A North Georgia social studies teacher, known as the longtime “radio voice” of Dalton High School football and basketball, is facing charges after he fired at least one shot inside a classroom Wednesday, and he once tried to confess to having someone killed, police said.
Connecticut official quits the GOP -- and slams Republicans for abandoning the 'constitutional system'
In Glastonbury, Connecticut near Hartford, Chip Beckett was a fixture in the local Republican Party. But Beckett, a member of the Glastonbury Town Council and its former minority leader, is now an ex-Republican — and he discussed his reasons for leaving the GOP and joining the Independent Party during an interview with the Hartford Courant.
Beckett's big problem with the national GOP of 2021 can be summed up in one word: Trumpism. Beckett told the Courant that while he thinks Republicans are doing some good work locally in his area, he believes the national GOP has been overtaken by extremists.
Arguing that the national GOP has been "going in the wrong direction for a long time," Beckett noted that he switched to the Independent Party in December in response to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filing a frivolous lawsuit to delay now-President Joe Biden's Electoral College certification in four states. Beckett was also disillusioned with his former party because of former President Donald Trump's policy of separating families at the U.S./Mexico border.
"We celebrate Ellis Island, and here we're separating kids," Beckett told the Courant. "What would we say if (leaders from Russia and China) were doing that? We'd be screaming bloody murder."
Beckett continued, "You can have a bad administration, but when you have the acquiescence of the rank and file, that's not a party I want to stand with. I don't think the national Republicans have represented our country well for a number of years. I don't think they really believe in the constitutional system that we have."
Like other New England states, Connecticut has gone from deep red to deep blue. Connecticut was once a bastion of moderate Rockefeller Republicans, and Courant reporter Jesse Leavenworth points out that Connecticut has become even more Democratic since the 2020 presidential election.
Leavenworth notes, "By early February, more than 6500 Connecticut voters had left the Republican Party since Election Day — a 300% increase from the number who fled during the three-month period after the 2016 presidential election. Reuters reported in February that more than 68,000 Republicans had left the party in recent weeks in Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, crucial states for Democrats' hopes of keeping control of Congress in the mid-term elections in 2022."
But while Beckett is vehemently critical of the national GOP, he maintains that local Republicans in Glastonbury have been doing good work done locally — especially with education and infrastructure
Beckett told the Courant, "I'm very proud of what the Glastonbury Republicans have done over the past 20 years."
According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump may turn on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and oppose his election as majority leader should the Republicans retake the House in 2022, but Punchbowl News is reporting that move may cause GOP lawmakers to finally revolt against the former president's machinations.
Appearing on MSNBC on Monday morning, the Post's Ashley Parker told host Joe Scarborough that McCarthy is "terrified" and "running scared" that Trump will block him from control of the House if Democrats don't hold their majority, but Punchbowl makes the case he has the backing of his members.
"Don't read too much into the 'Trump may dump McCarthy if Republicans win the majority' talk," the Punchbowl subscription-only report states, before adding that McCarthy has built up a loyal following during his tenure.
Agreeing with the Post's Parker that Trump likes a winner and rarely crosses one the report goes on to note that, should the unpredictable Trump attempt a power play, it would likely flop due to McCarthy's efforts on the behalf of his colleagues.
"McCarthy will have raised tens of millions of dollars for rank-and-file Republicans. He'll have recruited candidates that give Republicans the majority, and he'll have appeared at hundreds of events for his colleagues across the country," the report states. "He will simply have too many chits piled up for him to be pushed aside for anyone else."
The report adds, "and if McCarthy can't be speaker, his supporters can make sure no other potential replacement could either," before predicting, "So it will be McCarthy."
Failed Neo-Nazi effort to rally at George Floyd's grave reveals a movement with global connections and infighting
The second round of nationwide White Lives Matter rallies that took place this past weekend turned out to be even more underwhelming than the inaugural event on April 11.
Repeating the dismal performance of last month's rallies, white supremacists mustered only a paltry turnout in a handful of locations across North America, with antifascists infiltrating their planning chats and turning out larger groups of protesters. Many of the local White Lives Matter organizers canceled their events altogether. While last month's White Lives Matter event in Huntington Beach, Calif. turned violent, the state admin took to Telegram on the morning of May 8 to urge supporters to "do some banner drops/sticker activism," before announcing, "California will not have an official event."
Planning chats, which were leaked by an antifascist infiltrator and disseminated by Corvallis Antifa on the eve of the rallies, reveal a segment of the US white power movement with global connections that is restless to assert a more visible presence and capitalize on white backlash against racial justice protests, but still also constrained by concern about alienating potential supporters through extremist rhetoric. The chats reveal significant crossties with the Proud Boys, dozens of whose members face federal charges for storming the US Capitol, and with Patriot Front, an avowedly fascist group that has shied away from publicity since the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. The involvement of members of the Proud Boys and Patriot Front in the White Lives Matter rallies has caused considerable dissension within both organizations, and churn within the broader white power movement.
Emblematic of the potential for escalation as a result of schisms from more established white power groups, the admin of the Texas channel who uses the Telegram handle @rooftoparyan disclosed ties to both Patriot Front and the Proud Boys. In the White Lives Matter chats, @rooftoparyans reported that his involvement with White Lives Matter caused him to get pushed out of Patriot Front, while claiming that he was assembling a more militant group of activists that wanted to rally at the cemetery outside of Houston where George Floyd is buried.
The anonymous supreme organizer, who like the private forum where the planning for the rallies took place is identified as "Vetted admin basket," initially poured cold water on the idea, but @rooftoparyan persisted.
@rooftoparyan told his fellow organizers on May 1 "the more militant guys" in his local group were pushing him to hold the rally at the cemetery, adding, "Personally, I like the idea, to be honest." @rooftoparyan, who claims to be a military veteran, defended the idea of holding a white supremacist rally at the grave of Black man who was murdered by the police as "slapping these parasites back in the face for all the slaps whites have taken in the past year specifically." He went on to express resentment about the removal of "statues to great white men, a lot of which are my heroes here in Dixie," while taking offense at the honor bestowed on Floyd.
Three hours later, "Vetted admin basket" replied, encouraging the cemetery rally while attempting to prevent it from being publicly associated with "White Lives Matter."
"So we love the idea of some sort of 'event' happening at that location," the supreme organizer wrote. "However, it shouldn't be a WLM event. This is because we are 'WLM,' not 'anti-BLM.' We see this idea as an 'anti' message not a 'pro' message. What you all do on your own time, however, is up to you."
After learning about the plans, a group called Screwston Anti-fascist Committee reported that they mobilized a coalition of local groups and individuals to show up at the mausoleum where Floyd is buried.
"On Saturday morning, a sizable group of Houstonians assembled and marched through the graveyard with flowers, which were laid near Floyd's grave," the Screwston Anti-fascist Committee reported. "We stayed until well after the neo-Nazi group had been planning to appear. They apparently changed plans on short notice and never showed up, possibly having caught wind of our counter-protest and being intimidated."
In another comment by @rooftoparyan on May 3 he describes his group as "12 NS guys" — national socialists, or Nazis — who are "all a bit younger and less experienced than me."
@rooftoparyan's Telegram handle suggests his orientation towards race war. The name is likely a play on the phrase "rooftop Koreans," referring to Korean shopkeepers who took up positions on rooftops while armed with guns during the 1992 LA riots to defend their stores from looters. Their example has been widely embraced by white supremacists, boogaloo boys and right-wing paramilitary actors, with the term "rooftop" being repurposed in various contexts to indicate a proactive tactical stance.
Further solidifying his inclination towards race war, @rooftoparyan posted in the White Lives Matter chats on April 23: "I still thank God to this day I picked up TTD." Written by William Pierce, founder of the neo-Nazi group National Alliance, the 1978 book The Turner Diaries is considered an essential text by white supremacists and serves as a blueprint for insurrection, inspiring Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, among other violent attacks.
These are not ideas or aims that are likely to go down easily with the mainstream Trump supporters the white power movement seeks to recruit. While former President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who have aligned themselves with him stoke white grievance, overt Nazism remains a liability for most of their supporters.
One day before his comment disclosing the impact of The Turner Diaries on his life, @rooftoparyan encapsulated the balancing act that the "White Lives Matter" white supremacists are attempting to pull off: Appeal to the mainstream while reining in the white power movement's most radioactive elements.
"Not only do we have to wake up the normies, but we have to cool off the radicals that think everything just needs to explode right now," @rooftoparyan wrote.
Later, on the same day, he reflected on the need to conceal his true beliefs while engaging with potential allies.
"The most extreme position I take openly is mass deportation and ethno-states," he wrote. "Tribalism is life. Everyone would be must better off in their own homelands."
A couple days later, @rooftoparyan would announce that he had been "kicked off all the PF servers." Previously, in the White Lives Matter chat, he had reported: "Patriot Front is in the process of suspending or outright kicking me out right now for organizing WLM in Texas. I just got into an argument with the coordinator of my area."
But he was still involved with the Proud Boys.
"PBs are cool with me organizing but won't back us up as a club," @rooftoparyan wrote. "I'm still working on them."
As an organization publicly positioned as civic nationalist that is led by a man who self-identifies as Afro-Cuban, some of the Proud Boys' rank-and-file members are receptive to white power organizing. But those linkages create a liability for the leadership, which has cultivated support from the Asian-American and Latinx communities.
Jaz Searby, whose Telegram account identifies him as the president of the Proud Boys Borderland chapter, disclosed in the chats that his role as organizer of the Australia White Lives Matter rally put him at odds with others in his organization.
"I was threatened with being disavowed if I interview Tom Sewell," Searby reported, referring to the leader of the Australian neo-Nazi group National Socialist Network.
"My whole chapter quit because of it," Searby added.
After getting frozen out of Patriot Front, @rooftoparyan wanted to know how far the new White Lives Matter formation was willing to go, including openly speaking about what white supremacists call the "JQ," or the "Jewish question."
"How is WLM going to play into building up the NS community?" he asked. "Like I see how the red-pilling is working and it's definitely helping me find guys that think like me, but is WLM ever going to go full NS? Or is drawing the normies in and then pushing our literature and the JQ how we are going about it? Just curious; if that's above my level, I understand."
The response from the supreme organizer was coy, writing, "We are pro-white. That implies pro-NS. But not restrictive to."
Tacitly acknowledging that openly calling themselves Nazis isn't tenable, the leader discussed a conspiracy theory known as "white replacement" while positioning White Lives Matter as the resistance.
"I don't know if you can get more NS than this anyway, even if you don't label it," they said.
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