January 13, 2022


“I’m asking all of my Republican colleagues to leave Twitter. It is a complete waste of time and all they do is try to control our political speech.” — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) after the social media company banned her for spreading Covid-19 misinformation.

If Democrats “had stormed the Capitol and attempted to keep Congress from receiving the Electoral College results for the 2016 presidential election the GOP would have “criticized them mercilessly and been right to do so. Republicans would have torched any high official who encouraged violence or stood mute while it was waged and been right to do so. Republicans would have demanded an investigation to find who was responsible for the violence and been right to do so while rejecting out of hand the argument that Vice President Mike Pence had any constitutional authority to interfere in the Electoral College count. — Karl Rove

“Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss. Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy. Americans must set aside differences and work together before it is too late.” — Jimmy Carter

“The threat continues. And it’s very important, if you look at what’s happening today in my party, the Republican party, rather than reject what happened on 6th, reject the lies about the election and make clear that a president who engaged in those activities can never be president again. Unfortunately too many in my own party are embracing that former president, are looking the other way, are minimizing the danger. That’s how democracies die, and we simply cannot let that happen.” — Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)

I'll never forget the broken glass in the hallways, the spray paint on the statues or the Capitol Police officers who lost their lives for our Republic. January 6th isn't over — there's an ongoing assault on our democracy and it won't be over until we do the work to protect it. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-WI)

“The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He’s done so because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interests as more important than his country’s interests and America’s interests, and because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution. He can’t accept he lost.” — President Joe Biden condemning Donald Trump for waging an “undemocratic” and “un-American” campaign against the legitimacy of the election system, much as autocrats and dictators do, all to avoid admitting defeat.

Former VP Dick Cheney, the man who was once portrayed by the Democratic Party as the dark villain of the Bush administration, responsible for failed wars, ruinous energy policies and torturing America’s enemies in a betrayal of the nation’s values has found common ground with his onetime foes over Jan. 6.waited oh the house floor, former as more than a dozen house members, all Democrats wanted to shake his hand.

The Jericho March is evidence that Donald Trump has bent elements of American Christianity to his will, and that many Christians have obligingly remade their faith in his image. Defiant masses literally broke down the walls of government, some believing they were marching under Jesus’s banner to implement God’s will to keep Trump in the White House. — The Bulwark

“The vaccines kill, don’t get it! This is how gullible these idiots are. They’re all getting vaccine!” — Cirsten Weldon, a leading QAnon promoter who died Thursday of the coronavirus, making her just the latest vaccine opponent killed by the disease.

“The edifice of American exceptionalism has always wobbled on a shoddy foundation of self-delusion, and yet most Americans have readily accepted the commonplace that the United States is the world’s oldest continuous democracy. That serene assertion has now collapsed.” — David Remnick

“The antidote that we have seen now, and we have tons and tons of research, is urine therapy. OK, and I know to a lot of you this sounds crazy, but guys, God’s given us everything we need.” — Anti-vaccine leader Christopher Key telling his followers they could cure Covid-19 by drinking their own urine.

“Is he crazy or just stupid? The numbers are conclusive, and the fraudulent and irregular votes are massive. The only reason he did this is because he got my endorsement and easily won his state in 2020, so now he thinks he has time, and those are the only ones, the weak, who will break away. Even though his election will not be coming up for 5 years, I will never endorse this jerk again.” — Donald Trump’s statement after Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) said the 2020 election was fair.

“That’s not what went on. There you go again. You do the same thing every hearing. So the last time we had a committee or the time before he was accusing me of being responsible for the death of 4 to 5 million people which is irresponsible. Why is he doing that? … The first is, it distracts from what we’re all trying to do here today, is to get our arms around the epidemic and pandemic we’re dealing with, not something imaginary. Number two, what happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue, is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there and I have threats upon my life, harassment of my family, and my children, with obscene phone calls because people are lying about me. So I asked myself, why would the senator want to do this? Go to Rand Paul’s website and you see: ‘Fire Dr. Fauci,’ with a little box that says, ‘Contribute here.’ You are milking a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain.” — Dr. Anthony Fauci slamming Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday for encouraging threats on his life by mounting vociferous public attacks “with not a shred of evidence.” https://www.thedailybeast.com/dr-anthony-fauci-tears-into-sen-rand-paul-for-inciting-threats-on-his-life-with-covid-misinformation


Another January 6th. -- Mark Fiore

“We’re ashamed of nothing. We’re proud of the work we did on Jan.6…and we’re actually going to walk the grounds that patriotic Americans walked from the White House to the Capitol.” — Matt Gaetz one year after far-right insurrectionists stormed the Capitol.

Litigation Tracker: Pending Criminal and Civil Cases Against Donald Trump




      IN THE NEWS...  

      Andy Borowitz: Fauci Defends Calling G.O.P. Senator a Moron: “I’m Just Following the Science”

      After being heard on a hot mike calling a Republican senator a moron, Dr. Anthony Fauci defended his decision by saying that he was “just following the science.”

      The esteemed virologist said that, in calling Senator Roger Marshall, of Kansas, a moron, “I didn’t mean to offend. I was just trying to be accurate from a scientific standpoint.”

      “As a scientist, I believe it’s important to use the correct nomenclature,” Fauci said. “You need to call a virus a virus, and a bacterium a bacterium. In this same way, I am confident that I was correct in calling Senator Marshall a moron.”

      Fauci said that he does not use the word “moron” capriciously, but only after extensive scientific experimentation proves that it applies.

      “Take Rand Paul, for example,” Fauci said. “I didn’t determine that he was a moron until after forty-five seconds of hearing him speak.” https://www.newyorker.com/humor/

      Pressed on his election lies, Donald Trump cuts NPR interview short

      Donald Trump spoke with NPR's Steve Inskeep on Tuesday in a brief phone interview that was cut short when Trump hung up the phone while being questioned about his continued lies about the outcome of the 2020 election. He repeatedly attempted to assert misinformation about his election loss, as well as about the necessity of vaccinations.

      The audio plus fact checking and analysis of the conversation is at https://www.npr.org/1072204478

      More than 1,000 US public figures aided Trump’s effort to overturn election

      “More than 1,000 Americans in positions of public trust acted as accomplices in Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election result, participating in the violent insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January or spreading the ‘big lie’ that the vote count had been rigged.

      “The startling figure underlines the extent to which Trump’s attempt to undermine the foundations of presidential legitimacy has metastasized across the US. Individuals who engaged in arguably the most serious attempt to subvert democracy since the civil war are now inveigling themselves into all levels of government, from Congress and state legislatures down to school boards and other local public bodies.” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/05/trump-capitol-attack-democracy-election-insurrection-index

      Poll: Americans’ Faith In Election Integrity Drops

      America’s faith in the integrity of the election system remains shaken by the events of Jan. 6, with only 20% of the public saying it’s very confident about the system, a new ABC/Ipsos poll finds.

      This is a significant drop from 37% in an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted in the days after the insurrection last year. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/americans-faith-election-integrity-drops-poll/story

      Police officer lawsuits pile up against Trump over Jan. 6

      Three more police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — including two who aided the evacuation of lawmakers — have sued Donald Trump, seeking damages for their physical and emotional injuries.

      A Capitol Police officer who defended lawmakers in the House chamber during the violent Capitol assault filed the first of two new lawsuits against Trump on Tuesday, asking a court to hold the former president responsible for the mob of his supporters who conducted the attack. The other lawsuit was filed by two officers with the Metropolitan Police Department who were called in to help the Capitol Police during the insurrection. https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/04/police-officer-lawsuits-capitol-riot-trump-526491

      A Long, Hard Year for Republicans Who Voted to Impeach After Jan. 6

      The 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald J. Trump did so with the same conviction — that a president of their party deserved to be charged with inciting insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021 — and the same hope — that his role in doing so would finally persuade the G.O.P. to repudiate him.

      But in the year since the deadliest attack on the Capitol in centuries, none of the 10 lawmakers have been able to avoid the consequences of a fundamental miscalculation about the direction of their party. The former president is very much the leader of the Republicans, and it is those who stood against him whom the party has thrust into the role of pariah. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/05/us/politics/republican-impeachment-votes-trump-jan-6.html

      Ted Cruz Apologizes for Calling Capitol Rioters ‘Terrorists’

      Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) went on Tucker Carlson’s show to say it had been a “mistake” for him to call the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol a “terrorist attack” after he received pushback from supporters of former President Trump.

      Said Cruz: “As a result of my sloppy phrasing, it’s caused a lot of people to misunderstand what I meant. What I was referring to was the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers.” https://twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1479266489517674508

      A Year Later, GOP Lawmakers Still Won't Say If Joe Biden Is Actually President

      It’s been a year since 147 Republican lawmakers voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election after fueling a lie about widespread voter fraud.

      They cast their votes just hours after a mob of white supremacist supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol with plans to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Vice President Mike Pence and others to stop them from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win. They believed the lie, and Trump himself egged them on. Hundreds of lawmakers, staff, reporters and other workers hid for their lives. Five people died and hundreds were injured. Four police officers who defended the Capitol that day later died by suicide. https://sports.yahoo.com/later-gop-lawmakers-still-wont-110007665.html

      Manchin's Coal Corruption Is So Much Worse Than You Knew

      At this point in human evolution, burning coal for power is one of the stupidest things humans do. Coal plants are engines of destruction, not progress. Thanks to the rapid evolution of clean energy, there are many better, cheaper, cleaner ways to power our lives. The only reason anyone still burns coal today is because of the enormous political power and inertia that the industry has acquired since the 19th century.

      In America, that power and inertia is embodied in the cruel and cartoonish character of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who, paradoxically, may have more control over the trajectory of the climate crisis than any other person on the planet right now. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/joe-manchin-big-coal-west-virginia-1280922

      Watch Mark Fiore's “Manchin the Evil Coal Man” video at https://vimeo.com/659551647

      Hottest ocean temperatures in history recorded last year

      The world’s oceans have been set to simmer, and the heat is being cranked up. Last year saw the hottest ocean temperatures in recorded history, the sixth consecutive year that this record has been broken, according to new research.

      Warmer ocean waters are helping supercharge storms, hurricanes and extreme rainfall, the paper states, which is escalating the risks of severe flooding. Heated ocean water expands and eats away at the vast Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which are collectively shedding around 1tn tons of ice a year, with both of these processes fueling sea level rise.

      Oceans take up about a third of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activity, causing them to acidify. This degrades coral reefs, home to a quarter of the world’s marine life and the provider of food for more than 500m people, and can prove harmful to individual species of fish.

      As the world warms from the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other activities, the oceans have taken the brunt of the extra heat. More than 90% of the heat generated over the past 50 years has been absorbed by the oceans, temporarily helping spare humanity, and other land-based species, from temperatures that would already be catastrophic. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/11/oceans-hottest-temperatures-research-climate-crisis

      ‘When QAnon and the Tea Party have a baby’: Ron Johnson will run again for US Senate

      The Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson, a hardline Trump supporter once described as “what you get when QAnon and the Tea Party have a baby”, has confirmed he will seek a third term, a step he once promised not to take.

      Johnson has also been a loud voice for unproven Covid treatments, accusing federal agencies of failing to promote drugs approved early in the pandemic, and an opponent of public health measures including vaccine mandates https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/08/senator-ron-johnson-to-seek-re-election-wisconsin-republican


      In concise summary, on Wednesday the leader of the executive branch incited a crowd to march on the legislative branch. The express goal was to demand that Congress and Vice President Mike Pence reject electors from enough states to deny Mr. Biden an Electoral College victory...This was an assault on the constitutional process of transferring power after an election. It was also an assault on the legislature from an executive sworn to uphold the laws of the United States. — On January 7, 2021, one day after the Capitol riot, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board was unequivocal.


      One lesson is that on all the available evidence Jan. 6 was not an “insurrection,” in any meaningful sense of that word. It was not an attempted coup. The Justice Department and the House Select Committee have looked high and low for a conspiracy to overthrow the government, and maybe they will find it. So far they haven’t. — By January 6, 2022, the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riot, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board had adjusted its tune.


      Peter Baker: A Year Later, Jan. 6 Becomes Just Another Wedge in a Divided Nation

      Today, it has become heresy among conservatives to question Mr. Trump’s legacy. The cabinet secretaries and White House aides who resigned in protest of his role in the violence now largely keep to themselves. Many corporations that vowed to halt donations to Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn the election have quietly reopened the contribution spigot. The congressional Republicans who angrily denounced the president after their headquarters was invaded have gone silent or even made the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago, all but pretending it never happened…

      While nearly three-quarters of all Americans view the storming of the Capitol as an assault on democracy, about half of Republicans say the rioters were actually the ones ‘protecting democracy’ and nearly as many think the attack was not even that violent. While most Americans believe Mr. Biden was elected legitimately, seven in 10 Republicans think otherwise. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/06/us/politics/jan-6-capitol-riot-aftermath.html

      Rebecca Solnit: Why Republicans Keep Falling for Trump’s Lies

      When called upon to believe that Barack Obama was really born in Kenya, millions got in line. When encouraged to believe that the 2012 Sandy Hook murder of 20 children and six adults was a hoax, too many stepped up. When urged to believe that Hillary Clinton was trafficking children in the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor with no basement, they bought it, and one of them showed up in the pizza place with a rifle to protect the kids. The fictions fed the frenzies, and the frenzies shaped the crises of 2020 and 2021. The delusions are legion: Secret Democratic cabals of child abusers, millions of undocumented voters, falsehoods about the Covid-19 pandemic and the vaccine.

      While much has been said about the moral and political stance of people who support right-wing conspiracy theories, their gullibility is itself alarming. Gullibility means malleability and manipulability. We don’t know if the people who believed the prevailing 2012 conspiracy theories believed the 2016 or 2020 versions, but we do know that a swath of the conservative population is available for the next delusion and the one after that. And on Jan. 6, 2021, we saw that a lot of them were willing to act on those beliefs. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/05/opinion/republicans-trump-lies.html

      Dana Milbank: On Jan. 6 anniversary, Republicans plumb new depths

      Exactly a year earlier, in and around the House chamber, Republicans and Democrats hid together, on the floor, behind chairs and under desks, as outnumbered police, guns drawn, kept President Donald Trump’s mob at bay.

      Yet out of that shared trauma came one of the most divisive acts in American political history.

      Republican lawmakers spent most of the next 364 days trying to erase any trace of the and Trump’s role in it. They opposed impeachment, they opposed an independent commission, they opposed (then sabotaged and boycotted) an investigative committee, and they embraced as gospel Trump’s “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.

      Even after that record of ruin, Republicans somehow managed to plumb new depths on Thursday’s first anniversary of the insurrection. The House convened to hold a moment of silence for the police officers who one year ago saved democracy — and lawmakers’ lives — and who died in the attack’s aftermath. Republicans boycotted this, too.

      By shunning Thursday’s commemoration of the Jan. 6 attack, Republican leaders, as usual, left a vacuum that let the wing nuts speak for the party. Trumpian Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) announced that they would give “a Republican response,” on the Jan. 6 anniversary, and in the absence of any other Republican response, theirs became the Republican response.

      “We did not want the Republican voice to go unheard, and we did not want today’s historical narrative to be hijacked by those who were the true insurrectionists,” Gaetz said. And so, in a meeting room in the Cannon House Office Building, two flights up from where Democratic lawmakers were at the same time recalling their personal horrors from Jan. 6, the duo spent 37 minutes telling reporters that Jan. 6 was a “fed-surrection,” a plot perpetrated by the FBI. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/06/jan-6-anniversary-republicans-plumb-new-depths/

      Eugene Robinson: Biden’s Jan. 6 speech sets the stage for a battle for truth and democracy

      Largely ignoring Trump hasn’t weakened his hold on the GOP. The defeated former president must be treated like any other bully: You have to stand up to him.Trump and his allies will continue to claim that telling the truth about Jan. 6 is some kind of partisan political ploy. It is not. More than 140 police officers were injured in the melee. Several officers later died. An insurrectionist was shot as the mob breached the Capitol. The nation was traumatized. And none of this would have happened if Trump had not illegally tried to cling to power by overturning the will of 81 million voters.

      Biden has to lead the fight for truth and democracy. Losing is not an option. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/06/bidens-jan-6-speech-sets-stage-battle-truth-democracy/

      Adam Schiff: A year after the Capitol attack, democracy itself is on every ballot

      Fingers to the wind, McCarthy, McConnell and state and local GOP leaders decided that Donald Trump really could, if not shoot someone in the middle of the street with impunity, at least incite a violent attack on our democracy and retain the support of his base. Lacking the courage of their convictions, guided by nothing more than their ambition to regain power, the GOP leadership buckled again to the former president.” https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-01-06/adam-schiff-jan-6-anniversary-capitol-attack-and-aftermath

      Dan Pfeiffer: The Next Insurrection is Coming

      “January 6th was practice” has become a rallying cry for the Right. As Bart Gellman ominously wrote in The Atlantic:

      For more than a year now, with tacit and explicit support from their party’s national leaders, state Republican operatives have been building an apparatus of election theft. Elected officials in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other states have studied Donald Trump’s crusade to overturn the 2020 election. They have noted the points of failure and have taken concrete steps to avoid failure next time. Some of them have rewritten statutes to seize partisan control of decisions about which ballots to count and which to discard, which results to certify and which to reject. They are driving out or stripping power from election officials who refused to go along with the plot last November, aiming to replace them with exponents of the Big Lie. They are fine-tuning a legal argument that purports to allow state legislators to override the choice of the voters.

      The fact Republicans are moving ahead with a plan to steal the election in 2024 without fear of consequence is frightening and depressing. The political winds heading into the midterms are at their backs. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema remain more interested in protecting their centrist credentials than American democracy. Too much of the political media has normalized election theft as a legitimate political strategy in a fruitless attempt to avoid accusations of bias. https://messagebox.substack.com/p/stopping-the-next-insurrection-starts

      George T. Conway III: Trump must have his day in court for Jan. 6

      Trump’s intent was obvious well before Jan. 6. I tweeted on Dec. 26, 2020, “It’s pretty clear now that Donald Trump’s next desperate play is to encourage disruption, if not violence, in Washington on January 6.” I wasn’t being prescient; I had just listened to what Trump had been saying. As Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in announcing her vote to impeach, “The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.” He did it all in plain sight.

      So now the question is, will the Justice Department hold Trump responsible for his role in the attack? If Garland truly means that perpetrators at any level will be held accountable, and that “there cannot be different rules for the powerful and the powerless,” then the department can, it should, and it must.

      Garland must not fear that prosecuting Trump would be viewed as a partisan act. He need only look to the words of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who, after voting against an impeachment conviction on the (meritless) ground that Trump had left office, all but called for Trump’s prosecution. “We have a criminal justice system in this country,” McConnell said. “President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office,” McConnell added. “He didn’t get away with anything yet. Yet.”

      The Justice Department has plenty of statutory tools available to make sure Trump doesn’t get away with what he did. Most notably, it could invoke one of the same provisions it has applied to individual rioters: Title 18, section 1512(c)(2) of the U.S. Code punishes “whoever corruptly … obstructs … or impedes any official proceeding.” The statute makes clear that an “official proceeding” includes one “before the Congress.” At least one judge handling Jan. 6 cases has already held that it includes Congress’s joint session for counting electoral votes.

      That Trump himself wasn’t present at the Capitol doesn’t shield him from liability for obstructing the electoral vote count or for any other crimes committed that day. The criminal code provides that whoever “aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures” the commission of an offense, or “willfully causes … another” to commit an offense, “is punishable as a principal," as though they had directly committed the deed himself.

      A number of criminal law experts have noted that you can aid and abet a crime simply by doing nothing — if you have a duty to intervene but don’t. A bystander who watches a store break-in and does nothing hasn’t committed a crime. The store security guard who sees the break-in and does nothing, knowing that his dereliction is allowing the crime to proceed, has.

      As president, Trump had the duty to intervene. Instead, as the Jan. 6 select congressional committee is learning, he spent hours watching the mayhem on TV. And that dereliction of duty, along with his open and manifest desire to stop the electoral-vote count, should suffice to make him guilty of a crime. The evidence is already bad for him, and it can only get worse.

      If the attorney general means what he says, Trump’s day in the dock will come — if not soon, then soon enough. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/05/trump-must-have-his-day-court-his-crimes-jan-6/

      Susan Glasser: Biden, Back Into the Breach

      He never mentioned Donald Trump by name. He didn’t have to. Joe Biden gave the speech of his Presidency on Thursday—the first anniversary of the insurrection at the Capitol that Trump inspired and incited. In unsparing terms rarely uttered by one leader of the United States about another, Biden castigated the man he referred to sixteen times only as “the former President.” Trump, he said, was not just “a former President”—he’s “a defeated former President.” He “created and spread a web of lies” about the 2020 election. He put his “bruised ego” over the Constitution and the country. He and his followers, in attacking the peaceful transfer of power, “held a dagger at the throat of America and American democracy.”

      The Biden who showed up in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Thursday bristled with righteous outrage about the rioters who, a year earlier, had paraded Confederate flags there, who had kicked and hit and stomped on police, who had even defecated in the corridors, as they sought to stop the certification of Trump’s defeat. He fact-checked the absurd lies of Republicans who called the insurrection just another tourist outing. And, returning to the theme that animated his 2020 campaign, Biden described the “battle for the soul of America” that Trump and his followers have unloosed, and which is still being joined a year later. “I will stand in the breach,” Biden vowed. https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-bidens-washington/joe-biden-back-into-the-breach

      Matt Johnson: Jan. 6th Changed How the World Sees America

      The United States isn’t going to regain its standing as an exemplary democracy any time soon. Even if global perceptions stabilize over the next few years, the specter of Trump’s return to the biggest stage in American politics will remain ever-present—refusing to convict him for his role in fomenting the insurrection was one thing, but what if the GOP rewards him with another presidential nomination?

      What effect will the widespread acquiescence in (and the active propagation of) his lies about the 2020 election have on the Republican party’s commitment to American democracy? How certain can America’s allies (or enemies) be that Trumpism won’t continue to dominate the Republican party even long after Trump has gone? https://www.thebulwark.com/jan-6-changed-how-world-sees-america-trump-coup/

      Sam Rosenfeld: Democracy is on the brink of disaster. For voters, it’s politics as usual.

      Worries about the state of American democracy didn’t begin when Trump rejected the election’s results — indeed, they predate his entrance into politics. For the last two decades, analysts have connected dysfunction in governance to deepening party polarization, marked by an asymmetrical Republican shift toward procedural hardball and extremism. Trump’s rise both extended and accelerated a disturbing trend. When he trafficked in authoritarian rhetoric and brazenly mixed personal and public power — while steadily consolidating the loyalty of his party — analysts portrayed it as a lesson in “How Democracies Die” and “How to Lose a Constitutional Democracy.” As nearly 200 scholars with relevant expertise warned last summer: “Our entire democracy is now at risk.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/01/07/democracy-threat-voters-politics/

      Colin P. Clarke: The newest variant of violent extremism? Using paranoia about the pandemic as a recruiting tool

      For anti-government and anti-authority extremists, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a godsend. In many ways, it seems almost tailor-made for anti-government propaganda, exerting an almost magnetic pull on conspiracy theorists and other far-right extremists. The Omicron variant sweeping the globe has made vaccine mandates a global talking point, which has led a paranoid and growing fringe of extremists to threaten violence against healthcare workers, scientists and government officials in countries around the world.

      The pandemic is essentially serving as a gateway drug for violent extremists to dabble in new ideologies and conspiracies. The anti-vaxxer movement could end up serving as a conveyor belt that delivers new members to other extremist groups, including militias and racially and ethnically motivated violent extremist organizations.

      Anti-vaxxers have found common ground with conspiracy theorists, including QAnon adherents, as well as far-right extremists in general, particularly anti-government extremists who perceive every move by the federal government as tyrannical. Social media has also played a significant role by helping to bring individuals together for protests — and giving radicals a tool to spread disinformation that brings new recruits into the movement. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-01-09/covid-vaccines-paranoia-recruiting-extremists-terrorism