The hate crime mass shooting during a drag show at Club Q, a Colorado Springs nightclub that catered to LGBTQ people and their friends and families, left five people dead, 25 people injured, and a suspect with 305 criminal charges. Club Q co-owner Matthew Haynes testified before Congress Wednesday, telling lawmakers that LGBTQ people are being “slaughtered and dehumanized,” as he read a few excerpts from what he says are the “hundreds” of messages of hate he received in the wake of the attack.
On December 1, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security published its latest terrorism threat report, and for the first time LGBTQI+ people were listed as “targets of potential violence,” which DHS warned could be “lethal.”
Haynes warned the House Oversight Committee during its hearing on “The Rise of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism and Violence in the United States,” that “thoughts and prayers alone are not saving lives. They are not changing the rhetoric of hate. None of us ever imagined that our little bar in Colorado Springs would be the target of the next hate crime. And again, repeat, we were targeted for the next hate crime.”
“We need safe places like Club Q now more than ever, and we need you, our leaders, to support and protect us,” he said, and went on to read from some of the messages he received.
(Warning: graphic and triggering language below and in the videos.)
Reading from one message, Haynes said: “I woke up to the wonderful news that five mentally unstable f*****s and lesbians and 18 injured.”
“The only thing I’m mad about is that the f*****s had courage to subdue the wonderful killer. I hope more shootings happen. Have a blessed day,” he continued, from the same message.
“The shooter was doing God’s work. Five less f*****s. Not enough. Those that stopped him are the devil,”Haynes said, reading from another message.
“All gays should die,” said another message.
Club Q co-owner Matthew Haynes reads hate messages after shooting at his LGBTQ+ club:
“I woke up to the wonderful news that five mentally unstable fa**ots and lesbians and 18 injured. The only thing I’m mad about is that the fa**ots had courage to subdue the wonderful killer.” pic.twitter.com/PUNC7OVQ4H
— The Recount (@therecount) December 14, 2022
“This is hate,” Haynes told Congress.
“It is not just us that is experiencing this. Our hero, Army Veteran Rich Fierro,” one of the people credited with taking down the shooter, “and his wife Jessica told me that they and their daughter have also been receiving similar hate messages.”
Haynes also took the opportunity to blast the 169 House Republicans who voted against the Respect for Marriage Act.
“Finally,” he told the Committee, “my husband and I had the honor to attend the White House ceremony for the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act yesterday. It was honestly the first joy and pride I have felt since these horrific events at Club Q, and while the protections for marriage, like my own, were signed into federal law, I could not help but reflect that 169 Members of Congress voted against that bill.”
“169 of your colleagues hiding behind excuses and schematics and other reasons sent a message to me and it was a clear message that the entire community – I’m sorry, to me and the entire community – that you do not respect my marriage. And through your inaction and your vote you as a leader send a clear message it is okay not to respect the basic human rights of loving who you love. And it is okay to disrespect and not support our marriages.”
“We are being slaughtered and dehumanized across this country in communities you took oaths to protect. LGBTQ issues are not political issues. They are not ‘lifestyles,’ they are not beliefs. They are not choices. They are basic human rights. And so I ask you today, not simply, what are you doing to safeguard LGBTQ Americans but rather, what are you or other leaders doing to make America unsafe for LGBTQ people?”
“Club Q is grieving. We are rebuilding we are fighting. Let’s stop this from happening again. Thank you.”
Watch Haynes’ full opening statement below, his reading from hate messages above, or both at this link.
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Kyle Rittenhouse to Face Wrongful Death Lawsuit After 100-Hour Hunt to Find Him
Kyle Rittenhouse, who skyrocketed to fame in right-wing circles after shooting and killing two protesters during a social rights march in 2020, is now facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the victim’s father, according to PBS.
The lawsuit was filed by John Huber, the father of one of the two victims, and also includes city officials and police officers. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman dismissed motions from the city officials, police officers and Rittenhouse to dismiss the civil rights case in its entirety.
Huber’s lawsuit states that Rittenhouse conspired with police officers to intentionally cause harm to the protesters who were marching in reaction to the shooting of Jacob Blake, who was injured by a Wisconsin police officer.
Rittenhouse, an Illinois resident, drove to the demonstrations in Wisconsin and was a minor at age 17 at the time.
In the ruling Adelman said Huber’s death “could plausibly be regarded as having been proximately caused by the actions of the government defendants. Huber was killed after Rittenhouse was running after he shot and killed his first victim in the parking lot of a car dealership and Huber hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard to disarm him. After falling to the ground Rittenhouse fatally shot Huber and wounded another protester Gaige Grosskreutz, who also has filed a civil lawsuit against Rittenhouse.
Huber’s lawyers and private investigators needed over 100 hours to locate Rittenhouse to serve him with the civil lawsuit paperwork, eventually serving him at his sister’s house. Rittenhouse’s lawyers tried to argue the case should be dismissed because he was not properly served. The judge dismissed that claim.
Rittenhouse has become a popular Republican right-wing speaker at public events and has nearly 1 million followers on Twitter.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Jacob Blake was shot and injured, but not killed, as originally reported.
Hunter Biden Is Fighting Back
After years of being the right wing’s punching bag, Hunter Biden is fighting back.
The 52-year old attorney, investor, lobbyist, father of five, and Navy veteran who just happens to be the son of the President of the United States, is calling for state and federal investigations into how his personal, private information from his now-infamous laptop was disseminated, according to CBS News.
Biden is also threatening a defamation lawsuit against Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
The “flurry of letters to the Delaware attorney general, the Department of Justice, the I.R.S. and attorneys for Fox News and Carlson,” CBS reports, “represent an aggressive new strategy for the president’s son, who is facing long-running, as well as new probes promised by , according to a source familiar with Biden’s approach.”
“This marks a new approach by Hunter Biden and his team,” the source told CBS News. “He is not going to sit quietly by as questionable characters continue to violate his rights and media organizations peddling in lies try to defame him.”
Biden lost his mother and sister in a car crash injuring him and his brother when he was just two years old, and later, that same brother, Beau Biden, the longtime Delaware Attorney General, died from an aggressive cancer of the brain.
CBS reports Biden’s “computer data that was turned over to the FBI showed no evidence of tampering or fabrication, according to an.”
But The Washington Post last year hired two forensic investigators, and they reached different conclusions.
“From a forensics standpoint, it’s a disaster,” said Jake Williams, who the Post describes as “a forensics expert and former National Security Agency operative who once hacked the computers of foreign adversaries.” The other investigator, Matt Green, the Post says is “a Johns Hopkins University security researcher who specializes in cryptography.”
“The drive is a mess,” Green told The Post.
The Post found that “the lack of what experts call a ‘clean chain of custody’ undermined Green’s and Williams’s ability to determine the authenticity of most of the drive’s contents.” The “clean chain of custody” refers to the fact that countless individuals have had access to the hard drive.
“The vast majority of the data — and most of the nearly 129,000 emails it contained — could not be verified by either of the two security experts who reviewed the data for The Post,” the newspaper reported. “Neither found clear evidence of tampering in their examinations, but some of the records that might have helped verify contents were not available for analysis, they said. The Post was able in some instances to find documents from other sources that matched content on the laptop that the experts were not able to assess.”
Meanwhile, CBS News also reports that in a ” letter sent Wednesday, Biden attorney Bryan Sullivan demanded that Fox News and Tucker Carlson devote airtime to retracting statements made about Biden paying ‘rent’ to his father, ‘in what Mr. Carlson implied was essentially a money laundering scheme to finance President Biden’s lifestyle prior to his election … and alluding to Mr. Biden having unauthorized access to classified documents because of his presence at President Biden’s house.’ Sullivan writes that the claims were false, and even after others acknowledged as much, Carlson continued to make them.”
“The letter, which cites California’s defamation statute, notes that the Daily Caller website retracted an article that made similar claims.”
Image via Wikimedia and a CC license
Watch: Angry, Santos Reacts to News DOJ is Investigating His Alleged ‘Ghosting’ With $3000 Raised for Veteran’s Dying Dog
Out of all the unethical actions reportedly taken by U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) – lying about his education, work, ethnicity, and funding, while mysteriously becoming rich overnight – some feel one of the worst things he allegedly did was abscond with thousands of dollars from a GoFundMe charity drive raised to help a veteran’s dying service dog get the care they needed to live.
“Of all the Santos outrages, none has cut more deeply with the public than his (alleged) theft of money from a disabled Navy veteran & his dying dog,” tweeted Larry Sabato, the famed political scientist. “How low will Santos go? This low.”
Now, the Dept. of Justice is investigating the alleged charity fraud scheme.
The veteran, Richard Osthoff, says two FBI agents contacted him on Wednesday, “on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York,” Politico reports.
“Osthoff gave the agents text messages from 2016 with Santos, who he says used his plight to raise $3,000 for life-saving surgery for the pit bull mix, Sapphire — then ghosted with the funds, as first reported by Patch.”
ABC News’ Will Steakin caught Congressman Santos in the halls of the Capitol and asked him if the FBI had contacted him.
Santos, appearing angry, said he had “no clue” about the issue, and said he had never met Osthoff – although Osthoff told Patch he only spoke to Santos, and only a few times.
“He talked to you more than he talked to me,” Santos said, although it was unclear if he was referring to the FBI or Osthoff, or someone else. “I haven’t been reached out by them.”
NEW: Santos tells me he had “no clue” when asked about reports that FBI agents were investigating his role in service dog charity scheme
He said he “never met” the Vet who claims he scammed him out of from dying dog’s GoFundMe
He says FBI agents have not reached out to him pic.twitter.com/1L3JULHrT8
— Will Steakin (@wsteaks) February 1, 2023
Attorney Joshua Schiller told Politico the reportedly missing charity funds could be a quick way to prosecute Santos.
“I think there is an urgency here because Santos is currently in a position to make laws,” Schiller said. “I can think of examples where the government used a lesser indictment to seize assets and try to cause the defendant to plea to a deal before bringing a second or third indictment on more serious charges, and I bet that is the case here.”
In January Patch reported on the heartbreaking story.
“Two New Jersey veterans say George Santos promised to raise funds for a lifesaving surgery for a service dog — then disappeared,” the report says.
“In May 2016, Richard Osthoff was living in a tent in an abandoned chicken coop on the side of Route 9 in Howell, New Jersey, with his beloved service dog Sapphire. A veteran’s charity gave the pit mix to Osthoff, a disabled veteran who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2002, he told Patch.”
“When Sapphire developed a life-threatening stomach tumor, Osthoff, now 47, learned the surgery would cost $3,000. A veterinary technician took Osthoff aside and told him, ‘I know a guy who runs a pet charity who can help you,’ Osthoff recounted.”
The GoFundMe drive was successful, raising over $3000, but the person running it, believed to be Santos, put Osthoff though several hoops, forcing him to travel from New Jersey to Queens to see a different vet, who then claimed he could not operate on the dog.
Sadly, without the surgery, there was no hope for the dog.
“Sapphire died Jan. 15, 2017. After being out of work with a broken leg for over a year, Osthoff couldn’t afford the dog’s euthanasia and cremation, he said.”
“I had to panhandle. It was one of the most degrading things I ever had to do,” Osthoff told Patch.
Patch’s report includes screenshots of text messages and Facebook posts that include a photo of the ailing dog.
Watch the video of Rep. Santos above or at this link.
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