Monday Night Owls: Critics warn against new domestic terror laws being used against legit protest

Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week


Jake Johnson at Common Dreams writes—'Oldest Play in the Book': Critics Warn New Domestic Terror Laws Aimed at Pro-Trump Mob Would Be Used Against Legitimate Protest. "History shows that legislation going after 'domestic terrorism' will primarily be used to target Black organizers, Muslim communities, immigrant communities."

Hearing ominous echoes of the post-9/11 crackdown on civil liberties, progressives are warning of the serious dangers posed by the renewed push for fresh laws targeting "domestic terrorism" in the wake of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol last week by a mob of President Donald Trump's fanatical supporters.

While acknowledging the threat posed by right-wing extremists across the nation and affirming the need for forceful action in response to last week's attack, observers noted that existing federal laws are more than sufficient to hold the insurrectionists to account for invading the halls of Congress with possible intent to hold lawmakers hostage, attempting to topple the U.S. government, and potentially committing murder.

"There are already plenty of tools at the government's disposal to crack down on far-right insurrection," The Week's Ryan Cooper wrote in a column on Sunday.

The problem, Cooper argued, is not a lack of laws but rather a deficiency of will from "police departments and security agencies [that] are composed largely of conservative Republicans, and not a few open fascists." Putting new laws in place would only hand law enforcement agencies additional weapons to wield against the left, Cooper wrote.

"If you just charge the existing agencies with breaking up domestic insurgent networks, at best they will shirk, delay, and drag their feet, and at worst they will completely ignore the fascists while turning any new tools against Black Lives Matter and other left-wing protesters," said Cooper. "Indeed, this is already happening—so far, the charges against the fascist mob have been trespassing or other minor crimes, rather than the felony riot charges the leftist J20 defendants faced for simply being near minor property destruction in downtown D.C. on the day of Trump's inauguration."


As the Wall Street Journal reported last Thursday, President-elect Joe Biden "has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism, and he has been urged to create a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists and increasing funding to combat them."

Biden made a point of identifying members of the Trump mob as "domestic terrorists" in remarks following last week's attack, which he condemned as an "all-out assault on our institutions of democracy" led by the incumbent president.

Not long after the mob stormed Capitol Hill, some commentators began calling on Congress to begin work on a specific statute targeting "domestic terrorism"; as ProPublica explained last week, "while federal statutes provide a definition of domestic terrorism, there is not a specific law outlawing it."

The call drew swift pushback from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who tweeted Saturday that "as the vice chair of the Oversight subcommittee who ran investigations into domestic terror laws, I respectfully disagree.”

"Our problems on Wednesday weren't that there weren't enough laws, resources, or intelligence," said the New York Democrat. "We had them, and they were not used. It's time to find out why."

Diala Shamas, a staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, echoed that point, telling The Intercept Sunday that "anyone familiar with the scope of surveillance and targeting of Black political dissents, or Muslim communities, knows that law enforcement has all the tools it needs to aggressively disrupt and hold accountable those who planned and participated in the storming of the Capitol."

"Why they didn't raises serious questions, but it was not because their hands were tied," said Shamas. "We don't need new terrorism designations."


The notorious 2001 Patriot Act, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks with Biden's support, provides an expansive definition of "domestic terrorism" that—as the ACLU warned—was "broad enough to encompass the activities of several prominent activist campaigns and organizations," including "Greenpeace, Operation Rescue, Vieques Island, and [World Trade Organization] protesters and the Environmental Liberation Front."

The fears of civil liberties advocates were realized when, as predicted, law enforcement agencies proceeded to surveil and pursue animal rights advocates and environmentalists as well as Muslim Americans.

Warning Biden against enacting additional draconian measures in response to last week's mob attack, New York magazine's Sarah Jones wrote that the "state does not lack teeth" but "has too many at its disposal already." What's really missing in the way law enforcement and prosecutors handle protest—or violent uprisings—is lack of "discretion, and all sense of proportion" when they respond, Jones argued.

"Whatever powers Biden creates today can be used by the enemies of democracy tomorrow," warned Jones. "Our civil liberties are simply too fragile, and the risk is much too great."




“They shouldnt teach their immigrants' kids all about democracy unless they mean to let them have a little bit of it, it ony makes for trouble. Me and the United States is dissociating our alliance as of right now, until the United States can find time to read its own textbooks a little.”               ~~James JonesFrom Here to Eternity (1951)


Does anyone else see the irony in Lauren Boebert bragging about “bringing her glock” to Congress, but instead of protecting anyone while under attack, she just tweeted Nancy Pelosi’s position to the mob?

— John Collins 🌊 (@JohnCollins_KP) January 11, 2021


At Daily Kos on this date in 2007—Science Friday: There is No Controversy: 

Ever since the terms "Climate Change" and "Global Warming" first made the news, the right has been engaged in an effort to ridicule the whole notion.  Man could have an effect on the atmosphere? Pshaw!  Okay, so Rush Limbaugh and the Fox airheads don't actually say pshaw.  Instead, they've said that the idea of a human-caused climate change is "ridiculous," and "malarkey" and a "farce." (I'd give you links for those, but adding a link to Limbaugh and friends would give me a rash).  

Most of all, they've pushed the idea that our increasing thirst for flammable hydrocarbons might just cause an eensy change in the environment is controversial.  Sure, sure, we might be having a hot year -- or two, or ten -- but that doesn't mean people had anything to do with it.  After all, we're so small and the atmosphere is just so big. How could a little old us possibly have more effect than volcanoes, or cyclical changes, or the bad old carbon fairy, or whatever cause the right wants to put forward this week?  We changed the air?  Huh, that's just controversial.  

They've depended on paid shills to generate pop-science FUD, and like the mercenaries of ignorance who constantly try to make it seem as if there's some scientific debate around evolution, they've created smoke in the hopes of making people believe there's a fire.  They've created fake organizations dedicated to spreading misinformation (current headline "Earth's plants tell us they're loving the CO2 increase!")  They've even made a hero out of Michael Crichton (the one man whose ego might be larger than Bush and Rush combined) and his account of a Global Warming "conspiracy," frequently citing his poorly-researched fictional tome as proof of the evil left wing environmentalist attempt to strip away your Hummer.

The trouble with this notion is that the folks who stole the "it's only a theory" page from the whacko creationists are lying.  There is no controversy.  There's been none in scientific journals, and no, scientists did not think we were going to freeze just a decade ago, no matter how many times the shills say they did.  With every passing day, the evidence becomes more compelling.

Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at, and find a live stream there, by searching for "Netroots Radio.”

Monday Night Owls: San Antonio’s energy utility vows climate action, but is still plugged into gas

Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week


Dana Drugmand at DeSmog writes—San Antonio's City-Owned Energy Utility Is Paying a Quarter Million Dollars a Year to Gas Industry Groups:

Deep in the heart of Texas, by far the nation's top oil producer, the city of San Antonio is starting to grapple with its reliance on fossil fuels.

But the key player in implementing the Alamo City’s energy transition — the local energy utility CPS Energy — remains committed to carbon-based fuels like coal and natural gas, even while it begins to invest more in renewable alternatives. Climate and clean energy advocates in the community have become fed up with the city-owned utility, which is not only stalling in efforts to phase out its fossil fuel portfolio, but is actively funding two gas industry trade associations to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars each year.

According to records obtained by the watchdog Climate Investigations Center and shared with DeSmog, CPS Energy pays over $50,000 in annual membership fees to the American Public Gas Association (APGA), and over $200,000 annually in membership dues to the American Gas Association (AGA). Both groups lobby for continued dependence on methane gas, such as direct use of gas in buildings for things like heating and cooking, and oppose efforts to slash emissions by electrifying sectors like buildings and transportation. Their members and sponsors include large energy utilities and pipeline and fossil fuel companies like Duke Energy, Enbridge, TransCanada, and BP.

As DeSmog previously reported in this “Unplugged” series, the California city of Palo Alto is also helping to fund the American Public Gas Association via membership dues amounting to over $20,000 annually and which are paid by the city’s municipally owned utility. Some in the community said they see this funding as a conflict with Palo Alto’s ambitious climate goals.

Similarly, several environmental activists from the community in San Antonio told DeSmog that their municipal utility’s funding and support for the methane gas lobby does not seem to square with San Antonio’s goal, prescribed in a new city climate plan, to reduce the city’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

“To have a goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, while at the same time paying money to a gas association whose primary goal is to keep us hooked on fossil fuels, yeah, absolutely that’s a conflict,” said DeeDee Belmares, a San Antonio resident and climate justice organizer with the nonprofit organization Public Citizen.  […]


  • The CIA Is Running Death Squads in Afghanistan, by Jeet Heer. Reports of atrocities supported by the American intelligence agency underscore the need to end America’s longest war.  
  • In Chile, Scientists Scrutinize Lithium Mining, by Ian MorseIn October, Chilean citizens voted to rewrite their constitution, setting the stage for a dramatic reassessment of the nation’s relationship with the environment. The country’s classification of lithium brine could have consequences for ecosystems, communities, and the powerful mining industry.  
  • Arkansas Could Give Amy Coney Barrett Her Big Abortion Moment, Rachel Cohen. The "Unborn Child Protection Act" was filed ahead of Arkansas' next legislative session meant to more directly challenge Roe v. Wade.



“The president is a nationalist, which is not at all the same thing as a patriot. A nationalist encourages us to be our worst, and then tells us that we are the best. A nationalist, 'although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge,' wrote Orwell, tends to be 'uninterested in what happens in the real world.' Nationalism is relativist, since the only truth is the resentment we feel when we contemplate others. As the novelist Danilo Kiš put it, nationalism 'has no universal values, aesthetic or ethical.' A patriot, by contrast, wants the nation to live up to its ideals, which means asking us to be our best selves. A patriot must be concerned with the real world, which is the only place where his country can be loved and sustained. A patriot has universal values, standards by which he judges his nation, always wishing it well—and wishing that it would do better.”           ~~Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)


John Kelly is wrong. These were not good people. “The number of senior officials who quit on principle is close to zero. The number of former Cabinet officials who came forward during the impeachment to give testimony is zero.”

— Charles H Norman (@dovnorman18) December 22, 2020


At Daily Kos on this date in 2003—Republicard: spend like there’s no tomorrow:

Introducing the Republicard. First practiced under the record deficit-spending of the Reagan-Bush administrations, and now re-issued under the fiscal wreckage of George Bush with a trifeca of Republican-rule to again spend like theres no tomorrow. Miles, the creator of the card:

Last week I was hearing about a proposal that had been introduced into Congress to honor Ronald Reagan by putting him on the dime coin. Aside from the fact that FDR, creator of the "March of Dimes", certainly deserves to stay on that coin (and Nancy Reagan agrees)... it occurred to me that if someone were to honor George W. Bush, given his enormous deficits, the most appropriate place to do so would be... a credit card. So I imagined what it might look like, and came up with the RepubliCard: (This idea simultaneously occurred to political cartoonist Tom Toles who had a cartoon on this theme appear the very next day).

Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at, and find a live stream there, by searching for "Netroots Radio.”

Wednesday night owls: ‘Letting the Pentagon Loose With Your Tax Dollars’

Night Owls, a themed open thread, is a regular feature at Daily Kos .

Mandy Smithberger is the director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). At TomDispatch, she writes—Letting the Pentagon Loose With Your Tax DollarsCreating a National Insecurity State. Spending More, Seeing Less:

Hold on to your helmets! It’s true the White House is reporting that its proposed new Pentagon budget is only $740.5 billion, a relatively small increase from the previous year’s staggering number. In reality, however, when you also include war and security costs buried in the budgets of other agencies, the actual national security figure comes in at more than $1.2 trillion, as the Trump administration continues to give the Pentagon free reign over taxpayer dollars.

You would think that the country’s congressional representatives might want to take control of this process and roll back that budget—especially given the way the White House has repeatedly violated its constitutional authority by essentially stealing billions of dollars from the Defense Department for the president’s “Great Wall” (that Congress refused to fund). Recently, even some of the usual congressional Pentagon budget boosters have begun to lament how difficult it is to take the Department’s requests for more money seriously, given the way the military continues to demand yet more (ever more expensive) weaponry and advanced technologies on the (largely bogus) grounds that Uncle Sam is losing an innovation war with Russia and China.

And if this wasn’t bad enough, keep in mind that the Defense Department remains the only major federal agency that has proven itself incapable of even passing an audit. An investigation by my colleague Jason Paladino at the Project On Government Oversight found that increased secrecy around the operations of the Pentagon is making it ever more difficult to assess whether any of its money is well spent, which is why it’s important to track where all the money in this country’s national security budget actually goes.

The Pentagon’s “Base” Budget

This year’s Pentagon request includes $636.4 billion for what’s called its “base” budget—for the routine expenses of the Defense Department. However, claiming that those funds were insufficient, Congress and the Pentagon created a separate slush fund to cover both actual war expenses and other items on their wish lists (on which more to come). Add in mandatory spending, which includes payments to veterans’ retirement and illness compensation funds and that base budget comes to $647.2 billion.

Ahead of the recent budget roll out, the Pentagon issued a review of potential “reforms” to supposedly cut or control soaring costs. While a few of them deserve serious consideration and debate, the majority reveal just how focused the Pentagon is on protecting its own interests. Ironically, one major area of investment it wants to slash involves oversight of the billions of dollars to be spent. Perhaps least surprising was a proposal to slash programs for operational testing and evaluation—otherwise known as the process of determining whether the billions Americans spend on shiny new weaponry will result in products that actually work. The Pentagon’s Office of Operational Test and Evaluation has found itself repeatedly under attack from arms manufacturers and their boosters who would prefer to be in charge of grading their own performances. [...]



"Feminism isn't about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It's about changing the way the world perceives that strength."          ~~G.D. Anderson


It's not just the food service industry�27% of private-sector workers in the U.S. don't have the ability to stay home from work without losing a paycheck. We need to make sure our response to the coronavirus includes solutions that protect workers, their families, & communities.

— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) March 4, 2020


At Daily Kos on this date in 2004—FDR’s “Hundred Days” Honeymoon—1933:

Whether you count from the inaugural or, as historians do, from March 9, the Hundred Days, like the Hundred Years’ War, didn’t actually add up to a hundred, but they have nonetheless been the measure—usually in negative terms— for what succeeding administrations have accomplished. A study has even gone so far as to determine how effective presidents before Roosevelt were in their first 100 days. None came close. During the emergency session of Congress FDR called 15 major laws were passed and signed, all by June 16.

That legislation—some of it conservative, most of it moderate, none of it radical, all of it experimental—derived from no over-arching plan, and certainly not from any liberal ideology that Roosevelt presented during the campaign and brought with him into the White House. Rather than a package of legislation, as implied by the Hundred Days label, what Roosevelt and his "Brain Trust" of academics and economic theorists produced was a mish-mash, exactly what would be expected of experimentation in the face of a daunting crisis. "The notion that the New Deal had a preconceived theoretical position is ridiculous," said Frances Perkins, who would become FDR’s, Secretary of Labor from 1933-45, the first woman ever to serve in the Cabinet.

The experiments worked not just for what they actually achieved—which was a mixed bag—but also for how their very coming into being changed the nation’s somber mood. As Roosevelt said at his inaugural: "This nation asks for action, and action now"; "We must act, we must act quickly"; People want "direct, vigorous action." As Jonathan Alter wrote in The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, "In the argot of a later age, Roosevelt was relentlessly on message." He spurred hope in the face of despair by force of personality.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: What's so super about Tuesday? Well, Joan McCarter, for one thing. And you probably weren't expecting Sexy Vinyl Vixen Brit Hume! How Trump's been gaming the FVRA. Coronavirus, continued. Impeachment vs. pardons: Let's all say we believe it!

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Monday night owls: Republicans brush off level-headed testimony, but wingnut Bolton they may believe

Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week

Tristero at Hullaballoo, Heather Digby Parton’s long-running weblog, writes—It’s Only True If a Wingnut Agrees:

Nothing factual — absolutely nothing of substance — was added by yesterday’s Times report that John Bolton, one of the most hot-headed nut right wing jobs that has ever served in government, wrote that Trump withheld millions of dollars of aid so he could cheat on the 2020 election.

Yet, as seems the norm today, the press is attaching more weight to the words of a single extremist than to the mountain of careful evidence amassed by some of the most sober and level-headed people elected to Congress.

“Even the well-known conservative X has a problem with Y” is the general structure of the argument. As if somehow the gold standard for what is reasonable and factual is not whether a statement is factually true or an argument is logical and reasonable. A right winger also has to agree, the more extreme the better, or there is no reason to accept it.

This really has to stop.



“All that area from which the Gore family comes was solid Democrat and progressive under Roosevelt for several decades. So they just didn't become Republicans because they all wanted to be bankers. They became Republicans because they didn't like black people, and they thought the Democrats were pushing integration too fast. And that's how the great split came about, to the shame of the whole country.”           ~~Gore Vidal, Interview with Paul Jay, July 5, 2009.




At Daily Kos on this date in 2003—War opposition still increasing:

Yet another poll is showing increased opposition to Bush’s new war in Iraq. The USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll has opposition at 43 percent, up from 38 percent Jan 10-12. Actual support from the invasion is at 52 percent.

Of course, those numbers could move over to the "support" column if either the US or UK present evidence of Iraqi non-compliance. As of yet, all we’re hearing is the same "trust us, we have evidence" bullshit, while all CIA leads to the weapons inspectors have come up empty.

There may also be movement in the polls following the president's SOTU address, though it will be interesting to watch how long any such "bounce" will last. And it will also be interesting how the markets react, not just the Wednesday after the speech, but two weeks out. Bush may claim to ignore polls, but it'll be increasingly difficult to ignore his Wall Street supporters. War jitters alone continue to pound the market today.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin rounds up a million years of news from a weekend that passed in a flash. Pompeo's map debacle. Bolton's book. Parnas' tape. Iowa and New Hampshire are looming. Not to mention the Kobe story. So, what excuses can Rs use to hang on?

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