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'Pro-insurrection' Marco Rubio goes down in flames for calling impeachment a 'waste of time'

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called impeachment a "waste of time," and he was drowned in fury and ridicule for sucking up to former president Donald Trump.

The Florida Republican made clear he would not vote to convict Trump for inciting a violent insurrection Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol in a last-ditch effort to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's election win.

"Waste of time impeachment isn't about accountability," Rubio tweeted. "It's about demands from vengeance from the radical left. And a new 'show' for the 'Political Entertainment Industry.'"

Rubio's tweet was swiftly condemned by other social media users.

Florida woman has no regrets over racially abusing Black men for working: 'I have reasons to be racist'

An unrepentantly racist Florida woman was recorded hurling racist abuse at two Black men she saw working, and her only regret is not saying the N-word often enough during the encounter.

Gina Brashear used the racial slur six times in the short video clip posted online after she saw the two men unloading sheet metal Saturday from a semi-truck, which she complained was blocking her Lehigh Acres driveway, reported WBBH-TV.

"I've been insulted before," said Melvin Finely, who was on the job for OF Logistics during the encounter. "It's nothing new to me, but this time around it's a little, I don't know, it just feels a little different. I have a 7-year-old son, and I dread the day that he would have to go through anything similar to what I have had to go through."

Finley was working alongside Will Osley when Brashear began hurling racist abuse at them, and their client recorded video of the incident.

"Me and him are on the back of the truck, we're still working," Finley said. "We're still unloading the sheets of metal onto the pallet [and] we start hearing this commotion on the other side of the truck jut getting louder and louder and more intense."

Brashear, who made news a decade ago when a human customer bit her during an argument at the Fort Myers pet clinic she runs, declined to speak on camera about the confrontation, but she expressed no regrets in a phone interview afterward.

"It doesn't matter if I said it 100 times in 30 seconds," Brashear said. "There's nothing illegal about saying it."

Brashear frequently shares racist content on her Facebook page -- such as memes warning of a race war, celebrating running over Black Lives Matter protesters, superimposing a Confederate flag over the White House and promoting right-wing gun militias -- and she told the TV station that her bigoted views are justified.

"Do I have reasons to be racist?" she said. "Absolutely I do. The one you need to get straight coming from me, I don't care who's upset. I don't care that I'm called a racist."

Lee County woman defends racist rant that was caught on camera www.youtube.com

Google: No more donations for GOP lawmakers who voted against Biden certification

Google will not donate money to lawmakers who voted against the certification of President Joe Biden's election win.

Congress certified Biden's electoral victory just hours after then-President Donald Trump's supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to disrupt the constitutional proceeding, and the tech giant has announced that no lawmakers who voted against the certification will be eligible for donations from its political action committee, reported Axios.

"After the disturbing events at the Capitol, NetPAC paused all contributions while undertaking a review," said Google spokesman José Castañeda. "Following that review, the NetPAC board has decided that it will not be making any contributions this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certification of the election results."

Some of the lawmakers who voted against certification include Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).

'Republicans are eating their own': Morning Joe says GOP legitimizing conspiracies by purging non-believers

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough bashed state Republican Parties by legitimizing "bizarre" conspiracy theories by purging officials who don't go along with them.

The "Morning Joe" host started the segment by marveling that many GOP voters apparently believed their political opponents were "cannibals and pedophiles," but then noted, somewhat ironically, that Republicans were "eating their own" in a purge of non-believers.

"State parties are punishing the 10 Republicans who did not vote to overturn the election results," Scarborough said. "State Republican Parties and local Republican Parties are trying to censure people month did their jobs. The guy in Michigan who just did what he was supposed to do and a ministerial act, he's out of his job. Doug Ducey in Arizona, Brian Kemp in Georgia -- they are enemies of Donald Trump's Republican Party because they didn't fall victim to these conspiracy theories."

Scarborough noted that 64 federal courts have found the theories are based on lies, that there's no evidence of election fraud stealing away Trump's re-election, yet Republicans are making those lies into articles of faith.

"People are still like falling prey to this because the Republican Party in Arizona, the Republican Party in Georgia, the Republican Party in Texas, the Republican Party in Wyoming -- they are trying to punish people for not engaging in sedition," Scarborough said. "That's where the Republican Party is, and, again, where are the adults in the Republican Party that are going to stand up and start punishing this type of behavior?"

"If you like the Republican civil war in Georgia, you're going to love the Republican civil war in Arizona, because the same thing happening in Georgia is now happening in Arizona," he added. "The Republican Party is eating its own, and that turns out very badly for Republicans."

The conspiracy theories -- and the actions Republicans have taken against them -- have made the party toxic to donors, Scarborough said.

"[Rep.] Liz Cheney is the only respectable member in leadership who didn't, let's be very clear about this, who didn't vote to disenfranchise millions and millions of Black voters in Milwaukee County, Wayne County, Atlanta, Georgia, in Philadelphia," he said. "All the other Republican leadership in the House voted to disenfranchise millions and millions of black voters. What PAC, what corporation is going to give a dime to Republicans who voted to take away the votes of millions and millions of Black voters? Bull Connor never, ever did anything that was as nefarious, like taking away the voting rights of millions and millions of black voters."

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'We can all sleep better': Critics celebrate permanent Twitter ban of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has been permanently banned by Twitter, and other users mocked him in celebration.

The outspoken supporter of former president Donald Trump saw his account permanently taken down for repeatedly violating the social media platform's rules against election disinformation, and many believed he deserved to be banned.

'Confused' Matt Gaetz gets brutally mocked for 'asinine' claim about Trump impeachment

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) fired off an attempted snappy defense of former president Donald Trump, and was swiftly met with mockery and ridicule.

The Florida Republican tweeted out the would-be rejoinder to the impeachment House Democrats will carry to the Senate for trial, set for Feb. 8.

"Impeachment is the zenith of cancel culture," Gaetz tweeted.

Other social media users cringed.

Neo-Nazis recruiting ‘naive’ QAnon cultists pushed off mainstream social media sites

Right-wing extremists are exploiting the fragmentation of Donald Trump's political movement to draw the former president's supporters even further into the white nationalist fringe.

As many Trump supporters flee mainstream social media sites for cracking down on hate speech, violent threats and disinformation, they're drawn increasingly into "smaller and smaller rabbit holes" where white nationalists are further radicalizing the former president's base -- especially QAnon conspiracy theorists, reported the Financial Times.

"They find them to be quite naive," said Mike Rains, who runs the Adventures in HellwQrld podcast and tracks the conspiracy theory.

Violent extremists saw the potential for Qanon adherents to serve as "cannon fodder" in their war to preserve white supremacy, according to experts, and neo-Nazis quickly infiltrated the "Parler Lifeboat" group set up by the Proud Boys after that social media platform was shut down -- although not all of that site's users were receptive to their message.

"Wtf is all this talk about patriots and Jews?! Seriously?!" read one response to an anti-Semitic post. "Patriot here. WWll veterans daughter. Patriots SAVED THE JEWISH PEOPLE. AND NO ONE SHOULD FORGET THAT."

But the QAnon cultists may find they share more views in common with neo-Nazis than they realize, because the conspiracy theory is at its core just a repackaging of anti-Semitic tropes.

"Everything about the Illuminati and the New World Order, you can trace it all back to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion," Rains said. "QAnon is basically predicated on hating people — radicalizing further into that belief system really isn't a stretch."

GOP's Rob Portman won't seek re-election

Republican Sen. Rob Portman announced that he won't seek re-election when his term ends in two years.

The Ohio Republican made the announcement Monday, the same day the U.S. Senate is receiving the House impeachment article against former president Donald Trump, reported the Associated Press.

Portman told his hometown Cincinnati Enquirer that he's tired of congressional "gridlock."

The 65-year-old Portman won both of his previous elections easily but was widely expected to face a GOP primary challenge in 2022, especially after laying some of the blame for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol at Trump's feet.

"Both in his words before the attack on the Capitol and in his actions afterward, President Trump bears some responsibility for what happened on Jan. 6," Portman said shortly after the violent action.

‘Terrifying’ Parler analysis uncovers an explosion of calls for pro-Trump violence

Former president Donald Trump's right-wing supporters responded to his election loss with an explosion of threats to hang or kill members of Congress, according to a new analysis.

Many of the defeated president's supporters migrated to the social media platform Parler after the election, and an anonymous hacker retrieved a 70-terabyte cache of data from the site before it was taken offline, giving analysts a "terrifying" look into planning for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, according to researchers Candace Rondeaux and Heather Hurlburt in a column for the New York Times.

"The early takeaways are terrifying," the duo wrote. "According to at least one preliminary analysis, the frequency of hashtags on Parler referencing hanging or killing duly elected members of Congress more than doubled after the November elections."

Rondeaux, a senior fellow with the Center on the Future of War, and Hurlburt, director of New Models of Policy Change at New America, called on President Joe Biden's administration to develop a long-term plan for confronting the escalating threat from right-wing insurgents who recruit and plot anti-government actions online despite getting chased from site to site.

"Extremists don't just vanish — they tumble into 'smaller and smaller rabbit holes,' in the words of researcher Peter Singer," they wrote. "Those rabbit holes make up a large, growing and uncontrollable far-right media universe."

Parler has returned in a new form after its banishment from large hosting services, but Rondeaux and Hurlburt said congressional action may be necessary to establish stronger accountability for tech companies whose services help spread disinformation and calls for violence.

"While the tech industry must take more assertive action on moderation, policymakers must also acknowledge that the self-policing model adopted by Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon and others is broken," the pair wrote. "All sides would be better served by the adoption — and vigorous enforcement — of legal norms for online content moderation, incitement and expectations of privacy."

Church-going Black teens racially profiled and wrongly detained at California Target store

Three Black teenagers were wrongfully detained last week at a Target store in California, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The teens -- 17-year-old Malik Aaron, 16-year-old Gregory Kim and 16-year-old Aaron Frederickson -- say they were racially profiled by store employees who accused them of smashing through glass in the electronics section and stealing smartphones, reported the Ventura County Star.

"We were being followed in the store by an employee who told us, 'Hey, I can't have you guys loitering,'" Aaron told the newspaper.

The boys said they were unaware of the shoplifting incident that took place while they were in the Westlake Village store, and security guards used shopping carts to barricade them inside as they tried to leave but allowed other shoppers to exit.

Three sheriff's deputies detained the Thousand Oaks teens in front of the store and refused to let Aaron record the encounter, but another friend recorded portions of the incident on her phone and tried to explain they had nothing to do with the theft.

"We were literally coming from church," said the girl, referred to only as Lydia in reports.

Aaron said he was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car for nearly 20 minutes, but all three boys were released after deputies determined they were not involved in the alleged grand theft.

The sheriff's department said an internal investigation found no evidence of excessive force or damage to one of the boy's cell phones, but Aaron and his family dispute those findings and have hired an attorney to file a civil rights lawsuit.

Target issued a statement saying the company had apologized to the teens and fired one of the security guards involved in the incident, and will require all the store's employees to retake security and racial bias training.

Black teenagers detained by LASD deputies at Westlake Village Target

Black teenagers detained by LASD deputies at Westlake Village Target www.vcstar.com

A cellphone video recorded at Target in Westlake Village on Jan. 17 shows deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department detaining three Black teenagers during a shoplifting investigation. The teens were later released after deputies found they were not involved with the crime.

Trump loyalists in White House budget office could make life miserable for Biden

President Joe Biden is inheriting a demoralized and broken White House Office of Management and Budget.

Former president Donald Trump chased off many of the career staffers in the office and replaced them with political loyalists, and the remaining workforce is exhausted from the chaos in the previous administration, reported Politico.

"You've got a staff that is tired," said one former OMB official who's served under Democratic and Republican presidents. "They've been running for four years and running in directions that they don't actually believe in. I don't know that they'll have the energy needed to respond in the way that the Biden administration would traditionally expect an OMB to respond."

Trump and his political allies sometimes pushed OMB staffers in legally questionable directions -- including the Ukraine extortion scheme that resulted in his first impeachment -- and the former president stripped civil servants of their authority and worker protections to give him more control of government agencies.

"Instead of OMB being a resource for the White House," the OMB veteran said, "[the Trump administration] turned OMB into a tool of the White House, and that's a very different thing. That's a dangerous thing."

Shaun Donovan, who served as former president Barack Obama's budget director, said "the damage is deep and wide" inside the OMB, which could undermine Biden's early efforts to address the pandemic and resulting economic crisis, as well as fulfilling campaign promises on infrastructure and climate change.

"I've seen these moments over and over again, and there is no comparison," Donovan said. "This is easily the most perilous and has the deepest damage to be repaired."

Hawaii GOP official resigns over bizarre defense of Qanon cultists

A Hawaii Republican official resigned from his position over a series of tweets that expressed support for the right-wing Qanon conspiracy theory.

Edwin Boyette, the vice chair of communications for the Hawaii GOP, apologized in a Facebook post for the since-deleted tweets defending Qanon believers as "largely motivated by a sincere and deep love for America," reported Hawaii News Now.

"Discussion of some topics is ill suited to the forums of social media, and regardless of intent - only serves to increase conflict and discord," Boyette wrote. "The discussion of the Q-Conspiracy was an error of judgement, and should not reflect upon the leadership or the members of the Republican Party of Hawaii. The responsibility for that discussion and that error is mine and and mine alone."

The tweets on the state's GOP Twitter account argued that Qanon conspiracists didn't deserve mockery because their belief in a satanic cabal involved in pedophilia was motivated by patriotism, but the state's Democratic Party issued a statement strongly disagreeing with Boyette's claims.

"There is nothing patriotic in defending QAnon adherents," said the Hawaii Democratic Party. "There is nothing honorable in defending Proud Boy antics."

Both groups were involved in the violent insurrection Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol aimed at overturning Donald Trump's election loss, and law enforcement agencies have described Qanon conspiracists as a domestic terrorism threat.

'Why is Pecker still protecting Trump?' National Enquirer publisher still calling shots from retirement

The ostensibly retired CEO of the National Enquirer's publisher is still protecting his longtime ally Donald Trump despite giving up his title and selling the tabloid's parent company.

David Pecker continues to serve as an executive adviser to A360 Media, which American Media Inc. rebranded as when it was acquired by another company, and sources at the publishing company say the 69-year-old is still making editorial decisions aimed at protecting the former president, reported The Daily Beast.

"The running joke is Pecker is behind the curtain pulling the strings just like The Wizard of Oz," one staffer told the website.

Pecker infamously turned the Enquirer into a weapon against Trump's rivals in the 2016 campaign, and he and disgraced Trump attorney Michael Cohen set up a costly "catch-and-kill" scheme to pay off the former reality TV star's mistresses.

The retired publisher's influence was apparent last week, when cover stories on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection in A360 Media's National Enquirer and Globe blamed the attempted coup on "white supremacists" and "neo-Nazi assassins" while neglecting the former president's role in inciting the deadly riots.

"When you run stories like the Capitol riots and not mention Trump, it raises eyebrows," said one A360 Media employee. "Why is Pecker still protecting Trump? I'm surprised no one has called out Pecker for his support of Trump."

Sources familiar with the situation told the Beast that Pecker is still picking covers, although National Enquirer and Globe editor-in-chief Dan Dolan denied that arrangement, but company insiders say the retired CEO is still calling the shots.

"At the end of the day it's all Pecker," said one insider. "They can say… that it's not really Pecker, but it is complete bullsh*t."

'So petty': Donald and Melania Trump fired chief usher before leaving White House to spite Bidens

President Joe Biden was blamed for firing the White House chief usher on his first day on the job, but his predecessor actually did the deed -- apparently to spite the incoming first family.

Donald and Melania Trump sent White House ushers home early on Inauguration Day in one of their last acts in a tense presidential transition, a well-placed official not associated with the Biden team told the National Journal.

"The Trumps sent the butlers home when they left so there would be no one to help the Bidens when they arrived," the official said. "So petty."

Other knowledgable sources confirmed to the Journal that chief usher Timothy Harleth, a former executive of Trump Hotels hired by Melania Trump, was summarily fired by the outgoing president and first lady -- and not by the Bidens, as was widely reported afterward.

Harleth was already gone by the time Joe and Jill Biden arrived at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, leaving no one in place to open the doors for their inaugural entry and leading to an awkward pause.

"It's a big protocol breach for the president to ever stand in front of a closed door at the White House," said a veteran White House social expert. "That may be why there was nobody to open the doors to the Bidens. You couldn't expect the Biden staff to know to do that. Doors are opened and closed by ushers. There are rules about all these things and everyone has their job."

The rest of the usher staff was back on the job Thursday, but Harleth -- considered to be a Trump loyalist -- was not expected to be retained by the Bidens for long.

The View's Meghan McCain busted for pushing 'false equivalency' to criticize Biden and Fauci

"The View" co-host Meghan McCain wasn't about to join in the celebration of the new presidential administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The other co-hosts were pleased to see Dr. Anthony Fauci speak more freely than he'd been permitted under former president Donald Trump, but the conservative McCain bashed the infectious disease expert and President Joe Biden.

"Since everyone has come after the Trump administration, I think that it's okay to hold the feet to the fire of Dr. Fauci, as well," she said. "I remember being told, and I would like to be treated like an adult, too, that masks don't work. I was pregnant in New York City when the pandemic broke out. I had a bunch of masks and I ended up giving them away. Just say to me, 'First responders need them more than average American, please donate them for the good of your heart.' I would have done the same thing, but I was lied to."

"We have President Biden yesterday, him and his family, they're not wearing masks after mandating and requiring people to wear masks on federal property," she added. "He and his family were not wearing masks out. So again, I think the 'rules for thee, but not for me' that have been going on for a long time in the Trump administration, and now you're seeing with President Biden, I was really disappointed he wasn't wearing a mask."

Moderator Joy Behar wasn't too convinced by McCain's arguments, and suggested she was floating a false comparison to attack the new administration.

"Do you think that this is a false equivalency that we just heard or not?" Behar asked co-host Sunny Hostin.

Hostin seemed to agree with Behar, saying the former president had needlessly injected politics into the pandemic response.

"The reason that this is a partisan issue is because Trump made it a partisan issue," Hostin said. "Trump politicized the virus in ways that I don't think any of us would have imagined. I mean, he politicized wearing masks. He, you know, doled out resources according to red states and blue states, and, you know, I just read this morning that Walgreens says up to 80 percent of the staff of some long-term care facilities declined COVID-19 vaccines, and that is because people are scared because of President Trump."

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