Attorney General Merrick Garland finally delivered a speech on the January 6 insurrection, 364 days after the attack on American democracy. Some experts appeared to be satisfied, but many more casual observers and critics continue to be frustrated at his focus on prioritizing investigating and indicting those who perpetrated violence that day while continuing to, apparently, ignore those responsible for inciting the insurrection and creating and disseminating “the big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.
One popular social media commentator seemed to sum up the feelings of many watching and responding via social media, calling Garland’s remarks “a July 2021 speech not a ‘One Year After a Coup Attempt’ speech.”
Merrick Garland is delivering the speech he should have given six months ago.
This is a July 2021 speech not a “One Year After a Coup Attempt” speech.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) January 5, 2022
“The Justice Dept. remains committed to holding all January 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or otherwise criminally responsible,” Garland said in his speech (full video via C-SPAN), addressing DOJ employees. “There are questions about how long the investigation will take, and about what exactly we are doing. Our answer is — whatever it takes for justice to be done.”
But critics point out that Garland’s speech was largely focused on “statistics,” including how many arrests have been made. None of those arrests include Trump administration officials, or those who were behind the attack on American democracy.
“So, one thing you should notice about Garland’s framing of Jan 6 is that he *starts* at storming of the Capitol, *not* at the rally before,” wrote The Nation’s Justice Correspondent Elie Mystal, as Garland was speaking. “This goes to his general way of framing this as individual bad actors instead of a wider criminal conspiracy.”
MSNBC legal analyst and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance responded to Mystal, saying: “This is a fair criticism. One of the things I’m looking for in this speech is whether he will suggest that Jan 6 was the culmination of an effort to overturn the election, or whether he views the events that took place at the Capitol in a vacuum.”
Vance appeared less concerned, adding:
Garland: “We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”
He says this with emphasis. It’s a commitment. He says he’ll take as long as it takes to do it right. “We will & we must speak through our work.”
This is prosecutor speak for, game on.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) January 5, 2022
Well-known, retired FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi, now an NBC News National Security Contributor appeared more hopeful:
AG references “Watergate”. “Same norms for the powerful or the powerless”. DOJ will pursue those “whether present that day or not”. Get it? Merrick Garland pledges pursuit of Jan 6 suspects at ‘any level’ https://t.co/5zn3m5Lnyp
— Frank Figliuzzi (@FrankFigliuzzi1) January 5, 2022
And the highly-respected President and Director-Counsel of NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), Sherrilyn Ifill, also seemed satisfied:
Critical points I heard frm the Garland speech:
1) DOJ is prosecuting the full web of participants involved in Jan 6 & following all leads.
2)No one is off the table for prosecution if they were involved.
3) elaborate prosecutions of this sort take time & begin at the bottom /
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) January 5, 2022
So was Daniel Goldman, the former Lead Counsel of the House Impeachment Inquiry,a nd a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at SDNY:
Strong, emphatic, and determined speech by Garland. The key quote is when he referred to perpetrators who may not have been at the Capitol on Jan 6. But open question remains whether investig has or will extend to efforts to overturn the election, separate from Jan 6 culpability.
— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) January 5, 2022
The Guardian’s congressional reporter Hugo Lowell observes Garland “effectively left open the possibility of a criminal investigation into the Trump WH over the Capitol attack, vowing to hold accountable the perpetrators — at any level — of the Jan. 6 insurrection.”
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‘It’s So Gross’: NY Times Blasted for Negative Reporting on Biden by ‘Blindered Horse-Race Analysts’
After President Joe Biden and Democrats in the House and Senate were closing an exceptional week of success after success on Saturday, pulling into a Senate vote that would transform the U.S. response to climate change, combat inflation, lower Medicare prescription drug prices and the federal deficit, and increase the energy supply, The New York Times published an article attacking the American president, depicting him as weak and ineffective, while speaking primarily, almost entirely, only to Republican pollsters, strategists, and politicians.
Critics, journalists, and even some New York Times readers are calling out the paper of record, and its top reporters.
“In Senate Battle, Democrats Defy Biden’s Low Standing (for Now)” was the title of the Saturday article that essentially was a megaphone for the MAGA crowd, published in the Times’ politics section.
The article’s subhead made clear what readers could expect: “’The billion-dollar question,’ as one Republican pollster put it, is whether Democratic candidates in crucial Senate races can continue to outpace the president’s unpopularity.”
“In a Senate split 50-50,” wrote the Times’ Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman, “Democrats on the campaign trail and in Congress have zero margin for error as the party tries to navigate a hostile political environment defined chiefly by President Biden’s albatross-like approval ratings,”
Rather than describe historic legislation as productive for the American people, and literally, a massive undertaking that will have positive global effects, the Times reporters opted to frame the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as a partisan, political scheme.
“In Washington, Senate Democrats are racing to bolster their position, pressing for a vote as soon as Sunday on a sweeping legislative package that represents their last, best sales pitch before the midterms to stay in power.”
Dan Froomkin, editor of Press Watch, latched onto to Times article and reporters.
“The only context that matters to these blindered horse-race analysts is Biden’s approval rating. The lies, the conspiracy theories, the threat to democracy,” he noted, presumably referring to Trump, “are irrelevant.”
Soledad O’Brien, the well-known former CNN anchor who now is chair of the Starfish Media Group, which she founded, and host of “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien,” and is a frequent critic of the media offered her thoughts:
“It’s so gross,” she responded.
“And it gets worse,” Froomkin added. “Look who they quote: Republican pollster, anonymous Republican strategists, dude who runs Republican Super PAC, Mitch McConnell, one Dem pollster, Republican strategist, Republican Senate candidate, Republican Senate candidate, Republican strategist…”
Indeed, Haberman and Goldmacher quote “Robert Blizzard, a Republican pollster,” “Republican strategists involved in Senate races, granted anonymity to speak candidly,” “Steven Law, who leads the main Senate Republican super PAC,” “Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader,” “Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster,” “Corry Bliss, a veteran Republican strategist,” Joe O’Dea, a GOP candidate, GOP Senate nominee Blake Masters, “Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist advising a super PAC supporting Mr. Masters,” and “Christina Freundlich, a Democratic consultant.”
That’s seven Republicans, an unknown number of unnamed anonymous GOP strategists, and two Democrats.
In a negative article about President Joe Biden, The New York Times didn’t include any quotes from President Joe Biden or the White House. Not even anonymous ones.
The Times almost entirely ignored Biden’s accomplishments from the past week chocked full of wins.
Here’s how Haberman and Goldmacher served up those facts:
“With a strong job report on Friday, long-stalled legislation moving and gas prices on the decline — albeit from record highs — it is possible that Mr. Biden’s support could tick upward.”
By contrast, on Sunday the Associated Press reported on Biden’s “legacy-defining wins,” including noting that a “summer lawmaking blitz has sent bipartisan bills addressing gun violence and boosting the nation’s high-tech manufacturing sector to Biden’s desk, and the president is now on the cusp of securing what he called the ‘final piece’ of his economic agenda with Senate passage of a Democrats-only climate and prescription drug deal once thought dead.”
That economic agenda is what the Times called “a sweeping legislative package that represents their last, best sales pitch before the midterms to stay in power.”
A CNN opinion piece Friday noted “Joe Biden sure is suddenly notching up an impressive string of victories. And they’re not minor. In fact, Biden is on a roll when it comes to both domestic and foreign policy.”
Over a week ago, NBC News’ senior national political reporter Sahil Kapur noted, “If this deal passes,” referring to the Inflation Reduction Act, which did pass on Sunday, “Biden will have inked wins on: Drug pricing, Climate/ACA $$, Higher taxes on corporations, $1.9T Covid rescue plan, $1.2T infrastructure law, New gun law, Chips/China bill, KBJ on SCOTUS, 73+ lower court judges, VAWA re-up, Postal reform.”
He adds: “This is not a trivial agenda.”
That list did not include all the wins Biden had last week before the IRA passed, including: 528,000 jobs added in July, unemployment at a 50-year low (3.5%), the killing of terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri, CHIPS Act passage, PACT Act passage to help veterans affected by toxic burn pits, and gas prices dropping daily.
Meanwhile, others continued to blast the Times’ reporting.
“Hard to believe this kind of bad, ‘conventional wisdom’ reporting is still happening, where they’re saying Biden is ‘albatross’ around Dem candidates’ necks and it’s all…a mystery….” tweeted Michelangelo Signorile, a veteran journalist, SiriusXM Progress host, and writer of books and a Substack newsletter.
Some New York Times readers in the paper’s own comments section were equally critical.
“Times pundits fail to distinguish between ‘job approval’ polls versus the relative popularity of the two parties’ agendas,” wrote Baxter Jones. “Republican candidates have no agenda beyond tax cuts for their big contributors, banning all abortions, voter suppression, and abolishing Obamacare with no clue of how to replace it. Oh, and climate change denial.”
Another reader wrote: “Nothing about abortion or extremism? No Democrats to quote? I hope there will be a follow up from a Democratic perspective.”
“Wow!” wrote yet another reader. “I can’t believe the premise of this article is so simplistic. Nothing is happening in this election other than how popular Joe Biden is. No mention of the anti-choice crowd and the shellacking they took in Kansas. Or how voter registration has vastly increased across the country since the Dobbs decision. (And one of the authors is a woman, presumably of liberal bent.)”
“No mention of the fact that the recent legislation passed (and passing, as I write this on Saturday night) by the Democrats is wildly popular with wide swaths of the populace, and even more popular with narrow swaths such as veterans,” they continued.
“If all you have to do to control the congress is lambast the incumbent president, then we should start doing that the moment another Republican gets into the White House. Whence all this ‘hate Joe Biden,’ stuff. Populism, or right-wing radio with nothing else to sell? I hope most Americans are smarter than that.”
TikTok Influencer Ignites Backlash After Posting Homophobic and Racist Rant Attacking Home Depot Workers
Amanda Marie, an influencer with around 14,000 followers on TikTok, is getting some backlash after she posting a video describing how she harassed a Home Depot employee while using homophobic language and telling him to “go back to your country,” Boing Boing reports.
The video shows Marie telling a Black employee that she’s going to get him fired. She then goes to her car and recounts the incident from her perspective, saying, “I said, ‘I’m not leaving.’ … I then turned around and said, ‘If you’re going to be rude, go back to your country. Go back to your country!’ ‘Cause he wasn’t from here.”
“So I turn around, and I say, ‘Go back to your motherf***ing country and learn some f***ing manners before you come here,'” she said.
She also tried to claim the homophobic slur “fag,” which she allegedly used against one of the employees, is not seen as an offensive term back in New York.
As Boing Boing points out, she deleted the video from her various platforms after the backlash.
Watch the video below.
And she was proud enough to post this herself? pic.twitter.com/3jH572ymKY
— 🥀_Imposter_🕸️ (@Imposter_Edits) August 1, 2022
‘Brazenly Cynical’: Collins Under Fire Over Threat to Gay Marriage Bill After Dems Reach Deal on Taxes, Climate
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) is under fire after threatening bipartisan support of legislation to protect same-sex marriage because Democrats were finally able to put together a historic tax and climate change bill – a huge win for Democrats, the Biden administration, and Americans.
“I just think the timing could not have been worse and it came totally out of the blue,” Senator Collins told HuffPost Thursday. The news outlet’s Jonathan Nicholson reports her remarks were focused on “Senate Democrats’ unveiling of their bill to raise taxes on some companies, boost IRS enforcement and spend the resulting money to fund anti-climate change efforts.”
HuffPost adds that “Collins warned that the manner in which that victory was secured, where it appeared Democrats kept Manchin and Schumer’s negotiations under wraps until a separate bipartisan computer chip production incentive bill was passed by the Senate, hurt the effort to gather support among Republicans to bring the gay marriage bill to the floor.”
HuffPost Editorial Director and Washington Bureau Chief Amanda Terkel tweeted, “Susan Collins tells @JNicholsonInDC that same-sex marriage bill may be doomed now bc of what Dems did on the inflation reduction bill.”
Response to what many on social media saw as a threat from Collins was fast, with strong outrage and accusations of putting politics over morality and the lives of same-sex couples.
“I love when our elected representatives admit that they vote based on spite. It makes government feel like family,” sarcastically tweeted one social media user.
“Gay people shouldn’t have rights because Democrats raised taxes on billionaires,” said another, appearing to mock Collins.
Journalist Jeff Sharlet, author of the book and producer of the Netflix series “The Family,” writes: “Shorter Susan Collins: you can be married or have a planet to live on. Pick one. Don’t be greedy.”
“Sorry gays, Democrats raised taxes on the rich so we might have to doom your marriages,” sarcastically tweeted Mississippi Free Press journalist Ashton Pittman.
“Republicans are so mad that Democrats are funding clean energy & reducing inflation they are going to (1) refuse to protect gay marriage (2) refuse to fund desperate help for wounded veterans (3) try to block investment in technology to protect US from China. That is insane,” tweeted economist David Rothschild.
“Gotta wonder if a quote this brazenly cynical that reveals this is all a game to her will have any impact whatsoever on how she’s broadly covered or perceived by the moderates she purports to aggressively court,” asked NBC News senior reporter Ben Collins.
Referring to Sen. Collins, top DNC attorney Marc Elias warned, “If this is who you are trusting to pass Electoral Count Act Reform, I want you to introduce you to a girl named Lucy and her football.”
“This is the GOP,” writes Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall. “Because Dems are passing a health care, climate, inflation bill GOPs are retaliating by voting against the semiconductors bill they actually support in the House. They’re also going to vote against SSM bill because they’re miffed about the inflation bill.”
“I just remembered that this isn’t the first time Susan Collins has used LGBTQ rights to lash out over petty BS,” noted journalist Parker Malloy. “When the Human Rights Campaign endorsed her opponent in 2020, Collins decided she no longer supported the Equality Act.”
Attorney Max Kennerly: “A story as old as time: conservatives claiming that they were going to be good people but those darn liberals made them be bigots.”
DNC Chair Jaime Harrison: “A caucus of spoiled brats… Because people’s freedoms and rights should be contingent on the GOP getting their damn way!”
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