Twitter’s Ongoing Fail
When will the counter-balance to Twitter form? Hopefully soon, as the Big Tech social media platform has lost their Sh*t. Twitter has just limited me, El Javier Manjarres’s movement on their platform because I responded to Jared Moskowitz’s tweet about some idiot’s scraping of #TRUMP on the back of a manatee. All of you would agree with me. READ MORE
BLACK LIVES MATTER Riots Matter Most
Florida Democrats are all bent out of shape after Republicans filed and are pushing HB1, the measure to toughen penalties for those involved in riots. Apparently, Democrats feel that playing the RACE CARD is always appropriate. READ MORE
Rick Scott @SenRickScott–Unbelievable. Former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer was working for a Chinese surveillance company responsible for oppressing more than a million Uyghurs in Xinjiang. This is shameful. The ties between the CCP and CA Dems are deeply concerning.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets–Trump is looting our planet for polluters on his way out the door. EPA’s new rule shields industrial greenhouse gas polluters from regulation. We must nullify this rule via the Congressional Review Act or other mechanism if we want @JoeBiden to be able to tackle climate change.
“Florida Democrats Reject Republican Anti-Mob Bill” by The Floridian’s Jim McCool – After the Republican-led Florida House of Representatives introduced the HB1 legislation, which imposes stricter regulations on public disorder and doxxing, Florida Democrats are currently making an effort to delegitimize the bill as racist. The proposed measure is intended to raise penalties for engaging in violent protests and riots, with no mention of targeting communities of color. However, liberal voices such as Rep. Evan Jenne (D), have classified the bill as a ‘muzzle’ over communities of color. The bill was originally drafted in September in order to respond to the aggressive and at times criminal Black Lives Matter activity in the Summer of 2020. One would assume that after the Right-Wing extremists broke into The Capitol, that this legislative action would be embraced ina bipartisan way. While many Republicans across the nation have condemned the Capitol riot, Democrats insist that the convenient timing is just leverage to get the bill passed, saying that there were ‘no similarities’ between the BLM protests and the Capitol protest. In all, the HB1 legislation should have amounted to an almost unanimous pass, but will sadly fall to partisan discourse. HB1 could work as an efficient deterrent from engaging in rebellious activity and assist in healing the long-neglected wounds of division in the States. Such as raising the penalties for destroying public property.
“Trump: Talk of Impeachment Is ‘A Continuation of the Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of Politics’” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Shortly before traveling to Texas to oversee the southern border wall he built, President Donald Trump told reporters that the current talk of impeachment was “ a continuation for the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics,” calling the legislative measure “absolutely ridiculous.” Trump then went on to blame the media and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for their part in causing “tremendous anger” by how they are reporting the news. “This impeachment is causing tremendous anger, and you’re doing it, and it’s really a terrible thing that they’re doing,” “For Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country and it’s causing tremendous anger.” Trump was then asked to clarify his role, if any, in the recent Capitol riot that resulted in dozens of arrests and the deaths of 6 people, including two police officers. “So if you read my speech, and many people have done it, and I’ve seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television — it’s been analyzed, and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” stated Trump.
“Rep. Murphy Pushes For Answers After Capitol Riot Left 6 Dead” by The Floridian’s Jim McCool – Representative Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), has been one of Florida’s most outspoken officials this after the historic Capitol riot took place, and from the looks of it, the Orlando-area congresswoman plans to stay vocal on her disgust with the riot that transpired on January 6th. While she has placed blame on President Donald Trump for inciting the riot, Murphy is also calling for Republicans and Democrats alike to address the ‘vulnerability’ that was exposed by the assault on the Capitol. Well, if Murphy is still wondering who knew, we can start with the heads of each respective congressional chamber, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). As the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader, Pelosi, and McConnell work directly with the Sergeant of Arms. The same Sergeant of Arms who refused National Guard assistance and provided a weak line of defense against the demonstrators, practically opening the doors for them. Since then, both Sergeant at Arms and the Chief of Capitol Police have resigned, at the request of Speaker Pelosi. Sergeant of Arms of the House, Paul Irving said he was not ‘comfortable’ with deploying the National Guard even with the previous knowledge that this crowd would vastly outnumber previous Trump rallies.
“Wasserman Schultz calls DHS Director ‘White Supremacist Trump Stooge’” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Since the storming of the Capitol, a number of Republicans have denounced the President, arguing that he is at fault for what happened. This resulted in a number of Cabinet members quitting their posts, including Chad Wolf, the Acting Homeland Security Secretary (DHS). The resignation comes after Democrats have filed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump (R), but Democrats are also asserting that members of his Cabinet are to blame for the storming of the Capitol that took place last Wednesday. On Twitter, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), a strong critic of the Trump administration, voiced her condemnation of Secretary Wolf, calling him a “white supremacist Trump stooge” that “never had any respect for the law or human rights.” The Florida Democrat also expressed that “five federal courts ruled that Chad Wolf unlawfully served as DHS head,” noting that “due to these rulings & his disgusting cruelty towards immigrants, he was never a legitimate leader.” In short, commenting on his departure, Wasserman Schultz said “good riddance.” In making the announcement that he would be stepping down from his position, Wolf commented that he was “saddened to take this step, as it was my intention to serve the Department until the end of this Administration.”
“Fine Wants Florida Divested from Big Tech Companies” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – State Representative Randy Fine (R) made an announcement today regarding the recent ban that social media companies have placed on President Donald Trump (R). Taking issue with the ban from multiple platforms, Fine informed his Twitter followers that he had “asked the Governor and Cabinet to divest the state from Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Google, and Facebook.” In short, he commented that “they may get to decide who they do business with,” but “so do we.” Issuing a letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and his cabinet members, Fine addressed the storming of the Capitol that took place last week, calling it “one of the saddest days of my life.” Republicans have been at odds with the president since the culmination of the storming with some admitting that they wouldn’t rule out support for impeachment. In response to the attack, Fine expressed that “those terrorists do not define me. They do not define you. They do not define my colleagues. And they do not define conservatives.” Subsequently, Fine noted that the response from technological companies has been a disheartening one, saying that they have used “the actions of these few as a pretext to silence tens of millions of good, patriotic Americans, millions of whom live here in Florida.” In addition, “no matter what one thinks about President Trump, he remains the duly-elected President of the United States until noon on January 20th.” The Florida lawmaker shared what Republicans like Matt Gaetz (R) have expressed, which is that “if the President of the United States can be silenced by these companies, then so can anyone.”
“Maskless Jayapal blames Republicans for her testing positive for COVID-19 during Capitol riot” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D), the Progressive member of the U.S. House of Representatives who introduced the “Medicare for All” measure in that chamber, has just announced that she tested positive for COVID-19 “after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol” during the January 6 riot. “I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one,” stated Rep. Jayapal. Rep. Jayapal is not being honest and is not telling the real story. As rioters began to break the glass doors leading into the House Chamber, Jayapal was seated in the House Gallery with an aide. Neither Jayapal nor her aide, nor just about anyone else, including Reps. Val Demings (D), Veronica Escobar (D), other members, staff and reporters, were not wearing masks. I was right there with them. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D) was wearing her mask as she hid in place. Here is the picture I took of Rep. Lee. And to everyone’s credit, the reason why no one was wearing a mask was that we were all moments away from having to use the gas masks that were issued to us.
“As Wall Street Heads South, Florida Braces for a Gold-Plated Makeover” by Bloomberg’s Jonathan Levin and Amanda L. Gordon – Construction cranes pirouette above the skyline in Miami. Porsches are selling briskly in Coral Gables. Over in Palm Beach, along Worth and Hibiscus avenues, the Gucci set is counting new neighbors. The scent of fresh money hangs over Florida these days like the sweet smell of orange blossoms. In the midst of a deadly pandemic—and in truth, largely because of it—an optimism has taken hold among the state’s boosters. Locals are buzzing again that the Miami area might finally realize a long elusive dream of becoming Wall Street South. Several prominent financial companies, including the mighty Goldman Sachs Group Inc., are considering moving some business there, or are relocating outright. And in these days of working from home, Florida’s low taxes, year-round warm weather, and emerald golf links are already luring some Wall Street people down from New York. To David Greenberg, a former board member of the New York Mercantile Exchange who helps run a family investment office in Boca Raton, news that Goldman may move its asset-management division here was a watershed moment for the Sunshine State. “There’s no way to put that genie back in the bottle,” says Greenberg.
By Tampa Bay Times’ Jack Evans, Anastasia Dawson and Tony Marrero – An hour before nightfall on what should have been the second-to-last shift of his career, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Cpl. Brian LaVigne sat in his squad car on the shoulder of Lumsden Road. LaVigne, 54, had built a reputation over the course of three decades as a deputy others wanted to be around: He was the kind of guy who insisted the members of his units share meals, a former field training officer whose pupils included some of the agency’s command staff. In October, he updated his Facebook page with a new cover photo: a calendar page with a January date circled. Retirement. Now, early Monday evening, he stood by as a pursuit unfolded just a few hundred yards away. Two deputies had responded to a report that a resident of the nearby Paddock Club Brandon apartments was acting strangely, walking around in the nude and breaking things. Then, they alleged, the man, 28-year-old Travis Zachary Gabriel Garrett, attacked them and fled in his car, unphased when they deployed their Tasers. The deputies gave chase. Two others fell into pursuit. LaVigne had his lights on, an arrest report would later say, but he wasn’t trying to apprehend Garrett. But as Garrett’s Nissan Maxima sped down Lumsden Road, deputies said, he veered to the right, across two lanes of traffic and toward LaVigne.
“Lawyer for Florida man seen at Capitol riot with Pelosi’s lectern says photo a problem: ‘I’m not a magician’” by Fox News’ Stephen Sorace – The lawyer for a Florida man pictured last week inside the U.S. Capitol carrying the lectern of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as rioters stormed the building told reporters Monday that the photo may be problematic for his client’s defense and acknowledged that he is “not a magician.” Attorneys Dan Eckhart and David Bigney appeared outside a Tampa courthouse on Monday with their client, 36-year-old Adam Christian Johnson. Eckhart gave reporters a frank assessment of the case. “You have a photograph of our client in a building, unauthorized to be there, with what appears to be a podium or a lectern, I’m not exactly sure which one it is called. But that’s what we have,” Eckhart said. A reporter can be heard saying to Eckhart that the photo “obviously” presents a problem for him as a defense attorney. “I don’t know how else to explain that, but yeah, that would be a problem,” Eckhart said. “I’m not a magician, and neither is Mr. Bigney. So yeah, we have a photograph of our client, who appears to be in a federal building or inside the Capitol with government property.” Eckhart and Bigney did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the case Tuesday. Johnson, of Parrish, Fla., was identified from a viral photo that shows him smiling and waving as he carried the lectern inside the Capitol after a pro-Trump mob stormed the building as Congress was counting electoral votes Wednesday. Johnson was arrested Friday and charged with “one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; one count of theft of government property; and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds,” the Justice Department said Saturday in a statement.
“Philly mom who catfished Florida boy gets 35 years in prison” by NY Posts’ Joshua Rhett Miller – A “cold-hearted” Philadelphia woman who catfished a Florida boy using racy photos of her own daughter has been sentenced to 35 years in federal prison. Linda Paolini, 45, pleaded guilty in October 2019 to manufacturing child pornography and online enticement of a minor for using social media to trick the Florida teen into believing he was actually messaging a 16-year-old girl, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced Monday. As part of her sick scheme, Paolini sent the boy images of her own daughter to make him believe an attractive 16-year-old girl was romantically interested in him, prompting him to send videos of himself masturbating, federal prosecutors said. Paolini later faked a suicide attempt during an online video chat, causing the teen to try to kill himself in an act of solidarity with her, prosecutors said. “This defendant’s criminal conduct was so heinous and cold-hearted that it almost defies description,” First Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a statement. “She malicious[ly] manipulated a child into making and sending her pornography of himself. But that was not enough for this defendant.” Paolini used Instagram to send the explicit content to the boy. The pair exchanged more than 50,000 messages over the course of several months, NBC Philadelphia reported. Paolini’s “predatory” actions were motivated only by her own gratification and she also admitted sending similar messages to at least two other boys, authorities said.
“Weekly coronavirus cases increase again in Florida” by Click Orlando’s Jon Jankowski – The weekly coronavirus cases in Florida increased again for the week of Jan. 9. The state saw 18,634 more cases of COVID-19 from Jan. 2 to Jan. 9 than the previous 7-day period. The DOH reports there were 109,890 COVID-19 cases from Jan. 2 to Jan 9. Florida has now reported 1,477,010 COVID-19 cases in the state from the beginning of the pandemic. Health officials report 23,261 people have died from COVID-19 in Florida and 65,595 people have been hospitalized from the virus.
“Florida to get $1.4B for struggling renters” by WTSP’s Emerald Morrow – Thousands of Floridians who’ve fallen behind on rent could soon get some relief through two new programs aimed at preventing evictions. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday the state will get $1.4 billion through the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help struggling renters. To qualify: The governor’s office says renters must be receiving unemployment or facing financial hardship, be at risk of homelessness or housing instability or make less than 80 percent of the area’s median income. “Something is better than nothing,” said Johnny Bowers of Tampa, who recently faced eviction. He started a new job over the last month but is still catching up on overdue rent. Bowers said news of more assistance gives him hope, but he does have some frustrations.”Did it really have to come down to everybody almost having to lose everything for the government to finally stop and go, ‘Okay, wait. We might need to do something?'” he said. Researchers at Princeton’s Eviction Lab give Florida just half a star out of five for its housing policies during the pandemic, but there’s hope Tuesday’s announcement will bring relief. “It’s very heartbreaking to see the economic disruption to…families who’ve been taking care of their children and living the American Dream until the pandemic pulled the rug out from under them,” said William Peña-Wells of Gulfcoast Legal Services. Peña-Wells said GLS is also offering rental assistance to help those in need — this time specifically to families in Pinellas County who have a child in the home at least four days a month. Applicants must also have an income of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
“South Florida pediatrician facing child porn charges” by CBS 12’s Sabrina Lolo – A 49-year-old pediatrician was arrested this week on child pornography charges, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said. In June 2020, detectives with the Broward Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) received a tip about a man, later identified as Dr. Michael Mizrachy, possibly distributing and possessing child pornography, according to the sheriff’s office. After getting a search warrant, detectives were able to find a video depicting child pornography. The video shows a child between the ages of eight and 10 years old having sex with what appeared to be an adult man. Detectives also found several photos depicting what appear to be young children in their bathing suits, underwear or shorts in which none of the children appear to be aware the photos were being taken, according to the sheriff’s office. These photos led detectives to generate an additional search warrant in October for Mizrachy’s home in Parkland. Detectives also learned that Mizrachy used the app KIK to chat with a minor who was 15 at the time, the sheriff’s office said. The chats included sexually explicit photos that were shared from the child. Further investigation revealed that the other photos of the children located within Mizrachy’s accounts were of his daughters’ friends at his home, the sheriff’s office said. These photos included the children’s clothed private parts. Most of the children appeared to be between the ages of 13 and 15 , and one of them was 10 years old.
“Ex-Florida cop among pro-Trump rioters who stormed US Capitol: report” by New York Post’s Elizabeth Elizalde – A former Florida cop was among the violent mob of President Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol last week, according to a report. Nicholes Lentz, an ex-cop with North Miami Beach, appears to be standing in a crowd of pro-Trump rioters inside the building and discussing why he decided to attended the protest, according to footage that was posted to his Facebook page and obtained by the Miami Herald. “America has spoken,” Lentz, wearing a red baseball cap and black vest, says in the video. “You cannot stop millions of people, you cannot stop it. You can’t. It’s impossible. America has a voice, we give them the power, we give the power, the people give the power. And we’re here to take it back.” Lentz, 41, a former Marine, served with the North Miami Beach Police Department from June 2016 until last August, the outlet reported. In the video, Lent says his intention was also to protect the police officer at the scene. “I’m trying my best to protect all police officers,” he says. “We’re not here to hurt any cop. I love my boys in blue, but this is overwhelming for them. There’s no way they could hold us back.” Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, 42, was bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher during the violent protest last Wednesday. Four others were killed, including an Air Force veteran from California.
“DeSantis: Nearly 350,000 Florida seniors have received COVID-19 vaccine” by News 4 Jax’ Travis Gibson and Jenese Harris – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that nearly 350,000 seniors have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since mid-December. After a slow start, the state saw an increase in vaccinations last week as more vaccines arrived and more vaccination sites opened up. “There weren’t a lot of vaccinations Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s. So, last week was really the first full week where everyone was back in the saddle,” DeSantis said. DeSantis said he expects another 250,000 first doses to arrive Tuesday and the state plans to continue to go against CDC vaccination guidelines that recommend front-line workers — like teachers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers — and those 75 years and older and focus on vaccinating Florida residents 65 years and older. “We are remaining proactive so that when additional doses come, our infrastructure will be able to process it,” DeSantis said. DeSantis said the state will have no problem using up the new shipment of vaccines. Gay Corbin is one of the hundreds of people that have been waiting to get the vaccine in Jacksonville. Corbin has friends and family members that are suffering from COVID-19 right now. “I’ve had three family members that have had COVID,” Corbin said. Corbin said that’s why it was critical to get the vaccine.
“Florida Senate staff asked to work remotely due to concerns over Capitol protests” by WTSP’s Andrew Quintana – Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson is asking lawmakers to have their staff members work from home on Sunday, instead of traveling to the Capitol complex in Tallahassee, as fears mount about widespread protests at state Capitols across the United States. This week, the FBI issued a bulletin that warned about armed protests that were being planned in all 50 states ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. In an email to state senators, Simpson explained that he believes Florida’s Capitol is secure. While he says there have been no specific threats to the senators’ safety, he thinks it is “very likely” that protesters will begin gathering outside the Capitol on Jan. 17. “Out of an abundance of caution, I am requesting that staff work remotely this Sunday, rather than traveling to the Capitol Complex,” Simpson’s email read. Lawmakers are on heightened alert following last week’s deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol. On Tuesday, officials with the FBI and Justice Department announced at least 160 case files were opened as the bureau continues to arrest individuals involved in the Capitol riot.
“VIDEO: Lawmaker wants Florida to divest state funds from big tech” by Fox 35 Orlando – A Central Florida lawmaker wants Florida to divest state funds from tech firms that he said is exercising censorship on social media platforms. VIDEO
“Florida State Capitol security tight ahead of potential protests” by News 4 Jax’s Mike Vasilinda – The U.S. Attorney, the Florida Department of Law enforcement, Capitol Police and local officials are all on alert for potentially armed and violent protests beginning Sunday and lasting through Inauguration Day at the State Capitol. Legislative staff is being told to work remotely if they must work on Sunday. Flyers circulating the internet promise 50 state capital protests beginning Sunday. On Monday, Florida state senators spent an hour behind closed doors for a classified security briefing. “And our Senate President was dead serious when he said they would keep us safe, and I felt very good walking out of that security briefing,” said State Senator Janet Cruz. State Senator Linda Stewart said the security briefing included tips for when senators were not in the Capitol as well. “There’s a bunch of crazy people out there. We can’t tell what they are doing. I’ve already gotten several flyers that are promoting violence, and we must always be on our toes and be alert,” said Stewart. The FBI sent an alert putting all 50 state Capitols on alert. Lawrence Keefe, U.S. Attorney for Northern Florida, said plans are in place to keep the peace. “We are in a 24/7 command center posture. And I’m a great believer in transparency and if you want the public to trust assurances that we believe we have the situation in control here,” said Keefe. In the past few decades, security breaches have been few and far between. None have ended violently. State Senator Aaron Bean said the briefing dealt with multiple threats.
“Florida leaders concerned about opioid crisis worsening amid COVID-19 pandemic” by Click Orlando’s Lauren Cervantes – There has been a rise in opioid use and overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the founder of the Opioid Project, Andrae Bailey, and the issue has caught the attention of Florida Rep. Geraldine Thompson. Thompson hosted a virtual forum Tuesday morning to discuss the opioid epidemic with doctors and organizations a part of the conversation. “The COVID-19 pandemic has absolutely, definitively, no question about it, exacerbated the opioid crisis,” said Dr. Aaron Wohl, an emergency medicine physician with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Orlando. Bailey said the number one cause of death for those under 40 years old in Central Florida is overdose by opioids. “In 2020, we have seen a historic amount of individuals using drugs and overdosing, and dying of opioids in particular, at an alarming rate,” said Bailey. He said during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the largest increase in overdose deaths of any demographic was in the African American community. Bailey said during the quarantine months of March, April, May and June, overdose deaths among African Americans was up by 110%, which, according to Bailey, is the largest increase they’ve ever seen, adding that the increase is considerably higher than any other demographic group. Bailey said according to a data survey they did of over 1,700 Floridians, they found other groups were impacted: millennials and teenagers.
“Florida busts Palm Harbor charity ‘falsely’ promising to help wounded war vets” by WFLA’s Staff – Florida cracked down on a fake charity in Palm Harbor Tuesday that authorities said falsely promised to use donations to help wounded veterans receive medical treatments. Former directors of the fake non-profit, Stacey Spiegel, Allan Spiegel, and Neal Spiegel, are also under investigation. Attorney General Ashley Moody said Healing Heroes Network, Inc. used deceptive solicitations, including misleading sweepstake mailers and a telemarketing campaign to advertise their charity. Moody’s office said the organization falsely promised to use donations to help wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan receive medical treatments. Investigation found that “very little” of the charitable contributions received by Healing Heroes Network were put toward their ‘mission.’ Instead, authorities said donations were used to pay professional fundraisers, online advertising fees, and the salaries of Stacey and Neal Spiegel. “This is outrageous. The fact that anyone would exploit the service and sacrifice of our wounded military heroes to solicit money under false pretenses is deserving of the highest level of contempt,” Moody said. “Fortunately, as a result of this joint action with my counterparts in other states, HHN will be banned from soliciting donations in Florida and we will claw back some of the unlawfully obtained donations.” The Pinellas Circuit Court is requiring the organization to permanently cease all charities. The Spiegels have also agreed to pay $95,000, which will be distributed to a veterans’ charity that provides services similar to the ones they promised.
“Hannity dismisses ‘insane’ suggestion that Cruz, Hawley could be added to no-fly list over Capitol riot” by Fox News’ Yael Halon – Fox News host Sean Hannity came to the defense of Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Tuesday after House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., suggested they could be put on the no-fly list following last week’s riot on Capitol Hill. Senate Democrats have stepped up calls for Cruz and Hawley to resign following Wednesday’s chaos at the U.S. Capitol building that left five dead, claiming that their roles in challenging the results of November’s election helped to “undermine” democracy. Thompson told SiriusXM’s The Joe Madison Show on Monday that elected officials who are found responsible for inciting the deadly attack should be added to the no-fly list along with the perpetrators as “domestic terrorists.” Hannity called Thompson’s remarks “insane,” and dismissed the move as a clear act of “overreach that would be fundamentally unfair.” “Again, this is all because a few Republicans lawfully requested an emergency audit,” he said. “They are allowed to stand up for their opinions. That’s what Congress is all about. Are we are all supposed to think exactly alike?” Hannity pointed out what he called a glaring double standard, noting that “[Rep.] Maxine Waters [D-Calif.] challenged the results over the Russia hoax in 2016 [and] nobody talked about putting her on a no-fly list. “So what is the standard here?” he said.
“Live Updates: House passes measure urging Pence to invoke 25th Amendment” by Fox News – The U.S. House of Representatives voted late Tuesday to pass a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. The vote (223-205) was seen as symbolic because Pence has already said he would not take the action. The House is expected to vote to impeach the president Wednesday. Vice President Mike Pence wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Tuesday, which threw cold water on any idea that he might invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. Pence said invoking the 25th is not “in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with the Constitution.” Under the 25th Amendment, the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members could deem the president unfit for office, in which case powers would transfer to Pence.
“Democrats’ China connections keep piling up” by Fox News’ Michael Ruiz – Ties between prominent current and former Democrats and China continue to crop up, even as the Chinese Communist Party is trading fiery rhetoric with the Trump administration over its support of Taiwan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lifted restrictions on U.S.-Taiwan relations last week, a move that the CCP has criticized. And news that U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft planned to visit the region prompted a statement last week accusing the U.S. of “a crazy provocation.” But former Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat who held Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ California seat for 24 years, briefly registered as a foreign agent for a Chinese surveillance company. After facing mounting backlash, she announced on Twitter Tuesday that she was reversing that decision. The company, Hikvision, allegedly played a role targeting China’s oppressed Uyghur minority. Hikvision had a government contract with police in Xinjiang Province, the heart of the Uyghur controversy, in 2016 and 2017. The Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic group, have allegedly been subjected to mass detention, forced labor and torture in China’s Xinjiang Province. Additional allegations, which China has denied, include forced organ harvesting and coercive birth control. While it is not unusual for former politicians to enter the lobbying world and register as foreign agents when working with another government, President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration committee took issue with Boxer consulting for Hikvison, whose largest stakeholder is the Chinese government. The committee returned the $500 she donated to the inauguration before she reversed course and deregistered.
“Military Joint Chiefs condemn ‘sedition and insurrection’ at US Capitol as federal and local officials scramble to ensure security” by CNN’s Nicole Gaouette, Oren Liebermann and Barbara Starr – America’s most senior military leaders condemned the violent invasion of the US Capitol last week and reminded service members of their obligation to support and defend the Constitution and reject extremism in a statement that underscored the unprecedented challenges facing the country in the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection attempt by President Donald Trump’s supporters. “We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection,” said the statement, released Tuesday and signed by America’s most senior general, Mark Milley, and the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is comprised of the heads of each military branch. The extraordinary statement underscores the scale of the challenge and the depth of the uncertainty and concern in Washington, where officials across the US security establishment scramble to deal with the aftermath of the chaos at the Capitol, and around the country, as all 50 states are preparing for possible violence. At the same time, federal officials are determining how best to protect lawmakers in the seat of American democracy, as more information comes to light about Trump supporters’ plans to stage another attack and disrupt the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
“Investigation into Capitol attack is unprecedented in scope, Justice Department says” by CNN’s Zachary Cohen, Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz – Federal investigators are chasing thousands of leads in twin efforts to prosecute people involved in last week’s attack on the US Capitol and to try to prevent feared follow-up attacks in Washington and around the country. But while the FBI has opened more than 160 case files in the six days since pro-Donald Trump rioters breached the US Capitol building, officials acknowledged Tuesday that the evidence gathered so far “is just the tip of the iceberg.” “People are going to be shocked by some of the egregious contact that happened in the Capitol,” acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin said in reference to assaults on federal and DC police officers. “So the picture is going to build. I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about what happened within the Capitol, and it’s going to come into laser focus I think over the next weeks and days,” he added. At the same time, officials from the FBI and Department of Justice sought to reassure the American public Tuesday that they are up to the task on both fronts during a news conference that also laid bare the enormity of the challenge currently facing law enforcement agencies involved in both efforts. “The FBI is quite familiar with large-scale, complex investigations … we are up to the challenge,” FBI Washington DC field office assistant director Steven D’Antuono said.
“Amazon slams Parler in court reply and invokes Big Tech’s liability shield” by CNN business’ Brian Fung – Amazon Web Services filed its response to Parler’s lawsuit on Tuesday, blaming the social media platform favored by the far-right for filing a “meritless claim” against the cloud computing giant and citing a liability shield often maligned by President Donald Trump: Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934. AWS’s legal brief argues that it is Parler, not Amazon (AMZN), that breached the terms of its contract and that Parler’s removal from AWS’s hosting platform was a “last resort.” “This case is about Parler’s demonstrated unwillingness and inability to remove from the servers of Amazon Web Services (‘AWS’) content that threatens the public safety,” Amazon wrote, “such as by inciting and planning the rape, torture, and assassination of named public officials and private citizens.” The response highlights more than a dozen examples that Amazon said it reported to Parler, including calls for a civil war and the deaths of Democratic lawmakers; tech company CEOs including Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey; members of professional sports leagues; former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao; and US Capitol Police, among others. Parler didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Pence Says He Won’t Invoke 25th Amendment, Setting Stage for Impeachment Vote” by WSJ’s Kristina Peterson, Natalie Andrews and Rebecca Ballhaus – Vice President Mike Pence rejected a push from Democrats to invoke the 25th Amendment to oust President Trump over his role in the Capitol riot, setting in motion a House vote Wednesday to impeach the president during his final week in office, this time with the support of some Republicans. Mr. Pence in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) late Tuesday said invoking the amendment would set a “terrible precedent” and that Democrats’ efforts amounted to political games. He also urged lawmakers to “avoid taking actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment.” The president, in his first public appearance since the riot last week, said he did nothing wrong and had no regrets about his remarks to supporters in which he urged them to march on Congress. He called the efforts to remove him from office over his actions a continuation of what he has termed a Democratic witch hunt. Hours after Mr. Pence sent his letter, House Democrats pressed forward, passing a resolution 223-205 demanding that Mr. Pence and a majority of the cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment. One Republican joined with the Democratic majority. The amendment can be invoked if the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” With the vice president having ruled out such a step, Democrats are largely united around an impeachment vote Wednesday.
“Lawmakers Were Feet and Seconds Away From Confrontation With the Mob in the Capitol” by WSJ’s Ted Mann, Dustin Volz, Lindsay Wise and Chad Day – With rioters ransacking the Capitol, Rep. Jim Himes hunkered in the visitors’ gallery overlooking the House chamber. He watched colleagues below rush to exit the floor, heard the reverberation of a single shot from somewhere close and waited his turn to evacuate. A trio of Capitol Police officers with guns drawn then led Mr. Himes and about two dozen colleagues—the last lawmakers in the chamber—across the long gallery, maneuvering through narrow rows of seats and over brass handrails. The officers were agitated and shouting at one another, he said, because they didn’t know which of the doors leading to the hallway to pick. “They had no idea which door didn’t have a mob behind it,” he said. The mob’s rampage last Wednesday was a rare and deadly assault by American citizens on the halls of Congress, leaving two killed, three others dead and widespread damage. The toll could have been much worse. In the hour after they breached the building, the rioters—some carrying nooses, bats, pipes, chemical irritants and zip ties that can be used to handcuff people—were feet or seconds away from the lawmakers they sought to confront, hoping to stop them from ratifying the election of Democrat Joe Biden and keep President Trump in power. The mob flooded into ornate, high-ceilinged halls normally populated by tourists. Some headed down a labyrinth of narrow corridors and marble staircases in the 228-year-old building. Congressional staff members and some lawmakers hid under tables in offices barricaded with furniture as rioters tried to break in.
“Covid-19 Pandemic Drives Municipal Borrowing to 10-Year High” by WSJ’s Heather Gillers – Municipal-bond issuance in 2020 was the highest in a decade, reflecting the collapse of interest rates and the increased costs cities and state governments are facing from Covid-19 shutdowns. Bonds for new projects reached $252 billion last year, according to Refinitiv, a small increase from the previous year and the highest since 2010, when a federal incentive program helped push the total above $270 billion. The new borrowing drove the total amount of outstanding muni debt above $3.9 trillion for the first time since 2013, according to the Federal Reserve data from the third quarter. The muni-issuance boom is unlikely to abate as cash-strapped local governments struggle to make up for ongoing Covid-19-related shortfalls and pay back old debts. Before the pandemic, many city and state governments had already been operating on tight budgets. Despite the increase in availability of muni bonds, investor demand remains strong. Central-bank rate cuts have left investors clamoring for yield. Muni-bond investments produced steady returns last year in a low-interest rate environment. “There’s no yield anywhere so munis are still attractive on a relative basis,” said Jon Barasch, director of municipal evaluations at financial analytics company ICE Data Services.
“Exclusive: Civil rights groups demand Google remove Trump’s YouTube channel” by Reuters’ Sheila Dang – U.S. civil rights groups will organize an advertiser boycott against Alphabet’s YouTube if it does not remove President Donald Trump’s channel, the groups told Reuters. Jim Steyer, one of the organizers of the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign which led over 1,000 advertisers to boycott Facebook in July, said the groups are demanding YouTube take down Trump’s verified YouTube channel, which has 2.76 million subscribers. YouTube is the last major tech company that has not banned Trump from posting on its platforms. Facebook, Twitter and Snap Inc have all blocked Trump after supporters of the president stormed the U.S. Capitol last week, leading to five deaths. Trump’s YouTube channel gives him the opportunity to continue spreading false information that the U.S. election was stolen, Steyer said. On Tuesday, Trump’s YouTube channel posted eight new videos, including one in which Trump told reporters “I think Big Tech has made a terrible mistake” by blocking him. Neither YouTube nor the White House immediately responded to requests for comment. YouTube has told the groups it is considering the demands but has yet to act, Steyer said.
“Visa, Plaid call off $5.3 billion deal” by Reuters’ Staff – Visa and financial technology company Plaid said on Tuesday that they would terminate their $5.3 billion merger agreement following a U.S. government lawsuit aimed at stopping the proposed transaction on antitrust grounds. The U.S. Justice Department had sued to stop the deal in November, saying that Visa was a “a monopolist in online debit transactions” and that the proposed acquisition “would eliminate a nascent competitive threat” to that monopoly. The deal, which was proposed in January 2020, was scrapped to avoid protracted litigation, said Al Kelly, chairman and CEO of Visa Inc.“We are confident we would have prevailed in court as Plaid’s capabilities are complementary to Visa’s, not competitive,” he added. Visa said in January it had agreed to buy the privately held startup Plaid in a $5.3 billion deal aimed at boosting the payments giant’s access to the booming financial technology sector.
“National Guardsmen protecting Capitol now armed with lethal weapons” by Politico’s Lara Seligman – The Pentagon has approved National Guardsmen protecting the U.S. Capitol to carry lethal weapons in the days leading up to the inauguration, as law enforcement continues to receive information about credible threats of violence from armed militia groups, two Guard spokespeople confirmed. As of 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the Guardsmen who are responsible for security around the Capitol building complex were armed with lethal weapons, US Air National Guard Capt. Chelfi Johnson told POLITICO. The New York Times was the first to report the news. Johnson declined to say specifically what weapons the Guardsmen would carry but noted that typically they deploy with the M-9 handgun. Previously, they were only carrying protective gear. The Guardsmen deployed to the Capitol will also carry a protective helmet, gas masks and Kevlar body armor, she said. She stressed that Guard members are trained to “try everything to de-escalate a situation before having to draw their weapon and use it” as part of civil disturbance response. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy approved the request by federal and local authorities for armed Guardsmen to support law enforcement protecting the Capitol earlier on Tuesday, Johnson said.
“Right-wing extremist chatter spreads on new platforms as threat of political violence ramps up” by Politico’s Tina Nguyen and Mark Scott – With the threat of future political violence looming, a surge in online extremist chatter is increasingly taking place in private groups and encrypted messaging apps with little, if any, rules about what is posted. Law enforcement nationwide is on high alert after last week’s riot at the Capitol, with reports suggesting that several extremist groups have planned armed demonstrations across the country to protest the end of Donald Trump’s presidency. But the severity of the threat is increasingly hard to ascertain, in part because of the crackdown that authorities have already put in place on message boards. That crackdown has driven would-be insurrectionists further underground and scattered their activity across innumerable platforms, including one — TikTok — that’s best known as a hub for teens to share videos. The diffuse, chaotic nature of the online chatter has fed into a climate of fear. Ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, the FBI has reportedly warned law enforcement agencies across the country to be on high alert for potentially violent protests in all 50 states over the next few weeks, and has gathered intelligence about an armed group planning to travel to D.C. to stage an uprising on the day of the inauguration. The Pentagon, meanwhile, has authorized up to 15,000 National Guardsmen from around the country to deploy to D.C. to support local law enforcement ahead of and on January 20.
“Sheldon Adelson’s super PAC spending spree shaped GOP politics” by Politico’s Elena Schneider and Alex Isenstadt – There are Republican megadonors, and then there was Sheldon Adelson. The casino magnate, who died Monday at 87, and his wife Miriam together accounted for an enormous share of GOP political spending over the last decade, making him a Republican kingmaker. Even in a political world now over-stuffed with million-dollar donors, their pull was clear from the pilgrimages presidential candidates made to his Venetian resort in Las Vegas, meeting in his office just off the casino floor. Senior Republican operatives at GOP outside groups strategized around their nine-figure checks to power their campaigns for House and Senate majorities. The Adelsons made $218 million in federal donations in 2019 and 2020 — over three times more than the next-biggest GOP donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. They accounted for more than one-quarter of all Republican outside spending on President Donald Trump’s behalf in this election: $90 million out of $353 million in total, per CRP. And over the last five years, the Adelsons gave $280 million to House and Senate Republicans’ main super PACs, supplying more than one-third of the funding for Congressional Leadership Fund and nearly one-quarter of Senate Leadership Fund’s total during that time, according to a POLITICO review of FEC data. Their total federal giving over the last decade topped a half-billion dollars.