MAGA rioter who stole flag and yelled 'we ride for Trump we die for Trump' escapes with no prison sentence

Jacob Kyle Wiedrich escaped a prison term that prosecutors had recommended Wednesday despite having stolen a U.S. flag and boasted wildly about his exploits at the January 6 Capitol insurrection.

Wiedrich, of Salt Lake City, was sentenced only to three months of home confinement and three years of probation in connection to the attack on the Capitol, KSL.com reported. Federal prosecutors had asked for a seemingly light 3-month prison sentence after Wiedrich, who initially called himself “Jason Weed,” pleaded guilty.

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The GOP is using a range of power plays to seize political control — regardless of legitimacy

Power is the ability to get what you want, even in opposition to others. In our two-party system, the party in power can pass legislation the other party may oppose.

Democrats thought they were in power, but Biden’s inability to pass his Build Back Better legislation casts doubt on how much power Democrats actually have.

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Why the world will look very different for women if Roe v. Wade falls

There’s a way of looking at reproductive rights that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. With these rights, women have control over their bodies, yes, but they have something more – standing in our society.

Access to abortion is more than “freedom to choose.” It means parity, in theory, with men. It means having the political equality of a full and free citizen. It’s the Declaration of Independence made manifest.

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The bizarre case of the alleged kidnapping plot against Gov. Whitmer demands answers from the FBI

We’ve been warned for decades about the growing threat of white nationalism in the United States. Back in 2020, FBI director Christopher Wray acknowledged that white supremacy is the fastest growing domestic terror threat in the country, accounting for the large proportion of the FBI’s resources. Wray eventually described the J6 insurrection last year, as an act of domestic terror.

This reality is often drowned out by an avalanche of falsehoods perpetuated by the media, especially conservative media. The greatest threat to US security is posed by the existential enemy from outside, we are told. Islamic extremists, or criminals making their way across the border, are the greatest obstacles for national security.

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'He is the Yoda of intel': How conspiracy theorists were instrumentalized to mobilize followers to violence on Jan. 6

When President Trump summoned his supporters to Washington, DC for Congress’ certification of the electoral vote with his Dec. 19, 2020 tweet promising that it would “be wild,” a host of social media influencers and podcasters with a history of trafficking in disinformation and conspiracy theories were poised to mobilize their followers with incendiary messages bristling with violence and darkly warning against “Deep State” treachery.

Some of the influencers claim connections to the Trump campaign or high-level allies of the former president, and their role in mobilizing thousands of supporters to flood into Washington, DC on Jan. 5 and 6, 2021 illuminates the web of relationships currently under review in the parallel inquires of US Justice Department and House select committee that are seeking to understand who planned and financed the Jan. 6 insurrection.

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The line connecting Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump runs through Dixie

Today we honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are many obvious reasons to raise up his name in tribute and praise. But there’s another less obvious reason – the civil rights leader understood southern politics.

Much of our discourse treats southern politics as if it were just another regional bloc. Or the region and its history are whitewashed in ways similar to slavery being whitewashed from US history. I think King knew better. If you don’t understand southern politics, you don’t understand politics, period.

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'This is absurd': A legal expert unpacks the hidden agenda behind the Supreme Court's 'pernicious' decision ​

Normal people don’t pay much attention to the United States Supreme Court. I don’t know why. Here’s nine people who tell us what the law is. They tell us what the law is even if their reasoning for it is trash.

Such is the case with the court’s latest ruling. The six Republican justices could have said to themselves, “Gee, the pandemic is bad. It’s killing a lot of people. Maybe we shouldn’t second guess the people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to public health.”

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The most disturbing fact about the GOP's burgeoning fake electors scandal

The J6 committee is publicly opening a new front in its investigation of the insurrection: Donald Trump’s massive pressure campaign to overturn the election at the state level.

Thanks to open records requests by Nicholas Wu of Politico, we know that the J6 committee is looking at fraudulent certificates of ascertainment submitted by Republicans in the Biden swing states purporting to cast their electoral votes for the former president.

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Road to Jan. 6: How Portland police grew to love the Proud Boys and paved the way for Trump’s insurrection

There were many points at which if the government had acted the Jan. 6 insurrection might never have happened.

Leading up to the failed coup every alarm was ringing. Capitol Police knew a violent invasion was in the works, the Department of Homeland Security knew, the FBI knew, warning of “war at the Capitol.” Hundreds of security officials at 80 Fusion Centers set up after 9/11 to combat domestic terrorism knew. They shared “an avalanche” of warnings about violence beginning at “1 p.m., U.S. Capitol, Jan 6.” Nonetheless, the police allowed the invasion to happen.

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'To defy Trump's wishes is to defy God's plan': The scary truth about modern right-wing misinformation

Death threats will change a person. During previous testimony before a Senate panel, the nation’s top infectious disease expert was calm and deferential. This week marked a break from the past. Enough is enough, apparently. Dr. Anthony Fauci was no longer in the mood.

Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas kept pressing the question of financial disclosures, implying that Fauci was benefiting from the effort to vaccinate the country against the covid pandemic.

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A new book proves right-wing politics caused mass injury and death

The Republicans are sabotaging the country’s full recovery from the covid pandemic. They don’t think so, though. They think they are standing up for individual liberty and citizen autonomy. What does sabotage have to do with defending our constitutional rights?

Not surprising.

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NC State IT manager accused of doxing leftists dies in fire after deputies called to house

An IT manager at NC State University who was accused of playing a role in a continent-wide mass doxing of leftists has died in a house fire after deputies responded to a call for service at his home in suburban Johnston County outside of Raleigh last week.

Chadwick Seagraves was employed as service manager in the Office of Information Technology at NC State at the time of his death.

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There are disturbing parallels between the 2020s and 1940s in America

Regular readers are familiar with my obsession with political time – or how one party and its ideas prevail with a majority of Americans for four or five decades before falling into a period of transition, after which the other party and its ideas prevail.

But most don’t know why I’m obsessed. I’ll tell you. It’s because I have been feeling hopeless. I hate feeling hopeless. Knowing that history isn’t static – knowing that it moves in recurring cycles rather than in a straight line with a beginning and an end – well, that gives me hope. It gives me hope to know, good or bad, nothing stays the same.

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Is there 'surprising good news for Democrats' in redistricting? Not so fast

In the week leading up to the anniversary of the J6 insurrection, we were reminded of the greatest threat America’s wonky democracy faces.

No, it isn’t Donald Trump, nor his army of Auschwitz-appreciators, recreational horse dewormer enthusiasts and QAnon clowns waiting for JFK Jr. to parachute into Dealey Plaza.

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After the Storm: A year after Jan. 6, a sprinkling of Trump followers gather in DC lost in a blizzard of conspiracies

WASHINGTON, D.C.—On January 6, 2022, the first anniversary of the storming of the Capitol, the one thing Trump loyalists could agree on was everyone else was to blame for the carnage that day but them.

Jim Griffin, who was outside the Capitol last January, claimed FBI infiltrators were all “over the entire event and they were telling people to go inside the Capitol.”

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How the GOP continues to whitewash the Jan. 6 insurrection out of existence

The president pinned blame on the former president Thursday for causing the J6 insurrection. His speech was part of events marking the one-year anniversary of the day the United States Capitol was sacked and looted for the purpose of installing Donald Trump as fuhrer-king.

“Biden came out swinging this morning,” wrote Jim Wright, “and put the blame for this insurrection squarely on those responsible and it's about goddamned time. He should have done that a year ago. There is no compromise with those who would murder us for their own profit.”

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Merrick Garland's approach to prosecuting January 6th has underappreciated strengths -- if he stays true to his vision

“You’re not a wartime consigliere, Tom,” Michael Coreleone tells his adopted brother in The Godfather. Michael sees that for all Tom Hagen’s legal brilliance and family loyalty, he’s temperamentally unfit for the raw power struggle that awaits the family in Nevada.

Many have made the same brutal assessment of Attorney General Merrick Garland as he oversees the Biden administration’s legal efforts to preserve American democracy. As he addressed the Justice Department and the nation Wednesday, Garland seemed slight and soft-spoken, a scholar rather than a brawler, an incongruous choice to lead the Justice Department in its greatest battle since the Civil Rights Movement. But Garland’s calm, cerebral approach may also have underappreciated strengths.

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Trump's coup failed when the clock ran out -- next time America might not be so lucky

Gina Haspel, the CIA director, voiced concern about Trump’s extensive restructuring of Pentagon power, allegedly telling the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley: “We are on the way to a right-wing coup.” Her concerns were well-founded.

We have arrived at the one year anniversary of January 6, 2021, when supporters of the president waged war against a co-equal branch of government. Over the past few months, the public has been receiving piecemeal information about both this violent insurrection and the quieter plots that preceded it. While there are many unknowns, here is what is certain: there was an attempted coup on American soil.

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The American hyper-focus on individualism makes us poorer, sicker, and sadder

It is rather easy to lament the state of our country right now.However, income inequality is at its highest in 50 years. We are richer in the aggregate, but most of the gains have gone to upper-class families. The wealth gap is even starker, with upper-income families possessing 75 times as much wealth as lower-income families. In 1983, that ratio stood at 28.

We are not healthy. Around 42 percent of our country is obese. The Obama administration passed legislation to fight the opioid epidemic. It has only gotten worse, with New York needing to open overdose prevention centers. Before the pandemic, the life expectancy for white males was declining, with what has been termed “deaths of despair.”

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'To save America': Jan. 6 rioters networked in advance, planned to storm the Capitol and fantasized about hanging lawmakers for 'treason'

As the January 6th Committee bears down on its investigation into potential coordination between high-level Trump associates involved in the effort to overturn the 2020 election and the rioters who stormed the Capitol, legal filings in the cases of 725-plus people who have been criminally charged to date yield a patchwork of clues.

Court documents in the cases brought against some of the Jan. 6 defendants facing the most serious charges yield information about communication and coordination among the defendants from different groups in advance of Jan. 6, 2021, shared memes that placed a bullseye on the US Capitol on the day Congress convened to certify the electoral vote, and aspirations to kill or kidnap lawmakers that were articulated by the rioters with disturbing frequency. Much of the information in this story has been previously reported in other outlets, but patterns of conduct and overlaps between the participants make a striking impression when considered as a whole. Conversely, this story is by no means comprehensive as a summary of all the evidence of coordination that has been published.

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A dress rehearsal for fascism: The complete Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection timeline

Today marks the one-year anniversary of a violent assault on the seat of U.S. democracy.

Like most one-year-olds who get scolded for bad behavior, Republicans aren’t owning up to their role in the insurrection. With the exception of a handful of brave souls who are willing to risk losing their seats for the greater good, congressional Republicans are either pretending January 6 never happened or spinning a fantastical victim narrative where the insurrection was a mere “protest” and the Big Bad Democrats (and Liz Cheney) are being unfair to their twice-impeached, one-term president. Right-wing media is singing from the same hymnal, feeding mass denial among the Republican base, two-thirds of whom still can’t accept that Biden won legitimately.

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Trumpism is rooted in twisted visions of medieval Europe

When we think about medieval Europe, we tend to think about kings ruling with iron fists, about Christian crusaders purifying Jerusalem with the blood of the unbelievers, or about Greek and Roman thinking cast into darkness.

It wasn’t so. According to The Bright Ages, a new book by Matt Gabriele and David Perry, kings often worried about their legitimacy, the crusaders were pragmatists, and Greek and Roman learning and culture carried on, not because Muslim scholars preserved it, but because Rome never really fell.

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From the Bundys to the Rotunda: How allowing far-right terrorism to fester led to Trump's Jan. 6 coup attempt

The sight of violent Trump supporters invading the Capitol a year ago may have been shocking but it was not surprising. It was the direct result of the government allowing right-wing political violence to smolder for years until it burst into a conflagration on Jan. 6.

While far-right terrorism is the story of America — Native genocide, slave codes, Klan terror, anti-Asian pogroms, racist mass shooters today — there was a specific path to Trump’s coup that might have been avoided if the government had taken the threat seriously.

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Why the US has failed in the fight against the global pandemic

Covid infections are ballooning. Cases were up to 405,000 a day last week— 60 percent higher than January 2020, the previous high.

Deaths and hospitalizations have not yet kept pace, but there are worrying signs. Hospitalizations in Illinois hit their highest levels yet; covid patients occupy a quarter of all hospital beds. They are 41 percent of intensive care patients. Some counties have 90 percent or more of hospital beds occupied. Other areas are also seeing worrisome surges. Hospitalization of children hit record levels at year’s end.

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Homeland Security has devolved into a nearly rogue agency — accused of spying on journalists and activists

Freedom of the press and the ability of journalists to hold governments to account is regarded as a critical pillar of democracy. In the United States, it’s supposed to be safeguarded by the First Amendment.

However, especially in recent years, the US government stands accused, maybe more than ever, of allowing increasing attacks on press freedom and the abuse of state power to trample on any notion of journalists being truly able to do their job if they wish to hold the powerful to account – and go against the government line.

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