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When the Nazis began burning books in May 1933, they claimed the books were “un-German.” Joseph Goebbels, “chief propagandist,” delivered an incendiary speech claiming “No to decadence and moral corruption!”

The Gleichschaltung, as it was called, was an effort to cleanse German arts of culture that didn’t align with Nazi ideology, focusing particularly on books by Jewish, liberal, and leftist authors—a bellwether of censorship and control that ultimately led to the murder of six million Jews.

Fast-forward to a Tennessee pastor who organized a book burning with his congregation Wednesday, citing his church’s right to "burn occultic materials that they deem are a threat to their religious rights and freedoms and belief system."

The event took place in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, at the Global Vision Bible Church, which is led by the extreme right-wing conspiracy theorist Pastor Greg Locke.

Locke is a notorious anti-vaxxer and anti-masker. He’s has called COVID-19 “nonsense” and the pandemic “fake,” according to Fox affiliate WZTV-Nashville.

As reported by Nashville Scene, Locke delivered a sermon before the burning, directing parishioners to throw young adult titles such as J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and Stephanie Meyer's Twilight into a large bonfire on the basis that the titles promote "witchcraft.”

”We have a constitutional right and a Biblical right to do what we're going to do tonight," Locke said. "We have a burn permit, but even without one a church has a religious right to burn occultic materials that they deem are a threat to their religious rights and freedoms and belief system."

The Nashville Scene also reported that one counter-protester claimed that he threw a Bible into the fire while holding tightly to copies of Fahrenheit 451 and On the Origin of Species. Published in 1953, Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 depicts a dystopian American future wherein books are outlawed, and "firemen" are tasked with burning any books they find.


A local Mt. Juliet resident told Daily Kos that no one should just brush this event off as just a “local church, local pastor.”

“Locke has over 2 million followers. He live-streamed the January 6 insurrection. He regularly tours the state with elected officials and Roger Stone spoke at the church,” Sarah Moore said. She adds, “It’s not just Locke or Trump, but the people who support them who scare me.”

Locke threw himself into hellish hot water last week after suggesting during a sermon that autism, epilepsy, and other mental health disorders are actually demon possession.

A clip of Locke’s controversial sermon “ Desperate for Deliverance” went viral, and the comment section blew up by Christians and non-Christians alike.


Locke’s book-burning party comes just a week after the McMinn County, Tennessee, school board issued a statement defending its removal of Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus to teach eighth-graders about the Holocaust.

A truly concerning number of conservatives have jumped on the train of trying to get books banned from school and public libraries, if not outright calling for texts to be burned. In addition to Tennessee, books have been banned in the Granbury Independent School District in Texas and pulled from shelves in Polk County, Florida.

“The McMinn County Board of Education voted to remove the graphic novel Maus from McMinn County Schools because of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide.”

Tennessee children live in a state with the tenth-highest teen birth rate of any state, the tenth-highest homicide mortality rate, the third-highest violent crime rate, and the ninth-highest poverty rate.

But Locke is worried about witchcraft and the school board is worried about profanity in a book about the world’s most horrific examples of extremism.

“Orwellian” was one of the choice words Spiegelman had to describe a Tennessee school board’s unanimous decision to ban Maus. “I’m kind of baffled by this,” Spiegelman told CNBC, and “It’s leaving me with my jaw open, like, ‘What?’”

We are all Spiegelman.

Just for the record, one of the books that was torched by Nazis was by Helen Keller, an American author “whose belief in social justice encouraged her to champion disabled persons, pacifism, improved conditions for industrial workers, and women's voting rights,” the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum writes.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

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