52 thoughts on “Year 1 a.t. (After Trump)

  1. Amazon, Apple and Google Cut Off Parler, an App That Drew Trump Supporters

    The companies pulled support for the “free speech” social network, all but killing the service just as many conservatives are seeking alternatives to Facebook and Twitter.

    A rally by supporters of President Trump in Washington on Nov. 14 to protest the election results.Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

    Amazon, Apple and Google’s moves could also spur other apps to strengthen their enforcement.

    Parler, a social network that pitches itself as a “free speech” alternative to Twitter and Facebook, is suffering from whiplash.

    Over the past several months, Parler has become one of the fastest-growing apps in the United States. Millions of President Trump’s supporters have flocked to it as Facebook and Twitter increasingly cracked down on posts that spread misinformation and incited violence, including muzzling Mr. Trump by removing his accounts this past week. By Saturday morning, Apple listed Parler as the No. 1 free app for its iPhones.

    But, by Saturday night, Parler was suddenly fighting for its life.

    First, Apple and Google removed the app from their app stores because they said it had not sufficiently policed its users’ posts, allowing too many that encouraged violence and crime. Then, late Saturday, Amazon told Parler it would boot the company from its web-hosting service on Sunday night because of repeated violations of Amazon’s rules.

    Amazon’s move meant that Parler’s entire platform would soon go offline unless it was able to find a new hosting service on Sunday.
    “Big tech really wants to kill competition,” John Matze, Parler’s chief executive, said in a text message. “And I have a lot of work to do in the next 24 hours to make sure everyone’s data is not permanently deleted off the internet.”

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  2. Why Trump Must Be Removed and Disqualified From Public Office

    The magnitude of the current crisis calls for two constitutional measures: the 25th Amendment and impeachment.

    Nancy Pelosi before the joint session of the House and Senate was engulfed in chaos on Wednesday.Credit…Pool photo by Greg Nash

    Quick before he pardons the mob of thugs and himself

    After a mob incited by President Trump stormed and occupied the Capitol, American democracy needs protecting now — and not just now but in the coming weeks and years as well.

    There are reports of preliminary discussions within the administration about invoking the 25h Amendment, a provision in the Constitution that provides a process to declare a sitting president no longer capable of fulfilling his duties. Another call is coming from a surprising source: The National Association of Manufacturers, not normally an organization known for this kind of political activism, said that Vice President Mike Pence “should seriously consider working with the cabinet” to invoke the amendment to remove President Trump and “preserve democracy.” People are invoking the 25th Amendment on the grounds that Mr. Trump is not fit to hold office and incited the chaos that unfolded on Capitol Hill — and may unfold again.

    There are also calls from a number of Democratic representatives to impeach and remove the president for his actions around the illegal and violent takeover of one of the most hallowed traditions in American democracy.

    The magnitude of the current crisis calls for both of these measures. The threat the president poses to our democracy is not short-lived and must be cut off urgently and decisively — before it leads to even greater degradation to American democratic processes and traditions. It will need to happen quickly, even with other demands pressing on our country’s leadership like certifying the election results, rolling out the coronavirus vaccine and calming a nation in crisis.

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  3. Trump’s Focus as the Pandemic Raged: What Would It Mean for Him?

    President Trump missed his chance to show that he could rise to the moment in the final chapter of his presidency and meet the defining challenge of his tenure.

    The president has long seen testing not as a vital way to track and contain the pandemic but as a mechanism for making him look bad by driving up the number of known cases.Credit…William DeShazer for The New York Times

    As the gap between politics and science grew, the infighting that Mr. Trump had allowed to plague the administration’s response from the beginning only intensified. Threats of firings worsened the leadership vacuum as key figures undercut each other and distanced themselves from responsibility.

    The administration had some positive stories to tell. Mr. Trump’s vaccine development program, Operation Warp Speed, had helped drive the pharmaceutical industry’s remarkably fast progress in developing several promising approaches. By the end of the year, two highly effective vaccines would be approved for emergency use, providing hope for 2021.

    The White House rejected any suggestions that the president’s response had fallen short, saying he had worked to provide adequate testing, protective equipment and hospital capacity and that the vaccine development program had succeeded in record time.*

    WASHINGTON — It was a warm summer Wednesday, Election Day was looming and President Trump was even angrier than usual at the relentless focus on the coronavirus pandemic.

    “You’re killing me! This whole thing is! We’ve got all the damn cases,” Mr. Trump yelled at Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, during a gathering of top aides in the Oval Office on Aug. 19. “I want to do what Mexico does. They don’t give you a test till you get to the emergency room and you’re vomiting.”

    Mexico’s record in fighting the virus was hardly one for the United States to emulate. But the president had long seen testing not as a vital way to track and contain the pandemic but as a mechanism for making him look bad by driving up the number of known cases.

    And on that day he was especially furious after being informed by Dr. Francis S. Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, that it would be days before the government could give emergency approval to the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment, something Mr. Trump was eager to promote as a personal victory going into the Republican National Convention the following week.

    “They’re Democrats! They’re against me!” he said, convinced that the government’s top doctors and scientists were conspiring to undermine him. “They want to wait!”

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  4. Heather Cox Richardson Offers a Break From the Media Maelstrom. It’s Working.

    She is the breakout star of the newsletter platform Substack, doing the opposite of most media as she calmly situates the news of the day in the long sweep of American history.

    Heather Cox Richardson, a history professor at Boston College, is more or less by accident the most successful independent journalist in America.Credit…Tristan Spinski for The New York Times

    Last Wednesday, I broke the news to Heather Cox Richardson that she was the most successful individual author of a paid publication on the breakout newsletter platform Substack.

    Early that morning, she had posted that day’s installment of “Letters From an American” to Facebook, quickly garnering more than 50,000 reactions and then, at 2:14 a.m., she emailed it to about 350,000 people. She summarized, as she always does, the events of the day, and her 1,120 words covered a bipartisan vote on a spending measure, President Trump’s surprise attack on that bill, and a wave of presidential pardons. Her voice was, as it always is, calm, at a slight distance from the moment: “Normally, pardons go through the Justice Department, reviewed by the pardon attorney there, but the president has the right to act without consulting the Department of Justice,” she wrote. “He has done so.”

    The news of her ranking seemed to startle Dr. Richardson, who in her day job is a professor of 19th century American history at Boston College. The Substack leader board, a subject of fascination among media insiders, is a long way from her life on a Maine peninsula — particularly as the pandemic has ended her commute — that seems drawn from the era she studies. On our Zoom chat, she sat under a portrait that appeared as if it could be her in period costume, but is, in fact, her great-great-grandmother, who lived in the same fishing village, population a bit over 600.

    She says she tries not to think too much about the size of her audience because that would be paralyzing, and instead often thinks of what she’s writing as a useful primary document for some future version of her historian self. But there was no ignoring her metrics when her accountant told her how much she would owe in taxes this year, and, by extension, just how much revenue her unexpected success had brought. By my conservative estimate based on public and private Substack figures, the $5 monthly subscriptions to participate in her comments section are on track to bring in more than a million dollars a year, a figure she ascribes to this moment in history.

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  5. More detailed than the story below this one

    Election results under attack: Here are the facts

    A compilation of the misinformation, disinformation and many rejected
    legal challenges by Trump and his allies to try to overturn votes

    Officials from the Allegheny County Elections Division look for a specific ballot bin at its Pittsburgh warehouse on Nov. 4. It was thought to have been left at a polling place but was later located there. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

    Joe Biden is the president-elect of the United States, with a wide lead in both the electoral college and in the popular vote. President Trump has refused to concede, uttering baseless allegations of election fraud that have been amplified by allies and conservative media outlets. His campaign and others have gone to court in six states, where Biden’s total margin is more than 312,000, to challenge certain ballots or the certification of the vote — and have lost more than 50 cases, including at the Supreme Court.

    Here are the facts about the president’s efforts to question the fairness and integrity of the election, as well as updates on litigation. In each section, we’ve highlighted quotes so readers can see their significance at a glance.

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  6. Five myths about voting machines

    Voting machines sit in State Farm Arena in Atlanta in October during early voting in the presidential election. Weeks after President Trump lost, he and his supporters are still pushing myths about ballots and the vote count. (Kevin D. Liles/For the Washington Post)

    Democrats did it too, so don’t feel all spayshul

    President Trump is still pretending that he won last month’s election, insisting falsely that only massive fraud made it appear that President-elect Joe Biden won. Many of his claims, and the even more baroque allegations of his supporters, have focused on voting machines — part of the electoral system that most people don’t spend much time thinking about. Here are some of the biggest myths circulating about them now.

    Myth No. 1

    Voting machines were hacked

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  7. A Podcast Answers a Fast-Food Question That Nobody Is Asking

    Intentionally inane, “Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald’s?” satirizes the business of podcasting.

    On the podcast, Brian Thompson plays an earnest, eager naïf, also named Brian Thompson, who regards himself as an intrepid seeker of truth and seems to think he’s digging into a riddle for the ages. Photo Credit: Michelle Groskopf for The New York Times

    If there is a god of ludicrous ideas that later seem inspired, he must have smiled on Brian Thompson one evening four years ago. A comedy writer living in Los Angeles, Mr. Thompson had been bingeing on true crime podcasts when he decided to create a show that would plumb the stupidest, least consequential mystery he could imagine. For reasons he can’t fully explain, he came up with:

    Whatever happened to pizza at McDonald’s?

    Maybe you are too young to remember. Perhaps you forgot. Or there’s a chance you’ve blocked it. But the home of the Big Mac began selling pizza in the mid-1980s, hoping to grab market share from national pie chains. McDonald’s gave up a few years later. Nobody seemed to lament the passing of McPizza, and nobody was urging its return. Which, to Mr. Thompson in the fall of 2016, made the topic all the more appealing.

    “I had heard about it when I was younger, but I’d never tried it,” he said. “And I knew there were a lot of McDonald’s that are open 24 hours, so I could call one of them right then.”

    He called two. At the first, an employee hung up a few milliseconds after being asked about McDonald’s pizza. At the second, a manager was sincerely stumped.

    “Sorry about that,” the manager said, politely. “Have a good night.”

    By 3 in the morning, Mr. Thompson had edited the calls and added some narration. He ended with an off-kilter ad he wrote for Squarespace, the web hosting platform, which he falsely claimed was the show’s sponsor.

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