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Democrats are already in danger of losing the 2022 election — Here's why

Democratic lawmakers currently have a Congressional edge as they control the House, Senate, and White House but there are concerns about them maintaining that stronghold in 2022.

A new piece published by The Atlantic outlines the dangerous territory Democratic lawmakers are treading into as the primary election approaches. According to the publication, an analysis conducted by Way to Win examined the nature and effectiveness of campaign ads from both sides of the political aisle. The report offered a critical perspective of that assessment describing it as "a mistake" on Democratic lawmakers' part.

The analysis found that while "Republicans spent millions of dollars casting Democrats as extremists, Democrats instead emphasized bipartisanship."

Pollster Sean McElwee weighed in on the Democratic message and how it could impact their chances of maintaining control. "The message from the Dems was that Trump was a unique threat to democracy and that Joe Biden could work with the more normal Republicans, so the party has created a permission structure for people to vote for Republicans," McElwee said.

The latest analysis comes as potential candidates kick off their 2022 primary election campaigns. As previously reported by Alternet, Democratic lawmakers will have to get in the game and play hardball politics if they want to sustain. Journalist Russell Berman stressed the importance of Democrats fighting back with more aggressive actions to get their message across.

"Nowhere are the stakes higher for Democrats than in New York," Berman explained. "The party there has its largest legislative majorities in a century and more sway over more seats than anywhere else in the country. A cutthroat approach to redistricting in New York could eliminate or substantially alter as many as five GOP-held seats — a number equivalent to the Democrats' entire edge in the House…. The GOP needs to flip just five Democratic seats to recapture the House majority in 2022, and conceivably, the Party could gain all of those seats through gerrymandering alone."

David Shor also explained how the Democratic Party could use the media to their advantage.

"Everyone in the Democratic Party, for the first time in history, really, is sharing one common brand," Shor explained. "It becomes a share-of-voice question: Who are the people getting the most media coverage? If you tally it up, it means you have folks like [Joe] Biden [getting attention], but also the Squad."

Rudy Giuliani's incompetence and dishonesty exposed by suspension order -- here are 5 damning examples

Former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani on Thursday faced fresh humiliation when the Attorney Grievance Committee for New York State Supreme Court's First Judicial Department suspended his law license.

Specifically, the committee decided to put the former New York mayor's law license on ice after concluding that he "communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump."

The order suspending Giuliani's law license is filled to the brim with examples of the rank incompetence and dishonesty that he employed in his failed quest to keep Trump in the White House -- below are five of the most egregious examples.

1.) Rudy Giuliani tells a court that he's claiming voter fraud cost Trump the election -- then admits later he is not claiming voter fraud.

Giuliani responded in the affirmative when asked by a judge last year if he was alleging fraud, but then later backtracked when pressed by the court.

"So the amended complaint -- does the amended complaint plead fraud with particularity?" the judge asked.

"No, Your Honor, and it doesn't plead fraud," he said. "It pleads the -- it pleads the plan or scheme that we lay out... without characterizing it."

The committee notes that Giuliani's initial fraud claim "was made despite an amended complaint in which his very own client withdrew any fraud related claim."

2.) Giuliani defends lies about absentee ballots by saying he sincerely believed them at the time.

The committee shows that Giuliani made multiple false claims about Pennsylvania recording more votes via absentee ballot than the total number of absentee ballots sent out before the election.

Giuliani claimed that his multiple false claims about absentee ballots were an honest mistake -- but the committee didn't buy this explanation.

"[Giuliani] does not deny that his factual statement, that only 1.8 million mail-in ballots were requested, was untrue," the committee writes. "His defense is that he did not make this misstatement knowingly. Respondent claims that he relied on some unidentified member of his 'team' who 'inadvertently' took the information from the Pennsylvania website, which had the information mistakenly listed. There is simply no proof to support this explanation."

3.) Giuliani caught blatantly lying about a dead boxer voting in Philadelphia.

The committee showed that Giuliani falsely claimed to have proof that dead people in Philadelphia were voting in droves for Joe Biden, including most notably the late boxer Joe Frazier, who died in 2011.

A simple check of voter registration information, however, showed this claim to be utter nonsense.

"The public records submitted on this motion unequivocally show that respondent's statement is false," the committee states. "Public records show that 15 Pennsylvania formally cancelled Mr. Frazier's eligibility to vote on February 8, 2012, three months after he died."

4.) Giuliani claimed Biden received over 60,000 votes from underage Americans in Georgia -- the actual number was zero.

In a particularly damning example of Giuliani's reckless disregard for the truth, the commission showed how he concocted a statistic about underage voters out of nothing.

"At various times, respondent claimed that 65,000 or 66,000 or 165,00 underage voters illegally voted in the Georgia 2020 election," the committee explains. "The Georgia Office of the Secretary of State undertook an investigation of this claim. It compared the list of all of the people who voted in Georgia to their full birthdays. The audit revealed that there were zero (0) underage voters in the 2020 election."

Giuliani's defense of spreading this falsehood was that he was merely relying on the "expert" testimony of a man named Bryan Geels, whom the committee said was not an expert in anything.

"Other than respondent calling him an "expert," we do not know Mr. Geels' actual area of expertise or what qualifies him as such," writes the committee. "Merely providing names and conclusory assertions that respondent had a basis for what he said, does not raise any disputed issue about whether misconduct has occurred."

5.) Giuliani persisted in claiming that "a few hundred thousand" undocumented immigrants voted for Biden in Arizona even after being told that there was no data to support that conclusion.

Giuliani claimed on numerous occasions that anywhere from 10,000 to 250,000 undocumented immigrants voted illegally for Biden, and the committee said Giuliani's numerical claims are "so wildly divergent and irreconcilable, that they all cannot be true at the same time."

Furthermore, it showed that Giuliani didn't back down even when presented with contradictory evidence.

"At the November 30, 2020 hearing, when it was brought to respondent's attention that no study to support the conclusions had been done, respondent persisted in making these false factual statements," the committee writes. "In January 2021, respondent even admitted that he did not have the 'best sources' to justify the numbers he was stating as fact. Nonetheless, respondent has failed to produce any sources, whether 'best' or marginal, to support any of the figures he has presented to the public with authority."

Miami paper slams new Florida law aimed at college professors: McCarthy recipe for 'paranoia and persecution'

On June 22, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a Republican-sponsored bill that calls for standards of "intellectual diversity" to be enforced on college campuses in the Sunshine State. But the Miami Herald's editorial board, in a scathing editorial published on June 24, emphasizes that the law isn't about promoting free thought at colleges and universities but rather, is an effort to bully and intimidate political viewpoints that DeSantis and his Republican allies in the Florida Legislature disagree with.

"The state government wants to know what political ideologies and beliefs university professors hold, and it's giving the green light for students to secretly record lessons to later use what instructors say against them," the Herald's editorial board explains. "All of that is being done in the name of free speech. Such twisted logic and targeting academia have been hallmarks of anti-democratic regimes. Now, they have also become the MO of Florida Republicans who passed a bill that requires public universities and colleges to survey students, faculty and staff, to ensure 'intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity' on campuses."

The Herald's editorial board notes the type of arguments that Florida Republicans have used in favor of the new law. According to the law's supporters, college campuses in Florida have become "socialism factories" designed for "indoctrination" of students.

The Herald's editorial board writes, "Don't worry, bill sponsors say, these surveys won't be used against college professors or to threaten their employment, even though there's nothing in House Bill 233 that guarantees that, or that survey responses will remain anonymous. University budget cuts might be looming if our supreme leaders — er — lawmakers don't like what the survey results show, bill sponsor Sen. Ray Rodrigues and DeSantis suggested Tuesday."

According to the Herald's editorial board, the HB 233 is designed to do the exact opposite of promoting "intellectual diversity" on college campuses.

"College professors have got to be seeing the writing on the wall," the Herald's editorial board writes. "We wouldn't be surprised if they fudged their survey responses out of fear of retaliation or that their institution will lose funding for being deemed too liberal. That's especially true for professors teaching liberal-arts degrees that conservatives consider a waste of time and were trying to make ineligible for full Bright Futures scholarship funding. Luckily, that proposal failed during this year's legislative session after student backlash."

History repeats itself, and the Herald's editorial board recalls that during the 1950s, college professors were a favorite target of far-right Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin and his Cold War witch hunt.

"University professors were a target of the post-war Red Scare," the Herald's editorial board notes. "In 1949, the National Council for American Education published a booklet called 'Red-Ucators at Harvard,' listing professors deemed subversive. In 1954, Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee sought to flush out communists among educators and questioned professors accused of having ties to the Communist Party. Intellectual diversity should be something every university strives for, but we know the results of government officials policing educators: paranoia, persecution and the opposite of the free speech Republicans say they want to protect."

'A hotbed for conspiracies': How QAnon promotes paranoia in California's wellness and spirituality community

Reporter Laura J. Nelson, in an article published by the Los Angeles Times on June 23, takes a look at Californians who have an unlikely combination of beliefs: they are into new age ideology, but are also QAnon supporters.

"A world that has long embraced love, light and acceptance is now making room for something else: QAnon," Nelson reports. "More commonly associated with right-wing groups, the conspiracy theory is spreading through yoga, meditation and other wellness circles. Friends and colleagues have watched with alarm as Instagram influencers and their New Age peers — yogis, energy healers, sound bathers, crystal practitioners, psychics, quantum magicians — embraced QAnon's conspiratorial worldview and sprayed it across social media."

QAnon is a far-right movement that promotes bizarre and outlandish conspiracy theories. According to QAnon, the United States' federal government has been taken over by an international cabal of pedophiles, child sex traffickers, Satanists and cannibals — and former President Donald Trump was put in the White House to fight the cabal. Well-known pro-QAnon extremists in the Republican Party include Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

The fact that QAnon has made inroads with far-right Christian fundamentalist evangelicals isn't surprising; the Christian right has long been prone to conspiracy theorists. But the new age community in California seems an unlikely place for QAnon to make inroads.

Nelson, however, reports, "The health, wellness and spirituality world has always been primed for that worldview, followers say. Though largely filled with well-meaning people seeking spiritual or physical comfort, the $1.5-trillion industry can also be a hotbed for conspiracies, magical thinking, dietary supplements with dubious scientific claims and distrust of institutional healthcare, including vaccines."

Julian Walker, a Mar Vista yogi who hosts a podcast called "Conspirituality," told the Times, "It's always been the water we were swimming in. Now, we're seeing what happens when the water rises."

The violent insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 included supporters of QAnon as well as members of the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and other far-right Trump supporters. And some of those QAnon supporters, Nelson points out, embrace new age beliefs.

Nelson explains, "Several New Age spiritualists in Southern California interviewed by the Times said they knew a total of more than a dozen former friends and colleagues at the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol with ties to yoga, meditation, energy healing and dietary supplements hawked by multilevel marketing companies. Jake Angeli, whose face paint and horned headgear during the Capitol riot earned him the nickname 'the QAnon Shaman,' carried a sign at earlier protests that read, 'Q Sent Me,' and successfully petitioned a federal judge on religious grounds to receive only organic food in jail. One of the best known of the rioters is Alan Hostetter, a ponytailed former police chief, yoga teacher and sound healer from Orange County who spoke at a QAnon conference and was indicted by federal officials this month."

Los Angeles-based yoga instructor Seane Corn, who co-founded the group Off the Mat, Into the World, has been warning others in the new age community that QAnon is dangerous.

"Corn was among the wellness leaders who shared a statement in September warning that QAnon's tactics resembled cult psychology and that the ideology would sow confusion, division and paranoia," Nelson reports. "Corn estimates she knows at least ten people who embraced 'hardcore QAnon,' including two people who participated in the attack on the Capitol — and is aware of more than 30 colleagues and peers who subscribe to some forms of the ideology, as well as a 'countless' number of yoga students. Corn said she has watched bots and real-life QAnon devotees try to harness her social media comment sections as a recruiting ground, using 'wellness language and nonviolent communication' in an attempt to lead her followers toward more conspiratorial thinking.

'Growing tension' and 'vitriolic threats' rock Michigan GOP as Trump supporters demand Arizona-style election audit

On October 8, 2020, it was obvious how severe political tensions had become in Michigan when the FBI announced that 13 men had been arrested in connection with a domestic terrorist plot to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, subject her to a "trial" and execute her if found guilty. Those behind the kidnapping plot were angry over the restrictions she had imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the political climate in that midwestern state hasn't grown any less tense since then. Washington Post reporter Tom Hamburger, in an article published on June 23, describes the tensions that continue to rock Michigan five months into Joe Biden's presidency.

"As Michigan State Rep. Donna Lasinski got out of her car at the state Capitol in Lansing on a sunny morning last week," Hamburger reports, "she was greeted by two people carrying what she described as assault rifles while protesters outside the building called for an audit of the 2020 election. Such disconcerting encounters are not uncommon in Lansing — a reflection of persistent and growing tension gripping Michigan eight months after Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump."

Michigan was among the five states that Trump won in 2016 but lost in 2020; the others were Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia. But Trump and many of his sycophants have continued to make the false and totally debunked claim that Trump really won Michigan and that he was the victim of widespread voter fraud. And with Trump supporters calling for Michigan to have an "audit" of the 2020 election not unlike the Cyber Ninjas farce presently taking place in Maricopa County, Arizona, that only adds to the tensions in the Wolverine State.

"Attacks on the integrity of the 2020 election have persisted in this state, where local county officials are contending with demands by some residents to review ballots for possible fraud," Hamburger explains. "The mounting calls by Trump supporters to revisit the election results are creating a thorny dilemma for the (Michigan) Republican Party, which has sought to fend off those efforts, even as GOP officials seek changes to election law."

Hamburger observes that on June 23, a GOP-controlled committee in the Michigan State Senate "issued a report forcefully rejecting the claims of widespread fraud in the state, saying citizens should be confident in the results and skeptical of 'those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain.'" But last week, according to Hamburger, "A few hundred demonstrators carrying boxes of affidavits signed by thousands of people demanding a state ballot audit showed up at the (Michigan) Capitol."

"On (June 22), a GOP legislator introduced a bill to start the audit process, although it so far does not have support among other lawmakers," Hamburger observes. "The drumbeat for audits has been accompanied by increasingly violent and vitriolic threats against state and local officials. The escalating rhetoric has left legislators from both parties lamenting what happened to the state that was home to moderate political consensus builders such as President Gerald Ford, Gov. George Romney and the late Rep. John Dingell."

New study blows up GOP talking point that cutting unemployment benefits early will push people to find work

In right-wing conservative and libertarian ideology — and even among some centrist Blue Dog Democrats — there is a widely held belief that having a social safety net encourages people to be unproductive. And unemployment benefits, according to that school of thought, make people complacent about looking for work. But new analysis from the employment website Indeed suggests that cutting off unemployment benefits early does not make people find work any faster.

Indeed's analysis comes at a time when many Republican-led states are opting out of enhanced unemployment benefits that came in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession that it caused.

Indeed's analysis measures clicks on job posts. CNBC reporter Greg Iacurci quotes Ann Elizabeth Konkel, an economist for Indeed, as saying that "people in those states" — meaning GOP-led states — "are less likely to be searching than your average jobseeker right now."

According to Konkel, "You'd think they'd be searching more. At least right now, this does push back on the idea that federal unemployment benefits are the main reason there are labor market frictions."

Conservatives and libertarians have been claiming that because the Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress are overly generous with unemployment benefits, and Americans are lax about looking for work. But liberal economists such as Robert Reich, former secretary of labor in the Clinton Administration, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman have a very different viewpoint — often stressing that unemployment benefits, a temporary measure, are good for the economy because they encourage spending while the unemployed are looking for work. Krugman and Reich view unemployment benefits not as a handout, but a hand up.

CNBC's Iacurci quotes Konkel as saying of enhanced unemployment benefits and their effect on the U.S. economy, "I don't think it's the whole puzzle. I think it's one piece of the puzzle."

GOP rep parrots conspiracy theory that FBI is to blame for Capitol riots

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) is the latest Republican lawmaker to promote a dangerous conspiracy theory about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) being involved in the Capitol insurrection.

Biggs echoed the conspiracy that Fox News' Tucker Carlson began pushing last week. At the time, Carlson described members of the FBI as "unindicted co-conspirators," and suggested that some of the rioters could have been working with the federal agency.

Biggs expressed concern over FBI Director Christopher Wray's failure to acknowledge speculation around the FBI's alleged involvement in the Capitol riots. The Republican lawmaker also demanded more insight on the FBI's possible role in the deadly series of events that transpired, according to AZ Central.

On Tuesday, Biggs conducted a radio interview with conservative radio commentator Charlie Kirk where he further discussed the FBI conspiracy theory.

"It truly demands answers," Biggs told Kirk. "It is actually very troublesome to hear what's out there and we need to get to the bottom of that."

He added, "I want to know if there were 20 FBI agents, and they were not there for security for the president, why were they in that crowd?"

At one point, Biggs also attempted to blame the FBI for its so-called failure to stop what transpired.

"There's always been allegations of the media being in there, right?" Biggs continued. "We've seen some evidence of that. But if you have law enforcement that's there that could have stopped, thwarted, whatever, and they didn't? That's a problem. But moreover, Charlie, I mean, think about this: The FBI director said that the vast majority of people there were peaceful — peaceful protesters. They were rowdy, but they were peaceful. Were they infiltrating a peaceful protest? To what end would that be?"

Although Biggs is now calling for further investigation into the Capitol riots, he, like the vast majority of House Republicans, voted against the formation of the Jan. 6 commission to thoroughly investigate the attack.

GOPers fake outrage over Kamala Harris visiting the border after demanding she visit the border

For months, Republican leaders and right-wing conservatives have been calling for Vice President Kamala Harris (D) to travel to the southern U.S. border.

Now, Harris has announced her plan to take the trip this Friday, and Republicans are still outraged. On Wednesday, June 23, Harris' spokesperson Symone Sanders released a statement about the vice president's travel plans.

"Earlier this year, the President asked the Vice President to oversee our diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras," Sanders said. "As a part of this ongoing work, the Vice President traveled to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month and will travel to El Paso on Friday."

But Republicans are still going after Harris. In fact, according to The Daily Beast, Republican lawmakers are describing the vice president's decision as a "complete mistake" while nitpicking about the exact location she will be visiting. According to them, the vice president will not be visiting the area they insist the "height of the problem" is.

Almost immediately after Sanders made the announcement, former President Donald Trump kicked off the criticism.

"After months of ignoring the crisis at the Southern Border, it is great that we got Kamala Harris to finally go and see the tremendous destruction and death that they've created—a direct result of Biden ending my very tough but fair Border policies," the former president said in his statement. "Harris and Biden were given the strongest Border in American history. And now, it is by far the worst in American history. If Governor Abbott and I weren't going there next week, she would have never gone!"

Fox News' Joe Concha also echoed similar sentiments. On Wednesday, during the network's segment of "Outnumbered," Concha sided with Trump.

"It's about time she's going. We know why this is happening now," Concha said. "Optics means a lot in this business and President Trump is set to go to the border next week. So Team Biden wasn't about to allow itself to be embarrassed any further. If Trump is at the border, you can be sure the media would have followed him."

Fox News' White House correspondent Peter Doocy also went from asking why the vice president hadn't gone to wondering why she now is going.

"Why is the vice president visiting the border this week when earlier this month she dismissed a trip like that, saying it would be a grand gesture?" Doocy asked, prompting White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki to note that Harris said she'd be open to a border trip at an appropriate time.

Charges may be near for Roger Stone over Jan. 6 Capitol riot: legal expert

Longtime Republican operative Roger Stone, who allegedly owes nearly $2 million in back taxes, is reportedly still on the Justice Department's radar for his purported role in organizing the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Alongside right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Stone is now being investigated by federal prosecutors over his role in organizing and inciting the attempted Jan. 6 insurrection — an allegation he refutes.

News that was previously reported by The Washington Post near the end of February found new life on Twitter early this week when former United States Attorney-turned-Los Angeles Times legal affairs columnist Harry Litman tweeted, "Just wouldn't be a real scandal and outrage without the presence of, you guessed it, Roger Stone, whom DOJ now investigating for his role in 1/6 insurrection."

Litman followed up his statement Monday on MSNBC, where he discussed the ongoing DOJ investigations into Stone and Jones.

"I think they are leaving no stone unturned to kind of portray and determine the color of what happened here," he said. "Were the insurrectionists influenced by staff, members of Congress, Trump loyalists like Roger Stone and Alex Jones?"


06 20 2021 19 18 44 youtu.be

While Jones and Stone didn't actually enter the Capitol building themselves, according to footage circulating online, Litman said investigators could be looking into whether the provocateurs incited Trump superfans ahead of the deadly events that day.

"They were not just there. They made really incendiary comments and, look, we already do have a conspiracy," he said. "Nine people have been charged, so anyone, including Stone, Jones, [Ali] Alexander who adopted that unlawful purpose and did any overt act would be guilty of conspiracy.

"In the case of a Stone, we know from previous conduct that the [Justice] Department isn't spoiling generally to go after him and former Trump people, but the paramount goal here is to really leave, forgive the expression, no stone unturned with respect to Jan. 6."

The longtime Republican strategist strongly dienes any wrongdoing stemming from the events that day.

"I have no involvement whatsoever in the illegal events of Jan. 6," Stone told Salon Monday night.

Litman finished his segment on MSNBC by speculating that charges could be in the pipeline for Stone and Jones over the radicalization of their followers. "Could it progress to potential charges? You bet," he said.

In a Tuesday afternoon appearance on the right-wing cable network Newsmax, Stone hinted at the U.S. Secret Service possibly being behind the Capitol riot carried out by Trump supporters — while also giving air to the baseless theory that the FBI was behind the attempted insurrection. "The Secret Service does not do political chores. [They] do not perform logistical tasks. I find it rather suspicious," Stone said.


[twitter_embed https://twitter.com/justinbaragona/statuses/1407410487227256834 iframe_id="twitter-embed-1407410487227256834" created_ts=1624387783 name="Justin Baragona" embed_mobile_width=375 text="Looks like Newsmax and Roger Stone are floating a new Jan. 6 conspiracy, seemingly implicating the Secret Service was involved in coordinating the insurrection.\n\n\"The Secret Service does not do political chores. [They] do not perform logistical tasks. I find it rather suspicious\"pic.twitter.com/GHzez49HTP" embed_desktop_height=600 embed_desktop_width=550 embed_mobile_height=598 id="1407410487227256834" expand=1 screen_name="justinbaragona"]

This Trump supporter could be the first Floridian prosecuted under Ron DeSantis' new anti-protest law

A Florida man was arrested and charged with multiple felonies last Thursday after intentionally performing a "burnout" with his car over a Pride-themed mural painted on an intersection in Delray Beach, opening him up to become the first person charged under the state's controversial new "anti-riot" bill pushed by Republicans.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed the bill meant to crack down on protests in the wake of the George Floyd uprisings earlier this year, just as the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derick Chauvin was wrapping up. The legislation was heavily opposed by first amendment activists and Black lawmakers in the state. Now a young Trump supporter may be the first person entangled by the new law.

Alexander Jerich, 20, is accused of deliberately making skid marks across a mural meant to commemorate the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting, in his Chevrolet Silverado. According to WPBF, Delray Beach Police have since charged Jerich with criminal mischief, reckless driving, and evidence of prejudice. Just prior to the incident, Jerich was allegedly participating in a pro-Trump rally in celebration of the former president's birthday that was put together by the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee.

A witness told the police that heard someone holler "tear up that gay intersection" before Jerich shortly defaced the mural with his car. The incident was also caught on video, which allowed the police to identify Jerich, who turned himself in, through a license plate search.

Rand Hoch, founder and president of the Palm Beach Human Rights Council, told WFOR that Jerich carried out "a deliberate act of violence against the LGBTQ community. We've made such progress here in the last 30 years on LGBTQ issues. To see someone do something like this took me by surprise."

"Kudos to the Delray Beach Police Department for swiftly identifying and arresting this hateful criminal," Hoch added.

The city had just unveiled the mural two days before the incident, according to law enforcement, and paid north of $16,000 for its creation.

Jerich could now be subject to heightened penalties imposed by Florida's new GOP-backed "anti-riot" law signed back in April. As WPEC's Sam Kerrigan noted: "When it comes to this case, the key here is that this new anti-riot law also stops someone from damaging historic property or a memorial. And under the law, this new Pride mural in Delray Beach, here, qualifies as a memorial because it's dedicated to the lives lost in the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando."

Hoch, too, suggested that Jerich could be charged under the new GOP measure.

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