Former sheriff compares Jan 6th riot to a 'frat party' at QAnon fest -- and complains it wasn't serious enough

Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. likened the January 6 insurrection to a "frat party" today at the QAnon-inspired "For God & Country Patriot Double Down" in Las Vegas.

"Words matter," Clarke told the audience at the Ahern Hotel. "You've got the Left running around talking about this insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Ladies and gentlemen, that was not an insurrection. If we decide to pull an insurrection, you're gonna know it. There's very little you're going to be able to do about it.

"The only thing I had against what happened at the Capitol on January 6, if you're going to pull a political movement, you've got to have three elements: It has to be serious, it's got to be well-planned and it's got to be disciplined."

"What happened on January 6 was not serious." Clarke pointed to a screen with images from the insurrection and criticized a rioter with his feet on a desk: "It's not serious, it's just not."

Then he pointed to a rioter carrying a Confederate flag: "Why? I don't make a big deal over a Confederate flag. That's not me. But we don't need that. It delegitimizes what we're trying to do. Carry the United States flag through there. Carry the Gadsden flag if you want to. But we don't need this. It's not serious and it's not disciplined."

Clarke was one of numerous speakers spreading QAnon strangeness at the four-day event. The Las Vegas Review-Journal had more coverage:

"We know there was election fraud, are you kidding?" said Jason Sullivan, a social media strategist for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. "We're done trying to prove that it happened. We're about to turn it around."

Others will have to prove they provided a secure election system, he told attendees. Sullivan later led the crowd in chants of "Sheep no more!"

And there was Andre Popa, the event's emcee on Saturday, telling the crowd that government leaders are paid off to work against the public.

"One attendee said during the event that they planned to put up signs asking what really happened during 9/11, a question Popa called "beautiful," the Review-Journal reported. "Popa also raised questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, which health officials say are safe and effective.

"When they're talking about the vax, this ain't no vax," Popa said. "Because typically when you're getting the flu jab thing, it's supposed to have the flu in it so the body builds its stuff. So is the thing today in this juice? So then how can it be? Therefore, it's not. So, then the question is, what is it?"

No Trump-loving gathering would be complete without merch.

"On the second floor of the event area, Trump hats and shirts were for sale at a merchandise stand with a "Trump won" flag draped over the front," the paper reported. "Flags hanging over a railing that were visible from the ground floor said 'Trump is still my president' and 'Stop the steal.'"

Embattled warrior training for Christians canceled for lack of interest in Missouri

Organizers pulled the plug on a tactical event scheduled for today in Southwest Missouri that promised to train Christians in "hand-to-hand combat."

The Kansas City Star broke the news about the presumed victory for Satan:

"'Because of low attendance numbers, we are having to cancel this event,' organizer Kevin VanStory posted on his Facebook page. No other details were available, and the online link for the event has been taken down.

"The Missouri Embattled Warriors Event had been scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday on wooded property in Newton County between Neosho and Joplin. The training was being held by the Salt and Light Brigade MAKO edition, a group that includes supporters from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma."

The cancellation came despite the bar for success apparently having been set rather low. In a Facebook post just four days ago, VanStory said the event would be limited to just 36 participants. Here's that post verbatim:

"We are scheduling a Embattled Warrior Tactical Event in Missouri on October 23rd, 2021. This is a one-day event. The cost for the event will be $135 single or $200 couples. This event will cover: Room clearing, hand to hand fighting and fighting from a vehicle. It will be a round robin with groups rotating (90 min-120 min depending on group size). Saturday evening, a dark/low light class will be given. This will be pertaining to the use of a flashlight (weapon mounted or hand held) in dark or low light conditions. A scenario of the three combined courses will be conducted. The schedule for the event is as follows (can be adjusted as needed). Thanks for your interest in this event. We are limiting the event to 36 persons."

The Star noted that the cancellation came despite considerable online attention:

"News of the event drew a barrage of reaction, most of it critical, on social media Thursday. 'Nothing says Jesus like a 9mm and a throat punch,' wrote one man on Facebook. 'What would Jesus be packin'?' said another. And on Twitter, one said, 'Grab your swords, boys! Tonight we're gonna kill some Romans!', said Jesus never.' And another: 'I think anyone who's read the gospels knows the importance Jesus placed on hand-to-hand combat. 'If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, offer him a knuckle sandwich and draw your sidearm.'"

QAnon fans unveil another 'patriot roundup' today – but the sequel promises to be a dud

A 4-day event billed as "For God & Country Patriot Double Down" is opening in Las Vegas today. But the QAnon-inspired conspiracy fest is a mere shadow of the original hit staged over Memorial Day weekend in Dallas.

The original "Patriot Roundup for God and Country" boasted some of the big stars of the wingnut galaxy-- Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, famed Kraken-smoking attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas GOP Chairman Allen West and more. It was hosted -- amid some controversy -- by the city-owned Omni Hotel in Dallas.

Like most sequels, the one this weekend promises to disappoint aficionados of the creepy original. In place of the Q A-Listers, the best that this week's version has to offer are the likes of Ron Watkins, who denies widespread rumors that he was Q, but seems to like the attention anyway as he seeks to run for Congress with it in Arizona.

There are also a host of mini-names including Arizona state Reps. Mark Finchem and Leo Biasiucci, Arizona state Sen. Sonny Borelli and Wendy Rogers and such other right-wing B-Listers as Gen. Thomas G. McInerney, Sheriff A Clarke Jr. and author David Harris Jr.

The event's website can only promise two "Surprise Guests!" will be headlining -- a far cry from the Dallas event for which Flynn and Powell were prominently advertised for weeks ahead. Flynn, of course didn't disappoint, garnering national attention -- albeit fleeting -- for suggesting in response to an audience question that a Myanmar-style coup should happen in the U.S.

The not-ready-for-prime-time speakers' lineup is hardly the only headache that has been faced by the event's organizer,­­­­ John Sabal (aka QAnon), who was a key player in the Dallas conference. Less than three months ago, Caesar's Entertainment, owner of Caesar's Palace dropped the event like a hot potato after public backlash over its plan to host it.

And there was this hurdle, as reported by the Las Vegas Sun:

"Another snag occurred when PayPal and another payment platform called Brushfire both dropped The Patriot Voice as the event's ticket payment platform, according to the Telegram channel of event organizer John Sabal, who goes by "QAnon John" and has more than 19,000 subscribers.

"Due to the nature of your activities, we have chosen to discontinue service to you in accordance with PayPal's User Agreement," PayPal Brand Risk Management said in an email to Sabal, who posted it on his Telegram. "As a result, we have placed a permanent limitation on your account."

So, the sequel will be hosted at the much smaller and obscure Ahern Hotel. "Owner Don Ahern last summer also hosted a mega-Trump rally at his heavy equipment company in Henderson and in May gave $1 million to Make America Great Again Action Inc., according to the Federal Election Commission," the Sun reports.

Organizer Sabal doesn't seem concerned about disappointing the media with the less production at the lesser hotel property. Here's how the Sun described the hospitality he is planning:

"Sabal has referred to journalists as "Lamestream Media snakes" and wrote on his Telegram that any journalist who tries to sneak in "better think again." Sabal and the Patriot Voice, organizers of the event, did not return requests for comment.

"Also, we reserve every right to remove you from the premises at our discretion," he wrote. "Go write about that, you clowns."

FBI arrests MAGA-rioting comic book artist who took down officer in 'violent struggle'

A graphic and comic book artist who was part of a group of insurrectionists who charged and attacked Capitol police officers on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol was arrested yesterday by the FBI.

Robert Wayne Dennis, 61, of Garland, Texas, was caught on police body cameras fighting with police officers trying to control the violent mob near the stairs to the Upper West Terrace, according to federal court records.

"At approximately 2:51 p.m., Dennis charged the line of officers," the FBI report states. "One officer, identified in court documents as 'Officer J.S.,' attempted to use a baton to push him away. Dennis grabbed another officer's baton and took 'Officer J.S.' to the ground after a violent struggle in which he threw punches at the officer. During the struggle, the baton belonging to 'Officer J.S.' was knocked out of his hands."

The Dallas Morning News reports that "Dennis' Facebook profile says he's a senior restoration artist at Comic Art Restoration Service, which 'provides restoration and reproduction for original comic book art.'

"He studied visual communication at Truman State University and art at Crowder College, according to the Facebook account. A website linked to his Facebook account indicates that Dennis produces advertising graphics and designs such as logos and signage as well as original art and photography.

""My background in the graphic arts, as well as my knowledge of the comic book field, enables me to take a less than desirable piece of original art and transform it… into a product that displays all of the merits that the work was originally intended to present," the website says.

Dennis was charged with the following:

  • Assaulting, Resisting or Impeding Certain Officers.
  • Civil Disorder.
  • Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds.
  • Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds.
  • Engaging in Physical Violence in a Restricted Building or Grounds.
  • Act of Physical Violence in the Capitol Grounds or Buildings.

The Department of Justice reports that 650 suspects have been arrested from nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the insurrection. That includes more than 190 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing, it says.

School boards under siege nationally from right-wing culture warriors – just as Steve Bannon urged

The stories are popping up everywhere. A school board member in Colorado repeatedly gets called a Nazi. A Kansas school board candidate slanders a mother as "a child abuser" for supporting for her trans child. In a neighboring Kansas county, an awarding-winning memoir by a prominent LGBTQ activist is targeted as pornography by three other candidates.

Mostly the stories appear in local media, but this is no organic uprising. A well-funded roster of scattered -- and often shadowy -- national entities have sprung up to advance a strategy laid out by no less an insurrectionist than Steve Bannon.

In a May 19 podcast, Bannon sounded the battle cry: "The path to save the nation is very simple, it's going to go through the school boards."

The national impetus behind what superficially appear as local right-wing activism is becoming more apparent as shadowy groups intensify the culture wars at the school-board level. A common denominator is a presumed focus upon "Critical Race Theory" (CRT), a college-level philosophy rarely employed in K-12 public education in America.

But candidates endorsed by the CRT-focused groups are increasingly making headlines with culture-war attacks that anti-vax, anti-mask, transphobic and otherwise designed to fit the grievance agenda of Trumpism.

One such example is the "1776 Project PAC," reportedly headed by conservative author and activist Ryan Girdusky of New York. The organization's website is solely focused upon CRT, but the candidates it has endorsed in faraway Kansas are not.

Click on the 1776 Project PAC website -- or any tab -- and you will be interrupted with the prominent opportunity to "Report a School Promoting Critical Race Theory." The group's mission of "Promoting Patriotism and Pride in American History" appears to have a laserlike focus:

"We are a political action committee dedicated to electing school board members nationwide who want to reform our public education system by promoting patriotism and pride in American history. We are committed to abolishing critical race theory and 'The 1619 Project' from the public school curriculum."

The 1776 Project PAC has endorsed 55 candidates in seven states -- Pennsylvania, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Virginia, Ohio and New Jersey -- but while the content of the website is limited to CRT, some of those candidates are making their headlines with sexier prongs of the culture war.

There's Jim McMullen, a 1776 Project PAC endorsee who last week retweeted an ABC News article about a mother of a transgender child asking President Joe Biden what he will do to protect LGBTQ rights. McMullen wrote, "ABC promoting a child abuser." McMullen last year posted on social media, "there are no 8-year -old transgender kids."

Reporting at Kansas City' NPR affiliate suggests there's pushback, even in conservative Kansas.

"On its website, the 1776 Project PAC says it is "committed to abolishing critical race theory" and sets itself up in opposition to the New York Times' 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles that aimed to "reframe the country's history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative."

The 1776 Project PAC's involvement in local school board races got heated pushback from Stand Up Blue Valley, a public education advocacy group, which wrote on its Facebook page last month, "Despite what this New York-based PAC wants you to believe, Critical Race Theory (CRT) is NOT being taught in Blue Valley Schools."

"NO East-Coast PAC should have ANY say in our kids' education and we know our members will agree," Stand Up Blue Valley's message continued. "So it's our job to Get Out The Vote and send a clear message to outside special interests eyeing our School Board races: 'You are not welcome here and the Blue Valley School Board is NOT for sale.'"

Trump as a House Speaker is becoming a real threat — but it could backfire on the GOP

There's growing chatter that if Republicans can retake control of the House of Representatives in 2022, Donald Trump could bully his way into the speakership.

The once-farfetched nightmare scheme continues to be stoked by the dictator-in-waiting, as evidenced by reporting Saturday from National Public Radio (NPR). But as NPR also notes, Democrats could become energized at the notion of Trump sitting third in line to the Presidency.

"If the Republicans take the House back in the 2022 midterm elections, they get to pick a speaker, and there's no requirement that the speaker has to be an elected representative," NPR reports. "Even if it sounds wild, Trump hasn't shut down the idea when he has been asked about it, and it is causing people in both major parties to stop and think, since he remains the single most important Republican in the U.S. heading into next year's elections."

NPR contacted Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington for comment for its current piece and she hardly slammed the door on the eerie idea.

"We know a lot of people are talking about it," she told NPR. "A lot of people like the idea, but it's nothing Mr. Trump is thinking about."

The report added: "But Trump was noncommittal when he appeared on Real America's Voice and host David Brody asked, "Is that something that you would seriously even consider?"

"Well, I've heard the talk and it's getting more and more, but it's not something that I would have considered. But it is — certainly, there's a lot of talk about it," the former president said.

"And when asked about the idea by conservative talk show host Wayne Allyn Root, Trump said, "You know, it's very interesting. That's so interesting."

Root responded, ""You become the speaker of the House, lead the impeachment of Biden and start criminal investigations against Biden. You'll wipe them out for his last two years, and then you'll be president. Do it!"

Still, as the report also suggests, that sort of ghoulish prospect might boil the blood of Democrats enough to backfire in a big way. Republicans in safe MAGA districts might love the idea, but those in swing districts certainly do not.

"The idea for some that Donald Trump could become the speaker of the House is almost as frightening as the idea of him becoming president again," said Democratic strategist Karen Finney. "That will potentially advantage Democrats — again, just the fear of it, just the very thought of it."

"Democrats would want to force every Republican House candidate to answer the question: If Trump wants the job, would they vote for him? Saying no would anger their MAGA base but saying yes would risk turning off swing voters who are exhausted with the former president. They'd be stuck, which is appealing to Democrats."

"I think it's totally fair game," said Democratic strategist Doug Thornell. "Look, like Republicans do this to Democrats all the time. To our front-liners, they say, 'Well, would you vote for Nancy Pelosi?' For Republican members, yeah, they should absolutely be on the record on ... would they vote for Trump as speaker."

Such insurrectionists as Steve Bannon and Rep. Matt Gaetz have been teasing audiences for months with the prospect of Speaker Trump. And since the creepy notion didn't vaporize back then -- and now with Trump continuing to welcome the speculation just a year out from the midterms -- it cannot be dismissed out of hand.

As NPR noted Saturday, if the Republicans could retake their majority in the House of Representatives in 2022 there are many reasons that the notion of a Speaker Donald Trump entices them. But none more chilling than this:

"There's the appeal of State of the Union night, when he would get to stand behind Biden, just like the current House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stood behind Trump when he was president. It's a mass media performance opportunity Trump would revel in. And as some of his supporters have suggested, the speakership would be the perfect place for Trump to take political revenge from."

If that prospect doesn't rev up Democrats in 2022, nothing will.

Capitol rioter's hearing ends in disaster after blowing off judge's warning to not represent himself

Accused Capitol rioter Brandon Fellows was warned repeatedly by a federal judge not to try to represent himself in court on Tuesday because of the possibility that he would open himself up to perjury charges.

Fellows ignored the admonition. Now he's facing more charges than when the day began.

In a story headlined, "Capitol rioter admits to two new felonies while representing himself in bond hearing," Washington TV station WUSA9 detailed Fellows's bad day in court:

"Most people do not do this," U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden told Fellows. "Obviously your attorney has discouraged this. I do not think this is a good idea… but I'm going to allow you to take the stand, if you wish." "Fellows is an Albany, New York, resident under indictment on a felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. In charging documents, prosecutors say Fellows entered the Capitol through a broken window and wound up smoking marijuana in Sen. Jeff Merkley's (D-OR) office.
"Fellows was initially granted pretrial release, but was ordered back into custody in June after repeated violations, including missing a court-ordered mental health evaluation and allegedly calling a probation officer's mother. The Justice Department also said when a clerk of the court attempted to contact Fellows about another violation – allegations that he was harassing a former girlfriend – it was discovered he had apparently put the number for the judge's wife's office instead of his own.
"Last month, Fellows asked McFadden to allow him to represent himself pro se in his case – saying he had spent the previous two weeks in the D.C. Jail's law library and determined that was what he wanted. Despite warning him, repeatedly, of the possible consequences of going it alone with no formal law training, McFadden ultimately granted Fellows' request."

What ensued, according to the report was two hours of rambling by Fellows "across a difficult-to-follow litany of complaints about his incarceration, stopping to touch on subjects as widely varied as the Taliban, Guantanamo Bay, a woman who'd left her child in a dumpster and a "constitutional lawyer" who had allegedly advised him to wrap his cell phone in tin foil to avoid capture."

It ended like this:

"You are charged with a federal felony," McFadden said. "This is not a community college where you get pats on the back." "You've admitted to incredible lapses of judgment here on the stand, not least of which was seeking to disqualify a New York state judge," the judge continued. "You've admitted to obstruction of justice in that case, and you've admitted to what was probably obstruction in this case in trying to have me disqualified, and only Ms. Halverson's advice stopped you from doing so. You've engaged in a pattern of behaviors that shows contempt for the criminal justice system, and I just have no confidence that you will follow my orders if I release you."
"McFadden then denied Fellows' request to reopen his detention status and ordered him back into the custody of the D.C. Jail."

You can read more about the case here and here and here.

In other news Tuesday, a Pro-Trump candidate suggested taking "all the boats of of the water" to lower sea levels. WATCH:

Pro-Trump candidate suggests taking 'all the boats out of the water' to lower sea levels

Donald Trump Jr. rallies to make disgraced former Raiders coach Jon Gruden into a MAGA martyr

Jon Gruden resigned in disgrace Monday night as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, but his unemployment in the NFL is already leading to new stature for him: He's a MAGA martyr.

No less a friend of all things sleazy than Donald Trump Jr. was among the first to rush to Gruden's defense with this dose of whataboutism on Twitter:

"Let's see the emails & texts of Goodell & every NFL owner/exec. We must find out if they've ever said anything wrong, shared a controversial thought, or held an opinion that wasn't PC. No statute of limitations. We can't allow them to hide behind their white privilege."

Gruden was buried by a landslide of racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails and statements disclosed by the New York Times.

As it reported, a workplace investigation involving the Washington Football Team had uncovered a trove of emails.

"Gruden had casually and frequently unleashed misogynistic and homophobic language over several years to denigrate people around the game and to mock some of the league's momentous changes.

"He denounced the emergence of women as referees, the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem, according to emails reviewed by The Times.

"Gruden called the league's commissioner, Roger Goodell, a "f*ggot" and a "clueless anti football p*ssy" and said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft "queers," a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014.

In numerous emails during a seven-year period ending in early 2018, Gruden criticized Goodell and the league for trying to reduce concussions and said that Eric Reid, a player who had demonstrated during the playing of the national anthem, should be fired."

There were similar 2012 attacks on President Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden.

That's all that was necessary for martyrdom from the MAGA right, where a drumbeat of support for Gruden can already be heard. Here are some examples:

Greg Kelly of Newsmax slammed his CAPS LOCK Trump-style with this full-throated support of Gruden: "I SUPPORT THAT COACH FROM LAS VEGAS. HIS NAME IS JON GRUDEN. HE DIDN'T MEAN TO HURT ANYONE !!! LIGHTEN UP AMERICA!!!"


Right-wing commentator Matt Walsh weighed in with some more whataboutism with this: "I hope Jon Gruden has learned a valuable lesson. If you want to have a job in the NFL, stick to beating your wife, raping massage therapists, and assaulting pregnant women."

And this: "He was not an NFL employee. He was talking to friends on his private email account. There has been no indication or even claim that he has acted inappropriately in his job as a coach. So in what way do the emails have any effect on anything?"

Commentator Clay Travis observed "Every rapper the NFL has performing at the Super Bowl has more offensive lyrics than Jon Gruden had in his emails. How does the NFL reconcile the difference in treatment? These are questions all sports media would be asking if they were real journalists."

Commentator Jesse Kelly was not to be outdone in his outrage: "If Jon Gruden had his personal emails released and in those emails he mocked straight people, insulted the looks of a white man, and said Christians are stupid, he'd still be employed today. Probably with a new book deal. And everyone knows it."

In other news, a pro-Donald Trump religious sect — which worships with AR-15s — has purchased 130 acres on a mountaintop in Tennessee which they intend to turn into a "training center." WATCH:

MAGA-loving 'Church of the AR-15' purchasing massive Tennessee retreat for 'training center'

Conservative newspaper that praised Trump for vaccines now calls pilots ‘patriots’ for resisting it

The right-wing Washington Times gushed Monday about Southwest Airlines pilots it credits with patriotism for refusing to fly as a protest over vaccine mandates.

Under the headline, "Pilots are patriots for fighting COVID-19 vaccines," a commentary in the Times extolled the virtue of combatting the most effective tool for slowing the once-in-a-century pandemic.

"Just a few days ago, the Southwest Airlines Pilot Associations, representing 10,000 pilots, filed a lawsuit requesting a temporary halt on the company's intentions to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees," it states.

"Coincidentally enough, 'weather' over the weekend caused the cancellation of the 1,800 Southwest flights. But here's the funny part: 'Weather' only caused the weekend cancellation of 63 of American Airlines' flights, and 32% of Spirit Airlines' flights, Forbes found. Yes. Weather. Wink, wink."

The Southwest Airlines Pilot Association stated Sunday, "We can say with confidence that our Pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions."

Here's how the Times commentary described pilots' alleged anger over a decision by Southwest Airlines that had nothing to do with the federal government:

"They're fighting the mandates, just the same. And that's a fight all of America needs to support. It's about individual choice, over government force — about individualism over collectivism. Is this still America?"

"The vaccine mandate is the fork in the road for America: Go left, and it's the path to communism and collectivism and total top-down bureaucratic control. Go right, and the authoritarian leftists go back in their box, are shoved back in their corners, are pushed back in their proper subservient-to-the-people places.

The left doesn't simply want power.

"The left — the Democrats, the socialists and communists in the Democratic Party, the collectivists at the United Nations and World Economic Forum and other global forces, the elites in Big Business and Big Tech — these leftists ultimately want worship.

"They don't believe in God. They think they are gods. They think you should believe that, too. And those who dissent? Those who question? Those who continue to resist?"

Alrighty then. Funny thing, though: The Times certainly has changed its tune about the very same vaccines from when it liked the guy who was president.

On January 18, two days before the inauguration of President Joe Biden (the legitimacy of which it didn't question), the Washington Times praised Donald Trump on the subject: "Even as the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the economy and contributed heavily to his failed reelection bid, Mr. Trump marshaled an unprecedented effort to produce vaccines in less than a year."

A month earlier, on December 8, there were two stories in which the Times was even more effusive about the vaccine.

One was headlined "Trump taunts doubters, citing speed of vaccine." That one even alluded to -- without objection -- the heavy-handed notion of the federal government requiring companies to produce vaccines:

"President Trump declared victory over naysayers Tuesday, saying he sped multiple COVID-19 vaccines through the pipeline in a single year, while nudging the Food and Drug Administration to approve Pfizer's version this week," the Times reported. ""Gotta get it moving. Hopefully that will go very quickly.

"The president said he is willing to invoke the Defense Production Act to procure additional doses of vaccine, if needed, as the administration denies reports it waved off chances to get more doses of Pfizer's shots." It added that Trump didn't believe that was necessary.

In the other story that day, the Times reported:

"President Trump took a victory lap at his White House vaccine summit Tuesday, but the man of the hour is a Food and Drug Administration official few Americans know about. "Dr. Peter Marks," President Trump said in a roll call of his Operation Warp Speed roster. "Thank you."

"The White House pulled Dr. Marks into the summit Tuesday to build confidence in Operation Warp Speed, the initiative that developed vaccines at a record pace and gave Mr. Trump a win during a critical stretch of the pandemic."

It's hard to believe that it's just 10 months ago that the Washington Times strangely embraced the vaccine it now holds up as a symbol of tyranny--even when business and not government requires it of employees. Here's what it said about the federal government and vaccines back then:

"U.S. officials say they need at least 70% of the population to take the vaccine to develop the type of herd immunity that will get transmission of the virus to manageable levels next year.

"Army Gen. Gustave Perna, who is guiding logistics for the White House, said he will tell his mother and sons to take the vaccine once it is available, as Operation Warp Speed tries to break through hesitancy across the nation.

"We can do this," he said, "if we do it together."

George Clooney mocks Trump as a 'knucklehead' who was chasing girls: 'That's all he was'

Actor George Clooney took a moment out from promoting his new movie in the UK to hit Donald Trump where it hurts--with derision about his pre-politics persona.

Clooney appeared on commentator Andrew Marr's Sunday morning politics show and laughed as he dismissed Trump as unserious. Clooney indicated he knew Trump from seeing him at celebrity parties over the years.

"It's so funny because he was just this knucklehead. I knew him before he was a president, he was just a guy who was chasing girls. Every time you went out he'd come over and go 'what's the name of that girl?' That's all he was."

Clooney also derided the notion that Trump is considered a champion of the common man by supporters who he "certainly can't stand in real life." And there was this:

Clooney then continued by speculating on what he thinks will happen if Trump decides to run for the White House again. "He's gonna play this out for a while and we'll see where we go with this as a country. My hope is that we have a little better sense to do that again, [that's] my hope."

Clooney is in the UK to promote his new movie The Tender Bar, which is showing at the London Film Festival.

FBI arrests MAGA rioter citing Instagram posts shown on local TV nine months earlier

A South Florida man was arrested Thursday by the FBI on the usual charges of disorderly conduct and parading at the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 insurrection.

What wasn't so usual was this: The Instagram photos cited in the arrest report of Moises Romero had been aired on January 12 -- six days after the riot -- on air and on the website of a Miami TV station.

"Video posted to Instagram shows Moises Romero on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6 as the mob breached Capitol Hill," WSVN 7 News Miami had reported at the time. "His social media stories continue inside the building, but it remains unclear if he is taking part in the lawlessness.

"However, one of the photos is stamped with the caption, 'Right before stormed in,' and another video seems to show him inside the Capitol.

"Romero works as a nurse at Memorial Regional Hospital in Pembroke Pines, and his employer has noticed his smiling selfie. Memorial Healthcare System released a statement that reads in part, 'We are saddened by the events that happened at the Capitol and trust that justice will prevail. With any grievance brought to our attention about an employee, Memorial follows a rigorous review process and holds its employees to the highest standards of behavior and conduct.'

"Romero is not charged criminally, but the hospital is investigating his conduct," 7 News Miami reported. There has no reporting since about whether Romero still works as a nurse at the hospital.

It is not clear why it took roughly nine months after the hospital "noticed his smiling selfie" for the FBI to file its criminal charges against Romero.

In the FBI criminal complaint against Romero, it was stated the officials were tipped off to Instagram videos of the suspect by someone who had attended high school with him:

"The recorded video was an Instagram video from user "momovsworld" and showed the user present outside as well as inside the Capitol Building during the January 6 riots. At times, the user pointed the camera towards himself, showing his face clearly, and showing that he was wearing a black hoodie, a gray and black backpack, a respirator, and fingerless gloves.

"At one point in the video, as shown in the screenshot below, the user added the text "Right before stormed in" to the video."

Perhaps loyal viewers of 7 News Miami had a flash of déjà vu.

Romero was charged in Cooper City, FL Thursday with civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disruptive or disorderly conduct and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol Building. You can read the FBI complaint here.

MAGA rioter arrested for assaulting police – but he wound up in the hospital for his trouble

A South Philly man hurled a coffee tumbler and a large bucket of liquid at police officers during January 6 insurrection, according to the FBI. But it appears that he got the worst of the exchange.

Michael Dickinson, 29, was identified by a tipster leading the FBI to Prince George's Hospital outside Washington D.C. where he had gone for treatment for facial injuries, the FBI report indicates. The bureau also obtained footage from a second tipster and open-sources video showing Dickinson in a blood-soaked sweatshirt and bleeding from the face.

The FBI stated it had obtained Dickinson's medical records from the hospital indicating that Dickinson "informed medical personnel that he was at the rally in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, and that he had been struck by what he believed to be a rubber bullet. The records specified numerous facial injuries."

The report cited video footage showing Dickinson "throwing an object resembling a coffee tumbler at police" and that it "strikes a law enforcement officer in the face/chest." The report said additional video shows Dickinson "picking up an object that appears to be a large bucket filled with a liquid and throwing the liquid and the bucket at law enforcement officers."

Philly Magazine added this reporting:

"An attempt to reach Dickinson at his home was unsuccessful. According to his uncle, who picked up the phone, Dickinson does not have legal representation at this time.

"They only tell you about the bad stuff,' the uncle told Philly Mag. 'They don't tell you about when he actually helped a female officer who was on the ground being attacked. Nobody cares about that, including the government. Nobody cares about the truth. I bet you won't put that in your article. Write whatever you want.' (Philly Mag was unable to corroborate the uncle's account of the incident with the female officer.)

"Dickinson has been released on $100,000 bond. He is not allowed to leave Pennsylvania other than for court proceedings in Washington, D.C."

You can read the FBI complaint here.

Amazon has raked in a record $4.1 billion in government subsidies -- and counting

Corporate giant Amazon has amassed a record amount of corporate welfare in 2021 to bring its total to an astounding $4,148,000,000, according to the economic development watchdog Good Jobs First.

In 2021 alone, Amazon has netted $650 million in grants, tax exemptions, and other incentives from states and municipalities in 2021 — "its most lucrative year of perks yet," notes this commentary at, citing Good Jobs First data. And that's with three months left in the year.

"Amazon is famously great at delivering — but, it turns out, the e-tail giant is pretty good at receiving, too," the commentary notes. "States and municipalities have bent over backwards to entice the incredibly profitable firm to open up warehouses in their backyards. But it remains unclear how much good that will do for anyone but Amazon."

It added this:

"Amazon says it's worthy of subsidies because it created more than 400,000 jobs last year alone. But a 2018 study by the Economic Policy Institute found that, while new Amazon fulfilment centres increased warehouse jobs by 30% in an area, they attracted staff from other employers and thus led to no net job gains.

"There's also the matter of pay. Take New Jersey: a UPS driver there makes an average of $38.35 an hour, according to recent congressional testimony. An Amazon driver? Just $19.25, the Financial Times notes. The company recently raised its average starting wage from $17 to $18 — and is increasingly touting perks like signing bonuses and college tuition help — as it aims to fill 125,000 warehouse and delivery jobs."

The "Amazon Tracker" page at Good Job First weighed in as well:

"Since we began collecting and exposing subsidies the company has received, we have encountered greater secrecy surrounding the packages awarded to Amazon. This sometimes makes calculating such costs difficult. Secret project names, non-disclosure agreements, and a reluctance by public officials to fully disclose costs -- even after a deal has been awarded -- suggests Amazon and public officials know these deals have become controversial."

Expert: Gen Z voting power is underestimated and their disdain for Trump could sink the GOP in 2022

Voters under 30 shattered previous turnout numbers for their age group in the 2018 and 2020 elections. That overlooked reality bodes well for Democrats in the 2022 election -- but only if the party makes it a priority to connect with young voters and doesn't take them for granted.

That's the view of John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. Della Volpe, a leading expert on the opinions and influence of young Americans in the digital and social media age, told Raw Story that his research has found their power is underestimated by the political class.

Della Volpe pointed out a seldom-noted fact: that voters in the 18-to-29 age group turned out in the 2018 midterm elections in numbers that doubled the previous cycle. He credits young voters with having netted a game-changing 10 Congressional seats and 2% of the overall vote in that election.

That reversed a decades-long pattern of low turnout by young people, Della Volpe said, and was followed by just as impressive numbers in 2020, giving President Joe Biden even larger numbers of support that President Barack Obama received from young voters in 2008 and 2012.

But Della Volpe also believes that the well-documented stress and anxieties facing Generation Z also pose a challenge to Democrats: They need to show young people that their election has meant tangible results.

Della Volpe says Democrats do have one important weapon, and his name is Donald Trump. The twice-impeached last guy "pours gasoline" on the anxieties of Gen Z. That can be huge for Democrats in the next two election cycles, he says, but only if the party prioritizes young voters.

Della Volpe has a book coming out in January entitled, "Fight: How Gen Z is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America." Raw Story spoke to Della Volpe to discuss what his findings portend for the midterm elections. Here's a lightly edited version of the interview:

Q. Considering the title of your book, would you say Generation Z could be a hidden factor in the political process?

A. Definitely. I think that young people, sadly, are still underestimated by the political elite and the political pundits and Washington DC. I'm still surprised that people say, "yeah but young people don't vote." In 2018 young people doubled their expected turnout in the midterm elections, which netted democrats about 10 seats that they wouldn't have won. They added two percentage points to the Democrats' overall vote total, which is incredible given their relative size of this generation.

Q. And that continued in 2020?

A. Yes. They voted in historic numbers. It was the first time in modern exit poll history that a majority of people under 30 voted. More young people voted for Joe Biden in 2020 than they did in 2008 and 2012 when Obama had that great energy.

Q. But people still underestimate the impact of young voters?

A. Yes. And I don't know, frankly, what else they need to do.

Q. This is a recent development, isn't it?

A. Yes. From 1986 to 2014, you'll find that the percentage of young people voting was pretty consistent, with the average turnout of 18-to-29 years old's right around 15%. Then it went up to around 18% and then it doubled in the 2018 midterms.

Q. And you're finding that the increased numbers are helping Democrats?

A. Right. They supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 at the same rate they supported John Kerry in 2004--about 55% percent. But in this post-Trump era, they are far more likely to reject the current Republican Party, and vote for Democrats. That is, if Democrats make the case that they're listening and will engage them on their terms and issues that they care most about.

Q. Are there particular hot-button issues -- climate change or the like -- that you think need to be focused on?

A: I think before someone talks about a hot-button issue or two or three, Democrats need to need to continue to build trust in the system, which is very, very difficult to do. To really engage young people, you need to do two things: One, is they need to believe that the system can work, part one. And part two is that voting for, in this case the Democrat, can lead to some tangible change. It's a two-step process. Joe Biden did that very well in the summer of 2020 coming off George Floyd and reminding all of us --especially younger Americans -- that in the darkest times through our history America has done big things. And we can do that, but it's going to be this generation's responsibility to help us get there. That same kind of messaging has to be a significant part of the 2022 effort.

Q. Let's talk about what makes younger voters different. It's hard for most of us to imagine what it must have been like to have your first two presidents be Obama and Trump. Talk about whiplash.

A. I use those exact words.

Q. For young people who don't have memories of 911, something like the Capitol riot would seem to stand out even more than for the rest of us and have a disproportionate effect on them. Would younger people have identifiable views from the insurrection that might inform their voting in 2022 or 2024?

A. It's an excellent question. I can't tell you that I've done a lot of work around this event. However, what I know is that young people engage when they can see the tangible difference that politics can make. We can measure this in a variety of ways. One is through survey work, which is often a precursor to what's going to happen on election day. So, we saw this massive 15-point change before and after September 11 around the efficacy of political engagements. That continued to increase with the war and with Hurricane Katrina ultimately to the election of Obama. The difference it made kind of dissipated quite a bit because there was gridlock and there wasn't a lot that got done in the eyes of young people, who are quite impatient.

Q. Wonder what brought it back.

A. Yes, that all changed again in 911-like fashion during Trump's election. It doesn't matter whether you're Democrat or Republican, you could see the literal difference that politics can make. Border walls were going up, people were not allowed to come into the country, young people in cages, pulling out of the Paris accords and a variety of other things, Charlottesville, etcetera. Then you had the insurrection. These were tangible differences that leadership and politics can make. It that regard it's incredibly important and a motivator.

Q. Let's talk about Trump. When you consider how effective he has been as a demagogue with 40% of the population, why has been there such a failure to connect with younger people? It's obvious why he might be rejected by specific groups he targets -- or just by thinking people in general -- but what accounts for the disconnect with voters under 30? For example, why does his xenophobia just bounce off of them?

A: I think two or three things are just ingrained in young people. One is a sense of fairness in helping those who are vulnerable. They looked at Trump as a bully who doesn't help the vulnerable. And who in fact makes them more vulnerable. And I think they looked at fairness around his economic policy and whose taxes he chose to cut -- such as corporations -- and what it did to expand the gap between the very wealthy and everyone else. Those are very basic things that young people object to.

Q. It's a nice thing that they object. But they're the always-on generation, and I would think that being always on, they'd be more susceptible to accepting his coarseness and the meanness of his politics because there's so much of that online. You can a make a case that it should have cut in his favor because they might have been conditioned not to mind that. But they seemed to have rebelled it, haven't they?

A: Fortunately, they have. The summer after Trump got elected, I spent a lot of time on the road for my book, talking to young people. And I would say things like, "What does an older white guy not get about what it's like to be a 17-, 18- or 19-year-old?" They would talk about this fear and anxiety and stress that they had. Being young is challenging enough, but he's making it worse. And maybe not for them, but for people they care about. If they were blocked, if they were gay, if they were female, he made it worse. The anxiety continued to increase and those people who were most anxious and stressed out were more likely to vote in the midterm election. That was the response. Rather than listening to the fear and try to calm it, Trump just poured gasoline on it.

Gen Z voting power is underestimated and their disdain for Trump could sink the GOP in 2022

Trump-appointed judge gives probation to Capitol rioter -- after whining about George Floyd protesters

U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden gave probation Friday to confessed MAGA rioter Danielle Doyle, rejecting the prosecutors' recommendation for home confinement.

McFadden equated Doyle's conduct in breaching the U.S. Capitol to that of "riots and mobs" that conducted anti-racism protests nationally after George Floyd's murder at the hands of police in Minneapolis. The judge used that example to scold prosecutors, as reported by the Associated Press.

"McFadden questioned why federal prosecutors had not brought more cases against those accused in 2020 summertime protests, reading out statistics on riot cases in the nation's capital that were not prosecuted.

"'I think the U.S. attorney would have more credibility if it was even-handed in its concern about riots and mobs in this city,' McFadden said during Danielle Doyle's sentencing for entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 with a throng of other rioters. Prosecutors recommended two months of home confinement for Doyle, who is from Oklahoma.

"As McFadden sentenced Doyle, he said he thought she was 'acting like all those looters and rioters last year. That's because looters and rioters decided the law did not apply to them.'

Despite these concerns, McFadden said Doyle's behavior was not excusable. He called it a 'national embarrassment,' and again likened it to the police brutality protests following the death of George Floyd last year that made 'us all feel less safe."

The Associated Press reporting provided some context.

"The statements by McFadden, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, were a major departure from the other federal judges overseeing insurrection cases so far, despite other Trump appointees on the court assigned to the hundreds of cases. They have generally discussed seriousness of the crime and its unique place in American history - different from other violent free speech protests because it sought to disrupt the peaceful transition of power.

The Associated Press analyzed more than 300 criminal cases stemming from the protests incited by Floyd's murder, showing that many leftist rioters had received substantial sentences, rebutting the argument that pro-Trump defendants were treated more harshly than Black Lives Matter protesters.

The AP also noted this:

"By contrast, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Friday sentenced another rioter, Andrew Ryan Bennett, to three months of home confinement, accepting the request by prosecutors. Bennett was accused of espousing conspiracy theories about the election and used "pugnacious rhetoric" in posting about his plans to be in Washington."

Doyle's arrest had drawn extra attention because she had been a front-office employee of the Oklahoma Thunder NBA franchise over the past decade. She pleaded guilty to "parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building."

You can read the FBI statement of facts in her case here.

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