Feds smack down Capitol insurrectionist after he compares himself to George Floyd protesters

For the first time, federal prosecutors have spelled out in court documents why they believe there simply is no legitimate legal comparison between Capitol insurrectionists and racial-justice protesters who took to the streets in the wake of George Floyd's murder last year.

The New York Times reported Friday that Jan. 6 rioter Garret Miller of Dallas — who once threatened to assassinate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — has raised a "selective prosecution defense," arguing that he's being treated worse than George Floyd protesters based on his political beliefs. The essence of Miller's argument has become a staple among right-wing media pundits and Republican politicians in recent months, cited by the likes of Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan in opposition to congressional investigations of the Capitol insurrection.

In a brief responding to Miller's argument, federal prosecutors noted that while some racial-justice protesters outside Portland's federal courthouse last year committed "serious offenses," Miller was involved in "a singular and chilling event in U.S. history" that threatened both the safety of the Capitol and "democracy itself."

"Mr. Miller, prosecutors noted, was 'part of a mob' that 'breached the Capitol building, and assaulted law enforcement with the goal of impeding congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election,'" the Times reported. "The defendants in Portland, they pointed out, never actually broke into the courthouse and never disrupted a proceeding before Congress."

In addition, prosecutors say they have stronger, more damning evidence against Miller, including his social media posts from before the insurrection about "civil war" and taking firearms to Washington, as well as surveillance video that shows him in "a fighting stance" confronting Capitol police officers. In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, Miller later took to Twitter to threaten the police officer who killed insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt, writing, "He will swing."

"Stripped to its core, Miller relies on rank conjecture in suggesting that political favoritism has guided the government's charging and plea decisions," prosecutors wrote.

A federal judge will ultimately decide the merits of Miller's argument, but the Times notes that selective prosecution defenses are rarely successful.

Read the full story here.

WATCH: Anti-mask protester punches cancer patient in her surgery scars during violent clash outside Los Angeles clinic

An anti-mask rally outside a California cancer treatment center turned violent on Thursday, with a patient who confronted the protesters saying she was sprayed with bear mace and punched repeatedly in her surgery scars.

The incident occurred outside the Cedars-Sinai Breast Health Services building in Hollywood, where dozens of anti-maskers with signs and a megaphone gathered to protest the clinic's mask requirement, harassing doctors and patients, Vice News reports.

Kate Burns, a breast-cancer patient, approached the protesters and asked them to leave, according to video posted online.

"I get treated here, get the f*ck away," Burns said. When one of the protesters asked why she was angry, Burns responded "Because I've just gone through f*cking breast cancer, and you motherf*ckers are here."

When one of the anti-maskers told Burns the protest had "nothing to do with" her, she responded: "You are protesting a breast cancer f*cking center. It has everything to do with me and my community. Do you know anything about chemotherapy? Do you know what happens to the immune system?"

Protesters then asked Burns if she was familiar with the Civil Rights Act. "Get on the right side of history. You've got a lot of anger you need to release. It's a very dangerous emotion," one man told her.

After more anti-maskers and some anti-fascist counterprotesters arrived, the scene turned violent. Video shows Burns getting punched and shoved by a woman with a megaphone.

Watch below.

Outrage erupts in MA town as ‘ignorant’ conservatives plan 'heroes of Jan 6' fundraiser for pro-Trump insurrectionists

An extremist right-wing group in Massachusetts, Super Happy Fun America, plans to host a "heroes of Jan. 6" fundraiser on Saturday benefitting two people charged in the Capitol insurrection.

The "Refounding Fathers Festival" is expected to draw 300 people from about 20 groups, including pro-Trump clubs and other conservative organizations, according to Patch. Those in attendance will include the two beneficiaries, founding Super Happy Fun America member Sue Ianni, who is also a Natick Town Meeting member, and the group's vice president, Mark Sahady. Both face charges for participating in the insurrection.

"I think it's heroic to protest against a stolen election," Super Happy Fun America organizer John Hugo said.

In the wake of Patch's report, another group called Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Worcester is calling on the venue, Century Sportsman's Club in Auburn, to cancel the event. SURJ 's Lydia Proulx told the Telegram & Gazette that "Super Happy Fun America has a history of hosting events that are intentionally inflammatory and hateful toward 'marginalized folks,' including the Straight Pride Parade in Boston, which, she said, was 'a hilarious misnomer for essentially a Trump parade.'"

"We believe that Super Happy Fun America is a white supremacist organization because they are known to welcome and collaborate with prominent white nationalists in the United States, including the leader of the Proud Boys, the Nationalist Socialists Front and others," Proulx said. "They also echo their hateful ideology whether it's anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, heterosexism, homophobia."

MassEquality, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, is organizing a counterdemonstration outside the fundraiser.

Auburn Selectman Tristan LaLiberte wrote on Facebook that he was "appalled and disappointed" that the sportsman's club agreed to host the event.

"It is an embarrassment to our community that a group that honors those that led an insurrection against this country and that prides itself on being anti-LGBTQ thinks that they will be welcomed in Auburn," LaLiberte said. "Totally ignorant to their own irony, this group claims to be patriotic while hoisting those who stormed the nation's Capitol up on a pedestal."

Hugo responded by claiming that Showing Up for Racial Justice is "basically antifa."

"I knew that people on the left would lose their lunch over that," Hugo said, referring to the "Heroes of January 6th" reference. "But they have been pushing a fake narrative saying that this is the worst thing to happen in our country since the Civil War. I mean, give me a break. On the left, they're pushing back against all of these efforts to tighten up the election laws just to prevent fraud and they're calling it Jim Crow. That's ridiculous.

"I believe it's heroic to go to the seat of government to challenge a fraudulent election," he added. "This is, in my opinion, the biggest scandal in American history, this stolen election."

Representatives from the Century Sportsman's Club haven't commented on the controversy, but Hugo claims they plan to "stick to their guns" and go though with the event.

Read the full story here.

'The definition of grift': Trump blasted for 'living off Stop the Steal money' instead of funding election audits

Former president Donald Trump's PAC has raised $75 million this year as he's peddled false claims about widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election, the Washington Post reported Thursday. However, despite pledging to fight the election results in solicitations to donors, Trump hasn't spent a dime of that money to support audits in Arizona or other states.

"Instead, the Save America leadership PAC — which has few limits on how it can spend its money — has paid for some of the former president's travel, legal costs and staff, along with other expenses, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the group's inner workings. The PAC has held onto much of its cash," the Post reported.

MSNBC's Steve Benen wrote that the report again raises the question of whether Trump is "genuinely delusional" and believes he really won the election, or he's "little more than a con man."

"It's an interesting debate, but this new reporting suggests the resolution of the question isn't altogether relevant: regardless of Trump's true beliefs, his apparent priority is making sure his followers keep sending him their money. The scheme is working -- again," Benen wrote.

Here's how Twitter has reacted to the Post's report:

'Irony is dead': CNN blasts Ted Cruz for accusing Texas Democrats of a 'political stunt' for leaving state

Invoking Alanis Morrissette and the National Lampoon's vacation series, CNN host Brianna Keilar ripped into Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz on Friday morning, over his recent criticism of Democratic state lawmakers who fled the state to block "unprecedented voting restrictions."

After playing a clip of Cruz calling the trip a "political stunt," Keilar said: "Now, love or hate this sojourn by Texas state Democrats, the last person who should be chiming in about political stunts is Ted Cruz.

"It's like a black fly in your chardonnay or a death row pardon two minutes too late. But then Cruz must have missed track 10 on the 1995 masterpiece 'Jagged Little Pill,'" Keilar added, before playing clips of Cruz reading from Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham" on the Senate floor and filming himself narrating in some brush near the Rio Grande at the Texas-Mexico border.

In what some might call a low-blow, Keilar even threw in a clip of Cruz introducing Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential nominee in 2016.

"That last scene was a desperate attempt to save the Republican nomination from Donald Trump," she said, adding that Cruz dropped out of the race a few days later.

Next, she played a clip of Cruz's recent interview with Harris Faulkner, in which the Fox News host criticized state Democratic lawmakers because real Texans "don't cut and run."

"Real Texans don't cut and run, unless of course there's an historic winter storm leaving millions without power in your state, and you really want to escape that freak deep freeze to go on a Griswold-style family vacation to Cancun," Keilar said, showing well-known images of Cruz with his luggage at the Houston airport. "It's not like Cruz cut and ran for a reason related to politics or policy, he left for pina coladas. So maybe the guy with this much baggage on the topic, certainly more than an overnight bag, should sit this one out."

Finally, Keilar played a clip of Cruz calling it "karma" that some Texas Democrats contracted COVID-19 after leaving the state.

"Karma may be alive, but for Ted Cruz, irony is apparently dead," Keilar said.

"Check yourself before you wreck yourself," co-host John Avlon added.

Watch it below.

Brianna Keilar on Ted Cruz www.youtube.com

Branson mayor’s ‘reckless idiocy’ helped turn Missouri into a COVID-19 superspreader hotspot

One superspreader tourist town — and its "reckless" anti-mask, anti-vaccine mayor — is being blamed for seeding Missouri's ongoing COVID crisis, according to the Daily Beast.

Wastewater samples first detected the highly contagious Delta variant in Branson — best known for it country-western music shows — on May 10. Since then, the variant has spread like wildfire across the state.

"I don't know that the Branson is what seeded the entire outbreak in Missouri," said Dr. Marc Johnson of the University of Missouri School of Medicine, who monitors the wastewater samples. "But I always suspected."

Branson currently has a COVID infection rate of 19.3 percent, and the number of daily new cases there is 10 times the national average. The local hospital's ICU unit is at 99 percent capacity, and experts say the current outbreak has not reached its peak.

But Mayor Larry Milton, who was elected in April, has continued to rail against masks and vaccines, and hosted a gathering of 27,000 for the Fourth of July.

"First, let me state clearly and for the record: I will not support another government mask mandate, nor will I support a vaccine mandate," Milton said later in a statement. "I didn't talk about freedom and liberty during my campaign for Mayor simply as a way to get elected. I championed those values then, as I do now, because I believe that each individual should have the right to decide for themselves how to best handle their own medical decisions.

"I DO NOT believe it's my place, or the place of any politician, to endorse, promote or compel any person to get any vaccine. That's a decision that should be made by each individual in consultation with their doctor and their family," Milton added.

Thanks to Milton, Branson's tourist attractions don't require masks — despite the recent death of one prominent performer from COVID-19 — resulting in an untold number of visitors being infected.

"Business keeps booming and superspreading continues and the virus threat looms at enterprises such as the Titanic Museum Attraction," the Daily Beast reports. "Visitors there can dispense with masks, and the unvaccinated can place themselves at serious risk while imagining those who perished long ago for want of a lifeboat."

Read the full story here.

Black couple who refused vaccine due to infamous Tuskegee syphilis study die from COVID-19 three hours apart

A Black couple who refused to be vaccinated because of concerns about the federal government's infamous Tuskegee study have died from COVID-19.

Martin Daniel, 53, and his wife, 49-year-old Trina Daniel, died just three hours apart on July 6, according to Atlanta's ABC affiliate. They had been married for 22 years.

Martin Daniel graduated from Tuskegee University in Alabama — which collaborated on the study — and "the government's syphilis experiments on Black men during the 1930s influenced his and his wife's decision not to get vaccinated," according to the station.

"Just tying these two events together and understanding the historical context of what's going on, it really wears on me sometimes," said Cornelius Daniel, Martin's nephew.

The Daniels' family has launched a fundraiser to benefit the couple's two teenage children.

The Tuskegee study, which ran from 1932 to 1972, has frequently been cited as one factor behind lower COVID-19 vaccination rates among African Americans.

In the study, designed to observe the natural history of untreated syphilis, the Public Health Services recruited 600 poor Black sharecroppers in Macon County, Ala., with the false promise of free healthcare.

"In order to track the disease's full progression, researchers provided no effective care as the men died, went blind or insane or experienced other severe health problems due to their untreated syphilis," according to History.com.

By the time a PHS whistleblower exposed the unethical study by leaking information to an Associated Press reporter, "28 participants had perished from syphilis, 100 more had passed away from related complications, at least 40 spouses had been diagnosed with it and the disease had been passed to 19 children at birth."

'Ashli Babbitt say her name': Trump supporter targets Black candidate's home in 'disgusting' act of vandalism

An apparent supporter of former president Donald Trump left several jugs of urine, with racial slurs and political messages written on them, outside the home of a Black city council candidate in Brockton, Massachusetts this week.

Marlon Green called the incident a hate crime and said he fears for the safety of his wife, two children and parents, who all live with him, according to the Enterprise-News. He discovered the gallon-sized plastic jugs on Tuesday after they were first noticed by his son, who had smelled urine.

Messages written on the jugs included "Black Nazi," "BLM sucks," "Joe Biden piss," "drink if you want," and "Ashli Babbitt say her name."

Green found partially filled containers in the driveway, across the street and down the road, and urine was poured out in some places.

"This unfortunate incident doesn't speak for the entire city, but speaks to events that have happened around the country," said Green, a registered Democrat and pastor who has lived in Brockton for 20 years.

On Facebook, he quoted civil-rights pioneers John Lewis and author Maya Angelou, saying he will not be intimidated. "There is no room in our communities for this kind of hate. It is always rendered unproductive."

Thomas J. Minichiello Jr., Green's opponent in the city council race, posted a statement calling the incident "disgusting behavior."

A representative from the local NAACP said: "This is scary. We're at a point in the country where race relations are at an all-time low."

Police are investigating.

'Chaos is coming': Proud Boy insurrectionist who yelled 'break it down' outside door where Ashli Babbitt was shot is pleading guilty

A Jan. 6 insurrectionist who flaunted a Proud Boys hat and live-streamed from inside the Capitol during the riot has pleaded guilty.

Andrew Ryan Bennett, of Columbia, Maryland, will face a maximum of six months in jail on a charge of unlawful picketing, according Scott MacFarlane, an investigative reporter for Washington, D.C.'s NBC affiliate. Sentencing is set for Oct. 1.

Bennett posted four livestreams on Jan. 6, three of them from inside the Capitol, in which he flaunted a baseball cap bearing the a Proud Boys insignia, according to federal prosecutors. In one of the videos, Bennett could be heard yelling "Break it down" outside the Speaker's Lobby door, prosecutors wrote. In another video, a gunshot can be heard. Insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot by police while attempting to crawl through a broken window in the same location.

Authorities recovered Bennett's Proud Boys hat when they searched his home. He reportedly admitted to being inside the Capitol and said "he knew it was wrong to do."

Two days before the insurrection, Bennett wrote on Facebook: "You better be ready chaos is coming and I will be in DC on 1/6/2021 fighting for my freedom! #FIGHTBACK for Lin Wood and his family!"

"This is my line. Ether you with me or against me. Keep thinking I'm crazy! Remember these dates," he wrote, before listing Jan. 6 and referring to a "MAGA caravan" headed to D.C.

Woman spewing Trump's anti-media rhetoric violently attacks reporter at Colorado Statehouse

In the latest example of violence fueled by Donald Trump's words, a woman spewing the former president's anti-media rhetoric attacked a reporter at the Colorado Statehouse this week.

Pat Poblete, a legislative reporter for Colorado Politics, was in the press room at the Capitol on Tuesday when the incident occurred, Denver alt-weekly Westword reports: "While Poblete wasn't injured and ultimately declined to ask that the woman be charged with assault — or for stealing items belonging to one of his reporting colleagues, Marianne Goodland — he's troubled that she appears to have acted out because she believes the terrible things said about the media by ex-President Donald Trump, whose rhetoric she spouted during her violent outburst."

Poblete told Westword: "This wasn't the sort of hyper-online, hyper-partisan, QAnon, deep-dive type of person who's ingrained in this stuff. This was just a woman who'd heard what the former president said about journalists and took that to heart. Even at that level of information and intake, it's still penetrating the public psyche."

Media advocates have long warned that Trump's rhetoric could lead to violence. In 2019, New York Times CEO Mark Thompson told CNBC: "Describing journalists from the Times and elsewhere as 'enemies of the people' and using extreme rhetoric about journalism, I think, is dangerous. It could encourage people to do crazy things in relation to news organizations and individual reporters."

Later that year, CNN's Jim Acosta reported that Trump's anti-media rhetoric had gotten out of control.

"If Trump is removed from office in any way, you are dead,' read one message posted on my Instagram account," Acosta wrote. "Self-described Trump supporters have left messages recommending that I be castrated, decapitated and set on fire. Theirs was the same kind of hatred that had driven Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc to send pipe bombs to CNN and Democratic targets shortly before the midterm elections in 2018. His vivid threats directed at me on Twitter went undetected until authorities captured him."

On Twitter, Poblete issued a plea: "We can do better. We MUST do better."

"To leaders and those with a platform: please choose your words carefully," Poblete wrote. "The woman who attacked me and attempted to make off with @MGoodland 's property was set off when she found out she was in the press room and echoed the rhetoric the former president directed at journalists.

"To my colleagues in the journalism industry: thank you for what you do," he added. "This probably isn't the first story like this you've heard and unfortunately it probably won't be the last. In the face of that, you push on. You continue the vital work of bringing sunlight to the darkest corners of your communities. We as a society are in your debt."

Poblete thanked the Colorado State Police for their response, and reiterated that he's fine — at least physically.

"Mentally is a different story and the what if's are haunting me. What if I was seriously hurt? What if she had a weapon? What if it was a gun? What if, instead of a 5'4 woman, it was an assailant the same height and weight as me?" he wrote. "Regardless of what you think about me or my profession, those are the type of questions that no one deserves to have hanging over their head. No one deserves to be physically assaulted because of their line of work. We can do better. We MUST do better."

Read his full thread below.

America is 'reaping the consequences' of 10 years of ignoring white-supremacist terror: columnist

The U.S. is reaping the consequences of a decade of largely ignoring white supremacist terrorists — beginning with a racist far-right extremist's murder of 77 people in Oslo, Norway, 10 years ago today, according to MSNBC columnist Cynthia Miller-Idriss.

On July 22, 2011, a 32-year-old Norwegian man detonated a bomb killing eight people at a government building. then traveled to a political youth conference, before gunning down another 69 people — including dozens of children and young adults — before being apprehended.

"The attacks marked the start of an era in far-right extremism that would be all but ignored by U.S. and global counterterrorism authorities for years to come. We are reaping the consequences of that inattention now," Miller-Idriss writes.

In a 1,500-page manifesto, the Oslo terrorist cited extreme anti-Islam and anti-immigrant beliefs. The attack directly inspired similar ones in six other countries, and indirectly resulted in the Oslo terrorist becoming a "hero," a "martyr," and a "saint" in the global white supremacist movement, which his "disciples" still listing him at the top of scoreboards that celebrate mass shooters' "kill counts."

"The idea of an existential threat to Western, Christian civilization so clearly articulated in the terrorist's manifesto spread into memes and satirical videos and eventually morphed into a broader spectrum of supremacist thinking that dehumanizes groups deemed 'inferior' and mobilizes violent extremism against them," Miller-Idriss writes. "This includes the male supremacism evidenced in mass attacks against women by 'incels' (involuntary celibates) and the self-described 'Western chauvinism' of the Proud Boys. Rapid growth in QAnon conspiracy theories was driven in part by their appeal to Christian nationalists."

Unfortunately, security and intelligence officials largely dismissed the Oslo attack as a fringe incident, and it wasn't until last year that the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that white supremacist extremism is the most persistent threat facing the United States.

"The question now is whether these efforts are too little, too late to put the genie back in the bottle," Miller-Idriss writes. "We will never know whether things would have been different if the vast counterterrorism machinery had seen the Oslo attack for the turning point it was a decade ago. But it is hard not to wonder where we would be now if we had treated those horrific attacks — and everything they set in motion — as the global threat to democracy that they were."

Read the full column here.

FBI informants' role in Michigan kidnapping plot could backfire as agency cracks down on right-wing terror groups

FBI informants' outsized role in a white-supremacist group's alleged plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year is raising major questions about the proper role of law enforcement in terror investigations.

In an in-depth story about the alleged kidnapping plot and investigation, BuzzFeed News recently concluded that, "informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported."

"Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects," BuzzFeed News' Ken Bensinger and Jessica Garrison wrote. "Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them."

The investigation included at least 12 informants, including one who was paid $54,793.95 for seven months of work and ultimately rose to second-in-command at the Wolverine Watchmen, the group accused of plotting the attack.

Writing at the New Republic, Melissa Gira Grant says while FBI has long been pushed to investigate white supremacist groups, instead of just young Muslim and Black men, in this case the agency's tactics may ultimately backfire.

"To suggest that those tactics 'work' when they fall on far right plots allegedly carried out by white men is to accept their lawfulness, or even their utility in addressing actual threats of violence," Gira Grant writes. "With 'anti-terror' enforcement offered as the solution, ensuring our safety becomes about what a prosecutor can provide — which, as these cases show, can rest more on appearances than tangible change.

"Informants played such a central role in not only collecting evidence, but also pushing the alleged plot along, it may only serve to reinforce the defendants' claims—that they were investigated for their constitutionally-protected political beliefs," she adds. "The American law enforcement and national security apparatus has repeatedly turned away from the threat of white nationalist violence, prompting some to seek corrective action. But in pursuing manufactured plots and exaggerating threats, they aren't addressing white nationalism. They may even be helping cast doubt on real acts of racial terror."

Read the full column here.

'Helmet boy' Capitol insurrectionist demands plea deal in 'off the rails' hearing: 'Can I get an offer?'

The Capitol insurrectionist who became known as "helmet boy" — after being captured on video using a riot helmet to smash a window to the Speaker's Lobby during the Jan. 6 riot — demanded a plea bargain from prosecutors during an "off the rails" court appearance on Wednesday.

Zach Alam, who remains in jail, spoke over his attorney and demanded to represent himself, at one point directly asking a federal prosecutor assigned to the case, "Can I get a deal?" according to a live report from Scott MacFarlane, an investigative reporter for Washington, D.C.'s NBC affiliate.

Alam said he was making an "offer" — for prosecutors to drop all charges — before demanding, "Make me a counteroffer."

Alam's outburst reportedly started before the judge even arrived for the hearing, when he yelled, "I will represent myself!" at attorneys and clerks.

After the judge later advised Alam to stop talking and repeatedly warned him against representing himself, he responded, "I don't take your advice," as his attorney attempted in vain to delay the hearing.

"(The prosecutor) will not be able to convince jury that I possessed a dangerous weapon on January 6. I can prove that," Alam said. "I want (the prosecutor) to offer me a deal right now. ... She needs to start doing her job and offer me a deal."

After the judge explained that prosecutors are not required to offer a plea bargain, the prosecutor said, "There has not been a plea offer, but I'm happy to start that process."

"Consider it requested now!" Alam interjected.

The judge ultimately delayed the hearing until later this summer, and Alam returned to jail.

He has been in custody since February, after being arrested when a family member tipped off authorities.

Deceased rioter Ashli Babbitt would later attempt to crawl through the window broken out by Alam, before being fatally shot by police.

Read MacFarlane's full report, and watch a video of Alam breaking out the window, below.

Horrified former dental patients slam GOP's Paul Gosar: 'To think of him putting his hands in my mouth just gives me the creeps'

Horrified former patients are speaking out against right-wing Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar, a longtime dentist.

Gosar has made headlines in recent months for wholeheartedly embracing former president Donald Trump's big lie, referring to Capitol insurrectionists as "peaceful patriots," comparing deceased rioter Ashli Babbitt to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and attending several events with white nationalist Nick Fuentes.

Gosar, once named the Arizona Dental Association's Dentist of the Year, got involved in politics while working with the American Dental Association. But this week it was reported that the ADA, his largest donor, cut ties with Gosar in response to his extremist tactics.

Now, former patients are chiming in.

Coreen Anderson, a self-described liberal Democrat, told the Washington Post that Gosar was the best dentist she ever had. He was so good that she voted for him the first time he ran for office. But when she spotted him recently at a Flagstaff antique shop, she ducked out of the way.

"I was with my friend," she said, "And I turned to her and said, 'What the hell happened to Paul Gosar?'

"Gosar the dentist had to be the real Paul Gosar," she added. "It had to be. There's no way that person was fake. Did he get brainwashed? Did the power get to this head? I honestly don't know what could have happened. ... It sickens me. I referred people to him."

Another patient, Craig Beeson, said: "He did a nice little job on a color match to make a denture tooth match the rest of my teeth. But now I'm repulsed thinking about it."

Joseph Harte, a retired Episcopal priest who had a tooth extracted by Gosar, said: "It's really awful. To think of him putting his hands in my mouth just gives me the creeps."

"I wish he had just stayed a dentist. He was a much better dentist than he is a politician," said former patient Andy Kruse.

Grace Gosar, the congressman's sister who has appeared in several ads denouncing him, including one targeting the ADA's support with the hashtag #CallYourDentist — attempted to explain his seeming transformation.

"I don't think he flipped, or that he's one person at home and another in the world. I think politics has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, and it pays to try and get as much attention as you can," Grace Gosar said, calling his recent behavior "harebrained, stupid, offensive and racist" and adding that she thinks he's a product of his conservative upbringing.

"I can remember racist comments, I can remember homophobic comments, definitely I can remember sexist comments," she added. "But that wasn't just Paul, it was our community. Has he become more of an extreme version now? Hell, yeah."

Doctor reveals what she tells dying COVID patients who beg for a vaccine after thinking the pandemic was a hoax

An Alabama doctor has revealed heartbreaking details about her recent conversations with patients dying from COVID-19, amid a surge in cases caused by the Delta variant in the state with the lowest vaccination rate in the nation.

"I'm admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID," Dr. Brytney Cobia wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. "One of the last things they do before they're intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I'm sorry, but it's too late.

"A few days later when I call time of death, I hug their family members and I tell them the best way to honor their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same," Cobia added. "They cry. And they tell me they didn't know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought because they had a certain blood type or a certain skin color they wouldn't get as sick. They thought it was 'just the flu'. But they were wrong. And they wish they could go back. But they can't. So they thank me and they go get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their death note, and say a small prayer that this loss will save more lives."

Cobia said all but one of her current patients did not receive the vaccine, with the one who received it expected to recover. AL.com reports that Cobia and other doctors "worked themselves to the bone" in the early part of the pandemic, when the vaccine wasn't available during a period she described as "tragedy after tragedy after tragedy."

"You know, so many people that did all the right things, and yet still came in, and were critically ill and died," Cobia said, adding that "it's different mentally and emotionally to care for someone who could have prevented their disease but chose not to."

"You kind of go into it thinking, 'Okay, I'm not going to feel bad for this person, because they make their own choice,'" Cobia said. "But then you actually see them, you see them face to face, and it really changes your whole perspective, because they're still just a person that thinks that they made the best decision that they could with the information that they have, and all the misinformation that's out there. And now all you really see is their fear and their regret. And even though I may walk into the room thinking, 'Okay, this is your fault, you did this to yourself,' when I leave the room, I just see a person that's really suffering, and that is so regretful for the choice that they made."

She compared the current surge to October and November, just before Alabama's experienced its December peak and she was "signing 10 death certificates a day." She added that she fears "impending doom" as children go back to school with 70 percent of Alabama's population unvaccinated.

Cobia herself contracted COVID-19 last July despite taking every precaution, but experienced only mild symptoms. She got vaccinated as soon as possible, even though she was breastfeeding at the time, after consulting with her primary doctor and her OBGYN.

"I try to be very non-judgmental when I'm getting a new COVID patient that's unvaccinated, but I really just started asking them, 'Why haven't you gotten the vaccine?' And I'll just ask it point blank, in the least judgmental way possible," Cobia said. "And most of them, they're very honest, they give me answers. 'I talked to this person, I saw this thing on Facebook, I got this email, I saw this on the news,' you know, these are all the reasons that I didn't get vaccinated. And the one question that I always ask them is, did you make an appointment with your primary care doctor and ask them for their opinion on whether or not you should receive the vaccine? And so far, nobody has answered yes to that question."

Read the full story here.

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