More to ignore, Book 75.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Layer of bloodthirsty online aesthetics obscures how far-right forces fueled Highland Park terrorist
David Neiwert

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Robert Crimo III painted a smiley-face caricature of himself carrying a semiautomatic rifle on the wall of his home in its back yard

RobertCrimo-Accelerationism


The very nature of Monday’s horrifying mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, makes clear that it was an act of terrorism: lethal violence whose entire intent is to terrorize a community to achieve a societal or ideological end. A key component of this can be its target—in this case, a liberal Jewish community, strongly suggesting an antisemitic motive at work. Most of his victims were Jewish.

However, in sifting through Robert Crimo III’s record and his online communications, it’s difficult to ascertain exactly what kind of ideology fueled his horrific act. The usual typical bad-faith right-wing actors have tried to claim that Crimo was actually “antifa,” for which there is scant evidence. Others have suggested that his act represents a new, ideology-free kind of terrorism. Still others suggest he was an ardent Trumpist, based on his participation in Trump rallies and other indicators.

But a more careful examination of the evidence tells us that Crimo was an avid participant in a kind of online subculture whose entire conspiracist worldview revolves around reveling in mass death for the accelerationist purpose of burning down the world around them. It’s a subculture whose foundations are driven by neofascist beliefs, expressed as “schizoid” aesthetics that implicitly justify violence. It’s a relatively recent manifestation of far-right extremism dressed up in the stereotypes around mental illness.
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Crimo’s intent to terrorize is self-evident: After murdering seven people and wounding 30 others from a rooftop in Highland Park, authorities say, he started to drive to Madison, Wisconsin, to attack that city’s July Fourth celebration, but called it off because he had not done any reconnaissance there. He had a second rifle with about 60 rounds still in the car when he was arrested.

He was able to obtain the weapon he used, a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle, despite having been the subject of a police intervention at his home in September 2019, after a family member reported that he had said he was going to kill everyone inside the home. Highland Park Police confiscated a collection of 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, and submitted a "Clear and Present Danger" report about the visit to the Illinois State Police, the agency said.

"Additionally and importantly, the father claimed the knives were his and they were being stored in the individual's closet for safekeeping. Based upon that information, the Highland Park Police returned the knives to the father later that afternoon," state police explained.

A spokesperson said state police looked at whether Crimo had a firearm owner's identification (FOID) card that should have been revoked, but he did not. However, four months later, in December 2019, Crimo applied for a FOID card that was sponsored by his father, and state police found “there was insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the FOID application.”

So between June 2020 and September 2021, Crimo passed four background checks while purchasing firearms. These included both rifles in his possession and three handguns.

All during this time, Crimo was diving deeper into far-right internet subcultures. Police said that his internet history showed he had researched mass killings and had downloaded multiple photos depicting violent acts, including a beheading. This kind of content is typical of online spaces at sites such as 4chan devoted to “goreposting,” and Crimo appears to have been active in one large so-called “gore forum.”

Online sleuths later found indicators that he had become enmeshed in right-wing causes. He posted a photo of himself wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the image of Pepe the Frog, the alt-right mascot. A review of photos from Trump rallies showed that he had turned up at some of them in Highland Park, dressed as the “Where’s Waldo?” character and wearing an ironic smile.

A person who claimed to have known Crimo said that he was neither right-wing or left-wing, but “coopted aesthetics from left and right,” but mostly was “an isolated stoner who lost touch with reality,” and was not a “MAGA supersoldier.” Another local resident said that Crimo was a “known agitator" who "joined a group of pro-Trump and militia supporters in the summer of 2020 to intimidate residents.”

A local Jewish community reported that Crimo had shown up wearing a yarmulke at their Chabad synagogue during Passover services, but encountered security who questioned him and turned him away after he acted suspiciously.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering told the Today show that she knew Crimo as a Cub Scout from when she served as a group leader. “He was just a little boy,” Rotering said. “It’s one of those things where you step back and you say, 'What happened? How did somebody become this angry, this hateful?’”

At least a partial explanation can be found in his online output, particularly the videos he posted of himself under his nom de plume, Awake the Rapper. The videos he produced in the past few years were increasingly filled with violent imagery: animated panels of himself committing a mass shooting, and then dying in a mass confrontation with police; drawings of bullets hitting a torso; and outtakes from first-person shooter video games in which the player is firing at people from a rooftop. One of the crudely animated videos features one of his raps with the refrain: "Living the dream, nothing's real. I just want to scream '**** this world.'"

The videos also feature certain numbers with which he appeared obsessed, as well as the regular appearance of the angular Bowen knot that is the symbol of the Finnish neofascist group Suomen Sisu, though there is no other indication of affinity with the group or its ideology.

These videos—as well as the online chat forums where he is known to have participated, such as “Documenting Reality,” a forum that specializes in “goreposting” that features photos and videos of people being killed in a variety of fashions. Moreover, these forums are noted for hosting a particular style of posts, memes, and videos known as “schizoposting” and “schizowave,” in which participants affect an embrace of mental illness as a natural outcome of modern society, leading some to suggest that the violence they exhort is caused by these forces.

“It's nihilism. It's depression. It's extremely digital culture,” researcher Emmi Conley told Ryan Broderick. “[But] the aesthetic, not the ideology, is the thing that ties the violent actors together.”

“I first heard this term [schizoposting] used I think around 2019 or 2020 but over the past year or so have seen it—both the word and the aesthetic/subculture—used much more often,” researcher Carolyn Orr Bueno of the University of Maryland told Daily Kos. “The best way I can describe is, a type of shitposting that sort of ironically riffs on the idea of going crazy because of what you’re seeing/reading online.

“Some of it is violent, but a lot of it isn’t. Most of it is nihilistic, basically edgelord/memelord style content. Where does edgelord end and schizopilled begin? That’s a great question and I’m not sure there’s an answer. That’s kind of the point. It’s supposed to be confusing and weird and fluid/shapeless enough that it’s impossible to draw a line or put it in a box or apply a label. It’s online/chan culture mixed with mental illness mixed with nihilism/fatalism, with bits of incel culture/blackpilling/trad cath/vaporwave/fashwave depending on the day and person.”

Independent extremism researcher Sarah Hightower, who specializes in violent cults, told Daily Kos that the “schizoposting” subculture manifests how nihilism can become its own ideology. And for many of the subculture’s inhabitants, the implicit embrace of mental illness is often a kind of affectation predicated on stereotypes about schizophrenia.

She pointed to one of Crimo’s videos in which he reads an extended soliloquy calling himself “like a sleepwalker, unable to stop and think,” but that “my actions will be valiant,” all delivered in an odd monotone. “I know what I have to do. I know what’s in it, not only for me, but for everyone else,” adding: “I need to leave now. I need to just do it. It is my destiny. Everything has led up to this. Nothing can stop me, not even myself.” He concludes: “It is what I have been waiting for in the back of my head, ready to be awakened, to what I was sent here to do.”

“It almost sounds like he’s putting on this affectation, like he sounds like what someone with schizophrenia might sound like: very muted, you’ve got the word salad, and the sound—very muted, very monotone,” Hightower said. “He’s adopting schizophrenia as an aesthetic. And right now, we don’t know if he’s actually sick.”

Schizoposting, Orr Bueno said, “does cross over into some more recognizable extremist subcultures/movements, like accelerationism. I see fatalism and nihilism as the common ground there. But on its own, I don’t even know that schizoposting is tied to an ideology as much as it’s just defined by its incoherence. But any time you have people who exist in a space like that, all encouraging each other and feeding off each other, you also have a space that extremists can (and do) exploit for purposes of radicalization, recruitment, and so on.”

This is what Hightower sees as well: A subculture ripe for recruitment and radicalization by far-right extremist elements that have long operated in this zone of the online world, particularly accelerationists whose ethos is built around the destruction of modern society.

“Four or five years ago, when I first started trying to point out certain extremist networks going into various online communities with the sole intention of getting all sorts of people to commit both ideological and not explicitly ideological acts of violence, few understood and agreed,” Hightower recently tweeted.

She puts it in blunt terms: "They're trying to get Columbiners and the like to pop the **** off because any act of mass violence is a net win for these collapse cult assholes."

But antisemitism and neofascist ideas are part of the bedrock of these subcultures. As Hightower notes, one of its most recurring memes in this subculture involves the belief in Hyperborea as a mythical place populated with superior Aryan beings descended from aliens, a product of the esoteric Nazi teachings of Chilean author Miguel Serrano.

“It’s almost like an addiction,” said Hightower. “It’s like, oh this concept, you like this concept, you think it’s cool, you think it’s funny, and you become immersed in it. And you just want to keep going, whether it’s like the Pepe entry-level bullshit, or it’s like extreme gore—watching videos of people dying or being murdered.”

She noted that Crimo’s most recent musical output was a song released a month ago titled, “I Am The Storm,” which he promoted online with a “catboy” avatar wielding a semiautomatic rifle. “Catboys” are a popular neo-Nazi motif/meme.

So the lack of a typical political frame in Crimo’s terrorism, as Alex Newhouse of Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism explained on Twitter, doesn’t doesn’t mean his act was apolitical nonideological.

“I’m suggesting that we’ve moved into a phase where the memified post-ideological reality destruction of these shooters IS BUILT ON TOP OF a baseline of immense anti-Semitism and racism,” he wrote.

“The Highland Park attack did not explicitly have a political agenda. But that does not mean the events had no political content,” Brian Hughes of American University and cofounder of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL) explained. “The subcultures where the shooter spent time are cultivated by certain extremist movements for the very purpose of provoking this kind of violence.

“The nihilistic desire to destroy society, and the overwhelming whiteness and exclusive maleness of these events, reveals deep political implications even beyond that. Violence can have not only explicit political content, but/or implicit political context.”

One of the features of accelerationism is that its targets are broad and often depend on the personal obsessions of the individuals involved: the Christchurch killer was focused on his hatred of Muslims, the Pittsburgh killer fetishized Jewish “globalists,” the El Paso killer wanted to kill Hispanic “invaders,” and the Buffalo killer considered Black people to be target-worthy “replacers.” But its broader ethos—the desire not just to see the world burn, but to facilitate it—encourages this kind of lethal violence as part of a larger far-right project to attack and destroy any kind of pluralistic and multiethnic society.

As Hughes points out, the same dynamic is at work with so-called “lone wolves,” which is a term frequently used to dismiss these mass murders as “isolated incidents.” “Highly online extremists are neither alone nor formally part of an extremist terror network. They operate as prostheses of a cyborg system with strong antisocial components,” he writes.

‘I think it’s basically worthless to try to understand someone like him in terms of where they exist on a left/right or pro/anti Trump spectrum, because he was basically spinning on an entirely different axis than most of us — different information space, different norms and worldview, a totally different way of conceptualizing the line between the digital world and the ‘real’ world,” explained Orr Bueno.

“When I see someone like him wearing a Trump shirt or going to a Trump rally, I generally assume it’s being done in an ironic way or a mocking way, not actually to show support for Trump. My guess is that his political views, to the extent he had them, were largely incoherent and would include ideas/beliefs that are not consistent with one party or one style of governance.”

Hightower is concerned that these kinds of subcultures are going to grow in reach as well as become increasingly extreme and violent, in part because their complexity isn’t easily explained in mainstream media.

“I’m worried, and I’m not the only one who is worried,” she said. “A lot of people don’t like the fact that we’re using their terms for their bullshit, like schizowave, schizopilled, schizoposting. They’re taking their understanding of the stereotypes of the mental illness and turning it into an aesthetic. But I’m also worried that there’s going to be a kind moral panic backlash.”

Orr agreed: “The thing that I’m not sure we’re (collectively) really grappling with yet is that although all of these things are clearly outside of the norms of ‘normie’ society, they don’t necessarily distinguish him from a whole lot of other young guys who exist in those same spaces and engage with the same content.

“I think we all naturally want to find The Thing that made him do it, or The Thing that should’ve been a red flag, or any other Thing that we can hold onto and say ‘here is the problem!’ because if we can ID the problem, we can ostensibly find a solution, too. But in his case, and others like him, I kind of think of it like a buffet where no two people are going to share the exact same combinations of foods (beliefs/subcultures) and it’s not really clear which of the things on their plate was The Thing that gave them a heart attack (pushed them toward violence) or if maybe they had some predisposition to it and the ‘food’ just triggered it.”

One of the universal traits of all domestic terrorists, and particularly accelerationists, is their purpose: To destroy public confidence in the ability of the government to keep people safe—to build a perception of perpetual threat from actors like themselves. Far-right extremists believe this will lead the public to eventually discard liberal democracy as viable and turn to the kind of authoritarian rule they envision for their security.

As we have learned with Crimo, they don’t even need to believe in their ideologies to act. They only need to embrace an easily manipulated aesthetic that’s congruent with that ideology. Which means that the threat facing such vulnerable communities as Jewish people, women, and other preferred targets has expanded and deepened.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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BREAKING: Former prime minister Abe in hospital after possible shooting​

  • Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been rushed to hospital following a possible shooting during a speech in Nara, Japan, according to public broadcaster NHK. His condition is unclear.
  • Abe held office from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020 — making him the longest-serving Japanese Prime Minister in history.
  • He stepped down as Prime Minister in 2020 before the end of his term, citing health reasons.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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A male suspect in his 40s has been taken into custody at the scene following an attempted murder of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe was showing no vital signs and was airlifted by emergency medical responders.
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‎Two bullets fired The second shot hit former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's left chest‎​


‎A man believed to be former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was transported to a hospital in cardiopulmonary arrest‎

‎ According to police, at the scene, a man fired two shots of his handgun and the second shot hit former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.‎
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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American basketball star Brittney Griner’s Thursday admission of guilt before a Russian court of drug charges is being called a guilty plea, but an expert on Russian law says that’s not an accurate term for what happened.

Griner actually is not “pleading” guilty in direct exchange for a lesser sentence, as happens in the U.S., said William Butler, a law professor at Pennsylvania State University and expert in Russian law

“What she did was acknowledge her guilt. It has no effect on the burden of proof the prosecution has to satisfy,” Butler said… During the Stalin era, authorities frequently tortured suspects to coerce confessions. So under current Russian law, the courts must consider whether prosecutors have evidence of the crime independent from whether there’s any confession......
 

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An 8-year-old boy who was attending the Highland Park Fourth of July parade with his parents and twin brother was shot and is now paralyzed from the waist down, family spokesperson Anthony Loizzi told CNN on Thursday.

Cooper Roberts was shot in the chest and suffered several significant injuries, including a severed spinal cord, Loizzi said in a virtual news conference earlier Thursday. […]

“It’s going to be a new normal for him moving forward,” Loizzi said. “It sounds (like) he’ll have significant issues moving forward, especially with walking.”

Cooper and his twin, Luke, loved the parade, Loizzi said. […]

Luke suffered injuries from shrapnel, was treated and released and is now recovering at home, Loizzi said. Their mother, Keely Roberts, “was shot in the leg and foot area” and underwent several surgeries, the spokesperson added.......
 

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Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe shot dead

  • Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has died age 67 after being shot during a speech on Friday in Nara, Japan, doctors who were treating him have confirmed.
  • Abe died from excessive bleeding and the bullet that killed him was "deep enough to reach his heart," doctors at Nara Medical University said in a news conference. Two shots can be heard in video footage of the assassination.
  • Police have arrested a man in his 40s in connection with the shooting and retrieved what appeared to be a homemade gun, public broadcaster NHK reported.
  • Abe was the longest-serving Japanese Prime Minister in history. He stepped down as leader in 2020, citing health reasons.
 

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....Abe received over 100 units of blood in transfusions over four hours as he hemorrhaged from a wound in the heart, said Hidetada Fukushima, the professor in charge of emergency medicine at Nara Medical University Hospital. He arrived at the hospital in cardiopulmonary arrest and was never revived.....
 

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Ukraine Update: Russia announces ‘operational pause,’ but Ukraine isn’t slowing down
kos

Exhausted from its efforts to take Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, Russia has announced an operational pause. (Link to Russian state media.)

"In units that performed combat tasks during a special military operation, measures are taking place to replenish combat capabilities. Servicemen are given the opportunity to relax, receive letters and parcels from home," the Defense Ministry noted.
It was also noted that scheduled maintenance of combat vehicles is taking place at field points.

Ukraine still reported Russian attacks at several locations, but by all indications these were small-scale recon-type probes. Russia put a great deal of its combat capabilities into taking that last little slice of Luhansk Oblast, and those troops don’t just need to rest, but new logistical supply lines have to be built to support the next phase of Russia’s war: the push toward the twin fortresses of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, both already the targets of destructive shelling. This is Russia’s doctrine after all: Reduce target to rubble, march infantry forward to see if any defenders are left, then repeat if any are left.

Ukraine doesn’t care about any such “operational pause.” For one, Russia’s artillery isn’t taking time off, and they’re the biggest source of Ukraine’s misery. Thus, HIMARS (and M270s MLRS, reportedly) are in action targeting Russian supply depots to spectacular success—over a dozen so far.

Russian artillery hasn’t slowed any the last few days. Indeed, the entire front was on fire Thursday, as captured by NASA’s FIRMS fire-tracking satellites.

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NASA FIRMS fire shows the entire Ukraine front line burning.

But with major supply depots exhausted, Russian artillery will eventually exhaust their local supply of ammunition. The hope is that we see a slowdown in Russian fires in the next seven to 10 days. In fact, the “operational pause” may be just as much a reaction to losing those supply depots as any “exhaustion” among Russian forces.

Meanwhile, Russia starved its southern front to feed the Severodonetsk push, and Ukraine is taking advantage.

Here’s Snihurivka, north of Kherson, which has been Russian-held and under severe Ukrainian assault for the past one to two weeks.

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Ukrainian artillery has moved past the city to its south. That suggests that someone’s troops are down there, and it’s unlikely it’s Ukrainians. So Russian troops are probably pulling back from the city, and Ukraine is chasing them with fires. There’s a good chance Snihurivka will be declared liberated in the next couple of days.

And check this out:

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Kherson’s airport in Chornobaivka has been the site of relentless Ukrainian artillery barrages. While Russia is no longer basing aircraft there, they had set up defensive positions to try and stop the Ukrainian advance on Kherson from that direction. Now we see fires targeting the airport move southwest in what little space is left between the airport and Kherson city itself (around 10 kilometers). This suggests Russian troops are falling back, and whether Ukraine has taken the airport yet or not, the artillery is following those withdrawing troops.

Ukraine has been tight-lipped about advances around Kherson. The terrain is just too hard to hold—flat, open, with few hiding places. Ukraine barrages Russian positions until they pull back. Ukraine moves forward. Russia barrages those new Ukrainian positions until Ukraine pulls back. Russia moves forward. Lather, rinse, repeat. It serves no one to make triumphant declarations of liberation only to lose the territory the next day. But as of now, the story of the fires, as captured by a NASA satellite, says Ukraine is on the advance.
 

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FXH6HOlXgAAXTTA


TTM note: "the Bank" - Bankova Street in Kyiv. It's the location of Administration of the President of Ukraine.
 

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Oath Keeper lawyer: Rhodes will testify under oath—but on his terms—to Jan. 6 committee
Brandi Buchman

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On Friday, Oath Keeper ringleader Elmer Stewart Rhodes—now facing charges for seditious conspiracy—extended an offer to testify under oath before the Jan. 6 committee investigating the U.S. Capitol attack and former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The proposal was first reported by CBS News. And when Daily Kos contacted Rhodes’ attorney, James Lee Bright, on Friday by phone, Bright confirmed the offer had been made and said it would only be honored if the committee agrees to Rhodes’ conditions.

Rhodes wants his testimony in an “open forum,” Bright said. The remarks must be taken publicly in front of committee members “face-to-face and subject to cross-examination and under oath with counsel present.”

“He will be willing to testify regarding the history of the Oath Keepers, the manner in which they were founded, their membership, their involvement in the election in terms of support of Trump or not, the things that they were doing at various rallies in the months leading up to the election and as well as what became of January 6,” Bright said.

Bright added that Rhodes would also be willing to testify about what the Oath Keepers and himself specifically were doing on Jan. 6

“But it must be live,” he repeated.

The committee has two hearings slated for next week, the first on July 12 at 10 AM and the next for July 14. That hearing is expected to unfold in prime time, but the schedule is subject to change.

Rhodes’ offer comes as the committee prepares to unpack several of the extremist elements that underpinned the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the panel is expected to examine evidence that they say shows the connections between former President Donald Trump and groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.

Rhodes and several members of the group he once oversaw were charged with seditious conspiracy and a multitude of other charges this January. Prosecutors say Rhodes led a sweeping and weaponized scheme to attack the Capitol in hopes of obstructing the peaceful transfer of power from Trump to then-President-elect Joe Biden.

Justice Department attorneys say Rhodes was the ringleader of a quick-force reaction team network with members he directed to cross state lines and position themselves with caches of weapons so they could help those members who were physically on Capitol grounds.

Rhodes has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

A spokesperson for the committee, Timothy Mulvey, declined to comment Friday.

Bright said there is a lack of trust Rhodes has for the committee and that he is insisting on these conditions because he doesn’t want a spectacle.

“We don’t want a circus, we want a direct presentation, an open question-and-answer by select committee members, if they really want to have direct contact with one of the top individuals they are painting as a boogeyman. Otherwise they don’t [get his testimony] or they can present their version,” Bright said.

Rhodes’ attorney noted his client would not entertain questions about his personal life or allegations about his personal life during the hearing.

“What we’re not willing to do is let his ex-wife Tasha show up,” Bright said.

Rhodes and his former wife and mother to his six children, Tasha Vonn Adams, were estranged for years. She officially filed for divorce in 2018. According to a sworn petition filed by Adams, Rhodes had frequent violent outbursts against her and his family and choked their teenage daughter in 2016. After his indictment for seditious conspiracy, Adams told ABC News affiliate WFAA in Texas that she was hopeful Rhodes would remain in prison as he awaited trial. She described him as a “narcissist” and “sociopath.”

Why Rhodes would make this offer to the Jan. 6 committee is a matter of speculation at this point.

Bright told Daily Kos he “admonished” Rhodes against this course of action. But why would he do it? Is he hoping for a lighter sentence if he’s found guilty? Is he angling for leniency from the Justice Department at his impending trial this year?

“I can’t really tell you that. Stewart is a smart man. He’s a Yale-educated lawyer. He has a phenomenal memory and he very much wants to advocate his belief system in terms of the Oath Keepers and what place they did or didn’t truly have in what’s being said about January 6,” Bright said. “Perhaps he’s tired of being in a jail cell under solitary confinement.”

He added: “I feel that no matter what came out in these hearings [the DOJ is] still going to move forward for trial and this is a situation, despite admonishment and discussion, that he is insisting upon.”

If he’s convicted at trial, Rhodes faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison just for the seditious conspiracy charge.

As with any client, Bright noted, if they take the stand and testify under oath and they are not telling the truth, it could backfire tremendously.

“It could destroy any trial that we have but Mr. Rhodes is insistent upon doing this if these incredibly simple conditions can be met. I can in no way hold it against him for conditions he is requesting,” he said.

Bright again said that Rhodes would be willing to answer questions about other Oath Keeper members who attend rallies tied to the “Stop the Steal” movement.

The hearing must be “straightforward, clean, and to the point,” Bright said.
 

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Biden issues executive order aimed at safeguarding some abortion rights
Joan McCarter

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Two weeks after the Trump-packed U.S. Supreme Court ended federal protections of abortion rights (and more than two months after the court told us it would do just that), President Joe Biden is signing an executive order intended to “defend reproductive rights and protect access to safe and legal abortion.”

Biden is ordering Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to act to ensure access to abortion, including by expanding access to medication abortion and expanding access “to the full range of reproductive health services,” including “emergency contraception and long-acting reversible contraception like intrauterine devices (IUDs).” The order will also direct HHS to “take steps to ensure all patients—including pregnant women and those experiencing pregnancy loss—have access to the full rights and protections for emergency medical care afforded under the law.” That will include evaluating and updating the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) as needed to “clarify physician responsibilities and protections.”

The order directs HHS to “increase outreach and public education efforts regarding access to reproductive health care services—including abortion.” To that end, it has launched the website reproductiverights.gov. Beyond HHS, the administration announced that Attorney General Merrick Garland and the White House counsel will “convene private pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations to encourage legal representation for those seeking or offering reproductive health services,” including patients, providers, and third parties who assist in coordinating abortion care. That includes “protecting the right to travel out of state to seek medical care.”
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The order also will direct the Federal Trade Commission to consider actions to protect consumers’ privacy when they seek information about reproductive health services, and to work with HHS and Justice to “consider options to address deceptive or fraudulent practices, including online.” It directs HHS to consider additional actions to prevent information about patients from being disclosed. Finally, Becerra is order to report back to Biden within 30 days.

For plenty of advocates, it’s both too little and a lot too late considering how long it’s been apparent that this was exactly what was going to happen with the Supreme Court—at least since September 2021, when it allowed Texas’ abortion bounty hunter law to stand.



A public health emergency declaration would definitely be in order, one of the handful of bold actions the administration could be taking. Declaring this a public health emergency would give the federal government broad powers to redirect federal funding for abortion provision and granting civil immunity to allow licensed medical providers to practice in states where they aren’t licensed, giving them the ability to prescribe medication abortion via telemedicine to patients in states where providers are banned from doing so. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tina Smith (D-WI) suggested just that in an op-ed in The New York Times. The White House reportedly considered doing that, but ultimately decided against it.

Additionally, Biden could order the Food and Drug Administration to issue a statement that federal regulation of medication abortion preempts state law, and he could direct the Department of Justice could initiate its own lawsuits or participate in ongoing lawsuits to enjoin these bans as they apply to medication abortion.

The administration also rejected allowing independent abortion providers to lease property on federal public lands for abortion provision. Warren and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) made that suggestion in a letter to Biden a month ago, urging him to get an executive order out immediately announcing bold actions. The White House ultimately rejected that as well, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying using public lands would have “dangerous ramifications.”


Many of the bold actions the administration could take but has thus far chosen not to would bump up against federal courts and would likely ultimately fail. But what’s the downside of trying to fight for the most fundamental right of people to have a say over their own bodies? Certainly there isn’t one as far as the public—and especially Democratic voters—is concerned.
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bene0019
Jul 08, 2022 at 11:10:06 AM

Additionally, Biden could order the Food and Drug Administration to issue a statement that federal regulation of medication abortion preempts state law, and he could direct the Department of Justice could initiate its own lawsuits or participate in ongoing lawsuits to enjoin these bans as they apply to medication abortion.

Ummm...The SCOTUS just ruled last week that executive branch agencies can’t do things that aren’t explicitly in their congress approved directives. The FDA issuing a statement that federal regulation of medication abortion preempts state law wouldn’t survive this SCOTUS...who just ruled things like this aren’t constitutional.
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teej
Jul 08, 2022 at 11:13:51 AM

It's never good enough, is it? So Democrats have failed once more. We should all stay home this November and let the GOP gut everything else.
 
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