Facebook vs. Myanmar’s Generals | The GOP’s Greene Light

1. Generals Ban Facebook in Myanmar

Myanmar’s military government, which seized power Monday over disputed election results, blocked social media to quiet “fake news” from dissenters. Protesters have voiced their opposition to the coup on Facebook, which is used by half the nation’s 53 million inhabitants, with posts showing people honking car horns and banging on pots and pans. Some used virtual private networks to circumvent the Facebook block, like demonstrators in Mandalay who livestreamed a small protest. Meanwhile, detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose political party won 80 percent of the vote, has been charged with illegally importing communications equipment.

Sources: Al JazeeraReuters

2. Feds Charge Proud Boys in Capitol Conspiracy

As the casket of Officer Brian Sicknick, killed in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, lay in honor in the building’s rotunda, the Justice Department continued to level charges over the assault. Two Proud Boys members, Nicholas Ochs and Nicholas DeCarlo, face conspiracy charges for allegedly plotting to stop Congress from certifying Nov. 3 election results. Authorities arrested another member, Ethan Nordean, accusing him of soliciting protective gear and communications equipment for the storming. Meanwhile, Canada yesterday designated the group — which former President Donald Trump famously instructed to “stand back and stand by” — as a “neo-fascist” terrorist entity.


3. Greene, Cheney Spared by Republicans

There are people on both sides. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy yesterday decided against stripping committee assignments from Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene after she reportedly apologized to her colleagues for her history of promoting violence and conspiracy theories. McCarthy also argued for the GOP’s polar opposite, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, to retain the party’s No. 3 House leadership post. Cheney, who voted to impeach President Trump, survived his allies’ vote to oust her 145 to 61. But McCarthy’s solution to the growing GOP rift could disenchant Trump’s base, while keeping Greene a target for Democrats in 2022.

Sources: Washington PostFox NewsReutersThe Hill

4. GameStop Guru Probed for Securities Violations

Was upending Wall Street not part of the job? Massachusetts regulators are looking into Keith Gill, who convinced thousands of Reddit day traders to run up the price of GameStop shares, forcing hedge funds to spend billions covering bets that the stock would decline. The registered securities broker had quit his day job in “financial wellness” education, but was still on the payroll while fomenting market mayhem. Gill may testify before a congressional committee Feb. 18, along with federal securities officials and executives from Robinhood, the no-fee stock trading platform used by many of Gill’s followers.

Sources: NYTBI

5. Also Important …

A former Columbus, Ohio, police officer has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man, while responding to a noise complaint. Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. has agreed to a $573 million settlement over advising Purdue Pharma to aggressively market OxyContin, stoking the opioid addiction crisis. And the U.S. State Department says it’s “deeply concerned” by Wednesday’s BBC report on the systematic rape of Uighurs and other minorities in Chinese internment camps.

Coronavirus Update: Germany has flown intensive care staff and ventilators to Portugal, where hospitals have been overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases. A British trial is mixing Pfizer and AstraZeneca shots for the first and second vaccine doses in hopes of combating short supplies. And a barber cutting hair for the Super Bowl-bound Kansas City Chiefs has tested positive for COVID-19.

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1. Federal Judge: Vaccinate Prisoners Now

They’re on few priority lists. But a federal judge in Oregon has ruled that the state’s prison inmates should be vaccinated now, putting them on par with nursing home residents and corrections officers for priority. In her Tuesday ruling, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman said “constitutional rights are not suspended during a crisis,” noting that the state is obligated to protect those in its custody. Oregon said it won’t appeal, saying vaccinating prisoners won’t influence the inoculation of others, such as the teachers Gov. Kate Brown has controversially prioritized in an effort to reopen schools.

Sources: The Hill , OPB

What do you think? Do prisoners deserve the same consideration for vaccinations as others? Reply to this email, including your first name, last initial and city or state, and we may include your view in the PDB.

2. Parler CEO Says He Was Fired

He wanted moderation. That’s what John Matze, ex-CEO of social media site Parler, says after being fired last week amid disputes with Rebekah Mercer, a Republican donor who controls its board. Amazon stopped hosting the “free speech” platform after extremists used it to organize the Jan. 6 Capitol assault. While Mercer has yet to comment, Matze claims he sought to get the site operating again while curbing calls for violence and promotion of conspiracies like QAnon. It may be moot, however, as a federal court has rejected Parler’s lawsuit to force Amazon to resume hosting the platform.

Sources: NPRThe Verge

3. Pollution Helps the Climate — Sort Of

Problem solved? Lockdowns have stifled pollution-causing activity and cleared the air, but that’s counterintuitively worsened global warming, according to a new study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Aerosol pollutants in the atmosphere scatter the sun’s rays, meaning less sunlight reaches Earth. So with less pollution, normally smoggy places like the U.S. and Russia have recently warmed by 0.37 degrees Celsius. But unlike that temporary effect, greenhouse gases linger in the atmosphere, making warming worse in the long run. So the good news stands: The pandemic will slightly slow climate change’s catastrophic march.

Sources: SciTechDailyEcoWatch

4. Female Directors Make History With Golden Globes Nods

It’s a very exclusive club. In 77 years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association had nominated just five women for best director. Yesterday that number jumped 60 percent, adding Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao, One Night in Miami’s Regina King and Promising Young Woman’s Emerald Fennell. Could the pressure on the Globes, like Natalie Portman calling out the “all-male nominees” during the 2018 ceremony, be bearing fruit? King also joins a list of just six nominated Black directors, while Zhao is the first Asian woman nominated. If a woman wins, she’ll join just Barbra Streisand, who won for Yentl in 1984, while King would be the first Black winner.

Sources: ETIndieWire

5. How the Little Guys Saved Hometown Baseball

They were three distant cities: But Erie, Pennsylvania, Binghamton, New York, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, were united by a shared loss, OZY reports, after Major League Baseball announced in 2019 that it was severing ties with dozens of minor league teams. Without a link to the big leagues, they had little chance of survival. But they fought back, rallying fans with the #SaveHometownBaseball campaign and eventually getting the attention of now-Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. After a yearlong struggle, they learned in December 2020 that their campaign’s swing had connected and their teams were safe at home.

Sources: OZY