Daily Kos

Trump administration gave private jet companies over half a billion in pandemic bailout funds

Hey, want to get upset over something other than, you know, 400,000 dead Americans due to staggering administration incompetence, or the whole "a significant percentage of the United States population supports a violent fascist coup" thing? Sure you do.

You might remember Trump Treasury Rich Guy Steven Mnuchin moving to axe nearly a half billion in emergency pandemic lending after Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection, under the pretense that Our Work Here Is Done or somesuch—this, after slow walking distribution of emergency funds in the first place.

One business sector that did very well by the Trump administration's distribution of emergency funds, however, was the private jet industry.

Yeah, the private jet industry. No, we're not in a Great Gatsby remake. This is just how things work now.

Accountable.US reports that private jet companies, as a group, made out pretty well when it came to handing out emergency pandemic funds. Private jet companies received over $643 million in federal aid, spread across three emergency programs. The majority, over half a billion dollars, came in grants from the Payroll Support Program.

"[A]t least 49 private jet companies have been given access to all three programs, taking up to $87.38 million in federal COVID stimulus funds between them," notes the report.

What can you say? They've got lobbyists, and you don't.

So then: How mad should we be about this? It's hard to immediately say. It is true that we do not want workers out of work, not even workers who cater primarily to an upper class that does not particularly care whether the rest of us live or die. It is also true that those industries are among the most expendable in the nation. Like cruise lines, there is a strong case to be made that pushing the entire industry into a crevasse and covering it over would do significantly more worldwide good than harm.

What wasn't being done, while we kept the private jet industry afloat lest our minor celebrities and executives of mid-tier spendthrift companies be forced to share cabin space with riffraff, is coming up with a plan to stave off a depression-level homelessness crisis after eviction moratoriums expire. Or a plan to distribute the vaccines that were urgently demanded, until the administration lost interest. Or any federal food distribution plan that did not rely primarily around the principle of Sucks To Be You.

How much would it have cost to give every household in America a rotating supply of droplet-filtering masks? Not a whole lot, right?

We could have even chartered all the private jets in the nation to help deliver them. It wouldn't have been the most efficient plan, but we could have met halfway on this one.

Abraham Lincoln once explained exactly how we should respond to the insurrection of Jan. 6

Since the Jan. 6 attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol we've been treated to the spectacle of people like Rep.Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Ted Cruz, and others within the Republican party invoking a spirit of "unity" as they urge Democrats to temper their response to a crisis that Republicans themselves were responsible for causing.

As Sarah Churchwell, writing for the New York Review of Books, observes, these newfound calls for "unity" are from the exact same people who have constantly cast themselves as the "Party of Lincoln" at various times over the past four years:

Republican leaders enjoy flashing their badges as the "Party of Lincoln," preening themselves on Lincoln's moral victories and declaring themselves his rightful political heirs. "Our party, the Republican Party, was founded to defeat slavery. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, signed the Emancipation Proclamation," Senator Ted Cruz declaimed at the Republican National Convention in 2016, as a prelude to endorsing for president a man whom he had once called a "sniveling coward" and "pathological liar," a man who had insulted Cruz's wife and accused his father of conspiring to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Senator Marco Rubio is another who presumes to speak for "the party of Lincoln," including the time he tweeted, in February 2016, that Donald Trump would "never be the nominee of the party of Lincoln," as does House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who managed to recall a few familiar words from the Gettysburg Address in honor of Lincoln's birthday last year.

But, as Churchwell illustrates, the real Abraham Lincoln had some strong opinions about the kind of treachery we witnessed on Jan. 6, one in which white supremacist seditionists perpetrated a mob-style attack on the seat of American government. And his opinions were not couched in any wishful concept of "unity." His views, in fact, were unsparing and to the point.

Lincoln consistently likened the minoritarian efforts of the South to a mob, as it employed threats, intimidation, blackmail, political chicanery, voter fraud, and violence to coerce the majority into giving way to ever more unreasonable demands. "We must settle this question now, whether in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government whenever they choose," he told John Hay, his private secretary. For Lincoln, as he said repeatedly, the Civil War was more than a question of the moral wrongs of slavery, as fundamental to the conflict as those were; the principles of democratic self-government and the political character of the nation were also at stake.

As applied to the events of Jan. 6, the Republicans' vision of "unity" is one in which their party escapes blame for the horrifying spectacle of a treasonous, would-be despot inciting his rabid and deluded minions to violently desecrate our national heritage, all egged on and applauded by complicit state and federal officials within the Republican ranks.

As Churchwell suggests, not only would Lincoln have rejected any invocation of "unity" under such circumstances; he would have been appalled:

The actual party of Lincoln made the opposite decision, believing that the deep principles of preserving the Union far outweighed the superficial comity of false unity. Lincoln had been pressured on all sides to capitulate to Southern demands, including permitting the South to secede, to "let the erring sisters depart in peace!" But part of his reason for refusing to do so was, as the historian James M. McPherson put it in This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War (2007), the fear of setting a "fatal precedent," one that could be "invoked by disaffected minorities in the future, perhaps by the losing side in another presidential election." And so they made the apparently paradoxical decision to fight a civil war in an effort to achieve, not unity, but a more perfect union.

In fact what occurred on Jan. 6 was exactly what Lincoln foresaw as the ultimate test for our nation's survival. As Churchwell points out, contrary to espousing any attempt at "unity" with such insurrectionists, Lincoln's counsel was to bring the hammer down, hard, on attempts at insurrection by way of the mob.

In particular, Lincoln cautioned against turning a blind eye to mob violence in the futile effort to maintain a tenuous and self-devouring peace. Leaving the perpetrators of such violence "unpunished," he held, would only embolden the mob and inevitably destroy democratic self-government, as "the lawless in spirit, are encouraged to become lawless in practice" and "absolutely unrestrained." Without accountability, such a mob would "make a jubilee of the suspension of [the Government's] operations; and pray for nothing so much, as its total annihilation."

In reality, it's not "unity" that Republicans want, but absolution. They want Americans to forget what we just witnessed and what we are now likely to witness over and over again as the delusional, poisonous racism fanned by the GOP over the last thirty years intrudes, unsolicited and unwanted, into Americans' daily existence.

As Lincoln well understood, there can be no "unity" where our democratic traditions are under attack by an insensate, racist right-wing mob.

Historian Timothy Snyder explains how Donald Trump fits into America's post-truth, pre-fascist continuum

American historian Timothy Snyder is the author of On Tyranny. The slim volume from February 2017 presaged what we could expect from the Trump administration as it became obvious almost immediately that the forthcoming four years would be among the most tumultuous and stressful this country had ever experienced. For those who have yet to read it, it describes, in 20 separate segments, what we must expect and how we must contend, cope with, and combat tyranny, incipient fascism, and proto-fascism of the Trump variety.

On Saturday, The New York Times published a lengthy opinion essay by Snyder titled "The American Abyss." It is probably the single most cogent reflection thus far on the meaning of what we witnessed this week that you are likely to read, possibly even throughout the coming year (although the year, of course, is young).

Snyder begins by explaining some basic truths about how Donald Trump operates and how he fits in to what Snyder refers to a post-truth, pre-fascist continuum in America's political structure. More importantly, he illustrates how the Republican Party has, both before and after Trump's election loss and the subsequent violence of Jan. 6, essentially divided into two separate factions.

There are those who seek to game the political system for their own ends, to maintain power while paying lip service to democratic principles (the Mitch McConnell wing, which he refers to as the "gamers"), and those who seek to overthrow—or "break"—our democratic system of government altogether (the "breakers" wing, such as Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and others of their ilk).

This is one piece where it's difficult to adequately excerpt just three or four paragraphs—there is frankly so much truth here that to excerpt it doesn't possibly do it justice. Snyder shows how the interplay between those who game the system has collided with those who seek to break it, and how we got to this point in time where half the U.S. voting population is susceptible to believing Trump's lies about the 2020 election.

Post-truth is pre-fascism, and Trump has been our post-truth president. When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around, and the era of Trump — like the era of Vladimir Putin in Russia — is one of the decline of local news. Social media is no substitute: It supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true.

Snyder convincingly explains how Trump co-opted the same type of tactics employed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in order to make "their" truth the only truth, noting that "(Trump's) use of the term 'fake news' echoed the Nazi smear Lügenpresse ('lying press)'", and how through the gradual repetition of lies, he transformed the minds of the Republican electorate. The Nazis used radio to hone their lies while Trump used Twitter to develop a cult of personality that would sustain those lies.

Thanks to technological capacity and personal talent, Donald Trump lied at a pace perhaps unmatched by any other leader in history. For the most part these were small lies, and their main effect was cumulative. To believe in all of them was to accept the authority of a single man, because to believe in all of them was to disbelieve everything else. Once such personal authority was established, the president could treat everyone else as the liars; he even had the power to turn someone from a trusted adviser into a dishonest scoundrel with a single tweet. Yet so long as he was unable to enforce some truly big lie, some fantasy that created an alternative reality where people could live and die, his pre-fascism fell short of the thing itself.

In one particularly acute passage, Snyder explains how Trump's attempt to promulgate what became his most ambitious "Big Lie"—that the election had been stolen through fraud (fraud which, in context remarkably only happened in areas with large Black populations)—actually constitutes a wholesale reversal of the actual truth, and in fact, a wholesale reversal of American history.

Watching white supremacists among the people storming the Capitol, it was easy to yield to the feeling that something pure had been violated. It might be better to see the episode as part of a long American argument about who deserves representation.
[...]
It's not just that electoral fraud by African-Americans against Donald Trump never happened. It is that it is the very opposite of what happened, in 2020 and in every American election. As always, Black people waited longer than others to vote and were more likely to have their votes challenged. They were more likely to be suffering or dying from Covid-19, and less likely to be able to take time away from work. The historical protection of their right to vote has been removed by the Supreme Court's 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, and states have rushed to pass measures of a kind that historically reduce voting by the poor and communities of color.

But the most disturbing thing about Snyder's essay is how he predicts this will all play out over the next four years, either with Trump in the field or with Cruz, Hawley, or someone else eager to take up the "breaker" mantle. If the Republican electorate continues to wallow in conspiracy mythology, continuing to believe that the 2020 election was stolen, it practically sets the stage for violence in 2024, with Republicans routinely claiming fraud every time they lose an election, the will of the voters be damned.

Trump's coup attempt of 2020-21, like other failed coup attempts, is a warning for those who care about the rule of law and a lesson for those who do not. His pre-fascism revealed a possibility for American politics. For a coup to work in 2024, the breakers will require something that Trump never quite had: an angry minority, organized for nationwide violence, ready to add intimidation to an election. Four years of amplifying a big lie just might get them this. To claim that the other side stole an election is to promise to steal one yourself. It is also to claim that the other side deserves to be punished.

After reading Snyder's essay (and again, these few paragraphs can't do it proper justice), I was left with the strong impression that the path that Republicans choose to pursue over the next four years will make or break this country's future as a democracy. And that, in turn, will depend on whether Republican voters will ever accept that they were lied to by Donald Trump.

It's scary, and Snyder doesn't pull any punches. You will see what I mean.

Josh Hawley planned a Florida fundraiser to fatten his PAC. It's definitely not going well

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley always wanted national attention, and he's certainly been in the spotlight over the last two weeks. However, being the poster boy for supporting a deadly insurgency in which violent white nationalists attempted to overthrow the government of the United States is probably not what he was looking for. Probably. Because in a far-too-large segment of the Republican Party, cheering on extremists out to kill members of Congress is a good thing.

Rather than resign, as pundits, billboards, and newspapers across Missouri (and the nation) have been demanding, Hawley has been trying to take advantage of this moment in the way that's typical of a Republican caught doing something utterly vile. He's fundraising. In addition to sending out email solicitations on the same day his white nationalist pals stormed the Capitol, Hawley lined up a winter getaway to Florida. There ,Republican snowbirds could kick back for what Hawley described as a "family friendly" bit of fascism, all for the low, low price of $5,000 for his unlimited PAC.

But it looks like Hawley is going to have to reschedule, or at least relocate. Because the announced site of this shindig has taken Senator Sedition to the shed.

The intended site of Hawley's gathering was the Orlando Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.

Hawley

But when several people sent word to Loews, making it clear exactly what this gathering was about, the hotel chain had an immediate response.

"Horrified and opposed to" is exactly the attitude everyone should have about Josh Hawley.

Devastating new DOJ report confirms Jeff Sessions refused to be interviewed on family separations

The Justice Department Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) has released the final version of a draft report obtained by NBC News in October that points to top Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, including former Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and his deputy Rod Rosenstein, as "a driving force" in the Trump administration's decision to carry out the state-sanctioned kidnapping of thousands of children at the southern border.

The final report, which The New York Times reports is "largely the same as a draft," confirms Sessions, Rosenstein, and DOJ officials carried out the inhumane "zero tolerance" policy with no mercy. "Our review found that the Department's single-minded focus on increasing prosecutions came at the expense of careful and appropriate consideration of the impact that prosecution of family unit adults and family separations would have on children traveling with them and the government's ability to later reunite the children with their parents," DHS OIG said.

The final report confirms Sessions in particular as an evil, grinning participant in carrying out this human and children's rights atrocity. As detailed in the draft version, when U.S. attorneys expressed concern about the ages of children being taken from parents and that some parents were not being immediately reunited with their kids after being prosecuted and receiving time-served sentences, Sessions instead encouraged continued separations.

"The notes further recorded Sessions telling the U.S. Attorneys, 'we need to take away children; if care about kids, don't bring them in; won't give amnesty to kids; to people with kids' [strikethrough in original]," the watchdog report said. Seeking asylum—for those who care about pesky things called facts—is legal immigration, by the way.

But others were also eager to push full steam ahead. The report said that following former DHS Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen's issuance of the May 2018 memo authorizing family separation, border agents were told to use spreadsheets to track their kidnappings because there was no database in place. "One senior CBP official who participated in Zero Tolerance Policy planning meetings stated that key stakeholders had pressured DHS to implement the policy in early May 2018 before identified deficiencies in [the database] were resolved," the report said.

Oh, but some of these child-snatchers are now pointing fingers—when they're bothering to say anything at all. The inspector general said that Sessions refused numerous times to be interviewed and said the office had no power to force him to submit to an interview because he's a former official. Let's get the new Democratic Congress to look into that, shall we? Gene Hamilton, a current DOJ official, meanwhile said to blame Trump and Nielsen, claiming the decision to implement zero tolerance "would be between Secretary Nielsen and the President, and not the Department of Justice."

NBC News reports that following the release of the final watchdog report, Rosenstein issued a statement claiming regret. "Since leaving the department, I have often asked myself what we should have done differently, and no issue has dominated my thinking more than the zero tolerance immigration policy," he claimed. "It was a failed policy that never should have been proposed or implemented. I wish we all had done better."

There's no way that family separation could have been "done better" because it shouldn't have been done at all, and any chance for the administration to have shown regret has long passed. In just one example of how there's truly no remorse at all, the administration withheld additional contact information that could help reunite families that remain separated, disclosing it only last month after new attention was drawn to its inhumane policy.

The Trump administration created this policy, the Trump administration implemented this policy, the Trump administration led by White House aide and noted white supremacist Stephen Miller thought it was fucking brilliant policy, and the Trump administration would have continued this policy into even more horrific numbers if it had not been for universal condemnation and a federal judge's order. The Trump administration's demise following a historic electoral turnout isn't a time to move on—it's a time to hold it accountable.

"The Inspector General's investigation makes it clearer than ever: Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein and the Trump administration willfully disregarded the lives of innocent children in their xenophobic crusade to criminalize migrant families," Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden said in a statement received by Daily Kos. "The trauma of thousands of migrant kids is on their hands. Everyone involved in this cruel and ill-conceived policy must be held accountable. I am committed to working with my colleagues and the incoming Biden administration to repair the damage at our southern border and restore humanity to our immigration policy."

House Oversight and Judiciary chairs also issued a statement following the report's release, saying: "[i]t is imperative that we rectify these grave injustices, including by facilitating the reunification of these families in the United States as soon as possible and protecting them from detention and deportation. It is the very least we can do." Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union that have been assisting in reunification efforts also reiterated that separated families must be put on a path to citizenship.

"This was one of the worst human rights atrocities in American history," America's Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry told The Washington Post. "The full power of the state, with the support of the president and the Cabinet, was deployed to rip thousands of kids from their parents to deter them from seeking safety and freedom as refugees in America."

These Republican representatives are accused of helping to plan January 6 insurrection

It's obvious that many Republicans—including Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz in the Senate, and dozens in the House, including minority leader Kevin McCarthy—actively inflamed Donald Trump's white supremacist mob and encouraged their deadly assault on the Capitol. However, it now seems that some Republicans in Congress may have done more than knowingly fan the flames. In the days since the rotunda was cleared of debris and the halls were cleaned of the literal human excrement smeared there by Trump's biggest fans, information has appeared that indicates some Republicans may have actively been involved in planning or carrying out the assault.

On Tuesday evening, Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill conducted a Facebook live session for her constituents during which explained her support resulting in calling on Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. During that webcast, Sherrill made an astounding accusation. She claimed to have witnessed Republican members of Congress leading Trump supporters on, not a tour, but a "reconnaissance" of the Capitol. "We can't have a democracy," said Sherrill, "if members of Congress are actively helping the president overturn the elections results."

As reported by USA Today's northerjersey.com, Sherrill's accusation was as astounding as it was direct.


“Not only do I intend to see that the president is removed and never runs for office again and doesn't have access to classified material, I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5—a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy; I'm going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don't serve in Congress."

Sherrill has not so far detailed what she means by this reconnaissance, or given names of Republicans who were involved. However, it's become increasingly clear in the days since the insurrection that the situation at the Capitol was much more dire than was originally reported.
The accusations of involvement by Republican members of Congress aren't just coming from Democrats, they're coming from those who were involved in the assault.

As The Washington Post reports, Ali Alexander, the right-wing activist who formed the "Stop the Steal" movement, did so with the help of three Republican members of Congress: Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, and Paul Gosar. "We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting," said Alexander. Biggs' staff has denied any contact with Alexander—but the involvement of all three Republicans is certainly worthy of investigation.

Completely disowning Alexander's claims could be difficult. He and Gosar appeared together at a "Stop the Steal" rally in Phoenix on December 19. At that same rally, Alexander played a recorded message from Biggs, who he described as a "friend." In both the live and recorded messages, Gosar and Biggs singled out January 6 for action.

Gosar would go on to promote other "Stop the Steal" events more than a dozen times, as well as pumping out tweets and emails promoting the January 6 gathering in D.C. Typical of Gosar's statements was an op-ed on the site Revolver, Gosar called simply counting the legal electoral vote a "Third World coup d'etat." According to Gosar, Biden's win involved "statistically impossible" spikes in the voting and "We will not tolerate this." Far from distancing himself from Alexander's group, Gosar claimed ownership. "As many of you know, I helped organize the very first 'Stop the Steal' rally," he wrote. "… Patriotic warriors joined together to gather evidence and tell the Left we will not accept a coup and a usurper in the White House."

All three Republicans continued to be involved in "Stop the Steal." As The New York Times reports, In the hours immediately before the assault on the Capitol, Brooks addressed the "Stop the Steal" rally in D.C. "Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass," said Brooks. "Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America? Louder! Will you fight for America?"

Gosar, Biggs, and Brooks are far from the only Republicans connected to Alexander's group, or the only ones who both inflamed Trump supporters through lies about the election and demands to attend the January 6 event.

On December 30, Alexander tweeted what would happen if Congress voted to approve the count of the Electoral College vote. "If they do this, everyone can guess what me and 500,000 others will do to that building. 1776 is always an option." The use of "1776" appeared in a number of statements from hard-line Trump representatives right up to the insurrection. Both Q-supporting Reps Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert directly called the insurrection an "1776 moment."

On Tuesday evening, The Washington Post reports that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she feared some of her Republican colleagues would not only open the doors to rioters, but direct them straight to her. "I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die," she said. "I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive." According to Ocasio-Cortez, she can't go into specifics because of security concerns. But it's clear there were very good reasons to be concerned. And it's clear that multiple Republicans in both the House and Senate did more than enough to justify removing them from the halls of Congress. In fact, several of them may well deserve a new office—in very small room surrounded by bars.

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2021 · 9:27:10 AM Eastern Standard Time · Mark Sumner


Off-duty cops across the US identified as participants in Capitol insurrection

Following the violent Capitol takeover on Jan. 6, members of the FBI and Washington, D.C. police are asking people to identify anyone who may have been involved in the attack. As names and photos continue to be shared on social media and other platforms, the truth that the rioters were not only working-class or "blue collar MAGA" is coming to light. Some Trump supporters who wreaked havoc have been identified as not only lawyers and CEOs but off-duty police officials. Off-duty and former law enforcement officers were identified from at least six states including Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, California, Texas, Virginia, and Washington State. The individuals have either faced suspensions or been referred for internal reviews following social media posts, The New York Times reported.

Many of the posts in question were made and shared by the officers themselves. According to The Root, the increasing number of investigations into officer attendance and conduct follows an announcement from the Seattle Police Department on Friday. The announcement confirmed that two officers were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into their involvement in the Capitol invasion.

While being present outside the Capitol building while riots took place is not a criminal activity, those who participated in invading the building did take in criminal actions. Investigators are working to examine whether or not the officers identified took part.

According to Politico, a current Metro D.C. police officer shared a Facebook post in which he noted that off-duty officers and members of the military who participated in the riots flashed their badges and I.D. cards in an attempt to invade the building. "If these people can storm the Capitol building with no regard to punishment, you have to wonder how much they abuse their powers when they put on their uniforms," the officer wrote on Facebook. Capitol police noted that more than 50 law enforcement officers who responded to the violence on Wednesday were injured by the white supremacists.

Additionally, two Black officers who were on duty during the attack told BuzzFeed News that off-duty officers were among the rioters. One of the Black officers, who requested to remain anonymous, shared that off-duty officials not only flashed their badges but attempted to explain that this movement was supposed to help them.

"You have the nerve to be holding a Blue Lives Matter flag, and you are out there fucking us up," the officer said he told one group of protesters inside the Capitol. "[One guy] pulled out his badge and he said, 'We're doing this for you.' Another guy had his badge. So I was like, 'Well, you gotta be kidding.'"

The second officer recalled that he and other officers engaged in hand-to-hand combat in an attempt to fight off mob members and were outnumbered 10 to one. "We were telling them to back up and get away and stop, and they're telling us, they are on our side, and they're doing this for us, and they're saying this as I'm getting punched in my face by one of them … That happened to a lot of us. We were getting pepper sprayed in the face by those protesters, I'm not going to even call them protestors, by those domestic terrorists," the officer told BuzzFeed News.

Police officials were not the only public service members found taking part in Wednesday's riots. NBC News reported that the names of multiple members of the New York Fire Department have been turned over to the FBI based on photographs of them participating in the failed coup. Members of the Sanford Fire Department in Florida are also being investigated after photos emerged online.

According to Reuters, at least one firefighter has been placed on administrative leave. Dozens of people have been criminally charged as the FBI seeks more information from the public to identify the criminals involved. Officials have urged media companies to preserve photos, videos, and other data related to the riots and crime scenes.

Texas paper slams Trump's border wall visit — calls him 'unhinged and unrepentant' after inciting mob

Soon-to-be-twice impeached Donald Trump is ending his white supremacist presidency the same way he started his campaign more than five years ago: racist, anti-immigrant fearmongering. Having basically gone into hiding after inciting a violent mob of seditionist supporters who ransacked the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results—and resulted in numerous deaths, including of a police officer—Trump is traveling to Texas on Tuesday to bluster about the border wall that Mexico never did end up paying for.

The Associated Press reports that missing from the visit will be unlawfully appointed acting DHS Sec. Chad Wolf, who resigned Monday. But following the D.C. attack (nice job securing the "homeland" there, Chad), elected officials, editorial boards, and border communities are demanding Trump stay away too. "Normally we would welcome a presidential visit to our state. Not now," the American-Statesman Editorial Board wrote. "Not by a president who is unhinged and unrepentant for the violent mob he sent last week to the Capitol."

"The stated reason for Trump's visit to Alamo is to tout his administration's work on the border wall and immigration," the American-Statesman Editorial Board continued. "Indeed, Trump is wrapping up his term on the same note that he launched his political career, stoking fear about immigrants and exaggerating his accomplishments."

June 16, 2015, will always live in infamy as the day he launched his presidential campaign by descending the escalators at Trump Tower to call Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he said. "They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

His comments were blatantly racist and disqualifying, but too many in the mainstream media were afraid to say so and instead merely labeled them "controversial." Worse yet, others dismissed them as a joke. It wasn't a joke or "controversial" to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans like me. He was talking about us. He talking about my parents and two older sisters, all born in Mexico. He was talking about me, the son of Mexican immigrants.

"Trump acts as if his legacy along the border will be construction of a 'beautiful' wall," American-Statesman continued. "In truth, his legacy is one of destruction: Crying children pulled from their parents' arms as part of his shocking family separation policy, with hundreds of kids still waiting to be reunited. Migrant kids dying in U.S. custody for lack of proper care. A shameful humanitarian crisis just south of the border as the U.S. turned its back on those who are lawfully seeking asylum. A degradation of America's values and standing in the world."

Now having incited a violent mob that my colleague David Neiwert writes was "intent on taking hostages and murdering them" and is now leading to an unprecedented second impeachment, Trump is returning to what he always goes to when desperate or in need of an ego boost: attacking immigrants (and doing it as likely his final trip in office).

"Rather than spend his last days in the Oval Office addressing the pressing Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring an orderly transition, Trump is doubling down on his xenophobic, white supremacist agenda," Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) executive director Fernando García said in a statement received by Daily Kos. Indeed, the City of Alamo said in a statement it hasn't even been contacted about Trump's visit.

"His presence at the borderland is a provocation, and an act of violence in and of itself," García continued. "Border communities are calling for the dismantlement of the wall of shame, racism and white supremacy. The wall and all it represents have no place in our society, and Trump must be held accountable."

President-elect Joe Biden's victory and our wins in Georgia provide an opportunity to take both executive and legislative action to protect undocumented communities attacked by the outgoing administration. I hope Trump has the time of his wretched life at his precious wall Tuesday because Biden has also pledged to not build another foot of it—and because it was built using swindled funds and has caused "incalculable" harm in the borderlands, there's a strong case for knocking the motherfucker down. The human costs of Trump's racism, however, the fomenting of violence and the unleashing of white supremacist forces, will not be so easy to scale back. That's the "legacy" he's leaving us.

"It is a presidency that has prioritized sowing division, undermining our institutions and norms, and working tirelessly to marginalize the 'other,'" American Immigration Council policy counsel Aaron Reichlin-Melnick writes. "For Trump, there were no people more "other" than those who came to our border and asked for our help." He writes that that to truly "defeat Trumpism, as a nation we must embrace a more humane approach toward those who are different from us, one that respects the law and our obligations to the most vulnerable."

"The Biden administration can start by restoring humanitarian protection, and finally moving away from the deterrence-based mindsets of the past decades and create a truly welcoming process at the border," Reichlin-Melnick continued.

Major conservative broadcaster is suddenly cracking down on lies about the election: report

The Washington Post is reporting that Cumulus Media, which hosts the radical ravings of far-right hosts like Mark Levin and Parler part-owner Dan Bongino, is cracking down on conspiracy rhetoric from its stable of propaganda-spewing fascists—at least, when it comes to claims from their hosts that Donald Trump is still justified in claiming the presidency.

Calling for "national calm NOW," the network's executive vice president of content told his employees that the company "will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable 'paths.'"

In short, we have found the bounds of what Cumulus and subsidiary Westwood One are and aren't willing to tolerate on their networks. Their hosts were free to make entirely false claims declaring that our nation's democracy was "rigged," or that Joe Biden won only through rampant invisible "fraud" that not a single Trump ally has been able to identify except in fever dreams. But now that those exact claims have led to violent insurrection in an attempt to overthrow elected government, the precise outcome those claims were declared to justify, the network is perhaps aware that those touched by violence incited by their hosts have a more-than-decent shot of suing their network into this planet's asthenosphere.

The begrudging truth is, however, that this is a reasonable and prudent move as insurrectionists plan additional violent acts in coming weeks, so respect is due. The coup is premised on the notion that because pro-Trump forces (falsely) believe the election was "stolen" from Trump, Trump's allies are justified in taking whatever actions against their country they deem necessary to return the presidency from him—including the assassination of anti-Trump government figures, taking lawmakers hostage, and/or putting guns to the heads of national lawmakers until they agree to return Trump to power.

Radio and television hosts who themselves affirm the false conspiracy are, without question, provoking such violence. It would be different if Trump's claims had been proven, at any point, to have merit; we now know through court cases, recounts, and audits that they are utterly false, and that Trump's allies do not even dare make the same claims when in venues where their lies would result in legal consequences. We know, for a fact, Trump's allies are perpetrating a seditious hoax.

The incessant broadcast of false claims demanding the overturning of a United States election has now led to violence, insurrection, and sedition. Voices that continue the same false claims even as further violence is planned have allied themselves with that sedition; firing them for contributing to an attack on democracy is, literally, among the mildest actions that could be taken.

If the company was a responsible one (and no company that gives the treasonous, violence-promoting and conspiracy-inventing fascist drivelsnot of a Dan Bongino could ever be considered responsible), it would have recognized that its hosts were eagerly pushing for an overthrow of American democracy before that coup was realized. But backing out now is still better than most other conservative propaganda networks have managed.

Fox News, for example, continues to side with the insurrection. Their hosts continue to spread known falsehoods intended to convince Americans that the next president will not be a legitimately elected leader. And networks like Newsmax and OANN worked hard to stoke fascist insurrection with claims so outlandish they were assured to produce a violent result.

While Cumulus now begrudgingly concludes that the coup spurred by their rhetoric now has lasting consequences the company cannot continue to shoulder, Fox News and other outlets are not so sure. They, along with the majority of Republican lawmakers, suspect they can ride out the violence by denying complicity, even as they repeat the same anti-democratic propaganda, to the same violence-justifying crowds, as if the attack on the U.S. Capitol did not happen.

Devin Nunes complains that Republicans are being censored — while talking to about 1.5m viewers

Devin Nunes, a man who has sued Twitter to stop freedom of speech, went on Fox News Sunday to tell the world that Republicans—like Devin Nunes—have lost their freedom to communicate with one another. He said this on Maria Bartiromo's Sunday Fox news show that is watched by around 1.5 million people every week. Nunes is specifically talking about Parler, the right-wing alternative social media site that Nunes was an early devotee of. At the end of last week, Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Google, and others shut down Trump's social media accounts. Trump is still the president of the United States and has all kinds of avenues from which he could shriek his brand of narcissistic bigotry, but for many conservatives, this was the last straw in the war against conservatism.

Nunes tells viewers that there is "no longer a free and open social media company of site for any American to get on any longer." The power-abusing Nunes, a man who may have used his position on the House Intelligence Committee to investigate political opponents like Hillary Clinton using super dubious actors like Giuliani associate Lev Parnas wants you to know that he's lost 3 million followers on Parler. Saying that this act is "clearly a violation of antitrust, civil rights, the rico statue," Nunes called on the government to open "a racketeering investigation on all the people who coordinated this attack on not only a company but on all of those like us, like me, like you, Maria."

The next best part of this push for Parler as the true right-wing conservative Republican utopia of freedom of speech is this tremendous statement by Nunes: "Unlike the fake social media sites, we know that everybody that's on Parler, because you get certified. it's actually a very safe platform and if you break the law on Parler, the FBI can subpoena to find out who those people are." This is an interesting point coming from the Second Amendment touting, the-government-is-trying-to-register-everybody-with-a-microchip-and-arrest-you conservative. It's almost like his whole ideology is bullshit and he's mostly just stressed out that whatever revenue he was pulling in from his Parler successes has been cut down.

At the end of last week, Twitter, Facebook, and others shut down the accounts of right \-wingers like Trump, citing the violence in the Capitol on Jan. 6 of this year. Parler was subsequently squashed by Apple, Google, and other platforms, which refused to host the app and platform. This move, in essence, choked off Parler's ability to work as a social media platform. Does it violate the First Amendment of the Constitution? No. Is this an attack on free speech? That is a real question that needs to be answered.

The first thing to acknowledge here is that when Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for the big tech companies like Facebook and Twitter to be broken up, most of us agreed that these companies have too much monopolistic power. The need to strengthen our anti-trust laws and break up monopolies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook are important for a variety of reasons. However, it is clear from the Republican Party's positions on the matter that Nunes and friends haven't suddenly turned into Big Bill Haywood of the IWW.

Rep Nunes calls for racketeering probe into Big Tech over Parler ban www.youtube.com

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