Today's Liberal News

David Neiwert

Watch: Bigg’s killer whales hunting seals along rocky Salish Sea coastline

There are two distinct populations of killer whales in the Salish Sea. The most famous are the so-called Southern Resident killer whales, an endangered clan currently down to 73 members. But there’s an entirely different orca ecotype—who have not had any kind of genetic interaction, according to scientists, for at least 300,000 years and perhaps longer, with the SRKWs—who are known as “transient” orcas, scientifically known as “Bigg’s” whales.

Watch: Bigg’s killer whales hunting seals along rocky Salish Sea coastline

There are two distinct populations of killer whales in the Salish Sea. The most famous are the so-called Southern Resident killer whales, an endangered clan currently down to 73 members. But there’s an entirely different orca ecotype—who have not had any kind of genetic interaction, according to scientists, for at least 300,000 years and perhaps longer, with the SRKWs—who are known as “transient” orcas, scientifically known as “Bigg’s” whales.

Photo gallery: On San Juan Island, 2021 was the Year of the Foxes

Friday Harbor, Washington: It surprises people to learn that there’s a population of red foxes on remote San Juan Island, up in the northwestern-most corner of the Lower 48 states. They’re not a native species, but they’ve been here long enough that they’ve carved a niche into the ecosystem and are now a celebrated component of the island’s phenomenal wildlife.

Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut, the last surviving captive Southern Resident orca, has a shot at returning home

First of two parts:

Her Lummi name is Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut (pronounced SKA-li CHUKH-teNOT). It references the cove on Whidbey Island where she was captured as a calf in August 1970. She has other names, including Tokitae, taken from Chinook jargon, bestowed by Jesse White, the veterinarian who took charge of her that day when she was ripped away from her L Pod family.

For mainstream liberals in rural America, daily life involves dealing with far-right intimidation

Here’s a suggestion for assignment editors at the large national media outlets who have provided us with an endless stream of stories about Trump voters in rural diners over the past half-decade: Try instead reporting on what it’s become like for non-Trump voters in these rural red areas where the politics of menace and thuggery have taken over—sort of an inverted version of the cliché; the rural Biden voter who can barely show his face at the local café.

An interview with David Pepper, ‘Laboratories of Autocracy’ author, about the GOP war on democracy

David Pepper, the former Ohio Democratic Party chairman, has had a front-row seat to one of the major fronts in the American right’s insurgent war on democracy: Namely, the nation’s statehouses, where the gradual Republican takeover in the past decade has resulted in a barrage of antidemocratic laws, not to mention the empowerment of incipient far-right extremist ideology.

Memories of Bill Morlin, a fearless journalism pioneer who exposed the radical right

When I first met Bill Morlin, he was already a legend among news reporters in the Pacific Northwest. I’ll admit I was a bit starstruck: This was the man—on paper, a simple crime reporter for the Spokane Spokesman-Review, but much more than that—who had relentlessly covered the Aryan Nations and The Order. He was the first to report on the Ruby Ridge standoff, before it was even a standoff. His journalism was not just first-rate, it was courageous and groundbreaking.

Epik’s hosting services provide connection for Jones’ Infowars and Fuentes’ white nationalists

Alex Jones has always tried to frame his far-right conspiracist Infowars site as a nonracist operation that eschews overt antisemitism and bigotry, even though his conspiracy theories are common grist for the mills of explicit white nationalists like “Groyper” leader Nicholas Fuentes. The fact that both Jones and Fuentes frequently appear at the same pro-Donald Trump, COVID-denialist events seems a mere coincidence.

Except that it’s not.

Police interest in joining Oath Keepers actually surged after Jan. 6, hacked data release exposes

A hacker’s release last week of data from the Oath Keepers organization—which played a key role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection—revealed the breadth and depth of the penetration into the ranks of law-enforcement authorities by such far-right extremists. It also revealed the importance of weeding them out from the ranks of police officers—and the urgency of acting quickly.

Not only was there a surge in interest in joining the group after the Jan.

Portland protest pipe-bombing case moves forward when FBI becomes involved, witness steps up

It’s one of the lingering mysteries from 2020’s anti-police brutality protests: Who tossed a couple of pipe bombs at Portland, Oregon, protesters one night in a city park? Was an ex-Navy SEAL who provides the police with training materials involved? And was there any likelihood that the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) would seriously investigate the matter?

However, the FBI has now joined the investigation at PPB’s request, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

A lighthouse tour with a point: Lime Kiln Point, remote but deeply connected

I happen to live in a place—San Juan Island in the far Pacific Northwest—that gets tons of tourists, especially on big holiday weekends like the Fourth of July. And one of the places that is most visited on the island by those tourists is in the photo above: Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse, on the island’s western side.

It’s one of my of my favorite places on the planet.

Photo gallery: San Juan Island springtime for momma foxes and their baby kits

There is a population of foxes on San Juan Island in northwestern Washington state, where I live. They are non-natives who were brought here in the 1930s by island dwellers who were trying to come up with a solution for dealing with the island’s other main invasive species, rabbits (who seem to have arrived sometime in the 1850s with early British settlers).

Some Jan. 6 insurrectionists want to blame Trump for their actions, but others balk at that strategy

The attorneys for the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers and other insurrectionists facing federal charges for their roles in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol have their work cut out for them, especially considering how their clients handed federal prosecutors all the evidence they needed, both on the day of the siege and on social media before and afterward. So it’s not a surprise that different lawyers for different clients are turning to wildly different strategies.

Fired for promoting white nationalist hoax, Space Force commander becomes a far-right hero

Donald Trump’s Space Force idea always seemed like a grade-school concept fueled by prepubescent boys’ fantasies featuring Buzz Lightyear and coloring book ideas about both space travel and the military. No doubt that’s why it’s been the source of so much unintentional hilarity since Trump signed off on creating it, including its painfully obvious Star Trek-derived logo.

Proud Boys mark their public return with a threatening Oregon rally, and no police presence

When the Proud Boys and their far-right cohorts led the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, they did so largely operating under their longstanding belief that the police were on their side. This weekend, breaking their weeks of quiet amid a stream of post-Jan. 6 arrests, they held an armed “Second Amendment” rally in Salem, Oregon—without a whiff of police presence.

Fresh round of Jan. 6 insurrection arrests range from comical to tragic, but they keep piling up

While Republican officeholders like Kevin McCarthy double down on their strategy of gaslighting the public about what transpired at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, a reality check may be in order: As prosecutors themselves earlier suggested, it is now apparent that this event is becoming the largest and most complex prosecution in U.S. history, as the Justice Department made clear over the weekend that it expects to charge more than 500 people in the matter.

‘Stop the Steal’ spread on Facebook enabled Jan. 6 insurrection, company’s internal report finds

Facebook executives have been dismissive from the start about attempts to hold them accountable for their social media platform’s role in inciting and organizing the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol—including CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress last month in which he evaded questions about his company’s culpability, saying: “I think that the responsibility here lies with the people who took the actions to break the law and do the insurrection.

Idaho indulges in its traditional anti-environmental hysteria with new wolf extermination bill

Amid hysterical claims that wolves are driving ranchers out of business, Idaho’s Republican state Senate this week approved legislation that would enable hired contractors to exterminate up to 90% of the state’s wild wolf population. The bill, if signed (as expected) by GOP Gov. Brad Little would end tag limits on wolves and allow year-round trapping on private land.

First plea bargain for cooperating Oath Keepers witness in Jan. 6 insurrection cases is approved

A self-described “lifetime member” of the Oath Keepers has become the first defendant in the Jan. 6 insurrection cases to enter a guilty plea as part of a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, following a hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Friday morning.

The plea bargain for Jon Schaffer, 53, a heavy-metal guitarist from Indiana who was photographed assaulting officers with bear spray and entering the U.S. Capitol, was approved by Judge Ahmit Mehta.

With full slate of terrorism, would-be far-right infiltrator of federal agency busted by polygraphs

Ethan Collins had it all figured out. Like a lot of far-right extremists, he fantasized a lot about committing various acts of terrorism—bringing down the power grid, bombing police stations, that sort of thing—and thought about ways to make them happen. The Colorado man decided his best shot was to try to infiltrate a federal law enforcement agency and pull off his crimes from within its ranks.

Fortunately, Collins is a terrible liar.

Republicans brazenly lie to cover their tracks from Jan. 6 insurrection because it actually works

The reason MAGA-loving Republicans lie so obviously and remorselessly is really pretty simple: It works.

The two most brazen falsehoods they keep repeating to justify the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection—“the election was stolen” and “antifa did it”—are in fact widely believed by Republican Donald Trump voters, over 70% of whom ardently believe the first claim, and some 58% of whom lap up the latter lie as well.

‘Waving the bloody shirt’: Conservatives resort to a time-worn tactic to gaslight the public

If you watched Republicans on the Sunday news talk programs this weekend, you could be forgiven if you experienced a surreal, out-of-body feeling seeing every Republican official invited on for interviews claim, without a scintilla of evidence, that the November presidential election was stolen by Joe Biden. Even worse, they did so with zero pushback from their network hosts.

In those moments, you could see the various strands of right-wing narrative regarding the Jan.