Tuesday, January 19th, 2021


And the Source You Rode in On

You're not imagining it. The internet has been a better place over the past few days. That's because the source of tens of thousands of often deadly lies, and the one really big lie, has been de-platformed. "Online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Trump and key allies last week, research firm Zignal Labs has found, underscoring the power of tech companies to limit the falsehoods poisoning public debate when they act aggressively." WaPo: Misinformation dropped dramatically the week after Twitter banned Trump and some allies. If you think that change was dramatic, wait until America de-platforms him in a few hours.

+ That's not to say that The Big Election Lie will die with the Trump presidency. The person responsible for DC turning into a militarized zone must face consequences for his actions. The Senate must convict. And Senators and other officials who promoted the lie must also be held to account. Mitch McConnell said today that the Jan 6 Capitol insurrection was "provoked by the president and other powerful people." (Some of those powerful people still refuse to accept Biden's victory. Others, like McConnell, refused to accept it until December. History should remember them all.)

+ "The hardcore MAGA crowd will stay loyal, of course, and those few who have consistently opposed Trump will escape with their reputations intact. But for the majority of GOP officials, apparatchiks, and commentators who sacrificed their dignity at the altar of Trump, a collective case of amnesia seems destined to set in the moment he leaves office." McCay Coppins in The Atlantic: The Coming Republican Amnesia.

+ I doubt anyone will forget this WaPo headline: GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert gave Capitol tour to ‘large' group before the riots, Democratic lawmaker says.

+ It's not just lawmakers. It's the other liars too: With Trump's exit, the Fox News presidency will come to an end. They lied about the virus. They lied about the election. They lied and people died.

+ Tim Naftali: "There are many verdicts on Donald Trump still to come, from the Senate, from juries of private citizens, from scholars and historians. But as a result of his subversion of national security, his reckless endangerment of every American in the pandemic, and his failed insurrection on January 6, one thing seems abundantly clear: Trump is the worst president in the 232-year history of the United States." His record low approval average of 41% suggests as much. Melania also set a record for the worst final popularity rating ever for a first lady. (Give her some credit. With a little help from the platform bosses, she finally achieved her goal of ending cyberbullying.)


It’s Mourning in America

"I am proud, proud, proud to be a son of Delaware. And I am even more proud to be standing here doing this from the Major Beau Biden facility ... I only have one regret: that he's not here, because we should be introducing him as president ... So it's deeply personal that our next journey to Washington starts here, a place that defines the very best of who we are as Americans. I know these are dark times, but there's always light. That's what makes this state so special. That's what it taught me, it taught me the most, there's always light." That was Joe Biden as he set off for DC. He planned to take his usual Amtrak ride there, but thanks to the current president, we couldn't secure a train commute for the next one. Biden and Kamala Harris will take part in a national Covid-19 memorial service at the Lincoln Memorial ahead of his swearing-in ceremony tomorrow. The ceremony will be joined by others in cities and towns across America as, at long last, we come together to mourn our pandemic dead. The country has now surpassed 400,000 Covid deaths. More than 100,000 of those deaths have come in the last month alone. How much lower would that toll have been if Trump and his enablers had mixed in a little truth with their Big Lie? Here's the latest on the inauguration from CNN and NBC.

+ "Twelve U.S. Army National Guard members have been removed from the presidential inauguration security mission after they were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or posted extremist views online."


Vaccine But Not Herd

"If anything, the 95 percent number understates the effectiveness, because it counts anyone who came down with a mild case of Covid-19 as a failure. But turning Covid into a typical flu — as the vaccines evidently did for most of the remaining 5 percent — is actually a success. Of the 32,000 people who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine in a research trial, do you want to guess how many contracted a severe Covid case? One." NYT: Why the vaccine news is better than you may think.

+ But the virus news may be worse than you ever imagined. California has become the first state to top 3 million cases. So many people have died in Los Angeles County that officials have temporarily suspended air-quality regulations that limit the number of cremations.

+ And while we're racing to get the vaccines out faster, the virus is mutating and variants are spreading like crazy. James Hamblin: The Coronavirus Is Evolving Before Our Eyes.

+ The crash landing of Operation Warp Speed. "Born as a second Manhattan Project, the Trump administration vaccine program actually achieved most of its goals – until distribution problems marred its success." (Lesson: Never let a Manhattan Project be run by a guy from Queens.)


Aleksei It Ain’t So

"Moments after the judge announced her decision, Mr. Navalny called for protests in a video message to his supporters. One of his top aides, Leonid Volkov, said Mr. Navalny's nationwide network was preparing to organize demonstrations across Russia on Saturday. 'Do not be afraid. Take to the streets. Don't do it for me, do it for yourselves and for your future.'" Russian Court Orders Aleksei Navalny Held for 30 Days. He was arrested the moment his plane from Germany landed in Russia. He's being held in Matrosskaya Tishina prison, the place where Sergei Magnitsky was murdered. (On a positive note, at least as of tomorrow, Putin won't have an ally in the White House.)


Pillow Was the Case They Gave Me

This might be a good time for the MyPillow guy to go to the mattresses. Of course, the most ridiculous of Trump's lying supporters would be the last piece of garbage clinging to dreams of overturning the election with notes mentioning election issues and "martial law if necessary." Well, now he's being threatened with a lawsuit from Dominion for lying about their voting machines (and he's got money to lose, so stay tuned), and now Mike Lindell "says his products have been dropped by major retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl's after his repeated false claims of voter fraud in the presidential election."


The Inside Man

"After Trump's incendiary speech, Mogelson followed the President's supporters as they forced their way into the U.S. Capitol, using his phone's camera as a reporter's notebook. What follows is a video that includes some of that raw footage." The New Yorker: A Reporter's Footage from Inside the Capitol Siege.

+ ProPublica: What Parler Saw During the Attack on the Capitol.


Don’t You People Everest?

"While most first summits have a name attached to the feat—like Sir Edmund Hillary on Everest—this group credited the team, rather than an individual, with the first ascent. They sang the Nepali national anthem on the summit in celebration." A Nepali Team Just Made the First Winter Ascent of K2. (It was so cold up there it made my nepals hard just reading about it.)


Better Red Than Dead

"DDoS-Guard, a Russian company that offers websites protection and hosting services, has an interesting client list, including the Russian Ministry of Defense, the FSB (the Kremlin's secret service), multiple cybercrime forums and phishing sites — and the official website of Hamas, the Palestinian group labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. Now, it has a new client to add to its roster: Parler."


Pardoners in Crime

The last notable act of Trump's tenure will be a flurry of pardons. There will be several that will make you puke. But word is that there are also some that are deserved. And you said he'd never pivot...


Bottom of the News

"According to TMZ, the viral sensation is scheduled to appear as part of Biden's virtual inauguration parade later this week. The President-elect's planning team reportedly tapped Apodaca 'because they saw how his feel-good video uplifted the world this past fall during social unrest and pandemic anxiety.'" TikTok "Dreams" Sensation to Skateboard in Joe Biden's Inauguration Parade.

+ Carjacker Realizes Kid Was Left in Car, Returns to Parking Lot To Berate Mom, Returns Kid, Takes Car Again.