Nel's New Day

May 31, 2023

Memorial Day 2023 Memories: Right-wing House, Country’s Mass Shootings

Debt Ceiling Dissension

Memorial Day weekend is over, and the agreement between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to end the debt ceiling went to the Rules Committee on Tuesday to determine if the bill would have a vote on the House floor. Much to the dismay of far-right Freedom Caucus members, the measure passed 7-6—four Democrats and two Republicans, Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Chip Roy (R-TX), voting against the movement of the bill out of the committee.

Some representatives admitted their goal was to kill the economy through defeating the debt ceiling agreement which could put Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) into the White House. Looking forward to more crisis next year, they were furious about having no debt ceiling fight until 2025. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) said that more debt ceiling economic chaos in a year could move a Republican into the Oval Office. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) also accused Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen of lying about the default deadline of June 5. Rep. Bryon Donalds (R-FL) echoed Perry and called the agreement “crap.”

The right-wingers probably won’t believe that U.S. Treasury cash levels are $38.8 billion, less than the assets of one of 31 billionaires. Bernard Arnault and Elon Musk are each worth $185 billion; Jeff Bezos has $144 billion.

Before the committee vote, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) hoped to nix the agreement by tweeting that McCarthy agreed to a backroom deal that nothing gets out of the Rules Committee without the approval of at seven least GOP members. This stipulation doesn’t appear in the “rules,” but McCarthy may have agreed to get his position, just as he put three right-wing GOP obstructionists on the committee. Seven Republicans voted in favor of moving the deal to the floor creating Roy’s statement moot.

About 25 representatives already said that they won’t vote for the bill, and Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) plans to resign from the House next week.

After McCarthy’s debt ceiling bill, Bishop became the first House member to propose his ousting as Speaker. Bishop was one of 20 members initially refusing to support McCarthy for House leader, members who held out for 15 ballots until McCarthy made huge promises to them. One of these was restoration of the threshold for a “motion to vacate the chair” to just one member, down from a minimum of five put in place under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). No Speaker has previously been removed with the rarely used motion, last filed by former Mark Meadows (R-NC) in 2015 against against former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). It was defeated, but Boehner resigned the next year.

McCarthy has been trying to persuade Republicans that he made a good deal because of added work requirements. On Fox, he said:

“In this family we may have a child, able-bodied, not married, no kids, but he’s sitting on the couch collecting welfare. We’re gonna put work requirements on that individual, so he’s going to have work requirements, he’s gonna get a job, and he’s gonna make the life easier.”

The Lever reported that a group funded by conservative dark money pushing looser child labor laws was responsible for Republicans promotion of work requirements to receive government assistance:

“McCarthy’s work requirement proposal and his gripes about dependency come straight from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a conservative think tank that recently made headlines for helping secretly draft several state bills to roll back child labor laws.”

Investigations into Joe Biden and His Son Biden:

In a desperate move, James Comer (R-KY), chair of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, plans to bring contempt of Congress proceedings against FBI Director Christopher Wray because he refused the committee’s subpoena. Comer is searching for an unverified tip evidence about foreign countries’ bribing Biden. His committee will need to approve such a decision, and Comer can’t prosecute Wray. AG Merrick Garland is responsible for any legal action.

With no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden, Comer requested a 90-day extension for his investigation. His focus on some LLCs owned by Biden’s family members was questioned because he isn’t investigating DDT and his family who control over 500 LLCs in several different countries. Republicans also won’t tell Democrats any information about an FBI interview in 2020 with an accuser. Comer is depending on the falsehoods from Fox network, mentioning Biden and “bribe” or “bribery” over 100 times since Comer introduced his rumors, to keep the issue alive.

In its search to find damning information about Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, the Senate Finance Committee has lost its IRS “whistleblower” who plans to testify to a GOP-led House panel. The Senate committee had questions about the veracity of the witness’s claims who stated that the DOJ asked for the long-running probe, conducted by a DDT-appointed U.S. Attorney, into Hunter Biden to be “slow-walked.” The witness is newly represented by an attorney who worked for DDT, an involvement that raised “a big red flag” because of allegations that the lawyer’s two “whistleblower” clients lied to the House Judiciary Committee. Information traditionally kept secret was also leaked to right-wing media at the same time it was provided to congressional panels.

Tommy Tuberville’s Absurdity:

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is still responsible for endangering national security by single-handedly blocking over 200 Pentagon promotions since late February. The total will be 650 by the end of the year. After two months, he said the U.S. had too many generals and admirals. The only other time military promotions were held up was by a majority of senators after the 1991 Tailhook conference sexual assaults. On Memorial Day 2023, no senator of either party is supporting Tuberville. Fifteen months ago, Tuberville promised to be “a strong voice” for the military.

After other outrageous statements, he accused inner city teachers of being lazy and probably illiterate in a discussion with Donald Trump, Jr. History scholar Heather Cox Richardson responded:

“This is literally the language former Confederates used about Black Americans during Reconstruction to justify white supremacy.”

Last fall, Tuberville criticized Democrats during a Nevada campaign stop:

“They’re pro-crime. They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”

Tuberville also negatively reacted to removing white nationalists from the military. First, his office said he is “skeptical of the notion that there are white nationalists in the military” despite a report from DDT’s administration documenting the threat of white supremacist in the military. In a press conference, reporters asked him about his “white nationalist” support, and he asked them to define the term. When they explained white nationalists are white supremacists who support some Nazi views, Tuberville disagreed with them. He said, “I look at a white nationalist as a Trump Republican.” He also explained that white nationalism is comparable to a religion.  

About John Durham’s report that recorded nothing prosecutable, Tuberville commented:

“If people don’t go to jail for this, the American people should just stand up and say, ‘Listen, enough’s enough, let’s don’t have elections anymore.”

After a jury found DDT liable in the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial, the angry Tuberville said the verdict “makes me want to vote for him twice” in 2024. Tuberville is a member of the Senate Education Committee and the Armed Services Committee.

Mass Shootings:

U.S. lax gun laws with guns traveling across state lines meant at least 16 people dead and over 80 injured in at least 10 mass shootings to commemorate the weekend for Memorial Day 2023.

  • Hollywood (FL): Nine people injured on the beach Monday evening after an altercation between two people.
  • Chicago: Gunshots but no injuries on North Avenue Beach on Friday afternoon, but nine people killed and over 50 injured throughout the weekend.
  • Baltimore: An argument between two men leading to five injured on Friday.
  • Mesa (AZ): Four murdered people and one injured by one person at multiple locations on Friday and Saturday.
  • Seattle: Shots at Roxbury Lanes Casino with three people injured on Saturday.
  • Red River (NM): Three people killed and five others injured at a motorcycle rally Saturday evening.
  • Garden Grove (CA): Three people injured in a restaurant after an argument on Saturday evening.
  • Atlanta: A teenager killed and another injured at “an unauthorized gathering” at a high school.
  • Washington, D.C.: One person killed after a fight on a Metro train on Sunday.
  • Canal Winchester (OH): Seven people, including two juveniles, injured on Monday.
  • Chester (PA): Eight people injured near a stadium on Sunday.
  • Columbus (MS): One person killed and four other injured in a sports bar late Friday night.
  • Columbus (OH): Seven people injured by a masked shooter where teenagers were spinning “donuts” in a residential area late Sunday night followed by another mass shooting where five people were injured. 
  • Marianna (AR): One person killed and four others injured at a block party in the parking lot of an auto parts store on Saturday night.
  • Dale City (VA): Three people killed and two others injured inside a home on Friday afternoon.
  • Country Club Estates (GA): Five people injured on Friday.
  • Milwaukee (WI): Four teenage girls injured on Friday.

At least another ten mass shootings over the past weekend are listed in the Gun Violence Archive.

The Florida shooting wounded children from ages 1 to 17, and critics pointed out to Gov. Ron DeSantis that a drag show was not responsible for it. The same goes for all the other shootings. As of yet, DeSantis has made no public statement about the shooting. More shootings across the U.S. included the ones in Cleveland (OH), killing two and wounding 23.

May 19, 2023

GOP Representatives Make Fools of Themselves

Rep. Jasmine Crockett (R-TX) is a lawmaker to watch as shown by her response to the GOP fearmongerers about increasing crime in Washington, D.C. After President Joe Biden signed a GOP-backed bill overturning law enforcement reforms in D.C., conservative congressional members passed another measure that Biden said he will veto.

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) referenced the city’s spike in sexual assaults to a witness but didn’t permit a response. Crockett described her excitement at the comments “considering that the [Republican] front-runner right now for, like, [the] presidency has kind of just been found liable of sexual abuse.” She added:

“My Republican colleagues want to talk about keeping D.C. streets crime-free. They can’t even keep the halls of Congress crime-free… My freshman colleague has just been indicted on 13 counts—13 felony counts, right?”

Crockett’s “Republican colleagues” voted en masse to not expel George Santos from the House.

Part of Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) “weaponization” subcommittee are his fact-free “whistleblowers” testifying that federal agencies turned against DDT and his supporters. This tactic worsened with the FBI disclosure that it revoked security clearances of three subcommittee witnesses against the FBI, agents who either participated in the January 6, 2021 insurrection or later made statements questioning their “allegiance to the United States.” Two of them, Marcus Allen and Stephen Friend, have also been suspended from the FBI while it reviews their cases. The third agent, Brett Gloss broke the law by going into a restricted area of the Capitol grounds with the insurrectionist mob and provided “false and/or misleading information” about what he saw on the day of the insurrectionist attack.

Allen“expressed sympathy for persons or organizations that advocate, threaten or use force or violence,” promoted conspiracy theories about the January 6 violence, and misled a colleague about a January 6 suspect. Friend refused to participate in the arrest of a January 6 suspect and “presented a number of security concerns related to his personal conduct, handling of protected information, and ‘use of information technology.’” The letter from the FBI stated that its employees “who attended events on January 6, 2021—but who did not commit criminal conduct, such as trespass into a restricted zone—did not receive security clearance suspensions or revocations.”

Some of Jordan’s alleged “whistleblowers” also received financial support from a allies of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Kash Patel and Russ Vought. Jordan insisted that being paid by DDT’s ally shouldn’t undermine their credibility.  

Jordan also refused to give Democratic members of the committee the information provided in secret interviews to Republicans. The witnesses don’t meet the legal definition of “whistleblower,” but Jordan shut up Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) when she tried to explain this.

Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) summarized Jordan’s hearing as “a vehicle to legitimize the events of January 6 and the people who perpetrated it.” Ranking Democrat Stacey Plaskett (VI) said, “This select committee is a clearing house for testing conspiracy theories for Donald Trump to use in his 2024 presidential campaign.” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) added, “You all have employment grievances. That doesn’t make you whistleblowers.”

Illustrating the GOP hatred for the FBI, Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY), replacement for Liz Cheney after she participated in the January 6 investigation, used the Lord of the Rings’ evil eye to describe the agency:

“The Eye of Sauron has turned inward, and it is operating with a white-hot intensity that seeks to destroy everything in its path.” 

James Comer, Oversight Committee chair, also struggles with his fact-free claims. With no evidence, he uses suggestions and innuendo to tie the president to his son’s activity with only suggestions and innuendo.

A letter from 51 former intelligence officials warning that a New York Post story about Hunter’s guilt could be Russian disinformation, but Jordan supports Comer’s beliefs. Comer failed in his promise that the president will face a “judgment day” with the release of financial documents showing “wire transfers from adversaries around the world” going to the commander in chief’s family members. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), king of disinformation and conspiracy theories, said, “You have to infer what’s happening here…you’re not gonna get necessarily hard proof.” A New York Times headline read,  “House Republican Report Finds No Evidence of Wrongdoing by President Biden,” and Washington Post’s Philip Bump wrote, “The wider House Oversight’s net, the more often it catches Trump.”

The Bidens don’t have a family business, but DDT’s family does. The business made $160 million while he was president, and his children made more profits, including the $2 billion investment for Jared Kushner from a Saudi fund, thanks to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Even Fox ridiculed Comer’s claim that Biden and his family conducted an “influence peddling scheme.” On Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy told Comer:

“You don’t actually have any facts … You’ve got some circumstantial evidence. And the other thing is, of all those names, the one person who didn’t profit is—there’s no evidence that Joe Biden did anything illegally.”

Doocy’s summary: “Five years investigating, nothing.” Comer excused his failure by explaining that Biden’s son and his associates “went to great lengths to hide” the president’s involvement by using code names for him. He added that they were “at the very beginning stages of this.”

Fox’s Maria Bartiromo nailed Comer for his losing witnesses. Asked for a status report on the investigation’s whistleblowers and informants, Comer replied:

 “Well, unfortunately, we can’t track down the informant. We’re hopeful that the informant is still there. The whistleblower knows the informant. The whistleblower is very credible.”

Comer added that “nine of the ten people that we’ve identified that have very good knowledge with respect to the Bidens, they’re one of three things. They’re either currently in court, they’re currently in jail, or they’re currently missing.”

Several days later, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), an Oversight Committee member, reported the informant still missing. Even Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) can’t find them. The committee’s assumption: When Biden was vice president, someone bribed him to something for some else. Missing is information about who, for what, or where.

The sole goal of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is to make news, one way being her incessant filing of impeachments. Since she became a House leader in January 2021, she and the House Freedom Caucus files over a dozen impeachment resolutions including for VP Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, AG Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves, and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Her vendetta against Graves, Washington’s U.S. Attorney, comes from his “maliciously prosecuting at least 1,000 people from January 6 [and not] real criminals,” according to Greene. 

Greene aims “to truly change the Republican party” with the “stolen” election as the “line in the sand.” She plans to force the GOP Congress “to understand this is the will of our base … the will of Republicans.” As one of the “Five Families,” the quintet of right-wing lawmakers exclusively meeting weekly with McCarthy,” she said, “I spoke to the speaker.” She has now filed articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden, who, she claims, abused his power by “endangering the security of the United States and thwarting the will of Congress,” referencing migrant crossings on the southern border. Ian Sams, White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, said:

“Is there a bigger example of a shameless sideshow political stunt than a trolling impeachment attack by one of the most extreme MAGA members in Congress over ‘national security’ while she actively demands to defund the FBI and even said she ‘would’ve been armed’ and ‘would have won’ the January 6 insurrection if only she’d been in charge of it?”

Posing as a sweet simpering blond lady, Greene also claimed to feel “threatened” by Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) because the Black man’s “physical mannerisms are aggressive” the day after videos show them laughing and joking outside the Capitol. She accused Bowman of “shouting at the top of his lungs, cursing, calling me a horrible—calling me a white supremacist, which I take great offense to…  And he was leading the mob.” Greene also took offense at his plea to “save your party” by expelling Rep. George Santos (R-NY) from the House after his admission to crimes and his indictments on 13 charges. She claimed, “We shouldn’t care about political parties.”

Politico has found hours of Facebook videos showing Greene expressing racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views, including her position that Muslims don’t belong in government. She accused her Muslim-American colleagues of being “Islamic terrorist sympathizers,” and her belief in QAnon conspiracy theories is well-known, including the white nationalists’ “Great Replacement” theory. In February 2022, she spoke at a white nationalist conference and then tried to claim she wasn’t aware of its focus.

In response to Greene’s attacks, Bowman told reporters:

“Marjorie Taylor Greene at her press conference this morning said something incredibly dangerous and incredibly reckless about me, talking about my demeanor as being ‘aggressive’ and saying that she feels ‘intimidated’ by me. Unfortunately, this country has a history of characterizing Black men who are outspoken, who stand their ground, and who push back as being threatening or intimidating.”

He likened her actions to “one of the reasons why Emmett Till was killed” and said, “she knows what she’s doing.” He described her as using “a bullhorn to put a target on my back to the people that she refers to as MAGA people out there who might want to cause harm.”

Cheer up! They all leave Washington for August.

April 19, 2023

Dominion Settles, McConnell Returns, House GOP Storm NY

Fox settles Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion lawsuit, paying $787.5, almost half of what was requested, and admitting it lied about Dominion machines and software. A Dominion lawyer said the company will not stop holding people accountable, and Smartmatic will continue with its $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox. The lawyer for the voting systems company said that the lawsuit will reveal the remainder of the “misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is back in full force following a five-week absence after a serious fall. He’s leading the GOP senators in blocking a replacement for Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the judicial committee to prevent any of President Joe Biden’s nominees from consideration and defending Justice Clarence Thomas from an investigation into his possible violation of federal ethics in his relationship with wealthy GOP donor Harlan Crow.

Thomas has “reasons” for his inaccuracies: he doesn’t understand how to fill out the forms, and he was told he could not record gifts, real estate sales, and profits on his financial statements. Another reason: these are just two good guys who are good chums—nothing to see here. Also it doesn’t matter Thomas would have voted the same way without Harlan Crow’s influence.

The Senate leader who refused to allow consideration of President Obama’s nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court is accusing Democrats of pushing through “extreme or especially unqualified” judicial candidates without any Republican votes. Republicans used this MO during DDT’s administration at least 324 times with a few Democratic votes. For example, Matthew Kacsmaryk, the GOP judge who determined that he should be able to overturn scientific opinion by the FDA when he outlawed the use of mifepristone for abortions received no Democratic votes. One Republican senator voted against the confirmation, and he had to be nominated twice. McConnell also rammed through a vote on a justice just five weeks before a presidential election after declaring a rule that a president couldn’t appoint a justice in the last year of his term.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) asked the Judicial Conference of the United States to examine Thomas’s failure to disclose travel and real estate deals with Crow and refer the matter to AG Merrick Garland. The Democrats stated a “reasonable cause … that Justice Thomas willfully failed to file information required to be reported under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.” McConnell, however, declared “total confidence” in Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to handle Supreme Court ethics issues. For the past two decades Thomas has revised his financial forms whenever his transgressions have been made public.

At least four doctored classified Pentagon documents were posted by a former Navy non-com officer pretending to be Russian and passing along Russian disinformation under the banner of “Donbass Devushka.” She posed as a Russian Jew from the occupied Ukrainian city of Luhansk and a geopolitics expert, but Sarah Bils, her real name, sends her pro-Russian propaganda from her home in Oak Harbor (WA). Bils was assigned to a maintenance team on Whidbey Island (WA) until March 2022 but left the service on November 27, 2022, after being demoted, a little over nine months after Russia invaded Ukraine. The DOJ is now investigating her. Tucker Carlson has used Bils’ falsehoods to “prove” that Ukraine is losing the war.

The weather in Manhattan on April 17 was lovely for the GOP invasion of House members on the 100th day of Republican rule in the U.S. House. Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) used the New York Stock Exchange as a backdrop for his general proposal for defeating an increase in the debt ceiling. He said he wouldn’t default on the debt, raise taxes, increase interest rates, etc., but he would cut domestic benefits to pay off the national debt, one-fourth of it borrowed by the GOP and DDT during his term.

McCarthy said House Republicans will raise the ceiling for a small amount and force President Joe Biden to accept a basketful of their demands—slash federal spending, cap agencies’ budgets, take back coronavirus assistance, eliminate Biden’s student cancellation plan, etc. He also plans to attach an expansive energy bill to favor fossil fuel industries. 

Citing his perception of the current plight of the U.S., McCarthy ignores the present

“Record inflation and the hardship it causes….” Inflation is rapidly dropping, many prices equal to two years ago.

“Time to get Americans back to work.” Unemployment is 3.5 percent, a 54-year low, a new historic low for Black unemployment.

Grow the economy. According to economists, the economy, growing too fast, needs to be slowed to avoid a recession. Growth in the economy will bring higher inflation. Last year, real income after factoring inflation increased 7 percent for people having incomes under $35,000.

Create more job openings. The labor force at record highs, and McCarthy also said that the U.S. doesn’t have enough people to fill existing openings.

Put people on food stamps to work. Most families on food stamps already have people working at least one job.

“We are very generous nation.” Yet most industrialized nations provide far more services such as universal healthcare.

Debt Ceiling too high. During the past two years, the deficit decreased by $1.7 trillion under Biden.  

McCarthy was specific about his plan to starve people in the U.S. with cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), nicknamed food stamps, which supports millions of Americans. Growth will slow, according to Moody’s Analytics’ chief economist Mark Zandi,  if Congress votes to slash federal spending on health, education, science and labor programs by about $130 billion. The GDP could fall by about 0.6 percent and reduce employment by 720,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2024, at exactly the same time as the 2024 general election.

The plan will have the biggest negative impact on red states that supported DDT in 2020. In Reuters, Andy Sullivan reported those states “received roughly $172 billion in the last fiscal year for highway construction, housing, public health and other purposes, amounting to $1196 per person [while the] 25 states plus the District of Columbia that backed Democrat Joe Biden received $205 billion, or $1079 per person.” The amount varies from $760 per capita in California to $6423 for each Alaska resident.

Ian Millhiser went to the heart of the speech when he tweeted:

“Kevin McCarthy literally going to the New York Stock Exchange to pitch cutting food stamps for poor people is… well, there’s a reason why people think Kevin is an idiot.”

Others made the same point, and McCarthy’s own caucus may not support him. GOP defectors of just four House members means that the Republicans can’t pass anything that Democrats won’t support. If he passes his plan, the next debt ceiling battle will be during summer campaigning in 2024.

The other GOP performance in Manhattan on April 17 was the attempt by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chair of the Judicial Committee, to prove that crime is horrible under DA Alvin Bragg who has indicted DDT. GOP-picked witnesses largely avoided any mention of guns although Democrats attempted to bring up the topic. During the hearing, however, witnesses expressed dissatisfaction at not being able to answer Democrats and Jordan’s “management” of the hearing’s disruption and noise talking. One of them asked Jordan not to “talk down to the witnesses.”

New York is the 5th safest city in the U.S., much safer than cities in Jordan’s state of Ohio. Columbus, near Jordan’s district has three times the crime rate of New York. Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI) suggested the hearing be moved to Ohio, but Jordan told him his time was up.

The hearing was immediately after the mass shootings in Kentucky and Alabama. New York’s state homicide rate was 4.7 per 100,000 in 2020; Alabama’s homicide rate was 14.2 per 100,000, and Kentucky’s was 9.5. Ohio’s homicide rate (8.7 deaths for every 100,000 residents) is 73 percent higher than Manhattan’s (5.0 deaths per 100,000 residents). Murders, robberies, rape and shooting incidents are all down in Manhattan for the first three months of this year.

According to David Pucino, Deputy Chief Counsel, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

“We know that fewer than 8 percent of the guns that are used in crime in New York City came from New York. They come from Georgia, they come from Virginia, they come from Pennsylvania, they come from South Carolina, they come from North Carolina. 92 percent of the crime guns used in New York are coming from out of state.”

The first 100 days after a rocky election with 15 ballots for the Speaker have not been rosy. Republicans wanted to pass 11 bills in the first few weeks, but only six of them passed the House. The Senate hasn’t touched any of them. McCarthy satisfied the ultra-conservatives by permitting any number of amendments and allowing anyone to write legislation, making support difficult among all the factions and bipartisan support almost impossible. 

After 100 days, the House GOP cannot agree on the debt ceiling, a budget, border security, etc. amidst the growing rancor and distrust. Skepticism and distrust is growing among GOP leaders. Some of them want McCarthy’s position, and the new rules permit only one person to get a vote. The United STates may go into default.

April 1, 2023

Fools on April 1

Last weekend, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he fired his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Yet he took no action, and six days later Gallant remains in the position and will stay if he apologizes. In a prime-time address a week ago, Gallant said that Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul putting its control with the legislative branch was damaging the military. He will apologize for the timing of the speech but not the content although some of the media claims he will also have to declare his loyalty to Netanyahu.

Gallant gave his original speech because Netanyahu didn’t follow through with his promise to announce a temporary halt to the legislation. After Gallant made the speech two days later, a furious Netanyahu claimed the legislation was on hold but that Gallant was fired. The prime minister is being pressured by several of his coalition partners and U.S. President Joe Biden to stop the judicial changes.

In the U.S., House Republicans are making fools of themselves protecting Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), claiming he is innocent despite not knowing the charges or evidence and accusing the DA Alvin Bragg of breaking the law by indicting him. They ignore the process that at least a dozen members of a grand jury voted for the indictment. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA), appearing on 60 Minutes for an April 2 interview with Lesley Stahl, originally said she wouldn’t protest. She flipped that statement to announcing her decision to be in New York on April 4 for DDT’s arraignment, postponed for five days possibly for the orchestration of protests.

One solid piece of evidence against DDT’s claim that he knows nothing about the hush money payoff to Stormy Daniels, one of the potential issues, is audio from his former fixer/lawyer Michael Cohen. DDT has tried to discredit Cohen, but DDT is heard saying they should “pay with cash” on a tape recording.

DDT’s own DOJ presented the evidence that the $130,000 payoff was a crime when David Pecker, DDT’s ally, admitted the payment was intended to help DDT’s campaign while DDT was in the White House. In 2018, Republicans did not complain about “political persecution” as they do now. According to the Federal Election Committee, the payoff is a campaign finance violation, and the DOJ sent Cohen to prison for this charge. As a private citizen, DDT can no longer claim executive privilege, Speech or Debate immunity, or immunity as a sitting president.

After calling Bragg an “animal” and “racist,” DDT moved on to lambasting the Supreme Court Justice, Juan Merchan, who will preside over his criminal proceedings. Merchan also presided over prosecutions of the Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg. DDT accused Merchan of having “railroaded” Weisselberg to take a “plea deal” and continued:

“He strong armed Allen, which a judge is not allowed to do, & treated my companies, which didn’t ‘plead,’ VICIOUSLY. APPEALING.”

MAGA supporters for DDT are ready for “blood in the streets,” but many DDT’s employees, past and present, along with government officials who have worked with him are rejoicing behind closed doors, according to New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman. She said many of them have telephoned and texted her.   

Leslie Dubeck, the Manhattan DA office’s general counsel, informed three House committee chairs—Jim Jordan (OH), Judiciary; Bryan Steil (WI), House Administration, and James Corner (KY), Oversight and Accountability—that their attacks on Bragg and his office were “unlawful political interference.” They demanded the DA give them confidential information about the investigation although the DA office cannot legally discuss pending criminal proceedings. Dubeck also wrote them that Congress has no jurisdiction over state investigations. She stated that the committee chairs “are acting more like criminal defense counsel trying to gather evidence for a client than a legislative body seeking to achieve a legitimate legislative objective.”

Jordan’s foolish behavior continues with his persecution of Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son by questioning why Bragg is using his time to investigate DDT and not Hunter. According to Jordan, Bragg should be “looking into Hunter Biden’s art sales and business records in New York City.” Comer echoes Jordan, accusing art prices from $55,000 to $225,000 each to peddle foreign influence by avoiding U.S. sanctions. The obsession comes from DDT who maintains, with no evidence, that Hunter and his father are engaged in “deep state” corruption together.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) sees biblical support to imprison trans people but ignores the un-Christian behavior of her 17-year-old son in impregnating his 16-year-old girlfriend “out of wedlock.” The representative led others on the Oversight Committee to address a “crisis” in Washington, D.C. She asked D.C. Council member Charles Allen if he “decriminalize[d] public urination in the city—not once but several times because he kept saying he didn’t. Allen kept saying he voted to keep public urination a criminal offense, which it still is, but Boebert claimed to have “records” that he wanted to allow it. PeeGate anyone?

Rep. Becca Balint (D-VT) tried to point out the idiocy of spending so much time on public urination by asking if anyone else wanted to say anything else about the subject. Boebert said she did as did Glenn Grothman (R-WI, who said, “I’m not sure public urination should be criminally charged.” No discussion about mass shootings that kill small children—“we’re not gonna fix it,” according to Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN)—because “criminals are going to be criminals.” But a on public urination ? Vital.

Other GOP crises in Washington from these fools:

  • Bike lanes and traffic calming – Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
  • Abortions – Anna Paula Luna (R-FL)
  • Trans people taking hormones – Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)
  • Naming of Black Lives Matter Plaza – Paul Gosar (R-AZ)  
  • The “woke” military – a complete hearing with Gosar claiming that “military schools are focused on describing oral sex, masturbation and pornography”
  • An “emasculation of our country” with so-called evidence from the far-right Epoch Times – Clay Higgins (R-LA); his solution: “We’re southern families, we’re conservative families, and we’re not going to encourage our young men and women to join and endure that stuff.”
  • An invasion from Canada in a national security hearing called “Biden’s Growing Border Crisis: Death, Drugs and Destruction on the Northern Border”; “it’s really a crisis” – Claudia Tenney (R-NY)
  • The U.S. “totally unprotected” with an “infestation … corrupting us” – Mike Kelly (R-PA)

Congressional members are gone from Washington, D.C., and their 100th day will occur within the two-week hiatus before they return on April 17. Thus far, the GOP has identified crises in energy, debt, border, fentanyl, opioid, crime, inflation, economy, banking, East Palestine (OH), foreign events, the U.S. capital, and productivity. Qualified as “existential” or “complete,” other episodes are qualified as “alarming,” “startling,” and “scary.” Yet the GOP can’t prepare a budget, agree on legislation about immigration, etc. Their alternatives are conspiracy theories, culture wars, gratuitous insults, white supremacy, and protection for their crime-ridden party leader, DDT.

Committees are recycling witnesses and topics:

In the Homeland Security hearing, Brandon Judd, National Border Patrol Council union president supporting white nationalist “great replacement theory,” was already used by the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Energy and Commerce Committee’s hearing on “big tech censorship” repeated hearings by the Oversight Committee and “weaponization” subcommittee with two rerun witnesses, Michael Shellenberger (Twitter “censorship”) and Jay Bhattacharya (the coronavirus pandemic).

To accomplish all these goals, Jordan postponed a hearing promoting gun rights. It may not have been successful after a shooter killed six people at a small Christian children’s school in Tennessee.

Dominion can pursue its lawsuit against the fools at Fox network, according to a Delaware judge who issued a judgment that Fox lied about the 2020 presidential election. He left open issues of actual malice, corporate responsibility, and damages. (Legal malice means that Fox knew their claims were false.) The judge wrote:

“The evidence developed in this civil proceeding demonstrates that [it] is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true… The evidence does not support that FNN conducted good-faith, disinterested reporting. FNN’s failure to reveal extensive contradicting evidence from the public sphere and Dominion itself indicates its reporting was not disinterested.”

Fox had tried to convince the judge that their statements were only opinions and thus not defamatory. The judge pointed out at least 20 times in which the Fox stated lies as facts and other times when Fox intentionally left out information to change the meaning of the statements. He also mandated that Fox-redacted conversations between Fox employees about the network’s host be made public. The case goes to a jury on April 17 to ascertain if Dominion sustained damages from defamation and if Fox knew they were lying.

A judge in Tennessee has decided that legislators are fools for restricting drag shows. Thomas Parker, a DDT nominee, said that “police power in restricting speech it considers obscene [must be] within the constraints and framework of the United States Constitution. [The legislature] missed the mark.” He called the statute “likely vague and overly broad.” The legislature also failed to offer “a compelling argument as to why Tennessee needed the new law.” Plaintiffs pointed out that the outlawed costume for a drag performer is identical to a permitted outfit worn by a Tennessee Titans cheerleader who performs the “same dance in front of children.”

Today may be April Fools’ Day, but the foolish parts of this posting are accurate. That includes the name change of Elon Musk’s baby. His girlfriend, Grimes, says the nickname for the one-year-old, Exa Dark Sideræl Musk is “?” Not sure how ? is pronounced.

March 19, 2023

Weak U.S. House Struggles

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has a new cause: saving Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) after DDT used Truth Social to call for protests because of his imminent arrest this Tuesday.  McCarthy declared he would “immediately” examine whether federal funds are used to fund investigations into DDT, calling an indictment “politically motivated” and a subversion of “our democracy.”

DDT stated, “WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” McCarthy said nothing about DDT’s seeming call for violence as he did in his rally leading to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Even if DDT’s calls for “PROTESTS PROTESTS PROTESTS” result in violence, McCarthy won’t be aware of it. He has a policy of complete ignorance about anything possibly unpleasant—or worse—for his party. DDT accused the Manhattan DA’s office of “illegal leaks,” but the only indication of a possible arrest is law enforcement meeting to discuss security and logistics for any indictment. To rile up its audience, Fox network is accusing law enforcement handcuffing DDT.

The House has had a GOP majority for three-fourths of its first 100 days, a symbolic length of time to accomplish changes, but achieved little of positive notice. The speaker’s election lasted four days and 15 ballots, and the highly publicized GOP “weaponization” subcommittee is weaponizing only Democrats.

In February, GOP House staffers attended a “bootcamp” teaching them to investigate President Joe Biden’s administration sponsored by far-right organizations including the Conservative Partnership Institute, led by Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Sessions included “Deposing/Interviewing a Witness” and “Managing the News Cycle.” 

Memorable reactions to the GOP House:

About the energy bill to come before the House in late March increasing fossil-fuel production on federal lands and reducing clean energy, Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said it will be good for the environment because “nobody makes energy cleaner and more efficiently than the United States.” It’s a disaster for the climate.

In an attempt to prove that China developed Covid in a laboratory, the Oversight Committee brought in a discredited witness, DDT’s director of CDC Robert Redfield, who presented false testimony such as SARS 1 and MERS not spreading person-to-person. Part of his testimony was complaining how Anthony Fauci excluded him from a working group on the origins of Covid although Fauci was not responsible for the people chosen. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) also pointed out that DDT refused to search for Covid’s origins while he praised Chinese President Xi Jinping and presented DDT’s tweets as proof.

Democrats discovered that Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) is coordinating with DDT’s lawyers to block his accounting firm, Mazars, from producing evidence about DDT’s taxes. The company had agreed to turn over the documents four years ago, but the GOP-controlled committee told Mazars to stop giving the committee these documents.

Comer is also throwing around his weight to “persuade” DirecTV to include the ultra-conservative Newsmax network. DirecTV called its decision “a typical business dispute that has nothing to do with ideology, politics or censorship” and added the “agreement between parties [is] what the free market is all about.” Comer told DirecTV “to get this worked out—or else.” If not, the GOP majority will “take steps to take action in this.” The committee has characterized DirecTV’s decision as “an attack on members of Congress.”

All 26 Republicans on the Oversight Committee refused to sign a resolution denouncing white supremacy.

A summary by weaponization subcommittee chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) about Twitter ignored key events and contradicted earlier sworn testimony about Hunter Biden. Jordan had promised his weaponization would “frame up the 2024 race when I hope and I think President Trump is going to run again and we need to make sure that he wins.” 

In a second Twitter hearing, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) asked the GOP witnesses, Musk-chosen journalist “proving” the anti-conservative position of the company before Musk purchased it from tweets sent them, what they found about DDT pushing the company to delete tweets he didn’t like. One of them hadn’t heard about DDT doing this although an earlier hearing brought it to public attention, and the other hadn’t seen any email exchanges from the DDT White House. The journalists were given 100,000 tweets out of tens of millions.

Jordan began his failure with the weaponization subcommittee by finding only three “whistleblowers” smearing the FBI instead of the dozens and dozens he promised. They had no direct information about Jordan’s “deep state,” using only information from social media. The Rolling Stone stated that the three existing witnesses “offered contradictory responses, maintained fringe and violent online presences that undermine their credibility, and failed to demonstrate first-hand knowledge of alleged FBI wrongdoing.” More details of the subcommittee here. The 316-page report from Democrats is here.

The Energy and Commerce Committee featured the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory, lauding a “constitutional sheriff” for “defending our nation’s homeland.” Constitutional sheriffs maintain they are above any government and determine the law by themselves. “Frontman” for one group, Pinal County’s (AZ) sheriff, Mark Lamb, called January 6 rioters “very loving, Christian people” and spoke at a rally attended by Oathkeepers, Proud Boys, and other militia types. 

In a Judiciary Committee meeting, Ken Buck (R-CO) and Dan Bishop (R-NC) attacked Steve Cohen (D-TN) because he wouldn’t support their falsehood that all rights in the U.S. are “God-given,” that they come from God, not the government. Cohen asked why God didn’t give women the right to vote in the 1700s or why he waited until after a war to decide slavery was illegal if He made the decisions.

In an Armed Services Committee hearing, Matt Gaetz (R-FL) used a Chinese propaganda publication as a credible source to criticize U.S. aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion while grilling Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy. Gaetz used the Global Times as evidence about CIA officials “training folks in Ukraine.” Kahl asked, “I’m sorry, is this the Global Times from China?” Gaetz initially said no but then checked the tabloid and asked if that made it untrustworthy. Kahl responded, “As a general matter, I don’t take Beijing’s propaganda at face value.” The Global Times is known as “China’s Fox News,” covering international issues from a Chinese ultranationalistic perspective, controlled by the Chinese government.

Only two House members voted against a resolution to mourn the 50,000+ people who died in the earthquakes affected Turkey and Syria: Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY).

The GOP weaponization subcommittee is not popular with the general public. The committee is “just an attempt to score political points,” according to 56 percent of the respondents; 36 percent disagree. Only 28 percent believe that government agencies are biased against conservatives. Two-thirds of the people don’t think conservatives are the focus, and 60 percent think social media doesn’t target conservatives. Only 25 percent opposing continued identification and arrest of the January 6 insurrectionists. Fox found 56 percent of people find the Mar-a-Lago search last summer to be “appropriate.” In a 2-to-1 margin, people think that the FBI investigation of DDT’s administration is just doing its job. Fifty-three percent of people think school boards “truly need extra protection from real threats.” In an average, about 40 percent of the people see “witch hunts” and targets of conservatives with a majority usually disagreeing.

In its newest committee, House Republicans plan to “reinvestigate” the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), who led a tour the day before the attack, will be chair. He has denied that it had anything to do with the insurrection, but one of his followers was filmed taking photographs of the Capitol’s escape routes, and he was seen outside the Capitol the next day yelling,  “There’s no escape, Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler. We’re coming for you. We’re coming to take you out.”  

Loudermilk has also denied that. He said he will “investigate both sides” and “show what really happened on January 6,” possibly in the same way as Tucker Carlson did on Fox. Asked what he meant by “really happened,” Loudermilk said, “Where was the security failure and why were we not ready?” The panel is reviewing two million pages of documents compiled by the 117th Congress investigative committee; Loudermilk complained that they “weren’t categorized very well.”

One of the House members trapped on the chamber’s upper balcony during the insurrection, Norma Torres of California, top Democrat on the panel, said:

“I think it’s obscene to go back and try to re-do the work of a bi-partisan committee that was very focused on learning what happened. It serves no purpose other than if you are an insurrectionist or if you support an insurrectionist and want to portray a different story than what truly happened that day.”

Torres expressed concern that Republicans will deny the true violence and intent of the mob:

“It’s unfortunate that this has become a political theater for them. For them, it is a show. They want a different ending to the movie, to the horror show.”

What the 118th House isn’t doing: tracking federal spending, closing loopholes, strengthening inspectors general system, creating accountable defense spending, demanding ethical leadership, promoting democracy and rejecting authoritarianism, and more. Instead, Republicans focus on their culture wars of anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ rights, anti-diversity, anti-Democrats, anti-truth—pretty much anti-everything except unlimited gun ownership, power and money for themselves, and white supremacy.

After 11 days off, House members return Wednesday for eight days before leaving for another two weeks.

February 25, 2023

McCarthy, 2.0

Seventy years ago, a GOP senator from Wisconsin named McCarthy—Joseph McCarthy—was given an minor committee and turned it as a club to publicly attack the character or patriotism of political opponents. Seventy years later, another McCarthy—Kevin McCarthy—supposedly controls the GOP U.S. House of Representatives and uses his power for the same kind of attacks. McCarthyism, meaning demagogic and recklessly unsubstantiated accusations, is alive and well in GOP politicians. 

As Republicans have turned themselves into caricatures, political satire becomes harder to write although Andy Borowitz continues to do an excellent job. In his recent column “Fox News Announces Acquisition of Kevin McCarthy,” Borowitz wrote:  

“Rupert Murdoch said that he was ‘delighted’ by the purchase of McCarthy and noted that Fox had snapped him up at an attractively low price.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) did “sell” 44,000 hours of January 6, 2021 footage showing the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to Tucker Carlson because, as he publicly announced, “I promised.” To whom is not clear, but obviously the “sale” was a trade for necessary votes so that McCarthy could become Speaker. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of the longest holdouts as McCarthy waited for the 15th ballot to get his vaunted position, made the demand before giving McCarthy his vote. The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona wrote:

“Tucker Carlson told the ‘Never Kevin’ holdouts that McCarthy shouldn’t be speaker unless he agreed to release all the video footage from the Jan. 6 insurrection. Three days later, McCarthy finally got the votes.”

The original deal, however, wasn’t to give exclusive rights to Tucker Carlson; that was “decided later.” McCarthy made the announcement on February 20 while President Joe Biden was in Ukraine. Carlson, however, had access weeks before McCarthy’s announcement . According to CNN’s Annie Grayer, U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI), Chair of the House Administration Committee, “requested Capitol Police set up a terminal to view the footage in late January,” and McCarthy “gave Carlson access to the terminal.” Steil’s committee is now in charge of the records collected by the January 6 investigative committee, now dissolved by the GOP after it took over the House.

In giving the footage to the darkest person on Fox, McCarthy told the New York Times, “I think sunshine lets everybody make their own judgment,” a far cry from what Carlson does. No one other than the deal brokers were aware of this “sunshine” before it was a done deal—not Democratic congressional members, not Capitol Police, not the House Sergeant at Arms.  McCarthy’s constituents learned about his duplicity when he used the “sale” for his fundraising. He wrote:

“Patriot, you deserve the facts—all of the facts. I promised I would give you the truth regarding January 6th, and now I am delivering. I have released the full 44,000 hours of uncut camera surveillance footage.”

“Releasing” isn’t what he did, however. He gave exclusive access to his media ally known for cherry-picking bits to create falsehoods. McCarthy continued his political ploy:

“A commitment to ALL of America requires truth and transparency over partisan games. Now, we are delivering. Would you consider chipping in $25, $50, or $100 to help House Republicans keep delivering on our commitments to America?”

Interviewed about his sale, McCarthy claimed that the tapes “belong to the American public.” But McCarthy gave them to only one person who will rewrite the insurrection into a tourist visit.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) explained how the presentation of security videos “poses grave security risks” to lawmakers and others working in the Capitol, possibly leading to another assault on the building. The complete footage that Carlson receives will have the floor design, location of security cameras, evacuation routes, and other security measures.

In a letter to the other senators of his conference, Schumer wrote that the Speaker’s action “is needlessly exposing the Capitol complex to one of the worst security risks since 9/11. The footage Speaker McCarthy is making available to Fox News is a treasure trove of closely held information about how the Capitol complex is protected and its public release would compromise the safety of the Legislative Branch and allow those who want to commit another attack to learn how Congress is safeguarded.” Schumer continued:

“Releasing security footage publicly reveals the location of security cameras across the Capitol grounds, making it harder and more dangerous for our brave Capitol police officers to do their job. It also risks exposing the carefully laid out and highly guarded plans for the continuity of government, intended to preserve our democracy in the event of an attack. All things anyone who would want to harm our country would love to learn.”

Schumer also raised concerns about the recipient of the footage, referencing Tucker’s willingness to spread lies that he doesn’t even believe himself:

“[B]y handpicking Tucker Carlson, Speaker McCarthy laid bare that this sham is simply about pandering to MAGA election deniers, not the truth. Tucker Carlson has no fidelity to the truth or facts and has used his platform to promote the Big Lie, distort reality, and espouse bogus conspiracy theories about January 6. If the past is any indication, Tucker Carlson will select only clips that he can use to twist the facts to sow doubt of what happened on January 6 and feed into the propaganda he’s already put on Fox News’ air, which based on recent reports he may not even believe himself.”

The Senate Majority Leader concluded:

“Let me be clear, the Senate strongly objects to the release of this sensitive security footage to Tucker Carlson and Fox News. The speaker—nor any elected official—does not have the right to jeopardize the safety of senators nor Senate and Capitol staff for their own political purposes. Period. Full stop.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) echoed Schumer concerns in a letter to his Democratic colleagues in the House:

“The apparent transfer of video footage represents an egregious security breach that endangers the hardworking women and men of the United States Capitol Police, who valiantly defended our democracy with their lives at risk on that fateful day.”

Access to the footage was limited for security purposes before the GOP took control of the House. Tim Mulvey, former senior staff member and spokesman for the January 6 investigative committee, stated that the U.S. Capitol Police video footage “was treated with great sensitivity given concerns about the security of lawmakers, staff, and the Capitol complex. Access was limited to members and a small handful of investigators and senior staff, and the public use of any footage was coordinated in advance with Capitol Police. It’s hard to overstate the potential security risks if this material were used irresponsibly.”

Tucker may not have exclusive access to the footage for long. The Capitol Police issued a statement that it must release the footage to congressional leaders or oversight committees who request it, including minority leaders. It that happens, those leaders can give the footage to legitimate news organizations.  

Even far-right MyPillow guy Mike Lindell, a big advertiser on Carlson’s show and other Fox programs, is furious about McCarthy’s giving him the footage and intends to sue him to also get access. Lindell thinks Carlson will keep the footage to cover up evidence to vindicate Lindell in the lawsuit Dominion Voting Systems filed against him. His dialog with Steve Bannon is here.

Carlson has called the insurrection, leaving people dead and injured, “a forgettably minor outbreak by recent standards” and a mere act of “vandalism.” Defending Fox’s decision to not air the January 6 committee’s first hearing, he said, “They are lying and we are not going to help them do it.” In his three-part series Patriot Purge, Carlson suggests that enemies of former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), including the antifa and the FBI, orchestrated the riot at the U.S. Capitol to undermine DDT and frame his supporters. Carlson also describes the insurrection as a “false flag” operation and the rioters as political prisoners.

A group of news organizations—NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC and Noticias Telemundo, the New York Times, and the Washington Post—asked McCarthy for the footage that he gave Carlson. McCarthy did not respond to NBC News after it made several requests for the tapes. Another group of news organizations—CBS News, CNN, Politico, ProPublica ABC, Axios, Advance, Scripps, the Los Angeles Times, and Gannett—has made the same request. 

Carlson said he plans to air footage this coming week. On his show, Carlson said:

“We have been there about a week, our producers—some of our smartest producers—have been there looking at this stuff and trying to figure out what it means, and how it contradicts, or not, the story that we’ve been told for two years. We think, in some ways, it already does contradict that story.”

Let the cherry-picking begin.

February 11, 2023

GOP Hearings Pure Gold for Democrats [Update: Balloons Keep Flying – The headline about a balloon being shot down may become a daily occurrence. Today’s “unidentified ‘high-altitude object,’” the second in two days, was shot down over Canada’s Yukon territory.]

More GOP failures from the past week: 

The far-right (former fringe) Republican members of Congress thought they were ready for President Joe Biden at his State of the Union (SOTU) speech on February 7. To even the most innocuous of his statements, they booed, made catcalls, and shouted rude rejoinders. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had promised civilized behavior and asked Biden not to refer to “extreme MAGA Republicans” because it isn’t “appropriate.” Biden didn’t use the term, but McCarthy couldn’t control his caucus, no matter how many times he tried to shush them from his high seat beside VP Kamala Harris.

Biden was on a roll. He handled the rudeness and disrespect with humor and humorous responses, showing them as the liars; i.e., the GOP declaration they never said they would reduce Social Security and Medicare. Biden had the proof, which he liberally shared in speeches for the next two days.

McCarthy continued to be the loser of the week as members of the Oversight Committee and the “weaponization” subcommittee failed to achieve their goal of destroying the Democrats.

Wednesday’s Oversight hearing was intended to prove that Twitter had favored the left-wing by censoring conservative messages before Elon Musk purchased the company a year ago. GOP’s witnesses started by claiming that Twitter censored a New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s laptop. The Twitter Files, which Musk made public in December 2022, was a series of internal records showing a two-day suppression of tweets about the story because of the company’s policy against “hacked materials” and concerns about the 2020 election within three weeks. The accusation of Joe Biden’s “corruption” in the article had not been validated.  

Yoel Roth, former Twitter’s head of safety, testified about the persecution he suffered after Musk released the Twitter Files: he was forced to move away from his home and sell it after a campaign of “homophobic and antisemitic” harassment. Musk and others magnified “defamatory” claims that Roth condones pedophilia. Roth also described the harassment of other employees. Musk had released the names of Roth and other company decision makers, and the Daily Mail published his home address.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said Roth’s testimony showed the dangers of “legitimizing unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about the deep state, big tech and government and government censorship for political gain.” She added, “Committee Republicans are holding a match to a powder keg.” Far-right committee members proved Norton right.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said she was happy that Twitter employees lost their jobs, and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) called former executives “fascist Twitter 1.0.” They both falsely declared that Twitter had discriminated against them because of their accounts suspended for their breaking company policies. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) threatened the four former Twitter executives brought to the hearing with arrests and jail but didn’t specify any crimes. Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) asked Oversight Committee chair, James Comer (R-KY), to intervene after Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) said former Twitter executive Yoel Roth’s past communications with the federal government were “highly illegal.”

The hearing blew up the GOP whining that technology is in the pocket of the Democrats when the former Twitter employees testified about DDT demanding tweets be removed that he felt were derogatory to him. DDT complained about “boring musician @john legend, and his filthy mouthed wife,” and the “wife,” Chrissy Teigen, tweeted that DDT was a “pussy ass bitch.” That statement is in the House record because Maxwell Frost (D-FL), the youngest House member, initiated an exchange with the witness. Frost also elicited testimony from two border police officials that Democrats don’t want “open borders.” 

In her testimony, Anika Collier Navaroli, a former member of Twitter’s content moderation team, told Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that Twitter’s policies allowed DDT to tweet in 2019 that she and her liberal colleagues should “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.” The company’s policy was to ban the phrase “go back to your country,” but former Twitter executive Del Harvey overrode Navaroli’s recommendation to label the tweet as a violation. To accommodate DDT’s racism, Twitter later changed its guidelines to allow the phrase.

New Twitter owner Elon Musk has repeatedly claimed “free speech suppression” on his social media platform, and House Oversight Committee James Comer (R-KY) echoed the statement, saying the “federal government … limit[ed] constitutional free exercise of speech” “to interfere in the democratic process.” Former Twitter executives repeatedly contradicted these statements in the hearings’ testimony.

About the proceedings, which he called an “authentically trivial pursuit,” Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (R-MD) said, “Silly does not even begin to capture this obsession” and added that “private media companies” are free to curate content. Democratic lawmakers said in the hearing that attacks on former Twitter staff were a “distraction” and that the witnesses had already declared under oath there was no collusion between the government and Twitter to suppress conservative speech.

The number of tweets during the hearing forced Twitter to close down for 90 minutes.

The classified briefing on the Chinese spy balloon gave Greene another change for egregiously obnoxious behavior when she attacked administration officials for not immediately shooting down the balloon as soon as they saw it. “I tore ‘em to pieces,” she bragged and screamed profanities in response to the answers to her questions. Leaving the briefing, however, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said he thought the U.S. made the right decision to wait to shoot down the balloon.

With no consequences for the inexcusable behavior of some House Republicans, they will grow worse and worse. [Left: A comparison of a howler Greene with a howler money with a photograph from the SOTU.]

The next fiasco was the hearing on Thursday from the “weaponization” subcommittee. Dana Milbank wrote that Republicans brought “a blunderbuss” to this “QAnon convention” with witnesses—some of them elected to Congress—seemingly “auditioning to guest-host Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), reelected at 89 years of age, testified that a triad of partisan journalists, the FBI, and Democratic colleagues is out to get him and claimed that the DNC and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had colluded with the Russians in 2016. Former Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, past presidential candidate, railed against Hillary Clinton for saying mean things about her and against Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), making “baseless accusations of treason.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) described a conspiracy including “most members of the mainstream media, big tech, social media giants, global institutions and foundations, Democrat Party operatives, and elected officials,” all working “in concert” with “corrupt individuals within federal agencies” to “defeat their political opponents and promote left-wing ideology and government control over our lives.” And more conspiracy theories from Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). No evidence was presented for any of these allegations.

Jonathan Turley, brought in as an expert witness regarding Twitter, had to admit he had never worked for Twitter, never had any relationships with Twitter, and had no knowledge of the inner workings of Twitter. He said he used his reading of The Twitter Files for his “legal analysis.” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said that was another word for “opinion,” and he finally agreed. Joe Patrice described the Twitter Files: 

“The mostly inconsequential, misleading, and deceptively incomplete social media rants from Elon Musk’s hand-picked journalists who were given access to cherry-picked data.”

Some topics for the weaponization hearing: the “Russian collusion hoax”; the “engineered” DDT impeachment; the “coordinated effort” to “sabotage any public revelation of Hunter Biden’s laptop”; the alleged maltreatment of January 6 insurrectionists; the federal agents behind the insurrection; Barack Obama’s use of the IRS to persecute tea party groups; the U.S. government funding the creation of Covid; the capture of the World Health Organization by the Chinese government; the wrongful vilification of doctors who treated the virus with hydroxychloroquine and other bogus treatments; the government coverup of damage from Covid vaccines; people called “domestic terrorists” for asking questions at school board meetings or flying the Betsy Ross flag; and an invasion of the U.S. by migrants working for the cartels; the “great replacement” pushing out white people in the U.S.; and a GOP meltdown over the Democratic tweet describing the use of the hearing “to amplify white nationalist conspiracy theories instead of a comprehensive solution to protect our borders and strengthen our immigration system.”

One memorable takeaway from the hearing was an exchange between chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Dan Goldman (D-NY):

Jordan: “[I have] “dozens of whistleblowers” [who describe a] political nature [in the DOJ.]”

Goldman: “Did you take notes?”

Jordan (with a blank expression): “Notes?”

Goldman explains “notes” and presses him; Jordan said they will talk later. After the hearing, Goldman asked, “How can you write a report if you don’t have notes? From memory?”

The committee’s top Democrat, Stacey Plaskett (U.S. Virgin Islands) said:

“I’m deeply concerned about the use of this select subcommittee as a place to settle scores, showcase conspiracy theories, and advance an extreme agenda that risks undermining Americans’ faith in our democracy.”

Jamie Raskin (D-MD) declared that DDT’s rewarding friends and punishing enemies gives meaning to the “weaponization” of the subcommittee. The panel’s name was itself “pure physiological projection. Not because ‘weaponization of the government’ is its target, but because weaponization of the government is its purpose,” Raskin said.

Republicans complained about not learning anything new in the balloon—exactly the problem with their own hearings. Instead the GOP wants a diversion for its book banning, enslaving women’s bodies, revising history, muzzling teachers, erasing LGBTQ rights, eliminating Social Security and Medicare, and sending the nation into default and severed depression.

February 2, 2023

The 118th Congress: ‘Political Infighting, Political Retaliation’

Today 218 House Republicans voted to remove Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the Foreign Affairs Committee, and two Republicans were overheard in an elevator criticizing the vote although they were part of it. Ken Buck (CO) called it the “stupidest vote in the world,” and Mike Simpson (ID) agreed, adding that it would make Omar a “martyr.” They also agreed that the vote was revenge for Democrats removing Republicans from committees but asked others in the elevator not to tell leadership their thoughts.

Democrats previously removed Paul Gosar (R-AZ) for his threats of violence against Democrats including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and President Joe Biden along with Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for her racism, anti-Semitism, threats of violence, and conspiracy theories. While in office, she spoke at white supremacists’ conferences. Senate GOP White John Thune (SD) said that Omar’s removal was “turnabout” for the Democrats removing GOP lawmakers from their committees.

After McCarthy promised to strip Omar of the Foreign Affairs Committee, a coalition of primarily Jewish American and pro-Israel organizations condemned his threat “based on false accusations that she is antisemitic or anti-Israel.” The statement also called McCarthy’s claims hypocritical because he and some of his own deputies have spread anti-Semitic tropes. They cited McCarthy’s tweet “charging that George Soros and two other billionaires of Jewish descent were seeking to ‘buy’ an election.”

McCarthy’s newly-elected Whip Tom Emmer said the Jewish billionaires had “essentially bought control of Congress, and Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik promoted the anti-Semitic “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), highly influential with McCarthy, said that the California wildfires were started by “Jewish space lasers” and posted approval of violence against Democratic leaders on social media. She uses her seat on the Oversight Committee to spread more lies

About criticism from the pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Tom Massie (KY) wrote, “How is this not foreign interference in our elections,” referring to anti-Semitic dual-loyalty. Republicans also defended the virulently anti-Semitic Kanye West.

Omar brought a new perspective to the other 49 members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, according to Peter Beinart, a journalism and poli-sci professor at the City University of New York:

“In a hearing in May 2021, about Chinese atrocities against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, only Ms. Omar noted that the United States had itself imprisoned 22 Uyghurs at Guantánamo Bay and that China’s president had reportedly cited America’s ‘war on terror’ as a justification for his own crackdown.”

The 218-211 vote were along party lines. One GOP member, Dave Joyce (OH) who voted “present” instead of against Omar. “She was elected,” the excuse Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) uses to keep lying Rep. George Santos (R-NY) for his vote, doesn’t count for Democrats. McCarthy earlier removed California Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee, accusing Schiff of lying, but that excuse is only for Democrats.

Three GOP representatives—Ken Buck (CO), Nancy Mace (SC), and Victoria Spartz (IN)—had said they would not support Omar’s removal, but McCarthy bought their votes with pledges that he would fix rules for removing members from committees. His promised language in the resolution carries no weight, however, because they are in the “whereas” section and not the “resolved” section.

When she was first in the House four years ago, Omar made a few comments about the Israeli apartheid with the Palestinians, Jewish people “buying political support” in AIPA, and allegiance to a foreign company. Even Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had called Israel “your country” when talking to an audience of Jewish people. After the Democratic leadership condemned Omar’s comments, she apologized

“Anti-Semitism is real, and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

Criticizing the GOP vote, Ocasio-Cortez referred to McCarthy appointing Gosar:

“I had a member of the Republican caucus threaten my life and you all, and the Republican caucus rewarded him with one of the most prestigious committee assignments in this congress… This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America.”

McCarthy had been highly critical of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for allowing votes after the time expired and set rules to stop it. Despite Democrats chanting “order” and “close it,” the new speaker permitted votes after the time expiration to get enough votes to keep Omar off the committee. 

Omar is a Black Muslim woman frequently attacked by DDT, the right-wing media, and GOP lawmakers who assailed her ethnicity, religion, and history as a Somalian refugee. In a 2019 rally, DDT led the chant, “Send her back.” Omar said,

“Who gets to be an American? What opinions do you have to have to be counted as American?”

Surprisingly, far-right, DDT-supporter Matt Gaetz (FL) defended Omar and said that Republicans want to punish her “because they don’t like what she has to say.” He still voted to take her off the committee because he didn’t like her “viewpoint.”

McCarthy also removed California Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee but said Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY) may put anyone he wishes on the new House “weaponization” committee. The strong Democratic slate includes Del. Stacey Plaskett, representative of the Virgin Islands and part of the 2021 impeachment team, along with three members of the Oversight Committee—Stephen Lynch (MA), Gerry Connolly (VA), and Dan Goldman (NY), elected to Congress after he served as Democratic counsel during DDT’s first impeachment. Other members are Linda Sánchez (CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), John Garamendi (CA), Colin Allred (TX) and Sylvia Garcia (TX). Ranking member of the Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler (NY), will lead the Democrat on the new subcommittee.

Jeffries selected Jim Hines (CN) as top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee and Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL) as Democratic leader on the new select subcommittee on strategic competition between the United States and China. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) will be the party’s top official on a Covid subcommittee.

The chaotic 118th Congress has a nickname, the Seinfeld Congress because it’s a show about nothing. After four long days in selecting a speaker, the House has focused on establishing new select committees designed to grind GOP axes and eliminating Democrats from committees. On Groundhog Day, the Judiciary Committee, run by Jim Jordan (OH), devolved into an hourlong debate about saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Gaetz’s amendment allows members to invite “inspirational constituents” to lead the pledge before each committee meeting. He objected, however, to David Cicilline’s (RI) amendment on the amendment to prevent “insurrectionists” from leading the pledge. During the ensuing shouts, the House GOP’s official Twitter account tweeted out the outdated 1892 version of the Pledge of Allegiance, which was written by New York socialist Francis Bellamy, without the reference to God added during the Cold War in 1954:  

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”

Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the committee’s ranking member, pointed out that representatives already said the pledge on the House floor every day. He said:

“I don’t know why we should pledge allegiance twice in the same day to show how patriotic we are.”

A long discussion about saying the pledge led to unanimous acceptance of the amendment.

In the Covid subcommittee hearing about fraud in Covid spending, Ocasio-Cortez asked why research in spending was in only three blue states—New York, California, and Pennsylvania. She asked Gene L. Dodaro, comptroller general for the Government Accountability Office, about this “methodology” and how he would carry out the investigation. He explained a sample of “18 states” would be a good approach. Ocasio-Cortez said she plans to “dig into this report” and cited Arizona’s expenditures of “$1.6 billion to individuals to stolen identities to get unemployment insurance benefits” as well as fraud in Lousiana and Kentucky, home of the committee chair James Comer (R-KY). The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee didn’t investigate any of these states.

GOP members of the Covid subcommittee include anti-vaxers Greene, Debbie Lesko (AZ), Ronny Jackson (TX), Rich McCormick (GA), and Michael Cloud (TX). Other members—Brad Wenstrup (OH), John Joyce (PA), Marianette Miller-Meeks (IA), and Nicole Malliotakis (NY) received generous donations from pharmaceutical companies.

On the Senate side, the minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pulled Rick Scott (FL) off the Commerce Committee after Scott tried to beat McConnell out as leader and Mike Lee (R-UT) who supported Scott. McConnell said he didn’t take the challenge personally, but Scott accused him of retaliation after he got a text about the decision. Scott asked who decided to move him and was told that McConnell was solely responsible. Ron Johnson (WI) moved to the Finance Committee from Commerce. The loss of committee seats came from the election of an additional Democrat to the Senate in the 2022 midterms.

At least three House Republicans—George Santos (NY), Anna Paulina Luna (FL), and Andrew (R-GA)—wore pins shaped like assault weapons during National Gun Violence Survivors Week. Luna also opposed Democrats’ attempt to ban firearms inside the Natural Resources panel hearing room. Last week, Cory Mills (FL) distributed grenades to fellow members with a note stating they were “inert.” 

Michael Steele talked about the “boogeyman politics.” As he said, the U.S. doesn’t have socialism, as Republicans want to eradicate, but it does have fascism—settling a partisan score like dictators do.

January 31, 2023

Supreme Court, House Attempt to Cover Up Scandals

Another ethics scandal has hit the Supreme Court: the wife of Chief Justice John Roberts makes millions of dollars each year by placing lawyers in firms that argue cases before the high court. One of Jane Roberts’ recruits, Ken Salazar, was put into a firm arguing over 125 times before the Supreme Court that has no binding ethics rules. The chief justice refuses to support a Judicial Code of Ethics and simply watches as “Clarence Thomas flouts ethical standards over and over and over,” according to Norman Ornstein, emeritus scholar at the center-right American Enterprise Institute. A month later, Ornstein said, “This is [Samuel] Alito’s court, and it is partisan and corrupt.”

The House is trying to match the Supreme Court in corruption and lack of ethics. Its new select subcommittee on the “weaponization” of the federal collection is thus far composed of a dozen GOP malcontents with one more added unless House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) increases the number. Leader is Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the chair of the Judiciary Committee that heads up the subcommittee. The purpose of the subcommittee is to attack the DOJ, FBI, and other intelligence departments as well as the Department of Education and big tech. 

Members include two House GOP leaders, Elise Stefanik (NY) and Mike Johnson (LA); others are Chip Roy (TX), Dan Bishop (NC), Chris Stewart (UT), Kelly Armstrong (NC), Darrell Issa (CA), Thomas Massie (KY), Greg Steube (FL), Kat Cammack (FL), and Harriet Hagerman (WY) who defeated Liz Cheney last year. McCarthy made the choices to pay for the votes he received in the speaker battle; Bishop and Roy consistently voted against McCarthy for the first 11 of the 15 ballots.

Without Democratic members at this time, the committee is already discussing subpoenas skipping any requests for documents and witness testimony because they don’t need any Democratic support. Jordan’s targets include a current and a former FBI employee, two people associated with the National School Boards Association, and the former head of the disbanded DHS Disinformation Governance Board.

Like Fox, the “weaponization” targets will not be anything detrimental to Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) and other Republicans. Although Jordan plans to go after recently indicted former FBI agent Charles McGonigal as part of his attack on that agency, he tried to avoid questions about investigating DDT’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort for his ties to the same Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, also connected to McGonigal.

Another issue that will be ignored in the “weaponization” subcommittee is the failure of special counsel John Durham to investigate DDT after receiving tips about his campaign’s involvement with Russia during his 2016 campaign. On Meet the Press,  Jordan said:

“The Durham investigation is not done. The Mueller investigation is done. And what did he conclude? No collusion, no conspiracy, no coordination.”

That’s one misrepresentation and one lie. The final Durham report is due in February, almost two years before the end of Jordan’s leadership of the Judiciary Committee, and Robert Mueller refuted the “no collusion” statement. Fortunately, the Senate Judiciary Committee will be investigating the omission of former AG Bill Barr’s and Durham’s decision to follow the tips about DDT’s possible involvement with Russia. 

Jordan holds his first Judiciary Committee hearing on February 1, this one about the border followed by the same subject with the Oversight Committee on February 6. Instead of a hearing, DHS wants a member briefing bringing threats of subpoenas from Comer. The GOP also has a problem with a lack of consensus especially between two Texans, conservative Roy and more centrist Tony Gonzales. All during the impeachment resolution of DHS Secretary Mayorkas from Pat Fallon, another Texas representative. Arizona’s Andy Biggs plans to lead impeachment articles against Alejandro Mayorkas this week.

On February 1, the Oversight Committee plans a hearing on government funding because of Covid, focusing on “waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.” The Democrats have already studied this issue, but the GOP now has a Covid subcommittee to examine the intent of making viruses and pathogens more deadly or contagious with the evidence-free GOP theory that Covid was intentionally created in a lab.

In the $5 trillion of stimulus aid starting in spring 2020, the federal government may have awarded $5.4 billion in Covid aid to small businesses with ineligible Social Security numbers. Of over 33 million applicants studied, more than 221,000 ineligible Social Security numbers on requests for small-business aid were identified, and 70,000 of these applications were approved despite questionable data. Grift began with two programs created under DDT, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

On February 8, the Oversight Committee plans a hearing about Twitter restricting users from sharing a New York Post story about Hunter Biden and continue with questions about a gallery selling Hunter Biden’s art. Chair James Comer (R-KY) plans to subpoena the Treasury Department after it rejected requests for documents. He declares his investigation “credible,” but conspiracy believers on the committee such as Paul Gosar (AZ), and Marjorie Taylor Green (GA), and Scott Perry (PA) raise skepticism.

Another hearing is from a new subcommittee to look at “strategic competition” between the U.S. and China with a focus on supply chains and social media, specifically TikTok. Although the decision was bipartisan, Democrats warned that the GOP may incorporate conspiracy theories and xenophobic language. Other foreign policy investigations are the 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan and the oversight of aid to Ukraine.

Jennifer Rubin predicts failure from the GOP hearings because Republicans don’t have evidence for their so-called Democratic scandals. Explaining the convoluted right-wing conspiracy theories will take a lot of time and then not be accepted, like Jordan’s attempt on Meet the Press to explain how the FBI “targeted parents. Host Chuck Todd asked Jordan if the FBI should not “look into a death threat when an elected official gets a death threat.” Jordan struggled with the answer.

While the weaponization committee wastes time, the rest of the Republicans have been preparing useless bills that they will pass before sending them into the void. This week, they will address the horror of socialism as the “bill of the month,” according to FreedomWorks providing dark money to the Freedom Caucus members. The resolution outlines “the history of socialism as a failed ideology that has resulted in the deaths of over 100 million people worldwide.” Congress has no Socialist representatives.

A quote in the bill attributed to Thomas Jefferson about not taking money from hard workers to share with others is actually by French economist and philosopher Antoine Destutt de Tracy. The resolution also criticizes DDT’s BFF Kim Jong Un, leader of the North Korea.

Abandoning its concern for deaths, another bill this week will declare “The Pandemic Is Over,” removing healthcare workers from any vaccine mandate and eliminating the right for federal employees to work remotely. Within three years, Covid killed at least 1.1 million people in the U.S. and 6,759,755 worldwide. It is the eighth most common cause of child deaths in the U.S. Thus Republican bills supposedly stop the non-existent deaths from socialism but open up the possibility of millions of deaths from Covid. 

Bills and hearings show how Republicans have abandoned their campaign issues of crime and inflation. Jordan said that he has no interest in police killing the people they are employed to protect which reached an all-time high in 2022. 

When the House finally elected a speaker, it had 11 “ready-to-go” bills for the first two weeks. By the fifth week, they passed only six, some of them toothless resolutions. Some of them have disappeared because of GOP dissension. Primary subjects: two anti-abortion bills, one anti-IRS bill that raises the deficit, and one limiting oil withdrawal from emergency reserves that increases inflation.

Meanwhile, the Senate is waiting for Republicans to decide what committees they wish to join. Or maybe Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is just stalling.

Jennifer Rubin wrote:

“Republicans] prefer to spend time trying to defund the Internal Revenue Service, criminalize abortion providers, threaten economic meltdown, and beat the drum on ‘scandal’ investigations. Instead of working to clamp down on crime, House Republicans want to investigate those prosecuting the Jan. 6, 2021, armed insurrectionists and ride to the rescue of the former president, the target of multiple criminal investigations.”

For the last six months of 2022, while the GOP was hyping inflation, the rate declined with gas prices levels before the Ukraine war. Wages went up in December. The first bill passed in the House’s new GOP Congress was to increase the deficit by $100 billion by defunding the IRS; another one stopped President Joe Biden from reducing gas prices. Crime rates had already fallen in 2022, four percent lower than the previous year. This year, however, mass shootings are already up, but Republicans will never concern themselves with reducing those disasters. Crime is useful to Republicans only for its racist image as campaigns depict Black candidates as “different” and “dangerous” plus darkening their skin, hoping to make them appear more menacing.

But there’s really big news today in the House: McCarthy convinced Rep. George Santos (R-NY) to recuse himself from his two committee assignments until he no longer was a “distraction.” That’s a long story for another day.

January 11, 2023

‘Vengeance Is Mine’ Saith the GOP House

The soap opera in the U.S. House continues. Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) vows to ban Democrats Adam Schiff (CA), Eric Swalwell (CA), and Ilhan Omar (MN) for House committees in retaliation for the removal of Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from serving. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) said that Republicans will remove members of the opposing party because Democrats had done it.

Gosar was removed after he prepared a video and posted it on social media that depicted violence against President Joe Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Greene consistently posted racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and advocated for executing top Democrats including Omar. In the same week that Gosar and Greene participated in a white nationalist conference, McCarthy said he will return them to committees.

Omar will likely be removed because she is a Muslim; for example, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) repeatedly called Omar a terrorist who might blow up the Capitol. McCarthy can personally block Swalwell and Schiff from the House Intelligence Committee because it is a “select” committee largely controlled by the Speaker as compared to regular standing committees. Republicans criticized Schiff for giving out information about then Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in a discredited spy dossier. Although not accused of any wrongdoing, Swalwell had contacts with an alleged Chinese spy who tried to help his political career from 2011 to 2015.

Democrats’ putting Omar on the House Foreign Affairs Committee would require a majority vote from the House that has four more Republicans than Democrats. Republicans accused Omar of anti-Semitism for her criticism of pro-Israel lobbying groups although several progressive Jewish organizations opposed McCarthy’s promise to remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee, writing that the groups “categorically reject the suggestion that any of her policy positions or statements merit disqualification from her role on the committee.”

Of the 17 new GOP committee chairs in the House, 11 of them voted to reject the electoral votes for the 2020 presidential election in agreement that the election was “stolen.” Twelve of them signed on to a frivolous legal brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn the presidential election results. Three of the 17 committee chairs are women; none is a person of color. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise stated the selections “represent the very best of our conference.” Details of the chairs here.

Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee Mark Green will lead the charge to oversee the Department of Homeland Security. Six years ago, his radical beliefs blocked him from Republican support in the Senate after he was nominated as  secretary of the Army. He called being transgender a “disease,” promoted creationism, criticized public healthcare programs for his belief that they interfered with Christian fundamentalism, and claimed that looking at Victoria’s Secret catalogs turns men into Saddam Hussein. Believing that “President Obama is not a citizen,” Green refused to answer a question about the former president being a Muslim. Green became a committee chair in exchange for Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) votes from the Freedom Caucus.

As for lying George Santos (R-NY), McCarthy said, “He will serve” because people voted for him and they can decide again in another two years. Asked about Santos admitting to lying on his resume, McCarthy said, “So did a lot of people here in the Senate and others.” Chances are McCarthy is afraid to tackle anyone about lying because he has the same habit. 

Santos also accepted campaign donations from human trafficker, Rocco Oppedisano or “Uncle Rocky” who is an Italian national and confessed smuggler of undocumented immigrants. Taking donations from foreign nationals is clearly illegal. Santos also failed to list his recent employment at Florida-based Harbor City Capitol, a financial services company accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a “classic Ponzi scheme.”

Although Santos didn’t list any income from Harbor City, he received money at least once a month after he said he left the firm. He claimed his annual income of $750,000 and $1 million in dividends came from the Devolder Organization, but there’s no evidence of how the company made its money. In 2020, Harbor City announced Santos, then known as George Devolder, as regional director of the company’s New York City office. Shortly before the announcement, the Alabama Securities Commission had blocked Harbor City from selling securities in the state with a cease-and-desist order in June 2020. On April 20, 2021, the SEC alleged that the company raised over $17 million by deceiving investors into sinking their money into unregistered fraudulent securities. Of that sum, the company’s founder spent under $449,000 on business expenses and used the remainder for personal expenses.

Yesterday, GOP House members voted to protect the wealthy’s taxation when they took the $80 billion from the IRS created by the Omnibus Bill less than three weeks ago and removed over $100 billion of revenue from the government. Today, they passed two frivolous anti-abortion bills. One is a ceremonial resolution condemning attacks “on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches”; the second bill forces medical practitioners to provide care to infants who survive an abortion, an extremely rare occurrence. Only 1.3 percent of abortions occur after the 21st week of gestation.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said the measure takes decisions out of doctors hands, forcing clinicians “to administer interventions even when there is no chance of survival.” The same bill has been proposed for over two decades, and every time it comes up for debate, someone points out that it is redundant, that a law exists against infanticide.

During the debate this time, Rep. Wilson (D-FL) Frederica told about her being “forced to carry my dead body.” Because the law in 1968 prevented the doctor from inducing labor at seven months, she carried the dead fetus for another two months and almost died.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) warned that the GOP could continue to lose elections if it doesn’t become more centrist. As she said, the two House anti-bortions have no chance of passing the Senate: “What we’re doing this week is paying lip service to life.”

The House’s youngest member, Max Frost (D-FL), slammed the “anti-choice bill that fails to condemn violence against abortion clinics, providers, staff, and patients.”

On the second full day that the House Republicans use their four-person majority to wreak revenge against Democrats, Virginia elected a Democrat for the state Senate, increasing the party’s lead to 22-18. No longer does an “unapologetically pro-life” Democrat provide the crucial vote, especially on Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s wish for a 15-week abortion ban. The winning Democrat made pro-choice his primary campaign issue.

When Republicans began the anti-abortion legislation last year, they said they would never prosecute anyone for getting an abortion. Alabama’s AG Steve Marshall didn’t get the message. He said his office will use a child endangerment law designed to protect children from chemicals left behind by meth labs to prosecute people taking pills to end their pregnancies. The state Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the law can apply to fetuses. Alabama has targeted over 1,000 women allegedly using drugs while pregnant with the law.

House Republicans also started their investigation into Biden and his family by requesting financial information from the Treasury Department about transactions by the Biden family flagged as suspicious. Rep. James Comer, chair of the House Oversight Committee, also requested testimony from former Twitter executives about an October 2020 story in the New York Post regarding Hunter Biden, the president’s younger son. Part of the probe is former federal prosecutor, James Mandolfo, who will serve as the Oversight panel general counsel. Comer, one of the 12 election deniers turned committee chair, told Sean Hannity on Fox that Ukraine is an “adversary” of the U.S. and Biden is “compromised.”  

Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) has filed articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, accusing him of “high crimes and misdemeanors” in his role as homeland security secretary. The articles have been referred to the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Jim Jordan (R-OH). In November, McCarthy called on Mayorkas to resign and accused him of failing to secure the southern border. At that time, McCarthy threatened the DHS Secretary with impeachment.

In the Senate, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called for the DOJ to appoint a special counsel to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents while he was vice president. Biden’s aides reported more classified documents discovered at another location after ten documents were found in another Biden office. The latter were intelligence memos and briefing materials regarding Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom. The DOJ has all the materials found in Biden’s possession and assigned a former DDT U.S. attorney to review them.

A corrupted computer file affecting both primary and backup systems was responsible for grounding flight departures across the U.S. for ninety minutes. The antiquated NOTAM system was identified for reform in 2018. GOP legislators are having a hissy fit and blaming Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Biden. House Republicans also want reforms before reauthorizing FAA legislation later this year. 

Sergei Surovikin, the general appointed to be in charge of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in October 2022, has been replaced by Valery Gerasimov. The change is one of many military replacements during the failures. Nicknamed “General Armageddon,” Surovikin will move to Gerasimov’s deputy.

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