A leaked document from the Pentagon shows that Mike Pence ordered the military to clear the Capitol on January 6, but Trump didn’t.
The AP reported on the timeline in an internal Pentagon document that they obtained: The timeline adds another layer of understanding about the state of fear and panic while the insurrection played out and lays bare the inaction by then-President Donald Trump and how that void contributed to a slowed response by the military and law enforcement. It shows that the intelligence missteps, tactical errors, and bureaucratic delays were eclipsed by the government’s failure to comprehend the scale and intensity of a violent uprising by its own citizens.
With Trump not engaged, it fell to Pentagon officials, a handful of senior White House aides, the leaders of Congress, and the vice president holed up in a secure bunker to manage the chaos.
Mike Pence called the Pentagon and demanded that the Capitol be cleared, and the military didn’t do it. Logic suggests that there is only one person above Pence who could have overruled his order.
The difference between sedition and treason is, “While seditious conspiracy is generally defined as conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of a state, treason is the more serious offense of actively levying war against the United States or giving aid to its enemies.”
A Michigan Man told some armed Boogaloos to get out when they were protesting the arrest of a man after a 36-hour police standoff. Ana Kasparian and Francesca Fiorentini discuss on The Young Turks.
Cops Immediately Arrest Black Man, Not White Suspect
Los Angeles police responded to a call from a white woman about her white ex-boyfriend… and immediately arrest the first black man they see. Jayar Jackson, Benjamin Dixon, and Cenk Uygur discuss on The Young Turks.
McConnell’s Corruption Finally Catches Him
Mitch McConnell is now backtracking on his comments about businesses speaking out against the Georgia Voting Law, in his own corrupt, lying way.
Missing from the Congressional debate over raising the $7.25 federal minimum wage to $15 an hour is any acknowledgement that poverty-level wages are integral to a class system that rewards the rich and punishes the poor.
With few exceptions, where a person ends up in life — in terms of health, wealth and general wellbeing — is determined by the economic class into which they are born. People born poor die poor. People born rich die rich. This basic, intrinsic feature of American political economy is shaded from view by our culture’s celebration of the so-called meritocracy, the myth that if a person works hard enough, they can win at any table, despite the stacked deck.
Government can intervene to lift people out of poverty. The 1944 GI Bill, for example, enabled the families of millions of World War II vets to enter the middle class. Because of structural racism, however, most of those who benefited were white. The legislation did not guarantee the same housing and educational benefits to 1.2 million Black vets.
Pro-Trump protesters inside the US Capitol on January 6 Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/Zuma
Since before he was even sworn into office, Joe Biden has made it clear that fighting the spate of right-wing extremism would be a top priority for his administration. The day after the Capitol insurrection, in announcing his Justice Department nominees, Biden said he wanted to take the department back to its original roots “to stand up to the Klan, to stand up to racism, to take on domestic terrorism,” he vowed. “This original spirit must again guide and animate its work.”
Though the Biden presidency is still nascent, the fight against domestic terrorism and extremism has been at the center of the administration’s work so far. Immediately after he was sworn in, Biden ordered his just-appointed director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, to work with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to put together a top-to-bottom assessment of the threat from violent extremists. That report, which came out last month, found that “newer sociopolitical developments,” like the pandemic and the rise of right-wing conspiracy theories, “will almost certainly spur some [domestic violent extremists] to try to engage in violence this year.” Meanwhile, the Justice Department has arrested at least 360 people in connection with the insurrection. And the Defense Department is engaged in its own efforts to address extremism in the military; in early February, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed a memo directing commanding officers to conduct a one-day “stand down” to discuss extremism in the ranks with personnel.
Slow-Witted Joe Biden Appears To Think That We’re Still In The Age Of The Sole Superpower, When In Fact That Era Has Come And Gone.
“China’s Belt and Road Initiative involves countries on every continent and provides opportunity where the western nations offer only debt and subjugation.”
As this columnist has pointed out, Joe Biden’s foreign policy differs little from that of his predecessor Donald Trump. The imperatives of the United States hegemon require treating the rest of the world as either willing vassals or as sworn enemies. Any nation that threatens economic supremacy or the ability to thwart foreign policy directives is labeled an adversary and faces an onslaught of governmental and corporate media attacks. This dynamic remains unchanged and the Biden administration has only worsened an already bad situation.
The troubles start at the top with the president himself. When asked by George Stephanopoulos in an ABC news interview if Vladimir Putin is “a killer” Biden answered in the affirmative. The president was never known for his intellect and thought that repeating Russiagate tropes would play well. It didn’t play well with the Russians who immediately recalled their U.S. ambassador back home to Moscow.
While Biden was dealing with foot in mouth disease regarding Russia, his Secretary of State Antony Blinken was making a mess of relations with China. He invited his Chinese counterparts to a meeting in Anchorage, Alaska and proceeded to offend them by scolding them in front of the press and repeating unfounded charges about human rights abuses against the Uyghurs.
Thousands of desperate migrants, mostly from Central America, are stuck at the U.S.-Mexico border. Most are families and unaccompanied children.
Despite their legal rights to apply for asylum, U.S. officials are turning away huge numbers, claiming pandemic restrictions. But thousands of children remain, held in crowded border detention facilities while awaiting transfer to Department of Health and Human Services facilities that are full to bursting.
The situation is terrible for those children and their families. But dealing with it isn’t rocket science: The government should authorize emergency spending to expand and build new facilities and hire social workers, health care providers, and teachers to care for these kids — along with an expanded team of family reunion workers.
Here in the wealthiest country on earth, we should know how to care for influxes of desperate people. Just ask the teams who welcomed, cared for, and arranged placement for 131,000 Vietnamese refugees in the U.S. in 1975. All that’s missing now is political will.
When you look at the global picture, the situation on our border starts to look much more manageable. So let’s clear up a few things.
1. There is a massive displacement crisis all over the world.
Globally, more than 80 million people, including 34 million children, have been forced from their homes because of war, violence, economic collapse, or climate disasters. Among these, 26 million are refugees, forced out of their country. Another 4 million are seeking asylum.
LEFT: LT. RICHARD ZIMMERMAN TESTIFIES DURING THE TRIAL OF FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER DEREK CHAUVIN IN HENNEPIN COUNTY COURT IN DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS (COURTTV). MIDDLE: DEREK CHAUVIN IS ESCORTED FROM THE REAR OF THE HENNEPIN COUNTY FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER FRIDAY, SEPT. 11, 2020, IN MINNEAPOLIS. (DAVID JOLES/STAR TRIBUNE VIA AP). RIGHT: MINNEAPOLIS POLICE CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO TESTIFIES DURING THE TRIAL OF DEREK CHAUVIN IN HENNEPIN COUNTY COURT. (COURTTV).
The unspoken bond among police to defend each other, often no matter the circumstances, has continuously hindered investigating and prosecuting officers accused of wrongdoing. But that so-called Blue Wall of Silence is now crumbling around Derek Chauvin, who’s facing up to 65 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd.
“In no way, shape, or form is what Officer Chauvin did part of our training, ethics, or values,” Minneapolis’ first Black police chief, Medaria Arradondo, said plainly in front of the jury Monday.
In the last four days of Chauvin’s murder trial, several high-ranking police officers have taken the stand and openly condemned his actions, which reignited a national movement against police violence last summer. Law enforcement witnesses have repeatedly testified that Chauvin never should have kneeled on Floyd’s neck, and certainly not for more than 9 minutes when the 46-year-old Black man wasn’t actively resisting. They’ve also said that doing so violated their training, department policies, and moral promise to serve.
“To rally around Chauvin and say, ‘This is policing as normal, this is acceptable practice,’ would risk greater harm to the reputation of the police than basically just coming forward and saying, ‘This is not who we are, and this is not what we do,” Daniel Medwed, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University’s School of Law, told VICE News. “I think all of them are aligned with coming forward and saying Chauvin is outside of our group: that he is a bad apple but we are a good tree.”
The most dramatic change in the system over the last half-century has been the emergence of corporate giants like Amazon and the shrinkage of labor unions.
The resulting power imbalance has spawned near-record inequalities of income and wealth, corruption of democracy by big money, and the abandonment of the working class.
Fifty years ago, General Motors was the largest employer in America. The typical GM worker earned $35 an hour in today’s dollars and had a major say over working conditions.
Today’s largest employers are Amazon and Walmart, each paying far less per hour and routinely exploiting their workers, who have little recourse.
The typical GM worker wasn’t “worth” so much more than today’s Amazon or Walmart worker and didn’t have more valuable insights about working conditions.
The difference is those GM workers had a strong union. They were backed by the collective bargaining power of more than a third of the entire American workforce.
Today, most workers are on their own. Only 6.4% of America’s private-sector workers are unionized, providing little collective pressure on Amazon, Walmart, or other major employers to treat their workers any better.
Fifty years ago, the labor movement had enough political clout to ensure labor laws were enforced and that the government pushed giant firms like GM to sustain the middle class.
Today, organized labor’s political clout is minuscule by comparison.
The biggest political players are giant corporations like Amazon. They’ve used that political muscle to back “right-to-work” laws, whittle down federal labor protections, and keep the National Labor Relations Board understaffed and overburdened, allowing them to get away with egregious union-busting tactics.
They’ve also impelled government to lower their taxes; extorted states to provide them tax breaks as a condition for locating facilities there; bullied cities where they’re headquartered; and wangled trade treaties allowing them to outsource so many jobs that blue-collar workers in America have little choice but to take low-paying, high-stress warehouse and delivery gigs.
Oh, and they’ve neutered antitrust laws, which in an earlier era would have had companies like Amazon in their crosshairs.
This decades-long power shift – the ascent of corporate leviathans and the demise of labor unions – has resulted in a massive upward redistribution of income and wealth. The richest 0.1% of Americans now have almost as much wealth as the bottom 90% put together.
The power shift can be reversed – but only with stronger labor laws resulting in more unions, tougher trade deals, and a renewed commitment to antitrust.
And across the country, labor activism has surged – from the Amazon union effort, to frontline workers walking out and striking to demand better pay, benefits, and safety protections.
I’d like to think America is at a tipping point similar to where it was some 120 years ago, when the ravages and excesses of the Gilded Age precipitated what became known as the Progressive Era. Then, reformers reined in the unfettered greed and inequalities of the day and made the system work for the many rather than the few.
It’s no exaggeration to say that we’re now living in a Second Gilded Age. And today’s progressive activists may be on the verge of ushering us into a Second Progressive Era. They need all the support we can give them.
I surely am not only one who has devoted some idle moments thinking about how I might have behaved had I been a German in Germany during the rise of Hitler, wondering if I would have had the courage to speak out as the oppression settled ever more heavily on that nation. I’ve read quite a few narratives about people who tried to resist, about the young people in the White Rose resistance movement, for instance, and about solitary subversives who made small but very dangerous attempts to gum up the works.
What would I–and what would you–have done if you saw Jews being loaded on trucks while being spat upon by your fellow citizens? What would you have done if you lived down wind of one of the gas chambers and listened to the rumors neighbors were sharing about the not-so-secret activities being carried on so close to where you lived?
When I was younger, I liked to think there was little I wouldn’t have done to stand against the Nazi horrors. Now, I’m not so sure. I remind myself that I engaged in resistance against the war in Vietnam, and that I was already a husband and a father when I was doing that. I tell myself, and I told myself, that protesting against my government was a duty I had to the future, and to my kids.
But, as bad as that war was, and as paranoid as many of us felt about FBI operatives working undercover, and agents taking our pictures at demonstrations, most of us were idealists not at all ready to believe our country was actually going to come after us, then drag us off to be tortured. Still, there were episodes and anecdotes of violence against those who bucked the system. Civil rights workers were terrorized and some were killed. Anti-war activists were constantly being warned that we were putting our futures at risk. Skulls were cracked, limbs broken. The Alameda Sheriff’s Department (aka “The Blue Meanies”) were known to shoot buckshot at the heels of demonstrators fleeing gas attacks knowing that the pellets would ricochet off the sidewalk and into the legs and buttocks of the peaceniks.
At a demonstration in Berkeley one bright day in the mid-60s, my wife and I joined a few thousand other marchers for a walk through largely friendly turf on our way to a rally-against-the-war. People lined the streets, mostly applauding as we passed. Among them I saw a former English teacher who waved me over. Though she said that she, herself, opposed the war, she felt it unwise for me, a young man with a family, to be jeopardizing my future by making my dissent public. “People are collecting information on people who oppose the war,” she said, “and you might find it hard to get a teaching job in the future.”
I told her I wasn’t worried, and that she should join us. She didn’t, though she assured me that she was with us in spirit. But I was worried. I had a responsibility to my conscience, of course, but that hadn’t turned out to be an uncomplicated matter. I had a responsibility to my family, too, also a matter of conscience. Was I being irresponsible by opposing the war, or would I be irresponsible, even to my children, if I didn’t?