More to ignore, Book 21....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Schumer postpones filibuster, voting rights fight to next week
Joan McCarter

It was the perfect storm for the Senate on Thursday, resulting in disaster for Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s plan to have a showdown over the filibuster and voting rights and elections reforms by next Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But COVID-19, a looming winter storm, and a narcissist with rumored delusions of grandeur came crashing in to derail that plan.

Schumer announced on the floor Thursday night that the Senate would not work over the weekend because at least one member is sidelined with a COVID diagnosis, and because of a severe winter storm forecast for the weekend. He said the Senate would, however, postpone the MLK recess to return “on Tuesday to take up the House-passed message containing voting rights legislation. Make no mistake, the United States Senate will, for the first time this Congress, debate voting rights legislation beginning on Tuesday.” He promised that there will be a challenge to the filibuster, another threat to Senate Republicans and to Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin.

“If the Senate Republicans choose obstruction over protecting the sacred right to vote, as we expect them to, the Senate will consider and vote on changing the Senate rules, as has been done many times before, to allow passage of voting rights legislation,” Schumer said. He continued, asking rhetorically how the Senate could allow for voter suppression laws to be enacted in the states with simple majority votes, while the U.S. Senate could not do the same to protect the right to vote, ”the cornerstone of our democracy.” He promised, “In the coming days, we will confront this sobering question and every member will go on record.”
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The White House, Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters Friday morning, is still involved. “We keep fighting,” she said. “We are committed to seeing this through, however long it takes and whatever it takes.” Harris is meeting with Democratic senators on voting rights Friday.

President Joe Biden had “a candid and respectful exchange of views about voting rights,” with Manchin and Sinema Thursday night at the White House, after which neither of the senators commented. Given Sinema’s grandstanding on the floor about preserving the Jim Crow filibuster - and Manchin’s cheerleading of her afterward, the outlook is not bright.

But it is important to make them—and every other Democrat who might be hiding behind them—to make their position public. As Biden put it in his speech Tuesday: “Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”

Those Democrats hiding behind Manchin and Sinema, however, might quietly appeal to Schumer to back away from that pledge. He shouldn’t. It’s time Republican obstruction be faced head-on and for Democrats to choose their side, in public.

Beyond voting rights, and speaking of Manchin, the Senate is still stymied on Build Back Better. This is the week more than 30 million American families will begin missing those Child Tax Credit payments, payments that will disappear entirely for many families whose income levels kept them from previously receiving the tax credit. The outlook for that is also cloudy; Manchin appears to be insisting that, if the payments continue, they be tied to work requirements. This bill is being done under budget reconciliation, one of those 160+ filibuster carve-outs, so it doesn’t require Republican votes. It does, unfortunately, require diva votes.

The other issue that’s rising up, with a Feb. 18 deadline on government funding nearing, is staving off a shutdown and trying to adopt a long-term spending measure to get the nation through the rest of the fiscal year. Democrats are fighting for actual budget bills to fund their agenda, Republicans are trying to force another long-term continuing resolution that keeps the Biden administration hobbled with Trump administration spending levels.

Democrats also want to provide paid leave and possibly another round of COVID-19 relief payments in the package, as well as expanding testing and vaccine availability, depending on how much of the previously appropriated federal money is available.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday rejected a new congressional map drawn by state Republican lawmakers as unconstitutional and ordered it redrawn, marking a major victory for Democrats in a state where lopsided districts have confounded their efforts to gain seats in the House.

Democrats and voting rights groups had sued after Republicans created a new map in which the party would have had a 12 to 3 advantage over Democrats in House districts. They charged that the new lines defied a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2018 to ban partisan gerrymandering.
While Republicans have won most recent statewide elections, their margins of victory have been far smaller.

“When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins,” Justice Michael Donnelly wrote in the court’s 4 to 3 opinion. The court ordered the state legislature to submit a new map in the next 3o days.

After redistricting in 2011, Ohio’s congressional delegation went from 10 Democrats and eight Republicans when Barack Obama won the state in 2008 to 12 Republicans and four Democrats in 2012 when Obama won it again. Not a single seat flipped since.

Hamilton County, which contains the heavily-Black city of Cincinnati, was sliced in half in 2011, and those minority voters lumped into districts with more rural, majority-White voters. For the past decade, the county, which voted for President Biden, was represented by two conservative Republicans.

Although the constitutional amendment called for counties to be kept whole, GOP lawmakers again chopped up Hamilton County, this time into three pieces.


This story is developing.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Manchin, Sinema just made it that much easier for Trump to seize control
Joan McCarter

During recent weeks, while President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have been building the case for the Freedom to Vote and the John Lewis Voting Rights bills, there’s also been increasing chatter about Republicans finding one election reform they could really get behind: the Electoral Count Act.

There’s been so much chatter about it, in fact, that Politico went out and polled it, finding that 55% of Americans support reforming the law that Trump used to try to overthrow the 2020 election. It should be noted, since we’re talking popular opinion, that the same poll found majority support for every element of the Freedom to Vote Act.

But now that Mitch McConnell has Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in the bag opposing Democrats’ efforts to restore full and free elections, let’s just see how helpful Republicans will be in making this more discrete reform. Let’s see whether the chatter—fed by Republicans to their pet members of the traditional press—about an election reform Republicans will support even continues.
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It’s not that the reform isn’t needed, and it’s not that they aren’t good idea. The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent reported this week on one of them, writing that “Senators are close to completing a bill to revise the Electoral Count Act of 1887,” with legislation that would “fix ambiguities in the ECA that Trump directly exploited with his wide-ranging 2020 plot.” He reported that independent Maine Sen. Angus King is spearheading the effort, and that there’s agreement that the law as is stands “is a clear and present threat to democracy.”

The bill is supposed to introduced “in the coming weeks” by King along with Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Amy Klobuchar, but not until the push for larger voting rights and elections reforms bills is over. “It’s very important to emphasize that this is not a solution to the voting rights issues being raised across the country,” King told Sargent.

The point of the legislation would be to Trump-proof the electoral count in the Congress—set a higher bar for Trumpers (or, post-Trump, any renegade bunch of members) to attempt to invalidate legitimate electors from states with phony slates. The key thing is to maintain protections in the law to still allow for Congress to invalidate those phony slates if a state legislature or governor tries to overthrow the will of the voters of their state. As it stands, it takes just one representative and one senator to challenge a state’s electors, and just a simple majority to sustain that objection and toss the votes.

This proposed bill would require large blocs of both representatives and senators to offer objections, possibly as much as one-third of each body. It would also require a supermajority—possibly as high as three-fifths—of members in both the House and Senate to support the objection. It’s a good and smart and necessary correction. Some Republicans—even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—might want to actually see it happen. It
might get 10 Republicans to break a filibuster. There are a handful—Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi—who’ve been making noises about it.

“I can’t count 10 Republicans right now, but I don’t think it’s unlikely,” King told Sargent. “I see this as more of a bipartisan issue.”

It really only has to be a bipartisan issue, though, if Republicans believe that Manchin and Sinema will help Democrats on the larger reforms. What Republicans have been doing so far, including the supposed bipartisan gang Susan Collins was rumored to be putting together with Manchin and Sinema on it last week, smacked of the usual McConnell bait-and-switch in which he deputizes her to reach out to the usual Democratic suspects and lure them away from taking necessary action with the specter of “bipartisanship.”


Enough straight-line Democrats, as well as Sen. King, have seen the ploy for what it is and insist it can’t be a substitute for protecting voting rights. The larger question now is if it’s even going to still be on the table after Manchin and Sinema waved the white flag to McConnell.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Kevin McCarthy has a new ailment: Convenient amnesia when it comes to Trump and events of Jan. 6
Rebekah Sager

In the days following the deadly terrorist insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had no issue going around publicly telling whomever was listening that former President Donald Trump was the man behind the curtain, responsible for leading the mob to riot—which is exactly why the House select committee wants to hear from McCarthy himself.

According to CNN, McCarthy appeared on KERN, a local Bakersfield, California, radio station on Jan. 12, and spilled the beans on heir Trump.

"I say he has responsibility," McCarthy said. "He told me personally that he does have some responsibility. I think a lot of people do."



McCarthy also blabbed about Trump to House Republicans during a private conference on Jan. 11. CNN obtained a copy of a transcript of the call.

"Let me be clear to you and I have been very clear to the President. He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No if ands or buts," McCarthy told House Republicans on Jan. 11, 2021, according to the readout obtained by CNN from a source listening to the call. "I asked him personally today if he holds responsibility for what happened. If he feels bad about what happened. He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. But he needs to acknowledge that."

But now, all of a sudden, McCarthy apparently has no memory of ever having this conversation, he said during a press conference Thursday.



But in the radio interview, McCarthy said he’d spoken with Trump during the insurrection and in fact, was the first person to call him.

“I told him to go on national TV, tell these people to stop it. He said he didn't know what was happening. We went to the news then to work through that. I asked the president, he has a responsibility. You know what the President does, but you know what? All of us do,” McCarthy said.

He later added that he told Trump to call in the National Guard and go on TV.

All of this is of particular interest to the House committee. But of course, McCarthy is a pulling a McCarthy and refusing to cooperate.

"As a representative and the leader of the minority party, it is with neither regret nor satisfaction that I have concluded to not participate with this select committee's abuse of power that stains this institution today and will harm it going forward," McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday night.

The Republican leader is putting the blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the fact that she rejected some of picks to serve on the panel. Pelosi “is not conducting a legitimate investigation,” he’s claiming and the committee "is not serving any legislative purpose."

But Rep. Liz Cheney isn’t playing footsie with these ne’er do wells, and hasn’t ruled out a subpoena for McCarthy, saying, "We're going to evaluate our options, but we will get to the truth."

A letter from the committee outlines the investigation into McCarthy.

“We also must learn about how the President's plans for January 6th came together, and all the other ways he attempted to alter the results of the election," wrote committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi. "For example, in advance of January 6th, you reportedly explained to Mark Meadows and the former President that objections to the certification of the electoral votes on January 6th 'was doomed to fail.'"

The committee believes that all of McCarthy’s interactions with Trump go toward explaining the ex-president’s state of mind during the attack.

"The Select Committee has contemporaneous text messages from multiple witnesses identifying significant concerns following January 6th held by White House staff and the President's supporters regarding President Trump's state of mind and his ongoing conduct. It appears that you had one or more conversations with the President during this period," the letter states.

"It appears that you may also have discussed with President Trump the potential he would face a censure resolution, impeachment, or removal under the 25th Amendment. It also appears that you may have identified other possible options, including President Trump's immediate resignation from office," it added.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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House Jan. 6 panel subpoenas social media giants for records related to insurrection
Charles Jay

The House select committee has subpoenaed leading social media companies for records related to the Jan. 6 insurrection as it seeks to review data that could potentially implicate the Trump White House.

The subpoenas were issued on Thursday to Twitter, Meta, Alphabet and Reddit. Facebook is part of Meta and Google is part of Alphabet.

In a statement released by the committee, Chairman Bennie Thompson said::

“Two key questions for the Select Committee are how the spread of misinformation and violent extremism contributed to the violent attack on our democracy, and what steps—if any—social media companies took to prevent their platforms from being breeding grounds for radicalizing people to violence.
“It’s disappointing that after months of engagement, we still do not have the documents and information necessary to answer those basic questions. The Select Committee is working to get answers for the American people and help ensure nothing like January 6th ever happens again. We cannot allow our important work to be delayed any further.”

In his subpoena letter to Twitter, Thompson said the select committee was interested in obtaining key documents House investigators suspect the company is withholding that could shed light on how people used the platform to plan and execute the Capitol attack.

The letter added:

Finally, Twitter has failed to produce any documents that fully explain either its decision to suspend President Trump’s account on January 8, 2021, or any other decisions the company made regarding President Trump’s account relating to the events of January 6th.
After over four months of good-faith negotiations on the part of the Select Committee, it has become clear that Twitter is unwilling to commit to voluntarily and expeditiously complying with the Select Committee’s requests.

The letter addressed to Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal said the committee believes that Twitter “has failed to fully comply or even commit to a timeline” to provide critical information requested by the committee.

In his letter to Reddit CEO Steven Huffman, Thompson said the select committee was interested in records relating to the “r/The_Donald” subreddit community, which eventually migrated to a website TheDonald.win, which contained “a significant amount of online planning and discussion” related to the Jan. 6 attack.

According to lawsuits filed by Capitol Police officers against Trump, the Donaldwin.com website included posts calling for violence and executions after Trump posted his Tweet on Dec. 19 calling for a “wild” protest on Jan. 6.

A user named “EvilGuy” posted: “I will be open carrying and so will my friends. We have been waiting for Trump to say the word. There is [sic] not enough cops in DC to stop what is coming.”

A Reddit spokesperson acknowledged receipt of the subpoena, and told Huffpost that it “will continue to work with the committee on their requests.”

Thompson’s
letter to Alphabet CEO Sundan Pichal said the committee was seeking material because the video platform hosted communications by people who played key roles in the Capitol attack, including former Trump strategist Steve Bannon.

YouTube was a platform for significant communications by its users that were relevant to the planning and execution of January 6th attack on the United States Capitol. For example, Steve Bannon live-streamed his podcast on YouTube in the days before and after January 6, 2021, live-streams of the attack appeared on YouTube as it was taking place. To this day, YouTube is a platform on which user video spread misinformation about the election.”
j

The Huffington Post reported that a spokesman for Google said that it has been “actively cooperating” with the committee since its start and has been “responding substantively to their requests for documents.”

“We have strict policies prohibiting content that incites violence or undermines trust in elections across YouTube and Google’s products,” the spokesperson said, “and we enforced these policies in the run-up to January 6 and continue to do so today.”
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Thompson said in the subpoena letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg that the social media giant “has failed to provide critical internal and external analyses conducted by the company regarding misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation relating to the 2020 election, efforts to challenge or overturn the election, and the use of Meta by domestic violent extremists to affect the 2020 election.”

A Meta spokesperson told HuffPost: “As Chairman Thompson said recently, ‘Facebook is working with [the committee] to provide the necessary information we requested.’ Since then, Meta has produced documents to the committee on a schedule committee staff requested ― and we will continue to do so.”

The Guardian said that the select committee has been examining digital fingerprints left by the Trump White House and other individuals connected to the Capitol attack since the start of the investigation. The committee issued data preservation requests to 35 telecom and social media companies in August.

The select committee gave the social media companies a Jan. 27 deadline to comply with the subpoenas.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has threatened that if the social media companies comply with the committee’s order to turn over private information they will be violating federal law and will be held “fully accountable” should the Republicans regain a House majority in the mid-term elections.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Biden announces $27 billion in bridge building, repair now headed to states
Joan McCarter

The Department of Transportation is rolling out the “historic Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program (Bridge Formula Program).” That’s more than $27 billion in funding to states and tribal governments to fix around 15,000 bridges around the country, funding made possible by the historic completing of the longest infrastructure week in the history of the world with the bill’s passage in November.

Out of the total $550 billion in new spending in the law, the bridge replacement includes $26.5 billion for states, including D.C. and Puerto Rico over the next five years as well as $825 million for Tribal transportation facilities. For this fiscal year, it provides $5.3 billion to the states and $165 million to tribes. “We’re sending the message to those communities and the people who call them home, you matter,” President Joe Biden said. “We’re building back and building back. Better with you, we’re making sure you’re not left behind, left out.”
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Beyond that, the Environmental Protection Agency is gearing up to send out $7.4 billion in to start upgrading water and sewage systems and eliminating lead drinking pipes, and the Federal Communications Commission has launched a program to provide subsidies of up to $30/month to low-income households for broadband, and $100 for the purchase of a tablet or computer.

“Whether you’re in rural Kentucky or downtown Philadelphia, you should be able to turn on a faucet and drink clean water,” Biden said. “Students should be able to get the internet if they needed to do their homework at home instead of having to drive to a fast-food parking lot.”

Which is all very true, and this is a historic investment in infrastructure. “The Biden-Harris Administration is thrilled to launch this program to fix thousands of bridges across the country—the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the Interstate highway system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Modernizing America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth, and make people’s lives better in every part of the country—across rural, suburban, urban, and tribal communities.”

The unfortunate timing of this announcement is that it comes Friday, the same day that around 36 million families with children should be getting a Child Tax Credit payment and are not. These payments were helping families have enough food or housing or utilities or child care, to have a cushion to pay for all the small and large emergencies like car repairs or debt. Or just have breathing room to live and build up a little bit of a cushion for some nice things. Or, you know, broadband and devices for doing homework on.

It’s also unfortunate that the White House insists on calling the law the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” instead of its actual name, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Emphasizing the “bipartisan” bit also emphasizes the fact that the success of that bill came at the expense of the Build Back Better bill that includes those monthly child payments. It gives Republicans far more credit than they deserve considering they’ve knee-capped Biden at every other turn.

The antics of Manchin, along with Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, this week of all weeks should make “bipartisan” a dirty word.
 

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Exclusive: After Sinema's latest betrayal, Arizona Democrats move closer to censure and primary
Blue Tuesday

Kyrsten Sinema is famous for wearing colorful wigs, but yesterday, she functionally put on a white hood.

As President Biden headed to the Capitol to convince the Senate Democratic caucus to ditch the filibuster in order to pass crucial voting rights legislation, Sinema took to the floor of the Senate to reiterate her disinterest in lifting a finger.

In doing so, Sinema all but doomed the Freedom to Vote and John Lewis Voting Rights Restoration Acts, which have overturned or challenged nearly two dozen new voter suppression laws and a raft of extreme gerrymanders passed by Republicans in states across the country.

She also may have triggered her own demise, as I detail below.

Shortly thereafter, fellow conservative holdout Joe Manchin issued his own illogical statement in defense of the filibuster. Given Democrats’ lagging poll numbers and the fanaticism of the Republican candidates running in key races across the country, the midterm elections may well be the last even semi-fair elections held in this country for a very long time.


In defending the indefensible, Sinema chastised Democratic leaders for not working harder to do the impossible: get Republicans on board with voting rights legislation or rules changes. Even richer, she zeroed in on the past three months as the time when Democrats should have been reaching out across the aisle — right when Sinema was busy killing Democrats’ economic agenda and collecting big checks from corporate lobbyists. Oh, and trying to get an undocumented kid deported.

GATHERING CLOUDS IN ARIZONA

It’s unclear what comes next; Biden hosted Sinema and Manchin at the White House on Thursday evening, but few details have emerged about that meeting. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he will bring the voting rights package up for debate next Tuesday, which could force the duo to officially vote against the rule change necessary to bend the filibuster. If that happens, Sinema will be firing the starting gun on her own primary challenge.

Sinema Primary Pledge, one of several groups that formed this past fall to pressure the senator into dropping her fixation with the filibuster and supporting the Democratic agenda, has raised over $110,000 since the end of September. If the rule changes come up for a vote in the Senate and Sinema indeed follows through with her promise to vote against any adjustments to the filibuster, the money is removed from escrow and released to the campaign.

“Then it’ll be all gloves off,” Belén Sisa, a founder of the Sinema Primary Challenge, told me this afternoon. “We gave you a chance and you decided to not do what the people of Arizona asked.”

The Primary Sinema Pledge is bifurcating its financial power to follow an inside-outside plan that does more than make a lump sum donation to a politician. Half of the money it raises will be dispensed to local grassroots organizations that have been crucial to turning Arizona blue and have led the fight to hold Sinema accountable. That list includes LUCHA, the Hispanic-led group that has sent members to protest at a number of of Sinema’s high-dollar fundraisers.

Progressives Everywhere spoke with the organizing director of LUCHA about their efforts in October.

“It's going to take years to build up a primary challenger that's going to be strong enough because she is a fundraising machine,” Sisa says. “It's gonna be the bad guys versus the underdog in this situation, and it's because she's just so backed by corporate interests and the Chamber of Commerce.”


Then again, Sinema may be in danger of losing the backing of an even more important constituency. Arizona Democratic Party chair Raquel Terán put out a blistering statement on Thursday — on behalf of the party itself — that called Sinema out by name for choosing the filibuster over the rights of her constituents. Arizona Republicans last year passed a series of voter suppression laws and have several more teed up for the new legislative session.



Multiple sources tell me that this may not be the last time that the Arizona Democrats officially express their displeasure with Sinema — keep an eye out over the next week for some updates there.

Whether the ADP officially endorses another candidate or not, challengers will not hurt for initial financial support. The other half of the money raised by the Sinema Primary Pledge will go to a primary candidate that the group’s board deems the best and most progressive alternative to the widely loathed senator.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, widely rumored to be considering a primary challenge, called Sinema out by name in a speech on the House floor almost immediately after hers concluded. He again blasted her on Friday in a televised interview on CNN, calling her an inconsistent, disingenuous liar who has abandoned her constituents.



I’m told that Gallego has a lot of support amongst progressive organizations, as he has been outspoken on behalf of immigration, low-income workers, ending useless wars, and better health care, among other issues. His entrance would also likely convince the state Democratic Party to at least sit out of the primary, which would be a huge functional loss for Sinema, whose ground game operation has absolutely been shattered. Once a local leader, she now has little infrastructure beyond statewide offices that she never visits and in fact are often closed.

 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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GOP officials use white supremacist rhetoric in pushing Arizona governor to attack asylum-seekers
Gabe Ortiz

The anti-immigrant loudmouth who unlawfully served in the previous administration is among the right-wing extremists behind a racist scheme urging Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to use war powers against asylum-seeking families at the southern border.

Ken Cuccinelli, now a “senior fellow” with some group called the Center for Renewing America, claims a supposed “invasion,” AZ Mirror reports. That’s the exact same white supremacist rhetoric spewed by racist mass murderers, including the man who shot up an El Paso Walmart due to his intense hatred of Mexicans. But during a press conference pushing Ducey to treat children and parents as some sort of enemy combatants, Republicans could not say the word enough times.
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“An invasion would normally be referenced in terms of a nation-state invasion, but when you look at these numbers, I think it’s safe to say that this is an invasion,” the Associated Press (AP) reports state lawmaker Jake Hoffman said. If that name sounds familiar, you’re right: Hoffman was among the GOP officials who signed their name to one of the fake presidential election documents. Daily Kos’ Rebekah Sager wrote that when Hoffman was confronted with the fake document, the MF-er ran. Nothing but a top-notch group here.

It remains hilarious that Ken Cuccinelli is still trying to give the impression that he’s concerned about the rule of law, considering how much he flouted it through the very end of the previous administration. Despite both a federal judge and a nonpartisan Government Accountability Office finding he was unlawfully appointed to the previous administration, a shameless Ken refused to budge from office, using his final days in power to sabotage the incoming Biden administration. Ken doesn’t care about rule of anything, he’s just a racist piece of shit.

“When a picture of your claimed invasion looks like the average crowd at a Little League game, it's not an invasion,” tweeted American Immigration Council policy counsel Aaron Reichlin-Melnick. “You're just terrified of brown people.” He tweeted several other images of the supposed “invaders” claimed by the truly very strange Cuccinelli.




“The way I would do it is I would thumbprint them, give them food and water and put them back across the border,” Cuccinelli said according to the AP. These are terrible people. Ken, that is, not asylum-seekers. “So far in FY 2022, nearly half of the people encountered by Border Patrol in the Yuma, AZ sector were from Cuba, Nicaragua & Venezuela—many of whom are refugees fleeing persecution under those regimes,” tweeted Human Right First’s Kennji Kizuka. “And politicians in AZ want to use war powers against them??” Yes—while some of these politicians actively schemed to overturn American democracy.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Racist Rep. Paul Gosar shares white nationalist ideology (again) in email sent to congressional list
Aysha Qamar

Day by day, many Republicans are increasingly comfortable saying the quiet parts out loud. In a recent incident, one Republican representative has come under fire for forwarding a message to his congressional email list that contained commentary from a right-wing commentator who belittled, stereotyped, and spoke ill of immigrants.

In the email sent by Arizona’s Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, a statement by Stew Peters at Red Voice Media claimed “[d]iversity isn’t America’s strength,” and went on to warn readers that the country will suffer “if America replaces its existing population with foreigners who are more violent or less capable.”

According to Media Matters, Gosar forwarded the email to his list on Jan. 6 from his House of Representative's office. In addition, Gosar has also been using his list to promote a white nationalist website that warns that Haitians are purportedly “coming here to invade our country.”
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The website, called Daily Veracity, also posts antisemitic content; recently, it featured a list of “Jews at the top in media.” According to Media Matters, the full email reads:

America is real. It’s not some melting pot or just some arbitrary borders with a random collection of world travelers just dumped into it. America is a real nation with a real historic identity, founding principles, philosophies, values, aesthetics.
Demographics are destiny. Human beings are different from each other, and it doesn’t help anyone to lie about it and pretend that everything is a social construct.
If America replaces its existing population with foreigners who are more violent or less capable, then this country will suffer. I don’t know why that’s so hard for people to grasp. It’s really quite simple.

America has a cultural identity that’s legitimate and worthy of defending. Diversity isn’t America’s strength, and if managed incorrectly, it can actually be its crippling weakness. America’s strength is its bedrock: the American people. And these people deserve to be protected from a globalist elite that hates them and wants them humiliated or destroyed and replaced or dead.

This isn’t the first time Gosar has said tried to spread a racist agenda or promoted white nationalism and extremist content. As The Washington Post reports and you may recall, the Republican representative was censured and stripped of his committee assignments in November after sharing an animated video of himself killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
 

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This ruling could begin to dismantle Greg Abbott's attacks on asylum-seekers, legal advocates say
Gabe Ortiz

Despite condemnation from human right organizations, a civil rights complaint, and a string of tragic military deaths, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border scheme has continued unabated since early last year. However, a state district judge’s decision this past Thursday could finally begin to change that.

The Texas Tribune reports Judge Jan Soifer agreed to throw out state trespassing charges filed against an asylum-seeker swept up under the border scheme, citing violation of the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause. While the ruling applies only to this man, legal advocates say thousands of other people arrested under Abbott’s policy could launch similar legal action.
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“Everybody who has a pending misdemeanor trespassing arrest under OLS will have the exact same challenge,” Texas RioGrande Legal Aid attorney Kristin Etter tells The Texas Tribune. The report said that more than 2,000 asylum-seekers and migrants have been swept up under the political policy since its launch in March 2021. “This sets a clear precedent in all of those cases both pending and future.”

“Though far from the first court challenge to Abbott’s arrest initiative—which has been vexed with wrongful arrests, prosecutorial errors, court delays and ethics complaints—Soifer’s ruling is the first to rule against the constitutionality of a migrant’s trespassing arrest, according to Etter,” the report said. It notes that the very corrupt attorney general of Texas, Ken Paxton, is vowing to fight the decision. “t's not yet clear how he will do so since his office was not a party in the lawsuit.”

The Val Verde County attorney has previously thrown out charges against asylum-seekers who had said that officers zip-tied their hands, forced them to climb 10-foot-fencing onto private property, then arrested them for trespassing. That’s when they even bother to charge asylum-seekers with anything, because the courts have also previously ordered the release of hundreds of men who were jailed for lengthy periods of time without any charges at all.

The Counter’s Tina Vasquez has also previously reported how local officials and law enforcement have been aiding Abbott’s shenanigans by actively encouraging landowners to file reports against asylum-seekers and migrants. The civil rights complaint filed last month noted how Kinney County in particular has been “undertaking additional efforts to target migrants,” including “repeatedly” seeking to “partner with vigilante actors.” The leader of one of these extremist organizations, Women Fighting for America (WFFA), is a Jan. 6 insurrectionist.


Abbott has spent months brushing off criticisms of his corrupt and discriminatory policy. In fact, he’s ****ing proud of making life hell for asylum-seekers. But Abbott has been facing bipartisan condemnation in recent weeks, following the deaths of a number of Texas National Guard tied to his political scheme. Abbott’s dignified response to these tragedies? To complain about President Joe Biden. El Paso Rep. Veronica Escobar has since led a congressional delegation calling on the Texas Military Department to open a probe into Abbott’s scheme.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ken Paxton Found to Have Violated Texas Open Record Law
Brynne

Yesterday, the head of the Travis County District Attorney public integrity and complex crimes unit determined that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton violated the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA, the Texas version of the federal Freedom of Information Act) when he refused to turn over personal communications related to his appearance at the January 6th rally immediately preceding the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.

Back in March of last year, a number of Texas news organizations (the Austin American-Statesman, Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Chronicle, and San Antonio Express-News) submitted a TPIA request for Paxton’s emails and text messages (which fall under the TPIA) around the time of January 6th. The journalists were also attempting to ascertain who paid for Paxton’s trip and whether public taxpayer funds were involved. Paxton’s wife Angela—who had previously worked as a guidance counselor at Legacy Christian Academy until she became a Texas Senator in 2019--accompanied him on the trip to Washington.

In response to this request, Paxton turned over some 500 pages of communications to and from his First Assistant AG, Brent Webster (who, along with Paxton, also signed the Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn legitimate election results in four other states). However, Paxton released none of his own communications, which he claims are all subject to attorney-client privilege. The newspapers say that the Attorney General’s office—which is charged with enforcing the TPIA—itself has no policy on the retention of work-related records kept on personal devices or accounts.

For now, the District Attorney has sent Paxton a letter of warning and giving him four days to “cure this violation” before they take him to court. So, Paxton can simply choose to turn over the requested records and avoid litigation. Paxton, of course, has denied any wrongdoing.

Bill Aleshire, an Austin attorney and expert on open record laws had this to say:

When the public official responsible for enforcing public records laws violates those laws himself, it puts a dagger in the heart of transparency at every level in Texas, Why should other Texas officials be transparent with public information if the AG himself is not?
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Kevin McCarthy promises to keep his district's undocumented farmworkers vulnerable to deportation
Gabe Ortiz

Kevin McCarthy is campaigning for speaker on a pro-mass deportation platform, vowing to refuse to take up any immigration legislation putting undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship should Republicans take the House and install him as leader.

McCarthy made the promise to white supremacist rag Breitbart, and “reiterated” that pledge to Axios, a report said.
.......
“Republican leaders toyed with bipartisan reforms earlier in the 2000s and came close in 2013 with the so-called Gang of Eight plan,” Axios said. But from John Boehner to Paul Ryan, House Republican leadership was never serious about championing any humane legislation legalizing undocumented immigrants.

Recall that back in 2015, Boehner gave white supremacist and former congressman Steve King a vote to deport Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. When House Democrats and a small group of House Republicans tried to bypass Ryan through a discharge petition in 2018, the “zombie-eyed granny starver” intervened to sabotage it.

McCarthy, who is busy protecting the insurrectionist former president by refusing to voluntarily cooperate with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attempt to overthrow American democracy, is now promising more of the same should he become speaker. One action we can definitely expect is for that committee to be shut down under a Speaker McCarthy.

“The reality is that 70%, if not 80%, of farmworkers in the United States today and within his district do not have documents,” former United Farm Workers (UFW) president Arturo Rodriguez told VOXXI in 2014. “As a result, this should be the number one priority for him, and it makes no sense to us at all that he has not given us a vote on this issue in the House of Representatives.”

Immigrant women staged a sit-in at McCarthy’s Bakersfield office the year before, ultimately forcing him to meet with them after they refused to leave. “McCarthy told the women that he is ‘serious about solving the problem,’ but refused to sign a pledge to push for a House vote,” America’s Voice noted at the time. Now, years later, and as the nation faces a labor shortage, McCarthy “is choosing retreat, defeat, and nativism,” America’s Voice’s Doug Rivilin says.



Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, Democrats have passed historic pieces of pro-immigrant legislation, including a bill putting undocumented farmworkers on a path to legalization. “Legislators have voted in favor of protecting the people whose hands harvest the fruits and vegetables offered in congressional buildings’ cafeterias and all of American’s kitchen tables,” UFW Foundation executive director Diana Tellefson Torres said in response to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act’s passage. That bill was passed with support from 30 Republicans. McCarthy was not among them.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ron DeSantis wants to make Florida into the capital of everyone suing everyone for everything
Mark Sumner

It’s a year when foolish ideas for new laws are being proposed—or worse yet, passed—by Republicans everywhere. This includes the GOP in Idaho fighting back against teaching kids math, a Republican lawmaker in Virginia insisting that kids should learn about the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass, and an Indiana law that makes it illegal for corporations to microchip their employees. Republicans have been doing yeoman work when it comes to increasing the national surplus of facepalms.

But for anyone looking for a compendium of awful; for a single source that just boils down everything bad and pours it over a state in a stinky slurry of rotten ideas and poisonous policy, there’s only one place to look. As the Miami Heraldreports, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP-dominated state legislature have cooked up “the worst” ideas imaginable. That includes laws deliberately meant to “inflame racial anxieties, election lies and partisan anger.”

Just as an example of one of the bills being proposed, a new law would make it possible for both businesses and individuals to sue city and county governments over any regulation. That’s any regulation. Like, regulations that might require people to uphold building standards, or not building a high rise in a spot where it blocks the view of existing residents. All that someone has to do is show that the regulation could cost them money, and they can sue the local government to recover “damages.” It’s not called the Making Local Government Impossible Act. But it should be.

Many of the bills being put forward follow a similar scheme: allowing people to sue someone else for just about any reason under the Sunshine State. Overall, DeSantis seems out to make the state unlivable for almost everyone, but a heaven for civil attorneys.
.......
What else is on DeSantis’ list of how to DeStroy a state?

Well, there was an executive order banning Republicans’ most popular 2021 bugaboo, critical race theory (CRT). Not one district in Florida was teaching CRT, but now they won’t be doing that even more.

However, DeSantis didn’t stop at banning teachers from teaching something they weren’t teaching. Because Florida is just one of several states where Republicans have proposed opening teachers and school librarians to lawsuits if they say anything or carry any book that someone else can construe as teaching CRT. This is a declaration of open season on educators and a backdoor attempt to completely destroy public education. While they were at it, Republicans also destroyed disability education in the state. It took them six minutes and just one speaker.

Why use CRT as an excuse to accomplish the long-held Republican goal of replacing public education with for-profit schools? In 2022, Republicans can use racism as their up-front excuse to cover their real motivations, because racism is now cool with Republican voters.

Also coming up in Florida, the legislature wants to extend the ban on teaching about America’s history of racism to colleges and universities. That should do wonders for the state’s academic environment. Considering the University of Florida already blocked professors from testifying in a lawsuit against DeSantis, don’t be surprised if they create a new Bull Connors chair of white studies.

If that’s not enough suing people, Florida Republicans have also proposed a law, modeled on the one from Texas, that would allow anyone to sue if they suspected a woman was trying to secure an abortion. Or if anyone was trying to provide an abortion. Or anyone who provided transportation to a possible abortion.

To rub an additional bucket of salt in public education’s wounds, another bill would take the currently nonpartisan races for local school boards and force them to be explicitly partisan. Currently, all candidates for school boards run together in a party-free pool. A new bill would force the candidates to declare association with a party to register as a school board candidate. The head of the Republican Party of Florida is the sponsor of this bill.

When it comes to promoting the Big Lie, DeSantis is also going all out. Despite repeated audits and investigations that turned up nothing—other than five residents at The Villages retirement community who doubled down on their votes for Trump—DeSantis is going to spend at least $5.7 million establishing an “Office of Election Crimes” with an initial staff of 45 investigators. The qualifications for investigating crimes that don’t exist haven’t been established, but it’s a good bet the best route to landing one of these “jobs” is nepotism.

Finally, DeSantis is pushing for something that Republicans in a number of states are also clamoring to get: a decrease in transparency. It’s not as if DeSantis hasn’t already done a bang-up job of altering statistics, hiding data, and scheming against the best interests of the state’s citizens, but he’d really like it if he didn’t have to work so hard.


You know. Like his Office of Election Crimes investigators.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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THANKS! Trump Spokesperson Convincingly Explains Why No One Should Vote for Republicans
News Corpse

The volume of disinformation that regularly emanates from Donald Trump and his self-serving, perpetual propaganda machine is unprecedented. Trump himself has been documented to have told more than 30,000 lies during his occupation of the White House. But now his super Pac hack is uncharacteristically telling the truth about the Republican Party.

Despite Trump's record of deceit, every now and again someone in the Trump realm inadvertently allows a morsel of truth to escape into the wild. And on Friday morning the culprit was Trump's official mouthpiece (and Twitter ban defying spokes-shill), Liz Harrington. In one of her regular appearances on the shamelessly Trump-fluffing One America News Network (OAN), Harrington was fed the softest of balls by OAN's Natalie Harp (video below):

"The Republican Party isn't the establishment party anymore. It's the people's party. They're determining the direction of the party in terms of legislation, America First. That's not what they're used to. And yet somehow they think that they can point out the Cheneys and the Bushs. Don't they realize we all rejected that during the primaries in 2016?"

Let's just set aside the nonsense that the party that gets the most financial and institutional support from corporations and wealthy elites can be portrayed as "the people's party." And it is those one-percenters who have always determined the party's direction. It is, however, notable that Harp admits her inclusion in the Trump Cult saying that "WE all ejected that during the primaries in 2016." But it was Harrington's response that let the cat out of the hag:

"They [Republicans] all been exposed for the frauds that they are. They're as fraudulent as the last election. And the people have seen through that and they want the real thing. They don't want another fake substitute, another fake election where there's really no difference between the two candidates on the ballot. They might say they are a different party, but the end result, they're not the same. The Cheneys of the world, the Pelosis of the world, the McConnells, they all want endless wars. They all want open borders. They all want bad trade deals for the United States. They do not care about our sovereignty. They do not care about our jobs. And they can pretend to care about issues of the day."

And there you have it. Directly from the horse's mouth. Trump's tweet-meister reveals that the Republican Party is full of warmongering, immigrant-bashing, economy-destroying "frauds." Democrats and most rational Americans have known that for years (decades?). But it's good to hear them confess their corruption publicly.

Trump himself has emerged as the most anti-Republican Republican in the party's history. His hostility toward leaders of the Party such as Mitch McConnell, whom he now calls the "broken old crow," is typical of his lust for vengeance against anyone showing signs of dwindling devotion. Trump has even demanded that his cult disciples refrain from donating to the GOP, and place their offerings on his plate instead. "No more money for RINOS," Trump decreed, "Send your donation to [his] Save America PAC."

This might seem like good news for Democrats. With Trump bashing the GOP and trying to intercept their donations, it should benefit Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm elections. And it probably will, to a degree. However, Trump's influence appears to be waning within the Republican world. The most recent party financial disclosure shows that the GOP raised $140 million in 2021. Which is still less than the $146 million Democrats raised. But it shows that GOP donors aren't heeding Trump's order to send their funds to him.

You know Trump's gotta hate the fact that people are ignoring his orders. Perhaps that's why he dispatched Harrington to OAN to throw more mud at his fellow Republicans. Because, in the end, all Trump cares about is how much money and adoration he can collect from his dimwitted followers. The more he sees those measures decline, the more panicked and incoherent he will become. And by that standard, he is already pretty far gone.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Oh good, it's time for a redemption tour from Paul Manafort. Is anyone interested in that? Is there some constituency out there for Manafort? Are MAGA mouthbreathers dying to sound out the words in his forthcoming book, Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted, but not Silenced — LOL — which reportedly comes out in August? (By the way, **** Simon & Schuster for publishing that dogshit. Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann notes that if Manafort receives dollars for this book, he could be in violation of his plea deal, which doesn't go away just because he was pardoned.)

Manafort went on "Hannity" last night looking like a sickly cartoon character televangelist Liberace ****-clown, and oh boy, what Kremlin-pleasing bullshit.

During the interview there was this hilarious moment when Manafort talked about how weird it was in the fall of 2016 when the media started reporting on alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. (Remember that it is now gospel in the North Korean news lady world of Fox News that all Russian collusion allegations have been proven to be a hoax, even though the then-Republican led Senate Intelligence Committee released a report in 2020 that revealed massive collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian actors.)



Manafort said he "didn't take it very seriously" in "August of 2016" when the "false narrative" of Russian collusion started, because he knew how "ridiculous" that was. He had to start taking it seriously later, obviously, because the Deep State was after him.

This is very funny because ... shall we go to that
Senate Intel Committee report?

Because it was literally "August of 2016" — the second day of that month, to be exact — when Paul Manafort met with his associate Konstantin Kilimnik at the Grand Havana Room in Manhattan to discuss a "peace plan" for Ukraine, which always was code for finding a way to lift the sanctions off Russia, which that nation earned when it invaded Ukraine in 2014. (And oh look where we are again!) Kilimnik, the report explains, "is a Russian intelligence officer." Or in layman's terms, a ****in' spy.

The report explains that Manafort "sought to secretly share internal Campaign information with Kilimnik" — a Russian spy — on "numerous occasions." That internal campaign information? It was about the Rust Belt, where Trump "won" just months later, even while being soundly rejected by the vote of the American people. The report said, "The Committee obtained some information suggesting Kilimnik may have been connected to the GRU's hack and leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election." Their evidence? Redacted. And: "Two pieces of information [...] raise the possibility of Manafort's potential connection to the hack-and-leak operation." Also redacted.

And who had a history of being connected to hacking operations? Why that's just Oleg Deripaska, Putin's favorite oligarch who also used to be Manafort's and Kilimnik's boss. The one Manafort owed ****in' bigtime. And when did the hacking actually happen in 2016, according to the report? Around March, when Manafort was very bizarrely getting hired to chair the Trump campaign for a salary of zero dollars.

The Committee assesses that Kilimnik likely served as a channel to Manafort for Russian intelligence services, and that those services likely sought to exploit Manafort's access to gain insight info the Campaign. Taken as a whole, Manafort's high-level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly Kilimnik, represented a grave counterintelligence threat.

When President Joe Biden's Treasury Department announced sanctions on Kilimnik last April, they came right out and said it:

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy. Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In 2018, Kilimnik was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice regarding unregistered lobbying work.

Yes, we imagine Manafort "didn't take it very seriously" in August 2016 when a narrative was forming that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia, just as he was literally handing Trump campaign polling data — Rust Belt polling data — to a Russian spy who somehow got it to Russian intelligence, which clearly wasn't hard, since he works for Russian intelligence.

Sean Hannity didn't note any of these facts because he's not here to tell the truth or do journalism.

Elsewhere in the interview, Hannity lied to his audience when he said this:

“You really — in many ways, you, Roger Stone, [George] Papadopoulos, General [Michael] Flynn and Carter Page, the president himself,” Hannity said, referring to various targets of the Russia investigation — “all of this stems from a false, phony narrative based on a false dossier and phony FISA warrants.”

Nope. The Russia investigation did not come from the Steele Dossier or Carter Page's FISA warrants. It started when George Papadopoulos drunk-creamed himself all over an Australian diplomat in public about how he had the secret skinny on Russia rat****ing the election against Hillary Clinton.

As Philip Bump explains at the Washington Post, sounding as exasperated as we are, other parts of the investigation got going at different times, like for instance the Michael Flynn part got going when he lied to FBI agents' faces about his secret dealings with the Russian government and the NSA picked it up — not because they were spying on Flynn, but because they were spying on Russia, you traitorous ****wits.

Oh yeah, and as Bump notes, Manafort himself had been on the FBI's radar for years****ingyears related to his foreign work.

So yeah, this is all bullshit. And if Paul Manafort wants to be on the news again and Sean Hannity wants to give him reacharounds to help him with his redemption tour, then we'll type this story out each and every time we see his face.

In summary and in conclusion, if you want to watch Laura Ingraham during the handover from Hannity talking about how skinny and amaaaaaaazing Paul Manafort looked, you'll have to click here, because this Wonkette post is over.

[Washington Post]
..............
.......

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Since Fox Nation host Lara Logan compared Dr. Anthony Fauci to a Nazi war criminal last November, she has all but disappeared from Fox airwaves. In fact, it would appear as though the conservative cable giant took a stand on her increasingly unhinged rhetoric and cut ties with the once-respected journalist.

But even Logan is in the dark on where she now stands with Fox News. “I don’t really know,” she admitted during a podcast interview last week.

The former 60 Minutes correspondent, who since 2019 has hosted Lara Logan Has No Agenda on Fox’s digital streaming service Fox Nation, has yet to make a single appearance across Fox News Media platforms since her Fauci comments. Her Fox Nation program has not aired any new episodes and is no longer actively promoted by the network. Even the production company contracted to produce Logan’s series has quietly distanced itself from her.

No stranger to controversy, Logan drew the condemnation of Jewish groups and Holocaust remembrance organizations after declaring Fauci to be like the Nazi physician known as the “Angel of Death,” during a Nov. 29 appearance on Fox News Primetime. “What you see on Dr. Fauci, this is what people say to me, that he doesn’t represent science to them,” she exclaimed. “He represents Josef Mengele. Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who did experiments on Jews during the Second World War and in the concentration camps.”

Logan continued to stoke outrage by doubling down on social media, at one point attempting to beef with the Auschwitz Museum of all places. But her presence on Fox News came to a complete stop.

Reached by The Daily Beast this week, Logan declined to comment, instead publishing to Twitter a text message sent to her by one of the reporters of this story. “What do you think? Likely to be an honest attempt at real journalism or a hit piece?” Logan captioned the tweet, before sharing an anti-vaccine conspiracy site’s unhinged blog post accusing The Daily Beast of being a CIA plant.

The network has not once publicly remarked on Logan, despite how she’d been a frequent on-air presence and her digital show was featured prominently in promos for Fox Nation. Rather than make any on-record statements, the network merely noted to media outlets that Logan was an “unpaid guest” who hadn’t appeared on-air since the ordeal. And the network’s public silence continued even after Fauci himself said he was “astounded” that Fox hadn’t punished Logan for her “totally slanderous” comments.

Warm Springs Production, the company that produces Lara Logan Has No Agenda, has been similarly tight-lipped. The company has not responded to repeated requests for comment, but it did remove No Agenda from both the Warm Springs show schedule and the list of shows produced by the company. (Two of the Montana-based firm’s productions—How America Works and American Dream Home—currently run in primetime on Fox News sister channel, the Fox Business Network.)

Representatives for both Warm Springs Production and Fox News did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this story.

But with media critics proclaiming she’d been “secretly sidelined,” a Fox anchor brutally subtweeting her, and her absence from the network becoming highly conspicuous, Logan finally spoke out about the situation this month.

In a nearly two-hour conversation with Ivory Hecker, the former Fox 26 Houston reporter who infamously ended her career by secretly recording her bosses for right-wing activist group Project Veritas, Logan acknowledged it’s “absolutely true” that she has not appeared on Fox News since November.

Logan also confirmed she was an “unpaid guest” during her many appearances across the network, even after she began hosting her Fox Nation program.

“I do and have done a lot of work on Fox News over the last few years and I've really enjoyed it, actually, because so many of the hosts and anchors are just, you know, they're really amazing and they have been so gracious with me and we respect each other,” she told Hecker. “But I would say to you that it's a lot of work—and I have never been, I'm not paid for that. I was paid to do my series on Fox Nation. And there's an obvious benefit there.”

Noting that Logan still lists herself as the show’s host on her Twitter bio, Hecker wondered if the ex-60 Minutes reporter is at least still associated with Fox Nation.

“Well, I don’t know at this point how that’s going to turn out. I’m not very good at updating those things. I think you can probably find a Facebook page that still has me listed as a 60 Minutes correspondent,” Logan replied, adding: “So, I don’t really care about the details. Of course, I’ll update it. I want it to be accurate, and when we figure it out, I will definitely do that.”

Later in the interview, Hecker suggested Fox has “created a pickle for itself,” because while the network ostensibly did not “like the headlines” caused by Logan’s comments, they also don’t want to risk angering loyal right-wing viewers by publicly disowning her.

“Fox is saying, like, ‘Oh, what’s gonna cause us less drama?’ It seems like that’s where you are at right now, that you’re kind of in this limbo. Is that what’s going on?” Hecker asked.

“I don’t really know, to be honest, because, you know, I’m not on their payroll,” Logan answered. “So I, you know, I’m not in communication with them.”

Elsewhere, Logan confirmed that she was never “hired by Fox Nation,” and was instead “paid through a production company,” referring to Warm Springs. However, she claimed, there were talks about bringing Logan onto the Fox Nation payroll. “It may happen, it may not happen. I don’t know,” she said.

Logan also confessed that while “it would be the greatest thing if there was a nationwide uproar if I’m not on their air,” her more “realistic” assessment is that “everyone is expendable” to a certain degree. “And so while people may not agree with it or maybe not like it, how many of them will actually stop watching Fox?” she conceded.

“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if Fox Nation has you back on,” Hecker concluded. “It would be really dumb of them not to. I think they’ll lose viewers for it.”

“They might not care!” Logan exclaimed. “They just might not care.”

Logan’s situation ultimately seems to parallel the one that befell right-wing vloggers Diamond & Silk. The MAGA diehard siblings came under fire in April 2020 for peddling a wide range of unhinged COVID-19 conspiracy theories, prompting Fox to completely cut ties with them.

Though the pair had been providing weekly videos to Fox Nation since the service’s 2018 launch, they were never actually Fox employees. Instead, Fox News paid them to license their content on the digital platform.

The network, in the end, never once publicly commented on Diamond & Silk falling out with Fox —just as they’ve remained mum on Logan.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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First court appearances for alleged seditionists unfurl
Brandi Buchman

Just a day after their arrests, two Oath Keepers who prosecutors say coordinated a seditious conspiracy on Jan. 6 aimed at stopping the lawful transfer of power made their first appearances in court on Friday.

Elmer Stewart Rhodes, the former leader of the extremist Oath Keepers group, appeared in Plano, Texas, to face a series of charges levied against him including seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties, and tampering with documents.

Now that Rhodes is in custody, his attorney announced this morning that she would take over as leader of the Oath Keepers until his release.
.......
No cameras or recording equipment were permitted in the Plano courtroom Friday, but according to a reporter in Texas who attended the hearing, government prosecutors sought to detain Rhodes pending trial. His detention hearing will be held on Jan. 20 and without bail or bond issued on Friday, Rhodes is in jail is where he will remain until his next court date.
As for Rhodes’ Oath Keeper cohort Edward Vallejo, he appeared remotely for his initial showing before a judge in Arizona. Vallejo is facing many of the same charges as Rhodes, including seditious conspiracy.

Prosecutors say the 63-year-old Phoenix, Arizona, resident worked very closely with Rhodes in the run-up to the attack and that he was instrumental in supporting the extremist group as it moved through Washington before and on Jan. 6.

Their plan to stop the certification of election results unfurled for several weeks and Vallejo’s role was critical, according to the indictment, because he helped secure hotel rooms where firearms, ammunition, and other weapons to support the assault could be stowed.

According to prosecutors, Vallejo specifically coordinated the transport of weapons from Jan. 1 to Jan. 5, finally positioning himself at the Comfort Inn Ballston in Arlington, Virginia, just 15 minutes from the U.S. Capitol.

He allegedly surveilled the situation on the ground in Washington from the hotel on Jan. 6 and was on standby, waiting for “a call to bring the weapons” as needed. Notably, on the morning of the attack, he recorded a podcast suggesting “armed conflict” or “guerilla war” was possible.

Court records show a text message from Vallejo after the siege noting that he was “back at the hotel and outfitted.”

“Have 2 trucks available. Let me know how I can assist,” he allegedly wrote.

Vallejo, Rhodes, and fellow conspirators also met in Virginia after the assault to celebrate over dinner.

On Friday, Rhodes spoke very little in court, typical for a perfunctory first appearance. Through his public defender, however, he did tell Judge Deborah Fine that he wished to enter a not guilty plea.

Judge Deborah Fine reminded Vallejo that his showing on Friday was not his arraignment—that will be held in the weeks ahead in Washington, D.C., where the charges were originally filed—but she acknowledged the decision.



Like Rhodes, a detention hearing is scheduled for Vallejo on Jan. 20 in Phoenix.

Vallejo’s LinkedIn page lists him as a graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps. As first pointed out by The Daily Beast, he also appears to have experience as a radio telephone operator for the U.S. Army. And according to his profile on a website for the nonprofit Homefront Battle Buddies veterans group, he serves as the organization’s vice chair and interim secretary.

In what appeared to be a post from Vallejo on the Homefront Battle Buddies Twitter account just ahead of his arrest, he wrote: “I [sic] about to enter the Phoenix Field Office of the FBI to interrogate them regarding the January 6th affair. Wish me luck. Report to follow.”


 
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Lion8286

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What goes around, comes around. Are you looking forward to Biden's impeachment as much as the rest of us, Marbles??

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/01/14/world/omicron-covid-vaccine-tests
The Treasury Department threatens to keep relief funds from Arizona for using it to fight school mask rules


The Treasury Department told Arizona officials on Friday that it could claw back some of the state’s pandemic aid and withhold future payments if the state did not halt or redesign programs that use the money to undercut mask requirements in schools.

The Treasury Department first raised concerns about Arizona’s education policies last October, but the state declined to make changes.

Mr. Ducey announced last year that he was rolling out two education programs intended to undercut school mask requirements,,,,,,
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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FJGFVHHXwAQq8am

FJGFVHKXoAEtF_i



On a Thursday Zoom call with progressive activists, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said that the upcoming hearings by the Jan. 6 select committee probing the riot at the U.S. Capitol staged by supporters of former President Donald Trump will “blow the roof off the House.”

“We are going to do everything we can to subpoena all the information we need and to enforce our subpoenas. But even if we don’t get every last person in there, we are going to have hearings that I believe will be compared to the Watergate hearings, because they are going to blow the roof off the House in terms of explaining to America what actually happened in the attack on our democracy,” Raskin, who sits on the select committee, told an audience of approximately 40,000 people who watched his remarks on Facebook.

While former Trump administration figures and supporters have defied subpoenas for information and testimony, Raskin said the committee had spoken with more than 400 witnesses to date who have already laid the groundwork for explosive hearings.

“I hope everybody will watch and I hope everybody will discuss it and then it will lead to a report that, I hope again, will be a game changer in terms of American history,” Raskin said.

In response to questions about holding Trump personally accountable for pushing the disproven claim that he lost the 2020 presidential election due to voter fraud, which served as the motivation for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, Raskin promised “a reckoning.”

“But you know, the guy’s a walking crime wave, and he has committed crimes all over the country, including sexual harassment and assault on a lot of people. There’s bank fraud and there’s real estate fraud and there’s tax fraud,” Raskin said.

“And there are prosecutors all over the country, looking at all that stuff. I don’t want us to fetishize Donald Trump that much — he will meet you know, his maker, one place or another, there will be accountability and a reckoning with the law.”

The committee has already made headlines by releasing text messages it has obtained that it says show that Fox News host Sean Hannity “had advance knowledge regarding President Trump’s and his legal team’s planning for January 6th,” and that Ivanka Trump had urged her father to stop the violence at the Capitol.

The committee also said this week that it had interviewed Trump supporter Ray Epps and released a statement that attempted to discredit the assertion made by some conservatives that he was acting as an FBI agent or informant when encouraging people to enter the Capitol. Epps appeared on the FBI's Most Wanted list shortly after the Jan. 6 riot, only to be later removed, a fact that some Republicans say points to his involvement with the FBI.

“I’m not certain the FBI is totally competent with everything, but I’m totally certain that they would not be so incompetent as to put their own agent on the most-wanted list,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans serving on the committee, told Yahoo News.

The Jan. 6 select committee has been conducting its investigation for nearly seven months, and plans to hold televised primetime hearings to lay out its findings in the coming months. Raskin said he understood that many Republicans were simply trying to “run out the clock” on the investigation until the midterm elections, when many political observers expect the Democrats to lose control of the House and, as a result, the Jan. 6 committee.

For now, though, Raskin, who served as a manager during Trump's second impeachment, sounded confident that the hearings that were soon to commence would have an impact.

“This is the most bipartisan committee I’ve ever been on, with a great Democratic chair and a great Republican vice chair and what I see is constitutional patriots working every single day and every single evening to get the truth out to the American people before it’s too late.”