The revelations about Trump’s final days just keep on coming. The Washington Post released another excerpt from the book by their reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig yesterday, and today The New Yorker a piece by Susan Glasser, who apparently has a book coming out next year.
Among the stunning details in the Rucker/Leonnig excerpt is that Mike Pence didn’t trust all of the the members of his Secret Service detail, seemingly suspecting that they were aiding Trump’s attempted coup.
At 2:13, Pence’s Secret Service detail removed the vice president from the Senate floor and took him through a side door to his ceremonial office nearby, along with his wife, Karen, their daughter Charlotte, and his brother, Greg, a congressman from Indiana. The Pences were hurried across one of the Capitol’s many ornate marble hallways to get there, but the path proved eerily close to danger. One or two minutes later, marauders chanting Pence’s name charged up the stairs to that precise landing in front of the hallway, and a quick-thinking Goodman led the rioters in a different direction, away from the Senate chamber. Had Pence walked past any later, the intruders who called him a traitor would have spotted him….
As rioters marauded through the Capitol, it was clear whom they were looking for. Some of them shouted, “Hang Mike Pence!” Trump didn’t exactly throw them off the hunt. At 2:24, the president tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”
At that moment, Pence was still in his ceremonial office — protected by Secret Service agents, but vulnerable because the second-floor office had windows that could be breached and the intruding thugs had gained control of the building. Tim Giebels, the lead special agent in charge of the vice president’s protective detail, twice asked Pence to evacuate the Capitol, but Pence refused. “I’m not leaving the Capitol,” he told Giebels. The last thing the vice president wanted was the people attacking the Capitol to see his 20-car motorcade fleeing. That would only vindicate their insurrection.
The third time Giebels asked Pence to evacuate, it was more of an order than a request. “They’re in the building,” Giebels said. “The room you’re in is not secure. There are glass windows. I need to move you. We’re going.”
At 2:26, after a team of agents scouted a safe path to ensure the Pences would not encounter trouble, Giebels and the rest of Pence’s detail guided them down a staircase to a secure subterranean area that rioters couldn’t reach, where the vice president’s armored limousine awaited. Giebels asked Pence to get in one of the vehicles. “We can hold here,” he said.
“I’m not getting in the car, Tim,” Pence replied. “I trust you, Tim, but you’re not driving the car. If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off. I’m not getting in the car.”
The Pences then made their way to a secure underground area to wait out the riot.
Much as I can’t stand Pence, he did the right thing on that terrible day.
As we’ve learned, General Milly also came through, and even the much hated Bill Barr refused to support Trump’s authoritarian obsession.
Meanwhile, Trump was excitedly watching the MAGA attack on TV. He couldn’t have cared less that the Vice President and hundreds of Congresspeople were in danger.
Back at the White House, [Pence’s national security adviser, Retired Lt. General Keith] Kellogg was worried about Pence’s safety and went to find Trump.
“Is Mike okay?” the president asked him.
“The Secret Service has him under control,” Kellogg told Trump. “Karen is there with the daughter.”
“Oh?” Trump asked.
“They’re going to stay there until this thing gets sorted out,” Kellogg said.
Trump said nothing more. He didn’t express any hope that Pence was okay. He didn’t try to call the vice president to check on him. He just stayed in the dining room watching television.
Around this time, Kellogg ran into Tony Ornato in the West Wing. Ornato, who oversaw Secret Service movements, told him that Pence’s detail was planning to move the vice president to Joint Base Andrews.
“You can’t do that, Tony,” Kellogg said. “Leave him where he’s at. He’s got a job to do. I know you guys too well. You’ll fly him to Alaska if you have a chance. Don’t do it.”
Pence had made clear to Giebels the level of his determination and Kellogg said there was no changing it.
“He’s going to stay there,” Kellogg told Ornato. “If he has to wait there all night, he’s going to do it.”
At this point, can anyone seriously doubt that Trump would have been OK with his thugs hanging Pence? Pence and Kellogg need to testify under oath before the January 6 committee.
If you haven’t read the Washington Post article yet, please do.
General Mark Milley was a significant source for the Rucker/Leonnig book, and he apparently talked extensively to Susan Glasser as well. Glasser writes at The New Yorker: “You’re Gonna Have a Fucking War”: Mark Milley’s Fight to Stop Trump from Striking Iran.
The last time that General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with President Donald Trump was on January 3, 2021. The subject of the Sunday-afternoon meeting, at the White House, was Iran’s nuclear program. For the past several months, Milley had been engaged in an alarmed effort to insure that Trump did not embark on a military conflict with Iran as part of his quixotic campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election and remain in power. The chairman secretly feared that Trump would insist on launching a strike on Iranian interests that could set off a full-blown war.
There were two “nightmare scenarios,” Milley told associates, for the period after the November 3rd election, which resulted in Trump’s defeat but not his concession: one was that Trump would try “to use the military on the streets of America to prevent the legitimate, peaceful transfer of power.” The other was an external crisis involving Iran. It was not public at the time, but Milley believed that the nation had come close—“very close”—to conflict with the Islamic Republic. This dangerous post-election period, Milley said, was all because of Trump’s “Hitler”-like embrace of the “Big Lie” that the election had been stolen from him; Milley feared it was Trump’s “Reichstag moment,” in which, like Adolf Hitler in 1933, he would manufacture a crisis in order to swoop in and rescue the nation from it.
To prevent such an outcome, Milley had, since late in 2020, been having morning phone meetings, at 8 a.m. on most days, with the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in the hopes of getting the country safely through to Joe Biden’s Inauguration. The chairman, a burly four-star Army general who had been appointed to the post by Trump in 2019, referred to these meetings with his staff as the “land the plane” calls—as in, “both engines are out, the landing gear are stuck, we’re in an emergency situation. Our job is to land this plane safely and to do a peaceful transfer of power the 20th of January.”
This extraordinary confrontation between the nation’s top military official and the Commander-in-Chief had been building throughout 2020. Before the election, Milley had drafted a plan for how to handle the perilous period leading up to the Inauguration. He outlined four goals: first, to make sure that the U.S. didn’t unnecessarily go to war overseas; second, to make sure that U.S. troops were not used on the streets of America against the American people, for the purpose of keeping Trump in power; third, to maintain the military’s integrity; and, lastly, to maintain his own integrity. He referred back to them often in conversations with others.
As the crisis with Trump unfolded, and the chairman’s worst-case fears about the President not accepting defeat seemed to come true, Milley repeatedly met in private with the Joint Chiefs. He told them to make sure there were no unlawful orders from Trump and not to carry out any such orders without calling him first—almost a conscious echo of the final days of Richard Nixon, when Nixon’s Defense Secretary, James Schlesinger, reportedly warned the military not to act on any orders from the White House to launch a nuclear strike without first checking with him or with the national-security adviser, Henry Kissinger. At one meeting with the Joint Chiefs, in Milley’s Pentagon office, the chairman invoked Benjamin Franklin’s famous line, saying they should all hang together. To concerned members of Congress—including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—and also emissaries from the incoming Biden Administration, Milley also put out the word: Trump might attempt a coup, but he would fail because he would never succeed in co-opting the American military. “Our loyalty is to the U.S. Constitution,” Milley told them, and “we are not going to be involved in politics.”
Read the rest at The New Yorker.
Raw Story has an investigative article on the January 6 Capitol attack: Anatomy of an insurrection: How military veterans and other rioters carried out the Jan. 6 assault on democracy, by Jordan Green.
The slow-moving tedium of prosecutorial legal machinery and the GOP campaign to deflect responsibility can make it easy to lose sight of the big picture of what transpired on Jan. 6. But based on an aggregate review of individuals cases, along with other sources, a Raw Story analysis of the critical events in the Jan. 6 siege reveals a striking degree of coordination, sustained and intentional violence, planning and preparation, and determined effort to disable the United States’ critical governance apparatus by participants, including many with recent military experience. Many of the rioters who played critical roles in breaching the Capitol came away from the experience vowing to wage war against the United States. Few among those who are being prosecuted have expressed any remorse for their actions.
Amid the hundreds of prosecutions of Trump supporters motivated by the big lie, the GOP has punished lawmakers who fail to bear allegiance to the former president and run afoul of the party line that the election was stolen, while thwarting the House investigation into the events of Jan. 6. GOP intransigence makes it likely that the Democratic-led investigation will become reduced to another partisan snipe-fest, undermining its potential to hold people accountable and prevent future attempts to overturn democracy….
A handful of defendants, including Oath Keepers members, have pleaded guilty, as fresh arrests fatten the docket weekly. Those recently charged are not minor players: In addition to people who trashed media equipment and assaulted reporters, they include the first boogaloo-identified rioter, with hints that there are more to come, and a man who organized a resistance cell under the cover of a Bible study. Critically, the FBI has yet to make an arrest for bombs that were planted outside the Democratic and Republican headquarters on the eve of the insurrection. Even under the most optimistic scenario, the prosecutions are likely to drag on for years: Among the few cases set for trial, white nationalist Christian Secor isn’t scheduled to begin deliberations until January 2022.
Beyond the chaotic events that took place when hundreds of Trump supporters unleashed mayhem on the Capitol, it remains unknown to what degree, if any, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers coordinated their actions. And beyond Trump’s feverish promotion of the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally and instruction to his followers to “walk down to the Capitol,” it also remains to be seen whether the siege may have been directed by the president or his surrogates through intermediaries such as Trump confidant Roger Stone or “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander.
Notably, the mob began its advance on the Capitol well before Trump had finished speaking at the Ellipse, suggesting that key players had decided in advance to disrupt the certification of the electoral vote, while Trump’s exhortations mobilized thousands more to reinforce the riot that was already unfolding at the seat of American government.
This is a very long and interesting article. I hope you’ll check it out.
I’m sorry to have to keep focusing on Trump news, but that’s what’s out there today. As always, this is an open thread. What’s on your mind?
Yesterday the House Oversight Committee held a hearing on the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Democrats tried to address the facts, and Republicans attempted to sell blatant lies and fantasies about what happened that day. Fromthe Associated Press:
Republicans sought to rewrite the history of the Jan. 6 insurrection during a rancorous congressional hearing Wednesday, painting the Trump supporters who attacked the building as mostly peaceful patriots and downplaying repeatedly the violence of the day.
Democrats, meanwhile, clashed with Donald Trump’s former Pentagon chief about the unprepared government response to a riot that began when hundreds of Trump loyalists bent on overturning the election broke through police barriers, smashed windows and laid siege to the building.
The colliding lines of questioning, and a failure to settle on a universally agreed-upon set of facts, underscored the challenges Congress faces as it sets out to investigate the violence and government missteps. The House Oversight Committee hearing unfolded just after Republicans in the chamber voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership post for rebuking Trump for his false claims of election fraud and his role in inciting the attack.
Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, testifying publicly for the first time about Jan. 6, defended their agencies’ responses to the chaos. But the hearing almost immediately devolved into partisan bickering about how that day unfolded, with at least one Republican brazenly stating there wasn’t an insurrection at all….
Some fantastical claims by Republicans:
Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona played video footage of violence outside the federal courthouse in Portland last summer. Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia said that while “there were some rioters” on Jan. 6, it was a “bold-faced lie” to call it an insurrection and likened it in some ways to a “normal tourist visit.”
In ways that fundamentally rewrote the facts of the day and the investigations that resulted, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona said the Justice Department was “harassing peaceful patriots.” He described Ashli Babbit, a California woman who was fatally shot by an officer during the insurrection after climbing through the broken part of a door, as having been “executed,” even though prosecutors have said the officer won’t be prosecuted because the shooting did not break the law.
“It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others,” said Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, downplaying the violent tactics used by loyalists to the president, including spraying officers with pepper and bear spray.
Raw Story on Paul Gosar of Arizona, who actually helped organize the January 6 rally: Trump-loving congressman Paul Gosar rants about MAGA rioter Ashli Babbitt being ‘executed’ by Capitol cops.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) on Wednesday delivered a rant in which he declared that Capitol police “executed” pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt.
During a hearing on the January 6th Capitol riots before the House Oversight Committee, Gosar angrily charged that opponents of former President Donald Trump were using “propaganda” to make the MAGA rioters seem worse than they really were.
He also accused Capitol police of using unnecessary force when one of them fatally shot Babbitt, who during the riots was trying to breach a set of doors that were just outside the House chamber where lawmakers were hiding in shelter on January 6th after the breach of the Capitol building.
Here’s a different take on the Ashli Babbitt story at Law and Crime: Capitol Rioter Wanted to Lynch Black Officer He Believed Shot Ashli Babbitt, Prosecutors Say.
A U.S. Capitol rioter from Texas who said that he brought a rope with him to Congress on Jan. 6 threatened days later to lynch a Black police officer that he believed fatally shot Ashli Babbitt, federal prosecutors wrote in a legal brief on Monday. The startling allegation surfaced in court papers against 34-year-old Garret Miller, whom prosecutors want to keep behind bars pending trial.
Babbitt was fatally shot when she and the other rioters tried to break into the Speaker’s Lobby, where lawmakers had taken cover.
According to prosecutors, Miller referred to Babbitt as his “sister in battle” and began to see himself as her avenger.
“He became consumed with her death and circulated photographs on Facebook of an African-American police officer that he believed was responsible for her death,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth C. Kelley wrote in a 16-page legal brief on Monday. “Miller threatened to kill that officer, stating that he wanted to ‘hug his neck with a nice rope’ and that ‘he will swing.’ He also said that the officer deserved to die and that ‘it’s huntin season.’”
“His fixation with hunting down and hanging a USCP officer is extremely concerning,” prosecutors added of Miller.
Now facing a 12-count indictment, Miller has been charged with assaulting police officers, threatening to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and several charges related to U.S. Capitol insurrection. Prosecutors say that Miller’s remarks were especially chilling in light of what authorities found in his house.
But Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde claimed the rioters looked like normal tourists. NBC News:
During a House Oversight Committee hearing on the Jan. 6 riot, Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., said the House floor was not breached and that the supporters of former President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol behaved “in an orderly fashion.” [….]
“As one of the members who stayed in the Capitol, and on the House floor, who with other Republican colleagues helped barricade the door until almost 3 p.m. from the mob who tried to enter, I can tell you the House floor was never breached and it was not an insurrection. This is the truth,” Clyde claimed….
“There was an undisciplined mob. There were some rioters, and some who committed acts of vandalism. But let me be clear, there was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection in my opinion, is a bold faced lie. Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol, and walk through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures, you know,” he continued.
“If you didn’t know that TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” Clyde said.
Tell that to police officer Michael Fanone who was beaten by rioters and now suffers from PTSD. The Washington Post: Body-cam footage shows Capitol rioter celebrating as D.C. cop is beaten and Tasered: ‘I got one!’
Those don’t look like normal tourists to me.
Yesterday Republicans also excommunicated far right conservative Liz Cheney for telling the truth about what happened on January 6, including Trump’s culpability for the riot.
The ongoing battle between truth and lies, and the continued fallout from the January 6 insurrection, played out Wednesday on Capitol Hill with critical oversight hearings and a landmark vote among the House Republicans to oust Liz Cheney from their leadership ranks.
The extraordinary day saw Cheney removed by voice vote in a 20-minute session that featured her fellow lawmakers booing her remarks about former President Donald Trump’s falsehoods about election fraud and then having members mock her on social media.
A House Oversight Committee hearing about “unexplained delays and unanswered questions” from January 6, featured Republican lawmakers attempt to deny basic facts about the insurrection and saw former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen resisting efforts to shed more light on Trump’s response to the riot. The Senate also held a hearing on domestic extremism that shed light on homegrown threats….
Rosen revealed that he met with Trump on January 3, just three days before the insurrection. He said they didn’t talk about the security planning for January 6, but he repeatedly refused to answer questions from House Oversight Committee Democrats about what he discussed with Trump at that meeting.
“I cannot tell you, consistent with my obligations today, about private conversations with the President, one way or the other,” Rosen said, later saying he “tried to be as forthcoming as I can” but that there are “ground rules” set by the Justice Department that he must “abide by.” Rosen did not elaborate on the alleged “ground rules” and passed on opportunities to shed more light on the insurrection.
This left Democrats stunned, including Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, who pointed out that nobody invoked executive privilege before the hearing, and Rep. Kweisi Mfume of Maryland, who asked Rosen if Trump ever talked to him about overturning the results of the 2020 election.
Read more details from the hearing at the link.
Hayes Brown at MSNBC: GOP lies about Jan. 6 are getting bolder — and more dangerous.
Four months ago, the U.S. Capitol was overrun. Lawmakers fled their chambers as the mob surged past police lines. Many feared for their lives as former President Donald Trump did nothing to halt the rioters’ march through the building in his name.
Since then, we’ve seen a shift in tone from Republicans who were there that day. I’ve argued that the GOP is taking advantage of Trump’s social media silencing to work undistracted on making the next election easier to overturn.
But it’s becoming clear to me that it’s worse than that. Some members of Congress are getting bolder in their defense of Trump’s actions before and after the election. They aren’t just denying that Trump incited a mob as they rewrite election laws: They’re denying that the mob was ever a threat at all, justifying the violence of that day.
A hearing on Wednesday in the House Oversight and Reform Committee was meant to get some answers to the many questions about what was going on inside the Trump administration on Jan. 6 as the mob tried to stop the count of electoral votes. Unfortunately, the star witnesses of the day, former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller and former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, were less informative than hoped. Miller in particular walked back his written testimony during his opening statement, refusing to say Trump had incited the protesters that day.
That wasn’t the worst rewrite of history at the hearing, though. That dubious honor goes to Republicans on the panel. In their telling, what happened on Jan. 6 was just some Trump supporters taking an unscheduled walk through the halls of Congress and the Capitol Police overreacting.
One more from Richard Wolffe at The Guardian: The point of the Republican party? To stroke the ego of Trump.
What is the point of the Republican party?
This isn’t a flip question. It’s one prompted by the last four months of grappling with the fallout of the bloody insurrection on Capitol Hill, and by the last four years of grappling with the fallout of installing a fascist in the White House.
So, for real: what does the GOP stand for? Apart from trying to seize back power, what does it want to do?
The answer, as Liz Cheney has learned, is to pander to the ego of a single Florida resident who has no obvious or coherent political purpose.
This might just explain why the party has been struggling so hard to respond to the last four months of the most tenuous Democratic control in Washington.
The Biden team has not commanded the nation’s capital from a position of strength because of LBJ-like powers of persuasion, Democratic unity or structural majorities. They have succeeded because Republicans sorely lack – as George HW Bush used to put it – the vision thing….
There was a time, not so long ago, when the GOP stood for small government, or big business, or at least big churches, or sometimes the little guy. They were for standing up to foreign enemies and domestic taxes….
After four years of Donald Trump, that is no longer the world we’re living in. To be fair, three decades’ worth of upheaval – the colossal failures of the war on terror, the financial crisis, a historic pandemic, the climate crisis and a technological revolution – may have made matters worse.
But here we are nonetheless at a point where the Grand Old Party has shrunk into a small old cult of personality, willing to twist and turn to the whims of its sociopathic former leader.
Consistency meant nothing inside the cult. More billions of spending on a nonsensical border wall? The deficit hawks said no problem. More bullying business leaders by presidential tweet? The capitalist caucus said bring it on. More cozying up to the leaders of Russia, China and even North Korea? The defense hawks thought that sounded fine. Paying off porn stars with campaign dollars? The party of family values barely blushed.
Each one of these big and small sellouts brought the party to the point where it fired Liz Cheney from the House leadership on Tuesday for stating the obvious: Trump lost the election last year and stoked an insurrection to save face.
The only solution to this battle between reality and fantasy is an independent commission to investigation the insurrection writes Kate Brannen at Just Security: Getting to the Bottom of Jan. 6 Is Proving Too Difficult for Congress.
If Wednesday’s House hearing on “unanswered questions” about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was good for anything, it showed why an independent commission is needed to investigate what happened that day.
It was the first time that former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen testified about the decisions and actions they took. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee also testified, but his actions are under far less scrutiny because his police officers responded immediately and essentially saved the day. He had also already testified about these matters in the Senate.
Despite this opportunity to question Miller and Rosen (and the important questions they could have been asked), members of the House Oversight Committee elicited little new information. Instead, precious time was wasted with grandstanding and aggressive posturing on both sides. Whether it’s Democrats admonishing the witnesses before they have a chance to speak or, worse yet, Republicans flooding the zone with disinformation, it’s increasingly clear that Congress is not up to the task of investigating the events of that day.
That’s a shame, because when it comes to Jan. 6, there are essentially two security failures that demand accountability (not to mention the role played by former President Donald Trump): the failure to prepare and understand the signals of what was coming and a failure to quickly get federal forces to respond once it was underway. The Department of Justice and the FBI bear some responsibility for the first failure, which left the U.S. government flat-footed when the attack began. The Defense Department, which Miller oversaw, was responsible for fielding requests for support from the D.C. National Guard and then authorizing its deployment, and so, is at the center of responsibility for the second failure.
Click the link to read the rest.
Is there any way to get past the GOP lies and obfuscation? Is an independent investigation possible? I hope so.
As always, this is an open thread.
I’ve been really dragging lately–partly because of health problems, but very likely also because of the exhausting events of the past year. Am I “languishing”? Are you?
Dakinikat pointed me to this New York Times article by organizational psychologist Adam Grant: There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing.
At first, I didn’t recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating. Colleagues reported that even with vaccines on the horizon, they weren’t excited about 2021. A family member was staying up late to watch “National Treasure” again even though she knows the movie by heart. And instead of bouncing out of bed at 6 a.m., I was lying there until 7, playing Words with Friends.
It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.
Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.
As scientists and physicians work to treat and cure the physical symptoms of long-haul Covid, many people are struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic. It hit some of us unprepared as the intense fear and grief of last year faded.
That sounds familiar. Of course I was already completely exhausted by the horror of 2016 and three years of Trump insanity when the pandemic hit. I’ve also been dealing with an autoimmune disorder called polymyalgia rheumatica. Despite seeing a Rheumatologist and taking multiple medications over the past year, I’m still struggling with chronic joint pain and stiffness. That has added to my sense of emotional exhaustion. I know I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by everything that’s been happening.
More from Adam Grant on “languishing:”
In the early, uncertain days of the pandemic, it’s likely that your brain’s threat detection system — called the amygdala — was on high alert for fight-or-flight. As you learned that masks helped protect us — but package-scrubbing didn’t — you probably developed routines that eased your sense of dread. But the pandemic has dragged on, and the acute state of anguish has given way to a chronic condition of languish.
In psychology, we think about mental health on a spectrum from depression to flourishing. Flourishing is the peak of well-being: You have a strong sense of meaning, mastery and mattering to others. Depression is the valley of ill-being: You feel despondent, drained and worthless.
Languishing is the neglected middle child of mental health. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either. You’re not functioning at full capacity. Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work. It appears to be more common than major depression — and in some ways it may be a bigger risk factor for mental illness.
The term was coined by a sociologist named Corey Keyes, who was struck that many people who weren’t depressed also weren’t thriving. His research suggests that the people most likely to experience major depression and anxiety disorders in the next decade aren’t the ones with those symptoms today. They’re the people who are languishing right now. And new evidence from pandemic health care workers in Italy shows that those who were languishing in the spring of 2020 were three times more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Part of the danger is that when you’re languishing, you might not notice the dulling of delight or the dwindling of drive. You don’t catch yourself slipping slowly into solitude; you’re indifferent to your indifference. When you can’t see your own suffering, you don’t seek help or even do much to help yourself.
Read the whole thing at the NYT and see what you think.
Now for today’s news . . .
Walter Mondale died yesterday. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Walter Mondale, who rose from small-town Minnesota to vice presidency, dies at 93.
Walter F. Mondale, a preacher’s son from southern Minnesota who climbed to the pinnacle of U.S. politics as an influential senator, vice president and Democratic nominee for president, died on Monday. He was 93.
Known as “Fritz” to family, friends and voters alike, Mondale died in Minneapolis, according to a statement from his family.
“As proud as we were of him leading the presidential ticket for Democrats in 1984, we know that our father’s public policy legacy is so much more than that,” read the Mondale family statement.
Former President Jimmy Carter, who chose Mondale as his running mate in 1976, called his friend “the best vice president in our country’s history.”
“He was an invaluable partner and an able servant of the people of Minnesota, the United States and the world,” Carter said in a statement. “Fritz Mondale provided us all with a model for public service and private behavior.”
After serving four years under Carter, Mondale was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984. He lost to the incumbent, President Ronald Reagan, in a historic landslide.
“A night like that is hard on you,” Mondale wrote in his 2010 memoir, “The Good Fight.”
Even in defeat, Mondale made history by choosing as his running mate Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice president on a major-party ticket. It followed a series of political landmarks in a public career that spanned seven decades.
A protégé of Hubert H. Humphrey, another Minnesota politician who rose to the vice presidency and lost a presidential election, Mondale served as a U.S. senator from Minnesota for a dozen years. He played a lead role in the passage of social programs, civil rights laws and environmental protections that defined President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society.”
As vice president from 1977 to 1981, Mondale transformed the office from what had historically been a punchline into what both he and Carter called a true governing partnership. Mondale’s role as chief adviser and troubleshooter, working from a West Wing office near the Oval Office, became a model for successors including George H.W. Bush, Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden.
“The first person I called was Fritz,” Biden once said about the time President Barack Obama offered him the No. 2 position.
At The Washington Post, Karen Tumulty wrote about how Mondale changed the vice presidency: Opinion: Walter Mondale reinvented the vice presidency. Both Biden and Harris should thank him for it.
Read more at the WaPo.
The Derek Chauvin trial wrapped up yesterday, and now the nation awaits the jury verdict. Here’s an interesting op-ed by former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rogers at CNN: Chauvin trial is ‘believe your eyes’ vs. ‘hey, look over there!’
Prosecutors treat closing arguments as an opportunity to make things simple for the jury and to keep them focused on the critical issues. Thus we heard state prosecutor Steve Schleicher’s mantra to the jury to “believe your eyes,” and his repeated references to the video evidence as well as his use of visual aids through which Schleicher listed and then checked off each legal element of each offense as he reminded the jury of the evidence proving them. This was a very effective technique, giving jurors who walked into the jury room inclined to vote to convict some ammunition to use in convincing more reluctant fellow jurors.
Defense lawyers have a different checklist, and Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson hit all of his marks. Defense lawyers use closings to distract the jurors, to pull them away from the focus encouraged by prosecutors, and to provide as many reasons as they can muster as to why the prosecutors’ theory of the case fails.
Nelson embraced this tactic, spending almost an hour showing body camera footage of and arguing about the period before Chauvin restrained Floyd, a time when other officers were trying to cram a resisting Floyd into the squad car, while virtually ignoring most of the 9 minutes and 29 seconds that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck. Nelson then tossed out all of the alternate causation theories he had cultivated throughout the trial — Floyd’s preexisting heart condition, his consumption of fentanyl and methamphetamine, the paraganglioma tumor, and possible carbon monoxide poisoning — claiming that with all of these possibilities out there, prosecutors couldn’t possibly prove causation beyond a reasonable doubt.
Jurors would be forgiven if their heads were spinning a bit from this rapid fire of legal theories — and that is exactly what the defense was aiming for.
Read the rest at CNN.
One more big story from yesterday at The Washington Post: Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who engaged rioters, suffered two strokes and died of natural causes, officials say.
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
I’m feeling old! I was doing my lecture on Options Trading and Strategies when I learned my young, most promising, bright student had never heard of a ticker tape machine. This young man trades continually so that kind’ve blew me away. He’d never heard of tickertape parades either. So, I had to show him the old ticker tape machines invented by Edison for Western Union that I thought were at the heart of every discussion of Black Friday, 1929 and then through a few ticker tape parades for a side discussion. We used digital and internet Bloomberg Displays during my first work years. You know, those green and black multipixel screens plugged into a phone line.
I had to say, yes, that when my Uncle charted a stock back in the day he had to go through all the tape and find each tick or open and close. He did it all by hand on these huge sheets of paper on either a ping pong table or a pool table. They were all over the walls of his basement rec room too. I actually could search for that with a command on the Bloomberg terminal. Now, you just go to Yahoo Finance and can pull whatever off with a few selected search parameters and enter. Plus, you don’t have to pay an exorbitant amount of money for access and the equipment. My Uncle Jock actually had a seat on the NYSE by his lonesome to get that access. My mother’s sister obviously married well.
I also am old enough to remember when no US candidate for President colluded with the Russians. Candidates generally tried to look as tough on the USSR or Russia as possible. But then, we got the previous guy and it was so obvious it was with Russian help. Now we got the receipts.
The Biden administration revealed on Thursday that a business associate of Trump campaign officials in 2016 provided campaign polling data to Russian intelligence services, the strongest evidence to date that Russian spies had penetrated the inner workings of the Trump campaign.
The revelation, made public in a Treasury Department document announcing new sanctions against Russia, established for the first time that private meetings and communications between the campaign officials, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and their business associate were a direct pipeline from the campaign to Russian spies at a time when the Kremlin was engaged in a covert effort to sabotage the 2016 presidential election.
Previous government investigations have identified the Trump aides’ associate, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, as a Russian intelligence operative, and Mr. Manafort’s decision to provide him with internal polling data was one of the mysteries that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, sought to unravel during his two-year investigation into Russia’s election meddling.
“During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy,” the Treasury Department said in a news release. “Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
You can watch Rachel Maddow explain it all here:
Can we just agree that an entire section of the American populace appears to be captured by a huge right wing propaganda machine that includes all kinds of malcontents and evil-doers? Now, can we find some strategy to undo this please? We hear nothing about this at the propaganda site “The Federalist” but there’s a huge screaming headline about the same study that showed that there was not enough hard evidence to show Russians pais bounties to the Taliban even though there was ample evidence they were helping them in their fight against the US in Afghanistan.
What do these people hate so much about our democracy that they want to tank it? And no, I’m not talking about the Russians. We know why on that account. My only guess is that a lot of wipopo are afraid of POC that they will do anything to stop from the potential of being treated like we treat minorities and women in this country historically.
Biden did drop a lot of sanctions on Russia yesterday but Axios explains why: “Biden’s Russian sanctions likely to achieve little.”
Despite bold talk from top administration officials, there’s little reason to think the Russia sanctions package President Biden announced Thursday will do anything to alter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s behavior or calculus.
Why it matters: While it’s true some elements of the package — namely, the targeting of Russia’s sovereign debt — represent significant punitive measures against Moscow, it leaves plenty of wiggle room for the Russian president.
- White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the action, telling reporters: “We can’t predict what the impact will be, but we still believe that when there’s unacceptable behavior, we should put consequences in place.”
Between the lines: Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had known and dealt with Putin for years while running Exxon Mobil, used to tell colleagues sanctions did little if anything to deter the Russian leader.
- It’s hard to argue against Tillerson’s case.
- The U.S. and its international allies have imposed some form of sanctions against Russia every year since 2014, when Putin’s “little green men” first appeared in Ukraine.
- Since then, Russia has continued to occupy Crimea and eastern Ukraine; propped up the brutal Assad regime in Syria; hacked U.S. and other Western elections; crushed protests at home; and attempted to assassinate dissidents on foreign soil, among other things.
Yes, but: Where Thursday’s sanctions do break new ground is in the cyber realm.
- The U.S. government formally accused Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service of the SolarWinds hack and identified its collaborators in painstaking detail, as German security expert Thomas Rid notes in an illuminating Twitter thread.
- And a ban on U.S. banks directly buying Russian government bonds could create a “broader chilling effect” that will weaken the ruble and have negative implications for inflation and economic growth, a senior administration official told reporters.
- But the ability for investors to continue buying Russian bonds on the secondary market diminishes the overall effect of the restrictions — reflecting Biden’s desire to send a clear message to the Russians without taking it too far.
Frank Thorp V–NBC News–has an incredible piece up about “After the Riot. It’s been 100 days since the attack on the Capitol, and those who were inside still struggle with their memories.” I can only imagine. I was traumatized enough watching it on TV from my bedroom. These are some stories from people who lived it.
When a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the world watched as the rioters entered the building, breaking windows and pushing through barriers. But it was more than just physical space that was violated. The seat of government was occupied by hundreds of lawmakers and their aides, building staff members, and journalists.
Some inside tried to flee. Some tried to barricade themselves in offices. Others inside swung into action. Journalists mobilized to document the attack in real time. The Capitol Police tried to protect the people inside.
The mob tried to stop the certification of the election of Joe Biden because they believed the false claims of then-President Donald Trump that rampant fraud had stolen victory from him. Many who experienced that fury say they continue to process the trauma of the day. And all want the events to be remembered as a lesson for Americans, and the world.
“I hope people will remember, with some solemnity, the fragility of democracy,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. “It’s a hard-won gift we’ve been given and it can slip away real quickly. So I hope people remember the precariousness of it all.”
The founding member of The Oath Keepers is about to plea guilty for his role (via WAPO)
We still feel like we’re in a becoming state and that we’re back on the right path. However, these last 5 or so years are likely to scar many of us for life. The unfolding numbers of young black men shot by police officers is a daily lesson. A 13 Chicago boy follows orders and is still shot dead. We just woke up to another mess shooting. This time it was in Indianapolis at a Fed Ex facility. There are 8 fatalities . Unlike the previous guy, our President is going to make a statement shortly and has already reached out to Fed Ex.
Vice President Kamala Harris said Friday there’s “no question” that gun violence must be stopped.
“Yet again we have families in our country who are grieving because of the loss of their family members” to gun violence, Harris said. “There is no question that this violence must end and we are thinking of the families that lost their loved ones.”
“Yet again” sums ups so much of this. Yet again, the Republicans want to downsize spending that would actually help the US economy, US businesses, and US families. Again, Republican Senators attack terrifically qualified women of color in their hearings on their way to high government posts. Yet again, the Republicans are looking to another demagogue for help with white hegemony. This time it is failed Florida Governor and mass Covid-19 Murderer Ron DeSantis. Politico‘s article sent shivers down my spine. “‘A nicer version of Trump’: GOP donors flock to DeSantis. The Florida governor has cultivated relationships with many of the party’s biggest givers, who admire his opposition to strict Covid mitigation policies. One more sociopath spreading hatred and lies across the country. A nicer version of a sociopath is still a sociopath.
Donor interest in the governor extends far beyond Florida. Andy Sabin, a New York-based precious metal company executive, said he expects to host a pair of fundraisers later this year bolstering the governor’s reelection effort. Dallas businessperson Doug Deason anticipates holding a pre-summer event. Don Tapia, who served as ambassador to Jamaica during the Trump administration, is planning on hosting a fundraiser at his Arizona home.
Like others, Tapia praised DeSantis for his handling of the pandemic and what he described as the governor’s independent style.
DeSantis “has a major political future in the Republican Party,” said Tapia, a retired electrical company executive who’s given extensively to GOP causes for several decades. Tapia wouldn’t say DeSantis was his first choice among potential 2024 candidates but called him a “strong candidate I would truly look at.”
The enthusiasm was on full display during DeSantis’ appearance at last weekend’s Republican National Committee donor gala in Palm Beach, Fla., where he drew wild applause for declaring the party needed figures who withstood public pressure and weren’t afraid to confront what he called the “elite, New York corporate media.”
The governor was mobbed over the course of the weekend. Joanne Zervos, a New York City donor who spoke with DeSantis during the conference, said many contributors saw him as “a nicer version of Trump,” someone who had embraced the former president’s policies but lacked his rough edges. Zervos said she was drawn to the governor because of his approach to dealing with the coronavirus.
Again, what on earth reality are they dealing with? DeSantis has basically created a state of plague rats ready to travel around the country making every one sick? My two favorite Republican idiots these week are the dummies who questioned Kristen Clarke about a satirical piece she wrote at Harvard when she was 19 literally taking it literally.
Republicans also criticized Clarke over an editorial she wrote as a student at Harvard University in 1994 that sought to rebut claims made in “The Bell Curve” that tied intelligence to race. In the piece, Clarke recited research by some Black scholars that suggested Blacks are intellectually superior, a point she reiterated Wednesday was intended to be “satirical.”
Kristen Clarke is President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and if confirmed, she would be the first Black woman or woman of color to lead the division since its creation more than 50 years ago. So naturally, some Republicans have big problems with her.
During Wednesday’s confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Texas’ John Cornyn wanted to talk with Clarke about an article she wrote when she was a student at Harvard. Cornyn was very concerned because in this piece, Clarke listed a number of ways in which Black people are genetically superior to whites. Concerning, no??
No, it’s not. Because the piece, as Clarke explained patiently to him, was satire.
Yet again, Auntie Maxine had to draw the gavel down on ranting Gym Jordan during a hearing with Dr. Fauci. Even Dr. Fauci– unleashed–told him to stop ranting in a Congressional hearing. CNN reports: “Maxine Waters tells Jim Jordan to ‘shut your mouth’ after GOP congressman feuds with Fauci.”
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan and the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci got into a heated exchange Thursday over the country’s Covid-19 mitigation measures, which ended with Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters telling Jordan to “shut your mouth.”
During a House subcommittee hearing about federal government’s response to the pandemic, Jordan, an Ohio conservative, asked Fauci when the nation can begin relaxing physical distancing measures and mask-wearing — posing it as a question as to when Americans will regain their freedom and liberties
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, started to respond that the time will be when the United States has more Americans vaccinated and has a level of coronavirus infection that is low enough that it’s “no longer a threat.”
“We had 15 days of ‘slow the spread’ turn into one year of lost liberty,” Jordan said. “What metrics, what measures, what has to happen before Americans get more freedoms back?”
“You’re indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to the hospital,” Fauci countered. “This will end, for sure, when we get the level of infection very low. It is now at such a high level, there is a threat again of major surges.”
You can watch the calm Dr Fauci take on crazy ass Gym who is more concerned about getting people to fill up churches than having people fill up morgues and IC wards.
So that’s enough for me! For sure!!
Yet again, What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I watched Biden’s first presser yesterday afternoon. I’m pretty convinced that some one needs to rewrite the rules for the Beltway Press. There were a lot of missed opportunities for real questions, the usual resplendent use of bothersiderisms, the usual just to be “fair” hunt for attacks knowing Status Quo Joe wouldn’t respond like the Previous Guy, and just some things that make me think some one needs to rewrite their playbooks. But, let’s also review the day/week where The Previous Guy managed to suck some of the air out of the recent spate of good news.
Meanwhile, in the dank regions of the The Previous Guy we have some upsetting headlines. The first one is a stab at the heart of our democracy as Georgia’s Governor signed a disturbing series of voter suppression actions into law. A Georgia legislator was arrested while knocking on a door to see the secret signing. Then, the Previous Guy went on TV to exclaim the DOJ was persecuting the Seditionists that illegally entered the US Capitol Building. If that wasn’t enough, we learn that white supremacist and all around ugly white Guy Stephen Miller is trying to put together some legal organization to torment President Biden.
I’m going to try to unpack all or some of these but it’s a lot. Especially since we woke up this morning to the Michigan Legislature trying voter suppression legislation there. Yes, their Governor will not sign it but that’s not stopping them from trying to go around her. Then there is also the usual bunch of right wing whack-a-dos still off on the absolutely false narrative of a stolen national election and not only going anti-mask but also anti-vaccine. Why do they want to stop the Vaccine?
So, on to the unpacking …
This is from Susan B. Glasser writing for The New Yorker: “The Presidential Press Conference in the Biden Era Is as Awful as Ever. Under Trump, we had to listen. But now? There must be a better way.”
Sometimes the big moments in our politics meet the very low expectations we have for them. Joe Biden’s first Presidential press conference, on Thursday, was one of them. By the end of it, after an hour and two minutes that felt much longer, Biden had answered some two dozen questions. The majority of them were repetitive variants on one of two subjects: immigration and the Senate filibuster.
Biden had no actual news to offer on either subject. In case you missed it, he is really, totally, absolutely committed to fixing the terrible situation at the border, and also not yet ready—because he does not have the votes—to commit to blowing up the filibuster. There was not a single question, meanwhile, about the ongoing pandemic that for the past year has convulsed life as we know it and continues to claim an average of a thousand lives a day. How is this even possible during a once-in-a-century public-health crisis, the combating of which was the central theme of Biden’s campaign and remains the central promise of his Presidency? It’s hard not to see it as anything other than an epic and utterly avoidable press fail.
For weeks, Washington clamored for a Biden press conference. This was, after all, the longest a new President had gone without holding one since the Coolidge Administration. Republicans—and the state-run media in Russia—seized on Biden’s reticence as proof that he was somehow too old or incoherent to face the rigors of extended, unscripted questioning. With his critics having set such a low bar, it should surprise no one that Biden, who did, after all, win a national election by surviving almost a dozen debates with his Democratic-primary rivals and two with Donald Trump, cleared it. Republicans, it could be said, succeeded in one respect with their preshow spin: they wanted Biden to be on the defensive talking about immigration and the border, not the passage of his $1.9 trillion covid-relief package and the success of his vaccine campaign. Reporters, based on the questions, agreed.
Sixty-five days into Biden’s tenure, there was plenty to ask him about, even in the absence of the Trump-manufactured dramas that fuelled the news in the past few years: horrific mass shootings, escalating tensions with China and Russia, missile tests by North Korea, and, oh, yes, the pandemic. The killings in Georgia and Colorado over the past week forced Biden to cancel part of his carefully planned “help is here” tour to tout the covid-relief package—a reminder that, no matter how disciplined and organized his Administration is, no matter the contrast to Trumpian chaos, all leaders fall prey to the press of urgent and unanticipated crises. Biden opened the press conference by announcing a new plan to administer two hundred million vaccines by his hundredth day in office and a vow to get a majority of elementary and middle schools open by then. But that is where the big story of his Administration began and ended—as far as the journalists were concerned.
This take by Jon Allsop at The Columbia Journalism Review is brutal. Here’s the lede: ‘Reporters hype—then waste—Biden’s first press conference.’
Given the anticipation, one might have expected White House reporters to use their time with Biden wisely. Some did, asking specific questions on consequential topics such as troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and tariffs on China. On the whole, though, the questions were a flop. Some were misframed: Biden was asked, based on the worthless word of Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, if he had “rejected bipartisanship”; a question about Republican voting restrictions cast them not as an assault on democracy, but a potential partisan disadvantage for Biden’s party. (Biden corrected the error: “What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is,” he said. “It’s sick.”) Other questions came up repeatedly, even though Biden answered them the first time: Reporters raised the situation at the border, applying the highly dubious narrative that Biden’s “decency” is leading to a “surge” in child migration. Biden was asked twice whether he’d run again in 2024 and, if so, whether Vice President Kamala Harris would be on his ticket, and whether he thought Donald Trump would be his opponent. (“Look, I… I don’t know where you guys come from, man,” Biden replied. “I’ve never been able to plan three and a half years ahead for certain.”) All of the above questions long preceded the first substantive question on gun policy, despite the recent mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado. There were no questions at all about the pandemic.
There’s some other critiques out there you can check but it’s pretty much the same. The Beltway Press are predictable and somewhat useless any more. I so miss Helen Thomas. I can’t help but wonder what she’d have done with The Previous Guy.
The only thing republicans have left to them is to continue to block everything via the filibuster if they can, conspiracy theories easily disproven, and the voter suppression efforts in the legislatures which are directly anti-democratic and as seditious as rioting, looting, and killing police at the U.S. Capitol.
So, The Previous Guy thinks every one is persecuting his ugly band of seditionists. This is from New York Magazine and Jonathan Chait: “Trump Complains Government Is ‘Persecuting’ Capitol Rioters.” This definitely makes me feel sorry for any one that has to watch Laura Ingraham for a living.
The new reality was driven home in Trump’s interview with Laura Ingraham Thursday night. At one point, the Fox News host, whose “interview” was more like an exchange of talking points, brought up a new report that the Homeland Security Department will be giving more attention to right-wing domestic extremism. “The idea is to identify people who may, through their social-media behavior, be prone to influence by toxic messaging spread by foreign governments, terrorists, and domestic extremists,” Ingraham noted. “Mr. President, their DHS is going after people who may be your supporters.”
It is worth pausing for a moment to record that Ingraham’s reaction to a description of people “prone to influence by toxic messaging spread by foreign governments, terrorists, and domestic extremists” is hey, they’re talking about us!
Trump, taking the cue, denounced federal authorities for charging his supporters with crimes. “They go after that, I guess you’d call them leaning toward the right … those people, they’re arresting them by the dozens,” he complained.
Ingraham did not follow up by asking who was being arrested by the dozens. But Trump’s answer became clear a few questions later. Ingraham prompted him with a safe question about the security fencing around the Capitol, a precaution even Democrats have deemed excessive long after the insurrection ended.
Rather than simply denounce the fencing, Trump launched into a defense of the riot. “It was zero threat, right from the start, it was zero threat. They’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards,” he insisted about the violent clash.
Trump proceeded to portray the prosecution of the insurrectionists as a witch hunt against his movement. “They’re doing things, they’re persecuting a lot of those people,” he complained. Using his customary formulation — the crimes are on the other side — he launched into a tangent about the alleged failure to prosecute antifa, before returning to his true complaint: “… and yet I’m constantly seeing they’re searching out people on the right.”
This is really true to form for both of these ugly people. I still can’t believe any one buys this bullshit but there certainly a lot of dumb white men out there. And wait! There’s more! Far-Right Extremists Move From ‘Stop the Steal’ to Stop the Vaccine. Extremist organizations are now bashing the safety and efficacy of coronavirus vaccines in an effort to try to undermine the government.”
Adherents of far-right groups who cluster online have turned repeatedly to one particular website in recent weeks — the federal database showing deaths and adverse reactions nationwide among people who have received Covid-19 vaccinations.
Although negative reactions have been relatively rare, the numbers are used by many extremist groups to try to bolster a rash of false and alarmist disinformation in articles and videos with titles like “Covid-19 Vaccines Are Weapons of Mass Destruction — and Could Wipe out the Human Race” or “Doctors and Nurses Giving the Covid-19 Vaccine Will be Tried as War Criminals.”
If the so-called Stop the Steal movement appeared to be chasing a lost cause once President Biden was inaugurated, its supporters among extremist organizations are now adopting a new agenda from the anti-vaccination campaign to try to undermine the government.
Bashing of the safety and efficacy of vaccines is occurring in chatrooms frequented by all manner of right-wing groups including the Proud Boys; the Boogaloo movement, a loose affiliation known for wanting to spark a second Civil War; and various paramilitary organizations.
These groups tend to portray vaccines as a symbol of excessive government control. “If less people get vaccinated then the system will have to use more aggressive force on the rest of us to make us get the shot,” read a recent post on the Telegram social media platform, in a channel linked to members of the Proud Boys charged in storming the Capitol.
The DOJ is supposedly going to get a lot more active investigating the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys but little has been announced yet from the new AG on the program. They have announced that the two white nationalist groups did coordinate on the Insurrection and members may likely face sedition charges. This is from the LA Times “Justice Dept. alleges that Oath Keepers militia, far-right Proud Boys coordinated plans for Capitol assault.”
A leader of the Oath Keepers militia was communicating with members of the far-right Proud Boys in the weeks leading to the U.S. Capitol attack, federal prosecutors allege, suggesting for the first time that the extremist groups had formed an alliance for the day of the deadly assault.
The disclosure came in court papers filed late Tuesday arguing that Kelly Meggs, the 52-year-old head of the Oath Keepers’ chapter in Florida, is too dangerous to release pending trial in Washington’s federal court. Meggs has been charged along with nine other alleged members of the Oath Keepers in a six-count indictment accusing them of conspiring to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6 to stop the counting of electoral college votes that would certify Joe Biden’s victory.
In their expansive investigation of the Capitol assault, which left five people dead, federal agents are examining the role far-right groups played in organizing and fomenting the riot. At least 16 alleged members of the Oath Keepers, described by federal authorities as a large but loosely organized anti-government militia, have been charged in the insurrection.
Prosecutors allege Meggs played a key role in the Oath Keepers’ plotting and financing of their actions in Washington, while coordinating his militia’s actions with other extremists in the hopes of disrupting Congress’ work counting electoral college votes.
Okay, so let me wrap up with the most important topic of the here and now. Republicans are aware that they are falling into the category of an unelectable minority given the demographics of most states. The bottom line is they’re working hard to make certain People of Color– and especially Black Americans–cannot access the voting booth. The first of the draconian measures were signed into Georgia law late last night in a secret gathering in Governor Kemp’s office. This lead to the arrest of Georgia Legislator State Rep Park Cannon. This all broke late into the evening news hour. This is from NPR: “Georgia Lawmaker Arrested As Governor Signs Law Overhauling Elections”.
Repeatedly knocking on the office door of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp got one state lawmaker arrested at the Capitol on Thursday.
Democratic state Rep. Park Cannon, a Black woman, continued knocking on Kemp’s office door after Georgia State Patrol troopers instructed her to stop.
She said later she was arrested for “fighting voter suppression.” A law signed by Kemp on Thursday includes new limitations on mail-in voting, expands most voters’ access to in-person early voting and caps a months-long battle over voting in a battleground state.
It has been heavily criticized as a bill that would end up disenfranchising Black voters. It’s also seen as Republicans’ rebuke of the November and January elections in which the state’s Black voters led the election of two Democrats to the Senate.
Cannon is facing a charge of obstructing law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence and she faces a second charge of disrupting general assembly sessions or other meetings of members.
It’s unclear what was said between Cannon and one state trooper guarding Kemp’s office door.
You can read more about the “Sweeping changes to Georgia elections signed into law” at the Atlanta JC.
Gov. Brian Kemp quickly signed a vast rewrite of Georgia’s election rules into law Thursday, imposing voter ID requirements, limiting drop boxes and allowing state takeovers of local elections after last year’s close presidential race.
The most disturbing parts are where the legislature gets to decide the race outcome if they don’t like what the people voted for.
The bill also will allow the State Election Board to take over county election boards that it deems need intervention. Skeptics say that will allow Republican officials to decide which ballots count in majority Democratic areas, such as Fulton County.
While the head of the Michigan Republican party “quips on video about assassination, ‘three witches’ ” The legislature tries to shove voter suppression actions around the vetoing pen of Governor Whitmer. This is via The Detroit News : “Michigan GOP leader reveals plans to go around Whitmer for voting law overhaul.”
Michigan Republicans are crafting plans to work around Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to make changes to the battleground state’s voting laws after losses in the 2020 election.
Ron Weiser, chairman of the Michigan GOP, told the North Oakland Republican Club Thursday night that the party wants to blend together bills proposed in the House and Senate for a petition initiative.
If Republicans gathered enough signatures — more than 340,000 would be needed — the GOP-controlled Legislature could approve the proposal into law without Whitmer being able to veto it.
Senate Republicans unveiled 39 bills Wednesday to require applicants for absentee ballots to present a copy of identification, overhaul large counties’ canvassing boards and bar Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson from sending absentee ballot applications to voters unless they specifically request the applications.
“If that legislation is not passed by our Legislature, which I am sure it will be, but if it’s not signed by the governor, then we have other plans to make sure that it becomes law before 2022,” Weiser said, according to a video posted on social media.
“That plan includes taking that legislation and getting the signatures necessary for a legislative initiative so it can become law without Gretchen Whitmer’s signature,” Weiser added.
In states across the country this year, Republicans have advanced changes to voting laws after former President Donald Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden on Nov. 3 and made unproven claims of voter fraud.
So, we’re not going to get a break from the crazy any time soon.
Since I’ve really loaded you down with some negative political vibes I am once again celebrating Women artists and musicians for Women’s History Month. Hopefully, the woman artists and their artwork will pick you up. Also, enjoy one of my favorite young songwriters and her group from New Orleans. I featured her before but I always like to play her whenever the day needs a pick me up.
So here is Tank and the Bangas doing their NPR Tiny Desk Contest in 2017. These young adults are all graduates of the performing arts school in my neighborhood! Be safe! Check in!
And I just had to add this!!! This woman had some amazing Needle skills and an incredible eye for design!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?