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Donald Trump Appointee, Federico Klein, Charged in Connection to January 6th Insurrection at the Capitol!

FBI arrests former Trump appointee Federico Klein in connection with  Capitol riot - ABC News

Federico Klein

Dear Commons Community,

Federico Klein, a former State Department aide appointed by Donald Trump, has been charged in connection with the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to an FBI spokesperson and documents.  As reported by several media outlets.

The FBI would not discuss the case, and court documents did not appear to be online.

But documents obtained by NBC News allege that a man later identified as Klein was seen on video assaulting Washington, D.C., police officers and U.S. Capitol Police officers.

The FBI says in court documents that Klein can be seen resisting officers, attempting to take items from them, and assaulting them with a riot shield. The documents allege he “violently shoved the shield into an officer’s body in an attempt to breach the police line.”

It appears to be the first criminal case connected to a member of the Trump administration stemming from the Jan. 6 riot.

It was not immediately clear if Klein had an attorney who could speak on his behalf or if he was in custody.

Politico first reported the arrest.

The court documents say Klein was working at the State Department on Jan. 6, possessed top-secret security clearance and resigned Jan. 19.

Government records show Klein worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and was hired at the State Department in January 2017.

Government files show that at least into 2020, Klein was serving as a political appointee at the State Department as a special assistant in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment

The court documents say that Klein faces six counts, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and obstruction of Congress; and those that deal with assaulting or impeding police.

Klein was identified after the FBI got two tips from the public after the law enforcement agency had posted photos in the wake of the Capitol riot, according to the documents.

Cecilia L. Klein said that her 42-year-old son told her that he was at the Mall on Jan. 6 but that he did not go onto the Capitol grounds.

“I asked him — he said ‘I was on the Mall.’ I said, ‘did you go on the Capitol grounds?’ He said ‘no I did not, I was on the Mall,'” Cecilia Klein said by phone Thursday night.

She said she not know about the allegations or that her son had been arrested until she was contacted by Politico.

She said that her politics are very different from her son’s and that he was not a top official in the Trump administration.

“We are not talking about a Cabinet official or a sub-Cabinet official,” she said. “My son was a schedule C,” she said, referring to a classification in government.

A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol as Congress prepared to formally count the electoral votes affirming President Joe Biden’s win. President Donald Trump had falsely claimed that there was fraud and that the election was “stolen” at a rally before the Capitol was attacked. Five people died.

Trump was later impeached for a second time and accused of inciting insurrection. He was acquitted by the Senate last month.

Justice Department officials have said they have filed charges against more than 300 people in the riot at the Capitol, some of which are under seal because the defendants have not yet been arrested. Federal prosecutors allege a wide range of motives and behavior, from extreme violence to apparent ignorance that what they were doing was illegal.

Some have been accused of assaulting police officers and threatening to attack lawmakers, while others are charged with the lesser offense of illegally entering a protected building.

Tony

Dr. Seuss Books Jump to the Top of Amazon’s Best Seller List!

Dr. Seuss books' sales soar after 6 titles canceled for 'racist' imagery | Fox News

Dear Commons Community,

It was bound to happen given all the publicity this week that six Dr. Seuss books were being removed from publication by Dr. Seuss Enterprises.  As reported by NBC News.

“Books by Dr. Seuss flooded Amazon’s U.S. bestseller list after it was announced that six of the author’s publications were being pulled over racist imagery.

“The Cat in the Hat” is currently the bestselling book on Amazon’s U.S. store, closely followed by “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” along with several other titles by the late Theodor Seuss Geisel. In total, 15 Dr. Seuss publications were in Amazon’s top 20 list on Friday morning.

“Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat” also appeared in Amazon Canada’s top 10 bestselling books list.

This comes after Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business running the late author’s estate, made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of six of his books: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in the statement, with some of the author’s books having faced criticism in recent years over racist imagery.

The announcement came on Read Across America Day last Tuesday, which would have been Geisel’s 117th birthday and has been associated with the author.

President Joe Biden left any mention of Dr. Seuss out of his Read Across America Day proclamation. Former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama mentioned Dr. Seuss in their previous speeches.

“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” the statement said.

I read Dr. Seuss to my children on a regular basis when they were growing up!

Tony

Rep. Eric Swalwell Sues Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Others for January 6th Insurrection at the Capitol!

Eric Swalwell Sues Trump, Others Over Capitol Riot

Eric Swalwell

Dear Commons Community,

Representative Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, accused Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., of violating federal civil rights laws and local incitement laws. All spoke at a rally near the White House on January 6th before members of the crowd moved on to the Capitol.  Swalwell, who helped argue the House impeachment case against former President Donald Trump, filed  the 65-page lawsuit against him in federal court yesterday, seeking to turn those allegations into a civil case.  As reported by NBC News,

“The mob attack was “a direct and foreseeable consequence of the defendants’ false and incendiary allegations of fraud and theft, and in direct response to the defendants’ express calls for violence,” the suit said.

Swalwell said he was among members of Congress who were trapped in the House chamber as the rioters approached. They feared for their lives and “texted loved ones in case the worst happened,” it said.

Like a similar lawsuit filed last month by Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and the NAACP, this case invokes the Civil Rights Act of 1871, commonly known as the Ku Klux Klan act, which allows lawsuits against government officials for claims that they conspired to violate civil rights.

The earlier suit contended that Trump and Giuliani conspired with two extremist groups, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. Swalwell focused on the former president and speakers at the rally and said they “directly incited the violence at the Capitol.”

Like the House impeachment articles, the new lawsuit said the former president began accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election well before the voting began. After the votes were tabulated, he and the others named in the suit conspired to undermine confidence in the results, Swalwell said.

When the siege at the Capitol began, the former president “had the power to stop the rioters but refused and instead encouraged them,” he said.

Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, said in a statement that Swalwell is “a low-life with no credibility” who is engaged in “a witch hunt.” In response to the earlier suit, he said, “President Trump did not plan, produce or organize the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse. President Trump did not incite or conspire to incite any violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6.”

Swalwell’s lawsuit quoted Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who said after the vote acquitting the former president that President Trump is still liable for everything he did while in office. “We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one,” McConnell said.”

It will be interesting to see how this suit plays out given that a majority of US Senators voted to impeach Trump several weeks ago (a two-thirds majority was needed) on issues similar to those raised by Swalwell.

It looks like Trump will be in litigation after litigation for years to come.

Tony

 

Ezra Klein: Biden Is the Anti-Trump, and It’s Working!

Joe Biden Has Had It Up to Here With Trump's Malarkey | Vanity Fair

Dear Commons Community,

Ezra Klein, New York Times opinion columnist, has a piece this morning entitled, Biden Is the Anti-Trump, and It’s Working.  The main thrust of his column is that Biden has focused all of his energy on dealing with policy issues such as the pandemic, the economy, immigration, climate, etc. Biden has let his actions drive the news cycle not his personality.  Klein’s conclusion is “Speak softly and pass a big agenda!”

His entire op-ed is below.

Tony

———————————————————————————–

New York Times

Biden Is the Anti-Trump, and It’s Working

If you can dial down the conflict, you can dial up the policy.

By Ezra Klein

Opinion Columnist

March 4, 2021

American politics feels quieter with Joe Biden in the White House. The president’s Twitter feed hasn’t gone dark, but it’s gone dull. Biden doesn’t pick needless fights or insert himself into cultural conflicts. It’s easy to go days without hearing anything the president has said, unless you go looking.

But the relative quiet is deceptive: Policy is moving at a breakneck pace. The first weeks of the Biden administration were consumed by a flurry of far-reaching executive orders that reopened America to refugees, rejoined the Paris climate accords and killed the Keystone XL oil pipeline, to name just a few. Now the House has passed, and the Senate is considering, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, a truly sweeping piece of legislation that includes more than a half-dozen policies — like a child tax credit expansion that could cut child poverty by 50 percent — that would be presidency-defining accomplishments on their own.

It goes on. The White House just sent Congress the most ambitious immigration reform bill in years. It midwifed a deal to get Merck to mobilize some of its factories to produce Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, and now Biden is saying there should be enough of a supply for every American adult to get vaccinated by the end of May. Imagine! The administration is also working on an infrastructure package that, if early reports bear out, will be the most transformational piece of climate policy — and perhaps economic policy — in my lifetime. Biden is blitzing.

This is roughly the opposite of how Donald Trump approached his presidency. Trump combined an always-on, say-anything, fight-anyone communications strategy with a curious void of legislative ambition. He backed congressional Republicans’ unimaginative and ultimately doomed Obamacare repeal effort, and then signed a package of tax cuts tilted toward the wealthy. It was bog-standard, Paul Ryan-conservatism — nothing like the populist revolution Trump promised on the campaign trail. Trump signed plenty of executive orders, but when it came to the hard work of persuading others to do what he wanted, he typically checked out, or turned to Twitter.

Even so, Trump convinced many that he was a political genius whose shamelessness had allowed him to see what others had missed: You didn’t win by being liked, you won by being all anyone ever talked about, even if they were cursing your name. “Very often my readers tried to persuade me there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and Trump had proven that,” Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at N.Y.U., told me. “All that mattered was you were occupying space in the spectacle — not what was actually happening to you in that glare.”

One rebuttal to that theory was always obvious. “Trump never got over 50 percent approval,” Rosen says. “He’s a widely hated man, a one-term president.” For all the talk of Teflon Don, Trump paid a price for his antics and affronts and scandals. Bad publicity actually is bad publicity.

But another way of looking at it is that Trump’s communication strategy was successful in getting Trump what he actually wanted: Attention, not legislation. Biden wants legislation, not attention, and that informs his team’s more targeted approach. “You can be all over every newscast and insert yourself in every conversation, but if you aren’t driving that conversation toward a focused agenda, it isn’t doing you a lot of good,” Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, told me.

 

So far, Biden’s quieter strategy appears to be working. As these charts show, he gets far less media attention than Trump — even after Election Day, the share of news stories with Biden’s name in the headline was less than half of what Trump got — and Google records far less search interest in his administration. But Biden is polling at about 54 percent, around 10 points higher than Trump at this stage of his presidency (or any stage of his presidency). More tellingly, the American Rescue Plan is polling between 10 and 20 points ahead of Biden, making it one of the most popular major pieces of legislation in recent decades. In one recent poll, Republicans were asked whether Biden’s plan should be abandoned for a bipartisan alternative, and they split down the middle, with as many Republicans saying the plan should be passed as abandoned. That’s remarkable.

The American Rescue Plan is a bolder, more progressive, economic package than anything a Democratic president has proposed since L.B.J. But it is not, for now, a polarizing package. It’s less polarizing even than Biden, who only polls at 12 percent among Republicans. You could chalk that up to its popular component parts, but the Affordable Care Act’s individual policies were popular, too, and the bill polled at around 40 percent. You could say it’s the coronavirus crisis, but coronavirus policy is sharply polarized. I suspect Biden’s calmer approach to political communication is opening space for a bolder agenda.

A few pieces of political science research are shaping my thinking here. In 2012, Stephen Nicholson, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, published an interesting paper called “Polarizing Cues.” In it, Nicholson asked people their opinions of proposed housing and immigration policies, sometimes telling them that Barack Obama supported the policy and at other times telling them that George W. Bush or John McCain supported the policy. What he found was that opinions didn’t much change when people heard that a political leader from their own party supported a bill. But opinions changed dramatically when you told them a political leader from the other side supported a bill — it led to sharp swings against the legislation, no matter the underlying policy content.

When I called Nicholson to ask him about the paper, he gave an insightful explanation for the results. Humans tend to see diversity in the groups we belong to, and sameness in the groups we mistrust, he said. A Democrat knows there are many ways to be a Democrat — you can be a Biden Democrat, an A.O.C. Democrat, an Obama Democrat, a Bernie Democrat, a Clinton Democrat. So a signal from any one Democratic leader is weaker, because he or she may not be the leader you care about. But no matter which kind of Democrat you are, Republicans blur in your mind into an undifferentiated mass of awful, so a signal from their political leaders is stronger. The process works the other way, too, of course. A recent Gallup poll showed 88 percent of Republicans disapprove of Biden — the more Biden makes the American Rescue Plan about himself, the more they’ll hate it.

Then there’s the book “Stealth Democracy,” by the political scientists John Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse. They marshal a mountain of survey data to show that Americans have weak and changeable views on policy, but strong views on how politics should look and feel. Many, if not most, Americans believe “political conflict is unnecessary and an indication that something is wrong with governmental procedures,” they write. The more partisan fighting there is around a bill, in other words, the more Americans begin to believe something must be wrong with the legislation — otherwise, why would everyone be so upset?

Mitch McConnell understood all of this, and he ginned up political bickering to undermine Obama’s agenda. But Biden seems to understand it, too. When I talked to Bedingfield, she kept circling back to Biden’s preference for rhetoric and strategies that turn down “the temperature” on American politics. But Biden isn’t taking the usual Washington strategy toward that goal, which is to retreat to modest bills and quarter-measures. Instead, his theory seems to be that if you can dial down the conflict, you can dial up the policy.

I’ve argued before that Biden’s central insight in the campaign was that negative polarization — the degree to which we loathe the other side, even if we don’t much like our side — is now the most powerful force in American politics. Biden often refused to do things that would endear him to his base, because those same things would drive Republicans wild. That strategy is carrying over to his presidency. And in part because of it, the reaction to his signature legislative package, which really is a collection of policies progressives have dreamed of for years, isn’t cleaving along normal red-blue lines.

Like any other communications strategy, this will work until it doesn’t. Biden will have his failures, as all presidents do. But for now, it’s working, in defiance of the lessons many thought Trump’s presidency taught.

Speak softly and pass a big agenda. It’s at least worth a try.

 

 

 

Trump Wants Fox News to Fire Karl Rove!

 

Dear Commons Community,

The Crazy Donald released an angry statement yesterday decrying a number of Republican figures for being disloyal to him and called on Fox News to ditch longtime contributor Karl Rove, who he labeled a “RINO” and a “pompous fool.”

Trump was apparently triggered by a Wall Street Journal column in which Rove criticized the former president’s CPAC speech as “divisive, controversial and embittered.” 

“There was no forward-looking agenda,” the longtime GOP strategist wrote. “Simply a recitation of his greatest hits.” 

Rove dismissed Trump’s gripe in a statement to Reuters

“I’ve been called a lot of things in my career, but never a RINO,” Rove said. “I’ll continue to use my whiteboard and voice to call balls and strikes.” 

Trump has a long history of attempting to cancel people and companies that have triggered him, from the NFL to HBO to the Macy’s department store. 

Vice and CNN both have running lists.

How pathetic is Trump?

Tony

Donald Trump Now Begging Small-Dollar Donors for Money!

Dear Commons Community,

The Huffington Post had an article yesterday describing Donald Trump asking small-donors to send him money and in the process potentially hurting the Republican Party’s small-dollar program.  It has previously been reported that a number of big corporate donors are holding off any donations to the Republican Party because of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. Trump’s initial request was near the end of his CPAC speech on Sunday.  Here is a summary of the article.

“ After years of claiming he was so rich he didn’t need anyone else’s money for his political campaigns, Donald Trump is officially asking small-dollar donors ― many of them lower income and older ― to send him cash, potentially hurting the Republican Party’s small-dollar program.

The request was tucked in near the end of his first public appearance since leaving the presidency Jan. 20, a 90-minute speech Sunday that largely recycled his oft-repeated lies about the November election and his record in office.

“There’s only one way to contribute to our efforts, to elect ‘America first’ Republican conservatives. And in turn, to make America great again. And that’s through Save America PAC and Donald J Trump dot com,” he told his Conservative Political Action Conference audience.

One Trump adviser said that single request resulted in “millions of dollars” coming in to Trump’s new political committee and predicted it would eat into the Republican National Committee’s efforts to raise money from those donors.

“It’ll kill it,” the adviser said on condition of anonymity. “They’re not going to have a small-donor program anymore.”

What precise effect Trump’s new fundraising push for his own committee ― which he can use for virtually any purpose, including picking up his personal expenses or paying himself an eight-figure salary ― will have on the party’s efforts are unclear.

The RNC has had a healthy small-donor program, which targets those giving $50 or $20 or even $5 at a time, for decades. In 2001, for example, the party raised $40.2 million from donors who gave less than $200, accounting for 63% of the party’s total fundraising that year, according to a HuffPost analysis of Federal Election Commission filings. In 2009, those figures were $56.8 million and 69.8%.

From 2001 through 2015, the RNC collected 53.2% of its money from those who gave less than $200. From 2016 through 2020, it was 53.6%.

But in those Trump years, the party also received $156 million from a small-dollar fundraising committee it jointly ran with the Trump campaign, adding to the $428 million in small donations it raised on its own, although those solicitations frequently invoked Trump’s name in the email or text message.

One Republican close to RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said Trump told her recently that he’s willing to help the party raise money and that he plans to appear at an RNC donors retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, next month, along with other potential 2024 presidential candidates.

One former RNC member, though, said Trump’s independent solicitations for Save America PAC are certain to weaken the party’s parallel efforts. “It will definitely have a negative impact and all those people who contributed to the RNC just because of Trump will likely gravitate towards his own small-donor program,” said Steve Duprey, who was pushed out of the committee for being insufficiently loyal to Trump.

And a current RNC member, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said a major concern for the party is that Trump will use the money he raises not against Democrats in the coming midterm elections, but against Republicans who voted to impeach him for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol he incited or on those who have otherwise criticized him.

“It’s the temper tantrum PAC,” the member said, pointing to Trump’s attacks on other Republicans during his CPAC speech. “Trump’s agenda is quite different. It’s all about revenge.”

Trump boasted through the years that he did not need money from wealthy donors, from lobbyists or even from small-dollar contributors because he was so rich.

The boast, however, was never accurate. Even as he began his campaign in 2015, he funded his trips and staged his rallies using money generated by selling “Make America Great Again” hats and T-shirts. After he became the nominee in 2016, he immediately began soliciting money online from small donors and at traditional fundraisers from wealthy donors.

His money machine never let up, even after he won the presidency, allowing him to build a massive campaign operation starting almost immediately ― and also letting him funnel millions of dollars raised back into his own pocket by directing campaign and party spending at his own businesses.

All that time, however, Trump continued claiming he did not want or need his donors’ money, and he never asked for donations in a public setting ― until Sunday.

The Trump adviser said the former president now understands that a donor giving a few dollars a month becomes emotionally invested in his success and is much likelier to remain a strong supporter. “He now sees the power of a $5 donation. He’s finally got his head wrapped around that,” the adviser said, adding that Trump also needs money to remain relevant enough to run for his old job again in three years. “He needs cash. Cash puts him on the ground; it lets him do his rallies,” the adviser added.

According to new FEC filings, Trump on Saturday transformed his old campaign committee, Donald J. Trump For President, into the Make America Great Again PAC, which will allow him to use the $8 million left in it from his failed reelection bid for other purposes. His new webpage states that 90% of all donations go to Save America PAC, which he created in the days following his Nov. 3 loss, while 10% go to MAGA PAC. Donations are limited to $5,000 per year.

Trump is the first one-term president in modern times to nevertheless try to remain a force in national politics after losing reelection. He was able to raise $76 million for Save America in the weeks between the election and the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection by claiming, in hundreds of fundraising texts and emails, that the money would let him pursue challenges to the election results and help Republicans hold Georgia’s two Senate seats. In the end, though, he spent none of that money for those purposes.

“Republican dollars were probably much more needed in Georgia,” said Paul Ryan, a campaign law expert with the nonpartisan watchdog group Common Cause, adding that while Trump now claims he will help Republicans in the midterms, he is not required to. “He has shown a total and complete willingness to raise money for a stated reason and to spend it on something else. I have no doubt he will continue doing that.”

The Republicans will have to get their act together to counter Trump’s incursion into their funding sources.

Tony

General William Walker: Pentagon Waited Three Hours Before Sending National Guard to the Capitol Riot on January 6th!

Playing Politics: Getting answers on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol |  Star Tribune

Maj. Gen. William Walker

Dear Commons Community,

During yesterday’s Senate hearings on the the January 6th insurrection and riot at the Capitol, Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a “voice cracking with emotion” in a 1:49 p.m. call as rioters began pushing toward the Capitol. Walker said he immediately relayed the request to the Army but did not learn until after 5 p.m. that the Defense Department had approved it. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol, arriving in 18 minutes, Walker said. Defense Department leaders placed unusual restrictions on the National Guard for the day of the Capitol riot and delayed sending help for hours despite an urgent plea from police for reinforcement, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response.

As reported by the Associated Press.

“The hours long delay cost the National Guard precious minutes in the early hours of the Jan. 6 rioting, with Walker saying he could have gotten personnel into the building within 20 minutes of getting approval. As it stood, the support did not happen until the evening. The delay also stood in contrast to the swift authorization for National Guard deployment that Walker said was granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled Washington last June as an outgrowth of racial justice protests.

A senior Pentagon official who testified, Robert Salesses, said then-acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller wanted to take time to understand precisely how National Guard troops would be used at the Capitol and what assignments they would be given. Mindful of criticism that the response to the demonstrations last spring was heavy-handed, military officials were also concerned about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, and thought such visuals could inflame the rioters, Walker said.

“The Army senior leadership” expressed “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said.

The Senate hearing was the latest in a series dedicated to the government’s preparations and response as a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters laid siege to the Capitol. Taken together, the hearings have spelled out the challenge law enforcement officials face in sorting through an ocean of unverified tips but also highlighted how police inadequately prepared for the Trump loyalists; that FBI warnings about the threat of violence did not reach top police officials; and that requests for aid were not promptly answered.

“Anytime there’s an attack, we in the FBI want to bat 1,000, and we want to not ever have this happen again,” said Jill Sanborn, the bureau’s top counterterrorism official and one of the witnesses. “So we’re asking ourselves exactly the questions that you’re asking: Is there a place that we could have collected more (intelligence)? Is there something we could have done?”

Meanwhile, the Capitol Police disclosed the existence of intelligence of a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the Capitol on Thursday. The revelation, coming as the acting police chief was testifying before a House subcommittee, differed from an earlier advisory from the House sergeant-at-arms that said police had no indication that any such violence was planned.

Much of the focus at yesterday’s hearing was on communications between the National Guard and the Defense Department. Walker, for instance, described what he said were “unusual” directives he was asked to follow, including needing approval to relocate troops from one traffic control point to another.

As chaos escalated on Jan. 6, then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund asked him for National Guard help in a frantic call and then again on a call with Army officials, who said they did not “think that it looked good” to have a military presence.

“The response to the request took too long, so I think there needs to be a study done to make sure that never happens again,” Walker said. “It shouldn’t take three hours to get a “yes” or “no” answer to an urgent request.”

That account was consistent with the recollection of Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, who told lawmakers last week that he was “stunned” by the delayed response. Contee said Sund pleaded with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting escalated.

Walker’s testimony, however, conflicts a bit with timelines that were put out and discussed by senior military and defense leaders in the weeks after the riot.

According to the Defense Department, Walker was called at 3 p.m. by Army officials, and was told to prepare Guard troops to deploy. That call was designed to give the Guard notice of the impending deployment so they would have time to move troops from their traffic posts to the armory where they would get new orders, protective equipment and weapons.

The Pentagon said Miller, the acting Defense secretary, gave verbal authorization for the Guard troops to deploy at about 4:30 p.m., and that at 5:02 p.m., 154 members of the D.C. Guard left the armory, heading to the Capitol.

The Capitol Police had also indicated days earlier that they would not seek National Guard help, and in letters to Walker, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser laid out the city’s request for help and made it clear there would be restrictions on the Guard members.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said during a break in the hearing that senators “certainly will have questions” for Miller and for former Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.

“Whether that’s going to require testimony or not, I don’t know, but it’s definitely going to require an opportunity to ask them questions about their view, from their perspective, of why this decision-making process went so horribly wrong,” Blunt said.

At last week’s hearing, officials in charge of Capitol security blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting.”

Either gross incompetence or a deliberate delay on the part of the Defense Department!

Tony

Jane Coaston: Trumpism Has No Heirs – The King is Dead, Long Live the King!

Opinion: First a strongman, now a king – Donald Trump has become America's  modern monarch - The Globe and Mail

Photo illustration: The Globe and Mail; Source images: Reuters/iStock

Dear Commons Community,

Jane Coaston, host of Opinion’s podcast The Argument, has an op-ed in today’s New York Times entitled, Trumpism Has No Heirs, that examines the state of the Republican Party and where it may be heading in the future.  Her central thesis is that no one can replace Trumpism other than Trump mainly because Trumpism is Trump.  To quote:

“While populist nationalism exists, its existence does not depend on any one individual. Trumpism does. In reality, there is no such thing as Trumpism. “Trumpism” is a retconning of Mr. Trump’s rise to the presidency, a version of the story in which his myriad statements and outbursts and tweets were based on a foundational policy and not on whatever he happened to be thinking about at that moment. What Mr. Trump was for was Donald Trump, and what Trumpism is, is Donald Trump.”

Her conclusion:

“If Mr. Trump were not key to the future of Trumpism, there would be no need to storm the Capitol to attempt to seize an election victory from the jaws of clear defeat. A successor would be found who could carry the mantle without the baggage of being Donald Trump. But a movement conservatism centered on Trumpism is a movement centered on Donald Trump, and no imitation can suffice. So while movement conservatism can center on what it opposes most for now, what movement conservatism is for remains very clear: It is for Donald Trump.”

In a sense, the Republican Party has to define or redefine itself and find new leaders who espouse a conservative Republican philosophy without the Trumpism style/brand OR continue forward with Trump himself!

The entire op-ed is below.

Tony

——————————————————-

 The New York Times

Trumpism Has No Heirs

By Jane Coaston

March 3, 2021

Believe it or not, the Republican Party is ideally positioned for at least the next two years. As the opposition party, it will not be expected to offer solutions to the country’s myriad problems, much less introduce substantive legislation. It will not be expected to do anything except what it does best — oppose the Democratic administration and the Democratic Party.

But the spirit of opposition that much of the Republican Party feels so at home inhabiting exposes the Achilles’ heel of movement conservatism, the weakness that stands to doom the party’s efforts to “move on” from Donald Trump. While many who proudly call themselves conservatives agree about what conservatism is not, there is no such consensus on what conservatism is.

Because of this, even when holding power, movement conservatism is fundamentally an opposition movement. This impulse served it well when it stood in opposition to President Barack Obama, and correspondingly, to everything he seemingly represented. But Donald Trump’s candidacy exploited conservatism’s glaring lack of a central motivating force.

Unlike the 16 candidates he faced during the Republican primary, Mr. Trump grasped the simple idea that many things voters — even in a Republican primary — want may not align with conservative bromides about “personal responsibility” and “limited government.”

“Fiscally conservative” conservatism may hold the idea of government-provided health care or payments aimed at family formation at arm’s length (for fear of “enabling dependency”), but many voters don’t. The conservatism that was seemingly agreed upon by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute and National Review was not the conservatism that Mr. Trump sold to the American people.

Mitt Romney campaigned in 2012 on being “severely conservative” and lost. Mr. Trump campaigned on a self-serving redefinition of what it even means to be conservative and won. After all, as Mr. Trump told ABC News in early 2016, “this is called the Republican Party, it’s not called the Conservative Party.”

But what Mr. Trump was for, and what his voters supported, was not the populist nationalism generally associated with “Trumpism.” Populist nationalism has a long history in this country. Paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan, the former Nixon assistant and political commentator, have espoused a blend of America First isolationist foreign policy rhetoric and distrust of perceived culture and political “elites” for decades.

While populist nationalism exists, its existence does not depend on any one individual. Trumpism does. In reality, there is no such thing as Trumpism. “Trumpism” is a retconning of Mr. Trump’s rise to the presidency, a version of the story in which his myriad statements and outbursts and tweets were based on a foundational policy and not on whatever he happened to be thinking about at that moment. What Mr. Trump was for was Donald Trump, and what Trumpism is, is Donald Trump. Put another way: Had Mr. Trump run for the presidency as a “severely conservative” nominee, he probably would have won the nomination just the same.

He did not have a coherent policy platform, because he was the policy platform, the middle finger to perceived enemies and the bulwark against real or imagined progressive assault. Many Republican presidents would have moved the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem or supported a capital-gains tax cut or attempted to wage a Kulturkampf against “cancel culture” or any other wedge issue that provided an unwinnable and unlosable political war to be fought in the Twitter trenches. It is telling that as president, Mr. Trump became a remarkably standard Republican on many issues (his opposition to raising the minimum wage, for example) and received no penalty from his voters or allies. He did not need to fulfill the promises of Trumpism to win their support. He merely needed to be Donald Trump.

Whether movement conservatism can mean more than fealty to Mr. Trump is a question that is important not just to the Republican Party, but also to the future of the country. On “The Argument,” I spoke with The Times’s Ross Douthat and National Review’s Michael Brendan Dougherty on the possibility of a Trumpism without Trump, but I am dubious about its prospects. Back in 2019, I talked with the conservative writer Rod Dreher, and he told me that unlike any other Republican challenger, Mr. Trump could serve as a “kind of katechon — a force that holds back something much worse.” The word “katechon” originates from the Apostle Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians, featured in the New Testament — where the force is holding back the revelation of the Antichrist. This concept of Trumpism — Trumpism as bulwark — requires Mr. Trump.

Movement conservatism has indeed found a focal point, a forward direction — but it is a person who now serves as the movement’s center of gravity. Polling conducted by CBS News found that 33 percent of Republicans would leave the party for a new party formed by Mr. Trump, and 37 percent said they would “maybe” join. That makes Trumpism — and therefore, Donald Trump — inextricable from the Republican Party. No wonder then that Mr. Trump spent part of his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference excoriating his perceived enemies — other Republicans — to wild applause, making it all the more clear that the Republicans in attendance had chosen between a person and their party.

If Mr. Trump were not key to the future of Trumpism, there would be no need to storm the Capitol to attempt to seize an election victory from the jaws of clear defeat. A successor would be found who could carry the mantle without the baggage of being Donald Trump. But a movement conservatism centered on Trumpism is a movement centered on Donald Trump, and no imitation can suffice. So while movement conservatism can center on what it opposes most for now, what movement conservatism is for remains very clear: It is for Donald Trump.

 

The Chronicle of Higher Education Asks “Why Haven’t More Colleges Closed?”

College Closings Signal Start of a Crisis in Higher Education | Education  News | US News

Dear Commons Community,

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article this morning with the provocative title, Why Haven’t More Colleges Closed?  Without a doubt the pandemic has pulled the rug out from many colleges that already were struggling financially and pushed them to the brink.  Prognosticators have been predicting doom, gloom  and mass shutterings. That hasn’t happened, but other enormous changes are underway.  As a side note, 86 colleges have closed or merged since 2016.  The article comments that higher education is proving to be durable and the vast majority of colleges will survive the current crisis.  However, it is still early and we are already seeing dramatic reductions in personnel, proposed consolidations, and significant increases in online instruction. 

The author of the article takes an optimistic view.  Let’s hope she is right!

The entire article is below!

Tony

——————————————————-

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Why Haven’t More Colleges Closed?

By Rebecca S. Natow

March 1, 2021

Last spring’s abrupt, pandemic-induced pivot to virtual learning led to tremendous financial disruption for colleges. The educational technology came with a lofty price tag. So did retrofitting campuses to comply with public-health guidance, with needs for plexiglass dividers, extra campus cleanings, and personal protective equipment — to say nothing of smartphone screening apps and the cost of Covid testing itself.

There were housing refunds to process, reduced revenues from flat or even decreased tuition pricing, and widespread enrollment declines. State governments threatened enormous funding cuts, and sometimes followed through, exacerbating a troubling pre-pandemic trend. The economic losses have been steep — one estimate comes in at $183 billion — and although the federal government has provided stimulus funding with more likely on the way, the amount seems certain to fall far short of the $120 billion advocates sought.

Observers were quick to grasp the enormousness of Covid’s effects on our sector. Last March, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its financial outlook for higher ed, citing the pandemic as a cause for the change. In the pages of The Chronicle and elsewhere, experts like Robert Kelchen, Robert Zemsky, and William R. Doyle sounded dire notes. Existential perils loomed, it seemed; mass college closures appeared imminent. Zemsky told The Wall Street Journal in April that the toll could be as high as 200 closures in a year. In Forbes, Richard Vedder wrote that more colleges were vulnerable to closure now “than at any other time in American history” in an article headlined “Why The Coronavirus Will Kill 500-1,000 Colleges.” Last January, John Kroger, a former president of Reed College, predicted 100 small-college closures over the course of a decade. By May, he had revised that estimate upward: “More than 750 to 1,000” such schools would now “go under.”

Two hundred closures, 500, 1,000 — these predictions steeled us for the worst. So what has the cost been so far? How many colleges have shuttered?

Ten — at least that’s the number of permanent closures or consolidations between the beginning of March 2020 and the end of January 2021 according to Higher Ed Dive, which has been tracking college closure announcements. The prognosticators have been wrong, so far — off by factors of 10 or 20 or nearly 100, though in fairness, some predictions were for longer time periods.

These 10 have been small, private institutions, and were often in deep financial trouble before the pandemic. MacMurray College, in Illinois, said the coronavirus’s disruptions were “not the principal reasons” for closure. Pine Manor College, in Massachusetts, began a phased two-year handoff to Boston College to let current and incoming students avoid disruption. The Pacific Northwest College of Art is on track to become part of nearby Willamette University, in Oregon.

These changes are lamentable for the faculty, staff, students, and administrators directly affected, but collectively they represent more of a glancing blow than the direct asteroid hit many pundits predicted. Why?

First, a few caveats. For one thing, it’s still early. A year is a short amount of time in the lifespan of colleges that have existed, in some cases, for centuries. Closures and consolidations take often years of planning to bring about. Also, the significant federal stimulus to colleges may be propping some up just for now, and a wave of closures is possible if such funding disappears. Still, the fact remains that the pandemic has not driven a large number of colleges past their breaking points, at least not yet.

Some of what’s happening fits a longstanding pattern. Should the past year’s predictions of doom remain off target, they will be in good company. Prognosticators like the late Clayton Christensen and Earl Cheit predicted the demise of large segments of higher ed years ago, to no avail. As it turns out, colleges are remarkably durable.

Before our very eyes we’re witnessing an enormous, slow-motion change.

In a 2017 article in the American Educational History Journal, the University of Memphis associate professor R. Eric Platt and colleagues observed that during the Great Depression, only about 2 percent of U.S. colleges closed, and an even smaller number merged with other institutions. As the American Council on Education’s Phil Muehlenbeck and Karina Pineda wrote in 2019, some of the institutions that struggled in the 1970s, including Boston College and New York University, are now among the nation’s most well-regarded. In a November 2020 study, Robert Kelchen found that among private colleges with risk factors for failure, a wide majority were still operating four years later. The story here is that American colleges are strikingly resilient: Even in extremely grim economic contexts they rarely close — and even when they have the sorts of risk factors associated with closure.

It is true that a large number of for-profit colleges (more than 1,000 according to a 2019 article) have permanently closed in recent years. As relative newcomers to the higher-education sector, for-profit institutions tend not to have the deep roots or many of the institutional trappings possessed by a lot of their nonprofit counterparts, which are factors in institutional longevity. Moreover, for-profit institutions have seen their enrollments rise substantially in recent months, indicating a possible turnaround for the sector that may prevent further closures.

While institutions may survive, not everything about them will. Institutional evolution is an important part of institutional survival. That is, although many more institutions than expected are likely to survive the current crisis, they are also likely to adopt fundamental changes to adapt to resource scarcity, changing markets, and the new competitive environment. As Platt and colleagues have noted, colleges throughout history have survived economic and other crises by rebranding themselves, not infrequently following a merger of two or more institutions into one. For instance, two New Orleans institutions in 1930 merged to rebrand as Dillard University. More recently, Southern New Hampshire University successfully rebranded itself from a small, private, regional college to a global distance-learning provider, enrolling over 130,000 students.

Back in 1990, the economist David W. Breneman observed that liberal-arts colleges had expanded their curricular offerings in response to market pressure to adopt more “professional” degree programs, such as business, education, engineering, and health professions.

In recent decades, increasing numbers of colleges have developed fully online course offerings in response to changing market demands. Some colleges have entered into partnerships with business and industry to help increase enrollments, for example, by providing skills training for employees of corporate partners or by working with external firms that specialize in recruiting and serving international students.

Colleges have also reduced or transformed certain programs and practices in response to evolving environments — as well as to reduce their costs. For example, over the years, the proportion of tenure-line faculty has declined while the proportion of lower-cost contingent faculty has increased. Colleges have also eliminated or restructured departments and degree programs to make their offerings more marketable to prospective students. In short, institutions have proved they are willing to make adjustments, reorganizations, and even substantial cuts to lower expenses and keep up with market demand. This willingness to adapt has no doubt been a factor in keeping many colleges financially afloat.

If history is a guide, the vast majority of colleges will survive the current crisis.

Colleges have generally been reluctant to drift too far from institutionalized practices that have been embraced by the sector for ages, such as tenure. And with good reason: Organizational scholars argue that holding onto such practices provides institutional legitimacy, which can in turn bring more resources to an organization. However, as the examples described above demonstrate, colleges have shown a greater willingness to adapt to new circumstances than stereotypes about the sector’s rigidity and reluctance to change would suggest.

Although most traditional institutions will survive the pandemic largely unscathed, many will adapt to the post-Covid “new normal” by instituting new policies or programs and by eliminating others. For example, Stanford University recently eliminated 11 varsity sports programs; the University of Vermont terminated its entire departments of classics, geology, and religion; and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas recently announced the addition of a new graduate program in cybersecurity, to address a growing demand for technologists. While being among the first to make such changes may invite shock and even resistance, the changes will most likely become more accepted over time — part of the new normal.

Such changes are plenty painful. Sadly, higher education has already experienced a large number of cuts in faculty and staff employment in response to pandemic-related financial losses, both current and projected. Some institutions have cut back on employee retirement benefits. And as noted above, consolidations of two or more colleges have also been announced or are being considered. More cost-saving measures are likely to come, at least until college leaders have more clarity about the market demand for higher education in the months and years ahead.

Institutions are also likely to expand curricular offerings in post-pandemic high-demand fields, such as health professions and technology. Also, because colleges have invested so heavily in distance learning during the pandemic, expect institutions to continue to expand their online course and degree offerings even after the need for socially distant teaching subsides. Before our very eyes, we’re witnessing an enormous, slow-motion change: The academy is becoming a more frugal employer, a more virtual entity, and less of a home to the traditional liberal arts — again, extending trends that were already present before the arrival of Covid.

This, it seems, is change enough for now. If history is a guide, the vast majority of colleges will survive the current crisis, as they have survived many other difficult periods in the past. It will be up to us to ensure that higher-education institutions — in their post-pandemic, altered forms — remain true to the important missions of centering student learning, producing valuable research, and adeptly serving their communities.

 

FBI Director Chris Wray views Capitol riot as ‘domestic terrorism’ and affirms Antifa Activists not involved!

FBI Director Chris Wray reacts to DOJ watchdog report on Russia  investigation: Exclusive - ABC News

FBI Director Chris Wray

Dear Commons Community,

FBI Director Chris Wray condemned the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol as “domestic terrorism” yesterday as he defended the bureau’s handling of intelligence indicating the prospect for violence. He told lawmakers the information was properly shared with other law enforcement agencies even though it was raw and unverified.

Wray’s comments in his first public appearance before Congress since the deadly Capitol attack two months ago amounted to the FBI’s most vigorous defense against the suggestion that it had not adequately communicated to police agencies that there was a distinct possibility of violence as lawmakers were gathering to certify the results of the presidential election.

FBI Director Christopher Wray yesterday also repeatedly shot down claims by Republican allies of former President Donald Trump and others that Antifa activists participated in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

“We have not to date seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to Antifa in connection with the 6th,” Wray said in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “That doesn’t mean we’re not looking, and we’ll continue to look, but at the moment we have not seen that.”

Wray explained that those who participated in the breach of the Capitol fell into two main groups of violent extremists — those associated with militia groups, such as Oath Keepers, and those who advocate white supremacy.

Wray’s comments came after Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the committee, spent much of his opening remarks focused not on the right-wing extremists who attacked the Capitol in January, but on left-wing extremists, such as the anti-fascist, or Antifa, movement. Grassley referred to how far-left protesters vandalized a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, in the summer and the state Democratic Party headquarters during President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“We must examine the issue of domestic terrorism broadly, very broadly, to include all forms of political extremism, domestic terrorism, wherever it falls on the political spectrum,” Grassley said. “No serious oversight activity and no other policy decisions can be made without doing both.”

Trump and many of his allies have repeatedly claimed that Antifa activists were responsible for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. At a hearing last week, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., read from an article that falsely blamed the violence at the Capitol on Antifa, “fake Trump protesters” and “provocateurs.” A recent Suffolk University/USA Today poll found that 58 percent of Republicans believe the Capitol riot to have been “mostly an Antifa-inspired attack that only involved a few Trump supporters.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in his opening statement that violence across the political spectrum, including the vandalism at the federal courthouse in Portland, “should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

“But it is not equivalent to a violent attempt to overturn the results of elections, nor is it equivalent to mass shootings targeting minority communities,” he said. “This false equivalency is an insult to the brave police officers who were injured or lost their lives on Jan. 6, as well as dozens of others who’ve been murdered in white supremacist attacks.”

Well-stated Senator Durbin!

Tony