School board members and educators in at least nine states this year have been targeted with threats, death threats, and often racist death threats, including in Virginia, Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Vermont, according to local news reports.
Evangelical anti-LGBTQ activist and former Trump advisor Franklin Graham this week jumped on the right wing conspiracy theory that wrongly claims the U.S. Dept. of Justice is investigating parents who merely attend school board meetings to voice their “strong opinions.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland, responding to a request by a nationwide association of school board members urging protection in the face of the rising threats of violence, announced the FBI will investigate anyone who makes a threat against school board members, educators, and staff, citing the “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence.”
“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values,” Garland wrote, noting “criminal conduct” will be investigated.
Franklin Graham, twisting the very clear memo the DOJ released, declared that investigating parents who share their opinions at school board meetings is “communism.”
And he injected his own anti-LGBTQ hatred in his attack, on a topic that’s rarely being discussed these days at school board meetings.
“It’s an ominous sign when the government uses its power to try and silence the voice of the people,” Graham told his 9.7 million Facebook followers. “That’s how communism works.”
“Anyone who speaks against communism or the goals of communism becomes the enemy. And we’re seeing this happen right in our own country. The Biden Administration, which bows to the radical progressive left, would like to silence parents who voice strong opinions against critical race theory and trans radicalism at school board meetings. Unbelievably, the National School Boards Association asked that parent protests at school board meetings be treated as possible acts of ‘domestic terrorism.’ This tactic of intimidation is meant to silence parents with views the Left doesn’t agree with,” Graham said, mischaracterizing the DOJ’s very clear memo.
As NCRM has previously reported, conservatives have spent months organizing and training “grassroots” activists to bombard school board meetings to oppose mask mandates and “critical race theory.” At least one former Trump administration official is involved behind the scenes, and Christopher Rufo, the right wing activist who admitted his goal was to twist critical race theory to mean anything “crazy” the right wants it to also mischaracterized Garland’s order, once against igniting outrage on the right.
“We cannot let the government take over the parenting of our children. School boards and schools should educate, not indoctrinate,” Graham declared. “If anti-woke, anti-socialism, anti-communism citizens like us do not speak up, get involved, and take a stand to preserve what we have in this country, it will disappear right before our eyes—in just one generation.”
MSNBC’s Zerlina Maxwell covered the rise in violent threats against school boards on Thursday, saying: “Individual school board members are getting death threats.”
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‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer is pushing baseless conspiracy theories about the Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon floating over the United States – currently, over Montana – that the Pentagon is tracking, and he’s being widely mocked for his unfounded fear-mongering.
Fox News host Harris Faulkner set the stage perfectly for the far-right Republican from Kentucky, declaring the balloon is “the size of three buses” and that “China says was taken by wind – wind that we can’t substantiate.”
The Kentucky congressman who has falsely described President Biden as “compromised,” and stated he is going to target and investigate him, told Faulkner, “I have concern this is going to be another example of the Biden administration’s weakness on the national scale.”
Comer, 50, a former agriculture commissioner, lamented about Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming it hurt the reputation of America’s military and Commander in Chief.
The balloon, he said, should “never have been allowed” to cross over into the United States.
“My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” he asked, pushing unfounded theories while echoing the far-right’s false claims the COVID-19 virus was developed as a bioweapon and escaped the lab in Wuhan, China.
After suggesting it might have bioweapons, he then said it was “very concerning” the balloon was not shot down before reaching the U.S. – which could have spread the alleged bioweapon.
Faulkner, seen by some as a propagandist, then jumped in to exhibit her surprise that “people on Capitol Hill were not briefed” about the balloon.
“Calling for the president to ‘shoot down’ the craft,” The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona adds, “some in the GOP called the president ‘Beijing Biden’ while claiming this is further proof that ‘Communist China’ doesn’t ‘fear or respect’ Biden.”
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer to Fox News: “My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” pic.twitter.com/0r9JmBl4zo
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 3, 2023
“Honestly,” communications strategist Doug Gordon noted, “just surprised he didn’t find a way to include Hunter’s laptop into that conspiracy theory.”
“Actually, he did later on,” Baragona replied.
National security expert Denver Riggleman, the Republican former U.S. Congressman from Virginia who assisted the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, tweeted: “Bioweapons? FFS”
Referring to Comer’s unfounded bioweapons claim, one Twitter user observed, “Isn’t that more reason not to shoot at it? I’m not saying I know what to do, but logic would dictate ‘don’t shoot at balloons full of bioweapons.’ Right?”
Another noted that the Oversight Chairman should have been listening to the Pentagon’s briefing “taking place now instead of running to get on Fox to talk about something he has no expertise in.”
Another, mocking Comer, noted: “If they were sending a bio weapon, why would they park it over sparsely populated Montana? *rolls eyes*”
Watch the video above or at this link.
GOP’s New ‘Bizarre Obsession’ Shows It Has ‘Gone Crazy’: Morning Joe
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough ripped the Republican Party for focusing on a “bizarre obsession” to stoke a culture war that targets vulnerable teenagers.
A proposed draft of a Florida physical education form would require all high school athletes to provide information on their menstrual cycle to state athletic officials, which the “Morning Joe” host bashed as an unnecessary and cruel attack on a minuscule number of transgender teens who play sports.
“The percentage is so small that they’re doing this to every girl in Florida schools?” Scarborough said. “Talk about overkill. Just stop already.”
“I mean, let’s talk about that Florida law,” Scarborough continued. “Can you imagine doing that as a young girl when you were, like, in high school, middle school? Come on, talk about, again, the obsession over 0.003 percent of the population, and then the unbelievably small number of transgender students who are playing sports. The Florida Republican Party has gone crazy. They sent out tons of mailers on this, the obsession, and now they’re making young girls self-report on menstrual cycles because of this bizarre obsession?”
“This is stupid,” he added. “This is another stupid extension of a culture war where he’s trying to create a culture war around something where there is not a war.”
‘Absolutely Repulsive’: Some House Republicans Are Now Wearing an Assault Weapon Lapel Pin
At least three House Republicans this week began wearing pins in the shape of an assault weapon on their clothing. U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY), U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), and U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) were all caught on camera with the pins, leading some to express outrage.
U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) was among the first to circulate images of the two Republicans wearing the pins.
“Where are these assault weapon pins coming from? Who is passing these out?” he asked.
Where are these assault weapon pins coming from? Who is passing these out? pic.twitter.com/CVtzNHX9k2
— Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) February 1, 2023
Aaron Fritschner, the Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), captured an image of Congressman Clyde wearing the pin on his tie.
they’re not sending their best pic.twitter.com/q7uO6MZHbH
— Aaron Fritschner (@Fritschner) February 1, 2023
“Absolutely repulsive,” Duke University Professor of Global Health and Public Policy, Gavin Yamey said in response to the assault weapon pins. “We have mass shootings almost daily, and the Republicans are wearing assault weapon pins FFS.”
One of the Members wearing the pins, Congresswoman Luna, on Wednesday also participated in a House Natural Resources panel debate to push back on Democrats’ attempt to ban firearms inside the Committee’s hearing room.
She tweeted later, “The same Democrats who are voting to send firearms to Ukraine are telling me I can’t carry one.”
Politico reports the meeting (video below) was “raucous.”
Sociology professor and author Samuel Perry observed, “Republican members of congress are wearing AR-15 lapel pins. That’s not just tone deaf. We find Republicans value gun rights more than any other right, including freedom of speech or religion. No need for a flag or cross pin. The gun is both their patriotic & religious symbol.”
READ MORE: Hunter Biden Is Fighting Back
U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) also pointed to National Gun Violence Survivors Week.
“While gun violence continues to be the leading cause of death for children in our country,
@GOP members are wearing assault rifle pins during #GVSurvivorsWeek. Shameful.”
American historian of Christianity Diana Butler Bass did not mince words: “Always said it was just a matter of time before the GOP replaced the cross with an assault rifle. Guns are their god.”
Democratic Texas state Rep. Gene Wu said the GOP “has stopped playing coy and is now openly and unabashedly praising mass shooters. Will there be special versions to celebrate specific mass shootings?”
Professor of International Relations Nicholas Grossman said: “Legislators from party that defends recent coup attempt by their up-til-recently—and possibly still—party leader replace traditional patriotic flag pin with a pin depicting a rifle.”
California state Sen. Dave Min weighed in, saying, “The debate over 2A [the Second Amendment] has never been about 2A. It’s about ‘disrupting’ civilized society as we know it, and trolling the ordinary Americans concerned about our insane levels of gun violence. That’s why it’s the biggest assholes who are most loudly touting irresponsible gun access.”
The addition of the assault weapon pins to Republican Members’ clothing comes on the heels of U.S. Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL) distributing grenades to fellow Members last week. In a note he declared they are “inert.”
— Morgan Phillips (@_phillipsmorgan) January 26, 2023
See video and photos above or at this link.
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