Mostly Monday Reads: Season of the SwitchPosted: October 17, 2022
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I’m listening to Rachel Maddow’s new podcast series “Ultra.” “Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra is the all-but-forgotten true story of good, old-fashioned American extremism getting supercharged by proximity to power. When extremist elected officials get caught plotting against America with the violent ultra-right, this is the story of the lengths they will go to cover their tracks.” It’s about the last time we had to deal with American NAZIs embedded in every public institution.
It’s a history lesson worth taking given the fragile state of American democracy in 2022, menaced by increasingly visible far-right extremists, politicians with authoritarian tendencies, and riots in the halls of Congress. “I think it is a healthy impulse,” Maddow told me, “to look back at World War II—where the feel-good history is that all Americans were united against Hitler, and it was always inevitable that we were gonna get in the war and kick their butt—to be willing to look back at that time and the more nuanced truth of it, which is that a lot of Americans not only didn’t want us in the war, they thought if we were gonna be in the war, we should be on the other side.”
We continue to learn that there are dead-enders from every ultra-right group in American history that just raise up new generations. I was always amazed that there were still people fighting the Civil War. They’ve joined the NAZIs and other groups like White Christian Nationalists again. They found a charismatic (sic) actor in Trump, and they’re ready to go all in. The weapons that have this time are deadlier. This includes high-power guns, media of their own, and access to a worldwide web of hate and deceit.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is the stern milkmaid face of the women drawn to right-wing causes. They feel they will be rewarded for turning on women’s rights. They should’ve learned the lesson of Phyliss Schafly, who was dropped like a hot potato by the Reagan men of the right wing after she managed to tank the ERA. Marjorie has all the crassness of a Trump. She couldn’t form a more perfect opposite to Schafly, who was all about white gloves and beauty salon femininity.
We know she played a role in the insurrection. We know she continues to spew the same hateful nonsense that all the MAGA people spew. Here’s a new addition to the news on her. Fifteen hours ago, Hunter Walker wrote this on his substack: “Here Are All Of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s January 6 Text Messages With Mark Meadows.” I saw clips from her debate performance on Sunday Night. She was everything you’d expect from a MAGA performance artist. Walker begins by exclaiming she had nothing to do with the January Insurrection. But, the J6 committee may disagree. This is the moment.
I never thought I’d see anything more insane done in a debate than the one I watched where Republican Herschel Walker flashed a prop badge but there it is. She touts every conspiracy meme ever created.
In “The Breach,” a book I co-wrote with Denver Riggleman, a former Republican congressman and adviser to the committee, we detailed how Meadows’ text messages were acquired. We also described how Riggleman and other committee investigators identified the people who were texting with Meadows with a high degree of confidence. The identification of Greene was based on this work. For this story, I kept all of the original spelling and grammar as it appeared in the text log apart from changing tokens that seemed to replace apostrophes.
In April, CNN first published some of Greene’s text messages with Meadows including this exchange.
One of the messages that was first reported by CNN came from Greene on January 6 as the violence was underway. In it, she urged Meadows to have Trump “calm people.”
“Mark I was just told there is an active shooter on the first floor of the Capitol Please tell the President to calm people This isn’t the way to solve anything,” Greene wrote.
According to the log that text was sent at 2:28 pm. Trump did not make any public attempt to quell the violence until an hour and 49 minutes later.
An hour and twenty four minutes after making an appeal for calm. Greene texted Meadows a new conspiracy theory.
“Mark we don’t think these attackers are our people,” she wrote. “We think they are Antifa. Dressed like Trump supporters.”
In “The Breach,” we noted how Greene was one of several Trump allies who promoted this idea in the aftermath of the violence. There has been no credible evidence of any largescale involvement in the attack by left wing activists.
Greene repeated that idea in a lengthy message to Meadows dated the morning of January 7, 2021:
“Yesterday was a terrible day. We tried everything we could in our objection to the 6 states. I’m sorry nothing worked. I don’t think that President Trump caused the attack on the Capitol. It’s not his fault. Antifa was mixed in the crowed and instigated it, and sadly people followed. But when people try everything and no one listens and nothing works, I guess they think they have no other choice. Absolutely no excuse and I fully denounce all of it, but after shut downs all year and a stolen election, people are saying that they have no other choice. I defended Trump last night on Newsmax. He has been the greatest President. I will continue to defend him. And you if anyone attacks you. I hope you are ok. I feel badly for everyone.”
Meadows evidently appreciated her thoughts.
“Thanks Marjorie,” he wrote.
In writing for The Bulwark, Sarah Longwell has this to proffer: “The End of the Good Republicans. Say goodnight: The party’s over.”
Ben Sasse is retiring from the Senate at the youthful age of 50. We know why. Politicians who thought they could wait out Trump now see the writing on the wall.
The party’s over.
For years we watched the GOP defenestrations: Will Hurd, Jeff Flake, George W. Bush, the memory of John McCain, Paul Ryan, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and any other Republican who stood up to Donald Trump—or even just opposed Trump’s attempted coup. Some fell on their swords. Some were tossed aside involuntarily. The result was the same.
Simultaneously, we watched the progress on the other side of the spectrum as normie Republican moderates such as Lindsey Graham, Kevin McCarthy, Elise Stefanik, Ronna Romney McDaniel, and J.D. Vance became unquestioning Trump maximalists.
What these two dynamics proved was a simple fact: In the Republican party as it is currently constituted, political power emanates completely and totally from Donald Trump.
With vanishingly few exceptions, a Republican cannot be openly opposed to Trump on any grounds—even on simple matters of fact, such as who won the 2020 election—and retain political power. Some especially skillful Republicans have managed to advance by being generally positive, but largely silent, about some aspects of Trump. But the Republicans who have advanced most are those who broadcast, in the most vehement and submissive modes possible, their total subservience—not just to the MAGA agenda, but to Trump the man. In all policies, ideas, facts, and forms.
The end result of this truth is that it has driven the Good Republican—that rare animal who was supposed to be the post-Trump future of the GOP—to near extinction.
She provides examples of DeSantis, Youngkin, and others, along with brief and toe-curling evidence. We continue to see little blowback for any actions these Republicans have taken that are immoral at best and illegal at worst. Today, the Justice Department recommended a six-month sentence for Steven Bannon’s refusal to meet his obligations when served with a congressional subpoena.
The Department of Justice asked a federal judge Monday to sentence former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to six months in prison and a fine of $200,000 for contempt of Congress.
In a 24-page sentencing memorandum filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, prosecutors called Bannon’s refusal to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee a “sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress.”
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol repeatedly sought documents and testimony from Bannon but he “flouted the Committee’s authority and ignored the subpoena’s demands,” prosecutors said.
“To this day the Defendant has not produced a single document to the Committee or appeared for testimony,” they added.
Bannon is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, exactly a year after he was held in contempt by the House.
The memo said that Bannon, who served as an adviser to former President Donald Trump, “deserves severe punishment” for his actions.
The results of elections continue to show up in Supreme Court Rulings. This is also from NBC. “Supreme Court declines to consider overturning racist ‘Insular Cases.’ The justices rejected a case seeking birthright citizenship for American Samoans.”
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to consider whether American Samoans have full U.S. citizenship at birth, a dispute that would have given the justices the opportunity to repudiate past rulings suffused with racist language that helped determine that those in U.S. territories would not have the same rights as other Americans.
A group of American Samoans challenging the current law, in which people from the group of islands in the Pacific Ocean are considered U.S. “nationals” at birth but not citizens, say it is a vestige of racist policies toward territories. They say that the Justice Department, in defending the law, and an appeals court, in upholding it, relied upon the so-called “Insular Cases,” a series of long-criticized early 20th century Supreme Court rulings. The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case means the lower court ruling remains in place.
The challenge was brought by three American Samoans who live in Utah: John Fitisemanu, Pale Tuli, and Rosavita Tuli, as well as the Southern Utah Pacific Island Coalition, an advocacy group based in Utah.
“The subordinate, inferior non-citizen National status relegates American Samoans to second-class participation in the Republic,” the challengers’ lawyers say in court papers. They note for example, that U.S. nationals cannot run for president or serve in Congress. If living in a state, they cannot vote and are barred from certain occupations.
U.S. nationals can live and work anywhere within the United States and can travel under a U.S. passport, although the challengers’ lawyers note that their passports include a statement saying “NOT A UNITED STATES CITIZEN,” which they say carries a stigma. U.S. nationals can apply for full U.S. citizenship via an expedited process.
We’ve finally found out the Republican Platform’s one policy suggestion! Now, don’t be too surprised! This is from Jeff Stein at The Washington Post. “GOP wants to push to extend Trump tax cuts after midterm elections.” So much for a balanced budget approach! I keep hearing from my two Senators they are absolutely concerned about inflation! It seems not so much!
Republicans plan to push to extend key parts of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts if they take control of Congress in this fall’s elections, aiming to force President Biden to codify trillions of dollars worth of lower taxes touted by his predecessor.
With Democrats likely to lose control of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate, Republicans are preparing to advance legislation that would make permanent the GOP’s 2017 changes to the tax rates paid by individuals. Republican officials will also push for scrapping some of the law’s specific tax increases on corporations that were designed to offset the cost of their enormous overall cut to the corporate tax rate.
Many economists say the GOP’s plans to expand the tax cuts flies against their promises to fight inflation and reduce the federal deficit, which have emerged as central themes of their 2022 midterm campaign rhetoric. Tax cuts boost inflation just like new spending, because they increase economic demand and throw it out of balance with supply. But Republicans say they believe these efforts would put Biden in a political bind, requiring him to choose between vetoing the tax cuts — giving the GOP an attack line in the 2024 presidential election — or allowing Republicans to win on one of their central legislative agenda items.
So, the Trump news is pretty outrageous for today. Carol D. Leonnig writes this for the Washington Post: “Trump charged Secret Service ‘exorbitant’ rates at his hotels, records show.” Please make him go away!
Former president Donald Trump’s company charged the Secret Service as much as five times more than the government rate for agents to stay overnight at Trump hotels while protecting him and his family, according to expense records newly obtained by Congress.
The records show that in 40 cases the Trump Organization billed the Secret Service far higher amounts than the approved government rate — in one case charging agents $1,185 a night to stay at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. The new billing documents, according to a congressional committee’s review, show that U.S. taxpayers paid the president’s company at least $1.4 million for Secret Service agents’ stays at Trump properties for his and his family’s protection.
“The exorbitant rates charged to the Secret Service and agents’ frequent stays at Trump-owned properties raise significant concerns about the former President’s self-dealing and may have resulted in a taxpayer-funded windfall for former President Trump’s struggling businesses,” Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) wrote to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle.
Former N.J Governor Chris Christie has broken from the Trump Circle He said this in an ABC interview as reported by The Hill.
“I think it’s much more likely they’re a trophy that he walks around and says, ‘Look, I’ve got this. I’ve got this classified document or that,’ because remember something, he can’t believe he’s not president,” Christie said.
“He can’t believe he still doesn’t get these documents, and he needs to display to everybody down at Mar-a-Lago or up in Bedminster during the summer he still has some of those trappings. The replica Resolute Desk in Mar-a-Lago and all the rest of those things are things that are assuaging, you know, his disappointment and his disbelief that he’s not the president anymore.”
The more I read and see, the more I realize that the Republicans and their elected officials are anything but a political party. The path was charted when Ronald Reagan said this at his inaugural address.
“Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”
Anyone with that attitude should not be in political office. They should be in jail with all those MAGAs supporting a violent insurrection against the United States of America. They should be there for life.
So, that’s it for me! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?