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.

In Defense of our Flawed Democracy

Thank you for holding. We appreciate your patience, we’re currently assisting other people and will help you as soon as we possibly can.

(repeated every 40 seconds, at 7 minutes into a short loop of insipid hold muzak with the Social Security Administration, at 16 minutes and finally, one last time, at 26 minutes, when I belatedly pulled the plug on holding for these lying, pseudo-corporate bureaucrat pricks)

Theoretically the American people are the government and the government is intended to work for us (particularly if we are in the social class for whom the benefits of life, liberty and the pursuit of whatever were guaranteed by our Founders). The experiment in democracy these wealthy white men designed in the waning decades of the Eighteenth century was revolutionary, at the time every other place on earth was ruled by a monarch who sat on the throne by Divine Right (compare: Manifest Destiny). Anyone who questioned why God would put a vicious inbred hereditary imbecile on the throne could be considered a blasphemer and subjected to the usual time-honored remedies for this sort of impiety (not to mention treason).

The Founding Fathers risked their lives, committed open treason against the world’s most powerful king, to change a system that placed a king’s arbitrary will over all of them, giving them little or no say in the conditions of their own lives. “No taxation without representation” was a rallying cry of the colonists, since there was, by then, a bicameral representative council in England below the king (House of Lords and House of powerless fucking chumps) that had a say in government policy.

It was the radical idea of representative government, based on the radical notion of the right to self-determination, that gave rise to all sorts of radical ideas (including representative democracy) during the Age of Enlightenment when discerning minds began to use Reason to question long held beliefs, practices, customs and superstitions.

We’ve come full circle, in many parts of the world, to the pre-Enlightenment vision of religious faith in an all-powerful individual leader, chosen as part of an unknowable God’s all-loving, all-knowing plan, a “strongman” who exercises unlimited personal power paternalistically, to ensure what he deems is in the best interest of citizens. Thus, even in our democracy, you can have a mentally-ill sadist, ordained by God, doing what he needs to do to rid us of hated enemies and promote his loyal followers to head every important government office to advance his vision of truth, justice and the American way.

In the US that includes, obviously, the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the US Postal Service, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, etc. If that leader surfs to power on a wave of churning emotion, exploiting fear and hatred of an unfair, corrupt, inefficient, abusive government, well, the more unfair, corrupt, inefficient and abusive his government is, the more it proves the point that he’s the only person who can save us! Don’t worry about the argument making sense, it doesn’t need to. It just needs to keep making you angry as hell.

So we have “debates” in our deadlocked, non-functioning Congress about things like increasing the budget for IRS enforcement against wealthy tax cheats (to pay for programs to literally begin trying to save the world from accelerating climate catastrophe). Is it American, patriotic, decent, honest, to cheat on your taxes? Here is the opposition party’s position in the debate:

WHO ARE YOU TO FUCKING SAY??!!! FUCK YOU, WASSHOLE! TRYING TO TAX THE RICH, THE JOB CREATORS, IS PUNISHING SUCCESS, JUST COMMUNISM, RADICAL ANTI-FASCISM or FACISM, TAKE YOUR PICK!!!

This is literally the quality of political “debate” in a nation run by, and for the benefit of, sociopaths and unprincipled careerists. Here’s a great snarky take on that from Sarah Lazarus at Crooked Media:

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) confirmed this week that he plans to investigate Donald Trump as part of the probe, and is prepared to depose senior Trump administration officials and members of Congress who might have played a role in the insurrection—like, say, the two seditionist Jims that McCarthy tried to put on the other side of the table. Thompson also indicated that the committee is very interested in learning more about McCarthy’s panicky phone call to Trump as the attack unfolded, which probably has nothing to do with McCarthy’s panicky efforts to thwart the investigation.

Nothing to fucking see here! You’d do the same if you had supported a maniac’s insane right to send a mob to the Capitol to violently stop the constitutionally mandated certification of an election he honestly refused to accept that he lost since he is history’s greatest winner. You’d do the exact same fucking thing if you were in McCarthy’s position!!!! Repeat everything you’re told to say and pretend you love the taste of the delusional Big Guy’s crusty hindquarters.

Anyway, I believe in government, in spite of the sickening frailties of the one we have now. Democracy is better than any alternative form of government, but we need to fix ours. Several radical, common sense reforms will be needed to restore our experiment in democracy to a representative government.

No more dark money in politics (at least say your fucking name, Charles, Rupert, Robert Mercer) funding the most extreme reactionary candidates in primaries to ensure the extremist political outcomes the 1% desires (part of the proffered protection of the public in the disastrous Citizens United ruling was that unlimited funding of political campaigns would be done transparently, a transparent bit of purely transactional bullshit, as it turned out).

No more right-wing fraternity vetting and choosing lifetime federal court judges to rule, whenever legally possible, according to that fraternity’s stated far right ideology. No more (currently entirely permissible, per 6-3 Supreme Court) partisan gerrymandering and no more restrictive, partisan voting laws — whether or not “race” is intentionally implicated in these moves (the Supreme Court’s brand new standard for overturning voter suppression laws, opponents have to prove they were intended to be deliberately racist, whatever the actual impact of the on different “races” the law causes).

The Supreme Court, a 6-3 right wing juggernaut whose majority was appointed by two presidents who lost the popular vote, straight from the Federalist Fraternity’s list, must be balanced with a handful of even-handed, non-“ideological” judges. Abolish the fucking Electoral College, that vestige of slavery, while we’re at it.

Everyone who works deserves a living wage, $7.25/hr, current federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2008, adjusted for inflation (since it was instituted) it should be $24/hr. Giant corporations must not be allowed to pay workers so poorly they qualify for Medicaid, health insurance for indigents. Taxes on vast, untaxable hereditary wealth and massive corporate windfall profits could go a long way to paying for vitally important programs we needed to have started decades ago, including the preservation of a habitable planet.

There’s a pretty short list of the essential things that are broken, and need to be fixed.

So I don’t write this in any way to attack our need for government programs and agencies that help our fellow citizens. We need those things that only a determined, responsive, well-functioning federal government can do. Think of the immediate improvement in American vaccination under a new president who didn’t regard the pandemic as a Communist/BLM-antifa hoax engineered to personally hurt him. Another example: the federal government took its time about it, to be sure, but in the end it was the intervention of the federal government, enforcing federal law, that ended the custom of lynching in many parts of the country that were determined to uphold this hateful tradition. FEMA is who you call when a killer storm destroys your town. Protection of voters’ rights in federal elections also falls to the federal government, under the 14th Amendment, and so forth.

Here are a few basic human needs the federal government has to attend to in a democracy, none of which seem controversial to me:

Disabled people should get help from the government. Children should not be subjected to malnutrition and the other ravages of poverty. Decent health care should be a right of citizenship, Americans should not have to die for lack of health “insurance”. Workers should be able to afford a place to live, food, clothing, days off, a bit of security. People who retire should be able to live in dignity and at least modest comfort. All citizens should have easy access to voting. Victims of killer storms should be rescued, helped to rebuild their lives. Corporations should be prevented from poisoning the water, air and ground. None of this is controversial, until you get down to the details, which are dictated by the agenda of a tiny, powerful elite of the hereditary super-wealthy, a group that has other priorities.

For example, 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.

Details HERE

Biden Derangement Syndrome

I got a nice collection of political cartoons emailed to me by a friend in Tennessee. She picked some good ones, every one of them hit the current ugliness right on the nose. I thought of another cartoon the cartoonists should be working on about now.

There is a reason millions of Americans felt sick when the DNC orchestrated Biden’s nomination by jockeying him into the front-runner position as all the other “moderates” bowed out of the primaries on the same day, on the eve of that big primary when Biden sprung from the back of the pack to become a contender and then the DNC-chosen candidate.  Many of us felt, at the time, that with literal Nazis and Klansmen literally howling at the gates, and after the vast amount of damage their deranged leader had done in a mere four years to create “American carnage”, the smiling, compromising, moderate who couldn’t muster an apology for Anita Hill or a hint of regret for any of his many bad acts during a long career in the Senate, was not the one to be standing up for democracy, particularly against an irrational and violent movement led by an insane and sadistic narcissist whose constant lies are promulgated to tens of millions of credulous followers by a well-oiled mass media disinformation machine.

Sarah Lazarus at Crooked Media reported a sickening item last night that I hadn’t seen, instantly giving rise to that all-too familiar DNC-induced existential nausea:  

  • Democrats aren’t ready to boldly counter all forms of GOP obstruction just yet. During a CNN town hall on Wednesday night, President Biden said that as much as the filibuster sucks ass (paraphrasing), eliminating it entirely would “throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done.” (You know, by contrast to the relentless legislative juggernaut we have now.) On the bright side, Biden did voice his strong support for a return to a talking filibuster, and said he might be willing to go further if the filibuster causes total gridlock. (The For The People Act would like a word.)

Seriously, the president doesn’t yet understand what he’s up against?   How is it possible?  He doesn’t understand that the filibuster was a tool of slaveholders and then the Klan, almost exclusively?   And that McConnell took the trusty flintlock pistol of the filibuster, which at least required the effort of standing there and pulling the trigger, and transformed it into an email nuke that any one of his minions can deploy any time, while lying on their couch drinking vodka, to block debate on anything– permanently.

Silver lining? There’s a good cartoon in that quote, the Capitol in flames behind him, Confederate flags and swastikas all over it, Biden, in a gas mask, surrounded by panicked looking Secret Service “ending the filibuster would throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done.”

Vug him and the “moderate” corporate, status quo-committed whores he rode in on…

USA!   USA!!!