Archives for category: Trump

Avi Wolfman-Arent writes at the Philadelphia PBS website WHYY about the uncomfortable dilemma of the “school choice movement.” At least some of the choice champions had not come to grips with the fact that their movement was funded by Trump supporters. Perhaps the reckoning might have caused them to wonder if they were being used. It’s easy to forget–or perhaps never realize–that the school choice movement was created by Southern segregationists, borrowing the rhetoric of libertarian economist Milton Friedman. It i worth pondering why and how the Democratic Party abandoned its longstanding belief in equitable, well-resourced public schools as a common good.

He begins:

When Philadelphia-area mega-donors Jeff and Janine Yass made headlines recently for their contributions to Republican politicians — some of whom tried to overturn the presidential election — it stirred up a familiar debate in local education circles.

The Yass family has a long history of donating to Republican politicians and conservative causes. They also are among the largest donors to Pennsylvania’s school choice movement.

Therein lies a dilemma that, for some Democrats who support school choice, has caused increasing bouts of self-reflection.

On the ground, many charter school employees and school choice advocates are left-of-center, motivated by a desire to shake up an educational system that they see as not acting urgently enough to help low-income students of color.

But the movement’s growth — and success — has long relied on the political and financial capital of conservatives, who see school choice as a way to inject free-market thinking into the educational bureaucracy.

None of this is new.

What’s new is the reckoning forced by the Trump era, culminating in a violent insurrection that was fomented by Republican lawmakers — carried out with symbols of the Confederacy — who, on other days, could be a charter advocate’s best ally.

“For a period of time, this coalition was able to exist without some of the tensions we’re talking about threatening to rip it apart,” said Mike Wang, a veteran of the Philadelphia education scene who once headed a leading school choice advocacy group that lobbied in Harrisburg.

Will this unusual alliance survive? Can it find new political strength under an administration promising reconciliation and unity? Or will it disintegrate in an era of increasing political polarity?

At what point do well-meaning liberals understand that there is a fundamental contradiction between the free market and equity. The free market produces winners and losers, not equity.

The Wall Street Journal has the details on the money behind Trump’s incendiary “Stop the Steal—Save America” rally of January 6, which preceded a violent attack on the nation’s Capitol:

The rally in Washington’s Ellipse that preceded the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was arranged and funded by a small group including a top Trump campaign fundraiser and donor facilitated by far-right show host Alex Jones.

Mr. Jones personally pledged more than $50,000 in seed money for a planned Jan. 6 event in exchange for a guaranteed “top speaking slot of his choice,” according to a funding document outlining a deal between his company and an early organizer for the event. 

Mr. Jones also helped arrange for Julie Jenkins Fancelli, a prominent donor to the Trump campaign and heiress to the Publix Super Markets Inc. chain, to commit about $300,000 through a top fundraising official for former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, according to organizers. Her money paid for the lion’s share of the roughly $500,000 rally at the Ellipse where Mr. Trump spoke. 

Another far-right activist and leader of the “Stop the Steal” movement, Ali Alexander, helped coordinate planning with Caroline Wren, a fundraising official who was paid by the Trump campaign for much of 2020 and who was tapped by Ms. Fancelli to organize and fund an event on her behalf, organizers said. On social media, Mr. Alexander had targeted Jan. 6 as a key date for supporters to gather in Washington to contest the 2020-election certification results. The week of the rally, he tweeted a flyer for the event saying: “DC becomes FORT TRUMP starting tomorrow on my orders!”

How close we came to a bloody coup. Only a few yards and a few minutes separated the terrorists from their targets, the leaders of Congress and the Vice-President. Thanks to the overwhelmed Capitol Police who did their jobs, many lives were saved when a mob of thousands of people, stirred up by Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, attacked the U.S. Capitol. The FBI has been investigating those who planned the siege of Congress. Did Trump know? Did his aides know?

When die-hard supporters of President Donald Trump showed up at rally point “Cowboy” in Louisville on the morning of Jan. 5, they found the shopping mall’s parking lot was closed to cars, so they assembled their 50 or so vehicles outside a nearby Kohl’s department store. Hundreds of miles away in Columbia, S.C., at a mall designated rally point “Rebel,” other Trump supporters gathered to form another caravan to Washington. A similar meetup — dubbed “Minuteman” — was planned for Springfield, Mass.


That same day, FBI personnel in Norfolk were increasingly alarmed by the online conversations they were seeing, including warlike talk around the convoys headed to the nation’s capital. One map posted online described the rally points, declaring them a “MAGA Cavalry To Connect Patriot Caravans to StopTheSteal in D.C.” Another map showed the U.S. Congress, indicating tunnels connecting different parts of the complex. The map was headlined, “CREATE PERIMETER,” according to the FBI report, which was reviewed by The Washington Post.


“Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in,” read one posting, according to the report.




The Post obtained hours of video footage, some exclusively, and placed it within a digital 3-D model of the building. (TWP)
FBI agents around the country are working to unravel the various motives, relationships, goals and actions of the hundreds of Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Some inside the bureau have described the Capitol riot investigation as their biggest case since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and a top priority of the agents’ work is to determine the extent to which that violence and chaos was preplanned and coordinated.


[Self-styled militia members planned days in advance to storm the Capitol, court papers say]


Investigators caution there is an important legal distinction between gathering like-minded people for a political rally — which is protected by the First Amendment — and organizing an armed assault on the seat of American government. The task now is to distinguish which people belong in each category, and who played key roles in committing or coordinating the violence.


Video and court filings, for instance, describe how several groups of men that include alleged members of the Proud Boys appear to engage in concerted action, converging on the West Front of the Capitol just before 1 p.m., near the Peace Monument at First Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Different factions of the crowd appear to coalesce, move forward and chant under the direction of different leaders before charging at startled police staffing a pedestrian gate, all in the matter of a few minutes.


An indictment Friday night charged a member of the Proud Boys, Dominic Pezzola, 43, of Rochester, N.Y., with conspiracy, saying his actions showed “planning, determination, and coordination.” Another alleged member of the Proud Boys, William Pepe, 31, of Beacon, N.Y., also was charged with conspiracy.


Minutes before the crowd surge, at 12:45 p.m., police received the first report of a pipe bomb behind the Republican National Committee headquarters at the opposite, southeast side of the U.S. Capitol campus. The device and another discovered shortly afterward at Democratic National Committee headquarters included end caps, wiring, timers and explosive powder, investigators have said.


[Pipe bombs found near Capitol on Jan. 6 are believed to have been placed the night before]


Some law enforcement officials have suggested the pipe bombs may have been a deliberate distraction meant to siphon law enforcement away from the Capitol building at the crucial moment.




This video, taken at 8:15 p.m., is the last known sighting of the suspect before they alleged placed the bomb. (Obtained by The Washington Post)


Ready for war’


The FBI is also trying to determine how many people went to Washington seeking to engage in violence, even if they weren’t part of any formal organization. Some of those in the Louisville caravan said they were animated by the belief that the election was stolen, according to interviews they gave to the Louisville Courier-Journal.


Much of the discussion of potential violence occurred at TheDonald.win, where Trump’s supporters talked about the upcoming rally, sometimes in graphic terms, according to people familiar with the FBI investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open matter.


After the riot, a statement posted on the website said moderators “had been struggling for some time to address a flood of racist and violent content that appeared to be coming primarily from a small group of extremists who were often brigading from other sites,” leading to inquiries from the FBI.


[FBI report day before riot warned of ‘war’ at Capitol]


One of the comments cited in the FBI memo declared Trump supporters should go to Washington and get “violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die.”
Some had been preparing for conflict for weeks.


Prosecutors say Jessica Marie Watkins — an Ohio bartender who had formed her own small, self-styled militia group and had joined Oath Keepers, according to prosecutors — began recruiting and organizing in early November for an “operation.”


Days after the election, Watkins allegedly sent text messages to a number of individuals who had expressed interest in joining her group, which called itself the Ohio State Regular Militia.


“I need you fighting fit by innaugeration,” she told one recruit, according to court papers.


The same day, she also asked a recruit to download Zello, an app that allows a cellphone to operate like a push-to-talk walkie-talkie, saying her group uses it “for operations.”


In conversations later that month, Watkins allegedly spoke in apocalyptic terms about the prospect of Joe Biden’s being sworn in as president on Jan. 20.


“If he is, our way of life as we know it is over. Our Republic would be over. Then it is our duty as Americans to fight, kill and die for our rights. . . . If Biden get the steal, none of us have a chance in my mind. We already have our neck in the noose. They just haven’t kicked the chair yet.”




In December, prosecutors say, Donovan Ray Crowl, a 50-year-old friend of Watkins’s, attended a training camp in North Carolina, while another friend, Thomas E. Caldwell, a 66-year-old Navy veteran from Berryville, Va., booked a room at an Arlington hotel, where Watkins also had a reservation for the days surrounding the Jan. 6 pro-Trump rally.


Prosecutors say Caldwell had written earlier to Watkins that “I believe we will have to get violent to stop this, especially the antifa maggots who are sure to come out en masse even if we get the Prez for 4 more years.”


In the week leading up to the rally and riot, Watkins and Caldwell were in regular contact as they talked about various groups of people meeting up on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, according to an indictment filed this past week against them.


At different points, according to court filings and people familiar with the investigation, Watkins and Caldwell indicated a degree of impatience with Stewart Rhodes, the national leader of Oath Keepers, for not providing more direction.


Watkins messaged Caldwell that if Rhodes “isn’t making plans, I’ll take charge myself, and get the ball rolling,” according to the indictment. Caldwell replied that he was speaking to another person who expected a bus with 40 people to come from North Carolina. Caldwell allegedly told her that person, identified only as “Paul” in other court papers, “is committed to being the quick reaction force [and] bringing the tools if something goes to hell. That way the boys don’t have to try to schlep weps on the bus” — an apparent reference to weapons.


Caldwell added in a subsequent message that he didn’t know whether Rhodes “has even gotten out his call to arms but it’s a little friggin late. This is one we are doing on our own. We will link up with the north carolina crew,” according to court papers and the people familiar with the investigation.


On New Year’s Eve, according to the indictment, Watkins “responded with interest to an invitation to a ‘leadership only’ conference call” for what was described as a “DC op.”




The leaderless resistance concept


Such exchanges are critical early clues in the planning and coordination that went on before, during and after the riot. Videos from the Capitol show Oath Keepers such as Watkins dressed in military-type gear, moving in coordination with Crowl through the crowds around the building.


Watkins used the walkie-talkie app to tell others she was part of a group of about 30 to 40 people who are “sticking together and sticking to the plan,” according to court documents.


Caldwell, for his part, posted images to Facebook, writing: “Us storming the castle. Please share. Sharon is right with me. I am such an instigator!” Sharon Caldwell, his wife, has not been charged with any crime; Caldwell, Crowl and Watkins are accused of conspiring to obstruct Congress and other violations.


Thomas Caldwell’s lawyer has said his client expects to see the charges dropped or to be acquitted at trial. Caldwell, the lawyer said, is not a member of Oath Keepers.


Watkins has previously denied committing any crimes. “I didn’t commit a crime. I didn’t destroy anything. I didn’t wreck anything,” Watkins told the Ohio Capital Journal, adding that the riot was a peaceful protest that turned violent.


Crowl’s lawyer has described his client as a law-abiding citizen who helped protect people during the riot.


In a phone interview this month, Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, told The Post that he gave no direction or signals to members of his group to storm the Capitol, and that he considers the entry by rioters a mistake that played into the hands of critics.


Rhodes said the only “mission” the Oath Keepers had organized to undertake in D.C. on Jan. 6 was dignitary protection for far-right personalities who had traveled to the city to participate in “Stop the Steal” events.


At the time of the riot, Rhodes said, he had just escorted one of the VIPs to a nearby hotel. Rhodes said one of his deputies “called and said, ‘People are storming the Capitol.’ I walked back over and found” fellow Oath Keepers, Rhodes said, but did not enter the building.





Rhodes disavowed any meaningful connection to Caldwell or Crowl. Rhodes said Watkins had played an important part in the group’s mobilization in opposition to demonstrations around police abuse in Louisville last year.


Former domestic terrorism investigators say the alleged discussion by Watkins and Caldwell about the group’s leader points to a longtime pattern among such extremists.


“Historically, within the right-wing extremist movements, leadership has produced rhetoric to spin up their members, increase radicalization and recruitment, and then stand back and let small cells or individual lone offenders follow through on that rhetoric with violent action,” said Thomas O’Connor, a former FBI agent who spent decades investigating domestic terrorists. “Domestic terrorism actually developed the leaderless resistance concept, taking the potential blame away from the leadership and putting it down into small groups or individuals, and I think that is what you’re starting to see here.”


Current law enforcement officials said they have not reached any conclusions about the interactions between leaders of extremist groups and their members or followers.


Investigators are examining who may have joined Caldwell and Watkins’s group, and whether any of those individuals, “known and unknown,” had links or communications with others at the Capitol that day or elsewhere.


Colin Clarke, a domestic terrorism expert at the Soufan Group, said the Jan. 6 attack represents a “proof of concept” for dangerous extremists.
“They talk about things like this in a lot of their propaganda, and the fact that the Capitol Police allowed this to happen, you can call it a security breach, or intelligence failure, but these people do not look at this as a failure, they look at it as an overwhelming success, and one that will inspire others for years.”

Julie Tate and Alice Crites contributed to this report.



Devlin Barrett writes about the FBI and the Justice Department, and is the author of “October Surprise: How the FBI Tried to Save Itself and Crashed an Election.” He was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for National Reporting, for coverage of Russian interference in the U.S. election.



Spencer S. Hsu is an investigative reporter, two-time Pulitzer finalist and national Emmy Award nominee. Hsu has covered homeland security, immigration, Virginia politics and Congress.

Aaron Davis is an investigative reporter who has covered local, state and federal government, as well as the aviation industry and law enforcement. Davis shared in winning the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2018.





Steve Hinnefeld, an Indiana blogger, reviews Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire’s new book A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door and finds that it resonates with his own experience in Indiana.

He writes:

“A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door” focuses on a fundamental debate on the nature of schools. Education, the authors argue, is best treated as a public good that belongs to everyone.

“Like clean air, a well-educated populace is something with wide-reaching benefits,” Berkshire and Schneider write. “That’s why we treat public education more like a park than a country club. We tax ourselves to pay for it, and we open it to everyone.”

The alternative: education as a private good that benefits and belongs to those who consume it. In that increasingly influential view, families should choose schools – or other education products and services — the same way they choose restaurants or where to buy their shoes, with little concern for anyone else.

The threats they describe are not a wolf but a veritable wolfpack: conservative ideologues who want to reduce taxes and shrink government, anti-union zealots, marketers bent on “selling” schools, self-dealers making money from ineffective virtual-school schemes and technology enthusiasts who envision a future in which algorithms replace teachers.

That may make the book sound like a polemic; it’s not, at least in my reading. The authors offer a fair and accurate reading of opposing views and acknowledge that public schools aren’t perfect. All too often, they admit, public schools have excluded or failed students of color, immigrants, religious minorities, students with disabilities and others…

I remember, in the late 1990s, being surprised when the Indiana Chamber of Commerce said it planned to push for vouchers. Democrats controlled the governor’s office and the Indiana House. Just a few years earlier, a well-organized voucher push led by prominent business officials fizzled out.

But, as Schneider and Berkshire document, voucher supporters have played a long game, carried forward by groups like Indianapolis-based EdChoice and the American Legislative Exchange Council. In 2011, with a GOP supermajority in the legislature and Mitch Daniels in the governor’s office, Indiana approved vouchers. The program started small but grew to include over 300 private schools, nearly all of them religious, and over 36,000 students. Now there’s talk of expanding it further – or possibly of adopting education savings accounts, one of the “neo-voucher” programs that Schneider and Berkshire describe.

There is reason to hope, he writes, but also reason to be alarmed and vigilant.

In the past four years, we have often been warned that we must not try to decipher Trump’s mental state because it would violate the American Psychiatric Association’s “Goldwater Rule.” This is a rule that was adopted in 1973, as an ethical warning to its members that they should not attempt to define the psychiatric state of a patient that they have not personally evaluated. This rule came about because a magazine called FACT polled psychiatrists in 1964 about whether Barry Goldwater was fit to be president. He lost the election but sued the magazine and won. This article explains the genesis of the rule, written by a psychiatrist who was on the panel that adopted it (although he opposed the rule because it infringed on freedom of speech).

Not all psychiatrists agreed with the Goldwater rule, especially when Donald Trump emerged as a candidate for president. One psychiatrist, Dr. Bandy Lee at the Yale School of Medicine, spoke out against it and organized a collection of essays called The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.

The Yale Daily News published a profile of Dr. Lee here, written in May 2020.

Although she considers herself apolitical, she became increasingly alarmed by the behavior and statements of Donald Trump as a candidate. Dr. Lee is a specialist in the area of violent behavior, and she saw in his actions the dangers ahead.

Since the 2016 election, Lee has spearheaded a movement to shed light on what she believes is the dangerous mental condition of the president. She has organized a coalition of mental health experts similarly concerned with the president’s mental state, and in October 2017, she published “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” a book of essays by numerous mental health professionals assessing the president’s mental aptitude. Last December, as the presidential impeachment proceedings came to a head, Congress received a petition led by Lee and two other mental health professionals. The statement accompanying the petition claimed that the president’s mental fitness was rapidly declining. In the petition signed by 350 other health professionals, the trio wrote that the president had the “real potential to become ever more dangerous, a threat to the safety of our nation.”

After the publication of her book, Dr. Lee received numerous death threats.

We now know that Dr. Bandy Lee was prescient. From afar, she diagnosed Trump as a “threat to the safety of our nation.” We now know that he incited an insurrection and encouraged his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory. He imagined, somehow, that if they stormed the building and took hostages, Congress would meekly reverse the election results. This is delusional thinking.

Fortunately he has returned to private life, and we can only hope that officials in New York City and New York State act promptly to hold him accountable for his crimes, as we hope that the U.S. Senate will hold him accountable for his reckless and unprecedented effort to violently overthrow the certification of the Electoral College votes.

He is a traitor.

Dr. Bandy Lee saw it first. She is a hero. She is courageous. She is a truth-teller.

It is late in the day for former Attorney General Bill Barr to rehabilitate his reputation, but he apparently gave journalist Jonathan Swan an inside view of why he quit in December. He knew that Trump was lying about the election. He tried to convince him that all the claims of election fraud were B.S., but Trump got angry when Barr told him the truth. Of course, when Barr resigned, he wrote an obsequious letter about how great Trump was, which in itself robs him of any glory for repudiating Trump after the failed putsch.

Swan begins:

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president’s theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were “bullshit.”

White House counsel Pat Cipollone and a few other aides in the room were shocked Barr had come out and said it — although they knew it was true. For good measure, the attorney general threw in a warning that the new legal team Trump was betting his future on was “clownish.”

Trump had angrily dragged Barr in to explain himself after seeing a breaking AP story all over Twitter, with the headline: “Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud.” But Barr was not backing down. Three weeks later, he would be gone.

The relationship between the president and his attorney general was arguably the most consequential in Trump’s Cabinet. And in the six months leading up to this meeting, the relationship between the two men had quietly disintegrated. Nobody was more loyal than Bill Barr. But for Trump, it was never enough.

The president had become too manic for even his most loyal allies, listening increasingly to the conspiracy theorists who echoed his own views and offered an illusion, an alternate reality.

What follows is fascinating.

His inner circle knew he was lying. Barr had the audacity to say that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, certainly not enough to change the outcome of the election. But Trump became committed to his Big Lie. The lies about voter fraud were good enough to set off thousands of Trump’s most avid supporters, who gathered on January 6 to set siege to the U.S. Capitol and to threaten the lives of legislators, both Democrats and Republicans. We now know that the nation barely missed witnessing a massacre of our Congress, with a wild and bloodthirsty mob roaming unconstrained through the Capitol for hours. Did Barr know the plan? Is that why he quit?

Clifford Thompson writes in the liberal Catholic journal Commonweal that that ostensible reason for the Insurrection on January 6 was anger that Biden “stole” the election from Trump; the mob “knew” because Trump said it was so. Of course, it was a lie. Trump decisively lost both the popular vote and the electoral college. He thought he could inspire the mob to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote and intimidate them into overturning the results and installing him for a second term. The strategy was as stupid as the man who incited the mob. Congress was not going to overturn the election. Period.

Thompson says that the true basis of the Insurrection was the fear that white supremacy was losing its dominance. This is our country, our culture, our heritage, and “they” (non-whites) are “taking it away.” So they thought.

Not long ago, I wrote an article for Commonweal about the benefits and dangers of what I call rootedness. I define the word as a sense of belonging in the world based on an identification with a particular thing, whether that is a religious faith, a geographical community, a shared activity, or a philosophy. The benefit of being rooted is that we feel less alone. The danger is that when made to choose between our rootedness—which provides our sense of who we are—and the truth sitting right in front of us, many of us, perhaps most, find a way to ignore the truth.

The negative extremes of rootedness were on full and frightening display on January 6 during the storming of the U.S. Capitol, which left five people dead. What the rioters demonstrated nearly as well as the fact of their rootedness was its particular variety. I say “nearly” because while the idea that the rioters are actually rooted in, that is, white supremacy, was on full display too (witness the Confederate flag being paraded through the Capitol), it was not the ostensible reason for their collective criminal action. No, for that they took their cue from President Trump, who filled their heads with lies about the 2020 presidential election being “stolen” from them—lies that a clear-eyed look at the facts would refute—and then sent them, with all the justification they felt they needed, to wreak havoc on the world’s most important site of the business of democracy.

On the day before the election, Donald Trump signed an executive order establishing a “1776 Commission” to rewrite American history. This commission was intended to refute the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which told the story of American history from the view of African Americans. It was also, allegedly, an answer to “critical race theory,” which you can be sure Trump could not define. I thought this was a bad idea, since history should be written by historians, not by presidential commissions packed with cronies and ideologues.

On December 18, with 33 days left in his term in office, Trump announced the members of his commission, all predictably conservatives and reactionaries. The group was headed by Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn, a Trump ally. I called this “absurd.”

Many thought that the commission couldn’t possibly rewrite American history in the few days allowed to them, but miraculously they issued a report just a few days ago. Presumably, it was written before the commission ever met (if it ever met). The commission said that slavery was unfortunate but it was widespread and everyone did slavery. So there.

Talk about looking on the bright side!

Ironically, the not-long-awaited report was released on Martin Luther King Day. MSNBC host Chris Hayes said it read like a sophomore year term paper by Stephen Miller, Trump’s minister of hate. He interviewed Christina Greer, a professor at Fordham University, and said that Hayes was too generous. She said it read like the term paper of a sophomore in high school.

Peter Greene, who specializes in reading horrible reports so that others don’t have to, gave the report its due: It is awful. Beyond awful. It is rightwing drivel.

The 1776 Commission released their thing today, and pardon my French, Mom, but holy shit is it bad. You knew it was going to be bad. It’s really bad. You probably didn’t know that Progressivism is on the same Challenges to American Principles list with slavery and fascism. Slavery, by the way, is addressed primarily through a massive whataboutism. 45 pages, and every one of them is filled with horrific, racist, dumb, awful awfulness (okay, pages 2 and 4 are blank). 43 pages of awful (without any footnotes or endnotes or citations or bibliography in sight for this work of ultimate scholarship). I don’t have the time at the moment to pick apart all of it (I’ll link to it, but you really shouldn’t read it on a full stomach, and empty stomach, or at the end of a hard day)...

It’s like someone managed to take the 1950s version of squeaky clean white American life and mash it up with 1950s style Soviet Commie borg-style mind-melding. No critical thinking here. This is “education” that rejects pluralism, inquiry, actual thought and scholarship, while simultaneously nodding at and minimizing injustice, asserting that victims of such injustice should stay calm and love their country because it includes people who have the right values (and the right personal circumstances). 

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and may the Biden administration swiftly drop this damned thing into the deepest circular file in DC. 

President Joe Biden signed an executive order last night wiping out Trump’s 1776 Commission.

This is a great post by Mike Klonsky about the ignominious end of the Trump nightmare.

He planned a big military send-off for himself but was afraid no one would show up, so the invitations went out to people like John Bolton and Anthony Scaramucci, who long ago deserted him. Every invitee was asked to bring five friends to bulk up the audience. Someone said on CNN today that she had seen more people in an Apple store than showed up for Trump’s departure.

Not even Mike Pence showed up! Maybe he was annoyed that Trump told his mob to go after Pence when they vandalized the Capitol building, and they set up a scaffold and chanted “Hang Mike Pence.” That’s not the way you reward four years of puppy-dog loyalty!

Mike also laughed, as I did, at the thought that Woody Guthrie’s iconic “This Land Is Your Land” was sung at the Inauguration. If only Woody knew!

Politico reports that Trump officials at the Pentagon refused to share information with the Biden transition team.

Shameful but typical of Trump, who lacks any sense of propriety, decency, duty, or patriotism.

The Pentagon blocked members of President Joe Biden’s incoming administration from gaining access to critical information about current operations, including the troop drawdown in Afghanistan, upcoming special operations missions in Africa and the Covid-19 vaccine distribution program, according to new details provided by transition and defense officials.

The effort to obstruct the Biden team, led by senior White House appointees at the Pentagon, is unprecedented in modern presidential transitions and will hobble the new administration on key national security matters as it takes over positions in the Defense Department on Wednesday, the officials said.

Typical Trump. Mean of spirit. Unconcerned with the well-being of the country. Lie a spoiled child, he screams, “All the toys are mine. If you try to take them away, I’ll break them. Mine, all mine.”