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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

The Jan. 6 Insurrection Should Have Been No Surprise and Neither Should the Next Right-Wing Coup Attempt

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While the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 was shocking, it was not surprising to Right Wing Watch or other extremism researchers and watchdogs, who repeatedly sounded the alarm about calls from far-right figures for violence and revolution both before and after the 2020 presidential election.

Two weeks before Election Day, Right Wing Watch’s Kristen Doerer, reporting on the disrupted plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, noted:

Right Wing Watch has seen an increase of violent rhetoric across different right-wing subgroups—from conspiracy theorists and religious-right activists to white nationalists and anti-government groups. In some instances, extremists call for civil war, the use of force against Black Lives Matter protesters, and for government leaders to be tried for treason and executed.  

For example, televangelist Jim Baker warned in August 2020 that ​if Trump were not reelected, “we’re gonna have a revolution.” In September, ​Rick Joyner repeated his warnings that the U.S. is headed for civil war, adding that God has “seeded” the country with Christian veterans who “know how to fight in urban warfare” and would help lead “good militias.”

It was into that volatile situation that former President Donald Trump dropped the Big Lie that he won the election only to have it stolen from him and his supporters. The Big Lie—and the implication that President Joe Biden is illegitimate and his supporters are traitors to the Constitution—was repeated relentlessly by Trump, his legal team, Republican allies, right-wing media and movement leaders, and Christian nationalist religious figures.

Some calls to overturn the results of the election, and some threats of violence to keep Trump in power, circulated in far-right corners of social media, while others were made in the full light of day from rally stages just blocks from the White House.

At a rally on the National Mall on Dec. 12, 2020, a wide array of right-wing Christian activists was joined by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and extremist Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, who demanded that Trump invoke emergency powers and martial law to stay in office​ and warned that if Trump did not, he would be leaving it to militias to fight a “much more bloody war.” ​Another rally speaker, right-wing Orthodox Christian blogger George Michalopulos, declared, “I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.” A week earlier, Michalopulos had admiringly reposted on his blog an online call for Trump to “crush” his enemies and “use his authority under the Insurrection Act to arrest and/or kill everyone who participated” in the “plot” to steal the election.

​Around the same time, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trumpist attorney Lin Wood called on Trump to declare martial law rather than concede to Biden. Wood declared on Dec. 1, 2020 that “Our country is headed to civil war.” That same day, an Ohio group with Tea Party roots had taken a full-page ad in the Washington Times that declared, “Without a fair vote, we fear, with good reason, the threat of a shooting civil war is imminent.” The ad urged Trump to declare martial law and have the military oversee a new election “before there is no peaceful way left to preserve our Union.”

Shortly before the first attacks on the Capitol, Right Wing Watch published a report on the rally held by Trump supporters the previous afternoon and evening, noting that Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander led chants of “Victory or death!” and declared, “1776 is always an option.” Alexander’s friend and Stop the Steal colleague Alex Bruesewitz, a political consultant, declared, “What’s going to start a civil war is if we legitimize a rigged and stolen election.” At the same rally, InfoWars host Owen Shroyer rejoiced that members of Congress ​were said to be “in fear right now” and “scurrying around in secret tunnels” like “the little rats that they are” to try to avoid the Stop the Steal activists.

That afternoon, Right Wing Watch noted that the attack was preceded “by widespread calls for violence on pro-Trump social media,” which included a post calling for Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Chief Justice John Roberts to be “dispatched.” In the days before the insurrection, ​attorney Lin Wood​ had also called for Pence and others to be executed.

There is no doubt that the anger generated by Trump’s Big Lie fueled the violence on Jan. 6, 2020. But it didn’t stop there.

On the morning after the insurrection interrupted but failed to stop certification of Biden’s victory, hard-right activist John Guandolo appeared on a Christian television network and told viewers that the insurrectionists showed “restraint” by not executing “traitors” in Congress. “I don’t see any other way out than a real armed counterrevolution to this hostile revolution that’s taking place, primarily driven by the communists,” Guandolo said.

Since then, Trump supporters’ continued​ resentment about what many of them believe was an illegitimate election outcome has been harnessed by Republican elected officials to justify new voter suppression laws and the creation of provisions making it easier for state-level politicians to overrule election officials and the will of the voters. It is also being manipulated by Trumpists like Cleta Mitchell and Steve Bannon to encourage “America First” activists to take power over election machinery by running for office at local and state levels.

Mitchell, a right-wing attorney who participated in the notorious phone call on which Trump badgered Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” enough votes to swing the election to Trump, now heads a massive right-wing political project to gain control over the counting of votes. Last year​, she charged that Democrats “cheated in the presidential election of 2020 and got away with it.” Remarkably, thanks to the political machinations of another supporter of more restrictive voting laws, she simultaneously​ ​serves on the advisory board of a federal government commission to advise state election officials on voting guidelines and procedures.

“The risk of a coup in the next U.S. election is greater now than it ever was under Trump,” prominent law professor Laurence Tribe wrote in The Guardian this week. Tribe noted that shortly after the insurrection, “Republicans abandoned their increasingly half-hearted search for accountability, and the leaders of their party began planning their next bite at the poisoned apple of power, an apple they told themselves had been stolen ​from them despite all evidence to the contrary.”

Indeed, most Republican leaders are aggressively trying to prevent accountability for Trump and others whose rhetoric—at least—inspired the insurrectionists. Right-wing leaders openly disparage the work of the House committee investigating Jan. 6, and some former Trump aides are brazenly subverting the investigation and the rule of law by refusing to respond to congressional subpoenas for their testimony.

A new Atlantic Council report by resident fellow Jared Holt, formerly a Right Wing Watch investigative reporter, documents that domestic extremist movements have responded to ​post-insurrection crackdowns ​by becoming more active in mainstream conservative politics; decentralizing their operations and encouraging more local activism; taking advantage of efforts by right-wing entrepreneurs to create alternative digital platforms; and actively engaging in emotionally charged issues like vaccine and mask resistance and opposition to teaching about racism in U.S. history and institutions.

​NBC journalists Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny​ profiled this week a right-wing activist who exemplifies this shift to local organizing. Denise Aguilar was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, celebrating that “patriots broke open the doors” and calling the day a “revolution.” Now she and fellow activists have focused on mobilizing local opposition to vaccine and mask requirements in schools​,​ seemingly heeding Bannon’s call to ​his​ right-wing listeners to​ “take this back village by village.” As Right Wing Watch ​has​ reported, a wide array of right-wing political groups has embraced campaigns to generate hostility toward local school boards as a way to mobilize voter turnout to take over school boards and build momentum for broader electoral wins in 2022.

The Atlantic Council ​​and Right Wing Watch’s Kyle Mantyla also have reported  that right-wing politicians and influencers have engaged in “historical revisionism” about the insurrection, ​playing down the violence of the insurrection or baselessly blaming left-wing agitators.

Just as the threat that violence would be used to try to block the peaceful transfer of power and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election was clear, the continuing threats to our democracy are ever more apparent—and call for continued vigilance and resistance. Those threats come from continued right-wing promotion of Trump’s Big Lie and its wide acceptance among conservatives, threats and harassment directed at election officials, Republican opposition to truth-telling and accountability about the insurrection, and voter suppression laws and other schemes by GOP state legislators and activists to put control of election machinery in the hands of Trump​ loyalists.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission. 

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News

Lone Dissenter Calls Texas Supreme Court Transgender Ruling ‘Cruel, Unconstitutional’

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texas supreme court

The lone justice to dissent called the Texas Supreme Court ruling to uphold the ban on gender-affirming care for minors “cruel” and “unconstitutional” Friday.

The Texas Supreme Court, currently made up of all Republican justices, decided 8-1 to uphold a ban on providing gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers, to transgender people under the age of 18. The Court said that it did “not attempt to identify the most appropriate treatment for a child suffering from gender dysphoria,” claiming it to be a “complicated question” for doctors and legislators.

The Court ruled that even though “fit parents have a fundamental interest in directing the care, custody, and control of their children free from government interference,” that interest is bound by “the Legislature’s authority to regulate the practice of medicine.”

READ MORE: Republican Gov. Mike DeWine Vetoes Anti-Trans Bill After Talking to Families With Trans Kids

“[W]e conclude the Legislature made a permissible, rational policy choice to limit the types of available medical procedures for children, particularly in light of the relative nascency of both gender dysphoria and its various modes of treatment and the Legislature’s express constitutional authority to regulate the practice of medicine,” Justice Rebeca Aizpuru Huddle wrote.

Justice Debra Lehrmann, the only justice to dissent, was clear in her disagreement. She wrote that the decision means “the State can usurp parental authority to follow a physician’s advice regarding their own children’s medical needs.” Lehrmann identified that gender-affirming care can be “lifesaving.”

She also mocked the idea that the Court’s ruling didn’t “deprive children diagnosed with gender dysphoria of appropriate treatment.” Lehrmann pointed out that by upholding the law, it “effectively forecloses all medical treatment options that are currently available to these children … under the guise that depriving parents of access to these treatments is no different than prohibiting parents from allowing their children to get tattoos.”

“The law is not only cruel—it is unconstitutional,” she wrote, calling the ban a “hatchet, not a scalpel.”

Lehrmann also put the lie to the claims by anti-LGBTQ activists that surgery is common for transgender minors.

“Indeed, the leading medical associations in this field do not recommend surgical intervention before adulthood. Without a doubt, the removal of a young child’s genitalia is something that neither the conventional medical community nor conscientious parents would condone,” she wrote. “Moreover, medical experts do not recommend that any medical intervention … be undertaken before the onset of puberty.”

Lehrmann is correct. Prior to puberty, transgender care is basically limited to social changes. For example, wearing gender-affirming clothing and using appropriate pronouns, according to Advocates for Trans Equality.

Puberty blockers can be prescribed for those who are starting puberty. Puberty blockers are safe, according to Cedars-Sinai, and are not only used for transgender youth. A common purpose is to stop precocious puberty, which affects 1 in 5,000 children, including children as young as 6. For both transgender youth and kids going through precocious puberty, puberty blockers are known to improve patients’ mental health, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Puberty blockers are also fully reversible. However, in terms of trans youth, a study published in The Lancet found that 98% of those on puberty blockers went on hormone replacement therapy upon turning 18. But even for those few teens who realize after being on puberty blockers that they aren’t trans, all they have to do is stop taking them, and their puberty will progress as normal.

 

 

 

 

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BIGOTRY

Rep. Tim Walberg Tells Uganda to ‘Stand Firm’ on ‘Kill The Gays’ Law Ted Cruz Called ‘Horrific’

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Tim Walberg Uganda Kill The Gays Law

Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) delivered a speech in Uganda to defend the country’s President Yoweri Museveni and the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, better known as the “Kill the Gays” law.

Walberg traveled to Uganda in October to attend a national prayer breakfast organized by the Fellowship Foundation, also known as The Family, which also covered the cost of his trip, according to TYT. In the speech, transcribed by the blog Take Care Tim, he told the attendees to “stand firm” in the face of criticism.

“Whose side do we want to be on? God’s side. Not the World Bank, not the United States of America necessarily, not the UN. God’s side,” Walberg said. “I think as we go on here, it says, ‘So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.’ – Who’s gonna do that? God is gonna do that. Your esteemed President, his excellency, President Museveni needs a nation that stands with him and says, though the rest of the world is pushing back on you, though there are other major countries that are trying to get into you and ultimately change you, stand firm. Stand firm.”

READ MORE: Mike Johnson Once Agreed to Speak at ‘Kill the Gays’ Pastor’s Conference – Until an NCRM Report

Walberg made it clear he knew his view would be unpopular in the United States.

“Now, this will probably get back to the national media in the United States, and I expect some pushback, but I’m not gonna give in to them. … I know that your President is a warrior. I like that about him. We’re in a battle, folks. We are in a battle,” he said.

Though Uganda has had homophobia enshrined in its legal code since it was a British protectorate, the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 is a drastic escalation. Previously, homosexuality was punished with life in prison, according to the Advocate. The new law allows the death penalty for those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.” It also bans “promotion of homosexuality,” much like Russia bans queer “propaganda”.

The law is so draconian that Republican Senator Ted Cruz—no ally to the queer communitycondemned it. In May, shortly after Museveni signed the law, Cruz called the law “horrific” on X, formerly Twitter.

This Uganda law is horrific & wrong. Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ is grotesque & an abomination. ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse. #LGBTQ,” Cruz tweeted.

Attempts to pass a similar bill to the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 started in 2014, with a bill also called the “Kill the Gays” law. That form of the bill was built by anti-LGBTQ activist Scott Lively, who previously claimed then-President Barack Obama was secretly gay.

While it didn’t go into effect then, the bill and ones like it kept popping up on Uganda’s parliamentary agenda. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden threatened to cut nearly $1 billion in annual aid to Uganda if the bill passed.

A previous version of this story credited Salon with the initial reporting; Salon had republished the article from TYT. The sourcing has been corrected; NCRM regrets the error.

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Federal Judge Issues Injunction on Idaho Anti-Trans Law Days Before It Takes Effect

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A federal judge issued an injunction Tuesday against an Idaho anti-trans law that would bar prescribing puberty blockers to transgender youth.

The Idaho anti-trans law, House Bill 71, was signed into law by Republican Governor Brad Little last April, according to the Idaho Statesman. It was scheduled take effect on January 1, 2024. Providing gender-affirming care to minors, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgeries would become a felony under the law. This is even though it is exceedingly rare for a person under 18 to be offered these type of surgeries, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday, stopping the Idaho anti-trans law from taking effect in less than a week. Winmill said that the pending lawsuit filed by two trans minors and their parents will most likely succeed, citing the 14th Amendment, according to the Statesman.

READ MORE: ‘I’m Suing’: Montana Democrat Silenced by Republicans in Battle Over Transgender Health Care Files Lawsuit

“Time and again, these cases illustrate that the 14th Amendment’s primary role is to protect disfavored minorities and preserve our fundamental rights from legislative overreach,” he wrote. “That was true for newly freed slaves following the Civil War. It was true in the 20th century for women, people of color, interracial couples and individuals seeking access to contraception. And it is no less true for transgender children and their parents in the 21st century.”

Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador told the paper he will appeal the injunction. Labrador claims “Winmill’s ruling places children at risk of irreversible harm.” The use of the phrase “irreversible harm” echoes the anti-trans book Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier. Shrier’s book endorses the since-debunked theory of “rapid-onset gender dysphoria.” The theory claims girls will declare themselves to be transgender as part of a “social contagion”—basically comparing transitioning to a fad.

Winmill, appointed to the Idaho district court in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, has recently ruled in other pivotal culture-war cases. This August, Winmill blocked Labrador from prosecuting doctors who send patients out-of-state for an abortion, KMVT-TV reported.

In August 2022, he also issued an injunction stopping Labrador from prosecuting ER doctors who provide an abortion in attempts to stabilize a patient, according to the Idaho Capital Sun, while a suit against the law.works its way through the court system. The injunction was overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in September of this year, according to the Capital Sun, though the lawsuit itself is still pending.

 

 

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