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Reprinted with permission from DailyKos
The next time that right-wing gaslighters—whether Tucker Carlson or other far-right pundits, or Republican congressmen—try to valorize the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by depicting them as harmless protesters, it might be helpful for everyone to review the case of Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola, charged with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, assault, and multiple other felonies.
The bearded Pezzola, a 44-year-old Rochester, New York, man, is a familiar figure in photos from January 6 as the man who stole a police riot shield and used it to break windows on the south side of the Capitol. He was in court again this week in an attempt to win pretrial release from the D.C. Detention Center, and evidence released in that hearing demonstrate once again how violent and dangerous the insurrectionists were in reality.According to a memorandum filed by prosecutors in the detention hearing this week, among the evidence in his case was a USB thumb drive containing instructions on building homemade bombs, as well as guns and poisons, The Daily Beast reports.
Pezzola was one of the leaders in the Proud Boys' assault on the Capitol, prosecutors allege, along with fellow indictees Ethan Nordean and Joe Biggs, who have made similar legal attempts to obtain pretrial release. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison on the obstruction charge alone.
FBI agents searching Pezzola's home found the thumb drive there, and discovered "hundreds" of PDF files with instructions on building terrorist devices at home. "A sample of titles includes, but is not limited to: multiple serials of a series entitled 'Advanced Improvised Explosives,' those serials including 'Explosive Dusts' and 'Incendiaries'; 'The Box Tube MAC-11,' with subtitle, 'The Ultimate DIY Machine Pistol;' 'Ragnar's Big Book of Homemade Weapons;' 'The Advanced Anarchist's Arsenal: Recipes For Improvised Incendiaries And Explosives.'"
Prosecutors allege Pezzola confronted Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman outside the Senate Chamber as part of a mob. "Where they meeting at?" Pezzola said, referring to the members of Congress voting to certify Joe Biden's win. "Where they counting the votes?"
In an earlier document filed in August, prosecutors claimed that Pezzola explicitly proclaimed in a video shot inside the Capitol that his intent was to interrupt the count:
Pezzola uploaded a victory speech to social media. Smoking a cigar, he exclaimed: "Victory smoke in the Capitol, boys. This is fucking awesome. I knew we could take this motherfucker over [if we] just tried hard enough." Pezzola concedes that he smoked the victory cigar because "he considered the objective achieved, stopping the certification of the election pursuant to the instructions of the then President."
Pezzola's previous attorney had written in court filings that he believed a so-called "cooperating witness" was sharing information about the Proud Boys. An earlier filing by prosecutors had revealed that this witness heard Proud Boys members claim that "anyone they got their hands on they would have killed," including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and that they would have also killed then-Vice President Mike Pence "if given the chance." The men—who all had firearms or access to them—also talked about returning to Washington for Inauguration Day, and that "they plan to kill every single 'm-fer' they can." That witness, prosecutors noted, has not been charged with a crime.
His previous attempts at winning release on bond denied by two different federal judges, Pezzola hired a new legal team to make a third attempt. Those attorneys, Marty Tankleff and Steven Metcalf, argued in court this week that the restrictions the D.C. Jail places on his access to the voluminous evidence in the case violate his constitutional rights.
However, they seem not to have persuaded the judge: "Even if defense were to be able to show a Constitutional violation in the way he's being detained, the remedy wouldn't be to release him, the remedy would be to remedy the Constitutional violations," Federal Judge Timothy Kelly said.
"Pezzola poses both a serious danger to the community and a serious risk of flight," prosecutors argued.
Just a reminder, once again, that there's a reason prosecutors are considering charges of "seditionist conspiracy" against some of these conspirators—and why "insurrection" is precisely the right term to describe what they attempted that day.
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy falsely claimed on Monday that President Joe Biden's spending plan would add $5 trillion to the national debt. But he has previously acknowledged that it is funded by raising taxes on the rich and corporations.
On Fox News, the California Republican slammed the proposed Build Back Better plan — which would invest about $3.5 trillion in climate change, clean energy, health care, paid leave, child care, and free community college and pre-K — and the $550 billion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act."
McCarthy charged that the bill was funded "by putting a debt onto the next generation of Americans. That's how it's paid for."
When McCarthy was asked whether any Republican would join the Democratic majority in voting to address the debt ceiling and avert a national default, he answered, "There won't be [any]. They [Democrats] want to add another $5 trillion just this week.
"Our debt as we speak today is $28 trillion. We've got about another two to sell and they want to add another five," McCarthy added.
But McCarthy is way off on these numbers.
The cost of the bipartisan infrastructure plan — which passed the Senate 69-30 in August and would invest billions in transportation, water systems, broadband, and electrical grid infrastructure — is at least partially offset by savings and additional revenue. According to a partial analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, more than half of it is paid for.
And Biden has repeatedly promised that the $3.5 trillion plan would be paid for by increasing taxes on corporations and those making $400,000 or more annually. "It adds zero dollars to the national debt," he tweeted on Saturday.
In an April press release denouncing "Biden's radical tax and spend agenda," McCarthy claimed Biden "plans to 'Build Back Better' by growing the government, raising taxes on American families and investments, destroying jobs, and saddling future generations with a massive debt — an agenda that will inevitably crush economic opportunity."
In May, McCarthy accused Biden of "proposing the largest tax increase in American history, including making our corporate tax rate the highest in the world."
The United States added $7.8 trillion to the national debt during former President Donald Trump's time in office — much of it with support from Republicans in Congress. In 2019, McCarthy and a bipartisan House majority opted to suspend the debt limit for the remainder of Trump's term.
The GOP's 2017 tax cut plan, which largely benefited the wealthiest Americans, increased the same budget shortfalls by severely cutting tax revenue. In 2018, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the Republican tax cuts would add roughly $1.9 trillion to the federal deficit between 2018 and 2028.
"In 2017, Republicans lowered taxes & let you keep more of your own money," McCarthy tweeted earlier this month. "Now, Democrats want to take America backward. They are going to vote to raise your taxes so they can spend more on socialist pet projects."
The proposed debt limit increase is not about paying for the new plans; it is needed to allow the government to pay for the commitments made already by this and previous Congresses and for the interest on the debt already accrued.
According to a recent report from Moody's Analytics, failure to address the debt ceiling could cost the nation's economy up to 6 million jobs, reduce household wealth by nearly $15 trillion, and increase the unemployment rate from five percent to nine percent.
A McCarthy spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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