By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of 17 U.S. House Democrats introduced legislation on Monday to award $6 billion to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to buy tens of thousands of additional electric delivery vehicles. Electric-vehicle maker Workhorse Group Inc shares jumped 13% on prospects that the company may be able to sell electric postal vehicles. Last month, the company lost out when USPS awarded a $482 million contact to Oshkosh Defense to finalize production for the next-generation postal vehicles. The bill sponsored by Representative Jared Huffman and seen by Reuters wou...
Critics of former President Donald Trump — from liberals and progressives to centrist Democrats to right-wing Never Trump conservatives — were hoping that his influence on the Republican Party would go away after President Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20. Instead, Trumpism and the Big Lie are as toxic as ever. Historian Timothy Snyder, during a September 26 appearance on CNN's "Reliable Sources," warned that the Big Lie — the false and debunked claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump because of widespread voter fraud — is alive and well on right-wing media outlets. And he stressed that mainstream media outlets need to be much more aggressive in calling out the GOP's war on democracy and game plan for stealing the 2024 election.
Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University, told host Brian Stelter that thanks to the persistence of Big Lie, democracy itself is on the line in the United States. The historian stressed that the Trumpian attack on U.S. democracy didn't start with the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building.
Speaking from New Haven, Connecticut, Snyder told Stelter, "January 6 begins in 2016. Mr. Trump says, way back then, he's not going to respect the election results. When he's running for office in 2020, he says he's not going to respect the election results. What he's trying to do — what he's, in large measures, succeeded in doing — is creating an atmosphere, precisely, where people don't take the vote itself seriously. They take what he says about it seriously."
When Stelter asked Snyder what "role" right-wing media play in this "scenario," the historian responded, "Right-wing media, with a few honorable exceptions, is one giant safe space for the Big Lie. What's happened is that rather than facts coming up from below to shape stories, we now have one enormous fiction — which is that Mr. Trump won this election. And that one enormous fiction, rather than casting light on things, just casts a huge shadow. Anything that doesn't fit that fiction can't be talked about. Anything which seems like it might somehow support that fiction gets all the airtime."
Snyder's appearance on "Reliable Sources" came only three days after the Washington Post published a sobering essay/op-ed by Never Trump conservative Robert Kagan, who warned that "the United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War." Stelter mentioned Kagan's article to Snyder, who didn't find Kagan's dire warning to be the least bit alarmist. In fact, Stelter and Snyder seemed to agree that Kagan's warning is spot on.
Stelter asked Snyder if the mainstream media need to be spending more time talking about "worst-case scenarios" in the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential election, and the historian responded, "Those aren't worst-case scenarios. That's the mainstream…. When you have a two-party system and one of the parties is lining up against democracy, we're not talking about a worst-case scenario — we're talking about a situation where democracy is not something that can be taken for granted as a background to all the other news. Democracy itself is the foreground, and the struggle as to whether this country as to whether this country will be democratic in the future…. is the main story…. The story is whether we have a democracy or not."
Echoing the warnings in Kagan's article, Snyder added that the GOP has a game plan for stealing the 2024 election.
Snyder told Stelter, "The game is we cast doubt on 2020, we pass voter suppression laws…. If we get ahold of the House and the Senate in 2022, we plan not to certify a Democrat if he wins in 2024. We pass memory laws and voter suppression laws at the state level which give the states themselves the right to allocate electors…. We do all of that to aim for an outcome in 2024 in which the guy who loses is nevertheless the winner…. That is not a worst-case scenario. That is happening before our eyes right now."
CNN / Reliable sources www.youtube.com
Flight attendants have been subject to unprecedented harassment over masks and more during the pandemic, and a U.S. House panel on Thursday heard the raw details of those “air rage" incidents.
While there's no hard data, the leader of the flight attendants' union said the most aggression appears to occur in Southern states where there's been pushback against mask mandates.
Teddy Andrews, an attendant based in Charlotte, N.C., for American Airlines, told the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee he had “lost count" of the number of times he'd been insulted. But he related one incident in particular that made him “question [his] career choice."
Andrews said he asked a passenger to put his mask on properly, after the passenger had already brought another flight attendant to tears.
The passenger exploded, insisting he did not have to comply, and twice hurled racist slurs at Andrews, who is Black.
“While I am trained for this, I know I don't deserve to be spoken to like this under any circumstance," said Andrews, who testified on behalf of the flight attendants' union, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.
Andrews said he responded calmly, the passenger eventually complied and the rest of the flight continued without incident.
The confrontation was one of thousands that have plagued flight attendants and other airline and airport employees during the pandemic, especially as air travel has picked up—along with seeming frustration about mask mandates.
Earlier this year, unruly passenger reports in 2021 were on pace to outnumber all previous years' incidents combined, said Sara Nelson, the influential leader of the Association of Flight Attendants.
Of the 4,385 reports so far this year, nearly three-quarters were related to mask wearing, according to Federal Aviation Administration data.
That pace of unruly passenger reports has since dipped, according to the FAA. An agency news release Thursday said the rate last week of six incidents per 10,000 flights was half of its peak in February and March.
But the rate is still more than double what it was at the end of last year.
Nelson said there is little hard data on demographic trends, but she said that survey results show more incidents in Southern hubs in North Carolina, Florida and Texas airports where there is more discord over COVID-19 restrictions.
“Incidents are more likely happening out of places where there has been a real inconsistent communication and very clear opposition to masks and dealing with this public health crisis," Nelson said.
Mandates, pricey snacks, security screenings
Without excusing the behavior, Republicans on the panel said mask mandates contributed to the passenger frustration that has led to increased incidents of air rage.
The aviation panel's ranking Republican, U.S. Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana, said members should look at the issue “holistically" and seek to understand what made air travel so anxiety-inducing, including policies meant to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Graves ran through a litany of frustrations, ranging from inconsistent airport security screening protocols to overpriced snacks to a federal mask mandate for transportation, saying all contributed to passengers feeling on edge.
“We've got to make sure that we're looking at the entire flight experience," Graves said. “Why are these incidences increasing, spiking like they are? … Seventy-five percent of air rage incidents that are occurring are tied back to masks."
Graves and Rep. Troy Nehls, (R-Texas), also said photos of U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry and a group of Texas Democratic state lawmakers traveling without masks on planes showed a frustrating double standard.
Calls for better enforcement
Democrats on the committee called for greater enforcement of existing rules against unruly passenger behavior.
In about 40% of cases, no one on the plane alerts on-ground law enforcement of the incident, Nelson said.
Flight attendants often feel pressured to get to their next flight and don't feel their airlines will support them in pausing to file a complaint, she said, noting United Airlines as an exception through a program that encourages attendants to file a police report.
Other cases of harassment don't necessarily rise to the level needed to involve police.
Andrews, for example, said he didn't alert law enforcement or the plane's captains of the incident he told the panel about because the passenger was not threatening.
The FAA adopted a zero-tolerance policy for unruly passengers in January, enabling the agency to skip warning letters and go straight to fines. It has issued $1.1 million in fines so far this year.
Nelson and Democrats on the panel called for greater criminal enforcement from the Justice Department and FBI as well.
Asked Thursday whether the Biden administration would support criminal prosecutions against unruly airline passengers, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded by highlighting the recent move to double fines issued to those who refuse to comply with mask mandates.
“We're hopeful it will have an impact on people behaving in a safer way on flights," Psaki said.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter A. DeFazio, (D-Ore.), also raised the idea of banning to-go alcohol sales in airports and allowing airlines to share information on unruly passengers.
DeFazio said the FAA could coordinate a nationwide list of unruly passengers. Under the current system, passengers banned by one airline have no restriction on flying with another.
Laura Olson contributed to this report.
Louisiana Illuminator is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Louisiana Illuminator maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jarvis DeBerry for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Louisiana Illuminator on Facebook and Twitter.
‘Actions, not words’: LGBTQ activists still skeptical after Liz Cheney admits ‘I was wrong’ on same-sex marriage
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) admitted she was wrong when, in 2013, she very publicly came out against same-sex marriage despite her sister being a lesbian who is married to a woman and raising two children together. But some in the LGBTQ community, along with activists and allies, are still skeptical, pointing to her record on related issues.
"I was wrong. I was wrong," Cheney told "60 Minutes" in an interview that aired Sunday evening, but she also continued to insist marriage equality is a "very personal issue," while it is actually a civil rights issue. She called it "very personal for my family," saying, "I believe that my dad was right. And my sister and I have had that conversation."
“I was wrong. I was wrong." says Rep Liz Cheney about condemning same-sex marriage in 2013, a position that caused a split with her sister Mary, who is married to a woman. Rep Cheney says the sisters are now reconciled. “I love my sister very much." https://t.co/EwRrkWDcT8 pic.twitter.com/KEdlqibZoJ
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 26, 2021
But her sister, Mary Cheney, made clear marriage wasn't a "personal issue" eight years ago. It's about civil rights.
“Liz — this isn't just an issue on which we disagree — you're just wrong — and on the wrong side of history," Mary Cheney wrote on Facebook.
On Sunday Congresswoman Cheney, who has voted against the LGBTQ Equality Act and against reauthorizing the Violence Against Woman Act (VAWA), said of LGBTQ equality, "this is an issue that we have to recognize, you know, as human beings that we need to work against discrimination of all kinds in our country, in our state. We were at an event, a few nights ago and there was a young woman who said she doesn't feel safe, sometimes, because she's transgender, and nobody should feel unsafe. Freedom means freedom for everybody."
While some see that as a marvelous transformation – Cheney was once also he founder and the head of an anti-Islam group, LGBTQ activists and allies expressed skepticism, or at least the need for more proof than just words.
Liz Cheney is an ambitious opportunist who threw her lesbian sister under the bus because she thought it would play well with Wyoming bigots.
She knew she was wrong then, but didn't care. I know it's popular to praise her now for not being crazy, but she is not a nice person. https://t.co/4ZmykHzKf6 — Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) September 27, 2021
I can't wait till I never have to listen to Liz Cheney again.Her saying she was wrong on same-sex marriage and saying that "no one [gay or trans] should feel unsafe" doesn't explain why she voted against the #EqualityAct TWICE. She's smart. She knows better. @60Minutes
— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) September 26, 2021
Congratulations to Liz Cheney to catching up to uh most people? https://t.co/whG7BPVWAy
— Jane Coaston (@janecoaston) September 27, 2021
I will trust Liz Cheney's statement on trans rights on "60 Minutes" when she supports the Equality Act in its current form. Because just a few months ago, she voted against it. Why? Because it fully supports trans rights.
Actions, not words, @Liz_Cheney. — Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) September 27, 2021
Does this mean Liz Cheney will support the Equality Act?
Probably not, and she'll offer transphobic reasoning because we're not quite at the point where lawmakers like Liz Cheney take the right positions on trans rights until they've been shamed for many years. — Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) September 27, 2021
Liz Cheney is 6 months younger than me, so she came of age when I did during the AIDS Crisis, and like the child of any wealthy Republican politician, she ignored it.
Her sister came out, she married her partner of 29 years, but Liz waited until 2021 to support marriage equality pic.twitter.com/ADT0IUusRo — Geoffrey (@TheGeoffey) September 27, 2021
Great. So is she going to cosponsor and vote for the Equality Act then? She voted against it just this year. #lizcheney https://t.co/qTsfCyBnRb
— Konrad Juengling (@PDX_er) September 27, 2021
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