Today's Liberal News

David Neiwert

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.

‘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.

Three Percent takeover of Whidbey Island Grange shows how proto-fascist forces creep into mainstream

Probably the most insidious aspect of the creep of proto-fascist movements in America is the way they have been able to insinuate themselves within the traditional mainstream, sometimes by attempting to create a false image through the adoption of labels that create an image of legitimacy: Think of the seditious “Patriot” movement with its “III Percent” militias and Oath Keepers that try to claim a nonexistent connection to the Constitution.

No longer ‘standing by,’ Proud Boys bring politics of intimidation to streets in defense of Trump

It’s become apparent that, even as Donald Trump tries to deny reality and continue claiming he won the election, the hate group that he ordered, on national television, to “stand back and stand by” now considers (per leadership’s statements that “standby order has been rescinded,” as well as other threatening statements on social media) those orders null and void: The Proud Boys are now playing the role of Trump’s goon-squad defenders in the streets&m

When orcas attacked sailboats off coast of Spain, they may have been reacting to harpoon attacks

While killer whales are somewhat naturally feared by humans—they are, after all, huge, tremendously powerful, and merciless predators—the mythology around them has always been exaggerated, since no orca on record has ever harmed a human being in the wild. This is why when sailors near Galicia off the coast of Spain began reporting that their boats were being attacked by orcas this summer, scientists and observers alike were perplexed.

Listen: A remarkably soothing hourlong underwater symphony of humpback whales singing

Four years ago this month, a trio of humpback whales—two adults and a juvenile, sex unknown—decided to spend several hours hanging out along the western side of Washington State’s San Juan Island and vocalizing. No one could see them because it was late at night and moonless. But underneath the surface, they put on a performance that lasted well over an hour—and it was being picked up on a hydrophone.

‘Million MAGA March’ draws thousands of extremists to D.C. claiming Trump won the election

As promised, thousands of hardcore Donald Trump supporters flooded downtown Washington, D.C., Saturday, for a “Million MAGA March,” falsely claiming he and not Joe Biden had won the presidential vote and demanding election officials “Stop the Steal.” Also as promised, Trump himself swung by to acknowledge what organizers had billed as “the largest Trump rally in U.S. history”—albeit briefly, from inside a slow-moving limousine.

Texas ‘Trump Train’ of flag-bearing pickups ambushes, harasses Biden-Harris campaign bus

A caravan of Donald Trump supporters driving dozens of mostly banner-festooned pickup trucks and SUVs deliberately ambushed a Biden-Harris campaign bus traveling to Austin and other parts of Texas on Thursday, harassing them constantly en route, forcing Democrats to cancel at least two campaign events out of concern for public safety. The participants, however, all proudly boasted about the harassment on social media, and police made no arrests.

All-too-brief orca gathering welcomes healthy new calf with its once-mourning mother

FRIDAY HARBOR, Washington—Late last Saturday afternoon, seemingly out of the blue, whale watchers out in Haro Strait between San Juan and Vancouver islands were treated to what has become a rare event:  a “superpod,” one of the large gatherings of all three pods—some 72 whales—in the endangered Southern Resident killer-whale (SRKW) population of the Salish Sea.

Therapy for the crazy season: The sound of orcas breathing

FRIDAY HARBOR, Washington—The endangered Southern Resident orcas have been scarce in the San Juan Islands this summer, appearing for two weeks in July and then disappearing for the rest of the summer. Their appearance this year was full of hopeful signs, including several noteworthy pregnancies, and the fact that they largely appear to be well-fed.

Bundy’s anti-pandemic antics earn him two ejections from Idaho Statehouse in two days

If there is one thing we already know about Ammon Bundy, it’s that he’s anointed himself the arbiter of all things constitutional and legal—which is why he’s so frequently inclined to ignore the laws he considers “unlawful,” including the federal government’s ownership of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the efforts of Idaho’s governor to clamp down on the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Boogaloo’ extremism continues to thrive on Facebook while the company dismisses critics

Facebook is failing the public—and the underlying principles of an open society, including the free exchange of ideas—on a multitude of fronts. The social-media giant has become the home, organizationally and (dis)informationally, of a broad menu of far-right extremists and their endless supply of frequently absurd conspiracism: QAnon, white supremacists, “Boogaloo Bois,” you name it.

The orca mom who mourned her calf is pregnant again, raising both hopes and deep fears

Friday Harbor, Washington—Two summers ago, an orca nicknamed Tahlequah—officially J35, a 20-year-old member of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) population that normally populates the Salish Sea in the summertime—captured the attention of people around the world as she mourned the death of her new calf by displaying its limp corpse, pushing it around on her rostrum for 17 days straight.