Friday, January 15th, 2021


House Hunting

"'After this, we're going to walk down, and I'll be there with you,' Trump told the crowd. The people around me exchanged looks of astonishment and delight. 'We're going to walk down to the Capitol, and we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. We're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them—because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength.' Before Trump had even finished his speech, approximately eight thousand people started moving up the Mall. 'We're storming the Capitol!' some yelled ... The past nine weeks had been steadily building toward this moment. On November 7th, mere hours after Biden's win was projected, I attended a protest at the Pennsylvania state capitol, in Harrisburg. Hundreds of Trump supporters, including heavily armed militia members, vowed to revolt. When I asked a man with an assault rifle—a 'combat-skills instructor' for a militia called the Pennsylvania Three Percent—how likely he considered the prospect of civil conflict, he told me, 'It's coming.' Since then, Trump and his allies had done everything they could to spread and intensify this bitter aggrievement.'" A must-read look at what took place on Jan 6, and the things that took place during the lead up. Luke Mogelson in The New Yorker: Among the Insurrectionists. "There was an unmistakable subtext as the mob, almost entirely white, shouted, 'Whose house? Our house!' One man carried a Confederate flag through the building. A Black member of the Capitol Police later told BuzzFeed News that, during the assault, he was called a racial slur fifteen times."

+ NPR: "Members of the pro-Trump mob that staged an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week intended 'to capture and assassinate elected officials,' federal prosecutors say in a new court filing against Jacob Chansley."

+ AP: Capitol rioters included highly trained ex-military and cops.

+ WaPo: How the rioters who stormed the Capitol came dangerously close to Pence.

+ "If in fact it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection, if they aided and abetted the crime, there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecution for that." Pelosi says lawmakers may be prosecuted. Here's the latest from The Guardian.

+ Meanwhile, the Bigly Lie continues: Peter Navarro: Democrats 'Did Violence to This Country by Attacking a President Who I Believe Was Legally Elected on November 3rd.' (This is a week after the mob was incited. The FBI should be knocking on Navarro's door right now.)



If anything positive came out of the Capitol insurrection, it's that many Americans finally woke up to the threat of Trumpism, his fascist language, his authoritarian tendencies, and more important, the rising threat of violent White Supremacist groups. The people who have been warning you about Trumpism and these trends for several years were not hysterical, they were not liberal snowflakes, they were not rabid partisans. They were people like my parents who had seen this show before and tried to tell us what we were looking at. And, they were right. That reality is certainly a factor in why Trump is leaving office with a 29% approval rating. I sure as hell didn't want NextDraft to become all politics all the time. You think you're sick of Trump news? Imagine how I feel. And believe me, what some perceived as the anti-Trump messaging resulted in hundreds of angry emails and thousands of unsubscribes. But I'd rather tell the truth to one person than half the truth to a million. Truth is a bias I'm proud to have. The media was never too hard on Trump. They were too easy on him.


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: When Trump was elected, my brother in law Douglass (a Black pastor who was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement) said, "I'm upset. But I'm not gonna cry over this. I've already shed my tears over much worse." It was a good reminder then, and now, that America has faced challenges before. Another great reminder, with some very sad parallels to current events, is one of the best documentary series ever. Eyes on the Prize. It's available on Kanopy for free if you have a library card.

+ What to Read: Derek Black was a key player in the White Nationalist movement before he moved away from it with the help of friends. In the weeks following the 2016 election, he wrote this op-ed in the NYT. Why I Left White Nationalism. "The wave of violence and vile language that has risen since the election is only one immediate piece of evidence that this campaign's reckless assertion of white identity comes at a huge cost. More and more people are being forced to recognize now what I learned early: Our country is susceptible to some of our worst instincts when the message is packaged correctly." For four years we've had to listen to the nonsense that Trump wasn't egging on violent White Supremacists, even though former leaders of the movement, and every signal from social media to the streets, was telling us the opposite.

+ What to Flint: Rachel Maddow has an amazingly concise look at how Flint and Michigans's now indicted ex-Gov relate to what happened last week.


It’s Joe Time, Folks

"President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan Thursday to end 'a crisis of deep human suffering' by speeding up vaccines and pumping out financial help to those struggling with the pandemic's prolonged economic fallout."

+ Vox has a good overview of what's in Biden's opening bid.


Few Dodgers in LA

"Some hospitals have already had to go to extreme lengths to accommodate the crush of COVID-19 patients — such as setting up beds in hallways or gift shops and temporarily treating people in ambulances when there's no space for them in overcrowded emergency departments." LA Times: Hospitals try to keep 'last-resort' care at bay.

+ "The situation here is dire. Every minute, 10 people test positive for Covid-19. Every eight minutes, someone dies. Ambulances circle for hours, unable to find ERs that can accept patients. Hospitals are running out of oxygen. ICU capacity is at zero. Patients lie in hallways and tents. Emergency room nurses have more patients than they can handle — sometimes six at a time. The National Guard has arrived, not to help treat patients, but to manage the flood of bodies." In LA, ambulances circle for hours and ICUs are full. Is this what Covid-19 has in store for the rest of the country? (California's early success, oddly, may have proven to be its biggest risk.)

+ Vaccine reserve was already exhausted when Trump administration vowed to release it.


Solar Plexus

Buzzfeed: US Solar Companies Rely On Materials From Xinjiang, Where Forced Labor Is Rampant. "The American solar industry faces a choice: ignore the risk of human rights abuses or develop costly new alternatives for an industry struggling to compete against more polluting forms of energy production." (There are always costly reasons not to stand up to forced labor camps. That's why no reason is ever acceptable.)


Drain the Pomp

"So Mike Pompeo wins the crown of thorns. Next week, he will fly back to Kansas, where he was once a congressman and where he hopes to run for Senate, having left the diplomatic corps in a hollow rut (which could take a decade to rebuild), the nation less secure, and our network of alliances—which has sustained our security and influence for many decades—frazzled at its core." Slate: Worst Secretary of State Ever.

+ Don't take it from those liberal coastal publications. Kansas City Star: "America will be better when he leaves office. Kansas will be much better if he decides to stay away from his adopted home state forever."


Like What You See?

"He's not alone. Facebook's algorithms have coaxed many people into sharing more extreme views on the platform — rewarding them with likes and shares for posts on subjects like election fraud conspiracies, Covid-19 denialism and anti-vaccination rhetoric. We reviewed the public post histories for dozens of active Facebook users in these spaces. Many, like Mr. McGee, transformed seemingly overnight. A decade ago, their online personas looked nothing like their presences today. A journey through their feeds offers a glimpse of how Facebook rewards exaggerations and lies." NYT: They Used to Post Selfies. Now They're Trying to Reverse the Election.



Enough of the big things. Let's focus on the little things. President Trump's legacy of corruption, four years and 3,700 conflicts of interest later. (Sure glad I bet the over...)


Feel Good Friday

"Acting D.C. police chief Robert J. Contee III has said D.C. officers 'saved democracy' by coming to the rescue of Capitol Police personnel overwhelmed by the crowd." We've talked a lot about the villains. Let's talk about the heroes. WaPo: We got to hold this door.

+ Lawmakers want to award officer Eugene Goodman Congressional Gold Medal for heroism during Capitol riots.

+ Florida waitress uses subtle signs to save boy, 11, from abusers.

+ North Carolina cowgirl uses horses to inspire kids to improve literacy.

+ A nurse who works with Covid patients just won a $1 million lottery jackpot.

+ The Cat Who Came Back: Patches, Believed Killed In Mudslide, Shows Up 3 Years Later.

+ Lady Gaga to Sing National Anthem for Biden-Harris Inauguration. (If Trump had won, it would have been Ted Nugent.)