Heather Cox Richardson nails it again

Since the 1950s, when Senator Joe McCarthy (R-WI) pioneered constructing a false narrative to attract voters, the Movement Conservative faction of the Republican Party focused not on fact-based arguments but on emotionally powerful fiction. There are no punishments for lying in front of television cameras in America, and from Ronald Reagan’s Welfare Queen to Rush Limbaugh’s “Feminazis” to the Fox News Channel personalities’ warnings about dangerous Democrats to Rudy Giuliani’s “witnesses” to “voter fraud” in the 2020 election, Republicans advanced fictions and howled about the “liberal media” when they were fact-checked. By the time of the impeachment hearings for former president Trump, Republican lawmakers like Jim Jordan (R-OH) didn’t even pretend to care about facts but instead yelled and badgered to get clips that could be arranged into a fictional narrative on right-wing media. 


Now, though, the Movement Conservative narrative that “socialist” Democrats stole the 2020 election, a narrative embraced by leading Republican lawmakers, a story that sits at the heart of dozens of voter suppression laws and that led to one attempted coup and feeds another, a narrative that would, if it succeeds, create a one-party government, is coming up against public testimony under oath.

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Just sayin’

As you will recall from the two impeachments of America’s Greatest Compulsive Liar, the mere attempt to do something, if done by or on behalf of the sitting president, is not a crime. Ukrainian president Zelensky never actually went on CNN to announce an investigation into Hunter Biden, so… no crime, no quid pro quo. On January 6, a mob may have tried to stop the certification of the election, at Trump’s strong suggestion, even succeeded for a few hours, but an ATTEMPTED coup is not the same as a successful coup, which is why Pence, Pelosi, AOC, Liz Cheney, Kevin McCarthy and company are all still alive to talk about it.

We need to recall this principle, even though it might seem absurd, and, also the above purely academic definition, as we march toward authoritarianism.

“What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?”

As the House Select Committee on the January 6 MAGA riot began its first hearing, the man who called to beg Trump to stop the riot, and then asked him “who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?” when Trump mocked him, held a press conference to ask the most important question of all about the day a hoard of outraged Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and attacked police: What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?

This is a typical diversionary obstructionist move and brazeness is sometimes the main point of the exercise. The provocative yet senseless question can be answered easily enough by anyone who read accounts of the riot. Nancy Pelosi knew the Capitol was under attack when her security team hustled her to a safe location, with freshman Congress member and QAnon adherent Lauren Bobert texting out Pelosi’s movements and realtime location to the armed rioters who were looking for her.

Again, the brazen nature of this in-your-fucking face distraction is the point of the exercise. If you are trying to provoke rage in your supporters, you want to go big — give them more reason to really hate those they already blame. Plus, it will drive your hated enemies crazy! Forget that more than one Capitol police officer is in the House chamber testifying about a crowd of snarling “protesters” calling him a “fucking nigger” and daring him to put down his gun and have a fair fight against the twenty of them. It looks bad for some of the very fine militia member supporters of America’s most openly racist president that his peeps would use the ‘n-word’ so openly, and toward Blue Lives Matter. No problemo. Flip the script, give Newsmax, OANN, FOX a BIG alternative headline.

Fucking Pelosi is a witch. This is yet another illegal, purely partisan witch hunt. She could have stopped the riot at any time, merely by surrendering and letting the lawless mob bring her to justice. Did she? No, she selfishly hid, like the radical communist coward she is. What did she know? When did she know it? Real Americans need to know!!!

Not far away, during the mayhem on January 6, we all know what the man who was the focus and instigator of the riot was doing. He was glued to the television. When McCarthy called him, in reasonable fear for his life, and was finally put through, and asked his leader to call off the rioters, Trump reportedly delivered a very catty line — “well, Kevin, I guess some people are more upset about this stolen election than you are”. The line pissed stressed out Kevin off, he raised his voice to America’s Greatest Snarkmeister, even used the fucking f-word. 140 Blue Lives Matter folks were seriously injured in the ongoing lovefest (presumably from excessive hugging and kissing) as the former president swelled with pride watching the riot, seeing how many still loved him unconditionally, and showed it by openly, violently violating the law to carry out his gentle suggestion that they “stop the steal”.

So, naturally, the REAL question is not why Capitol Police were unprepared for the attack [1], who ordered the DC National Guard to stand down during the riot (Trump ordered the interim-acting lackey who headed DOJ to do so), not who donated the $50,000,000 in advertising funds to promote #Stop the Steal, not who worked directly with the White Supremacist militias who took care of the logistics of the actual violent insurrection at the Capitol, not who failed to act to stop the riot for hours, not who gave aid and comfort to the criminals who stormed the Capitol — none of that matters. The only question before real Americans today, in this great nation, under God, indivisible, is “What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?”

My next question is will Pelosi authorize the House Sergeant at Arms to arrest and lock up McCarthy if he tries to do a Don McGahn, defy a legal Congressional subpoena to answer the many questions he is desperately ducking as he audaciously tries to reframe the exercise in accountability as a purely partisan witch hunt by the very witch responsible for the riot in the first place, Nancy Pelosi, who, indisputably DID NOTHING TO STOP IT!

I’ll tell you this, if Nancy Pelosi stops short of having McCarthy arrested for contempt of Congress, she will embolden every other Trump apologist and Nazi wannabe that Congress subpoenas to testify. This is not a situation where anybody has a year or two to spare while federal judges slowly work on this Rubik’s Cube of a constitutional conundrum, the binding legality of a Congressional subpoena.

Democracy is under direct, sustained, serious attack. When did Pelosi know this and what does she know?

Three Stooges

[1] blah, blah blah… WHAT ABOUT PELOSI?!!!

Three days before the siege, a Capitol Police intelligence assessment warned of violence from supporters of President Donald J. Trump who believed his false claims that the election had been stolen. Some had even posted a map of the Capitol complex’s tunnel system on pro-Trump message boards.

“Unlike previous postelection protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counterprotesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th,” the threat assessment said, according to the inspector general’s report. “Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike.”

But on Jan. 5, the agency wrote in a plan for the protest that there were “no specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress.” And the former chief of the Capitol Police has testified that the force had determined that the likelihood of violence was “improbable.” . . .

. . . The Department of Homeland Security warned the Capitol Police on Dec. 21 of comments on a pro-Trump website promoting attacks on members of Congress with a map of the tunnel system, according to the inspector general’s findings.

“Supporters of the current president see Jan. 6, 2021, as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election,” said the assessment three days before the riot. “This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent.” . . .

. . . “Several comments promote confronting members of Congress and carrying firearms during the protest,” a Capitol Police analyst wrote.

Among the comments reported to the Capitol Police: “Bring guns. It’s now or never,” and, “We can’t give them a choice. Overwhelming armed numbers is our only chance.”

On Jan. 5, the F.B.I.’s Norfolk field office, in Virginia, relayed another threat from an anonymous social media thread that warned of a looming war at the Capitol.

“Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled,” the message read. “Get violent … stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”

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Origin of the term “RINO”

Thank you, Heather Cox Richardson

The term “RINO” comes from the 1990s, when the Movement Conservatives taking over the Republican Party used it to discredit traditional Republicans as “Republicans In Name Only.” It reversed reality—the Movement Conservatives were the RINOs, not the other way around—but it worked. Movement Conservatives, who wanted to get rid of the New Deal and take the government back to the 1920s, pushed aside traditional Republicans who agreed with Democrats that the government should regulate business, provide a basic social safety net, and promote infrastructure.

Now, the former president is doing the same thing: claiming that the Movement Conservatives who now dominate the leadership of the Republican Party are not really Republicans. True Republicans, he says, are those loyal only to him.

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Also from Heather tonight:

Both Cheney and Kinzinger voted for Trump. Cheney voted with Trump more than 90% of the time. Kinzinger voted with him 99% of the time in the president’s first two years in office. Trying to make them into Democrats because they did not support the insurrection is a double-edged sword. McCarthy is trying to read them out of the Republican Party, for sure, but he is also tying the entire party to Trump, and it seems likely—from Trump’s rising panic, if nothing else—that the committee will discover things that will not show the former president and his supporters in a good light.

Five Questions about GOP involvement in January 6 MAGA riot at Capitol

Well-done, Mehdi Hasan (viewing time about 6 minutes).

Were Republican members of Congress involved in organizing “Stop the Steal” rallies including the big one on January 6 in Washington DC? Did elected Republicans, like Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs and Mo Brooks, take part in the planning of the January 6th rally/riot?

Were Republican members of Congress in contact with the insurrectionists before the attack on the Capitol? What of reports of freshman Congress member Lauren Bobert giving reconnaissance tours prior to the attack, and her tweeting live updates of the Speaker’s location and movements during the midst of the attack on the Capitol? Were there connections and contacts between specific members of Congress and individuals and militia groups involved in the storming of the Capitol?

What happened to the DC National Guard on January 6th during the attack, during the hand to hand combat between the mob and Capitol Police trying to prevent the violent breach of the Capitol? Was the Guard blocked from deploying, and if so, by whom?

Why did Capitol Police seem so unprepared for the attack? [1]

What did the president know, and when did he know it? When Trump tweeted “Big Protest in DC on January 6. Be there. will be wild” what did he think would happen? What did he want to happen? On the day of the attack, why didn’t Trump take action? Did he block others from taking action?

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[1]

Mehdi quotes from this article from the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Capitol Police had clearer advance warnings about the Jan. 6 attack than were previously known, including the potential for violence in which “Congress itself is the target.” But officers were instructed by their leaders not to use their most aggressive tactics to hold off the mob, according to a scathing new report by the agency’s internal investigator.

In a 104-page document, the inspector general, Michael A. Bolton, criticized the way the Capitol Police prepared for and responded to the mob violence on Jan. 6. The report was reviewed by The New York Times and will be the subject of a Capitol Hill hearing on Thursday. . .

. . . Three days before the siege, a Capitol Police intelligence assessment warned of violence from supporters of President Donald J. Trump who believed his false claims that the election had been stolen. Some had even posted a map of the Capitol complex’s tunnel system on pro-Trump message board

“Unlike previous postelection protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counterprotesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th,” the threat assessment said, according to the inspector general’s report. “Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike.”

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Trump is “not free from fault”

Let’s roll the video tape, as Warner Wolf used to say (the clip is 57 seconds).

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tells Congress on January 13 that Trump, while he doesn’t deserve to be impeached again, is not “free from fault”. He states that Mr. Trump bears responsibility for the January 6 “attack on Congress by mob rioters” and that the president “should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding”.

He says “these facts require immediate action from President Trump: accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure president-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term”.

He says “the president’s immediate action also calls for immediate Congressional action” a fact-finding commission and a censure resolution in Congress, after “the worst day I’ve ever seen in Congress.” He added “our country is deeply hurt”.

Of course, after meeting with the furious, deranged former president in his Florida resort a short time later, McCarthy got his alternative facts straight. They are now both on the same page, along with all but two elected Republicans in Congress, two very conservative members of Congress now reviled as RINOs (and “Pelosi Republicans”– thanks, Kev) for rejecting their party leader’s constantly repeated lies (stolen election, he had nothing to do with planning or fomenting the spontaneous, peaceful riot by honestly outraged patriots at the Capitol).

As the former president mischievously claimed for the thousandth time, the other day at a pep rally in Arizona: “the radical left Democrat communist party rigged and stole the election.” House Leader Nancy Pelosi, the former president and his buddy McCarthy both agree, is responsible for the January 6 MAGA riot, is a witch, and is currently conducting another purely bogus, like, totally partisan witch hunt against a completely innocent man.

Kevin, of course, still claims to love the taste of the “ring” he is constantly kissing.

The expression on his face, and his past remarks to the public, may tell another story, but who are you going to believe, your lying eyes and ears, or a debased sycophant, contradicting his own statements to Congress (a hundred years ago), the man next in line to be thrown under the bus by the Supreme King of Loyalty (oaths)?

I can’t wait for Kevin to try to fight the, like, totally unfair, partisan, communist Congressional witch hunt subpoena for his testimony, under oath in front of the commission he called for on January 13.

Mixing unregulated capitalism with democracy causes trouble

Part One is here.

My embrace of democracy does not make my recent experiences with losing government-provided health insurance three times in the last eighteen months any less bitter. The first time my health insurance was cancelled, and I lost the corporate internal appeal at the insurance company, it turned out my insurance had been cancelled illegally.

An on-line complaint to the NYS Department of Finance resulted in the corporation instantly reversing its irreversible decision, restoring my health insurance. I even got an apology for their “mistake,” unlike the probably tens of thousands of others who lose their health insurance every year in the same “unappealable” scam all insurance companies routinely use to cull their lowest paying, most expensive customers.

The supremely maddening part of that first gratuitous fucking is that, even as a long-time lawyer who spent weeks in research, speaking and writing to every expert in the state and federal bureaucracy, I was unable (as was every expert) to find the law the company had clearly violated. Not part of the “Patient Protection (and Affordable Care) Act”. Not discoverable in New York State Insurance Law or in any administrative code. Makes me angry just thinking about it now. No agency I spoke to was even aware of the existence (let alone amazing efficiency) of the Department of Finance online complaint form [1].

If a law that protects a low-income Americans from the illegal act of a corporation providing affordable health care, under the Patient Protection Act, cannot be found, even by determined lawyers, there is no fucking law.

The opacity and unfariness of that burns me to this day, even as a learned, well-meaning former friend kept assuring me I was wrong to be so angry, that I should just be happy I got lucky and saved my own healthcare. As for those with limited English proficiency, struggling to get by, who’d had their ACA insurance illegally cancelled in this manner? Fuck ’em, not your problem, pal (spoken by this dick head like the Great Communicator himself).

The second time my insurance was abruptly terminated (during the second month of the pandemic, which raged uncontrolled in NYC), it was a matter of one document I’d “failed” to upload to a website in a timely manner. There was no actual notice to me of this failure, or its hard consequence, (and fixing it on-line took about three minutes, once I knew about it), my insurance was legally cancelled, according to New York State Law, for my failure to timely provide the document I wasn’t told needed to be provided.

During the window of time we are required to re-apply for ACA insurance in NYS this tax document is not yet available. A reminder email would have been nice (and I had numerous survey emails from this same agency), but is apparently not required under unappealable NYS law. Although NYS informed my insurance company of this fatal failure of mine, with enough time for me to fix the problem, neither entity had any obligation to inform me that my insurance was in jeopardy, until after it was irrevocably cancelled. This time there was no appeal, I had to wait a month to be insured again, trying not to inhale too deeply any time I left the house.

Then we have Medicare, the Great Society program that is the American gold standard for health insurance. “Medicare for All”, is the rallying cry of liberals and socialists alike. I recently turned 65 and learned, over the course of several months, how complicated the public-private Medicare partnership actually is. Do this first or irrevocably lose the right to that, and so forth.

Accepted by virtually all doctors and hospitals, Medicare leaves a potentially gigantic bill for the patient to pay, as 20% of medical visits is not covered. One can, of course, spend thousands a year on private insurance “Medicare Advantage” (there are many plans of all different prices in our “Free Market”), to avoid these possibly huge bills falling on the old person who gets sick. Medicare is infinitely better than no Medicare, but, again, complex and not without tremendous problems, at least based on my initial experiences.

Fortunately, the law gives a person six months, three before the 65th birthday and three after, to learn about this complicated program and sign up (though you will get no communication from Medicare itself and Medicare itself cannot help you in any way until you are officially on Medicare). I was finally able to speak to a knowledgeable volunteer (at the NYC Department for the Aging) who spent over an hour warning me of pitfalls and giving me important information. She found me a prescription drug plan for $8 a month (or something like that) among many that are ten times or more that price. You see, that’s part of our freedom here in the USA — the right to choose!

Two weeks before my 65th birthday I got a notice from my insurance company informing me that ACA insurance ends when you turn 65. Goodbye three month window to apply for Medicare after you turn 65, you will be uninsured until you apply and get approved for Medicare.

Here my beef is not as much with “government” (a legal requirement for actual notice, with enough time to act before your health plan is terminated, would be good) as with how thoroughly corporate “culture” has affected the workings of government. This adoption of corporate practices stems from the idiotic and frequently disproven 40 year myth about the superiority of “private enterprise” over “government”, a big talking point of right-wingers like Louie DeJoy and other “Free Market” defenders.

Part of corporate culture is the thorough segmentation of the “corporate brain” such that one side of it cannot communicate with the other. You cannot get information you need from the consumer side, because they have no way to interact with the provider side — which can answer the question– for example.

We also now commonly see “third parties” with contracts to do government work, like collecting debt, sending bills, providing “notice” and so forth. If I requested something a month ago that is typically available in five business days, and call weeks later to find out the status, I am as likely to get a bored, underpaid, bitter “third party” subcontractor giving me a surly answer pulled directly from his ass as I am to talk to a well-informed government agent ready, willing and able to solve my problem.

In the case of Medicare, I was assured when I applied on June 17 (after a ten business day delay to get a new PIN sent to me by US Mail when I was unable to log-in) that everything was in order, that my application would be approved within two weeks or so and that my Medicare, whenever officially granted, would be effective July 1.

You can’t reach anyone on the phone to find out why it is now three weeks later and the website shows the same 2/3 on the status bar. You read that your application is in process, but there has been no discernible movement in three weeks.

For most people, you read, this review takes 2 to 4 weeks. For you, asshole? Hah!

The first three times you call you are subjected to an endless loop of “Thank you for holding. We appreciate your patience, we’re currently assisting other people and will help you as soon as we possibly can.” The loop about helping you plays until your call is eventually cut off. This is a universal corporate trick that enhances the bottom line, why hire extra workers to answer phones when you can simply play this recorded loop until the call is automatically terminated?

My fourth call was the charm, I was connected to a woman who assured me I simply had to wait, everything was in order, everything that could be done was being done. The Social Security Administration website continued to tell another story.

My next call, a few days later, also got through, this time the guy impatiently told me to forget what the website said, the review ALWAYS takes 60 to 90 days to complete and I’m only slowing it down by trying to call all the time. And, yes, the recording says that if your need is crucial you can schedule a face-to-face meeting (NYC branches of federal government offices are apparently still closed for the pandemic), but merely being uninsured does not qualify as crucial and there are no face-to-face meetings because … Covid. You just have to be patient, asshole.

My next couple of calls put me in that endless loop of thanking me for my patience and eventually disconnecting my call. When I got through next, just the other day, Ms. Estevez was very helpful. The guy who told me 60 to 90 days? He had no idea what he was talking about, he was completely wrong, said Ms. Estevez with great disgust. She looked over my stalled application, found no reason it was being held up. Approved it on the spot.

The next day, with only two or three hours of work, I was able to get my Medicare ID number read to me over the phone. Now, the only things I have to worry about is getting this cancer scare checked out before September, and how much 20% of my doctor’s bill will be (it will certainly be far less than the full retail $885, excluding tests, I was scheduled to pay “out of pocket” in September).

Say it with me, boys and girls:

USA! USA!!!

[1]

I received a notice from the Department of Finance, after my complaint was successfully resolved by their intervention, that my low-cost health insurance did not allow me to use the Department of Finance’s website, that I’d have to lodge any future complaints with Andrew Cuomo’s incompetent political appointee at Medicaid (also in charge of all ACA programs in NYS). Medicaid’s website contains no on-line form, you have to wait for someone who can help you, possibly, to pick up the phone there, you indigent piece of shit.

Note: this letter from the Department of Finance did not stop them from filing my next online complaint against the insurance company, though that one led to nothing, as current New York State law required.

Excellent summary of GOP policy positions

I don’t recall where I saw this, so I can’t give credit or link you to its source, but I have to commend whoever put it together for providing a hard to refute synopsis of the GOP platform, with just a couple of omissions — taxing vast wealth is a sin against Jesus Christ Himself, Climate Catastrophe, like Fauci-Ouchi’s totally fake COVID-19 HOAX, is a Communist false flag operation designed to kill the JOB CREATORS and give a pretext for freedom haters from the tyrannical federal government to go door to door castrating the population.