Tuesday Reads

Breakfast Piece, Herbert Badham

Breakfast Piece, Herbert Badham

Good Morning!!

This morning, FBI Director Christopher Wray will testify in the Senate about the January 6 attack on the Capitol. It will be interesting to see what Wray has to say now that he doesn’t need to worry about a Trump freak out.

Zachary Cohen at CNN: Senators to grill FBI Director Chris Wray over security failures during January 6 insurrection.

FBI Director Chris Wray will finally have to answer questions about the January 6 insurrection when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, his first public testimony since the deadly riot occurred nearly two months ago.

The hearing will also mark Wray’s first public appearance since the White House announced in January that he will not be replaced as FBI director after serving in the same role under former President Donald Trump.

Wray’s team of federal investigators is currently chasing thousands of leads in twin efforts to prosecute people involved in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol and to try to prevent feared follow-up attacks in Washington and around the country.

The Reader, John KochWhile federal law enforcement officials have sought to reassure the American public in the months since the riot that they are up to the task on both fronts, their public remarks also lay bare the enormity of the challenge they face in tracking potential threats to not only the nation’s capital, but across the country.

Law enforcement officials have indicated to CNN that authorities missed key signs ahead of the siege, which left five dead and the Capitol ransacked, and the FBI’s preparations leading up to the day of the attack have come under scrutiny.

“There are threats to America today that we need to put in as a priority,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin told reporters Monday. “I think domestic terrorism, religious and racial based hate groups have become a major threat in America. I want to know if our intelligence operations have taken this into consideration in establishing their priorities.”

The Illinois Democrat said other January 6-related questions he thinks are important to get answered include: “What did he know? And when did he know it? And who did he tell? Those are questions that have been raised in other hearings. But he is the man of the hour. As head of the FBI, I think he has a special position, place, to answer the question.”

MSNBC and CNN are showing the hearing live. 

A couple interesting articles on the insurrection:

ARLnow.com (Arlington, VA): EXCLUSIVE: While the Capitol Was Stormed, A Group of Men Gathered Near the Marine Corps War Memorial.

On Jan. 6, a group of ten or so men — at least one of whom was wearing a tactical earpiece — watched the storming of the U.S. Capitol from across the Potomac in Arlington.

Previously unpublished photos taken by ARLnow that day show the men loitering near the Marine Corps War Memorial, with the overrun Capitol in the background. Parked nearby are numerous vehicles, mostly pickup trucks and SUVs with out-of-state license plates.

One pickup truck, with large toolbox in the back, was left running.

The man with the earpiece appears to have been focused on some sort of communications device with an antenna. He was among a group standing outside, in the cold, wearing hooded sweatshirts and other inconspicuous cold weather gear. None were wearing the tactical vests and helmets that militia members who charged into the Capitol that day wore.

In the Train Compartment, Paul Gustave Fischer

In the Train Compartment, Paul Gustave Fischer

Still, the group was deemed suspicious enough that Arlington County police received at least one call from a passerby, concerned about what they were doing there. An officer drove by after the 4 p.m. call but didn’t see anything, according to police department spokesman Ashley Savage….

In recalling the moment, Westcott — a Navy veteran — said the gathering “had the feeling of a rally point.” He shot the scene from a distance with a 600mm lens, reluctant to get any closer due to potential safety concerns.

By nightfall, the men had dispersed, as ARLnow originally reported in an article about the curfew that night.

What was going on? Was there a “quick reaction force” waiting for a signal from Trump?

What is known is that somewhere outside of the District that day, according to federal prosecutors, a “quick reaction force” with a stockpile of weapons was allegedly ready to join the fight if ordered to do so by President Trump.

At a Friday court hearing for Jessica Watkins, a member of the Oath Keepers militia from Ohio who is accused of helping to plot the attack on the Capitol, prosecutors told a federal judge that “[it is] our understanding” that the quick reaction force did exist and was stationed somewhere near D.C.

Read some speculation about this involving the OathKeepers at DailyKos.

The Washington Post: U.S. alleges Proud Boys planned to break into Capitol on Jan. 6 from many different points.

U.S. prosecutors alleged for the first time that a Washington state leader of the Proud Boys was nominated by members of the group to take charge of the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6 and carried out a plan to split into groups to break into the building from as many points as possible.

In a 24-page filing Monday, U.S. prosecutors asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to keep Ethan Nordean, 30, of Seattle, in jail pending trial, appealing a lower court’s Feb. 8 release order.

Nordean was “nominated from within to have ‘war powers’ ” tolead activities at the Capitol after the group’s chairman, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, was arrested by D.C. police upon arriving in the city two days earlier, Assistant U.S. Attorneys James B. Nelson and Jason B.A. McCullough alleged. They do not state whether Nordean and/or others were formally selected to lead events that day.

The Newspaper, Aldo Luongo

The Newspaper, Aldo Luongo

The prosecutors also asserted that Nordean led the group by positioning Proud Boys members — carrying encrypted two-way Chinese-made Baofeng radios and wearing military-style gear — at an entrance to the Capitol grounds that was guarded by only a handful of Capitol Police officers and spreading out others to different locations to avoid triggering police interest.

“By blending in and spreading out, Defendant and those following him on January 6 made it more likely that either a Proud Boy — or a suitably-inspired ‘normie’ [nonmilitant Trump supporter] — would be able to storm the Capitol and its ground in such a way that would interrupt [Congress’s] Certification of the Electoral College vote,” prosecutors said.

The effects of Trump’s incitement of white supremacist violence are going to be with us for a long time. Will he maintain his influence on these terrorist groups even though he’s no longer in office? He’s certainly still in control of the GOP, as we saw at the CPAC meeting over the weekend.

Forbes on the unusual stage set-up at the conference: How A Nazi Symbol At CPAC Turned Into A Massive Hyatt Public Relations Disaster.

In a highly unusual step for a major hotel group, Hyatt felt compelled to issue multiple news releases rejecting Nazi symbolism after a politically charged conference was held in one of its hotels.

One of the year’s marquee events on the GOP calendar, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida, over the weekend. Speakers included high-profile Republicans including former President Donald Trump, who repeated false claims that he won the 2020 election.

Early on in the three-day event, outrage erupted over the event’s stage design, which drew comparisons to a Norse rune used by Nazis during World War II. A photo of the CPAC stage went viral as thousands of social media users shared posts comparing its distinctive design to an othala rune.

Following World War II, the symbol was adopted by Nazis in an “attempt to reconstruct a mythic ‘Aryan’ past,’” according to the Anti-Defamation League. “Today, it is commonly seen in tattoo form, on flags or banners, as part of group logos, and elsewhere.”

Girl Reading Newspaper, Eastman Johnson

Girl Reading Newspaper, Eastman Johnson

By Saturday afternoon, there had been nearly 100,000 tweets comparing the CPAC stage to the Nazi symbol, as the #boycottHYATT hashtag exploded across Twitter and other platforms.

Hyatt quickly went into damage control, attempting at first to frame the issue as one of free speech. Journalist Nancy Levine tweeted out a Hyatt statement touting the company’s responsibility to provide an inclusive environment for everyone. “We believe in the right of individuals and organizations to peacefully express their views, independent of the degree to which the perspectives of those hosting meetings and events at our hotels align with ours,” said a company spokesperson.

Social media users made it clear they believed Hyatt had missed the point. “A platform for hate is not inclusive, Hyatt,” tweeted one user. “A platform to spread the Big Lie that spawned a violent insurrection and is now fomenting another threatened one is not inclusive.”

Read the rest at Forbes.

It’s beginning to look very bad for Andrew Cuomo. A third woman has now accused him of sexual harassment, and this time there is a damning photo. 

The New York Times: Cuomo Accused of Unwanted Advance at a Wedding: ‘Can I Kiss You?’

Anna Ruch had never met Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo before encountering him at a crowded New York City wedding reception in September 2019. Her first impression was positive enough.

The governor was working the room after toasting the newlyweds, and when he came upon Ms. Ruch, now 33, she thanked him for his kind words about her friends. But what happened next instantly unsettled her: Mr. Cuomo put his hand on Ms. Ruch’s bare lower back, she said in an interview on Monday.

When she removed his hand with her own, Ms. Ruch recalled, the governor remarked that she seemed “aggressive” and placed his hands on her cheeks. He asked if he could kiss her, loudly enough for a friend standing nearby to hear. Ms. Ruch was bewildered by the entreaty, she said, and pulled away as the governor drew closer.

“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” said Ms. Ruch, whose recollection was corroborated by the friend, contemporaneous text messages and photographs from the event. “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.”

Ms. Ruch’s account comes after two former aides accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment in the workplace, plunging his third term into turmoil as the governor’s defenders and Mr. Cuomo himself strain to explain his behavior.

Ruch’s facial expression is painful to look at for anyone who has experienced sexual harassment. Two more Cuomo stories:

Moira Donegan at The Guardian: The Cuomo sexual harassment claims appear to follow a disturbing pattern.

The Washington Post: Andrew Cuomo timeline: His comments about sexual misconduct vs. the allegations against him.

It’s difficult to see how Cuomo survives this, especially since he was already facing scathing criticism of his late response to the pandemic and a cover-up of nursing home deaths in New York.

I’ll add a few more links in the comment thread. I want to watch the Wray hearing, which started a short time ago. If you’re watching too, let us know what you think.  This is an open thread of course.


37 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice day, Sky Dancers!

    • dakinikat says:

      Thanks you too! It’s raining and in the 40s again so basically miserable weather. Actually heard a few bits of thunder so at least it sounds more like a spring rain than a winter one. Working myself up for my second Pfizer shot tomorrow still. Don’t know why I’m so nervous.

      • Beata says:

        Dak, most people I know who have had reactions to the 2nd dose got the Moderna jab and those reactions were relatively minor. It will be okay. Both of us are veterans of serious health battles. Indeed, many Sky Dancers are. We’re strong. We’re survivors. Remember that.

        I’m sending positive energy your way. xoxo

        • Beata says:

          Some people say the strangest things to me when they find out how long I’ve lived with a brain tumor. A question I often get asked is “Why are you still alive?” But the best one is “Why aren’t you dead yet?” LOL

      • NW Luna says:

        Nobody likes injections, and the vaccination sites can seem like factories processing hundreds of people through. Hope you have 2-3 days to take it easy afterwards if your immune system uses up your energy as it gets all its team members into fighting condition! But many people have mild reactions. You probably know this, but don’t take acetaminophen or ibuprofen or naproxen before hand or for a couple days afterwards, because they can work against the immune process (very quick approximation of the effects of their mechanisms of action).

        • Beata says:

          Luna, did you get Pfizer or Moderna?

          • bostonboomer says:

            I’m getting the Moderna next week.

          • Beata says:

            BB, chances are that any reaction to Moderna will be mild. I know quite a few people, some of whom are in their 80’s and 90’s, who have gotten both jabs of Moderna. Some have had arm soreness and fatigue for a couple of days. One person had a low-grade fever and headache. Nothing more serious than that.

          • NW Luna says:

            I had the Pfizer. Some colleagues had the same level of reaction I did, others much less. The healthcare organization I work for sent out an email saying if employees needed 1-2 days off for sequelae they’d have special sick leave for it, so it sounds like the majority did have flu-like reactions (fatigue, body aches, chills). But it’s temporary and so much better than a covid infection. Moderna is supposed to have less in the way of post-injection symptoms.

          • djmm says:

            Two relatives not related to each other who got their second Moderna shots ran temps at 103 the next day. They said they did not feel too badly, but were glad they took the day off. They felt fine the day after and are happy they got the shots. I would prepare to take it easy the day after the second shot. So happy you are getting the shot!

        • Beata says:

          Does anyone here know if the J&J jab has similar side effects? J&J is probably the vaccine I will be getting later this month.

          • NW Luna says:

            Glad you’re getting your vaccine and I hope it’s very soon!

            I haven’t talked with anyone who’s had the J&J yet, but it’s supposed to have far less in the way of post-injection sequelae. It’s made with an adenovirus vector instead of with the mRNA process. So you shouldn’t feel much afterwards. 🙂

            Interviewer: “Will they [J&J] have similar side effects to what we’ve heard with the mRNA ones? Sore arm, maybe a little weakness. You know, they say when you get those symptoms, it’s a good, robust immune response. Will that likely be similar for vaccines with adenovirus vectors?”

            Griffin: “I have to say, if you’re looking for a sore arm and an excuse to miss a day of work, you may be disappointed with these vector-based vaccines. They tend to be incredibly well tolerated. At most it’s like getting a flu shot. So, you know, don’t expect to get those fevers, that really sore arm. Don’t expect for your coworkers to miss a day at work. That’s actually one of the nice things about the adenoviral vector based vaccines. Very similar as far as, we talk about reactogenicity, very similar side effect, right up front profile to your flu shot.”


          • Beata says:

            Thank you so much for that info, Luna. I get a flu shot every year and tolerate it well so I feel confident that the J&J will be safe for me. I have been worried about possible neurological problems resulting from the other two vaccines but I know that Covid is far more dangerous to the brain than any vaccine.

  2. bostonboomer says:
  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. dakinikat says:

    Oh, dear goddesses and with spring break! They’ll bring that shit here. He’s trying to kill us all of I think … that’s a form of voter supression since they think it only impacts people other than them.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Against all CDC/expert advice, with cases trending up and just in time to import new variants or create their very own Texas variant. It’s really unbelievable how wrong these GOP loons get everything.

      Meanwhile in GA, I can’t get an appointment to get a vaccine. I haven’t been too aggressive about it because I am normally self-quarantined but I’d like to get one. My only qualification is my age. Demand has far outstripped supply here.

      • Beata says:

        If you are a senior, contact your local area council on aging. They may be able to help you get an appointment. Some are having their own vaccine clinics, including mobile clinics and in-home vaccines for the homebound.

        • Enheduanna says:

          Thank you Beata! I’m registered to get an appointment at myvaccineGA.com and signed up with Kaiser, but neither are accepting new appointments atm.

    • dakinikat says:

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. Beata says:

    We are hosting NCAA basketball tournaments in three cities across the state. Thousands of people from across the country will be arriving with their team gear and their Covid variants. Rah, rah, rah. It’s bound to be a major super spreader event. But great for local businesses!

    • NW Luna says:

      … Especially when the workers at those local businesses get sick. Just great.

  7. NW Luna says:

    WTAF? Cancel culture claims another woman.

    The White House withdrew the nomination of Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday evening, the first Cabinet-level defeat for the administration. In a statement, President Biden said Tanden, who faced bipartisan opposition from senators because of past comments she made on Twitter, requested that her name be withdrawn.