Week One

The Georgia Dad Who Said That He Wanted to Kill Nancy Pelosi

On Facebook, Cleveland Meredith, Jr., parroted The Gateway Pundit, Trump’s Twitter feed, Fox News, and, eventually, QAnon. Then he went to Washington.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/us-journal/the-georgia-dad-who-said-that-he-wanted-to-kill-nancy-pelosi
But on his way to Washington Meredith seems to have had car trouble. According to an F.B.I. affidavit, he sent a text on January 6th that read, “I’m trying but currently stuck in Cambridge, OH with trailer lights being fixed, crappers.” Later, he wrote, “Just fixed…headed to DC with a shit ton of 5.56 armor piercing ammo 😈.” An acquaintance sent him word that rioters were clashing with police at the Capitol building. “Burn DC to the FKG ground,” he replied. When an acquaintance texted, “Pence blew it,” Meredith answered, “War time” and then “I’m gonna collect a shit ton of Traitors heads.”

Trump and Aides Drove Family Separation at Border, Documents Say

Notes and testimony from a Justice Department official implicate President Trump and White House aides in the “zero tolerance” policy that led to family separations at the border.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/14/us/politics/trump-family-separation.html
During a meeting with Mr. Sessions on May 11, 2018, the attorney general told the prosecutors, “we need to take away children,” according to the notes. Moments later, he described Mr. Trump as “very intense, very focused” on the issue, according to one person taking notes at the meeting.

‘I Could Just Vanish’: In Kabul, Pocket Notes to Prevent Anonymous Death

As violence engulfs them, some Afghans carry notes with their names, blood types and relatives’ phone numbers in case they are killed or severely wounded.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/12/world/asia/afghanistan-attacks-pocket-notes.html
“This is how we live in Afghanistan,” she added. “It is not just me. I talk to some people who say goodbye to their families every morning because they don’t know what will happen to them during the day.”

The Hard Crowd

Coming of age on the streets of San Francisco.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/01/18/the-hard-crowd
As I said, I was the soft one. Maybe that’s why I was so desperate to escape San Francisco, by which I mean desperate to leave a specific world inside that city, one I suspected I was too good for and, at the same time, felt inferior to. I had models that many of my friends did not have: educated parents who made me aware of, hungry for, the bigger world. But another part of my parents’ influence was the bohemian idea that real meaning lay with the most brightly alive people, those who were free to wreck themselves. Not free in that way, I was the mind always at some remove: watching myself and other people, absorbing the events of their lives and mine. To be hard is to let things roll off you, to live in the present, not to dwell or worry. And even though I stayed out late, was committed to the end, some part of me had left early. To become a writer is to have left early no matter what time you got home. And then I left for good, left San Francisco. My friends all stayed. But the place still defined me, as it has them.

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.

Week One

Assignment: Inauguration of Gov. Spencer Cox

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The inauguration of Spencer Cox as Utah’s 18th Governor at Tuacahn Center for the Arts in Ivins on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

Assignment: Pro-Trump rally

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Rev. Nurjhan Govan with “Tiny” at her Taylorsville home on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Govan was living in her car with 10 Yorkies who were then taken by the Animal Protection dept, alleging mistreatment. She got four of them back, and hopes for the rest to be returned sometime this spring.

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.