In the months that have passed since thousands of Donald Trump supporters assaulted the Capitol on Jan. 6, much of the horror of that day has been replaced by frustration. Trump himself was impeached—for a second time—following the incident, but not only did Republicans refuse to mete out any punishment for Trump’s actions, they’ve made it clear they are all members of team Big Lie.
Additionally, though at least 465 people have been indicted over the events of that day, many of the charges seem to be extremely minor considering what all of America watched unfolding. And no one has yet faced even a judicial slap on the wrist for plowing through police lines, smashing through doors and windows, and prowling the halls of Congress with murder in mind. This may finally be about to change.
As The Washington Post reports, 49-year-old Indiana resident Anna Morgan-Lloyd is expected to be the first person sentenced in relation to the events of Jan. 6 when she steps before a federal judge on Wednesday. But no one should be expecting Morgan-Lloyd to exit the chamber in an orange jumpsuit. Prosecutors have already recommended that she “receive no jail time, perform 40 hours of community service, complete three years of probation, and pay $500 in restitution” for being one of those who invaded the Capitol during the insurgency. And that’s before her attorney wrote a letter explaining how she’s embarked on a self-education program that included watching Schindler’s List. So she may not even go away with a sore wrist.
However, Morgan-Lloyd may be the first to stand before a judge over the events of the insurrection, but she won’t be the last. That includes several members of the white supremacist group Oath Keepers, who just learned today that one of their own has agreed to fully cooperate with federal prosecutors.
You can watch the speech here:
From the Washington Post: Biden’s plan to tackle rising homicides: Tighten gun regulations, bolster police
President Biden will announce measures Wednesday to crack down on gun stores that don’t follow federal rules, step up programs for recently released convicts and provide more support for police departments across the country as the administration grapples with spikes in homicides and other violent crimes across major cities.
Biden will direct the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to seek to revoke licenses from gun sellers the first time they are caught willfully selling a weapon to a person who is not permitted to have one, neglecting to run a required background check or ignoring a federal request to provide trace information about a weapon used in a crime. The policy attacks a source of crime guns, which in some instances can be traced to sloppy or irresponsible dealers, experts say.
The president also wants to reduce recidivism by opening opportunities to those leaving prison, including hiring more of them in federal jobs and encouraging business to do so. Biden also wants to offer additional federal housing vouchers for them, according to administration officials.
And Biden will allow $350 billion in federal stimulus funds to be used to pay to fund police departments in areas that have seen an increase in crime, administration officials said.
Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland are slated to meet with a handful of mayors and local officials and advocates Wednesday afternoon to discuss the administration’s strategy.
While we wait for that to start, what else is going on?
The post President Biden and AG Garland Speaking on Gun Violence (5:00 ET) appeared first on Balloon Juice.
This is the town of Big Pine, taken from halfway up Highway 168 with the Eastern Sierra in the background. It's hard for a suburban boy like me to imagine waking up every morning to this view.February 17, 2021 — Big Pine, California
As GOP lawmakers rush to recreate Arizona's sham audit in their home states, most Americans still have enough of a foot in reality to see the “fraudits” for exactly what they are: purely partisan disinformation campaigns.
A new Monmouth University poll found that 57% of Americans view the fraudits as "partisan efforts to undermine valid election results” based on what they’ve heard about the reviews. Only a third of respondents viewed the so-called audits as legitimate efforts to identify potential voting irregularities. Twice as many Americans also say the reviews will weaken U.S. democracy versus strengthening it, 40%-20%, while about a third of the public believes they will have little impact.
The day after Senate Republicans unanimously rejected even the idea of talking about free and fair elections, the bipartisan group of senators who say they are working on an infrastructure deal continues to talk. Those two issues—the filibuster on the For the People Act and infrastructure negotiations—are inextricably linked. There are a handful of moderate Democrats in that gang who are squishy on filibuster reform, so what happens in those negotiations will affect how they view moving forward on the rest of President Biden's legislative agenda.
Reports are mixed as to whether the group is getting anywhere. The Wall Street Journal says "negotiators see progress." That's ahead of a meeting between Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi with White House officials on moving forward. The WSJ says that at the end of Tuesday, lawmakers in the group "said they had largely agreed on how to spend the proposed $973 billion over five years, including $579 billion in spending above expected federal levels, but were still working on how to offset the cost." That, by the way, has been the point of disagreement for three months of bipartisan negotiations, first between Biden and West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, and now this group.
"These things are always complicated and tough," Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio told the WSJ. "It takes a while to write this stuff and do it correctly, but we’re getting there." He also said a deal is possible by the end of the week. Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, isn't interested in waiting that long. "I think we're going to have a deal this afternoon … or we just say we can't do that," he told reporters Wednesday.
In some good news for the day, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a police officer who followed a driver into his garage over a minor traffic offense had no right to do so without a warrant. Arthur Lange was blasting music and honking his horn when he caught the attention of a highway patrol officer who started following him, the court stated in a synopsis included with its opinion. “Rather than stopping, Lange drove a short distance to his driveway and entered his attached garage,” the court stated. “The officer followed Lange into the garage.
“He questioned Lange and, after observing signs of intoxication, put him through field sobriety tests. A later blood test showed that Lange’s blood-alcohol content was three times the legal limit.”
I know I should be talking about the SCOTUS rulings or something important, but all I really want to talk about is produce. I picked up another flat of strawberries this morning, and I gave a couple quarts to my parents and some other folks. I also picked up some just absolutely gorgeous tomatoes, and a couple large onions and fresh garlic, both of which had just been pulled out of the ground and were not even cleaned when I bought them.
I had my first tomato sandwich of the summer, and tomorrow, after it is done marinating, will have my first cucumber/onion/tomato salad. My house smells like fresh garlic, the sky is blue, there is no humidity, and today is just a very good day. I had a very good session with Steve under the canopy from the pergola, just sitting there doing nothing for an hour. It was very nice.
Even as Republican-led states erect barriers to the ballot box across the country, more than half of U.S. states have locked in laws since the 2020 election that make voting more accessible, according to The Washington Post.
Many of these laws are the result of steps lawmakers took last year to make voting safer and easier amid the pandemic, efforts that ultimately yielded record voter participation. The laws typically streamlined registering to vote while also expanding access to early voting and voting by mail. But other laws enabled people with past felony convictions to vote and offered more options to voters with disabilities.
Virginia also enacted a law requiring locales to get preapproval or feedback to any changes they plan to make to local voting ordinances, an attempt to counteract the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Right Act in 2013.
On Tuesday night, India Walton, the socialist candidate for mayor of Buffalo, New York, won the Democratic primary election against four-term incumbent Byron Brown. The nurse and organizer’s victory over Brown has not yet been acknowledged by the Brown campaign (as of Wednesday morning and the writing of this story). The Washington Post reports, however, that there are not enough outstanding absentee ballots left to change the current results. Walton’s primary victory, in a predominantly blue city, means she is almost assured to win this November. On Tuesday night, Walton held a press conference and declared victory. She will become the first self-identified socialist to become mayor of a major American city in 60 years. She is also set to become Buffalo’s first female mayor.
During her victory speech, Walton told the crowd: "This victory is ours. It is the first of many. If you are in an elected office right now, you are being put on notice. We are coming." There’s a centrist quagmire going on in the New York City mayoral race. Traditional media outlets argue that the perception of skyrocketing crime rates—something the traditional media does a lot of alarming on—meant that calling for police reform is not a viable campaign platform. This is in part contradicted by Walton’s victory. Walton’s win has been described as something of a “shock.” But as the victorious Walton opened her speech on Tuesday night at a bar in Buffalo, she smiled and said, “I hate to say I told you so.”
Arizona LGBTQ community members have distributed an open letter calling on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to support ending the Jim Crow filibuster in the name of LGBTQ rights. LGBTQ outlet Them reports that as of June 21, the letter has over 140 signatures urging her to act and be a decisive figure in helping pass the Equality Act in law.
“By casting the decisive vote to end the filibuster, you would open the flood gates of possibility to pass popular reforms supported by the majority of Americans. Among these transformative reforms, the Equality Act, which you cosponsored,” the letter states.
It's Deja vu all over again as Fox News celebrates turning local school board meetings into a madhouse.
It's just like those crazy tea party revolts against healthcare reform in 2010.
No public elementary and high schools in America are teaching critical race theory, the new conservative bogeyman, since it's actually a law school topic, but Fox News and other conservative outlets are claiming schools are teaching children to hate white people. The purpose of this nonsense is simply to incite their viewers.
It's led to unruly and at times violent protests at local school board meetings around the country.
Which are then "covered" by Fox News as "proof" that there's a huge problem with education.
On today's Outnumbered, Fox News highlighted a riotous Loudoun County school board meeting that went off the rails because of their newest hyped-up conspiracy that their kids are being indoctrinated with communist ideas. Also inflaming these people is the idea that the schools are allowing students to be identified by the gender they prefer.
You can see from the video clips above from the meeting, the protesters causing havoc are evangelical QAnon followers that are storming these meetings.
In a new study released by TOP Agency that shows how the entire country is rebounding after the COVIDlock downs, Florida has refused to take into account the safety of its people.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that the researchers looked at 48 states across 23 categories in their calculations that include consumer confidence job, market strength, and COVID safety and Florida ranks near the bottom in all categories.
These are due to all the extreme and unsafe measures Gov. Ron DeSantis took to piggyback off a Traitor Trump's Covid failures.
"Florida scored 53.02 with a 30 in consumer confidence, 27 in job market strength, and 41 in COVID-19 safety."
DeSantis has become Fox News' and evangelicals' favorite because his whole governing philosophy is to 'own the libs' in any way possible. His newest fascist position is to "survey" members of the Florida public college community on their political beliefs in order to "encourage diversity"?
This is not a governing philosophy, especially during a pandemic, but the QAnon nutjobs love it.
New Biden initiatives will crack down on law-dodging gun dealers, help ex-felons, boost police funds
President Joe Biden is today announcing a series of new steps to combat a rise in violent crime in the last year. Progressives will probably like two of them; the third, not so much.
As previewed by The Washington Post, the most aggressive of the moves will be a new order to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives directing them to revoke gun dealers' licenses the first time law enforcement catches them intentionally violating gun sale laws. That includes skipping required background checks, a refusal to provide law enforcement with requested information about a gun that was used in a crime, or the biggie: selling a gun, intentionally, to anyone who is barred by law from having one.
The lab offered two explanations, the first being that "Subway’s tuna is so heavily processed that if there is tuna in their sandwiches, it couldn’t be clearly identified. The second possibility is that there’s no tuna." Neither is exactly reassuring, is it?
The New York Times commissioned the test because of a recent lawsuit against Subway that claimed the same thing, that there was no tuna in their tuna.
Source: New York Daily News
A lab test set up by the New York Times reportedly detected no tuna DNA in 60 inches of tuna sandwiches that were examined. The experiment included sandwiches from three Subway shops in Los Angeles. Of course, there’s a catch.
According to a spokesperson from the unidentified lab that conducted the testing, there are two possibilities for their inability to detect tuna. The first explanation is that Subway’s tuna is so heavily processed that if there is tuna in their sandwiches, it couldn’t be clearly identified. The second possibility is that there’s no tuna.
The testing, which the Times said cost $500, included a polymerase chain reaction test, which searched for DNA of five different tuna species.
In looking at the issues in South America on Tuesday, one thing was clear: Despite high levels of vaccination in countries like Chile and Uruguay, these nations are at or near record highs for new cases of COVID-19. Statistics from Our World in Data show that these examples are far from alone. Around the world, there are a number of nations that have high levels of vaccination, but continue to have new waves of COVID-19. Meanwhile, there are other nations—the United States among them—that have lower rates of vaccination, but have seen a dramatic drop in cases.
The current situation in the United States, and in other nations that have fallen well short of reaching the level of vaccination needed to restrict community spread, is far from a guarantee of future conditions. It’s still possible, even likely, that the U.S. will experience a “fourth wave” of cases in the fall as indoor activities increase and Republican vaccine hesitancy leaves many areas with a high percentage of the population unvaccinated.
But some nations are already seeing a new wave of COVID-19. Driven by the Delta and Gamma variants, health care systems in many South American nations are now taxed at record levels. That’s true in nations with vaccination rates significantly higher than in the United States, as well as those where vaccination rates are low. And the reason for this seems to be that the vaccines being used in those nations are simply not working to stop infections.
Part of that is China’s fault. Part of it is ours.
After whining non-stop about tech company “censorship” when private businesses enforced their terms of service on Agent Orange, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis showed us what honest-to-dog censorship looks like when he signed a bill banning the 1619 Project and discussions of critical race theory in Florida’s public schools. Now he’s out to identify thought-crimes at state universities: [Miami Herald]
In his continued push against the “indoctrination” of students, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed legislation that will require public universities and colleges to survey students, faculty and staff about their beliefs and viewpoints to support “intellectual diversity.”
The survey will discern “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented” in public universities and colleges, and seeks to find whether students, faculty and staff “feel free to express beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom,” according to the bill.
The measure, which goes into effect July 1, does not specify what will be done with the survey results. But DeSantis and Sen. Ray Rodrigues, the sponsor of the bill, suggested on Tuesday that budget cuts could be looming if universities and colleges are found to be “indoctrinating” students.
When asked, DeSantis didn’t name any instances of indoctrination — he says he hears “worries” from parents. But lack of evidence that legislation is needed to address a problem is no obstacle to DeSantis, who follows the Trump-GOP model of government by trolling. DeSantis couldn’t identify a single example of critical race theory being taught in K-12 public schools, or trans girls dominating girls’ sports teams, or widespread voter fraud. Yet he championed and signed legislation addressing all these fictional problems.
I’m not happy with my alma mater’s response to the latest outrage:
The University of Florida issued a statement that upheld the Gainesville-based school as a “marketplace of ideas where a wide variety of opinions are expressed and independent inquiry and vigorous academic deliberation are valued.”
“We believe the survey will reflect that, and we look forward to widespread participation across campus,” the statement said.
Maybe they felt like they had to say that since they’re probably in a shitty financial position after decades of budget cuts, followed by the pandemic, and have been implicitly threatened with further budget cuts. But I hope the students freep the living fuck out of that survey, at UF and every other state school.
DeSantis ran as a Trump acolyte to win the GOP primary but ran toward the center to get elected, which he did by a hair. When first in office, he did some non-Trumpy things, like increasing budgets to address environmental problems and raising teacher pay. I’m not sure exactly when he decided to stop governing altogether and commit to full-time trolling. Maybe it was the pandemic and the undeserved praise he collected from political gossip rags that credited him for Florida’s weather.
As I’ve mentioned, he probably figures Florida is getting redder, and the evidence of the last two election cycles bears that out. I keep hoping his full-time hard-right trolling will be a turn-off to voters, but I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to see if Florida has gone full Alabama.
One man's view:
There have always been nutjobs and idiots in politics and there always will be, but I think a disturbing trend in recent years has been smart non-crazy people getting invested in sanewashing bad actors.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) June 23, 2021
By "sanewashing," Matt is referring to the practice of trying to explain away insane statements. For example, "Defunding the police doesn't really mean defunding the police. It really means _______"
Now, for some reason this is not an issue on the right. Their nutcases get to say anything they want and nobody cares. I acknowledge that this is totally unfair. But who cares? The goal of politics is to win elections, not to lose and then whine about the unfairness of the other side having some advantage you lack.
On the left, which is what I care about, this is a big issue, and it's a big issue for one specific reason: it scares off people who might vote for us. Go ahead and ask your moderate conservative friends why they're afraid to vote for Democrats even though they admit that Trump has turned the Republican Party into a clown show. The answer is almost always going to be a litany of complaints about the most extreme progressive policies out there. They're afraid Democrats want to spend another $6 trillion because one guy proposed it. They're afraid Democrats want to open the border with Mexico because a small clique approves of it. They're afraid Democrats want to get rid of the police because three or four people suggested it. They're afraid Democrats want to pack the Supreme Court even though this is a distinctly limited view.
I could go on, but you get the idea. These kinds of things are killers for a party that wants to win more votes, but everyone is afraid to publicly denounce them hard and fast for fear of being branded racist/sexist/transphobic/etc. by a few extremists. And that's all the opening that Fox News and others need to make it seem as if this stuff might really be the goal of mainstream liberals.
Mainstream liberals should not be afraid to make a distinction between proposals that are merely to our left and proposals that are batshit crazy. The former we can oppose in a normal way (and vice versa), but the latter should be swatted down with extreme prejudice. It doesn't matter if the folks proposing the crazy ideas are white or Black, young or old, or men or women. Have the guts to call them nutcases if that's what they are and to accept the inevitable accusations of racism, sexism, ageism, or whatever. Just tell the truth. If something is crazy, call it crazy.
After all, you want to win, don't you?
Republicans unanimously blocked the Senate from beginning debate on elections and voting rights reforms Tuesday afternoon, on S. 1, the For the People Act. Vice President Kamala Harris was presiding over the chamber, but wasn't given the opportunity to break a tie because this was a procedural vote—cloture, which means closing "debate" time and moving the bill to the floor for further debate, amendments, and possible passage. Because of arcane, Jim Crow-era rules in the Senate, these votes are subject to the filibuster. To proceed, the majority has to get 60 votes on cloture. Alternatively, someone in the majority could point out that this rule is kind of bullshit, that rules in the Senate are just that—rules, not laws—and maybe this could be challenged. More on how that could work in a bit.
First, let's look at the Democrats who are opposed to ending the filibuster, and one of the Republicans these Democrats always point to when they laud "bipartisanship." That's Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, who is "working" with pro-filibuster Democrat Joe Manchin on voting rights, specifically on a bipartisan reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Murkowski talked about that on the floor Tuesday. She emphasized that "there are certain aspects of S. 1 that I absolutely do support." She also said "I recognize that we are at a place in a time when credibility and faith in our institutions is at a really weak moment and that "one of those fundamental" issues that is in question "is the fairness of our elections." She then proceeded to list a number of picayune objections to provisions in the bill, under the heading of "federal takeover of elections," the Mitch McConnell-approved talking point.
Fox News' Sean Hannity has been on a rage-filled jag of late (more than usual) about the New York Times, and Tuesday evening he hit the jackpot of Crazytown.
Hannity did a sort of conservative stand-up comedy routine last night, which on one hand sounded like he was correctly criticizing himself and Fox News as lying liars.
On the other hand, Hannity claimed his show, including his insane QAnon views and multiple lies, is a better and more honest newspaper than the New York Times.
I kid you not.
After whining about some sort of "double standard coverage" between President Biden and Traitor Trump, Hannity settled into his moral abyss as he spoke directly to the Times.
"You are kind of like talk show hosts, you claim to be journalists and you are not. You're partisan propagandists and it's very easy to expose all of your lying and your agenda."
It sure sounds like he's talking about himself and Fox News.
"The difference, for example, between me and you, it's simple, but yet it's kind of profound," he continued.
Here comes the comedy.
"I'm honest about who I am. I am a member of the press. I'm a talk show host. We do, and I can produce thousands of hours of straight news, thousands of hours of investigative reporting that you're too lazy to do."
He continued, "I give my opinion, I'm upfront about my conservative political beliefs, I do sports, we do culture. I'm like the entire newspaper. You [NY Times] say you are a journalist, you are not journalists..."
The Biden administration has announced that it will give a second chance to the cases of asylum-seekers who were forced by the previous administration to wait in Mexico for their U.S. immigration hearings, but then missed those court dates for reasons that included being the victims of kidnapping and other violence, CBS News reports.
The exact number of asylum-seekers who can again seek protections is not yet clear, with The Washington Post reporting anywhere from at least 10,000 people, to just under 35,000 people. What is clear is that this is a victory for asylum-seekers and their advocates, who had been urging the administration to give people affected by the now-terminated Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), or Remain in Mexico policy, a meaningful chance at seeking relief.