Nel's New Day

February 2, 2021

AOC Tells Her Story about Abusive GOP

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)—frequently called AOC—was a relative unknown when she swept onto the national scene less than three years ago when she defeated a ten-term incumbent in Democratic primary election. The youngest member to serve the U.S. Congress when she was sworn in, the 29-year-old soon gained the hatred of now-Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) because of her progressive ideas.

Yesterday, 26 days after the far-right attack on the U.S. Capitol, she released a powerful video telling of her terror about being killed by the insurgents and her experience with sexual assault. It is a must watch for everyone, and her subsequent message about the sedition describes the lead up to and the events on the day itself as well as the impact on her.   

Her message:

Monday night, I hopped on IG live to talk about what happened at the Capitol. My story is one of many. It’s not the only story or the central story.

But, it’s important to share because so many of the people who helped perpetrate what happened are trying to tell us to move on and forget about what happened—saying it isn’t a big deal.

They’re asking us to move on for their own convenience. These are the same tactics used by abusers. What they are really asking is: “Can you forget about this so we can do it again?”

I’m a survivor of sexual assault, and I haven’t told many people that in my life. But when we go through trauma, whether we have neglectful parents or any kind of trauma, these episodes can compound on one another. Part of my hesitancy to tell this story until now has to do with some of my trauma. As a survivor, I struggle with the idea of being believed.

Many Republicans have done everything they can to try to rewrite history. They say we’re exaggerating or stoking tensions or even that I should apologize. Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz have had nearly a month to apologize for their role, but over and over they’ve doubled down and said they did the right thing and if they could go back, they’d do it all again. That’s why they need to resign, because they will do it again.

First, let’s dispel the idea that this insurrection happened suddenly—that there was no way for Hawley, Cruz. or Trump not to see this violence coming or anticipate their role in stoking it. Everyone knew something was going to happen.

One week before, I started to get text messages from other members of Congress saying that I needed to be careful on Wednesday. So I started thinking through a security plan with my staff.

Insurrectionists arrived in town starting on Monday. That day, as I exited the Capitol, a crowd of Trump supporters were gathered directly behind my car. All there was to protect myself and other members of Congress was a waist-high fence.

My heart was beating fast. They were yelling insults my way. I tried to lighten the mood to create enough space for me to drive away and get out of there.

Later that day, I went to the grocery store and saw all these people in MAGA hats. It felt tense. And, I guess it felt like—whether you’re from the Bronx, New York City, Queens, or wherever—you can just catch a vibe and kind of know a general sense of when things aren’t right. And things started to feel “not right” when I was in that grocery store that Monday night.

By Tuesday, 24 hours before the events on January 6th, I had already resolved that I wouldn’t go back outside except to vote. Myself and other members asked about security plans, and we were told that it was being handled by Capitol Police and couldn’t be shared.

Fast forward, Wednesday, January 6: At 12:45pm, my chief of staff called me and asked how I was feeling. In that moment, I was feeling great—Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff had just won. I was on cloud nine. It took a weight off my shoulders—and I hoped maybe it would take the wind out of the sails of the growing mob outside the Capitol.

Shortly after we hung up, I heard violent bangs on my office door and all the doors into our congressional office. My legislative director—G—told me to hide. I ran into the bathroom—then quickly realized I should have gone to the closet instead. When I opened the door to move, I heard that someone had already gotten into my office. It was too late. Then, they started to yell: “Where is she?” “Where is she?” “Where is she?”

This is the moment I thought everything was over. As a spiritual person, I thought: if this is the plan for me, people—you all—would be able to take it from here. I felt that things were going to be okay and that I had fulfilled my purpose.

Peeking through the hinges of the door behind which I was hiding, I saw a white man with a black beanie come into my direct office. He continued to ask, “where is she?” “where is she?” Finally, I heard G follow him and say “Boss, it’s OK to come out.”

The man in the black beanie was a Capitol Police officer—he was alone with no partner, and I never heard him identify himself as Capitol Police or anything. We weren’t sure if he was there to help us or hurt us. He was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility.

Yelling, he told us to go to a different building where all Members would be extracted—not providing the room number or any other exact information on where in the building that extraction point was.

Still, we started running. Alone with no escort and no specific location, we could hear the rioters outside. Not knowing where to go, I ran to find the offices of members I knew in the building. After running up and down the stairs, googling frantically to find room numbers, I eventually found Rep. Katie Porter’s office and asked if we could shelter with her.

She welcomed us in, and we started searching for where we could hide. We pushed couches against the door. I found clothes and sneakers to change into in case I needed to run, jump out of a window, or blend in with a crowd. We turned off all the lights.

Shortly after we finished barricading ourselves, we received intelligence that bombs were found not far from where we were. We discussed what we’d do if the building exploded. Staffers were making decisions to put their lives on the line to save us.

When I finally learned the location of the extraction point, I didn’t feel safe going there, knowing that some Republican members were live tweeting the locations of the Speaker and others. I knew the National Guard hadn’t been called. We were in Rep. Porter’s office for hours.

After the building was secure, I walked over to Rep. Pressley’s office where she and her staffers made sure I was fed. We were at Ayanna’s office until 4:00 am as Congress finally proceeded with voting to certify the electoral college. There are more details to share at some point, but not today.

Rep. Pressley told me that night that what I experienced was traumatizing. Hearing her say that, it forced me to pump my brakes. If you have experienced any type of trauma, just admitting and recognizing it is already a big step. The moment you admit that a thing happened to you is hugely important.

I look back on this and Ayanna really helped my healing. Telling your story is an important tool for healing, which is why I’m telling mine. Together, we have 435 stories and we need to tell them because every time a Republican gets on television and tells us to forget, these stories are reminders of what they’re trying to absolve.

What happens now should not be a partisan issue. This moment is not about a difference of political opinion. This is about basic humanity.

We knew that violence was expected on January 6. We knew the rioters depended on someone upholding the lie that the presidential election was fraudulent. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley chose to tell the lie because they thought it would be politically advantageous.

Six people have lost their lives, eyes and limbs have been lost, and many more people traumatized. Even after all of that, not even an ‘I’m sorry.’ Not even an: ‘I didn’t realize what I said would contribute to this violence and if I had known, I wouldn’t have done it.’ Instead the response has been, ‘I did the right thing and I would do it again.’

If that is their stance, these members will continue to be a danger to their colleagues. Given the same conditions, they will choose to endanger their colleagues for political gain again. That’s why we need accountability.

It’s not about revenge, it’s about creating safety. We are not safe with people who hold political power who are willing to endanger lives for political gain.

Today the U.S. House adopted rules to keep conservatives from carrying guns onto the chamber floor and intimidating others. Instituting large fines for violating these rules was necessary because gun carriers stepped around metal detectors, pushed Capitol Police officers out of the way, and asked other members to carry guns for them. Campaign funds or congressional office budget funds cannot be used to pay these fines. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “The People’s House must and will be safe, so that we can honor our responsibility to do the People’s work.” Weapons have been banned from the House floor for over 50 years, but the new conservatives think they, like DDT, are above the law.

Tonight, the remains of Brian Sicknick, killed by the January 6 mob in the U.S. Capitol, were taken to the Capitol rotunda, allowing people, including President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, to pay their respects. 

The U.S. has passed 27 million verified infections from COVID-19, and the nation had 3,672 deaths today from the disease. 

January 16, 2021

Far-Right Groups Identified, Need Social Media Platforms

As I looked at the news feeds today, I realized that the media seems calmer during the past few days since Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lost access to social media platforms. According to an analysis, the proliferation of lies and spreading responses has greatly fallen on these sites. Wildly misleading content about the 2020 election dropped by three-fourths on social media following the bans on DDT after the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Inflammatory hashtags about the attack such as #FightforTrump and #HoldtheLine have fallen over 95 percent. Research indicates high-profile influencers using the disinformation system pushed millions of people to spread the lie about election fraud. Just a few accounts have been the source for these lies: only 20 conservative, pro-DDT Twitter accounts were the original source of 20 percent of retweets lying about voting during the election.

Social media platforms banning DDT and others lying and inciting violence:

Twitter: The platform started putting labels on DDT’s false and violent posts over two months ago but didn’t limit his 88 million followers from viewing or sharing them. It also cut over 70,000 QAnon accounts after January 6. After DDT violated a 12-hour trial lockout after the Capitol attack, Twitter permanently banned his account on January 8 and suspended @POTUS and @TeamTrump for DDT’s attempts to avoid his ban. DDT’s former adviser, Steve Bannon, also lost his Twitter account for declaring Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray should be beheaded. Other DDT associates have also been banned.

Facebook and its photo-sharing service, Instagram: On January 6, the platforms suspended Trump for 24 hours after he expressed love for the mob attacking the Capitol. The next day, CEO Mark Zuckerberg banned DDT from them through the inauguration and indefinitely after that time.

YouTube: DDT’s channel was suspended for at least a week last week, and the platform indefinitely disabled comments from his channel. It also announced it would issue strikes to any channel posting videos with false claims violating the platform’s policies. Permanent removal comes from three strikes within three months.

Parler: Amazon Web Services removed Parler after users glorified the Capitol attack. The social media platform had already been removed from Google and Apple app stores. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/09/amazon-parler-suspension/   QAnon believers and other conspiracy theorists moved to Parler after Twitter banned them because the platform allows anything, including sex trafficking and porno messages. A hacker downloaded all the public messages from the week of January 6 allowing law enforcement to find many of the mob members and instigators at the Capitol attack.

Snapchat: DDT’s account was permanently disabled on January 15.

Bumble, Tinder, and Match: The accounts of Capitol rioters have been banned, and DDT’s account has an “indefinite suspension.

Reddit: r/The Donald and other pro-DDT pages advocating violent threats and misinformation have been banned. Also gone is subreddit r/DonaldTrump, a hub for “Stop the Steal” conspiracy theorists encouraging armed users to go to the U.S. Capitol.

Twitch: The Amazon-owned video service disabled DDT’s channel indefinitely.

https://www.axios.com/platforms-social-media-ban-restrict-trump-d9e44f3c-8366-4ba9-a8a1-7f3114f920f1.html

TikTok: The platform is removing content violations and redirecting hashtags.

Discord: The Donald is now banned.

Pinterest: Hashtags connected to pro-DDT topics have been limited since the November election.

Stripe: The online handler of payments and transactions will no longer process for DDT’s campaign.

Okta: The manager of user authentication services has terminated Parler’s access to a free trial.

Twilio: The enterprise communications company won’t accept Parler.

LiquidWeb: This cloud and web-hosting company kicked off Oath Keepers, the far-right, self-identified “militia” group of current and former military, police and first responders. The group had told its followers to swarm Washington in “armed, in large groups.”

GoFundMe: Travel fundraising for political events with “risk of violence” has been banned.

Shopify: The Canadian e-commerce platform for online stores banned DDT’s campaign merchandise shop and personal brand.

The solution for seditionists now is Telegram, a Dubai-based chat app, and other services such as MeWe collecting those driven off Parler. Telegram moved from a ranking of 110th to the fifth most-downloaded app in the United States by January 12. When Signal went from 750 to first, its network went down. MeWe rose from below 1,000 to 12; WhatsApp and Messenger have stayed in the top 40 and top 20. An example of a Telegram message after DDT’s video condemning the violence at the Capitol:

“Trump betrayed the patriots by accepting defeat. The only way to save America is war. Full-blown Holy war.”

Far-right groups/symbols:  

Proud Boys: Known for violence and instigating street fights with counterdemonstrators. Garb: black and gold but may change to all black, imitating antifa, and bright orange hats. Founded in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes who separated himself from the organization. Well-known in the Northwest, but DDT raised an awareness of them when DDT told them to “stand by” in his first debate with Joe Biden. 

Hand gesture “OK”: Means “white power” from the W and P formed by the hand. 

Gesture from the Three Percenters, a right-wing anti-government militia group: Outstretched middle, ring, and pinkie fingers to represent the Roman numeral for three, similar to the “OK.” Name comes from myth that only three percent of the population fought against the British.

QAnon: Symbol of Q, representing online conspiracy theory about DDT leading a crusade against a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who encompass a majority of the nation’s elites, including politicians, celebrities, and executives. Their anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ beliefs joined by anti-mask and anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, following cryptic messages and instructions from the anonymous person Q.

Oath Keepers: One of the largest self-described militia groups in the United States which recruits law enforcement and active or former military members. Large presence at such high-profile events as the Nevada Bundy ranch uprising and Ferguson (MO) protests.  Founded in 2009. Yellow logo comes from the U.S. Army Ranger tab.

The letters “AF” (America First) surrounded by a circle: Name of podcast hosted by far-right activist Nick Fuentes appearing at Charlottesville (VA) “United the Right” and taunting protesters of George Floyd’s killing. Racist and anti-Semitic followers called “Groypers,” using the smirking Pepe the Frog imagery sometimes depicted in the uniform like that of Hitler’s military security force.

Kekistan flag: A green and black symbol spelling “kek.” Supposedly a parallel between Pepe the Frog and an ancient deity appearing as a man with a frog head mimicking the German Nazi war flag.

A hanging noose/Day of the Rope: Based on the fictional insurrection, “Day of the Rope,” from white supremacist William Luther Pierce’s 1978 novel, The Turner Diaries, in which white supremacists lynch politicians, journalists, and White people in interracial relationships who they call “race traitors.”  Posts on January 6 referencing hangman knots and hanging “traitors” betraying DDT such as Supreme Court justices and lawmakers. Rioters put up a noose outside the Capitol.

Valknot: The “knot of slain,” three interlinked triangles from Nordic culture and heritage, connected to the afterlife and white supremacy Odinism.

VDARE: Red, white, and blue lion imagery connected to the website associated with Virginia Dare, supposedly the first White child born in the New World.

Confederate flag: Most well-known symbol of white supremacy representing Southern heritage and slavery.

The FBI is investigating donations of over $500,000-valued bitcoin from a French account to 22 far-right organizations and people including VDARE, Daily Stormer, and Nick Fuentes. The transfer was made on December 8, four weeks before the failed January 6 coup. Far-right groups have a tradition of dealing with cryptocurrency and crowdfunding, especially since the deadly Charlottesville (VA) rally in August 2017.

Sunday before the inauguration, hate groups have promised to return to D.C. to commit violence. On Saturday, law enforcement arrested a Virginia man at a checkpoint near the Capitol. He had an “unauthorized” inauguration pass, an unregistered loaded gun, and almost 550 rounds of ammunition. He claimed he was working as a security guard and forgot he was carrying the gun. He also denied having any ammunition. His Ford F-150 pickup displayed stickers such as “Assault Life” and “If they come for your guns Give ‘Em your bullets first.” He was booked for carrying a weapon without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm, and possession of unregistered ammunition.

With little federal support, all 50 state capitols in the nation are preparing for armed attacks on January 20 because of violent threats from seditionists.

Two days ago, acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, the colossal failure in protecting the Capitol on January 6, said he “couldn’t wait” to get out of the job. Yet he’s still sabotaging the government, now ordering the head of NSA Gen. Paul Nakasone to install Michael Ellis as top lawyer at the National Security Agency by 6:00 pm on January 16. Ellis was head counsel to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), master leaker of congressional secrets to DDT; if appointed, Ellis would be a civil servant, not a political appointee, making him harder for a new administration to fire. Nakasone didn’t meet the deadline, and the ball is back in Miller’s court.

Under 80 more hours!

January 11, 2021

Backlash to Attempted Insurgency at Capitol

Since last week, the battleship of disaster may be reversing its direction as Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) looks more and more like a sinking ship. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who led the charge to overturn the election on January 6 even after the attempted coup, said, “The president’s language and rhetoric crossed the line, and it was reckless.” Of course, he would benefit in a run for the 2024 presidency if others voted to disqualify DDT. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who also wants to be in the 2024 running, excused rioters because they were “lied to by politicians.” Nothing Rubio said before the travesty tried to counter what he now calls lies, nor did he object to DDT’s incitement to violence on Twitter. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) claimed he had nothing to do with his campaign using the lies about Democrats “stealing the election” for fundraising but didn’t correct the team’s report that he “stands with President Trump.”

The federal government has failed to tell the public about the attempted coup. Washington, D.C.’s mayor Muriel Bowser gave a press conference on January 6, but the federal government stays dark—no official briefings from Capitol Police, DHS, the FBI, White House, etc. Although Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) initially asked if they were Iranians, perpetrators were DDT’s followers, not foreigners, called to violence by the man in the Oval Office after Republicans spent years pushing party members into believing Democrats should be removed from all power by any means.

In a video, Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s former GOP governor, compared the event to Germany’s Kristallnacht, the night of broken windows and glass initiating the Nazis’ “Final Solution” to “exterminate” Jewish people.  He said:

“The mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol, they shattered the ideas we took for granted. They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed American democracy. They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.” 

According to the 14th Amendment, anyone who “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States “or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” cannot serve in Congress. Last week, the biggest newspaper in Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) home state called for his expulsion; this week two large Texas newspapers, including one from his hometown, called for dropping Cruz from the Senate. Both editorials in the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle want either his expulsion or resignation because of the part he played in fueling the insurrection at the Capitol with his lies about voter fraud.

Even in the siege’s lockdown, no one talked to Hawley, and Chad Sweet, Cruz’s friend and chair of his 2016 presidential campaign, said Cruz had abetted an “assault on our democracy.” Sen. Pat Toomey (PA) called both of them “complicit in the big lie.” About 7,000 law students and lawyers called for both Hawley and Cruz to be disbarred, especially after Hawley’s gesture of support to the crowd attempt to overturn the election.

The New York State Bar Association is investigating whether to revoke DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s membership after his violent language before his followers stormed the Capitol. According to the association, the blame “lies first and foremost” with DDT, but he “did not act alone.” At the rally with DDT, Giuliani advocated for “trial by combat.” The group’s bylaws prevent any member “who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States, or of any state, territory or possession thereof, or of any political subdivision therein, by force or other illegal means.” Elimination from membership leaves Giuliani able to practice law in his home state of New York unless the grievance committee of the Appellate Division of the state’s court system takes action.

Emily Rainey, head of Army PsyOps at Fort Bragg who led 100 conservatives to Washington, D.C. on January 6 to protest election fraud, had resigned last September but a resignation can take up to six months. She had twice torn down caution tape at a North Carolina playground closed by COVID-19 restrictions. In the military, her responsibility was to use information and misinformation to favorably shape the emotions, decision-making, and actions of foreign adversaries.

The search to identify seditionists at the Capitol on January 6 discovered off-duty members of at least five police departments and fire departments throughout the U.S., including in New York City and Florida, who used their badges to enter the Capitol for the attempted insurgency. Some came from as far away as Seattle.

At least 12 Capitol police officers, perhaps as many as 17 at this time, are suspended or being investigated for their cooperation with the insurgents—taking selfies with them, wearing a MAGA hat, showing them around the building, letting them into the building, etc. Capitol Police officers were reportedly sent home early on January 6 just before the mob onslaught and not recalled to help stop the attack.

Chad Wolf, illegally performing as acting DHS Secretary, has resigned, blaming “ongoing litigation.” His announcement makes the third Cabinet member to leave after the attempted coup. Two days ago, Secretary Chad Wolf called for DDT to condemn the violence at the Capitol, describing the actions of DDT supporters “tragic and sickening.” DDT immediately withdrew Wolf’s nomination to lead the Homeland Security Department. Wolf said he would stay until Biden’s inauguration for an “orderly transition.”

At least 150 large firms—Blue Cross, Marriott, Morgan Stanley, Dow, AT&T, BP, ConocoPhillips, etc.—will not be donating to campaigns for any congressional members voting to overturn the U.S. election.  Others such as Microsoft, Citibank, and Facebook took the easy way out by blocking political donations to members of all parties. Hallmark Cards even asked Hawley and another dissident, Sen. Roger Marshall, (R-KS) to return their contributions. Stripe also stopped processing DDT’s online campaign donations, refusing business with “high risk” businesses including those that “engages in, encourages, promotes or celebrates unlawful violence or physical harm to persons or property.”

The CEO of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) resigned because his group made robocalls telling people to come to the Capitol on January 6. Dark money behind RAGA helped organize the attack on the Capitol. Its so-called nonprofit Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF) was listed as “participating in the March to Save America” along with Stop the Steal, Turning Point Action, Tea Party Patriots, and others. Donors to RAGA include the Koch industries, Walmart, Home Depot, Chevron, the NRA, Monsanto, Exxon, and Fox.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said there are no procedures to bring impeachment to his chamber until after Joe Biden’s inauguration when the Senate reconvenes. In 2004, however, the Senate gave the majority and minority leaders the power to bring back the Senate in a time of emergency if the two leaders agree. Soon-to-be Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is willing so McConnell will be making the decision.

Created by the Mercers who donated big to DDT’s first campaign, Parler, the major communication source of seditionists, may have disappeared, but someone downloaded about 90 percent of its contents—messages videos, users’ location data, even deleted material—passed along during the Capitol siege.  How the hackers succeeded.

According to Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, DDT is like Jefferson Davis, the secessionist president of the Confederacy, because DDT “has taken his movement and himself out of the equation of the legitimate governance of the United States of America.” Bernstein added DDT “seceded himself and his movement from who we are as a country. That’s what the meaning of that attack is.” He said DDT’s followers are “in another country … apart from the rest of the United States.”

After five days, at least one conservative media site removed an op-ed denying the sacking of the Capitol. An op-ed on RedState website originally accused the attempted insurrection as exaggeration and distortion with the headline “Enough! There Was No Riot, Insurrection or ‘Storming!'” Retired infantry officer Mike Ford called the insurgents “concerned Americans.” RedState only commented the retracted op-ed had some material that was “incorrect or inappropriate.”

Atlanta-based Cumulus Media and its syndicate Westwood One is blocking conspiracy theories about election fraud on AM talk radio. Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino are among many far-right radio hosts affected by the ban, but Rush Limbaugh is still safe on Premiere networks.

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots coach, has refused the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. With the past week, DDT has given the award to three golfers and two dissident congressional members.

My favorite hero story of January 6: While Capitol Police officers opened the gates to let the insurrectionists enter, one Black officer, Eugene Goodman, used himself as bait to lure the white rioters away from the Senate chamber after they chased him up the stairs. Without him, congressional members could have been killed or at least badly wounded. [visual – Eugene Goodman]

DDT is less upset about his impending second impeachment than PGA’s termination of the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. According to the statement, it would be “detrimental” to its “brand.” Expect DDT to sue them. And maybe rage about it tomorrow during his visit to southern Texas tomorrow. Nine more days until the inauguration!

January 7, 2021

Fallout from DDT’s Attempted January 6 Coup in the U.S. Capitol

At 3:45 a.m. on January 7, VP Mike Pence announced Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice-president of the U.S. with 306 Electoral College votes after white supremacist supporters of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) breached the U.S. Capitol and took over the building. DDT received 232 votes. Almost 150 GOP congressional dissidents created havoc by voting to overturn the legal elections in Arizona and Pennsylvania. These are the names of every congressional members voting in favor of overturning a legal presidential election. Only the attempted insurrection stopped their plans from also attacking legal votes in Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin. Five people died, one of them a U.S. Capitol Police officer, and 52 people were arrested in the melee. 

While DDT raged in the White House, aides considered resigning, and senior officials discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him before he can do more damage. According to the constitution, removal requires approval by the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet or the vice-president and a congressional body if they determine he “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) called for invoking the 25th Amendment to ensure “we have a sane captain of the ship” because DDT has become “unmoored not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself.” Former AG Bill Barr, once DDT’s strongest supporter, called DDT’s conduct “a betrayal of his office and supporters” and stated that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”

After Pence made the announcement about the votes, DDT made this statement:

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.”

The sort-of concession may come with the help of his small group of other seditionist advisers: chief of staff Mark Meadows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, personnel director Johnny McEntee, and policy adviser Stephen Miller. Later DDT added, “A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20.” He didn’t mention Biden or say he lost, but West Wing staffers have received orders to pack up and move out.  

Democratic leaders House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Senate Minority Leader (soon to be Majority Leader) Chuck Schumer (NY) called for DDT’s immediate removal from office because of his inciting sedition. Pence refused to talk to them. Although praising the action of “many of our Capitol Police,” Pelosi also called for the Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to step down for his failure yesterday; he plans to leave in another nine days—four days before Biden’s inauguration. Sund had turned down National Guard assistance when the mob laid siege to the Capitol. Both House and Senate sergeants at arms resigned.

Almost 100 Democratic congressional members called for DDT’s removal with either impeaching him or invoking the 25th Amendment. The administration officials discussing DDT’s removal didn’t know if “acting” Cabinet members could participate in a vote about it.

Pelosi also asked for a full review of security failures at the executive branch level and the Pentagon’s delay in mobilizing the National Guard. DDT’s press secretary announced DDT had called in the National Guard, but DDT rejected the idea so Pence made the request. House Majority Leader Steny Hogan (D-MD) called Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan for help with the National Guard, but their deployment was delayed almost two hours because Hogan couldn’t get permission from Defense Secretary Chris Miller, a new DDT appointee. Hogan and two other GOP governors, Charlie Baker (MA) and Phil Scott (VT), called for DDT’s removal.

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin for Washington, D.C. said DDT may be one of the “actors” investigated to decide if they broke the law after DDT told his followers to “fight like hell” before the insurgence.

DDT’s appointees are considering departing if not actually doing so. Two Cabinet members are gone: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, wife of current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. They cited DDT’s behavior, but they may want to avoid voting on removing DDT from office.

DDT’s appointments who left: Tyler Goodspeed, acting chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, who left the White House Council of Economic Advisers with no members, and U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mick Mulvaney, formerly DDT’s chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, who also destroyed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when he was acting director.  

Other departures:

  • Melania Trump’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, formerly White House press secretary.
  • Anna Cristina Niceta, the White House social secretary.
  • Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Matthews.
  • Matt Pottinger, deputy national security adviser.
  • Ryan Tully, senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council.
  • John Costello, deputy assistant secretary of commerce.

National security adviser Robert C. O’Brien and deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell are considering resignations.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), a lead in overturning the presidential election within Congress along with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), has been severely reproached by the Kansas City Star, his home state’s largest newspaper. According to its headline, Hawley “has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt,” and the editorial describes him as self-interested and dishonest, interested only in furthering his own political career. “Trump did not manage this madness on his own,” editors wrote.

After what Simon and Schuster calls a “deadly insurrection,” the publisher withdrew its offer for a planned book from Hawley. Former Missouri Sen. John Danforth said mentoring Hawley “was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life” and blamed Hawley for sparking the insurrection.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is demanding resignations by Cruz and Hawley for trying to overturn the elections. If they don’t, she asks Senate to expel them. Ocasio-Cortez has been joined by Reps. Cori Bush (D-MO), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to expel House members voting to overturn the election.

After the attempted insurgency and one hour before Congress reconvened to certify electoral votes,  DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani sent a voicemail to newly-installed Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), urging him to “try to just slow it down” by objecting to electoral votes from “numerous states,” perhaps as many as ten, letting DDT’s team have more time to overturn Biden’s legal presidential win. The transcript of the call, reading like a conspiracy plan, was publicized because he mistakenly dialed another person with the message. Earlier in the day, Giuliani called for “trial by combat” at DDT’s rally outside the White House.

U.S. rivals such as China reveled in the attempted coup while allies expressed horror, some of them blaming DDT, and called for upholding democracy in the United States—similar to what the U.S. has done to other countries in the past. Russia ridiculed the U.S. for January 6’s events, and Iran pointed out how weak the U.S. is. 

Far-right media as well as social media are lying about the attempted coup by blaming it on the “antifa” or paid participants. Others blame the visuals of far-right people at the insurrection on evidence-free photoshopping and claiming a tattoo from the video game show Dishonored is the logo of the Communist party. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and QAnon congressional members spread conspiracy theories, and Fox network’s Laura Ingraham told fake news from Washington Times to millions of her followers. XRVision, the facial-recognition company cited in the conservative publication, calls the Washington Times’ reporting “outright false, misleading, and defamatory” and demands a retraction.

Unlike antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters, almost no thugs assaulting the U.S. Capitol wore masks, making identification much easier. The FBI already has over 4,000 tips online with more coming in by phone. Analysis from digital media is being forwarded to agents working the case. Among those who sacked the Capitol is a newly sworn-in West Virginia legislator who live-streamed the entire event. Later he claimed to be “an independent member of the media to film history” and didn’t participate in any “destruction.”

The Capitol’s invaders have been planning the event for weeks, indicated by their ease in navigating the buildings. Some wonder if they had inside help. The FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security, Pentagon, National Guard, and Joint Task Force knew about the strong possibility of violence after DDT kept telling white supremacists to come of Washington, D.C. on January 6 for a “wild” time. The protection agencies ignored the problems and failed to coordinate, permitting thugs to break into the U.S. Capitol. Because of DDT’s sedition, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has permanently banned DDT from Facebook and Instagram.

This weekend, one of two weekends before he leaves the White House, DDT is going into hiding at Camp David, 70 miles from the White House. The chief of domestic terrorists may spend his time working on his list of pardons, including one for himself.

The situation in Washington is obviously fluid and rapidly changing. Meanwhile, January 7 saw another 4,134 new COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. along with 274,190 new infections. Hospitalizations are up at least ten percent to over 132,000 people.

December 23, 2020

DDT Plays President for a Day

Another day, 26 more pardons and three commutations from lame duck  and “law and order” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) category including his felon friends and a family member along with others convicted of cyber crimes, firearm possession, and mail fraud. A sampling:

DDT’s son-in-law’s father: Charles Kushner, imprisoned after pleading guilty to 18 charges of tax evasion, witness tampering, and illegal campaign donations.  In early 2019, Chris Christie, who prosecuted the case in 2005, said Kushner committed “one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes” he had prosecuted in his hiring a prostitute to lure his brother-in-law into having sex and then sending the tape to Kushner’s wife for revenge.

Advisers indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller and convicted: On home confinement after two years in prison, Paul Manafort, briefly DDT’s campaign manager, admitted his crimes, agreed to cooperate with Mueller, lied to prosecutors, and tried to interfere with witnesses in crimes of bank and tax fraud, illegal foreign lobbying, and witness tampering. Manafort may face charges in New York which cannot be pardoned by a president. Despite AG Bill Barr’s attempt to save Roger Stone, DDT’s friend was sentenced for obstruction of Congress and threatening a witness before DDT commuted his sentence earlier this year.

The wife of former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) pardoned yesterday: Margaret Hunter pled guilty to conspiring “knowingly and willingly” to convert campaign funds for personal use.

Former Ron Paul presidential campaign aides: John Tate and Jesse Benton, involved in a plot to make hidden payments in exchange for an endorsement. Tate and Benton spent two years on probation and paid $10,000 for corrupting the 2012 Iowa caucus process after they secretly paid then-Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson $73,000 to shift support from presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul. Sen. Rand Paul, Ron Paul’s son, asked for the clemency; DDT is counting on him to support overturning Biden’s election on January 6.

The others are listed here

DDT destroyed two appropriation bills just hours before he left for Mar-a-Lago today, perhaps until after the inauguration. Silent during negotiation of the spending bill including a stimulus relief bill, DDT permitted Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to settle the $600 checks for everyone making under $75,000 a year. The bill passed by huge majorities in both congressional chambers before DDT insisted the check amount to be $2,000. If he continues to obstruct the bill, it will not see the light of day in the 116th Congress. With ten days, minus Sundays, in which to sign it, DDT could wait out the time until January 4, the day after the 117th Congress is sworn out, and two days after all the bills disappear and need to be taken up anew.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told her GOP counterparts that Democrats are ready to pass the $2,000 checks by New Year’s Eve to save the bill, but Republicans refuse the idea. The GOP will then be responsible for critical provisions’ running out at the end of the month including unemployment programs, which pushes almost 5 million people into poverty overnight. Mnuchin had promised to start sending out the $600 checks next week because he knew nothing about DDT’s objections.

DDT’s threat has split Republicans. The House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told House Republicans the will is “tainted,“ but some of them recognize the GOP will take the blame for failure. Rep, Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said, “We will have a hell of a time getting this out of people’s head,” and Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) said DDT had thrown House Republicans under the bus.

The question is whether Republicans will stick with their congressional leadership, who negotiated the bill, or DDT, who will savage those who oppose him. Another fallout could come in January when both chambers select their leaders.

Democrats can come out ahead. One day ago, they faced criticism for accepting the faulty $900 billion relief package; now the GOP may be killing it. Georgia’s GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, whose elections are in less than two weeks, may also take the fall. McConnell had counted on the relief checks to reelect the two; now their opponents are calling on them to support the $2,000 checks.

Even with the agreement to increase the amount in individual checks, DDT says he wants to turn down the spending bill because of foreign aid worth under $2 billion, but he’s only searching for reasons to throw the U.S. economy into chaos before President-elect Joe Biden takes over. To complicate matters, McCarthy and McConnell promise to unanimously get rid of the foreign aid on a unanimous basis, something Democrats may not support.

Waiting until the ten days allotted for addressing bills, DDT vetoed the $741 billion National Defense Authorization Act, using his latest excuse of its not protecting the U.S. from China. The NDAA has passed every year for the past six decades. In this case, Congress could override his veto in the next few days. Yet Congress needs to pass another Continuing Resolution to the budget to keep the government from shutting down on January 28. There is no guarantee, however, DDT will sign that C.R.

A classic response to DDT’s actions came from a GOP aide, calling the situation a “complete clusterf—.” No one, not even his own aides and officials, knows what DDT wants. Without a resolution, the government could have its fourth government shutdown in DDT’s four years. He is accelerating his style of grabbing attention while planning for his next re-election, this one in 2024. Newt Gingrich said he hoped DDT will sign the bill after he “sends a signal he wants to help people more.” Two years ago, DDT threatened to veto a $1.3 trillion spending bill before signing it, but he’s in much worse emotional state two years later.

With DDT’s campaign team shut down, he listens to only the White House staff who agree with his seditious agenda. He pressured over 150 GOP leaders in the battleground states he lost, trying to persuade them into overturning the popular vote. According to the report based on interviews with 22 Trump aides, local and states officials, Republicans, and elections experts:

“In total, the president talked to at least 31 Republicans, encompassing mostly local and state officials from four critical battleground states he lost—Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. The contacts included at least 12 personal phone calls to 11 individuals, and at least four White House meetings with 20 Republican state lawmakers, party leaders, and attorneys general, all people he hoped to win over to his side. Trump also spoke by phone about his efforts with numerous House Republicans and at least three current or incoming Senate Republicans.”

Anita Kumar and Gabby Orr tracked DDT’s attempts to overturn the election.

Republican attacks on November’s election are still working their way through the courts in a reversal of former GOP ideology. After virulently complaining about “judicial activism” when judges ruled in favor of human rights, the GOP uses a sledgehammer on courts to push their personal wishes, legal or not. For years, the GOP used the court in its attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act, give DDT “absolute immunity” from subpoenas, and, now, overturn a legal election. The GOP position is so wrong that at least eight DDT-appointed judges to be the most conservative in the nation have not supported his evidence-free allegations election fraud.

The Republican Party championing judicial restraint and opposition of courts’ imposing policy preferences on society now has no legitimate, consistent jurisprudential philosophy. It’s all about the results: killing the Affordable Care Act, granting DDT “absolute immunity” from subpoenas, and, worst of all, overturning a presidential election based on no evidence at all. The Federalist Society taught all DDT’s judges, who the GOP Senate faithfully confirmed, to defer to executive authority, put its conservative social agenda over precedent and law, and use “religious liberty” to violate laws. These judges believe they can actually know exactly what the people who wrote the Constitution were thinking although the same judges ignore the 14th Amendment giving due process rights instead of staying faithful to the document’s language and the government’s structure.

Fortunately, even the most conservative of judges almost universally agreed courts have no power to “grant the relief” desired by Republicans—in this case overthrowing an election. As Jennifer Rubin, a GOP columnist, wrote:

“The courts’ words might fall on deaf ears among the Trumpian right, but it should provide comfort to the rest of the country that unlike the Republicans who nominated and confirmed them, even “conservative” judges feel duty-bound to act in a judicial capacity—not as handmaidens to an authoritarian party that cares only that its side wins.”

Not all DDT’s judges understand the importance of the law. Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh attacked Democrats, and others reversed precedent because they can. But thus far, democracy survives.

Officials have finally found a case of voter fraud so frantically sought by DDT’s supporters. Bruce Bartman, 70, pretended to be his dead mother to vote in Delaware County (PA). The vote was for DDT. Bartman was charged with unlawful voting and perjury. A database has found 193 convicted cases of voter fraud between 1000 and 2020, when 250 million votes were cast. Maybe judges understand the lack of election fraud.

Today, self-identified super-Christian VP Mike Pence said to his Florida rally audience:

“[Democrats] want to make rich people poorer and poor people more comfortable.”

That’s a bad thing? Twenty-seven days until Pence moves out of public housing.

January 4, 2016

Oregon Insurrectionists Live off Government

Overthrowing the U.S. government can be expensive. That’s why Daniel Brewer needs his federal disability check to join the attempted government overthrow on the Malheur Wildlife National Refuge in Harney County (OR). On a posting for people to come help the “militia,” Brewer commented:

“$300 it’s a shame. The Federal Government can’t get my disability straight. $300 I and my Sons could be there. Shoulder to shoulder. My heart tells me to get there. I simply can’t find the gas money. I’m so sorry. I know I can make a difference. My prayers, are with you. I feel so bad its $ keeps me from doing what my heart tells me is right. If they want blood, make sure it’s theirs my brothers and Sisters. Damn. Please lord find me a way to help these people…. Amen.”

Brewer’s position is similar to that of the woman who wrote President Obama: “I don’t want government-run health care. I don’t want socialized medicine. And don’t touch my Medicare.”

Maybe Ammon Bundy could send some of his government money to Brewer. Although Bundy’s father, Cliven, refuses to pay the $1 million in grazing fees owed to the federal government, it loaned Ammon Bundy $530,000 to start Valet Fleet which services semitrucks throughout Arizona. There is no public record about how the money was spent or whether it was repaid.

The people who who took over a federal building now need snacks, according to anti-government terrorist Blaine Cooper. Ammon Bundy had said that they had planned for months; evidently the plan didn’t include packing “snacks.” Cooper’s desperate message stated:

“We do not stand for fame or fortune….We don’t want your money. If you have supplies or snacks … please send them to the address above…. The last sentence in the Declaration of Independence reads: And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Who knew that meant snacks! And sent through U.S. mail—paid for by the U.S. government. The occupiers also want a government handout, free land. They have support from conservative lawmakers in at least nine western states who want to take over federal lands in order to make a profit off them—possibly even selling the lands to private owners.

Ranchers grazing cattle on public land are getting a much better deal by paying the federal government instead of private owners. BLM fees for grazing are 93 percent than on private land and become cheaper as the years go on. In 2012, annual fees were $1.35 for supporting a cow and her calf for a month. In 2014, grazing fees covered only 15 percent of the bureau’s costs to maintain the lands.

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, home to 320 bird species, is a “tool of tyranny,” according to Ammon Bundy. Actually, it’s a major tourist attraction and staple of local economy, drawing visitors from all over the world. Bundy wants to give the land, which President Ulysses S. Grant, gave to the Paiutes, “back to the people,” but the people had access to it until Bundy and his tribe moved in. Children in Harney County can’t even go to school now because of Ammon Bundy. The group, now know known as Ya’llQueda are illegally occupying federal land for what they see as their constitution rights to burn public lands, use taxpayer money to freely graze cattle, and ride their ATVs to destroy archaeological sites.

The occupiers started by claiming that they are protesting the Hammonds’ being sent back to prison. The two men flew down to southern California before turning themselves in at the Terminal Island federal correctional facility in San Pedro. The lawbreakers no longer have an excuse to be in central Oregon illegally living in a federal building.

One anti-federal extremist, “Captain Moroni,” claims that the Mormon religion inspired the insurrection. In that religion, Moroni organized weapons, strategy, and tactics to allow Nephites to worship and govern as they wished. Like Christians, Mormon protesters claim that Jesus inspired the U.S. Constitution, making the document scripture. The man calling himself Captain Moroni said he was inspired by a call to come to Oregon: “I’m willing to die here.”

These so-called “conservatives” are opposing a century of GOP-led commitment to conservation and the protection of wildlife initiated by GOP President Theodore Roosevelt, who established the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 1908. It is “one of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge System,” according to the Audubon Society of Portland, “and belongs to all Americans.” Bob Sallinger said:

“The occupation of Malheur by armed, out of state militia groups puts one of America’s most important wildlife refuges at risk. It violates the most basic principles of the Public Trust Doctrine and holds hostage public lands and public resources to serve the very narrow political agenda of the occupiers. The occupiers have used the flimsiest of pretexts to justify their actions—the conviction of two local ranchers in a case involving arson and poaching on public lands. Notably, neither the local community nor the individuals convicted have requested or endorsed the occupation or the assistance of militia groups.”

The news repeatedly states that the event in Burns (OR) is an “occupation” following “a peaceful protest” and “an expression of anti-government sentiment.” An examination of the situation, however, shows that it is a gang of people with guns who declare themselves outside the law and plan to overthrow the government.

One state legislator who supports Bundy and his people is GOP lawmaker Any Holt in Tennessee who doesn’t see the problem with the “militia” despite Article III of the Constitution:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

And U.S.C.S 2383 follows up:

“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

Instead of pursuing the illegality of the “militia’s” actions, the media follows the event with a certain level of bemusement. talks to whites occupying a federal building in Oregon about how they cook, find bunks, etc. In contrast, black protesters–labeled by Fox as “terrorists,” “Nazis,” “sub-human,” a “hate group,” “extremists,” “thugs,” “rioters,” and “grave threats” to the police–are killed.

  • Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was murdered with impunity within two seconds after a police officer saw him with a toy gun.
  • Laquan McDonald was killed with 16 shots in one-fourth of a minute as he walked away from police officers.
  • In 1985, heavily armed members of MOVE in Philadelphia were surrounded by police answering a noise complaint and bombed by a military helicopter. The fire destroyed several blocks and killed 11 people, including five children.
  • When armed supporters of the American Indian Movement occupied the town of Wounded Knee (SD) in 1973, police, military, and FBI created a war zone on the reservation and killed two AIM members. They just wanted the federal government to honor their treaties by granting Indians greater control of their own lands.
  • Gun control in the 1960s came after armed Black Panthers peacefully marched on the California capitol in Sacramento.

Law enforcement analyst and retired U.S. marshal Art Roderick drew a comparison between heavily armed whites and unarmed blacks. As black people pose no violent threat in their neighborhood, law enforcement pulls out military gear to force protesters to disperse. Faced with heavily-armed white “militias,” law enforcement works on a peaceful resolution.

Many of the people now in Oregon pulled guns on law enforcement in Nevada with a declaration to seize land nationwide but faced no criminal charges for sedition. That experience allows them to believe, perhaps correctly, that they will not face any prosecution for their treasonous actions. Meanwhile, they try to overthrow the government that provides them with their livelihood.

Late this afternoon, Ammon Bundy said that the insurrectionists will leave the community if it asks them to. Maybe they’re running out of food—and snacks. If they leave, they’re sure to pop up somewhere else to create more havoc and get more publicity.

January 24, 2015

GOP Can’t Rule

Congress has become a joke. For example, a letter writer to a local newspaper stated that the new Congress can now begin its job—getting re-elected in 2016. Satirist Andy Borowitz wrote about how people with 33 weeks of paid leave a year and an annual salary of $174,000 want to stop others from having six weeks of paid leave and a higher annual salary than $15,000.

In control for less than three weeks, the GOP members of Congress have made a huge number of gaffes and failures. Even the ultra far-right Fox network is appalled at the House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Without consulting the president, Boehner asked Netanyahu to speak to Congress “on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life”and lobby for a U.S. war on Iran by extending sanctions.

On Fox Shephard Smith read a statement from Israel Martin Indyk, former ambassador to Israel:

“Netanyahu is using the Republican Congress for a photo-op for his election campaign, and the Republicans are using Bibi for their campaign against Obama. Unfortunately, the U.S. relationship will take the hit. It would be far wiser for us to stay out of their politics and for them to stay out of ours.”

Chris Wallace agreed “100 percent” and said, “I have to say I’m shocked.” He added that the “deliberate and pretty egregious snub” smacks of “dicey politics.”

Although no one will probably prosecute Boehner, there could be grounds for doing so. The Logan Act of 1799, still in effect, prevents any unauthorized American citizen from negotiating with foreign leaders. Only the executive branch can do that. Boehner could also be guilty of sedition, inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch, with his invitation to Netanyahu. If Republicans benefit from Netanyahu’s appearance, Boehner might also be violating Federal Elections Commission law by accepting something of value from the Israeli.

Boehner’s action comes after GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) pledged allegiance to Netanyahu during a trip to Israel by promising him increased U.S. sanctions on Iran. In Jerusalem, Graham said to Netanyahu, “The Congress will follow your lead.”

In their disdain for women and minorities, the Senate Republicans deleted the words “Civil Rights and Human Rights” from a key subcommittee, leaving it only the Subcommittee on the Constitution. The committee chair, John Cornyn (R-TX) made this change his first order of business. As the Washington Post wrote:

“The committee name-change comes as Republicans take control of the Senate during a pivotal moment in which much of the country remains locked in emotional conversations about race, policing, and civil rights following the high-profile police killings of several unarmed black men last year.”

It’s also a time when women fight for equal pay and reproductive rights and the Supreme Court has struck down an important part of the Voting Rights Act.

Congressional Republican members are also suffering from rifts among GOP philosophies and between the two chambers. This past week, the House pulled a bill to further destroy women’s reproductive rights by preventing abortions after 20 weeks because Boehner couldn’t muster enough Republican votes. The failed abortion bill was moved to the front of debate by a suspension of “regular order” because of its urgency. Nothing was said about abortion during the campaigns, but the GOP can now forget any job legislation.

GOP senators are also frustrated by the House focus on passing bills that cannot survive the Senate. The House legislation overturning President Obama’s executive actions giving legal status to immigrants illegally brought into the country as children or related to citizens and permanent residents is connected to funding for the Department of Homeland Security that currently expires on February 28. An unnamed GOP senator pointed out that senators tried to explain to House members the difference between the two chambers: “Look, we don’t have 60 votes. We can’t operate like the House does.” He added, “It’s going to be very difficult to achieve what the expectations are out there. Candidly, impossible.”

The 113th Congress was famous for the gridlock in Washington as the House sent bills to the Senate that could not be passed. Boehner has begun the same pattern in the 114th Congress. Tea Partier Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) told conservative lawmakers, “It’s uncanny to me that our leadership … is already sending the message that we’ve already lost this battle.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) promised to keep the amendment process open lasted only three weeks. He now justifies his recent unwillingness to let Democrats present amendments by saying, “The success of Congress is not determined on how many amendments people vote on.” The honeymoon is over.

A former committee chair, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), was well known for his indiscriminate use of aggressively issuing subpoenas. Committees are supposed to debate and vote on sending subpoenas, but Issa saved them the time—no debate and no vote. In the new Congress, at least seven House committee chairmen will have unilateral subpoena authority with no input from Democrats, allowing them to also go rogue with their abuse of power and harassment.

The despicable nature and hypocrisy of the GOP is already oozing out. across the nation. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) referred to Ana Zamora, who attended the State of the Union speech as Michelle Obama’s guest, as a “deportable.” Zamora is a student at Northwood University in Texas who was granted temporary deportation relief and work authorization through President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DREAMER) program in 2012 after being brought to the U.S. as a toddler.

Even Republicans were lukewarm about Sen. Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) response to the president’s SOTU speech, but they did like how she described her poverty as a child. Ernst omitted the fact that her family has received almost $500,000 in federal subsidies and over $200,000 in government contracts. Ernst promised to do away with federal student loans—that she used to attend college. During her first 18 years of poverty, 14 of them had Republican presidents, including Ronald Reagan’s “trickle down” economy that didn’t give her more than one pair of shoes.

Ernst whined about growing up poor in Iowa in a major speech to millions of people, but another senator, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), grew up even more poor in Oklahoma. The contrast between the two of them is Ernst’s sense of entitlement and Warren’s humility. Ernst wants to keep people in poverty while Warren wants to help people rise above their poverty through health care, higher minimum wage, paid sick leave, unions, and closing loopholes that let the wealthy avoid their fair share of taxes.

The real losers of the last election—other than most of the people in the United States—are the Republicans who want to be moderate. Those are the centrists who would have been conservatives 25 years ago because the GOP is the most ideologically extreme since after the Civil War. An example of these moderates is Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA). “I prefer that we avoid these very contentious social issues [such as abortion],” he said after he summarized the first three weeks’ awkwardness in the new Congress—fighting about the House speaker election, fighting over deporting children, and talking about “reportable rapes and incest for minors.” He finished, “I can’t wait until Week Four.”

Last November, Dent told his party that they could be “strong, rational and measured” without “a hysterical reaction.” Nobody paid any attention to him. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) baited a group In Defense of Christians during a keynote address so that they booed him, and Dent called his behavior “outrageous and incendiary.” After the GOP put the culture war above the economy, Dent said, “The stupidity is simply staggering.”

A group of GOP moderates called the Tuesday Group hopes to influence the party’s direction away from knee-jerk extremism. From past GOP behavior, there’s not much hope for Dent’s attempts in the 114th Congress.  Maybe they can start a new party.

October 17, 2013

Congressional Republicans, Abusers

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:16 PM
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For over two weeks, an extremist faction of the GOP held the United States hostage. It’s the sixth time since the Tea Party took a large number of seats in January 2011. The bad behavior of the conservatives in Congress’ budget battles over the last three years have cost the U.S. economy $700 billion—more than this year’s deficit. Congressional spending cuts and sequester have cut annual GDP by 0.7 percent and the equivalent of 1.2 million jobs. Uncertainty increased the cost an additional 0.3 percent, bringing the total cost to 1% of GDP annually.

Paul Krugman said that the unemployment rate would be below 6 percent without the current fiscal policy. In 2012, The Economic Policy Institute said that the fiscal cliff wasn’t about debt. It was about tax hikes coupled with spending cuts causing purchasing power to drain out of our economy.

The entire problem is caused by what Julie Driscoll, a domestic violence hotline counselor, describes as the Republicans abusive behavior. For the past 16 days, the media has shown the tea baggers taking over the U.S. House, ordering around House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), shutting down the government, and high-fiving one another like adolescents who have just broken the law.

Like abusers, Republicans always blame someone else for their actions. For abusive people there is no compromise. The abusive person is never wrong; only the abused must change. Abusers use bullying, fear tactics, threats, and intimidation—anything to get their own way. Abusers are also willing to use anyone else for pawns—in a family, the children, and with the GOP, the World War II veterans. 

Like abusers, Republicans do not negotiate in good faith. Boehner promised a clean continuing resolution in exchange for keeping the sequester cuts, the Democrats agreed, and Boehner backed down on his own agreement. Abusers will renege on any deals that they make; they will not uphold their end of the bargain. When Democrats gave in to the Republicans a year ago, Paul Krugman pointed out that the debt ceiling debacle at that time demonstrated that “raw extortion works and carries no political cost” and that “irresponsible brinksmanship” is now “a proven effective negotiating tactic.”

Like abusers, Republicans must win at all costs. Abusers don’t care who is caught in the crossfire because their desire for control and their irrational, desperate need to be the winner at any cost trumps any concern for others. Republicans raised the debt ceiling more than 25 times under Republican presidents and five times, with no difficulty, under George W. Bush. Now, regardless of any harm to others, the GOP vowed to block the president they hate. In a Catch 22, they claim that both defaulting and invoking the 14th Amendment to direct the Treasury to pay bills are impeachable offenses but gleefully push the president into one of these actions. No cost is too great for Republicans to make President Obama look bad.

Like abusers, Republicans have to be in complete control. They lost the 2012 election for president and Senate. The House has a Republican majority only because Republican states gerrymandered districts: House members received over a million more votes from Democrats than from Republicans. Yet Republicans think that they have the right to get whatever they want. To control the country, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) demanded, “Why don’t we open the parts of government that we agree to?” Republicans could then eliminate food stamps, inspections, regulations, etc. as they tried to do with their piecemeal strategy during the shutdown.

Like abusers, Republicans invalidate everyone else. Abusers use derogatory slurs against the victim as Republicans are using against President Obama in increasing occurrence and intensity.

Like abusers, Republicans wear down their victims. Suffering from abusive hopelessness, fear, and despair, victims give in to ridiculous demands that seem almost reasonable because it stops the emotional, mental, and physical pain—if only temporarily. Every rational plan from the Democrats led to upping the ante—repeal or defunding of Obamacare, a “conscience clause” to eliminate contraception, reducing Social Security, putting in the Keystone Pipeline—ad infinitum.

Like abusers, Republicans don’t care who they hurt. They can bully, threaten, and extort because they have a callous disregard for anyone who stands between them and what they want. Just as an abuser will knock a child out of the way in a rage, the Republicans will knock the country out of their way to get to their goal and then blame others for their behavior, never taking responsibility.

Like abusers, Republicans profess love for their victim. The Republicans say that they love their country, that their behavior is justified to save their country from the scourge of liberals and the devil called the Affordable Care Act, as, at the same time, they abuse the people in the country.

This time, however, the Democrats stood up to the abusers. Last night they said, “No more.” Thanks to their action, 260,000 people in Oregon will qualify for fast-track enrollment in the state health plan, the Medicaid expansion at the core of the health care reform. Young people will be able to stay on their parents’ policies until they are 26 years old, and everyone with pre-existing conditions can get health insurance. All the children in the state can have health insurance, and the insurance exchange will lower rates for people because companies have to be competitive.

After the past 16 days, people found out that they want government. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) wants FEMA because her state can’t afford to pay for the cattle lost in the recent blizzard. Both Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Todd Rokita (R-IN) want the National Institutes of Health funded: Rodgers has a child with Down syndrome, and Rokita has a son with a rare neurological disorder. Rokita  believes, however, that the rest of people’s needs could be taken care of by “families, faith communities, associations, and neighbors.” People discovered that they want their national parks and monuments. The salmonella outbreak during the shutdown moved the FDA up to the level of the national parks.

But it’s all personal. Republican control would mean no EPA, Labor Department, IRS, Department of Education, and some other agencies that Texas Gov. Rick Perry can’t remember.

Republicans claim that a government can be run like a family, but their families don’t always pay their bills. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) said he tells his creditors: “Listen, we’re going to pay you. We’re just not going to pay you today, but we’re going to pay you with interest and we will pay everybody that’s due money.” He claimed that doing this would show the world that the United States was “finally addressing its problem.” Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) has a similar slipshod style: “We have in my household some bills that have to be paid and some bills that we can defer or only pay partially.” [Note: you might not want to lend these people money!]

The U.S. government could have funded at least one of the these programs with the more than $24 billion hit to the economy during the past 16 days:

  • Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP): $24 billion
  • Department of Agriculture’s proposed budget: $22.6 billion
  • NASA’s approved budget: $16.6 billion
  • All air transportation programs, including the Federal Aviation Administration, security, research, and other costs: $21.9 billion
  • Child Tax Credit: $22.1 billion
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (formally known as welfare): $17.7 billion
  • The cost of Head Start, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Women Infants and Children (WIC) program combined: $25.2 billion

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said there won’t be any more threats, but Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) won’t rule out another shutdown, adding that he will still “do anything” to stop Obamacare. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), said, “We’re going to start this all over again.” The Default Caucus—18 GOP senators and 144 GOP House members—will still be in Congress when the next crisis begins in less than three months. These are the people who voted last night to drive the United States into default that threatened to collapse the entire world economy. Several of these Republicans have expressed interest in being the nation’s next president.

At the same time the Senate voted to open, Cruz blocked Tom Wheeler’s confirmation as chair of the FCC because Wheeler wants transparency for political advertising funding. As usual, it’s all about Ted Cruz—and certainly will be the next time that he has a chance to close down the government.

The Default Caucus won’t stop their seditious behavior unless someone stops them. The House GOP leadership’s use of the Hastert Rule and H. Res 368 to shut down the government and threaten the U.S. economy with default is an attempt to extort the United States government into altering or abolishing the Affordable Care Act, and thus, is self-evidently a seditious conspiracy.

You can sign a petition calling on justice for these actions: “I call on the Justice Department of the United States of America to arrest Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and other decision-making House Republican leaders for the crime of seditious conspiracy against the United States of America.”

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