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Oregon Legislator Charged After Letting Trumpist Rioters Into State Capitol

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Video shows a Republican state lawmaker in Oregon opening a door to the State Capitol last year to let rioters in, but he was only recently charged with misdemeanor offenses despite his decision making way for a faceoff between demonstrators and police officers. Rep. Mike Nearman was caught on surveillance video in the incident last December 21 and charged last Friday with second-degree trespassing and first-degree official misconduct, according to court documents multiple news outlets obtained.

"He literally opened the door so rioters could enter the state capitol - and they charged him with misdemeanors," civil rights and criminal defense attorney Rebecca Kavanagh tweeted late Sunday. And yet, prosecutors will charge Black and Brown people with serious felonies in a heartbeat if they're even present at the scene of a crime."

Marion County prosecutors accused Nearman, "a public servant," in court documents of "unlawfully and knowingly" performing "an act which constituted an unauthorized exercise of his official duties, with intent to obtain a benefit or to harm another." With about 150 protesters gathered outside, the surveillance video shows Nearman letting demonstrators into the state building who wore no masks and held signs in support of President Donald Trump. More than 30 protesters made their way inside the building, Oregon state's legislative administrator told The New York Times. At least five rioters were arrested and one man charged allegedly for spraying bear spray on officers during the incident, according to The Associated Press.

Nearman is the same conservative legislator who tried to pressure the state attorney general into joining a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn results of the 2020 presidential election, the newspaper reported. He sued Gov. Kate Brown because she had the audacity to put COVID-19 restrictions in place to protect her constituents, and he has advocated for requirements attempting to force voters to prove citizenship to vote. In short, he's a racist.

Nearman is scheduled for court May 11 and has already been removed from committee assignments, The Denver Gazette reported. Democrats called Nearman's actions "completely unacceptable, reckless, and so severe that it will affect people's ability to feel safe working in the Capitol or even for the legislature" in a formal complaint they filed in January. "Rep. Nearman put every person in the Capitol in serious danger and created fear among Capitol staff and legislators," state House Speaker Tina Kotek tweeted on Friday. "I called on him to resign in January and renew my call in light of today's charges."

Nearman, who hasn't responded to charges filed against him, issued a statement The Denver Gazetteo btained upon the initial release of video of the lawmaker on January13. In his statement, he accused Kotek of deliberately releasing the footage after the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and he attempted to defend his support of Oregon insurrectionists.

"I don't condone violence nor participate in it," Nearman said in the statement. "I do think that when Article IV, Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution says that the legislative proceedings shall be 'open,' it means open, and as anyone who has spent the last nine months staring at a screen doing virtual meetings will tell you, it's not the same thing as being open."

Arizona ‘Audit’ Bolsters 2020 Lies -- And GOP's Growing Insurrection Caucus

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The GOP likes to pretend that the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol in January armed with former President Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claims of election fraud don't represent the Republican party, and I understand why. Association with an attempted coup is never a positive link for a national political party, but with each passing month, there are new indicators that those insurrectionists are not the political outliers Republicans contend they are.

A new CNN poll found that of the 1,004 people interviewed, 70 percent of Republicans don't think President Joe Biden won the election despite him winning both the popular and Electoral College votes. Asked was he disappointed Trump lost the election, a demonstrator at a rally for former WWE wrestler Dan "Big Dan" Rodimer's congressional campaign told CNN he was "disappointed in the lack of truth and the election fraud that took place within it." As if Trump had somehow inhabited his body, the demonstrator referenced hoped-for results of a recount of 2.1 million ballots in Arizona's most populous county, Maricopa County. "And it's coming out right now in Arizona, and it's going to be a domino effect to the truth moving forward," the demonstrator said. "What happens after that I don't know, but I know that the truth is there's only so many voters that are in one county that can vote, and the numbers far exceed that. It's common sense mathematics." No, actually it's false hope and lies.

Maricopa County has 2.6 million registered voters. Just fewer than 2.1 million of them voted in the 2020 presidential election, and 49.8% of them voted for Biden, according to the Maricopa County Elections Department. Still, now more than 100 days into the new president's first term, Trump is zeroing in on any flicker of hope election results could sway in his favor, The Washington Post reported on Thursday. The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate is giving him exactly that flicker he desires in its decision to turn over election results to a private contractor led by a Trump conspiracy theorist at Cyber Ninjas.

The Post described a former president "ensconced at his private club in Florida" repeatedly questioning aides about the process underway in Arizona. He's especially interested in UV lights to used to evaluate the ballots—"a method that has bewildered election experts, who say it could damage the votes," ThePost reported. "He talks about it constantly," an unnamed source told the Post.

Trump suggested to a crowd of supporters on Thursday at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida that there was something to find from scrutinizing ballots cast in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. "Let's see what they find," the former president said. "I wouldn't be surprised if they found thousands and thousands and thousands of votes, so we're going to watch that very closely."

Cindy McCain, a businesswoman and widow of late Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, called the whole process underway in Arizona "ludicrous" on CNN Sunday. "The election is over. Biden won," she said. "I know many of them don't like the outcome, but you know elections have consequences."

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican by the way, told The Washington Post she is "very concerned" about the ramifications Arizona's process could have for every state. "This is politicizing an administrative process with no real structure or laws or rules in place to guide how it goes," Wyman said. "Every time in the future the party in control loses, they will use some post-election administrative process to call it into question, and people will no longer have confidence that we have fair elections." Gabriel Sterling, a top election official in Georgia who also happens to be Republican, tweeted on Tuesday that Arizona's audit is "another step in undermining confidence in elections. "This process is neither transparent nor, likely, legal," he added in the tweet. "Any "findings" will be highly suspect now that chain of custody has been violated by partisan actors."

GOP Senators Underestimated Stacey Abrams — And Got An Earful

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

File this under asked and answered. Former Georgia House minority leader and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams trended much of the day on Wednesday after Republican Sen. John Kennedy questioned whether she thought a restrictive voting bill signed into law last month is racist. "I think there are provisions of it that are racist, yes," the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate answered. Abrams was speaking during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights on Tuesday when Kennedy made the mistake of asking her for a list of the provisions she objects to in the Georgia legislation.

The former state legislator, who is nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize for her work to register voters of color in Georgia was perfectly prepared to fulfill Kennedy's request.

"It shortens the federal run-off period from nine weeks to four weeks," Abrams said. "It restricts the time a voter can request and return an absentee ballot application.

"It requires that a voter have a photo identification or some other form of identification that they're willing to surrender in order to participate in the absentee ballot process. It eliminates ..." Apparently seeing that she wasn't the stumbling, ill-equipped naysayer he might've assumed she was, Kennedy cut Abrams off to ask her other questions. Then he cut her off again when she attempted to answer them. "What else? What else?" the Louisiana Republican demanded. Abrams ignored the slights and just kept listing.

"It eliminates over 300 hours of drop box availability," she said. Kennedy responded with a hurried, "Okay, what else?"

"It bans nearly all out-of-precinct votes," Abrams said, "meaning that if you get to a precinct and you are in line for four hours and you get to the end of the line and you are not there between 5 and 7 PM, you have to start all over again."

Kennedy interrupted: "Is that everything?"

"No it is not. No, sir," Abrams responded with a chuckle. "It restricts the hours of operation because it now, under the guise of setting a standardized timeline, it makes it optional for counties that may not want to see expanded access to the right to vote. They can now limit their hours. Instead of those hours being from 7 to 7, they're now from 9 to 5, which may have an effect on voters who can not vote during business hours during early voting. It limits the voting hours ..."

Kennedy interrupted yet again. "Okay, I get the idea. I get the idea," he said.

Georgia Democrats had been fighting elements of the bill spread among other proposed legislation in the state for months when Republicans decided in the final days of the legislative session to hijack a tangentially related piece of legislation. They turned a two-page bill to make sure eligible voters didn't repeatedly receive absentee ballot applications into nearly 100 pages of voter suppression tactics. "The GOP just won't stop when it comes to making it harder for Georgians to vote," the Democratic Party of Georgia said in an earlier statement.

Abrams told Republican Sen. John Cornyn at the same committee hearing that she thought Georgia lawmakers made "deliberate attempts to suppress the minority vote."

When asked if she thought the law in question was a "racist piece of legislation," she responded that she did indeed. "I think there are components of it that are indeed racist because they use racial animus as a means of targeting the behaviors of certain voters to eliminate their participant and limit their participation in elections," Abrams said.

Mike Huckabee Tweets Weirdly Racist Attack On ‘Chinese’ —And Gets Hosed Down

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Former Arkansas Governor and Baptist minister Mike Huckabee chose Easter weekend to sink to an unimaginable low, practically spitting in the face of Asian American communities, apparently because Republicans lost a presidential election. Democrats argue that the 2020 defeat, coupled with twin losses in Senate runoff elections in Georgia. triggered more restrictive voting laws throughout the country and especially in the Peach State, where a recently passed law makes it illegal to give water and food to voters standing in line to cast ballots. Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian and Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey spoke out against the law and Major League Baseball vowed to move its 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta because of the law.

Applying the usual nonsensical GOP logic, Huckabee decided those moves were somehow connected to an outpouring of support for Asian Americans following a spike in racist and violent acts against the community. "I've decided to 'identify' as Chinese," he tweeted sarcastically on Saturday. "Coke will like me, Delta will agree with my 'values' and I'll probably get shoes from Nike & tickets to @MLB games. Ain't America great?"

The tweet earned Huckabee well-earned criticism on social media. Rep. Ted Lieu tweeted on Saturday: "Hey Mike Huckabee, I asked around and Coke likes me, Delta agrees with my values, I wear Nikes and my hometown Dodgers won the World Series. But it's not because of my ethnicity. It's because I'm not a sh*thead like you who is adding fuel to anti-Asian hate. #StopAAPIHate" Comedian John Fugelsang tweeted: "Yes except for the part where racist Mike Huckabee fans accuse you of spreading a virus."

Democrat Jake Lobin tweeted: "I can't believe Mike Huckabee's job has been to actually govern people. Holy shit." Author and unitarian pastor John Pavlovitz tweeted: "Mike Huckabee motivated me to do this work. The day of the Sandy Hook shooting he inexplicably used the murder of children to spread a cancerous religion. It made me realize as a pastor that I needed to explicitly oppose monsters like him who bastardize my faith tradition."

"He and his party are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and adversarial to diverse humanity," Pavlovitz added in another tweet. "Good people can simply not allow them to steer this nation into the abyss—and we won't."

Black corporate leaders have advocated for other corporations to take a stand against the restrictive new Georgia law, The New York Times reported. "There is no middle ground here," former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault said. "You either are for more people voting, or you want to suppress the vote." His remarks followed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to sign into law a bill state Republicans rushed through the legislature in the final hour, slithering just outside of the public eye after earlier criticism for similarly restrictive voting bills.

With only eight days left in the state legislative session, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Greg Bluestein tweeted that the Georgia House adopted the measure on a party-line vote working to "restrict drop boxes, require voter ID for mail-in ballots and gives the Republican-controlled Legislature more authority over local elections officials." The state Senate followed suit.

Merck pharmaceutical company CEO Kenneth Frazier told The New York Times he and other executives began emailing and texting each other following the passage of Georgia's law. Their goal is to stop other restrictive voting bills from passing across the country. "As African-American business executives, we don't have the luxury of being bystanders to injustice," Frazier said. "We don't have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines when these kinds of injustices are happening all around us."

Lindsey Graham Accuses President Of ‘Playing Race Card’ On HR 1

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Sen. Lindsey Graham seemed to have quite a lot to say on Sunday about President Joe Biden's stance against restrictive voting rights bills like one quickly passed by Georgia's majority-Republican Legislature and signed into law. When taken to task nationally over proposed legislation to ban no-excuse absentee voting and restrict voting on the weekends, GOP lawmakers abandoned those elements not for naught though.

Instead, Republicans quietly turned a two-page bill to make sure eligible voters didn't repeatedly receive absentee ballot applications into what Georgia Democrats called "a 93-page voter suppression omnibus bill." Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Greg Bluestein tweeted that the recently passed policy works to "restrict drop boxes, require voter ID for mail-in ballots and gives the Republican-controlled Legislature more authority over local elections officials." The president called the new Georgia law and similar efforts "un-American" and "sick" at his press conference on Thursday, he dubbed the suppressive legislative push "Jim Crow in the 21st Century" in a statement on Friday.

When asked by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace if Republicans were going too far, Graham responded: "You know what's sick is that the president of the United States to play the race card continuously in such a hypocritical way. He said the fillibuster was a relic of the Jim Crow era." And Biden's not wrong.

Senate Republicans have used the filibuster, an operational instrument requiring 60 votes instead of a simple majority to stall or block a vote, to delay civil rights legislation for decades. "It's been a tool used overwhelmingly by racists," Princeton University race historian Kevin Kruse told Vox magazine. Sen. Harry Reid told the magazine that a modern version of filibuster rules originally unassociated with race was used "consistently" to block civil rights bills.

The filibuster is similarly being used today to block voting rights legislation. In response, Democrats have called for an end to the filibuster, which would otherwise be subject to the limitations of another Senate procedure known as cloture. The Senate defines that tool as "the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster." "When people talk about ending the filibuster, what they really mean is reinterpreting Senate rules around cloture so that legislation could pass by a simple majority instead of being held up by a minority," CNN reported.

Biden had earlier refrained from calling for an end to the filibuster, opting instead for a return to a talking filibuster, in which senators "had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking," the president told ABC News. He signaled at the presser last week that for legislation about rights as fundamental to the democracy as voting, he'd be willing to "go beyond" his fight for a talking filibuster.

Graham seemed to interpret the president's remarks as hypocrisy serving what Graham deemed a "sick" legislative effort in the For the People Act, also known as HR 1.

"So every time a Republican does anything, we're a racist," Graham said. "If you're a white conservative, you're a racist. If you're a Black Republican you're either a prop or a uncle Tom. They use the racism card to advance a liberal agenda, and we're tired of it. HR 1 is sick, not what they're doing in Georgia."

In the same interview, however, Graham acknowledged how ridiculous the Georgia law is, which also makes it a crime to give voters standing in line food or water. "Well, we uh, all I can say is that that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me," Graham said.

The For the People Act, which passed in the House and was introduced in the Senate earlier this month, is aimed at driving out state efforts to undermine voter protections. It would require states to allow automatic voter registration when residents for example get driver's licenses or other services through the Department of Motor Vehicles. It would also "end congressional gerrymandering, overhaul federal campaign finance laws, increase safeguards against foreign interference, (and) strengthen government ethics rules," according to the policy institute, the Brennen Center for Justice.

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams has been tirelessly pushing the legislation as a response to more than 250 legislative bills aiming to peel back voting rights across the country. "Now more than ever, we need federal action to protect voting rights as we continue to fight against these blatantly unconstitutional efforts that are nothing less than Jim Crow 2.0," she tweeted on Thursday.

Sen. Rubio Jumps Line For Vaccine Despite History Of Covid Denial

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

In the true spirit of GOP service, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida showed his support for vaccinating the state's most vulnerable residents by scoring one of those vaccinations in short supply himself. "I know I looked away from the needle. And yes, I know I need a tan But I am so confident that the #Covid19 vaccine is safe & effective that I decided to take it myself," he said in a weekend tweet.

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Loeffler Silent After Ossoff-Warnock Campaigner Suffers Violent Attack

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

It should come as no surprise that the same GOP senator who did nothing as President Donald Trump spread a dangerous denial of his election loss to a Georgia crowd remained silent following a violent attack on a man holding a sign for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Sen. Kelly Loeffler didn't dedicate as much as a social media post to condemn violence Sunday morning, and she apparently didn't find responding to Newsweek's request for comment on the incident worthy of her time either. Both Democrats competing to unseat Republicans in the upcoming Senate runoff did.

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Trump Accuses Justice Department Of Conspiring To Fix Election For Biden

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

President Donald Trump isn't even listening to himself these days. He tweeted on Saturday how Fox News daytime is "virtually unwatchable, especially during the weekends." Then, in the spirit of true hypocrisy, he gave Fox News his first televised interview since he lost the election against President-elect Joe Biden 26 days ago on November 3.

In a phone interview on Sunday with host Maria Bartiromo, the soon-to-be-former president used the opportunity to tote his usual baseless allegations of voter fraud. He went from suggesting that the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) are involved in a conspiracy against him to alleging that dead people applied for mail-in ballots and poll watchers were thrown out of counting rooms by "thugs" in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Nevada.

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Trump Lawyers Are ‘National Embarrassment’, Complains Christie

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Just as one did in Georgia, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Saturday launched by President Donald Trump's campaign to bar Pennsylvania state election officials from certifying the state's election results, CBS News reported. U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann wrote in his order that Trump's attorneys employed "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state."

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Hillary Clinton Warned In 2016 About What Trump Is Doing Now

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Hillary Clinton called it four years ago when she pointed out then-Republican nominee Donald Trump's propensity to cry system rigging when he happened to face an undesired result. "You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him," she said during the final presidential debate of 2016. "He lost the Iowa caucus. He lost the Wisconsin primary. He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering; he claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him. There was even a time when he didn't get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him. This, this is a mindset. This is how Donald thinks, and it's funny. But it's also really troubling."

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International Observers Invited By Trump Saw No Evidence Of Election Fraud

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

President Donald Trump resumed his usual claims of pending victory Tuesday in an election that has been called for his opponent, Joe Biden, since Saturday. "WE WILL WIN!" the soon-exiting president tweeted optimistically and with little regard for reality. Biden has earned 290 electoral votes to Trump's 214 and secured nearly 77 million votes in total to Trump's 72 million, according to the Associated Press.

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On Crowded GOP Convention Schedule, Many Speakers Named Trump

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

In what has to be a last-ditch attempt to appear prepared for the Republican National Convention, President Donald Trump's campaign released its complete list of more than 70 speakers for the convention Sunday. On it, Trump's relatives and the likes of staffers including Kellyanne Conway are described as "honorable." It's at least nice to know convention organizers aren't disillusioning themselves into thinking the president fits that title.

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Three Men Indicted In Killing Of Ahmaud Arbery

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Three white men linked to the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery were indicted on murder charges Wednesday after allegations of prosecutorial misconduct significantly delayed accountability in the case. Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes, who is the fourth prosecutor assigned to the case, announced online Wednesday that Glynn County's Grand Jury has indicted former Georgia cop Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and the man who filmed parts of the deadly encounter, William Bryan.

Along with the malice murder charge, they face four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. "This is another step forward in seeking justice for Ahmaud," Holmes said.

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