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Tag: far right violence

'I'm Not White': Latino Lawmaker Talks Fear Of Death On January 6th Attack

California Rep. Jimmy Gomez said the halls of Congress had already been hostile before the previous president incited his white insurrectionist supporters to violently storm the U.S. Capitol to try to overturn the 2020 election one year ago today.

The Oversight and Reform vice-chair told Newsweek that the House was amid a vote on the Build Back Better bill last November when he was verbally accosted in an elevator by an unmasked Republican legislator. "You people are ruining the fucking country,” he said Texas Rep. Roger Williams told him. “Gomez, who is Mexican-American, was taken aback,” Newsweek reported. Williams, meanwhile, voted to overturn democracy and against the impeachment of the disgraced former president.

“Every member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) inside the building during the attack who spoke with Newsweek thought it would be the last day of their life,” the report said leading into the one-year anniversary of the insurrection. Gomez said that even as he considered ways to look like less of a target to the insurrectionists—such as removing his Congressional pin and jacket—he could not allow himself to just run away. “So he began helping lawmakers who were older and couldn't move as quickly as he could,” the report continued.

California’s Nanette Baragán told Newsweek that she had similar intuition to hide her pin. But other things could not be so easily hidden.

"The part that is not often spoken of is the fear members of Congress of color had," she said in the report. "When you're a person of color and a member of Congress, the thought on that day was ‘hide your pin, I'm not white, I'm going to be a target.’ That was something that was really real."

It wasn’t just members of the Hispanic Caucus, either. “One year after Jan. 6, Sarah Groh, Representative Ayanna Pressley’s chief of staff, still does not know what happened to the panic buttons torn from their office,” Boston Globe’s Jazmine Ulloa tweeted earlier this week. “It’s one of many details still under investigation, and a memory that continues to haunt her.”

Ulloa writes in her piece that the U.S. Capitol is also a workplace for janitors and food service workers. Some of these workers, notably Black janitors, had to clean up the mess created by white insurrectionists.

For Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar, the insurrection brought back terrible memories of the white supremacist mass shooting that shook El Paso in 2019. In tweets immediately after the insurrection, she wrote that the terrorists “not only breached the Capitol and got into Statuary Hall, but they were banging on the locked doors of the House Chamber as we were told by Capitol Police to get down on our knees.”

In his House testimony last July, U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell recalled how he also had his life threatened by racist insurrectionists.

“I was at the front line and apparently, even through my mask, they saw my skin color and said, ‘You’re not even an American,’” the Latino U.S. military veteran told legislators. Naturalized as an American citizen more than two decades ago, Gonell said insurrectionists “called me traitor, a disgrace and that I, an Army veteran and a police officer, should be executed.”

"This wasn't a group of tourists. This was an armed insurrection,” President Biden said during stirring remarks on Thursday. “They weren't looking to uphold an election. They were here to overturn one."

In a statement Thursday, Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego said that “if we want to keep our democracy intact, then we must bring to justice those responsible for Jan. 6th, including everyone from those who laid siege to the building to those who sat idle in the White House or in Congress as their plans came to fruition. He urged the passage of pro-democracy legislation including the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. “To do so is not a partisan or political issue—it is the bare minimum we must do if we want to keep our democracy.”

Article reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

At Idaho Event, Far Rightist Asks 'When Do We Kill These People?'

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The politics of eliminationism—in which ordinary democratic discourse is replaced by the constant drumbeat of demonization that depicts one's political opponents as inhuman objects fit only for extermination—has been growing steadily in America for well over a decade, reaching a fever pitch during Donald Trump's tenure in the White House.
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Black 'American' Flags Hoisted By Far Right Signal ‘No Quarter’ For Liberals

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Far-right extremists over the years have adopted a number of flag designs as their representative banners. First it was the yellow "Don't Tread On Me" Gadsden flag flown by the Patriot movement and tea party. The alt-right came up with its Naziesque "Kekistan" banner. In the past few years, the prominent use of flags by belligerent far-right Trump fans, particularly those in "Trump Trains" or participating in right-wing invasions of urban liberal centers, has ranged from basic Trump or MAGA banners to "Blue Lives Matter" flags to their most recent "Fuck Biden" iterations.

Now, amid far-right protests against COVID-related vaccine and mask mandates, far-right extremists are unfurling their latest symbol: An all-black American flag, with stars and stripes mainly visible through variations in material and shading. "No quarter shall be given" is the black flag's traditional message—and in the context of the building drumbeat of right-wing "civil war" talk, a deeply ominous one. People flying them are essentially signaling that they're prepared to kill their liberal neighbors.


The black flags have been showing up at various right-wing protests, such as last weekend's "Health Freedom Rally" in Spokane, Washington—really a low-turnout affair mainly comprised of anti-vaccination protesters standing on a street corner, waving flags. One of these was a black American flag. Another one turned up when the protest moved to Riverfront Park.

The same flags have been showing up on people's home flag displays as well, as Michelle Davis of Living Blue Texas observed in a post headlined, "Are Your Republican Neighbors Planning On Killing You?" Primarily, videos of people erecting these flags on the fronts of their homes are being widely shared on social media, particularly TikTok and Facebook; Davis reported finding hundreds of them.

Black flags have a particular historical meaning for Americans: They first appeared on Civil War battlegrounds, carried by some Confederate Army units, and symbolizing the intent of the soldiers to neither seek any quarter nor give any—essentially, the opposite of the white flag of surrender, signifying that enemy combatants are to be killed rather than taken prisoner. It's a vow to massacre their enemies.

Its use in the Civil War primarily appears to have been featured in some of the heinous massacres of Black Union soldiers in the war, notably at the Battle of the Crater and at Fort Pillow. Both battles are considered Confederate atrocities.

The people posting the "black flag" videos on TikTok appear primarily to use two different pieces of music as accompaniment: The first, "Raise the Colors," is a gloomy sea shanty from Pirates of the Caribbean 2; the second, the song God We Need You Now by country rapper Struggle Jennings and cowriter Caitlynne Curtis, features QAnon-derived lyrics that threaten retribution for the people who "desecrate" the "values of our country and our God":

We've been dancing with the devil way too long
I know it's fun but get ready to pay your dues
Oh God, come back home
This crazy world is filled with liars and abusers
We need you now before we're too far gone
I hope one day they finally see the truth
God, we need you now

Davis noted that the same right-wing channels where the black flag-raisings are being posted are similarly rife with "patriots" advising their cohorts to prepare for a civil war. "Who are their enemies? Pretty much any non-Conservative. You know, Democrats, Liberals, LGBTQ, BIPOC, and the vaccinated," she notes. "So, we're the enemy, and they're openly professing to want to execute us."

Their primary grievance appears currently to revolve around COVID restrictions, with a number of military members talking about their imminent discharges for refusing to be vaccinated.

"The biggest message they have been sending out is, 'it's time' or 'the time is now'," Davis notes. "They primarily use Tik Tok as a recruiting tool and let others know their willingness to commit violence. Then they tell people to message them or where to find them on Telegram."

Some of the people posting videos of black flag hangings appear to be police officers, including one from Pea Ridge, Arkansas, who takes pains to carefully fold and unfold both his ordinary American flag and his all-black version. Several "black flag" groups have already formed on Facebook, and some Twitter accounts, such as the Michigan-based "Great Lakes Black Flag Coalition" ("Our mission is to unite Liberty minded organizations, communities and individuals for the purpose of promoting and restoring Freedom") specifically reference the symbol.

American far-right extremists have fantasized about embarking on a "second civil war" for several decades now, but the idea began building in intensity during the tea party years, when militia groups like the "Three Percenters"—whose name references its members' desire to embark on a "second American Revolution"—began attracting significant numbers of participants. It began gaining real traction during Donald Trump's tenure as president, mainly through the growth of such phenomena as the "Boogaloo" movement, which is specifically focused on preparing for a civil war.

Trump himself encouraged this narrative by threatening to unleash a civil war if Congress dared to impeach him, which sparked a wave of fevered preparations among his "patriot" fans in the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Three Percenters and similar far-right groups. When it became apparent late in the 2020 campaign that he was likely headed for defeat at the polls, the civil-war discussions became intense, particularly among militia groups and white nationalists who were engaged in street-brawling protests, and "Boogaloo" activists tried leveraging street protests as opportunities for violence. Terrorism experts warned even then that fanatical Trump supporters were likely to engage in acts of mass violence.

This same, faux-patriotic worldview is what eventually inspired the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, which was the apotheosis of the GOP's two-decades-and-longer descent into right-wing authoritarianism, fueled by eliminationist hate talk, reality-bereft conspiracist sedition, anti-democratic rhetoric and politics, and the full-throated embrace under Trump of the politics of intimidation and thuggery. There was a reason the insurrectionists believed they were all partaking of a "1776 moment": they envisioned themselves as heroic patriots saving America from the commies.

If anyone believes the radicalized American right's drive to push the nation into bloody civil strife was somehow expiated or exhausted that day, they only need check the presence of black American flags the next time there is a right-wing protest in their town. Or maybe they can just check the front porches in their neighborhoods.

Did Proud Boys Know Their Leader Was Longtime Police Informant?

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

In a weird turn of events, Enrique Tarrio, a chairman for the extremist organization Proud Boys, who organized a massive event in Portland, Oregon, last year, has a past as an informer for federal and local law enforcement, Reuters reported. A federal court proceeding transcript from 2014, obtained by the news service, found that Tarrio had been working undercover for investigators since his arrest in 2012.

During the Miami hearing, a federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, and Tarrio's lawyer detailed Tarrio's undercover work and claimed he had helped authorities prosecute at least 13 people in multiple cases involving drugs, gambling, and human smuggling.

However, in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, Tarrio denied working undercover and providing information on others. "I don't know any of this," he said, referring to what was shared in the transcript. "I don't recall any of this."

According to the transcript, both the prosecutor and Tarrio's defense attorney requested a reduction in Tarrio's prison statement due to his involvement as an informant. While Tarrio acknowledged the reduction in his sentence from 30 months to 16 months, he insisted it was made because he and his co-defendants cleared up questions about their own case.

In regards to a smuggling case, Jeffrey Feiler, Tarrio's attorney, said that Tarrio, "at his own risk, in an undercover role met and negotiated to pay $11,000 to members of that ring to bring in fictitious family members of his from another country. "

Oddly enough, not only do the court transcripts contradict Tarrio's denial, but so do statements from the federal prosecutor.

"He cooperated with local and federal law enforcement, to aid in the prosecution of those running other, separate criminal enterprises, ranging from running marijuana grow houses in Miami to operating pharmaceutical fraud schemes," prosecutor Vanessa Singh Johannes confirmed to Reuters.

Tarrio gained public attention after becoming the national chairman for the Proud Boys in 2018. The group began gaining further national attention after Donald Trump mentioned the hate group during a presidential debate. Instead of denouncing white supremacy as he was asked to do, Trump gave the group orders: "Proud Boys: Stand back and stand by," he said. "But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing [problem]."

As a violent Trump supporter, Tarrio organized protests and other events and encouraged a "war" after Trump lost the election last year. While he was arrested on Jan. 4, two days before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, by Washington police, at least five Proud Boys members were charged in the riot. Tarrio was charged with possessing two high-capacity rifle magazines and burning a Black Lives Matter banner during a protest in December. It's interesting how convenient it was that he was arrested before other serious crimes took place. While there is no evidence that he has cooperated with federal authorities since his Miami hearing, the timing of his arrest makes one wonder if he was still working with the FBI.

Additionally, the documents discovered by Reuters shed light on the fact that the leader of the Proud Boys group has repeatedly said in interviews he would never let police know of Proud Boys' plans, but he may have been collaborating with criminal investigators on multiple occasions in the past.

"Well if you're in the Proud Boys, you've gotta be pretty nervous," said Kendall Coffey, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, according to NBC News. "Because if this person was working as a confidential informant, almost like an undercover agent or secret agent, you are wondering, 'What is it that he could be saying about us some day?'"

If he was, there is no doubt that Tarrio has now denied helping law enforcement out of fear of backlash.

In a statement to Reuters, Johannes noted that she was surprised to see that the defendant, who she prosecuted in the past, has been a key contributor to violent political movements. "I knew that he was a fraudster, but had no reason to know that he was also a domestic terrorist," she said.

Officials are still in the process of investigating the role extremist groups like the Proud Boys played in the insurrection of the Capitol. While Tarrio wasn't present during the incident, he did make a trip to Washington, D.C. days prior. Who knows what his plans were then. Even if he did help investigators in the past, that does not dismiss the actions he has carried out or encouraged in these last few years.

So far, at least 150 people have been charged in association with the crimes committed at the Capitol at the start of this month. Despite what charges the rioters who invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6 face, the conspiracy theories, groups, and ideology they followed still remain. Until those factors are addressed, violence of this nature will continue.

House Democrat Will Introduce Bill To Expel QAnon Rep. Greene

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A Democratic lawmaker on Wednesday night announced he will introduce a bill to expel Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from Congress, saying Greene's calls for violence against Democratic lawmakers as well as her support for offensive and baseless conspiracy theories about mass shootings make her a danger to the country and warrant her immediate removal.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) cited CNN's uncovering of Facebook posts Greene wrote and liked in 2018 and 2019 that called for the execution of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, as the reason he is introducing the expulsion resolution.

But he also cited Greene's support for conspiracy theories that said mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 were a hoax meant to build support for gun control — comments that drew outrage and demands for her expulsion from the parents of the victims and survivors of those shootings.

"As if it weren't enough to amplify conspiracy theories that the September 11 attacks were an inside job and the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was staged, a string of recent media reports has now confirmed that Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene had previously supported social media posts calling for political violence against the Speaker of the House, members of Congress, and former President Barack Obama," Gomez said in a news release announcing his expulsion resolution.

"Such advocacy for extremism and sedition not only demands her immediate expulsion from Congress, but it also merits strong and clear condemnation from all of her Republican colleagues, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell," the statement said.

Greene has been a problem for McCarthy since she began her bid for a safe Republican House seat in 2020.

Back in November, after Greene officially won her race, McCarthy told the country to give Greene an "opportunity" to serve before condemning her, even though her racist, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic comments were already well known.

So was her support for the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory, which falsely said Donald Trump was going to take down a secret "cabal" of Hollywood actors and Democratic lawmakers for running a child sex-trafficking ring. The theory has no basis in fact, yet Trump let it fester by refusing to say it was false. Ultimately, many QAnon followers took part in the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which saw five people die.

But Greene has caused even more problems since her arrival in Washington, D.C.

She's put her fellow members of Congress in danger by refusing to wear masks. And she helped incite the insurrection by pushing the baseless lie that Trump won the election, which helped radicalize the insurrectionists.

A McCarthy aide said he was going to have a "conversation" with Greene after her calls for violence against Democratic lawmakers became public. But it's unclear what that "conversation" would lead to.

Expulsion from Congress requires two-thirds majority of the House. That would require a number of Greene's Republican colleagues to vote to expel her.

For now, Greene is a test of how big Republicans' appetite is for supporting an extremist within their ranks.

"Her very presence in office represents a direct threat against the elected officials and staff who serve our government, and it is with their safety in mind, as well as the security of institutions and public servants across our country, that I call on my House colleagues to support my resolution to immediately remove Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from this legislative body," Gomez said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Another Trump Fanatic Busted -- For Threatening Family Of Rep. Jeffries

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The FBI on Tuesday arrested a California man for sending threatening text messages to family members of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) as well as a family member of an unnamed New York City-based journalist, according to a complaint filed in federal court.

Robert Lemke was charged with one count of threatening interstate communications after he allegedly texted Jeffries' brother on Jan. 6 — the day of the deadly pro-Trump insurrection at the United States Capitol — and threatened to hurt Jeffries' family if he did not overturn the election results.

"Your brother is putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words," Lemke wrote in the text, according to the complaint. "We are armed and nearby your house. You had better have a word with him. We are not far from his either."

Lemke texted that he also knew where Jeffries' kids were located, saying, "Your words have consequences. Stop telling lies; Biden did not win, he will not be president. We are not[] white supremacists. Most of us are active/retired law enforcement or military. You are putting your family at risk. We have armed members near your home."

The complaint does not identify Jeffries, instead saying the victim was the brother of "Congressman-1."

However, Jeffries confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that he was the member of Congress in the complaint.

Lemke is the latest Trump fan to be charged with making threats to Democratic lawmakers after buying into Trump's lies about voter fraud and stolen elections.

In November, shortly after Trump lost the 2020 election, a New York man was arrested for threatening to kill now-Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Over the course of his four-year tenure, dozens of Trump supporters have either been arrested for making threats or for carrying out violence against those who did not support Trump leading up to the election.

But that number has swelled into the hundreds since the Jan. 6 insurrection, when a mob incited by Trump himself waged a violent and deadly attack at the Capitol.

The FBI on Tuesday said that roughly 135 people have been arrested for their role in the terror attack at the Capitol, which left five people dead, including one Capitol Police officer. Hundreds more could be arrested in the coming days, as the FBI has identified more than 400 suspects, NBC News reported.

"Regardless of the level of criminal conduct, we're not selectively targeting or just trying to charge the most significant crime," acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said at a news conference on Tuesday, according to NBC's report. "If a crime was committed we are charging you, whether you were outside or inside the Capitol."

Jeffries appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday and spoke about the threats his family received, which he said "unfolded at the same moment that we had been evacuated" from the House chamber during the violent insurrection.

Jeffries thanked the law enforcement officers who arrested Lemke, and placed blame for the threats directly on Trump himself, who Jeffries said "is responsible for this type of activity."

"He's the person who has perpetrated the Big Lie that he actually won the election and that the presidency was stolen by Joe Biden and Democrats in the House," Jeffries told MSNBC's Chris Hayes. "That's why there were people who violently attacked the Capitol, who were there to assassinate Nancy Pelosi, hang Mike Pence, and hunt down members of Congress. And now you've got Senate Republicans who want to whitewash the whole thing. We're not going to allow them to whitewash anything."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

The Proud Boys Return To Neverland

So, the Proud Boys now judge Donald Trump "a total failure" and "extraordinarily weak." The members of the far-right group understood at last that when the former president denounced them for doing what he incited them to do, they looked ridiculous.

How to save face? They couldn't concede that posting pictures of themselves engaged in a murderous assault on the U.S. Capitol was supremely stupid. No, it was that Trump was too cowardly to join them. But thinking that he would was also supremely stupid.

After winding the mob up with insane ranting about a "stolen election," Trump urged it to march to the Capitol to stop the counting of votes. "You'll never take back our country with weakness," he said. "And I'll be there with you."

Of course, he wasn't there with them. It was some strange Neverland these Lost Boys came from. How else explain their expecting Trump to expose himself to the swarm, much less risk injury in a violent encounter?

While the boys were vandalizing, looting and threatening to hang elected officials, according to The Washington Post, Trump serenely watched the rampage on White House TVs. At a certain point, though, it dawned on the president that the unfolding horror was not in his interests. He conferred with advisers and lawyers to ensure he wouldn't take the rap for it.

Thus, at 2:38 p.m. Eastern time, after a Capitol Police officer had already been killed, he tweeted, "Stay peaceful!" He then issued a video in which he told the herd to go home.

A day later, he condemned the blockheads for their "heinous attack" and said he was "outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem." And to think that some of the Proud Boys actually expected a presidential pardon for their crimes.

The main objective here is not to point out the treachery of Trump. It's not even to question the right wing's willingness to believe that Trump hadn't lost. With all those conspiracy theories infesting their media — and weeks of getting pounded by a charismatic speaker's lies — one could envision their swallowing the nonsense that dark forces had denied victory to he whom they called "Emperor Trump."

The Proud Boys' grasp on reality was never all it could be, but still. The group had it together enough to closely follow Trump's 86 unsuccessful legal challenges to the election results. It should have been easier to note Trump's long history of covering his rear end and employing an army of lawyers to countersue those he had betrayed. But somehow, the Lost Boys thought they'd be an exception.

And so, they portrayed the double-cross as an unexpected abuse of what they imagined as their honor. They hit back — or so they thought. "The Proud Boys Now Mock Trump" is how a New York Times headline characterized their criticism.

With all due respect to the headline writer, the people being mocked are the right-wing rioters facing criminal charges after being turned in by their children, ex-wives and (former) employers. Trump is back at Mar-a-Lago, smelling the sweet chlorine from his swimming pool and playing golf.

The insurrectionists now have their own lawyers. Despite the "heinous" nature of their acts, some of the legal advisers have taken the tack of portraying their clients as naive nitwits.

The lawyer representing the "QAnon Shaman" says the would-be actor regrets what he did but was duped by Trump. And he refers to his client in clownish terms — as "the guy with the horns and the fur, the meditation and organic food."

The Proud Boys are now saying in online posts that the group should drop politics and abandon both parties. They may be on to something, finally.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.