Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certification

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:33 am

San Francisco police are prepping for a pro-Trump rally at Twitter headquarters
by Jonathan Shieber@jshieber
7:56 PM MST January 10, 2021

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San Francisco police are preparing for a pro-Trump protest at Twitter’s headquarters, a building which has been essentially abandoned since the start of the pandemic last year, with most Twitter employees working remotely.

The potential protest comes days after Twitter banned the president from using its service — his favorite form of communication to millions of followers — following what the company called his continued incitements to violence in the wake of the January 6 assault on the Capitol last week by a mob of his followers.

“The San Francisco Police Department is aware of the possibility of a demonstration on the 1300 block of Market Street (Twitter) tomorrow, Monday January 11, 2021. SFPD has been in contact with representatives from Twitter. We will have sufficient resources available to respond to any demonstrations as well as calls for service citywide,” a police department spokesperson wrote in an email. “The San Francisco Police Department is committed to facilitating the public’s right to First Amendment expressions of free speech. We ask that everyone exercising their First Amendment rights be considerate, respectful, and mindful of the safety of others.”

The San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported the preparations from SF police, noted that posts on a popular internet forum for Trump supporters who have relocated from Reddit called for the president’s adherents to protest his Twitter ban outside of the company’s headquarters on Monday.

Twitter is one of several tech companies to deplatform the president and many of his supporters in the wake of the riot at the Capitol on Wednesday.

At this point, most of the biggest names in tech have pledged to deny service to the President for what they said was his incitement to violence in the wake of the Capitol hill raid that left five people dead — including a Capitol Police officer.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:37 am

Records show fervent Trump fans fueled US Capitol takeover
by Michael Biesecker, Michael Kunzelman, Gillian Flaccus and Jim Mustian
Associated Press
1/10/21

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In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 file photo supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol in Washington. Jacob Anthony Chansley, the Arizona man with the painted face and wearing a horned, fur hat, was taken into custody Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 and charged with counts that include violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, file)

WASHINGTON (AP) — They came from across America, summoned by President Donald Trump to march on Washington in support of his false claim that the November election was stolen and to stop the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden as the victor.

“Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” Trump tweeted a week before Christmas. “Be there, will be wild!”

The insurrectionist mob that showed up at the president’s behest and stormed the U.S. Capitol was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, members of the military and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Records show that some were heavily armed and included convicted criminals, such as a Florida man recently released from prison for attempted murder.

The Associated Press reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, court files and other public records for more than 120 people either facing criminal charges related to the Jan. 6 unrest or who, going maskless amid the pandemic, were later identified through photographs and videos taken during the melee.

The evidence gives lie to claims by right-wing pundits and Republican officials such as Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., that the violence was perpetrated by left-wing antifa thugs rather than supporters of the president.

“If the reports are true,” Gaetz said on the House floor just hours after the attack, “some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and, in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”

Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, told reporters that investigators had seen “no indication” antifa activists were disguised as Trump supporters in Wednesday’s riot.


The AP found that many of the rioters had taken to social media after the November election to retweet and parrot false claims by Trump that the vote had been stolen in a vast international conspiracy. Several had openly threatened violence against Democrats and Republicans they considered insufficiently loyal to the president. During the riot, some livestreamed and posted photos of themselves at the Capitol. Afterwards, many bragged about what they had done.

As the mob smashed through doors and windows to invade the Capitol, a loud chant went up calling for the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, the recent target of a Trump Twitter tirade for not subverting the Constitution and overturning the legitimate vote tally. Outside, a wooden scaffold had been erected on the National Mall, a rope noose dangling at the ready.

So far, at least 90 people have been arrested on charges ranging from misdemeanor curfew violations to felonies related to assaults on police officers, possessing illegal weapons and making death threats against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Among them was Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70, an Alabama grandfather who drove to Washington to attend Trump’s “Save America Rally” in a red GMC Sierra pickup packed with an M4 assault rifle, multiple loaded magazines, three handguns and 11 Mason jars filled with homemade napalm, according to court filings.

The truck was found during a security sweep involving explosives-sniffing dogs after two pipe bombs were found and disarmed Wednesday near the national headquarters of the Republican and Democratic parties. Coffman was arrested that evening when he returned to the truck carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun and a .22-caliber derringer pistol in his pockets. Federal officials said Coffman is not suspected of planting the pipe bombs, though he was charged with having Molotov cocktails in the bed of his truck.

His grandson, Brandon Coffman, told the AP on Friday his grandfather was a Republican who had expressed admiration for Trump at holiday gatherings. He said he had no idea why Coffman would show up in the nation’s capital armed for civil war.

Also facing federal charges is Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., a Georgia man who in the wake of the election had protested outside the home of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump had publicly blamed for his loss in the state. Meredith drove to Washington last week for the “Save America” rally but arrived late because of a problem with the lights on his trailer, according to court filings that include expletive-laden texts.

“Headed to DC with a (s—-) ton of 5.56 armor-piercing ammo,” he texted friends and relatives on Jan. 6, adding a purple devil emoji, according to court filings. The following day, he texted to the group: “Thinking about heading over to Pelosi (C——’s) speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV.” He once again added a purple devil emoji, and wrote he might hit her with his truck instead. “I’m gonna run that (C—-) Pelosi over while she chews on her gums. … Dead (B——) Walking. I predict that within 12 days, many in our country will die.”

Meredith, who is white, then texted a photo of himself in blackface. “I’m gonna walk around DC FKG with people by yelling ‘Allahu ak Bar’ randomly.”

A participant in the text exchange provided screenshots to the FBI, who tracked Meredith to a Holiday Inn a short walk from the Capitol. They found a compact Tavor X95 assault rifle, a 9mm Glock 19 handgun and about 100 rounds of ammunition, according to court filings. The agents also seized a stash of THC edibles and a vial of injectable testosterone.

Meredith is charged with transmitting a threat, as well as felony counts for possession of firearms and ammunition.

Michael Thomas Curzio was arrested in relation to the riots less than two years after he was released from a Florida prison in 2019 after serving an eight-year sentence for attempted murder. Court records from Florida show that he shot the boyfriend of his former girlfriend in a fight at her home.

Federal law enforcement officials vowed Friday to bring additional charges against those who carried out the attack on the Capitol, launching a nationwide manhunt for dozens of suspects identified from photographic evidence

The FBI has opened a murder probe into the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, according to law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly. He died at a hospital.

The Trump supporters who died in the riot were Kevin D. Greeson, 55, of Athens, Alabama; Benjamin Philips, 50, of Ringtown, Pennsylvania; Ashli Babbitt, 35, of San Diego; and Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, Georgia.

Boyland’s sister told the AP on Friday she was an adherent of the QAnon conspiracy theory that holds Trump is America’s savior. Her Facebook page featured photos and videos praising Trump and promoting fantasies, including one theory that a shadowy group was using the coronavirus to steal elections. Boyland’s final post on Twitter — a retweet of a post by White House social media director Dan Scavino — was a picture of thousands of people surrounding the Washington Monument on Wednesday.

“She would text me some things, and I would be like, ‘Let me fact-check that.’ And I’d sit there and I’d be like, ‘Well, I don’t think that’s actually right,’” Lonna Cave, Boyland’s sister, said. “We got in fights about it, arguments.”

The AP’s review found that QAnon beliefs were common among those who heeded Trump’s call to come to Washington.

Doug Jensen, 41, was arrested by the FBI on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa, after returning home from the riot. An AP photographer captured images of him confronting Capitol Police officers outside of the Senate chamber on Wednesday.

Jensen was wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with a large Q and the phrase “Trust The Plan,” a reference to QAnon. Video posted online during the storming of the Capitol also appears to show Jensen, who is white, pursuing a Black police officer up an interior flight of stairs as a mob of people trails several steps behind. At several points, the officer says “get back,” but to no avail.

Jensen’s older brother, William Routh, told the AP on Saturday that Jensen believed that the person posting as Q was either Trump or someone very close to the president.

“I feel like he had a lot of influence from the internet that confused or obscured his views on certain things,” said Routh, of Clarksville, Arkansas, who described himself as a Republican Trump supporter. “When I talked to him, he thought that maybe this was Trump telling him what to do.”

Jensen’s employer, Forrest & Associate Masonry in Des Moines, announced Friday that he had been fired.

Tara Coleman, a 40-year-old mother who lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was arrested at the Capitol for a curfew violation and for unlawful entry. On her Facebook page, Coleman re-posted articles supporting the QAnon beliefs about a “deep state” conspiracy to target children. The AP could not find a working phone number for Coleman and her attorney, Peter Cooper, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

And Jake Chansley, who calls himself the “QAnon Shaman” and has long been a fixture at Trump rallies, surrendered to the FBI field office in Phoenix on Saturday. News photos show him at the riot shirtless, with his face painted and wearing a fur hat with horns, carrying a U.S. flag attached to a wooden pole topped with a spear.

Chansley’s unusual headwear is visible in a Nov. 7 AP photo at a rally of Trump supporters protesting election results outside of the Maricopa County election center in Phoenix. In that photo, Chansley, who also has gone by the last name Angeli, held a sign that read, “HOLD THE LINE PATRIOTS GOD WINS.” He also expressed his support for the president in an interview with the AP that day.

The FBI identified Chansley by his distinctive tattoos, which include bricks circling his biceps in an apparent reference to Trump’s border wall. Chansley didn’t respond last week to messages seeking comment to one of his social media accounts.

There were also current and former members of the U.S. military in the crowd.

Army commanders at Fort Bragg in North Carolina are investigating Capt. Emily Rainey’s involvement in the Wednesday rally. The 30-year-old psychological operations officer told the AP she led 100 members of Moore County Citizens for Freedom who traveled to Washington to “stand against election fraud” and support Trump. She insisted she acted within Army regulations and that no one in her group entered the Capitol or broke the law.

“I was a private citizen and doing everything right and within my rights,” Rainey told the AP.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. of Texas was charged in federal court on Sunday after he was identified in photos showing him standing in the well of the Senate, wearing a military-style helmet and body armor while holding a pair of zip-tie handcuffs.

The insurrectionist mob also included members of the neofascist group known as the Proud Boys, whom Trump urged to “stand back and stand by” when asked to condemn them by a moderator during a presidential debate in September.

Nicholas R. Ochs, 34, was arrested Saturday after returning home to Hawaii, where he is the founder of the local Proud Boys chapter. On Wednesday, Ochs posted a photo of himself on Twitter inside the Capitol, grinning broadly and smoking a cigarette. According to court filings, the FBI matched photos of Ochs taken during the riot to photos taken when Ochs campaigned unsuccessfully last year as the Republican nominee for a seat in the Hawaii statehouse.

Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was arrested Monday in Washington on weapons charges and ordered to stay out of the nation’s capital. Tarrio is accused of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church last month.

Jay Robert Thaxton, 46, was arrested near the Capitol for curfew violations on Wednesday. A North Carolina man with the same name has also been linked to the Proud Boys. He told The Stanly News & Press in 2019 that he was a Proud Boys supporter but wouldn’t say if he was an official member of the group. Another North Carolina newspaper, The Jacksonville Daily News, published a photo of Thaxton wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat at a 2019 protest over the removal of Confederate statues.

A man who answered a telephone number associated with Thaxton hung up on an AP reporter. The recipient of a text message to the same number responded with an expletive.

Also arrested at the Capitol was William Arthur Leary, who owns a manufactured housing business in Utica, New York. In an interview Friday, Leary told the AP that he strongly believes the election was stolen from Trump and that he went to Washington to show his support.

Leary said he doesn’t trust information reported by the mainstream media and that one of his main sources of information was Infowars, the far-right conspiracy site run by Alex Jones. He denied he ever set foot in the Capitol and complained that he was held for more than 24 hours and had his cell phone seized.

“They treated us like animals,” he complained. “They took all our phones. I didn’t get to make a phone call to tell anybody where I was.”

Leary said he remembers seeing a woman, Kristina Malimon, 28, sobbing at the detention center because she had been separated and not allowed to translate for her mother, who primarily speaks Russian. Both women had been charged with curfew violation and unlawful entry. According to a video posted on her Instagram account, the younger Malimon says she was born in Moldova, where her family had faced persecution under the Soviet-era regime for their Christian beliefs.

Malimon, who traveled to D.C. from Portland, Oregon, is vice chairwoman of the Young Republicans of Oregon, according to the group’s website and is also listed as an “ambassador” for the pro-Trump group Turning Point USA. Her social media feeds are full of photos taken at Trump events, including the earlier “Million MAGA March” held in Washington last month. She also posted photos of herself posing with Donald Trump Jr. and Roger Stone, who was convicted of crimes including obstruction of justice and pardoned by Trump on Christmas Eve.

Media reports from Oregon quoted Malimon in August as the primary organizer of a Trump boat parade on the Willamette River, where big waves created by speeding boats flying Trump flags swamped and sank a smaller boat that was not participating, throwing a family into the water to be rescued by the sheriff’s department.

“Oregon, today you came out and showed your love and support for our wonderful President, Donald J. Trump thank you!” Kristina Malimon wrote on Facebook following the parade.

Malimon also served as a Republican poll watcher in Georgia and spoke at an event organized by the Trump campaign in December, claiming to have seen voting machines and tabulation computers in Savannah, Georgia, with suspiciously blinking green lights she interpreted as a sign they were being secretly controlled by outside hackers — a claim debunked as false by GOP election officials in the state.

A phone number listed for Kristina Malimon rang without being answered on Friday. At the address listed for her in southeast Portland on Friday night, her teenage brother answered the door as other family members, including young children, ran around.

The family spoke Russian to each other and the brother, Nick Malimon, translated. He said his sister was still in Washington but had called the family following her release from jail and didn’t seem upset about her arrest.

Others are facing consequences even beyond arrest.

A Texas sheriff announced Thursday that he had reported one of his lieutenants to the FBI after she posted photos of herself on social media with a crowd outside the Capitol. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said Lt. Roxanne Mathai, a 46-year-old jailer, had the right to attend the rally but he’s investigating whether she may have broken the law.

One of the posts Mathai shared was a photo that appeared to be taken Wednesday from among the mass of Trump supporters outside the Capitol, “Not gonna lie......aside from my kids, this was, indeed, the best day of my life. And it’s not over yet.”

A lawyer for Mathai, a mother and longtime San Antonio resident, said she attended the Trump rally but never entered the Capitol.

Attorney Hector Cortes said Mathai’s contract bars her from speaking directly with the press but that she welcomes an FBI investigation and that her actions were squarely within the bounds of the First Amendment.

Brad Rukstales, a Republican political donor and CEO of Cogensia, a Chicago-based data analytics firm, was arrested with a group of a half-dozen Trump supporters who clashed with officers Wednesday inside the Capitol. Campaign finance reports show Rukstales contributed more than $25,000 to Trump’s campaign and other GOP committees during to 2020 election cycle.

He told a local CBS news channel last week that he had entered the Capitol and apologized. He was fired Friday and did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment.

Derrick Evans, a Republican recently sworn in as a delegate to the West Virginia House, resigned Saturday following his arrest on two charges related to the Capitol riot. He had streamed video of himself charging into the building with the mob.

“They’re making an announcement now saying if Pence betrays us you better get your mind right because we’re storming the building,” Evans, 35, says in the video, as the door to the Capitol building is smashed and rioters rush through. “The door is cracked! … We’re in, we’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”

On Saturday he issued a statement saying he regretted taking part.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, and deeply regret any hurt, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians,” the statement said.

Kunzelman reported from College Park, Maryland, Flaccus from Portland, Oregon, and Mustian from New York. Associated Press writers Jake Bleiberg in Dallas; Michael R. Sisak in New York; Michael Balsamo in Washington; Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho; James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida; and Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas, contributed to this report.

Follow Associated Press investigative reporter Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:41 am

Pelosi: MAGA Mob Was ‘Organized’ and ‘Directed to Get People’: “The evidence is now that it was a well-planned, organized group with leadership and guidance and direction. And the direction was to go get people,” the speaker said on “60 Minutes”
by Peter Wade
Rolling Stone
January 10, 2021 8:27PM ET

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed disturbing details about the attack on the Capitol and called President Trump “deranged, unhinged, [and] dangerous” in an appearance on 60 Minutes.

While walking through her ransacked and vandalized office, Pelosi told journalist Lesley Stahl that evidence shows people in the mob were focused on finding “get[ting] people.”

“The evidence is now that it was a well-planned, organized group with leadership and guidance and direction,” she said. “And the direction was to go get people. They were vocally saying, ‘Where’s the speaker? We know she has staff. They’re here someplace. We’re going to find them.’"

Pelosi did not reveal specifics, but we now know the outcome could have been much worse. Some in the mob of the president’s supporters came equipped with bulletproof vests and zip-tie-style handcuffs, potentially to take hostages. They built a gallows and chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.” Two pipe bombs were found near Republican and Democratic party headquarters. And the mob came dangerously close to reaching lawmakers as they evacuated from their respective chambers to a safe location.

Pelosi lays the blame for this squarely at Trump’s feet, and she emphasized the need for action because the country could still be in danger in the last days of his administration. “The person that’s running the Executive Branch is a deranged, unhinged, dangerous president of the United States,” Pelosi said. “And we’re only a number of days until we can be protected from him. But he has done something so serious that there should be prosecution against him.”


In a letter to House Democrats on Saturday, Pelosi outlined the next steps the party will take to try to remove Trump from power. First, she said, the House will ask for unanimous consent to bring up a resolution authored by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) calling on Vice President Pence to “convene and mobilize the Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment.” If a majority of cabinet members vote in favor of using the amendment, Trump would be removed and Pence would become acting president. If Pelosi does not get unanimous consent, the resolution will be brought to the floor on Tuesday.

Pelosi also told 60 Minutes that she and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer initiated a call to Pence about the 25th amendment, but the vice president never answered. “We were kept on the line for 20 minutes,” she said. ”‘He’s going to be here in a minute, a minute, a minute,’ [we were told]. Well, he never did come to the phone.”

After pursuing the 25th, Democrats will start the impeachment process, which she said has “strong support” in the party. But while Pelosi may get the numbers to impeach Trump in the House, where Democrats hold the majority, reaching a conviction in the Senate will be more difficult. Democrats will need to find 14 Republicans to vote with them.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:55 am

Stripe reportedly quits processing payments for Trump campaign website: Action due to violations of service terms that prohibit businesses that promote or encourage violence from using the service, the Wall Street Journal reports.
by Steven Musil
cnet.com
Jan. 10, 2021 3:41 p.m. PT

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Online payments processor Stripe has stopped processing payments for President Donald Trump's campaign website in the wake of last week's deadly pro-Trump riot at the US Capitol, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The company, which handles online payments for millions of online businesses, is cutting off the Trump campaign due to violations of its policies against encouraging violence, sources told the newspaper. Stripe's terms of service prohibit its service to be used by any "high risk" business that "engages in, encourages, promotes or celebrates unlawful violence or physical harm to persons or property."


Violence that erupted Wednesday afternoon when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol during the vote to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Twitter and Facebook each suspended Trump's accounts for incendiary comments following the riots.

Trump released a video statement that night telling the rioters to go home but referred to them as "special people" and told them "we love you."

Neither Stripe no the Trump campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:14 am

Amazon Is Booting Parler Off Of Its Web Hosting Service: Amazon's suspension of Parler's account means that unless it can find another host, once the ban takes effect on Sunday Parler will go offline.
by John Paczkowski and Ryan Mac
BuzzFeed
Last updated on January 9, 2021, at 10:08 p.m. ET
Posted on January 9, 2021, at 9:07 p.m. ET

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[DELETE] [DELETE] 1 day ago
@ [DELETE]
How bout make them hang? #executethemfortreason #treason #deathtotraitors #fuckmikepence
VIOLENCE WORKS MAKE THEM AFRAID

A screenshot included in Amazon's letter to Parler

Amazon notified Parler that it would be cutting off the social network favored by conservatives and extremists from its cloud hosting service Amazon Web Services, according to an email obtained by BuzzFeed News. The suspension, which will go into effect on Sunday just before midnight, means that Parler will be unable to operate and will go offline unless it can find another hosting service.

People on Parler used the social network to stoke fear, spread hate, and coordinate the insurrection at the Capitol building on Wednesday. The app has recently been overrun with death threats, celebrations of violence, and posts encouraging “Patriots” to march on Washington, DC, with weapons on Jan. 19, the day before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.


In an email obtained by BuzzFeed News, an AWS Trust and Safety team told Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff that the calls for violence propagating across the social network violated its terms of service. Amazon said it was unconvinced that the service’s plan to use volunteers to moderate calls for violence and hate speech would be effective.

“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms," the email reads. "It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service.”

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the suspension.

In a post on Saturday evening following publication of this story, Parler CEO John Matze, who did not return a request for comment from BuzzFeed News, said it is possible the social network "will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch."

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John Matze 16 minutes ago
@John
Sunday (tomorrow) at midnight Amazon will be shutting off all of our servers in an attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet. There is the possibility Parler will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch. We prepared for events like this by never relying on amazons proprietary infrastructure and building bare metal products.
We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business, however Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies.
This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place. We were too successful too fast. You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don't count us out.
#speakfreely

Parler

"This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place," he wrote on Parler. "We were too successful too fast."

On Parler, reaction to the impending ban was swift and outraged, with some discussing violence against Amazon. "It would be a pity if someone with explosives training were to pay a visit to some AWS data centers," one person wrote.

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NewKenPatr... @Ronglaister
9 secs ago
Sounds like war! It would be a pity if someone with explosives training were to pay a visit to some AWS Data Centers -- the locations of which are public knowledge.

Parler

Amazon's move comes after Apple banned Parler from its App Store on Saturday afternoon, after the platform failed to introduce a moderation plan to protect public safety. On Friday, Apple gave Parler 24 hours to mitigate the "planning of illegal and dangerous activities" occurring on its service or face expulsion, BuzzFeed News first reported. Google has also suspended Parler from its Google Play app store.

On Saturday, ahead of Apple's expected banning from the App Store, people rushed to download Parler's app, making it the most downloaded free app. While people will still be able to use Parler on their iPhones after the App Store ban, the social media company will not be able to distribute updates through Apple's services.

Amazon's move, however, will remove the infrastructure from which Parler operates.

Parler, which was launched in 2018, has become a safe haven for people banned by popular sites including Facebook and Twitter. The Henderson, Nevada–based company has billed itself as a free speech alternative to mainstream social networks and taken a more relaxed approach to content moderation, attracting conspiracy theorists, hate group members, and right-wing activists who have openly incited violence.


Recent threads on Parler have called for the execution of Vice President Mike Pence and encouraged the conspiracy theory that left-wing antifa activists were behind Wednesday’s events.

Republican lawmakers including Sen. Ted Cruz and Congressman Devin Nunes as well as President Donald Trump’s family members and surrogates have all established Parler accounts, and have publicly encouraged their supporters to join them there. So too have many figures in conservative media.

Amazon's email to Parler also contained examples from the platform of calls for the assassinations of lawmakers, members of the media, and activists.

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[DELETE] [DELETE] 8 hours ago
@ [DELETE]
On January [DELETE] we need to start systematically assasinating #liberal leaders, liberal activists, #blm leaders and supporters, members of the #nba #nfi #mlb #nhi #mainstreammedia anchors and correspondents and #antifa. I already have a news worthy event planned #blmterrorists #militia #civilwar #civilwar2

Parler

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[DELETE] [DELETE] 6 days ago
@ [DELETE]
You liberals and dirty left domonrats and antifa and blm and rhino politicians and Muslims who are against our country our president our constitution and burning down our jobs burning down our businesses burning down our life destroying our children's lives and scaring them destroying our culture our freedoms and our rights our history our lord Jesus? You cry for free shit? I'll give you something free a damn bullet to your damn head there's your damn free!!!! It's coming we are coming with our list we know where you live we know who you are we are coming for you and it starts on the 6th civil war 2 is on the arise and it's coming with hell and death! Lol if you will think it's a joke but when we are in your faces with our guns or fire burning your asses out you won't be Laughing then will you? Enjoy your last few days you have because it will be your last! Semper Fi

A screenshot included in Amazon's letter to Parler.
Parler


“[W]e cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” the email continues. “Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST.”

On Amazon Web Services, Parler had gone from negligible spend to paying more than $300,000 a month for hosting, according to multiple sources.

Amazon employees had publicly called for an AWS ban of Parler, and a Change.org petition calling for the same thing had amassed thousands of signatures this week. Multiple employees had also filed internal complaints to AWS management citing hate speech on the social network.

Here is Amazon’s letter to Parler in full.

Dear Amy,

Thank you for speaking with us earlier today.

As we discussed on the phone yesterday and this morning, we remain troubled by the repeated violations of our terms of service. Over the past several weeks, we’ve reported 98 examples to Parler of posts that clearly encourage and incite violence. Here are a few examples below from the ones we’ve sent previously: [See images above.]

Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms. It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service. It also seems that Parler is still trying to determine its position on content moderation. You remove some violent content when contacted by us or others, but not always with urgency. Your CEO recently stated publicly that he doesn’t “feel responsible for any of this, and neither should the platform.” This morning, you shared that you have a plan to more proactively moderate violent content, but plan to do so manually with volunteers. It’s our view that this nascent plan to use volunteers to promptly identify and remove dangerous content will not work in light of the rapidly growing number of violent posts. This is further demonstrated by the fact that you still have not taken down much of the content that we’ve sent you. Given the unfortunate events that transpired this past week in Washington, D.C., there is serious risk that this type of content will further incite violence.

AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site. However, we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others. Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST. We will ensure that all of your data is preserved for you to migrate to your own servers, and will work with you as best as we can to help your migration.

- AWS Trust & Safety Team
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:39 pm

Raffensperger escorted out of Ga. Capitol after it was surrounded by pro-Trump mob
by Marquise Francis
National Reporter & Producer
Thu, January 7, 2021, 3:17 PM PST

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ATLANTA — On Wednesday, while much of the country’s attention was focused on the riots unfolding in Washington, D.C., another standoff was taking place in Georgia.

Militiamen and other far-right Trump supporters in Atlanta surrounded the state’s Capitol building in search of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

As the group tried to enter the building to hand deliver a list of grievances about the November election, and Raffensperger’s refusal to overturn the results, Georgia Capitol police, fearing for the safety of the secretary of state and his staff, escorted them out of the building, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“We heard reports of threats and left immediately,” spokeswoman Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said.


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Brad Raffensperger, Georgia's secretary of state. (Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Raffensperger is Georgia’s top elections official, who last Saturday was pressured by Trump on a phone call that was recorded and published by the Washington Post. On the call, Trump is heard asking Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to overturn the results of the general election in the state.

The standoff at Georgia’s Capitol building followed a small “Stop the Steal” protest nearby where roughly two dozen people, some carrying assault-style weapons, had gathered to challenge the legitimacy of the November election. One of the men in attendance was Chester Doles, a longtime white supremacist and member of the Ku Klux Klan, who made headlines last month after posing with a picture with GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Some cars passing the protest honked in support, while others looked on in dismay.

The incident came the same day history was made in the state as Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff were declared the winners of their Senate runoff races against incumbents Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue. Those wins will give Democrats control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2015. Warnock became the first Black senator from Georgia and Ossoff became the first Jewish senator to represent the state.

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The Georgia state Capitol building in Atlanta. (Wang Xiaoheng/Xinhua via Getty)

But the significance of those victories were overshadowed by what took place in D.C.

“Today’s insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol was incited by Trump’s poisonous lies & flagrant assault on our Constitution,” Ossoff tweeted Wednesday. “The GOP must discard and disavow Trump once and for all, end its attacks on the electoral process, & commit fully to the peaceful transfer of power.”


“In this moment of unrest, violence and anger, we must remember the words of Dr. King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that,” Warnock tweeted. “Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Let each of us try to be a light to see our country out of this dark moment.”

Atlanta’s demonstration was puny in comparison to the massive “Stop the Steal” rally where 25,000 to 35,000 diehard Trump supporters gathered before hundreds of them stormed the Capitol and occupied it before the National Guard was called to restore order. Four people died as a result of that rally, according to Washington, D.C., police.

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Supporters of President Trump at a "Stop the Steal" rally in Georgia. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

In an interview with Yahoo News on Thursday, Warnock maintained that Wednesday’s riot in D.C. shows that words matter.

“What we saw yesterday is that words have power,” Warnock said. “Unfortunately, the occupant of the White House has been ginning up this bigotry, frustrations and resentments [for] some time. The problem is it’s been aided and abetted by other politicians, including my opponent during this Senate race. So this is what you get.”
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:46 pm

Loeffler condemns White supremacist after taking photo with him
by Alex Rogers
CNN
Updated 2:17 PM ET, Mon December 14, 2020

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[x]
Loeffler dodges questions on Trump's election fraud claims 01:59

(CNN) Georgia GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler's campaign disavowed a photo spreading on social media of her smiling next to a White supremacist at a campaign event on Friday, as her Democratic opponent and others criticized her for it ahead of the January 5 runoff elections for control of the Senate.

The photo shows Loeffler posing next to Chester Doles, a former Ku Klux Klan leader and member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance who was sentenced to prison in the 1990s for assaulting a Black man in Maryland. Doles marched in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, with the Hammerskins, a racist skinhead gang.

The Loeffler campaign condemned the White supremacist on Sunday in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Loeffler campaign did not respond to CNN's requests for additional comment. Video from Friday's rally shows Doles attended.

"Kelly had no idea who that was, and if she had she would have kicked him out immediately because we condemn in the most vociferous terms everything that he stands for," Loeffler's spokesman Stephen Lawson told the newspaper.

There is no evidence she recognized Doles or sought his support. In September, Georgia House Republican candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene removed Doles from a rally that also featured the Republican senator. A Loeffler spokesman then told the AJC that she was not aware of Doles or the controversy over his attendance.
Doles, who took the photo, posted it this weekend to VK, a Russian social networking site, and it quickly drew criticism from Democrats.

Image
GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler is pictured next to Chester Doles, a White supremacist and member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, during a campaign event in Georgia on Friday. Doles posted the photo to VK, a Russian social networking site.

Loeffler and Republican Sen. David Perdue are respectively running against Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to protect their party's control of the Senate. If both Warnock and Ossoff win, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will break tie votes in the chamber.

The contests have turned increasingly nasty, with Republicans trying to portray the Democratic candidates as socialists who will ruin the country, while the Democrats have attacked the senators over their multi-million-dollar stock trades earlier this year, charging that they've profited off the pandemic. The candidates have said their opponents are spreading falsehoods.

Warnock spokesman Michael Brewer seized on the photo, saying there was "no acceptable explanation" for Loeffler's photo with Doles. If elected, Warnock would be the first Black person elected to the Senate in Georgia.

"While Kelly Loeffler runs a campaign based on dividing and misleading Georgians, she is once again trying to distance herself from someone who is a known White supremacist and former KKK leader who nearly beat a Black man to death," Brewer said.

CNN's Ryan Nobles, Caroline Kenny, Kyung Lah and Donie O'Sullivan contributed to this report.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:54 pm

Trump Media Empire? Don’t Bet on It.: He may desperately need his own platform now that he’s been exiled from Twitter, but it’s going to cost him more than he’s got.
by Jack Shafer
Politico Senior Media Writer
01/09/2021 07:18 PM EST

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Image
Alex Brandon/AP Photo

Eighty-sixed permanently from his personal account by Twitter for propelling his mob to attack and occupy the Capitol, President Donald Trump transferred his carping to the official @POTUS account early Friday evening.

His four tweets there, since deleted by Twitter, complained of being gagged by the “Democrats and Radical Left” and pledged he would explore “building out our own platform in the near future.” This vague promise reprised an idea first floated by the Trump camp in the late going of campaign 2016—when he seemed a sure loser—that he might start his own TV network. It makes sense that Trump would want to build his own impregnable forum where nobody can police his speech. He maintains his base by communicating with it at all hours of the day and night. He desperately wants to maintain that continuity to preserve the momentum he has achieved over the past four years. He rightly worries that his pack will ditch him for someone more compelling or entertaining, ergo, he needs to lay plans now or face oblivion.

But then as now, the business challenges to launching a TV channel or other high-profile media property seem beyond the talents, resources and patience of Trump and his crew. This isn’t to predict that Trump won’t enter the media business, only to record that if he does, he won’t get very far.

Let’s say he decides to start a cable channel to vie with CNN, MSNBC and especially with Fox News Channel. Assuming that he can raise the hundreds of millions of dollars to stand up a competitive network—Trump has always preferred using other people’s money in his ventures—what sort of luck might he have in getting AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other major cable companies to carry his new channel? He has no friends at AT&T, whose merger with Time Warner he fought as president, and which now owns CNN. Comcast doesn’t desire a new entry in the news market to go against its MSNBC property. As The New York Times noted in 2016, not even Oprah Winfrey, the queen of all media, succeeded in turning her personal franchise into a cable powerhouse. Can Trump do something the far-wealthier and much more appealing Winfrey couldn’t?

But let’s say Trump does the unlikely. If you think Fox has been distancing itself from the toddler-in-chief since the Biden victory, you can be assured that it will savage him when he poses a threat to its viewership and revenues. The same goes for the Trump-lovers at NewsMax and OAN. Trump’s better bet would be to buy NewsMax, something Trump allies flirted with in November, or even OAN. But again, doing so would draw the ire of Fox, where the majority of his followers currently park their TV sets. Trump might as well shop for a public access slot.

Rather than starting his own thing, the fastest, grandest way for Trump to get into the media game would be to shop himself to Fox or the Sinclair stations as the host of a nightly show, which given the 74 million votes he garnered in November and his TV talents, could make a splash. But what’s in it for Fox? Its current prime-time roster rakes in excellent ratings, and none of the current hosts pose the personnel problems Trump would immediately present. The Fox dog does not want to be wagged by the tail. What’s more, the Murdoch empire, which owns Fox, seems to have soured on Trump. This week, the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal editorial page, a consistent pro-Trump venue, urged Trump to resign the morning after the battle for the Capitol. Fleeing to a host job at Sinclair, again, would make him a slow-moving target of his natural allies at Fox, NewsMax and OAN. Does he really want that? He has too many media enemies right now to manufacture new ones.

Trump could try to reconstitute his Twitter brand on a new service of his own creation, but that too would be like pushing a boulder up a hill. Better to go to Parler, the home of many Twitter-rejectees, he might surmise. Yet that’s not going to create media magic for the soon-to-be ex-president, either. Google just banned Parler from its app store, and Apple is threatening to do the same because Parler doesn’t do content moderation or tamp down firebrands like Trump. So even if Trump moves to Parler and Parler smooths relations with the two app stores, Trump will face censorship from Google and Apple that will make his time at Twitter look like a free ride. Trump will never join Parler if it only lets him pour vanilla on his faithful. He wants to dump hot sauce.

What options does that leave Trump? Start an over-the-top streaming channel like Glenn Beck’s the Blaze? Beck, who was a Fox star before creating the Blaze, never succeeded in the linear TV business after eight years of trying, and now exists as a more modest service that produces VOD shows, radio shows, podcasts and a website.

Energizing his minions to rout the Capitol didn’t completely drain Trump of his political and media powers. But the wounds he suffered are deep and hemorrhaging still. The days where he could swagger, defame and incite without suffering crippling repercussions appear to have ended. To pour the foundations for a new media operation he would need lots of capital, something he appears not to possess. He would need a media mastermind like Roger Ailes to guide it—but Ailes is dead.

What successful media wizard can you think of who is dying to throw in with a discredited ex-president? And most of all, to sustain a bruising media battle against the current market incumbents, he would require advertiser support. Beyond the My Pillow guy, the purveyors of herbal remedies and reverse mortgage operators, how many American brands want to associate their products and services with an unindicted (for now) accessory to sedition?
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:50 am

House Democrats Set to Impeach Trump If Mike Pence Refuses to Invoke 25th Amendment
by Amy Goodman
DemocracyNow.org
JAN 11, 2021

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Momentum is building to remove President Trump from office following the violent attempted coup last Wednesday that saw an angry mob of Trump-backed insurrectionists storm the Capitol, resulting in five deaths. House Democrats are introducing a resolution formally calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says if Pence does not move to do so, the House will proceed with impeachment — for the second time in Trump’s single term. Pence has reportedly not ruled out using the 25th Amendment. California Congressmember Ted Lieu said an article of impeachment with at least 210 co-sponsors in the House will be introduced today. The draft resolution cites “incitement of insurrection.”

Meanwhile, two Republican senators have joined calls for Trump to resign: Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, who spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.

Sen. Pat Toomey: “I think the best way for our country, Chuck, is for the president to resign and go away as soon as possible. … The president spiraled down into a kind of madness that was different.”

Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are also facing increasing pressure to resign over their obstruction of the certification of electoral votes. Over 5,000 lawyers and law students have signed a petition urging their disbarment.

As fear grows of an increasingly unhinged Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus Friday she had spoken to General Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about safeguards that are in place should Trump seek to initiate a nuclear attack.


Twitter Permanently Bans Trump’s Account as Big Tech Distances Itself from Trump, Far Right

Twitter permanently removed President Donald Trump from its platform Friday, citing repeated violations of Twitter’s terms of service and the risk he would further incite violence ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20. The ban came a day after Trump posted this video message to his Twitter feed.

President Donald Trump: “To all of my wonderful supporters: I know you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.”

Twitter’s move to permanently ban Trump came amid a wave of suspensions and bans from other social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Reddit, Snapchat and Shopify.

Meanwhile, Apple, Google and Amazon Web Services ended their support for the social media network Parler over the weekend, which bills itself as Twitter without rules. The companies say Parler’s managers have consistently failed to halt threats of violence and calls for armed insurrection on the site. Parler was co-founded by Republican donor and Trump supporter Rebekah Mercer, daughter of hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer.

And in another move from Big Tech, the payment processing company Stripe cut ties with the Trump campaign, which has continued to fundraise, saying it violated its policies against encouraging violence.


Authorities Make More Arrests Following Domestic Terror Attack at U.S. Capitol

More information is emerging about the domestic terrorists behind the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Over the weekend, authorities arrested Eric Munchel and Larry Brock, who were photographed in the Senate chambers wearing tactical gear and carrying plastic handcuffs. Munchel carried a pistol on his hip.

Others arrested include Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., who threatened to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the head on live TV; Arkansas pro-gun activist Richard Barnett, who boasted of looting mail from Pelosi’s office; and West Virginia state lawmaker Derrick Evans, who live-streamed himself storming the Capitol. Rioter Robert Keith Packer of Virginia was arrested after he was filmed wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words “Camp Auschwitz” and “Work Makes You Free” — a reference to the Nazi death camp.

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Also arrested was Doug Jensen, who was filmed chasing a Black police officer up the stairs of the Capitol, and Trump-supporting QAnon conspiracy theorist Jacob Anthony Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, who posed for photos on the Senate dais carrying a spear and wearing a headdress made of coyote skin and buffalo horns.

Details have emerged about the death of Rosanne Boyland, a 34-year-old QAnon and Trump supporter from Georgia who was trampled by the mob as it stormed the Capitol. Boyland was photographed Wednesday carrying a Gadsden flag — a Revolutionary War-era emblem of a rattlesnake with the caption “Don’t Tread on Me.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center is demanding an investigation into the Republican Attorney Generals Association, which set up robocalls urging Trump supporters to join the January 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C. The group is headed by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.

Brian Sicknick, Capitol Police Officer Killed in Coup Attempt, Was Antiwar Trump Supporter

On Sunday, hundreds of police officers lined the streets of Washington, D.C., in a funeral procession for Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer killed when marauding Trump domestic terrorists hit him in the head with a fire extinguisher. Sicknick was a military veteran who later became an opponent of the Iraq War and George W. Bush, and was an outspoken supporter of President Trump.

A second Capitol Police officer died over the weekend: 15-year veteran Howard Liebengood reportedly took his own life Saturday. On Sunday, President Trump ordered the flag above the White House to be flown at half-staff to honor the Capitol Police officers. He took the step three days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lowered the flag over the U.S. Capitol.

Meanwhile, the Capitol’s attending physician is warning members of Congress they may have come in contact with someone infected with coronavirus as they spent hours sheltering in a protective isolation room as Trump supporters rampaged through the Capitol. Video shows several Republican lawmakers refusing to wear face masks inside the cramped space.

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Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman Tests Positive For COVID After Republicans'
The Last Word
MSNBC
Jan 12, 2021
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), who tested positive for Covid-19, tells Lawrence O'Donnell that she's "angry" about "the arrogance and the stupidity" of the Republicans who refused to wear masks while sheltering in a crowded room during the Capitol insurrection.


New Details Emerge of Trump’s Attempts to Overturn Georgia Election Results

The Washington Post is reporting Trump pressured Georgia’s top elections investigator to “find the fraud” in another phone call he made to Georgia officials in an attempt to overturn election results. Experts say the call could constitute obstruction of justice or other criminal violations.

In related news, The Wall Street Journal reported White House officials pushed Atlanta’s top federal prosecutor to step down ahead of Georgia’s Senate runoffs over concerns he wasn’t doing enough to investigate Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak, who was appointed by Trump, resigned last Monday.

Fascism Scholar: Strongman Trump Radicalized His Supporters; Turning This Back Will Be Very Hard

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is threatening to begin new impeachment hearings against President Trump if Vice President Mike Pence doesn’t invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to remove Trump from office for inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol. Calls are also growing for Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to be expelled or to resign for supporting Trump’s effort to overturn the election and fanning the flames ahead of last week’s insurrection, and authorities are warning about more right-wing violence ahead of Inauguration Day on January 20. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a New York University historian whose work focuses on fascism, authoritarian leaders and propaganda, says the storming of the Capitol was “a logical result” of Trump’s legitimization and encouragement of right-wing extremism since 2016. “The threat to democracy is not outside our institutions only. It’s coming from inside,” Ben-Ghiat says.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is threatening to quickly impeach President Trump if Vice President Mike Pence does not support invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. During an interview on 60 Minutes, Pelosi said Trump should be prosecuted for his role inciting last week’s violent insurrection at the Capitol that left five people dead, including a Capitol Hill police officer.

SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Well, sadly, the person who’s running the executive branch is a deranged, unhinged, dangerous president of the United States, and only a number of days until we can be protected from him. But he has done something so serious that there should be prosecution against him.

AMY GOODMAN: On Friday, House Speaker Pelosi spoke to the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, about ways to prevent Trump from launching nuclear weapons in the closing days of his presidency.


This comes as Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have become the first Republican senators to call for Trump to resign. Murkowski has also suggested she may leave the Republican Party.

Meanwhile, calls are growing for Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to be expelled or to resign for supporting Trump’s effort to overturn the election and fanning the flames ahead of last week’s insurrection.

Authorities are warning about more right-wing violence ahead of Inauguration Day on January 20.

Over the weekend, federal investigators arrested a number of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol, including two men who were photographed wearing tactical gear, holding plastic zip tie handcuffs — a sign that the domestic terrorists may have been intending to take lawmakers hostage.

Federal agents have also arrested a Georgia man named Cleveland Meredith for sending a text message threatening to kill Nancy Pelosi on live TV. At the time of his arrest, Meredith had a Glock handgun, a pistol, an assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

On Sunday, CNN aired shocking video of Trump supporters grabbing a D.C. Metro police officer, pulling him down the Capitol steps, where he was beaten with American flagpoles.
Investigations have also been launched into the role of active-duty soldiers and police officers in Wednesday’s riots.



Even the president of the United States could face criminal charges for inciting the insurrection. Last week, the top prosecutor in Washington, acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin, refused to rule out charging the president.

President Trump made no public remarks over the weekend after being permanently banned on Twitter. On Friday, he announced he would not attend Biden’s inauguration.

To talk more about the insurrection at the Capitol and the Trump presidency, we’re joined by Ruth Ben-Ghiat. She’s a professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, author of the new book, Strongmen: How They Rise, Why They Succeed, How They Fall. Her new piece for CNN is headlined “Trump’s end game? Power at all costs.”

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Professor Ben-Ghiat, if you can start off by responding to what happened last week, this violent insurrection? Still, the Department of Homeland Security, the president himself, the FBI, the attorney general, none have made comment, even though five people died, another police officer took his own life, and we know the violence that now is becoming increasingly vivid as video after video is released.

RUTH BEN-GHIAT: So, the events of January 6 are the product of two long-term objectives that Trump has sought, successfully. One is, like all strongmen who arrive on the scene, they legitimize existing extremism and anti-democratic tendencies. They give validation to the worst criminal elements in society. And in fact, many strongmen, including Trump, either come to power with a criminal record or under investigation, so they are criminal elements themselves. So there’s that. The other thing they do is — and Trump did this with the GOP — is they glamorize and legitimize lawlessness. So lawmakers become lawbreakers. And this has happened.

And what is particularly disturbing — and I think we’ll have more of this — there’s an AP investigation that has come out on, you know, who are these participants of the January 6 events. And though it’s tempting to see them as — which is scary enough — as extremists and militia groups, white power, there were Republican donors. There were Republican officials. There were military. There were law enforcement. So this means the threat to democracy is not outside our institutions only. It’s coming from inside.

And this is a logical result of a policy that Trump has followed very resolutely since he started signaling during his campaign to extremist groups, but also made that statement you played at the top of the show about shooting someone. What he was saying, in January 2016, is that he would be — he was above the law, and he was capable of violence, and he would get away with it.

I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.

-- Donald Trump


AMY GOODMAN: So, let’s talk about his family’s rally, that was held right before the marauders, the domestic terrorists, the insurrectionists — whatever you want to call them — right before they marched to the Capitol. By the way, Trump, saying he would be with them, of course, got in a car and safely watched this from the White House.

RUTH BEN-GHIAT: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: But let’s turn to the video obtained by CNBC of Trump and his family watching a live stream of the pro-Trump so-called Stop the Steal rally at the Capitol last week. This is Don Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle.

DONALD TRUMP JR.: I think we’re T-minus a couple of seconds here, guys. So, check it out. Tune in. I’m going to live-stream it. It’s going to be — Mark Meadows, an actual fighter, one of the few, a real fighter. Thank you, Mark. Kimberly?

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KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE: Yeah. Have the courage to do the right thing! Fight!

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE: Yeah. Have the courage to do the right thing! Fight!

AMY GOODMAN: And this is President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, addressing the crowd at Wednesday’s so-called Save America rally in Washington, D.C.

RUDY GIULIANI: Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent. And if we’re wrong, we will be made fools of. But if we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail. So, let’s have trial by combat!

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RUDY GIULIANI: So, let’s have trial by combat!

AMY GOODMAN: “Trial by combat.” This is Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, who apparently will be hired by President Trump, along with Alan Dershowitz, to defend him if there is an impeachment trial. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, if you can talk about what this insurrection looks like in world history, you know, the revving on by not the people outside, but the people on the inside, the leader of a country who refuses to accept a democratic election?

RUTH BEN-GHIAT: Yeah, this is classic. You know, it’s really interesting because, in my book, it’s the first book to put Trump in context of a hundred years of authoritarian history. And he’s really using tactics from all three eras. He’s got the fascist era, and of course I can’t help but be reminded of the March on Rome, when Mussolini was, you know, trying to take over — trying to get into power, but used these Blackshirts. And he took a train, a first-class train, but all the Blackshirts were there in the streets intimidating the king into inviting him into becoming prime minister. And Mussolini is also important because he was a democratic prime minister for three years, eroding democracy from within. And then, when he thought he was going to lose power, he declared a dictatorship. But he had already had these Blackshirts who were threatening violence.

So, and then we have the age of military coups. And we know that Trump was investigating using the regular armed forces, before General Milley put a stop to that. And so he went with these extremists. But the other thing — which, as we see, are not only extremists, but people inside our institutions.

The other thing that he’s left for the GOP is a roadmap on how to just nullify elections and treat your political opponent as a political enemy. And so, the GOP was already drifting toward being an authoritarian party when Trump came along. And he has legitimized lawlessness. And in a sense, the whole events leading up to, including the quotes you mentioned — you know, “trial by combat” — they distill this kind of macho lawlessness that’s the essence of authoritarian rule and always has been. And it’s our turn, as a country, to reckon with this.


AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to a message posted on Twitter Sunday by the Terminator actor, the former Republican governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in which he compares last week’s pro-Trump mob at the Capitol to Kristallnacht, when German Nazis launched a wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms.


Arnold Schwarzenegger: As an immigrant to this country, I would like to say a few words to my fellow Americans and to our friends around the world about the events of recent days. Now, I grew up in Austria. I am very aware of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass. It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938 by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys. Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States. The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol. But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol. They shattered the ideas we took for granted. They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed the American democracy. They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.

Now, I grew up in the ruins of a country that suffered the loss of its democracy. I was born in 1947, two years after the Second World War. Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men drinking away their guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history. Not all of them were rabid antisemites or Nazis. Many just went along step-by-step down the road. They were the people next door.

Now, I’ve never shared this so publicly because it is a painful memory. But my father would come home drunk once or twice a week and he would scream and hit us and scare my mother. I did not hold him totally responsible because our neighbor was doing the same thing to his family, and so was the next neighbor over. I heard it my own ears and saw it with my own eyes. They were in physical pain from the shrapnel in their bodies and in emotional pain from what they saw or did.

It all started with lies and lies and lies, and intolerance. So being from Europe, I’ve seen firsthand how things can spin out of control.
I know there is a fear in this country and all over the world that something like this could happen right here. Now, I do not believe it is, but I do believe that we must be aware of the dire consequences of selfishness and cynicism. President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election and of a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies. My father and our neighbors were misled also with lies, and I know where such lies lead.

President Trump is a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst president ever. The good thing is that he soon will be as irrelevant as an old Tweet. But what are we to make of those elected officials who have enabled his lies and his treachery?
I will remind them of what Teddy Roosevelt said, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.” And John F. Kennedy wrote a book called Profiles in Courage. A number of members of my own party, because of their own spinelessness, would never see their names in such a book, I guarantee you.

They’re complicit with those who carried the flag of self-righteous insurrection into the Capitol. But it did not work. Our democracy held firm. Within hours, the Senate and the House of Representatives were doing the people’s business and certifying the election of President Elect Biden. What a great display of democracy.

Now, I grew up Catholic. I went to church, went to Catholic school. I learned the bible and my catechism, and all of this. And from those days, I remember a phrase that is relevant today, a servant’s heart. It means serving something larger than yourself. See, what we need right now is from our elected representatives is a public servant’s heart. We need public servants that serve something larger than their own power or their own party. We need public servants who will serve higher ideals, the ideas on which this country was founded, the ideas that other countries look up to.

Now, over the past few days, friends from all over the world have been calling and calling and calling me, calling me distraught and worried about us as a nation. One woman was in tears about America, wonderful tears of idealism about what America should be. Those tears should remind us of what America means to the world. Now, I’ve told everyone who has called that, as heartbreaking as all of this is, America will come back from these dark days and shine our lights once again.

Now, you see this sword? This is the Conan sword. Now, here’s the thing about swords; the more you temper a sword, the stronger it becomes. The more you pound it with a hammer and then heat it in the fire and then thrust it into the cold water, and then pound it again and plunge it into the fire and into the water, the more often you do that, the stronger it becomes. Now, I’m not telling you all this because I want you to become an expert sword maker, but our democracy is like the steel of this sword. The more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes. Our democracy has been tempered by wars, injustices, and insurrections.

I believe, as shaken as we are by the events of recent days, we will come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost. We need reforms, of course, so that this never ever happens again. We need to hold accountable the people that brought us to this unforgivable point. And we need to look past ourselves, our parties, and disagreements, and put our democracy first. And we need to heal, together, from the trauma of what has just happened. We need to heal, not as Republicans or as Democrats, but as Americans.

Now, to begin this process, no matter what your political affiliation is, I ask you to join me in saying to President Elect Biden, “President Elect Biden, we wish you great success as our president. If you succeed, our nation succeeds. We support you with all our hearts as you seek to bring us together. And to those who think they can overturn the United States Constitution, know this: you will never win. President Elect Biden, we stand with you today, tomorrow, and forever in defense of our democracy from those who would threaten it.” May God bless all of you and may God bless America.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: I grew up in Austria. I’m very aware of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass. It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938 by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys. Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States. The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol.

AMY GOODMAN: So, if you can give us the background for this? And then we’re going to play more of Arnold Schwarzenegger apparently for the first time in public talking about the complicity of his father and neighbors in Austria at this time. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, give us the history of Kristallnacht and Austria and the Anschluss.

RUTH BEN-GHIAT: So, Kristallnacht was so tragically important because there had already been legal persecution of Jews and plenty of imprisonments of Jews who were leftists and beatings in the street. There was plenty of violence in Germany. And then Hitler annexed Austria and had a plebiscite — Austria had a plebiscite. But Kristallnacht was the first large-scale, coordinated attack on Jewish sites, whether they were stores, they were synagogues. And it was — you know, the Nazis allowed the violence to happen, but actually instigated it.

So, this is — this technique of lighting the match and already not addressing violence and egging on violence, and then letting it roll, is a classic authoritarian maneuver.
And, of course, part of the effect was to lead some Jews to get out and emigrate, which is partly what the Nazis wanted. They wanted to get rid of the Jews that way, as well as with violence.

And the reason that Arnold Schwarzenegger —

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Ben-Ghiat, I want to go back —

RUTH BEN-GHIAT: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: — to Arnold Schwarzenegger now.

RUTH BEN-GHIAT: Yes, that’s what I’m doing. So, Schwarzenegger is —

AMY GOODMAN: No, let me go — we’re going to go back to play a little more of what he had to say.

RUTH BEN-GHIAT: Yeah.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: I was born in 1947, two years after the Second World War. Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men drinking away the guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history. Not all of them were rabid anti-Semites or Nazis. Many just went along, step by step, down the road. They were the people next door. Now, I’ve never shared this so publicly, because it is a painful memory. But my father would come home drunk once or twice a week, and he would scream and hit us and scare my mother. I didn’t hold him totally responsible, because our neighbor was doing the same thing to his family, and so was the next neighbor over. I heard it with my own ears and saw it with my own eyes. They were in physical pain from the shrapnel in their bodies and in emotional pain from what they saw or did. It all started with lies, and lies, and lies, and intolerance.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s the former Republican governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat, if you can talk about what he’s referring to, everyday Austrians? And then take it back to the United States, as increasingly people around this country are asking questions about the senators and congressmembers who have aided and abetted what Donald Trump was trying to do — delegitimize democratic elections — people like Cori Bush calling for the expulsion — the new congressmember from Missouri — of congressmembers who supported this. But start back in Austria with the Nazis.

RUTH BEN-GHIAT: Yeah. So, you know, what Arnold Schwarzenegger is referring to is that Hitler was supposed to be — and Hitler was the native child, having been born in Austria. He was supposed to be savior of Germany. And instead, he led it to defeat. I have quotes in my book about women in bomb shelters when Hitler abandoned his people and the Allies were bombing and the Soviets were invading, and she said, “Hitler promised us greatness, and he was really out to destroy us.” So, there was this, you know, massive, massive tragedy and guilt that was experienced and caused violence, domestic violence. And this is this kind of terrible atmosphere post-Hitler, who killed himself, of course, because the — I have it in the conclusion to my book — the one constant with all these men is that they despise their people, and they blame their people when things go badly, and they leave them in the ditch. Their only loyalty is to themselves.

And the Republicans in America have seen this happening as Trump has turned on the people who enabled him at the beginning, like Jeff Sessions, who was the first person to bring him to a rally. And Trump said, “Oh, I’m being mainstream now.” And then we know what happened to Jeff Sessions.

And so, Trump has had an enormous success, to a shocking degree, in domesticating and making as a personal tool the GOP, considering he didn’t start his party, like Mussolini or — and Hitler was, you know, a head of the party very early on. Trump came in from the outside. And in only four years, through intimidation, bullying, buyouts — the usual autocratic methods — has completely wrapped the GOP around his finger. And this is how we get this complicity.

And so, those who had to wait for an armed assault with murderous intentions on the Capitol to do the right thing, like McConnell and Pence, I’m not so impressed. They were only reacting to their personal safety being jeopardized. So, any legacy reckoning with the Trump era has to actually focus on how successful he’s been at getting people to be their worst selves.


AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Professor Ben-Ghiat, you tweeted, “Historian of coups and right-wing authoritarians here. If there are not severe consequences for every lawmaker & Trump govt official who backed this, every member of the Capitol Police who collaborated with them, this 'strategy of disruption' will escalate in 2021.” If you would elaborate further and end by talking about what is deeply concerning to so many people right now, that this was just a first attack?

RUTH BEN-GHIAT: So, when Trump says this, “Our beautiful” — or, “Our journey is just beginning,” I had already been very worried that this would be — that Trump and the GOP — Trump will act as an outside agitator when he leaves. And this would be a strategy of trying to delegitimize the Biden administration — they’ve already been trying to sabotage it with nonaction on coronavirus, economic misery — but to make America so ungovernable and so difficult to govern, so chaotic, so violent, under Biden and Harris, that it creates more desire for law and order, and in come the Trumps back again, or Trump proxies.

So, I’m very worried that this — there’s already a, quote, “armed march” being planned for January 17th around the nation. And once you legitimize and give a presidential imprimatur to extremism, and once you convince — you plant people throughout federal agencies, you know, you radicalize law enforcement, as Bill Barr, who stepped away but has a huge amount of responsibility for this, it’s very hard to turn this back.


AMY GOODMAN: Ruth Ben-Ghiat, I want to thank you for being with us, professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, author of the book Strongmen: How They Rise, Why They Succeed, How They Fall. We will link to her new piece at CNN titled “Trump’s end game? Power at all costs.”

Next up, we look at Big Tech’s response to the Capitol insurrection. Twitter has permanently banned Donald Trump. Parler is offline. We’ll host a debate.
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Is Big Tech Too Powerful? Chris Hedges & Ramesh Srinivasan Debate Twitter & Facebook Banning Trump
by Amy Goodman
DemocracyNow.org
January 11, 2021

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GUESTS
Ramesh Srinivasan: professor in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA, where he also directs the Digital Cultures Lab.
Chris Hedges: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, award-winning author and activist.

Twitter, Facebook and other social media companies have removed President Trump from their platforms, after years of debate about the disinformation he shared to millions of followers from his accounts. While many are applauding the bans, author Chris Hedges warns they could backfire. “To allow these companies to essentially function as de facto platforms for censorship and manipulation … harkens back to the way civil liberties were eviscerated in the wake of 9/11,” says Hedges. “It’s always, in the end, the left that pays for this kind of censorship.” We also speak with UCLA professor Ramesh Srinivasan, director of the Digital Cultures Lab, who says Big Tech allowed right-wing extremism to flourish for years before acting and that lawmakers need to enact robust regulation. “All of these technology platforms, powered by their hidden algorithms that are indeed opaque, thrive on the amplification of polarization,” says Srinivasan. “It is incredible how much power we have given to a very small number of people who are essentially mediating pretty much every aspect of our lives.”

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

After years of debate, Twitter and Facebook have removed President Trump from their platforms. Today we’ll host our own debate on the moves by Big Tech.

Twitter permanently suspended Trump Friday, cutting off his instant line of communication with 89 million followers, after reviewing two tweets it said could incite violence and contribute to a possible, quote, “secondary attack” on the U.S. Capitol and other government facilities next weekend, ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday. Trump’s tweets were, quote, “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” and Trump also tweeted that he, quote, “will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20,” unquote.

“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”

-- President Donald Trump, Jan 9, 2021


Meanwhile, Facebook and Instagram, which are the same company, have now suspended Trump at least until Inauguration Day. Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, and Snapchat also disabled Trump’s accounts. Other platforms that have now banned or restricted Trump include TikTok, Reddit, Snapchat and Shopify.

Meanwhile, Apple, Google and Amazon Web Services ended their support for the social media network Parler over the weekend, which bills itself as Twitter without rules. The companies say Parler’s managers have consistently failed to halt threats of violence and calls for armed insurrection on the site. Parler was co-founded by the Republican megadonor Trump supporter Rebekah Mercer, daughter of hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer.

All of this comes as critics argue Facebook, Google and Twitter have peddled extremism for profit for years. Now the payment processing company Stripe has cut ties with the Trump campaign, which continues to fundraise, saying it violated policies against encouraging violence after the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol last Wednesday.

For more on Big Tech’s response to the Capitol insurrection, we begin with Ramesh Srinivasan. He’s professor of information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA, where he also directs the Digital Cultures Lab. Professor Srinivasan is the author of the book Beyond the Valley: How Innovators Around the World Are Overcoming Inequality and Creating the Technologies of Tomorrow. After we speak with him, we’ll host a debate with professor Srinivasan and Chris Hedges.

So, Professor, if you can start off — a lot of people may not even be familiar with some of these sites, but if you can talk about what has happened in the last week with Big Tech?

RAMESH SRINIVASAN: Yeah, absolutely, Amy. It’s great to be back with you.

Yeah, I think it’s really important to note that as we sit through this pandemic, we are more technologically reliant than ever before. Our lives are mediated by private corporations, right? And so, big technology companies have had to take a stand in recent days about their relationships, which, quite frankly, are highly symbiotic with President Trump — and this is something we’ve discussed before — because many big technology companies thrive around the amplification of spectacle, meaning their goal, like pretty much any media network, is to keep you on there as much as possible, to keep your attention glued. And there is no one better at disorienting, polarizing, inflaming and stirring people up than President Trump. So they have been strange bedfellows and, in many cases, on an economic level, allies for many years.

I think, you know, quite belatedly, honestly, there were decisions made, after the horrific events of last week, where there were clear linkages between President Trump’s behavior, both online and offline, and the domestic white supremacist terror incident that we saw last week. I think these companies have realized they needed to cut bait at some point. But, in my opinion, they have never taken a stand in the public interest. And for us to praise them at this point is not really getting at the whole picture.


AMY GOODMAN: And before we go to our debate, explain what Parler is.

RAMESH SRINIVASAN: Yeah, Parler — it’s very important to note the connections, actually, between Parler and Cambridge Analytica, which I know you and many networks have done a lot of reporting on. Rebekah Mercer, as you mentioned earlier, is one of the founders of Parler. Her and her father, Robert Mercer, were the founders, along with Steve Bannon, who was intimately involved with Cambridge Analytica. Parler was set up rhetorically almost and has grown and boomed as a sort of alternative social media platform for the conservative and “alt-right” and, unfortunately, even more kind of right-wing, Neo-Nazi, white supremacist-type movements.

-- Cambridge Analytica's daddy biz had 'routine access' to UK secrets: Letter shows SCL gave psyops training to Brit defence staff, by Rebecca Hill

-- Cambridge Analytica-linked businessman helped start Black Cube, lawsuit claims. Vincent Tchenguiz also helped controversial 'private intel agency' apply for Israeli government grant for developing dual-use technologies; Economy Ministry won't say if it got one, by Times of Israel Staff

-- How Cambridge Analytica fueled a shady global passport bonanza. A controversial billion-dollar citizenship-for-sale business led the elections firm to conduct clandestine campaigns across the Caribbean, insiders say, by Ann Marlowe

-- SCL influence in foreign elections, by parliament.uk

-- Witness: I: Alexander Nix, Chief Executive, Cambridge Analytica, Oral evidence: Fake News, HC 363, by Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

-- Cambridge Prof with CIA, MI6 Ties Met with Trump Adviser During Campaign, Beyond, by Chuck Ross

-- Intelligence experts accuse Cambridge forum of Kremlin links: Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, resigns from Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, by Sam Jones

-- Cambridge Apostles [The Apostles' Club], by Wikipedia

-- Cambridge Five, by Wikipedia

-- The Cambridge Analytica Files: ‘I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower, by Carole Cadwalladr


Trump, despite his incredibly positive and symbiotic relationship with Big Tech on every level, has railed against Big Tech over the last several months and has falsely claimed that it is responsible for his election loss and the losses for Republicans in the past. Parler was set up as an alternative for people on the right to flock to. But, very importantly, content that might start or bubble up on Parler tends to translate across different technology platforms by what I call a media ecology. So stuff might start on Parler, just like it started on 4chan or Reddit or other kinds of platforms, but then it becomes the new normal on platforms that are much more mainstream, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

AMY GOODMAN: So, to debate Big Tech’s response to the Capitol insurrection and whether social media should be banning President Trump for life or until he’s out of office, we’re joined by Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, award-winning author and activist. He is a regular columnist for Scheerpost. His latest article is headlined “The Empire Is Not Done with Julian Assange.” He’s written numerous books, including, most recently, America: The Farewell Tour. Still with us, Ramesh Srinivasan, professor of information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA, where he also directs the Digital Cultures Lab.

Chris, can you start off by responding to Twitter permanently banning Donald Trump?

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, Twitter, all of these digital platforms are not neutral arbiters. In fact, they’re, of course, for-profit corporations with close ties to the security state. And if you look back over the past few years, they have imposed heavy forms of censorship and interference, primarily on the left, and in particularly on WikiLeaks. So, they blocked the ability for WikiLeaks to accept donations on PayPal and every other platform. Every time WikiLeaks would hold a press conference, there would be interference, electronic interference. People couldn’t get in the room. They’ve used algorithms. And then we saw, again, their very partisan activity during the campaign when they locked the New York Post out of its own Twitter account because it had published stories about the revelations found on the discarded or abandoned laptop from Hunter Biden, which, in retrospect, have proven quite serious. Glenn Greenwald took a very heroic stance on this, and The Intercept wouldn’t publish his story.

So, to allow these opaque — and remember, these companies know everything about us; we know nothing about them. To allow these companies to essentially function as de facto platforms for censorship and manipulation — I’m not in any way minimizing what happened last week — harkens back to the way civil liberties were eviscerated in the wake of 9/11 — the PATRIOT Act, which the great civil rights attorney Michael Ratner called a coup d’état, the 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force Act. So, responding to a crisis — and I think we do live in a crisis. I have written about this right-wing, nativist fascist. My book, American Fascist, came out in 2006, so I’m very cognizant of the very real threat that we face. But to respond by, in essence, empowering these private corporations to function as censors over billions of people will come back to haunt us. And we see that, because it’s not just Trump they target. It’s always, in the end, the left that pays for this kind of censorship.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Srinivasan, if you can respond to this? And also, let’s just point out that Twitter’s move didn’t start with the leadership. It started with 300 Twitter employees signing a petition calling for him, Trump, to be permanently banned, saying, “We must examine Twitter’s complicity in what President-Elect Biden has rightly termed insurrection. Those acts jeopardize the wellbeing of the United States, our company, and our employees.”

RAMESH SRINIVASAN: I mean, that itself is a great example of how publicly unaccountable a company like Twitter is. And that is true across the board when it comes to Big Tech companies. Big Tech companies have become — are private corporations, that we’re talking about some of the wealthiest corporations in the history of the world. During this pandemic alone, hundreds of billions of dollars have been made primarily by tech magnates. That is really important to point out. And that’s only going to be the new normal as we head toward, you know, climate crises, possible future pandemics and so on.

But I very much agree with the point that was made by Mr. Hedges. Twitter is self-serving. These Big Tech companies are self-serving. There are many right-wing trolls who are going viral, as we speak, on Twitter right now. All of these technology platforms, powered by their hidden algorithms, that are indeed opaque, thrive on the amplification of polarization, the amplification of attention. They are able to computationally predict what will grab our eyeballs. And the disorienting, propagandist, hateful kinds of content that comes out of President Trump on Twitter makes him an incredible ally.

And that is why it’s extremely important for us to take note of the much larger issue, which is our public lives, our economic lives, our political lives, even our intimate lives, our behavioral lives, are all governed by private technology companies that know far more about us than we will ever know about them. And that’s why I believe we really need to transform and regulate technology companies in the image of justice and balance and compassion.


AMY GOODMAN: But what about Chris Hedges’ concern that, yes, they’re turning on Trump right now, who they have enormously profited from over the years, but next it may well be you?

RAMESH SRINIVASAN: Oh, absolutely. There is no public governance. There is no public accountability. It could be any of us, Amy. It was with WikiLeaks, as Chris Hedges pointed out. Yeah, it is incredible how much power we have given to a very small number of people, who are essentially mediating pretty much every aspect of our lives.

And I really believe that this is why we need true regulatory intervention at this time. And we’re at a very unique moment when it comes to these issues. We have a large-scale agreement across the American population, and actually, in many cases, around the world, to do something about these issues with Big Tech.


AMY GOODMAN: Well, Chris Hedges, not all speech in this country is, to say the least, simply allowed. I mean, you’re not supposed to be able to yell “fire” in a crowded theater, for example. As you pointed out, you yourself have been warning for years about American fascism. How does President Trump, the support for this insurrection, not fall into that category for you?

CHRIS HEDGES: Because he doesn’t specifically call for violence.




[Rudy Giuliani] Hello! Hello, everyone! We’re here, just very briefly, to make a very important: two points: No. 1: Every single thing that has been outlined as the plan for today, is perfectly legal....SO LET’S HAVE TRIAL BY COMBAT!...hey picked states where they had crooked Democratic cities, where they could push everybody around, AND IT HAS TO BE VINDICATED TO SAVE OUR REPUBLIC. This is BIGGER THAN DONALD TRUMP! It is BIGGER than you and me....This has been a year in which they have invaded our freedom of speech, our freedom of religion, our freedom to move, our freedom to live, AND I’LL BE DARNED IF THEY’RE GONNA TAKE AWAY OUR FREE AND FAIR VOTE! AND WE’RE GOING TO FIGHT TO THE VERY END TO MAKE SURE THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN!

-- Rudy Giuliani [Transcript] Save America March


[Donald Trump, Jr.] HELLO, PATRIOTS! Hey, guys. You actually all did something, I didn’t realize was possible. I’m looking at the crowd here, and the tens of thousands – probably 100,000 plus people here – AND YOU DID IT ALL WITHOUT BURNING DOWN BUILDINGS? YOU DID IT WITHOUT RIPPING DOWN CHURCHES?! WITHOUT LOOTING?! I didn’t know that that was possible! According to the media, when you have a large gathering of peaceful protesters, they are supposed to burn it all down! [Crowd laughs] So guys, we can do it right....

So to those Republicans, many of which may be voting on things in the coming hours: you have an opportunity today. You can be a hero, or you can be a zero! And the choice is yours, but we are all watching! The whole world is watching, folks. Choose wisely, because if you just roll over, if you don’t fight in the face of glaring irregularities, and statistical impossibilities –

[Crowd] FIGHT FOR TRUMP! FIGHT FOR TRUMP! FIGHT FOR TRUMP! FIGHT FOR TRUMP! FOR TRUMP! FIGHT FOR TRUMP! FIGHT FOR TRUMP! FIGHT FOR TRUMP! FOR TRUMP! FIGHT FOR TRUMP! FIGHT FOR TRUMP! FIGHT FOR TRUMP!

[Donald Trump, Jr.] That’s right, guys! That’s the message! These guys better fight for Trump, because if they’re not, guess what? I’M GOING TO BE IN YOUR BACK YARD IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS. [Points] Guys like Scott, here. Look at – wow, okay, I can’t go through the whole list, because I don’t have 45 minutes to go through all the patriots that have been fighting, have been on the ground, that have mobilized to put good Republicans in those positions. GUESS WHAT, FOLKS? IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE THE ZERO, AND NOT THE HERO, WE’RE COMING FOR YOU, AND WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME DOING IT!

WE’VE GOT TO START FIGHTING like the Democrats do. Right? We gotta play their game. We gotta take their fight to them their way...

SO STAY IN THIS FIGHT! STAY LOUD! DON’T BE SUPPRESSED! DON’T BE PUT IN YOUR CORNER! DON’T LET THEM CANCEL YOU!...SO STAY IN THIS FIGHT! STAY LOUD! DON’T BE SUPPRESSED! DON’T BE PUT IN YOUR CORNER! DON’T LET THEM CANCEL YOU!

-- Donald Trump, Jr. [Transcript] Save America March


[President Donald Trump] We’re going to have to fight much harder and Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us. If he doesn’t, that will be a sad day for our country because you’re sworn to uphold our constitution. Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down. We’re going to walk down any one you want, but I think right here. We’re going walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong...

The Republicans have to get tougher. You’re not going to have a Republican party if you don’t get tougher. They want to play so straight, they want to play so, “Sir, yes, the United States, the constitution doesn’t allow me to send them back to the States.” Well, I say, “Yes, it does because the constitution says you have to protect our country and you have to protect our constitution and you can’t vote on fraud,” and fraud breaks up everything, doesn’t it? When you catch somebody in a fraud, you’re allowed to go by very different rules. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do...

And we fight. We fight like Hell and if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore...

So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give… The Democrats are hopeless. They’re never voting for anything, not even one vote. But we’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.

-- Donald Trump Speech "Save America" Rally Transcript


Fight

1a: to contend in battle or physical combat, especially: to strive to overcome a person by blows or weapons. The soldiers fought bravely.

-- Fight, by Merriam-Webster


And, you know, this goes back to the attempt on the state of Mississippi to go after the NAACP for violence that had been carried out, trying to blame the NAACP for this violence. And it went all the way up to the Supreme Court, I think, 1982. And they ruled, essentially — it was a unanimous decision — that this kind of speech, the kind of speech that Trump laid out, is actually protected, and even if it results in violence, they can’t go after the person who carried out that speech. So, if you give a strong — that case said that if you give a strong speech against segregation and that there is some kind of violence carried out, you’re not responsible.

So, I think that I would love to see Trump impeached. Ralph Nader and Bruce Fein have drawn up a list of 12 real impeachable offenses, not just a shakedown of the Ukraine. But, of course, I think the Democratic Party has been complicit in this administration. They could have impeached Trump the first week just on the Emoluments Clause alone, the perpetuation of nine wars, if we count Yemen, that were never declared by Congress. But they didn’t do it, because they saw Trump as a fundraising tool. The media has made tons of money off of Trump. Again, as was pointed out, the digital platforms love Trump as essentially keeping people on their platforms — again, profit-driven.

And now we’ve ended up, in the final week of the Trump administration, with people attempting to respond to the deterioration of the American political system and the judiciary and the checks and balances and everything else. But I think that, clearly, if we kind of coldly read what Trump said to his supporters, he didn’t call for people to break into the Capitol and take people hostage.

AMY GOODMAN: Certainly, he and his family, in just the speeches alone at this rally, as he talked about he would be with them, but, of course, then he sneaked back to the White House and was not with them, but they talked about “trial by combat.” They talked about getting Republicans who were not standing up for Trump. And you see all of the responses. As he watched what took place, the massive violence at the Capitol, Trump tweeted, “We love you. You’re special people.”

Ramesh Srinivasan, what do you want to see, as you support Trump being banned permanently from Twitter, to come from this? What do you see happening? Also, Stripe has said they won’t process his credit cards. You’ve got Shopify, which he uses. You know, money matters, to say the least, to Trump. And you’ve got Reddit, you’ve got Snapchat, you’ve got YouTube — all of these taking Trump down.

RAMESH SRINIVASAN: Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think that the solution to this issue and any future issues comes from hoping that Twitter does the right thing. Twitter has decided to ban Trump, and the other tech companies are now cutting bait with Trump, because it’s just gone a step too far, and they all recognize the Biden administration is incoming.

I really think that what we need to do is, long before we get to this point, have public audit, public intervention and public accountability into technology companies. So, you know, this is what I’ve been calling a Digital Bill of Rights. But basically what I’m talking about here is, we need to have full disclosure over what is being collected about us, how that which is being collected about us is influencing what we see. We need to have the ability for third parties to have audit, you know, continuous audit, over these technology platforms. We need to rein in some aspects, not fully, of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which basically provides online content providers, basically, no liability, just full protection to post and publish whatever they wish to. But long before we get to this point, any pieces of content, for example, that are likely to go viral, or that the tech companies are going to make go viral, should be — there should be some kind of audit kind of process. And these algorithms are thriving, that power all of these systems, thrive on amplification, spectacle and disinformation. And they really need to be reined in and transformed in the interest — in the public interest, in the democratic interest.

But also, to my point earlier, technology companies are not simply about our political lenses into the world, but are also deeply influencing issues of economic justice and social justice. And we have to ensure, because the internet was publicly funded, that all of these tech companies are resting upon publicly funded infrastructure that was based on all of us paying for, that they are publicly accountable. They have to be dedicated to the public interest. And we have to do everything we can, especially at this time when there’s a lot of attention on this issue, to push something that is far more progressive than just, you know, hoping for some good step to be taken here and there when it’s self-serving.
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