. It'll be your children whose life they try to destroy when no one else is defending their communities."

Vance repeatedly described Rittenhouse as someone who was "defending his community," even though he did not live in Kenosha, but in Illinois. He also repeatedly described the prosecutor as a "lawless thug" who was "trying to destroy his life."

The trial itself, Vance contended, represented a societal sickness: "We leave our boys without fathers. We let the wolves set fire to their communities. And when human nature tells them to go and defend what no one else is defending, we bring the full weight of the state and the global monopolists against them."

Tucker Carlson, who had adamantly defended Rittenhouse immediately after the shootings, continued in the same vein, blaming the violence on the "radicals" who were "burning down cities" and extolling the virtues of vigilantism as a natural consequence. He also claimed the Rittenhouse has "already won his case," then observed that "if you take a step back from the Rittenhouse story, you see something else entirely, you see violent insanity completely out of control in the middle of an American city. And the question is how did that happen in our country and why did nobody stop it?"

"The question, then, is how exactly are we surprised when a 17-year-old lifeguard from Illinois decides to step in?" Carlson concluded, sounding ominously like Charlie Kirk's interlocutor. "They hate it when you say that, but it's an entirely fair question. When legitimate authority refuses to do its duty, its sworn duty, others will fill the vacuum. That is always true. It's a physics principle."

And it has been from the outset. At far-right Proud Boys rallies rallies that followed the Kenosha shootings, participants began showing up wearing T-shirts declaring "Kyle Rittenhouse Did Nothing Wrong," and extolling his murders: "The Tree of Liberty Must Be Refreshed From Time to Time With the Blood of Commies," read the back of one.

Far-right Twitter maven and Gateway Pundit writer Cassandra Fairbanks retweeted an admirer's post after Rittenhouse's arrest: "I don't give a fuck anymore. I gone full Cassandra. Kill all the idiots violently terrorizing our towns. If the white suprematist [cq] do it then they're more useful than elected officials."

"Yeah," responded Fairbanks, "I'm literally just sitting here like … maybe some people will think twice about rioting tomorrow."

The primary source of their permission for violence is the eliminationist narrative the right has concocted about antifa and Black Lives Matter, concocted out of ideological and racial hysteria and conspiracy theories, depicting them as a demonic threat to the American republic. This narrative has become extraordinarily widespread, as well as deeply imbedded into the nation's political discourse, thanks largely to its constant repetition both by leading Republicans—notably Donald Trump—as well as "mainstream" right-wing media like Fox News.

We saw during jury selection for the federal civil lawsuit trial against the lethal 2017 "Unite the Right" rally organizers in Charlottesville that this wildly distorted view of "the left" has spread deeply enough to affect jury pools as well as court proceedings. In the Rittenhouse trial, it's become clear that not only the jury may be affected, but so is the judge overseeing the proceedings, Bruce Schroeder.

Schroeder, as Will Bunch explored on Twitter and at the Philadelphia Inquirer, has a troubling history of pushing "law and order" politics in his courtroom, as well as indulging in dubious courtroom behavior and head-scratching rulings. He already had informed attorneys in the case that they could not describe the three men as "victims," but would permit defense attorneys to describe them as "looters," "rioters," or "arsonists," even though none of the three were ever accused of those crimes.

This week, Schroeder also:

  • Called on the court to applaud a defense witness, who was there to testify that Rittenhouse was justified in taking two lives, for being a veteran. Schroeder, noting that it was Veterans Day, asked if anyone in the court was a veteran; when witness John Black said he was, Schroeder called for the court to applaud him. Jurors joined in on the applause.
  • Rejected video of Rittenhouse shooting one of his victims, claiming the using Apple's zoom functions might distort the image. "iPads, which are made by Apple, have artificial intelligence in them that allow things to be viewed through three-dimensions and logarithms," defense attorneys insisted. "It uses artificial intelligence, or their logarithms, to create what they believe is happening. So this isn't actually enhanced video, this is Apple's iPad programming creating what it thinks is there, not what necessarily is there." Schroeder agreed.
  • Kept forgetting to silence his phone, whose ringtone is the Lee Greenwood song "God Bless the USA." The song is the anthem of the tea party/"Patriot" right, and is used at Trump rallies as his entrance theme.
  • Refused to permit prosecutors to ask defense witness Drew Hernandez, a pseudo-journalist who specializes in filming and posting misleadingly edited videos about antifascists and anti-police protesters, about his work for former Trump adviser Steve Bannon's Real America's Voice network. Hernandez also was present at the January 6 insurrection inside the Capitol, before which he had spoken at the "Stop the Steal" rally, telling the crowd: "We punch back, we fight back. Because we will not go down without a fight. We will not go down without bloodshed. If they want a second civil war, then they got one. I will fight to the very last breath." Schroeder ruled that the jury could not learn about his background because "this is not a political trial."
  • Tried to make a joke to the court, after the jury had filed out, about the lunch that had been ordered that day: "I hope the Asian food isn't coming … isn't on one of those boats from Long Beach Harbor." (The joke went over the heads of everyone who wasn't a regular viewer of Fox News, which has repeatedly run stories about supply chain issues for Asian goods coming in to Long Beach—issues that in fact are primarily the result of Donald Trump's trade wars with China and other nations.)

Most legal observers have observed that the trial's outcome is a foregone conclusion, and many believe the primary blame lies with Schroeder and his handling of the proceedings—particularly how he has intervened at every juncture when the prosecutor has trapped Rittenhouse in a lie. Some observers describe this style as "pro-defense"—which is consistent with the judge's record—but family members of the victims surrounding the Kenosha unrest are outraged.

"It seems like he's aiming to let this man out of this courthouse scot-free and we're not going to let that happen," Justin Blake, the uncle of Jacob Blake, whose shooting by a police officer sparked the Kenosha protests, told The Washington Post. "If it happens, we're not going to be quiet about it."

Right-wing extremists are already stepping up their threatening behavior, and doing so with apparent confidence that they will face no consequences for doing so. A militia group called the Kenosha Strong Patriots posted the name, photo, and home address of Rittenhouse's chief prosecutor on Telegram. A participant disingenuously claimed: "This is absolutely not an encouragement to violence. Just would be nice to see a peaceful protest outside his home like the left does every time they don't like something."

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post observes that the embrace of Rittenhouse's vigilantism is occurring in the context of a general absorption of a violent ethos into the fabric of the Republican Party, which includes their ongoing valorization of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and Congressman Paul Gosar's recent anime video portraying a fantasy in which he kills his Democratic colleague.

Carlson's Fox News colleague, Greg Gutfeld, similarly chimed in that "all Rittenhouse did was to fill the void that the government left open."

"Those two people should never ever should have been out on the streets and it forced citizens to become the police," Gutfeld said.

Other right-wing pundits valorized Rittenhouse as a youth role model. As Kristen Doerer reports at Flux, one of these is Ed Martin, president of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, who devoted an extended rant on his podcast to defending the teenager.

"And my point here in setting that up is Kyle Rittenhouse was a completely—his conduct was completely consistent with what Americans should do," Martin wrote. "Stand up for the property, stand up for their towns, stand up for what's happening. He is a hero—that's true. Kyle Rittenhouse is a hero. Kyle Rittenhouse should be regarded as someone who did the right things."

Moreover, his example is worthy of emulation, Martin opined: "He stepped up in a way that was, frankly, it was much more, it was much more worthy of praise than the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Americans that sat home and watched cities burn."

These themes have been the right's primary argument in support of Rittenhouse's murders since he was arrested. Moreover, the undercurrent in all of these arguments is to create permission for right-wing "patriots" ginned up on right-wing propaganda to act out their shared violent fantasies.

Republicans Busted Using Trump-Era Images To Depict Biden Administration 'Chaos'

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A new Republican attack ad is being scrutinized for its use of deceptive images to depict President Joe Biden's administration as chaotic. CNN's Daniel Dale has created a detailed assessment that points out the problems with the Republican ad.
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Garland Fulfilling Commitments On Civil Rights, Police Reform

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The Department of Justice had the kind of pro-police reform week that doesn't happen every year. In a seven-day period, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, an overhaul on how to handle law enforcement oversight deals, and a promise to make sure the Justice Department wasn't funding agencies that engage in racial discrimination.

"This was a big week for civil rights at the DOJ," Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, shared in a thread about the progress on Twitter Thursday. "Proof that elections matter and that having civil rts attys in DOJ leadership matters. Let me walk you through what's happened in just this one week. It's actually astounding."

The first step forward on Ifill's list came in the form of a review of the Department of Justice's use of monitors who oversee implementation of consent decrees. The New York Timesdefined the legal mechanisms as "court-approved deals between the Justice Department and local governmental agencies that create a road map for changes to the way they operate." Garland rescinded Trump-era policy that blocked consent decrees from addressing police misconduct in April. "This has been a concern among community groups in cities where police dept's are covered by consent decrees after DOJ investigations," Ifill tweeted. Garland announced on Monday 19 actions the department will take to address that concern.

"The department has found that – while consent decrees and monitorships are important tools to increase transparency and accountability – the department can and should do more to improve their efficiency and efficacy," Garland said in a news release. "The Associate Attorney General has recommended – and I have accepted – a set of 19 actions that the department will take to address those concerns." Those actions include capping monitoring fees on consent decrees, requiring stakeholder input, imposing specified terms for monitors, and requiring a hearing after five years "so that jurisdictions can demonstrate the progress it has made, and if possible, to move for termination."

"Consent decrees have proven to be vital tools in upholding the rule of law and promoting transformational change in the state and local governmental entities where they are used," Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in the news release. "The department must do everything it can to guarantee that they remain so by working to ensure that the monitors who help implement these decrees do so efficiently, consistently and with meaningful input and participation from the communities they serve."

That was only Monday.

Kristen Clarke, who leades the Justice Department's civil rights division, announced on Tuesday that the Justice Department has launched an investigation into allegations of unconstitutional mistreatment of prisoners in Georgia, according to The New York Times. "Under the Eighth Amendment of our Constitution, those who have been convicted of crimes and sentenced to serve time in prison must never be subjected to 'cruel and unusual punishments,'" Clarke said in her announcement of the investigation.

At least 26 people died last year by "confirmed or suspected homicide" in Georgia prisons, and 18 homicides have been reported this year in the state. That's not including those who have been left to die in horrible conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Inmates facing that threat rioted at Ware State Prison last August in a viral uprising. Two inmates at the facility had died of COVID-19, and 22 prisoners and 32 staff members had tested positive for the virus during the time of the riot, according to Georgia Department of Corrections recordsobtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"This is huge. The humanitarian crisis in southern prisons is a critically important issue," Ifill tweeted of Clarke's announcement."Then the DOJ announced that it will ban the use of no-knock entries and chokeholds by federal law enforcement officers (except in cases where deadly force is authorized - more to probe abt the exception to be sure) ."

The decision follows the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was sleeping when officers executing a no-knock drug warrant smashed in her door after midnight and shot her at least eight times in her Louisville, Kentucky, home on March 13, 2020. Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020 when a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes despite Floyd saying repeatedly that he couldn't breathe. "Building trust and confidence between law enforcement and the public we serve is central to our mission at the Justice Department," Garland said in a news release. "The limitations implemented today on the use of 'chokeholds,' 'carotid restraints' and 'no-knock' warrants, combined with our recent expansion of body-worn cameras to DOJ's federal agents, are among the important steps the department is taking to improve law enforcement safety and accountability."

Also on Ifill's list of Justice Department wins is a review to make sure it isn't awarding grants to law enforcement agencies that engage in racial discrimination. That review could have wide-reaching effects, touching education, health care, transportation, pretty much every facet that receive federal funding, The New York Times reported. "Approximately $4.5 billion in federal funding flows through the department to police departments, courts and correctional facilities, as well as victim services groups, research organizations and nonprofit groups," Times writer Katie Benner wrote. "All of these organizations, not just police departments, could be affected by this review."

Ifill tweeted it's been a long time since she's seen a week like last week, with the Justice Department announcing multiple measures to reform criminal justice "each with the potential to result in fundamental shifts in longstanding discriminatory practices." "I'm remembering AG Garland's confirmation testimony in which he explained that he needed AAG @vanitaguptaCR & Asst AG for Civil Rights @KristenClarkeJD on his team in particular to help him with critical areas of the work with which he does not have experience.

"This week feels like an important return on his commitment to assembling this rich team."

Kristen Clarke, a longtime voting rights advocate, was confirmed on May 25, making her the first woman and the first Black woman to lead the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division since it was created in 1957. When Gupta was confirmed on April 21, she became the first woman of color and the first civil rights lawyer to serve as associate attorney general.

Ifill went on to tweet: "For many I know this all may seem slow and clunky - it is after all, the government. I'm gratified to see that they're using the tools they have to undertake measures civil rights groups have been asking for for years. And they're working carefully and smart."

General Refused Trump Demand To 'Shoot' Racial Justice Protesters

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former President Donald Trump wanted the military to take aggressive action against protesters following the disturbing death of George Floyd. A new book documents the former president's disturbing demands to quell the protests.

In the new book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender details the series of events that led to Trump's downfall.At one point in the book, he also discusses the nationwide protests that erupted following Floyd's death. According to Bender, Trump allegedly wanted physical harm to be brought against protesters and even suggested that they be shot.

Although the vast majority of protests were non-violent and peaceful, Trump still demanded to see law enforcement take physical action. "That's how you're supposed to handle these people," Trump told his administrative officials, according to Bender's reporting. "Crack their skulls!"

"Well, shoot them in the leg — or maybe the foot," Trump reportedly said. "But be hard on them!"

In addition to the verbal remarks, the former president is also said to have used a number of videos as examples of the pushback he wanted to see. CNN also offered details about Trump's conversations behind closed doors at the White House. He reportedly told members of his administration that he wanted the military to "beat the f--- out" of protesters.

Although General Mark A. Milley and former U.S. Attorney General Barr William reportedly made attempts to push back against the president's dangerous rhetoric, he would only back down temporarily.

Another incident reported in the book centered on one of Milley's exchanges with Trump's former senior policy adviser Stephen Miller. When Miller reportedly referred to some of the states as "war zones," Milley reportedly told him to "shut the fuck up."

St. Louis Couple Who Threatened Protesters Must Surrender Guns

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The infamous St. Louis couple that made headlines last summer after brandishing guns at Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters must now surrender their guns. Needless to say, they are not pleased with the order.

According to KMOV, Mark and Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to a number of charges in connection with their altercation with protesters. Patricia McCloskey entered a guilty plea for misdemeanor harassment and was fined a total of $2,000. Mark McCloskey entered a guilty plea for a misdemeanor fourth-degree assault charge. The two also had to agree to surrender the weapons used during their exchange with protesters.

But despite the guilty pleas and their agreement to turn over their weapons, Mark McCloskey has made it clear that he does not regret his actions. From the steps of the courthouse in St. Louis, Mo., he said, "I'd do it again," later adding, "Any time the mob approaches me, I'll do what I can to put them in imminent threat of physical injury because that's what kept them from destroying my house and my family."

As reports began circulating about their case again, McCloskey also took to Twitter with his reaction. "A year ago, the mob came to my door to attack my family— I backed them down," he tweeted. "The mob came for me, the media attacked me & prosecutors tried to punish me for defending my family They dropped all charges, except for a claim I instilled 'imminent fear' in the mob I'd do it again."

Special prosecutor Richard Callahan also weighed in and admitted that he believes the couple's consequences are reasonable.

"But I think that their conduct was a little unreasonable in the end," Callahan said. "I don't think people should view this case as some type of betrayal or assault on the Second Amendment. We still have the Second Amendment rights. It's just that the Second Amendment does not permit unreasonable conduct."

America Marks Slavery's End On New 'Juneteenth' National Holiday

New York (AFP) - With marches, music and speeches, Americans on Saturday celebrated "Juneteenth," the newly declared national holiday that marks the end of slavery and which comes a year after George Floyd's murder sparked anti-racism protests. Hundreds of events were held across the country, from New York to Los Angeles, and most notably in Galveston, Texas, the symbolic heart of the Juneteenth commemoration. For on June 19, 1865, it was in that Texas coastal area that the Union Army -- victorious after the bitterly fought Civil War -- announced to African Americans that, even if some in Texa...

GOP Senate Hopeful And Wife Plead Guilty After Waving Guns At Protestors

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A Republican Senate hopeful in Missouri and his wife pleaded guilty on Thursday to misdemeanor charges. The pair became conservative movement heroes last June after they brandished guns at nonviolent protestors marching against systemic racism.

Mark McCloskey admitted to fourth-degree assault and to pay a $750 fine. His wife, Patricia, will pay $2,000 for second-degree harassment. Both will forfeit the firearms used.

"The prosecutor dropped every charge except for alleging that I purposely placed other people in imminent risk of physical injury, right, and I sure as heck did," Mark McCloskey told reporters. The two had originally been indicted in October on felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering.

"That's what the guns were there for and I'd do it again any time the mob approaches me, I'll do what I can to place them in imminent threat of physical injury because that's what kept them from destroying my house and my family," he added.

The McCloskeys made national news for their response to Black Lives Matter protestors from the lawn of their St. Louis home. The couple resides in the same gated community as then-St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, whose home protestors were marching on to protest her actions in the wake of the George Floyd murder. As the activists marched, Patricia pointed a handgun at them and Mark held an AR-15 rifle.

After this incident, the Republican National Committee invited the pair to speak at the August 2020 national convention. "What you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country," they warned voters in a fearmongering speech.

Last month, Mark McCloskey — an attorney — announced that he would seek the GOP nomination for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt.

"An angry mob marched to destroy my home and kill my family, I took a stand to defend them," he tweeted. "I am a proven fighter against the mob When the mob comes to destroy our home, our state, our nation— I'll defend it I will NEVER BACK DOWN."

He brags on his campaign website that he and his wife "held off a violent mob through the exercise of their 2nd Amendment rights." And he promises to "continue fighting for President Trump's agenda" if elected and to defend "law and order."

Other candidates running for the nomination include Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who opposed charging the McCloskeys and claimed they were just "defending their property and safety"; Rep. Vicky Hartzler, one of Congress' most extreme opponents of LGBTQ rights; and ex-Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned from office in the face of an alleged revenge porn scandal in 2018.

Published with permission of Thee American Independent Foundation.