Lazy Caturday Reads
Posted: September 18, 2021 Filed under: just because
Boy with a Cat, by Christopher Wood, 1926
Law enforcement sources are preparing for a planned Trumpist “Justice for January 6” rally today even though many Trump fans are claiming it could be a “false flag” and telling others not to attend. This time Capitol Police are not taking chances on a repeat of the January 6 insurrection.
The New York Times: Capitol Area on Edge Over Right-Wing Protest of Jan. 6 Arrests.
Law enforcement and residents of the District of Columbia were on high alert on Saturday as far-right demonstrators were expected to gather at the foot of the Capitol to protest the jailing of Donald J. Trump supporters who stormed the building on Jan. 6.
The Defense Department put 100 National Guard troops on standby. The Capitol Police erected fencing around Capitol Hill. Even youth soccer games were canceled before the “Justice for J6” rally, the first significant gathering of right-wing demonstrators at the Capitol since a mob attacked the building in January as Congress was officially certifying President Biden’s victory.
The rally is being organized by Matt Braynard, a former Trump campaign operative, and his organization, Look Ahead America. The organization has demanded that the Justice Department drop charges against what the group calls “nonviolent protesters” facing charges stemming from the Jan. 6 riot. Organizers have secured a permit for 700 attendees, according to the document.
Mr. Braynard has told protesters to be peaceful, “respectful and kind” to the hundreds of police officers expected to meet them, and to refrain from bringing signs, flags or clothing promoting a candidate or objecting to the 2020 election.
“What we’re looking for is pure patriotism,” he said in a promotional video.
But the Department of Homeland Security has warned of potential violence.
“We are aware of a small number of recent online threats of violence referencing the planned rally, including online discussions encouraging violence the day before the rally,” the department’s intelligence officers wrote in a report obtained by The New York Times.
The Washington Post: Justice for J6: What to know about Saturday’s rally for those arrested in the Capitol riots.
Demonstrators in support of the pro-Trump mob that mounted the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol are returning to the scene of the insurrection Saturday to demand “justice” for those arrested in the riot.
Organizers of the “Justice for J6” rally argue that many of the hundreds of people charged during the January insurrection, when a crowd incited by President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election stormed the Capitol, were actually nonviolent and participating in a political protest.
Now, rally organizers argue, those people are facing unjust charges and being detained as “political prisoners,” an assertion that has exploded beyond the far right and been embraced in mainstream conservatism….
The “Justice for J6” rally is scheduled to begin at noon at Union Square, a public park near the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Organizers are expecting around 700 attendees, according to a permit application submitted to the U.S. Capitol Police Board by Look Ahead America, a group that has planned protests in support of people arrested in the riot.
However, many far-right extremists have actually discouraged people from attending this rally, and there does not appear to be widespread coordination to bring people to the demonstration, researchers who study domestic extremism said.
Users in far-right Internet forums and groups have claimed without evidence that the rally is a “trap,” created by the federal government to lure demonstrators to Washington, where federal officials will arrest them. Users also allege without evidence that the event will be infiltrated by left-wing activists who will disguise themselves as Trump supporters and deliberately cause trouble to make the rallygoers look unlawful.
It still seems wise that law enforcement organizations are prepared and on alert. It doesn’t take a large mob to set off a bomb somewhere.
John Everett Millais, A Flood
USA Today talked to the organizer of today’s event: ‘Might just be me and a bullhorn’: Meet the unlikely organizer of the Justice for J6 rally in DC.
The organizer of Saturday’s rally, aimed at recasting Jan. 6 as something other than the violent insurrection it was, immediately appears as an unlikely messenger for the Republican far-right.
Until Matt Braynard emerged as the face of a demonstration, staged to support hundreds arrested in the Capitol riots, the Republican operative had a relatively modest public profile, though a recent spate of false voter fraud claims has gained him financial support.
Yet in the run-up to Saturday’s event, he has been everywhere – including a Friday appearance on C-SPAN.
In recent days, Braynard has appeared to downplay expectations for the size of the gathering, contending that the heavy security measures are more aimed at “intimidation” than protection and designed to discourage people from attending the so-called “Justice for J6” event.
“It’s all meant to deter people from coming,” said Braynard, a former Trump campaign staffer, whose group has tried to present most of the hundreds arrested in the Capitol attack as “political prisoners.”
“It’s all about dragging down attendance. In the end, it might just be me and a bullhorn,” he told USA TODAY in a brief interview this week.
At MSNBC, Dean Obeidallah argues that the message of the rally itself is extremely problematic: Trump allies are still spreading a dangerous Jan. 6 myth.
The rally sends a clear message: If you commit acts of violence to help Trump, he and his supporters will have your back. Despite the fact that the event may in fact be relatively small at an estimated 700 attendants, that message and what it represents makes this arguably the most dangerous pro-Trump rally yet.
Saturday’s event, named the “Justice for J6” rally, is organized by a former Trump campaign strategist, Matt Braynard, who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations by claiming he had proof of 2020 election fraud, predicated upon the false claim that those still being held in custody are political prisoners.
On Thursday, Trump released a statement that read in part, “Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest,” insisting as he has before that the prosecutions are political in nature.
Adolf Fleishchann Esslingen, Drei Katzen, late 1920s
This is nothing new — Trump has been leading that crusade for some time, baselessly claiming that the Jan. 6 attackers still behind bars “are being treated unbelievably unfairly. ” He’s also compared their treatment by law enforcement to other groups: “You look at people in prison and nothing happens to Antifa and they burned down cities and killed people.” (The Associated Press has detailed that hundreds of people were prosecuted for crimes arising from last summer’s protests, with an average sentence of 27 months in prison.)
Whether or not the rally turns violent, the real damage lies in its bolstering of Trump’s dangerous message, and the possibility that the Jan. 6 attacks may be more than a one-off attempt by Trump and his supporters to overturn future elections using violence. A CBS poll from late July found that 55 percent of Trump voters view the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol as “defending freedom.” (That’s compared to 31 percent of all Americans who share that view.) And among Republicans, only 39 percent “strongly disapprove” of the Jan. 6 attack — down from 51 percent in January.
Those poll numbers, along with recent DHS reports that “some conspiracy theories associated with reinstating former President Trump have included calls for violence if desired outcomes are not realized,” are a wake-up call we cannot afford to ignore.
Although Trump isn’t planning to be at the rally, he is still pushing the notion behind it–that the January 6 thugs are really “political prisoners.” The Washington Post: Republican leaders remain silent as Trump casts perpetrators of Jan. 6 attack as political prisoners.
The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and the falsehoods that inspired it continue to shape the Republican Party, with former president Donald Trump ramping up his defense of the rioters who participated in the violence while marshaling opposition to GOP lawmakers who have denounced the attack as an insurrection and a threat to American democracy.
The state of the party was put into focus this week with the sudden retirement announcement of Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), a onetime rising GOP star who became one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump after the riot, which earned him a Trump-backed primary challenger. He cited a “chaotic political environment” and “the toxic dynamics inside our own party” for his decision.
Meanwhile, Trump this week expressed sympathy for his supporters who participated in the attack and are now being prosecuted by federal authorities ahead of a Saturday rally at the Capitol that is expected to attract a small cohort of far-right protesters, claiming that the arrestees are being held as “political prisoners.”
“Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election,” Trump said in a statement Thursday, adding that the prosecutions have “proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice.”
On Friday, Trump hailed Gonzalez’s retirement, saying “Good riddance to Anthony” and “1 down, 9 to go!” His primary opponent, former Trump aide Max Miller, thanked the former president for his continued support.
Trump’s willingness to not only sweep the Jan. 6 riot under the rug, but to embrace its perpetrators as political martyrs, has been met with silence by GOP congressional leaders, despite their stated desire to move on from the past and focus the party on opposing President Biden’s governing agenda.
Henriette Ronner-Knip, Hide and Seek, mid 19th century
More on this theme from Margaret Carlson at The Daily Beast: The GOP’s Young Stars Don’t Want to Represent Trump’s Party.
Rep. Anthony Gonzales was a rising star in the Republican firmament until a vengeful Trump helped snuff out the re-election campaign of the intelligent, charismatic two-term Ohioan as a warning to others of what awaits infidels in his party.
In 2018, Gonzales was the party’s prize recruit for an Ohio seat, a Cuban American football star out of Ohio State, a first-round draft pick of the Colts with an MBA from Stanford. All was fine—Trump loves athletes and took Gonzales on Air Force One—until Gonzales voted to impeach the president over Jan. 6. That day, Gonzales was present during a phone call in which the president could have called off his mob but didn’t.
Gonzales says that although he could have beaten the crony Trump chose to challenge him, he decided it wouldn’t be worth the effort it would take only to return to a caucus in thrall to a flawed man he called a “cancer” on the party and who forced him to get security to protect his family. His retirement comes two days before his 37th birthday.
Gonzales is a sterling example of who the Republican Party is sacrificing on the altar of The Donald. Trump’s only animating force for interfering in the 2022 primaries is punishing apostates—any party member who suggests that he didn’t leave the White House for the warm waters of Mar a Lago voluntarily, or upheld the results of the election he lost or, worst of all, voted for impeachment. Already, Trump has supported challengers to three secretaries of state who didn’t declare the election stolen, including Brad Raffensperger who refused to “find” the 11,570 votes needed to steal Georgia from Biden.
Trump is also supporting a challenge to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and endorsing Mo Brooks, who’s running to replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby. Brooks stood on the Mall on Jan. 6 in a camouflage hat crying out that, “Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.” So far Trump has endorsed close to 40 candidates in 23 states who have little in common save for their abject fealty to him.
In response to Gonzales retiring, Trump sent out a statement that sounded like something out of the Politburo, noting the congressman’s “tremendous loss of popularity, of which he had little, since his ill-informed and very stupid impeachment vote against the sitting president of the United States, me.”
John Alonzo Williams, Cat on a table in front of a window
Meanwhile, Trump is re-upping his claims about the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Yahoo News: Donald Trump wrote to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to ‘decertify’ the 2020 election.
Donald Trump sent a letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to start “decertifying” the 2020 election, on Friday.
The letter, which was posted to Twitter by Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington, claims to have enclosed evidence of “large scale voter fraud” in Georgia….
The letter, which was posted to Twitter by Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington, claims to have enclosed evidence of “large scale voter fraud” in Georgia.
Trump refers to 43,000 absentee ballots which he claimed violated the chain of custody rules.
“I would respectfully request that your department check this and, if true, along with many other claims of voter fraud and voter irregularities, start the prices of decertifying the election, or whatever the correct legal remedy is, and announce the true winner,” the letter says….
In his letter to Raffensperger, Trump said, “People do not understand why you and Governor Brian Kemp adamantly refuse to acknowledge the now proven facts.”
None of the legal challenges to the 2020 election have been held up in court, and the Justice Department said it found no evidence of widespread fraud.
No matter what happens with this rally today, we are still facing serious attacks on U.S. democracy from one of the two major political parties and their mentally unstable leader.