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Tag: kyle rittenhouse

The Grand Old Party Is Now The Party Of Violence

A Republican running for Northampton County executive in Pennsylvania gave a heated address on August 29 about mask mandates in schools. Steve Lynch is tired, he said, of providing his school board arguments and data (he apparently thinks the data support letting kids go maskless), but the important thing about his rant is the threat of force: "Forget into these school boards with frigging data. ... They don't follow the law! You go in and you remove 'em. I'm going in there with 20 strong men."

That's the kind of language that Republicans are now employing. Lynch has not run for public office before, but he did attend the January 6 rally in Washington, D.C., and has posted on social media that the violence that day was a false-flag operation meant to discredit Trump supporters.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina spoke last week at an event sponsored by the Macon County Republican Party. He delivered the kind of lies that have become routine among some Republicans. The election was stolen — and not just the presidential contest but also that won by Gov. Roy Cooper (who defeated his opponent by a quarter of a million votes). Cawthorn told the crowd that vaccines are harmful to children and urged them to "defend their children." A woman asked what he plans to do about the "535 Americans who have been captured from January 6." Cawthorn, who has apparently heard this before, thundered, "Political hostages!" When someone in the crowd asked, "When are you gonna call us back to Washington?" he replied, "We are actively working on that one."

Insurrection talk is becoming Cawthorn's specialty: "If our election systems continue to be rigged and continue to be stolen, then it's going to lead to one place — and it's bloodshed."

Naturally, former President Donald Trump has endorsed him for "whatever he wants to do."

In neighboring Tennessee, the Williamson County school board was disrupted by anti-mask parents. As doctors and nurses testified that masks would help limit the spread of COVID-19, people cursed and threatened them: "We will find you!" "We know who you are!"

In Georgia, a mobile vaccination site had to be shut down after anti-vaccine protesters showed up to threaten and harass health care workers. "Aside from feeling threatened themselves, staff realized no one would want to come to that location for a vaccination under those circumstances, so they packed up and left," a spokeswoman for the state health department told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

A survey of the rest of the country yields yet more examples.

We are all old enough to remember a time when election workers were public-spirited citizens, usually elderly, who volunteered their time (or got very modest compensation) to sit for hours at polling sites scanning names from lists of voters and handing out little stickers. That America is gone, driven out by a radicalized Republican party. A number of states with Republican majorities have passed laws that would impose criminal fines of up to $25,000 for "offenses" such as permitting a ballot drop box to be accessible before early voting hours or sending an unsolicited absentee ballot application to a voter.

But that's not the worst of it. Election workers have been hounded and threatened. Bomb threats have been emailed to election sites. "You and your family will be killed very slowly," read a text message sent to Tricia Raffensperger after her husband, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, declined to "find" enough votes to flip the state to Trump. As many as 1 in 3 election workers has reported feeling unsafe, and thousands are resigning.

When Rep. Liz Cheney made the principled decision to vote for Trump's impeachment, she noted that one reason more Republicans might not have chosen to join her was that "there were members who told me that they were afraid for their own security — afraid, in some instances, for their lives."

Republicans talk incessantly about other people's violence. The rioters who burned buildings after George Floyd's death. The criminals who make Chicago a murder capital. Immigrants who supposedly terrorize their host nation (they don't).

Criminal violence is a problem, but the kind of violence Republicans are now flirting with or sometimes outright endorsing is political — and therefore on a completely different plane of threat.

Kyle Rittenhouse, an ill-supervised teenager who decided to grab an AR-15 and shoot people at a Kenosha, Wisconsin, riot (killing two and wounding one) was lionized by the GOP. His mother got a standing ovation at a fundraiser in Waukesha. Ashli Babbitt has become a martyr. Allen West, former chair of the Texas GOP, speaks approvingly of secession. Former National Security Adviser and Trump confidant Michael Flynn suggests that we need a Myanmar-style coup. Some 28 percent of Republicans respond affirmatively to the proposition that "because things have gotten so far off track" in the U.S., "true American patriots may have to resort to violence" to save the country.

Maybe that's not so bad? Not even a third. Another poll framed it differently: "The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it." Fifty-six percent of Republicans agreed.

They are playing with fire. Nothing less than democratic legitimacy is on the line. These menacing signals suggest that Jan. 6 may have been the overture, not the finale.

Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the "Beg to Differ" podcast. Her most recent book is Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com

Lawyer For Jan. 6 Defendants Reportedly Hospitalized On Ventilator With Covid

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

John Pierce is the attorney tasked with defending 17 suspected January 6 insurrectionists. Pierce was already working on alleged murderer Kyle Rittenhouse's defense when he added the 17 defendants facing federal charges for storming the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to his client roster. Before that, Pierce was a staunch MAGA supporter who had previously represented Rudolph Giuliani and Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Pierce's Twitter account, which was very active up until August 20, is filled with the kinds of right-wing retweets from Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump Jr., and Mike Cernovich one would expect in this day and age. It also includes a lot of anti-vaxx, anti-mask retweets. After missing a series of court appearances, news has leaked out that the attorney may have tested positive for COVID-19, and may be intubated in an ICU somewhere right now.

Independent journalist Marcy Wheeler reported on her emptywheel blog that the question of Pierce's whereabouts came up during a status hearing for Jan. 6 defendant Shane Jenkins. Jenkins would be insurrectionist defendant No. 18 for Pierce. According to Wheeler, when Judge Amit Mehta asked the attorneys present where Pierce was (in order to clarify issues of representation), Pierce's colleague Ryan Marshall told the judge that "Mr. Pierce is in the hospital, we believe, with COVID-19, on a ventilator, non-responsive."

Whether or not Pierce has received a COVID-19 vaccine is not known, but on August 17, just days before he may have gotten ill with the virus, he replied to someone on Twitter, writing "Not sure actually. All I know is the entire 82nd Airborne couldn't make me get an experimental government vaccine stuck in my arm. #1stCAV."

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On Monday, the Department of Justice filed this "NOTICE REGARDING DEFENSE COUNSEL JOHN PIERCE, ESQ." In it, the DOJ accuses Pierce's associate Ryan Marshall, the man who said Pierce is on a ventilator with COVID-19, of not being "a licensed attorney." As a result, while Pierce's whereabouts are unclear, "Mr. Marshall cannot ethically or legally represent Mr. Pierce's clients." The filing hopes to inform these various courts that Marshall is not a legitimate stand-in for an absent Pierce. According to the government, the last interaction that the courts or the DOJ had with Pierce was during a hearing Monday, Aug. 23. In the past week, up until telling Judge Mehta that Pierce was on a ventilator, Marshall said all kinds of things:

Since that time, the U.S. Attorney's Office has heard conflicting information about Mr. Pierce's health and whereabouts. The morning of Tuesday, August 24, Mr. Pierce was scheduled to appear before Judge Friedman for a status hearing in United States v. Nathaniel DeGrave, No. 21-cr-90. Mr. Pierce was not present at the hearing. Instead, Ryan Marshall—an associate from Mr. Pierce's law firm who is not a licensed attorney—appeared in Mr. Pierce's place and represented to the court that Mr. Pierce's absence was due to a conflict. A few hours later, Mr. Marshall attended a reverse-proffer session with a different defendant represented by Mr. Pierce, telling the Assistant U.S. Attorney that he had just gotten word that Mr. Pierce had been in an accident and was on his way to the hospital. Mr. Marshall then proceeded with the reverse-proffer session in Mr. Pierce's absence.

According to the government's filing, Marshall then said that he had heard both that Pierce had COVID-19 and was in the hospital, and that he didn't have COVID-19. Pierce's colleague, Brody Womack, would not confirm or deny that Pierce was on a ventilator to Business Insider. But he did write that Pierce had been hospitalized on Monday "due to symptoms that he believed might have been related to COVID-19." In an email, Womack wrote:

"John appears to have been suffering from dehydration and exhaustion in relation to his tireless work on behalf of his clients, including the many defendants he represents in connection with the January 6, 2021 protest at the Capitol. John, a former Army tank platoon leader, is a natural-born fighter – both in and out of the courtroom. While John remains under the care of his doctors, we expect him to make a full recovery. John and his family thank everyone for their concern."

In February, after fights with the Rittenhouse family over what was being done with all the money being collected during Kyle's white supremacist publicity tour by Pierce and Kraken-krank Lin Wood in Rittenhouse's name, the Rittenhouses fired Pierce. The Daily Beast reported just weeks before Pierce's disappearance that the Proud Boy-representing attorney seemed to be out of his depth in trying to defend more than a dozen January 6 insurrectionists. They also pointed out that Pierce had a history of running up very large tax debts, dealing with "substance abuse issues," and allegations of domestic violence threats.

Whether or not Pierce is on a ventilator remains to be seen. He is clearly unable to appear in court and the people he is defending at this time should be worried, as his judgment is just as suspect as their own.

Trump Openly Defends Violence By His Supporters — Including Kyle Rittenhouse

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump openly defended the violence of his own supporters during a press briefing on Monday, diminishing the recent attacks in Portland and Kenosha while condemning what he called "this horrible left-wing ideology that seems to be permeating our country."

Asked about his caravan of supporters who drove the streets of Portland, at times shooting paintballs and pepper spray at counter-protesters, Trump refused to condemn the violence.

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Big Credit Card Firms Silent As ‘Christian’ Outfit Raises $265K For Kenosha Killer

Supporters of a man charged with homicide in the shooting deaths of two anti-racism protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week have collected more than $265,000 for his legal defense via a Christian crowdfunding website. The four credit card companies being used to raise the funds have so far stayed silent on the campaign.

Police arrested 17-year-old Illinois resident Kyle Rittenhouse and charged him with multiple felonies, including two counts of first-degree homicide, one count of attempted first-degree homicide, and one count of endangering safety with a deadly weapon.

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