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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
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What We Still Refuse to Accept About the Insurrectionists

What We Still Refuse to Accept About the Insurrectionists
A year later, we are still trying to understand what drove the individuals to the Capitol, and still ignoring what we already know about how they got there.

JAN 06, 20225:45 AM

(Slate) It has been one year since thousands of people gathered on the steps of the Capitol building with the shared mission of interrupting the peaceful transfer of power. The anniversary of Jan. 6 has brought with it a flood of stories exploring what could have possibly driven so many people to turn against the very democracy they swear they were trying to protect. One of the deepest of these investigations came in late December from New York magazine, in the form of a reported feature by Kerry Howley, chronicling the journey of three strangers whose fates collided at the Capitol. It’s a story that attempts to explain how we got there—and it also reveals why we’re not much closer to resolving the problems the insurrection unleashed.

The rioters’ stories are framed as a portrait of loss. “Gina Bisignano would lose her salon, Guy Reffitt would lose his freedom, and Rosanne Boyland would lose her life,” Howley writes. The majority of the piece is written as a plot-based narrative that primarily explores how any of this could have happened. Bisignano, Reffitt, and Boyland are not portrayed as terrorists, traitors, or treasonists carrying out an organized coup, they are simply three Americans—Gina, Guy and Rosanne—bound by their susceptibility to believe in and then act upon conspiracy theories.


Howley’s protagonists reflect a political sensibility that has swept through the nation. Whether we call it populism or nationalism or nativism doesn’t really matter. A subset of Americans, mostly white, vehemently believes the country is being stolen from them by liberal elites and people of color. And their convictions make them uniquely susceptible to manipulation and misdirection. The subscribers to this fabulist notion gather by the millions in chat rooms and on message boards. They share violent memes in Facebook groups. As Howley points out, they meet in living rooms and at barbecues to discuss their woes. Many, as the insurrection shows, refuse to sit idly by as their birthright is pillaged and plundered.

It is their whiteness, not their ordinariness and naïveté, that’s most predictive of their eventual assault on the Capitol. Robert Pape, a political science professor at the University of Chicago, devoted much of the past year to compiling a profile of all 700 rioters arrested by law enforcement. His research has shown that the single most unifying factor among the insurrectionists is living in a county in which the population of white people dramatically declined between 2010 and 2020. This decline has hastened the mainstreaming of a once-fringe notion that white people are at risk of being stripped of their rights. “It’s been around a long time, but what’s special now is that that theory is embraced in full-throated fashion by major political leaders and also by major media figures,” Pape told Slate’s Aymann Ismail. “If you live in an area that’s losing white population, you can start yourself to connect the dots to the spinning that’s going around with these narratives.” ..............(more)


Canada asks regulator to probe maskless party on Sunwing flight as COVID cases soar

MONTREAL, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Canada's minister of transport on Tuesday called for an investigation into reports of maskless revelers on a recent Sunwing Airlines flight to Cancun, as the country battles soaring cases of COVID-19.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said on Twitter he had asked regulator Transport Canada to investigate media reports of passengers snapping selfies, drinking alcohol and congregating close together on the Dec. 30 flight from Montreal.

"I am aware of the reports of unacceptable behavior on a Sunwing flight," Alghabra said.

"Transport Canada has been in contact with the airline concerning this flight," the regulator said in a statement late on Tuesday, adding that the passengers could be fined up to C$5,000 ($3,932.98) per offence if Transport Canada determines they were not complying with regulations.

The Toronto-headquartered leisure operator said by email that the behavior of a group of passengers on the private charter flight "was unruly and contravened several Canadian aviation regulations as well as public health regulations." ...........(more)


Fox News has a Jan. 6 problem: Sean Hannity's text messages make clear his complicity

(Salon) Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the Capitol insurrection and attempted coup of the U.S. government by former president Donald Trump. There was a time not long ago when everything about that sentence would have made us laugh at the sheer absurdity of it. Nobody's laughing now.

Trump was apparently persuaded by his advisers to cancel his scheduled press conference for Jan. 6 after seeing that he would not get live coverage on all the networks to spread the Big Lie and excuse the violent mob that stormed the capitol a year ago vowing to hang Vice President Mike Pence. He promised to deliver that message to his loyal followers at a rally next weekend instead, drawing a huge sigh of relief from most Republican officials in Washington who just want to keep a low profile and put the unpleasantness behind them.

Unfortunately for them, however, it's not going away.

Trump will be talking about this for the rest of his life and the January 6th committee is revving up for several months of public hearings. Even some MAGA Republicans on Capitol Hill are determined to try to muddy the waters by dusting off their Benghazi playbook and holding their own "investigation" into why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was derelict in her duties by allowing hundreds of rabid Trump-voting fanatics to breach the Capitol that day.

On Tuesday, committee chairs, Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Liz Cheney R-Wy., released a letter they sent to Fox News host Sean Hannity in which they revealed that they had many text messages from him to high-level members of the White House staff in the run-up to January 6th. They ostensibly want Hannity to cooperate with the committee, but I doubt that there is any expectation that he will. This seemed more likely to be a notice to anyone who ever texted people in the White House during this period that the committee probably has them and intends to make them public. And it will almost certainly cause more dissension in Trumpworld. Meadows is already on thin ice. Now Hannity's backchannel "concerns", as Thompson and Cheney put it, about what Trump and his cronies were up to before and after January 6th leave him at odds with the president, who very likely had no idea that Hannity was pressing his staff to stop him from doing what he did. ..............(more)


Deputy District Attorney Who Opposed Vaccine Mandates Dies From COVID At 46

Orange County Deputy District Attorney Kelly Ernby, a California Republican activist who opposed coronavirus vaccine mandates, has died at the age of 46 from COVID-19, according to multiple media outlets.

Her boss, District Attorney Todd Spitzer, announced Erby’s death on Facebook on Monday.

“The Orange County district attorney’s office is utterly heartbroken by the sudden and unexpected passing of Deputy Dist. Atty. Kelly Ernby,” wrote Spitzer. “Kelly was an incredibly vibrant and passionate attorney who cared deeply about the work that we do as prosecutors — and deeply about the community we all fight so hard to protect.”

California Republicans paid tribute to Ernby on Twitter.

Jon Fleischman, former executive director of the California Republican Party, hailed her “love for politics, for America and the Republican Party.” He added: “Yeah, she had COVID.” .........(more)


Florida man charged with killing realtor he mistook for landlord who evicted him

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - A South Florida real estate agent was shot and killed by a recently-evicted man who mistakenly thought she was his former landlord, authorities said.

Sara Trost had been waiting outside a home in Coral Springs, waiting to meet with a potential buyer, when she was fatally shot two days before Christmas, according to Coral Springs police.

"It was just a mistaken identity. She never even got out of the car," Rabbi Shuey Biston of Chabad of Parkland, where Trost was an active member, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

WSVN reports Trost was shot multiple times in her car, and died at the scene.

The suspect, Raymond Reese, 51, called 911 after the shooting and told a dispatcher that he had shot his former landlord and believed she was dead, according to police. ...........(more)


Bad News, London and New York: Finance Hubs Are Becoming Obsolete

Stand on the steps of The Royal Exchange in the heart of the City of London and you can picture the churn of people 200 years ago or more in what was becoming the world’s preeminent financial hub. Stock jobbers, traders and financiers would stream between its great limestone columns with the Bank of England to one side and all surrounded by offices of bankers or trading houses and alleyways to the ever-busy coffee shops.

The exchange was where transactions happened, but the coffee shops played an equally important role in the lifeblood of markets as information centers. People hung out there for refreshment and gossip but also all the details of supply and demand. “[T]he coffee men vied with each other in maintaining the supply of a wide variety of domestic and foreign newspapers, news-sheets, journals and bulletins, customs entry forms, auction notices, price-current lists, etc,” according to David Kynaston’s “City of London: The History.”

Today, London’s future as a global financial hub is under threat. In the popular discourse, that’s largely due to Britain’s exit from the European Union and the ongoing fights over trade and regulations. But Brexit is barely half the story, and New York faces similar threats. While, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is expanding its Paris office with new trading floors, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is doing the same in Miami and has been hunting for space in Dallas.

What links these moves is the ways technology and regulations have dramatically changed the flow of information in just the past couple of decades. The Covid pandemic showed just how little physical location now matters for many jobs and businesses in finance and gave executives confidence that more operations could be managed remotely.

Old hands barely recognize today’s world. ..............(more)


Democrats need not despair: 6 reasons to be hopeful about the 2022 midterms

(Salon) It's hard not to feel depressed going into 2022. Headlines are dominated by the omicron variant of COVID-19, Donald Trump continues to walk free despite his attempted coup one year ago, and Republican efforts to steal the 2024 election for him are well underway after receiving no resistance from a Senate that is being held hostage by the two worst Democrats in the nation. Democratic voters are demoralized, as evidenced by the low turnout in November's Virginia election. Republicans, meanwhile, are in a "let's go Brandon" frenzy.

And yet, there are tendrils of hope peeking out through the freeze of despair.

Omicron is spreading rapidly— but the hospitalization rates remain low, suggesting it's morphing into a relatively minor cold for the vaccinated. Trump, for his part, may actually be facing real legal consequences in 2022. And, as hard as it may be to accept, there are genuine reasons to believe that the midterm elections may not be the democracy-ending bloodbath that so many of us have been fearing.

The Republican push to consolidate power and usher in a new Trump-led authoritarian state might not be as effective as the GOP hopes — and everyone else fears. So that means it's important to keep up the fight and resist the urge to simply give up. We can't let the bad guys win. Here are six reasons to stay in the fight in 2022.

1. GOP's gerrymandering-pocalypse is a dud

The press pays more attention to voter suppression techniques that make for good imagery, like denying food and water to people to people waiting in line, but actual election experts have been far more worried about the impact of aggressive gerrymandering this election cycle. Packing-and-cracking techniques have recently allowed Republicans to gain seats nationwide, despite their declining popularity. After the 2020 census, the fear was Republicans would be able to redistrict themselves into power that was untouchable by Democratic majorities. And yet, as Paul Waldman of the Washington Post reported last week, "informed redistricting experts now say it appears that this process will look more like a wash, or even that Democrats might gain a few seats." ..............(more)


Whistleblower warns baffling illness affects growing number of young adults in Canadian province

(Guardian UK) A whistleblower in the Canadian province of New Brunswick has warned that a progressive neurological illness that has baffled experts for more than two years appears to be affecting a growing number of young people and causing swift cognitive decline among some of the afflicted.

Speaking to the Guardian, an employee with Vitalité Health Network, one of the province’s two health authorities, said that suspected cases are growing in number and that young adults with no prior health triggers are developing a catalog of troubling symptoms, including rapid weight loss, insomnia, hallucinations, difficulty thinking and limited mobility.

The official number of cases under investigation, 48, remains unchanged since it was first announced in early spring 2021. But multiple sources say the cluster could now be as many as 150 people, with a backlog of cases involving young people still requiring further assessment.

“I’m truly concerned about these cases because they seem to evolve so fast,” said the source. “I’m worried for them and we owe them some kind of explanation.” .............(more)


21 People Rescued After Being Stuck Overnight In Aerial Tram In New Mexico

Twenty-one people had to ring in the new year stuck inside a pair of tram cars dangling high above a mountainside at the edge of Albuquerque, New Mexico, after icy conditions jammed the Sandia Peak Tramway.

The cars, which were carrying tram employees as well as staff from the restaurant at the peak, got stuck around 10 p.m. local time Friday due to ice forming on the tramline, Albuquerque news station KRQE reported. One car was filled with 20 passengers, while the other car had one lone rider.

On Saturday, news station KOAT’s Kalyn Norwood shared an onlooker’s photo that showed a tram car hanging above a frosty ridge near one of the tramway’s towers.


Tramway general manager Michael Donovan told KRQE Saturday morning that rescuers had to wait for weather conditions to improve to begin evacuating people safely. ..........(more)


Florida man falls off bike, accidentally stabs himself with sword

ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. - A man was hospitalized Saturday evening after he fell off a bicycle and accidentally stabbed himself with a sword in his backpack, according to Pasco County Fire Rescue.

It happened in the 40500 block of Jerry Road in Zephyrhills.

Rescue crews say the man was airlifted to an area hospital as a trauma alert. His condition is currently unknown. .............(more)


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