Discuss: Political Madness All the Time

Wouldn’t you know it, this thread would lapse just before Trump was kicked out of office. I wonder if the new thread will be as lively without the Orange Cheeto around to focus our anger? I think Joe might provide some prompting, at least.

Lynna is your curator. Type furiously!

(Previous thread)


  1. says

    Thanks, PZ, for giving the Political Madness thread new life.

    SC @56 in the previous chapter of this thread, (a comment in which text from The Guardian was quoted): of course Israel has an obligation to make vaccines available to Palestinians. That they are not doing so turns my stomach.

    In other news: As impeachment trial nears, Trump has no legal defense team

    […] the Democratic-led House appears ready for the proceedings. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a nine-member team of impeachment “managers,” led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a former constitutional lawyer, to prosecute the case.

    As for the defendant, the defense team remains … unresolved.

    As recently as Saturday, Rudy Giuliani told ABC News that he was “working on” Trump’s legal defense in the impeachment matter. This was at least somewhat surprising: there were multiple reports last week that Trump had soured on the former New York City mayor and had even instructed aides not to pay the attorney’s legal fees.

    This morning, Giuliani reversed course, telling ABC News that because he spoke at the pre-riot rally, he is “a witness and therefore unable to participate in court or in the Senate chamber.”

    So, what happened in the 48 hours in between? The New York Times reported:

    Mr. Trump met with Mr. Giuliani on Saturday night at the White House, and the next day the president began telling people that Mr. Giuliani was not going to be part of the team. It is unclear who will be a defense lawyer for Mr. Trump, given that many attorneys have privately said they won’t represent him.

    This is all getting a little weird. Giuliani says he’s working on impeachment, then says the opposite. Trump tells him he won’t be on the team, except it’s not at all clear who is on the team.

    Meanwhile, Bloomberg Law reported last week that [Trump] is “having trouble” finding lawyers willing to represent him — a recurring problem for Trump. The reporting added, “Allies of the outgoing president have been canvassing Washington’s legal landscape looking for representation but so far are coming up short.”

    What happens if, as the trial date nears, Trump has no one to defend him? Would he try to defend himself? Would he give Giuliani a second look? Would he call Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to see if he’s busy?

    A Wall Street Journal reporter added this morning that some of Trump’s allies have told him he’ll “need to take some responsibility for inciting the riot if he wants a serious lawyer to defend him, which he has indicated he doesn’t want to do.”

  2. says

    From Wonkette: “Nothing Grifty About Trump’s Coming Pardon-Palooza”

    […] Time to rain that sweet, sweet clemency down on those deserving of presidential mercy. And by “deserving” we mean “able to cough up cash to some asshole in Trump’s orbit willing to get their names on the list.” (Allegedly!)

    “Everything is a transaction. He likes pardons because it is unilateral. And he likes doing favors for people he thinks will owe him,” a source told CNN, which was first to report that the pardon–palooza was scheduled for Tuesday, or possibly even today.

    The Post confirmed the story, writing that Trump hunkered down with a group of advisors including Jared and Ivanka on Sunday “for a significant amount of the day” and that “the president was personally engaged with the details of specific cases.” Because Poppy Trump is known for his attention to detail and scrupulous accuracy!

    Apparently they’re still debating preemptive pardons for the president’s worthless kids, who haven’t been charged with anything yet, as well as his loony lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who is under investigation for all the things, and former campaign manager Steve Bannon, who was arrested by the post office for fraud.

    There’s also the issue of a pardon for Trump himself, which got more complicated after he incited a riot and got himself impeached again. According to the Post, giving himself a get-out-of-jail-free card “could anger Senate Republicans preparing to serve as key jurors at Trump’s impeachment trial, and would amount to an admission of guilt that could be used against Trump in potential civil litigation related to the Capitol attack.” There’s also the small matter that the Justice Department appears to be sticking by its stance, articulated in a 1974 memo from the Office of Legal Counsel, that “Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the President cannot pardon himself.” Although it’s entirely possible that they dummied up a new one for the file that said, “JK LOL, actually, it’s totally cool.”

    In a normal administration, there’s a process to vet pardons through the Justice Department. Presidents don’t just dole them out after consulting with their kids and a coterie of hangers on. Pardon recipients have to both request clemency and accept responsibility for their crimes. […]

    The New York Times served up the gnarliest pardon story of the bunch, with the usual suspects sticking their faces all the way into that trough for one last grift. There’s Rudy Giuliani, of course, talking pardons and getting shitfaced at the Trump Hotel in DC with former CIA operative John Kiriakou, who was sentenced to 30 months in jail in 2012 after leaking the name of a colleague to a reporter.

    When Mr. Giuliani went to the bathroom at one point, one of his confidants turned to Mr. Kiriakou and suggested Mr. Giuliani could help. But “it’s going to cost $2 million — he’s going to want two million bucks,” Mr. Kiriakou recalled the associate saying.

    “I laughed. Two million bucks — are you out of your mind?” Mr. Kiriakou said. “Even if I had two million bucks, I wouldn’t spend it to recover a $700,000 pension.”

    Giuliani denies this version of events, telling the Times that he’s not taking money to lobby the president, because “It’s like a conflict of interest,” adding later “I have enough money. I’m not starving.” About that …

    Kiriakou went on to hire former Trump campaign advisor Karen Giorno, who he says bragged about her access to the president and promised to lobby the White House in exchange for $50,000 upfront, plus another $50,000 if the pardon actually went through. So far it hasn’t, perhaps because purported whistleblowers are not a favored class of felon in this White House.

    Perennial Trumpland lawyer John “Purple Comic Sans” Dowd also makes an appearance, with the Times reporting that he started pitching himself to pardon-seekers based on his access to Trump and Kushner immediately after leaving the White House in 2018. […]

    Robert Mueller superfans will remember that Dowd left a voicemail for Michael Flynn dangling a pardon in the Mueller investigation.

    But the chutzpah award goes to former federal prosecutor Brett Tolman, who is simultaneously “advising” the White House on pardons and offering his services to clients seeking those pardons. Tolman racked up tens of thousands of dollars in fees from “the son of a former Arkansas senator; the founder of the notorious online drug marketplace Silk Road; and a Manhattan socialite who pleaded guilty in a fraud scheme.”

    […] Bringing up the rear, Fox News is out this morning with the scoop that Lil Wayne is on the pardon list. The rapper and former “Apprentice” contestant is due to be sentenced January 28 on gun charges, but apparently that hearing will be canceled. Probably a coincidence that he endorsed Trump’s re-election bid, right?

    Wednesday cannot get here soon enough.


  3. says

    From Wonkette: “No Mask Can Protect You From Rand Paul’s Lethal Stupidity”

    By the time you read this, it’s possible that the United States will have passed 400,000 deaths from COVID-19. The virus is still spreading almost unchecked, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims the virus’s new, more transmissible variant could become dominant in the US by March. This is all very bad news, but Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul appears to be telling people to break out of their mask prisons and breathe in the fresh Covid.

    Paul, who is trying his damndest to win the title of Kentucky’s worst senator, was on Laura Ingraham’s white power hour Friday and denounced Dr. Anthony Fauci’s oppressive voodoo science.

    PAUL: What I tell people is use common sense.

    This is when you know he’s about to cough bullshit on you.

    PAUL: If you’ve had the disease or you’ve been vaccinated and you’re several weeks out from your second dose, throw your mask away and tell Dr. Fauci to take a leap because once you have immunity you don’t need to do this. […]

    It’s unclear if Paul is knowingly lying or too stupid to walk upright. It’s a distinction without a difference, though, because if you listen to this asshole, you’re going to get people sick.

    The Moderna vaccine reported a protection rate of 51 percent two weeks after the first immunization and 94 percent two weeks after the second dose. No one here at Wonkette is a doctor, but we’re fairly confident that neither number is 100 percent. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center, agrees with our findings.

    That’s not 100 percent. That means one out of every 20 people who get this vaccine could still get moderate to severe infection.

    New York Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat tested positive after taking his second dose of the vaccine. It’s reasonable we’d continue to wear masks and social distance until herd immunity is achieved, but more than that your own dumb ass is at stake. We aren’t sure the vaccine prevents you from spreading COVID-19 to others, which is a concern when half the country possesses the same selfless consideration for their fellow man as Ayn Rand.

    NPR reports:

    Before approving the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the FDA asked the vaccine manufacturers only whether their products protect people from COVID-19 symptoms. They didn’t ask if the vaccines stop people who’ve been vaccinated from nevertheless spreading the virus to others. The emergency authorizations by the FDA that have allowed distribution of the two new vaccines cite only their ability to keep you — the person vaccinated — from becoming severely sick with COVID-19.

    We won’t know for a while if vaccinated people can still spread COVID-19. Until then, it’s reckless to “throw your mask away” like Paul suggests, and if we learn otherwise prior to reaching herd immunity, you should still wear a mask, because the cashier at the grocery store has no way of knowing if you’re vaccinated or not.

    Paul also promotes the myth that if you’ve had COVID-19 previously, you’re permanently immune. Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, said, “It’s very premature to make the assumption that just because you had COVID-19 that you’re safe from it.” This is why Dr. Esper encourages everyone to get vaccinated, even those who’ve recovered from the coronavirus.

    “The vast majority of individuals who have effective antibodies against this virus are probably protected for several months. But like with many coronaviruses, these antibodies just don’t seem to last very long. So we expect that immunity to wane over time,” says Dr. Esper.

    Dr. Esper said it wouldn’t surprise him if we have to receive annual COVID-19 vaccinations, like we do with the seasonal flu. Nothing’s certain yet, but that’s why we should remain cautious.

    Paul also told gullible Fox News viewers that lockdowns and masks had done nothing to slow the trajectory of the virus in America. This isn’t the biggest lie Republicans are pushing, but it’s a strong runner-up.

    Wear a damn mask.

  4. says

    Parler (Sort Of) Back Online

    After being offline for several days, Parler, the premiere social media destination for Nazis, Proud Boys and QAnon dopes, once again has a front page. It does not have anything else. Just a front page with a “Parley” from CEO John Matze reading “Is this thing on?” and a message for all of their “lovers and haters.”

    Now seems like the right time to remind you all — both lovers and haters — why we started this platform. We believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential, especially on social media. Our aim has always been to provide a nonpartisan public square where individuals can enjoy and exercise their rights to both.

    We will resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon. We will not let civil discourse perish!

    Truly, there is nothing more important than civil discourse while planning a second Civil War.

    To be clear, the reason Parler was kicked off of its previous servers had nothing to do with providing “a nonpartisan public square where individuals can enjoy and exercise” their right to free speech. Heck, it didn’t really have anything to do with the fact that the speech they were exercising was bigoted hate speech or conspiracy-laden hate speech. People were planning crimes on there and also recruiting and encouraging others to do crimes with them, and then going through with those crimes […] and the site had no interest in doing any kind of moderation to prevent that in the future.

    […] Parler is, however, hoping to get back online using servers hosted by Epik, Inc., which also hosts Gab (the other premiere social network for Nazis, Proud Boys and QAnon dopes) and the dot win message boards like TheDonald.win and GreatAwakening.win. Basically they are fugazi subreddits for subreddits that got kicked off of Reddit. They look and function exactly the same, except they don’t have to worry about following Reddit’s rules.

    But they may soon have to start following some other rules. Robert Davis, senior vice president of Epik Inc., told the Wall Street Journal that TheDonald.win may be on its way out if it doesn’t get its act together and stop inciting hate and violence. That will be difficult, of course, given that inciting hate and violence is pretty much what happens on TheDonald.win. Like Parler, TheDonald.win was a major hub of organizing for the attempted coup on January 6th of this year. […]

    It is perhaps more surprising that GreatAwakening.win, the QAnon message board, is not also being considered for removal, given the hateful, violence-inciting content that’s so common in QAnon circles. You know, when they’re not speculating on whether or not the Deep State ate Kurt Cobain’s body after his suicide, with the help of the notably-in-cahoots Courtney Love and Dave Grohl.

    In other social media news, QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene was suspended for 12 hours from Twitter on Sunday for multiple violations of their “civil integrity policy,” which basically just means she was lying about the election being stolen from Donald Trump.

    […] we have rules about plotting crimes in real life. […] even servers and sites that try to be all “Hey! Come here and say anything you want! The water’s fine!” still end up banning people or getting shut down. Duh.


  5. says

    From the Washington Post:

    A heavy-metal guitarist, the alleged leader of a Colorado paramilitary training group and two self-styled militia members from Ohio have been charged with taking part in the riot at the Capitol last week, as the FBI ratchets up its investigation into the role extremist groups played in storming the building.

    Jon Schaffer, an Indiana musician, turned himself in to the FBI on Sunday afternoon, officials said. On Jan. 6, Schaffer was photographed inside the Capitol, wearing a hat that said “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member.” Schaffer founded Iced Earth, a heavy-metal band, and music fans quickly recognized him as the FBI circulated wanted posters with his face on them.

    Schaffer was charged with six counts, including engaging in an act of physical violence. Authorities said Schaffer was among the rioters who targeted U.S. Capitol Police with bear spray. […]

  6. says

    Today’s Guardian pandemic liveblog (support the Guardian if you can!):

    An independent panel reviewing the global handling of the Covid-19 pandemic said that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January and criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for not declaring an international emergency until January 30.

    In an interim report the panel of experts, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said: “The global pandemic alert system is not fit for purpose”, adding: “The World Health Organization has been underpowered to do the job”.

    It called for a “global reset” and said it would provide recommendations in a final report to health ministers in May.

  7. says

    From the Washington Post: “How Proud Boys and other fringe groups found refuge on a Christian fundraising website.”

    Henry “Enrique” Tarrio had already publicized his plans to participate in the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally. The 36-year-old Miami resident and national chairman of the Proud Boys posted on social media that he would direct small teams of his far-right group with a history of violence to wear black and fan out across Washington. […]

    Tarrio was wanted on a misdemeanor charge from December accusing him of setting fire to a historic Black church’s Black Lives Matter banner.

    During the traffic stop, authorities found high-capacity firearm magazines in his backpack, resulting in felony weapons charges,[…] Tarrio said, he thought about how he would need a lot of money to get out of this mess. Good lawyers, he said, don’t come cheap.

    He said family members had the idea to monetize the support of his online followers through GiveSendGo.com, a niche Christian fundraising website that bills itself as “a place to fund hope.” Within a week, the “Enrique Tarrio Defense Fund” had amassed more than $113,000 from 2,359 donors […]

    “It’s not just Proud Boys that are raising money there,” Tarrio said in an interview Thursday, noting that his group’s chapters nationwide have used the site to fund their cause. “There’s just so many people that are raising money there.”

    A review by The Washington Post shows that the self-described Christian website has become a refuge of sorts for outcasts and extremists, including fringe groups such as the Proud Boys as well as conspiracy theorists who seek to undercut the results of the presidential election by promoting debunked claims of fraud. Some of the users claim to have been booted from other crowdfunding websites for violating terms-of-service agreements. […]

  8. says

    A preview of just some of Trump’s impending legal difficulties, difficulties that will face him as soon as he leaves office:

    […] Roberta Kaplan’s clients include writer E. Jean Carroll, who filed a defamation case after Trump claimed she was “totally lying” about her allegation that he raped her a quarter-century ago in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, and niece Mary L. Trump, who claims that Trump and two of his siblings deprived her of an inheritance worth millions.

    “I became the go-to person to sue the president,” says Kaplan, 54, with considerable relish.

    She is in many ways the ideal legal adversary to take on Trump. Kaplan is a brash and original strategist, with neither a gift for patience nor silence, a crusader for underdogs who has won almost every legal accolade imaginable. […]

    Before the presidency, Trump was often as engaged in legal tussles as he was in real estate, suing and threatening to sue his way out of financial trouble. With a return to private life, “his terror is that he will no longer be protected by the office and will have to deal with these lawsuits,” says his niece. Trump faces the prospect of spending considerable time in the role of defendant. Kaplan says she will seek to depose him in all three cases. […]

    she became increasingly identified as an advocate for liberal causes and outside-the-box legal strategies. She is a lesbian, an observant Jew and a die-hard Democrat for whom 12 hours constitutes a light work day.

    “My maternal grandmother always hated a bully,” Kaplan says during a series of phone interviews. “One really good job for going after bullies is to be a lawyer.”

    Since launching her own firm four years ago, Kaplan has initiated a constellation of cases against powerful, often intimidating forces: white supremacists, major Hollywood players, the president of the United States. Legal writer Dahlia Lithwick calls her “an attorney general for the resistance.”

    Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan says of their frequent legal conversations: “Robbie’s not calling about feelings. She wants to fix it first. She’s the least diffident person I’ve ever met. Plenty of smart people worry about failing. They worry about every little thing. Robbie doesn’t worry about that. In a really disarming way, she doesn’t care if people view her as hyperaggressive.” […]

    Washington Post link

  9. says

    Installing a Trump official As The top NSA lawyer shows ‘Disregard’ for national security, Nancy Pelosi told the Department of Defense.

    The circumstances and timing – immediately after President Trump’s defeat in the election – of the selection of Mr. Ellis, and this eleventh-hour effort to push this placement in the last three days of this Administration are highly suspect.

    Further, the efforts to install him or ‘burrow’ him into a highly sensitive intelligence position 72 hours prior to the beginning of a new Administration manifest a disturbing disregard for our national security.

    Therefore, this placement should not move forward.

  10. says

    Not a single person shows up for ‘Million Militia March,’ and state-capital protests fail badly too

    All of the various right-wing “Million”-themed marches that have been organized over the past several years (such as December’s “Million MAGA March”) have fallen well short of the million people they claimed to rally—usually, they number at best in the tens of thousands. But Sunday’s planned “Million Militia March” was a failure of truly epic proportions: It seems no one showed up to march. Not a soul.

    Similarly, worries about marches on various states’ Capitols around the nation turned out to be groundless when only tiny smatterings of armed militiamen showed up at a few of the events that pro-Donald Trump “Patriots” said they were planning in places such as Columbus, Ohio, and Salem, Oregon. Both failures suggest that the American radical right is now in utter disarray, at least for the time being.

    The plans for the Washington march, coming on the heels of the January 6 insurrection attempt at the Capitol by the same crowd of violent far-right Trump supporters, were supposed to represent a kind of “Round 2” for their attempt to overturn the results of the November election by falsely claiming the vote was riddled with fraud.

    However, the organizers were surrounded in chaos and incompetence—unable to settle on a date, disagreements over the focus of the march, and claiming the state-capital protests were actually “false flags” organized by the “Deep State” as a way of urging greater attendance. Those same accusations were then laid against them by organizers of the state-level protests.

    […] On Saturday, Cuoy Griffin, the New Mexico county commissioner who heads up “Cowboys for Trump,” was arrested for his role participating in the Capitol takeover. Griffin, who was retweeted by Trump in May for saying “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” had also boasted that he intended to bring his guns to Biden’s inauguration.

    The chaos resulted in a complete no-show Sunday […] streets around the Capitol Mall completely empty, primarily due to security measures, with not a single peep from any far-right protesters.

    […] In Columbus, Ohio, about a dozen militiamen showed up to march. Most of these men were affiliated with the “Boogaloo” civil-war movement, and they claimed they had nothing to do with the insurrection in Washington.

    The scene in Lansing, Michigan, was similar: A smattering of “Patriot” protesters standing outside thoroughly guarded Capitol grounds, shouting a few slogans and utterly impotent.

    In Salem, Oregon, protesters were outnumbered 3-to-1 by the members of the media who were there to cover them.

    […] Perhaps the most pathetic state-capital protest was in Trenton, New Jersey, where a single protester showed up with a sign that he eventually abandoned on a sidewalk.

    […] alt-right white supremacists have engaged in extensive bickering over the mess, accusing each other of being federal informants and traitors to the cause, as well as con artists.

    “Eric Striker and other movement f**s want you to join a public group to grift off of you and other naïve whites,” commented one white supremacist on Telegram, “and when these naïve whites get arrested for doing stupid public shit, Striker [kicks] these naïve whites to the curb without hesitation, thought, or remorse for their own actions which got these naïve whites into trouble in the first place. Think about that.”

  11. says

    Texas Insurrectionist Jenna Ryan Maybe Not Smartest Life Coach In World

    Life-coach-slash-real-estate-agent-turned-insurrectionist Jenna Ryan was the subject of what NBC News described as a “freewheeling and at times combative” interview Monday on the “Today” show. Ryan flew on a private jet to the January 6 Trump-inspired siege on the Capitol. She’s very white, […] so she doesn’t comprehend that she broke a few laws when she breached the Capitol with a MAGA mob that shouted, “Hang Mike Pence!”

    Ryan has asked Donald Trump for a pardon, and it’s always possible he might slip her into the 200 or so corrupt ones he’s pumping out during the final two days of our long, national nightmare. In the meantime, she should consider not speaking to the press, because she keeps unapologetically confessing to crimes.

    RYAN: I have no guilt in my heart. My intention was not to have a riot. I did not want to have a riot. I was documenting what was going on in the environment I was in.

    She’s just an innocent woman caught up in circumstances beyond her control. However, the “Today” show helpfully included footage from Ryan’s own social media where she stated, “If it comes down to war, guess what? I’m gonna be there.” Maybe instead of an unruly riot, she expected a well-mannered war where refreshments were served. She also said (again on camera), “We’re all gonna be up here. We’re gonna be breaking those windows.”

    […] Ryan said she feels “persecuted” even though she was politely arrested for her coup-related offenses without having her ass beaten.

    […] McFadden [the “Today” show’s Cynthia McFadden] found it hard to believe Ryan’s absurd claim that she was unaware of any violence going on […]

    RYAN: I’m an honest person, and if I felt in danger, I would’ve been out of there.

    Ryan was part of the mob. Her personal safety wasn’t an issue. No one was shouting, “Hang the life coach.” […]

    RYAN: I’m glad I was there. Because I witnessed history. And I’ll never get the chance to do that again … No one will probably ever be able to go near [the Capitol] again.

    McFadden tried to talk sense into Ryan regarding Trump’s false accusations that the presidential election was “stolen,” but Ryan said all the failed lawsuits and dismissed court cases don’t “faze” her because no one has “heard” the non-existent evidence. It’s possible Ryan doesn’t understand how the United States legal system works.

    […] Ryan recorded Blair Witch-style video of herself declaring that she was going to “storm the Capitol” and “fucking go in here — life or death, it doesn’t matter,” but she claimed her words were taken out of context.

    RYAN: They may not sound like peaceful words, but I’m a very passionate woman. If you look up the term storm, you can storm in the kitchen.

    RYAN: You can storm in and say, “‘No more.” I’m not storming in to kill people. What I meant, life or death, is if someone kills me, I will stand for my truth, even if someone kills me.

    Yes, she’s a regular Patrick Henry: “Give me liberty or … please, God, give me a pardon. I won’t do community service.”

    According to McFadden, Ryan believes God sent Donald Trump to save America, which we think in clinical terms means she’s batshit. She still believes the election was stolen and she’ll never vote again, so maybe Trump’s malicious vanity has saved America.


  12. tomh says

    From Rick Hasen’s Election Law Blog

    $40 Million Effort from LDF for Next Generation of Civil Rights Attorneys in the South
    January 18, 2021 by Rick Hasen
    Wow announcement via email:

    Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) launched the groundbreaking Marshall-Motley Scholars Program (MMSP), an innovative educational and training opportunity that will produce the next generation of civil rights attorneys to serve Black communities in the South. As LDF celebrates its 80th anniversary year, the new scholarship and pipeline program builds upon its legacy of fighting for racial justice in America and producing leading advocates against racial injustice. The MMSP demonstrates LDF’s ongoing commitment to the South, where the majority of its clients reside, and launches as LDF prepares to open its southern regional office in Atlanta this year.

    The MMSP is made possible by a generous anonymous donor who has committed to funding a program of 50 participants, which amounts to a $40 million investment in developing a new generation of civil rights lawyers in the South…

    The majority of Black people in this country still live in the South and continuously face impediments to voting, education equity, and racial and economic justice. For this reason, LDF’s docket and litigation practice has always been rooted principally in the South. …

    Over the next two decades, the MMSP aims to support the education and training of 50 aspiring civil rights lawyers. The program will afford participants:

    a full law school scholarship for tuition, room, board, and incidentals — to ease the debt burden that can prevent future lawyers from pursuing a career in racial justice;

    summer internships to begin their training as civil rights lawyers early in their law school careers;

    a two-year postgraduate fellowship at a national or regional civil rights organization with a racial justice law practice in the South — to provide unprecedented access to professional development and skills-building, training and preparation;

    and access to special trainings sponsored by LDF and the National Academy of Sciences.

    In return, Scholars commit to practicing civil rights law in pursuit of racial justice in the South for at least eight years following the conclusion of their fellowship. Students beginning law school in the 2021 academic year are eligible to apply.

  13. says

    a full law school scholarship…
    summer internships…
    a two-year postgraduate fellowship…
    and access to special trainings…
    In return, Scholars commit to practicing civil rights law in pursuit of racial justice in the South for at least eight years following the conclusion of their fellowship. Students beginning law school in the 2021 academic year are eligible to apply.

    This sounds like an excellent idea and I notice an extra reason to appreciate it: that’s the same sort of deal the military offers. We train you, then you serve an N-year tour of duty. It will probably attract some sharp minds who might otherwise have wound up taking that very option, except this way they’ll actually be fighting for justice and democracy.

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Trump’s Census Director To quit After Trying To Rush Out ‘Indefensible’ Report

    The Trump-appointed director of the U.S. Census Bureau is stepping down close to a week after whistleblower complaints about his role in attempting to rush out an incomplete data report about noncitizens became public.

    In an internal email announcement on Monday, Steven Dillingham said he is retiring from the bureau on Wednesday, more than 11 months before his term expires at the end of this year, according to a Census Bureau employee who spoke to NPR and asked not to be named for fear of retaliation at work.

    Dillingham later confirmed his plans, which were first reported by Talking Points Memo, in a blog post on the bureau’s website.

    The bureau’s current deputy director and chief operating officer — Ron Jarmin, a career civil servant who served as acting director before Dillingham was appointed — is set to temporarily fill the top post again after Dillingham is out at noon ET on Wednesday, the bureau’s chief spokesperson Michael Cook tells NPR.

    Dillingham’s departure clears the entire slate of Trump appointees at the federal government’s largest statistical agency as its civil servants continue to toil over 2020 census records and prepare for the release of the first results from last year’s national head count, which has been delayed until March 6 at the earliest.

    All other Trump officials will also have left the bureau by Wednesday, when President-elect Joe Biden is set to be sworn in, Michael Cook, the agency’s chief spokesperson, confirmed to NPR last week.

    More atl

  15. says

    A QAnon-related conspiracy theory says Barack Obama was arrested. The evidence: A video of Obama touring Nelson Mandela’s former prison cell….”

    Screenshots atl. Barack Obama, meanwhile, is tweeting about MLK and how to get involved in public service. Newt Gingrich posted a picture with the Pope a few days after they claimed the Pope had been arrested. Hillary Clinton is recording a chat with Nancy Pelosi. How do they not fucking get that these people aren’t being arrested? It’s been years!

  16. tomh says

    The Trump administration bailed out prominent anti-vaccine groups during a pandemic
    By Elizabeth Dwoskin and Aaron Gregg
    Jan. 18, 2021

    Five prominent anti-vaccine organizations that have been known to spread misleading information about the coronavirus received more than $850,000 in loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, raising questions about why the government is giving money to groups actively opposing its agenda and seeking to undermine public health during a critical period…

    Several of the Facebook pages of these organizations have been penalized by the social network, including being prohibited from buying advertising, for pushing misinformation about the coronavirus.

    The largest loan, $335,000, went to Mercola, an organization affiliated with Joseph Mercola, a well-known anti-vaccine activist and businessman. The left-leaning human rights group Avaaz deemed one of Mercola’s groups on Facebook one of the leading “superspreaders” of misinformation about the coronavirus. His Facebook pages in English and Spanish together have more than 2.7 million followers.

    The Children’s Health Defense Co., founded by Robert Kennedy Jr.[received loans]… has questioned whether the coronavirus vaccines that have received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration are safe … The group has posted on its social media channels about the “great reset” conspiracy theory, which holds that “global elites” such as Bill Gates will use the pandemic to advance their interests and push forward a globalist or Marxist plot to destroy American sovereignty and prosperity and control the population.

    Organizations linked to Kennedy were responsible for the majority of Facebook advertising that was critical of vaccinations, until Facebook restricted the group’s ability to advertise in 2019 on the grounds that it spread misinformation…

  17. blf says

    From the Guardian’s (please support the Guardian if you can) current attempted insurrections live blog (entry quoted in full):

    The Trump administration’s 1776 commission released a report on Wednesday claiming to have presented a definitive chronicle of the American founding.

    The commission was convened by Trump amid the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests against systemic racism. Feeding his base’s fury at calls for a more honest accounting of American history to be taught at school, Trump called for a pro-American curriculum and promised to do everything he could to rebut what he said was a narrative that America is a wicked and racist nation.

    [Chris Megerian (LA Times) wrote]: “This is basically a taxpayer-funded right-wing blogging dressed up as academic research, including a whole section about why ‘progressivism’ is bad.”

    Trump and his allies were particularly incensed by the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, named after the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia. The Pulitzer Prize-winning audio series, which Trump denounced as propaganda, has been adopted into the curriculum of several schools for its deep exploration of the enduring consequences of slavery.

    Trump claimed the 1776 Commission would help restore patriotic education to the nation’s classrooms. Indeed, the description of the report states that it provides a dispositive rebuttal of reckless ‘re-education’ attempts that seek to reframe American history around the idea that the United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one.

  18. blf says

    The Onion, Conservatives Accuse Nature Of Silencing Right-Wing Voices After Sheldon Adelson Dies At 87 (quoted in full):

    Insisting the billionaire’s demise would have a chilling effect on democracy, conservatives accused nature Tuesday of silencing right-wing voices after GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson died at 87. “It’s disgusting and frankly un-American that nature decided it had the right to unilaterally end Sheldon Adelson’s existence after nearly nine decades of being alive,” said Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, who, along with others in his party, promised to bring an investigation against the concept of time for its role in abruptly stifling the casino magnate just days after Trump supporters rioted inside the Capitol. “Tell me, why is Ronald Reagan dead but Jimmy Carter still alive? I’ll tell you, it’s anti-conservative bias. The Declaration of Independence guarantees every American the right to life, and I’m not going to sit idly by while the laws of biology muzzle great patriots like Mr Adelson. People dying of old age is what happens in China or Nazi Germany, not the great US of A.” At press time, right-wing leaders were urging fellow Republicans to boycott nature by setting fire to their lawns.

  19. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Rio de Janeiro has kicked off its coronavirus vaccination campaign with what is likely to prove the most breathtaking immunisation launch ceremony on earth.

    Two Brazilian women, aged 80 and 59, received their first shot of the Chinese Coronavac vaccine at the feet of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue at dusk on Monday.

    The spectacular televised event on Corcovado mountain was attended by Rio’s media-savvy mayor, Eduardo Paes, and state governor Cláudio Castro. Brazil’s rightwing president Jair Bolsonaro – who is from Rio but has repeatedly undermined containment measures and vaccination and has attacked the Chinese vaccine – was a notable absence.

    Rio is one of the Brazilian states worst-hit by Covid-19, having registered more than 27,000 of Brazil’s 209,000 deaths. If the beachside state capital was a country it would have one of the worst Covid death rates on earth.

    Ahead of the ceremony Paes, who took office early this month, tried to strike a positive note. “The start of vaccination is not the end of the pandemic but it is a light at the end of the tunnel,” he tweeted, urging residents to continue wearing masks and respecting containment measures.

    Vaccination began in Brazil on Sunday after the country’s health regulator approved the emergency use of vaccines produced by China’s Sinovac and Oxford/AstraZeneca.

  20. Tethys says

    Several of my states reps are among those who voted against democracy after the riot.

    Today I looked at their Twitter feeds. They all have posted some BS about MLK today, and 100% of commenters are telling them they should shut up and resign.

    Ah, I do love the resistance.
    Snark is our chief weapon.

  21. blf says

    I cannot actually locate details currently, but over the weekend I got an e-notice from the village where I live they are ready to open a vaccination station (somewhere). Apparently, there is an additional bureaucratic hurdle of some sort (the implication was it was routine and minor (which, however, doesn’t mean fast (this is France))). This is the first even vaguely “concrete” or official information I’ve seen / received — the absence of which has been a continuing complaint of mine…

    According to the track-and-trace app’s convenient statistics, over 479,000 vaccinations have now been given (still some confusion if that is jabs or people (two jabs per person)) in France.

  22. blf says

    Ben Jennings in the Grauniad On Covid vaccination priorities (cartoon). Whilst the cartoon is about teh “U”K, and specifically, UK government should focus on Covid, not statues, campaigners say (“[Secretary of State for Housing &tc] Robert Jenrick accused of trying to distract from Tories’ handling of pandemic as he plans legal changes to protect monuments”), it occurs to me it also applies to hair furor’s statues garden (see @15, and Trump orders creation of Garden of American Heroes amid backlash over monuments).

  23. blf says

    From the Grauniad’s current attempted insurrections live blog:

    Trump administration to deport man to Haiti who has never been there
    US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) is to carry out a final deportation flight of the Trump era on Tuesday, with a plane bound for Haiti whose passengers include a man who is not a Haitian citizen, and who has never been there.

    Paul Pierrilus, a 40-year-old financial consultant from Rockland County, New York, was born in the French Caribbean territory of Saint Martin, according to a birth certificate supplied by his family, who said he came to the US with his parents when he was five. His sister and parents are US citizens.


    According to his sister, Neomie, he was seized when he went to an immigration office on Federal Plaza in Manhattan on 11 January, for what he thought would be a routine visit.

    “He went there for the appointment and while he was there, he was detained, and he was informed that they have documents stating that he’s a Haitian citizen,” Neomie Pierrilus said.


    Neomie Pierrilus supplied copies of emails last year from the then Haitian ambassador, Hervé Denis, confirming that her brother was not a Haitian citizen. Nor did Paul’s birth in Saint Martin confer French citizenship, making him stateless.


    “Sending him to Haiti, first of all, is not legal,” [head of the community group Haitian Bridge Alliance, Guerline] Jozef said. “And with what’s going on in Haiti right now, there is no way they should be deporting people there period, especially him because he is not Haitian, has never been there and has no connections there. So they cannot just drop him at the airport.”


    I don’t at all understand why, despite being born in Saint Martin, he isn’t French — 40 years ago, Saint Martin was part of Guadeloupe, which was then and still is an overseas department of France (that is, Guadeloupe is part of France, just like Hawaiʻi is part of the States; Guadeloupe is not a Puerto Rico or Guam or whatever). Saint Martin did succeed from Guadeloupe around 2007 or so, and is no longer a French overseas department, but is still French (albeit now presumably more like the Puerto Rico / Gaum / whatever analogy, legally-speaking) — and in any case Mr Pierrilus was apparently born around 1980, long before the succession and change-of-status).

    Admittedly this whole “Paul’s birth in Saint Martin [did not] confer French citizenship” is a something of a side-issue to the story…

  24. John Morales says

    Paul Pierrilus, a 40-year-old financial consultant […]

    Well then, if he is any good at his job, he should already be financially set for life, especially if he goes to somewhere like Haiti.

  25. says

    blf @24 and SC @34, Chris Hayes read the 1776 report and characterized it as being written at about sophomore in High School level, if that.

    How embarrassing … and they introduced it to the public on MLK Day.

    In other news, I think the My Pillow guy is being run by the Russians.

  26. says

    blf @35: “[…] it occurs to me it also applies to hair furor’s statues garden (see @15, and Trump orders creation of Garden of American Heroes amid backlash over monuments).”

    Oh! Of course. An astute observation.

    I see that Trump has Vince Lombardi on the list of American Heroes for the garden.

  27. says

    SC @21, thanks for the additional information.

    In other news: Giuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results.

    In other, other news: Trump moves to lift coronavirus travel restrictions on Europe, Brazil

    WTF!? Is he trying to bring in as many cases of coronavirus as possible?

    From the article:

    […] Trump issued an executive order terminating the travel restrictions on the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil and the countries in Europe that compose the Schengen Area effective Jan. 26. The order came two days before Trump leaves office. President-elect Joe Biden’s team immediately signaled they would move to reverse the order.

    “With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” tweeted incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

    “On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Psaki continued.

    The order states that Trump’s action came at the recommendation of outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. The memo cites the new order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that requires passengers traveling by air to the U.S. to receive a negative COVID-19 test within three days before their flight departs, saying it will help prevent travelers from spreading the virus. […]

  28. says

    From the Washington Post: “QAnon adherents discussed posing as National Guard to try to infiltrate inauguration, according to FBI intelligence briefing”

    The FBI privately warned law enforcement agencies Monday that far-right extremists have discussed posing as National Guard members in Washington and others have reviewed maps of vulnerable spots in the city — signs of potential efforts to disrupt Wednesday’s inauguration, according to an intelligence report obtained by The Washington Post.

    The document, a summary of threats that the FBI identified in a Monday intelligence briefing, warned that both “lone wolves” and adherents of the QAnon extremist ideology, some of whom joined in the violent siege on the Capitol on Jan. 6, have indicated they plan to come to Washington for President-elect Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony.

    The FBI also said it had observed people downloading and sharing maps of sensitive locations in Washington and discussing how those facilities could be used to interfere in security during the inauguration.

    But the intelligence briefing did not identify any specific plots to attack the inaugural events that would be akin to the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol and noted that “numerous” militia and extremist groups are publicly denouncing any violence targeted at the transition of presidential power. […]


    Those Qanon dunderheads are certainly persistent.

    […] The Post is withholding some details outlined in the intelligence report at the request of the FBI to avoid revealing intelligence-gathering methods or specific security vulnerabilities. […]

  29. mnb0 says

    At the moment Dutchies beat you Americans regarding political madness.

    Relatively speaking Covid-19 has killed about 3 Dutch victims for every four American ones.
    The current government had to resign last week due to a Tax Service Scandal.
    In March there are elections.

    So what do you think? Probably not that the party of Dutch PM Mark Rutte will win those elections. Well, according to the most recent polls he will win two seats in Dutch parliament.
    If you understand it you’re a better person than me.

  30. blf says

    Follow-up to some previous comments (probably in the previous edition of this series of threads) about the female insurrectionist alleged to have taken Nancy Pelosi’s laptop and possibly tried to sell it to the Russians, Police arrest woman FBI alleges stole Pelosi laptop to sell to Russia:

    Riley June Williams was arrested on Monday over Capitol breach after FBI received a tipoff from woman’s former partner
    The FBI said in an arrest warrant on Sunday that Williams hasn’t been charged with theft but only with illegally entering the Capitol and with disorderly conduct.

    FBI officials said a caller claiming to be an ex of Williams said friends of hers showed him a video of her taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Pelosi’s office. The caller alleged she intended to send the device to a friend in Russia who planned to sell it to that country’s foreign intelligence service, but that plan fell through and she either has the device or destroyed it. The FBI says the matter remains under investigation.


  31. says

    Michael Harriot:

    Here are some of my favorite stories about Martin Luther King Jr. that you won’t hear today from people who wanted to paint him as this adorable teddy bear and not the radical that he was.

    A thread.

  32. says

    Geoff Bennett:

    Biden will also issue these exec actions on Day One, per source familiar:

    -rejoin World Health Organization
    -rescind $9B Keystone XL pipeline permit
    -end Trump’s national emergency on the border
    -stop federal executions
    -reverse the ban on transgender people serving in military

  33. blf says

    Apropos of nothing, really, follow-up to @31, I tracked down the information on the village’s vaccination station… seems I slightly misunderstood the message, full approval has been given and now They™ are completing the station, scheduled to be fully(?) up-and-running end-ish of this week. Full details to be published “soon”… all of which, whilst not much, is better than the previous near-total silence.

  34. says

    Guardian – “Parler website partially returns with support from Russian-owned technology firm”:

    Parler, the social network popular with Donald Trump supporters, has partially returned online with the help of a Russian-owned technology company.

    The network vanished from the internet after it was dropped by Amazon’s hosting arm and other partners over a lack of moderation after its users called for violence and posted videos glorifying the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January.

    On Monday, Parler’s website was reachable again, though only with a message from its chief executive, John Matze, saying he was working to restore functionality.

    The internet protocol (IP) address it used is owned by DDos-Guard, which is controlled by two Russian men and provides services including protection from distributed denial of service attacks, infrastructure expert Ronald Guilmette told Reuters.

    DDoS-Guard’s other clients include the Russian ministry of defence, as well as media organisations in Moscow. Until recently, it offered 8kun – which was previously known as 8chan – protection from DDoS. Last week, DDoS-Guard became the latest company to cut ties with 8kun’s hosting company, VanwaTech, following inquiries from the Guardian.

    If Parler’s “free speech” website is fully restored, users would be able to see and post comments. Most users prefer the app, however, which remains banned from the official Apple and Google stores.

    On Wednesday last week, Matze told Reuters the company was in talks with multiple service providers but declined to elaborate.

    DDoS-Guard was registered in 2017 under a limited partnership, a financial structure in Scotland that allows nonresidents to create companies with little scrutiny. Aleksei Likhachev and Evgeniy Marchenko, two Russian businessmen who registered it, remain owners of the company. The partnership under which DDoS-Guard is registered is called Cognitive Cloud and is listed at an address in Edinburgh’s Forth Street.

    In an update on Monday, Parler[dot]com linked to a Fox News interview in which Matze said he was “confident” Parler would return at the end of January.

  35. blf says

    Oops! Sri Lankan holy man’s ‘miracle’ potion for Covid turns sour:

    A self-styled Sri Lankan holy man’s supposed miracle potion to prevent Covid-19 has turned sour after a minister who publicly drank it was taken to hospital with the virus.

    Thousands defied public gathering restrictions to swamp a village in central Sri Lanka last month to get the syrup made by Dhammika Bandara.

    The women and child development minister, Piyal Nishantha de Silva, was among several politicians who consumed the concoction, but parliamentary officials said he had since tested positive for coronavirus and was taken to a treatment centre.


  36. says

    Alec Luhn:

    With its head @navalny now jailed @fbkinfo posts its biggest ever investigation into “Putin’s palace” near Gelendzhik. Floorplans seem to suggest it’s the biggest home in Russia, with wine cave, theater, gym, pool, “aquadisco” & hockey rink, & cost $1.35bn

    The funnest parts of “Putin’s palace,” judging from visualizations of the floorplans & furniture, look like the “reading room,” “large game room,” “entertainment room” & “hookah bar.” Yankovych’s pales in comparison

    Are the armchairs for officials who have to report in while Putin happens to be taking a bubble bath?

    Putin’s bed…

    Photos and link atl. I think we need a new edition of Dictator Style.

  37. says

    Punchbowl News: Joe Biden has quietly invited members of the congressional leadership from both parties to attend church with him on Wednesday morning. The service will take place at St. Matthew’s in downtown D.C. Attendees include Pelosi, McCarthy, McConnell and Schumer.”

  38. says

    BREAKING U.S. levels first charges against apparent leader of extremist group in Jan. 6 storming of U.S. Capitol, arresting Oath Keeper leader in Va. this morning on counts including conspiracy against the United States.

    Thomas E. Caldwell, 65, of Berryville, Va, allegedly plotted storming the U.S. Capitol and proposing to hit Ohio’s capitol next. ‘I am such an instigator!’ he said on Facebook with a video, per FBI. ‘Lets storm the capitol in Ohio. Tell me when!’

    Caldwell, nicknamed ‘Commander T’ or ‘Commander Tom’, allegedly scouted lodging and organized a group of self-styled Ohio militia members for the raid led by Jessica Watkins, who was arrested over the weekend, FBI said.”

    WaPo link atl.

  39. says

    Strengthening democracy:

    […] This morning, Senate Democratic leaders — which is to say, the leaders of the incoming Senate majority — announced that they’ve also made the For the People Act their S. 1 for the new Congress. The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent got an advance look at its contents:

    The new bill would dramatically broaden voting access. It would require states to implement automatic voter registration, extensive early voting and same-day registration. It would restrict efforts by states to place suppressive hurdles on voting and vote-by-mail. The bill also seeks to restore protections in the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court gutted and to block states from disenfranchising felons. It would require states to adopt independent redistricting commissions, a strike at likely GOP efforts to gerrymander House maps in 2021. The bill would also implement new disclosure requirements on lobbying and “dark money” spending, and would require presidents and vice presidents to disclose tax returns.

    Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a written statement, “From a violent insurrection at the Capitol to the countless attempts to silence the vote of millions of Americans, attacks on our democracy have come in many forms. Senate Democrats are committed to advancing real solutions and fighting to uphold the core tenets of our constitution, which is why we are announcing today that the first bill of the new Congress will be the For the People Act.

    Schumer added, “Anyone who believes in a government by the people and for the people should support this important legislation.”

    A 22-page summary of the legislation is available here.

    As a political matter, it’s heartening to see the incoming Democratic majority make strengthening our democracy such a priority. The pillars of our system have obviously faced extraordinary attacks over the last four years, and it’s critical that they be bolstered and repaired. The merits of the For the People Act should be obvious. […]


    Democrats in the House passed a “For the People Act” in 2019, but Mitch McConnell killed it in the Senate.

  40. says

    Bits and pieces of campaign news:

    * Sens.-elect Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) are scheduled to be sworn in tomorrow, as is Sen.-designate Alex Padilla (D-Calif.). Each will be sworn in by Kamala Harris, who will be the new vice president.

    * On a related note, once that happens, there will be a 50-50 split in the chamber. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are reportedly working on the details of the power-sharing arrangement, with Schumer succeeding McConnell in the top spot.

    * With many leading corporate donors rejecting Republicans’ recent anti-election efforts, NBC News spoke to a leading Republican strategist who described the ramifications of this as “a real serious, potential problem.”

    […] * In the state of Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) defeated Loren Culp (R) by more than 13 points, but Culp filed suit anyway, alleging election “anomalies” that did not appear to exist. As the Seattle Times reported, Culp’s lawyer has withdrawn the lawsuit because he faced “a threat of legal sanctions for making meritless claims in a court of law.” [Trumpism lives.]

    * Despite key Democratic victories in statewide races in Arizona a few months ago, the Arizona Republican Party will meet this weekend and “the most pressing items on the agenda will be censuring three moderate Republicans who remain widely popular in Arizona.” A New York Times report added, “While some Republicans nationwide are beginning to edge away from Trumpism, Arizona is a case of loyalists doubling down, potentially dividing the party in fundamental and irreparable ways.” [Trumpism fractures the Republican Party.]

    * And in rhetoric reminiscent of the early months of Barack Obama’s presidency, Frank Eathorne, the chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party, told Steve Bannon the other day, “Many of these Western states have the ability to be self-reliant, and we’re keeping eyes on Texas too, and their consideration of possible secession. They have a different state constitution than we do as far as wording, but it’s something we’re all paying attention to.” [Oh, FFS]


  41. says

    Joe Biden to take office with an empty cabinet

    New presidents take the oath of office at noon on Jan. 20, but there’s nothing stopping senators from confirming cabinet nominees before Inauguration Day. In fact, in recent decades, that’s been the norm: incoming presidents announce their cabinet choices during the transition period; the Senate confirms at least some of those choices, and by the time new chief executives arrive in the Oval Office, part of their cabinet team is in place.

    Around this point four years ago, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was so determined to confirm at least some of Donald Trump’s cabinet in advance of his inauguration that the GOP leader chastised Democrats for being concerned with “little procedural complaints” — such as federal ethics reviews.

    Trump’s Defense secretary and secretary of Homeland Security took office the same day the Republican president did. On both Barack Obama’s and George W. Bush’s first day in office, seven members of their respective cabinets were in place.

    But when Joe Biden is sworn in tomorrow, his cabinet will be empty. The Washington Post reported:

    Delayed confirmation hearings could force the incoming administration to confront a raging pandemic without a health secretary, a ravaged economy without a treasury secretary, a massive Russian cyber intrusion without secretaries to helm the Pentagon or State Department, and a wave of emboldened white nationalism without an attorney general or homeland security secretary…. Biden’s nominees are already well behind schedule, according to data compiled by James King, a professor of political science at the University of Wyoming.

    […] let’s not lose sight of the partisan circumstances: Mitch McConnell could’ve overseen a responsible and efficient process, just as Republican-led committees could’ve moved far more quickly to schedule hearings and consider qualified nominees before this week.

    They chose not to, and that’s a problem.

    Lauren C. Bell, a political science professor at Randolph-Macon College who studies Senate confirmations, told the Post, “I can’t think of a worse time to have our executive branch so understaffed, given just the magnitude of the challenges that are taking place right now.”

    Senate committee will hold several confirmation hearings today for key posts — including nominees for Defense, Homeland Security, State, and Treasury — though even if the hearings go well, they won’t be confirmed as early as tomorrow.

  42. says

    Why Trump’s ‘1776 Commission’ is such an unfortunate mess

    “I don’t care about the utterly ridiculous 1776 Commission “report.” I do care if schools actually bring this nonsense to students.”

    […] As [Trump] put it in his Republican National Convention speech in August, “We will fully restore patriotic education to our schools.” Around the same time, Trump’s campaign team released “Fighting for You!” agenda, filled with vague bullet points on what the Republican would do with a second term, and it included, “Teach American Exceptionalism.”

    Soon after, Trump delivered remarks accusing the nation’s public schools of teaching students “hateful lies about this country” and announcing an executive order for a 1776 Commission that would create a “patriotic” curriculum that would rid classrooms of “toxic propaganda” and “twisted lies” about the United States.

    [Trump] hoped to exploit social unrest over the summer, insisting that “the left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools.”

    But at the heart of the matter was the 1619 Project, a New York Times-backed initiative that focused on the “consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country.”

    The 1619 Project infuriated much of the right […]

    Yesterday, Trump’s pointless 1776 Commission released this thrown-together document. As the New York Times reported, it wasn’t long before legitimate scholars denounced the Republican report as ridiculous.

    The report drew intense criticism from historians, some of whom noted that the commission, while stocked with conservative educators, did not include a single professional historian of the United States. James Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association, said the report was not a work of history, but “cynical politics.”

    “This report skillfully weaves together myths, distortions, deliberate silences, and both blatant and subtle misreading of evidence to create a narrative and an argument that few respectable professional historians, even across a wide interpretive spectrum, would consider plausible, never mind convincing,” Grossman said. “They’re using something they call history to stoke culture wars.”

    It’s very tempting to go through the entire 45-page report, highlighting every obvious error of fact and judgment […] It’s too pitiful to warrant such scrutiny.

    In effect, we’re talking about 45 pages of nonsense, quickly compiled without input from actual historians, about how much the commission’s members don’t like the left or progressive movements from history.

    “The biggest tell in the 1776 report is that it lists ‘Progressivism’ along with ‘Slavery’ and ‘Fascism’ in its list of ‘challenges to America’s principles,'” Thomas Sugrue, a historian at New York University, wrote on Twitter.

    What concerns me, however, is what will become of this laughable exercise. After all, the report isn’t a press release; it’s intended to be used by educators to teach the nation’s children how awful liberals are.

    I don’t much care if a bunch of conservatives spent a few months throwing together a document with a ludicrous take on American history; I do care if schools actually bring this nonsense to students and ask them to believe it.

  43. says

    Big Retailers Drop MyPillow In Aftermath Of Pro-Trump CEO’s Election Fraud Falsehoods

    MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell confirmed on Monday that his products had been dropped from several major retailers after the pro-Trump executive sought to relentlessly spread false claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

    Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohl’s, HEB Stores, the Canadian Shopping Channel and Wayfair were among a group of retailers who pulled MyPillow products from stores […].

    […] The news of the dropped products came after Lindell on Friday brought notes to a meeting in the West Wing, which were photographed and revealed to contain the phrases “martial law,” “Insurrection Act” and “foreign interference in the election.”

    Before the products were booted, Dominion Voting Systems said it sent a letter to the MyPillow executive threatening “imminent” litigation after Lindell repeatedly advanced false claims of voter fraud that involved the company’s voting machines. […]

    Trumpism destroys your business.

    From comments posted by readers of the article:

    What did these people think would happen when they publicly lied about Dominion? Powell [Sidney Powell, who is also being sued by Dominion] is insane and probably doesn’t have much personal wealth to lose. But Lindell runs a (for some reason) successful company, with lots of cash on hand and hard assets that can be liquidated. He literally put his whole operation, not to mention the jobs of all of his employees, in danger by telling these ridiculous lies in his capacity as the CEO of My Pillow. It seems one short phone call with the company lawyer would have made it clear that this was not in the best interest of the corporation.
    Trump’s supporters on social media platforms are now calling for boycotts of the retailers
    Pillow Guy’s insistence that he already has the proof of voter fraud made me finally understand conservatives: They have a hive mind that doesn’t know how to filter out lies from within the hive.

    If one conservative claims they saw something, the rest of the hive honestly believes they saw it themselves and will testify under plenty of perjury that it’s totally real; usually tweaking the story to make it a little juicier, unaware that it was invented from whole cloth in the first place and can’t possibly be true.

    Btw, that also explains why they prefer their leaders to be arrogant morons who get attacked by evil liberals to martyr themselves for the hive. Liberal anger directed at their King fuels the impotent rage that binds them together
    Lindell is a hard core true believer. He believes that Jesus will preserve his business and make everything right again. Really.
    You should be unsurprised to learn that MyPillow’s general counsel is a Trump-loving wingnut lunatic. [Doug Wardlow]
    “In 2017, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) revoked accreditation of MyPillow, lowering its rating to an F based on a pattern of complaints by consumers.”

  44. says

    Biden to immediately unveil path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants

    […] The Post reports that Biden’s plan (expected to be released following his inauguration, while other outlets say within the next several days) will include a faster timeline for immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs.

    While most undocumented immigrants will reportedly see an eight-year process (five years of temporary status followed by a three-year citizenship wait), DACA and TPS beneficiaries will reportedly be able to apply for green cards immediately, Politico reported. (These two groups have already been registered with the government for years.) The overall eight-year wait would also be down from the current 13-year wait for immigrants who qualify for the citizenship process (which the vast majority of undocumented immigrants currently don’t).

    […] also includes a heavy focus on addressing the root causes of migration from Central America, a key part of Biden’s foreign policy portfolio when he served as vice president […] a plan for Central America detailing a multibillion dollar strategy addressing “the factors pushing people to leave their countries in the first place, including climate change” […]

  45. tomh says

    McConnell: Trump “provoked” Capitol mob
    Ursula Perano

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was “provoked by the president and other powerful people.”

    “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding … which they did not like,” McConnell said on the Senate floor…

    …McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump’s coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios’ Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

    A McConnell vote to convict would likely open the floodgates for other Republican senators to do the same.

  46. says

    Belatedly, McConnell speaks some truth:

    Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday accused President Trump of provoking the violent crowd that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

    “The last time the Senate convened, we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty. The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, marking the first convening of the full Senate since the attack.

    McConnell’s statements carry significance ahead of an anticipated Senate impeachment trial. The GOP leader has told colleagues he hasn’t yet decided how he would vote on a House-passed article of impeachment against Trump.

    His remark that the crowd was “fed lies” is a reference to baseless and debunked claims spread by Trump and members of his legal team and inner circle that widespread election fraud cost Trump a second term. Trump has not formally conceded the race to President-elect Joe Biden.

    Trump told supporters gathered at a rally near the White House on Jan. 6, shortly before the mob stormed the Capitol, that “they rigged it like they have never rigged an election” and declared “we won this election and we won it by a landslide.” […]


  47. says

    Quoted in Lynna’s #66:

    Many of these Western states have the ability to be self-reliant, and we’re keeping eyes on Texas too, and their consideration of possible secession. They have a different state constitution than we do as far as wording, but it’s something we’re all paying attention to.

    Josh Marshall:

    Always love this. The federal govt created these states, owns major part of them and none of them could exist without the support, infrastructure, tax subsidy of the federal govt. NY, TX, FL, CA cld each be countries. These states are jurisdictional equivalent of trust fund kids.”

    Since most of the land and parks belong to USG, perhaps they can secede but the American people keep the land. As a courtesy we might allot them a small reservation of land to practice their lifestyle. Won’t take much many acres. There aren’t that many of them.”

    This Western self-reliance mythology is nicely analyzed in Heather Cox Richardson’s How the South Won the Civil War

  48. says

    Re: Lynna 69
    “If one conservative claims they saw something, the rest of the hive honestly believes they saw it themselves and will testify under plenty of perjury that it’s totally real; usually tweaking the story to make it a little juicier, unaware that it was invented from whole cloth in the first place and can’t possibly be true.”
    It’s not just conservatives, but I can understand the emphasis in this situation. Still people are part of gossip chains and in this example the gossip is harmful because they don’t do in-group criticism well.

  49. says

    Excerpt from an opinion piece that George Conway wrote for The Washington Post:

    […] I believe Donald Trump is an enemy of truth. I believe he’s a con man, a pathological liar — now the most prodigiously documented liar in American history, if not the history of the world. I believe he doesn’t care about, and may not even fully comprehend, the difference between truth and lies, between honesty and mendacity. I believe he has always said what he wants to believe, what he wants others to believe, and what he thinks he can get away with, and always will.

    I believe that, as president, Trump was a danger to democracy and the rule of law, precisely because he was a danger to truth. But I believe his lies weren’t necessarily the most damaging ones to our country. Equally harmful, if not more so, were the lies that allowed him to flourish — not just others’ repetition of his lies, but also lies that many told themselves and others to justify not contradicting him — that you can’t take him literally, that you need to look at what he does or that his policies justified it all.

    I believe many people didn’t know any better than to believe Trump’s lies, and still don’t. But I believe that the ignorance, intellectual indolence or hatred of those who don’t know better can’t excuse the failures of those who do, who could have said something, but didn’t because they felt it too inconvenient, unpleasant or politically perilous to do so. I believe it’s good, and I’m grateful, that some who were politically aligned with him are speaking out against him now. But I believe the country could have been saved great anguish had they done so before. […]

    Sounds like part of that essay is aimed at Kellyanne Conway.

  50. says

    Oh, good, another loss in the courts for Trump.

    Why it matters that Trump’s pollution plan just got upended in court

    The ACE Rule was the centerpiece of Trump’s climate, energy and deregulatory agenda. And as of this morning, it’s dead.

    On his last full day in office, Donald Trump was handed one last court defeat, which will reverberate in an important ways for years. E&E News reported:

    A federal appeals court this morning struck down the Trump administration’s Clean Power Plan replacement. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directed EPA to start over with a new regulatory approach after finding that the agency’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule failed to provide adequate environmental and public health protections.

    […] President Barack Obama first unveiled the details of his administration’s Clean Power Plan in 2014, and it was a fairly ambitious policy intended to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants. The Democratic White House set a goal of cutting emissions 30% by 2030.

    As a candidate in 2016, Donald Trump promised to undo Obama’s plan, and once in office, he unveiled a policy the Republican administration called the Affordable Clean Energy rule (or ACE Rule) in 2018. The policy wasn’t subtle: Trump and his team set out to relax pollution rules, keep coal-power plants in business longer, and in the process, make the climate crisis worse.

    The New York Times uncovered an especially pernicious detail, reporting that the “fine print” in the administration’s new plan “includes an acknowledgment that the plan would increase carbon emissions and lead to up to 1,400 premature deaths annually.”

    […] A Reuters report added that it was a unanimous ruling, “made by a three-judge panel comprised of two Democratic appointees and one Trump-appointed judge.”

    And while this is a heartening development for those who care about air quality and the climate crisis, Joe Biden and his incoming team have reason to be especially pleased — not just because they disagreed with Trump’s ACE Rule, but also because the Democratic administration expected to have to undo that rule through a time-consuming regulatory process.

    Now, Team Biden will be able to craft its own environmental safeguards, thankful that a federal appeals court just made the task easier.

    The courts are hitting Trump as he leaves.

  51. says

    Brony @76, agreed. (Glen Close had a lot to say.)

    In other, but related news:

    […] Many of those who have populated the Q-Anon chatrooms and participated in the stream of #TheStorm and #1776 Twitter have already began purging their histories. Many more will. There will be those who continue to cling to Trump, but increasingly the forces that have supported him will reorganize under other, equally illusory, prophets. Trump day is almost done.

    In this final hours, the FBI doesn’t seem to be finding any sign of a huge, overarching threat to drown the capital in armed militia forces. As David Neiwert has been reporting, the biggest reaction to the January 6 events has been a total breakdown of any coordination between white supremacist groups. Unable to decide between returning to D.C. or storming state capitals, these groups have managed neither. On Sunday, a proposed Million Militia March had a record attendance that will be hard to top — zero.

    […] White supremacists got their day in the sun on January 6. But America seems to have not been very pleased with what crawled out from under the rocks on that day. It’s wasn’t just that the attempted overthrow was violent and shocking. It was also, somehow, both amazingly tacky and ridiculous. Deadly and pathetic is not a combination that anyone found inspirational. […]


  52. says

    From Wonkette: “Maria Bartiromo So Mad […]”

    […] Over on Fox Business, Boxwine 2.0 AKA Maria Bartiromo, who is getting her own primetime Fox News show to spread her crazy and who has been more committed than most to spreading Trump’s fascist Big Lie about winning an election he actually lost, has a theory about that report and what REALLY happened on January 6.

    Transcript via Media Matters:

    MARIA BARTIROMO (ANCHOR): Well, security in the nation’s capital is at an unprecendented level this morning ahead of the inauguration tomorrow. A new report says that some far-right protesters have discussed posing as members of the National Guard to infiltrate the inauguration — the way Democrats infiltrated two weeks ago and put on MAGA clothing.

    Oh yes, the Democrats in MAGA pants.

    […] Like the Oath Keeper leader the FBI arrested in Virginia this morning and charged with conspiracy. And the Maryland white supremacist wearing the Proud Boys shirt who got caught because his ankle monitor went off, on account of how he’s on parole right now. And the guy who organized the “Straight Pride” parade in Boston, arrested today. And Riley June Williams, who the FBI arrested today, who stole Nancy Pelosi’s laptop and allegedly wanted to sell it to Russian intelligence. And the Texas Trumper real estate life coach lady who only went because the hottest guy messaged her on Facebook but anyway he hooked up with somebody else at the rally but she stormed the Capitol anyway, seemed fun, did we mention “life coach”? Oh yeah, and the QAnon shaman one, with the hilarious dietary needs.

    Or as we know them, Dave, Carl, Lexie, Princess Antifa of the Fort Worth Antifas, and Biff. All the Democrats know those guys and gals. Obviously.


    Jesus Christ.

    Media Matters sends us to this very good article in the Los Angeles Times about how the terrorists so far nabbed represent a “broad cross section of Trump supporters,” people who have all been taken in by the Big Lie propagated by Trump and spread by domestic enemies like Maria Bartiromo on Fox. Even after the Capitol riots, Bartiromo was still spreading the Big Lie.

    And now she’s spreading another one, telling all those Trump terrorists who think they’re patriots that actually all the jail time headed their way was for nothing, apparently, because the REAL Capitol attackers were Democrats in MAGA jumpers.

    You betcha.


  53. says

    AP – “12 Guard members removed from Biden inauguration”:

    Twelve U.S. Army National Guard members have been removed from the presidential inauguration security mission after they were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or posted extremist views online, according to two U.S. officials. There was no threat to President-elect Joe Biden, they said.

    The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe group the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

    Their removal from the massive security presence at the nation’s capital comes as the FBI worked to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops headed to the area for Biden’s inauguration Wednesday. U.S. defense officials have been worried about a potential insider attack or other threat from service members following the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 by Trump supporters that shocked the nation.

    Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said in a statement Monday that vetting of National Guard troops continues and that the Pentagon has found no intelligence so far that would indicate an insider threat….

  54. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Peeked at the news. Biden’s plane is ready to leave Dover Delaware.

  55. tomh says

    Sen. Hawley blocks quick vote on Biden’s homeland security secretary
    By Colby Itkowitz

    Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) blocked the Senate from giving Biden’s choice for homeland security secretary a quick confirmation, forcing him to go through the full committee vetting process, because of Hawley’s objections to Biden’s immigration policies.

    There was a desire to have Alejandro N. Mayorkas in place quickly because of the importance of the post.

    Hawley — who led the effort to challenge the electoral college results earlier this month before a mob attacked the Capitol — said he held up Mayorkas’s nomination because he opposed Biden’s proposal to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws.

    “Mr. Mayorkas has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border given President-elect Biden’s promise to roll back major enforcement and security measures,” Hawley said in a statement.

  56. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Biden has arrived at Joint Base Andrews and is getting ready to deplane. Getting closer…

  57. says

    The National Moment of Unity and Remembrance is in about an hour, at 5:30 ET.

    From the inaugural committee:

    The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is hosting a memorial to remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19. On January 19 at 5:30pm (local time), we invite Americans across the country to come together for a national moment of unity and remembrance.

    Get Involved

    – Light a candle in your window and join fellow Americans for this national moment of remembrance. [Do this safely. – SC]

    – Light up city buildings at 5:30 local time in a light amber color.

    – Ring a bell at 5:30pm ET on January 19 during the national ceremony to join us in a collective moment of remembrance.

    – Tune in on January 19 at 5:30pm ET for a ceremony with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Harris, featuring the first-ever lighting of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to honor those who have died.

    – Join our Facebook event to get the latest updates and share the word and invite your family, friends, and loved ones to join us for the COVID-19 Memorial….

    More atl.

  58. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    First up is a memorial service at the Lincoln Memorial for the Covid victims.
    Biden arrived in private jet instead of an Air Force plane per custom.
    The Hair Furor being childish again.

  59. says

    Brian Williams just said of the Capitol attack: “This wasn’t Al-Qaeda. This was Al from upstate New York. This was Al from Arkansas, from California, from Arizona. These were our fellow Americans….”

  60. Tethys says

    There must be some laws that cover elected officials who spout known lies all over congress and vote to impede knowing full well that the courts had already judged their numerous objections to have no merit.

    Many of the (R) trumplicans are lawyers. Unlike some of the rioters, they can’t claim that they didn’t know that attacking congress constitutes sedition.
    Attacking it from within also happened, and is the current problem that urgently needs to be addressed.

  61. says

    President Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission was supposed to be the definitive “patriotic” rejoinder to the academic left for what conservatives view as a slanderous rendering of U.S. history. But the report released by the commission on Monday has been mocked by historians as slapdash and slanted. And a good chunk appears lifted or recycled from other publications.

    An entire page of the report suggesting classroom discussion topics for teachers appears to be copied nearly verbatim from an opinion piece published in 2008 by one of the commission’s members, Thomas Lindsay.


  62. birgerjohansson says

    För your amusement, I am sharing a Christian pro-Trump film God Awful Movies just dug up.
    They are providing an hour-long review and comments. (their guest reviewer is mightily pissed over having had to watch it 😁 )
    GAM283 Hearts Are Trump

  63. says

    ‘@Ossoff will be sworn in using a book of Hebrew scripture once owned by Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, who led Atlanta’s historic synagogue The Temple…’
    The rabbi was a key MLK ally who encouraged ATL’s Jewish community to fight for civil rights and oppose hate & intolerance.

    Rothschild’s synagogue was bombed in ‘58 by white supremacists angered by his opposition to segregation; it was a turning point in ATL. Civic leaders rallied behind him, and Jewish Atlantans who were wary of getting involved in politics woke up.

    You can draw a line between Rothschild’s leadership during the civil rights era and @ossoff’s election this month as the first Jewish US senator in Georgia history — not just symbolically. Ossoff earned his bar mitzvah from The Temple about 20 years ago.”

  64. says

    Now that I think about it I have been concerned about other humor and that might be tripping me up. Would anyone mind if I got impressions for a sense that something is racist relative to my membership in the culture related to the racism? I’m still figuring out some of my senses here.

  65. Trickster Goddess says

    Biden selects transgender doctor Rachel Levine as assistant health secretary [WP]

    President-elect Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he will nominate Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s top health official, as his assistant secretary of health. Levine, a pediatrician, would become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.


    Biden’s transition team noted that Levine — appointed by Gov. Tom Wolf (D) in 2017 as acting health secretary — was confirmed three times by the Republican-controlled state Senate to serve as secretary of health and the state’s physician general. At the time, she was one of only a handful of transgender officials serving in elected or appointed offices nationwide.

    If confirmed as assistant secretary of health, Levine would be the highest-ranking transgender official in the U.S. government.


    A graduate of Harvard University and Tulane Medical School, Levine was the chief resident at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, where she also taught. In 2014, she was a top doctor at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and served on the board of Equality Pennsylvania, a statewide gay rights group, when Wolf asked her to co-chair his transition team for health matters.

    The following year, Wolf appointed her as Pennsylvania’s physician general, the state’s top doctor. Impressed with her background in behavioral and mental health, the state Senate voted unanimously to approve her, paying little attention to her gender identity during the confirmation process.

  66. bargearse says

    I know this thread won’t die soon but today seems an appropriate day to say a big thankyou to all the regular posters who keep it going. A special thanks to Lynna & SC, you’ve made this my first stop for all the weird, sometimes funny, very (very) occasionally good and often just evil news from US politics. Your efforts have not gone unappreciated.

  67. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ve seen one YUGE difference in the TV coverage. Masks and social distancing are being observed without temper tantrums.

  68. blf says

    Tethys@93, “There must be some laws that cover elected officials who spout known lies all over congress […]”.

    There is, but not in the manner perhaps implied: Broadly, statements made “in Congress” (which I presume covers the debating floor and in committee meetings) are exempt from civil liability i.e., congresscritters cannot be sued. Up to a point, this also includes criminal matters. This is known as legislative immunity, and exists to prevent pressure from being placed on members of the legislature by threat of arrest, damages, etc. In fact, in the States, it is in the Constitution.

    The protections are not absolute. As one example, the legislature can revoke the protection. And, as I recall, typically members can be arrested or sued for such statements once they are no longer members (e.g., resigned, evicted, or not re-elected).

    (My apologies if this was already known, and for any errors I’ve made (most of the above is from memory)…)

  69. blf says

    Syria’s White Helmets awarded £1.17m to make PPE:

    Syria’s White Helmets, who rescue victims from the rubble of airstrikes, have added making personal protective equipment to their efforts saving lives in areas of the country outside Bashar al-Assad’s control.

    The civil defence service’s uniform-making unit has recently pivoted to manufacturing PPE with the help of a £1.17m award from a nonprofit organisation funded by the UK, US, Canadian and Dutch governments.

    The local facility has already produced more than 2m masks, as well as protective gowns and face shields, and is handling the safe disposal of used PPE for north-west Syria’s vulnerable population of more than 3 million people.


    The White Helmets, created in 2014, grew out of local efforts at urban search and rescue and first aid in the aftermath of shelling and airstrikes. Since then the organisation has managed to save more than 120,000 lives despite sustained disinformation campaigns from Assad and his Russian allies to discredit their work.


    Healthcare facilities have been decimated in bombings and millions of people who have fled violence elsewhere are living in tents and other inadequate shelter, leaving the area particularly exposed to the threat of coronavirus.

    North-west Syria largely escaped the health crisis that engulfed the rest of the world until the winter months, when cases and deaths began to spike. Around 500 cases a day are now being recorded, although the true figure is likely to be much higher because of inadequate testing facilities.

    While much of the international community prepares for the arrival of vaccines, fears are high in north-west Syria that another bitter winter will exacerbate the number of Covid-19 cases and compound the area’s existing humanitarian crises: severe flooding killed a six-year-old boy and displaced 41,000 people from camps on Monday.

  70. tomh says

    Judge Rips Trump Effort to Deport Asylum Seekers
    January 19, 2021 BIANCA BRUNO

    SAN DIEGO (CN) — A federal judge who has stopped the deportations of thousands of Central American immigrants who were blocked from making asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border has blocked a last-ditch effort by the Trump administration to undermine the Immigration and Nationality Act.

    In a 10-page order issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant, a Barack Obama appointee, enjoined the Trump administration’s Final Transit Rule from applying to non-Mexican immigrants who had been “metered” and waitlisted while attempting to seek asylum at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border prior to July 16, 2019.

    The latest rule — set to take effect Tuesday, the last day of Trump’s presidency — sought to circumvent Bashant’s prior orders could not apply to immigrants who arrived at ports of entry weeks and months before a so-called “asylum ban” went into effect only to be told to “wait their turn” to make asylum claims.

    Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney with Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project, represents legal nonprofit Al Otro Lado in the case. She said in a statement “over the last four years, the Trump administration has worked tirelessly to deny asylum seekers their legal rights.”

    “This decision rejects what we hope will be their last attempt to undermine the rule of law and allow our class members, who would not have been subject to the [asylum] ban but for the government’s metering policy, an opportunity to have the merits of their claims heard,” Crow said.

  71. blf says

    Donald Trump’s farewell falsehoods: Fact check (minor edits (not marked) for formatting reasons; Al Jazeera edits in {curly braces}):

    US president [sic] claims credit for things he did not do and twists his record on the coronavirus pandemic.

    […] Falsehoods suffused his farewell remarks to the country.

    As well, in noting Americans were “horrified”[] by the storming of the Capitol this month, he brushed past the encouragement he gave to the mob in advance and his praise of the attackers as very special people while they were still ransacking the seat of power.


    ● Another administration would have taken three, four, five, maybe even up to 10 years to develop a vaccine. We did in nine months.
    [… T]he administration did not develop any vaccines. Pharmaceutical companies did. And one of the two US companies that have come out with vaccines now in use did not take development money from the US government.


    ● We passed VA Choice.
    No, he did not get the Choice programme passed. Former President Barack Obama did. Trump expanded it. The programme allows veterans to get medical care outside the Veterans Affairs system under certain conditions. Trump has tried to take credit for Obama’s achievement scores of times.

    ● We passed the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history.
    His tax cuts are not close to the biggest in US history. It is a $1.5 trillion tax cut over 10 years.

    As a share of the total economy, a tax cut of that size ranks 12th, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 cut is the biggest, followed by the 1945 rollback of taxes that financed World War II.


    ● We also built the greatest economy in the history of the world.
    No, the numbers show it was not the greatest in US history. And he is the first president [sic] since Herbert Hoover in the Depression era to leave office with fewer jobs than when he started.


    ● We imposed historic and monumental tariffs on China … Our trade relationship was rapidly changing, billions and billions of dollars were pouring into the US, but the virus forced us to go in a different direction.
    That is a familiar assertion, false to the core.

    It is false to suggest the US never collected tariffs on Chinese goods before he took action. Tariffs on Chinese goods are simply higher in some cases than they were before. It is also wrong to suggest the tariffs are being paid by China.

    Tariff money coming into the government’s coffers is mainly from US businesses and consumers, not from China. Tariffs are primarily, if not entirely, a tax paid domestically.

    ● We obliterated the ISIS {ISIL} [daesh] caliphate.
    His suggestion of a 100 percent defeat is misleading as the armed group still poses a threat.


      † A very rare true claim and hence not set in eejit quotes.

  72. Tethys says

    I also want to thank the curators of this thread for their efforts. Ya’ll have done a great job keeping up with the last two weeks of mayhem. It’s a one stop shop for good info on breaking news, well before that news makes its way to the broadcast news programs.

    blf @125

    Up to a point, this also includes criminal matters. This is known as legislative immunity,

    Yes, I can see the merits of legislative immunity. I think most reasonable people would agree that furthering the big lie and attacking democracy itself is beyond that point. I do not know if holding them responsible for their sedition should start at the state level or the federal level, but my Christian republican friends are not at all pleased with our local republican members of congress voting no after having been attacked by a mob of murderous white supremacists.

  73. blf says

    Tethys@129, Just to be clear, I do not disagree with the sentiment (maybe a few quibbles on some details?). Both the concept and practice of “rule of law” is important, so it is critical any moves — civil or, especially, criminal — proceed in a proper, timely, and transparent manner; and that if changes to the law are necessary (to deal with future incidents), appropriate changes are made in a timely and open (transparent) manner.

  74. says

    Thank you for the words of appreciation! It’s so nice to hear. And thank you to everyone for staying kind and non-combative even during these really stressful times when everyone’s on edge.

  75. blf says

    SC@133, “FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yay!!! I’m having a (rather large) shot of P&M Vintage Whisky (from Corsica)… Cheers!!!1!
    The Champagne (another ZÉRO, this time Rosé) is ready, and a festive dinner is now being prepared. And then perhaps some port to go with the afters…?

  76. blf says

    SC@135, Thanks for the link !

    I’m rather “allergic” to such events so (mostly deliberately) didn’t watch — aided and abetted by France24’s appallingly bad coverage (e.g., the commentators blathered on and on over at least some of the speeches (at least during the brief time I tried to watch)). Anyways, Amanda Gorman’s remarks were rather good.

  77. blf says

    From the Guardian’s current teh nazi is gone live blog:

    Now that Joe Biden has officially taken over the White House, people are spotting updates on the White House’s new website.

    Biden has released a Spanish version of the website – something that was also maintained by Barack Obama and George W Bush — after Donald Trump took down the White House’s Spanish communication website after taking office in 2017.

    The threat of climate change is also back on the website and is listed as one of Biden’s top priorities. […]

    Biden’s team has also removed Trump’s 1776 report […]

  78. says

    blf @141, thanks for posting that. It was great. :-)

    SC @135, thanks for posting the swearing in of Kamala Harris. One of many parts of the inauguration that brought me to tears. I think I have been holding on to a tightness in my being that is related to a feeling of “will we survive or not” for too long. What a relief to see something good happening. And to see the look on Kamala Harris’ face.

    As Rev. Al Sharpton said, “Pettiness flew off to Florida.”

    Here’s to being able to mostly ignore Trump and his stupid “Patriot Party” … and whatever else he comes up with over the next few years. May he rot in Mar-a-Lago, which I hear has a mold problem.

  79. says

    Whoops. SC posted a link to Kamala Harris being sworn in in comment 139, not comment 135.

    In address, President Biden declares, ‘Democracy has prevailed’

    A presidential inaugural address that devoted attention to defending democracy and the concept of objective truths.

    Yep, pretty amazing that Biden even had to make the point that “Democracy has prevailed.”

    […] “This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope of renewal and resolve through a crucible for the ages. America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded. We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

    It was a poignant reminder that Americans haven’t just gone through a difficult electoral process; we’ve also witnessed a direct attack on our democracy, launched by Biden’s predecessor and too many of his radicalized allies.

    “From now, on this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago, violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible to carry out the peaceful transfer of power, as we have for more than two centuries…. Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.”

    In all, the new president referenced “democracy” directly 11 times in his inaugural address. Biden left little doubt that he recognizes the severity of the circumstances, and the recent strains on the pillars of political system that add to the challenges of addressing pressing issues.

    “We face an attack on our democracy and on truth, a raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world. Any one of these will be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is, we face them all at once, presenting this nation with one of the gravest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested. Are we going to step up? All of us? It’s time for boldness, for there is so much to do. And this is certain, I promise you, we will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era.”

    It was a running theme throughout the address: democracy and truth have been targeted in ways that must be addressed to end what Biden described as “this uncivil war.”

    “We must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured…. Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders, leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and defeat the lies.”

    […] Biden is acutely aware of the attacks they’ve suffered in recent years, and the simple fact that American unity is impossible without them.

    Joe Biden’s vision is ambitious, his challenges are daunting, and the threats are legion. But watching him in front of the Capitol today, I saw a president who appeared ready for the task at hand.

  80. says

    Brony @130: “I would also like to thank the thread curators. This thread has helped inform my politics since it started.”

    Thank you, and all of the other readers, for sticking around. I feel like we all played a small but necessary part in trying to maintain a path for the truth to win out. We helped to defeat a mountain of lies.

  81. says

    Tethys @129: “I also want to thank the curators of this thread for their efforts. Ya’ll have done a great job keeping up with the last two weeks of mayhem. It’s a one stop shop for good info on breaking news, well before that news makes its way to the broadcast news programs.”

    Thank you. We appreciate being appreciated. :-) We did our imperfect best.

  82. says

    From text quoted by blf in comment 128:

    ● Another administration would have taken three, four, five, maybe even up to 10 years to develop a vaccine. We did in nine months. [Trump said]

    [… T]he administration did not develop any vaccines. Pharmaceutical companies did. And one of the two US companies that have come out with vaccines now in use did not take development money from the US government.

    Not only did Trump do basically nothing, but both pharma companies made the point that they were able to succeed based on more than a decade of research that preceded the current vaccines.

    For the true and complete story, see The Plague Year, written by Lawrence Wright for The New Yorker. The article is well-written and well-researched. It does not skip over the science, nor the scientists/researchers. Long, and well worth reading and saving.

  83. tomh says

    With Less Than an Hour Left in Office, Trump Pardoned Ex-Husband of Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro
    JERRY LAMBE Jan 20th, 2021

    In what may have been his final official act as president of the United States, Donald Trump issued a pardon to the ex-husband of his longtime on-screen supporter at Fox News, Judge Jeanine Pirro. The White House released Pirro’s name in the final hour of Trump’s term in office, just as Air Force One was landing in West Palm Beach…

    Indicted in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on 33 federal criminal charges, Pirro was convicted in 2000 on several of those counts including conspiracy to defraud the U.S., tax evasion, fraud, and making false statements, serving nearly a year in prison…

  84. says

    bargearse @120, (and also snorkild and Isilzha Mir in subsequent comments):

    I know this thread won’t die soon but today seems an appropriate day to say a big thankyou to all the regular posters who keep it going. A special thanks to Lynna & SC, you’ve made this my first stop for all the weird, sometimes funny, very (very) occasionally good and often just evil news from US politics. Your efforts have not gone unappreciated.

    I think SC, other regular posters, and I are finding out today that our work on this thread has served more people than we thought. Good. It’s good to hear from you.

    Some somewhat funny news of the day:

    According to Ivana Trump, the first of Donald Trump’s three wives, she suggested naming their first born child Donald Jr., but the future president initially objected.

    “You can’t do that!” he said. “What if he’s a loser?”

    For Donald Trump, “loser” appears to be the single worst label anyone can apply to another human being. It is the insult to end all insults. He has a simple worldview: there are winners and there are losers. The former deserve respect, while the latter deserve contempt. […]

    The political indictment is as brutal as it is obvious. Trump lost the popular vote twice. He was impeached twice. Four years after his political party controlled the White House, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House, Republicans have lost all three — a first for any modern president.

    He faced a criminal investigation while in office, and appears likely to face several more in the coming weeks and months.

    […] Trump’s banks no longer want anything to do with him. He has massive debts coming due, and no clear way to pay them.

    Social-media companies see him as a threat to public safety. Other businesses are no longer picking up the phone when they see “Trump Organization” on the caller ID.

    Oh, and did I mention that few wanted to attend his going away party this morning? […]

    As a candidate, Donald Trump told Americans we’d tire of all the winning. As his term ends in a half-hour, one wonders if he’s tired of all the losing.


  85. tomh says

    Capitol Police officer who faced down pro-Trump mob escorts Harris at inauguration
    By Derek Hawkins and Paulina Firozi
    Jan. 20, 2021

    Eugene Goodman, the U.S. Capitol Police officer who faced down a mob of pro-Trump rioters during the attack on the U.S. Capitol building this month, escorted Vice President Harris at the inauguration…

    After walking Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, from their motorcade, Goodman descended the steps of the Capitol and wheeled back to watch the entrance. Huge cheers erupted as he was announced to the crowd…

    “The man who saved the Senate,” Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) tweeted. “Standing ovation and cheers for a true hero, Officer Eugene Goodman.”…

    Footage of a lone Goodman, who is Black, facing down a group of mostly White rioters was widely shared after the attempted insurrection. In the clip, Goodman is shown trying to hold back dozens of rioters, moving swiftly up a flight of stairs as he appeared to lure the group away from the Senate chambers, where lawmakers and staff had taken shelter.

    Goodman’s quick thinking probably prevented a violent confrontation and may have saved lives, experts who reviewed the footage told The Washington Post…

  86. says

    From yesterday:

    […] The Democratic congressman Adam Schiff tweeted: “Steve Bannon is getting a pardon from Trump after defrauding Trump’s own supporters into paying for a wall that Trump promised Mexico would pay for. And if that all sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Thank God we have only 12 more hours of this den of thieves.” […]

    Text is quoted from a link provided by KG in comment 119.

  87. says

    From Tim Naftali, an NYU historian:

    There are many verdicts on Donald Trump still to come, from the Senate, from juries of private citizens, from scholars and historians. But as a result of his subversion of national security, his reckless endangerment of every American in the pandemic, and his failed insurrection on January 6, one thing seems abundantly clear: Trump is the worst president in the 232-year history of the United States.

    Commentary from Steve Benen:

    […] What makes Trump such an extraordinary failure is the scope and scale of his ignominy. He was corrupt. And ignorant. And mendacious. And indifferent in the face of crises. And eager to pit Americans against each other. And a genuine threat to our system of government.

    Americans have had presidents who embodied some of these, but only Trump checked every box.

    As Rachel noted on last night’s show, our worst-presidents-in-history lists “need to be recalibrated now to account for the new undisputed king of that category.”

  88. says

    China Sanctions Ex-Trump Admin Officials Including Pompeo, Bannon Within Minutes Of Inauguration

    The Chinese government sanctioned a slew of former Trump administration officials on Wednesday, minutes after President Biden’s term began.

    In a statement that accused those sanctioned of “crazy moves” and “hatred against China,” Beijing slapped former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 2016 Trump campaign chairman Steven Bannon, and former National Security Advisers John Bolton and Robert C. O’Brien with penalties.

    The sanctions bar the officials from traveling to China, Macau, and Hong Kong, and prevent them from doing business with the same. Economic adviser and trade war architect Peter Navarro and former HHS Secretary Alex Azar are also on the list of those sanctioned.

    China announced the move within minutes of the officials’ departure from government […]

    The full list of those sanctioned is unclear, but the statement says that it includes 28 American citizens “who have seriously violated China’s sovereignty and who have been mainly responsible for such U.S. moves on China-related issues.”

    Some mostly snarky comments from readers of the TPM article:

    That’s really going to weigh down Pompeo’s presidential run.
    Love it. We’ll see a few more countries be more bare knuckle.
    Well, at least China believes in consequences.
    Um, [China] y’all missed the Trump Family in your sanctions list.
    I’d like to see Nicola Sturgeon bar Trump’s entry into Scotland.
    Many people are saying the high in Washington DC today was 46 and the low was 45.

  89. says

    One of Biden’s executive orders will officially end Trump’s bid to weaponize Census data.

    […] Biden [signed] Wednesday is a census executive order that will rescind a Trump’s plan, announced in July, to exclude certain immigrants from the census population counts used for congressional apportionment. The order will also undo a 2019 Trump order directing the Census Bureau to produce data on noncitizens, with the aim of facilitating a redistricting overhaul that would have also diminished immigrant political power. […]

    The Trump apportionment policy was the capstone of the administration’s four-year crusade to manipulate the census to boost Republicans’ electoral advantages.

    Had […] Trump been able to implement the policy before he left office, it stood to shift House seats away from immigrant-rich parts of the country, while boosting the congressional representation for whiter, more reliably-Republican regions. […]


  90. says

    So, what exactly did Trump write in his note to Biden? Twitter has some excellent guesses

    […] today feels like a gentle balm after an exhausting presidential term.

    Outgoing presidents leaving a note for their successor in the Oval Office is a bit of a modern tradition, starting with former president Ronald Reagan. Surprisingly, the 45th president did not blow off the Inauguration Day custom according to Judd Deere, a spokesperson for Trump. Deere told Politico that Trump did leave a note for Biden on the Resolute Desk. What does it say? Trump’s White House didn’t share details, so we don’t know. But thanks to social media, we have plenty of truly hilarious guesses. Let’s dive into the humor. After four years of the Trump administration, we’ve certainly earned it. […]

    See the link for all of the screen shots of suggestions, including:

    “P.S. Eric is now yours” [written on a napkin]

    “Im angry at you and I’m not talking to you today and tomorrow.” [written in Sharpie]

    “Joe: Pardon me. P.S. You lost bigly.”

  91. says

    ‘Rhetoric used for good’: Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem is exactly what the U.S. needed today

    […] Not only did America just inaugurate the first female vice president, the first-ever Black, and South Asian vice president, but this presidential inauguration also featured the country’s first national youth poet laureate.

    Poet Amanda Gorman was featured in the ceremony as the sixth poet to perform at a presidential inauguration. As the youngest poet to write and recite a piece at a presidential inauguration, the 22-year-old poet follows in the footsteps of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

    […] In an interview with NPR, Gorman said she looked into the works of other speakers including Winston Churchill to study the ways “rhetoric has been used for good.”

    “Maya Angelou was mute growing up as a child and she grew up to deliver the inaugural poem for President Bill Clinton,” Gorman said. “So I think there is a real history of orators who have had to struggle with a type of imposed voicelessness, you know, having that stage in the inauguration.”

    According to CBS Los Angeles, Gorman began writing at an early age in order to cope with a speech impediment. “I had a speech impediment. And so I couldn’t use my voice, then I would author my voice on the page. So it’s really been a godsend and a lifeline for me,” she told CBS News.

    […] by the age of 16, she was named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. At the request of Jill Biden, Gorman was invited to recite a poem at the inauguration.

    In preparation for her inauguration performance, Gorman began writing a few lines a day to work on her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” But she finished writing the piece the night of Jan. 6, the day Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol. “I had this huge thing, probably one of the most important things I’ll ever do in my career,” she said in an interview with The New York Times. “It was like, if I try to climb this mountain all at once, I’m just going to pass out.”

    During the interview, Gorman shared the following excerpt of her poem.

    We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

    Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

    And this effort very nearly succeeded.

    But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

    It can never be permanently defeated.

    If the ceremony hasn’t made you cry yet, her work definitely will.

    Video is available at the link.

  92. says

    Melania Trump fails to be classy … again:

    During the four years that Melania Trump haunted the White House, the residence staff attended to her and her family’s needs without vocal complaint. A normal human-resembling first lady who isn’t hot garbage would want to personally thank the 80 or so staffers. Obviously, Trump took the road more often traveled by assholes.

    CNN reports that the household staff received typewritten (!) thank-you notes from Melania Trump that were also ghostwritten by someone else. Trump couldn’t be bothered because she’s terrible, which doesn’t seem to bother her. She assigned the task to a “lower-level East Wing staffer” who was supposed to write the notes in Trump’s “voice,” so we presume they’re all self-centered and remote. If she’s too lazy to write her own thank-you notes, then maybe there was a “Fake Melania” who handled her more grueling duties like boarding airplanes with her husband.

    She apparently signed her own name, though […] We’re surprised she went that far. Maybe she has a “Melania Trump” stamp.

    One of the sources discussing the “thank you” notes with CNN said it is customary for first ladies — and occasionally presidents as well — to write cards or short letters of gratitude to members of household staff, especially the ones whom they get to know extremely well. Much of the correspondence includes personal anecdotes and the letters become “cherished keepsakes” for the residence staff, says the source.

    The household staff includes butlers, cooks, housekeepers, ushers and maintenance workers. They don’t turn over with each administration, and many have served at the White House for more than a decade. This means they have experience working for an actual first lady with class and grace. […]

    Wonkette link

  93. says

    Trump extended Secret Service protection for 13 members of his family as he left office.

    Washington Post link

    In the days before he left office, then-President Donald Trump instructed that his extended family get the best security available in the world for the next six months, at no cost — the protection of the U.S. Secret Service.

    According to three people briefed on the plan, Trump issued a directive to extend post-presidency Secret Service protection to 13 members of his family who were not automatically entitled to receive it.

    Under federal law, Trump, his wife Melania and their 14-year-old son are the only members of his immediate family entitled to Secret Service protection after they leave office.

    The couple will receive it for their lifetimes, and Barron is entitled to protection until he turns 16. Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence will also receive continued Secret Service security for the next six months under the same law governing protection.

    […] the expensive, taxpayer-funded security will continue for his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, their three children, his son Donald Trump Jr. and his four children, his son Eric Trump and his wife Lara and his daughter Tiffany Trump.

    […] A president can order Secret Service protection for any person he choses, but it is highly unusual for a president to provide 24-hour security to such a large number of family members, including so many grown adults.

    […] The perk for the Trump family is expected to cost taxpayers millions of dollars and further stress the elite federal security force, which in the past four years had to staff the largest number ever of full-time security details — up to 42 at one point, according to former senior administration officials. […]

  94. blf says

    Lin Wood Claims Clinton, Pence, and Chief Justice Roberts Conspired to Murder Federal Judges (RWW edits in {curly braces}):

    Lin Wood is at it again. [… Teh] far-right conspiracy theorist took to social media with a series of baseless claims about Vice President Mike Pence, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and Chief Justice John Roberts. Wood claimed that the three high-profile figures are involved in a conspiracy to murder federal judges — a conspiracy Wood says also involves the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    Hillary Clinton thought she had rigged the 2016 election, Wood said on Telegram […]. The plan after her election was to kill federal judges so that Hillary could stack the judiciary. US Supreme Court targeted. FBI was complicit.

    [… He] went on to baselessly claim that Jeffrey Epstein arranged for the adoption of {Chief Justice} Roberts’ children, and that Roberts used the children to gain entry into the cabal of power and influence. He also asserted that Pence was caught on video discussing murdering judges, and that Roberts and Clinton were both involved. ​(No evidence of the video was presented with the claim.)


    Wood’s actions [are] not without consequence. On Monday, a Delaware Superior Court judge revoked Wood’s right to represent ex-Trump aide Carter Page in a defamation suit resulting from the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The judge revealed that Wood “exhibited a toxic stew of mendacity, prevarication and surprising incompetence.”


    The whistleblower has been brutally tortured and he and his wife have lived in fear of death, Wood said of the person he claims provided him with the basis for his latest conspiracy theory. The guilty parties thought their threats silenced him … He decided to risk his life to speak truth. He did so as a believer in God. He is a hero. In time, I pray that he will be pardoned and honored for his courage in revealing the truth. If FBI or other nefarious actors harm him now they will only further indict themselves and prove their guilt.

    All lies will be revealed, Wood concluded.

  95. says

    The Senate is in session and Vice President Harris is going to swear in Ossoff, Warnock, and Padilla shortly.

    Lynna @ #143:

    I think I have been holding on to a tightness in my being that is related to a feeling of “will we survive or not” for too long. What a relief to see something good happening. And to see the look on Kamala Harris’ face.

    Yes, this was my experience as well. A weight lifting. Such a moment of accomplishment and hope and promise.

  96. says

    blf @ #167, thanks. I’ve been searching for one of them escorting Harris this afternoon, but haven’t been able to find a good one, either. Hopefully there’ll be something soon. MSNBC kept cutting in and out and much of the time had no audio.

  97. says

    Proud Boys Now Ridicule Trump As ‘A Total Failure’

    The Proud Boys’ support of former President Trump appears to be melting.

    “Trump will go down as a total failure,” the Proud Boys said in a Telegram channel on Monday, according to The New York Times.

    Members of the hate group have flooded social media channels like Telegram and Gab in the wake of Trump’s departure from the White House — calling the former president a “shill” and “extraordinarily weak,” according to messages reviewed by the Times. They have also urged supporters to stop attending rallies and protests held for Trump or the Republican Party, the Times said.

    The abandonment comes after some members of the group stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier this month and grew angry when Trump appeared later to distance himself from the violence, later urging “NO violence.”

  98. says

    Guardian – “Single Covid vaccine dose in Israel ‘less effective than we thought'”:

    Israel’s coronavirus tsar has warned that a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine may be providing less protection than originally hoped, as the country reported a record 10,000 new Covid infections on Monday.

    In remarks reported by Army Radio, Nachman Ash said a single dose appeared “less effective than we had thought”, and also lower than Pfizer had suggested.

    By contrast, those who had received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine had a six- to 12-fold increase in antibodies, according to data released by Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer on Monday.

    The issue of some vaccines being less effective after a single dose rather than two is well known, as well as the fact that protection is not immediate. While the first dose can take several weeks to promote an effective antibody response, the second dose can trigger different responses, supercharging the protection. Pfizer itself says a single dose of its vaccine is about 52% effective. Some countries such as the UK have delayed administering their second doses to try to maximise the number of people given a first dose. [I’ll say again that I think this is stupid and people shouldn’t be doing it.]

    Questions over the effectiveness of the vaccine were raised amid reports that thousands of Israelis were still becoming sick after receiving the vaccine, although the public health services head, Sharon Alroy-Preis, said that in most cases this was because the individuals had not built up sufficient antibodies after being inoculated before being exposed to the virus.

    The latest figures for Israel, which has implemented one of the fastest national vaccine efforts, underscore the huge challenges still being faced around the globe even in countries with aggressive coronavirus vaccine programmes.

    Already more than 2 million Israelis have had their first Pfizer shot, while 400,000 have had a second.

    The new concern follows the release of data on Monday by Israel’s health ministry recording 10,021 infections the previous day, with a positivity rate above the 10% mark for the first time in more than three months, suggesting widespread community transmission.

    The rates of infection have undercut the sense of optimism that the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has tried to project around Israel’s vaccination campaign, for which he has taken credit.

    Israel is in the midst of a third lockdown, due to end on Thursday. Other measures under consideration include closing the country’s main aviation hub, Ben Gurion international airport, to all except essential flights.

    The rise in new cases has provoked a round of finger pointing, not least at lax policing of the ultra-Orthodox community, where some schools have remained open and there have been large gatherings, including a wedding in Bnei Brak on Monday, described as “scandalous”, which drew 300 guests before being raided by police.

    Describing the impact of the new coronavirus variant, Alroy-Preis told Kan radio that the new variant appeared to be having a significant impact on infections in the ultra-Orthodox community.

    “We’re seeing very significant and rapid infections and it’s really a race between this and the vaccine,” said Alroy-Preis, adding that one person who recently returned from the UK had infected 20 to 30 people.

  99. says

    McConnell’s obstruction of Biden’s agenda has already begun

    […] In his discussions with new Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on power-sharing in the split chamber, McConnell is insisting that the agreement contain a commitment from Schumer to retain the filibuster.

    That tells you everything you need to know about McConnell’s intentions for helping President Biden, House Speaker Pelosi, and the Senate save the country. Staff for each leader had been operating on the assumption that the power-sharing agreement from 2001 would be the default for this time around. Then McConnell threw the filibuster curveball. Schumer spokesperson Justin Goodman said that their view is that “the fairest, most reasonable and easiest path forward is to adopt the 2001 bipartisan agreement without extraneous changes from either side.” McConnell’s spokesperson told the Post: “Discussions on all aspects of the power-sharing agreement will continue over the next several days.”

    It’s good that Schumer isn’t giving in to this bullshit. It wouldn’t be binding if Schumer just said “sure, Mitch, whatever,” but it would give the less resolute members of the Democratic conference—Joe Manchin, Chris Coons, and Dianne Feinstein—an excuse to stray from the majority. That would make it that much harder for Schumer to nuke the legislative filibuster when he needs to, and this latest from McConnell tells everyone that he’s going to need to—the Republicans will do everything in their power to obstruct Biden’s agenda just as they did President Barack Obama’s. The good news, at least, is they can’t do it on nominations.

    However, McConnell has already delayed getting key Cabinet officials confirmed and in place. When he recessed the Senate until this week, it meant that those Cabinet officials couldn’t go through the committee process to be ready on Day One. So right now the nation’s defense is dependent upon those acting career officials in the Pentagon the Biden team could trust. The delay in agreement between Schumer and McConnell on the organizing resolution for sharing committee power could also keep more nominees in limbo because committees won’t be able to formally process them until the chairs and their staffs are in place.

    Some nominees could move forward with unanimous consent—all 100 senators agreeing to bring them to the floor. But already insurrectionist Sen. Josh Hawley has announced that he’s objecting to a critical nominee, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Biden’s pick for Homeland Security secretary. That’s going to hamper Biden on everything from his immigration reforms to the coronavirus response, forcing procedural delays.

    McConnell is giving every indication of dragging this out as long as he can, his monkey wrench in Biden’s first 100-day plan. Because that’s who he is, nation in multiple crises notwithstanding.

  100. says

    Jennifer Lopez Broke Into Spanish During Her Inauguration Performance, and We Are Here for It

    […] one of the many moments that signaled to many of us that change is coming to the White House: Jennifer Lopez speaking Spanish during her performance of “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful.”

    “¡Una nación, bajo Dios, indivisible, con libertad y justicia para todos!” JLo called out toward the end of her performance, reciting the last lines of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish before turning back to her big finish.

    Seeing a Puerto Rican woman say those words at a presidential inauguration felt especially significant after the constant attacks on Latinx and immigrant communities by Trump’s White House. For the last four years, the man in the highest office of the land, along with his white supremacist and racist underlings, have vilified Latinos. It’s not hard to draw a direct line from their language to the kind of violence we saw in El Paso in 2019, when 22 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart. There was, after all, very little in the obscene manifesto from the racist killer that didn’t appear regularly in public discourse, including in speeches by Trump.

    […] It might not technically have been the first time Spanish was spoken at an inauguration—Dr. Luis Leon addressed then-President Obama and then-Vice President Biden in his 2013 inaugural benediction: “Señor Presidente y Vice Presidente, que Dios os bendiga todos sus dias”—but today, as Trump leaves the White House and his supporters watch a woman shout in Spanish in the middle of the presidential transition, I’m going to rejoice in this moment. Because this land is all was made for all of us.

  101. says

    From French president Emmanuel Macron:

    To @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris. Best wishes on this most significant day for the American people! We are together. We will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet. Welcome back to the Paris Agreement!

  102. says

    From Amanda Gorman’s poem:

    Being American is more than a pride we inherit.

    It’s the past we step into, and how we repair it.

    From the end of her poem:

    When day comes we step out of the shade,

    Aflame and unafraid

    The new dawn blooms as we free it

    For there is always light,

    If only we’re brave enough to see it

    If only we’re brave enough to be it.

  103. says

    Just one more moment from today that is bound to hurt Trump’s feelings: “Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq set record highs on Inauguration Day.”

    Washington Post link

    […] The three major U.S. indexes closed at record highs: The S&P 500 climbed nearly 1.4 percent, to 3,851.85; the tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced nearly 2 percent, to 13,457.25; and the Dow Jones industrial average jumped more than 257 points, or 0.8 percent, to settle at 31,188.38.

    “President Biden’s steep and historic immediate challenge is to effectively address the dual crises of the pandemic and the resulting economic downturn,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said in comments emailed to The Post. “When his predecessor was taking office, the nation’s jobless rate stood at 4.7%, on a downward trajectory and close to what the Federal Reserve then regarded as full employment.

    From the Nov. 3 election to Inauguration Day, the S&P 500 soared a record 12.8 percent, according to Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL financial, in comments emailed to The Post. Under former president Donald Trump, the Dow had an annualized return of 11.8 percent, the best performance for any Republican president since Calvin Coolidge. But it’s still lower that the returns recorded under former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. […]

  104. says

    Biden just described the letter Trump left for him in the desk as “generous.” He said because it was private, he wouldn’t discuss it publicly until he talks to Trump.

  105. says

    Good news: Controversial head of Voice of America resigns hours after President Biden takes office.

    Washington post link

    Michael Pack, a Trump appointee who sought to remake the Voice of America and other government-funded overseas news agencies, resigned on Wednesday, bringing an end to a short and tumultuous tenure.

    Pack quit a few hours after President Biden took office and less than eight months into his three-year term as chief executive of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM). The government agency oversees VOA, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and other networks that produce and distribute news to millions of people in countries whose governments suppress independent reporting. […]

    Pack, a former documentary filmmaker who has worked with former Trump adviser Steve K. Bannon, left a trail of controversies, lawsuits and general criticism inside and around the agencies he oversaw. […]

    Critics saw his initiatives as an effort to turn VOA into a mouthpiece for the Trump administration.

    […] One VOA journalist said Pack’s resignation triggered “sighs of relief and cheers” among employees. […]

  106. tomh says

    ‘They Have Not Legitimately Won’: Pro-Trump Media Keeps the Disinformation Flowing
    Jeremy W. Peters
    Jan. 20, 2021

    Forgoing any appeals for healing or reflection, right-wing media organizations that spread former President Donald J. Trump’s distortions about the 2020 election continued on Wednesday to push conspiracy theories about large-scale fraud, with some predicting more political conflict in the months ahead…

    For some outlets like One America News, it was as if Mr. Biden weren’t president at all. The network, a favorite of Mr. Trump’s because of its sycophantic coverage, didn’t show its viewers Mr. Biden’s swearing in or his inaugural address.

    Rush Limbaugh… told his millions of listeners on Wednesday that the inauguration of Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris did not make them the rightful winners of the election.

    “They have not legitimately won yet,” Mr. Limbaugh said…He then gave his listeners a false and inflated vote total for Mr. Trump and predicted the Democratic victories would be “fleeting.”

    On One America News, viewers saw a lengthy documentary-style segment called “Trump: Legacy of a Patriot” instead of the inauguration. One of the network’s commentators, Pearson Sharp, provided the voice-over and offered only flattering words about the former president while he leveled false claims about voter fraud.

    …The host claimed, for instance, that Mr. Trump couldn’t have been defeated because he won the bellwether state of Ohio and carried so many more counties than Mr. Biden did…Then he issued a rallying cry to Trump supporters. “Now it’s up to the American people to continue President Trump’s fight…

    On Newsmax TV, another pro-Trump channel, commentators and guests appeared to be in less denial than their competitors on OAN. But they were no less dismissive of the new president. One questioned Mr. Biden’s appointment of a transgender woman to his cabinet and called the heavy presence of troops in Washington to prevent another uprising of Trump supporters an effort “to further suppress the voice of the American people.”

  107. blf says

    SC@186, Vermont dadcore: does Bernie Sanders caring so little about fashion make him chic? (“Sanders’ inaugural day outfit sets Twitter ablaze with memes, but speaks to his practicality in his attire and his policies”). From (recent) memory, he explained (paraphrasing) “I’m from the Northeast and know how to stay warm”, or something like that.

    (I myself would also be dressed for the weather, albeit with gloves rather than mittens and perhaps a nice jacket on underneath the coat (about as “formal” as I ever dress)… plus a very practical & warm hat !)

  108. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    SC#186 That could of been me waiting for the Redhead at a yarn shop…

  109. blf says

    This had me laughing and crying at the same time (fortunately, I wasn’t sipping any of the Champagne at the time or I probably would have snorted all over my new computer), from the Grauniad’s current an actual President live blog:

    As Biden sat down to sign a stack of executive orders in the Oval Office on Wednesday, it was clear more had changed in the room than the administration.

    Trump’s portrait of Andrew Jackson […] was replaced with Benjamin Franklin […]. Other intentional changes include a portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and paired paintings of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton […].

    Placed on the mantle and other shelving are now busts of Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, and Robert F Kennedy. Also notable are a bust of Cesar Chavez, the American labor leader and Latin American activist, and a sculpture of the Chiricahua Apache Tribe, which belonged to late Sen Daniel K Inouye, the first Japanese-American elected to both houses of Congress.

    […] There have also been some cosmetic changes, including different rugs, curtains and wallpaper. We can’t help wonder if Biden is trying some feng shui to get rid of some of that stale energy.

    Image at the link (not all the mentioned changes are visible).

  110. says

    Kaitlan Collins, CNN:

    Joe Biden, while swearing in political appointees, says, “If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treated another colleague with disrespect — talk down to someone — I promise I will fire you on the spot. On the spot…Everybody is entitled to be treated with decency.”

    Biden adds, “That’s been missing in a big way the last four years.”

    It’s a salve.

  111. says

    TPM – “Feds Keep Up Drumbeat Of Insurrectionist Arrests Throughout Biden’s Inauguration”:

    As Joe Biden took the oath of office at the Capitol on Wednesday, federal agents stayed busy charging and arresting people for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 attack on the same building.

    The most recognizable man arrested Wednesday was Joe Biggs, a prominent member of the Proud Boys, the right-wing street gang that was present in force on Jan. 6.

    Biggs, like many other alleged Capitol rioters, identified himself with abandon during the riot itself: Shortly after allegedly entering the Capitol building, someone livestreaming the riot to the social media site Parler turned the camera to Biggs and asked “Hey Biggs, what do you gotta say?” an FBI agent’s affidavit recounted.

    “This is awesome!” Biggs allegedly replied, with his face showing.

    Like hundreds of other video clips of the Capitol, the Parler video allegedly showing Biggs was scraped from the website by a hacker in the days after the attack, resulting in an archive of sorts for media and law enforcement to pick through.

    As HuffPost noted, Biggs has a history of violent rhetoric, evidenced in t-shirts referencing Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s practice of throwing dissidents out of helicopters. “Make Zimbabwe Rhodesia again,” read one recent post from Biggs.

    On Tuesday, multiple members of the anti-government militia group the Oath Keepers were charged with conspiracy against the United States and other offenses for their allegedly pre-planned actions on Jan. 6. And in the affidavit in support of Biggs’ arrest, an FBI agent noted that the Proud Boys also showed signs of having participated in a coordinated effort.

    “[M]ultiple individuals were photographed or depicted on videos with earpieces, including other individuals believed to be associated with the Proud Boys,” the affiant wrote, after noting that such devices “could be used to receive communications from others in real time.”

    Also charged Wednesday was Patrick Edward McCaughey III, who was not a high-profile right-winger before the Capitol attack but became one afterward. McCaughey was allegedly one of the men at the Capitol’s West Terrace doors — from which Biden emerged for his inauguration Wednesday — who crushed Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges against a doorpost.

    During the onslaught, another man in the riot — who isn’t identified in the affidavit discussing McCaughey — grabbed Hodges’ gas mask and assaulted him with it.

    During the exchange, according to the affidavit, “MCCAUGHEY continues to pin Officer Hodges to the door while a separate rioter begins violently ripping off Officer Hodges’ gas mask, exposing Officer Hodges’ bloodied mouth.”

    Finally, like many other alleged rioters, Karl Dresch posted photos of himself on social media bragging about entering the Capitol, according to authorities. Unlike other alleged rioters, he’s the son of the late Michigan state Rep. Stephen Dresch (R).

    “Don’t worry I loves yous all just setting the record straight.antifa did not take the captiol.that was Patriots,” Dresch allegedly wrote on Facebook on Jan. 6 above a picture of the inside of the Capitol building.

    “We the people took back our house, the news is all bullshit.and now those traitors Know who’s really in charge,” he added.

    …He, too, was arrested Wednesday.

  112. says

    SC @182, glad to hear that.

    There will be a lot of pushback from ranchers in Utah, from extractive industries, and even from real estate developers in Utah. I will keep an eye on this. I’m interested to see how “restoration” of National Monument boundaries is accomplished.

  113. blf says

    @203, From memory (apologies for the lack of a reference), W.Virginia didn’t so much “not farm vaccinations out to private pharmaceuticals” as “farm it out to local pharmacies” (as opposed to national chains). In the reference I cannot now find, the point was made (as I recall) the local pharmacy / pharmacist is highly often trusted. In addition, both W.Virginia and Mississippi were, for a long time, the only states which did not allow non-medical vaccination exemptions (because, as I recall, both have insufficient health care facilities and realise prevention is a much better approach).

  114. tomh says

    Biden Immediately Gets First Judicial Vacancy to Fill — And Many More Are Likely to Follow
    COLIN KALMBACHER Jan 20th, 2021

    “February 24, 2021 will be my last day in regular active service as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan,” Victoria A. Roberts wrote in a brief letter sent Wednesday…“I intend to continue to provide judicial and administrative services as a Senior Judge under 28 U.S.C. §371(e)(1) and the Rules of the Sixth Circuit for Certification of Senior Judges.

    “With respect, I congratulate you on your election as the 46th President of the United States, and Kamala Harris on her election as Vice President,” the 69-year-old Bill Clinton appointee added…

    Legal experts predicted that Judge Roberts’ move was likely akin to the trout who broke the dam…

    University of Texas Law Professor Steve Vladeck offered some perspective…“Every federal judge in active service (1) who is at least 65; and (2) whose age [plus] time-in-service is at least 80 may take “senior” status, which opens up a seat for President Biden to fill,” he noted via Twitter. “Judge Roberts is the first to announce such a move, but she certainly won’t be the last.”

  115. says

    Mitch McConnell tweeted:

    Today, before the entire world, the greatest nation in history carried out another peaceful transfer of power.

    Congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris. I look forward to working together everywhere we can and differing respectfully when we must.

  116. blf says

    QAnon’s Great Awakening failed to materialize. What’s next could be worse:

    […] Trump slunk off to Florida and Biden took the oath of office under a clear blue sky. Now QAnon adherents are left to figure out how to move forward in a world that, time and time again, has proven impervious to their fevered fantasies and fascistic predictions. And while some seem to be waking up to reality, others are doubling down, raising concerns among experts that the movement is ripe for even more extreme radicalization.

    “My primary concern about this moment is the Q to JQ move,” said Brian Friedberg, a senior researcher at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, referring to “the Jewish question”, a phrase that white nationalists and neo-Nazis use to discuss their antisemitic belief that Jews control the world. Friedberg said that he had seen clear signs that white nationalists and alt-right figures, who have long disliked QAnon because it focused the Maga movement’s energies away from the “white identity movement”, were preparing to take advantage.

    “They view this as a great opportunity to do a mass red-pilling,” he said.


    “A lot of QAnon followers are expressing a lot of anger and disillusionment and feeling they are being misled,” said [co-host of the podcast QAnon Anonymous, Travis] View, who expects the movement to “fracture” as followers grapple with the end of Trump’s presidency. “There may be people who fall off quietly because they were just along for the ride and it isn’t fun any more, but these kind of movements will always have true believers. Over and over again we’ve seen huge dis-confirming events that didn’t cause people to lose faith.”

    That resilience in false belief was apparent among some QAnon followers on Wednesday. They took solace in the number of flags placed on the dais when Trump gave farewell remarks from a military base before departing on Air Force One: there were 17, which followers interpreted as a secret message to them, since “Q” is the 17th letter of the alphabet.


    View warned that [Ron] Watkins’s statements should not be taken at face value, noting that after the election he claimed that he would stop running 8kun in order to focus on his woodworking. “Instead, he filled the vacuum of Q by spreading conspiracy theories,” View said. “I would be wary of anything Ron Watkins says.”


    The QAnon narrative has always been fundamentally antisemitic (the globalist cabal is a remix of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, while another major QAnon belief is a modern remaking of the blood libel), but many of the top QAnon influencers shied away from overt antisemitism, leaving it to posters on 8kun while promoting a slightly more sanitized version of QAnon on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

    “Now that QAnon has coalesced on alt-tech, where Nazis have had a few years of head start, organized antisemitism is even fewer clicks away,” warned Friedberg.


    Ultimately, Friedberg said, Trump’s departure will only help reinforce the “underdog mentality” and sense of grievance that has defined QAnon since the beginning, ensuring that the movement won’t just disappear.

    “The things that they hate are still there,” Friedberg said. “The fetishization of Trump is certainly real, but the hatred of the ‘deep state’, of communists, of liberals, antifa – all these institutions are still there, and they won.”

    “That underdog mentality, which was illogical when Trump was president, is now justified,” he added. “There’s no reason to stop hating.”

  117. tomh says

    Sorry, but I have to share today’s marquee at our local family-friendly theater in Oakland, California. No movies, of course, but this was the message on the marquee in giant letters.


  118. Tethys says

    I love hearing about movie marquees and inauguration poets, national celebrations and executive orders to reverse multiple bad decisions. (On day one.)
    It is so nice to have good reason to celebrate after the last year of covid and white supremacist gangs coming for visits.

    I said the words ‘Madam Vice President’ out loud. Try it!! The emotions that well up are rather delicious.

  119. blf says

    Seth Meyers suggested replacing confederate statues with statues modeled on the @186 / @189 image… fortunately, I’d just swallowed the whisky or would have gargled with it trying to laugh.

  120. says

    SC @224, that gets my vote for best performance of the night.

    In other news:

    The Senate confirmed Avril Haines to be director of national intelligence in what was the first confirmation vote of the Biden administration.

    Haines, a former top CIA official who also served as White House deputy national security advisor under President Obama, was confirmed by a 84-10 vote. […]

    Okay. That’s one confirmation out of many.

  121. says

    Video: Ivanka weeps over her father’s final speech as President – as her siblings Tiffany and Don Jr. both hold back tears at Joint Base Andrews farewell

    The Trump kids cried as their father said farewell to White House and presidency. Kimberly, Donald Junior’s girlfriend, also cried.

    DailyMail link

  122. says

    From Aaron Rupar: No meltdowns: Jen Psaki’s first briefing as Biden press secretary was a breath of fresh air

    It was a jarring contrast with the Trump years.

    The first press briefing by Biden administration press secretary Jen Psaki highlighted how much changed overnight in the White House.

    There were no angry outbursts. No insults. No conspiracy theories pushed from the briefing room lectern. Just civil, if largely unmemorable, exchanges with reporters.

    That Psaki didn’t break a lot of policy news is understandable, given that she just started at her job hours earlier. What was significant, however, is the approach she took toward reporters.

    “I have deep respect for the role of a free and independent press in our democracy, and for the role all of you play,” Psaki, who was a State Department spokesperson in the Obama years, said in response to the first question she fielded. “As I noted earlier, there will be moments when we disagree, and there will certainly be days where we disagree for extensive parts of the briefing even, perhaps. But we have a common goal, which is sharing accurate information with the American people.” […]

    Psaki’s first briefing stood in the starkest possible contrast with the first one held under President Donald Trump in January 2017.

    That memorable event, held the day after Trump’s inauguration, was a surreal affair in which press secretary Sean Spicer angrily denounced reporters for accurately covering the relative smallness of Trump’s inaugural crowd size. […]

  123. says

    Michael Flynn’s brother was in the room when the army refused to send the National Guard to rescue the besieged Capitol on January 6th.

    Army falsely denied Flynn’s brother was involved in key part of military response to Capitol riot.

    Washington Post link

    The Army falsely denied for days that Lt. Gen. Charles A. Flynn, the brother of disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, was involved in a key meeting during its heavily scrutinized response to the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol.

    Charles Flynn confirmed in a statement issued to The Washington Post on Wednesday that he was in the room for a tense Jan. 6 phone call during which the Capitol Police and D.C. officials pleaded with the Pentagon to dispatch the National Guard urgently, but top Army officials expressed concern about having the Guard at the Capitol.

    Flynn left the room before the meeting was over, anticipating that then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who was in another meeting, would soon take action to deploy more guard members, he said.

    “I entered the room after the call began and departed prior to the call ending as I believed a decision was imminent from the Secretary and I needed to be in my office to assist in executing the decision,” Flynn said.

    The general’s presence during the call — which has not previously been reported — came weeks after his brother publicly suggested that President Donald Trump declare martial law and have the U.S. military oversee a redo of the election. There is no indication that Charles Flynn shares his brother’s extreme views or discharged his duties at the Pentagon on Jan. 6 in any manner that was influenced by his brother. […]

    Why the lie?

  124. says

    Reactions from around the world:

    “We thought Trump was a bad joke, but five years later we realized he jeopardized nothing less than the world’s most powerful democracy,” Spain’s prime minister said.

    The European Union’s top politician, Ursula von der Leyen, said that “after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House.”

    “The ball is in the U.S. court now. If Washington returns to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact,” Rouhani said in a televised Cabinet meeting.

    Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist militant group that governs the blockaded Gaza Strip, said Trump had been “the biggest source and sponsor of injustice, violence and extremism in the world and the direct partner of the Israeli occupation in the aggression against our people.”

  125. KG says

    I refrained from noting this yesterday (and indeed, joined in the celebrations with a toast to the downfall of Trump) but yesterday the UK had 1810 official deaths from Covid-19 (the real figure was probably higher, as it only includes those within 28 days of a positive test). This is the highest figure of the pandemic, and in per capita terms, well above any figure reached in the USA. Of course the UK, like most European countries, has an older and more densely packed population than the USA, but European leaders, while avoiding the outright denialism and cruelty of Trump, have with a few exceptions (Finland, Norway, Denmark) done very poorly in the pandemic – and Johnson as badly as any, with deadly delay and indecision, repeated changes of course, absurd nationalistic bombast, and corrupt handing of plum jobs and contracts to personal friends and party donors.

  126. says

    Politico – “Biden to sign 10 executive orders aimed at turning around the pandemic”:

    President Joe Biden will sign 10 more executive orders on Thursday aimed at ramping up Covid testing and vaccinations, tightening enforcement of workplace safety rules and funneling more federal dollars to states struggling through the pandemic and economic crisis.

    After assailing Donald Trump’s coronavirus response as a candidate and throughout the transition, Biden will lay out in greater detail what he’ll do differently as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, with the U.S. death toll expected to reach half a million people within weeks.

    “For almost a year now, Americans could not look to the federal government for any strategy, let alone a comprehensive approach, to respond to Covid, and we’ve seen the tragic costs of that failure,” Jeff Zients, Biden’s coronavirus coordinator, told reporters on a Wednesday night call, adding that Biden’s plan will “fundamentally change course of pandemic” and “get us back to our lives and loved ones.”

    This next wave of executive actions comes after Biden, hours after being sworn in, signed an order requiring face coverings and social distancing on federal property and canceled the Trump administration’s attempt to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization. But while many of the latest moves flex the executive branch’s power, several depend on cooperation from Congress or governors.

    “We do need Congress to act and act quickly,” Zients said, calling for passage of the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill Biden unveiled last week. “We will only overcome this pandemic together. It’s the only way out of the darkness.”

    Topping Biden’s list is an order invoking the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of all the materials needed to get the vaccines into arms and ramp up testing. The order covers N95 masks and other protective gear, testing machines, rapid test kits and syringes capable of maximizing the amount of Covid vaccine that can be extracted from vials.

    Biden will also order the creation of a pandemic testing board, modeled on President Franklin Roosevelt’s War Production Board, that will be tasked with expanding testing capacity, particularly in schools. Officials said Biden will also “clarify” health insurance companies’ obligation to cover Covid-19 testing, a sign the new administration may reverse a policy that has allowed insurers to refuse to cover testing of asymptomatic individuals for public health surveillance or back-to-work programs.

    Other executive actions will create a public dashboard with real-time national and state-level data on cases, testing, vaccinations and hospital admissions, and impose a mask-wearing mandate on airplanes and other forms of interstate transportation. The administration also will deploy FEMA to set up 100 community vaccination sites in the next 30 days.

    Biden will also restore full federal funding for the National Guard’s pandemic work — reversing a Trump administration decision last summer to cut most states’ funding by 25 percent. The same order will also approve more FEMA funding to help states reopen schools — reimbursing states for items like masks for teachers — and make more FEMA resources available to Native American tribes.

    On workplace issues, another Biden order aims to strengthen enforcement against employers who put their workers at risk of contracting Covid-19, directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to put out stronger guidance around virus prevention measures and go after “the worst violators.” But while labor groups have pressed Biden for months to order OSHA to create an temporary emergency standard for workplaces during the pandemic, the order will only instruct the agency to determine whether or not such a move is necessary.

    As more states report having to cancel vaccine appointments due to shortages and uncertainty about future shipments, Biden’s team has also not yet indicated how it plans to allocate vaccines going forward….

    Zients also said repeatedly that due to obstruction and poor information sharing during the transition, he and other Biden officials are only just now getting a full picture of how much vaccine supply the government has on hand, how much they’ve already promised to send and to where, and when they can expect more.

    Biden’s Covid response team members also made clear that they’re concerned about reports of stark racial disparities in who is getting the first vaccines — and plan to take steps to make sure people of color don’t get left behind….

  127. says

    CNN – “Biden inheriting nonexistent coronavirus vaccine distribution plan and must start ‘from scratch,’ sources say”:

    Newly sworn in President Joe Biden and his advisers are inheriting no coronavirus vaccine distribution plan to speak of from the Trump administration, sources tell CNN, posing a significant challenge for the new White House.

    The Biden administration has promised to try to turn the Covid-19 pandemic around and drastically speed up the pace of vaccinating Americans against the virus. But in the immediate hours following Biden being sworn into office on Wednesday, sources with direct knowledge of the new administration’s Covid-related work told CNN one of the biggest shocks that the Biden team had to digest during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy under former President Donald Trump, even weeks after multiple vaccines were approved for use in the United States.

    “There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch,” one source said.

    Another source described the moment that it became clear the Biden administration would have to essentially start from “square one” because there simply was no plan as: “Wow, just further affirmation of complete incompetence.”

    The incoming White House now faces intense pressure to make good on the promises that Biden made during the campaign and the transition phase to drastically turn things around on the pandemic and conduct himself entirely differently from Trump when it comes to the virus and vaccine distribution.

    Criticizing the “lack of cooperation” from the Trump administration as an “impediment” for the new administration, White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters on Wednesday that he was still confident that the administration can meet its 100 million vaccine shots in 100 days target.

    “For almost a year now, Americans could not look to the federal government for any strategy, let alone a comprehensive approach to respond to Covid,” Zients said. “And we’ve seen the tragic costs of that failure. As President Biden steps into office today … that’ll change tomorrow.”

  128. KG says


    Sad indeed. But still, on a per capita basis, well short of the UK’s “world-beating”* 1820 (not 1810 as I said @232).

    *One of Johnson’s bits of bombast, which he applied to the crappy test-and-trace system, largely outsourced to cronys and private contractors with no relevant experience.

  129. says

    From text quoted by SC in comment 233:

    The order covers N95 masks and other protective gear, testing machines, rapid test kits and syringes capable of maximizing the amount of Covid vaccine that can be extracted from vials.

    Notice the attention to detail. We never got that from the Trump administration.

  130. says

    Bits and pieces of campaign news:

    * Apparently immune to embarrassment, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CNN yesterday, “For the party to move forward, we got to move the party with Donald Trump. There’s no way to be a successful Republican Party without having President Trump working with all of us and all of us working with him. That’s just a fact.”

    * In Georgia, the Republican Party’s representatives on the Gwinnett County elections board wants changes to statewide election laws. Displaying striking candor, Alice O’Lenick said last week, “They don’t have to change all of them, but they’ve got to change the major parts of them so that we at least have a shot at winning.”

    * In Wyoming, House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney now has a GOP primary rival ahead of next year’s re-election bid: state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R) launched a congressional campaign this week, responding to Cheney’s vote in support of Donald Trump’s impeachment.

    * On a related note, Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), another one of the 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, reportedly “upended the political order” and will likely now face at least one primary challenger. […]

    * the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week, “After vowing to ‘unleash the kraken’ — a mythical beast — on alleged election fraud and to overturn the presidential election in Georgia, attorney Sidney Powell quietly withdrew the lawsuit Tuesday. The move came a day before Joe Biden will be sworn in as the nation’s next president.”


  131. says

    “It’s a bad sign when 900,000 initial claims is seen as an improvement, but last week’s report was the worst the United States has seen since August.”

    […] progress on weekly unemployment claims has been hit or miss in recent months, though the new report from the Labor Department pointed in a slightly more encouraging direction.

    In the week ending January 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 900,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 39,000 from 965,000 to 926,000. The 4-week moving average was 848,000, an increase of 23,500 from the previous week’s revised average.

    It’s a bad sign when 900,000 initial claims is seen as an improvement, but last week’s report was the worst the United States has seen since August. As of this morning’s report, this is the 44th consecutive week in which the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was worse than at any time during the Great Recession.

    […] Joe Biden is inheriting the worst job market of any modern American president.

    There’s no great mystery as to the cause: the more the nation struggles with an intensifying coronavirus pandemic, the greater the toll it takes on the economy.[…]

    vaccines are slowly reaching the public, and vaccination rates are expected to increase considerably in the coming weeks. […] the latest congressional relief package included unemployment aid, direct-aid checks, and a revised Paycheck Protection Program, each of which should help make a positive difference.

    But few seriously believe the economy is on stable footing, and the need for additional congressional investments — sooner rather than later — seems obvious.

    With this mind, Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief package last week, which would give the economy a dramatic boost. While there was some talk in Democratic circles about trying to get this done by the end of February, in recent days, a new game plan has taken shape, including a smaller bill in the short term, and a more ambitious bill — approved through the reconciliation process — in March.


  132. says

    On Day One, Biden took out a top anti-worker villain of the Trump era

    […] Biden didn’t wait on a key union priority: getting rid of National Labor Relations Board general counsel Peter Robb. On Inauguration Day, Biden requested Robb’s resignation, and when Robb refused, Biden fired him. Robb had 10 months left in his term, but worker advocates felt—and Biden apparently agreed—that the extreme anti-worker agenda he was bringing to the role was such that 10 months was way too long.

    Robb is a longtime union-busting lawyer who, as NLRB counsel, let McDonald’s off the hook for any responsibility for labor conditions at franchisee-owned stores. “Since then, Robb has gone after so-called ‘neutrality’ agreements between unions and employers that make it easier for workers to organize,” Dave Jamieson reported. “And he has recently taken on Scabby the Rat, the labor-dispute protest icon beloved by unions and progressives. Robb apparently hates the rat and wants to ban its use as ‘unlawfully coercive.’”

    Robb had also sought to restructure the NLRB to remove power from civil servants and put them in the hands of political appointees like himself.

    “There’s one measure that will signal that Biden is serious” about his claims to support unions, C.M. Lewis wrote at Strikewave the week before inauguration. “On day one, he needs to fire National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb.” Well, Biden has signaled that he’s serious.

    But that’s not the only labor-related move that drew excitement from progressives on the evening of Biden’s inauguration. The announcement of Janelle Jones as chief economist, Angela Hanks as counselor to the secretary, and Raj Nayak as senior advisor drew a lot of excitement on Wednesday night. Jones and Hanks have both been affiliated with the Groundwork Collaborative, which “is dedicated to unifying progressives and activists in communities across the country to refine and advance a progressive economic worldview.” Hanks has also spent time at the Center for American Progress, the National Skills Coalition, and as a staffer for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings. Jones has worked at the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and news of her hiring moved Rep. Ayanna Pressley to tweet “Personnel is policy. Janelle Jones = policy that meets the moment & the crises we face.” Nayak is an alumnus of the Obama Labor Department and has worked at the National Employment Law Project. […]

  133. says

    President Joe Biden will keep FBI Director Christopher Wray on in that role.

    In other news:

    Vice President Kamala Harris will not immediately move into the Naval Observatory, the vice president’s residence, because of home maintenance and repairs, her office said on Wednesday evening.

    The residence will receive repairs to its chimney liners and other household maintenance, all of which will be easier to carry out when the home is unoccupied, her office said.

    The vice president’s office didn‘t say where Harris was staying in the meantime, citing security reasons, but said it would release more information later. […]


  134. says

    Massive fire rages at world’s largest COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer [in India]

    At least five are dead.

    A fire broke out at a building under construction at the Serum Institute of India Thursday
    Officials said those killed were likely construction workers.

    Serum Institute of India has been contracted to produce about 50 million doses a month of vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. The fire will not affect production of the vaccine. […]

    Serum Institute of India has been contracted to produce about 50 million doses a month of vaccine developed by Oxford University and Astrazeneca at other facilities on the company’s complex. In an interview with The Associated Press last month, Poonawalla said he’s aiming to increase production from 1.5 billion doses to 2.5 billion annually by the end of 2021. The facility under construction was part of the expansion, but Poonawalla said the fire will not affect production of the vaccine, known locally as Covishield. […]

  135. says

    From Wonkette: “Not Sure How Jailing 9-Year-Old With US Visa Makes Us Any Safer, But Border Patrol Did It”

    In the final days of the Trump administration, the machinery of immigration cruelty kept grinding right along, because even if a new administration was on the way, there was still time to separate some families. Like for instance two Haitian brothers, Christian Laporte, 19, and Vladimir Fardin, 9, who arrived at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday. Both had valid US visas, but they were nonetheless held for 24 hours with no ability to contact their family or their lawyer, while US Customs and Border Protection agents questioned them separately. Yes, of course CBP questioned a nine-year-old without an adult present. This is how America has worked for four years. And Donald Trump’s chief immigration asshole, Stephen Miller, doesn’t see any reason for that to change:

    Today, @POTUS pledged to be a president for all Americans. It’s unclear how all Americans are served by opening travel from terror hot spots, proposing a giant amnesty, or halting the installation of security barriers along the Southwest border.

    Mr. Miller, we’re still trying to puzzle out exactly how all — or any — Americans are helped by the detention and separation of a couple of kids who both had valid US visas.

    While the brothers were detained, the officers took away their passports and decided neither visa was really valid after all, which meant that Vladimir was instantly an “unaccompanied minor alien,” so he was taken away and sent to a shelter in San Diego run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement — again without being allowed to talk to his brother, his family back in Haiti, or his US attorney, Milli Atkinson. Vladimir was finally allowed a phone call to his mother some time after he arrived at the facility Monday, Atkinson said. And now that he’s in the limbo of unaccompanied minor alien status, Atkinson fears, Crom only knows how long it will take to reunite Vladimir with his family.

    “This system is designed to protect children from trafficking. But it was clear from the moment he entered that this was not a trafficking situation,” she said. “It’s a long bureaucratic process and it could possibly be months before he can see his family again.”

    Yep, the good old “maybe it’s child trafficking” excuse for family separations, which is how the Trump administration has made life hell not just for undocumented immigrants since the supposed “end” of family separation in 2018, but for legal immigrants and travelers, too. This is exactly the sort of shit the new administration needs to work on as part of the overhaul of immigration policy Joe Biden ordered yesterday — just a few days too late for Vladimir and his brother.

    Atkinson, legal director of the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative, told KQED that the brothers have travelled for years between the US and Haiti, and yes, always in accordance with the law. Laporte, with the proper student visa, went to a boarding school in New England for his last two years of high school, and this fall he started college at Diablo Valley College because he’d heard good things about its science program. Vladimir regularly visited him on a tourist visa as well. They were finishing up a family vacation in the Dominican Republic when they flew to the US; Laporte was supposed to start classes Tuesday, and Vladimir was going to stay a few days before returning to Haiti.

    That’s so normal. That’s so family-centered.

    Ah, but at the airport, CBP didn’t accept Laporte’s student visa because he lacked other paperwork needed to enter the US. It was a holiday weekend, so he had trouble contacting Diablo Valley College for help. CBP also interrogated Vladimir by himself, and, according to a statement from the agency, determined he was bent on breaking the law!

    It was determined the minor had previously been attending elementary school in California on a B-1 tourist visa, violating the terms of that visa, and was intending to resume his schooling, again in violation of his visa. […]

    She said Fardin had never overstayed a visa and if he had attended school at some point, it was an honest misunderstanding of the terms of the visa. […]

    “Every step of the way they had a great deal of discretion and in every instance they used that discretion to separate these children and prevent the 9-year-old from returning to his family in a safe way,” said Atkinson.
    Atkinson also told the East Bay Times that Vladimir wasn’t planning to enroll illegally in public school, but was instead only planning to “visit with family, see what schools were like, and hoped to return and go to school correctly and legally.” […]

    “You know, we have to question whether or not this would have happened to two children from Sweden coming to return to school.”

    […] Ultimately, Laporte agreed to expedited deportation instead of going to an ICE jail, and he was flown not back to his home in Haiti but to the Dominican Republic, where his flight originated. Just to be dicks, CBP didn’t provide any flight information to Atkinson, his attorney, and remember, she also wasn’t allowed to talk to either brother, either. […]

    “Their mother is devastated,” Atkinson said. “She is heartbroken for Christian … and she is justifiably worried about Vladimir’s safety and well-being.”

    As for Vladimir, he’s still in ORR baby jail, waiting to be rescued. His mother hoped maybe she could help by coming to the US, and before she learned her sons had been separated had already bought a plane ticket to San Francisco. She’s still considering coming, at least if she’s not going to be scooped up, too:

    “Now we’re working to learn if it is safe for her,” Atkinson said. “She is willing to do so if it helps reunification go more smoothly.”

    We’d advise her to wait until after tomorrow, when Biden’s deportation moratorium goes into effect. If even then, since for all we know, the very professional immigration cops may just decide that if “indefinite detention” wasn’t in the order, then they’ll go with that.

    Lord, there’s just so much that needs to be fixed.


  136. tomh says

    After voting to reject Biden’s victory in Arizona and Pennsylvania, McCarthy claims he did not vote to overturn election
    By Felicia Sonmez and JM Rieger

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) was among the House Republicans who voted earlier this month to reject the electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania, which showed Biden winning the states. He was also among the 126 Republicans who signed onto an amicus brief last month in a lawsuit that would have invalidated the results from four states that Biden won.

    But at a news conference Thursday, the top House Republican claimed that he did not, in fact, vote to overturn Biden’s win.

    “What I voted on wasn’t to overturn an election, because it wouldn’t. It would not overturn it,” McCarthy told reporters.

    While it is true that Biden would have won the White House even without the electoral votes from Pennsylvania and Arizona, the amicus brief McCarthy signed onto would have invalidated the results from enough states to hand victory to Trump…

    In defending his actions Thursday, McCarthy argued that the amicus brief he had signed onto was posing “a constitutional question”: “Did the [state] legislature actually move through to make any changes” to the way the election was conducted amid the coronavirus pandemic?

    The Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit, which notably only targeted four states that Biden won.

  137. says

    Biden is taking a tougher stand when it comes to dealing with Russia.

    President Biden is seeking a five-year extension with Russia on the only remaining treaty limiting the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals just days before it expires, said two senior U.S. officials.

    […] The officials said Biden is ruling out a “reset” in bilateral relations with Moscow as many new U.S. presidents have done since the end of the Cold War.

    “As we work with Russia, so, too, will we work to hold Russia accountable for their reckless and aggressive actions that we’ve seen in recent months and years,” said a senior U.S. official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive security matter.

    The decision to seek a five-year treaty extension, which Russia supports but the Biden administration hadn’t settled on until now, reflects the rapidly approaching deadline for Washington to renew the New START pact Feb. 5, the officials said.

    […] Letting the treaty expire would allow Moscow and Washington to deploy an unlimited number of nuclear-armed submarines, bombers and missiles in what many experts fear could spark a nuclear arms race and further exacerbate U.S.-Russia relations.

    […] As the Biden administration informs Moscow of its terms for an extension, the president will order Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to provide him a full intelligence assessment of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2020 election, use of chemical weapons against opposition leader Alexei Navalny and bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan […]

    Washington Post link

  138. says

    A few details related to cleaning the White House and getting it ready for new occupants:

    […] Even without a pandemic, first families get new mattresses, and the floors, walls, shades, chandeliers and other fittings are scrubbed or steamed. Pictures are removed or rehung, personal possessions — even toiletries and clothes — are moved in and at the ready when the new occupants arrive.

    The White House chief usher had worked with Jill Biden’s staff for weeks to organize the move of household belongings. Ahead of Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the General Services Administration said that the agency would clean and disinfect “all furniture, flooring, window treatments, handrails, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, elevator buttons, restroom fixtures and dispensers, door handles and push plates, and lighting fixtures.”

    The handover is called the “transfer of families” and usually takes about five hours.
    “I call it organized chaos,” said Gary Walters, who spent 21 years as White House chief usher.

    And there were other abrupt changes taking place. At noon, Biden inherited the @Potus account on Twitter from Trump’s team […]

    At about the same time, Trump’s White House website was archived for history, frozen in place for historical reference as fresh pages were uploaded for the Biden team.

    […] Awaiting Biden in a room adjacent to the Oval Office were two trays stacked with chocolate chip cookies, each one in plastic wrap with a gold presidential seal. Photographs of the earlier inaugural hours had already been framed and hung in the West Wing, including shots of tens of thousands of flags arranged on the National Mall.

    Moving boxes were still being opened, with some marked “outer Oval.” Aides and workers were trying to figure out who was who — many had mostly or entirely communicated via email during the pandemic. […] everyone in the building wore masks, reflecting strict pandemic guidelines from the new president. […]

    Washington Post link

  139. says

    Buttigieg cites ‘generational opportunity’ on infrastructure at confirmation hearing Thursday.

    Washington Post link

    Pete Buttigieg […] made his pitch Thursday to the Senate committee weighing his nomination to become President Biden’s transportation secretary.

    […] In a statement prepared for his hearing Thursday morning before the Senate Commerce Committee, Buttigieg pointed to a “bipartisan appetite for a generational opportunity to transform and improve America’s infrastructure.” He also said that “good transportation policy can play no less a role than making possible the American Dream,” by moving people and goods while also generating jobs.

    “But I also recognize that at their worst, misguided policies and missed opportunities in transportation can reinforce racial and economic inequality, by dividing or isolating neighborhoods and undermining government’s basic role of empowering Americans to thrive,” he said. […]

    Transportation is the nation’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases, and cutting them is one of the new administration’s top priorities. On Wednesday, Biden ordered the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department to work toward tightening emissions rules for cars and SUVs after they had been weakened by Trump. […]

    Biden has also picked a deputy for Buttigieg with a much deeper resume in transportation, nominating Polly Trottenberg, who was New York City’s transportation commissioner and a top department leader during the Obama administration. Christopher Coes, of the advocacy group Smart Growth America, also has been chosen for a top policy job.

  140. says

    From The Washington Post’s editorial board:

    […] former president Donald Trump already had ensured his presidency would end on a sour note. Yet he managed to add to the gracelessness on its final day.

    Mr. Trump refused to attend President Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, the first modern president to show such contempt for the American tradition of peaceful transfer of power. Instead, he vacated the White House early and held a small rally at Joint Base Andrews before flying off to Florida. At no point in his speech did he acknowledge that Mr. Biden won the presidency fairly. He could not bring himself even to say Mr. Biden’s name. Instead, he complained that covid-19 derailed what he depicted as an otherwise exemplary presidency, and never mind the mismanagement that has made the pandemic so much deadlier than it had to be. Never mind, either, his general record of abuse of power, incompetence and lies, culminating in his incitement of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

    Mr. Trump’s final official acts added to the malodor, as he granted clemency to a raft of corrupt cronies, former officials and white-collar criminals. Stephen K. Bannon, the alt-right provocateur and one of the intellectual architects of Mr. Trump’s reactionary populism, got a pardon. He was charged last summer with defrauding donors to his We Build the Wall project […]

    Mr. Trump got Elliott Broidy, a 2016 Trump fundraiser, off the hook for his role in a foreign influence scheme. Convicted insider trader William T. Walters got a commuted sentence after he hired Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer […] Mr. Trump pardoned three Republican former members of the House convicted of crimes such as bribery and lying to the FBI, and he commuted the sentence of Kwame Kilpatrick, the corrupt former mayor of Detroit.

    Among the white-collar criminals on the list was Sholam Weiss, who shamelessly stole millions from an insurance company in a spectacular financial fraud, leading to the company’s collapse. Mr. Weiss skipped town before his verdict, forcing federal officers to track him across continents. Of the inmates in federal prison, he is among the least deserving.

    Then there was the granting of clemency to Lil Wayne, the rapper who pleaded guilty in December to a federal gun charge after authorities found a gold-plated Glock in a private jet he had traveled on. What might explain this seemingly puzzling act of mercy? The rapper endorsed Mr. Trump shortly before last November’s election.

    Throughout his tenure, Mr. Trump treated the powers of the presidency as tools to help his friends and punish his enemies. So it was on his way out. His final pardons and commutations represent one last expression of contempt for the justice system — indeed for the very concept of justice. His refusal to participate in the peaceful transition of power revealed his disrespect for, his lack of understanding of, democracy. On his final day, Mr. Trump demeaned the presidency one more time.


  141. says

    Pompeo Mocked For 2024 Countdown Tweet A Day Into Biden Presidency

    Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, freshly stripped of his powers as the nation’s top diplomat after the Biden administration officially took over on Wednesday, appears to be counting down until Election Day 2024.

    “1,384 days,” he tweeted early Thursday, the first full day of the Biden presidency. The countdown appeared to refer to the Election Day four years into the future, when Biden approaches the end of his first term as president.

    The former top State Department official’s partisan comments come after he had gained a reputation for politicizing the agency in the Trump administration, and repeatedly made comments that reflected a refusal to uphold its commitment to nonpartisanship.

    Pompeo had also delivered a bitter parting message on Tuesday, declaring a day before the nation welcomed President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris — the first Black and Asian-American woman to serve in that role — that multiculturalism “is not what America is.”

    Pompeo is rumored to be considering a possible 2024 presidential run, but the former State Department chief was quickly mocked for the remarks by those doubting his chances on Twitter:

    [following text is summarized from many Twitter posts.]

    about 1,019 days until pompeo flames out in the republican primaries
    …until you’re doing 2024 Election Night commentary for Newsmax
    Not usually how an outgoing Secretary of State greets a new administration.
    Are you guessing how long Trump’s prison sentence is going to be?
    Pompeo attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election and install an autocrat. @mikepompeo is a traitor guilty of sedition. 1384 days in jail would be a good minimum sentence.

  142. says

    Update on Nancy Pelosi’s plans/comments regarding the January 6 attack on the Capitol:

    […] In reference to the pro-Trump insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Pelosi said, “There is no question that there were members in this body who gave aid and comfort to those … with the idea that they were embracing a lie. … A lie perpetuated by the president.”

    She went on to state that there will be an after-action review, and, if House lawmakers “did aid and abet, there will be more than just comments from their colleagues here. … There will be prosecution if they aided and abetted an insurrection in which people died.” Pelosi stressed, of course, that it all comes down to evidence, which, in her words, “remains to be seen.” […]


  143. says

    Lawyers group calls for Giuliani’s suspension from law practice, ethics probe

    A national lawyers group on Thursday filed an ethics complaint against Rudy Giuliani that asked a New York court panel to suspend the Trump ally’s law license and undertake a review of his role in promoting false election fraud claims that some argue fueled the insurrection at the Capitol.

    The 18-page ethics complaint from the non-partisan group Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD) alleges that Giuliani’s conduct on behalf of former President Trump crossed “ethical boundaries” that separate zealous legal advocacy from attorney misconduct.

    “Mr. Giuliani personally advanced and argued claims in court that were frivolous and had no reasonable purpose other than to fuel the extrajudicial campaign of falsehoods,” the petition states.

    The complaint urges the grievance committee of the New York courts to suspend Giuliani from practicing law while it investigates further. […]

  144. blf says

    Lynna@229, Largely by accident — I had a PBS stream still going at the time — I wound up watching essentially all of Ms Psaki’s first press briefing, and was duly impressed. Some obfuscation every now and then would be my only(?) complaint, but otherwise informed (and with more information than I would have predicted), honest (or at least no obvious lying), courteous, and without pointless dramatics. Not as boring as I usually find such events. I like that she basically promised there would be briefings most workdays, that she acknowledged there would be days when there would be disagreements, and the importance of a critical press.

  145. says

    blf @254, I agree. We will see how she does today. (Press briefings every day!)

    SC @255, That’s a situation is going to cause a lot of trouble for the Biden administration. It’s really too bad that he does not already have all of his cabinet members approved by the Senate.

    In other news, this is a JFC! moment: GOP’s Kevin McCarthy plays fast and loose with recent events

    Last week, McCarthy conceded Trump “bears responsibility” for helping instigate the deadly insurrectionist attack. Today, he said the opposite.

    It’s been 11 weeks since Election Day 2020, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has struggled over this period, both with the politics and the reality of the results.

    The trouble started almost immediately: the California Republican helped lead the partisan charge against the will of the voters, insisting that Donald Trump won the election he’d lost, endorsing efforts to nullify election results through the courts, and even voting against certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral college victory.

    This, naturally, infuriated McCarthy’s Democratic colleagues, who expected someone in his leadership position to be more responsible (and more patriotic).

    Last week, the House GOP leader helped lead the charge against Trump’s impeachment, though he conceded that Trump “bears responsibility” for helping instigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol a week earlier. McCarthy, apparently trying to appear reasonable, added that Biden “won the election.”

    This, naturally, infuriated Trump, who expected someone in his leadership position to show absolute, genuflecting fealty.

    Yesterday, McCarthy declared as part of the inaugural festivities, “As leaders, we are judged not by our words, but by our actions.” That’s true, though it wasn’t helpful — since McCarthy’s actions of late have been cringe-worthy.

    Today, they got just a little worse. Politico reported:

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday he does not believe former President Donald Trump incited the riot at the Capitol earlier this month, pivoting away from comments he made last week that the president bore some responsibility for the assault. “I don’t believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters.

    First, we’ve all listened to what he said at the pre-riot gathering. It’s one of the reasons last week’s impeachment vote was the largest and most bipartisan in American history.

    Second, McCarthy presumably listened to what Trump said at the rally because he’s the one who said — out loud, on camera, while on the House floor — that Trump “bears responsibility” for helping instigate the deadly insurrectionist attack.

    Evidently, we’re supposed to see a meaningful distinction between a president “bearing responsibility” for a riot and “provoking” a riot, but it seems like a distinction without a difference.

    […] the House minority leader also said, “What I voted on wasn’t to overturn an election — because it wouldn’t. It would not overturn.”

    McCarthy was referring to Congress’ vote to ratify the president’s electoral victory. The Republican leader may see value in spinning his own anti-election efforts, but if he’s expecting others to take his rhetoric seriously, he’s likely to be disappointed.

    Politico’s Tim Alberta added yesterday, “[A] simple apology, an admission of wrongdoing, would go a long way toward moving this country forward. Without any hint of repentance, McCarthy’s yuck-it-up routine is indecent and offensive.”

  146. says

    Biden gave a speech about his COVID plan and signed several related EOs. The detailed plan, which is 198 pages, can be found at WhiteHouse dot gov.

    Dr. Fauci will be doing a press briefing shortly.

  147. says

    Not taking Ivanka seriously:

    Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) on Thursday brushed off rumors of Ivanka Trump launching a primary challenge to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the aftermath of the Trump presidency, according to a Capitol Hill pool report.

    Speaking to reporters at the Senate subway on Thursday, Scott claimed that “nobody’s said anything to me about that” when asked about the former President’s daughter running against Rubio, who is up for re-election next year.

    Scott repeatedly insisted that he is “supporting incumbents” and that no one has talked to him about potential challengers to Rubio’s re-election.

    “I’m supporting incumbents,” Scott said.


  148. says

    More Bad News for Trump: Last Year, His Company’s Revenues Plunged $150 Million

    Trump returns to the helm of a company in dire financial shape.

    As Donald Trump left the White House yesterday, he returned to a business empire in dire financial condition—far worse than previously reported, according to newly disclosed information. Trump’s final personal financial statement, filed Wednesday night, shows that revenues at his company, the Trump Organization, plunged by more than $150 million last year—a whopping decline of nearly 40 percent. The disclosure also reveals that many of his flagship properties saw much of their business evaporate over the last year.

    […] may have less to do with his sons’ stewardship of the company than with the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the hospitality industry. Trump’s brand-tarnishing actions in office, capped by his incitement of an insurrection at the Capitol, have also been a main cause of the Trump Organization’s decline in recent years. […] banks and financial partners have cut ties with him, closing his accounts and working to clawback control of properties he leases or operates.

    […] Under ethics rules, presidents file annual personal financial disclosure statements every spring, but the newest numbers come from a termination report Trump was required to submit on his way out the door. It covers all of 2020 and the first 15 days of 2021. And it shows the drop-off in Trump’s business last year was enormous. According to the report filed last summer and covering 2019, the Trump Organization had at least $432.5 million in revenue (a slight decline from 2018). In 2020, his firm’s revenues slid precipitously to $277.6 million, a drop of at least 36 percent. That’s not his profits—just his revenues.

    […] The Trump Organization’s debt load may be manageable in relation to the overall value of the assets Trump owns, but Trump does have nearly half-billion dollars in debt coming due in the next several years—and few banks willing to deal with him. […]

    […] Trump National Doral golf course lost the most money. It brought in $44.1 million in revenue in 2020, about $33 million less than in 2019. In his first financial disclosure as president, a report which covered 2016 and the early months of 2017, Trump reported Doral as having $115.8 million in revenue.

    Trump’s downtown DC luxury hotel, which opened days before he was elected in 2016 and became a de facto clubhouse for conservative Republican lawmakers, activists, and lobbyists trying to curry favor with the administration, was also devastated by the pandemic. In 2018 and 2019, the hotel listed $40 million in revenue—in 2020 it had $15.1 million. […] Trump said he was seeking to sell the property, but his real estate broker told potential buyers the hotel had an occupancy rate of about 57 percent—lower than competing hotels and, by the estimates of hotel industry experts, not enough to make it profitable. (After January 6, the real estate broker working with the Trump Organization on the hotel’s sale said it will no longer handle the potential deal.)

    […] Numbers were down for his hotels in Hawaii and Chicago, where this fall, a manager told investors that without a quick turnabout in the pandemic, “It’s going to be very, very tough to keep the boat afloat.”

    Trump’s investments in Scotland and Ireland have occupied an increasingly important place in Trump’s business empire, but they, too, were hit hard in 2020. […] none of his resorts in the British Isles have ever turned a profit.

    […] Not all of Trump’s properties were slammed in 2020. His Mar-a-Lago resort, where he spent a great amount of time, held personal and political events, and hosted international leaders, increased its revenue in 2020 by $2.7 million. A handful of golf course properties and his Virginia winery either saw slight increases or only moderate declines. These particular revenue streams may not have collapsed because these properties rely on local customers who can drive to the property. […]

    “He has a reputation for holding onto stuff and playing hardball,” he [Jan A. deRoos, a professor emeritus of hotel finance and real estate at Cornell University] says. “I wouldn’t put anything past him in terms of playing hardball, but I think people’s wiliness to not play hardball back is probably limited at this point in his career.”

  149. says

    Follow-up to SC @260.

    ‘Nobody is telling you what to say’: Fauci regains the spotlight under Biden

    One day into the Biden presidency, the longtime infectious disease expert described it as “a refreshing experience.”

    Anthony Fauci isn’t hiding his relief that he’s serving in a new administration.[…]

    Fauci, who has served under seven presidents as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was a frequent target of public criticism from President Donald Trump, who accused him and other career scientists at public health agencies of overstating the seriousness of the worsening pandemic and hampering efforts to address it.

    “It’s obviously a very different situation. It’s complete transparency,” Fauci said in an interview Thursday. “Nobody is telling you what to say, at all. They are just saying go out there and let the data guide you on what you are saying.

    A fixture at Trump’s White House press conferences during the early weeks of the pandemic, Fauci soon found himself shunted to the side. Now he’s back in the spotlight.

    Now the scientist will be the first administration official to face the White House press briefing room. There, on Thursday afternoon, he’s expected to reiterate the president’s ambitious goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans during his first 100 days in office. […]

  150. says

    MMFA – “On Facebook in 2018, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene endorsed conspiracy theories that 9/11 was an inside job and that Sandy Hook was staged”:

    In a newly uncovered exchange, Marjorie Taylor Greene in 2018 agreed with a Facebook commenter who claimed that 9/11 “was done by our own gov[ernment]” and that “none of the school shootings were real or done by the ones who were supposedly arrested for them,” including the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

    Media Matters reported earlier this week that Greene agreed in 2018 that the Parkland shooting was actually a false flag planned event. She also wrote in a separate post that she had supposedly been “told that Nancy Pelosi tells Hillary Clinton several times a month that ‘we need another school shooting’ in order to persuade the public to want strict gun control.”

    Greene’s remarks have led to condemnation, including from Parkland survivors and Fred Guttenberg, who is the father of shooting victim Jaime Guttenberg. (The Republican House leadership does not appear to have commented on her remarks.)

    Last year, Media Matters reported that she falsely claimed in a 2018 video that there’s no evidence a plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. After receiving heavy criticism, Greene claimed that she was supposedly “being attacked for my opposition to open borders and globalist neocon nation building wars” and said: “Some people claimed a missile hit the Pentagon. I now know that is not correct. The problem is our government lies to us so much to protect the Deep State, it’s hard sometimes to know what is real and what is not.”

    Republicans have embraced Greene. The National Republican Congressional Committee included Greene in its 2020 Young Guns recruitment and fundraising program. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has welcomed her into the Republican caucus and defended her during a November 12 news conference. McCarthy’s Twitter header image is a picture of him alongside the Republican freshman class, with Greene a few spots away from McCarthy.

  151. says

    Master Ghoul McConnell:

    Minority rights on legislation are key to the Senate. President Biden spent decades defending them. More than two dozen Senate Democrats backed them just four years ago.

    This isn’t complicated. Simply reaffirming that Democrats won’t break the rules should not be a heavy lift.

    “Minority rights”?
    Out of respect for the rules, I will refrain from further comment.

  152. says

    Democrats are planning to use a lot of video of the assault on the Capitol at Trump’s Senate trial, a Dem aide tells me.

    The idea is to keep GOP senators awake, and to offer a vivid reminder that Trump incited an attack on, well, them.

    New piece:…”

    WaPo link atl.

    Nancy Pelosi talked this morning about how traumatic the attack on the Capitol was to many of the people who work there. The last part of the Axios series about Trump’s last weeks in office came out today. It discusses the experiences of people in the Capitol during the siege, and contains this line: “Just before Lankford learned of the protesters’ presence, another senator’s body man had come sprinting down one of the hallways outside the chamber, motioning wildly at a group of staffers: Run.”

  153. says

    Teen Vogue – “AOC Skipped Inauguration to Support a Teamsters Union Strike in the Bronx”:

    Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) skipped the January 20 inauguration festivities in Washington, D.C., for a strike. The congresswoman known as AOC showed up at Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx, just outside the borders of her Congressional district, to support a local Teamsters union whose workers are a big reason New York City has fresh fruit on a reliable basis.

    Claudia Irizarry Aponte, a reporter for the New York-based publication The City who covers the Bronx, captured Ocasio-Cortez arriving at the picket line Wednesday evening with a pack of coffee and hand-warmers, wearing work boots.

    Irizarry Aponte also captured part of a speech AOC gave on a bullhorn at the picket. Ocasio-Cortez invited everyone to “pull up” and show solidarity with the union. Another clip from Gothamist/WNYC news editor David Cruz captured more video of Ocasio-Cortez telling the strikers their efforts are a way of asking for “transformational change” for workers across the United States….

    “What we’re doing here today is taking the upside down and making it right side up,” Ocasio-Cortez told the crowd.

    …According to Irizarry Aponte’s reporting for The City, the strike launched after negotiations broke down between the union and management over a $1/hour raise. Management offered only 32 cents/hour as a raise, prompting the Teamsters Local 202 union to launch a strike Sunday night. In a January 16 statement, the union said the strike came “after negotiations broke down when management refused to budge from a stingy offer for workers who kept New Yorkers fed through the pandemic.”

    The strike by a union representing about 1,400 workers is a big deal for anyone in New York who likes produce because, according to WNYC, about 60% of produce that comes to the Big Apple goes through the Hunts Point Produce Market. WNYC reported on January 17 that NYPD and a private security firm would work to keep food operations normal. [JFC]

    NYPD has been very involved in attempting to keep the strike in check. In addition to a heightened police presence reported Wednesday, cops arrested a half-dozen strikers for obstructing a road earlier this week, the New York Daily News reported. Video posted by the union shows a massive police force the night of the arrests, which the union has condemned.

    “It is outrageous that after being called essential heroes for months, several of our members were arrested while peacefully protesting for a raise today,” Teamsters Local 2020 president Daniel Kane, Jr., said in a statement. “These are the essential workers who went to work every day through the worst of the pandemic to feed New York. All they are asking for is a dollar-an-hour raise so they can feed their families, too.”

    The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the workers hard, with union vice president Leonardo Servedio telling CBS New York hundreds are believed to have been infected and six union workers have died due to the disease. Meanwhile, the union says the market received Paycheck Protection Program loans as part of the federal government’s COVID-19 relief efforts.

    “It’s embarrassing that a corporation enjoying pandemic profits, millions in PPP & more in tax giveaways is fighting a $1 raise for essential workers who‘ve risked their lives all year to feed us,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter Wednesday night. “It’s time we stand up for essential workers everywhere.”

    The union has asked supporters to join them on the picket line.

  154. lumipuna says

    syringes capable of maximizing the amount of Covid vaccine that can be extracted from vials

    As mom always said, empty your vial because children in Africa don’t have any.

  155. says

    Medpage Today – “Simone Gold Arrested for Role in Capitol Insurrection”:

    Simone Gold, MD, JD, founder of the notorious pro-hydroxychloroquine, anti-vaccine group America’s Frontline Doctors, was arrested Sunday for participating in storming the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, according to the Department of Justice.

    Following Gold’s confirmation that she entered the Capitol building during the riot on Jan. 6, DOJ officials arrested her in California on Sunday. Gold faces charges of entering a restricted building and for violent entry and disorderly conduct.

    Department representatives did not return a query as of press time as to whether Gold has been released on bail.

    Along with Gold, federal officials also arrested John Strand, communications director for America’s Frontline Doctors, who was pictured with the physician at the event.

    Gold joined the mob that stormed Capitol Hill in an attempt to disrupt the 2020 election certification process. She spoke at protests in Washington, D.C., leading up to the riot, casting doubt on the vaccines and claiming that COVID-19 is non-fatal. Gold stated that citizens must not comply with taking “an experimental, biological agent deceptively named a vaccine.”

    The California-based physician told the Washington Post that she was indeed inside the Capitol, as she followed a crowd and assumed it was legal to do so. Several photos of Gold at the insurrection have circulated online, as well as a video of her making a speech to rioters inside the federal building.

    Prior to her involvement on Capitol Hill, Gold gained notoriety for spreading misinformation about the pandemic. Last July, she led a press conference in front of the Supreme Court in which she and other members of America’s Frontline Doctors touted the benefits of hydroxychloroquine and criticized lockdown restrictions. Gold has also attempted to sow fear of the COVID-19 vaccines.

    Trump, naturally, retweeted that idiotic “press conference” (which evidently included SC Rep. Ralph Norman), before it was removed from social media.

  156. johnson catman says

    re SC @272:

    The California-based physician told the Washington Post that she was indeed inside the Capitol, as she followed a crowd and assumed it was legal to do so.

    1) You know the saying about assuming, and 2) Ignorance of the law is not a defense.

  157. tomh says

    @ 273
    Why would anyone think that joining a riot and storming the Capitol building would be illegal? Just sounds like a bunch of folks having fun.

  158. says

    Daniel Dale at CNN – “Fact check: 11 false claims Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has tweeted in the last month”:

    A rookie Republican congresswoman from Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene, was suspended from Twitter on Sunday for 12 hours after she repeatedly tweeted election misinformation.

    Greene has a long history of embracing baseless conspiracy theories. And she has been a serial tweeter of false claims — about the election, the Capitol insurrection and other subjects — since she won her seat in November.

    Below is a fact check of 11 false claims Greene has tweeted in the last month alone, including three related claims about the integrity of the election. After CNN emailed her congressional office to offer her the opportunity to comment on any of these findings, her communications director, Nick Dyer, had only a brief response, “Here’s our comment: ‘CNN is fake news.'”…

  159. says

    johnson catman and tomh, and I didn’t quote this paragraph from the report:

    Starting on the day after the riot, federal investigators received photographs of Gold and Strand during the riot. The pair was also captured on video at the doors of the federal building, in the middle of a crowd attempting to push past law enforcement officials to get inside. In this footage, one law enforcement official appeared to be pulled down by someone in the crowd and landed right where Gold and Strand were standing, according to the FBI’s affidavit supporting the arrest warrant.

    I don’t think that defense is going to go well.

  160. says

    Ari Melber just mentioned this, and I checked and it’s true – CNN, last July – “Some doctors met with Pence after their group’s video was removed for misleading info”:

    Vice President Mike Pence and members of his staff met Tuesday with some of the doctors who were featured in a video that was later removed from social media for misinformation, those doctors said on Wednesday.

    The video, which was shared by President Donald Trump before being removed, featured members of the group America’s Frontline Doctors standing on the steps of the Supreme Court claiming that masks aren’t necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus and promoting hydroxychloroquine as a cure. Both claims are contradicted by scientific studies.

    The most prominent person featured in the video, Stella Immanuel — who has said in the past that DNA from space aliens is being used in medicine — did not meet with Pence.

    But several others who have actively promoted hydroxychloroquine and downplayed the virus did participate in the late afternoon meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room, as did the head of a conservative activist group who has helped amplify their message.

    “We have just met with Vice President Mike Pence to request the administration’s assistance in empowering doctors to prescribe hydroxychloroquine without political obstruction,” Simone Gold, the group’s leader, tweeted. “We also discussed the recent censorship of doctors on social media platforms.”

    “Just finished a great meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and his Chief of Staff,” tweeted another participant, James Todaro. “We are doing everything to restore the power of medicine back to doctors. Doctors everywhere should be able to prescribe Hydroxychloroquine without repercussions or obstruction.”

    Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, also said she attended….

    So, yeah, that happened.

  161. tomh says

    Congress grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon
    Fadel Allassan

    Both chambers of Congress on Thursday voted to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the path to confirmation for President Biden’s nominee for defense secretary…

    Austin would be the first Black person to lead the Pentagon. He was the first Black general to command a theater of war in Iraq, first to serve as the commander of U.S. Central Command, and first to hold the title of vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army.

    Austin told lawmakers Wednesday he will rid the military of “racists and extremists.”

  162. Paul K says

    I want to also thank the posters who keep this thread going. I’ve done it before, and will again. This is my daily (actually, several times a day) go-to place for news on politics from a perspective I find sensible and inspiring. It’s not my only source, but you all guide me away from insanity by sharing reality.

    After four (five?) years of Trump and his fools taking up all the oxygen, I’m looking forward to seeing how we go from here, including holding those fools accountable. Feet to the fire!

    Thanks so much!

  163. says

    Dan Lamothe, WaPo:

    The Army’s shifting story about its response to the Capitol response continued today. A thread:

    First: You may recall that Lt. Gen. Piatt, the director of Army staff, previously issued a written denial that he ever told officials from other agencies during the assault on the Capitol that he had concerns about the visuals of National Guard responding.

    “I did not make the statement or any comments similar to what was attributed to me,” Piatt said Jan. 11 in response to former Capitol Police Chief Sund’s on-the-record recollection of events.

    Today, he said this instead:

    “What we’re getting from some of the note-takers in the room is that I may have said that. I don’t recall saying ‘the optics.’ I recall saying that my best military advice is that we formulate a plan.”

    That brings us to Lt. Gen. Flynn. As we first reported yesterday, he was in the room for the key call in which Capitol Police and others pleaded for National Guard help, and Army generals expressed reservations about immediately jumping in.

    That came after numerous false denials otherwise.

    “HE WAS NOT IN ANY OF THE MEETINGS!” one Army official even said on Jan. 12 in an email to The Post.

    Expanding on his written admission yesterday, Flynn said today that he was in the room for about four minutes. Asked if spoke during that meeting, he didn’t have a clear answer.

    “I do not recall saying anything in the conference, but I may have, and I just don’t recall saying anything to the audience on the other end,” Flynn said.

  164. says

    Thanks, Paul K!

    And I’d like to thank the people who post or read here who’ve been dealing with the miserable obsessive assholes on so many other threads, which I rarely have the wherewithal to do these days.

  165. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Tomorrow night Rachel Maddow will have the newly “freed” Dr. Fauci on her show. Must see TV.

  166. tomh says

    Referring Former President Trump’s Suspension From Facebook to the Oversight Board
    January 21, 2021
    By Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs

    Today, Facebook is referring its decision to indefinitely suspend former US President Donald Trump’s access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts to the independent Oversight Board. The board was established last year to make the final call on some of the most difficult content decisions Facebook makes. It is an independent body and its decisions are binding — they can’t be overruled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg or anyone else at Facebook. The board itself is made up of experts and civic leaders from around the world with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.
    Our decision to suspend then-President Trump’s access was taken in extraordinary circumstances: a US president actively fomenting a violent insurrection designed to thwart the peaceful transition of power; five people killed; legislators fleeing the seat of democracy…

    Whether you believe the decision was justified or not, many people are understandably uncomfortable with the idea that tech companies have the power to ban elected leaders. Many argue private companies like Facebook shouldn’t be making these big decisions on their own. We agree. Every day, Facebook makes decisions about whether content is harmful, and these decisions are made according to Community Standards we have developed over many years. It would be better if these decisions were made according to frameworks agreed by democratically accountable lawmakers. But in the absence of such laws, there are decisions that we cannot duck.

    This is why we established the Oversight Board. It is the first body of its kind in the world: an expert-led independent organization with the power to impose binding decisions on a private social media company. Its decision will be available at the board’s website when it is issued.

  167. blf says

    I’ve had this on and it kept being more interesting than pissing off xian fascists, Samantha Power on Restoring American Credibility Abroad (video), Pod Save the World (a few days ago): “Foreign Policy experts Ben Rhodes and Tommy Vietor are joined by former US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to talk about how to restore American credibility at international organizations, Bill Burns appointment as CIA director, last week’s mass arrests in Hong Kong and refugee policy.”

  168. says

    Syracuse[dot]com – “Rep. John Katko: US Capitol attack was ‘much worse than people realized’”:

    Rep. John Katko says he has received intelligence briefings that suggest the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol was more than a spontaneous attack by an angry mob.

    Katko, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the briefings raised serious questions about how much planning went into the attack and the security lapses that allowed rioters to reach the House and Senate chambers.

    “I’ve had a lot of classified briefings on it, and it’s deeply troubling,” Katko told syracuse[dot]com in an interview Tuesday. “I was left with a profound sense that it was much worse than people realized.”

    Katko would not discuss any specific information he received. But he said the briefings from federal authorities were enough to convince him that Congress needs a 9/11-style commission to investigate and subpoena witnesses.

    “There are a lot of unanswered questions here, from possible security lapses to who was involved and when they were involved,” Katko said. “We need to have a full stem to stern look back on this to see what happened, how it happened, the sequence of events, who contributed to it, and how we make sure it never happens again.”

    Katko, R-Camillus, and two other House Republicans introduced a bill last week that would establish an independent panel modeled after the 9/11 Commission, which probed security weaknesses exposed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week that there’s “strong support” among members of Congress for an independent commission to conduct a review. She didn’t specify if she would support Katko’s bill with Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., or a similar Democratic proposal.

    Katko was among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last week on a single charge for “incitement of insurrection” after the president encouraged a crowd to interrupt a joint session of Congress.


    Katko, in his first interview with syracuse[dot]com since the impeachment vote, said he was moved emotionally by the events of the day. Among the Capitol police officers hurt in the violence was Joshua Call, a former intern in Katko’s congressional office. Katko brought him a “care package” from his mother after the attack.

    But Katko, a former federal prosecutor, said he didn’t let those emotions influence his decision about the impeachment vote.

    “The only thing that impacted me were the facts, but I will never forget talking to him,” Katko said of Call. “I will never forget giving him a hug and telling him he’s going to be OK. I won’t ever forget walking into the Capitol and seeing the destruction. I won’t ever forget hearing about the officer who was killed by being beaten in the head with a fire extinguisher.

    “But like I said, I am trained to lock that stuff out of my head and look at the facts objectively, and that’s what I did,” he said. “The only thing that influenced me were the facts and nothing else.”

    Katko said he was shaken as he returned to the House floor after the attack to certify the Electoral College vote. But he said it was uplifting to see Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress determined to press on with the vote into the early morning hours….

  169. says

    Josh Campbell:

    Unlike Trump, who was unwilling to criticize Russia, @jrpsaki says Biden has asked the U.S. intelligence community for a full assessment of:

    – The SolarWinds hack
    – Russian interference in the 2020 election
    – The poisoning of Navalny
    – Bounties on US troops

    Video clip from yesterday’s briefing atl.

  170. says

    Interesting. This Guardian article has more about Simone Gold – “‘Wilful ignorance’: doctor who joined Capitol attack condemned for Covid falsehoods”:

    …Gold, who founded America’s Frontline Doctors last spring with help from the Tea Party Patriots organization, was arrested on Monday in Beverly Hills, where she lives, and faces charges of entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct.

    Last July, Gold delivered her message at a well-publicized rally her group hosted in front of the supreme court, which drew about 10 doctors, including two ophthalmologists. Gold, who had been working at two hospitals before the rally, was fired afterwards and quickly tapped the conservative attorney and Trump ally Lin Wood to represent her.

    Wood last year called Gold a “truth giver” and is infamous for backing false claims of vast voting fraud and saying the former vice-president Mike Pence should be shot. He did not return calls about Gold’s defense.

    Gold’s rise in the conservative ecosystem and her role attacking mainstream science about the pandemic was underscored by a talk she gave last November at a meeting of the secretive, Christian right Council for National Policy which drew dozens of super wealthy donors and GOP and conservative bigwigs, including Pence and the Tea Party Patriots’ leader, Jenny Beth Martin.

    Conservative donors involved with CNP include members of the billionaire DeVos family and the private equity mogul Bill Walton, a key CNP figure.

    A GOP fundraiser said CNP meetings were “ideal places to network with high-level conservatives and raise a lot of money.”

    Anne Nelson, the author of Shadow Network, about CNP’s influence and origins, added that the group “began cultivating Simone Gold at least as of early 2020, as a medical spokesperson to support the premature reopening of the economy. Their purpose was to benefit the Trump campaign, and counter the advice of leading public health officials.”

    Gold’s questioning of vaccine safety was underscored the day before the Capitol attack, when she urged a rally near the White House not to take FDA-approved vaccines, labeling them “an experimental biological agent deceptively named a vaccine” and telling the crowd not to let themselves be “coerced”.

    Her group took off last spring when she worked closely with Martin of Tea Party Patriots to orchestrate a letter signed by some 800 doctors to Trump urging him to end the “national lockdown” and calling it a “mass casualty” incident causing wide depression.

    Last May, Gold told the AP that there was “no scientific basis that the average American should be concerned about” Covid-19 – a view that has since been discredited….

  171. says

    Here’s a link to the January 22 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.


    The US is joining COVAX, the program to supply vaccines to poor countries.

    CNN – “South African government minister Jackson Mthembu dies of Covid-19”:

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Thursday that Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has died of Covid-19.

    Mthembu was one of the government’s key leaders in its response to the pandemic and the public face during many Covid-19 press briefings….

    He was 62.

  172. says

    The Nation – “The Ignominious Deceits of Congressman Cawthorn”:

    Before January 6, 25-year-old Representative Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) was known for being the youngest member of Congress, an ardent Trump supporter, and one of the few wheelchair users in elected office. Now he is in the headlines for giving a speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally prior to the insurrection at the Capitol that left five people dead. Throughout his short but meteoric political career, Cawthorn has used his disability to tell a story of overcoming: Despite great adversity, he claims to have achieved excellence through grit and physical strength. Many of his campaign ads featured images of Cawthorn intubated and hospitalized alongside videos of him lifting weights and hurtling forward in a racing wheelchair. But his claims of sporting success—like his accounts of education and business acumen—have often been misleading.

    Cawthorn became disabled after a 2014 car crash left him paralyzed from the waist down. By Cawthorn’s own telling, he was a successful business owner headed to the Naval Academy before his injury tragically reordered his life. As it turns out, neither claim is true. The Asheville Watchdog reported that Cawthorn had already been rejected from the Naval Academy before his accident. And Cawthorn’s real-estate investment firm, SPQR Holdings LLC, which he only formed in August 2019, reported no income on its tax documents, and Cawthorn was the sole employee.

    But he has not only styled himself as Naval Academy material with a head for real estate. Multiple outlets reported that before he ran for office, Cawthorn was training for the 2020 Paralympic Games. There is little detail, but according to Micah Bock, Cawthorn’s campaign communications director, he intended to compete in the 400-meter dash at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. It would have been an incredible footnote in a politician’s biography: Paralympians are celebrated and accomplished athletes. But his hopes for the Paralympic Games, now slated for summer 2021, were allegedly dashed by his worsening disability.

    Cawthorn frequently said on social media that he was “training” for the Paralympic Games. Technically, such a statement could be true—but only in the sense that I could be training for the Olympic Games. “It’s like a kid saying they want to play in the NBA when they’re on their fourth-grade basketball team,” said Amanda McGrory, a three-time Paralympian who has earned seven medals in track and field. Cawthorn stated on the Christian inspirational podcast The Heal, “I had an opportunity for the Paralympics for track and field.” He did not have that opportunity, nor does it appear he took any meaningful steps that would have led him there.

    Paralympians are the best at what they do. Qualifying is a long, complicated process….

    [Track & Field Paralympian Brian] Siemann admitted, a little sheepishly, that he and other elite athletes were aware of Cawthorn long before he ran for office. In fact, Cawthorn’s Instagram feed was a bit of a running joke. “[My teammates and I] would share whatever posts [Cawthorn] put up and be like, ‘Look at what batshit thing he said about the Paralympics this week.… The claims he was making were just so absurd, you have to find some humor in it.”

    Multiple athletes expressed frustration, not just with Cawthorn but with the general ignorance of disability and athletics. If Cawthorn had claimed to be preparing for the 400 meters in the Summer Olympics, the press would have ridiculed him, but no one in media questioned his claims of training for the Paralympics. “There is such a lack of awareness about the Paralympic Movement,” Siemann said. “[People] don’t understand the time and effort and energy that Paralympic athletes put in their training. It’s an elite sport. You can’t just get in a racing chair. That’s really not how it works.”

    Much more atl. Informative article.

  173. says

    From tom Newton Dunn:

    President Biden has removed the Diet Coke button. When @ShippersUnbound and I interviewed Donald Trump in 2019, we became fascinated by what the little red button did. Eventually Trump pressed it, and a butler swiftly brought in a Diet Coke on a silver platter. It’s gone now.

  174. says

    About “unity” and how Republicans are trying to manipulate the concept so that they can put one over on Democrats:

    It was a word that appeared in President Joe Biden’s inaugural address eight times: “Unity.”

    “To overcome these challenges — to restore the soul and to secure the future of America — requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity…. With unity we can do great things…. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.”

    It wasn’t long before a tiresome debate began over what the word actually means. Indeed, as the new president took a series of executive actions to advance his policy goals, and unveiled a series of proposals in line with his longstanding agenda, Republicans immediately cried foul — not just because they disagreed with Biden’s priorities, but also because they saw it as a betrayal of his “unity” pledge.

    If the Democratic president were serious about unifying Americans, Republicans said, he’d put aside his own platform — the one effectively endorsed by 81 million Americans in the recent election — and instead start endorsing at least some of the GOP’s ideas.

    For Biden to govern in accordance with his beliefs, the argument goes, is to be divisive.

    […] there’s a degree of irony to the whining. For the last four years, Republicans insisted they had a bold mandate to steamroll over everyone and everything in their path, even after Trump lost the popular vote, and even after Democrats earned a House majority in the 2018 midterms. The idea that Trump and his party had a responsibility to incorporate Democratic ideas into their governing vision — to the extent that the post-policy, platform-less GOP has a governing vision — was laughable.

    […] In a healthy political system, “unity” is about the how, not the what.

    By pledging to be a responsive, unifying leader, Biden has described a process and a governing style. He’s committed to listening to Republicans, not to approving Republican demands. The new president said as much in his inaugural address:

    “Let us listen to one another. Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another. Politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.”

    Biden doesn’t intend to pit Americans against one another. He seems reluctant to engage in name-calling. He doesn’t appear eager to decide who counts as a “real” American, or whose patriotism is worthy of his respect. He thinks those in “red” states have the same value and worth as those in “blue” states.

    That’s what “unity” means. It’s about a process in which people are treated with mutual respect and decency. It’s about recognizing the legitimacy of those who, in good faith, see the world differently. It’s about believing in democracy and election results.

    In all likelihood, the Republicans whining about Biden over the last 49 hours know this. They’re playing a cynical little game, hoping to undermine the new presidency by suggesting it’s incumbent on Biden to make them happy by curtailing his efforts to govern.

    If GOP officials expect this to be persuasive, they’re likely to be disappointed.


  175. says

    Rep facing investigation after trying to bring gun onto House floor

    “I’ll go out on a limb and say members of Congress might start to feel a little safer if their colleagues stopped trying to bring guns onto the House floor.”

    In the wake of the deadly insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, a variety of new security measures were put in place, including magnetometers at the doorways to the floor of the U.S. House.

    This hasn’t gone over well with some members. Reporters have seen several Republican lawmakers either circumventing the security precautions or expressing indifference after setting off the detectors.

    Yesterday, however, brought an even more striking development. […]

    Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), who has repeatedly flouted the magnetometers that were installed near the House chamber after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, set off the metal detectors while trying to enter. When an officer with a metal detector wand scanned him, a firearm was detected on Harris’s side, concealed by his suit coat. Police refused to let Harris in, and the officer signaled a security agent that Harris had a gun on him by motioning toward his own firearm.

    The reporter went on to note that Harris tried to get Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) to hold the gun while he entered the chamber to cast a vote, but Katko balked, saying he wasn’t licensed. Harris ultimately left, returned unarmed 10 minutes later, and participated in the proceedings.

    This comes on the heels of reports that Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) was also “armed” on Capitol Hill during the attack two weeks ago.

    […] “Members are allowed to carry a gun in the office buildings, in the Capitol and on Capitol grounds, but they are expressly forbidden from carrying firearms onto the floor.”

    U.S. Capitol Police confirmed overnight that the incident is under investigation.

    […] Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said of conditions on Capitol Hill, “It’s the most poisonous I’ve ever seen. There’s the overall sense that maybe if some of them have guns — and likely the ones who are more into conspiracy theories and QAnon with the pedophilic satanic rings — are we safe from them?”

    I’ll go out on a limb and say members might start to feel a little safer if their colleagues stopped trying to bring guns onto the House floor and started pausing after triggering the magnetometers.

  176. says

    There’s A Reason Trump’s Impeachment Lawyer Sounds Familiar

    Remember Mark Sanford? If you were a Golden Duke: Duke of Dukes voter this last time around, you most certainly will.

    The lawyer that Trump just tapped — reportedly on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) recommendation —[…] once represented the former Gov. Mark Sanford, when lawmakers were thinking about impeaching him for fleeing the country to see his Argentinian mistress back in 2009.

    Butch Bowers has also worked for other high profile politicians and appears to be more universally respected by Republicans […] Trump’s lawyers from the last impeachment trial reportedly were uninterested in getting their hands dirty with a second go-around […]

    Bowers is a longtime Republican lawyer with a background in election law […] Trump was impeached by the House last Wednesday for inciting the violence that led to the Capitol insurrection earlier this month, all part of his broader failed crusade to overturn the results of the election.

    Trump’s decision to hire Bowers has been largely interpreted as a sign that Trump intends to take this impeachment more seriously than the last, perhaps due to his hope to run for president again in 2024, and the possibility that he could be barred from doing so if convicted.

    Here’s some things to know about Bowers […]:

    Bowers also represented former Republican Gov. Nikki Haley when she faced ethics charges for illegal lobbying as a member of the South Carolina House.

    He has weighty election law experience, serving as special counsel for voting matters in President George W. Bush’s DOJ and as counsel in Florida during the late Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential bid in 2008.

    He was once involved with the South Carolina Election Commission’s lawsuits over voter ID laws and represented the South Carolina GOP in its 2020 suit over the lack of a presidential primary in the state.

    Another indication of his voting rights leanings: back in 2013 he represented former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory when the DOJ was suing the state for its discriminatory election laws.

    He’s done legal work for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a close friend of Trump’s, in a legal fight over excessive campaign contributions. […]

  177. says

    Farmworker groups say Biden’s immigration plan ‘fundamentally different’ than any previous president

    President Joe Biden’s immigration overhaul putting the legalization of millions of undocumented immigrants at its center would immediately prioritize eligible farmworkers, alongside Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries, for green cards. Farmworkers and their advocates heaped praise on the bold plan, which was unveiled on Biden’s first day in office and includes provisions championed by Vice President Kamala Harris when she served as the senator from California.

    The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 “is fundamentally different than what any other president has ever done in emancipating farm workers so they can escape pervasive fear and behave like free women and men,” United Farm Workers (UFW) Teresa Romero said in a statement. “Not only is its content remarkable, but never before has a U.S. president presented his own comprehensive immigration reform measure on Day One in office. Now we must work to turn this vision into reality.”

    According to a joint statement from UFW and UFW Foundation, farmworkers would be eligible for immediate legalization under the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 if they “pass criminal background checks and show they have labored in agriculture at least 100 days in four of the previous five years.” The groups note that the legislation contains overtime pay protections supported by then-Sen. Harris in the Fairness for Farmworkers Act she introduced in 2018. […]

  178. says

    Trump campaign used shell companies to provide funds and support for Jan. 6 pre-insurgency rally

    At last count, Donald Trump is the 100% owner of over 500 companies. Most of these companies exist just to move money between accounts, minimizing Trump’s taxes and maximizing the confusion for anyone trying to make any sense out of his finances. It now appears that Trump took this expertise to his campaign, where a number of campaign aides helped to shuffle dark money from shell companies right into the supposedly independent organizations that organized events leading up to the Jan. 6 insurgency.

    Though the permit for the “Stop the steal” rally was supposedly given to the group Women for America First, and the whole thing was supposed to be separate from Trump’s campaign, the Associated Press reported back on Jan. 17 that an attachment to that rally listed a number of people as staff members of that organization who had—just weeks before—been paid directly by the Trump 2020 campaign.

    Now OpenSecrets.org has provided a more detailed look at the web of dark money and shell companies that Trump used to fund his “wild” event while pretending it wasn’t his campaign behind the event.

    For anyone tuning in that awful Wednesday morning, it was hard to differentiate the Stop the Steal rally from any of the other rallies that had marked Trump’s campaign from the beginning. Not only was Trump coming to speak at the close of events, everything from the signs to the music (almost all of it played over the objection of the artists) seemed like another stop on a campaign that simply failed to halt when the election was over.

    But of course, protesting the counting of electoral votes over two months after the election is not the kind of event that is generally sanctioned for a campaign operating under FEC regulations. So they outsourced it. Sort of.

    Trump’s campaign paid out over $2.7 million to the list of individuals and firms that were officially on the hook for the Jan. 6 rally. That includes at least half a dozen people who had previously collected six-figure incomes from the Trump campaign. At the top of that list: Megan Powers. Powers was listed as one of two operations managers for Women for America First in the permit for the Jan. 6 event. However, she was also director of operations for the Trump 2020 campaign, a role that netted her $290,000 in pay.

    As OpenSecrets makes clear, even the money that flowed to people who miraculously left the Trump campaign just in time to host the rally doesn’t represent the full extent of the campaign’s involvement. Undisclosed to the FEC were a set of transactions where money was moved through shell companies, making it nearly impossible to trace all the funds that flowed out of campaign coffers, or where that money ended up.

    As just one example, Justin Caporale was the Trump’s campaign’s advance director up until November 2020. Then he partnered with another former member of Trump’s campaign staff to create a firm called Event Strategies Inc. That firm was then paid over $1.7 million that came either directly from Trump’s campaign or from post-election fundraising. That wasn’t all: The dark money group America First Policies kicked another $2.1 million to both Event Strategies and the “nonprofit” Women for America First.

    […] shell companies, and PACs created to allow the Trump campaign to operate indirectly, and to funnel campaign funds to activities that aren’t allowed under FEC regulations.

    […] In just the months following the election, Trump raised over $500 million from individuals who were asked to help pay for his legal battle in the attempt to overturn the election. It’s clear that Trump spent about $3 million in recount efforts, very little on actual legal issues, and several million more providing behind-the-scenes funding for events like the Jan. 6 insurgency. It’s not clear where the rest of that money has gone.

  179. says

    Biden is doing what he can to provide emergency food aid and other relief quickly. He is signing executive orders that will provide some relief while we wait for legislative action to provide broader and more long-term relief.

    The COVID-19 relief and stimulus that would meet the nation’s needs relies on Congress to act. But President Joe Biden is acting quickly to do what the president can do without Congress, and it turns out that’s a decent amount.

    In orders to be signed Friday, Biden is increasing food assistance to millions of families, protecting unemployment benefits for people who refuse to do jobs that would make them unsafe, moving toward paying federal workers and contract workers a $15 minimum wage, and making a push to get last year’s stimulus checks into the bank accounts of people who should have gotten them but didn’t.

    Biden will call on the Department of Agriculture to allow states to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for people who were already at the maximum benefit allowed—the people who need it most but didn’t get a boost from earlier benefit enhancements. That’s 12 million people. Biden’s order would also increase Pandemic EBT benefits by 15% for students who aren’t getting free or reduced-price school lunches while education is remote.

    Those changes could happen quickly, but Biden is also calling on the USDA to look into a significant longer-term change by reassessing the metrics used to determine SNAP levels at all times.

    “Any one of these in itself would be terrific, but if you bundle them together, these are indeed quite significant in terms of helping Americans get through one of the most terrible times in our lives,” Catherine D’Amato, chief executive of Greater Boston Food Bank, told The Washington Post.

    Biden’s executive orders will also clarify to the states that they can’t kick people off of unemployment for refusing to endanger their health on the job during a pandemic. That has been a priority of Republican-controlled states eager to “reopen” at any cost to the health of workers. […]


  180. says

    Good grief – Politico – “‘Packed us together like sardines’: Guard deployed to Capitol struggles to contain Covid”:

    The National Guard has struggled to implement a plan to test troops flowing into and out of Washington, D.C., for Covid-19, with some Guard members being forced to find their own tests and others pressured to leave their quarantine early to report to duty.

    Already, hundreds of Guard members who poured into Washington, D.C., after the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol have tested positive for Covid-19 or are quarantining in nearby hotels, three Guard sources said. Guard leadership has declined to release an official number of positive cases, but troops and lawmakers alike worry that the deployment is becoming a superspreader event.

    “Ideally, these guys should all be in hotels. When they’re taking rest time, they should be taking it outside the campus with an ability to be separated and socially distanced,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said. “Ultimately we’ve got to make sure that they’re not taking their extended rest time on campus, that they’re in hotel rooms.”

    The problem was compounded on Thursday night, when thousands of troops who had been standing duty in the U.S. Capitol were told to vacate congressional buildings and take their rest breaks outside and in nearby parking garages. POLITICO obtained photos of Guard members packed together and sleeping on the ground in the garages. One unit was forced to rest in a garage with only one bathroom available for 5,000 troops.

    The Senate Rules Committee is investigating the issue, with a particular focus on concerns about the Guard implementing proper coronavirus precautions, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, the top Republican on that panel, told POLITICO. The decision to force thousands of troops into a packed parking garage created a Covid-19 hazard, senators said.

    “I think we’ve got to figure out what went wrong because I think there’s going to be a National Guard presence on campus for the foreseeable future,” Murphy added.

    Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said Friday morning that a Capitol Police officer “issued an order without authority or without going through the chain of command,” adding: “We are going to be able to identify who that person was.”

    Several senators called attention to the matter on Thursday night, with some even reaching out directly to National Guard commanders and Capitol Police officials. Murphy spoke with the Capitol Police chief, who has since denied that the department ordered the troops to vacate congressional buildings.

    In recent days, congressional leadership has made a significant push to test all 25,000 troops, both those who are continuing their mission in Washington, D.C., and those who are leaving, the Guard member also said. The goal is to test 100 percent of the force in the next few days.

    But despite the Guard’s best efforts, more than 100 troops have tested positive, and several hundred are quarantining in nearby hotels after being exposed to a positive case or exhibiting symptoms.

    Guard members say virus countermeasures were unevenly implemented….

    “We did not get Covid tests on arrival,” said another Guard member. “Right after the holidays they packed us together like sardines in buses and rooms for this.”

    The CDC’s guidelines for quarantining after a negative test — which are recommended following any exposure to the virus because tests are not 100 percent accurate — are increasingly being “completely disregarded,” the Guard member added.

    Meanwhile, social distancing is “almost impossible” in the halls of Congress, the D.C. armory and the parking garages, one guard member said, troops were packed into tight spaces that made it impossible to socially distance.

    Many of the Guard members who spoke to POLITICO said their units had been given no clear guidance on Covid-19 testing plans, either for arrival in Washington, D.C., or before they depart. The troops who are currently in quarantine will pose a “logistical challenge” as their units start to head home….

    (Not sure why it says “hundreds” have tested positive at the beginning and then “more than 100” later on.)

  181. says

    One thing that seems like a potential issue: Capitol Police and the National Guard are worn out. We have troops without actual quarters. Capitol Police officers have been working 12 hour days every day since Jan. 6th.

    One cop told me last night they’re all ‘ready to explode’.”

    I can’t see any way this wouldn’t be the case. And the Capitol Police just went through a traumatizing event that was broadcast to the world. They lost two colleagues. Dozens were injured. Their leadership were all fired. They’re being hassled by entitled snots in Congress. It’s a lot.

  182. says

    Twitter suspended an account connected to the office of Iran’s supreme leader, shortly after the account posted a photo of former President Trump playing golf in the shadow of a giant drone. Twitter said the tweet violated its ‘abusive behavior policy’.”

    This – the original story – seems correct. I’ll leave it to AP and Reuters to work it out.

  183. says

    Reuters – “Jailed Kremlin critic Navalny, on protest eve, says has no plans to commit suicide”:

    Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Friday he wanted it known that he had no plans to commit suicide in prison, as he issued a message of support to his followers on the eve of protests the authorities say are illegal.

    Navalny’s allies plan nationwide protests on Saturday to try to force the Kremlin to order his release.

    The authorities have opened a criminal case into protest organisers, accused Navalny’s allies of trying to illegally encourage minors to attend, and warned that attendees risk catching COVID-19.

    Navalny, in a message on Instagram via his lawyer, said he wanted people to know he was in good physical and mental health.

    “Just in case, I am announcing that I don’t plan to either hang myself on a window grill or cut my veins or throat open with a sharpened spoon,” the post said.

    “I use the staircase very carefully. They measure my blood pressure every day and it’s like a cosmonaut’s so a sudden heart attack is ruled out. I know for a fact that there are many good people outside my prison and that help will come,” he wrote.

    The authorities have made it clear they will crack down on Saturday’s protests.

    On Friday, Moscow courts sentenced Navalny’s spokeswoman to nine days in jail, gave another ally 10 days, and fined another 250,000 roubles for what they said were illegal calls to attend the protests.

    Navalny supporters outside Moscow were also targeted and Russia said that TikTok and other social media had deleted what it called illegal posts promoting the protests.

    Maria Zakharova, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said on Facebook: “When minors are being invited to (political) meetings do not expect anything good. Because children are dragged into political battles when all other options are not working, which means that the ideologues of this process are ready to do anything to achieve their goals.”

    There’s something about the shameless cynical lying from Russian regimes that just hits me viscerally. It’s like out of novels.

  184. says

    From Wonkette:

    […] Shiny new Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Is definitely impeaching Joe Biden. That is for sure something that is really going to happen.

    Greene, who is neck and neck with Lauren Boebert for both dumbest congressperson and leader of the QAnon caucus, proudly announced yesterday that SHE HAD DONE IT and filed articles of impeachment against … Joe Biden. She also tweeted an excited like 5-second video from, I guess, an undisclosed location where she was hiding from Antifa. [Video available at the link.]

    These people all have some weird compulsion where they just can’t stop accusing Biden of doing all the things Trump actually did.

    Greene released a statement alleging that Joe Biden’s “pattern of abuse of power […] is lengthy and disturbing,” accusing him of “admitting to a quid pro quo with the Ukrainian government,” and claiming Biden “has demonstrated that he will do whatever it takes to bail out his son, Hunter, and line his family’s pockets with cash from corrupt foreign energy companies.”

    Greene had planned on pulling this stunt all along, but it was unclear whether she would actually get it done, since apparently filing articles of impeachment was harder than she thought it would be.

    We’re glad someone on your staff was able to figure it out for you, Marj.


  185. says

    From Wonkette: “Judge Declines To Force Private Web Company To Host Murderous Threats We Mean ‘Free Speech'”

    Is it a good sign when the judge refers to your evidence as “dwindlingly slight and disputed”? How about “the scantest speculation”? Or “faint and factually inaccurate speculation”? Asking for a bunch of dipshits who set themselves up as a rightwing Twitter knockoff and didn’t bother to read the terms of service in their web-hosting contract.

    You will be shocked, shocked to find that Parler did not get that ex parte restraining order forcing Amazon to continue hosting the site on its servers back on January 11. After the company finally worked out how to serve Amazon Web Services (AWS) with a copy of its complaint, US District Judge Barbara J. Rothstein decided to interpret their motion as a request for a preliminary injunction forcing Amazon to turn the lights back on. And, hey Spoiler Alert: They didn’t get that one either.

    Parler originally filed suit claiming breach of contract, tortious interference with a business expectancy, and, most bizarrely, a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

    In the first instance, the site points to Section 7.2(b)(i) of its contract with AWS, which allows for termination if a “material breach remains uncured for a period of 30 days from receipt of notice by the other party.” Only Parler was so busy whining that Amazon should have given it more time to deal with all the threats to murder public officials its users were posting that it failed to read Section 7.2(b)(ii), which specifies that AWS may “suspend [Parler’s or its] End User’s right to access or use any portion or all of the Service Offerings immediately upon notice.” Whoopsie!

    […] these numbnuts couldn’t organize a three car parade. Their complaint relies on supposed smoking gun evidence that Amazon forced Parler to take down “Parleys” threatening to hang Mike Pence when “Hang Mike Pence” was trending on Twitter (because we were all tweeting “Holy shit, those terrorists are inside the Capitol screaming ‘Hang Mike Pence!'”), and how is that even legal?

    The problem with this “evidence” is that Twitter only signed a contract with Amazon on December 15, 2020, and hasn’t moved over to its servers yet. So even if Amazon had some legal obligation to treat all its clients the same (and it doesn’t, because that’s not a thing), there was no Twitter content that violated Amazon’s terms of service on AWS servers. Because there was no Twitter content at all on AWS servers.

    […] In a last ditch effort, Parler argued that it was in the public interest to put the platform back online. So in its response, Amazon helpfully supplied the court with a sample of the content which got it knocked offline in the first place.

    “We are going to fight in a civil War on Jan.20th, Form MILITIAS now and acquire targets.”

    “On January 20th we need to start systematicly [sic] assassinating #liberal leaders, liberal activists, #blm leaders and supporters, members of the #nba #nfl #mlb #nhl #mainstreammedia anchors and correspondents and #antifa. I already have a news worthy event planned.”

    “Shoot the police that protect these shitbag senators right in the head then make the senator grovel a bit before capping they ass.”

    Three guesses how that one went over.

    The Court explicitly rejects any suggestion that the balance of equities or the public interest favors obligating AWS to host the kind of abusive, violent content at issue in this case, particularly in light of the recent riots at the U.S. Capitol. That event was a tragic reminder that inflammatory rhetoric can—more swiftly and easily than many of us would have hoped—turn a lawful protest into a violent insurrection. The Court rejects any suggestion that the public interest favors requiring AWS to host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler’s users have engaged in.

    Yesterday’s order was just a denial of injunctive relief. The case goes on, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Amazon’s lawyers are already drafting their motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Also, we’d note that Parler does seem to have found a Russian company to host its bile, so the argument that getting knocked off by Amazon was a killing blow may run into some headwinds.

    So good luck Parler! You Nazi-coddlers are gonna need it.


  186. says

    SC @323, I think Trump’s only reliable source of income these days is the money he gets from bilking his cult followers. He needs to at least pretend he is still running for president in 2024 in order to continue scamming his cult followers for donations. (And in order to have at least a small amount of leverage to threaten Republicans that are not wholly subservient and loyal to him.)

  187. says


    […] During a Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners virtual meeting in Michigan, East Bay Township resident Keli MacIntosh made a statement asking the board to denounce the Proud Boys. Members of the Proud Boys had addressed the board months ago regarding Second Amendment rules making the county a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.” […] Republican Ron Clous, the commission’s vice chair according to reports, leaves the screen only to return brandishing a very large rifle—with a scope.

    MacIntosh, a 74-year-old retied nurse who was literally saying that she respected people’s right to own a gun when Clous went all Sad Rambo, told The Washington Post: “He is supposed to be looking out for the best interests of the community. What is the message he’s trying to convey? That if someone speaks out against us, we’ll just threaten them with a gun?”

    […] Bringing out an enormous rifle while a resident talks about the need to call violent and shitty insurrections with guns a problem has led to calls for his resignation. Clous […] added this sentiment: “The only thing I know about them (Proud Boys) is when they came and spoke to us. They were probably the most respected folks that got up and talked (at the March meeting). They were decent guys and they treated us with respect.”

    […] Commission Chair Rob Hentschel got a big kick out of it all and is laughing during the meeting. He told the Record Eagle: “I saw it across his chest and I thought it was ironic of him to do that. The person was talking about guns and he had one across his chest. I didn’t see him do anything illegal or dangerous with it. He wasn’t threatening or brandishing. He was just holding it.” […]

    Hentschel also had this to say about the character of the Proud Boys: “I can’t speak for the commission I can only speak for myself. I will say I have met three proud boys in person, one of them was black so they’re not white supremacist, [LOL] I really don’t know what they are about I’m not a member so I’m not going to go around denouncing every spaghetti monster someone comes up with to try and say they’re bad and I need to say something bad about them. I’m going to make my decision on my own based on the information that I gather. […] I denounce racist behavior.”

    If tiny brain and tinier brain had been listening to what MacIntosh was saying, they might see that she was speaking to the complicity of some who allow Michigan’s “hunting gun culture” to turn into what is simply “gun culture.” This is the fundamental issue Clous and his buddy Rob—and most Second Amendment faketriots—don’t get. If you want to blather about “good guys with guns” all the time, then you need to have a plan for how to deal with “bad guys with guns.” If you don’t, your Second Amendment platitudes are worthless. […]


  188. says

    States, local governments face $225 billion budget shortfall

    State and local governments face a $225 billion shortfall for the coming fiscal year, according to a study from the Center for Budget and Policy priorities.

    The study estimated that the governments’ revenues, which had in recent months come in higher than expected, were still 7.8 percent below pre-COVID estimates.

    Once federal aid was taken into account, states, localities, tribal nations, and territories were left about $300 billion short of revenues. States still have an estimated $75 billion in rainy day funds that could be used to plug some of those holes.

    President Biden has requested $350 billion in state and local aid as part of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, a figure that is likely to be pared back in negotiations with Republicans.

    Other relief efforts and proposals have sought to address some of the additional costs states face, such as education costs, funding related to the coronavirus and various public health measures.

    The study noted that shortfalls among state and local governments had already contributed to 1.4 million jobs lost since the pandemic took hold, including 177,000 in the last quarter alone.

    “Congress should act quickly to provide it or risk more public-sector layoffs and cuts in services for families and businesses as states balance their budgets,” the report said.

  189. says

    From today’s press conference:

    “I can confirm for you here the president has not spent a moment thinking about the color scheme of Air Force One” — Psaki

  190. says

    From Glenn Kessler:

    I had a question about five factual statements in a recent Biden speech. I received citations and documents backing up those numbers 15 minutes after sending an emailed request for back-up.

    From Daniel Dale:

    One major difference between Biden and Trump is that the numbers in Biden’s speeches are generally sourced from some entity other than the president’s imagination.

    From Daniel Dale:

    Carlson’s [Tucker Carlson of Fox news] claim that CNN got rid of the Covid tracker because Biden is now in charge is — like previous versions of the claim — entirely false.

    CNN is still running the tracker, especially during Covid segments. It ran the tracker alongside Biden’s own speech yesterday.

  191. says

    From Adam Schiff:

    Through his lies and provocations, Trump incited a mob to attack the peaceful transfer of power.

    As House members, we did our job and impeached him.

    It will soon be time for Senators to do theirs.

    To protect the country, Trump must be disqualified from any further office.

  192. says

    What a mess they left:

    On vaccine distribution, @celinegounder: “The Biden administration is inheriting a black box. There’s not enough visibility into how many vaccine doses have been manufactured and where they are…”

    “…You have vaccine doses coming off the production line, some sitting in pharmaceutical company warehouses, others that have been allocated to the states so they have the state’s name on it but maybe the state hasn’t ordered it yet…”

    “…and then you have doses ordered to the states. We are confused about how many doses there are and where they are. That makes it difficult to plan on the ground.”

  193. says

    From today’s Guardian US-politics liveblog:

    Biden says government has a ‘moral obligation’ to provide economic relief

    Joe Biden emphasized the urgent need to pass another coronavirus relief bill, describing it as an “economic imperative”.

    “We cannot, will not let people go hungry,” the president said. “We cannot watch people lose their jobs. We have to act.”

    Biden is expected to soon sign executive orders that will expand the food stamps program and provide more workplace protections for Americans worried about risking their health for a paycheck.

    The president has also proposed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, but it’s unclear whether the proposal can pass the Senate, which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

    “It’s not just to meet the moral obligation,” Biden said of the need for coronavirus relief. “This is an economic imperative.”

    There are no more Senate votes expected today, after the chamber confirmed Lloyd Austin as defense secretary this morning.

    Senators had said they thought the chamber would confirm Janet Yellen as treasury secretary this afternoon, but that vote appears to have been pushed to next week.

    Anthony Blinken, Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the state department, will also have to wait until next week to be confirmed.

    So far, only two of Biden’s cabinet nominees — Austin and Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence — have been confirmed by the Senate.

  194. tomh says

    From Paul Krugman’s opinion piece in the NYT:

    The Corrupt, the Clueless and Joe Biden
    Paul Krugman

    Unity is a fine goal, but don’t expect much cooperation…Biden spoke movingly about unity, but let’s face it: He won’t sway many people in the other party.

    Some, perhaps most, of the opposition he’ll face will come from people who are deeply corrupt. And even among Republicans acting in good faith he’ll have to contend with deep-seated cluelessness, the result of the intellectual bubble the right has lived in for many years.

    Let’s start with the face of corruption: Ted Cruz. OK, there are other prominent Republicans just as bad or worse — hello, Josh Hawley. But Cruz epitomizes the bad faith Biden will have to contend with.

    Cruz is, or used to be, a smart man — ask him and he’ll tell you … But he has spent many years pursuing power by trying to appeal to the worst instincts of the Republican base. Most notably, he has been among the leading voices pushing the false narrative of a stolen election and bears significant responsibility for the sacking of the Capitol.

    He and his allies failed to overturn the democratic process. But he didn’t wait, even briefly, before demagoguing the policies of the new president. Just hours after the inauguration he sneered that Biden, by rejoining the Paris climate agreement, indicated that “he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh.”

    The stupidity, it burns. It’s called the Paris agreement because that’s where it was signed, not because it represents Parisian interests. As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked, “Do you also believe the Geneva Convention was about the views of the citizens of Geneva?”

    …What he’s really doing is offering us an early taste of the unprincipled opposition Biden can expect from the anti-democracy wing of the G.O.P., which appears to be most of the party.

    Still, there are some Republicans with principles. Unfortunately, they’ll be a problem, too.

    Mitt Romney deserves a lot of credit for standing up to the authoritarians who dominate his party…But that doesn’t mean that he’ll be helpful.

    After the inauguration, Romney expressed opposition to a new economic relief package, declaring: “We just passed a $900 billion-plus package. Let’s give that some time to be able to influence the economy.”

    …that’s an utterly clueless remark, indicating that he doesn’t understand what Biden’s proposed package is all about. While coronavirus relief legislation is often called “stimulus,” that’s not what Biden is trying to do. The economy in 2021 isn’t like the economy in 2009, depressed because there isn’t enough demand; we haven’t fully recovered because we’re still on partial lockdown, with some activities curtailed by the risk of infection.

    The goal of policy in this situation isn’t to pump up spending, getting people to eat out and travel. It is, instead, to help people, businesses and local governments get through the difficult period until widespread vaccination lets us go back to business as usual.

    So how is it that Romney, who definitely isn’t a stupid man, doesn’t understand the most basic aspects of pandemic economics? My guess, as I already suggested, is that in the years since he was governor of Massachusetts he has shut himself into the conservative intellectual bubble, and he no longer listens to sensible economic analysis, or knows what it sounds like.

    What hope is there, then, for bipartisanship? Much of Biden’s opposition, as the poet Amanda Gorman declaimed, “would shatter our nation, rather than share it.” And even patriots on the right are befuddled by ideology.

    So the new administration will have to be aggressive, using whatever legislative strategies it must to get big things done. By all means, let Biden try to unify the nation; but first, he has to save it.

  195. says

    Guardian – “‘I didn’t know if I would make it out that day’: Ilhan Omar on the terror of the Capitol attack”:

    Representative Ilhan Omar began to fear for her life as soon as the evacuation began.

    She had watched from a balcony as a mob of insurrectionists invaded the US Capitol on 6 January, incited by the president of the United States. As she was escorted to a secure area, she made a phone call to her ex-husband, the father of her children.

    “I didn’t know if I would make it out that day and [I] just … made a request to him to make sure he would continue to tell my children that I loved them if I didn’t make it out.”

    Omar, the Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota’s fifth district, a famed member of the progressive movement, and the first Somali American elected to Congress, has long endured threats and racist abuse from Donald Trump and his supporters. But it’s clear, during an interview with the Guardian on Zoom, that the events of 6 January have left a lasting and unique trauma.

    She takes long pauses as she recalls the details.

    “It was a very traumatizing experience, and all of us will be traumatized by it for a really long time,” she says. “The face of the Capitol will forever be changed. They didn’t succeed in stopping the functions of democracy, but I do believe they succeeded in ending the openness of our democracy.”

    Omar says she was evacuated to a secure location usually reserved only for senior congressional leaders. She says law enforcement believed “my life was at risk in the same way that congressional leadership’s life was at-risk” – citing a significant uptick in death threats in the two months before the presidential election, but adding: “For the better half of the last two years, the president has singled me out and has incited direct death threats against my life.”

    The 38-year-old who was first elected in 2018, was placed in the same room as the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, along with other senior figures from both parties.

    “Leaders from both sides seemed to be terrorised by what was taking place,” she says. “I don’t think any of them ever expected to be witnessing an insurrection against our government. And I think that watching the response from the president was completely unsettling for them as well … I think the fear of what we were dealing with grew and you could see that in the faces of all of them.”

    The day after the mob violence, Omar was among the first House Democrats to draft articles of impeachment,…

    Although Omar is talking through Zoom but it’s clear she is distinctly uneasy as she remembers the events of 6 January, a marked contrast to her affable demeanor on the occasions we have spoken in the past. Is she still in a state of shock?

    “I don’t know if I would use the word shock,” she says. “I would say it all feels exhausting.”

    She levels this exhaustion not just at Trump but at the many Republicans who have essentially continued to support the former president by voting against impeachment or to challenge the 2020 election result.

    “There’s a set of expectations in functioning as a part of a long-existing democracy, and to have allowed a president to degrade our traditions and norms, make a mockery of our laws, our constitution and oaths of office. And then to still deal with people who are ‘two-siding’ every conversation, who don’t have an ability to understand the gravity of what we are dealing with … is pretty exhausting.”…

  196. tomh says

    Texas Supreme Court Silently Denies Alex Jones All Forms of Relief: Sandy Hook Families and Others Can Now Sue Conspiracy Theorist and InfoWars into the Ground
    COLIN KALMBACHER Jan 22nd, 2021

    An empire built on conjecture, conspiracy and a series of fake homeopathic cures for various ailments stands to be sued into oblivion after a Friday ruling by the Supreme Court of Texas.

    Without comment, the Lone Star State’s highest civil court found that America’s foremost conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, and his flagship media outlet, InfoWars, are subject to liability in four separate defamation lawsuits filed over the past two-plus years. Those lawsuits were filed by parents of children who were killed during the Sandy Hook massacre and by a man Jones and his network falsely identified as the perpetrator of the Parkland massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

    Jones said … in a 2016 broadcast typical of the genre. “And the people who say they’re parents that I see on the news. The only problem is, I’ve watched a lot of soap operas. And I’ve seen actors before. And I know when I’m watching a movie and when I’m watching something real.”

    “Our clients have been tormented for five years by Mr. Jones’ ghoulish accusations that they are actors who faked their children’s deaths as part of a fraud on the American people,” [Houston-area attorney Mark] Bankston said in a statement at the time, “Enough is enough.”…

    Marcel Fontane, a Massachusetts resident who has never been to Florida, also sued Jones and InfoWars during the spring of 2018 after being singled out by Jones and InfoWars reporter Kit Daniels–falsely accusing him of being the Parkland shooter in a vain attempt to link the massacre to the political far-left…

  197. says

    SCOOP: The acting head of DOJ’s civil division spoke with Trump about a plan to stop the steal; and then told Acting AG Rosen that he was gonna be replaced in order for the plan to be implemented. And then DOJ senior leaders said they would quit en masse…”

    NYT link atl. I don’t have access, but Chris Hayes just interviewed the journalist, Katie Benner, about it and it’s insanely corrupt and crazy on about ten levels.

  198. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ll link as much of Dr. Fauci’s interview with Rachel that MSNBC uploads as I can in the morning unless somebody beats me to it. An utter breathe of fresh air. I love hearing scientists with such honesty and integrity.

  199. tomh says

    @ #341 Excerpts from the Katie Benner NYT story.
    Trump and Justice Dept. Lawyer Said to Have Plotted to Oust Acting Attorney General
    Trying to find another avenue to push his baseless election claims, Donald Trump considered installing a loyalist, and had the men make their cases to him.
    Katie Benner
    Jan. 22, 2021Updated 8:50 p.m. ET

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s top leaders listened in stunned silence this month: One of their peers, they were told, had devised a plan with President Donald J. Trump to oust Jeffrey A. Rosen as acting attorney general and wield the department’s power to force Georgia state lawmakers to overturn its presidential election results.

    The unassuming lawyer who worked on the plan, Jeffrey Clark, had been devising ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark.

    The department officials, convened on a conference call, then asked each other: What will you do if Mr. Rosen is dismissed?

    The answer was unanimous. They would resign.

    Their informal pact ultimately helped persuade Mr. Trump to keep Mr. Rosen in place, calculating that a furor over mass resignations at the top of the Justice Department would eclipse any attention on his baseless accusations of voter fraud. Mr. Trump’s decision came only after Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark made their competing cases to him in a bizarre White House meeting that two officials compared with an episode of Mr. Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” albeit one that could prompt a constitutional crisis.

    The previously unknown chapter was the culmination of the president’s long-running effort to batter the Justice Department into advancing his personal agenda. He also pressed Mr. Rosen to appoint special counsels, including one who would look into Dominion Voting Systems, a maker of election equipment that Mr. Trump’s allies had falsely said was working with Venezuela to flip votes from Mr. Trump to Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    …[All parties declining to comment]

    When Mr. Trump said on Dec. 14 that Attorney General William P. Barr was leaving the department, some officials thought that he might allow Mr. Rosen a short reprieve before pressing him about voter fraud. After all, Mr. Barr would be around for another week.

    Instead, Mr. Trump summoned Mr. Rosen to the Oval Office the next day. He wanted the Justice Department to file legal briefs supporting his allies’ lawsuits seeking to overturn his election loss. And he urged Mr. Rosen to appoint special counsels to investigate not only unfounded accusations of widespread voter fraud, but also Dominion, the voting machines firm…

    Mr. Rosen refused. He maintained that he would make decisions based on the facts and the law, and he reiterated what Mr. Barr had privately told Mr. Trump: The department had investigated voting irregularities and found no evidence of widespread fraud.

    But Mr. Trump continued to press Mr. Rosen after the meeting — in phone calls and in person. He repeatedly said that he did not understand why the Justice Department had not found evidence that supported conspiracy theories about the election that some of his personal lawyers had espoused. He declared that the department was not fighting hard enough for him.

    As Mr. Rosen and the deputy attorney general, Richard P. Donoghue, pushed back, they were unaware that Mr. Clark had been introduced to Mr. Trump by a Pennsylvania politician and had told the president that he agreed that fraud had affected the election results.

    Mr. Trump quickly embraced Mr. Clark, who had been appointed the acting head of the civil division in September and was also the head of the department’s environmental and natural resources division.

    As December wore on, Mr. Clark mentioned to Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue that he spent a lot of time reading on the internet — a comment that alarmed them because they inferred that he believed the unfounded conspiracy theory that Mr. Trump had won the election. Mr. Clark also told them that he wanted the department to hold a news conference announcing that it was investigating serious accusations of election fraud. Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue rejected the proposal.

    As Mr. Trump focused increasingly on Georgia, a state he lost narrowly to Mr. Biden, he complained to Justice Department leaders that the U.S. attorney in Atlanta, Byung J. Pak, was not trying to find evidence for false election claims pushed by Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and others. Mr. Donoghue warned Mr. Pak that the president was now fixated on his office, and that it might not be tenable for him to continue to lead it, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

    That conversation and Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to “find” him votes compelled Mr. Pak to abruptly resign this month.

    Mr. Clark was also focused on Georgia. He drafted a letter that he wanted Mr. Rosen to send to Georgia state legislators that wrongly said that the Justice Department was investigating accusations of voter fraud in their state, and that they should move to void Mr. Biden’s win there.

    Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue again rejected Mr. Clark’s proposal.

    On New Year’s Eve, the trio met to discuss Mr. Clark’s refusal to hew to the department’s conclusion that the election results were valid. Mr. Donoghue flatly told Mr. Clark that what he was doing was wrong. The next day, Mr. Clark told Mr. Rosen — who had mentored him while they worked together at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis — that he was going to discuss his strategy with the president early the next week, just before Congress was set to certify Mr. Biden’s electoral victory.

    Unbeknown to the acting attorney general, Mr. Clark’s timeline moved up. He met with Mr. Trump over the weekend, then informed Mr. Rosen midday on Sunday that the president intended to replace him with Mr. Clark, who could then try to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College results. He said that Mr. Rosen could stay on as his deputy attorney general, leaving Mr. Rosen speechless.

    [Details of the well-known Georgia phone call]

    Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue pressed ahead, informing Steven Engel, the head of the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel, about Mr. Clark’s latest maneuver. Mr. Donoghue convened a late-afternoon call with the department’s remaining senior leaders, laying out Mr. Clark’s efforts to replace Mr. Rosen.

    Mr. Rosen planned to soon head to the White House to discuss his fate, Mr. Donoghue told the group. Should Mr. Rosen be fired, they all agreed to resign en masse….

    The Clark plan, the officials concluded, would seriously harm the department, the government and the rule of law. For hours, they anxiously messaged and called one another as they awaited Mr. Rosen’s fate.

    Around 6 p.m., Mr. Rosen, Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Clark met at the White House with Mr. Trump, Mr. Cipollone, his deputy Patrick Philbin and other lawyers. Mr. Trump had Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark present their arguments to him.

    Mr. Cipollone advised the president not to fire Mr. Rosen and he reiterated, as he had for days, that he did not recommend sending the letter to Georgia lawmakers. Mr. Engel advised Mr. Trump that he and the department’s remaining top officials would resign if he fired Mr. Rosen, leaving Mr. Clark alone at the department.

    After nearly three hours, Mr. Trump ultimately decided that Mr. Clark’s plan would fail, and he allowed Mr. Rosen to stay.

    Mr. Rosen and his deputies concluded they had weathered the turmoil. Once Congress certified Mr. Biden’s victory, there would be little for them to do until they left along with Mr. Trump in two weeks.

    They began to exhale days later as the Electoral College certification at the Capitol got underway. And then they received word: The building had been breached.

    Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York.

  200. says

    Follow-up to SC @341.

    Excerpts from The New York Times article:

    The Justice Department’s top leaders listened in stunned silence this month: One of their peers, they were told, had devised a plan with President Donald J. Trump to oust Jeffrey A. Rosen as acting attorney general and wield the department’s power to force Georgia state lawmakers to overturn its presidential election results.

    The unassuming lawyer who worked on the plan, Jeffrey Clark, had been devising ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark.

    The department officials, convened on a conference call, then asked each other: What will you do if Mr. Rosen is dismissed?

    The answer was unanimous. They would resign.

    Their informal pact ultimately helped persuade Mr. Trump to keep Mr. Rosen in place, calculating that a furor over mass resignations at the top of the Justice Department would eclipse any attention on his baseless accusations of voter fraud. Mr. Trump’s decision came only after Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark made their competing cases to him in a bizarre White House meeting that two officials compared with an episode of Mr. Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” albeit one that could prompt a constitutional crisis.

    [Trump] also pressed Mr. Rosen to appoint special counsels, including one who would look into Dominion Voting Systems, a maker of election equipment that Mr. Trump’s allies had falsely said was working with Venezuela to flip votes from Mr. Trump to Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    […] Mr. Clark said that this account contained inaccuracies but did not specify, adding that he could not discuss any conversations with Mr. Trump or Justice Department lawyers. […]

    […] When Mr. Trump said on Dec. 14 that Attorney General William P. Barr was leaving the department, some officials thought that he might allow Mr. Rosen a short reprieve before pressing him about voter fraud. After all, Mr. Barr would be around for another week.

    Instead, Mr. Trump summoned Mr. Rosen to the Oval Office the next day. He wanted the Justice Department to file legal briefs supporting his allies’ lawsuits seeking to overturn his election loss. And he urged Mr. Rosen to appoint special counsels to investigate not only unfounded accusations of widespread voter fraud, but also Dominion, the voting machines firm.

    […] Mr. Rosen refused. He maintained that he would make decisions based on the facts and the law, and he reiterated what Mr. Barr had privately told Mr. Trump: The department had investigated voting irregularities and found no evidence of widespread fraud.

    But Mr. Trump continued to press Mr. Rosen after the meeting — in phone calls and in person. He repeatedly said that he did not understand why the Justice Department had not found evidence that supported conspiracy theories about the election that some of his personal lawyers had espoused. He declared that the department was not fighting hard enough for him.

    As Mr. Rosen and the deputy attorney general, Richard P. Donoghue, pushed back, they were unaware that Mr. Clark had been introduced to Mr. Trump by a Pennsylvania politician and had told the president that he agreed that fraud had affected the election results.

    Mr. Trump quickly embraced Mr. Clark, who had been appointed the acting head of the civil division in September and was also the head of the department’s environmental and natural resources division.

    As December wore on, Mr. Clark mentioned to Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue that he spent a lot of time reading on the internet — a comment that alarmed them because they inferred that he believed the unfounded conspiracy theory that Mr. Trump had won the election. Mr. Clark also told them that he wanted the department to hold a news conference announcing that it was investigating serious accusations of election fraud. Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue rejected the proposal.

    As Mr. Trump focused increasingly on Georgia, a state he lost narrowly to Mr. Biden, he complained to Justice Department leaders that the U.S. attorney in Atlanta, Byung J. Pak, was not trying to find evidence for false election claims pushed by Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and others. Mr. Donoghue warned Mr. Pak that the president was now fixated on his office, and that it might not be tenable for him to continue to lead it, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

    That conversation and Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to “find” him votes compelled Mr. Pak to abruptly resign this month.

    Mr. Clark was also focused on Georgia. He drafted a letter that he wanted Mr. Rosen to send to Georgia state legislators that wrongly said that the Justice Department was investigating accusations of voter fraud in their state, and that they should move to void Mr. Biden’s win there.

    Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue again rejected Mr. Clark’s proposal.

    On New Year’s Eve, the trio met to discuss Mr. Clark’s refusal to hew to the department’s conclusion that the election results were valid. Mr. Donoghue flatly told Mr. Clark that what he was doing was wrong. The next day, Mr. Clark told Mr. Rosen — who had mentored him while they worked together at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis — that he was going to discuss his strategy with the president early the next week, just before Congress was set to certify Mr. Biden’s electoral victory. […]

    NY Time link.

    More later, when I have time.

  201. says

    Good news:

    President Biden’s White House has renewed subscriptions to The New York Times and The Washington Post after former President Trump canceled them out of anger over how he was portrayed. A White House source said physical copies of both papers arrived on Thursday morning, Biden’s first full day as president.

    Text quoted from The Hill.

  202. says


    Trumps Fired WH Chief Usher On Their Way Out The Door

    As one of their last acts during […] Trump’s tenure, the Trump team appears to have sacked the chief White House usher.

    “It happened before we walked in the door,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday when asked about the fate of Timothy Harleth, the former chief usher. Harleth, before his government work began in 2017, was a manager at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

    CNN first noted Harleth’s departure Wednesday but reported he had been fired by the incoming Biden team. The New York Times subsequently reported that Harleth was told at 11:30 a.m., while he was busy moving furniture, “that his services were no longer needed.” The National Journal backed that account.

    “The Trumps sent the butlers home when they left so there would be no one to help the Bidens when they arrived,” one unnamed source, described as “a well-placed official not associated with the incoming Biden team,” told the latter publication.

    All news accounts of Harleth’s departure note that Biden’s team was not expected to keep him on the White House staff for long. National Journal reported that the chief usher wasn’t expected to stick around beyond “a decent interval.” […]

    Nonetheless, the chief usher’s absence at the moment of power transfer between the two administrations may have contributed to a bit of a procedural snafu: The Bidens, standing at the White House doors, which remained determinedly shut.


    Video is available at the link.

  203. says

    President Biden’s inaugural address on Wednesday attracted about a million and a half more viewers than tuned in for Donald J. Trump’s inaugural speech four years ago, according to preliminary data from Nielsen

  204. says

    Not a complete timeline, but enough detail to provide a compelling picture of Trump’s venality, (the red dots signify overt calls to violence, and the blue dots are legal challenges initiated by Trump):

    🟡 Nov. 04—A mob of Trump supporters gathers outside the Maricopa County Elections Department offices in Phoenix, Arizona, claiming that Republican votes are not being counted because of “SharpieGate.” First “Stop the Steal” group forms on Facebook.

    🔵 Nov. 05—Trump initiates a string of lawsuits, including sending Pam Bondi and Corey Lewandowski to Pennsylvania for threatened legal action.

    🟡 Nov. 06—Trump campaign seeks volunteers to engage in election fraud in Pennsylvania by submitting late ballots.

    🔵 Nov. 06—Trump lawsuit count in Pennsylvania alone reaches 16, as “garbage” suits proliferate in Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia.

    🔴 Nov. 06—Armed QAnon fanatics are arrested outside Philadelphia election center as part of Trump-organized “Stop the Steal” rally.

    🟠 Nov. 09—Trump replaces Secretary of Defense Mark Esper for failing to support Trump’s efforts to bring active duty military into Washington, D.C. during Black Lives Matter protests.

    🟠 Nov. 10—Trump shuffles leadership at Pentagon, bringing loyalists to critical positions.

    🟠 Nov. 10—William Barr authorizes U.S. attorneys to pursue false claims of election fraud, triggering resignation of DOJ’s Election Crimes Branch, Richard Pilger.

    🟠 Nov. 10—Mike Pompeo declares there will be a ”smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

    🟡 Nov. 10—Trump pressures Georgia Senate candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue to support his claims of election fraud in that state, or be cut off from his support in their Senate runoffs.

    🔴 Nov. 11—Experts warn that Trump’s lies about the election are sending followers “spiraling” toward violence; white supremacist groups boil in confusion.

    🔵 Nov. 12—Trump campaign sues to stop vote count in Georgia counties with the highest numbers of Black voters.

    🔵 Nov. 12—Trump lawsuits in Arizona founder, as lawyers withdraw and the Trump team asks a judge to seal the evidence.

    🟠 Nov. 12—Trump continues shuffling chairs at Pentagon, moving former Devin Nunes aide Kash Patel into the position of chief of staff, and Michael Flynn protégé Ezra Cohen-Watnick into the role of undersecretary for intelligence.

    🔴 Nov. 14—Trump stages “Million MAGA March” in Washington D.C., including a “Stop the Steal” rally and thousands of white supremacist extremists descend upon the capital city in a preview of the Jan. 6 insurgency. Violence erupts among MAGA marchers, as groups including Proud Boys, American Guard, and Oath Keepers instigate assaults … as Trump sent statements of encouragement.

    🟡 Nov. 16—Lindsey Graham calls Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asks him to throw out all absentee ballots.

    🔵 Nov. 16—Trump’s legal team is forced to retract a major portion of Pennsylvania lawsuit after being caught in a lie.

    🟢 Nov. 17—Georgia conducts a hand recount of ballots, confirming Biden’s victory there.

    🟢 Nov. 18—Trump demands recount of the two most Democratic counties in Wisconsin.

    🔴 Nov. 18—Arizona Secretary of State releases a statement in response to continued threats of violence.

    🟡 Nov. 19—Trump calls members of thee Wayne County, Michigan Board of Canvassers in attempt to prevent certification of votes from Detroit.

    🔵 Nov. 19—Sidney Powell calls for votes to be overturned in all states Biden won as Trump “exerts full power of his office” to reverse election.

    🔴 Nov. 20—A Michigan militia plot to takeover state capital, execute governor, is revealed. Trump calls for MAGA revolt.

    🟡 Nov 20—Trump summons Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey to the White House in an effort to persuade them to block certification of votes in Wayne County.

    🔵 Nov. 25—Trump and Pennsylvania GOP leaders stage a “Gettysburg conference,” as Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis promote list of conspiracy theories to be incorporated into new lawsuit.

    🟡 Nov. 30—Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp reminds Trump that election fraud is illegal after Trump posts series of tweets attempting to get Kemp to overturn election results.

    🟢 Nov. 30—Wisconsin conducts a recount in only the two most heavily Democratic counties (the only counties where Trump would pay for it). Biden picks up 87 votes.

    🟡 Nov. 30—Rudy Giuliani appears before the Arizona legislature, urging them to throw out election results and name a slate of Trump electors.

    🟠 Dec. 02—Recently pardoned Michael Flynn takes out a full-page ad in The Washington Post calling on Trump to overturn civilian government and institute “limited martial law.”

    🟡 Dec 05—Trump calls Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to demand that he hold a second election.

    🟠 Dec. 05—Kash Patel blocks Pentagon and intelligence officials from sharing data with Biden’s team.

    🟢 Dec. 07—Georgia conducts a machine recount and audit of votes.

    🔴 Dec. 07—“Stop the Steal” protests funded by the Trump campaign continue to bring out armed extremists across the nation.

    🔵 Dec. 08—The Supreme Court refuses to hear Trump’s Pennsylvania challenge.

    🟠 Dec. 08—Republican leaders in Congress cooperate with Trump to block Joe Biden from access to information and funds needed for transition.

    🔵 Dec. 09—Michigan Supreme Court rejects a request for a “special master” to take control of ballots and order a third-party recount in Detroit in narrow 4-3 decision.

    🟡 Dec. 10—Trump threatens Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr after Carr defends integrity of Raffensperger.

    🔵 Dec. 11—The Supreme Court rejects a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, that attempts to overturn vote in four other states. That lawsuit was supported by other Republican attorneys general, and by 126 Republican members of the House.

    🟠 Dec 11—Trump plans to insert Kash Patel as deputy to CIA Director Gina Haspel, and then fire Haspel, making Patel acting director. The plan falls apart when Haspel threatens to resign and reveal everything that’s been going on.

    🔴 Dec. 12—Texas Republicans respond to failure of seditious suit with calls for secession.

    🟡 Dec. 13—Trump once again claims that he won the election “overwhelmingly,” and says there was “massive fraud.” He claims that Democrats voted two, three, or four times, and declares that he will “never give up.”

    🔴 Dec. 13—“Stop the Steal” rallies continue to be accompanied by violence across the country as Trump fanatics swear to never surrender.

    🟠 Dec. 13—House Republicans sign onto plan to nullify election if the Electoral College votes for Biden.

    Dec. 14—The Electoral College votes to deliver victory to Joe Biden.

    🔴 Dec. 14—Michigan Republicans propose a plan to overturn electoral vote and send their own slate of electors to Congress, even it requires violence.

    🔵 Dec. 14—Wisconsin Supreme Court tosses Trump’s lawsuit seeking to have 221,000 voters disenfranchised, in a narrow 4-3 decision.

    🟠 Dec. 15—Trump brings new acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to White House, insists he appoint special investigators for election fraud, and announce support of Trump’s lawsuits. Rosen refuses.

    🟢 Dec. 17—Michigan conducts a hand recount of votes in Antrim County, in response to Sidney Powell’s “Kraken” lawsuit. Totals change by just a dozen votes.

    🔴 Dec. 17—The Proud Boys stage attacks on Black churches in Washington, D.C. in connection with a “Stop the Steal” gathering.

    🟠 Dec. 18—Senate Republicans stage a hearing to promote Trump’s claims of election fraud, including disinformation and testimony from witnesses who had already had their claims thrown out of court.

    🟠 Dec. 18—Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell meet with Trump and urge him to move forward on Flynn’s plan to institute martial law and force a “do-over” election where Trump sets the rules. Trump considers bypassing DOJ to make Powell special prosecutor in charge of a sweeping elections investigation.

    🔴 Dec. 19—“Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” tweets Trump. “Be there, will be wild!”

    🔴 Dec. 21—Trump supporters storm the Oregon Capitol, force their way past police, and enter the Capitol building.

    🟡 Dec. 23—Trump calls Georgia’s lead elections investigator and insists that he “find the fraud” in a lengthy conversation where he complained about other officials. Trump declares that the investigator would be a “national hero” if he overturns Georgia’s vote.

    🟡 Dec. 29—Raffensperger announces that the investigator has found no sign of fraud.

    🟠 Dec. 30—Sen. Josh Hawley announces he will join House Republicans in objecting to electoral votes, ensuring that counting ceremony will take hours longer than necessary, and inflaming the importance of Jan. 6.

    🟠 Jan. 01—DOJ officials warn B.J. Pak, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, that Trump is “obsessing” about his office and may take actions to replace him.

    🟠 Jan. 02—DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark meets with Trump. The two develop a plan in which Trump will replace acting AG Rosen with Clark, and Clark will then move forward to inform Georgia legislators that the DOJ is investigating serious election fraud in the state; simultaneously, Clark will file suit in effort to prevent Congress from counting electoral votes on Jan 6.

    🟡 Jan. 02—Trump calls Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asks him to “find” votes. He also warns that U.S. attorney B.J. Pak is a “never-Trumper” who won’t support him. The recording surfaces the next day, after a member of the secretary of state’s office releases recording due to Trump’s continued complaints about Raffensperger following the call.

    🟠 Jan. 03—The recording drops just hours before Rosen and Clark meet with Trump and White House attorney Pat Cipollone. With the tape causing problems, Cippollone convinces Trump not to execute Clark’s plan.

    🔴 Jan. 06—While a joint session of Congress meets to certify the electoral college vote, Trump’s violent MAGA army swarms the Capitol in a deadly assault.

    🟡 Jan. 09— B.J. Pak resigns.

    🔴 Jan. 15—MyPillow founder Mike Lindell visits White House with papers urging Trump to carry through with Flynn’s plan for martial law.

    Jan. 20—Joe Biden inaugurated as 46th President of the United States.

  205. says

    From Wonkette: “Attempted Coup At The Trump DOJ? Just How Many Coups Was This Traitor Planning?”

    […] In a story since confirmed by the Washington Post, the Times’s Katie Benner reported that Jeffrey Clark, the (acting) head of the DOJ’s Civil Division, schemed to shiv [figuratively, not literally] (acting) Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and get himself installed in the top spot. From which perch Clark would then launch a plan to get the electoral votes in Georgia thrown out by announcing a fictional investigation of electoral irregularities in the state.

    Hmmm. That reminds me of Trump’s plan to get Ukraine to announce a face investigation.

    Bill Barr made clear on December 1 that the Justice Department had found no significant evidence of election fraud, but after he announced his impending resignation on December 14, Trump immediately went to work on his successor, Jeffrey Rosen. But Rosen wasn’t playing dice either, refusing pressure from the president to announce investigations, join briefs filed by Rudy Giuliani and the rest of the wackass legal team, and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate all the nonsense fraud claims pumped out by Trump’s media allies.

    Hmmm. Remember how many times Trump said, publicly, that, “The Justice Department has to act!” Act on what? We didn’t know at the time.

    Enter Jeffrey Clark, introduced to the president by “a Pennsylvania politician” (that you Scott Perry?), who “mentioned to Mr. Rosen and [his deputy Richard] Donoghue that he spent a lot of time reading on the internet.” From which they did not infer that Clark was a faithful reader of Wonkette, particularly as he followed it up by pressuring them to announce investigations of non-existent electoral fraud.

    Mr. Clark was also focused on Georgia. He drafted a letter that he wanted Mr. Rosen to send to Georgia state legislators that wrongly said that the Justice Department was investigating accusations of voter fraud in their state, and that they should move to void Mr. Biden’s win there.

    Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue again rejected Mr. Clark’s proposal. […]

    Things came to a head on January 3 in a meeting at the White House where Rosen and Clark each made their case to the president “‘Apprentice’-style,” and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and top Justice Department officials said DO NOT DO IT. After three hours, Trump was finally convinced to stand down, put off apparently by the prospect of congressional investigations. Just moments later, the Post released audio of his call with Georgia election officials pressuring them to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”

    Clark, a doctrinaire conservative who made his bones getting paid to deny climate change before his appointment to be the DOJ’s point man on the environment, defended his conduct.

    All the best people.

    “I categorically deny that I ‘devised a plan … to oust’ Jeff Rosen,” he said. “Nor did I formulate recommendations for action based on factual inaccuracies gleaned from the Internet.”

    “”My practice is to rely on sworn testimony to assess disputed factual claims,” he sniffed. By which we assume he meant … [“Zero” video available at the link.]

    Then he insisted that the real villains were those who revealed “privileged” conversations with the president, saying “There was a candid discussion of options and pros and cons with the president. It is unfortunate that those who were part of a privileged legal conversation would comment in public about such internal deliberations, while also distorting any discussions.”

    Which raises a serious question.

    Does Donald Trump feed the brain worms to his lawyers? Or are lawyers with brain worms drawn to the former president like flies to shit? [Both!] Because there sure are a lot of attorneys around the president who have lost their damn minds!


  206. says

    More batshit bonkers lawyering:

    She’s BAAAAAAAAAACK! Your favorite birther-dentist-lawyer-Senate candidate-circus clown Orly Taitz wants in on some of that sweet, sweet frivolous lawsuit publicity, and so she’s suing Chuck Schumer and Kamala Harris to prove that impeachment is UNLEGAL.[…]

    Taitz, best known for filing literally dozens of lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility to run for president and demanding to see his long-form birth certificate, was saying that Hugo Chávez rigged the voting machines back in 2016 before it was even cool! She managed to get sanctioned to the tune of $20,000 for courtroom conduct the judge called “breathtaking in its arrogance and border[ing] on delusional.” After which she appealed to the Supreme Court, and then sued demanding Justice Clarence Thomas’s long-form signature!

    […] And now she’s back with this truly amazing suit alleging that the impeachment of Donald Trump is not allowed because he’s out of office. Which is actually an argument IRL Republican senators are making — in case you were wondering how far the party has sunk in the past 12 years.

    Plaintiff, Defend Our Freedoms Foundation (Hereinafter “DOFF”) is a California Foundation. Multiple members of the foundation are among nearly 75 million Americans, roughly half of the US voters, who voted for Donald Trump for President in 2020 and intend to vote for him in 2024, and they argue that a senate trial for removal from office of Donald Trump after he already left office, is moot, unconstitutional and utterly void of any legal basis, and aimed at depriving his voters, members of the DOFF foundation, of their first amendment right to vote for him and have him elected in 2024 or at any other time in the future.

    […] The point, if we’ve properly understood this gobbledygook warcrime against syntax and pagination (why is the first page center-justified and the rest left-justified with no spaces between paragraphs?), is that the DOFF-ers will be deprived of their sacred right to vote for Donald Trump again in 2024 if the Senate votes to impeach him and impose a ban on holding office again. Because, see, the Constitution says the only way to remove a president is by impeachment, and that means impeachment is only for sitting presidents.

    Legal minds can differ on this topic, but in fact Congress did impeach the secretary of State in 1876, even after he’d resigned. But even if it were settled law that such an impeachment were unconstitutional, the last person earth with standing to challenge it would be Orly freaking Taitz.

    The “Constitutional First Amendment right for the political speech, namely, to vote for Donald Trump in future elections” is 100 percent NOT A THING.

    But if you’d like to contribute to this public immolation, “Supporters of the foundation are asked to donate to cover the court fees and expenses of this legal action. Donations can be made via pay-pal on the website OrlyTaitzESQ.com or TaitzReport.com or by mail at 29839 Santa Margarita Pkwy, ste 100, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688.”

    Not tax deductible. Or sane.


    Oh, I see. It’s just a scam in which Orly Taitz is raising money for herself.

  207. says

    Good news: “Another bank cuts ties with Trump as the ex-president’s unraveling continues.”

    [Trump’s] ineluctable slide into social and business pariah status is heartening.

    […] The Hill:

    A Florida bank announced Thursday that it has closed down former President Trump’s account, joining a growing list of entities that have cut ties with the former president following the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

    In his financial disclosures, Trump had stated he had two money-market accounts with Banks United, The Washington Post reports. The accounts held somewhere between $5.1 million and $25.2 million.

    “We no longer have any depository relationship with him,” said Banks United, without giving reasons for its decision to shutter the accounts.

    […] Anyway, Trump is gonna have to give his money to a family of moderately talented squirrels so they can hide it in trees and tiny forest nooks for him, because in the wake of the Capitol insurrection no one wants to have anything to do with him or his filthy lucre.

    Another Florida bank, Professional Bank, last week announced that it would be cutting ties with Trump, saying it would no longer conduct business with the former president or his organizations.

    Signature Bank in New York and Deutsche Bank have also said they will no longer be conducting future business with Trump. Signature Bank notably took a strong stance against Trump and his allies in Congress, calling for him to resign and saying it would not conduct business with lawmakers who had objected to certifying the presidential election.

    So he attempted to garrote our venerable republic with the help of Ted Cruz and a noisome melange of syrupy sausage fingers and […] a few banks clip his clackers—metaphorically speaking?

    Looks like Donald John Trump has run out of runway. And the crash promises to be oh-so-spectacular.


  208. says

    ‘We Are Forced to Live in These Conditions’: In Los Angeles, Virus Ravages Overcrowded Homes.

    NY Times link

    Perhaps nowhere else in America can the unequal toll of the virus be felt more dramatically. Suburban sprawl and freeways demarcate the neighborhoods of the haves and the have-nots.

    Betty Rivera was the first in her household to fall sick, early last month. To protect her family, she locked herself in the bedroom she shares with her grandson. Her daughter left chicken soup and herbal remedies of ginger and garlic and rosemary outside her door.

    But it was impossible to stop the spread, not with three generations crammed into a one-bedroom apartment in one of Los Angeles’s most overcrowded communities.

    […] neighborhoods filled with immigrants who stock groceries and drive buses and where the streets are dotted with businesses that serve the underprivileged — 99-cent stores, check cashing outfits that dole out payday loans, pawnshops. These days, the wail of ambulance sirens never seems to fall silent.

    […] Ms. Rivera’s daughter was the next to fall ill, and then her son-in-law and two of her grandchildren. Even Chloe, the black-and-white dachshund and Chihuahua mix scurrying around the apartment, became sick, she said.

    Los Angeles may not have the population density of New York, may not have as many skyscrapers or high-rise apartment buildings or jam-packed subways, but the county does have a higher percentage of overcrowded homes — 11 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — than any other major metropolitan area in America.

    Overcrowded housing is defined as more than one person per room, excluding bathrooms. If you drive across the vastness of Los Angeles County, starting at the ocean and going east, the shifting landscape tells the story of the housing inequality that has fueled the virus surge. Mansions give way to smaller, single-family homes, and finally to the immigrant areas like where Ms. Rivera, who moved here from El Salvador almost 40 years ago, lives, six people in a tiny one-bedroom. […]

    It is this Los Angeles, of tight-knit families, of streets packed with food vendors from Central America and Mexico, of encampments of homeless residents, where the virus has spread ferociously, bringing so much sickness and death.

    […] the hospitals are overrun, and Southern California has become one of the centers of the nation’s outbreak, with alarming daily death tolls. […]

    And now that the virus is coursing through the city’s densest neighborhoods, it has underscored the crisis in economic inequality and housing affordability that, even before the pandemic, was one of the region’s most pressing issues.

    […] To combat that spread, people should keep their masks on indoors if they live in overcrowded homes, especially those who interact with the public at work, said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County’s public health director. Ms. Rivera has already been taking that advice.

    Consider the number of coronavirus deaths Los Angeles County has registered through Thursday in wealthy, predominantly white neighborhoods on the Westside: Brentwood, nine; Bel-Air, two; Venice, 13; the city of Beverly Hills, 21. There, where life feels almost normal, ambulance sirens are not a constant intrusion and many people are able to work from home.

    Now consider the death tolls in overcrowded, more populated neighborhoods to the east, like the one where Ms. Rivera lives: Westlake, 202; Pico-Union, 146; Boyle Heights, 187; the city of Compton, 147. […]

  209. says

    “If Poor Countries Go Unvaccinated, a Study Says, Rich Ones Will Pay”

    NY Times link

    A failure to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine in poor nations will worsen economic damage, with half the costs borne by wealthy countries, new research shows.

    In monopolizing the supply of vaccines against Covid-19, wealthy nations are threatening more than a humanitarian catastrophe: The resulting economic devastation will hit affluent countries nearly as hard as those in the developing world.

    This is the crucial takeaway from an academic study to be released on Monday. In the most extreme scenario — with wealthy nations fully vaccinated by the middle of this year, and poor countries largely shut out — the study concludes that the global economy would suffer losses exceeding $9 trillion, a sum greater than the annual output of Japan and Germany combined.

    Nearly half of those costs would be absorbed by wealthy countries like the United States, Canada and Britain.

    […] Commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce, the study concludes that equitable distribution of vaccines is in every country’s economic interest, especially those that depend most on trade. It amounts to a rebuke to the popular notion that sharing vaccines with poor countries is merely a form of charity.

    […] in the realm of international commerce, there is no hiding from the coronavirus, as the study brings home. Instead, there are global supply chains that produce the piece parts for industry, and that will continue to be disrupted so long as the virus remains a force.

    […] Many developing countries, from Bangladesh to Tanzania to Peru, will likely have to wait until 2024 before fully vaccinating their populations.

    The initiative to supply poor countries with additional resources gained a boost as President Biden took office. The Trump administration did not contribute to the cause. Mr. Biden’s chief medical officer for the pandemic, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, promptly announced that the United States would join the campaign to share vaccines.

    In contrast to the trillions of dollars that governments in wealthy countries have spent to rescue companies and workers harmed by the health emergency and the wrenching economic downturn, developing countries have struggled to respond.

    […] The global recession has slashed demand for commodities, decimating copper producers like Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and countries dependent on oil like Angola and Nigeria. As Covid-19 cases have soared, that has depressed tourism, costing jobs and revenue in Thailand, Indonesia and Morocco.

    […] “No economy, however big, will be immune to the effects of the virus until the pandemic is brought to an end everywhere,” said John Denton, secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce. “Purchasing vaccines for the developing world isn’t an act of generosity by the world’s richest nations. It’s an essential investment for governments to make if they want to revive their domestic economies.”

  210. tomh says

    Lynna @ #352 Orly Taitz though she had a lock on czar of the crazy lawsuits, then Paul Davis pounced.

    Fired Texas Lawyer Cites Lord of the Rings, Declares ‘Gondor Has No King’ in Lawsuit That Wants Pro-Trump ‘Stewards’ to Sideline Joe Biden
    AARON KELLER Jan 22nd, 2021

    Paul M. Davis, the Texas lawyer who was fired from his in-house counsel job after he recorded himself among a mob at the U.S. Capitol Complex on Jan. 6, has filed legal documents which set a new floor for legal embarrassment in U.S. jurisprudence. The documents employ a series of awkward references to — and ideas from — the temporary government of the Kingdom of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings.

    Davis’s lawsuit bombastically attempts to assert that Joe Biden is not a legitimate president and that a rightful heir to that office will someday return…

    Until then … argues that a federal judge might be able to appoint a group of “stewards” from the cabinet of former President Donald Trump to run most of the government from the White House.

    Cutting most of the crazy, we get to this:

    … a six-page Amended Motion filed Thursday argued yet again for a restraining order.

    “Gondor has no King,” the document says in its second paragraph, “to invoke a very appropriate quote from the J.R.R. Tolkien epic classic, ‘Lord of the Rings.’”

    A footnote explains the analogy:

    During the course of the epic trilogy, the rightful King of Gondor had abandoned the throne. Since only the rightful king could sit on the throne of Gondor, a steward was appointed to manage Gondor until the return of the King, known as “Aragorn,” occurred at the end of the story. This analogy is applicable since there is now in Washington, D.C., a group of individuals calling themselves the President, Vice President, and Congress who have no rightful claim to govern the American People. Accordingly, as set forth in the Proposed Temporary Restraining Order, as a remedy the Court should appoint a group of special masters (the “Stewards”) to provide a check the power of the illegitimate President until this Constitutional Crisis can be resolved through a peaceful legal process of a Preliminary Injunction Hearing and a jury trial on the merits.

  211. blf says

    tomh@356, Snippets from the Grauniad’s report with added snark, ‘Gondor has no king’: pro-Trump lawsuit cites Lord of the Rings:

    Texas case offers baseless mix of allegations of electoral fraud but cites the imaginary kingdom of Gondor as evidence

    Donald Trump’s diehard supporters are often accused of living in fantasyland, but one court case recently launched to try to reinstall him as president has surprised even the most hardened observers of Trumpian strangeness by citing as evidence a mythological realm from The Lord of the Rings.

    The case offers a baseless mix of allegations of electoral fraud common among the Trump base and calls for the voiding of every vote cast in the election — which was won handily by now-President Joe Biden, who was sworn in this week.

    But — unusually for a legal strategy — the case cites as evidence to back up its pro-Trump claims the tragic fate of the kingdom of Gondor […]

    The suit explains how Gondor’s throne was empty and its rightful kings in exile, presumably positing the idea that Trump is the true king of America — a land happily monarch-free since 1776.

    This analogy is applicable since there is now in Washington DC a group of individuals calling themselves the president, vice-president and Congress who have no rightful claim to govern the American people, the case states.

    It adds: Since only the rightful king could sit on the throne of Gondor, a steward was appointed to manage Gondor until the return of the King, known as ‘Aragorn’, occurred at the end of the story.

    The lawsuit then suggests that America’s version of the stewards of Gondor should be selected from among — surprise, surprise — Trump’s cabinet members, who should run the country.

    Possibly the one unfalse claim in this filing, as reported, is “Gondor has no king” is in Tolkien’s story of an “entirely imaginary land populated by dragons, wizards, hobbits and elves, all threatened by a baleful Dark Lord backed up by an army of orcs and with famously little time for due democratic process.” So is “Gondor needs no king”.

  212. says

    tomh @356, Ha! That was good for a few laughs.

    Speaking of batshit bonkers attorneys, here is an excerpt from a New Yorker article written by Charles Bethea:

    Two weeks before Joe Biden’s Inauguration, L. Lin Wood answered his telephone. The defamation attorney and conspiracy theorist was at home, in Atlanta, watching a human-trafficking segment on the One America News Network. “I saw there was a warning out,” Wood told the caller. Maybe there was work in it for him? His recent clients have included the Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (Wood appends heart emojis to their correspondences) and Kyle Rittenhouse (“a hero”), and he has litigated on behalf of Donald Trump, whose election-fraud suits in Georgia had failed under Wood’s watch. “Nobody loses 0–60,” Wood said, “unless the deck is stacked!” Twitter had permanently banned Wood, as it had Trump, for inciting violence. Parler was shut down. Wood lost more than a million followers on the two platforms combined. He’d soon be removed from a case in Delaware, owing to “textbook frivolous litigation.” There was also the matter of the Capitol insurrection, which Wood’s words (“rhetorical hyperbole!”) had arguably helped provoke.

    Still, at home, watching OAN, Wood remained upbeat. “I have eternal life,” he said at one point during the hour-long call. He flitted from firing squads to what makes a good father to the pitching mechanics of a Double-A guy known as Flame Fleming, “who threw like a cannonball.” He waved away the fact that there had been a Trumpist insurrection the day before. “I don’t believe anybody died yesterday,” Wood said of the violence, which killed at least five, including a San Diego woman who, before she died storming the Capitol, had retweeted Wood’s call for Mike Pence to be charged with treason. “I think it was all staged,” he went on. “It was Antifa dressed up as Trump people.”

    […] “This is the second harvest. God is getting ready to show he’s real again.”

    Wood was not referring to Biden’s Inauguration. To make this point clear, he bet the caller a dinner at one of Atlanta’s most expensive steakhouses that Trump would be re-inaugurated on the twentieth. The idea may have held some purely theoretical appeal had Wood not already explained that he almost never wore a mask and had never taken a covid test, “and wouldn’t believe it if I did.” Still, would Wood pay up? A few days later, his curious correspondent sent him a screenshot of Trump admitting that a new Administration would be inaugurated on the twentieth. Wood replied, by text, “Ha! Not so quick! I prefer to wait to see who is inaugurated first!” […]

    Trump finally flew off. Wood was among the millions who watched. What did he think now? The lawyer answered with a question: “What do you make of the gold-trimmed flags behind him when he spoke?” The caller noted that there were seventeen of them—much to the delight of the QAnon press corps. (“Q” is the seventeenth letter of the alphabet.) “I did not count them,” Wood wrote of the flags. “I was just enjoying the beauty of the gold trim.” […]

    Now in his late sixties, Wood said that he’d cried, as a young man, when Richard Nixon resigned. He had not cried, however, when Trump got on the plane to Mar-a-Lago. “I’m pretty calm about everything,” he said, television audible in the background, “even though a lot of people are pulling their hair out.” He went on, “It’s a way of God saying, ‘Hey, you better trust me.’ ” […] Before hanging up, he added, “I’m afraid they’re going to put me in jail, but that’s where Paul wrote some of his greatest chapters of the Bible.”

    New Yorker link

  213. says

    blf @357, thanks for posting that. It’s good to see people having fun mocking Trump’s coterie of wild-eyed lawyers. “[…] Tolkien’s story of an “entirely imaginary land populated by dragons, wizards, hobbits and elves, all threatened by a baleful Dark Lord backed up by an army of orcs and with famously little time for due democratic process.” Such a good line.

  214. says

    Dallas man’s social media ‘incriminates’ him in Capitol attack; charged for death threat against AOC

    As noted by Law and Crime’s Jerry Lambe, Garret Miller essentially wrote his own charging document on social media. Before he went to Washington, D.C. for “this Trump shit,” as he called it in a Jan. 2 Facebook post, Miller was expecting, perhaps even hoping, that “some crazy shit (was) going to happen. “Dollar might collapse,” Miller predicted, and “civil war could start.” Miller, 34, also told his Facebook friends what he planned to bring: “a grappling hook and rope and a level 3 vest. Helmets, mouth guard, and bump cap.”

    He tweeted video from the Rotunda, mid-riot, and under a handle that included his full name, with the caption “from inside Congress.” He posted selfies in real-time, and he engaged with people, joking with one commenter that he wanted to “incriminate” himself “a little” with his photos. While still on Capitol grounds, Miller, apparently scrolling his feed, challenged false “antifa did it” narratives—by taking credit for the assault on Congress. “Nah, we stormed it. We (were) gentle. We (were) unarmed. We knew what had to be done,” he tweeted, in addition to telling a member of the clergy to “wake the fuck up.” “I charged the east gate myself with an anti-masker,” he insisted on Facebook, while noting on Instagram that he and his fellow invaders got in “as peacefully as we could without weapons.”

    And when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted “Impeach.” from a Capitol safe room, Miller replied, “Assassinate AOC.”

    In the days after the insurrection, Miller’s social media posts threatened the unnamed U.S. Capitol Police officer who shot rioter Ashli Babbitt with death, noting that “’millions’ of people agree with him that the officer ‘deserve(s) to die’ ‘so (it’s) huntin’ season.’” It was only in Donald Trump’s final days in office that it seemed that Miller realized that “it might be time for me to … Be hard to locate.”

    It was too late. Miller was arrested on Inauguration Day. […]

    From Scott Shapiro:

    I teach my Criminal Law students not to confess to crimes online

  215. says

    follow-up to comment 360

    […] Contrary to sentiments conveyed through his many, many social media posts—including a promise that “next time we bring the guns!”—Miller’s lawyer insists that his client feels Very Sad and Didn’t Mean Anything By It, and his family totally has his back. Also, he did it for the disgraced orange tyrant.

    Clint Broden, a lawyer for Miller, told CNN Saturday that his client “certainly regrets what he did.”
    “He did it in support of former President (Donald) Trump, but regrets his actions. He has the support of his family, and a lot of the comments are viewed in context as really sort of misguided political hyperbole. Given the political divide these days, there is a lot of hyperbole,” Broden said.

    It’s kind of hard to dismiss feverish vows of civil war, hanging a cop by a noose, and murdering a congresswoman as “misguided political hyperbole” when such violent promises and threats were made from within the U.S. Capitol, amid a siege.

  216. says

    From Wonkette: “Rep. Lauren Boebert Introduces Bills To Block Mask Mandate, Paris Accord, Sanity, Etc.”

    Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert still has a cloud of suspicion hanging over her head over whether or not she had a role in the Capitol riots on January 6. While nothing has been definitively proven, Boebert’s connections to militia groups, her tweets about “1776” and rumors that she led a tour group of “patriots” looking to case the joint have made her colleagues a little nervous. There is increasing evidence that the rioters had an “inside man and/or woman,” and — due to her incendiary behavior, many assume it was her.

    But that doesn’t really bother her at all. If anything, she feels even more like she’s doing what she wants and what her supporters want — largely because her supporters are the exact kind of people who would storm the Capitol. And she has no problems continuing to pander to them, even if it means racking up $5,000 fines for setting off metal detectors in the Capitol building with her beloved glock.

    And one of the first things she’s doing this week is introducing bills meant to block good things President Biden is doing that she doesn’t like — namely, requiring people on Federal grounds to wear masks and rejoining the World Health Organization and the Paris Agreement.

    Via Colorado Public Radio:

    The first bill would prevent the U.S. from spending any money to rejoin the Paris Climate agreement unless the Senate ratifies the agreement. […]

    The second bill would prevent funds going to the World Health Organization until America holds the international health organization and China “accountable for their role in the global pandemic.” […]

    Boebert’s third bill would overturn Biden’s mask mandate on federal lands and interstate travel on planes, trains or buses. She called it “continued federal overreach.” Boebert defied public health orders by keeping her restaurant open during the early days of the pandemic.

    None of this is going to happen, obviously. Rejoining the World Health Organization and the Paris Agreement is already done. and she doesn’t have anywhere near the votes she would need in the Democratic-controlled Congress. Unless she’s really stupid — which is very possible and in fact likely, given her early support of QAnon — she knows this. Though I do doubt she has any idea what the Paris Agreement is. She’s just introducing these bills because doing so will make her equally terrible supporters feel like she is fighting for them — and that, actually, is quite clever. Not that being in the minority has ever dissuaded Republicans from pushing their own agenda and introducing terrible bills, whether they have any chance of passing or not. It’s marketing.

    It’s still not clear what Boebert’s role in the January 6 riots was, and it may never be — unless she gets ratted out by someone looking to get a lighter sentence. But judging by this move it’s clear that we’ve got two years of “WTF did this one do now?” ahead of us — but at least, for now, she’s a little less dangerous than she would be if she were in the majority.


  217. blf says

    Other orc-enthralled loonies with imaginary wizards and magical thinking, Senate Republican threatens impeachments of past Democratic presidents:

    The Texas Republican senator John Cornyn warned on Saturday that Donald Trump’s second impeachment could lead to the prosecution of former Democratic presidents if Republicans retake Congress in two years’ time.


    If it is a good idea to impeach and try former presidents, what about former Democratic presidents when Republicans get the majority in 2022? Cornyn, a 19-year veteran of the Senate who last year tried to distance himself from Trump when it seemed his seat was at risk, tweeted at [Senate] majority leader Chuck Schumer.


    As previously noted in @322, qAnutter Lauren Boebert is already trying to get President Biden impeached, presumably because he’s a dragon. Or because he’s not a dragon… she apparently had some problems in writingdrawing in crayon the articles of impeachmentinsanity.

  218. blf says

    Sydney Powell and Mike Lindell may be in for a big surprise when they launch their Super PAC:

    Onetime Stop the Steal lawyer Sydney Powell and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell will need to look for a new bank for their new Super PAC.

    Late Friday, Powell and Jesse Binnall, an attorney who represented the campaign of former President [sic] Donald Trump in its attempt to overturn the presidential election results in Nevada, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission forming the new super PAC called Restore the Republic, which Powell has said also involved Lindell and [Joe Flynn,†] the brother of Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn.


    As required by the FEC, they listed the bank they’ll be using: Arkansas-based Bank OZK (formerly known as Bank of the Ozarks).

    But a day later, a spokeswoman for the bank told Raw Story that not only does the company have nothing to do with the new political action committee, it doesn’t even handle that kind of banking.

    “We have done a thorough inquiry and determined this entity has no account at Bank OZK, has no account pending, and has never had an account here. Per our established policy, the PAC is not eligible for an account with Bank OZK,” Susan Blair, executive vice president and spokeswoman for Bank OZK, said. “We have policies in place prohibiting accounts for certain entities. We don’t publicly disclose the specifics of those policies.”


    Powell […] shared a screed outlining the PAC’s goal on her account on Telegram […]. She intimated that the super PAC would be used to target political candidates in both the Democratic and Republican parties who do not believe that the election results were fraudulent.

    The PAC will promote candidates who fight for truth and the Rule of Law, and we will strenuously oppose any candidate who discards the Constitution for his own short term or political gain — regardless of her party, Powell wrote. Eighty million people were just disenfranchised by the inauguration of a President not elected by lawful votes. The Democrats abandoned their base and the Republicans betrayed theirs.


    Sofar, Gondor, Mordor, and Isengard have not replied to a request for comments; and the Kraken burped.

      † This brother, Joe, is a different brother than the Charles who was at the Pentagon (see @230 and @283).

  219. johnson catman says

    re blf @365:

    Eighty million people were just disenfranchised by the inauguration of a President not elected by lawful votes.

    There were 74 million idiots who voted for The Orange Toddler-Tyrant. Who were the other six million people “disenfranchised” by the inauguration of Biden? Inflating the numbers maybe? Or possibly confusing the number who actually voted for Biden? And guess what? All of the 81 million votes for Biden WERE lawful votes that DID elect him.

  220. John Morales says

    In Oz:
    Canberra doctor returns OAM in protest against Margaret Court 2021 Australia Day honour

    A Canberra doctor has handed back her Order of Australia Medal in protest against the awarding of the nation’s highest honour to tennis great Margaret Court.
    Ms Court, a minister in the Pentecostal Church, has been outspoken in her views against same-sex relationships and transgender people.

    Clara Tuck Meng Soo has now written to Governor-General David Hurley informing him that she no longer wants her OAM.

    “I do not want to be seen as supporting the values that the Council for the Order of Australia seem to be supporting with this promotion of Mrs Margaret Court,” she said.

    “[This award] is condoning if not supporting the very negative and hurtful statements she has made about the LGBTIQ community over the past few years.”

  221. blf says

    johnson catman@367, I have no idea why teh insurrections claim 80m votes for hair furor (the quote is not the first time I’ve read that nonsense (possibly with slightly different but still false numbers)).

    And, of course, it’s electoral college votes that matter (for president and vice president). Which makes hair furor’s, et al., fixation on Georgia even weirder, since that state alone has inadequate electoral votes to change the result of this last presidential election. (Admittedly the eejit’s quote in @367 is not exclusively about Georgia.)

    That quote also seems to be presuming voting for the loser somehow disenfranchises such voters. In the case of that particular quoted eejit, I very strongly suspect a case of projection — real disenfranchisement (both practical (excessively difficult to vote) and literal (not allowed to vote)) is what hair furor’s gang, teh thugs, have been up to for a considerable amount of time… and are still in a position to do, with control of redistrictinggerrymandering (and other tricks) in far too many states.

  222. blf says

    me@369, Ooops! …the eejit’s quote in @367 is not exclusively about Georgia → the eejit’s quote in @365 is not exclusively about Georgia.

  223. says

    blf @363, Trump has already been impeached while he was still in office. The trial in the Senate is a continuation of the process.

    Republicans seem to be all too conveniently ignoring the fact that Trump was impeached while he was in office.

  224. says

    Romney: Impeachment Trial Is Constitutional Even Though Trump Left Office

    […] During an interview on CNN Sunday morning, Romney argued that it’s “pretty clear” that the Senate impeachment trial is constitutional. Romney — who was the only Senate Republican to join Democrats in trying to remove the president from office last year — did not indicate how he will vote and said he will listen to the evidence.

    “I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense,” Romney said. “If not, what is?”

    Romney added that the trial highlights Trump’s “pattern” of corruption involving “very serious” allegations leading up to the breaching of the Capitol that left five dead.

    “It continues a pattern the president had of trying to corrupt the election by his communication with Ukraine, by trying to corrupt the election with regards to the lie that he’s been spreading over the last several months, and then, if you will, firing up a crowd and encouraging them to march on the Capitol at the time that the Congress was carrying out its constitutional responsibility to certify the election,” Romney said. “These allegations are very serious. They haven’t been defended yet by the president. He deserves a chance to have that heard, but I think it’s important for us to go through the normal justice process and for there to be resolution.”

    When asked whether Sens, Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) should face consequences, given his statement on the day of the Capitol riots condemning those who are “complicit” by objecting to the election results, Romney said that he doesn’t think the Senate needs to take action against them, but that “those that participated in spreading that I think will recognize that they now have a responsibility to set the record straight.” […]

  225. says

    Kyle Rittenhouse gets away with slap on wrist after apparent white supremacist publicity tour

    A white supremacist accused of a double murder in Kenosha, Wisconsin was allowed to remain free after continuing what seemed like a white supremacist promotional tour earlier this month. Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, was “serenaded” with an anthem from the white supremacist hate group, Proud Boys, after he apparently thought an arraignment was something worth celebrating at a bar with his mother on Jan. 5, 2021, The Associated Press reported. He wore a shirt that read “free as f—” and posed outside of Pudgy’s Pub for a photo using the OK signal, which is also embraced as a white supremacist symbol.

    His ode to hate in Mount Pleasant, Washington prompted the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office to file a motion on Wednesday to bar Rittenhouse from again using white power symbols, associating with known white supremacists, or drinking alcohol while under 21-years-old—which I could’ve sworn was already a thing. Rittenhouse is accused of shooting and killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and injuring Gaige Grosskreutz at a Black Lives Matter rally on Aug. 25, 2020.

    […] “We appreciate you guys. We really do,” one officer was seen telling Rittenhouse and other vigilantes about 15 minutes before gunfire sounded at the protest. Rittenhouse was seen in the video making a phone call, standing by one of the shooting victims, and running with a rifle. “I shot somebody,” someone was heard saying in the same video. Rittenhouse, charged in a double murder, however, was still allowed a $2 million bond and freed from jail.

    A Wisconsin judge modified conditions of Rittenhouse’s release on Friday to indicate he “shall not knowingly have conduct with any person or group of persons known to harm, threaten, harass or menace others on the basis of their race, beliefs on the subject of religion, color, national origin, or gender,” according to court records USA Today obtained. […]

  226. says

    Consumer financial protection was a joke under Trump. Rohit Chopra could turn it around in a big way

    Another of President Biden’s very well-chosen Day One firings (or forced resignations) of highly partisan, unqualified Trump appointees was Kathy Kraninger, the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Kraninger had no background in consumer protection, which was fine since she was not put in the job to protect consumers. She quickly gutted a crackdown on payday lenders and protections against predatory lending for military families.

    Biden’s pick for Kraninger’s replacement is one of his most exciting nominations. If confirmed, Rohit Chopra could turn things around in a big way. Chopra was hired by Elizabeth Warren to work on student loan issues at the CFPB under President Obama and is now on the Federal Trade Commission.

    Under Chopra, strong action on student loans would be pretty much a given. But there are so many other things the CFPB could do that would really help people—we are, after all, talking about an agency that extracted $12 billion in fines and money to consumers under Obama, only to plummet to $1.4 billion between 2018 (when Kraninger took over) and November 2020.

    The coronavirus pandemic is also creating a lot of consumers in need of protection from financial institutions, and one of the big things Chopra could zero in on would be bank overdraft fees, which have been a booming business for banks in this time of high unemployment. Federal regulators urged banks to waive overdraft fees during the pandemic, but instead they accounted for $30 billion to banks in 2020, with the average overdraft fee setting a new record at $33.47. So if you didn’t have money in your account to cover a scheduled bill, or you stay housed by writing a rent check for a little more than is in your account, you might be charged $35 of money that the bank 100% knows you don’t have. Many of these fees are triggered by debit card transactions […]

    Some banks have zeroed out negative balances for long enough to allow people to get their stimulus checks, but not all of them.

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could do something about predatory overdraft policies, including ridiculously high fees. During the pandemic, that’s especially critical. […]

  227. says

    New Defense secretary orders assessment of sexual assault prevention programs

    Newly sworn-in Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has reportedly requested reports on military sexual assault prevention programs from senior leadership and ordered a review of them

    According to The Associated Press, Austin requested an assessment of sexual assault and harassment prevention measures that have been shown to be effective and ineffective within the past year as well as relevant data from the past 10 years.

    “Include in your report the consideration of novel approaches to any of these areas,” Austin reportedly wrote to senior Pentagon officials. “We must not be afraid to get creative.”

    […] I will fight hard to stamp out sexual assault and to rid our ranks of racists and extremists and to create a climate where everyone fit and willing has the opportunity to serve this country with dignity,” Austin said during his hearing. […]

  228. says

    Birx on COVID-19 deniers inside White House: ‘There were people who definitely believed that this was a hoax’

    […] “There were people who definitely believed that this was a hoax,” Birx told CBS’s Margaret Brennan.

    Asked how such conspiracy theories emerged within the White House, Birx responded, “I think because the information was confusing in the beginning. I think because we didn’t talk about the spectrum of disease, because everyone interpreted on what they knew, and so they saw people get COVID and be fine. And then they had us talking about how severe the disease is and how it could cause these unbelievable fatalities of our American public.”

    Birx suggested that she partially blamed former President Trump’s own language, including describing the virus as a “hoax” himself before it was declared a pandemic.

    “When you have a pandemic where you’re relying on every American to change their behavior, communication is absolutely key,” she said. “And so every time a statement was made by a political leader that wasn’t consistent with public health needs, that derailed our response. It is also why I went on the road, because I wasn’t censored on the road.”

    Birx, who retired after President Biden took office, said in the same interview that she “always” considered resigning from the White House coronavirus task force.

  229. says

    Where Giuliani Still Routinely Offers False Claims of Election Fraud

    NY Times link

    A popular radio station in Manhattan has become a haven where conservative hosts like Rudolph Giuliani can defend Donald Trump.

    His president and No. 1 client, Donald J. Trump, is no longer in office. His claims of election fraud, unfounded and disproved, were dismissed in courts across the country. He may still face criminal charges, and now there is a move to disbar him in New York.

    But Rudolph W. Giuliani still has a voice, amplified by a 50,000-watt radio station nestled in Midtown Manhattan. And there, Mr. Giuliani is his usual, unrestrained self.

    Think Mr. Trump lost the election? Mr. Giuliani vehemently disagrees.

    “He won that election,” Mr. Giuliani said last week on his radio show on WABC-AM (770). “You give me one hour. I will prove it to you with pictures, documents, votes and people we can call on the phone in five states.”

    And the people who want him disbarred?

    “Idiots,” “malicious left-wingers” and “irresponsible political hacks,” he said on his show on Thursday. “You want to disbar me? I think I’m going to move to disbar you.”

    In the heart of New York City, long a Democratic stronghold, WABC has become an established beacon for right-wing views.

    Wonder what happened to Bill O’Reilly after he was ousted from Fox News? He hosts a one-hour show for WABC, after Mark Levin, the syndicated conservative commentator who has a three-hour show at night.

    The Fox News host Brian Kilmeade has a two-hour show in the mornings. Bernard Kerik, the former police commissioner, and Jeanine Pirro, the Fox News host, have one-hour weekend shows. […]

  230. says

    AP – “3,000 arrested at protests demanding Navalny’s release”:

    Russian police arrested more than 3,000 people Saturday in nationwide protests demanding the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the Kremlin’s most prominent foe, according to a group that counts political detentions.

    The protests in scores of cities in temperatures as low as minus-50 C (minus-58 F) highlighted how Navalny has built influence far beyond the political and cultural centers of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

    In Moscow, an estimated 15,000 demonstrators gathered in and around Pushkin Square in the city center, where clashes with police broke out and demonstrators were roughly dragged off by helmeted riot officers to police buses and detention trucks. Some were beaten with batons.

    Navalny’s wife Yulia was among those arrested.

    Police eventually pushed demonstrators out of the square. Thousands then regrouped along a wide boulevard about a kilometer (half-mile) away, many of them throwing snowballs at the police before dispersing.

    Some later went to protest near the jail where Navalny is held. Police made an undetermined number of arrests there.

    The protests stretched across Russia’s vast territory, from the island city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk north of Japan and the eastern Siberian city of Yakutsk, where temperatures plunged to minus-50 Celsius, to Russia’s more populous European cities. Navalny and his anti-corruption campaign have built an extensive network of support despite official government repression and being routinely ignored by state media.

    “The situation is getting worse and worse, it’s total lawlessness,” said Andrei Gorkyov, a protester in Moscow. “And if we stay silent, it will go on forever.”

    Undeterred, Navalny’s supporters called for protests again next weekend….

  231. says

    Here’s a link to the January 25 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Dutch PM condemns Covid riots

    Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, has condemned anti-lockdown riots over the weekend as criminal actions not protests.

    “This has nothing to do with protest, this is criminal violence and we will treat it as such,” Rutte told reporters outside his office in The Hague.

    He said the riots underlined the need for a night-time curfew.

    Rioters in the the Dutch city of Eindhoven started fires and pelted rocks at police on Sunday at a banned protest against lockdown measures.

    Police arrested at least 30 people in Eindhoven and used teargas and water cannon to disperse crowds.

    In Amsterdam, police also used a water cannon at a major protest at a city square.

    It was the worst violence to hit the Netherlands since the pandemic began, coming a day after anti-curfew rioters torched a coronavirus testing facility in the Dutch fishing village of Urk.

    Dutch police said on Monday hundreds had been detained after the incidents.

  232. says

    Some podcasts:

    Lovett or Leave It – “Exhale to the Chief”:

    President Biden. Vice President Harris. Lady Gaga. Democrats take power, the center shifts, and a new era begins. Kumail Nanjiani and I talk through our feelings about this moment. Heather McGhee talks about her book The Sum of Us and how to move forward in a divided country. And we play a game about Democratic moderates and how their views have changed over the years. What a week. What. A. Week.

    Know Your Enemy – “Masks Off: The Right in 2020”:

    Matt and Sam look back at what 2020 revealed about the state of American conservatism, from rightwing intellectuals’ deranged responses to the pandemic to Trump’s desperate attempts to over turn the election results.

    Know Your Enemy – “Did It Happen Here?”:

    Is Donald Trump a fascist? Matt and Sam break down the long-roiling debate and, at last, provide some answers. (Sort of.)

  233. says

    More podcasts:

    Oh God, What Now? – “Fumigating the White House”:

    Our long international nightmare is over – for now. As Trump exits the White House to fester in Mar-A-Lago, former UK Ambassador to the USA Kim Darroch joins us to look at what the Biden/Harris Era will mean for British trade, British foreign policy, and Boris “Britain Trump” Johnson. Plus: What does that huge exodus of immigrants from the UK mean for the character of our cities and the future of our country? And why do middle-class British people insist on claiming they’re working class?

    Stay Tuned with Preet – “Who is Joe Biden? (with Evan Osnos)”:

    On this week’s episode of Stay Tuned, “Who is Joe Biden?” Preet answers listener questions about former President Trump’s final pardons and about Doing Justice, the new podcast adaptation of his bestselling book….

    Then, Preet is joined by Evan Osnos, a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now, to talk about President Biden’s long road to the White House….

    It’s interesting that both the Know Your Enemy hosts (in the “Masks Off” episode) and Osnos and Bharara – coming from very different political positions – discuss the theme of human and political fragility.

  234. says


    Rudy Giuliani Sued by Dominion Voting Systems Over False Election Claims

    Dominion Voting Systems filed a libel and slander lawsuit on Monday against Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and lawyer for Donald J. Trump who played a key role in the former president’s months long effort to subvert the 2020 election.

    The 107-page lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court in Washington, accuses Mr. Giuliani of carrying out “a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion” made up of “demonstrably false” allegations, in part to enrich himself through legal fees and his podcast.

    The suit seeks damages of more than $1.3 billion and is based on more than 50 statements Mr. Giuliani made at legislative hearings, on Twitter, on his podcast and in the conservative news media, where Giuliani spun a fictitious narrative of a plot by one of the biggest voting machine manufacturers in the country (Dominion) to flip votes to President Biden….

    NYT link and thread (of, I believe, quotes from the piece) atl.

  235. says

    AP – “AP source: Lawmakers threatened ahead of impeachment trial”:

    Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.

    The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump’s trial, the official said.

    The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden’s inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump’s trial exemplified the continued potential for danger.

    Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official.

    The official was not authorized to not discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity….

  236. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Moderna has confirmed that its Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be protective against the two new South African and British strains of the virus, Reuters reports….

    US President Joe Biden will formally reinstate Covid-19 travel restrictions on non-US travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders, the Associated Press reports.

    The news comes from two White House officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. They also confirmed that South Africa would be added to the restricted list due to concerns about the country’s new Covid-19 strain.

  237. says

    TPM – “Biden Axes Trump’s Controversial WH Physician, Taps Own Longtime Doc As Replacement”:

    President Joe Biden has reportedly removed Dr. Sean Conley, who served as former President Donald Trump’s White House physician.

    According to ABC News and NBC News, Conley will be replaced by Dr. Kevin O’Connor, who has served as Biden’s physician since 2009.

    Conley came under fire for his lack of transparency when Trump was hospitalized due to COVID-19 in October. The doctor gave a confusing and inconsistent timeline for Trump’s diagnosis while framing the president’s condition in a rosy light….

    I noticed this in the first episode of Axios’ Off the Rails series:

    About 200 guests — donors, Cabinet secretaries, White House physician Sean Conley, TV boosters Diamond and Silk, and other VIPs — gathered in the East Room for the official election night party. They munched on beef sliders.

    …Most didn’t wear masks. “You knew in real time that you were in a superspreader event,” one attendee said.

    It sounds strange that the WH doctor would attend a large, indoor, mostly maskless event, particularly one that’s so political. I was hoping he’d be replaced.

  238. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Pandemic created £400bn windfall for world’s ten richest men, Oxfam says

    Damien Gayle

    The coronavirus pandemic has been disastrous for millions, closing businesses, destroying livelihoods, and plunging people into poverty – as national economies stare into the abyss of the worst recession since the 1930s – or maybe even ever.

    And yet, for the superrich, it has apparently been a blessing. New research by Oxfam claims that the ten richest men in the world have seen their combined wealth increase by a staggering £400bn ($540bn).

    That’s enough, says the charity, to both vaccinate every person in the world and reverse the rise in poverty caused by the pandemic.

    In a report timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda, the annual tycoons’ jamboree gone online this year, Oxfam says that the crisis sparked by Covid-19 could, for the first time since records began, lead to an increase in inequality in almost every country at once.

    A survey of 295 leading economists in 79 countries, commissioned for the report, found that almost nine in ten (87%) said they expected income inequality to increase as a result of the pandemic, two thirds thought racial inequality would increase, and half thought the same for gender inequality.

    Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam GB chief executive, said:
    “The virus hit an already profoundly unequal world and without urgent action to make our economies work for everyone, things are set to get much, much worse.

    “Billions of people were living on the edge when the pandemic began and had no resources or support to weather this fierce storm. In countries across the world we see people struggling to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads, while paid employment becomes harder to come by. At the same time, a tiny number of individuals have pocketed more money in nine months than they could spend in a lifetime.

    “These facts are shameful. Governments cannot continue to look the other way, they must act. Fair taxation on the very richest could help with the global recovery, raise more money to fight poverty and help shape more equal societies.”

  239. says

    Amanda Litman:

    Most voters don’t pay enough attention to have an opinion on the filibuster. But they will *absolutely* have an opinion if the party that is ostensibly in charge fails to actually govern.

    Republicans in charge act as if they’ll be in power forever. Democrats act as if we’re always just two months away from losing. Maybe there’s something tautological here! Let’s govern like the winners we are.

  240. says

    CNN – “Members are quitting ‘sad’ Mar-a-Lago after Trump loses”:

    Many once-loyal members of Mar-a-Lago are leaving because they no longer want to have any connection to former President Donald Trump, according to the author of the definitive book about the resort.

    “It’s a very dispirited place,” Laurence Leamer, historian and author of “Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace,” told MSNBC host Alex Witt on “Weekends with Alex Witt” Saturday. He said members are “not concerned about politics and they said the food is no good.”

    Leamer said he spoke to a number of former members who “silently walked out” after Trump left office.

    Trump moved to the Palm Beach, Florida, estate after his term ended last week. But without the cachet of the sitting president of the United States working at the estate, guests are finding Mar-a-Lago lost a step. There isn’t any entertainment on the property during the pandemic, and Leamer added, “It’s a sad place … it’s not what it was.”

    Disgruntled members might lead to a smaller paycheck for Trump. When Trump was president, many people paid up to $200,000 for Mar-a-Lago memberships, Leamer pointed out, and he said they don’t think they’ll continue paying that price.

    Mar-a-Lago has long been ridiculed by critics as a stodgy, stuffy club filled with Trump memorabilia — some of it fake. Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Friday recounted a visit to the resort just before Trump became president.

    “You could not possibly exaggerate how comical it is,” Kimmel said on The Ringer’s “The Bill Simmons Podcast.” “Everyone there is 100 years old.”…

  241. snarkrates says

    First, snarkrates represents a nym change from a_ray_in_dilbert_space, as I no longer want to be reminded of sniveling, fascist twit Scott Adams when I sign on. Fuck him. We live in a democracy now.

    Second: So if Dominion succeeds in their suit against Roodles, do they get the oil income from whatever was oozing out of his forehead?

  242. KG says


    Thanks for the “Did It Happen Here?” link – well worth listening to right through. But one central element of fascism which Trumpism definitely shares, and which got not a single mention: misogyny*. I think this is part of a larger gap in their analysis. It’s often argued that fascism only arises when the capitalist elite is threatened by a serious socialist** movement; but a serious movement from the left capable of threatening the capitalist elite is not necessarily socialist (although I’d say it certainly should be, and at some point, would have to be in order to succeed!); socio-cultural egalitarianism (anti-racism, feminism, anti-cisheteronormativism, anti-ablism) and radical environmentalism can threaten the privileges and impunity of that elite quite enough for them to turn to anti-democratic methods and ideologies, both in themselves, and as possible harbingers of a socialist revival.

    *Contemporary movements of the Far Right may be led by women, as in France, and the “Brothers of Italy”, or claim opposition to misogyny in order to attack minorities, as in Netherlands, but I think the misogyny is always there, not far below the surface.

    **I’m using “socialist” here in the sense of “advocating the collective ownership and control of the means of production, distribution and exchange”, irrespective of whether it takes Leninist, democratic socialist or anarchist forms, but beyond what’s usually called a social-democratic approach, i.e.welfare capitalism.

  243. says

    Biden repeals Trump’s ban on transgender military service

    Trump struggled to defend his discriminatory ban on transgender military service. Today, Biden put things right.

    The initial breakthrough came in June 2016, when then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that the U.S. military was lifting a ban on transgender service members.

    “Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender,” Carter told reporters. He added that the decision was, among other things, “a matter of principle: Americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete to do so.”

    About a year later, Donald Trump reversed course, announcing — via Twitter, of course — that transgender Americans would no longer be allowed to be permitted to serve. This morning, as NBC News reported, President Joe Biden repealed Trump’s ban.

    Biden’s order “immediately prohibits involuntary separations, discharges, and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances relating to gender identity,” the White House said. The order also directs the immediate “correction of” military records for any who had been affected by Trump’s ban.

    In a statement, the White House said Biden’s order “sets the policy that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve.” The statement added, “President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity.”

    […] Biden isn’t just re-opening the door for transgender Americans to serve in the future, he’s putting things right for those whose service records were ruined by the Trump administration.

    […] let’s not forget that Trump hadn’t given anyone at the Pentagon a heads-up about his discriminatory policy — officials throughout the executive branch were blindsided — and no one at the White House could explain the necessity of the change.

    […] Two years later, the Republican tried again to defend his ban, insisting that transgender servicemembers “have to” take “massive amounts of drugs,” and in the military, you’re not allowed to take any drugs.”

    […] as a Pentagon spokesperson was quick to point out, “The Military Health System covers all approved medically necessary treatments and prescription medications. If a service member has a hormone deficiency for any reason (such as hypogonadism, hypothyroidism, menopause, etc.), he or she would be prescribed hormones.”

    In other words, Trump banned eligible Americans from serving in the military, and he couldn’t explain why. His policy was obviously indefensible, and as of today, it’s over.

    […] Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) complained this morning that the president’s move isn’t “unifying.”

    To the extent that reality still has meaning, Gallup found that 71% of the public supports allowing transgender Americans to serve in the military. Or put another way, today’s announcement appears to be plenty unifying for the American mainstream, even if John Cornyn disapproves.

  244. says

    Bits and pieces of campaign news, as summarized by Steve Benen:

    Despite earning a reputation for brazen dishonesty, former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced this morning she’s launching a Republican gubernatorial campaign in Arkansas. […]

    * Though House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) recently voiced support for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the top House GOP leader said yesterday he has “concerns” about the Wyoming congresswoman’s recent impeachment vote.

    * Despite his recent antics, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) conceded over the weekend that Joe Biden’s presidency is legitimate, as was the 2020 presidential election.

    * Despite her recent criticisms of what’s become of her party, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) reiterated on Friday that she has “absolutely no desire to move over to the Democratic side of the aisle. She added, “I can’t be somebody that I’m not.”

    * Ahead of 2024, should Iowa remain the first presidential nominating state? Democratic officials have started having the conversation.

    * And former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo started counting down the days until the 2024 presidential election on Jan. 21 — literally President Biden’s first full day in office.
    “1,384 days,” he tweeted early Thursday, the first full day of the Biden presidency.


  245. KG says

    Despite earning a reputation for brazen dishonesty, former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced this morning she’s launching a Republican gubernatorial campaign in Arkansas. – Lynna, OM@398 quoting MSNBC

    Despite?? Sounds like a natural qualification to me!

  246. says

    Already in a ditch, Josh Hawley finds a shovel, keeps digging

    How would Josh Hawley repair his standing and reputation? […] He’s decided not to try.

    The new year probably isn’t turning out quite the way Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) intended. Over the course of three weeks, the far-right senator’s anti-election efforts have turned him into a political “pariah” on Capitol Hill, but the troubles are not limited to the Beltway.

    Hawley has been denounced by former allies; some donors want their money back; businesses don’t want anything to do with him; the Missouri Republican faces multiple calls that he resign in disgrace; and seven of his Senate colleagues filed an ethics complaint against him last week.

    It was far from clear how, exactly, the senator might take steps to repair his standing and reputation. In recent days, an answer has come into focus: Hawley has decided not to try.

    When he challenged the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win in the Senate and voted to reject the results of the election in Arizona and Pennsylvania, Hawley explained Friday, he merely “gave voice” to Missourians who were concerned about allegations of fraud. “I was very clear from the beginning that I was never attempting to overturn the election,” he said.

    I wish that were true. It’s not. Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy published ample evidence that discredits the Republican senator’s defense, but of particular interest was a Fox News interview on Jan. 4 — two days before the deadly insurrectionist riot — in which Bret Baier asked Hawley whether he believed Donald Trump would remain president on Inauguration Day 2021.

    “Well, Bret, it depends on what happens on Wednesday,” Hawley said, referring to the day in which Congress was scheduled to formally certify Joe Biden’s victory.

    In other words, as recently as three weeks ago, the Missouri Republican was telling a national television audience the outcome of the election was still in doubt. Whether Trump remained in power — whether the election would be overturned — would “depend on” the events of Jan. 6.

    It was also on Jan. 6, of course, that Hawley was photographed giving the insurrectionist mob a thumbs up and a raised fist in apparent solidarity, shortly before the deadly riot.

    [Hawley] wrote an op-ed for the New York Post — a conservative, high-circulation newspaper — suggesting he’s been “muzzled.” […]

    In the op-ed, Hawley continued to argue that by fighting against election results, he was merely “representing the views” of his constituents — a claim that continues to be deeply foolish, no matter how frequently the senator repeats it.

    And this morning, the Missouri Republican went just a little further, calling for an ethics investigation into those senators who filed an ethics complaint against him.

    In other words, Josh Hawley found himself in a ditch, and grabbed a shovel to dig deeper. After disgusting and infuriating his colleagues, the far-right senator settled on a strategy of making matters worse, no doubt hoping that it will help him inherit Donald Trump’s most rabid followers.

    And that plan may very well work. Is it worth trading one’s reputation for a shot at succeeding Trump in the eyes of the GOP’s base? For Hawley, this is an apparently easy call.

    Postscript: The Missouri senator’s recent voting record is consistent with his overall posture. The Senate last week confirmed two members of President Biden’s cabinet: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. Hawley is one of only two senators to vote against both.

  247. says

    KG @400, funny. And unfortunately, true.

    In other news: “McCarthy shifts blame for Capitol attack from Trump to ‘everybody’.”

    Two weeks ago, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) helped lead the charge against Donald Trump’s impeachment, though the GOP leader conceded the former president “bears responsibility” for the attack on the U.S. Capitol a week earlier.

    This, naturally, infuriated Trump, who expected the California congressman to show absolute, genuflecting fealty at all times.

    McCarthy soon after shifted gears, telling reporters that Trump did not actually help incite the insurrectionist riot, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. “I don’t believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally,” the House Republican leader said at a press conference.

    In an interview with Gray Television’s “Full Court Press With Greta Van Susteren,” which aired yesterday, McCarthy apparently thought it’d be a good idea to widen the scope of responsibility.

    He stood by his assertion that Trump does bear some responsibility for what happened. But, he added, so does every other person around the country. “I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility,” he said.

    Oh. Evidently, according to the top Republican congressman in the House, you, me, and everyone we know share at least “some responsibility” for the Jan. 6 violence.

    In an apparent attempt to clarify matters, McCarthy published a Twitter thread yesterday afternoon, arguing that Americans should “help lower the temperature of our political discourse,” adding that he believes media reports quoting him have been “distortions.” The GOP leader concluded that “everyone” has “a role to play in disagreeing without being disagreeable.”

    Taken at face value, McCarthy’s call for reasonable rhetoric might seem inoffensive. Who’s going to complain about an official who supports “disagreeing without being disagreeable”?

    The trouble is, the deadly insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 had nothing to do with a meanspirited public discourse or overheated political rhetoric. The mob attacked the seat of American democracy because its members were fed a dangerous lie, and because the rioters were incited to commit acts of violence by corrupt politicians.

    If McCarthy is prepared to have a conversation about who bears responsibility for the deadly violence, that’s certainly a discussion worth having. But instead of calling out “everyone,” it would be more constructive for the House minority leader to focus more specifically on those who led the attack, those who participated in the attack, those who encouraged the attack, and those who told the lies that led to the attack.


  248. says

    Rand Paul and the ‘two sides to everything’ problem

    Rand Paul wants not only to peddle nonsense, he also wants independent news organizations to present his nonsense to the public as if it has merit.

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had a difficult 2020 on a variety of fronts, but the new year offers the Republican senator an opportunity for a fresh start.

    It’s not going especially well.

    On Inauguration Day, for example, President Joe Biden denounced the rise in political extremism, white supremacy, and domestic terrorism, describing the threats as a societal scourge “that we must confront and we will defeat.” The Kentucky senator ran to Fox News to say he was insulted by the remarks.

    Yesterday, Paul was nevertheless invited onto ABC News’s “This Week,” for an unfortunate interview. As Politico noted:

    Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday got into a heated exchange with ABC host George Stephanopoulos over the disproven claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen — days after President Joe Biden was inaugurated.

    […] Rand Paul refused, for example, to acknowledge the legitimacy of the election that put Biden in the White House. He also suggested the courts didn’t consider Team Trump’s evidence, which is just patently false: while some cases were rejected on procedural grounds, more than a few judges offered the former president’s attorneys an opportunity to bolster their claims with proof. Those opportunities proved pointless: Trump’s lawyers failed spectacularly to present credible evidence.

    But on and on Rand Paul went, suggesting conspiracy theorists may yet get favorable Supreme Court rulings, and pointing to polls of Republican voters, who’ve come to believe ridiculous conspiracy theories, as evidence of … something.

    It fell to Stephanopoulos to remind the confused senator, “Seventy-five percent of Republicans agree with you because they were fed a big lie by President Trump and his supporters who say the election was stolen.”

    But there was one line in particular from the interview that stood out for me. Paul told the host the role he expected journalists to play while many Republicans attack the integrity of their own country’s electoral system:

    “George, where you make a mistake is that people coming from the liberal side like you, you immediately say everything’s a lie instead of saying there are two sides to everything. Historically what would happen is, if I said that I thought that there was fraud, you would interview someone else who said there wasn’t.”

    […] Stephanopoulos eventually reminded his guest, “I’m standing by facts. There are not two sides to facts…. It is a lie to say it was stolen.”

    […] In the Republican’s vision, journalists have a responsibility to present the public with both lies and facts. Media professionals who alert the electorate to the truth, in Paul’s vision, are doing the public a disservice. Real journalism, according to the hapless senator, means giving equal weight to garbage and reality.

    […] thankfully, Rand Paul is not a news director or an editor, and responsible media professionals are telling the public the truth: the election was not stolen. The Republicans’ Big Lie has no basis in fact.

  249. says

    Amid Busy Biden Agenda, Congress Renews Voting Rights Package Push

    […] The current iteration adds to the 2019 version provisions reflective of the lessons learned in the pandemic, such as the vote-by-mail mandates that Democrats approved in 2020 House COVID-19 bills that were never taken up by the then-Republican controlled Senate.

    Once the democracy overhaul is passed through the House, its path through the Senate and onto President Biden’s desk is murkier. Progressives are already making the case that a Republican filibuster of the bill would justify Senate Democrats going “nuclear” on minority obstruction tool, but all 50 Democratic senators would have to support such a move.

  250. says

    From Josh Marshall:

    […] Mitch McConnell is now using the filibuster to stop Democrats from becoming the Senate majority.

    Yes, you heard that right. The Democrats won the Senate. But now Mitch McConnell is using the filibuster to stop them from taking it over and leading it. Without a new agreement, the Senate is still operating under the old Congress’s agreement, which means that all the committees are chaired by Republicans – a very big deal since all nominations go through committees first.

    Freshman Senators like Warnock and Ossoff can’t even get their committee assignments yet.

    The issue comes down to the minutiae of the organizing agreement, which is essentially a constitution of the Senate which gets passed with every new Congress. Democrats aren’t yet unified on abolishing the filibuster. So for the moment that question is moot. But McConnell wants Democrats to agree in advance, somehow written into the agreement, that they will never abolish or weaken the filibuster during the duration of this Congress. […]

    Chuck Schumer has already said that demand is a non-starter. So why not just impose an agreement? Because they’d need Republicans to override McConnell’s filibuster. Because they’re still operating under the rules of the last Congress. Because they don’t have a new operating agreement. It’s an absurdity making a mockery of the new majority. And it’s an example of how the filibuster now rules all without even being officially invoked.

    […] Having the old majority’s senators still running the committees weeks after the new Congress kicked off […] is allowing Mitch McConnell to make a mockery of the new majority.

    In ordinary times there’d be no terrible urgency and you could take a few weeks to haggle it out. But these are not ordinary times. There is terrible urgency. Eventually, somehow this will get worked out. But what’s the urgency for Mitch McConnell? There is none. I assure you he’s happy to let things ride with his party still controlling most of the Senate indefinitely. In this framework Democrats have ceded all initiative to McConnell unless and until they announce a deadline after which they’ll impose an operating agreement by voting to set aside the filibuster rules (50+VP) and do so with a majority vote.

    The Democrats have inherited a broken country, have huge expectations resting on them and have history against them in the 2022 midterms. They have to rise to the urgency of the moment. Setting the right ground rules now is critical.


  251. says

    Trump Lied More Than 30,000 Times During His Presidency. No Wonder We’re Exhausted.

    Mother Jones link

    Washington Post fact checkers have released their final tally of presidential BS.

    It’s the first weekend of Joe Biden’s presidency, which surely means a lot of things to many people, but to me, it means I don’t have to spend my weekend shift waiting to write about […] Trump’s latest, inevitable lie.

    At Mother Jones, we’ve corrected countless Trump falsehoods over the past four years, from his bull about the stock market and hooey about global warming to disinformation about the legitimacy of the election and bunkum about the coronavirus pandemic. It was exhausting. And numbing.

    The public’s apathy and despair towards Trump’s lies, researchers point out, were by design: The attacks mirrored a Russian propaganda technique known as the “firehose of falsehood,” which is exactly what it sounds like—relentless, rapid, bogus information. As Mother Jones‘ Mark Follman wrote in October, “Trump is using the autocrat’s playbook. Vladimir Putin’s, to be specific.”

    Now the Washington Post‘s Fact Checker team has finished its final catalog of the extent of the former president’s efforts to mislead and misinform us. According to its tally, Trump made more than 30,000 “false or misleading” claims during his presidency. Half of those lies were told during his last year in office, according to the Post‘s database:

    This astonishing jump in falsehoods is the story of Trump’s tumultuous reign. By the end of his term, Trump had accumulated 30,573 untruths during his presidency—averaging about 21 erroneous claims a day.

    What is especially striking is how the tsunami of untruths kept rising the longer he served as president and became increasingly unmoored from the truth.

    Trump averaged about six claims a day in his first year as president, 16 claims day in his second year, 22 claims day in this third year—and 39 claims a day in his final year. […]

    Here’s a chart of the exponential growth of Trump’s cumulative “untruths”: [chart available at the link]

    Due to the incredible volume of falsehoods, the project was a massive undertaking. “It’s just a terrible time suck,” Glenn Kessler, the editor and chief writer of the Fact Checker team, told the Mother Jones Podcast in June. If Trump were to win a second term, Kessler said at the time, “The Post may have to hire a few more people for us to keep it up.” I’m all for hiring more journalists, but in this case, I’m glad some of my colleagues were spared this fate.

  252. says

    Dr. Deborah Birx Says Someone Was Feeding Trump “Parallel” Coronavirus Data

    As the pandemic worsened last year, […] Trump appeared to be relying on his own stream of unofficial coronavirus data, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, the former White House coronavirus response coordinator. “[…] parallel data streams coming into the White House that were not transparently utilized,” Birx said Sunday in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation. “I saw the president presenting graphs that I never made. So, I know that someone out there or someone inside was creating a parallel set of data and graphics that were shown to the president.”

    Birx, who has announced her imminent retirement from the federal government, said she did not know who was organizing Trump’s data side channel, “but I know what I sent up, and I know that what was in his hands was different than that.” She also mentioned that Trump’s controversial COVID adviser Dr. Scott Atlas “brought in parallel data streams.”

    Birx’s revelation is further confirmation from the inside of what was long obvious from the outside: Trump’s coronavirus strategy—which included downplaying risk, pushing unproven treatments, and making false promises—was not based on science or the advice of his own team of the public health experts.

    […] Birx said that Vice President Mike Pence, who headed the White House’s coronavirus task force, was aware of the fact that she was contradicting Trump’s public statements when she communicated with directly with state governors. [Margaret] Brennan clarified, “[Pence] knew that you were telling the governors privately to do things that the president publicly was making light of. When he was saying, ‘You don’t really need to wear a mask,’ or pushing to reopen the economy faster than your guidelines would allow? Mike Pence knew that?”

    “He knew what I was doing,” Birx said. […]

  253. says

    Biden administration ramping up efforts to put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill

    The Trump administration had pushed off the effort, which would remove Andrew Jackson from the front of the bill.

    […] “The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.

    She added that America’s currency should “reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that.” […]

  254. says


    China spreading conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was created in US lab and Pfizer vaccine is killing elderly

    An unsubstantiated claim that the coronavirus may have emerged from a U.S. military lab in Maryland and not in Wuhan, China, is gaining traction in Chinese media.

    Chinese state media has also recently questioned the safety of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine following the death of 23 elderly people who had just received the jab.

    The Associated Press notes researchers from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute reported an increase in Chinese media disinformation questioning the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine after it was discovered a Chinese vaccine was less effective than initially reported. […]

    More details:

    […] The social media hashtag “American’s Ft. Detrick,” which was started by the Community Youth League, began trending on the Chinese social media platform Weibo last week as a government official through state media called for the WHO to investigate the U.S. Army base.

    The hashtag was viewed at least 1.4 billion times on the popular Chinese website. State media has been calling on authorities to investigate Fort Detrick since May. […]

    “Reports are in line with the expected, all-cause mortality rates and causes of death in the sub-population of frail, elderly individuals, and the available information does not confirm a contributory role for the vaccine in the reported fatal events,” WHO officials said in a statement. […]

  255. blf says

    11th hour: Trump admin eased sanctions on mining magnate Gertler:

    In its final week in office, the Trump administration issued [Israeli mining magnate] Dan Gertler, accused of corruption in DR Congo [DRC], a licence to resume all transactions and activities otherwise prohibited by sanctions against him.


    The licence, which was not announced publicly, was issued by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), according to a January 15 letter to Gertler’s lawyers that was obtained by The Sentry, a Washington DC-based anti-corruption group, and seen by Reuters news agency.


    Treasury imposed the sanctions in December 2017 and June 2018, accusing Gertler of using his friendship with DRC’s former President Joseph Kabila to secure sweetheart mining deals worth more than a billion dollars.

    The sanctions prohibited Gertler from doing business with US citizens, companies or banks, effectively barring him from doing transactions in dollars.


    Brad Brooks-Rubin, The Sentry’s managing director and a former Treasury official, said in a statement that the licence served “no discernible geostrategic or national security purpose.”

    “Unlike the pardons and regulatory changes done openly, or any of Treasury’s normal methods for undoing sanctions, this was done behind closed doors not only to the public but many professionals in the government as well,” he said.

    The Sentry called on Biden’s Treasury department to revoke the licence.

    One of the lawyers who lobbied OFAC on Gertler’s behalf was Alan Dershowitz, who represented Trump in his first impeachment trial before the Senate last year, according to a disclosure form filed with Congress in 2018.


  256. says

    Arieh Kovler:

    Very positive vaccine news: Israeli HMO Maccabi reports just 20 positive coronavirus tests out of 128,000 people who had their second Pfizer shot a week or more ago. None of the 20 were serious cases.

    The HMO says most of the 20 were tested due to a known exposure to a confirmed Covid-19 case. Most were over 55. Half had a preexisting condition. None had a fever over 38.5°C. None needed hospitalisation.

    Not all 128k were tested, only people with known exposures or symptoms. So the real number is probably a little higher. But most of the 128k will be over 60, because they got vaccinated first. This suggests the vaccine is extremely effective.

    Awaiting more details on this, to see if we’re talking about 20 symptomatic cases or, even better, 20 cases total with positive PCR tests. The first would be great, the second would be amazing.

    Worth pointing out, too, that Israel is in the midst of its worst Covid-19 wave so far, with around 10% test positivity.

    Final point: 40-50% of Israel’s Covid-19 cases are the B117 “British” variant. So this is also good news about the vaccine’s ability to protect from that mutation.

    UPDATE: Israel’s Health Ministry, which has data for all HMOs, says that of 428,000 people who are a week or more from their second dose, just 63 have tested positive for the virus. That’s an almost identical proportion to the Maccabi sub-set.

  257. says

    The nine House impeachment managers are bringing the Article of Impeachment to the Senate. I like the way Raskin read it out. Sen Leahy is presiding and accepted the Article, and now the managers are leaving the chamber and going back to the House chamber. (As they did a little more than a year ago.)

  258. says

    Humor/satire from Andy Borowitz: “Giuliani Says He Cannot Pay $1.3 Billion in Damages Because He Does Not Know Any Real Billionaires”

    Responding to Dominion Voting Systems’ huge defamation lawsuit against him, Rudy Giuliani said that he would not be able to pay $1.3 billion in damages because he does not know any real billionaires.

    “If I knew an actual billionaire, I’d say, ‘Hey, I’m in a tough fix. Can you help me pay off this thing?’ ” Giuliani said. “But I don’t know anyone like that.”

    Not only does he not know any actual billionaires, but the people he does know are “just the opposite,” Giuliani said.

    “Forget about $1.3 billion,” he scoffed. “They can’t even pay their legal bills.”

    The former New York mayor said that, if Dominion wins its case against him, he will have no choice but to declare bankruptcy. “I guess I do know someone who could help me with that,” he said.

    New Yorker link

  259. says

    From NBC News:

    President Joe Biden said he expects anyone who wants a vaccine to be able to get one by the spring and he upped his vaccination goal for his first 100 days in office. Biden said Monday he now thinks the country can administer 1.5 million shots a day in the coming weeks and give 150 million vaccinations over the next 100 days, “with the grace of god.”

  260. says

    From The New York Times:

    A Justice Department watchdog has opened an investigation into whether any current or former officials tried improperly to wield the powers of the department to undo the results of the presidential election.

    In other news: Voice of America reinstated its White House reporter, who was taken off the beat after attempting to question former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Patsy Widakuswara’s reinstatement comes a day after President Biden asked for the resignation of Michael Pack, the CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

  261. says

    The Capitol Mob Was Only The Finale Of Trump’s Conspiracy To Overturn The Election

    Trump’s incitement of the Jan. 6 riot, which is now the subject of an impeachment trial, was just one part of his scheme to subvert democracy.

    The mood was already tense in Detroit’s expansive ballot-counting hall when President Trump tweeted on Nov. 4 that “a terrible thing” was “happening” in Michigan.

    It was the third day of processing ballots, and that morning Chris Thomas had heard a weird rumor traveling around the counting floor.

    A fellow election worker told Thomas, who was advising Detroit on its election after serving for 36 years as the state’s election director, that calls were welling on social media and email listservs urging local Republican “volunteers” to come down to the TCF Center, the massive conference hall where Thomas and his colleagues were hard at work.

    “Come down here and do what?” Thomas thought to himself.

    It didn’t take long for him to find out.

    As the President tweeted false accusations of ballots being “found” for Democrats, an influx of fresh poll challengers — many of them Republican or affiliated with a conservative “election integrity” group — arrived at the TCF Center.

    The number of people inside the hall swelled until the large counting room, originally designed to host the North American International Auto Show, was at capacity. Several of the new arrivals congregated in the lobby outside of the hall, alongside experienced poll watchers of both parties who had left for lunch. At this point, the building’s management was refusing to let anyone else inside.

    The newcomers who had made it onto the counting floor became increasingly aggressive, haranguing ballot counters. A handful of people in the room started a chant: “Stop. The. Count.” It failed to catch on at first, but it quickly spread to the several dozen wannabe observers stuck in the lobby looking in. Soon, the lobby crowd — mostly white — was banging on the windows to punctuate the chants as election workers — mostly Black — looked on from inside the hall, mere feet away.

    “I think they all felt that this is definitely something different, something aggressive,” Thomas said of his colleagues.

    The night before, in nationally televised remarks from the White House, Trump claimed he had won the election, and any results still coming in showing otherwise were “major fraud” to steal his victory from him. Trump demanded that “voting” — i.e. the continued counting of mail-in ballots — be “stopped.”

    Trump continued the claims through Wednesday morning, and in a tweet singled out Michigan in particular. Moments later, his campaign announced a lawsuit seeking to stop the state’s count.

    But the Trump supporters gathered at the TCF Center weren’t going to wait for the judicial system. They would take matters into their own hands.

    As the “stop the count” chant continued, building management placed cardboard over some of the windows, quickly attracting scorn from GOP officials on social media. Police eventually arrived, lining up between the crowd and the windows. It took several more hours before the Republican activists fully dissipated.

    “It unnerved a lot of people, particularly in the room,” Thomas recalled.

    The scene at the TCF Center, though unsettling for the election workers inside counting the ballots, never escalated to the outright violence and damage that later befell the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6.

    But it foreshadowed what was to come.

    […] the conspiracy started many months before, when Trump convinced his followers that only fraud could explain any election that didn’t result in his victory. As it became clear that he had lost, and not even that narrowly, Trump used that lie to propel a previously unthinkable attack on democracy. […]

    Trump’s cadres, often at his direct instruction, brought forth frivolous lawsuits, harassed election workers, and twisted the arms of state officials behind the scenes.

    As the window for undoing Biden’s victory closed ever more tightly, Trump’s claims about election fraud became more convoluted,[…] In the end, he was reduced to riling up a deranged mob to set upon the Capitol.

    Always present, however, was the false insistence — often deployed as a racist appeal — that the election, supposedly plagued by fraud, had been “rigged” against the President.

    Trump and his co-conspirators never put forward any real evidence of such impropriety. […]

    “The mob was fed lies,” then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said on the Senate floor […]

    Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that the normally ceremonial tradition of Congress formalizing a presidential victory was besieged with brute chaos egged on by Trump. The President never said he was committed to a peaceful transfer of power.

    […] “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful —” the President said, before stopping himself. “There won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation.”

    […] His rhetoric was accompanied by a Republican legal strategy seeking to make absentee voting harder; a PR push […] to buttress Trump’s false claims; and even tinkering at the U.S. Postal Service by a Trump-aligned postmaster general that threatened to hamstring mail-in voting.

    Those maneuvers were effective at polarizing the use of vote by mail and, in key battleground states, turning Republicans away from the practice. […]

    A tightly packed, mostly mask-free group of supporters awaited Trump when he entered the White House East Room at around 2:20 a.m. the morning after Election Day. Trump had promised on Twitter that he’d be giving a “statement” on the “big WIN” of that night. Several swing states were nowhere close to being called, and even though Trump had put a few important states in his column, he was well short of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win.

    Most of Trump’s children, as well as their partners, were eagerly seated in the front row of the East Room. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, joined the President at his side, as did First Lady Melania Trump. […]

    “We were getting ready for a big celebration,” Trump told the crowd and the television audience watching him from their homes. “We were winning everything and all of a sudden it was just called off. The results tonight have been phenomenal.”

    In the hours before Trump took the stage to give the pseudo-victory speech, he had actually been in a panic. Fox News’ declaration just before midnight that Biden had won Arizona had sent the President and his advisors into a tailspin, Axios recently reported. The call had spoiled the momentum the President had hoped to have when the vast majority of mail ballots in states like Pennaylvania and Wisconsin were still to be counted. But Trump stuck with the plan that, according to Axios, he had been rehearsing since mid-October. He prematurely declared himself the winner. He insisted that any ballots that remained to be counted were part of a scheme to steal the election for Biden.

    […]Publicly, Trump’s associates engaged in increasingly clownish antics to stop the literal counting of ballots in states that would put Biden over the top.

    […] Speaking to a scrum of reporters at a private jet terminal at Philadelphia International Airport on Nov. 4, Rudy Giuliani argued that 125,000 ballots should simply be “deducted from the count” in Pennsylvania because Republican observers supposedly didn’t get to watch them be counted. A campaign lawyer later admitted to a federal judge that Trump’s team did, in fact, have “a nonzero number of people in the room” during ballot processing. […]

    Unable to connect Trump with Raffensperger directly, emissaries for the President tried to grind him down on Trump’s behalf. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), in Raffensperger’s retelling of a Nov. 14 call, had floated the idea of Raffesperger tossing out a large chunk of the mail-in ballots. Two nights before Christmas, Trump had managed to get on the phone with the top investigator in Raffensperger’s office and had told the official that they’d be a “national hero” if they were to “find the fraud” in the election.

    When on Jan. 2 Trump finally got ahold of Raffensperger directly, he gave him an earload.

    [Trump] demanded that Raffensperger “find” 11,780 votes, the margin by which he had lost to Biden in the state. He said that “many criminal events” had happened in the election under Raffernsperger’s watch, and that Raffensperger himself could face criminal prosecution.

    […] The rambling, hour-long conversation — mostly dominated by Trump’s scattered thoughts — showed new depths of the President’s insane beliefs, about both the election and the scheme he was pursuing to overturn its results. […]

    When, the next day, Trump posted a disparaging tweet about how Raffensperger had supposedly handled their conversation, a recording of the call was leaked […]

    Unbeknownst to the public, as the fallout from the Raffensperger call was making headlines, a separate Trump scheme to weaponize the Justice Department to attack Biden’s win was coming to a head. The leaders of the Justice Department, including Attorney General Bill Barr, who left in late December, had refused to endorse Trump’s fraud claims. But Trump eventually found an alleged collaborator in Jeffrey Clark, then the head of the DOJ Civil Division. Clark proposed actions the department could take to convince state lawmakers to throw out Georgia’s results […]

    Clark reportedly informed Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who had resisted the President’s entreaties, that the President was going to sideline him. Clark would step into the role of acting attorney general, according to the New York Times’ report on the scheme, where he would try to use the department to block Congress’ certification of Biden’s win.

    Once the department’s other leaders learned of the plot, they made a pact to resign en masse if Trump executed the shake-up. […] not everyone at the Justice Department escaped Trump’s scheming. The U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, Byung Jin “BJay” Pak, had earned Trump’s ire for refusing to launch frivolous investigations of voter fraud; Trump referred to him on the Raffensperger call as a “Never Trumper.” The day after the call, a top DOJ official told Pak to leave his post two and a half weeks earlier than he had planned. On Monday after that weekend, Trump intervened in the line of succession to install Bobby Christine, a U.S. Attorney in southern Georgia, as the head of the Atlanta office. […]

    “I hope the Democrats, and even more importantly, the weak and ineffective RINO section of the Republican Party, are looking at the thousands of people pouring into D.C. They won’t stand for a landslide election victory to be stolen,” Trump tweeted at 5:12 p.m. the evening of Jan. 5, tagging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), all of whom had come out against his Electoral College subversion gambit. A half-hour later, Trump gave his supporters 17 hours to get to Washington. “I will be speaking at the SAVE AMERICA RALLY tomorrow on the Ellipse at 11AM Eastern,” he tweeted. “Arrive early — doors open at 7AM Eastern. BIG CROWDS!” […]

    Trump’s remarks included a line instructing his supporters to “peacefully and patriotically” march to the Capitol. But that was not the message heard by the protest, which turned into a riot once it reached the Capitol lawn.

    The crowd laid siege on the security perimeter, breaching its barricades and beating cops who stood in their way. They smashed windows and tore down doors to enter Congress’ hall. They rushed through the hallways and stormed the chambers of both houses mere minutes after the lawmakers were evacuated. They vandalized offices […] “Murder the media” was scratched on one of the doors.

    Trump continued to egg them on via Twitter, telling them that Pence had betrayed them by not disrupting the count. By the time he sent the tweet, rioters had already broken into the Capitol.

    One Capitol Police officer was killed in the riot […]

    Some of the rioters could be heard on live streams justifying their actions with the President’s words.

    “Our president wants us here,” one of the rioters in the Capitol said. “We wait and take orders from our president.” […]

    More at the link.

  262. says

    Latest Capitol Arrestee Once Opened For Trump, Pence At Campaign Rally

    In August 2019, Brandon Straka spoke to thousands of people at the start of a packed Cincinnati Trump rally, the line-up of which included Donald Trump Jr., then-Vice President Mike Pence and then-President Donald Trump.

    On Monday, prosecutors alleged that Straka was just the latest high-profile figure to have attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.

    According to a criminal complaint released Monday, Straka urged the crowd surrounding him to “take the shield” of a Capitol Police officer who’d held the armor aloft near an entrance to the Capitol.

    “Take it! Take it!” Straka allegedly yelled as people grabbed the officer’s shield.

    The complaint doesn’t allege that Straka himself entered the building, but it quotes since-deleted tweets from Straka justifying the attack.

    “I’m completely confused,” he allegedly wrote in one Jan. 6 tweet, according to the complaint. “For 6-8 weeks everybody on the right has been saying ‘1776!’ & that if congress moves forward it will mean a revolution! So congress moves forward. Patriots storm the Capitol – now everybody is virtual signaling their embarrassment that this happened.”

    […] “Perhaps I missed the part where it was agreed this would be a revolution of ice cream cones & hair-braiding parties to take our government back from lying, cheating globally interested swamp parasites. My bad.”

    Straka wasn’t just a high-profile alleged rioter: He actually spoke at the Jan. 5 “Stop the Steal” event in Washington, D.C. the day before the riot.

    “It has taken us getting this close to losing Donald Trump to wake up the beast in the American people!” he told the crowd, urging them to “fight” on Trump’s behalf. “Welcome to the revolution!” he said. […]

    He faces three federal charges: Impeding a law enforcement officer during civil disorder, knowingly entering restricted grounds during and engaging in disorderly conduct within proximity to a restricted building to impede official functions, and engaging in disorderly conduct with intent to disturb a hearing before Congress.

  263. John Morales says

    Lynna @420:
    “More at the link.”

    Your excerpt is just short of 2,000 words!

    (I think I got the gist)

  264. says

    Pro-Trump areas are undercounting COVID-19 deaths, new study suggests, by a lot

    […] study after study after study has pointed to “excess deaths” either directly or indirectly related to the novel coronavirus steadily increasing. There are numerous reasons for this increase: an overtaxed healthcare system being at the top of the list of causes for the increase in deaths. […] some deaths due to COVID-19 may be assigned to other causes of deaths (for example, if COVID-19 was not diagnosed or not mentioned on the death certificate), tracking all-cause mortality can provide information about whether an excess number of deaths is observed, even when COVID-19 mortality may be undercounted.” In fact, the analysis puts the true mortality numbers from COVID-19 in the U.S. at 31% higher than what is currently being reported.*

    A new analysis of data from across the country, out of Boston University School of Public Health, shows a very distinct correlation between areas with pro-Trump leanings and very high “excess deaths.” […] while researchers know that many of these deaths can be attributed to suicide and drug overdoses, hesitancy to get medical attention, and other possibly pandemic-related factors, they also believe that many of these deaths are very likely to be the direct result of COVID-19.

    According to the study, rural areas had much higher “excess deaths” recorded than urban ones and the same was true when comparing pro-Trump voting areas to non-Trump areas (based on election data from 2016 and 2020). […] “25% of counties with the most Trump voters in 2020, with 163 excess deaths for every 100 Covid-19 deaths.”

    This is where the many insidious ways Trump’s COVID denialism has expressed itself. As the study points out that one of the many reasons a death doesn’t get counted as COVID-19-related is if the person was not tested for the virus. Trump and our country’s inability to get out a meaningful testing infrastructure has made it virtually impossible to control the spread of the virus, but it also means that many people who have potentially died after contracting the virus, never knew for sure that they did indeed have COVID-19. […]

    But this is not the only reason. Sadly, one of the big correlations drawn here are between areas where the local coroner can be an elected non-medical professional, the rates of excess COVID-19 deaths were far higher than those with medical examiners appointed by medical officials. […]

    there are the pro-Trump officials who believe that COVID-19 is “overblown,” and even possibly a “hoax.” The lies that many of the MAGA world have internalized are so deep, people die of the virus while maintaining the virus itself does not exist. […] Believing that there are people in pro-Trump areas willing to lie or deny COVID-19 on death certif