Man With Assault Rifle Charged With Threatening Pelosi, Officials Say

The Department of Justice said on Friday that Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr. was one of 13 people who had been charged in federal court after a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/us/pelosi-threat-Cleveland-Grover-Meredith.html
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Mr. Meredith had erected a billboard in 2018 in Acworth, Ga., that read, “#QANON” along with the name of his business, Car Nutz Car Wash.

An Air Force Combat Veteran Breached the Senate

The Texas-based pilot was with a group that descended on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/an-air-force-combat-veteran-breached-the-senate
As insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol this week, a few figures stood out. One man, clad in a combat helmet, body armor, and other tactical gear, was among the group that made it to the inner reaches of the building. Carrying zip-tie handcuffs, he was captured in photographs and videos on the Senate floor and with a group that descended on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite. In a video shot by ITV News, he is seen standing against a wall adjacent to Pelosi’s office, his face covered by a bandana. At another point, he appears to exit the suite, face exposed, pushing his way through the crowds of demonstrators.

Mob Rule in the Capitol

Five years after the Trump era began, a physical assault on America’s basic symbols of democracy feels both shocking and inevitable.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/mob-rule-in-the-capitol
Two hours into the siege of the U.S. Capitol, as another puff of tear gas wafted over the melee with police, Sharon Krahn, a grandmother from Dallas, looked on approvingly. “Our congressmen should be shitting their pants. They need to fear, because they’re too posh,” she said.“Their jobs are too cush, and their personal gain has taken priority over their sense of duty. Maybe they all started off with a good heart, you know, but power corrupts. Our government is proof positive of that.”

Opinion | Have Trump’s Lies Wrecked Free Speech?

A debate has broken out over whether the once-sacrosanct constitutional protection of the First Amendment has become a threat to democracy.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/opinion/trump-lies-free-speech.html
Free speech theorists have lots to be anxious about these days as we grapple with abiding faith in the many virtues of free expression while coping with the undeniable reality that it can — irony runs deep — undermine free expression itself.

How the Insurgent and MAGA Right are Being Welded Together on the Streets of Washington D.C. - bellingcat

Recent rallies in Washington D.C. have become networking opportunities for the far-right.

Link: https://www.bellingcat.com/news/americas/2021/01/05/how-the-insurgent-and-maga-right-are-being-welded-together-on-the-streets-of-washington-d-c/
Yet these rallies are not just excuses for extreme elements to get into street fights. They are also networking opportunities for the far-right. On livestreams and speeches before crowds, attendees have shouted out and shared details of“free speech”-focused social media apps like Phoenix Social Network, Parler and Spreely where they can further engage and share ideas once they head home. On these apps and others, there have been repeated calls for armed violence and the execution of elected political leaders over recent months. Perhaps more troubling was evidence that formerly disconnected chunks of the right wing and fascist media ecosystems have started to coalesce in more cohesive ways.

Opinion | Horrified by the Blackwater Pardons

The F.B.I. agent who led the Blackwater investigation and two other letter writers are appalled by the pardon of men who killed innocent civilians.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/01/opinion/letters/blackwater-pardons.html
I was the F.B.I. case agent who led the investigation of the Blackwater massacre in Baghdad. We originally went to Iraq thinking this shooting was some form of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire between Blackwater guards and insurgents. After only one week, we determined that this incident was not as presented by Blackwater personnel and their State Department lackeys, but it was a massacre along the lines of My Lai in Vietnam. Three of the guards were convicted of manslaughter and one of murder.

Targeted Killings Are Terrorizing Afghans. And No One Is Claiming Them.

Most officials believe the Taliban are behind the attacks on civil leaders, but others fear that factions are using chaos as a cover to settle scores, in an echo of Afghanistan’s past civil war.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/02/world/asia/afghanistan-targeted-killings.html
KABUL, Afghanistan — A military prosecutor who thought upholding the law was the highest honor, a doctor who inspired her family to study medicine, a journalist who wanted to hold those in power to account and a human-rights activist who sought to combat poverty in her home province: all murdered within weeks by unknown attackers as winter settled over Afghanistan.

How Trump Tried, but Largely Failed, to Derail America’s Top Climate Report

The White House repeatedly attempted to thwart the country’s premier climate science document, one meant to steer policy for years. Scientists got in the way.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/01/climate/trump-national-climate-assessment.html
President Trump, asked about the assessment’s findings that global warming could devastate the economy, responded, “I don’t believe it.” His press secretary at the time, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said the assessment was “not based on facts.” Ryan Zinke, who was secretary of the interior at the time, said that its findings emphasized “the worst scenarios.”

Inside Trump and Barr’s Last-Minute Killing Spree

Private executioners paid in cash. Middle-of-the-night killings. False or incomplete justifications. ProPublica obtained court records showing how the outgoing administration is using its final days to execute the most federal prisoners since World War II

Link: https://www.propublica.org/article/inside-trump-and-barrs-last-minute-killing-spree?token=siiaBuUx_5-LH2f_432kxejIHJI-dlxM
Officials gave public explanations for their choice of which prisoners should die that misstated key facts from the cases. They moved ahead with executions in the middle of the night. They left one prisoner strapped to the gurney while lawyers worked to remove a court order. They executed a second prisoner while an appeal was still pending, leaving the court to then dismiss the appeal as “moot” because the man was already dead. They bought drugs from a secret pharmacy that failed a quality test. They hired private executioners and paid them in cash.
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