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Jan 6 committee subpoenas Meta, Google, Reddit etc. after 'inadequate responses' (nbcnews.com)
116 points by 60654 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 181 comments

Disclaimer: am googler, my opinions are my own. I have no non-public knowledge on this topic.

It's not clear to me what the House committee is asking for. From what I read in their letters it's basically, "We think you have more than you've given us, so give it to us".

That's not how this works. If you want to subpoena information, you need to be specific and targeted. If you don't get what you think you want, call people in to testify.

Here's the actual Committee release [1]. Two quotes from the Alphabet letter:

"For example, Alphabet has not produced any documents that fully explain non-public moderation discussions and policies" "Additionally, Alphabet has not produced documents relating to YouTube’s policy decisions"

But, IIRC, YouTube (and Twitter) were pretty publicly vocal and specific about their policies for months preceding Jan 6th. I just don't see what warrants this round of grandstanding.

[1] https://january6th.house.gov/news/press-releases/select-comm...

>It's not clear to me what the House committee is asking for.

They are asking for TV time

Yep. Have a regular committee hearing, you get a few outlets to report on it. Haul in the CEO's of these companies to testify and you've got a news media event for days.

I'm sure there is some actual substance to these hearings and there most likely is info that they want to learn. But at this point I will say the whole thing around Jan 6 is 10% substance and 90% media theater.

> If you want to subpoena information, you need to be specific and targeted.

Did you see what happened when they asked specific and targeted questions to the FBI?


If the FBI won't even answer basic questions why should companies have to give have random arbitrary data that probably won't help with the investigation? This January 6th committee is a complete joke and nothing but theater.

The press release is the endgame here.

> If you want to subpoena information, you need to be specific and targeted

On one hand, a congressional subpoena for "non-public moderation discussions and policies" is broad. On the other hand, there is certainly some version of that request that is within reasonable scope for a subpoena. In the hypothetical world where passing legislation in the US were still possible and Congress was capable of regulating Big Tech (e.g. changing Section 230 or so on), this is exactly the sort of thing a Congressional Subpoena would make sense for, since there would be a germane policy making interest in obtaining this information.

> I just don't see what warrants this round of grandstanding.

The paradox of Big Tech: everyone hates Big Tech because they think their political adversaries control Big Tech.

The Left views Big Tech as monopolies controlled by techno-libertarian ultra-billionaires. The Right views Big Tech as Democrat companies controlled by radical leftist censors.

(As an aside: in a sense, both views have a kernel of truth. Big Tech employees skew left, especially on social issues, although not nearly as homogeneously as the right seems to think and individual FAANG employees have far less power than people seem to imagine. On the other hand, the leadership of these companies are definitely not natural allies of progressives, but are also not -- AFAICT -- nearly as villainous as the left seems to think.)

But the real thing that both have in common is conspiratorial brain candy with Big Tech as the modern stand-in for Illuminati or whatever.

Big tech, like high finance, is a Democrat aligned industry. Big Oil is a Republican aligned industry.

Leftists are anti-corporate power in the public sphere.

None of this is paradoxical.

Apparently most self-identified leftists in the US didn't get the memo because they haven't been anti-corporate since corporations rainbowed themselves after Occupy Wall Street ended. The 1999 WTO protests in Seattle could never happen today but a celebration of the WTO and global corporate power certainly could. That's simply what the left in the US has become: another wholly owned subsidiary of Corporation Inc.

You are imputing a lot of views onto "leftists" that I do not think are accurate. I am unsure how rainbow flags have any relevance to this discussion.

So called "pinkwashing" is well known among leftist circles so to suggest that entire political spectrum has been hoodwinked by American corporations seems wrong?

The real answer is just that the Left isn't particularly powerful in the US, even during the WTO protests.

>Left isn't particularly powerful in the US

There's always the mistake of assuming the person means the US Left as opposed to another country's Left movement, but the Left as understood within the US is quite powerful. It seems really as if both movements divide the country in two.

> The paradox of Big Tech: everyone hates Big Tech because they think their political adversaries control Big Tech.

> The Left views Big Tech as monopolies controlled by techno-libertarian ultra-billionaires. The Right views Big Tech as Democrat companies controlled by radical leftist censors.

I guess it's only a paradox if you are partisan and think there are only two types of people. I don't consider myself left or right and big tech is definitely an adversary to me and my beliefs.

The observation isn't that opposition to big tech is always irrational or partisan.

The observation is that Big Tech plays the role of Powerful Boogeyman for both the left and the right in polarizing narrative construction.

Ofc non-partisans can also dislike big tech, and partisans can dislike big tech for rational reasons. Neither of those is inconsistent with the above observation.

The very language states they are looking for non-public moderation policies, so by very definition, your stated vocality does not apply.

There is no way the full scope, procedures, code, algos, and more are public for all moderation methods and channels.

I suspect people are hoping trade secret law will protect, but I think the House wants to see regardless!

To be frank, no matter what side of the political spectrum, we're in very, very deep trouble here.

Our very democracies are at risk, and the manipulation by media, and enemies of our democracies will only get worse and worse.

Hell, even manipulation by members of our democracies, from special interest groups, political parties, to even just nutbars, what we've seen so far, has shown us that people will buy into anything, if it's all they hear.

Our civilization, our world, will live or die by how we all get a handle on misinformation.

And while I embrace democracy, and capitalism, I couldn't care one bit of the required fix tanks Google, Facebook, Twitter and more.

Quite literally, everything is at stake here.

I think they're also sending a message: Censor more! (because the mid-terms are coming).

I get some kind of sick satisfaction out of watching a certain small subset of HN lose their mind trying to square the circle when it comes to stuff like this. On one hand “this is government overreach!” (it’s not because the committee here is on a specific task to investigate a specific crime) and “free market!” and on the other hand “big social media companies are evil and decide what’s right and what’s wrong.” Nevermind that this has nothing to do with “cancel culture”, “censorship”, or “mainstream media” and everything to do with an investigation. Just read the headline and get angry at… someone?

AFAICT political tribes rule everything now, and the actual policy issues are unimportant. I rarely see anyone discussing policy, everything is very shallow, very personal.

Has policy ever been discussed as the main thing? It seems like at least American politics has always been about which faction you align with/how you self-identify.

A lot of people are single or close to single issue voters. So there is policy discussion but it's usually extremely shallow

It feels like policy isn't correlated with action, sometimes even with the conversation

They make it extremely personal every time because that is was calls to action. My point is, yes, for politicians actual policy is an illusion and everyone is now on a team. They are exactly the most successful when they convince others to make it personal and join their team. I'd go as far as to say that policies issues don't even align exactly on party lines except when it benefits them. Look at the filibuster rule, the exact same politicians want to eliminate the rule that said it was the most important thing in our democracy, just because now eliminating the rule would benefit their side. I don't think it would surprise everyone that politicians are self serving only. There were a number of laws that democrats said they would not vote for specifically because it would make Trump look good, not because they didn't think the law as good for people, and they would say this out loud. This is what happens in this tribe based environment.

if congress is investigating a 'crime' then it is overreach because that is not the responsibility of congress. congress has investigatory powers like the subpoena power in order to help it make decisions about passing law. it is not meant to use this power primarily to pursue individuals.

Conducting investigations is something that congress does, and has centuries of precedent supported by the Supreme Court, including the investigation of crimes

> if congress is investigating a 'crime' then it is overreach because that is not the responsibility of congress.

If a crime was committed by the US Executive branch (e.g., President, e.g., Nixon), should the Executive branch investigate itself?

Congress investigating things goes back a few centuries:

> On November 4, 1791, some 900 U.S. army troops under the command of Gen. Arthur St. Clair, a Revolutionary War veteran, were killed or wounded in a surprise attack by Native American warriors on the Ohio frontier. The following year, in what was the new nation’s first congressional investigation, a House committee was formed to look into the debacle, which became known as St. Clair’s Defeat. As part of the investigation, the committee asked President George Washington for paperwork pertaining to his administration’s management of the failed expedition.

* https://www.history.com/news/6-famous-congressional-investig...

Congress has had broad investigatory powers since the beginning, this is nothing new.

That ship to Benghazi sailed a long time ago.

Aren't they working on passing some sort of 'big tech antitrust' law? I could have sworn that's a thing right now...

This is true. Enforcing criminal statutes is the job of the executive branch. Congress can investigate other branches of government, and for the purpose of formulating policy, but I can see no policy formulation here. This is clearly a show investigation to try and paint their opponents in the worst light for the next election.

This sounds personal, and reads like you read headlines every day from 2016-2020 and got very angry at “someone” (there is a common term for this) and now you are happy that the shoe is on the other foot, despite it being a false equivalence and no such similar syndrome existing for the other side?

> no such similar syndrome existing for the other side

Do you earnestly believe this?

Yep, a syndrome commonly known as a derangement.

> Just read the headline and get angry at… someone?

That seems to be the current state of the internetz everywhere. I have to print that on a sticker or something.

The implication from the committee is that these companies should have monitored and suppressed/censored their users harder? Is the committee looking for a scapegoat or something?

They’re trying to find out if Facebook intentionally bypassed their own policies and allowed election propaganda to run wild because it was to their benefit. (E.g., a trump coup would have been good for Facebook.) Basically are they stupid or evil. And if they’re evil, is there a larger conspiracy involving other people of interest?

Why do you jump to that conclusion? Youtube's algo is long suspected of pushing more and more extreme/radical content, and the comittee seems to be looking for more information on if that process affected the Jan 6 riot

That's not looking for a scapegoat; it's looking for a set of root causes

Maybe congress should look inward? There is no end to the divisiveness in congress on both sides. We used to be able to compromise and make progress. Now we just use any loophole possible to avoid dealing with the other side. Not only that they constantly trash, berate, and spread fear about the other side.

YouTube shows you more of what you look for. If it stops doing that, people will use a 3rd-party search tool that lawmakers will be unable to censor (e.g. Reddit, Digg, 9gag, 4chan).

It's a scapegoat. If you want people to stop looking up content about distrusting the government, the solution is a more transparent government, not to stop them from watching the content.

It doesn't just do that, it pushes you more and more into specific niches. It doesn't have to do that either, but Youtube has designed it to do it, to put users into the famous Youtube Rabbit Hole.

This rabbit hole encourages extremism in some people, and that can be harmful to society. Why the defeatist attitude, that huge companies have to encourage extremism or people will stop using their products? That's non-sensical

Youtube recommends videos you are likely to click on. It is unclear to me what else they are supposed to recommend.

It is also unclear to me that the recommendations ought to be moderated by some embedded state entity to make sure the results align with what is in political vogue.

There is a difference between holding a view that isn't "in vogue" and inciting violence. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous and ignorant.

This is in the context of the commission saying that FB didn't do enough to block the spread of election fraud misinformation, not that they didn't do enough to block imminent lawless action.

I sense there are two processes at work here. One is simply an algorithm that recommends more of the same. If I watch a Jordan Peterson video, I start seeing recommendations for his other lectures and podcasts. I doubt YouTube's algorithm is specifically trying to change my views politically. Likewise, if I end up seeing a lefty BreadTuber's video, I start to see more socialist videos.

The other thing is that we really don't have shared definition or word-feel for "extremism". The people who are the most vocal about curbing extremist content also happen to be wildly partisan. I don't think that is a coincidence. I sense the false-positive rate is extremely high in this regard.

>"That's not looking for a scapegoat; it's looking for a set of root causes "

I wouldn't say they are looking for a scapegoat, it's just political theater and tactical expediency. Furthermore, I'd also say "root causes" is not quite right either. At the end of the day, this is a very partisan committee and I believe they understand the power in getting these big social media companies to crack down on conservative content under the guise of preventing "extreme/radical content".

Is it? What I got from the quotations the article chose to use was “we don’t have enough info and we think you have not told us everything we need to know to about what happened”.

No, the "inadequate response" they are talking about is that the companies didn't give them the information the committee is asking for. So they are using subpoenas to get it. If there is a trump org, or connected org, that was pushing propaganda on Facebook trying to get people to do something violent, that is extremely important and fully within congress' mandate to have access to. Likewise, if the opposite occurred, and if there isn't any propaganda or misinformation, that's important as well.

Well, I mean ofcourse. They are just "restoring" the democracy

Amazing that you can burn down all the poor areas in cities all across the US and be declared heroes by these people, but by gosh if you raid the Congress candy drawer you're in deep trouble.

These companies overwhelmingly support the Democratic party. The idea that they are deliberately stonewalling this investigation strains credulity. Poking some of their most powerful allies like this feels like a tactical error for the Congressional Democrats.

In a way, that seems to suggest that the investigation is about ascertaining the facts instead of avoiding upsetting powerful allies.

Man, the democrats are really trying to hand republicans every election for the next decade.

Not that I disagree, but how does this particular thing factor into that?

This Jan6 committee doesn't look legit, to be honest. Issuing subpoenas and jail time for ignoring those subpoenas is the courts' territory. I dont understand how a bunch of legislators, who were elected to write laws, created an "emergency committee" with judical and executive powers.

To be clear, the Jan 6 Committee sent criminal referrals to the DoJ, so the judicial system is the one deciding the fate of these individuals, not the Committee. In fact Steve Bannon's due process has been preserved; he has a court date set and he is currently free on bail. Mark Meadows has not been charged yet, but that will also be decided by the DoJ.

It's worth pointing out though, that Congress does in fact have a power of inherent contempt that enables them to enforce their own subpoenas. This is a separation of powers concern: what if Congress needs to subpoena someone in the Executive branch or DoJ in particular?

Isn't this power already a well-established (though also fictional) part of the US system?

What I mean by the parenthetical statement is that while the legislative branch does have an established right to ask the disclosure of information, their power to actually compel is limited. Without cooperation from the other branches of government, what they directly control is a handful of operatives who maintain no facilities for detaining people for the long term.

THey are the only thing standing between us and a fascist government beginning in 2024 when Trump is reelected. If they don't take down his coup attempt and get him banned from office for life, this country as we know it is over.

Man, I wish I could vote for some sane republicans but as its turning out their complicity or silence on Jan 6 is making me believe that entire party is unhinged like Trump.

IMO, the most sane and moderate republicans are still pretty miserable on policy. Anyone who isn't all in on climate change is endangering the world.

Yeah, its almost as if Republicans in both chambers just dont even have proper policy proposals anymore. All they do is obstructionism and grand standing.

They are and they are helping him cover it up by stonewalling whenever they get a chance.

it's not clever to go out of your way to piss off the base of the last guy from your team that won. clearly the democrats understand that, seeing as we are currently experiencing Obama's third term.

Tired of this dont piss the crowd who lost line of thinking. Well, the crowd who won in a fair election is also pissed because the side who lost doesn't want to accept their defeat and move on.

Hello Russiagate, Impeachments ... how long did those go on.

Increasing trust in the outcome would go a long way. How about trying to make the election more verifiable. Put it some real biometric features into mail out ballots. Instead we get, no id required to vote. Doesn't really build trust.

There was simply no fraud at the scale of what you seem to be intending. Most claims of fraud were investigated multiple times (AZ, MI, WI ...) and no evidence has come up which would prove baseless claims of Trump et al. Most states where Trump et al are claiming fraud already have voting ID laws. Just because your guy did not win does not mean the process in not trust worthy.

It absolutely is not trustworthy. Evidence by a third of democrats not trusting the results. There's no biometrics in the ballots to match them to a unique voter once it leaves the envelope. So you can't audit it back to a person, best you can do is recount the same result. Hence why I think mail in ballot results are suspect in any country.

I'm not American, so I'm not swayed by part allegiance. What I did see is 3 am mail in ballot reversals in multiple cities at ridiculous high skewed percentages.

A wildly popular president, the most popular in history, 81 million votes, that somehow is barely polling in the 30%s. Winning the fewest precincts in history yet breaking record for the most votes. More black people voting in record numbers much higher than for Obama in downtown Detroit for him.

It smells like a Putin election. Except Putin is actually popular in his country unlike Biden.

> I'm not American, so I'm not swayed by part allegiance. What I did see is 3 am mail in ballot reversals in multiple cities at ridiculous high skewed percentages.

Maybe since you're not American, you're missing a little nuance about the situation. First of all, mail-in-ballots are counted last in many places. Sometimes, it's by law (like in PA, where mail-in-ballot counting cannot start until after election day). This is why you saw a lot of 3am mail-in-vote counting.

The reason why it took so long to count those votes as opposed to other years is due to the ongoing global pandemic. Because of the pandemic, voters were encouraged to vote by mail. However, the President had spent months before the election claiming that mail-in-voting was rigged, and encouraged his supporters to vote exclusively in person. This is why the mail-in-vote percentages were so skewed toward Democrats.

Therefore the dynamic on election night was that all the in-person votes were counted first, and they gave the impression that Trump had won. When the mail-in-ballots were counted, they were in some cases able to overtake the in-person vote tally, which caused Biden to win in those cases.

> A wildly popular president

Trump was not wildly popular. Again, this may be a perception you had from abroad. In reality, Trump did not win the popular vote the first time he was elected. He lost the House during his first two years in office, and lost the House again and the Senate in 2020, as well as his own election. While it's true he got 74 million votes, his opponent was more popular, and more importantly won the electoral vote, and that's why he's president today. Also in America, our population is highly concentrated in cities. The 500 counties won by Biden account for 70% of the US population. The 2500 counties won by Trump only account for 30% of the population.

All of the other points you raise are just the result of this being an election with record turnout across the country. I just don't understand what you could possibly infer by more black voters voting for Biden than Obama. What exactly is that supposed to prove? There's really nothing about the demographics or statistics of the 2020 election that point to fraud.

This is pretty much the state/corporate media TV explanation you're giving.

There's no good reason other than narrative that the mail-in ballot ratios would not closely trend the in person voting. It's sampling the same population. Please provide some evidence that Republicans don't vote by mail.

Imagine if Putin lost the in person vote by a large margin, but won mail-in ballot vote by a huge percentage. And those votes came from inner city Moscow, inner city St. Petersburg, his party strongholds. The winning margin from votes from the poorest citizens, a demographic that rarely votes, but this time voted in record numbers like never before. And their will is apparently in opposition to rest of the country. That alone would be good enough reason to be suspicious.

At minimum if you're going to have an election with mail-in ballots in the US and you want the citizens to trust the results. There needs to be some way to tie the paper ballot to the person for audit purposes. Otherwise, the losing side, will assume it's printers doing the voting. Hence the J6 protest that turned riot.

At least with an in person ballot you have some upper bound of how many people came out to vote, to verify the results against.

With mail-in voting. You could literally delay announcing the results of election and print out as many votes as needed to overcome any margin. It makes cheating on a mass scale much easier.

> This is pretty much the state/corporate media TV explanation you're giving.

Most of my statements are from first-party sources like government reports and court filings. My statements about the election results stem from monitoring I did of the results as they arrived on election day. I'm a data nerd and there's a lot of fun data to play with around election time. The results of course were of significant national interest as well. I stayed up for multiple days going over the results, and am proud to say I called Pennsylvania on Tuesday by looking at the Northampton County returns. They turned out to be a good bellwether for how the rest of the state was going to go.

> Please provide some evidence that Republicans don't vote by mail.

Don't take my word for it. Here are some exit polls:

                   In person (total)   By mail or absentee
  Trump voters     68%                 32%
  Biden Voters     42%                 58%

If you are hearing the things I'm saying in state/corporate media, I would say that's because they are truthfully reporting on what happened.

> That alone would be good enough reason to be suspicious.

You tried to make this seem nefarious, but let me restate what you wrote. People in Democratic-friendly areas voted heavily for Democrats. That's not suspicious. What would be suspicious is if Trump won places which are known to vote Democratic. That Democrats won in cities is one of the least surprising outcomes of the election.

Do you want to know how Trump really lost the election? It wasn't because of poor people voting extra in cities. It wasn't even because he lost Georgia, because it wasn't critical in his path to victory.

What really sunk Trump were people who voted a straight Republican ticket except for Trump. Think about that. They either left it blank, or wrote in someone else. They didn't even vote for Biden really, although some did. But House and Senate Republicans actually got more votes than Trump did. All of this consternation about Democrats being responsible for Trump's loss is misplaced. If he would have stayed off of Twitter, I bet he would have won easily.

> With mail-in voting. You could literally delay announcing the results of election and print out as many votes as needed to overcome any margin.

This would be caught easily, because it would result in a bunch of envelopes with no paper trail. The attack you describe was alleged quite often during the 2020 election, but the mail-in voting process does not really work as you may expect, so the attack is not feasible.

The first protection is that you need to have requested a ballot for one to be printed. If ballots are printed indiscriminately, there would need to be a corresponding record of requests for those ballots. Even if ballots are sent without a request, as is done in California, there would still need to be a record of the envelope's provenance. Where did it come from, who handled it, etc.

Secondly, there is a signature match process. You have to put your ballot in a security envelope with a signature to be matched against others. If the signature does not match then the ballot will be cast provisionally, and the voter will be contacted to correct it.

Actually this requires more verification than voting in-person. Mail-in voting is one of those things were people think it is less secure, so it's scrutinized more, making it actually the most secure way to vote.

But anyway, I can only describe my local election process, I'm not aware of how every place works. Either way, I don't see why in-person voting is not just as vulnerable to the attack you describe.

You just live in a completely different world. One side sees Jan 6 as an insurrection, the other side sees it as a modern day Reichstag fire. Republicans cannot actually abandon the latter narrative, because so much of their base see the election as actually stolen. Anecdotally, I have friends that voted for Biden and still don't believe the election was legitimate. The failures of the the current administration and their response to Jan 6 is only supporting this narrative for those that buy into it. A fortified capital for months after an election of the most popular president ever elected dies not inspire confidence. The blatantly political use of the DOJ to slap the label of terrorists on concerned parents does not inspire confidence. Unconstitutional federal mandates being imposed does not inspire confidence. Even if you are horrified by what happened j6, you're looking for sane republicans to vote for.

I think that if the current administration continues on it's trajectory, people will simply care less and less about j6. Because their everyday lives are being impacted more and more by hostile policies.

Keeping prisoners held in inhumane conditions while awaiting trial is also not helping. Even Democrats are calling this issue out. It was sickening when we did it to foreigners in gitmo, and it's sickening now.

I wish we saw some honest attempts and transparency at figuring out what happened, but... without that- the schism is only widening.

Concerned parents labelled terrorists? False: https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2021/oct/18/instagram-...

You (and your friends if they are real) are propaganda victims.


Here you will see that the FBI counter terrorism team was spurred by that Oct 4 letter to start tracking potential threats that concerned parents posed. So no, he didn't technically call them terrorists, he just had the counter-terrorism team activated to look for terrorists.

They weren't tracking concerned parents. They were investigating threats. Unless your counterpoint is that being a parent makes you immune from scrutiny the FBI did exactly what it was supposed and did not label anybody anything unless they found a credible threat.

Your bias is showing. Politifact?

The NBSA sent a letter to the DOJ asking them to look into school board meetings around the country, saying that the parent protests were "equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism."

The NBSA has since apologized and removed the letter from their website.

Politifact responds by saying the word "terrorist" does not appear in the memo, thus the "domestic terrorist" claim is false. They created a straw man and then defeated it. Yeesh.

The NSBA labelled specific threats as equivalent to terrorism. Not differing opinions. Making threats can absolutely be equivalent to terrorism. Being a "concerned parent". And the accusation of this thread was against the government made this analogy. The NSBA is not a government agency. The DOJ is and the DOJ explicitly said that they were only investigating threats. Which is exactly what they're supposed to do.

https://nypost.com/2021/10/05/merrick-garland-calls-in-fbi-t... Perhaps your "fact checkers" need to stop tweaking words and see what a grave threat to ordinary citizens this is.

"While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views,” Garland wrote in a memo

That's what Garland said per your article. The only ones who mentioned terrorism was the NSBA and they didn't accuse anyone of it, they suggested some of the threats they'd received could be equivalent to terrorism. So, no Polifact is exactly correct here and the NY Post agrees.

if the republicans nominate anybody except for Trump. A lot of us suspect they’re going to try to tie this to Trump to bar him from ever holding office again. If so, they’ll have won the battle but lost the war - but honestly, I suspect they’re all political insiders (democrats and republicans alike) and really don’t care much which party holds power as long as it’s one of them.

This kind of pressure on companies to censor seems like an end around on the first amendment. It technically is not the government censoring or mandating censorship, but it uses the threat of government power and the power to irritate and harass for companies that don't toe the line. Unfortunately, I can only see this getting worse. For example, if the Republicans come to power in 2022, I can see them having a committee hold hearings on the "riots" of 2020 and subpoenaing all these companies about how their platform was used to organize the protests/riots. Soon, companies will just censor any attempt to organize a protest online.

The larger issue, in my opinion, is that people seem to be looking less for clear and understandable information about current events and more for skewed (possibly even false) information that they find entertaining, comforting, etc.

I can understand why some people might think the next step would be to improve the quality of the information from the sources that are providing this skewed, stilted and possibly even false coverage, but I have trouble seeing this working well enough to improve things in any meaningful way. On the contrary, it seems like this kind of news will be even more sought after as it becomes harder to find.

That said I don't have a good solution. Maybe somehow promoting better sources of news or making it easier for these more reliable news sources to generate income.

> That said I don't have a good solution. Maybe somehow promoting better sources of news or making it easier for these more reliable news sources to generate income.

I think the basic idea is that the government shouldn't be involved in institutionalizing or promoting preferred media narratives of any form.

I disagree that the "larger issue" is that people are misinformed. In fact, I would suggest that there have been several thousand years where people were horribly misinformed on a number of topics.

> This kind of pressure on companies to censor seems like an end around on the first amendment. It technically is not the government censoring or mandating censorship, but it uses the threat of government power and the power to irritate and harass for companies that don't toe the line.

Absolutely. These tech companies know they face the threat of regulation, whether on anti trust grounds or labor issues or whatever. When Twitter banned Trump, they wrote a blog post (https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/suspensio...) that offered no good reason and pointed at things like his refusal to attend Biden’s inauguration. AOC also demanded that tech companies censor Parler (https://imgur.com/jJo0lEx), and Apple/Google/Amazon all complied. The timing of this sudden and willing compliance from all these companies who historically would resist, was not coincidental. It happened because there was a coming change of administrations, and this compliance bought them favor.

Glenn Greenwald has written many great articles on this topic, but here’s a particularly relevant one: https://greenwald.substack.com/p/how-silicon-valley-in-a-sho...

It's an interesting idea.

I can easily imagine that the next time the GOP controls congress they'll ask similar questions of outlets like CNN and MSNBC vis-a-vis the George Floyd riots.

People should be more considerate of the opposition when they're in power. Payback is almost assured, and sometimes even with escalation.

The Jan 6th event (whatever word one uses) was far from secret. Most of the coordination happened in public, and the participants were not shy about their intentions.

After reddit shut down /r/TheDonald, the "pedes" migrated to thedonald dot win (which I think has since been shuttered and moved elsewhere). With all the claims being made about a stolen election, I was watching that site with morbid fascination in December and early January, including the planning for the 6th specifically (I assume it's still in the Wayback Machine). The talk ranged from vague protest, to a quasi-Occupy strategy of refusing to leave until results are overturned, to explicit calls to violence and far-right fantasies ("1776 solutions to 1984 problems", "day of the rope", etc).

And the whole time, I assumed: obviously this is on the radar of the FBI and the "IC". These idiots are out of their depth: they don't even know how to use encryption to coordinate their attempted coup, and they're gonna walk right into a regiment of Feds on the capitol steps.

Luckily Trump is fundamentally a coward, and Pence has some shred of integrity (or just sense), and the participants failed to galvanize a response from the more mainstream Trumpers. But if you want to talk about an "inadequate response": the gross incompetence of our bloated national security apparatus failing to do the only thing that justifies their existence really takes the cake; and I can't help but think all the Congressional hearings and hand-wringing and crocodile tears is a theatrical distraction from that institutional failure.

Discord is missing, a lot of talk before Jan 6th happened there too. Maybe they already cooperated in better faith?

Ever heard of the McCarthy hearings? We went from "everyone we don't like must be a communist" to "everyone who says people cheat at elections is spreading misinformation." This pearl-clutching over "misinformation" is tiresome and pathetic.


"Nearly Died" yes, because the leadership guiding the riot wasn't particularly competent. If they had control of more institutions, it would likely have been more successful.

When saying "any other show of power other than that they managed to break through a few weakly-secured doors" you downplay the fact they the rioters interrupted a session of Congress and succeeded in their purpose of delaying the certification of election results.

Please stop taking HN threads further into flamewar. It's not what this site is for, and it destroys what it is for.

You did it repeatedly in this thread - that's not cool. Please don't do it again.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29935954.

Wow... so you're saying our democracy could be overthrown if you, A) disrupt Congress and B) cause a day's worth of delays.

Amazing stability of our government that.

Your comment here (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29935989) has been killed, so I couldn't post my reply there, so I'll post it here:

> Political theater by Democrats trying to make Jan 6th "The Day That Democracy Nearly Died" or something.

I agree there's been a lot of political theater around Jan. 6th, but if democracy does in fact die in the US, those events will have been an important milestone. Basically, the point where the breakdown of the respect for the institutions of democracy became in-your-face obvious. It also set some precedents/put options in people's minds that will be hugely destabilizing.

That said, I'm really disappointed that Democrats are basically making only small tactical responses (e.g. party-line voting rights legislation, some justice dept. unit to combat "extremism") to a strategic problem, which is that a large fraction of the population is losing/has lost respect for the system. The Democrats really need to get their act together and, being the less-degraded party, do their duty and make whatever sacrifices are necessary to fix that [1].

[1] As in when some asshole trashes some common area, you have the duty to spend your time and effort clean up after them. You don't have control over their behavior, but you have control over your own, and it's wrong to leave the common area trashed even though it's not "fair" you're the one sacrificing your time to clean it up.

I didn't say that at all. However, taking control of the government is exactly how coups are executed, please look into it if you haven't.

We have a chain of command in our government for when people die. First the President, then the Vice President, then the Speaker of the House, then the Secretaries in a predefined order, and so forth. Plus, the Secret Service (which protects the president) includes considerations for, say, Nuclear Bombing of the capitol and who would take over leadership if such a disaster should happen.

If the rioters had succeeded in murdering every single person in the capital building, there would have been a protocol in place with the leader already determined. The only way this would have been successful is if the rioters killed every single elected official and secretary in the building, followed by having the support of the Army. They were absolutely nowhere near that.

The president (and president-elect) weren't anywhere near the building and their safety was not at issue.

There is no federal procedure or "chain of command" for replacing individual Representatives and Senators -- that goes back to the states they represent, with either elections or appointments.

Yes coups require explicit support of the military and/or populace. They had neither.

Many people in the populace would have supported it, look at how many now even today deny that it was a riot aimed at disrupting the peaceful transition of power of the government.

If they didn't do a good enough job at it, it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Around 75% of republicans believe Trump won the 2020 election, and that number has been substantiated by multiple polls at this point. I'd like to say that the coup attempt didn't have the support of the populace, but frankly I'm not sure.

You are missing the most important point C) the outgoing president refuses to leave

The rioters wouldn't have ended democracy, but if they caused enough commotion to prevent certification there was a significant risk Trump would have taken advantage of the situation.

Kind of, yes. The people voted democratically to elect Joe Biden as President in November. The Constitution and laws say that he becomes President Elect on Jan 6. That's the law. People vote -> President elect on Jan 6, President on Jan 20.

What happened on Jan 6 was that the transition of power was, for a number of hours, prevented through violent means. Thank God two things happened on Jan 6: (1) Mike Pence refused to leave the Capitol and (2) Mitch McConnell refused to entertain the 10 objections that they wanted (which would have delayed proceedings for at least 20 hours). If either of those two things happened, we'd be in a political situation uncovered by the Constitution and law. That's when things get bad, because either side is just making things up at that point. It becomes a battle of wills and political power; whoever has the most power to reify their will, wins.

The plan on Jan 6 was to delay certification as long as possible, because there was a pressure campaign ongoing in which states were being pressured to "decertify" their votes, and Pence was being pressured to consider alternate slates of electors for Trump.

I think everyone needs to start getting clear on the facts here:

(1) Jan 6 was about stopping Biden from being certified as President Elect by any means, because that's a write only operation. There's no undoing that. Once he is certified by the House, Senate, and VP, the deal is done. Not even the Supreme Court can overturn that: separation of powers and all.

(2) The legal way to do that was spelled out in the Eastman Memo [1]: It argued Pence could just unilaterally refuse to consider slates of electors and cause a contested election, which favored the Republicans electorally. But Pence would not go along with this plan.

(3) Pence was aware of fraudulent certificates of the vote that had been submitted by various states, which purported to be legitimate votes for Trump. Pence could not go along with accepting those without a pretextual reason given by the states themselves. This was the last piece of the plan which was, supposedly according to Trump's lawyer, coming together at the last minute while the Capitol attack was ongoing.

Think of it this way: On Jan 6 the situation was that every state had certified their votes, Trump lost 62/63 court cases and the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, the AG had said he found no fraud. There was no pretext for Pence to accept the alternative electors.

However, that could have changed very quickly had the pressure campaign continued. If Pence had left the Capitol on Jan 6, then the joint session would not have reconvened for several days while the Capitol was secured (actually the Capitol was correctly deemed insecure by Secret Service the day of Jan 6, so there's as open question as to why Pence was there in the first place). At this time, there was a pressure campaign going on to get one or more states to "Decertify" their certificate of the vote. Had one or more states done so, it would be very easy to see how this would have ended up at a contested election where Republicans would have all the votes needed to install Trump as President.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastman_memos

Didn't the certification end up taking until January 7th anyways? IMO the bulk of the impact was purely symbolic. Even though Congress didn't declare Biden president-elect on the assigned day, his inauguration still happened on schedule.

In fact they reconvened in the evening on Jan 6, and finished the proceedings by 3:30 am on Jan 7. And it's true they managed to get the confirmation done, but that's not quite the point -- the point is why they had to be doing it that late in the first place. The reason is, that this purely symbolic event is anything but; it transmutes the winner of the election into president elect. It marks the beginning of the transition of power, when the president elect begins assuming the powers of their future office. This preliminary title comes with real powers like the ability to see classified information, and increased protections.

It's also completely irreversible. It turns out, the easiest way to prevent a president from being inaugurated on Jan 20 is to prevent them from becoming president elect on Jan 6. There's a real question as to who would ever have the Constitutional authority to undo that, because all the objections are assumed to have been settled through the process on Jan 6. After that it's a done deal. I would say Jan 20 is the more purely symbolic event of the two dates, because by then the authority of the new executive is more firmly established.

And we can't brush past the fact that there was a delay, no matter how brief. The few hour delay could have easily been multiple days if Pence had left the Capitol, and it could have changed the political calculus in terms of states deciding to decertify their elections. Multiple days could have easily turned into multiple weeks as the Justice system moves at a snail's pace, and then suddenly it's Jan 20 without a decision on the election.

If that were to have happened, the House would have voted and with a majority of delegations Republicans would have chosen Trump.

How many people do you think were actually there to delay certification of election results? The overwhelming majority of people who stepped onto the Capitol grounds are charged only with simple trespassing. Even most of the people who entered the actual building were just trespassing and did not take things further. There were nearly 10000 people who marched from the earlier Trump rally to the area outside the Capitol. A few hundred entered the Capitol grounds, and my guess is that most of the rioters were intending to be peaceful protesters and got carried away.

> If they had control of more institutions, it would likely have been more successful.

Isn’t this the pot calling the kettle black? The political left does control most of the institutions, including most mainstream press outlets, virtually all academic institutions, and all notable tech companies. The one thing I can take away from January 6th that is about the security of our elections doesn’t relate to the security of physical buildings. One political side was able to compel all these institutions to take up their political cause, and have engaged in state-motivated censorship of political adversaries. Hiding behind the legality of whether a private organization can censor is not really meaningful. Democracy begins a lot earlier than when we line up to vote. That to me is a much more direct threat to the stability of our country than anything else.

> The overwhelming majority of people who stepped onto the Capitol grounds are charged only with simple trespassing

The overwhelming majority are being charged with class A and B misdemeanors (I assume by "simple trespass" you probably mean class C), but that's not the only charge that many of them have.

About half of those arrested so far have felony charges as well.

I think it's worth mentioning that the executive branch of the US government, including the president of the US, were supporting the rioters. In my opinion, this is part of the reason why the capital was not more secure.

It may be more difficult for another country, like England, to get that kind of support from the executive branch of the US government.

Any democracy is that fragile... if the leader of a party directs (gives cover to) his mob to disrupt official certification proceedings.

Please stop taking HN threads further into flamewar. It's not what this site is for, and it destroys what it is for.

You did it repeatedly in this thread (over a dozen comments!) - that's not cool. Please don't do it again.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29935954.

> they managed to break through a few weakly-secured doors.

behind which were hundreds of members of US government, who were at that very moment performing the most critical function of government: peaceful transition of power, to prevent the chaos of civil war https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaceful_transition_of_power

> England ... breaking unexpectedly into the capital building?


The low level actions of the rioters on January 6th would be less relevant if the political leaders and operatives who mobilized them were being held to account. But rather the Republican Party is extremely disinterested in any sort of accountability or investigation, instead closing the ranks around autocracy. And so going after the low level useful idiots in hopes of building cases against the real perps is the only path forward.

It’s not about the foot soldiers but about senators trying to reject the vote certification. The people outside were the polarized ammunition. “Look how angry the American patriots are, that’s proof that we need to reject the certification and send it back to the states.” The investigations are following the thread trying to uncover high level sedition if any — e.g., Trump conspiring with senators and oath keepers (whose leader just got indicted) to overturn the election.

There's a bit of definition slippage in this comment.

When people assert that democracy was in danger, they don't mean that it was in danger solely from the rioters. In general (and I'm sure there are exceptions to this), they mean it was in danger because of the Trump administration.

So no, this assertion does not imply that "taking control of the US is as easy as just sending a regiment over by boat."

Funny how you think this is a political theater but you do not acknowledge the anger stroking speeches from Trump and appearances of Republican senators on Fox news claiming widespread election fraud and forcing Pence and congress in not certifying election as not a serious matter.

I can say that would be a serious matter, but the hype about how it was going to kill our democracy because of some rioters is overblown nonsense.

I think your mistake is that you believe the end of democracy would be a huge event and that you see Jan 6 as an attempted huge strike but not big enough.

Actually Jan 6 was a surgical strike, aimed at a critical ceremony: the transfer of power. It was exactly as big as it needed to be, to infiltrate and hold the Capitol for as long as possible.

Ask yourself: how does democracy die? When an army invades? When bombs are dropped? No, democracy dies when illegal acts are used to subvert the Constitution. That's exactly what happened on Jan 6. The winner of the election is transmuted into President Elect on Jan 6 through the ceremony that was disrupted by the sitting President. That's one step into an extraconstitutional wilderness, and I'm not sure how far you can go into that void without losing everything. I think that's a place where the slope is very, very slippery due to the power dynamics involved. Due to the brave acts of individuals at the Capitol that day, we took two steps back into the Constitutional order.

If you look at the transcript of Trump’s speech (https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/donald-trump-speech-sav...), he literally called for a peaceful march from one location to another:

> I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.

And indeed, the overwhelming majority of the ~10000 people in that march never set foot on the Capitol grounds.

As for doubting election results, I feel like there are two things to consider here. One is why we think it is so easy to trust the American election system but cast so much doubt on those of other countries - I feel like that’s just blind faith, particularly when basic security measures like strong voter identification are not in place. The other is that the grounds for doubting election results were laid by the Democrats more so than the Republicans. Remember, Democrats formally objected to certifying results in 2000, 2004, and 2016 (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/opinion/democrat-republic...). Look at the claims Hillary and the Democrats made about Russia interfering in the 2016 elections - polls showed that even in 2018, 2/3rds of Democratic voters believed that Russia literally tampered with vote counts (https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/articles-reports/20...). Where’s the outrage around all of these situations?

Meanwhile, after a year of sustained rioting and manipulation of politics via violence (BLM riots in 2020), the left crying foul seems incredibly disingenuous. All Sides wrote at length about media bias in covering the Capitol riot (https://www.allsides.com/blog/capitol-hill-breach-riot-cover...). Let’s not forget that it was only very recently that hundreds of rioters were arrested for disrupting SCOTUS nominee Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45754771). This wasn’t the first time either, and there are many similar examples previously (example: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/more-100-arrested-...). Why is it that an escalation of such tactics is only a problem when one political side does it?

> indeed, the overwhelming majority of the ~10000 people in that march never set foot on the Capitol grounds.

That is true, which is why most people are not being charged with seditious conspiracy. But that doesn't mean there isn't a conspiracy. You're correct that he intoned some notions of peace, but I think you have to admit the totality of his message was pretty mixed. It's quite dire at times.

But it's been a year since Jan 6, so we have a lot more to go on to figure out what Trump actually wanted.

We know the morning of Jan 6, Mike Pence had told Trump that he was not going to decertify the election. That was his decision. Meaning, when Trump is at the ellipse wondering aloud "Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our constitution and for the good of our country. And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you.", Trump already knows what Pence is going to do.

Not long after, chants of "Hang Mike Pence" are heard in the halls of the breached Capitol, and this is televised across all networks. We know from people who were with him at this time, Trump was watching TV and rewinding it, wondering aloud "Look at all of the people fighting for me", while brushing off calls from his son, daughter, lawmakers, and other officials to send out something to quell the mob. He sends this message instead:

  “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
Video from the Capitol that day shows the chants to hang the VP intensifying as the crowd received that Tweet. I think this puts to rest any notion about the President's intent that day.

> Remember, Democrats formally objected to certifying results in 2000, 2004, and 2016

Notably, the 2000 objections were not meritless, yet were overruled by the loser of that contest. That I think should send a resounding message and example as to how electoral losses should be handled.

And anyway, the problem wasn't that there were objections on Jan 6. Objections are Constitutional and built into the process. They happen and there is a method to resolve them.

The problem was how the process was being used on Jan 6. Inside of the Capitol, the plan was to delay the proceeding as long as possible. Trump's lawyers wanted phony objections to 10 states, which would have been a 20+ hour delay. During this time, Trump's lawyer and probably the Chief of Staff were working overtime trying to get at least one state to decertify their results. This would have put renewed pressure on Pence to decertify the election and kick it to the House.

The crucial point here though is that the alleged fraud was a fiction at this point. Trump had already lost all his legal battles, all states had certified the results, the AG had said there was no evidence of fraud, the US Attorney in Georgia said he couldn't see any fraud... there was no basis for any of these objections whatsoever by Jan 6, let alone in 10 states!

> Look at the claims Hillary and the Democrats made about Russia interfering in the 2016 elections - polls showed that even in 2018, 2/3rds of Democratic voters believed that Russia literally tampered with vote counts

The problem here is that Trump's genesis was always suspect, and that suspicion has been proven legitimate, which guaranteed it would never be fully dealt with. The Republican-appointed special counsel found Russians did in fact interfere with the election, and the Republican Senate concurs and characterizes the events as follows:

  It is our conclusion, based on the facts detailed in the Committee's Report, that the Russian intelligence services' assault on the integrity of the 2016 U.S. electoral process[,] and Trump and his associates' participation in and enabling of this Russian activity, represents one of the single most grave counterintelligence threats to American national security in the modem era.
That's the conclusion of the Republican-led Senate Intel Committee's report [1], and the facts aren't even in question anymore. The problem is that this was never actually reckoned with. It was memory holed as "no collusion, no obstruction" and it's left a very real lingering doubt in people. While there was no changing of the votes by Russians, the Trump campaign did profit off the hacking of their rival, and then lied about their foreknowledge of the hack and dealings with the hackers, then covered it up after they were in power. Tolerance of that kind of behavior that should be a flashing warning sign as to why Jan 6 happened in the first place.

[1] https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/publications/report-sele...

The rioters came fairly close to getting to the senators. Suppose the mob found Nancy Pelosi?

I think it is probable she would have been killed. That doesn’t mean they control the us government. But it’s non trivial.

> The rioters came fairly close to getting to the senators. Suppose the mob found Nancy Pelosi?

"Fairly close" to me would likely involve more of the rioters being shot. The fact that so few were shot indicates that the state was largely keeping their gloves on, which they would not if there was any risk of a senator actually being killed.

The rioters failed to find the senators. They were one door away, and a guard lured them in the wrong direction. I’m not sure how much of an armed guard presence was accompanying the senators at the time, though I believe it was not a large presence.

Supposing they instead entered the room, it is probable to me that they would have been immediately shot. I doubt the rioters could have taken the room but who knows. In any case

* I think the rioters would have killed some democratic leaders if given the opportunity

* I think more gunshots would have occurred if the rioters went a different direction by chance

* I think this is way, way too far already in terms of what is remotely ok.

And yet Democratics encouraged and even participated in blocking the Supreme Court confirmation vote using... a march to the capital and overrunning capital security forces and successfuy occupying every space they attempted to reach.

Why shouldn't any of them been shot?

Both were confirmations to the highest level of office in their respective branch of government and both were staged by political opponents protesting and admittedly attempting to block an "unjust" transfer of power.

If "peaceful protest" vs "riotous coup" can hinge on the fact that your ideological allies could only have been there to "righteously have their voices heard" but ideological opponents must be there as "murderous usurpers", then your sympathetic reasoning might be better described as paranoid delusional projections.

Let's remember that it was Eric Holder and Bill Clinton who pardoned a woman who literally bombed the capital building.

One of those groups marched to the capitol.

Another one of those groups broke into the capitol building, stole things, destroyed things, fought with guards, smeared poop on the walls, audibly shouting about looking for specific senators. and at least one person has been found guilty of carrying a gun. Multiple people found to have discussed killing the senators.

This is such a distorted picture of what actually happened.

Your final reference (I'm assuming to the weathermen) is a much more apt comparison than the other protest you're discussing.

I suppose you'd label them "mostly peaceful" if only they'd have burnt everything down around them.

>Suppose the mob found Nancy Pelosi?

If that happened, I think the most likely outcome is that there'd be more Ashli Babbits

Didn't the BLM rioters also come close to Trump? Why was that different?

Scale, context, size, and defense of the actions of the rioters mostly.

>I think it is probable she would have been killed.

What leads you to call that probable?

I don't think it's impossible, after all it's only been a few years since that Bernie supporter shot at all those Republican congressmen, and Scalise almost did die. But that guy was actually armed and went with that purpose, these goofs appear to have been unarmed protesters who turned into a mob.

I know you don't need a gun to kill someone, I just find your assessment that it was probable she would be killed a stretch.

> What leads you to call that probable?

Because people with guns who said they wanted to kill her entered the capitol with their guns and started looking for her.

E.g., from one charging document: "Thinking about heading over to Pelosi CUNT’s speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV [purple devil emoji]."

Charges: Possession of Unregistered Firearms, Possession of Unregistered Ammunition, Possession of Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Devices.

So... he had a gun, said he wanted to kill pelosi, and then broke into a federal building and started looking for her.

He was probably just trolling and this is all a big over-reaction, right? /s

> unarmed


> that Bernie supporter...

the main different here is that I don't recall there being a systemic effort to defend him and explain that it's really no big deal.

>entered the capitol with their guns

Correct me if I'm wrong, but nobody entered the Capitol with guns. I'm aware that sounds like downplaying the incident, which is not my intention. I just think accuracy matters.

The guy you're referring to (who was thankfully charged), did not enter the Capitol with a gun, according to the charging document. What gave you the idea that he entered the Capitol with a gun, the charging document is pretty clear?

>the main different here is that I don't recall there being a systemic effort to defend him and explain that it's really no big deal.

The effort was just to blame Trump's rhetoric for that guys actions. Which, Trump's rhetoric was less than helpful to say the least, but that was a poor excuse for trying to murder a bunch of congresspeople.

Alas, this is the problem with demanding accuracy. If someone says something false about a bad person or incident, we are unable to ask for accuracy unless we are willing to be seen as defending it.

How about Guy Reffitt, who has been charged with bringing an assault rifle to Washington, and a handgun onto capitol grounds, then later, charmingly, threatening to shoot his own children if they turned him in, which they did?

> Correct me if I'm wrong, but nobody entered the Capitol with guns.

So there were really two groups of people who showed up on Jan 6. The first large group were Trump supporters there to protest. These people are being charged with misdemeanor trespassing; and if they attacked police, they are being charged with felony assault as well.

The second, smaller group were militia who came there equipped and with a plan. Lower-level members of this group have been charged with conspiracy to disrupt Congress, a felony. Higher-level members have just been charged with seditious conspiracy, which carries a 20 year max sentence.

This later group of individuals were mostly ex-military and law enforcement. They were aware that bringing guns on Jan 6 would have resulted in a commiserate response by Capitol Police, and they would have been outmatched. However, according to yesterday's indictment, they did bring plenty of equipment (including guns) and stashed them in hotels across the Potomac river, with plans to bring them across in a boat in case the need arose. We are still learning more about this plan.

> The effort was just to blame Trump's rhetoric for that guys actions. Which, Trump's rhetoric was less than helpful to say the least, but that was a poor excuse for trying to murder a bunch of congresspeople.

At this point the cause and effect is pretty well established.

- The only reason anyone was even near the Capitol on Jan 6 was because Trump summoned them there.

- Trump then told the assembled mob where to go and what to do: "we’re going to the Capitol" to "stop the steal".

- Trump directed the mob to the Capitol.

- The mob arrived at the capitol and violently disrupted the ongoing proceedings.

- Trump witnessed this on live TV and instead of doing anything for 3 hours, he mused himself by rewinding the live footage of people brutally attacking police.

- When arrested, the individual comprising the mob tell police they did what they did at the behest of the Trump.

I think we're way past the point of saying this was just one big misunderstanding. The individuals who invaded the Capitol did so because they thought Trump wanted them to, and he actually did want them to, because if he didn't, he would have attempted to stop it much sooner.

I agree that it may be probable, on the evidence that the angry crowd built a gallows and was chanting 'Hang Mike Pence'


I think a mob breaking into a guarded building is well above the threshold for violence personally. They were vocal about looking for her. They hated her. You’re welcome to think otherwise.

Yes -- I almost stopped early in the article at "the deadly attack".

It was a disgusting action taken by the mob, but the nation heals more if the press acts _honestly_. Media bias (especially on that story) only divides and embitters people.

Yes... some people died, but it wasn't what the media made it to be. Two protesters died of heart attacks, one died of an overdose, and one died of being shot by a cop. One died of a stroke and was widely misreported of being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher when that didn't actually happen, and four cops later committed suicide. This is all according to FactCheck.org.

Was it great? Absolutely not - but it wasn't anything remotely close to, say, even the most minor altercations between America and Britain.

What do you think would have happened if things went a little differently and the mob got to Nancy Pelosi? They were very close to doing so.

We would have a funeral for Pelosi, but democracy would be no closer to dying. And while it's a tragedy for anyone to be murdered, hype about it "nearly killed democracy" is just inflammatory.

If pelosi were murdered (and potentially other senators too)

Do you think the senate would still have certified the election? Or would Trump still be president?

I think the fear is that the mob was almost able to make it so that Trump’s lie about a stolen election would have overridden the democratic process.

If such an event happened, it would have been fair to say that event “killed democracy”

We have a First Amendment... but if you run a platform that does not even use the First Amendment, you'll get subpoenaed and harassed.

In theory, I ran a platform that protected everything the First Amendment did, and protected nothing that the Amendment did not protect, I should be legally in the clear.

But I'm not going to attempt such a thing - because it's clear Congress would do the ultimate shakedown.

How to misunderstand the situation 101: bring the first amendment into the discussion when that’s not what the discussion is about.

Let me break this down for you: you host a weekly poker night. My buddies and I come and during these nights plan a crime. We than carry out a crime and get arrested. The investigators come to you and ask “what did those guys talk about at your poker nights?” You say “poker stuff”. They subpoena you to get a better answer. Where in all of this did the first amendment come into play?

> They subpoena you to get a better answer

Sure except the subpoena in question was not actually about records of conversations that the rioters had, it was about efforts FB did/didn't take to discount election misinformation.

Election misinformation is covered by free speech.

> Election misinformation is covered by free speech.

In the same way as yelling “fire” in a theater.

So? Illegal the legal according to then overruled by SCOTUS, and widely misunderstood when it’s used as a reference?

> In the same way as yelling “fire” in a theater.

Not at all? There's a clear moral (and certainly legal) dividing line between the two.

But this subpoena has nothing to do with the first amendment, they're demanding for more records, not levying a penalty for not removing these people.

Not necessarily. The First Amendment is implicated if the federal government is trying to get these companies to act on their behalf and censor speech.

Right, but this subpoena isn't doing that. The 'inadequate response' in the title of the post is referring to the companies' response to congress' request for data, not saying the companies' response to the speech on their platform was inadequate.

Yes, I understand that. My point is that many in Congress want these companies to preemptively censor what happens on their platforms and these subpoenas is an attempt to build that case.

You have the first amendment right to talk about crimes you are planning, but the government still gets to use what you said against you if you actually commit that crime.

Seditious conspiracy is a crime in itself

What do Twitter and Reddit have to do with the first amendment?

If you assume the companies are operating in a vacuum, probably nothing. If the government is trying to influence a private company what rules to use for moderation then the lines are blurred.

As other have said, this is a bit different then that since it's an investigation but I'm sure you can find some examples from the past years of politicians and government officials trying to influence moderation policies for better or worse.

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