In an interview with the Daily Beast, a Florida Democratic lawmaker explained that her concerns over the invasion of the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists have led her to author a bill that will bar QAnon followers from receiving security clearances.
Following reports that multiple rioters have military or law enforcement backgrounds, Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) -- who previously served in the Pentagon -- stepped up out of fears that followers of the movement based on outrageous conspiracy theories could work within the government to undermine it.
In an interview with the Beast, she stated, "What we discovered was that there was a shocking number of people involved in that insurrection who seemingly live normal lives, working in government and law enforcement and the military. It's really dangerous for individuals who hold these types of views to receive a security clearance and access to classified information… if any Americans participated in the Capitol attack, or if they subscribe to these dangerous anti-government views of QAnon, then they have no business being entrusted with our nation's secrets."
According to the report, Murphy -- who has previously worked across the aisle with Republicans -- is hoping they will support the bill.
"The legislation, titled the Security Clearance Improvement Act of 2021, requires applicants looking to obtain or renew their federal security clearances to disclose if they participated in the Jan. 6 rally in Washington—or another 'Stop the Steal' event—or if they 'knowingly engaged in activities conducted by an organization or movement that spreads conspiracy theories and false information about the U.S. government,'" the reports states, adding that the question would be added to the current questionnaire known as Standard Form 86.
According to the report, Murphy is well-aware that her legislation could impact newly-elected Republican Rep. Marjorie Talor Greene of Georgia who has been quite vocal about spouting several QAnon conspiracy theories.
"It is not lost on her that she is proposing this legislation when at least one colleague, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), was elected while having professed support for QAnon. Other Republicans have reportedly been linked to the organizers of the Jan. 6 rally," the report states.
"It's a privilege that's afforded to us through our position," she explained "But I think this privilege should have its limits. And I certainly hope that this starts a conversation about holding accountable those members of Congress who share these extreme views and potentially, barring them from accessing classified information, especially if they have previously participated in efforts to overthrow the government, or have been motivated by their belief in these conspiracies to harm the United States or any of our elected officials."
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New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that the state will have a civil action against far-right activists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman.
According to the statement from the AG's office, the two men, known for being "dirty tricksters," are accused of using lie-filled robocalls to suppress turnout among Black voters.
The case intervenes in California, Ohio and Virginia proceeding against the conspiracy theorists who were hit with 15 felony charges involving voter intimidation. There were eight counts of felony telecommunications fraud and seven counts of felony bribery after allegedly sowing fears about voting by mail.
"The right to vote is the most fundamental component of our nation's democracy. These individuals clearly infringed upon that right in a blatant attempt to suppress votes and undermine the integrity of this election. These actions will not be tolerated. Anyone who interferes with others' right to vote must be held accountable," said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O'Malley in October. "I commend Attorney General Dave Yost and his staff for their diligent work on this investigation. We urge all citizens to get out and vote. Do not let these individuals or others like them succeed."
The New York AG's office said that the group's "shame organization Project 1599" was in violation of state and federal laws for the robocalls. The calls to Black communities claimed that anyone who voted by mail would have their personal information handed over to law enforcement, debt collectors and the government. Approximately 5,500 New Yorkers were targeted by the effort.
A representative for Wohl and Burkman said that the charges are an example of "cancel culture," said the New York Daily News.
Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, still a Republican, infuriated Trump supporters when she endorsed now-President Joe Biden over then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election — and she continued to lament the Trumpification of her party during a May 6 appearance on CNN's "New Day," where she slammed House Republicans who have declared war on Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Cheney is presently the third highest-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, but that is likely to change because of her unwavering criticism of Trump — who she blames for the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building. The arch-conservative congresswoman aggressively supported Trump's second impeachment, and she has made it clear that she accepts Biden as the legitimately elected president of the United States. Cheney has stressed that she views Biden as the loyal opposition, not her enemy.
Whitman told "New Day" hosts John Berman and Brianna Keilar, "I think most people agree with Liz Cheney…. The Republican Party is not a party, it's a cult…. I think it's a cult of personality."
According to Whitman, "The January 6 Capitol riot was a direct result of this feeling that the election had been stolen…. It's gotten out of control."
The former New Jersey governor, who served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in the George W. Bush Administration, has a long history of calling out extremists in her party. In her 2006 book, "It's My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America," Whitman lambasted fellow Republicans for pandering to the Christian Right and evangelical fundamentalists. Whitman is fiscally conservative, but on social issues like abortion and gay rights, she is more liberal.
Whitman, now 74, told Berman and Keilar that although she has her share of policy differences with Cheney, she admires her willingness to speak out against Trumpism.
"God bless her on this one," Whitman said of Cheney." And she added, "I respect what she's doing."
The former New Jersey governor noted that she is "still a registered Republican," telling the "New Day" hosts that the U.S. "needs two parties" and saying, "The Democrats need to be careful. They're moving far to the left."
Forget Google Maps -- sharks can read the Earth's magnetic field like a GPS navigator to find their way, a study in Current Biology showed Thursday.
Lead author Bryan Keller told AFP the paper vindicates a decades-old theory about how the aquatic predators are able to migrate vast distances, swim in arrow-straight lines, and return to their precise point of origin.
Sharks are also known to have a fine-tuned electrosensing ability that helps them detect prey.
All these factors led scientists to believe that sharks -- like sea turtles and certain other species -- can glean their position and orientation using the magnetic field generated deep within our planet.
But there had been no way of proving it, until now.
For their research, Keller, project leader of Save Our Seas Foundation Florida, decided to study a small member of the shark family, called bonnetheads, that are native to the Gulf of Mexico.
"The bonnethead returns to the same estuaries each year," said Keller, a biological oceanographer at Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory.
"This demonstrates that the sharks knows where 'home' is and can navigate back to it from a distant location."
The team caught 20 juvenile bonnetheads then exposed them to a device called a Merritt coil -- a wooden cube with vertically and horizontally arranged copper wiring running along it, and a shark tank at the center.
The device was used to simulate magnetic field conditions that corresponded to different locations on Earth, hundreds of kilometers from where the bonnetheads were caught.
As predicted, the sharks oriented themselves northward when the magnetic conditions simulated a position south of where they were caught.
They didn't orient themselves in any direction when the coil told them they were already at their home.
"This work provides clarity for how they maintain navigational success," said Keller.
He added that it was unlikely that bonnetheads evolved this ability independently of other sharks, and the finding illuminated impressive feats among its cousin species.
"The great white, for example, has been shown to migrate from South Africa to Australia, returning to the same tagging site the following year in South Africa," he said.
This movement was over 20,000 kilometers over nine months with the animal displaying an "incredibly straight swimming trajectory."
Keller said in future studies he'd like to explore the effects of magnetic fields from human sources, such as submarine cables, on sharks.
© 2021 AFP
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